Sunday, March 26, 2017

First Fort

Behind the punch-clock, out back of the hotel, in the woods,
while adults are sewn to sheets, to registers, to highways.

We are a better version of adults.

Our eyes are hot and our bodies are connected.

If their eyes were concise enough to trespass our shirts,
to behold our soft new breasts surging, 
an egg would clog their throats,
a thrombus block their breathing. 

We're twelve and our minds, 
our minds are so green they oscillate.

We make a room in a clearing.

Or rather the space between six large trees presents itself 
and invites us into a secret chamber in ourselves.

We stand in the place and molt.

Clearly our minds are treetops.
How easy to make an oven.
Beds are no work at all. 
With a little pressure 
a precise cleanliness inspires our dirt floors.

Our superior cunning adapts garbage
to surfeit the parameters of necessity
a garland of dead leaves weaves a window
a branch ripens to a broom,
the wind and wavering shadows 
pleat the workings of a wide wending clock.

When we turn the knob (the knot on a tree), 
our whole minds work.

We unearth wine bottles with our fingertips 
and delicately touch their sacred collars -
then handle them roughly -
various green hues eye-dazzling with electrical sparks,
vacillating flutes accruing to paramouring densities 
at their bulbous bottoms. 

Our hearts rhapsodize and lift.
Our underarms sting with the gravity of mushroom scent.

To see, we force our blood flowers downward,
like red birds back into a black box,  
and harness their beating. 

Freckled, our faces fret our work, pure pleasure.

Form. From out of air we generate form.
Our fort exclusive, personal,  
the centre of a world we'll build upon 
until eventually we're bored
and it's buried.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Last Walk in Winter, March 23, notes

East of Webbwood I'm walking the winter path. I want to be walking the winter path east of Webbwood. I keep my eyes here. Which means I keep my mind quiet upon the dull light. Even the dull light, when investigated, invigorates the knobs and hills of snow. Even the dull light is fascinating. Radiance manages to break through in deceitfully small dribs and drabs, but crackling, spontaneously and momentarily electrified.

It is an ordinary path. With an ordinary mix of trees for this region. A stand of some shaggy evergreen planted after a pulp and paper cull, spindly armed, a scourge of mangy bark debris beneath. Aspen, maple, oak, birch and poplar. Cedar. Who knows what all else.

But one does have to put forth a certain effort to ignore the garbage. Garbage cast over the river's embankment by men on ATVs. Garbage periodically hanging from limbs or nailed to trees to mark the way for hunters. Garbage means us and us is exactly what I need to walk away from.

But I do give thanks for the path.

So that. That is what I aim for. The path that takes me away from. The path that is worked well enough but is (hopefully, hopefully, this is work) not defiled. The path which allows the radiance even when sifting volumes of dull light.

Out beyond the last point previously known (to me) on this trail, on the other side of a distant hill, on another branch of the trail after the last veering to a remote out of town house, well past any evidence I've seen of our presence except for the trail itself, I exit the woods and enter a sudden clearing.

There wind blows over a few acres of ice, unimpeded.

The ice is blue. I hazard onto it. Thrilled.

A whole swamp of cattails is battered and held at 130 degree angles.

A rock-cut of significant size hems me in to the north.

And snag dots the flat expanse up ahead.

A crow cuts the air, scrawing, over and over.

I pull my pants down and bend to piss a hot stream through the blue ice. Breathe. Feel slightly excited, a delicious blending of fear and arousal, imaging what I know must sometimes be here, moose, wolf, bear, fox, frog and mosquito. I feel clearly me. Distinctly at home. Can think, although if I'm thinking, I can't hear an argument of words. But feel their clarity.

Stay here, erin, wherever you go. Stay here.

Are You not Going to Tell me Things?

Tell me things.
Don't worry, I won't hold you to them.
After all, they won't stay with you anyway.

Won't you tell me, tell me, tell me anything?
It's not the things I'll listen for,
but the sound of your voice.

Post-it Note on the Villians

Worse still when you sense but can't see.

There's a predator in my head. It's trying to hurt me.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Back of Webbwood (a few winters ago)

We are speaking, quietly,
just the two of us,
passing words like straws
back and forth across 
the frozen winter trail,
when the real wolf
crosses in front of us,
mangy, almost muddied but for snow,
harrowed and hollowed by his need.

