Friday, April 30, 2010

Jellyfish

I wake with darkness all around
without the wind, without a sound
alone in this vast, black somewhere
there is no sky, there is no ground

Now faintly in the distance there:
a light as fragile as a prayer
Through squinting eyes I’m shocked to spy
a jellyfish glows in the air

First one, then two, then by and by
their numbers start to multiply
They cloud me like a swarm of bees
as full as stars fill up the sky

Their tentacles sway in some breeze
like meadow grass or willow trees
but I know of no plant or spear
whose blades are deadlier than these

How long have I been trembling here?
Could be a minute or a year
In darkness, time cannot be read
and soon despair replaces fear

as deep in my exhausted dread
I grow a longing to be dead
and when it blooms I take a stand
and reach to grasp a glowing thread

I clasp around the see-through strand
but it just passes through my hand
like wine through lips after a toast
My fate is deaf to my command

Forever standing at my post
one question troubles me the most:
which one of us is just a ghost?
Which one of us is just a ghost?


This poem was written "in response" to NaPoWriMo #30: Free day (and farewell) on Read Write Poem. The meter and structure of the poem was based on that of a famous Robert Frost poem.




Photo by Thesupermat



        Do you believe in an afterlife? What do you imagine it will be like?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A message from the Federal Government of Canada

Dear citizens of Canada,

In preparation for the upcoming G8 and G20 summits in Ontario, the following regulations are hereby passed and will take effect as of May 1, 2010:

  • Demonstrators may not be within two (2) kilometres of the location of the event they are protesting at any time.

  • Only members of recognized advocacy organizations have free access to the Designated Protest Zone. Unaffiliated citizens must register for Zone access at least two months in advance.

  • Megaphones are banned within the boundaries of all major Canadian cities.

  • All protest signs are to contain only muted colours and fonts no larger than seventy-two (72) points.

  • Media coverage of all governmental activities is limited to venues with Can-Gov Membership press passes. Independent news venues may purchase passes from the Can-Gov Membership Office in Ottawa at the price of one thousand dollars ($1,000) per pass.

  • Letters to government officials and members of parliament must be typed, printed and no longer than five hundred (500) words in length.

Thank you for your submissive cooperation,

The Federal Government of Canada


I don't even know if this counts as a poem. I've been uninspired and completely preoccupied lately. Anyway, this whatever was written in response to the Toronto Star article All G20 protests will be directed to Trinity Bellwoods Park and NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt #29: Front page news on Read Write Poem.




Photo by John Maclennan



        The right to protest is an important part of democratic society, but we all know that sometimes things get out of hand and go to far. To what degree or in what ways should protesting be limited? Do you think it's acceptable to ask demonstrators to protest the G20 from a public park two kilometres away from the event?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

People watching on the Bloor line

A sweet-faced Asian girl closes her mascaraed eyes and sleeps to headphone lullabies.

A couple with pale skin and dark hair whisper to each other in what sounds like a Slavic language. In Toronto, you need to whisper to have a private conversation; someone is always bound to eavesdrop in your language.

A wisp of an old man has a tan coat and a pointy white beard. Does his beret make him look distinguished, or is he distinguished enough to pull off a beret? Likely the latter.

A young black man wears a Blue Jays baseball cap – the old style, before the Jay looked sulky about how bad his team was doing. He offers his seat to a teetering lady with a cane, but she says no thank you.

A blond-haired construction worker type in a black leather jacket swigs two percent milk from a small carton.

A paunched, plain-Jane flirts with a well-dressed man. Do not be deceived – she is a master of body language. Watch how she giggles, leans in, absently brushes the man’s bicep with her fingers as she talks – and he is bewitched. We both are.




Photo by Bobolink



        Are you a people-watcher too? What kind of people catch your eye?

Monday, April 26, 2010

At confession

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




This poem was written in response to NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt #24: Find a phrase on Read Write Poem. It was inspired by the origin of the phrase "All things must pass" from the biblical verses Matthew 24:6-8 (King James Version).




