SEE ALL TAGS & MOODS
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
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
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
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.
The meteorologists are pleading with us
to keep checking back through the storm,
ice pellets making a carpet two, three inches thick,
this pale beach we walk on, this wind that passed
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.
My niece calls me from my brother-in-law’s phone
While I’m getting ready to wash dishes. I pick up.
She says she needs to talk to her grandfather.
I tell her that her grandfather just went to sleep,
“Morning of goodness to you”
— “Morning of goodnesses”
Or add flowers: “morning of roses”
Always multiply the gift—
“welcome” to “two welcomes”
“a hundred welcomes and kinship and ease”
Weekends too my father roofed poor neighborhoods,
at prices only his back could carry
into profit. In the name of labor’s
virtue—or was it another bill collector’s callous
Let Us Be Fireflies
All day we
practice morse code signals
upon contact / head first / baptismal
the rind of me / peels into ribbons
of foam / and pearls / i re-brown at the water’s
touch / its two-way mudmirror / hands me
its own name / earthliquid / bottomless
We’re driving and the radio says mass marine extinctions within a
generation. No silence, no sirens — an unflustered inflection, then
stock markets, cryptic as Latin mass. I force myself: the interval
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.
I’ve put the oats in a jar,
with yogourt and seeds,
left it in the fridge
overnight. The fruit on top
will thaw, dripping
into the rest.
I want to remember
I’ve done this
i once shoved my foot through glass
getting to know my own anger
its patches of stupid
stress is just a socially acceptable
word for fear
When my mother died,
one of her honey cakes remained in the freezer.
I couldn’t bear to see it vanish,
so it waited, pardoned,
in its ice cave behind the metal trays
for two more years.
All the weapons we marshal to confront the day
You ask to be left by the door before entering.
The sword in its sheath must lie on the grass,
the quiver and bow hung off a branch.
My grandmother puts her feet in the sink
of the bathroom at Sears
to wash them in the ritual washing for prayer,
because she has to pray in the store or miss
diaspora babies, we
are born of pregnant pauses/spilled
from unwanted wombs/squalling invisible-ink poems/written in the margins
of a map of a place
called No Homeland
As Whitman sang the body electric
Goodwin sings the body forested:
dense stand of dark-trunked saplings
illumined by a blood-streaked sky,
ominous forest where
abandoned children wander
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
Freezes, goes blue screen, shuts down. Dead pixel, dark.
Ghost echoes, lossy in the source code. Time zones away,
people who have actually shaken hands with my online friend
My father liked them separate, one there,
one here (allá y aquí), as if aware
that words might cut in two his daughter’s heart
(el corazón) and lock the alien part
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,
it's okay if you only learned about your culture from Google
it's okay if you only read your language at the public library
Hands pressed to glass
I saw a perfect tree today
From my cabin bed on a Via Rail train
Through the North of Ontario
It was tall and thin and scraggly and prim
Then I saw another just as perfect
How to describe sea
To someone who’s never seen it?
He lives to ninety-nine, he wants it, to see it
To walk on its glass surface, to blow the seven trumpets.
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
I'd like to close the distance between us:
where you end, where I begin,
but your skin stops me,
I can't find my way in.
If I could, I'd press every bit of me
If you want to travel run
around the neighbourhood with an empty
suitcase in hand. At least once, full circle.
Wear yellow underwear
for the 31st, lest fortune oversee your cup
On the lee slope of the small coastal mountain
which conceals the sun the first hour after its rising,
in the dry, steep ravines, the live
mist of the heat is seething like dust
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
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?
Unless you believe in the eye of the needle
this kind of poverty will never be about material
it won't be about ragged clothing
or mud huts with broken walls
or river blindness
The young sun’s greeting
On my bed, your letter’s glow
All the sounds that burst from morning
Blackbirds’ brassy calls, jingle of gonoleks
Your smile on the grass, on the radiant dew.
The sun gave our shoulder blades ulu-shaped burns, and the sun gives nothing to our sort
I sleep now, and furiously
Clouds excreted shadows on the shoreline, and there were no clouds
for auntie nagasaki
it's the same story
told again & again
& the machinations
& the dream
once i left turtle island and i
rejoined la and doubleU and see
to savai‘i on a hunting trip
on the fairy from upolu
la picked up a day trick
blew him during lunch
Slim, slight. Sinew and bird bones.
Cords of her hands like spruce roots.
Came from Ship Cove to Crow Gulch
with little more than the child inside her,
landed in a small shack flanked by
After learning “me” and “I”
but well before my father learns
a restraining order's
between him and our home,
we share some good times.
Remember the back of his bicycle.
A black and white picture
The sun is shining through a window behind you
Your hair black short Your small brown hands folded neatly on a tiny wooden desk
the spirit of
your flowers is
my favourite shelter
we were in love is
Blue-white afternoon. The Bow river churns and smokes
as the city rumbles, economy chokes and bundled homeless
build cardboard homes in the snow. Yes, Walt, this is the new
somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which…
Should lanterns shine, the holy face,
Caught in an octagon of unaccustomed light,
Would wither up, an any boy of love
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
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