He is much less frightening
than the one that roams the winter mind.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Crashing Through the Dragon and Unzipping Man

"It is the vocation of the prophet to keep alive the ministry of the imagination, to keep on conjuring and proposing futures alternative to the single one the king wants to urge us as the only thinkable one." 
                                                                                                                                 Walter Brueggemann

My lover and I are staring into one another. 
We have spent the morning hacking into the 
bedrock of the construct of the modern world
trying to enter the innards, cleave through stone
into some bloody network. It's not the mind,
per se, we want to enter, but the shit sacs.
We want to enter the dragon, not where he
thinks himself powerful, but where we are common.
But we're past that now. Now we're sitting 
as though stoned, staring into one another. 
We always grow weary of the dragon. 
Excavation in a limited space is limited. 
In the end he's only ever a piƱata, a balloon filled
with sand and money, a little urinary purse
overfilled, staining his old eyes with shellac.
When's that guy gonna die?
He won't. He can't. He was never alive.

So here we are on the couch staring into one another,
with Brueggemann poking us hopefully to imagine. 


When I look into my lover, I don't. Instead I see.
I see night with its right star-tipped thumb and forefinger advancing.
The human form is standing much like an avocado
naked in the spin of an empty landscape, 
his arms raised, extending his pear shape up. 
When night pinches its digits together
the fruit will be striped. 
But there will be no core, no pit.
Only light will shine out
obliterating all thought, all language.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Some Things You've Never Told Anyone

The bear you saw, as you were running, for the instant.
Like a glare upon the wall. Or a sunspot floating over 
the eye's aqueous surface. His face looking curious
from behind a tree. Then from between two trees.
You looking curious from the road. Then that moment sewn.
You two gone completely from one another.

The rear haunches of the deer on the other side of the gully. 
Not the whole deer. Never anything whole, decisively nameable 
or static. Just the hill of the haunch. The whiff of the doeish colour. 
The formidable footfall that ran straight up to the femur.
The deposition of its buttocks. And then the gully 
stunned and ancient, emptied but for its ferns, again.

The fish that jumped. But not the fish 
but the split second thereafter. The tube of the empty air.
The evidence of sound. The dazzling rings of water.

Yesterday you detected movement up ahead, right to left,
a swirl of colour. Maybe fox fur had just crossed the road.
As you approached you stared hard into the ether. The wind 
picked up against you and cast a wizened oak leaf upon each of its points 
like a rusty star cartwheeling its credentials across the icy roadway. 
For a moment you became content to name that which had
a moment before eluded you, as a leaf too.
But when you caught up with the scenario
you passed a greasy man with a cigarette loose at his lips 
parked off to the left. You stared, not quite friendly, at one another,
as he lifted his pissing dog through the air, then higher, 
onto the nearby platform of snow.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Except that there is one truth.

It lies buried far beneath the surface, hidden.

For instance, that time when you were down beneath the surface, mining. You had shucked off the guise of yourself and had left those mining clothes discarded. You had also left behind time and money, coins spilling from your pockets which you had abandoned in the dark. You had broken through beneath what had previously been perceived as the ground floor of the explored world. But beneath this world, as you peered down between the clouds, you beheld the true prime level. 

There below was one figure bent toward a solitary river. He had in his right hand a shield in the shade and shape of a seashell which he held back behind his angled body, toward the opening of this world, like a large fish scale. He was bending toward the slate grey river which was leaden and molten, but was total and so did not flow, never getting any closer to the water nor straightening up. All the work in that world worked as a singular effort in the glinting of that shell, which glistered with great force its opalescence. 

Peering down through the aperture you were shocked and shattered for all your previous efforts on earth of building and blowing up, mining and excavating, recognizing that that single cell of being held near the man's back, curved and flourished, the infinite source, was the essence of yourself.

Flowers for the Sufferers

I've never been the victim 
therefore you won't like me.
I've always been the one 
to leave, or the one to hit
(even if I wear some bruises).
And my body, 
though my teeth have cracked,
I've wrested my mouth like the tool.
You've always been a little startled,
tin can, idling nearby, rasped 
and jagged, lip gaping,
unsure how such a 
ratty little thing
might have such effect.
But, no, 
I've never been the victim.

Even with their knives and saws
screaming in my face, 
I stare straight ahead.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Express

We carry on in our train cars,
flapping open and closed our newspapers.
Most days the band is playing.
Some days the treat cart passes
and our pockets are full of coins - ha-ha,
we're self-contained ticker tape parades!
The drunk man swoons and on a 
fine day like today we don't hate him.
Some days there is plenty enough
that it doesn't matter if there are
snow flies on the drifts or jonquils
glowing in the gardens. It's when
we hit the hills, or the hills hit us,
that we hear the music as hollow.
Then the tuba blows its mournful note
and we shake our heads wondering 
how it was we didn't notice every note
gets flouted through the curved dark throat.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

One Moment in March, notes, etc.