I love, LOVE The Wizard of Oz



        I was raised Catholic and grew up going to confession from time to time. It’s probably the only part of Catholicism I sometimes miss, although I don’t think I ever truly gave it up (I’m a pretty confessional person in general).

        Think of today’s comment box as a secular confession box: tell me something you’d like to “confess.” It doesn’t have to be a sin or something you feel guilty about; maybe it’s just an observation about yourself that you want to share.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thank you for riding the Celebrity Line

Arriving at Fame. Fame Station.

Priority seating is intended for the beautiful and marketable. Your cooperation is requested.

Arriving at Paparazzi. Paparazzi Station.

Please mind the doors, the doors are now closing. Please do not charge the doors, doors are closing. Passengers, please step back from the doors and wait for the next train. We cannot move on until the doors are cleared. Thank you.

Arriving at Reality TV. Reality TV Station.

Doors are opening. Please mind the gap between your personal and public life.

Your attention please. We are currently experiencing a delay at our Tabloid Station, due to sexual infidelity. Publicists are on site, and we hope to be moving on shortly.

We are being delayed, waiting for the scandal to clear. We expect to be moving shortly.

Please be advised that imperfection is not permitted anywhere on the Celebrity Line. Violators will be slandered.

The delay we were experiencing at our Tabloid Station has now cleared and normal service has resumed.

Arriving at Has-Been. Has-Been Station.

Please remember to collect your self-worth and exit through the common doors.

Arriving at Infomercial. Infomercial Station. This is our final stop. All passengers, please exit the train.

Thank you for riding the Celebrity Line.


This poem was written in response to NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt #23: unlikely couples on Read Write Poem.






        Do you go out of your way to follow celebrity gossip (by that I mean, do you read/purchase celebrity magazines or watch entertainment report programs)? Why or why not?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Craigslist special

Andrew’s bicycle has run away from our garage.

No, it can’t have been stolen; what thief
would steal his shiny red bike, but leave mine
leaning against the stowed pile of wood scraps,
broken furniture, junk run inevitables?

Don’t look at me like that.

Oh sure, she’s an ugly old clunker,
sad like a matted cat with it’s ear torn off
or a broken umbrella sopped in a puddle.
Her kickstand is a balancing act,
her chain a braying barnyard,
her brakes a test of faith.

I see your point.

Yeah, I could buy a new bike
(maybe a retro-style cruiser),
but it would be all will and no
fate, it would never satisfy
my want of serendipity, my love
for what is overlooked or
discarded.


Before you start lecturing me on bicycle safety, let me say that I recently took my bike in to be fixed up (and it cost me over twice what I originally paid for the damn thing). She's still not going to win any beauty contests, but at least she's road-worthy.




Photo by Sam Javanrouh
(Check out more of this guy's photos; they're AWESOME!)




        Do you have something old or worn in your life that you choose not to replace out of fondness or sentimentality?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Perfect smile

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




This poem was written in response to NaPoWriMo #21: perfectly flawed on Read Write Poem.




Theme from Weeds - I've always loved this song



        Can you think of a flaw or imperfection in your life that you like, or even treasure?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Born of a tiger

Little friend, you were born of a tiger
like the hills were born of mountains.

The tiger sleeps
in the curve of your claw,
in the twitch of your tail,
the slink of your spine;
she wakes
behind your eyes, huge
and green as the jungle,
when you stalk shadows
that remind you of things
you’ve never seen.

Little friend, you make me wonder
what I was born of.


This poem was written in response to NaPoWriMo #18: meow! on Read Write Poem.




Photo by Steven Bennett



        What characteristics of humanity do you think are leftovers from when we were "wild beasts"?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Katie teaches me to play with fire

After the dinner plates are cleared,
Katie dips an impish finger into the hot wax
pooled in the silver tin of the tea light
and watches it dry, wincing and fascinated.
Then she flicks it off with her neon thumbnail:
a thin sheaf of wax, round and smooth
as a bald head.

