Monday, 16 October 2017

Before We Were Born

Before we were born,
our parents had lives,
my father, a battalion of friends
to carouse with,
strangers in photographs
perhaps visitors in my memories
"My, how you've grown"
Do I know you?

These people are foreign,
laughing and dancing, 
their gin glasses gauging empty,
their mouths bursting
like they swallowed the stars,
sparkling smiles and carefree
not an apron string in their midst,
their shoes tossed on the floor, 
footless, with laces relaxed
and unfettered,
before we were born
October 15, 2017

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Developing From the Negative

She remembers nightmares,
some imagined, some real,
the bullies who splattered her
with tomatoes and abuse
and the dark night 
when her father stormed 
through the house,
and the black cloud 
that hovered for years 
over her rickety attic 

There were glimpses of radiance 
that she could tangibly access,
like the yearbook photo
with her profile awash in light
through her English teacher's lens;
he had read her lackluster poems 
to the 8th grade class, 
one about a funeral for a squirrel;
death was a prominent theme
even as she stepped off the curb

She never saw what was coming,
her moving away from small town minds,
her inspiring daughter's convocations,
her visiting her in divergent homes 
her encouraging circle of friends,
her embracing marriage, finally,
her writing with a polished professor,
her reciting her published words,

her learning from experience, 
her looking directly into the light 
September 28, 2017

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Blood, Sweat and Tears

We are composed of
More water than not
First we slide down
The Fallopian tube
Then float 
In amniotic ooze, 
Not imagining 
What waits beyond 

This is where we all come from
But where we get to from there,
How viable our vision 
Depends on how hard
We are willing to push

And our crowns 
Are flooded with light 

September 20, 2017

Coming to a City Near You

She always had curious fingers
One morning I rose 
To find her pawing the floor,
On the lam from her crib;
She screamed for adventure 
I foolishly taught her to walk

One day when she was five
She strode to the store for Skittles
Without a penny in her pocket,
Or waiting for me, 
Or writing her itinerary;
I was, needless to say, in shock

Anguish led to astonishment
At her safe return;
Was it while she learned her ABC's,
That she started scribbling
Africa, Barcelona, Chicago
On the blackboard with chalk?

Along with postcards, 
She now collects postal codes,
Exploring provinces and regions 
Where, soon to be, legions of students
Are touched by her knowing heart;
I'm not, in the least bit, shocked 
September 20, 2017

Saturday, 16 September 2017

What Did Snow White Dream Of?

Blackbirds chasing her, 
Vultures and vixens swooping in
Ever-present predators 
Lurking in glass coffins 
Cancer, catheter bags
Rumours, whispered breath
Slashed umbilical cords 
Her dear mother’s death
Ugly stepmothers
Poisoned laughter 
Pedophiles with Adam’s apples
Death lunging after
Being thrown to the wolves
Clutching her Barbie in her sleep
Living with strangers with short names
Forced to earn her keep
Did she ever think she was 
Pretty and witty and bright
Sleeping in her clothes,
Waiting for dark to be light
When she could finally open
Her swollen eyes and see
The beauty of redemption 
And from this prison, be free
September 16, 2017
(Inspired by: Jennifer Lauck’s memoir, Blackbird)

Friday, 15 September 2017

Mon Epoux Puh, Puh, Puh

The wind machine 
Lies next to me in bed,
Dreaming up recipes
For creams, crepes et crevettes

I jot in my gratitude journal:
Earplugs and stretch denim pants
September 15, 2017

My Life at This Moment

I'm the queen of recycling,
I'm a walking bruise,
I'm a bird in a cloud,
A giraffe in high shoes

I'm a forecast of fog,
I'm a gasp in a mystery,
I'm an actor in the wings,
I'm challenging destiny
September 15, 2017

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

A Study in Contrast

In my tattered yearbook
there is a black and white photo 
that the English teacher shot
with sun streaming 
in through the window,
bathing me in liquid light 

it was a black night 
when my father 
opened the front door,
threatening to leave us,
not just my oldest brother,
his bedroom a grow-op,
his Sunday clothes
in the closet,
long past outgrown

I say goodnight 
at my neighbour friend's home
when the curfew clangs;
I meander to my house, 
wishing on stars 

a new friend 
who lives past the town proper,
dares me to shoplift 
after drama class;
perhaps I can find 
a deep-coloured blouse
to cover the scars 

there are snapshots in boxes 
from younger friends' grads 
girls in turquoise and rhinestones, 
boys in bow ties;
I help find my daughter's gown
a sleek blue velvet number 
from Value Village,
a second-hand gem 

then came convocations
for her first and second degree
she paid full price for her choices, 
walking her own path
in bright pink stilettos, 
assurance tattooed 
on her tempered frame 

