Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Remembering A City I Never Knew*

I remember the river
lined with stone steps,
each a tiny planet.
Neighborhoods of
stone harbors, orange
stone that shines in the sun.
Hot rain and
water everywhere poured,
dripped, flowing.
Life at the feet
of great trees
with festooned trunks,
spiced stains and powders,
trees are the roofs and
air the walls. I remember
statues of bone and ivory
with colored parasols and
sweet rotting smells.
How the people rise from
straw beds so gently smiling
with fingers full of petals.

* on seeing the movie, "Water."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What Good is the Cold?

In Manitoba when it gets to
minus 35 and the wind picks up
I don't wonder why
the cat wants assurences
The wall between us
and death is thin on a vacuum earth.

I run home to escape the coming storm
dark with ice that hides the sun,
a glass of wine and a piece of cheese
trust in a furnace and walls not falling away.
I don't have to go out, not tonight.

running with gloved hand against my nose
and feeling the bite on my face
reminds me of life
for those who are free.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Fish

February seventeenth nineteen and forty
in a distant and different
stream of time.
I have been
a fish in the
creator's pond.
I am
born not again
but always.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Face Prophet at Three Months

She screams
because she needs,
that she is.

Her laugh grows
out of her cry
like an errant
branch that
should have been
pruned. I see
edges of it
rising from the
mass of tears.

Her face, contorted
with the being of want
stops. And lumps
of articulation grow.
At first, her sounds blossom
out of a knot of sobs,
consonants with cries between
instead of vowels. But it takes
leisure, a free breath
to practice speech.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Archives

I know it is right
but I don't know why,
something about
a rule of resistence,
stiffened spine.
Old wive's tales and
fables come to mind,
images of kettles
hanging over orange
hearths with
peasants sitting around
them in the dust.
Where does right come from?
I know it's right
to sigh and pull away,
to let out breath just
at the climax
of my raised sword.
Images of old books,
rarely opened and
filled with spider silk,
images of odd men
who live in stone cells
and don't care
about sunshine.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Not Knowing Your Cause

You are the wrongfully accused,
I am a Jew from America.
I know you. Always disbelieved
because you are born wrong

in a dangerous time.
I know what your true martyrdom is,
not what you think. All of us
pretending to live in freedom

will one day thank you.
We never really wanted freedom,
to be free is to be frightened.
But you will salvage what

we enjoy of it. You will
be punished for us, perhaps die
martyred, not even
knowing your cause.

When justice
finally decends,
you will be permitted your voice
and we all will speak.


The garden is open
nine to five
at the discretion of the lord.

The public is encouraged to
enter and enjoy
the charms the lord has devised.

It is forbidden of course
for anyone to modify the garden
or cut any of the flowers.

In the Spring and Autumn,
the lord puts out a box
for suggestions.

The lord reads
the notes
at his convenience

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Confession of a Female Journalist

You know, Lord Black
when I bask in your charm
it is like

feasting at the table
where I have been your guest.
I spent joyous afternoons

prying away answers to
embarrassing questions
and you let me laugh

even as you laughed yourself.
Now that I have sandwiched you in ink
I betray you like a spy.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Samina Malik

I am not a terrorist
she says
at least not yet
and I have the right
to make crimes
in my mind.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

On Hearing Holly Cole

Hello there
you know you
live for me.
You reach for the moon
while I am here
trapped in Winter
all the risks cauterized.
I'm in a torpor. I rely on you.

You are the words,
poems of discovery.
You quest for the music,
refreshing all my
old burned out hopes.
It never happened, through
all the time and all the
tries-again until the last one ended.

I hear you
move among the stars
transmitting your images of
tilty pisa and fresh thrills
as close as my own room,
So full of worldly,
naughty faces, surrounded with
icons of dreams.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hannah and the Light Machine

She learns
to create
with her eyes.
While the tears
are about to grow.

I can walk her
astraddle my arm
under the ceiling lamp
and her eyes will fill with stars.

So I bought her
a color maker
that splashes circles
on the walls

and she will own them
toying with sight
even as the tears

Sunday, January 06, 2008


As I lay
in my bed
making up dreams
I am struck by a
idea that gets me hot.

Take a few photographs of myself
and call myself "Father,"
say I'm 55 plus,
and go into the chatroom
without lying.

Standing on the Pier

Strange watching
you there floating away. I
try to live without you
as I see you drifting
angry and silent, making
small gestures with your lips,
cast out. I wish I could pull you back.

The current runs one way
until I no longer hear you
and you no longer speak.
Betrayal comes between us
like river water. I
can't live unless I betray you.
You drift away so far
out of range forgiveness
doesn't reach me.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Hannah the Face Prophet

Your parents court you
and so does your aunt,
not serious rivals of course.
Your grandfather courts you too.
All of us want

a portion of your smile.
You are just learning
how to make a smile, not
a simple act of construction
it turns out. But the smile
you bear fullfills prayers.

Oh Hannah whose smile is sought,
I am among those who
sit at your feet
mesmerized by hope I can
bring about the lighting of those lips.

You will say, "yes." You will approve.
But what do you give me
when I win your smile?
You just say "yes."
There will be no gift.