Was it March? It almost comes to me. The one perfect day when I felt the calling and answered it. Whenever I am sad any more or feel unfulfilled, think the world is impossible, I caress this. We were at the shack. The trees had been tapped. Their milk had run thin for days and hours. Logs that had been cut and stacked in equal increments, were rammed into the box, while the syrup boiled itself pure, to a glomming sweetness. The other adults sat in a circle playing cards and eating fried venison with their fingers, hacking it off with the set of their teeth. The children and I tipped our heads back and slurped our shots of maple syrup, then snapped our snow pants' straps over our shoulders. We ran out through the fields as twilight came toward us. We ran as best we could through snow from it, leapt and laughed, and I neighed while throwing my mane behind them. We waddled our legs rapidly as though through waves, and tumbled, to rise again, nearly in tears. It was a deep satisfaction, those moments, where beginning had rolled itself back, and the end was nowhere near our vision.

as satisfying as the smack
of a hot fudge sundae
after the balanced meal 

on the sixth night we danced
the devil's boogie
before the chastening of sunday 

there's nothing like 
the stickiness of a kid
to fasten you to the now

trees becoming candy
children becoming hills 

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Case

So, one night the suitcase of your life opens
and it is empty again. How was it that you didn't 
notice your load was getting lighter? There were
all those other socks. You counted them out in
graduating sizes. There were the bears under the 
beds. Then the creaking on them. The sheets to be
changed. The spit up. The barf. The period stains. 
The shit. But then there you were, one minute
spit-washing, scrubbing, the next crying. The locks 
jammed? Irrelevant. The case empty. No one around.

(one can only bear so much aloneness)


It's what we think.

You don't think a makes b, do you?
For instance, a makes the body, b makes the bullet.

The bullet travels through space to enter the body
to exit, making more space.

It goes linearly, end to end
and yet closes a circle.

Antipode - it's how we behave.
Your mother sews you a pretty dress.

You spend a lifetime tearing it open.
Once naked, you dance in Tibet.

Then return home to have a litter of puppies.
Take up sewing muzzles.

Antipode - knowledge isn't cumulative.
But cumulative ignorance begins to lead to knowledge.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Another Day of Praise and Proof

It is a special day.
Today I wake!

What might I do today?
It should be especially special.

I want to raise my arms.
Colour, please pour and coat my throat.

Let's ride fishes!
Tiger, climb on my back and bite me to submission.

Catch up little lambs, 
Follow me!

Ice, might you, white fire, burn?
Words, come on, stack like Duplo, obey.

Let's make love today.
Please, right here, like Thomas' finger
Put it in.

The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso

With my good ear I hear they're difficult to take care of.
With my other, my mother croons, once a week, two to three ice-cubes.

There's this circuit I walk from my fridge in the kitchen, through the hallway, to the living room
and back again. It takes one week.

I can never get off. Its air roots supplicate, its buds surge and dwindle. The orchid never stops
living and dying.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Quick, While There's Still Colour

If we'll allow, there is still 
the old machine tipped out in the grasses.

Even its creosote timber soaked through with dew 
has a slow rot impelling it.

Where the metal links pivot its parts
rust and maybes.

A chorus of bees hovers when there's heat.

Snow nests upon it like a crown 
all slow winterlong.

Colours, at first, tick 
through its engine's bits.

Then dream to a fade behind the convex contour 
of the dashboard face's clock.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Deducing the Way

A cold day in February, minus twenty,
and I don't know if I feel like going out.
But I know at least it would be good for me.
And also, the as of late extreme cold
will have frozen the surface, making walking
easier, snowshoes unnecessary. 

So I layer up and enter the woods,
going low into my coat and scarf,
counting on my body's work to build
some warmth. And it works. Enough so 
that I can loiter at the top of a hill in the sun, 
turn my face and feel the warmth of light
Ah, I say, OK. 

The trail goes straight down. The banks
to the side of the trail are shining, icy
and solid. I bend and reach out my hand 
and lay it to the cold shine. It slips. Alright.

Then I notice and trace the forest's litter
gathered and locked here in the icy vault
alongside the trail, each piece of birch bark 
warmed, torn and disregarded until now, 
each oak leaf indented by the sun's passion 
into the hardened crust, the pine needles 
and random seedlings impregnating the solid. 
OK, I say, I get it.

The trail I'm facing 
slopes straight down, 
seems fast and treacherous, 
walked so many times, 
groomed to a gleam of peril. 
Huh, I think.

