Vol. 3, No. 8
In 1816, a six-foot black man of twenty-five
Disembarked from coaster or tallship in Halifax.
Exactly where did he come from in Virginia?
Did he know bright and polite house servants?
As a slave, he laboured by toiling with tobacco,
Hoed, picked off worms, cut bottom leaves first.
Did he grow corn, beans and squash? Cultivate
His own garden? Go snare hunting or fishing?
After buying his freedom, he saw busy ports.
Here, he asked where Refugees like him lived.
He was directed a long ways away, over there
To Preston. Did he take the ferry across the
Harbour? In Dartmouth, did he walk on a
Footpath worn long ago by the dark Maroons
Into the ground to Main Street, turn further out.
There was plenty of water to drink. Was it hot?
Rainy? Still leafy or snowy winter’s too cold
To trudge ten miles, as soldiers once marched.
Sundown’s darkening approached as he tired.
His knock on a house’s door was answered
By a woman alone, who did not want to keep
A strange man overnight. As he turned away,
She spotted a scar on his face and asked his
Name. At the sound of “Richard,” she gasped
And hugged her lost son, from whom she’d
Been separated years before. And so it is said,
A miracle happened the first day he was here.
The smell can lift you up on your knees
Begging please Please PLEASE.
The sound so silent but so sweet.
The taste of Freedom at your feet.
The touch of Silk runs down your Cheek
of a life not Wasted.
The site of Joy in a Mothers eyes
But she still cries.
A Life Not Wasted Can’t Be Bet.
Conquest is a careless invasive freedom
Quick simple violent domination
So fresh, romantic and natural
Like Young love.
But the law of the strong
Ages in a permanent Melian pit
And the mess of war becomes
……A hardsick old man.
Themes flowing into me
plexus of bright screens
bus loads ensconced in the consciousness
reflecting the leaders who ring on
with fearless words bounding
with verses of change
The visions won’t fool me
with glamor gilt pictures
placed promptly and piled, impervious
pouring on promises
peace and petroleum
hypocrisy sheathed exhortations
Scenes of the green dream
eyes glaucous watching
the warnings of Beale now forgotten
while crusades of colors
creep swiftly and common
with capitalist-clasped tight concoctions
Networks will seep out
conscripting me near their neat nationalism
and prisms that mirror more
matrix betwixt mind and soul into
mores and mass plexus.
Just before dropping the DVD player at the curb,
I read the label on its undershell, learned
that during the thirteen too-brief months
when it had been a part of our family,
until that melancholy evening
when after a minute of strange clicking noises,
its once-cheerful red power light a sickly ember,
it had fallen forever silent
even to its partner the flatscreen TV,
and refused to taste its favourite disc
……………(This Is Spinal Tap)
until that day, it had tried to live
by a simple but strict ethical code
the Three Laws of Robotics
as summarized by Industry Canada
for the guidance and moral improvement
of consumer electronic apparatus.
This device must not interfere with other devices.
This device must accept
any and all interference even if this
interference may cause undesired operation.
No wonder it died young.
I laid it carefully to rest
on a stack of bundled newspapers
and, the street being empty,
Evening on the back steps
smoking a sumatra,
sucking a whisky,
bats bursting from the barn
beeping back up beeps,
soaring into the saffron sky
where insect wings blink
gold in the dying daylight.
Then a dogfight
duelling in the sunset
Bats looping the loop, barrel rolling,
snatching a supper of flickering insects.
Bugs for an entree?
I’ll stick with scotch.
What’s it all mean?
Life’s a struggle?
The early worm makes breakfast
for the birds?
Tenacious tangle of twisted turmoil
That vine that grows in my yard
Spreading silently, invading the soil
Voluptuous, prolific and hardy
Impervious to the constant clip of hand tools
A relentless quest for equality
Haughty and laughing, heckling this fool
So pretentious, presumptuous and naughty
Tentacles are determined strands searching to land
in places with grooves or sharp edges
Attempting to clutch at even my hand
Strangling the grounds lovely hedges
My vine is persistent, determined to grow
Responding with stubborn resistance
Wrapping and weaving, up high and down low
Determined to travel the distance
As warm weather ends and the frost settles in
My vine continues to flourish
But harsh weather looms and the snow will begin
burying the soils fleeting promise to nourish
So I bid it farewell as it slips into slumber
Red berries drying up in the cold
A smile on my lips, a drink in my tumbler
My vine and I toast winter’s brief hold
Night’s cathedral / empire
holds the lightyears’ treasures,
the dim vast diamond fire,
in the vault no number measures.
The 2 year old upon my hip
points up at the infinite face.
Alicia of the stars, I quip;
the night wind moves her hair a trace.
And she exists, as do the staws;
how far away either are, I can’t tell.
A question comes for Old Because:
do stars lub each other? Well . . !
Into our ears and eyes will wander
these open and unguarded deeps,
glimmering of the wonder
the absolute keeps,
with freedom for its lock . . .
and on we walk in Starry Park.
Sitting below her on the hill
I watched as she span.
