Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Sorrow is a Banquet

Sorrow is a banquet
Spread out in a garden
Where the trees are empty
Of their fruit
The tablecloth has been pressed
And pressed again
But wrinkles will not
Be so easily erased
On the table is earthenware
Where liquid leaks out
Through the cracks
There are plates, bowls, spoons,
And knives that slice
There are no forks
To put in anything
Say, “I’m done”
There are folding chairs at this table
Uneven legs, unsteady
Shadow people mill about
Faceless, nameless
No one speaks
There are no words
Upon the tongue
You nibble and gnaw
On plastic fruit
Covered in the dust of memories
It rains, of course
You look up to the sky for answers,
For a waiter to tell you
Which is the room
Down the corridor of doors
That will open to the place
Where glasses clink
And a soprano
Sings              
---
October 18, 2017                  

Train Tracks

I have stood on these train tracks,
A portal to the past
To the place where I grew up
Where bullies laid me flat

I have looked through the pane
And seen where I have been,
Time itself a blur to me
Amid the forest green

I have travelled many miles
Over weeds near fallen trees,
Through stations of the cross,
Found light in tunnels deep

I stand here again
But the train no longer runs;
I pick the berries from the bush,
The thorns and thistles, shun                
---
October 11, 2017

In Trauma, There is Art

In trauma, there is art, 
Hiding, waiting to emerge
Rough, jagged edges are reshaped 
As chisels slice through knurls 
Health is found upon the lathe
Where new angles are spun 
Once skewed by dark scars, 
Now angels spin in the sun         
---
October 11, 2017

What Truths Does the Moon Tell?

What truths does the moon tell?
What secrets does he hide
In the back room, whisked away
When the light subsides?

Does he slyly smile
And whisper through the clouds?
Does he broadcast through the air
Like a peacock crowing, loud?

Does he beam like a feline
With feathers in its fur?
Does he howl with the wolves 
At the tales he's seen and heard?

Not the regular rotation
Of peoples' late-night antics 
But weighty lunacies 
Super-charged, gigantic 

What truths does the moon tell?
What does Neptune know?
Does Uranus hold your secrets tight?
And why do stars explode?     
---
October 11, 2017

Robert

He first floated 
in amniotic fluid
on the Neusiedler See;
he was birthed 
into the sailing world,
his Opapa telling tales
of the merchant marine

Fleet of foot, 
he ran after school
to the swimming pool;
with his teammates, 
he dove into chlorine 

But the salt air 
filled his lungs
with contentment,
cementing his passion
to sail far 
and sail now

Through the North Sea, 
the Atlantic, Pacific, 
San Francisco Bay,
Gulf of Mexico,
the Mediterranean,
and Nootka Sound

Simply put,
he's more grounded 
when the sea is around him
and terra firma transforms
to a port on his charts,
with the wind in his face
and peace in his heart              
---
October 9, 2017

Hummingbird

prom queen mermaid 
with angelic wings
hovers by foxgloves 
reverberating 

she glides in the air
a gilded sculpture
vivid, vivacious 
sweet than nectar
---
October 7, 2017      

Susan

I have stood in this lineup
countless times, 
counting 
and recounting items 
in the red plastic basket,
making chitchat with cashiers,
harping about politicians,
whining about the weather;
some are cheerleader types,
some cheeky,
some have zero cheer;
I steer my cart clear of those
and find the one
whose light is always on,
a beacon to the burdened
with a sympathetic ear,
the one who knows my name
but still she calls me Dear;
she works hard 
for the pittance she's paid,
is, herself, double bagged 
by the end of the day
but from where I stand,
she is the best source
of loyalty, rewards,
hands down
and I can count on her,
to fill me up 
with good things:
encouraging words,
gifts of thoughtfulness,
warmest of hugs;
her name tag reads: Susan
which means lily,
a tall fragrant bloom
and that she is,
standing out 
like a bouquet
in a lackluster room;
as friends go,
and they do,
she is more
than I bargained for
when I entered her queue     
---
October 6, 2017

