Thursday, December 31, 2009

Verse: Untitled for December 31, 2009

A verse inspired by @vix_light

Nowhere there is
that I know where
I am as happy
as I can be

Nowhere is that
lush and lustrous
smile often
to overwhelm me

Nowhere there is
the joy, excepting
that which is
where you are

most of what
I know as happy
I have hidden
in your eyes

I reside there
only when
you open them
for me

and when you
close them
I lose you
to sleep

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Verse: Chronicle

this is
when I surrender

this is
all I have begot

these are
the acolytes
the lovers
who are resigned
to reign
in my stead

to bless
and keep me
from defiling
my bed
my birthright

a congregation
my chosen porters
adorned in the residue
of my desire

and I will go
into captivity
into the service
of a song

it's all that I have
to attenuate
to atone

these words
die for
their transgressions
for asking
where is my heaven
for seeking counsel
from you

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Verse: Three fragments

I (Stage Fright)

No snow
draped upon
the moonlit stage

no flurries
like fireflies
in the spotlight
of the streetlamps

no ghostly film
of breath
rising from our lips
like cigarette smoke

no slender fingers
of ice reaching down
to touch us from
those bare branches

perhaps winter
is wary of us

II (Departure)
I fastened
my reflection
to the mirror

I buried
my fingerprints
in the new-fallen snow

I inscribed
I love you
on one piece of paper

And I think
that it is time
for me to go

III (River)

Here comes
the flood

A ribbon
of dreams

to carry
with me

when I desert
this season
of sleep

Monday, December 28, 2009

Verse: Infidel

One day
when I have no need
for pretense

I will attempt
to bring wonder to
this wounded world

for now
I am content
to tempt you

to be your morning
if I cannot be
your afternoon

and to corrupt you,
your loveliness
and your loneliness
with my love

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Verse: Barrier

You cannot
hold up
the sky
any more

than you can
hold back
the night

let it in

we'll sweep
it up
in the morning

at least
that which is
not devoured by
the fire in
your eyes

Friday, December 25, 2009

Verse: Signifiers

For you
the happy
is kisses

to meet
at the lips

the heart
joy desirous

and the future
blue skied
and neslted in
our hands

Maria in the Mainframe - Pt. 4

(And now, the conclusion of my story for/about my niece...)

Meanwhile, Zentz was happy,
Why wouldn’t he be?
Gorging himself
On the computer’s memory
As poor, trapped Maria
Began to fret
“How did I get myself
Caught in this ‘net?”
Yes, Maria was trapped
And didn’t know what to do
When Dr. Cyrus and Bing
Came to her rescue
Cyrus caught the bug
Who began to protest
“We were just having fun
I didn’t mean to distress
This pretty girl
With the cute button nose
Mop of brown hair
And ten perfect toes!”
But Dr. Cyrus knew better
He’d have none of that
He sprayed Zentz with his potion
And squashed the bug flat
So Zentz scuttled off
On a haphazard track
Muttering vengefully
That he’d be back

And then Dr. Cyrus
Released our heroine
From the terrible tangle
She had been trapped in
“Thank you kind sir,”
Said Maria, relieved
“That nasty bug certainly
Had me deceived”
“Think nothing of it”
Cyrus exclaimed
“My name is Cyrus
Tell me, what is your name?”

“My name is Maria
And I must say
That I’ve had quite enough
Excitement for one day
I thought that this
Was a wonderful place
But I guess I was wrong
What an awful disgrace!”
“You’re weren’t wrong,” said Cyrus
“Computers can be quite grand
But things here, quite often
Can get out of hand
Computers are marvelous
The Internet too
They have much to offer
A young girl like you
Yes it is good to be curious
And good to explore
It’s good to be friendly
Of this I am sure
But you must be careful
Whatever you do
And be grateful you’ve family
To watch out for you!”

And that was all
Cyrus had to say
He shook Maria’s hand
And sent her off on her way
So Maria, with Bing,
Went back to the CPU
Who said to her, “You’re ready to
Go home now, aren’t you?
Well, I’m happy to send you
Off on your way
You’ve certainly had enough
Excitement today
But I hope you will come back
And see us again”
And with a flash
Maria was back in the den

And just as Maria
Landed in the chair
Her grandparents came into
The room and found her there
“We have been wondering
Where in the world
You could have gone,
Our special girl
We looked in the laundry room
The bathroom and kitchen
We’ve been looking and looking
And thought you’d gone missin’!”

Well, little Maria
She tried to explain
But an incredulous look
On their faces remained
“Zapped into the computer?
Maria Suzanne!
You’re just too big
For the computer to scan
Now that is a fib
Of an impressive scale
What imagination
What a fanciful tale!”
Maria was frowning
“It’s not so absurd,
Bing was there, he’ll tell you”
But Bing said not a word
“You must have been dreaming”
Her Grampy laughed
“To come up with a story
As vivid as that
It’s quite a story though
Quite a sensation
Yes, Maria you have
Quite an imagination!”

And Maria would have kept frowning
Like Zentz the bug
If they both hadn’t given her
A kiss and a hug
And Maria, who had frowned
At not being believed
Thought back on her adventure
And felt quite relieved
To be back among family
Felt good once again
And Maria’s grandparents
Led her out of the den
But looking back over her shoulder
At the cursor, blinking
She could have sworn
It was the CPU, winking

Well they gave her some milk
And some Christmas cookies too
And begged her: “Tell us more
Of what happened to you”
And as Maria sat munching
And feeling quite better
Her parents arrived
As promised, to get her
They hugged her and kissed her
Patted her head
Drove her home, fed her supper
And got her ready for bed

And as Maria Suzanne
Laid down to rest
She said: “The computer was nice
But l like it here best.”

The End

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Verse: Christmas Eve, 2009

Too often
it seems to me
that the path
to Christmas
is hard steep
mountain climb

People rushing
No one has
any time

and everybody's looking
for something sublime

even me
not among the believers
I've been conditioned
to want an epiphany

to feel my heart
grow three sizes
to catch that Christmas spirit

whether in the
cherry red lights
or the music
when I hear it

And I'm not one
for Christmas Day
it's like big band blare
It's Christmas Eve
I treasure

Watching the world
my world
settle down and shutter
its charms
are more measured,
muted and fair
like a torch song

it makes me want
to stay up
listening to it
all night long

Maria in the Mainframe - Part 3

The story for my niece continues with this third installment...

If you are wondering
What kind of bug Zentz is
Well, he kind of resembles
A praying mantis
He’s an unsavory fellow
All mean and evil
Like a locust, a termite
A louse or a weevil
For there is nothing in this world
That Zentz likes as well
As turning a computer
Into a useless shell
So how does he do it?
This nasty insect
Attaches himself to
An e-mail or diskette
And if you load that disc
Or open that attachment
You’ll wonder where all of
Your computer files went
Because he devours data
In the wink of an eye
He can do heavy damage
To any hard drive
What use is a computer
That’s been ravaged by Zentz?
Well it might make an attractive
Planter for plants

And that’s what Zentz
Would normally have done
If it wasn’t for this little girl
He’d chanced upon
“I must get rid of her
Her smiling face
Is an unsightly sight
In this cyberspace
But how to do it?
Well, I know I can
I just have to come up with
A cunning plan”

While Zentz was planning
Just what to do
Maria’s adventures
On the Internet continued
At every step around her
Round like clock faces
Were thousands of portals
To faraway places
To her left was London
To her right was Rome
There was even a portal
That was labeled ‘home’
But Maria ignored
That gentle reminder
And ventured on with Bing
Creeping nervously behind her
And at every step
Wouldn’t you know?
Strange creatures bid her
A happy hello
There were Bits and Bytes
A fellow called SCSI
And a chip, whose memory
Was, at best, quite fuzzy
He’d ask Maria her name
Say, “that’s pretty” and then
Introduce himself and ask
Maria her name again
This went on for a while
But Maria didn’t mind
For everyone was attentive
Everyone was kind
(And besides she was having
A wonderful time!)

Meanwhile, having calculated
For a minute or two
Zentz had decided
Just what to do
“I’ll send her an e-mail
A friendly hello
And ask that she open
The attachment below
When she does I will enter
Her computer, and she…
Well let’s just say
I’ll take care of Miss Happy!”
So he drew up a plan
And carefully checked through it
Then wrote up an e-mail
And attached himself to it

And off through the Internet
The message did sail
Until it reached Maria
And exclaimed: You just got mail

“Mail?” Said Maria
“This is quite queer
For I’m certain that no one
Knows I am here
Except for you Bing
And the CPU
But someone has sent it
And I wonder who?”

Well, Bing read the e-mail
It was warm and tender
But he noticed that it came
From an anonymous sender
“It says open this attachment
And close your eyes
And you will get a
Big surprise!”
Well that was enough
To convince bunny Bing
That maybe this attachment
Was not such a nice thing
So Bing said: “Maria
Whatever you do
Don’t open the attachment
That was sent to you
We don’t know who sent it
It could be a trap
I think it would be best
If this message were scrapped!”

