Saturday, September 12, 2015


and now, the night.

somehow you were always there.
you knew what to say,
what to do.
you were never afraid.

all of our dreaming comes to an end.
perhaps our dreams, as well.

a person lives on
in the memory of those who loved them.
a person lives on
in the space between the stars.

energy can neither be created or destroyed,
it simply is.

as you were.
as you are.


Friday, August 7, 2015

every time i think of you

every time i think of you
a leaf falls from the tree
outside my window.

it's very specific.
one thought.
one leaf,
falling, falling, falling,
to its death.

it doesn't twirl,
or flutter,
or dance.
it dies.

but nothing in nature is wasted.
leaf becomes earth,
becomes tree,
becomes leaf,
falls to the earth.

every time i think of you
a tree grows outside my window.

every time the tree outside my window
thinks of you,
it becomes alive
in a way that
only leaves understand.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

saturday at roger's cove

sun sparkles on lake,
dabs of gold paint on brilliant blue.

the waves lap gently, peacefully
on the the welcoming sand.

there is peace here,
and love, joy, beauty,

and an enormous weight
of midnight's emptiness in my soul.

Friday, July 31, 2015

poems from a card found in my hotel room in grand rapids michigan









Friday, July 24, 2015

139 poems about the moon #4

on the sidewalk,
across the street
from the patio at the only
i catch the barest glimmering sight of you,
your hair, wisps out behind you
tiny strands of a dream
i can almost remember.

you're headed towards aylmer street.

i throw twenty dollars in the direction of the bartender,
bolt out the door,
dodge the traffic - almost killed! -
stumble on the curb,
catch myself on a lampost,
careen off the fender of a parked car,
go running down the street,
a sloppy man, a careful woman
wide-eyed as they leap for safety.
chest pounding,
lungs heaving,
vision blurry,
slowing now,
collapsing in an ungainly heap
on the step in front of sandy's convenience store,
where i lay gasping and clutching at the pain in my chest
like a dinosaur, run to ground,
like the last dinosaur on the face of the planet,
shot, stripped of my liver,
which will be sold for thirty dollars
to a practitioner of ancient healing arts
in a shop above a hair salon
in a plaza somewhere in the undignified part
of mimico.

you were always just out of reach,
a condescending air,
a smirk, playing at the corners of your mouth.
there are some relationships you just can't get out of,
parked cars you can't walk away from.

the elders called you half-moon.
you never became fully-formed.
i knew what you would become,
just never knew how you would get there.

or when.

and now i'm in a heap on the sidewalk on hunter street,
wreckage of seasons past,
who only wanted to love you.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

139 poems about the moon: #3

dear full moon,

things i've been wanting to say to you:

  1. sometimes i think you're not listening to me. 
  2. you seem distracted whenever i'm around.
  3. your mind always seems to be somewhere else.
  4. you say 'i love you' as you're looking away.
  5. you exhaust me. 
  6. you constantly demand my attention. 
  7. you seem to have a thing for pleiades. i'm not sure which one of the seven sisters you love the most. maybe several of them. maybe all of them. 
  8. you're a drama queen.
  9. you act like you're life is in a perpetual state of tragedy. 
  10. you're so hard done by.
  11. you act like you're the only person whose opinions matter.
  12. i do get a little said when you're leaving town.
  13. when you're gone i miss you terribly.
  14. i can't live without you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

139 poems about the moon #2

swollen belly half moon,
waiting for penny to drop,
the shoe to fall.

swollen belly half moon,
pregnant with all my desires
pregnant with all my silent longings.

look how easily we fool ourselves.
look how easily we fall for your sly tricks,
the weight of your oppression,
your cunning tricks of language.

you, who were in the garden of eden.
you, who were in my living room last night.
same moon. same half-truths
and concocted lies.

i won't fall for your trickery again.
i won't!

but, oh, swollen belly half moon.
how i love your sensuous curves,
your back bent to the night,
the curve of your lips,
the play of your laughter.

yes, swollen belly half moon,
feigning shyness, fawning affection!
yes, swollen belly half moon,
i don't care where you've been,
or what you've done.

