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?