But Maria didn’t listen
How could there be
Any reason to doubt
A message so friendly?
“Why should anyone tempt me
With a trap or a trick?”
So she pointed her mouse
And gave it a click
Well it was a trap
Just as Bing had feared
For with a deep husky chortle
Zentz the mantis appeared

Well, Zentz cawed and crowed
With a most wicked grin
And said, “Dear girl, I thank you
For inviting me in
What a lovely computer
It’s just right for me
It’s just bursting with succulent
Morsels of memory
I could eat it all up
And that’s just what I’ll do
But first I must take
Care of your bunny and you!”
And evil old Zentz
With his wicked smile
Reached down to snatch up
The bunny and child
But Bing crouched down
And with all of his might
Leapt up over Zentz
And hopped out of sight
“Curses!” cried Zentz
“He’s gotten away
That fool must think
He can save the day
Well, he won’t,” said Zentz
“I’ll have him, and you
And I will devour this
Computer too!”

“You let me go!”
Maria exclaimed
“Why don’t you just go
back from where you came?”
“That’s funny”, said Zentz
“Back from where I came?
My dear, I could tell you
To do the same
This is my world
That you’ve come into
There’s no room in it
For little girls like you”
And saying that
Zentz grabbed some wires and circuits
Made them into a web
And wrapped Maria up in it

Meanwhile, calling for help
Bing furiously hopped
Until he made his way back
To the CPU, and stopped.
“It’s Maria,” he gasped
“She’s in a fix
An evil bug has her
We must save her, quick!”
“A bug?” cried the CPU
“We are all in trouble
I must summon Dr. Cyrus
The Anti-Virus on the double!”

The CPU concentrated
With all of his might
And Dr. Cyrus appeared
In a flash of light
He had silver hair
And wire-rim glasses
And I swear his moustache
Was as thick as molasses
He was wearing a lab coat
And carrying a case
With scraps of paper
Spilling all over the place
He looked like a grandfather
Or a professor would
But if anyone could save Maria
Well, Dr. Cyrus could
So Bing and CPU told him
Of the sad situation
He made a diagnosis
And checked his medications
“Yes, to get rid of that bug
This potion will do”
And with that, Bing and Cyrus
Were off to the rescue

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Verse: Northumberland

Those ancient
stone sentinels
at Norham, Alnwick
and Craster
they keep to themselves

They have not fallen
to rebellion or
the rapacious pace
of progress

How strange it is, then
to see them so quickly overcome
by a soft, silent
veil of snow

Maria in the Mainframe - Part 2

For those of you who read Part 1, this is part 2 of the story I wrote for/about my niece:

...Well, now who would believe it?
Certainly not me!
It seems impossible
How could it be?
That a computer could talk
And that a scanner could scan
Something as big
As Maria Suzanne
But there she was
Inside grampy’s computer
And just as before
The voice, it spoke to her

“You’re probably wondering
Where you are, aren’t you?
Well you’re safe and sound
In the CPU
Now, please don’t you worry
There’s no need to fear
You made a wish
And I brought you here
Now you can go anywhere
That you want to go
But before you get going
I want you to know
If you want to go somewhere
And want to go quick
Just take this mouse
First you point, then you click
That’s all it takes
There is nothing to it
But there’s one thing you should know
Before you go do it
Wherever you go
And what ever you do
If any trouble
Should ever befall you
Or if you get weary
And don’t want to roam
Just click on Escape
And you’ll soon return home”

“Home?” said Maria
“Thanks but no thanks
I think I’d rather wander
Your memory banks”
She randomly pointed
And lickety-split
She fell deep into the computer
With just one click
There was a flash of light
The computer made the connection
And Maria found herself hurtling
In an unknown direction
And when finally she thought
That she just might take ill
She found herself standing
Perfectly still

But where was Maria?
You’re wanting to know
Well, it was the strangest place
You ever could go
Just try to imagine
I bet you can’t do it
A place so far off the map
You couldn’t go to it
A place that is virtually
Out of this world
And that’s where you’d find
This brave little girl

It was a kind of city
More or less, less or more
But no city had ever looked
Like this city before
All the buildings were made out
Of circuits and wires
There were vehicles speeding
Along without tires!
Everything and everyone
Was in constant motion
Ebbing and flowing
Just like an ocean
The sky was an odd shade
Of bright neon green
It was all unlike anything
Maria had seen
Every shape, every form was
An optical illusion
That would send you or I
Reeling with confusion
There weren’t streets to speak of
Nor gutters or grates
Nor cross walks to cross
Just networks to navigate
Well, I have described it
As best as I can
This strange little city
In this strange little land

And Maria? She was speechless
Wide-eyed and slack-jawed
She could not believe
What she heard, what she saw
And just then a big smile
Came over her face
“This,” said Maria
“Is a wonderful place!”

But just when she thought
She had seen everything
She noticed something was different
About her old bunny Bing
Usually Bing was quite
Quiet and quite still
Now he was hopping about
Of his own free will
“I can hop,” he exclaimed
“I can leap, I can walk
I can dance, I can sing
I can shout, I can talk
This place,” said Bing
“Must be unique
For an old rag-doll like me
To be able to speak”
So Bing hopped and leapt
And he bounced around
Until the thrill wore off
And he settled down

And when Bing wasn’t so filled
With such exhilaration
He began to take stock
Of this strange situation
“How could this happen?
How could it be true?
That we’re here in the computer
Just me and you?
It just isn’t possible
It just cannot be
It’s wonderful, marvelous
But something troubles me
Yes, I agree
It’s a wondrous place
But what do we know
Of this cyberspace?
I can’t say for certain
But I have heard tell
That this is a place
Where viruses dwell
I’ve heard there are bugs
Not to mention other dangers
And everyone we meet
Is, virtually, a stranger
So as wonderful and magical
As this may appear
We must be careful, Maria
While we are here
I mean, everything’s lovely
All abuzz and a-glowing
But we don’t know whether
We’re coming or going
So let us be careful
As we make our way through
You look out for me
And I’ll look out for you”

“Don’t be ridiculous”
Maria replied
“I see no reason
I should be petrified
I’m going exploring
There’s so much to see
You can stay here
Or come with me”
And off to explore
Went Maria, unaware
That a steely-eyed figure
Was watching her there

“Look at her,” said the figure
“How could it be?
That anyone could have reason
To be so happy?
This is intolerable
And I won’t stand for it
This sickening behaviour
You just can’t ignore it
It’s not quite the sort of thing
You’d just sweep under the rug
So I’ll take care of her or my name’s
Not Zentz the Bug...”

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Verse: Time

if it weren't
for those busy hands
endlessly circling

the light
ebbing from
the living room

the glacial abrasion
and the lines left
on my forehead

I would hardly notice
time pass

caught in the ever present
void of now

like a thief

If I stayed
in that moment
I would be lost

each breath and
a ghost is born
which we call memory.

Verse: 6:00 a.m.

6:00 a.m.
is when
I always
wake you

so often
it seems
before the sun
can shine

6:00 a.m.
when all
your dreams
forsake you

at least
your eager lips
find mine

Maria in the Mainframe - Part 1

A brief note of explanation. In 2000, during a very rough time in my life - no work and the near break up of a long relationship, I started writing a story about my niece. Though only two years old, she frequently played with old computers my dad had lying around. From that, a story took root and I fleshed it out a bit, off and on, that summer. Fractured Fairy Tales + Dr. Seuss were employed as additional influences.

Five years later, and I dusted off that relatively incomplete story to finish it. It became a homemade XMas as I baked - yes, baked - Snickerdoodles for my sis (Dad's mom always made them for the holidays), and I gave my mom a CD I'd made of seasonal faves she could play through winter. (80 minutes of Sleigh Bells, Winter Wonderland, I Love the Winter Weather, etc.)

And this? I polished and polished until my polisher was sore. And then, I drew some very crude drawings for it. I printed it + also put it on a disc for her. I even sent copies to my clients. It was my fave XMas.

It's a long story. The rhymes are forced in places, etc. But it was one of the only poems I wrote during a very, very long hiatus from poems. Here is the first part of the story. NB: it is written in Canadian English, so you may need an interpreter...

