Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Snow globe


Cruising down Richmond Street East
Wet white streets, tires kicking up snow

Dad points out the landmarks
Stores that used to be factories
Million-dollar homes that were once ghettos
Streets that he and my mother walked
Hand-in-hand as teenagers
A building on King Street, brickwork laid
Twenty years ago by him and my grandfather
Their touch, forever embedded in the cement
A commonplace kind of immortality

The drive stokes my appetite
I want to know this city, all of it
Be part of it in touch and spirit and memory
Hear the stories and legends and history
My city, a familiar book
Pages dog-eared, cover torn
Passages learned and spoken by heart.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Child-eyes wide


The open, unguarded door of the freight lift
Makes me a child again
Obedient feet planted firmly on the floor edge
Neck craned over, curious eyes flick about

The lift is creaky, grey wood
Bent with age and memory
Steel barred walls
Behind them, scratchy unfinished brick
The smell -- earthy, old
Trailing dark drop below
Incites a murder-mystery heartbeat

I’m too old to enter the gates of other worlds
But I still recognize them when I see them.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Anthem 2009


At lunch, my coworkers slump
Approaching January blocks out the sky like a storm
Casts shadow on their spirits
Once alight with Christmas zeal
Now they moan under the strain of
Credit card debt
Months of winter ahead
Starved for sunlight
Nothing left to look forward to but the spring

Any other year, the miseries
Would settle into my bones like a chill
But now I sigh, enchanted
White fur cape of dreams
Held close around my shoulders

This is my year
And I will sing out my song
The shivering, tenacious little bird
Who won’t fly south
No matter how the storm blows.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

And so begin the endless rhetorical questions


2 a.m. caffeine high
Makes me shaky, restless
Lonely in the quiet
Only the heavy breathing of sleepers
Train whistles, unearthed
When the daytime traffic stills

Do I sleep sounder
When you’re twenty minutes away
Instead of eight hours?

Will I feel any less alone
When you lay beside me
Distanced not in space
But in cold conscious state
Like life beside death?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lazy Tuesday


Two hours to kill
And no bosses to watch me kill them

Three-way sudoku speed racing
Singing, swear words intact
Flash games and YouTube videos
Feet up on the desk
Mouth full of chocolate

This is what white-collar dreams are made of.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow


Dad skims the weather reports
For Las Vegas, Malibu
Freak snowstorms in warm cities

In true Canadian fashion, he comments
On how wonderful it must be for them
To see real snow, many for the first time
Coating trees like icing sugar
Sparkling in the streets
Not a word about driving or drainpipes

Sure, we all complain about it
But there’s something about snowflakes
Caught in my eyelashes
That makes me feel beautiful
Despite my bulbous ski jacket
Ugly, practical boots

I am warm against the snow
Winter-blushed
Breathing out mist, like a spirit.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

South, CN Tower


I doddle near the bathroom window
The only place in this whole damn building
You can feel sunlight
See the CN Tower
Symbol and pride of the city
Big sentimental compass needle

On days when the fog and snow
Scramble the sky
We are as lost and weary
As any other city.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I got, got, got, got no time


My life plays along to the ticking
Of the metronome, count-down clock
Everything timed to the minute
Eights hours of sleep and one for lunch
Three-minute walk to catch the 7:20 bus
And get to work by nine

It still feels unnatural, wrong
Assigning time limits
To basic needs
Visits with friends
Conversations with family

I don’t own a wristwatch
Let alone my own time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Welcome home


I am the lighthouse keeper
Writing letters in my tower
Keeping company of potted plants
Dogs on short leashes
All of us settled, restless

You will make your riches
Save your lives
Chase your dreams
And I will jot each adventure down
In a bedtime storybook
Wear your pride in my smile
Plant my tiny seeds in familiar ground
And wait.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Grown-up


December is twinkling Christmas light flicker
Shopping malls heavy with heat and sound
Homemade card on the counter
And red ribbon curls under the tree
Senses so full it takes my breath away

As a child, the month stretched on
Vast, an endless desert
Days long and marked
One by one, with tiny chocolate squares
Pulled from a cardboard calendar
Excruciating, ultimately gratifying