So I take to the slow trough of deer steps
off to the side, each step taking a moment of work,
through brush and past stone, that builds more heat 
and seems intuitively mathematical. Aha, I say 
quietly through my breath, little escaping me as I go.
Limbs clutch and release my hair. I feel warm and close, 
Spinoza fine, integral to the tremble of winter's crystal web.

The Winter Cabin

Sitting still, of a winter's morn
in my cabin, arms back
over my head, I must 
each   slender   earthbrown
rootlike tendril
to the rest of the world.
I must float alone,
infant fresh,
isolated in starshine,
unbumping into the finite
or the infinite's body.

To know one's place in the world
is not to know how one connects 
by common thread,
by coat, by hat size, by tie,
by letter, by title, by familial tally,

but to understand one's tiny heartbeat
within the great volume of the winter landscape,
one flutter within the ebb and flow 
of the illimitable flux.

One of the Ten Thousand Sleeping Things

Paper on its outside.
Feathers in.
Because it's inert
you think it assailable.
But if it sleeps
beware it has breath
that moves as its thinking,
plotting maps while it rests.
After all, you in your vestments
are a sleeping cell of a general.
Its body is the quivering atom, the cell, 

the world dreaming undercover 
on a shelf.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Grey Pine

Others complain about the indifference of nature,
but I say, thank god for this good. 
Or more spendthriftly,
thank bracken, thank bract,
thank soil, thank stone, thank wood.

Soggy with sentience I go sputtering to the jack pine.
As they sway their sixty foot winter white tipped flagpoles
and cover the distance between silence and crack,
their insouciance rings me like a tuning fork
and I thank the chance to be rid of myself.

The Gift

I watch her knit Ecuador a scarf.
Ecuador doesn't wear scarves.
Ecuador is grateful, yet in all honesty 
says, I will give the scarf to Greenland.
She knits the scarf using her needles.
The noose gets longer and longer.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Thinking on the Beauty of the Bell

The bell holds its clapper.
The void holds the bell.
Nothing holds sound.

sound holds your heart.

When sound holds your heart
it rings you,
you brighten,
almost remembering home.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Skating Over Uneven Surfaces

The snow cover 
has been rolled back 
from the lakes 
like carpets --
March and her 
rapid repetition of 
freezing and thawing --
the obsidian shields
open now 
only as ice,
black lenses, 
the Creator's eyes
unblinkingly staring skyward 
between the exposed 
Precambrian stone.
When I was a child 
I skated over these lakes
(indoor rinks
a foreign tongue), 
the ripples and torques of ice --
they entered 
up through my body 
as rhythm and rhyme;
have never left me.
Lake Kagawong
now exposed 
beneath the late winter 
cloud-played sun.
I can feel the light 
pour and pool, 
and then be thrown up
over the waves 
of the roughly frozen
liminal surface. 

The blood in my body responds as memory.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Darling, You're Mine

Is the world pexa
or hirsute?

Does beauty stand up 
or lie down?

I fly over the world
dragging my fingers.

When my hand touches you
something in my spirit jerks erect.

When my hand is empty
my spirit dangles crushed.

Beloved, if you don't exist, 
I will make you.

If you do exist, 
whether you like it or not, 
I'll have you.

Before the Juice and Joy

March - you're a dangerous month in the north.

It might be hard to believe from elsewhere, but the 
snow piles here in February rose twelve regal feet high.

March begins their capitulation.

There was something noble when they were erect.
Something sinister in their decline 

even though spring sleeps on the other side in an egg the size of an eyeball,
with the girth and heart-heat of a drowsing pachyderm.

March - you are difficult on my heart.

I don't know who or where I am any more.

The Inuit erect inuksuit on the ice fields
to guide them. What do I have in March?

March - you drive me away with your winds
and you tempt me on with your longer hours.

Why the whole lion and the lamb thing?

Because sometimes you're the lamb
you make your lion more formidable!

March -  you're no third into the year.

You're the laborious first chunk of a long journey.

You're the dense forest of ghostly limbs 
one must hack through

before reaching the summit to behold
the sun's first bloodbud unfurling.

The Game

Ten pins lying side by side: this is morning.
The day will sort and stand them.
The night balls will roll and knock them in.

To allow an inkling to prosper...?
That's easy - simply focus between the pins.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


When we first come together everything is fruit and sucking.
You prepare sandwiches. Fry the bacon from its fat. Slice thin slivers 
of tomatoes from the Rubens' rounds.  Lay everything between bread 
in varying pressed layers. We walk, talking silently, fingers entwined
in a mist of perfume bruming between our leavened bodies.
It is a green furnace even for May. You lay out the blanket.