Once upon a time
As all good stories go
On the outskirts of town
In a small bungalow
Just off the highway
Where a slim river ran
There lived a young girl
Named Maria Suzanne
She had a round face
With a cute button nose
A mop of brown hair
And ten perfect toes

Now Maria liked many things
As little girls do
Playing outdoors and reading
And colouring too
She liked riding her bike
With the pretty pink trim
And when it was warm
Maria went for a swim
She liked swinging on swings
And she liked to pretend
But most of all she liked visiting
Her grandparents each weekend

One Saturday near Christmas
Much like the rest
Clutching her stuffed bunny Bing
To her chest
All pink-cheeked and pretty
Maria Suzanne
Drove with her parents
In the family van
To Grammy and Grampy’s
At quarter past eight
They left her there, promising
They wouldn’t be late

Well, Maria was happy
Who wouldn’t be?
Spending the day with their
Grammy and Grampy
But today was different
Maria could see
That Grammy and Grampy
Were both very busy
Grammy was baking
And had cards to write
While Grampy fixed a computer
That wouldn’t work right

So Grampy was busy
And Grammy was too
And poor little Maria
Had nothing to do
So what did she do?
Well, right about then
She crept off unnoticed
Toward grampy’s den

“Everyone is too busy
Too busy to play
Maybe they want me
To just go away
Well I will,” said Maria
“I have no fear
I’d rather be anywhere
Anywhere but here!”
So into the den
Maria quietly crept
And over to the desk
Where Grammy’s cat slept
There was grampy’s computer
A wondrous thing
She pulled up a chair
And sat down with Bing

And as she sat there
By the computer, thinking
Maria noticed that
The cursor was blinking
Well Maria had often
Watched Grampy at work
As he built computers
And ironed out quirks
And it had occurred
To this little girl
That computers had modems
That link to the world
She’d seen Grampy do it
A time or two
And if he could do it
Well, Maria could too

But how to do it
Well, that was a task
And everyone was far
Too busy to ask
So Maria just typed
And the words that appeared?
‘I wish I were anywhere,
Anywhere but here’

Then she hit enter
And a voice it replied
“I’ll take you anywhere
Once you’re inside”
“Who said that?” Cried Maria
As she leapt from the chair
She looked round the room
But no one was there
“I said, ‘who said that?’”
She looked where she’d been
And saw a face had appeared
On the computer screen
“Come closer Maria,”
The voice called her by name
She did and the scanner
Scanned her into the mainframe...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Verse: pixels

For @krissynyy

It's the tender gravity
of your hot hands

the sweet serenity
the reassurance
of your nearness

and the way time
plays freeze-tag
when you're not here

I'd make
an island of
your words
they taste
like spun sugar

I'd pixelate and
my thousand anxious pieces
would scatter everywhere
resolved to find you

and the unspoken fear
that I will disappear
if you close your eyes

only vanishes
when you speak
my name
that's how I know
I'm alive

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Verse: Christmas As I Knew It

(NB: the title was appropriated from Johnny Cash)

And I
am still that child
waiting at the window
on the dull rattan sofa
waiting to see my father
emerge victorious at last
from the shivering winter woods
with our Christmas tree
the film of my breath
on the window made him
seem somehow younger,
softer, sleeker than he was

And I
am still that child
anxious with anticipation
and unable to sleep
listening to my pulse race
until it exhausted itself
and finally trailed off
like the warm whistle of a train
disolving in the crisp, gelid air

And I
am still that child
skulking on tiptoes so as not to
breach the tenuous silence
of the darkened living room
barely able to contain
my excitement upon seeing
the overflowing nylon stockings
sprawled upon the cold hearth
and the packages piled
like a hasty built and
abandoned armament
around the tree

And I
am still that child
nestled in bed
on Christmas night
hearing the faint strains
of Perry Como, and Elvis
serenading my father and mother
in the amber glow of the living room
their hushed tones a lullaby
singing me to sleep
as the snow outside my window
swallows the vast ebony sky

Friday, December 18, 2009

Verse: Prelaya

Inspired by + dedicated to @niclone

This is
the before time
the larval interval
the lacuna

all I have
is sufficient
for all the work
that remains
an uncoupling

to take down
the grave images
one by one
to burn them and
in doing so
release and
be relieved of
their memories

the flames
will rise like altars
like the veins
of a catholic night
and all will be
destroyed, not lost

what comes next
is uncertain
perhaps a reckoning
a regrouping
maybe a resurrection
and revelations
of the new Jerusalem
to come

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Verse: Torches

(Inspired by @kambrock)

In winter
there is no snow here
no shimmering shroud
to cover the dull,
dissipated grass
waiting impatiently
for spring to come

there are only
the tiny lights
that blossom and illuminate
the funereal hours
and the houses
cloaked in
the cool canopy
of quiet rural nights

seeing them
I am overcome
with jubilation
the age-old ritual
begins anew

I love to witness
this harvest of lights
they nourish me
with their tacit
incandescent message
of hope

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Verse: Minaret

(inspired by and dedicated to @c_a_theriault. May you always heed the call...)

This is
the season of
the clementine

This most perfect
is currently
making the scene
in Rabat

Yet here I am
in Istanbul
eating haydari
and plump grape leaves
at Ikea for lunch

they are the best
I've had
in ten months
even if it isn't
the mellow tang
of a grilled cheese
sweetened with tomato
that I used to eat
in Montreal

how like a dream
it seems now
here, in Turkey
I take pictures
I write stories
and pay the bills
teaching English

No fixed address
just a passport
and the insatiable
wanderlust of
my vagabond heart
I ask the wind
for my next destination

The only reply
is the man
in the minaret
who wants me to know
God is great
and heaven is surely

Even so
I have my doubts
I'll take joy
where I can
by traveling
this perishable world

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Verse: Visitors

The visitors
are in my house
and rifling through
my effects

my intrigues
and inconsistencies
and the secrets
that I protect

And they ask
who I am
when the night
is unfolding
and they ask
who am I
that the wind
is scolding
and they ask
who I will be

The visitors
are gathering
evidence and they
will not relent

One by one
they have seen my heart
and they know
my true intent

And they ask
who I am
when no one
is speaking
and they ask
who am I
that the rain
is seeking
and they ask
who I will be

The visitors
are assembling now
and preparing a banquet

where the things
I can't remember
conspire against
all I cannot forget

and they ask
who I am
that the gods
are exempting
and they ask
who am I
that the muses
are tempting
and they ask
who I will be

the visitors
are gathering their coats
and making
their retreat

frightened by
something they found
their inquiries are

But who am I
when they leave me
and who am I
when I answer
the phone
and who will I be
when they call again

Monday, December 14, 2009

Verse: Tomorrow

was troubled
and terse
with me

How soon
it seemed
to have its fill

and if today
has no need
for me either

then perhaps tomorrow

Verse: Ghostwriter

For @russ_tomato, who requested I write about my work.

I write
in the morning
just after breakfast
when I am refreshed

and I write
all through
the enervated
August afternoons

and I write
adverts and
articles about
employee engagement

and I write
promises for
people that I hope
they will keep

and I write
and I rewrite
until I get
it just right

and I write
to keep the furnace
filled with oil
in winter

and I write
to attract
to intrigue
and to sway

and I write
to share
an experience
a legend

and I write
even when
I have no

and I write
even though
someone else
gets the credit

and I write
without anyone
at all

and I write this
because someone
suggested I do so

and I write
and I write
and I write

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Two short poems for December 13, 2009


I sing
too wild
and too often

your song
is infrequent
and pure

I told you
this would not
be precise

I told you
it would not


There was
a language
born from
your words

A hallelujah
from your kiss

An imprint
from your
warm embrace

And your eyes
inspired this

Friday, December 11, 2009

Verse: inquest

Winter is
falling at my feet
like a surrender

It is piling up
around me
like promises
will do

And when I am not
looking for
a shelter
or a stranger

I recall
the inscrutable summer
and the intensity
of you

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Verse: Intent

From this moment
to the end
of you

is the only story
I will tell

We start
and now
as we mean
to go on

It's our skin
our beat
and our song

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Verse: Animal Dance

Why are you
so blue?

You told me
Love is the thing

The substance
of all conversation

The means
by which healing begins
daily, nightly

it's only sleeping
let's wake it up

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Verse: Will

I will sing you
a stranger's song
if I cannot
sing my own

I will call you
by the names
they dare not speak
for fear that
they are not yours

I will ask you
if these prayers
are parasites
that feed on my hope
like flies on filth

I will tell you
what tomorrow
promised me when I
complimented her
on her cologne

and I will lose
my nerve
my grace
and open my heart
to make a feast
of my love
for you

This is my practice
my catharsis
this is what I do

Monday, December 7, 2009

Verse: Escape Artist

And when
I awoke
I resolved
to take only
what is essential
from this moment on

To loose myself
from attachements
from need
from the tenuous
and the trivial

To cast off
the questions
the arguments
the stories
I had accumulated
and consumed
for so many years

To take nothing
with me but
this intimate skin
these intricate bones
and your love

They will be my constants
my consolation
when confronted
with great doubt
and death

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Verse: (a lost item from summer)

(Found this while cleaning up today. I never posted it. Made a few tweaks)

The chameleon comes in
looking for a disguise
the lady in the corner
looks imperious and wise
and I can feel your fingers
crawling cool against my thighs
in this strange season

the poet at the podium
unleashing vulgar rhymes
the priest embraces the acolyte
absolves him of his crimes
your every kiss as stark
and bold as the New York Times
in this strange season

the guards walk along the gates
stroking a chain of keys
the doctors have been stricken
with some social disease
almost undetected we do as we please
in this strange season

The ingenue stands askance
she is half undressed
the protagonist finds intrigue
in things as yet unexpressed
your breath sings like hallelujah
and at once I feel blessed
in this strange season

The singer departs the stage
without any encore
the all-night watchman settles in
and wonders what's in store
your lips softly enfold mine
and shake me to the core
in this strange season

The sailor eyes the skies
and then consults his charts
the idle cab picks up a fare
and suddenly departs
and we lay waste to all the
acute longing in our hearts
in this strange season

Verse: Snowflakes

(Originally posted on Facebook in December 2008)

Is it so wrong
to be jealous
that they kiss
your cheek
with more tenderness
and consideration
than I could?

