Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Versions of Living


I don't make a fuss
I sleep,
tried and true.
I don't move
until the hunger rouses me.

I always hate going out
while the people spin around me.
I look at my watch,
waiting for the time to end
so I can return to sleeping.

Mine is the strategy of dogs
enjoying life through breath
and daydream.


I lie that I sleep
so I won't make a fuss.

I lie about the tranquility
when I lay not moving
until hunger rouses me.

I falsify my hatred of going out to
watch the people dancing around me.
I pretend to look at my watch,
as if waiting for time to end.
I lie about wishing to return to reverie.

Mine is the strategy of domesticated dogs,
not making a fuss.

I lie about enjoying life through breath
and daydream.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Barely able to hold my memories
I open the tin boxes
in my daughter's room.
Only traces of her old outlines
cling to the room since she's now 32
and wrestling dreams
a thousand miles away.

We added trash containers
and the cardboard shells of
proud acquisitions we haven't
given ourselves the time to discard.
We stacked her relics on top of
an unpainted wooden dresser we had
enameled green in 1975.

The hinged oblong tin box contains
entangled with its ribbon, a medal
made of bronze that says "Manitoba School
Science Symposium."

In the square tin box there are four pennies
a piece of cotton and
the rubbery plastic likeness of a unicorn.
She left a string of plastic faux pearls
that only a young girl would believe in,
a tiny bottle of Tempo toilet water.
There is a small square school photograph
taken when she was six and a badge
with the likeness of an angel.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Before Christmas

We live
under the bare sky
in a flat cold place.
The arctic reaches right
down to us without having to
go around.

It's amazing how little
keeps us alive.
There are three sparks here
glowing tiny in the black,
like stars in an ice foggy evening.

One of us is nothing but
covered in fur,
the two of us have clothing.
There is an assuring
network of speech
that heats and lights the buses,

and we let the night
consume itself
and wait for the day.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

To A Narrative Poet

You tell stories
as if you were always young
and watching silently with eyes wide.

What you see portends.
It's not friendly, the hearth is cold
but you survive it.

Those who would have loved you
are late and you wait in vain.
What would warm you is just miles away
and you can't reach it,

failure in technicolor where it's always
late afternoon and your neighbors
are sitting on their porches chewing.

I have passed through
those simple lonely times and watched
things I wouldn't have imagined come to pass.

Promises now
are everywhere
on disembodied lips.

Monday, December 12, 2005


Sunday, December 11, 2005

I Could Offer to Touch You

If I touched you
what would the
tips of my fingers say?

If it would go beyond
my sympathetic eye,
if it would be more than unspoken,
if my fingers would
make false promises,
if they would move you to hope,
remove doubts,
build an alliance,

if they blew
open your loneliness,
would you be my victim?

(this is a poem I wrote in 2002. It was addressed to the subject of a chat room romance)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Man's Toyland

One useful tool
brooks no challenge,
cuts sharp flatness
out of anything that
pretends to block it.

It's made of iron
and has red lights
that warn, stay away wimp.
The soft rubber tips
have fallen off the
iron grips.

Always remnants of mud;
and rust forms
in bumpy ridges
where the paint
has worn down.

Monday, December 05, 2005


The fully fattened spider
dies with compliance
following the ancient spider code
hung paralyzed amid her teeming babes
the very protein of her body
giving lessons to the cannibal future.

The salmon eagerly punches
toward death. That is his wedding day
with all the pumped up fishy fantasies
stored in his milky brain. He perishes
stuporous in one and final lastitude.

As for me,
goodbye will
turn my eyes to you as the future shrinks.
I will be nothing and you will be all.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Race

I feel
I am in deep space
without a suit
by the time I reach
the two hour point.

It's coming fast I say
although I am alone.
My legs nearly collapse
each time I swing
one behind the other.

My determination
is violent already. The darkness
now touches the bottom
of the trees. The wind
begins it's ascent.

The possibility of light
and warmth diminishes
as I approach the terminus
but even silence and dark
are better than this.

It overtakes me with a gush
and I can't see how
I can pull the strings of my life
together. It's as if something
untangled the bands.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Night of the Stars

He steps finally on the boards
and sweats. He isn't naturally graceful.

There is a tension in the house.
It is amateur night and everyone wants a chance
to supplant him on the stage.

Even though he does his ya's and his yoos,
he smiles and uses his sweet voice,
he finds only silence

when they turn off the spotlight.
Art is an embarrassing strip tease
he says.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

To Dr. E.S.

Dear Emma
you are wise,
conversant with the inevitable
and have the patience to allow
bouts of optimism to make their
vain, occasional entrances.

You just wait
knowing the other thing
does not appear unavailingly.
You are silent
aweful for what you know
will travel down to the slow, real.
You don't want to be right.

Somewhere in your blond
European life with all its
traditions and stories,
you have found out how to watch
without a sound.
You can see the spectres that are
invisible to me, born in the
puritan-hero West.