Ghost ships founder off the shores of Elysium we came here to find the answer to something lost in the Aether conceptions stumble, presumptions fall apart, like paper in the rain, belief in the inevitable lost like leaves in the gutter no longer individual but indistinct, irresolute handholds slipping the long fall into uncertainty no longer buoyed by memories of bliss Is it fog or billowing smoke that hides the enemy’s sails? Is it fate, or blind chance that becalms us here on glass still waters? Only the albatross & the moon know, only the wheeling gulls and the absent wind and they’ll never tell.
Another spring poem, from back in 2014. composed while walking homeward on a spring-soaked afternoon past low-rent apartment buildings.
Improvised flower vases and wrapping paper trees roots like mountains seen from the eyes of circling eagles at once emerging and settling, growth and decay, no more contrary than rose petals and thorns, a discordant symmetry: the cosmic wail of distorted electric guitar spelling out the names of stars and forgotten background radiation, pain that verges on ecstasy, a ringing of celestial strings struck with the well-worn pick of disillusioned immortals;
How a stranger’s intangible yearning can translate through the ephemeral code of electronic pulses and magnetic fields, a fixed point enacted in the so-called past becomes immediate present, time and space erased in an instant transformed into a perfect moment of rebirth, a dagger in the mind piercing to the core; it leaves no trace of bloody injury, only a shedding of unnecessary skin, a lowering of barriers to permit this temporary osmosis of the spirit
Noble silhouette against the pale blue sky under the serene white crescent of the four o’clock moon
(meanwhile, across town)
A freedom of starlings congregates below the peeling green windows while reflections of flight in warped bulging glass give weight to the theory of glass as a liquid flowing at the speed of war between the sun’s fickle warmth and the ever-hungry shade
Keeping it light this week, with a little story I wrote back in my university days.
Pete watched Florence climb up the wall and across the ceiling, sipping his chocolate, and thinking of spring. Spring was one of those things that most people knew existed, somewhere, but had never seen. Like the North Pole, or whales, or giant squid.
Florence never used to climb walls; it was something she’d just taken up recently, on account of a phrase she’d read in a book: “Bob was so stir crazy, trapped in that godforsaken bunker buried twelve stories deep, he was practically climbing the walls.”
So Florence decided to try this new pastime of practically climbing the dull aged stucco. The key, she said, was to think each move through methodically. Otherwise, it would be more of a chaotic scramble than a practical ascent.
Wrote this one after seeing a hilariously bad B movie that featured, as you might guess, angels with BFGs.
I dreamed I saw Gabriel holding a Tommy gun who knew he fought gangsters in his spare time his eyes changing colour in the shifting light he walks through the mist like some dime-store cowboy, like an anime demon hunter black coat flapping in the breeze breaking the rhythm with his thrift store army boots scars cover his body like a maze of tattoos, his story etched in blood and skin and ink dark as sin shedding light, leaking goodness into darkest corners, from countless ancient wounds, he’s an avenger, and a saviour, and a damn good shot, so you’d best be on your game he can see right through your soul if he lays his hands upon you you’ll never be the same, so you’d better run, run and hide ‘cuz luck is something you ain’t got when god is on the other side.
Thought I’d mix things up a bit on Fridays and Sundays with the occasional flash fiction / short story to complement the daily poetry posts. This is a fun one from a while back, following a three-word prompt. I’m betting you can guess what one of the three words was!
Nine ambiguous cats looked out over the night from their perch on the low stone wall. Their yellow eyes stared down at the city lights spread out like a child’s Lite Brite, all the gaudy colours of the casinos and X-rated movie parlours mere innocent winking baubles at this distance. The cats’ tails swished in unison. They were silent for a long time, still shadows in deeper darkness. They waited until the full moon had cleared the horizon, and then they began to sing. While the families slept in their cozy suburban nests; while the shift workers grunted and swore over broken machinery in the sheet metal factory; while the night walkers prowled and preened, the cats sang. It was not the usual nails-on-blackboard skirling wail that wakes you up in the middle of the night. It was beautiful, perfect, nine-part harmony. The cats believed, you see, that they were singing the moon across the sky. And perhaps they were right. One never knows about these kind of things.
Another one from the archives, for Day 2 of National Poetry Month. This one is clearly meant to be spoken out loud. Imagine a curly-haired beat poet on a cramped stage in some underground dive, with free-form bongos in the background.
Parting the waves for the starfish supernova oriental carpet fish tickling my toes Dancing the raves down through asteroid alley girls holding hands drive the boys insane You hold your ideals too close to your heart suffocating them in your tight embrace You feel too much, so you curl up inside dwarf star material waiting to explode You could be birthing galaxies, exhaling nebulae dangling your feet over the lips of black holes You could be skating the event horizon look ma, no hands, no training wheels here But instead you hunch over this dull white page gripping the pen like it might try to run try to make an escape Houdini would be proud of leaving you only with a ghost of an echo of a memory of a dream No way to capture it, bottle it, seal it with wax But what does it matter? You weren’t going to share it with anyone anyway Don’t Bogart those neurons, baby I want my share, want to go down singing to the county fair in the wide blue sky Look out world, here I come the invisible one with the bitten tongue and a page full of squiggly black lines.
Starting off the first day of National Poetry Month with one that didn’t make it into WTWBT, but feels right for the first day of April, when the snow has receded into only the darkest, coldest corners, the birds are singing non-stop, squirrels are running rampant, and green is sprouting everywhere. But at the same time, in the back of your mind, you know there’s still an ice storm or two on the way before the month is over.
[Original title: Fifteen degrees of February]
When the first breath of spring catches you up, teases your heart with false promises, blushing green peeking from fresh damp earth, emerging islands amidst the fast melting snow; when even discarded skins of chocolate bars and dollar store bags seem to herald new beginnings: life from destruction, devouring the old bones, bleeding ice from the river’s edge.
Even the birds are deceived, filling the air with distracted chatter, while free roaming dogs and preschool children run madly through the squelching mud, feeling the shift; and yet, the cynical voice reminds you that it’s far too soon, winter won’t let us go that easily.
To hell, you say, with rationality, and walk faster, as if by sheer defiance you can escape the warning howl of the cold grey clouds, wind pushing you back into the inevitable grip of winter.
Hey look, we made a thing! Didn’t want to jump the gun and share anything until we got the test print back and made sure everything stuck to the paper. The first box of books arrived today, 12 in total, all shrink wrapped and ready to bring to the ArtSpace Book + Zine Fest next Saturday (Feb. 29). We’ll be frantically printing up a bunch of new art cards over the next few days to bring along as well. Website updates are next in line, but it might be a week or two before we’ll have individual prints available through Mark’s new site, we’ll make an announcement once that’s all set up. In the meantime, enjoy the brief preview!
So there you have it. That thing we said we were hoping to do for the past… er… decade? century? Just goes to show – never give up on your dreams, folks. Now if I can just get the other two things out the door before the end of the year (yeah yeah, novel, harp CD, ahem, working on it), we’ll have a perfect trifecta. Onward and upward, to infinity and beyond! And all that jazz.
The not-so-secret Poetry/Art Project is nearing completion! Should be going to print by the time we hit the official start of winter on Dec. 21st (although if Peterborough is any indication, winter is already well underway). We’ll be updating the Project page soon, including a sneak peak of the cover. In the meantime, here are a few shots from one of M’s recent snowy photo walks.