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