The first rule of my house, Katie knows,
is NO PLAYING WITH FIRE!
announced during her phase of
sparking tissues in the house, holding them
with a careful hand and blowing them out
seconds before they blistered her
– a strange game to someone
who fell against a wood stove as a child,
though the memory is forgotten
and the burns long healed.

RULE #1 AT SHAYLA’S HOUSE IS
NO PLAYING WITH FIRE!

but this is not my house. I dip a caution finger in
the melted wax and tease at the flame with Katie
until she pinches it, fearlessly,
with licked fingers.


This poem was written in response to NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt #17: something elemental on Read Write Poem.




Photo by Roi Boshi



        How do you feel about fire? Does it frighten you or are you prone to playing with it?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Walking to school in the rain

Morning dew is reborn as a heavy fog,
coating my lungs, forcing its scent upon me: marshy
musk of waterlogged soil like an old kitchen sponge
and bloated, doggy stink of a thousand earthworms
drowning; acrid puddles, sopped up with stained sneakers.

After the clouds dissolve like bickering, the worms
will rot on the playground pavement
in dry black coils.


This poem was written in response to NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt #16: what's that smell? on Read Write Poem.




Photo by Bah Humbug



        What does the smell of rain remind you of?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Green was born of the grass

I water you, you bear me fruit
(lover, mender, season changer)
but green was born of the grass in Dublin
My heart recalls, you were never a stranger

You cheer for me upon my stage
(planner, dreamer, rearranger)
Green was born of the grass in Dublin
My heart recalls, you were never a stranger

Let’s not fret about the next part
We are always off to a good start

Sprout, but stay just as you are
(speaker, listener, thought exchanger)
Green was born of the grass in Dublin
My heart recalls, you were never a stranger


This poem was written in response to NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt #15: carrying a tune on Read Write Poem. It uses lines from my earlier poem, April green grass.




St. Stephen's Green, Dublin
Photo by Höstblomma




        Part of the poetry prompt today involved reworking good lines from a poem that otherwise didn't quite work. In whatever form you choose to work or create in, how often do you go back and revise old work? What do you think is the attraction or benefit of revision?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Double standards 2

If I ever find you in
                       desire for
another woman,
                       the forbidden,
I’ll kick
                       this habit;
that bitch’s
                       making me crazy.
teeth
                       bound, aching
in
                       restraint


This is my attempt at a cleave poem, which is really three complete and related poems in one. Tricky stuff to write! This was written in response to NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt #14: you want me to write a what? on Read Write Poem.




Painting by Haynes King



        Jealousy is generally considered a negative emotion, but the fact that it survived throughout human evolution means it must serve some beneficial purpose. What, if any, do you think is the upside of jealousy?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Twenty-four

Someday I will look back
and wonder, “When did these dark circles
under my eyes become permanent?”
and the answer will be
“At twenty-four.”

Dr. Google informs me
the circles are a result of aging,
not enough sleep, too much alcohol,
stress, sun exposure, painkillers, allergies,
heredity, bad circulation, leaky capillaries,
various bodily deficiencies, clogged chakras.
He writes me a prescription for topical
hotdog condiments.

Girl, your looks are going downhill;
better get to work on that
winning personality.


No, I'm not having body image issues, I'm just tired and prone to cynical humour today; we all know I'm far too conceited to ever really feel ugly.






        I too am one of those people who consults Dr. Google for everything, and thus perpetually thinks she has some form of serious illness. Anyone else suffer from Chronic Internet Diagnosis Obsessive Syndrome?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Name

Your were a gift
from two of the rare people
who love me more than I love myself,
who taught me by example.
I thought you made me odd,
and later, special.

Like me, you are
soft-footed, unusual,
sometimes mispronounced.
Like my family, like my body,
I did not choose you
but I belong to you.


This poem was written in response to NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt #11: The thing you didn't choose on Read Write Poem




Photo by Carlo Cabanilla



        How did you get your name? Do you think it suits you?

Friday, April 9, 2010

The why-are-we-heres, like a spring cold

This is the first winter that didn't end with the trill
of my mother whistling to her cardinal from the garden
as she massages life back into the knotted soil;
like a fish sprung from a plastic pail, this one only flapped
on the pavement awhile and then died, bruised and broken.