swollen belly half moon,
is this a splendid grace?
is this a fool-hardy forgiveness?
something in-between, perhaps?

who knows, who cares?
swollen belly half moon,
i love you.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

139 poems about the moon #1

you are the heavy lidded eye of horus.
you are the scimitar, waving above the russian steppes.
you are the crescent moon, balefully watching over the arabian peninsula.

when i asked you t be my guardian, you refused.
when i asked you to guide my hand, you looked away.
when i asked you to fence my fate, you grew silent.

how long must i remain here, alone?
how long must i count my every breath?
how long must i wander these plains,
      looking for life, for some spark of the divine?

tonight, i will sit by the fire and contemplate my existence.
tomorrow, i will kill wolves with my bare hands,
tomorrow night, i will sing and dance among the townsfolk.

and you will remain silent above it all.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


first you build a house.
joints and joists,
bones and ligaments,
thoughts and attitudes,
angles and altitudes,
floors, walls, ceilings,
and all the stuff you need 
to put in your house.

this is mine, you say.

then you make a home.
joints and joists,
bones and ligaments,
thoughts and attitudes,
angles and altitudes,
floors, walls, ceilings,
and all the stuff you need
to make your house a home

this is ours, you say.

then, one day
you awake with a peculiar kind of madness
and to the rising sun you ask:
am i a bird to wander the morning sky?
am i a fish to swim the vast oceans alone?

one day you awake to a peculiar kind of madness
and to the late morning sun you say,
i am a kind of sickness to myself:
i am a kind of loss, and sadness.

one day you awake to a peculiar kind of madness
and to the afternoon sun you ask:
what will become of me?
i am burning up. i am aflame from within.

the moon watches you in the evening.
and you think:
the moon has no judgement. it's just the moon.
then you think:
the moon judges everything, the moon judges everyone.

yes, you are a bird to wander the morning sky.
yes, you are a fish to swim the vast oceans alone,
but right now you are a kind of sickness to yourself,
and a kind of loss, and sadness,
and yes, right now, you are aflame from within.

one day you will wake up with a peculiar kind of sanity,
and know you once were lost,
but now am found.


you long to find solitude;
the solitude of a forest in morning,
or a beach, or a meadow.
the solitude of a cathedral in the afternoon;
or a library, or a cafe window seat.
the solitude of your favorite chair in the evening;
of a cat, sleeping in your lap,
the solitude of one, and the one who will be.

you long for solitude.
you long for silence.
you long for stillness.

how many distractions will you gather in your day?
holding them, like a useless bag of stones
taken from the edge of the path until,
they weigh on your mind with
all those things left undone,
that cry out to be done,
that say they need to be done,
that bellow and roar to be done,
that whisper in nagging tones to be done,
that clamber and clatter over one another to be done
so someone else can say that they are done,
someone other than your true self.

you have one great and glorious purpose:
to love with all your heart.
how will you become a flame of love
when your hands are full of noise?

Monday, April 20, 2015

when you are a poet

when you are a poet
you spend three days and nights
in the dark tomb of your soul,
and every word you write
is a kind of resurrection.

when you are a poet
you wander the desert at night
looking for signs.

when you are a poet
your life is mapped out in words
written on the palms of your hands.

when you are a poet
you listen for the sound of waves on the shore,
knowing you are an ocean
with no place to go.

when you are a poet,
you write,
because you don't know how not to write,

when you are a poet,
you are forever coming to the end of things
you are forever beginning again.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

5 Haiku After A Winter Night's Walk

the night sky is blind -
lets the snow fall where it may;
such senseless beauty.

you are a winter night's koan:
nothing about you makes sense
except your lovely stillness.

beneath the street lights
incandescent snow swirls
like a thousand prayers.

it is possible
that this snow fell once before
in our other life?

snow on eyelashes,
our noses red-tipped with frost:
we kiss: my heart sings.