My sole consolation
is that they are as fleeting
as a sigh of relief
and besides
they are not as warm
as mine

yet I do love
to watch them fall
the way they flutter
around street lamps
like fireflies, and how
they sparkle in the
first rays of the morning sun
freshly fallen
making everything
appear as clean
and crisp
as a canvas might
or a blank page
unsullied by expression

Verse: Spot

We gave you
to December

Not to the tumors
or the infections

Not to the half hour
spent trying to stop
the blood

or the desperate cries
as we bundled you
into the tattered
blue towel

We gave you
to December

Not to the
concerned clinician

Nor the
cold reflective steel
of the examination table

We gave you
to December

Not to those
nagging fluorescents
at 1:00 a.m.

Not to the doctor
who carried you away

We gave you
to December

The warm purr
that rippled
your matted fur

The woolly paws
noodging the sterile

Did you know
I looked back
as I left?

Did you know
we were leaving you?

We gave you
to December

And no soft snow
to cover your head
or absolve us
of our guilt

Or to absorb
the wordless
silent cry
that took me
by surprise
left me gasping
for air
on Willow

My heart
is sick
with sadness

My heart
is blemished

Friday, December 4, 2009

Verse: attuned

where summer

We moved
through the
arctic night

And when
our dreams
were relieved of
their duties

we sang
our morning song
until daylight emerged
from the drowsy
folds of those
crisp white clouds

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Verse: Thief

I took this
from those lovers
and I hid it
in your purse

And if they
should find us
my alibi
is well rehearsed

I took this
from the fire
laced it in your

If the embers
make inquiries
I won't give them
any hints

I took this
from the morning
and placed it in
in your bed

And if the night
should find us
I will improvise

I took this
from the garden
and placed it
in your dress

and if the earth
should require it
I will not confess

I took this
from the rain
and sang it into
your phone

and if the sky
took it back
I still would not atone

I took this
from tomorrow
and I threaded it
through your heart

If tomorrow reclaims it
remember I wasn't trustworthy
from the start

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Verse: Pursuit

I inhabit joy
where I can find it

and do not disturb
the sleepy sun

I gather dreams
that are discarded

And I transfer them
to everyone

I engage
the loved and lonely

the temporary
and the acute

I try to
make some sense of it

and that is my
one true pursuit

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Verse: Accumulations

It's like accusations
at first
you can brush them

But they cling
as they intensify
And you
can't shake them

It's always cold
when it snows

Monday, November 30, 2009

Verse: Identity (name)

Are you
still using
the name that I
reluctantly gave you?

The name that
you took from me?

Or did you
excise it
from your personal effects
as the surgeons would excise
cancerous tissue
from your lymph nodes?

Either way
I'm wondering if
you would consider
returning it to me
through the mail
or a mutual acquaintance

After all
it was mine
before you met me
and I'm certain it isn't
much good to you now

And any way
it's immaterial
I'd know you
by any name
just as you know me
by mine.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Verse: The Poets

The poets
will not help you
unravel your

They will not
absolve you
of your guilt

Like magpies
they will thieve
your grief
rifle through
your practice
your assignations
looking for clues

They will sit
at your table
uninvited, seducing words
from your lips
like solicitous
children seeking favor

And what they leave behind
they will not vet
for accuracy
they are only interested
in the truth

Friday, November 27, 2009

Verse: Beware

After spring
summer is indelible
and autumn is like a cemetery
only winter covets nothing
beware of my love

The stars do not speak any language
the streets have all
exchanged their names
the night passes
without adventure
beware of my love

Tomorrow is not forthcoming
the trees are all
bejeweled with rain
and your shadow
contends it does not know you
beware of my love

It's in the market
after breakfast
and those uninspired picture shows
and all the things
they are not saying
beware of my love

All things have
their consequences
even if you do nothing
choose or it's decided for you
beware of my love

Nothing has been compromised
certainly not the flesh
which is your altar
you pray or you are preyed upon
beware of my love

I spent a long time
seeking you
at night when only
the moon would befriend me
this will be my epitaph
beware of my love

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Verse: 3:30 p.m.

On Chebucto
the traffic slows
like everybody
got the doldrums

the hands on the clock
seem to reverse
their course
reluctant to let
the day slip
from their grasp

The cats slumber
with paws outstretched
like drunkards trying
to hold onto the earth
after a bacchanal

And I
wait for you
like the buds
of an oak tree
wait for spring to
favor their blushing cheeks
with a kiss

Like a prisoner
waits for
a stay of execution

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Verse: Unresolved

Are we lovers
if we are tethered
to clandestine rendezvous

Are we sacred
if we go bar to bar
looking to drink in
cool epiphanies

Are we profane
if we exhaust our
names in idle

Are we lost
if we root ourselves
in the things that
others seek only to elude

Are we scavengers
if we adopt
the identities
that they discard

or are we refugees
when we take leave
of each other
of these lives

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Verse: Before

Before the encounter
Before I am suspended
in the things I cannot say

Before the birth
and the face
on which you inscribe
a jagged kiss

Before the ceasefire
and tomorrow
and this little death
of defilement

Before the climax
and before I inhabit
this ever-mounting flame

I stand before you
waiting in a world
where I am bound
to nothing
and no one
at all

Monday, November 23, 2009

Verse: untitled for November 23, 2009

(NB: And I approached the muses, waiting for a poem. And they insisted I do this one. I resisted and resisted, but they persisted. So I gave in. I think, in my struggle not to do it, I harmed it. I dare say it will not speak to me any more...)

They are not your lovers
who do not know your name
they would ransack the thousand
countless tendernesses
of the wondrous night
just to have you tamed

They are not your lovers
who have not seen your eyes
for they would destroy
a thousand benign gods just
to blaspheme your thighs

They are not your lovers
who do not know your skin
and they would harvest your
selfless heart before you let them in

They are not your lovers
who have not earned your trust
they would inveigle you with
their spiteful tongues and
compromise you with their lust

They who are not your lovers
they are fugitives from
an old war and they are
fluent in a language that
we dare not speak any more

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Verse: Conditions

(NB: No rhymes!)

There are some truths
that you should know
by now

Night is not
a new day

Summer is not
a century

And time?
It feeds us
to ourselves

But these conditions
are temporary
only love is persistent

It fills my lungs
with immutable words
with popular songs

And joy

Friday, November 20, 2009

Verse: Caution

(NB: The writer acknowledges there is a finality in the ending. He doesn't know how many times he's thought, 'well, that's the last one' over the past two years. So the odds are good there might be one more. One never knows. Only the muses, and they aren't saying...)

There is winter
in this verse
it settled in
like dust

And I can't tell
the words I should
crucify from the ones
I can trust

There is winter
in this verse
and its teeth are
sharp as frost

It is not one
to play favorites
it does not care
what I have lost

There is winter
in this verse
and it will not
be ignored

It is howling
like a feral child
outside of
your darkened door

There is winter
in this verse
and it accumulates
like snow

it was a long
time coming and
it is reluctant
to go

There is winter
in this verse
and its intent
is dark and cold

And now I am
purged of it
with no stories left
to be told...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Verse: Through the looking glass

I passed through the looking glass
and awoke in your dream

A thousand jealous lovers
stood along a stream

And when you sailed by them
they began to scream

And the tears that flowed
in your wake
turned the water into cream

I passed through the looking glass
and you did not know my name

You called out for the magistrates
swift as death they came

They heard your accusations
and invested me with shame

And saddled me with outrageous desires
no prison could ever tame

I passed through the looking glass
and I lost my hands

I could not pull myself up
my arms were rubber bands

My legs were enrobed in chocolate
and angels flew through my glands

And all my sentences when I spoke
began with ampersands

I passed through the looking glass
and fell into your embrace

I could not tell what time it was
every clock had your face

Someone approached me from behind
and said I would be replaced

He ran his hands over my chest
and my heartbeat was erased

I passed through the looking glass
and found myself alone

I could not read the newspapers
I could not pick up the phone

Everyone had signs for heads
and their breath reeked of cologne

And when they grew tired of me
they chained me to my clone

I passed through the looking glass
and found myself in bed

Everyone had gathered to mourn me
as if I were already dead

I tried talking to them but
no one heard what I said

And then you came into the room
and cried out, 'off with his head'

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Verse: Chill

Take me out of this province
I prefer a warmer clime
You would not think ill of me
If you knew me in my prime

You know I won't submit to mirrors
because they always lie
You may think that's my reflection
but I have an alibi

Take me out of this city
It is rife with scorn
for all the things I might have been
still waiting to be born

Why are those streets contented
to surrender to the snow
I have not seen my heart in weeks
if you find it, let me know

Take me out of this longing
it only weighs me down
you can buy that kind of action
Most anywhere in town

Did you know I was a poet
before you took me at my word
now all I have to offer you
are stories I've overheard

Take me out of this winter
before I succumb to frost
No spring could ever thaw me
You can't save what is lost

I never talk to strangers
I avoid their inquiries
and I'm never seen out after dark
how is it you found me?

