Call joy a liquid detergent, washing
the worst away, and it becomes
my soul’s iodine, deterring a dark night.
Of all the emotions, it’s the ruby
that can’t be bought, the jam that’s
passed, spreading over my daily bread.
Call it love’s lava, as bold as a smear
of lipstick on a cheek, and it’s the wax
that seals us together, like an envelope its letter.
Call it a river, and it’s as necessary as blood,
branching from my heart into the body
of the world.
This is an older ekphrastic poem, inspired by the late artist Lenore Conacher’s painting “Joy Is A Liquid” and has now found a home in the 2019 Joan Ramseyer Memorial Poetry Anthology, edited by Brett Ramseyer, the theme of which was joy.
Let us grant that the pulsing rain wells
from a cavernous heart. Now the tulips
peering redly through my basement window
stoop slowly, nodding amid the blades of grass
as I curve to red yawns and the green stretch
of a lip, artfully shaping soundless appeals
to these guardian sentinels, this crimson grail
from which I drink and dream. Let us believe
there are upheavals in the dark: a bell ringing,
tears gathered in the urgent arch of my heart,
the congregation, at last, rising to sing.
I’m thrilled to share that this poem has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by editor Robert L. Penick of the print journal “Ristau: A Journal Of Being” where it first appeared in January of 2019! Oh happy day! Here’s what the Pushcart Prize is about.
I’m absolutely thrilled and honoured to have this particular poem considered a winner by contest judge Eric Morago! Each of three judges chose a winner and two finalists from a pool of 2000 individual poems. You can read my poem and the judge’s comments HERE
The other winning poems and links to them can be accessed from the main page here
The west windows of the house cannot open
far enough to hear the backyard river
but the one east window, by which I sleep,
lets every murmur in, brimming on the early
morning tide with night’s collected songs
and a wind for dreams to sail on, in red and
yellow and green boats, past the branches
of the only trees they know, to land on the
shores of an earth that needs them, my earth.
To go forth into the day
in the wide pull of that current,
belonging deeply to the world.
The chill of autumn is in the air today. Made me think of this poem, first published in North Shore Magazine way back in 2005!
One of my edgier poems is now live at “Kissing Dynamite”. You can read ZOO here
Awesome art featuring awesome poems, see the main page here. Many thanks to editors Christine Taylor and Jason Bates for believing in my poem!
To anyone commenting on my poem, please know I will respond as soon as I am able – but I will soon be out of cellphone and internet range, enjoying the Pacific Northwest waterways at their best – wild, remote, whatever news delivered daily to the shore we find ourselves at.
I walk past a house in Tahsis as a woman
leaves in a taxi. Her little boy stands
on the doorstep, crying loudly and long.
Another woman comes and quickly
guides her hand like a missile
to its defenceless target.
The hard slap sounds through the street,
startling my every cell.
He is pulled inside, crying more.
The cry no one wants keeps banging
on the walls of my heart.
It is my cry too. Weedlike,
its roots travel hauntingly deep,
able to crack apart a body
or rot into tumours. By snap,
by bloodsqueeze of tears, by a
howling good grip, it will
unearth the light and live!
I say live like a river,
loving the drag of its boulders:
shoulder the cries that come and
carry them gently over. The physical
heart is so little, even for us, now big,
that it hangs, unnoticed, from the upper
branches of the body – not a windchime
until pelted by raindrops
or shaken, glinting, in a glad wind.
Another poem from my earlier chapbook “Stealing Eternity”. Tahsis was a town we visited on a boating trip many years ago, located at the head of Tahsis Inlet in Nootka Sound.
I will be going away on our boat shortly, for about a month, so you might not hear much from me. I do have a poem coming out in Kissing Dynamite early in September (“Zoo”) – if internet service is available wherever I find myself then, I’ll update this blog with a link. Happy end of summer to everyone!