Friday, January 9, 2015

perhaps, one day

winter night a mausoleum,
full of dry cold bones beneath
the tear-less eye
of the full moon.

absent of movement,
absent of light,
of energy,
so bitterly cold.

i worked here once:
gathered wheat,
lit fires,
touched, was touched,
held and released,
ended, began, ended again.

look how temporary everything is,
how endlessly immediate,
how important the morning light,
how withering the afternoon.

perhaps, one day,
i will walk into the cafe,
stand at the counter,
stir sugar into my latte,
and tell her that i love her.

perhaps one day i will leave for montreal
get on the train and not look back.
perhaps one day i will buy a sailboat,
perhaps one day i will throw a punch in anger,
perhaps one day i will awaken in memphis
with a hooker and a hangover and a loaded gun.

perhaps, perhaps, perhaps,

one day.

Friday, December 26, 2014

i mourn the passing

i mourn the passing of all living things:

a squirrel on the road,
my cat on the vet's table,
my grandmother, wheezing, pale and thin.

wisp of smoke, a few ashes,
a plot of earth,
silence, and a certain emptiness of space
are all that remain.

i mourn the passing of all living things,
mourn the frailty of life and the living
and encounter, with sudden and sharp clarity,
all my failings
and how little i loved.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


this is the longest night
of the year.

this is the endless darkness,
the sky a swirling bruise of clouds.

tomorrow? a bitter grey dawn,
the hard, cold bone of winter,

and all those geese in the river,

Saturday, December 20, 2014

a routine cure for melancholy

you can't bear the weight of everything, all the time.
eventually you must put on your new hat,

walk downtown,
get a coffee at the black honey,

sit in the window and read a book,
and occasionally look up to watch people walk by.

you must think about a lot of things
consider a lot of possibilities,

listen to a lot of music,
think about a lot of lyrics,

eavesdrop on more than a few conversations,
wonder what the hell happened,

wonder how the hell you got here,
and what on earth you're going to do now.

eventually though,
sometime in the late afternoon,

you must consider the sun slanting over the buildings,
bronzing the cars of all the good folks of peterborough

going home from all those nine to fives,
and, because you can't bear the weight of everything, all the time,

you must offer the world a long, saddened sigh
before finally reaching the conclusion

that everything is going to be okay.

and, if you tilt your head just right,
squint a little bit, and hold your breath,

you might even believe it.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

desiderata #9

you are here
and then you are not.

someone else will live in your apartment,
someone else will live in your city,
someone else will go through all your stuff,
decide what to keep,
what to throw away.
someone will give your clothing to goodwill
and one day,
maybe sooner, maybe later,
that guy on the number 7 bus who has fish breath
will be wearing your shoes.

or, for this brief ecstatic moment,
while you are made of flesh and blood,
while you while breathe,
while you yet move,
you will throw drunken punches,
make love in a tangle of sheets,
bellow and roar after lightning strikes,
howl at the moon,
walk in the rain at midnight,
swim in the river at dawn,
and in a sudden flash of incandescence
exit the earth,
rising like a colossus to
tattoo the sky with all the white hot contrails
of your searing passions and blazing desires.

and then let the bus driver shake his head,
give a soft moan
and as he cranks the wheel say,
my god, there was a man.

[ from a photograph by rae kennedy - ]


you spend your life wandering the outback.
everything is sand and rock,
scrub-brush, blistering sun by day,
the emptiness of freezing cold by night.

at a cross-roads -
tracks crossing another set of tracks -
you find a sign-post hedgehog full of crooked arrows:
paris, this way,
new york, that way,
brisbane, another way altogether.

who painted these names, these mile markers?
the lettering is so precise until it isn't,
trailing off at the end, as if the sign painter developed palsy,
as if his hand shook when he sobbed.

paris this way.
new york, that way.
brisbane, another way altogether.
surely, this is a sign - you've been wandering this desert for weeks,
looking for a sign, any sign.
or is this another illusion?
another mirage,
another trick of the mind?

someone else was here, you tell yourself.
someone came this way before.
someone left this here,
knowing there would be others.

you sit for hours in the scant shade of a thin bush,
atop a rock outcropping
staring down at the cross-roads until, finally you know
it doesn't matter which one you choose;
you will keep walking,
keep walking,

someone else was here, you tell yourself.
someone came this way before.

[ from a photograph by rae kennedy - ]

Friday, December 12, 2014

faux wisdom

1.     age and youth cannot co-exist
        until one of them gives up their right
        to be something they're not.