Swan Lake Sanctuary

I have stood
At this makeshift altar
Where arborists preach
To the clueless and converted
The lake below
Was once a dumping ground
For the old winery’s dregs
Or so I have heard
Here, eagles, blackbirds, ducks, geese
But no swans,
Find sanctuary,
Mating for life
This is where he and I came,
Him capturing me
Through his lens
Somehow he saw into the future
Our bodies facing each other
Saying, “I will plant myself
Here with you”
Letting our roots intertwine
See what grows;
We both shifted our schedules
To be here,
Altered our agendas,
Let the past sink
Into the dark earth;
Around our feet,
Tumble petals
From aged bouquets
Of ruby and rose      
---
October 4, 2017

Mara Sang

The lighthouse
shuttles light 
by the cellophane sea

A mermaid
mimics moonlit waves
in a maillot
of aquamarine 

From the frothy white,
a nymph's hymn
collars sea dogs 
to get tangled up
in a mirage  

A sea-foam symphony 
births a bright goddess of love
ascending from
transcending tides
the stars, her brilliant
camouflage
---
October 2, 2017
                                 

Cherish the Question Mark (From Mary Oliver's poem Everything)

Cherish the question mark,
The curve of uncertainty,
The open-ended endings,
The life punctuated with mystery
Go on a quest
For the what and wherefores
The who, how, when
And incessant whys
Send your gumshoes
To the delve into sewers,
Your sleuths,
To eavesdrop on the skies
Ponder the imponderables,
Rest in the tension
Of the vast unknown
Don’t peek at the answer key,
Or flip to the last chapter
Because if you do...       
---
October 18, 2017

Monday, 16 October 2017

Before We Were Born

Before we were born,
our parents had lives,
my father, a battalion of friends
to carouse with,
strangers in photographs
perhaps visitors in my memories
"My, how you've grown"
Do I know you?

These people are foreign,
laughing and dancing, 
their gin glasses gauging empty,
their mouths bursting
like they swallowed the stars,
sparkling smiles and carefree
not an apron string in their midst,
their shoes tossed on the floor, 
footless, with laces relaxed
and unfettered,
before we were born
---
October 15, 2017

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Developing From the Negative

She remembers nightmares,
some imagined, some real,
the bullies who splattered her
with tomatoes and abuse
and the dark night 
when her father stormed 
through the house,
and the black cloud 
that hovered for years 
over her rickety attic 

There were glimpses of radiance 
that she could tangibly access,
like the yearbook photo
with her profile awash in light
through her English teacher's lens;
he had read her lackluster poems 
to the 8th grade class, 
one about a funeral for a squirrel;
death was a prominent theme
even as she stepped off the curb

She never saw what was coming,
her moving away from small town minds,
her inspiring daughter's convocations,
her visiting her in divergent homes 
her encouraging circle of friends,
her embracing marriage, finally,
her writing with a polished professor,
her reciting her published words,

her learning from experience, 
her looking directly into the light 
---
September 28, 2017

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Blood, Sweat and Tears

We are composed of
More water than not
First we slide down
The Fallopian tube
Then float 
In amniotic ooze, 
Incubating,
Not imagining 
What waits beyond 

This is where we all come from
But where we get to from there,
How viable our vision 
Depends on how hard
We are willing to push

And our crowns 
Are flooded with light 

---
September 20, 2017

Coming to a City Near You

She always had curious fingers
One morning I rose 
To find her pawing the floor,
On the lam from her crib;
She screamed for adventure 
I foolishly taught her to walk

One day when she was five
She strode to the store for Skittles
Without a penny in her pocket,
Or waiting for me, 
Or writing her itinerary;
I was, needless to say, in shock

Anguish led to astonishment
At her safe return;
Was it while she learned her ABC's,
That she started scribbling
Africa, Barcelona, Chicago
On the blackboard with chalk?

Along with postcards, 
She now collects postal codes,
Exploring provinces and regions 
Where, soon to be, legions of students
Are touched by her knowing heart;
I'm not, in the least bit, shocked 
---
September 20, 2017

Saturday, 16 September 2017

What Did Snow White Dream Of?

