View Issue vol. 9, no. 3
ISSN 2369-6516 (Print)
ISSN 2369-6524 (Online)
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Love is an unending name
It stays the same
A lot like your face
In my memories – the good ones
Lit up by an open flame
Inside and talking honestly
The feeling I had, back in that room
Is here again.
It ignores time and 3 years gone by
Came and went
I can still hear the sound of nothing
Only the feeling
Of coming out of your presence
And all my atoms spinning.
Beholden to a constant clientele,
lights reveal an absence of a crowd.
No one asks to taste the Muscatel;
nonetheless, the music’s still too loud.
The Maître d’ – chats cheerily,
the hostess feigns a smile;
the chef writes on a blackboard wearily,
of dishes no one loves nor shall revile.
No couples coo by candlelight,
discussing doubts nor making future plans.
(A painted scene by Hopper – late at night…)
Outside – no line of faithful fans –
a waiter waits on no one
…………………….(with a cigarette on his breath);
hope transforms to ashes –
…………………….in one more store-front death.
Cigarettes give us cancer
Cake makes us fat
So, what’s the answer?
What do we enjoy that doesn’t kill us?
Not love, I’ll tell you that.
under the sky’s arch
one hundred eighty degrees
Heaven’s front yard
salty atmosphere ignites
black and white tugboats
glide Halifax Harbour
drag floating docks
Each morning I crawl under
Your girded glass tower
BeeMO your first shining,
Slip down to the Ferry
With its roiling deck waters
The curlewed-waves enraged
At stultified heads, passengers
Like dipping birds buried in cells
not noticing, Cornwallis decapitated
Kaput!! by the downtown hit parade.
Half my day at work spent
Placing that unanswered call
Thank God for James and Lucas,
Wednesday nights at the HMC*
And at the Local, plaintive trumpet
sounds, Basie’s smoky Li’l Darlin.
On the way back up, Imagine that!
Shelley re-engineers in reverse
the Belly, la bête reprend du poil
A nod to Monster, a nod to BeeMO,
And a nod to my genetic nature.
*HMC=Halifax Music Co-op
My friend I admire you.
You do not complain.
You are strong, but can be patient,
You are a confidential listener,
and a respecter of feelings.
Country music makes you happy.
Most of all, I respect you, and that
is why you are my hero.
Curse my barnacle heart!
for it harbours love not but for the sea;
and it swells to the heights
of ecstatic joy,
and to the lows
of impenetrable mist; roaring down
not by the rolling hips, or simple kiss,
of a fair lass, or the gentle chidings
of an old love, but rather
with the constant surging surf,
greenblue, frothy and lost
it crashes on the unmoved shores
of despair and recedes back
into its infinite self…
Mirror reflecting my dreams,
back to the heavens
There’s a mess behind the glass
One touch reveals the flaws
Keep the calm
Look don’t touch
Someone dove deep,
Careful where you jump
The darkest hole you ever did see
This is no home
No one’s come back
Heroes throw pebbles or dip a toe
Even the bravest get lost
This is no home
The window cuts deep if you throw stones
There is nothing for you behind the glass
walked into a room, and
forgotten what it was doing,
standing in front of a mirror
and trying to decide
whether to wear
or light drizzle today.
Outside, there is
a layer of absentminded snow
on top of crocuses,
as if someone
has forgotten to turn their clocks forward
by an hour, yet again.
Clutching our umbrellas and winter coats,
we sigh and roll our eyes,
will finally invest in a calendar.
The break of dawn,
Little elephants thundered
Downstairs in droopy socked feet,
In a rambunctious blur
Of rumpled pajamas,
Bearing baskets in hand,
Scrambling, bumping, bouncing
Like sleepy bumblebees,
Gathering their pollen
Of rainbow eggs,
And chocolate bunnies,
Along the treasure trails
Cleverly woven with mischief
Among crevices, cracks and corners.
To our own discoveries
Of life’s little pleasures
Along the way.
Pale pink lilies, luscious coral roses,
Your gift, sits silently on my desk.
A living promise of your return,
Their heady perfume and gentle warm beauty
Slowly, they steep and they penetrate
Through worried cracks of my restless mood,
As I search, sort, scrawl on blank paper,
Words tinged with love, hope and deep longing.
Each day that you’re gone, away, from me
A lone petal curls away, dangles,
Opalescent pink begins to fade
Translucent sepia emerges,
Then, she releases her hold on life
And drops to my desk to rest alone.
Faded beauty, but still redolent
With her perfume of love, faith and hope,
Keeping me company as I wait
Patiently praying for your return.
You have been here a long time,
Watching the blue sky standing,
The dove walking, the green lawn sparking,
Or the baby smiling,
And you have a feeling that you should write poetry
To express it.
As life is very hard for you, you need this poetry
Like the tree needs sun or rain to bathe it,
Like cloudy skies need the wind to blow,
Like the dusty heart needs a sweeping feeling,
No matter if the writing is like flowers blooming
Or like buzzing bees.
Why I Wrote this Poem
I was born and raised in the city of Qingdao in China, which is on the east coast by the sea just as Halifax is. The similarity is one reason I came to Halifax. Before immigrating here, my life was so busy and noisy that I did not feel inspired to write any poetry. However, after I settled down here, enjoying the blue sky and white clouds, hearing the birds twitter on the maple trees, breathing the mix of airs here combining classical and modern elements, I suddenly wanted to write poetry to express all this. And so “life needs more poetry” was born in Halifax.
It comes to everyone, that unsought state;
the years accumulate and take their toll.
And ointments, creams, won’t stay the dreaded fate.
The pieces fail ‘till death engulfs the whole.
At first the hair turns gray and then it’s gone.
A tooth falls next, transparent wrinkly skin,
forgetting names, or losing breath upon
the stairs. The strength declines and muscles thin.
But I still walk, sometimes the whole day long.
My pack has food and shelter, compass, too.
Sometimes another oldie comes along,
perhaps on bike, or skis, or in canoe.
Despite it all, another saving grace:
I still appreciate a pretty face.
a nation made of sterner stuff
where all but breath doth stand
the harboured scrutiny of cudgeled prods
as penalty’s point does so
with crimsoned claws to all awares
that dares to tip gratuity’s nod
to rights and freedoms
once held tether tamed to strong
but now are wild in sighted flight
and hunted for their wanted meet.
with memory and with stealthy strength
as steel toed boots whose erstwhile steps
built houses so that beds can sleep
now march replacement music
and quondam states of being
become smokey memories
heated by hard soft covered pyres
lighting the silhouettes of virulent staff
stoically waiting in movement.
Better compared to what.
Even the medicine man laughs at my failing spirit
The river that transforms from the child,
is just a rage that empties my veins
Hollow thoughts, and smiles
that once creased my face,
only fade into the Shadows.
There can be no better,
only the pain of what once was.
Sadness becomes a single smile,
that torments each moment.
Follow the snow shoe track
that empties into the Wilderness we call life
There is only one direction, never returning.
In this small dark womb
Of love and life
We slept, we ate, we talked to each other
Through our beating hearts
SIDE BY SIDE
I kicked him out first!
and had 8 quiet minutes alone,
Then it was MY TURN!
Oh! We were the talk!
“Did you hear that Vi and Es had twins?”
We learned lots together,
in our 12 years of school
SIDE BY SIDE
We recognized our “Twin Traits”,
our “Twin-ness”, our “One-ness”, as
We are stubborn, we are moody,
We are restless, we Pace
We have patience, we drive Fast!
We each have a twin!
SIDE BY SIDE
We were born together as friends,
And friends we will always be,
My Twin brother and Me!
SIDE BY SIDE…