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!
Look how the moon hangs
its luminous sign outside
the bedroom window: the man
with a grin is open for business!
But in your private dark, nothing
so grand – only the chest-warming
glow of a night-light never turned off:
being able to take one good deep
breath after another, and feel
your own durable heart pumping
steadily in unsteady times,
its rivers, rich with blessing,
coursing through a world
that knows the fierce
need of it.
Another older poem which first appeared in North Shore Magazine and then my chapbook “Stealing Eternity”.
Thrilled to have two poems (“Paradox” and “Elsewhere”) included in Volume Seven of The American Journal Of Poetry alongside the work of poets I’ve long admired! Many thanks to editor Robert Nazarene for ushering them into the larger world!
Months now, of leaving and returning,
one birth soothing the long passage
of many griefs at an unexpected death,
your little red suitcase packed and unpacked
so often, it stands ready for the next trip
in a corner of the bedroom.
Months of fashioning a sturdy door
behind which is the home you remember,
opened and closed from a great distance,
a shell you can put your ear to
and be lifted back into a familiar sea.
But the home you remember is not
the home you return to: that mother left,
and was put like a book finally finished
to gather dust on a crowded shelf,
her absence easing a son into his own story.
You stand in the house of your making,
bereft. Once upon a time, you think.
And a dream that has slept for years
in the wide spaces beyond your words,
wakes up like a lion, the darkness roaring
This poem concluded my first chapbook, “Stealing Eternity”, still available for purchase (directly from me). You can probably tell from the picture that my little red suitcase is looking a little the worse for wear 15 years later. A lot of stories (poems?) packed in there!