2.     i hold a robin's egg.
        marvel at the tiny, delicate, thin shell.
        marvel that it holds life, blue as the sky above.
        the robin's egg holds me.

3.     if, on a cool september morning
        you walk the beach,
        travelling from driftwood to driftwood,
        eventually you will find yourself.

[ from a photograph by rae kennedy - ]

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

old newspapers

peeling back the lath,
plaster like crumpled snow at my feet,
pages of old newspaper,
yellowed with age, ink faded,
elderly and frail.

fragmented headlines, hieroglyphics:
"cleric said",
"greek underground".
nothing makes sense when left too long
     in an unattended space,
nothing makes sense
     when out of its time, place.

here's a comics page,
stapled from stud to stud,
doctor kildare,
handsome, lantern jawed,
hinting at some dark secret of love
with nurse elizabeth.

so many hidden things,
so much lath and plaster.
you break through to find
doctors and nurses waiting for you,
clerics, documents you've kept for
exactly this moment,
when you were brave enough
to join the underground,
to fight for what you needed to believe in.

[ from a photograph by rae kennedy - ]

Sunday, December 7, 2014


tension hods the cable in place,
pulls it tight, concise, controlled.
wire wound around wire,
grasp wound around grip.

it's winter now, back home.
snow drifting across sidewalks,
plows scraping the streets,
everyone walks with their head down,
trying to get from one place to another,
making headway against the wind.

where did you go?
the last time i saw you
the earth was in bloom,
green grass, tiny yellow flowers,
fresh new leaves, unfurling on the branch.

sometimes i awake in the night,
stare at the ceiling,
afraid that i can't remember your face.
sometimes, in the middle of the day,
in the middle of something else,
i hear you call my name.

tensions hold us in place.
cables, seen, unseen.
always the things that separate us,
always the things that hold us together,
sometimes, when i reach out and take hold of the cable,
the same things.

[ from a phtograph by rae kennedy - ]

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


winter's night downtown,
snow dreaming it's way down,
shimmering in the streetlights.

all the world's asleep.
the shops have shuttered  their faces,
the buses are in the barn,
taxis idle at the train station.

you know something is real
only because you know what isn't -
but who's to say snow doesn't dream -
or this silent night is real?

winter's night downtown,
snow dreaming its way down,
the whole world aglow
with silence,
and everything that might yet be.

Monday, December 1, 2014

old books

i have shelves full of old books,
cardboard covers,
cloth stretched thin, dusty,
dented corners,
yellowed pages,
faded ink.

i comb through them each morning,
searching for something -
i'm not sure what -
something exotic, something wild,
something that bounds across open plains,
that pads stealthily through the forests,
that crouches in the shadows
something that howls beneath the full moon,

i have shelves full of old books,
a zoo, of sorts,
all of us searching for something
we once took for granted.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

this is not a feminist poem

somewhere in the world tonight
a bus driver is pulling out of the station,
a cop is lighting a cigarette,
a shop-keeper is sweeping the floor,
a soldier is cleaning a rifle,
a mechanic is searching for an oil leak,
a cab driver is waiting for a fare,
a bartender is polishing glasses,
a trucker is backing up to a loading dock,
a factory worker is punching in at the time clock,
a chef is stirring a cassoulet,
an electrician is inspecting a breaker panel,
a construction worker is setting up a pair of sawhorses,
a tow-truck driver is parked at the side of the highway,
a welder is donning a pair of gloves
and in a garage, somewhere in scarborough,
the drummer in a punk band is belting it out on the skins,
wondering why people keep referring to them
as 'an all-girl band'.

Friday, November 28, 2014


murakami awakens at four in the morning,
and creates the world.
murakami hums the world into existence
with fingers curled around knitting needles,
the thin wooden rods clicking against each other
in a precise rhythm
the wool, the long, thin strand of time,
rising from a tangled mound at his feet.
murakami awakens at four in the morning
and hums the song
that his clicking knitting sticks will use
to envelop distant mountains in fog,
pour a glass of whiskey,
light a fire,
close the town gates,
rage the winter night.
i wept when i learned that murakami slept
at precisely nine each night.
there was nothing else i could do.