A hard uphill climb past faultless
rocks and towering tribes of trees—
heart, leg and arm muscles
pumping steadily, sweating so much
I become a sea of tiny rivers
heading for a self-determined shore,
my lungs emptying, filling, in an
incoming, outgoing tide of breaths
bridging the centuries:
I breathe the air of the living
and of the dead, of heroes and
villains, of those asleep—curled
tight as buds, and those who’ve risen
to reap the blossom of their genius.
Molecule by unforgotten molecule,
the gasp is laid against the sigh.
Now, simply inhaling the storied air
between mountaintop and valley
and returning it, warmed, into the world
becomes historic and intimate,
an act of love in the arms of creation,
a means to living largely in the smallest
of ways, like the length a lotus stalk
will grow to uphold a lily pad.
How my lungs still heave! – as if they
know that breaths not deeply breathed
will amount to a life not fully lived
in the carnal kingdom of the body,
its ecstatic depths not drunk from.
That if I thirst for this, and cannot speak—
so parched my lips—I must climb then
the trail of every tear that can.
An older poem, inspired by the mountainous landscape in which I live, first published in North Shore Magazine before being included in my earlier chapbook “Stealing Eternity”.
As if I hadn’t walked this path
thousands of times before,
I walked slowly from tree to aging tree,
crunching through their brilliant fallen leaves.
Rounding a corner, the boat-dotted sea
rolled towards an undisclosed horizon.
As if I, too, might not know what lay ahead,
I found myself, for once,
standing down from the helm,
sailed by a mounting wind,
waved through the branching shadows,
no hand to stay the heart’s rudder.
As if there are paths within a path,
many journeys, but only one destination,
my feet rose and fell on their own. Begin here, where the current is strongest, my heart said.
And I strode through that tide of colour,
all the world new again, and I, young.
Another(older) poem from my chapbook “Stealing Eternity”.
that spoiled his view of the ocean:
the tree had the last word,
ending its considerable life
with the Chekhovian grin
of a hole in the ground
that shouted and shouted
until my neighbour
In the newspaper, a photo of a youth
taking the picture of a young couple
standing in front of the once beautiful
Ghazala Gardens Hotel:
the man, shielded
from the sun by dark glasses,
arms loose at his side,
the woman, lion-maned,
her tawny bare belly sliding out
from a spotless white pleated skirt,
both smiling those postcard
“Wish You Were Here” smiles
as if the building behind them
had not, overnight, been destroyed
by a bomb,
as if lives as innocent as theirs
had not been lost,
as if, when on vacation
one must go on
having a good time.
Or as if, having safely emerged
from the shadowy remains
of a Red Sea resort
that lived up to its name,
behind the shining columns
of the bared teeth
of their smiles,
they cannot hear
other carefully constructed
Known as ‘the city of peace”, Sharm El-Sheikh was the unfortunate target of a terrorist attack aimed at Egypt’s tourist industry in 2005. The Ghazala Gardens Hotel has since been rebuilt. This poem is included in my chapbook “Irresistible”, available from Finishing Line Pressor Amazon.comor Amazon.ca.
My poem “Lovers In The Lobby” is now up at Blue Heron Review. Many thanks to editor Cristina Norcross for including it in this themed summer issue: Aspects of Love. My poem is second to last, so there’s a lot of scrolling; you can read it here.
Along the way, please also read my good friend Mike Lewis-Beck’s poem “Purple Love” – wonderful to find ourselves in the same issue! And there are some stunning photos accompanying the poems too!
My poem “Shine” has just been published in Arc Poetry Magazine 86, the Summer 2018 Issue, available only as a print issue right now. Shine didn’t win Arc’s Poem of the Year award but was shortlisted for it. You can read the poem and the judge’s comments here. I am very honoured to be among the finalists and to have this poem finally go out into the world and what a beautiful journal to make its first appearance in!
I’ve been off the grid for a couple of weeks, away boating where there’s no cell reception or internet or papers or TV! I hope to post more frequently, now that I’m back and almost completely moved into our new house (on a very large island no less!).
as an abstract painter in my neighbourhood,
“Yielding to Transience” the theme of her
current exhibition, according to the pamphlet.
It’s that simple, the only life we have we’ll lose
in a neon nose dive or the drift of gradual surrender.
My Jane, who briefly entered and briefly spoke
in poems—having it out with melancholy—
said Let evening come and it did, under cover
of leukemia, far too soon. Wish it were otherwise.
A moody harvest, those notes from the other side.
Now there’ll be a conflux of Janes when I see
one’s art, read the other’s poem. A conjuration—
open sesame into the chambers of two hearts.
The amazing echoes, bone’s signature marrow
waving its wand again, sweet Om on the tongue.
Another poem from my chapbook “Irresistible”, available from Finishing Line Press hereand also from Amazon here. Anddo check out this link to the artist Jane Kenyon’s site: here. She also has a Facebook page, titled Jane Kenyon Art Studio. Of course I had to write a poem about this synchronicity – what’s in a name anyway?
A searing yowl from the rocky shore.
Again. Again. Stops all conversation
in the dinghy and we motor closer.
A lone seagull is waiting for its prize,
flanked by a dozen seals draped over
the surrounding rocks. The gull flies off
at our approach and the seals slip frantically
from their posts into the murmurring sea,
leaving one black cigar shape well above the tideline
still breathing in the bright promise of another day:
it’s a seal pup, eyes oozing oceans
of green and yellow pus. He lifts a flipper
as I tip a bucket of saltwater gently over him
and then, lips curling, sausages himself
between two rocks. I try pouring the water
over the rocks to drip down on him but
unable to wriggle any further away,
he turns his head, teeth bared.
There’ll be no mothering for this
fast-aging, whiskered face:
he will live unassisted
until the life he was given is taken back,
until the blazing August light becomes a second skin
and the lapping sounds of rising water carry him
off into the salmon-glinting sea of his birth,
until death, not taken from him,
death is all his,
rendering the blurred shapes that swam
once beside him—nothing more
than an unfinished dream.
Another poem from my chapbook “Irresistible”, available from Finishing Line Press here