Now the days blow under me
Dizzy from skipping rope
Struggle to keep my feet off the ground
Christmas sneaks up, a shock
I will cling to this in sluggish January:
Lights, grandmother's mashed potatoes
Faint cinnamon smell.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Five-minute friend


Jenna, the pretty bank teller
Remembers my name and always smiles
In between the flurry of stamping, counting
She asks thoughtful, personal questions
Tells me how light her Christmas shopping’s gotten
Since her family all moved back to China

She knows how many twenties and fifties I want
Is quick with a certified cheque
But she is more than bank statements and cash counting

She is not the little pen chained to the counter.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Balloon ride


Today I’m a hot air balloon
Something propels my spirit skyward
Corners of my mouth in tow
But what it is, I’ve forgotten

Maybe it’s my name
Scrawled on an envelope in familiar writing
Maybe it’s Christmas chocolate sugar-high
Random coworker giggle-fest
Looming lunch with a loved one
Or just Friday afternoon

From this height, my worries
Are little specks on the pavement
Up, up and away.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Girls night out


Straining my ears to hear my boss’s words
Over the thump-thump-thump of my headache
Skin stretched tight and dry over my face
And long skirt held at my waist with a paperclip
Really the short dress I wore last night

Vague memories of overpriced cocktails
A fancy club on Bloor Street
Full of iron-hair push-up bra women
And suit-and-tie business types
Men so tall they seem like another species
All bopping unrhythmically around the dance floor
Like only stuffy, rich white people can
The after work crowd, all calling in sick today

I buy a round of drinks for my girls
They scream each time the song changes
Wake up to crisp white hotel linens
And empty pockets
Ten hours until I can sleep again
And ten minutes until work starts

Oh, the things we do in the name of
Friendship and spontaneity
I'll kick myself today and tomorrow
But someday I will look back
And be content with my youth.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Teodora


Teo with her smile alight
Come to make the morning bright
Yellow sweater, rosy cheeks
A hint of accent when she speaks

Grinning a mischievous smile
When the boss is off to trial
She visits me to breathe, relax
I lure her out with nuts and snacks

Teo with her quirky tales
When the conversation fails
Dancing like a joyful rover
When the day is nearly over

Sighing with her mouth turned down
When she’s gotten pushed around
Now she leaves for peace of mind
Miss her, we who stay behind

She gives us gifts to say goodbye
A note that makes Alicia cry
Keep in touch, I won’t forget her
Let her know me ever better.

For Teo, who likes rhyming poems and who will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Downtown in December


Downtown has always been a summer friend
Bid farewell to when the days
Grow short with my time
Kensington Sundays long passed
And all those sidewalk patios closed

Still, there are joys for new eyes
Daring cyclists glide on a wake of slush
Cookie-cutter pigeon footprints in the snow
And the snooty Queen Street fashionistas
Surrendered to ski jackets and winter boots.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Humanity

This poem has been taken down for submission to a publication. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

House hunting


Talking to the realtor
Andrew says, "It costs a bit to get someone
To come in and inspect the house
But it's worth every penny"
Strongly, casually
As though he learned from experience
Instead of from the lips of his father

Sometimes I catch him
Spouting off facts and opinions
Something he heard five minutes ago
Committed to memory, source forgotten
He breathes out the words
And they become his own

It used to make my eyes roll
I thought it was the ego-flogging
Gold-star boasting
In which I occasionally, self-loathingly indulge
But love is learning
To see someone through the glass
Without catching your own reflection

He's no peacock
Just frightened in strange surroundings
Subconsciously rehearsed statements
Spoken confidently in his own voice
Lend a sense of control
Make-believe familiarity
The little sip of denial
That gets us all through the day.

Sometimes love is just nodding your head
And pretending not to notice.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Strange company


Waiting for the Queen streetcar
I find myself in the company
Of a one-legged man with a bicycle
Amplifier in a gym bag swung over one shoulder
His guitar case tips into the street and he screams
I prop it against the shelter glass for him
Slurring and excitable
He's either drunk or crazy or both.

