SEE ALL TAGS & MOODS
I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
The river is famous to the fish.
The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.
The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
I never thought Michiko would come back
after she died. But if she did, I knew
it would be as a lady in a long white dress.
It is strange that she has returned
as somebody's dalmatian. I meet
After the celebrations,
people, TV channels, telephones,
the year’s recently-corrected digit
finally falls asleep.
Between the final night and the first dawn
a jagged piece of sky
That feeling of my soul getting yanked
I wonder where my soul hides when I’m sick
My heart feels as if it’s getting beat up
Is it because the restless ocean is clumping up?
An eagle egg fell into a farmer’s chicken shed
and when it hatched the farmer gave it chicken feed
even though he was the king of birds. The farmer
clipped the eaglet’s princely beak and raised him
I like the lady horses best,
how they make it all look easy,
like running 40 miles per hour
is as fun as taking a nap, or grass.
I like their lady horse swagger,
And when they bombed other people’s houses, we
but not enough, we opposed them but not
enough. I was
in my bed, around my bed America
scurried around a classroom papered with poems.
Even the ceiling, pink and orange quilts of phrase...
they introduced one another, perched on a tiny stage
to read their work, blessed their teacher who
Oliver Sacks is going to die,
He tells us blithely in the New York Times.
He’s 81. His liver’s shot.
He’s blind in one eye
Though when both worked fine
Dad reads aloud. I follow his finger across the page.
Sometimes his finger moves past words, tracing white space.
He makes the Moon say something new every night
to his deaf son who slurs his speech.
I was a kid other kids’
parents gossiped about.
They told their children
what I was: too negative.
I get it. Fair to fear
contagion of bad attitudes,
You used to be so
and now you’re all
like, you’ve transformed
I don’t know how to describe
you don’t like canasta anymore
you text IN ALL CAPS
Thin are the night-skirts left behind
By daybreak hours that onward creep,
And thin, alas! the shred of sleep
You charm’d me not with that fair face
Though it was all divine:
To be another’s is the grace,
commencing to the place of beginning;
in 1959 the South Saskatchewan river was dammed;
forever altering the boundary of Treaty no. 6;
such that it technically no longer exists;
it is friday. we have come
to the paying of the bills.
all week you have stood in my dreams
like a ghost, asking for more time
but today is payday, payday old man;
my mother’s hand opens in her early grave
1790 → treaty 2, district of Hesse (step into wolf)
province of quebec
“We do herby certify that the following goods were delivered to the
It takes eight matches, a burnt thumb, and a quick Google search
to light the sweetgrass braid Mom scored for me from an elder
at work. Always use matches, she said. Spirit likes matches.
Do you speak your language?
I stare — I just said: how are you?
I thought English was my language
apparently it isn’t
I thought Halkomelem was gibberish
the devil’s language
that’s what the nuns said
i wanted bitumen to be made of dead dinosaurs. why did i want these
ancient kin to be passively implicated in the fossil fuel industry? it
My mother never forgave my father
for killing himself,
especially at such an awkward time
and in a public park,
when I was waiting to be born.
She locked his name
For thirty-one years, my mother tried not to miss her. Every week,
a little water or the trickle of a few ice cubes
in black earth. Years back, in the muck of Toronto, April,
When the doctor suggested surgery
and a brace for all my youngest years,
my parents scrambled to take me
to massage therapy, deep tissue work,
osteopathy, and soon my crooked spine
When the horse picked Mama up by the hair
that time, was she scared?
There is a photograph of her with this horse
in the brown family album. She stands
beside him, thin in the chilly wind
my mother found herself one late summer
afternoon lying in grass under the wild
yellow plum tree jewelled with sunlight
she was forgotten there in spring picking
rhubarb for pie & the children home from
I am Charles Darwin. I eat owlflesh at Cambridge University.
I have discovered something, an entirely new species
with tropical fever in its reptile fingers. I am busy
with taxonomying its most peculiar and three-sided
The fish are drifting calmly in their tank
between the green reeds, lit by a white glow
that passes for the sun. Blindly, the blank
glass that holds them in displays their slow
Was so imaginary he ceased to exist
he wasn’t sleeping in a treehouse or stalking the woods
in fatigues cheeks smeared green with camouflage grease
That night, I opened your wardrobe and found
a trophy of vultures, their necks pierced
by hanger hooks. I saw at once
that you hunted everything I loved —
The sludge-slow flow of the visible current
opens a path we can’t continue, tugs
at what no hand can pull along.
It’s how even water loses memory,
travels a direction it cannot find,
The shaman at Broadway and Main
with a plastic shaker and some sage
says you’re my power animal. Says
we both have big brains, like to chatter.
I don’t know anything about dolphins, except
You are light
when the sun is punched out
and darkness reigns.
You are the antidote
to what came before:
black blood, black heart,
hands tied, kneeling before
a ditch of human bones.
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
i thought you were gone / stupid bird / darling worms shifting in the mud / this time i am not so certain / is it kinship or are you gloating? / have i grown bitter with the bees / how they bring the blooms reliably?
There is no land of perfect, child.
There is no sea of ease.
There is no candy apple trail.
There’s broccoli and peas.
There is no suit of armour, child.
There’s arrows and there’s pain.
One night, fire fell into a reed bed
It burned like love falling onto a soul
As fire’s head warmed to its work
every reed turned into a candle at its own grave
My first job was when I was about 15. I had met a girl named Hope who became my best
friend. Hope and I were flunking math class so we became speed freaks. This honed our
Where did the handsome beloved go?
I wonder, where did that tall, shapely cypress tree go?
He spread his light among us like a candle.
Where did he go? So strange, where did he go without me?
Now, we take the moon
into the middle of our brains
so we look like roadside stray cats
with bright flashlight-white eyes
in our faces, but no real ideas
of when or where to run.
We were a conflagration asking
to be incarnated into the world.
Mother, superstitious, kept us
apart, two stones of the same
Everyone saucered tears
Tonight, a strand of my great-grandmother’s hair
sashes an amber beer bottle discarded by a tourist.
A white thread of my grandmother’s baptismal robe
is a bangle on a wrist of kelp
The hallway is an empty
riverbed, smooth and barren.
At three o’clock classroom
doors open like dams.
Gullies of teens stream
out, to become one
flowing body. A torrent
Am I a praise poet or a blame poet?
Today I am a blame poet.
O Death, face it, existence
doesn’t like you.
You can’t sing. You can’t paint.
We could read your words from anywhere
but you felt like the only soul sitting
in your swivel chair listening to your parents
dream-breathing down the hall while you typed