Blackbirds chasing her, 
Vultures and vixens swooping in
Ever-present predators 
Lurking in glass coffins 
Cancer, catheter bags
Rumours, whispered breath
Slashed umbilical cords 
Her dear mother’s death
Ugly stepmothers
Poisoned laughter 
Pedophiles with Adam’s apples
Death lunging after
Being thrown to the wolves
Clutching her Barbie in her sleep
Living with strangers with short names
Forced to earn her keep
Did she ever think she was 
Pretty and witty and bright
Sleeping in her clothes,
Waiting for dark to be light
When she could finally open
Her swollen eyes and see
The beauty of redemption 
And from this prison, be free
—-
September 16, 2017
(Inspired by: Jennifer Lauck’s memoir, Blackbird)




Friday, 15 September 2017

Mon Epoux Puh, Puh, Puh

The wind machine 
Lies next to me in bed,
Dreaming up recipes
For creams, crepes et crevettes

I jot in my gratitude journal:
Earplugs and stretch denim pants
---
September 15, 2017

My Life at This Moment

I'm the queen of recycling,
I'm a walking bruise,
I'm a bird in a cloud,
A giraffe in high shoes

I'm a forecast of fog,
I'm a gasp in a mystery,
I'm an actor in the wings,
I'm challenging destiny
---
September 15, 2017

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

A Study in Contrast

In my tattered yearbook
there is a black and white photo 
that the English teacher shot
with sun streaming 
in through the window,
bathing me in liquid light 

it was a black night 
when my father 
opened the front door,
threatening to leave us,
not just my oldest brother,
his bedroom a grow-op,
his Sunday clothes
in the closet,
long past outgrown

I say goodnight 
at my neighbour friend's home
when the curfew clangs;
I meander to my house, 
wishing on stars 

a new friend 
who lives past the town proper,
dares me to shoplift 
after drama class;
perhaps I can find 
a deep-coloured blouse
to cover the scars 

there are snapshots in boxes 
from younger friends' grads 
girls in turquoise and rhinestones, 
boys in bow ties;
I help find my daughter's gown
a sleek blue velvet number 
from Value Village,
a second-hand gem 

then came convocations
for her first and second degree
she paid full price for her choices, 
walking her own path
in bright pink stilettos, 
assurance tattooed 
on her tempered frame 

September is here
and she is there  
a different small town,
different students 
but somehow their stories
are somewhat the same;

she turns on 
the overhead projector;
through the window 
you can see
the leaves outside 
are turning to gold
---
September 13, 2017

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Honeyed Morning

After a long night of carousing
And browsing the ocean for fish,
The racoons slowly return
To their family bush
Before Venus, above, vanishes
From my vantage point
Of my makeshift veranda;
Seagulls squawk as 
They scout out their 
'All you can eat' breakfast;
Geese honk as they fly 
Through the sky;
A few cars on the ground
Begin with muffled sounds;
The starlings start their day
With high-pitched squeaks,
Eager to fill their hungry beaks
Some sort of alarm goes off
Not a car, nor a rooster,
Not a sound that I'm used to
But some sort of bird 
That insists to be heard;
A sunlit plane passes by
Like a golden fish 
In the pale blue sky;
Now crows 
Join the 'dawn chorus'
Of boisterous birds
Primed for the sun 
To, once again, perform 
Center-stage 
Bringing light and warm; 
The treetops begin to glow,
With birds tinged with
The sun beneath their wings;
Tweets are rapidly sent 
Between distant trees
Perhaps cousins or brothers
Are telling one another 
Their annelid dreams;
One last call 
For a clan of racoons
To head to the beach 
As the sunbeams reach
Above the horizon;
A silent heron hurries past -
Too quick for my camera, alas;
While most of my neighbours 
Lie snuggled in bed,
I am warmed by this honeyed scene;
By its sweetness, I'm fed
---
July 29, 2017