Eyes blazing and unsteady
He complains in his scratchy, mumbling voice
About how it's too cold to play today
How long and painful his commute home is
How the Asian guy behind me is blocking his view
Prolonged small talk
No more or less awkward and commonplace
Than it ever is.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Games of chance and elimination

This poem has been taken down for submission to a publication. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Smile


Lake Ontario whips up the cold wind
And blasts me in the face with it
At the corner of Richmond and John
Shoulders to my ears
Scowl at the damned public security camera
Orwell's lessons well-remembered

A stranger crosses the street
He grins at me and says, "Smile
It's not so bad"
And I'm smiling, involuntarily
Before he finishes his sentence
Friendly strangers get me, every time.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Letters

This poem has been taken down for submission to a publication. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Movie nerd


Laughter spilling out into the hallway
Alexis edits her film school projects
Clips of her best friends
Dressed up as cat people
Picking their noses, pig-tailed
Faces bearded with hair clippings and Vaseline
Her strange sense of humour is little beads
Strung on the storylines around her smile
These things form the three-minute movies
That line my sister’s bookshelf
And my mother’s heart.

Hunting through my closet
For the ingredients of a punk-rock celebrity
Spike up my short hair
Sport the only short plaid kilt I couldn’t part with
Because today I get to be somebody else.

Mary sings “Boom Operator”
To the tune of “Smooth Operator”
As the mic tests begin
Katie makes me beautiful with her eye shadow
And Alexis makes us all three-minute movie stars.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Limbo

This poem has been taken down for submission to a publication. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Farewell, little life lights


I’m in the pit
And the hollow, miserable creatures below
Tear at my heels with clawed fingers
Drag me downward
They want to eat me
Suck the hope and self-worth off my bones
Til I am hollow too.

The angels try to help me
With strength and kind words
But their bodies are beaten and broken
From fighting the longer fight
They are growing hollow now
And yearn to be whole
They blow me bloody kisses
And spread their wings to fly away
Someplace calm and quiet.

I try to be happy for them
To understand
But they will take their light when they go
And the darkness of this place
Will swallow me up
And I am afraid.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Punching bag


The tears catch up to me in the car
Forcefully, finally
After two weeks of chasing

My hate and fear pour out
Big toxic puddle
And Andrew stirs in insight and understanding
When I drink it back up, it’s not so bitter
He says, They’re just miserable old women
Living miserable lives
And I am young and loved and hopeful

It’s hard to be human and good
To speak with love when spitefully bitten
Take a punch from someone who needs to throw one
See the good in people when they hide it away

But I am learning, slowly.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blueberry daydream


Cartons of blueberries, two for a dollar
At the Chinatown fruit market
Where the air is hot, even in November
Stinking with fish and old fruit
And the pigeons hop about the sidewalk out front
Scavengers, waiting for the kill.

A grey old spark of a man
Wrinkled and wintered
Rests his cane against the potato sacks
And crouches by the blueberry cartons
He’s there when I get in the checkout line
And there when I leave
Examining each carton meticulously
Squinting through thick bifocals.

I like to imagine him shuffling home
To his little grey house
He takes out his plump, sweet blueberries
The best fruit a dollar can buy
Washes them tenderly in the sink
He’ll eat them at his kitchen table
From a white porcelain bowl
Close his eyes
Pop them in his mouth one at a time
Hold them, ‘til his tongue turns blue
A delicacy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rubber ducky, you're the one


You and I were best friends
Back when life was simple and safe
When straight As and a close circle of friends
Were meaning, self-esteem
And boys were silly, maddening puzzles.

Sixteen years old
Five-dollar costume jewellery
You’d try on my shortest skirts
And we’d go to all the senior’s parties
Get drunk off attention and Smirnoff Ice.

Somewhere along the way
Reality and responsibility
Pulled down our smiles and hemlines
And now here we stand, disillusioned
Me, restless among my shrunken dreams
And you, struggling under the weight of yours.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Zombies

This poem has been taken down for submission to a publication. Appologies for the inconvenience.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pearl Street


The snow was wet and disappointing
Thin on the pavement like old man’s hair
And the sewers steamed

I walked dark, icy streets
Steps slow and steadfast
Streetlights like yellow cat eyes
And ragged bundle-beds of the homeless
Men were smoking cigarettes out back doors
Faces shiny with sweat and kitchen grease
Carrying their troubles in little bags under their eyes

Shaking my head
I blinked away visions
Shop carts and peasant people
Bells tolling on foggy bridges
Strained spies’ ears