Her arms spread far
and high in the air
and each rotation revealed a glimpse
of silver moon
against the dark depth of the black night
and I thought maybe she’d spin
until the earth started spinning with her
and the sun crept
over the crescent shape of the land in the horizon
But she fell
And she tumbled
And her skirt swept over her head
I laughed with my whole belly until I fell too
And that’s how I knew it was right
if sonnets are reserved for broken hearts
then form is but the bird around your neck
lament the day your lines are equal parts
for that is when your passions are in check
a muse who gives you love in metered verse
has captured art and life within a frame
pentameter is ev’ry poet’s curse
for no one fears a tiger that’s been tamed
the sonnet is a eulogy to love
and ev’rything that rhymes is something past
but when it is a ghost you’re writing of
the labour’s just a way to make it last
so if your lover gives your volta turn
oh, give him only free verse in return
Last night you were here.
You made not a sound.
You were lying behind me,
your arm tucked under me.
I could feel your entire body,
your breath on my hair.
I knew if I turned to look at you,
you wouldn’t be there.
I knew if I moved,
you would get up and leave.
I knew if I fell asleep,
I would never see you again.
I focused as hard as I could
to keep you with me
but my mind betrayed me,
played its cruel trick,
made me stand up and look down,
bend down to pick up your watch
that had slipped off your wrist
when you pulled your arm out from under me.
And when I woke up,
I placed my hand where it should have been
and remembered that I am unable to stand.
Mr. Prime Minister, you’re one son of a gun,
And to Canadians, you’re changing our thinking;
To some you are great,
And your changes can’t wait;
But to others, like me, we start drinking;
We see the demise of our country once wise,
And we think,
Do we know where we’re going?
A majority rule by, some think,
Just a fool
Is like driving a bike when it’s snowing,
‘Cause you can’t really see where you’re going;
But an ego unchecked is unknowing,
And some egos are continually growing,
Because the traction’s not great,
But you’re not going to wait;
Your agenda tells you where you’re going;
And you did warn us all, before we took the fall,
We wouldn’t recognize our Canada after
You’ve ruled for awhile;
Now your victorious smile
Has turned into a fit of pure laughter;
What you’re doing’s not new,
Though it may seem to you,
And you may even think you are right;
But as John said about Paul,
At the end of it all,
How do you sleep at night?
the better love
was left behind
the better love
deprived of ripeness
the better love
was the best love
the saddest love
Newton’s third law says,
with every action there is a reaction,
equal and opposite in magnitude.
This law applies to human
relationships big and small,
in business, love and family.
Love begets stronger love,
hate begets stronger hate.
Love can conquer hate often,
that’s when Newton’s law fails.
Hate follows Newton’s law,
hence hate is of this world,
unlike love which is close to divine.
You must feel the dark, devouring heart
pulling us up to night’s epicentre
Kali’s many madly outreaching arms
galactic pinwheel blades, perne in a gyre
slicing time up smaller and still smaller
millennium to eras to lifetimes
to this perfect moment where your fingers
up the scalding blood of my veins, you climb
enslaving my lips with your lips’ inlay
hands solve the code of each other’s armour
downfalling to the puzzle-piece parquet
breaths pressed to each other’s epicentre
timelessly at the event horizon
of the black hole that birthed up our heaven
Genteel, Anna Quon
She taught me ‘folding book’
Employing origami art.
It was before the gift
A poem with pomegranate feet
An image of lasting delight
Like the blushing bride
Nay- gate of the sun
Walking on strewn grapes
Bearing light in lotus hands.
quiet standing still somehow
in a town that always moves
drawing circles in the ground
opening cracks to find the truth
the streets are lined with faces
all mapping different routes
everyone a different crisis
but wearing the same suit
and amid the running chaos
a hand holds out a beaten cup
and you see the things you bought
never added up to much
and you feel, you feel,
you feel the change
change – it’s in your heart, it’s in your hand
change – it’s in your vision, it’s in your plan
change – it’s in your will, it’s in your worth
change – it’s in your love, it’s in your birth
change – the way you stand on this earth
you feel it in the here and now
you feel it when you read the Tao
you feel it when you’re absolute
you feel it when you’re resolute
you feel it in the joy of giving
you feel it when you’re truly living
you feel it in the space of nothing
you feel it when you’re really loving
you feel, you feel, you feel the change
Will you not share your tale?
With a song of such passion,
With a voice with such compassion,
A voice so soothing, so calm, so kind,
The most troubled spirit is sooth in mind.
Such beauty in both moonlight and sun,
And such other beauty, there is none.
Your eyes that glisten in the night,
In darkest times, you will always glow bright.
Sweet Nightingale, you are my all;
So long as you stay, I will never fall.
And yet I find myself with tears
Which shall shed for a thousand years.
Your beauty incompared
Can sadly not be shared;
Together we cannot be,
For you are apart from me.
Caged, loved by another,
Your voice I see belongs to no other.
And yet I still wish to hear you sing:
I wish for you, Sweet Nightingale; I beg you take wing!
So beautiful and kind, how I mourn there is another.
For I love you, Sweet Nightingale; you and no other.