Seasonally Affected

monday thaw

On TV it looked like a high-speed photo of a milk drop

the dying leader of the Pana Wave laboratory cult smack in the

centre.

Acres of white cloth streamered his followers, who

circled him like crown jewels.

 

More and more I'm responding to stark white on black,

letting the morning frost finish for me.

 

Calgary is fur-lined in the sun. Although the cold front

will chop us down to minus, there are hints of a melt.

Dad's three-legged shadow bends blueness

January 1, Dawn

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

as if viewed from the open mouth of a whale.

Inside her belly and inside the belly of time,

there’s no point worrying.

You glide gently along. She knows her course.

Inside her, you are digested slowly, painlessly. 

 

And if you’re lucky, like Jonah,

The Young Poets of Winnipeg

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

encouraged them to stretch, wouldn’t let their parents

attend the reading because parents might criticize,

believed in the third and fourth eyes, the eyes in

the undersides of leaves, the polar bears a thousand miles north,

and sprouts of grass under the snow. They knew their poems

Passing into Storm

Know him for a white man.

He walks sideways into wind

allowing the left of him

 

to forget what the right

knows as cold. His ears

turn into death what

 

his eyes can’t see. All day

he walks away from the sun

passing into storm. Do not

 

mistake him for the howl you hear

or the track you think you

follow. Finding a white man

 

in snow is to look for the dead.

He has been burned by the wind.

He has left too much

 

Ideas of Home

              i

 

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,

mainland, where I found safe harbour under

green sea of trees now becalmed, frosted.

Ideas of Oracabessa propel me forward

down the straits of Packard, past the Jewel

Heart centre where a wild beat poet is ash

urned behind red doors. I stop and pay

respect due him. Then I’m urgent, in need

Through Time and Bitter Distance

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,

That I have sought, reflected in the blue

Of these sea depths, some shadow of your eyes;

Have hoped the laughing waves would sing of you,

But this is all my starving sight decries -

 

I

 

31

We’re all aware that human hair is dead

Yet we spend thousands taking care of it.

It’s like an endless funeral.

 

The moment your hair hits air, it’s toast.

It only lives inside the follicle.

That we twist and burn and fry it,

 

Straighten it and dye it, does not surprise.

What’s it gonna do, spit out your cheap shampoo?

We worry about its body and its strength: an athlete.

 

We buy nourishing products. It doesn't eat.

One hundred thousand lovers, infants, metaphors

The Young Sun's Greeting

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.

 

In the innocent light, thousands of dragonflies

Quivering, like large black-winged golden bees

And like helicopters turning with gentle grace

On the limpid beach, gold and black the Tramiae basilares

I say the dance of Mali’s princesses.

 

You are the one I seek, on the path of the tiger-cats.

from “Road Shoulders”

power lines held by birds

of prey the hostile expanse above

 

ditches teeming floral invasive

wayside fleurs

 

late summer the shoulder sang

 

holds breeze by

the course of the drive

 

ravelling winds furl sparse treetops

 

semi-trailers startle traffic to attention

righted to the middle steady

 

a point of calm

 

a sense of pedal to headrest

never lost hope of going somewhere

 

a waiting trench the front across the dash

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