Too little focus
Too much Charles Dickens.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Manifesto


Her bedroom is an art show
Haphazard magazine collage
Thick black marker on the wall, quotes and drawings
Photo-clad window ledge
Paintings and posters
Silk screens and stickers
Souvenirs of subway rides, first dates, conversations
Gifts from the roadside
Her floor, a minefield of trinkets and earring backs
You pay admission with the heels of your feet

Everything she owns becomes her manifesto
Even her skin, scarred and pierced
Hair dyed
Face painted
It’s all her canvas
An ever-changing masterpiece

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ghost town


November is a ghost town
Dead trees, silence
Except the faint crackle of brittle leaves against the ground
Scratching, scrambling of squirrels on tree bark
Haunting moan of the wind.

In the evening
Twisting, reaching tree limb fingers
Silhouetted against a hazy moon
All it takes is faint footsteps behind
Dark crevices in hedges
To spook you into a run
Panting, fog-breathed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Another lesson

This poem has been taken down for submission to a publication. Appologies for the inconvenience.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Up north


Quarter past midnight
Johnny sings loudly
Changes the words of popular songs
To something involving poo or boners
Grabs a handful of Mary's long brown hair
And bends her over
Thrusts against her ass
She snorts with laughter.

Three a.m.
Power out, pajama-clad
Bare feet resting on beer bottle-smothered coffee table
Alexis lights a joint from one of the candles
Old not-so-scary stories
Fresh urban legends
Six run out to light fireworks in the snow
And two watch from the window
Enjoying the last minutes of music
Before the laptop battery dies.

Snow falls all night long
And the cottage grows cold
We ward it off:
Knit slippers and ugly grey sweater
Laughter and beer-buzz
Two to a bed is always warmer.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Overcast and Dreamy

This poem has been taken down for submission to a publication. Appologies for the inconvenience.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday

This poem has been taken down for submission to a publication. Appologies for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

510 King


This poem is scheduled for publication in a forthcoming issue of The Antigonish Review.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chicken scratch


Mona draws a squiggle
Three loops
and says, "That's how you do his signature."
I try, and somehow it looks forced, false
Childish
Like my own, ugly signature
that I can never do right, either
when under pressure.

A better drawer than a printer
A better liar than a forger
I have to make my words meaningful
to make them beautiful.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Amanda Walther


As you walk away
The swimming in my head begins to clear
Please don’t think I’m cold
Just dry-mouthed
Trapped in my head
I know there were words
But all I can remember is
Blonde hair
You standing too close
Horse and unicorn.

It’s not the stage that makes me dizzy
I’ve been star-struck since the moment we met.

Fidelity, fidelity, fidelity


Casual conversation over loudspeaker heartbeat
Eye contact like boiling oil
Won’t break ‘til it scalds me
Equal parts pain and pleasure.

Short, chance meetings
Always more to say
Constant supervision
Infinite, eternal sexual tension.

Is it all in my head?
Does it matter?

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Pox on Queen West


Queen West is crowded on a Friday afternoon,
Full of blazered, briefcased businesspeople,
Black-eyeliner teenager girls
With neon asymmetrical bobs
And their tight-jeaned, bescarfed boyfriends,
Long-haired homeless men selling fifty-cent newspapers
I smile at them all as we pause together
To look at the street-side carts of tacky beaded jewellery
Or huddle together to watch Peter Riedel balance his rocks

Queen Street still holds its charms
But it’s lost some authenticity
Ever since the big fashion chains
Spread out from the Eaton’s Centre like cancer
Plaguing the small business Queen staples,
Esprit cozied up to Fashion Crimes
And Guess Jeans snuggling Steve’s Music

Will Toronto look just like any other city
By the time Victor Frazer’s bike-chain mural
Has faded off the sidewalk?

Seven and Twenty-two


I have imaginary conversations with myself at age seven
Just to make sure we’re still the same person, deep down
Hopping like a rabbit,
Stockings on her head for ears,
She says she can’t understand why I took journalism
But is happy I still write fiction
Turns her nose up at my girly ruffled skirt
But approves of my boyish haircut.