So take me out of this window
Night is drawing near
If it slips into this room
Then I might disappear

You didn't know this when you met me
But one thing is for sure
I'll take whatever love's left in you
I am a saboteur

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Verse: Bed

Called from our sleep
in these early hours

By the chimes
that are sounding out
from the bell towers

Look at those clouds
they seem pregnant
with showers

Come back to the bed
where our kisses are

Go tell the streets
that I won't be appearing

It's these sweet
reveries that hold me
in their sway

the wind is raging
it's an omen
for us to stay

Come back to the bed
where desire
sees fit to play

Noon is approaching
how quickly
she came

And your goodbyes
are tinged with
regret and shame

This scenario
always plays out
the same

Come back to the bed
where desire
will not be tamed

The world outside
is restless
and rough

Why are you
so concerned
with such temporal stuff

That my every advance
should be met with rebuff

Come back to the bed
where dreams are enough

The bells in the
steeples continue
to chime

The clock on
the wall is
swallowing time

Nestled in these
sheets your skin
is soft and sublime

Come back to the bed
and our private

Monday, November 16, 2009

Verse: Ghosts

(NB: I don't generally believe in putting poems to test groups, but this one demanded scrutiny. So two sets of eyes and two revisions later, a ghost was born. And yet, on the way to that, a small piece was surgically removed, like an appendix. I present that piece first, even though it may haunt the real poem:)

Ghosts - I

You who would harbour ghosts
let there be no doubt
their numbers are growing and
they are slowly gaining clout
do not listen to the nonsense
they are prone to spout
You who are now plagued with ghosts
you must cast them out.

Ghosts - II

It was not long
ago you asked me
how a ghost is born

I said it's bred
in ignorance
and all the things
we mourn

it grows in magic
and in loss
shelters the things
we've torn

what more can I
tell you about
how a ghost is born

You once asked
if these were my ghosts
and I told you no

I used to live
with them a while
in an abandoned studio

I spent many late nights
with them
creating picture shows

Much like anybody else
ghosts need some place
to go

You asked what these
ghosts want from us
they envy our skin

They want to reconnect
with all the things
they might have been

And when I'm not
feeling holy
I bid them enter in

As familiar as
a melody as constant
as a twin

But now these ghosts
cling to us
as if we were their lovers

They rummage in
our dresser drawers
and hide under our covers

They're in our mouths
and in our hearts
how oppressively they hover

But despite our close
proximity we do not
recognize each other.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Verse: untitled

If not to imprint
what words cannot hint
what are these fingers for?

If not to divine
those things clandestine
what are these lips for?

If not to sigh
when love passes by
what are these lungs for?

If not to resound
when kisses astound
what is the heart for?

If not to spite
and illuminate the night
what are these eyes for?

If not to inspire
discovery and desire
what is this voice for?

If not to endure
the profane and impure
what is this faith for?

If not to commit
to sacrifice and submit
what is this love for?

If not to give
some hope while I live
what is this life for?

If not for you
then I don't know who
this verse is for

Friday, November 13, 2009

Verse: Shadows

No one has seen you
in the arms of the night
where you sleep
in a basket of snow

And yet they need you
and humbly beseech you
and the shadows that you throw

you know those who are sacred
are very discrete
they conquer with no force at all

you were brave, you were bold
your revolution took hold
in movements both elegant
and small

I must confess
that I was impressed
with how you reinvented yourself

You improvised
with a brilliant disguise
that you found on some
dust-covered shelf

And when the night whispered
you heeded its call
just look how your legend has grown

all the gifts that they gave
you know they just crave
the shadows you have overthrown

I've heard that you sleep
with your back to the street
so no one can see what
you dream

They pace through your life
like a restless housewife
but they don't really know
what you mean

But the night is possessive
it will not be denied
see all that it has erased

but for this verse
which I wrote, unrehearsed
and the shadows
we have embraced

What more can I say
I've exhausted the day
of all its restraint
and remorse

I know what you've heard
but I give you my word
I'm no expert, I'm just
the source

The eyes of the night
are holy and bright
and they are my cue
to go

And if by some chance
we do not meet again
at least we still
have our shadows.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Verse: Recollections of Forgotten Songs

How I did rejoice
when you lent me
your voice

I was desired
and wanted
and free

you were singing
so sweet

so soft
so discreet

And everyone
wished they
could be me

But one day
there came

a melody
without name

it was graceful
and golden
and strong

And it lured
you away

Now I long
for that day

when I was
your favorite song

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Verse: Crumbs - Take 2

This poem and Take 1 were both inspired in part by Crumbsey, and by a certain artist who talked about the origins and intent of the work to document derelict, forgotten and disappearing urban spaces..

There was a time
Once long ago
that I was in love
with a city
but despite my ardor
I soon found out
that it did not
love me

So I became
a surgeon
and cut into
it's layers
and analyzed
the million things
I found discarded there

the hospitals
with the sick and dying
the sewers
that were choked with waste
the rusting ships
anchored in the harbour
the corner stores
abandoned in haste

And deeper still
and I discovered
much more at risk
to fall away
the industrial spaces
and office towers
the chapels and
all night cafes

And deeper still
into my city
to see what more
it would reveal
I found a hundred
thousand faces
with broken hearts
no words could heal

The ex-cons
and the homeless
piled up in
the cul-de-sacs
the reminiscences
of old soldiers
in narrow cracks

and all the things
that we envisioned
the thoughts and dreams
through which we connect
they seem to have
forgotten us
the decayed
and derelict

Met with anxiety
and isolation
melancholy upon
every face
I caught a glimpse
of my reflection
one more intruder
in this space

and thus was
my great adventure
in the city
that we made
I sought peace
in the corners
where it sleeps
before its memories fade

Once I loved a city
its spires and its slums
I surrendered to
its cold embrace
and fed upon these crumbs

Poem: Crumbs - take 1

You know
you were not
hard to find

I just learned
to follow
the signs

there was
the daily mail

from that
I picked up
on your trail

there were
the clippings
at Thumpers
where they
cut your hair

the crumbs
at Estia from
the baklava
you ate there

There was
gossip dropped
at the Bethune

the tea stain
on your plastic spoon

the crumpled leaves
on Chebucto Lane

the empty bottle
of champagne

the light above
your front door

the clothes strewn
carelessly on the floor

and in the dreaming sleep
where you are renewed

that is where
I found you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Verse: Will

I will sing
a rebel song
and I will
call it passion

And I will continue
to give it voice
even if it's not
in fashion

I will write
a manifesto
and I will
call it lust

and it will
shatter the complacent
and scatter them
like dust

I will whisper
a small prayer
and I will
call it hope

And I will send
it like a rallying cry
to those who cannot cope

I will state
a purpose
and I will
call it faith

And nothing
will move me from it
no law, no man, no wraith

And then I
will light a fire
and I will call it love

and it will cover
all the earth and
singe heaven above

Monday, November 9, 2009

Verse: Who Called For Me

(NB: I would say that this was the poem pushed aside yesterday, only all I had was the first line. When another poem resisted my advanced today, I called it up and gave it a red rose as an apology...)

Who called for me
when I was seeking
who called for me
when I was on fire
who called for me
while I lay sleeping
who was it
that burdened me
with desire

Who called for me
when I was sequestered
who called for me
when I made my defense
who called for me
before my crucifixion
who was it
that burdened me
with this offense

Who called for me
when I was a student
who called for me
when I was to be ordained
who called for me
when I was excommunicated
who was it
that burdened me
with this pain

Who called for me
when I courted silence
who called for me
when I committed to my schemes
who called for me
when I thought I was holy
who was it
that burdened me
with dreams

Who called for me
before my enlightenment
who called for me
before my rebirth
who called me
before I went to battle
who was it
that burdened me
with this mirth

Who called for me
before my journey's climax
who called for me
before the plates were cleared
who called me before
my affairs were in order
who was it
that burdened me
with fear

Who called for me
when I was hesitating
who called for me
when I thought I was through
who called for me
when I had no expectations
Who was it
please tell me
it was you

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Verse: Who am I this time

(This is a lyrical ballade of a sorts that determined it should be the sole object of my study. Jealous of another idea that I had desired to write, it did engage in deception to turn my affections toward it...)

