Friday, February 11, 2011

Goodbye to Adelaide West

        This was a good project, but try as I might to revive it, it's just gone. It's just time to let it go.

        It's not the end for me though. Please check out my new blog, the Coquelicot Projects. It's not specifically a poetry blog, but I have a sneaking suspicion some new poems will pop up there from time to time.

        Thanks for reading and commenting.

        What's your current personal project (it doesn't have to be a big thing, just something you do for you)?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rites of girlhood

earrings and nail polish
2 for $6 and 5 for $10
it's all for us
and the shoplifting 16-year-olds
who belong here

Katie takes an aisle like a pew
familiar in these temples of girlish rite
while I thumb awkwardly through necklaces
like pages of scripture from a foreign faith

what was I doing while every other girl
was learning to apply eyeliner?
probably still watching cartoons, picking up frogs,
still trying to flirt with boys
by taking their things and hiding them
I can only hold my eye obediently open for liner
when I'm drunk
so instead I scribble witty dialogue
in the corners of my eyes

and buy cheap nail polish
that dries to a warty finish
at the tip of my fingers
        a bright blue swamp
        a canvas full of crayon

Photo by James Lee

        How much do you fit into gender stereotypes? Are you a girly girl or a tomboy? Are you a macho man or Mr. Sensitive? Or are you pretty androgynous?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Blues for adult friendships

Each year we know
more people than we've ever known
and yet our parties grow

It used to be
just both being under ten and knowing
who the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were
was enough to unite us
in the big bad boring adult world
of line-ups and office parties.
Just swimming in that ocean
made you take note of others your size
and move with them
like a school.

As an adult, it's hard to keep friends
who don't share your little fishbowl.

Maybe it's just me
throwing up my cake so I can eat it again.
Do I really want more childhood best friends,
or do I want friends like my stuffed toys
who stopped talking with the game ended,
their mouths full of stuffing
waiting for me to speak their words?
Do I want a friend like my sweet old dog
who loved me but knew his place,
never followed me to school?

I'm a dirty mutt
who barks to come back into your heart
then whines to be let out again.

Photo by Jon Hanson

        Why do you think it's harder to make and keep friends as an adult than it was as a child? Is it because we're so much busier? Because adult friendships are more complex? Because children have more in common than adults do?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


At the back of my pink filing cabinet.

Don't call the shaman yet:
everything I've ever given up on
still fits in a letter-sized hanging folder,
bloated as a floating corpse,
Like a vampire coffin, secret
in the basement of an abandoned house.

They only rise at night, of course.

If I lie awake
past midnight on a weeknight
I can hear them over the snore
of all the choices I've made,
shuffling their papers like feet,
rattling their drawer like heavy chains.

I could silence them.

If I could stop telling their stories
to friends around campfires.
If I could stop trying to resurrect them,
stop digging up their skins
and wearing them out to dinner
like a ring from a failed engagement.

This poem was written in response to a Poetry Prompt on Big Tent Poetry.

Aren't they cute?? Photo by dizznbonn

        What's haunting you? An unfinished project? A mistake you made? A soured friendship? A chance you didn't take?

Friday, August 6, 2010


Flung up to hang by their laces
from the power line,
marking spaces like tombstones.
Shoes with black bottoms
leaving streaks on the gymnasium floor.
They won't be allowed back.
Shoes flapping
their torn soles on the pavement
like lips.
Old shoes
with stories worn into them
in creases and cracks,
colour worn off their toes
like burnt grass.
New shoes, white
as a fresh sheet of paper.
Baby shoes.
with the laces undone,
waiting and snickering.
Shoes with attitude,
high-tops like a popped collar.
Shoes walking tracks
through the mud
like fingerprints.
A trail from baseball field
to broken window.
Fancy shoes
that only come out at weddings
kicked off under the table
when the dancing starts.
Shoes cramped in boxes
at the back of a closet.
Shoes on sale.
Shoes clicking
a clock beat down the hall.
Women's shoes: beautiful
high-heeled iron maidens.
Men's shoes: black and anonymous.
Shoe with an empty stomach,
hungry for a foot.
Shoe searching for its match.
with cleats
taking bites of grass
and spitting them out.
Shoes full of baking soda,
stink burnt into them.
Shoes reinvented
with neon pink laces,
song lyrics scrawled in thick sharpie.
Shoes in a pile
by the doorway
having their own party.