On lazy Saturday afternoons
We watch cartoons together
Eating the cold, leftover pizza
That has always been abundant in my house
I advise her on which books to read
And she chatters on about her crush on my fiancé.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Little girl magic


From the little window out the back subway train
The world faces behind us
Dusty and red
Train tracks glistening gold in the sunrise
I would have missed it, little girl
If you hadn’t turned in your seat, bright-eyed
Pressed your nose against the glass
Reminded me how to see magic in plain surroundings

With my eyes, I’ll make you this promise:
Never to give up my children habits
Of singing along with the printer
Having conversations with elevators when I’m the sole passenger
Or kissing my letters goodbye before mailing them.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bitch Lessons


I don’t even dislike my quasi-boss,
But when she smiles passive aggressively,
Tells me to take out all my commas
And print the letter again,
Says, "You never put a comma before 'and,'
It's not proper,"
Something in me snaps,
Some mutant academic strain of an anger disorder,
And I fight the urge
To drown her in my cup of green tea.
I may be an idiot with the banking,
But I know punctuation.

At lunch, Mona drops her voice to a whisper,
Tells us the secrets of how she got a raise,
Got her vacation pay,
Got even,
By being a huge bitch.
I take notes in my head,
Wondering: if I was a bigger bitch,
Would I have stood up for myself?
Smiled right back at my quasi-boss,
Shoved my CP style guide at her
And said, Look it up,
Instead of sitting here stewing,
Fantasizing about her hanging off the cliffs of hell,
Of grinding a cleated heel into her knuckles,
Screaming, “My punctuation is fucking flawless, bitch!”

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today I miss university


The bookkeeper calls me into her office
And I dawdle on my way,
Thinking, “Oh God,
What have I done now?”
She asks me straightforward questions
And I make a lot of thinking sounds,
Looking stupid, as usual,
Until she sucks the air in coldly through her teeth,
Realizing that I’ve somehow managed
To mess things up more than usual this week.
I apologize profusely, sincerely,
Thinking, “I’m so good
At not making the same mistake twice.
Now if I could just stop fucking up to begin with.”

I want to drag in my old university papers,
Report cards,
I.Q. tests,
Some way to prove
I’m not the idiot I keep acting like,
That it’s the job that makes me stupid,
No ways to show off in typing and banking,
Just plenty of ways to make mistakes.

Today I miss essays and exams,
Classroom discussions,
A world where even a hundred silly little errors
Couldn’t hide my intellect.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Crabs


Last night I dreamt I had crabs,
Not tiny, twitching insects
But big, bright-pink pincer crabs,
Plastic, with painted smiles
Like children’s toys.
I pulled them out of shallow holes in my upper leg
Like sand
One by one
And they crawled around the subway floor.

That’s what I get
For tossing and turning myself to sleep,
Obsessing,
Wondering if the dull pain in my left side
Is kidney stones
Or ovarian cancer
Or food poisoning.

I wake relieved
To find it’s only my usual hypochondria,
And my disturbing, obsessive mental image for the day
Has turned from illness
To smiling crabs.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Our love


Everlasting girly-girl,
Alicia asks, “What’s the most romantic thing
He’s ever done for you?”
And I flinch,
Thinking back to last week
When I linked my arm in his,
Smiling starry-eyed,
And begged him to send flowers to my office
This Valentine’s Day.
He asked, “Will it be expensive?”
And I said probably,
But it would make me happy.
After all, I’ve never had an office before.

Our love is not one
Of romantic fantasy and chick-flick clichés,
No sloppy-fingered guitar, voice-cracking compositions,
No fighting in the rain,
No fancy French restaurant wines
Or virginal, white-lace love-making.

We’ve learned to side step
The expectations laid out for us
Minefield-style
By unmarried (or unhappily married) daydreamers
Who think they know what love is
Because they saw it on TV.

His face is too honest for surprises,
Let alone secrets and lies,
But he gets my jokes,
Lets me be the man sometimes,
Holds my hand inside his on cold days.

Our love is friendship first, always,
With no room for guesswork,
Because we have what we want
Because we ask for what we want
Because we know what we want.

So thank you in advance, Andrew,
For the beautiful flowers.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Art clash

This poem has been taken down for submission to a publication. Appologies for the inconvenience.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A friend on the bus


Patrick and I take the same bus
three days a week
but sit apart.