When you enter me we spill the grapes from the quilt onto the forest floor.
The sky swims in our eyes. The sycamore lean over us like a congress of stoic,
pitched doctors, like those in Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp. I perceive
the ocean turning in you. You hold it inside and work its forces slowly into my surface. 
Ants climb aboard the grapes; vibrate, drunk on the juices of decaying fruit.
Sweat forms upon your thorcis and finds its way to my lips, stinging sweetly.

Later, at home, we find a nymph tick nursing from a pocket in your pale skin.

How One Word Works to Rivet

Do you remember that night in the hotel room in Dayton? It was a terrible room. 
So terrible that its thin walls separated and it ceased to exist. Instead our bed was spread 
upon the green between the overpasses. You leaned over me, into me, and said my name 
over and over. The cars hurtled by, ruffling our hair. The moon angled over your shoulder, 
a jealous voyeur. What did you mean to accomplish with my name? Erin Erin Erin. 
What did you mean to fasten?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

On a Tuesday

You wake up.

The whole hemisphere of your mind is busy performing its tricks.

The sky is yet a mathematical replica of the sky of yesterday.

Your body hairs pass scintilla over your surface like a corpus moves over a mosh pit.

                                                          How to understand that at 2:08 you'll be dead?

Monday, March 6, 2017


The whole world is out there in its parts, moving about,
laying on its horns, flashing its scarab beetle coloured hoods.
Somewhere to go! Something of (anti)grave urgency it's craving.

Meanwhile I'm pressed to this chunk of ice with a hard-on.
I'm pressed to this empty star, trying to fuck, by way of mind,
my soul inside of it.

Ars Poetica

The not so compassionate wizards of the system
are constantly devising the synthetic origami tapestry
in 3D, like those cheap cat houses you can release
from their flattened state just by pulling a cord.

Each wall offers up a peril. Maybe war.
Poverty's always a good one. One wall's made of
reflective metal. The simple image of a man might just
be enough to drive him mad. Brilliant! The other is a
political spectrum which rests atop the denominator,
the Loonie. The floor is death. The ceiling, darkness.

The wizards like to circle the tent, rattle the walls
and chant little ditties dreamt up by Nietzsche and Sartre.

Your breath gets scared so moves close inside with you, 
masses of clotted green things, suffocating. It can climb you 
like a severed hand in the shape of a cow's tongue.

But you can always raise your mind, catch some wind,
sail that rig like an ark.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Desire's Address

I want to touch the elephant

My mother ties a ribbon in my hair.
My shoes shine. They reflect my pale face as I bend toward them.
Later dust settles on them as the elephant stirs the air
and sways its great leather bundle of lashed boulders by me.

Money trades hands.

I reach out and try to touch something.

But the elephant remains untouched inside my hand.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Real Estate

Plaster and lathe. Knob and tube wiring.
Long thin pipes lined by years of iron filings.
Wooden siding, housing bats and bees.
A nest of skunks pressed beneath the ease 
     of the east side's sinking foundation.
There are the pine floors and chipped crown molding.
Maybe (let's hope not) vermiculite insulation. 
The real estate agent's making heady, 
after asking price, with the word amelioration.

Then the rattling glass -
     here's where you feel you're closest.

There seems - whether a house is nice, or not -
but it's not quite the house. No, shouldn't be. 

It's how the house filters what streams
How when you climb the creaking stairs
you're subtly bathed in it sub rosa -
rose light on one's skin like silken water. 
How your eyelids are lifted, pinkened veils,
and you're presented with the intangible,
     the illumined.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

every parent goes through this?!, notes on nostalgia and bikes

when i stand at the stove and open a package of spaghetti, an intense feeling of a netflix series, Stranger Things, comes over me. i feel kids on bikes. i feel everything is going to be alright (although even within the series clearly everything isn't). with each package of spaghetti. each and every time. every week and a half. something reaches out its hand and touches my sick forehead. it will be alright, it says. my own childhood draping my aging body like a sweater. kids are in the streets in their little zippered coats, standing and pumping their bikes. going somewhere. or trying to get away. while somewhere in the distance mothers are cooking. 

then the noodles hit a hard boil.

my seventy-eight year old mother tells this story

lifting our plates
to eat in the basement
we tore open wounds

(*for the sake of syllables i write we, but it was really my brother.)

the mother spoke:

bicycle wheels
go around
and around again

no ambiguity

our red house
 they painted brown
a fire stomped out

second hand pleasures

remembering bikes
sadness passes
wind in my face