This poem was written in response to this week's Poetry Prompt on Big Tent Poetry. It was also inspired by the poem Crows by Doug Anderson.

Photo by Nick Wiebe

        What do you think your shoes say about you?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Martha Stewart's one night stand

Before she answers, she glances at my fingernails. They're clean and trimmed, so she says, "Yes, I would like to come home with you." And I'm glad, because I often take women back to my apartment, but never a lady.

Upstairs, the first thing I notice is her smell. Like clean, folded laundry. Like vanilla and cinnamon baking under her skin. Like a rose garden through muslin curtains. Like white weddings and country Christmases.

I unbutton her shirt, unzip her pants. Her matching underwear is lavender with one yellow rose embroidered on the base of a bra strap, one on the front of her panties. She said she did them herself. Beneath the panties, her hair is short and grows in a triangle like a sliver slice of pie.

She kneads me like dough. Her body bends in ribbon curls, but inside she's stiff as icing sugar. Cold like an undercooked roast.

"I'm sorry," she says, after a long while. "Sometimes when I try to make things perfect I just can't... let go."

I tell her imperfection is my specialty. What can we do to make this less perfect? Here, I know, where are our socks? Put them back on. No, no, you take mine and I'll take yours. Don't you think the little flower border at the top flatters my calves? Thank God you didn't wear pantyhose instead.

She laughs until tears shine on her cheek like tinsel, and then she can let go.

This poem was written in response to a Poetry Prompt on Big Tent Poetry.

Martha Stewart's Marble Cupcakes by CupCakeQueen

        Do you consider yourself a perfectionist? How do you know when to say This needs more work or Whatever, this is good enough?

Thursday, July 29, 2010


You swear you're no happier than me
but Seventeen, at least you have dreams.
Real dreams, good ones,
not just sensible two-year plans
watered down with more prudence.

Seventeen, has no one ever told you
about the finite number of dreams, like eggs,
about dream menopause?
That's why the sleep of the old
is thin as eyelid skin,
all their dreams bled out,
their minds pregnant with memories.

The Elephant Celebes by Max Ernst

        Would you rather have dreams or memories? Really think about it -- the concreteness of memories gives a certain kind of satisfaction, but the limitless possibility of dreams is pretty seductive.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


a subway car of newspapers
like a sidewalk of pigeons
their tattered pages folded like wings
their feathers smudged black with cheap ink

each bird lands in a hand
and sings a tale
so touching or scandalous or practical
the reader falls frozen in a stare
mouths pursed in pouts or kisses
eyes scanning back and forth
like searchlights

Photo by Alan D. Wilson (Creative Commons license)

        How do you feel about the desemination of news these days? Does the quickness and accessibility of information make up for the large amount of biased and lazy reporting that goes on?

Monday, July 26, 2010

a quiet weekend

soothing as a hot bath
mundane as folded laundry
calm as sunbeams on a cool bedsheet

productive, in a strange way
doing things you don't write on to-do lists
relationships are like garments
we need to wash, care for, be always waiting
with a threaded needle in hand
mindful of tiny tears that become        holes

sink scrubbed, cat cuddled
thoughts ordered and filed
body plugged into bed to charge
with my cell phone
and all my aching worries
filled in like cavities

on the Monday morning train
my mind is a pool so still
I can watch the fish below

Photo by Hardyplants

        What kind of weekend did you have? Was it the kind of weekend your wanted/needed?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

How to ruin a nice moment

Doubt is like a lying child:
you know you just can't trust it
but you have to, sometimes.
Back in high school we used to fight all the time
(forgotten phone calls, he said she saids)
Only years later did I realize it was just
my boredom manifested as an entity
like Santa Claus, a god
that shapes the little lives of mortals.
I'm not sweet stupid sixteen anymore, so
I carry a thermometre pressed to my heart,
red marks on my ring finger where I pinch
over and over to see if it's real.
I'll smile when sunlight coaxes me
and sigh and ask Why
can't it always be happy times?

though a wiser part of me knows
I need the sad times
to appreciate times like these.

This poem was written in response to the Poetry Prompt on Big Tent Poetry.

Photo by David R. Tribble
I didn't know what image to put with this, so enjoy some clouds and sunlight.

        Are you the kind of person who listens more to their heart or head? If you listen to both at different times, how do you decide when to listen to one or the other?