A way-back poem for the first of May, to mark the end of National Poetry Month, and the beginning of the next stage in this strange journey we’re on.
How can one seduce happiness then make it love you enough to stick around?
knots in the wood flaws in the pattern of the oriental carpet a brown withered leaf on an otherwise healthy plant this is how we know that things are real a speck of dust on the TV screen a missing scale on an ornamental Koi a scratch on a smooth surface scuff marks and worn patches on an old guitar this is how we know that things have lived sometimes I understand the revolutionary’s disdain for perfect fingernails, overly coiffed hair, and hands without callouses This is how we know that we have lived: bruises, cuts, and scars on all our parts hearts included
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.
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.
the snow catches me
pulls at my coat
the wind tugs & pushes
tempting me off course
my preferred trajectory
A black cloud plunges
boils and plunges, billowing
like smoke, black in the air
white against the windshield
The air fragments
into a million starling flakes
not a murmur, but a roar
a howling tumult
that shatters around me
harmless flecks of white
The air becomes the snow,
the snow, air
Above, improbable patches of blue
race each other across the sky
hell bent for eternity.
when holding on becomes too hard
we must learn the art of release
I awoke this morning
to unexpected trees
they had sprouted outside
my window overnight
their branches festooned
with cherry blossoms
far too early in the year
for that kind of thing
I walked to the window
and found the burgeoning stream
had flooded the world
the sloping hills, the fallow fields
had turned to rolling waves
and cool still ponds
and everywhere, rising
from the impossible water
were trees tall as mountains
a preposterous abundance
of pink blossoms
every petal containing
the essence of buoyancy.
A sprig of thyme for luck
tucked in my breast pocket
I set out in a in a boat made
of paper, straw and chewing gum
to rescue the metaphor
of a flood that drowns the world
and a road that only runs one way.
When lost in the maze, one need only
climb the walls to see the way out;
leaving the boat behind,
I reach for the first branch,
and begin to climb.
Photos by me (for a change), enjoying late spring in Ontario. Particularly loved the raindrops still clinging to the leaves and petals after the rain (plus a bonus shot of our orchid in bloom). [click to embiggen]
Nothing like 1800 words of freshly written prose to put a spring in your step on the way home.
This is what I live for: when writing a scene is like bringing life from the void, only it’s easy, and the only thing stopping you is the low battery warning, and looking up to see that the baristas are sweeping up because the cafe is about to close for the night, and thinking that maybe you might want to let your spouse know you’re still alive before it gets pitch black outside, then walking home in the gloaming under the street lights with all the spring blossoms shining like small stars and thinking, yes, I can still do this.
Now if I can just make a habit of this, the next two years (minus a month) might seem like an ever-so-slightly smaller version of eternity.