SEE ALL TAGS & MOODS
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,
Winter has landed; my boot bucks on a stone
surrounded by snow; I swear, I murmur
Oracabessa. “The rock” is what I call home,
all islanders do, and I’m in blessed Ann Arbour,
Hands pressed to glass
Bismillah is my first memory.
I became a bird in the Qur’an
at hardly eight years old.
I opened the dark green cover
and revealed the slippery
the other gold.
Now that's the stuff,
shredded or melted
waiting. then comes rejection.
anger follows. shame makes
the shadows jostle between
the walls of the scarcely visited cities.
A view from two sides of Polaris, it is said:
the living awaits destined relatives to retort.
These people go around waking the sleeping ones
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?
You can't be an NDN person in today's world
and write a nature poem. I swore to myself I would never write a nature
poem. Let's be clear, I hate nature — hate its guts
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
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
I recited to him,
Now as I was young and easy,
and in the cough-afflicted wheeze that was left of my father’s voice,
Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
During two hours on the train
I rerun the film of my life
Two minutes per year on average
Half an hour for childhood
Another half-hour for prison
Love, books, wandering
take up the rest
I threw away your letters.
Years ago, just like that.
The tight black swirls,
circles and strokes
filling fine sheets —
I would not see them again.
The last items I had left.
Tune: Rory Dall’s Port
First printed in Johnson’s S.M.M., Vol. 4, 13th August 1792.
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever; one
I have a picture of us when we are seven
but we aren’t in it. At the time it was taken
we thought we were. We posed with our wide
an urban image from the eighties
when we hung out at Chez Madame Arthur
You ran naked out the door.
The neighbours laughed; I chased you down.
I hardly see you anymore.
Wheat daughter, prisoner of sneaky pigweed, mother
to the five corners of the world and your three hectares,
beak-nosed carpenter’s wife and the potter’s lover,
He totaled his blue truck —
slowly spun out on an icy bridge,
rammed it into a guard rail.
Entirely windless, today’s sea; of these waters’ many names
the best seemed “field-of-pearl-leaves,” for it smelled like the air
in the house he built entirely of doors: pink school door,
If this brain’s over-tempered
consider that the fire was want
and the hammers were fists.
Dear Regret, my leaning this morning, my leather foot, want of
Coin Exhibit, British Museum.
Their misshapenness strikes the table in tiny splashes,
like still-cooling splatters of silver. Stater and shekel,
Queen and King, they rule side by side
in golden thrones above the clouds.
Her giggle and wide eyes remind him
GOODLOOKING BOY wasn’t he / yes/ blond /
yes / I do vaguely
/ you never liked
Sometimes we are led through the doorway
by a child, sometimes
by a stranger, always a matter of grace changing
60s pulled us from starvation into government jobs
antiquated Indians in Saskatchewan danced for rain
Manitoba Indian doings were hidden for a jealous
Here at Woodlands, Moriah,
these thirty-five years later,
still I could smell her fear.
sometimes I find myself
at the oddest moment
Newfoundland is, or was, full of interesting people.
Like Larry, who would make a fool of himself on street corners
for a nickel. There…
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
To Kristin Lems
We miss something now
as we think about it
My father bequeathed me no wide estates;
No keys and ledgers were my heritage;
Only some holy books with yahrzeit dates
Breathe dust like you breathe wind so strong in your face
little grains of dirt which pock around the cheeks peddling
against a dust-storm…
At 100 Mile House the cowboys ride in rolling
stagey cigarettes with one hand reining
half-tame bronco rebels on a morning grey as stone…
The snake can separate itself
from its shadow, move on ribbons of light,
taste the air, the morning and the evening,
before the sun’s liquid
spilled gradually, flooding
What torture lurks within a single thought
When grown too constant, and however kind,
However welcome still, the weary mind
Sometimes a voice — have you heard this? —
wants not to be voice any longer, wants something
whispering between the words, some
The sky, lit up like a question or
an applause meter, is beautiful
like everything else today: the leaves
The air smells of rhubarb, occasional
Roses, or first birth of blossoms, a fresh,
Undulant hurt, so body snaps and curls