Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Melancholy


Standing in line at a department store
holding light bulbs, window blinds, a Brita filter,
I think,
        The only constructive thing
        I’m doing with my life these days
        is buying a house and getting married

and it’s one small stab to Shayla,
one kick in the balls to feminism in general.

I walk home in the rain, thinking
how everybody wants to be a main character,
how we’re all just waiting for something to happen,
for the story to start,
and I am no exception.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Migration


It’s now the end of June, and if I were ten years old
all my summer things would be packed up
in the trunk of my mother’s silver Chevy
and we’d be speeding northward, our back seat
piled high like hope and expectation.

Singing along to mixed tapes, I would be cramped,
sharing the passenger seat with a big collie-lab mix
who would spend the full two-hour trip standing
on my scrawny legs with his head out the window
sneezing me wet.

My little sister, in the back, would cry dramatically
at being torn apart from her dearest friend for two months,
then promptly fall asleep against the window,
even with her leg space eaten up by duffle bags
and her lap strewn with potted plants.

Mom would have spent the day packing and loading,
impossibly busy but with her brow like a clear morning sky
and when we’d lost the glow of the city lights she’d sigh
deeply, reclaiming the country air.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Good morning Chinatown


I wait patiently in my streetcar seat
for the clouded morning to decide
just what kind of day she wants to be.

From the window I watch
the markets in Chinatown
nudge back their bars and
unfold their fruits
like saplings
pushing through earth.

Though dawn remains
a strange and foreign land
I do enjoy the quiet early hours
when the inner chattering that readily stays
up the night with me for company
still sleeps.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Waiting


I used to sit on the pink velvet couch
forsaken in the concrete basement hallway
of the art building, a sharp contrast
like a pearl basking within its drab oyster shell

then a pert little flea bit me
on the back of my hand, below the wedding ring,
and I took to a metal foldout chair that was hidden
in the back, behind wooden desks
and piles of brick

I sit in the cold, florescent hallway
        (that looks so uncannily
        like the beginning of a nightmare
        I sometimes have to pinch myself)
reading my book and glancing at my watch
and when strangers coming out of basement offices
ask, "are you waiting for someone?"
I never know what to say

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I steal a corkscrew

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

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One part lady, two parts chick


Strangers on the subway watch with confusion
the juxtaposition of items I pull onto my lap
from my canvas tote:

a gold umbrella

a Catwoman notebook

one hamburger bun, still in the bag

a box of print-your-own wedding invitations

Stephen King’s Cujo, paperback

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sarah comes to visit


We get a visit from my cousin
from PEI, Calgary, Guelph, Toronto, Montreal
and soon Vancouver
-- the ultimate Canadian girl.

No matter how overworked and underslept,
Sarah always enters like a burst of fireworks.

She makes herself at home --
scoops up chunks of my ice cream with her finger,
eats peanut butter out the jar with a spoon,
stirs up my thoughts with her words.

When she leaves I feel like writing
for the first time in weeks.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dear Lucy Maud Montgomery

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

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Memento


there are shades of other people in this office
like faded smells on faded jeans the dog sniffs
names on file folders in the company server
layers of handwriting in notebooks

after I leave
some new girl will know me
by paper butterflies pressed
between minutebook sheets
scraps of poetry hidden deep
in the system files



Check out my latest post True Love DOESN'T wait on LAID.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

folk concert flower

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

say the magic word


even despite the flickering fluorescent lights
suggestive of impending axe murders
there's something nostalgic
about the dusty basements of old office buildings
their cold cement stomachs and cardboard flotsam
their shallow potential
and vacancy

they are private, secret
passwords birthed from children's lips
love letters written in number code
passed from sweaty hands under steel school desks
they can belong to you

like a rusted hood ornament in a box under your bed
like a clearing in the forest you give name to

Monday, June 15, 2009

You make exceptions for your friends


You make exceptions for your friends, we all do.

Starfish talks in movie theatres. Sideways Vagina occassionally litters. Nooder loves the crappy song on the radio, unaware that it's actually a cover of a good song. Banana voluntarily listens to top 40's country and Nickleback. Tugboat cares about the label. Miss Jamaica needs a celebrity gossip diet.

Sometimes it occurs to me -- all the assholes
who drive me crazy and fuck up the world
are just my dear, dear friends
with their sole faults.



