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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,
Thin are the night-skirts left behind
By daybreak hours that onward creep,
And thin, alas! the shred of sleep
when I try to talk to my mom about what it was like
to grow up surrounded by yt people in the prairies
in the 80s though it seemed like the 50s
she tells me in a so-there tone
You gasp, awakened by
a bucket of cold water.
A gauzy autumn morning. A drained sunrise.
You shiver, strain to see the house
parent’s fingers whipping & flicking in
Your mother is missing,
the nurse hovers at the door .
Your mother is missing, a bit louder this time.
As if this was natural, a daily game of let's find the Italian,
this job hates me
this job wouldn’t make me feel so shitty if it didn’t
i’m nothing but nice to this job
but when this job is done with me it always sneaks out while
i’m still sleeping
Hands pressed to glass
I am fourteen
and my skin has betrayed me
the boy I cannot live without
still sucks his thumb
how come my knees are
always so ashy
what if I die
He is not doing well. She is not
Your wedding day was a hurricane; your bride in red was like a kiss on
on the dry prairie dirt. You actually never told me the story of how it went.
The wedding, I mean. In fact, you never told me about how you chose
Give me a few more hours to pass
With the mellow flower ofthe elm-bough falling,
And then no more than the lonely grass
And the birds calling.
Give me a few more days to keep
Unknown to you, I walk the cheerless shore.
The cutting blast, the hurl of biting brine
May freeze, and still, and bind the waves at war,
Ere you will ever know, O! Heart of mine,
people arrived from portugal. people arrived from africa. people arrived from
india. people arrived from england. people arrived from china. people
Only the beginning is true.
There was an island
and an orphanage
and a boy.
There was a train and a country
I've dreamt of you so often that you become unreal.
Is there still time to reach this living body and to kiss on its mouth the birth of
the voice so dear to me?
Here's how you make pemmican
Ocean, don’t be afraid.
The end of the road is so far ahead
it is already behind us.
Don’t worry. Your father is only your father
until one of you forgets. Like how the spine
power lines held by birds
of prey the hostile expanse above
ditches teeming floral invasive
late summer the shoulder sang
holds breeze by
it’s rank it cranks you up
crash you’re fracked you suck
shucks you’re wack you be
all you cracked up to be
dead on arrival
overdosed on whatever
excess of hate and love
He sat cross-legged, weeping on the steps
when Mom unlocked and opened the front door.
O God, he said. O God.
He wants to kill me, Mom.
Should lanterns shine, the holy face,
Caught in an octagon of unaccustomed light,
Would wither up, an any boy of love
love is a moontime teaching
is your kookum’s crooked smile when you pick up the phone
is another word for body
body is another word for campfire smoke
Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries,
Blackberries on either side, though on the right mainly,
A blackberry alley, going down in hooks, and a sea
Somewhere at the end of it, heaving. Blackberries
take the moon
nd take a star
when you don’t
know who you are
paint the picture in your hand
nd roll on home
take my fear
nd take the hunger
take my body
The place, the question, the question.
The place, the interest, the question.
There is the place.
There is what you do in the place.
There is your belief.
In the empty classroom, at sunrise, a girl
sits on the floor, staring at a glockenspiel.
She’s shredding the cuticles on her left hand
At the heart there is a hollow sun
by which we are constructed and undone
Let’s say the fix was in. Let’s say history,
Being human and thus short on ideas,
Made change from an old bag of tricks. Say this
You ran naked out the door.
The neighbours laughed; I chased you down.
I hardly see you anymore.
1. 18 and Life
her friend takes her to
We have each tried to read to him, with no success, except for James,
who read him all of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Travels with a Donkey in the
This city is beauty
unbreakable and amorous as eyelids,
in the streets, pressed with fierce departures,
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked
down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking
at the full moon.
My father bequeathed me no wide estates;
No keys and ledgers were my heritage;
Only some holy books with yahrzeit dates
Wild Nights — Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
If I when my wife is sleeping
and the baby and Kathleen
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
The willows are thinking again about thickness,
slowness, lizard skin on hot rock,
and day by day this imaging transforms them
Hello, listen, I’m on a field phone, do not speak until I say “over.”
Repeat, don’t talk until I say “over.” Over. Do you understand,
The swimmer's moment at the whirlpool comes,
But many at that moment will not say
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
Come up from the fields father, here’s a letter from our Pete,
And come to the front door mother, here’s a letter from thy dear son.
Lo, ’tis autumn
A high bare field, brown from the plough, and borne
Aslant from sunset; amber wastes of sky
Washing the ridge; a clamour of crows…
After Li Po
While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead
I played about the front gate, pulling flowers.
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were — I have not seen
As others saw — I could not bring
When I was fair and young, then favor graced me.
Of many was I sought their mistress for to be.
But I did scorn them all and answered them therefore:
The winter evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
I am — yet what I am none cares or knows;
My friends forsake me like a memory lost:
I am the self-consumer of my woes —
So, we’ll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,