The first time, I was excited to see him.
Unexpected eye contact,
flash of recognition,
familiar smile,
take the seat beside him,
the usual, cliche questions:
"What are you doing now?"
"How's your family?"
listening with genuine interest
that grows between long-time schoolmates
who have taken different paths.

Subsequent meetings turn challenging,
work hard to keep conversation going,
comments on the weather,
awkward silences,
remembering, unspokenly,
that we were never that close.

The excuses start:
He's busy with school work,
I'm braindead and grumpy in the morning,
and now we sit apart,
avoiding eye contact,
pretending we don't see each other,
reading our books.

But when he holds the door for me
I smile at him
a real smile.
I like you more than ever, Patrick,
now that mutual understanding
has replaced the small-talk.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Knit one, purl two


From what cob-webbed domestic shelf of my heart
Has the desire to knit unexpectedly sprung forth?
Certainly, I have no predisposition to it.

Clumsy, scab-knuckled fingers contorting
Slowly, awkwardly
Knitting needles frequently poking
The standoffish woman in the seat beside me
I knit one, purl two
All the way form Spadina to Kennedy Station
Final product: a knotted mess of wool
Much like the matted clumps
The would result in my childhood hair
From climbing sappy trees.

In spite of this discouragement
I continue to weave my tangled eyesore
Content just to watch my fingers move
Concentrating on the present task
Breathing easily
Free from the weight of my expectations.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I want a window

This poem has been taken down for submission to a publication. Appologies for the inconvenience.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dual Octobers


This poem has been taken down for submission to a publication. Appologies for the inconvenience.

Missing Steve


This poem has been taken down for submission to a publication. Appologies for the inconvenience.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Thing about Honesty


The expression, "It's not what you say,
it's how you say it,"
only goes so far.
Sometimes I end up torturing you,
telling you unnecessary, inevitable truths
that would crush weaker men.

Complete honesty
is poison to the listener
but sweet, sweet ecstasy to the speaker.


Rush Hour


The little old lady at St. George Station
stands off to the side of the crowded stairs.
Kind girls with shy smiles
and gentlemen in expensive suits
offer to let her into
the platform-bound cattle stream.
One after another
she politely refuses,
motions to her cane,
Smiling.

Old age has stolen the quickness from her pace
but she has all the time in the world.

The Happiness Ceiling


Even after all the good times past,
All the exciting future plans,
Similar interests we held as children,
the laughter,
understanding,
great sex,
your way of making me feel good about myself
when others make me feel incompetent,
the random acts of fate that keep pushing us together,
the ring on my finger,
yes, the love,
and all other irrefutable evidence
that you and I are perfect for each other,
I still sometimes lose your face in fantasies
and lust after lesser ideals.

How easily we forget our blessings.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Betrayal


My sister, who never does housework,
lets it slip to my mom that she's been raking leaves
at her boyfriend's house.
My mother sees this as betrayal in the first degree.

Mom looks away coldly,
Struggling to control emotion,
Makes analogies
to try to inspire
guilt
an apology
a desire to clean the house.

She asks, "Why do you care more about his house than ours?"
and my Judas-sister makes lame excuses
about convenience and situation
but we daughters both know
the real reason why we prefer cleaning others' houses above our own.
We won't come out and say it to Mom,
There are limits to our betrayal.

Truth is, we gave up on our house long ago,
Run down,
Full of slobs,
There's no hope for any kind of progress.

Cleaning her boyfriend's house is building a structure out of Lego,
Cleaning ours is playing a game of Jenga.

I'm moving out in six months
and it feels like I'm graduating from high school again:
Can't bear another minute of the circumstance
but I sure will miss the people.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mona the Witch

This poem has been taken down for submission to a publication. Appologies for the inconvenience.

Button shop


This poem has been taken down for submission to a publication. Appologies for the inconvenience.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Poet on Adelaide West


I've been trying to write a book since I was thirteen years old
and it's always the same old story:
about forty pages written,
then I tear it apart, editing it to death
before it takes its second step

Maybe bad intentions are slowing me down
I don't want to sit and write the story
I just want to be something more than the sum of my
pathetic pay stubs
lousy job title
relationship status
parents' pride

I take great gulps of distraction
sips of denial
casually watching the drama of my own destiny:
Will I be an author on the Danforth
or stay a poet on Adelaide West?