Who can I be this time
If I am not your love

If I am not the ground below
I will be the moon above

And guide you to others
like a hand slips into a glove

Who can I be this time
If I am not your love

Who can I be this time
If not your desire

If I cannot be your match
then I will be a fire

And guide you to others
whose passion you require

Who can I be this time
if not your desire

Who can I be this time
if not your paramour

If I cannot be your rock
then I will be the shore

And lead you to the others
you are yearning to explore

Who can I be this time
if not your paramour

Who can I be this time
if I am not your beau

If I cannot be your staff
I will be an arrow

And lead you to the others
whose love you long to know

Who can I be this time
if I am not your beau

Who can I be this time
if not your valentine

If I cannot be your map
then I will be a sign

And guide you to the others
who are faultless and divine

Who can I be this time
if not your valentine

Who can I be this time
if I am not your groom

If I cannot be your bed
then I will be a room

And lead you to the others
whom you want to consume

Who can I be this time
if I am not your groom

Friday, November 6, 2009

Two Poems for November 6, 2009

I - Recovery
I'm returning these
to you

I thought that you
might want them back

I don't know how
they attached themselves
to me

I didn't even notice
until they had accumulated
like a damp, heavy snow

If they seem
I may have gotten them
mixed up with mine

You know
how it is

Just be careful
who you give them to
next time

II - Wanted

one kiss
last seen
at the corner
of North
and Agricola

It is
fierce, felonious
and not to be

But if you
should find it
call me
I want it back

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Two Poems for November 5, 2009

I - Parasites

When they inquire
and they will
tell them this

When the dreams
became nightmares
I did not
abandon them

I sat with them
all night
until the fever broke
and they fell asleep

They don't need me now
they are yours
to do with
as you will

But don't wake them
at least not
until I am gone

You know
I was never very good
at goodbyes

In winter
I walk upon
a million tiny stars
and break their hearts

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Two Poems for November 4, 2009

I - Untitled (thanks to @therealamber + @blaineparker)

Go and tell
the ocean
it's tomorrow

I mean to mount
the empty sky

And if you
do not accept
my invitation

Just wave to me
as I go
sailing by

II - Insurrection (someone told me recently to write from the heart. This is about as close as I could get. The mind said little, except to rearrange an item or two as is its prerogative.)

Love is checking her
reflection in the mirror

Love is quickly slipping
on her shoes

Love is coming on
like an insurrection

Everybody's going
to hear the news

Love is always quiet
on Sunday mornings

Love is shivering
at the thought of snow

Loving is coming to give
you back your conscience

And all the love you
dreamed of long ago

Love is not content
with just a handshake

Love is not satisfied
with an embrace

Love will not be penciled
in for meetings

It is love that will dictate
the time and place

Love is going to beat
market projections

Love will take the mike
and have its say

Everybody's going
to get the message

Love is not the kind
who will delay

Love is not about
to take your orders

There are no operators
standing by

It will not negotiate
or bargain

Love is coming
and it will not be denied

Love is going to be
precise and sudden

Love is going to be
intense and true

You'd better get
your affairs in order

Love's coming now
and it's coming for you

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Verse: Prey

How is it
that you came here
when you know
the night
has seen your eyes?

Did you winter
in America
making angels
in the unkissed snow?

Did you awake
in a dream
and shower in the dust
of the nameless universe?

Or did you encounter
loose-lipped lovers
in the all-night
foraging for food?

Did they tell you
I was looking for you?
They lied.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Verse: confrontation

Is Lisa what
you call yourself
when I am not here
to call you lover?

You know
the first snow
will not make me
forget that I
was a vagrant
before you gave
me shelter

You know
the night
which we are inclined
to romanticize
doesn't fall
for cheap sentiment
it merely settles in
like a deep raw rasp
in your throat

Did you know
I wanted to be verse
before the spoken word
was desired
but I lost my objectivity
when I was born
and waited instead
for love to make me
its servant

No, I was
never home
before I encountered you
and when you sleep
I am alone

Please wake me
in your indelible embrace
and soon
before I lose
my sense of longing

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Verse: Demeter

When first
I did meet you
I was not more
than a child

You harvested
my heart and
I found myself

It was sweet
it was short
and we were

You harvested
my will to love
before I knew
what it was for

When next you did
encounter me
I had promises
to keep

But you harvested
my eyes and I
lost the life I knew
to sleep

The desire
seeded in me
at first seemed
no more than caprice

but you harvested
my fingerprints
and so I called
the police

I made a full
I told them of
your schemes

that you harvested
my eyes and now
you know all
my dreams

I returned
to confront you
I was sure I would

But you harvested
my ardor
and my resolve
began to fail

You who did
embrace me
you who told me
to believe

You harvested
my frantic sighs
and I was

You who do
entice me
you to whom
I'm tender prey

You harvested
this verse from me
what more is there
to say?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Verse: Departure

Love is leaving now

Gingerly collecting kisses
from my eyes
embroidered in dreams

Discretely dusting the small
of my back
for stray fingerprints

Carefully smoothing away
the creases from
last-night's sleep

Extracting whispered words
frozen in the cool night air
nestled in my unwitting ears

Gently rousing her stockings
her dress, her scarf
curled like felines
on the moonlit floor

she smiles sweetly
at the exiles
of the shuttered cinemas
serenades the late night
revelers engaged in indiscretions
as she hails a taxi home

No note
on the fridge
no message
on the phone
like smoke
from a cigarette
Love is gone

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Verse: untitled

is love

it is intruding
on this moment
it is ineffible
ever present
and everywhere
even illuminating
the elusive night

it is unencumbered

It is tangled
in my hair
on my skin
in my mouth
in my kiss
in my alphabet

It is bare
sweet and ecstatic
but this love
which embraces me
is not mine

it is yours
it is unexpressed
and unknown
without you

it is yours
it is for you

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Verse: Vow

If, by chance
your dark window
is open
then I will
climb through

And I
will adorn
your body
with kisses
as merciful
and mild
as morning dew

But if
your window
is closed
then I will
pass on by

Like one
red leaf
or like a star
falling from
the onyx sky

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Verse: Shout

NB: I tend to err on the side of the intellectual. Someone told me to write from the heart and so I did. The mind only interceded to perform the nuptials between two pillars of expression. How well suited they were for each other.

it comes

Hear this
and mark
my words

I will not retreat
or retract

I will not pule
or prevaricate

Even if
I cannot bend
those indifferent stars

Even if
I cannot puncture
those pendulous clouds

Even if
I cannot sway
your intransigent heart

Even if
you don't hear me
I will not submit
to censorious silence

I will be

And whatever
comes next
A warning
A love song
or a regret

You can listen,
or you can howl

but this
is my stage

I will
have my say

Betty Crocker - Food RN

There are so many ads I dislike that it genuinely pleases me when I see one I do. This is a rather droll spot for Betty Crocker's Bisquick, archived on its YouTube channel with extra footage than the 30 second spot. The concept is simple, memorable and absurd, the execution is bang on, especially the sympathetic piano music at the end. Pardon the pun, but it's food for thought. Why can't more ads be this good?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Verse: Curses

I spit sugar
until my mouth
is sore

Milk my blood
until there is
no more

Hold my breath
until my lungs
are bruised

Clench my fists
until they are

Imagine hornets
nested in
my ears

Succumb to the
unchecked accretion
of oppressive fears

Swallow heat
until my throat
is raw

Strangle your name
but your silence
does not thaw

New Kleenex ad 'snot Funny.

Young man, there's no need to feel down. Sure, cold and flu season is upon us, but don't let that worry you. Kleenex is here with a solution, Get Mommed. Yep, it's an insulting website of stereotypes that invites you to source a little added TLC. And yes, they managed to throw in one or two comely ladies for those of you who like your mothering Oedipal.

That in and of itself would be enough to bother me, but it's Kleenex's new ad 'Homecoming' that merits a special level of scorn. Here it is in case you haven't seen it. We'll chat more about it after the break:

Let's recap what we can infer from this lame attempt at humor:

- Young men are inconsiderate douchebags.
- Moms are to be used and abused as you see fit.
- Cold and flu season is a great time to wander around spreading the joy of aching joints and stuffed up noses to moms everywhere like the worst Santa Claus ever.