I love you bitches -- you know who you are.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Antique shop


I lose myself on Queen West
in eight-by-fifteen feet of antique shop
layered thick with gold clocks and china saucers
like the prize-winning five inches of crocheted lace
in the WWI-era paperback I carry with me.

The years resonate in the old wood cabinets
and the five dollar beaded necklaces gossip
amongst themselves over origin stories.

My heart is greened copper, the gleam
of twenty crystal chandeliers
reflected in my sepia toned eyes.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

online gift registry


there’s something graceless
about browsing nest grass online      clicking
through thirty pages of shower curtains
sixteen pages of floor lamps
bouncing proxy balls over company firewalls

at the harking of ceremonial strides
flicking browser windows on and off
across my screen like fickle desires.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

HOME OWNERSHIP!


cheers Andrew
on his knees, teetering upon
a clear green bag of recyclables
in need of crushing.

He is fastidious little bird
weaving a sturdy hearth of
prudence and computer cables;
I am an industrious red ant
arranging grains of sand
into castles towers.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jayson


The restful creaks of an old house at night
sound uncannily like footsteps
up back wooden stairs. I lie wide-eyed
in bed, rods and cones ready in the dark,
unblinkingly watchful of the open door.
Crystal candlestick sweaty
in clenched fingers, strange comfort
like a gun
sleeping beneath a pillow.
Glass is always my makeshift weapon of choice.

I’m thinking about an envelope in my mailbox
with no postage and just one word: a name
no stranger should know.

I’m thinking about a locker on a college campus
that belongs to someone, maybe crazy
                                                                 maybe angry?
about people sitting in parked cars along my street
about basement windows that needs bars.

At midnight I shake Andrew awake
and we search the house. I can sleep then, listening,
unable to tell distant thunder
from the low purr of the subway train.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The back pages


My future mother-in-law, who routinely
uses phrases like jeepers and holy cow, flips
leisurely through penis enlargement ads,
oiled men with bulging leather briefs
and barely-legal girls with starred nipples
on the back pages of the NOW Magazine
on my kitchen table. She says, “Oh, gosh,
I never realized we had such a market for this
sort of thing in Toronto.”

She’s a biology teacher; I’m an adult.
We don’t have to be weird about sex, right?
Conversationally, I point out
the she-male and fetish sections,
my favourite sex columnist
on the back page

and spend the next two hours praying
like the Catholic school girl I was
when I started dating her son,
        Please, Dan Savage, please just this week
        don’t take letters from felchers, fisters, furries,
        or people who eat ice cubes of semen.


As posted on LAID

Friday, June 5, 2009

Watered down


I have nothing to offer
but cold, watery broth,
insubstantial and tasteless
in the hungry mouths
of want and duty.

I want to be a full cup again, a strong brew,
inspiration rolling off my back
like unending curls of thick steam.
With my poignant purposes,
I want to burn tongues.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

If you can't say something nice...


With her usual passive-aggressive giggle,
she leans over the gates of paperwork she’s built for me
and asks –- sincerely, I think -- if I’ve having fun.

God, grant me Tourette Syndrome of the soul;
Let me answer without thought or discretion or mercy,
let bitterness and sarcasm ooze out my pours like toxins.

Let me say the most honest thing I can think of,
which is, incidentally, the cruelest thing:

“I feel nothing for you
but deep, overwhelming sympathy,
because I’m going to blow out of here
like a second wind, like youth and discovery,
and you will stay and stink forever
like stagnant water.”

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ghosts of grandmothers


My 1930s bungalow is haunted by the ghosts
of a dozen sweet, grandmotherly old bitties
too stubborn to part with the worldly possessions
I’ve salvaged from the husks of their homes.

Mrs. Cook lives in a teal box above my stove
full of her collected clipped and typed recipes:
Mum’s Prized Gingerbread
Mary’s Pudding Sauce
Kirkland’s Potato Casserole

She smiles in the scrawls of loopy, cursive
addendums penned at the bottom, reading:
An hour in the oven is far too long!
Check cookies after forty minutes.

Great Aunt M. lives in the plaid couch --
yes, in the cushions, which I wrestle
from their tight, soiled slips -- but fear not!
She cannot be scrubbed out with chemical cleaner
nor scorched out with sunlight
nor carried out in the fresh breeze.

Mrs. Barrington lingers in details, nooks,
in the subtle secrets of a place one only gleams
with time and watchful silence. She rides
in with morning through stained glass windows
and leaves late at night with the faint sigh
of the last subway train.