Friday, January 30, 2009

Muckraker

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

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Focal point


Today I follow the city streets
Down to the horizon, with my eyes
Learn what looms there
Spadina cleaves for Knox College
St. Mary keeps watch over Adelaide West
And famed, faddish Yonge Street
Stretches on and on, endless

Silly daily missions, necessary
To keep my thoughts anchored to the present
Not drifting up to the barbed future like
Balloons popping on your stucco ceiling.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Androgyny

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Subway suicide


I laughed aloud when the bureaucrats put up
Great, vain fences along the Bloor Viaduct
Now it costs $2.75 to kill yourself

We stand in unison, crowding to get off the bus
Then spy the procession of flashing lights
Ambulance, fire truck, cop cars
Bent around the corner of the station
And back down we go like a curtain call bow

All of us twenty minutes late to work
Because one soul would rather
Sit on the third rail
Kiss the front of the subway train
Than live another existential minute
He would fall over himself laughing at us
If he still had a consciousness
Let alone a mouth

I don’t mourn or begrudge suicide
Please, sacrifice yourself to the overpopulated planet
Take control of death the only way you can
I intend to join you someday
Though surely in the dénouement of my life
And by some more considerate means:
My last living act will not be
Contributing to rush hour traffic

In the meantime, I’m delighted to be late for work
When it can’t be helped or blamed
Small step toward making peace
With my mortal lack of control
Rest my head on its shoulder like a lover
And enjoy the shuttle bus change of scenery.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I am Bea


You never realize how close you’re not with someone
Until you don’t cry at their funeral
Don’t miss them when they’re gone

I wish I could be like my cat
Unabashedly joyful
When the blights of my life finally die
Settle into their old patch of sunlight
And put on jolly weight

I wish I could be like my grandmother
Cry real, genuine tears
Be free of the guilt that comes
From not mourning what is gone forever
Not even a woman we actually loved
Enough to put her name in a silly song

I am Bea
I drink tea
Won’t you dance around with me?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Gentleman's bet

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

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dear brave, scared kindred spirit


Lunchtime chatter about reality TV and
How much men should spend on engagement rings
Makes my heart ache for you, old friend

You who always challenge what you’re told
New concepts, rebel ways
Strong in the face of pain and death
And weak when snared by convention, the mundane
Shuttering before the dark abyss of uncertainty
Terrified, but stubbornly meeting its eye
We don’t always get the same answers
But we ask the same questions

Our letters have missed each other
But you hold my thoughts, always
With your mulling candor.

Yes, Claud, this one is about you. :) Apparently we mailed each other letters at the same time, this time.

Party at Mary's


The parties sure have changed since childhood
Hand-delivered neon cards reading, “You’re invited!”
Gone the way of loot bags and parental supervision
Now the parties start at ten p.m., not a.m.
And when people clamor around, act silly
Eventually pass out right there on the floor
It’s not just a sugar-high

Anticipation’s the same; some of the people are too
But my floral dress with the puffy sleeves
Seems somehow inappropriate now.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Friend and rival


What do you and I really have in common
Besides laughter and inflated ego
Alcohol and common cause
A shared terror that our youth
Will wither and grey
Before we do something, anything

We hold, when you talk and I write
But our fickleness tears it down, always
Your heart, always beating
For the girls you can’t have
My conviction, subject to doubt
And change of season

To the end, you and I will still be
Locked in our incessant battle of wit and spirit
You with your charm and mind games
And I with my cruel, cruel truths.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hello out there


I’m captivated by graffiti
Spray paint mural on alleyway brick
“Love letters only” scrawled on a mailbox
Monikers scratched on subway glass
Small recognition, anonymous infamy

Waiting for the bank teller
I scribble reflective messages on the counter
Spell out “hi” with a penny and pen chain
Tiny greeting to the outside world
Micro message to observant strangers
Faint broadcast signal
In search of kindred spirits.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Talking to strangers

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

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The first page

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

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Different breed of music lover


I love the way you listen to music
Deliberately, without distraction
Not constant in the background, as others do
It floods your senses, consciousness
Carries you into it like the tide

Point out the parts I miss
Time signatures, key changes
Six beats over five, theme continued
Take it apart, always, like a scientist
Fold it out for me, a road map

Naïve of your gift, privately proud
You unwittingly attract the only girl
Turned on by your thoughtless ability
To recognize, name the classical pieces
We hear in cheesy commercial clips
In the background of Looney Tunes shorts

I love the waves of the water
And I can move with them, flawlessly
Make myself a part of them, effortlessly
But only you can see beneath the surface.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Spin

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

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Paper mate

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

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Painfully cold, said the radio DJ


Exhaust pipe lungs sighing out white clouds of breath
Nose hairs freeze on inhalation
Wind against my face like wasps or rejection
Double-up the layers and shiver my way around town

I’ll thaw myself out with steaming tea, small talk
Glow of warmer memories by the hearth of my heart.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Control freak


It turns me on
To watch them play-fight
Watch him hold her down

I never told you
My fantasies are not about
The humiliation of submission
But the humiliation of being overpowered
Forced

To seduce a control freak
You must remove her choices
But I will never let you hold me down
My stubbornness matches your strength
I envy more passive girls

It wouldn't be sex without a paradox.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Oh wise daughter


Don't ask my advice
I'm full of frank, painful truths
Biting retrospective insights
Depressing, realistic predictions

I know why your heart is broken
But not how to piece it back together.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Snapshot

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

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Answers


We’re all of us looking for the same answers
Each in a different place

Mona wants to skip town for three months
Live on a mountain somewhere
Breathe in the good, sacred air
And let fate shuffle her cards back into place
Rekindle what has burnt out
Wait for signs and be awake to see them

Mom looks to God
Katie polls her friends
And I bow down before the written word
My mountain, the public library
Introverted straight-A agnostic

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Allegro non molto


I waited shivering in the cold and snow
To hear the end of Vivaldi’s “Winter”
Complete with visuals, atmosphere

I thought of Andrew, who abhors snow
But who taught me about the little effort, sacrifice
That makes an experience that much more.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

City girl, country girl


Tell me tales of wild-hearted children
Dickon, the boy who speaks to birds
Rescues orphaned baby lambs
Little Heidi, homesick for her mountain
And I’ll tell you about a girl
Who kissed flowers, frogs
Spent summers among the trees and lily pads
And was dragged crying
Each September back to the city
Where now, all grown up, she refuses to leave

She waits, impatient for a summer
That smells of liquor and car exhaust
Not sap and raspberry bushes.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sister Sunday


Slouching against the back of the padded booth
Katie rolls her eyes around her granny-style glasses
Disappointed with the soggy julienne salad
The waitress recommended
Lazy pigtails, fingers cut off her gloves
She piles the tomatoes onto her coffee cup saucer
Sneaks strips of processed cheese onto my plate
And guarded glances at the waitress’s dented, leathery face
A warning to smokers and meth addicts

At the thrift store next door we sing aloud
To the music pumped through overhead speakers
Unselfconscious, like in our own house
She tries on a red rooster tuque
Pink sweater from the men’s section
I scour the shelves for a book worth reading
Present it to her, proud
Like a trophy, dragon’s head
Shell out for a retro rhinestone belt
A tray that makes star-shaped ice cubes

The day feels both vivid and hazy, like a dream
Modern-day Norman Rockwell painting
My favourite kind of Sunday.