I know we're supposed to be amused by this young man taking umbrage at the most mundane slights, leaving the moms behind wondering what they did wrong. But moms have an infallible sense of right and wrong, and they may play the martyr, but woe to the ungrateful child who walks all over them. I kept expecting to see one of the moms give the scruffy rapscallion a tongue-lashing, or go Granny from Tweety and Sylvester on his ass with a rolling pin. That would have been preferable. Nope, the ad ends and all of the moms are there behind him. Because that's what moms do in popular culture. They stand by you, no matter how much of a jackass you are. Even when you create ads that suggest moms are nothing more than doormats.

Well, I've done my part. Venture forth, young man. Have fun with your new BFF Jessica. Or enjoy an awkward family reunion with Anna-Maria. And spread your germs like Johnny Appleseed all over the land. You'll be doing your part to keep companies like Kleenex afloat. That's as American as apple pie. And mom.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Verse: Siren

Go sing your undinal song to the night
lest it fall asleep
it's not tedium that afflicts it so
it's the hours that it keeps

I don't know how you sing that song
as sweetly as you do
forgive my jealousy, my fear that
others will come in search of you

I know I can be too familiar by times
and smother you with touch
and fill your ears with vagrant words
I tend to talk too much

And though your eyes are growing tired
and the night is not so bold
Do indulge me long enough
so this story may be told

It was some 25 years ago
that I first heard your song
but my ears were too immature
it did not captivate me long

And though I did not travel far
in actual miles it's true
we might as well have been worlds apart
for all I thought of you

I next chanced to hear your song
At a time when I was not yet free
yet I surrendered all of my possessions
and set out on the sea

Roiled often by regret
and consumed by constant qualms
it was your voice that was my compass
it was your voice that kept me calm

The wind did try to turn me back
and the waves sought to repel
still your voice called out to me
compelled me to rebel

And when at last I reached your shores
I was haggard, I was thin
but your lips fed my hunger
and I drank deep the dew on your skin

Almost two years have passed since then
how quick and careless time does fly
writ small in the lines around your eyes
writ large in the restless sky

Sometimes when I am gathered in
your all-encompassing embrace
I forget that I possess a will
a name, a voice, a face

Now sing that song that seduced me
sing that song again
lest I wake to find this is illusion
a dream in some opium den

Sing that song that enticed me
don't falter, and don't stop
not until those stars have melted
not until the moon does drop

Loose your song, your siren song
discrete and deathless and deep
to ferry my sleeping body across
the senescent sea of sleep

Friday, October 23, 2009

Verse: Introduction

Before the kiss
I was a stranger

I was like
a scientist
in that I was
and above all

I was not given
to hyperbole

I didn't even
have a name
until you gave me

And now
I am defiled
with the dirt
of lust

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Verse: untitled

I saw autumn
when I saw you

I saw nothing
no reason
for alarm

I wanted
to tell you
it's true
they ask about you
they think I am

I never tell them
you were caught
off guard
unaware of
your vulnerable beauty

or that I created
mysteries about you
even I could not

my wild imaginings
made you a suspect
until you

the evidence?
it's everywhere
and the jury
lacks conviction
I am right

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Verse: Decay

Inspired by Tiggythepiggy

Bare and chanting
we make hot
smooth sounds

they disperse
like dandelion seeds
and fade like a distress call
in the mysterial
archaic night

an enormous
gorgeous language
not ours
envelops and
escapes us
visits no one

yet leaving us
here in a delicate moment
that only silence
could endure

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Verse: Entr' Acte

We are here
even when
we are gone

we are captive in
a secret theatre

where our desires
are immediate
and contemporary

where our dark shadows
are projected
on a white canvas
in close proximity
in layers

bold before
the lights come up

when we are
to the anxiety
of the audience

This is
our cinema now
this is us

Monday, October 19, 2009

Verse: Installation

NB: I always feel apologetic for leaning on love, like I might weaken her through overuse and abuse. But she demands to be heard, so I acquiesce.

So this
is your harvest

thick lines
and static?

I would prefer
a blue sky
a winter coat

I want transformative
light and color
to pass through me
like thread through a cloth

Would that this
arbitrary space
were private
and intimately engaged
with us

or that the guards
would acknowledge
our modest entreaties
for tenderness

and that you
were open
to the inevitable
of hope
and love

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Verse: Dream Letter

Inspired by Tim Buckley and an evening taking in Nocturne. In a way, it was a long time coming. I have a feeling there are more in this vein...

Dear L,

You were right
about many things
it seems

Summer siphoned
me of sleep and now
it's autumn everywhere
at least in this hemisphere
the seasons are relentless

The leaves
like light

I want to go away
it is stasis
that I fear the most
it's rust
it's death
and it's dust
it creeps up on you
when you close
your eyes

Trying to evade
myself, my thoughts
the newspapers
are obscene
their unflinching exhortations
line my cage
like snow

Imagined the world
without us
I drew a map of it and
it looked like a broken heart
I colored it green
like your eyes

But today
I long for home
for you
it's more dear
more pressing
when you're not there

I could cut my hair
dye my roots
but I cannot change
where I'm from
instead, I'll continue
see how it ends
and write you

I wrote this
one thousand times
and each time
I wrote I love you
a reminder
when we are awake
to tell you

Friday, October 16, 2009

Verse: Distant

Sweep away
those bulbous clouds

seed the senescent sky
with stars

and don't let them
fall too soon

at least not
before you tell me
what they mean
to you

and not before
they know
we're here

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Verse: Resignation

I swear I will not
sing these songs
of seduction

They are torn
and frayed
like a careless oath
and I've forgotten
who they were
intended for

Once compelled
to give them a voice
over time they
became a chore

If you must
then call me
a heretic
or perhaps even
a saboteur

But I will not
submit to sing these songs
of seduction

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Verse: two untitled items for October 14, 2009

Two brief poems this evening...

When you leave
do you smile?

Do you acknowledge
your sullen reflection
or make the bed?

Do you surrender
your passport
or bribe
your inquisitive

Do you wash your face
in the kitchen sink
floss your teeth
with barbed wire?

Do you genuflect
prostrate yourself
in supplication
or do you shake
your enfeebled fist?

Do you leave
a ransom note
that denies culpability
or do you make
a full confession?

No one ever tells you
how to say
you have to

The doctors
can't tell you
anything you don't
already know

the texts you consult
won't diagnose
the troubles
you got

your teachers
cannot hear you
you do not
no tongue
in your lungs

you expand
you move the feast
one table
one chair
at a time
a caravan

your pale skin
simmers in
the cavillous sunlight
the change of
the season
is like the changing
of the guard
it's just
a formality
it's dispassionate
it's simple
and it's precise

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Verse: Reckoning

I'm told
that you did forsake
your elegant signature

You cut off
your long hair
when it became
a burden

Changed your shape
when it seemed
too soft and convenient
something compromised

Abused your
favorite dress
until it divulged
its secrets
and you cut out
its heart
of its weakness

Took up with
temporary amusements
you seduced
at your discretion
but could not love
any more than
I could love you

But this
is mere speculation
on my part
I swear
I want nothing
from you except
to remember you

Why do you

Monday, October 12, 2009

Verse: Thanksgiving

This is for
the moment
when the day
is spent

the sheets
to which
we retreat

The alphabet
that we forget

The fingertips
that brush
against the lips

The tenderness
that we express

The pillow
where your breath
grows slow

The eyes
that dim
as dreams
creep in

And you
as always
this is
for you

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Verse: untitled verses for Thanksgiving

NB: sometimes, when someone talks, you sit and listen, and it takes shape...

You know
I don't think much
of Florida
and California seems
like a dream
I once had

But there was
this one time
in Arizona
the air was so cold
at night that
we had to pile on
the blankets

So cold
the lady whose name
I can't remember
cried like a child
for warmth

Not like the time
we were in Vancouver
so many of us
that Steven went to
the church for chairs
and we ate Thanksgiving dinner

That day
was so warm
but today
is cold
the wind is
too impatient
the frost is setting in
and there’s so much
to do in the garden
before winter
but I don't know
if I can

The joy is knowing
that spring will come
even if
I am not ready
and it will be
like Christmas


When this is done
when am unburdened
of these long
obtrusive words

I will attain
the one thing
I want
more than anything

The most seductive
thing in the world
to me


At least until
the fear
takes hold
that it will be

Friday, October 9, 2009

Verse: Conjugation

I told you
I covet magic

I know this
with unerring certainty

I yearn for
its deception
its misdirection

I cherish
its many arbitrary allusions
its subtle subterfuge
its elegant epiphanies

the shock
of the awe
it conjures

that anxious instant
when nothing
becomes something
only to turn itself
inside out
in fear

look now
between the decay
of vanishing night
and morning's light
which penetrates
the lazy curtains
and you'll see me appear

but you
where are you?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Verse: outburst

Cut the night
cut the lights
carve that song
that naked song
into my skin
until we drain it
of melody

let the cool cacophony
that remains
that prevails
conquer everyone
not cancerous
with complacency
or conjoined
in contemplation

the way
that it owns me
all the shapes
the things
that it could be
overwhelm me

now silent
now static
and bereft
of excuses
I watch the clock
I speak your name
I say nothing

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Verse: Requiem

NB: I usually try to avoid writing something so obviously based on recent events, but this has been on my mind all day and would not let go until I let it go. I hope it has some merit.

