The Friends (Bird and Hand)

February 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm (Love is Crucial, Poems, The 90s)

Another man his age with this power might use it
but he said he was tired, looked down, walked
to the car and drove home again toward the sea,
legs open as he shifted, right outer thigh just
brushing against the clutch

He’d left her after an hour of standing
in the doorway, talking about the secret lives
of birds and insects, turned over a rock by her
front door to show her the unseen worlds
right below the earth’s surface

And she – she lay awake after he left, staring at the cei-
ling, thinking about the bugs in her front yard,
bird food, how that time in the woods he’d held
out his hand and a swallow landed in it, then as now
her core a wide spanned ache, round as the world,
open as an unfinished sentence, cavernous
as an unanswered question

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The Fraser

August 12, 2010 at 4:29 pm (A Catalogue of the Lost, Bridges, Love is Crucial, Poems)

love can’t survive here, but there

u              u
c       m     l       s                      u
u                      c    l  o      d   s

above them:
are the bridges and

on the surface: tugboats Royal City Motel matches log rafts popped balloon corpses
torn  letters    (see: pieces there and here)   f  l o a t i n g   f  l  o a t i n g
words smearing as they disintegrate and
disappear

below
sinking  sludge

:  bones    planks   hubcaps    socks    empties    fish
coliforms       river weed        plankton     saw chips
empty oil cans  ditch eels  hospital gowns  high heels  reflected clouds  open eyes

a handsaw

a settled grudge

(unidentified)

and sinking further downward
covered in silt, floating river dust
: a rotting church organ                       bicycle parts                car bodies mangled with rust

three lawn darts    a knuckleboom loader   a crown royal bag filled with silver
musical instruments     [b flat]                 a fisher’s throwback    a bag of cats

antiques          a paperback of robert’s rules   a locked safety deposit box     green jewels
the bottom keeps shifting, pulling its un-treasure
further down, further south with its stream

pebbles                        skeleton keys              a lost dream

…. all of these secrets, once detected, pull you in and

D

O

W

N …

until even we, even lovers, sink and

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Three AM Roll Call

August 11, 2010 at 12:01 pm (Poems)

A friend I once loved is meeting a deadline.

Another friend is lying awake, laying her life out
like a roll of fresh lawn in her mind, covering up
whatever has grown sparse or died.

My musician friend is turning the key in the lock
of the back door to his basement suite, thinking
about a shower and one last drink.

My mother is leaning over a cup of hot steam and wondering
if I’ll keep the promise I made to her about nursing homes
when I was fifteen.

My childhood friend is nursing her daughter and deciding
if it’s worth it to go back to bed, or best to stay up
and do a week’s worth of laundry while she can.

I have fed my baby now, too, and for a while have watched
my family sleep when he arrives – handsome, lanky, unshaven.
I slowly rise and follow, bringing my bedside pen.

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A Friend Who Needs It

August 11, 2010 at 11:43 am (Love is Crucial, Poems, The 90s)

Put your arms down and close your mouth. Don’t
look at me like that. I’m not a bowl of pitless cherries.
I’m not a slice of pie, a piece of something, or worse,
a friend who needs it.

Look again. My eyes are the same. My hair is tied
up with no intention. My unclenched hands are empty,
true, but they are only left free to unlock the door,
let you go, and close it gently behind you.

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Even Feline, Incompatible

August 11, 2010 at 9:10 am (Love is Crucial, Poems, The 90s)

With me you are like the cat buttoned up tight in a miniature three piece suit.
You have no idea how you ended up here like this.
You are nearly hysterical, twisting and clawing your furry way
out of your tiny pin-striped vest, jacket and pants*.

* Unlike the cat, you want out for all the wrong reasons.

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Walking Home from School in a Sympathetic Winter Scene

February 28, 2009 at 12:20 am (A Catalogue of the Lost, Poems, Small Observations, The 90s)

The low clouds muffle the sound of snow
about to fall and land
on this ground already covered

I circle the frozen lake alone

If you were here
(the dead always know more than the living)
we could hear what no one else
has ever heard in this muted silence –
the crystalized molecules rapidly
skating into each other
just above my head

I’m sure I can hear
the snow about to fall:
it’s the sound of a child’s mobile
made of a hundred small icicles
or a seamstress’s wind chime
strung with twenty tiny needles

I can hear all this in my head
as I walk home alone
in this stone deaf February afternoon

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Pope

February 28, 2009 at 12:06 am (10,000 Dreams Interpreted, Poems)

Any dream in which you see the Pope,
without speaking to him,
warns you of servitude.
You will bow to the will of some master,
even to that of women.

To speak to the Pope denotes
that certain high honours
are in store for you.

To see the Pope looking sad or displeased
warns you against vice or sorrow
of some kind.

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Port Mann Bridge

February 27, 2009 at 11:59 pm (Bridges, Poems)

It’s obvious this structure is female
with its roundbacked steel-tiered arch
completing its circle unseen below
the waterline –
its cross beams of one x upon the next
like the laced back of a corset forming
a curve over its orthotropic deck –
the beauty of its three spans cantilevered
from north bank to south –
giving so much more than it receives
so you can cross over what is hidden
beneath the cross hatched steel girders
grounded in the depths of
the Fraser

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My Heart

February 20, 2009 at 10:34 pm (Love is Crucial, Poems)

My heart is a blood orange.
Peel it and place it inside your mouth
whole. It will bleed like a sunset
as it dissolves.

Swallow and, if you can,
feel no remorse.

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Grasshoppers

February 17, 2009 at 2:21 pm (Kelowna Poems, Poems)

In the dry summer heat we run
through the tall yellow grass, scratchy
against our tanned legs. We catch caterpillars
in jars prepared with grassy habitats, and cup
grasshoppers in our hands as long as we dare.
“Watch out for dragonflies,” Bobby warns, as we
plot to catch every insect we see. “They can bite
the heads off bumblebees.”

Dragonflies skim over the surface of the pool.
The three of us duck under the water, yell
Dragonfly! as a warning when we see one coming.
Butterflies skirt and flutter along the edge of the house,
hover above the overgrown grass. The last grasshopper
is a small dry corn husk in my hands. It leaves a splotch
of brown in my palm. I throw it down and run. My Dad says
I probably scared it.

From now own, I am scared of grasshoppers.

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