In quiet moments, the talon of mortality taps me
on the shoulder and I startle, recognizing the seasons
as the pins on a music box cylinder: truth, bitter as
licking the envelope of a suicide note. We reject
spring and fall as a shifting lever; they are threads
wattled into the fabric of memory.

My new conceptualization of God:
an omnipotent octopus at a loom,
weaving marionette strings.

I'll stow these thoughts away now
and surrender myself to the comfort of watching
the vastness of the immense night sky, bound
within the tiny frame of an airplane window:
clouds one way, stars another.


This poem was written in response to NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt #9: your mission on Read Write Poem






        What do you think is the best balance between looking at the "big picture" and living in the present?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Double standards

I have, and therefore demand, the caliber of dog
that can be trusted to sit alone in the dining room
with the Thanksgiving turkey cooling on the table,
even though I’m the weaker breed: my master
would give thanks over takeout Chinese, blaming
only himself for forgetting there are limits
to even a good dog's loyalty.

There is harmony in inequality: if you serve people
identical plates, they’re only going to swap
          trade you my yolks for your egg whites?
          anyone want my home fries?

because cravings vary. Some people
can complain to a houseplant and some
need to confess all to a crowded stadium.
Like children, maybe we should live
by different rules.


The poem was written in response to NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt #8: unusual love connections on Read Write Poem.




Photo by Vaguely Artistic



        Can you think of an imbalance or double standard in one of your friendships or relationships (ie. in a friendship the responsibility of keeping in touch falls to one person or in a relationship one partner's sex drive dictates the couple's sex life)? Does it bother you or do you accept it as part of the unique dynamic?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Andrew buys new shoes

a whole store full of new shoe smell, fresh grey
mesh and plastic hideousness to replace torn old
athletic running shoes under your desk, Grade 2 fashion
nonsense, you dress like Forest Grump but never run
and I’m still proud to hold your hand on the escalator


This was my stab at writing a tanka, written in response to NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt #7: love, funny side up on Read Write Poem. Gotta love daily poetry prompts for the month of April.




Never thought I'd have an opportunity to post this video.



        To what degree should you try to change someone in a relationship and to what degree should you accept them as they are?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Give us this day our daily poem

Your well-intentioned friends keep trying
to frame me as your great ambition, career choice,
and sometimes you let them; otherwise,
you might find yourself trapped in the elevator
making small talk with your receptionist label.
We both know it’s a lie though.

I’m the cup of green tea you’ve made a habit
of drinking three times a day, or
the way you need to at least skim the news
before you feel you can do anything productive.
I’m the hour of reading you squeeze in
on the commute, a thoughtless duty
that makes the day whole.

I’m your 10 minute, 10 a.m. diary entry
scribbled on scrap paper, just a quick shake
of your words so they don’t gather dust,
just a quick scan of your inner dialogue
for signs of unrest, treason.




Composition by Pierre Dmitrienko



        What is one of your daily rituals?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bring a book, save a friendship

On the driveway, legs wobbly
from standing too long, waiting
for my brother-in-law to take a breath
so I can steer this conversation
in the general direction of a goodbye,
I wonder what quirky quality in myself
must drive the people in my life
absolutely bat shit crazy.

Because it’s always something.
I’ve come to recognize and anticipate
that stage in a new friendship
when you first realize that this person
is, in fact, a fallible human being;
you find yourself sitting alone (yet again)
in a crowded restaurant, the waiter
drumming his fingers as the clock
ticks steadily past your seven-thirty
reservation, and it suddenly hits you
– this new friend is one of those people,
those always late people. We all have
those friends, and most of us learn
to bring a book.

It’s my own fault; I forgot my book
at home today, and now I am resigned
to wait for my brother-in-law to stop
talking, but – what lung capacity! –
the man never takes a breath.


Check out my new LAID post, Technological Developments in Sex.







        What "quirky quality" of yours do you think is the one that drives your friends crazy sometimes?