Who were you
before everyone
knew that they
didn't know you?

Who were you
before last Thursday
before October
before you walked
out to the parking lot

Who were you
before your cellphone
went dead
before the reward
before the plea
for more information
that urgent SOS?

Who were you
before they mourned you
before they unleashed
their memories
before their eulogies
before they expressed
their regrets?

And who were you
before this unintentional
before I wrote this
before the nightly news
before you were
one more
grim statistic
who were you?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Verse: before

You did not know me
before you knew autumn
but I was not always
burdened by this
intricate shadow
that decays like
the autumn that
you knew
before me

You did not know me
because I wasn't
camouflaged by
the tired flesh
of opulent lovers
the cancer of heartache
had not yet furrowed
my brow or compromised
the camouflage
you knew
before me

You did not know me
before the ceasefire
when my heart was mercenary
but my hands were clean
when I surrendered
and made my concessions
you returned to the war
you knew
before me

You did not know me
before I was infected
with calumnious love
and so you proceeded
with a surgeon's precision
to harvest my heart
before I knew what
it was for
and relieve me of
the love
you knew
before me

You did not know me
until they told you
of my transgressions
and for your pleasure
they catechized me
and tried to seduce me
but never relieved me of
the want
I knew
before you

Monday, October 5, 2009

Verse: Incidental

No one
approached me

even the night
didn't recognize me
though I was
dressed in black

no cautious lust
no casual come-ons
no hint of adventure
in the senescent air

I wanted to be
anointed or
like anyone
but I am difficult
and asymmetrical

and the
only place
that I can go
is home

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Verse: Conversations of everything and nothing

And we could see
the moon

it was drifting
into the night

over the rooftops
like a lost balloon

You said
about the stars

how they fall
into place

like creature of habit
like an old platoon

I said I thought
the night air
was infected
with frost

it curled
my breath
like wisps
of cigarette smoke

and your hair
seemed to quiver
like the strings
of a mandolin
with each brush stroke

I know
it wasn't much
but it was

a modest offering
or a vow

my every word
in the ever present

We talked
for discreet hours

until we
woke the dawn

turned words
inside out
and on themselves
until all meaning
was gone

but I would have
set aside those words

defied gravity
even illuminated
austere skies

if only to
have rooted myself

in your incandescent

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Verse: The Evangelist

If you
are light
then illuminate
or leave me

Don't do anything
if you cannot
immobilize me
with some tenderness
with your
inviolable embrace

is treacherous
the night
like wine
to the bottom
of the glass
in capillary strands

my heart
is an egg
that is cracked
and all the love
that it contains
slowly drains
from me
but you
can't see it

No, you stand
naked as silence
in the critical light
when all I want
is for you
to fix me

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Verse: Fruit fly

At lunch
I tried
to dismiss you
with a wave of
my hand

I grazed you
gravity overcame you
like a fever
and you sank
like an anchor
tossed into
the sea

upon the table
like Icarus
your legs flailing
as if you were reaching
trying fiercely
to hold on to
the tenuous strands
of your life

by your desperation
and your palpable fear
I thought
how careless
how craven
how petty
am I

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Verse: Altar

We are not
cowardly or

Crawling toward
the clandestine

The deep
dark mouth
of heaven

we arrayed
like a feast
and yet

it could not
ever swallow
all our lust

ringed by
confrontational angels
aroused by their disdain

that look
we used to call it

now we know
it's fear

Monday, September 28, 2009

Verse: insomnia

Nothing is sleeping

Not the unidentified
bleary eyed
street lamps
on Willow
or the occasional
semi trucks that
rumble like indigestion
intermittently through
the city

Not the clamorous winds
that harangue
the shingles
Nor the steady cacophony
of the rain
against the unblinking window
as anxious as the
drumming fingers
of an expectant father

Not the calescent
wagging tongues
of the persistent muses
seeking out
an acolyte
nor the seeds
they leave behind
countless poems
softly longing
to be born

is sleeping
not even
sleep, it seems

nor the
unspoken lust
gnawing at me
for you

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Verse: offering

And you
who did feed
the parasites
of love
with your

who did
reproach those
lazy heretics
with the gospel
of love

who did
with but a glance
silence the
hundred thousand
barbed tongues
of gossip

who did
through boundless
grace cause the
righteous to tremble,
fall and genuflect
as if overcome
by fever

who did
at last dispel
the hot immediacy
of outrageous ignorance
with just one
unencumbered sigh

who is
this embrace for
if not
for you?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Verse: kisses

All the things I might have been
I pawned them long ago
the proceeds were invested
to acquire all that you know
such enlightenment eludes me
it happens much too slow
and all I long for now is
your kisses deep as snow

When I first encountered you
you were studious as a psalm
you bid me in and never once
did your voice betray any qualm
you said I was not meant for greatness
when you sat to read my palm
but all I wanted then as now
were your kisses soft and calm

You once gave me a pebble you found
and an old photograph
and you led me around the streets of town
obedient as a calf
and the thousand secret things I did
were all on your behalf
and the kisses you bestowed on me
were broken only by your laugh

And if you did press me to the light
to see if I was pure
then I did press you on your intent
you can never be too sure
but all we sought to clarify
only became more obscure
how quickly you can compromise
your kisses of their allure

I don't know who you've been talking to
but I am not a child
I used to be much bolder
it's age that's made me mild
and if there is some love in you
that I have not yet defiled
then let it be revealed to me
in kisses warm and wild

But I think I'm too familiar
and that has made me crude
Now I take for granted
what I ruthlessly pursued
and with all the little transgressions
that gradually accrued
now your eyes lack fire
your voice is hollow
and all your kisses are subdued

And if I did cause you offense
it was not my intent
when everything is compromised
it's easy to repent
ardor is like a season
little more than a mere fragment
but the imprint of your kisses
is indelible and the memories
won't relent

Verse: extempore

What reason
could I give
what chronology
what alchemy
would satisfy
your curiosity

you would not
ask music
to explain itself
or the delight it brings
you would let it
catch you

think on this
then as a
little symphony
a bebop blues
a cacophonous kaleidoscope
a first take
an abstraction

This is
nothing more than
an attempt
to touch the infinite
however briefly
in you

Karina Smirnoff in new Peta ad

Came across this on the Adweek website this morning. You'd think, with her name, a vodka endorsement would be in the cards, but Dancing With the Stars dancer Karina Smirnoff has chosen PETA instead. It could have been worse: it could have been Yakoff Smirnoff. Wonder what the judges have to say about her pose:

karinaPETA.jpg (JPEG Image, 607x800 pixels) - Scaled (61%)

Ad of the Day: Ozzy Osbourne goes to bat for Samsung again

Since I do work in marketing, and since I've neglected that for the past two months or so, I'm going to correct that over the coming days with some new marketing-related posts. Today, I'm featuring the new Samsung Rogue ad with Ozzy Osbourne, which features more bleeps than an episode of Maury Povich. Ozzy really likes the Rogue. Or maybe he just likes puppies. Without Rosetta Stone language programs for Oz-speak, it's hard to tell.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Verse: Revelations

Plagued by my own shadow
unexpected as a wrong number
my hands ache with ardor
I am indiscriminate

Engulfed by my conscience
vague and hard to digest
cataloged in my transgressions
I am desperate

Engaged in my ablutions
the every day is vulgar
divinity's impossible
I am delicate

No heart is so fierce
no prayer is too gentle
no word before this word
I am inveterate

Where's the bloom that doesn't fade
the answer that is unquestioned
the heart that bids me do its will
I grow accustomed to my fate

Monday, September 21, 2009

Verse: Language

Today's verse is, despite the lack of foul language, maybe, PG-13, and is offered humbly to m'lady @tenacioushfx:

passion will be
our only language

we will feed it
with our probing tongues
our hungry, feral mouths
our wordless cries

and only
the serrated edges
of each ecstatic gasp
will punctuate
the silence

we will
tag walls with it
inscribe it on our roiling sheets
codify it
in countenances

and in the day
your emerald eyes
will be the tiny flares
that guide me
and in the dark
your dappled
dimpled skin
will be braille
softly singing
your lustrous secrets
my unspeakable name

Friday, September 18, 2009

Verse: as you will

Place your heart
in your sullen hands

then drain the sea
of its dolorous demands

your wanderlust

then strip the angels
of their trust

those games you play

and lead the passing
hours astray

your perfect solitude

and chasten lovers
for those they exclude

quick, confirm
your countenance

then find fault
in circumstance

against the numb

and cling to solace
yet to come

the distant, corpulent sun

then take these words
I am done