September is here
and she is there  
a different small town,
different students 
but somehow their stories
are somewhat the same;

she turns on 
the overhead projector;
through the window 
you can see
the leaves outside 
are turning to gold
September 13, 2017

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Honeyed Morning

After a long night of carousing
And browsing the ocean for fish,
The racoons slowly return
To their family bush
Before Venus, above, vanishes
From my vantage point
Of my makeshift veranda;
Seagulls squawk as 
They scout out their 
'All you can eat' breakfast;
Geese honk as they fly 
Through the sky;
A few cars on the ground
Begin with muffled sounds;
The starlings start their day
With high-pitched squeaks,
Eager to fill their hungry beaks
Some sort of alarm goes off
Not a car, nor a rooster,
Not a sound that I'm used to
But some sort of bird 
That insists to be heard;
A sunlit plane passes by
Like a golden fish 
In the pale blue sky;
Now crows 
Join the 'dawn chorus'
Of boisterous birds
Primed for the sun 
To, once again, perform 
Bringing light and warm; 
The treetops begin to glow,
With birds tinged with
The sun beneath their wings;
Tweets are rapidly sent 
Between distant trees
Perhaps cousins or brothers
Are telling one another 
Their annelid dreams;
One last call 
For a clan of racoons
To head to the beach 
As the sunbeams reach
Above the horizon;
A silent heron hurries past -
Too quick for my camera, alas;
While most of my neighbours 
Lie snuggled in bed,
I am warmed by this honeyed scene;
By its sweetness, I'm fed
July 29, 2017

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Engaged in My Eden

The moment I enter the trail
That leads to centuries-old trees,
I feel the soft earth 
Beneath my pavement-worn feet;
It has been far too long 
Since I have felt 
The welcoming carpet of needles,
Relieving the pressures of life;
Waterfalls are plentiful as birdsong;

The murmur of traffic is drowned out; 
My worries are washed away

I sit with pen in hand
Upon a mound of earth,
Watching the sunlight

Favour some trees over others

I don't want to leave,
But I have only begun my journey 
I rise to see 
What else awaits me around the bend 

All senses are engaged, 
As my camera tries to capture
Where I am,
But I am no longer in this world
God is with me here. 
Is this heaven? 
I follow the footpath to find out

Dare I approach a bush aflame?

Who needs museums' dusty artifacts?

I am umbrella-ed by foliage, 

Serenaded by a nameless bird; 
There's much to investigate here
Within the pools of life-giving water 

This place is called Charlie's Trail,
But it is God's Trail (and mine)
We are alone here
Though a plane's motor overhead
Reminds me

To the city I must return;
Passengers may be on their way 
To a vacation;
This is mine
A holy day, communing 
With my kind Creator

I journal via video, 
Keepsakes to treasure;
I divert from the path,
Led by a minstrel making music
With water over descending stones
Below a universe upon a branch;
High above, a woodpecker flits 
From tree to mossy tree,
Taps out its own beat

A fly quickly buzzes past; 
A sunlit berry, not yet ripe,
 Invites me to return

But I am not ready to leave 
Just yet
I query to the hole 
In the bottom of the tree:
Is anybody home?
My heart replies, 
"Yes, I am" 
Where I marvel at so much -
Mystery and majesty,
 Much like my God

I prune a branch of dead leaves,
Watch them drift in the breeze,
Fall to decompose 
Upon the ground
I stand, upon a rock, 
Solid, my footing is firm,
My spirit is getting there
With this dose of relief
From the bothersome bustle
That waits beyond these borders
Of cedar and calm

I bring with me a bough 
And a sacramental stone
(As I depart 
Into the full light of sun)
Tangible reminders 
Of when I was led 
Beside quiet waters
And my soul was refreshed 
June 21, 2017

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Milky Way

Into the 'winter street' 
Clusters of countless stars 
Cascade in, 
Down a spiral staircase 
Of radiant light -
A celestial circle, 
By God's fiery exhalation
Myriad reminders ignited 
From His wisdomed voice,
"Let there be...
Not just any light, 
But supernatural galaxies 
Of immeasurable light" 

June 14, 2017