I have this ache, Doctor. And so far, no amount of drugs or drink have been able to cure it. Where does it hurt, you ask? Why right here, Doctor. Right here in my chest. It started feeling odd when I saw HER for the first time. It was a Thursday; August eighteenth of two thousand eleven I believe. I remember her perfectly, for I had not, and have not, seen anybody more beautiful in my life. Her auburn hair was streaked with red and waterfalled perfectly over her delicate shoulders, that were on that day cloaked in a blue jacket. Her long graceful fingers bloomed from slender palms and were crowned with and elegant black nail polish with a cracked silver finish. To this day, I have never so much as imagined anybody more perfect than her. So what's my problem? Well Doctor, she hates me. I can see it glint in her dark eyes every time she looks at me. Why is this? Why I have not the slightest idea. All I have ever been was polite to her. All I have ever been was kind. When she shivers I give her my jacket, regardless of how cold I am at the time. When she is hungry, I use my last dime to feed her. I do everything in my power to make her happy, make her laugh when the pain adds weight to her shoulders. But I guess it just wasn't enough in the end. What do you prescribe, did you say? An entire bottle of pain pills and a slash down each wrist? That sounds about right. Thank you, my dear Doctor.
Your gentle breath
Stirs autumn leaves in the streets of my mind
Your eyes are so promising,
Rolling like newsreel camera,
Your pupils shifting like lenses
Their tender glint
Swears there is something better
Something bigger than this
Somewhere, perhaps soon
Somewhere the sparrows sing
And the summers are blue
And the satin is black
Your hands on my back
Rub and comfort for what I will remember
Was an eternity
Someday maybe you'll sway with me
Sing, sing willow tree
We've always swayed together
Maybe one day you'll engulf me
When I, fed to the tongues of fire,
Will turn my face to the flames
To the burning, divine kiss
But it would scorch my heart
With a single ember
Of a charred willow tree
This is for all the men
Who tell me I am beautiful
I can't hear you
Through all those years
Of being and ugly duckling
This is for my dog
Big blue eyes
My baby snugglebug
Sniffing for donuts
Chewing my hands in the morning
And the nail biters
And the chefs
Who lose fingers tot he meatgrinders
And the farmers
On a drop of rain
I am vain
This is for the men
Who have faith
I am not the virgin Mary
Just another pretty face
Another lacy thong to take off
This is for the underwear makers
This is for the characters
Who explode in the night sky
Like the fourth of July
And ordinary people
Are blinded by the colors
This is for the mothers
And the big brothers
And the Prozac poppers
This is for the bees that have stung me
I've eaten their honey
And my cakes would not taste
So sweet without it
This is for the surgeons
For the men who have bought me dinner
And never seen a return
On their investment
This is for the beards
And chest hair
This is for my little sister
Who is finally growing up
The word "love" on her tongue
And this is for America:
Land of the free
Home of the mancave
Beauty is only as deep
As your mineral rights
The copper and coal mines of your eyes
Beauty flies as high as kite
Melts away like cotton candy
After a baseball game
This is for the men who called me beautiful
For all the beauty in the world
All the beautiful
You cannot possibly know
How much you have meant
He wields his hammer
time and space
e x p a n d i n g
crushing metal to earth
to vibration to sound
my head snaps to the left
vibration through earth
through atom through drum
a fire ignites...a fire BURNS...a fire smolders
apertures contract straining to focus
heart valves pump unnaturally
oxygen is scarce
and i s
arms of steel
guide my hips...
strands of gold
brush my neck
(open your eyes)
kisses so light
turn to a force of nature
(by the forgotten gods,
you are beautiful)
teeth playfully snap
(breathe, woman, breathe)
our neurons are mirrored
our pheromones agree
your cape is irrelevant
the crimson does not impress me
it does not hide your humanity
your armor is useless
i can pierce it simply
with my blue eyes
what of your hammer, Thor?
it is all of what you are;
heavy with burden
spinning and light with hope
crushing the earth with music
raised high to lead
with a steady hand
hailing a booming storm
be assured - your hammer is your own
i do not desire to take what is yours
(you are not used to this)
but i will prove it
i only wish to see you grow in strength
and so i will wait...
for the thunder of the hammer
crushing the ground
calling me home.
scaled your apartment in one of my favorite dresses
right before sundown
watched the wind billow the blue silk up my thighs,
as i looked down,
several stories above your neighbors
(wonder if anyone looked up)
swallowed my human fear, counted the rungs
had opened our forties prematurely in your apartment
sure didn't make climbing any easier
that big map stretched out yawning across the bricks in your living room
spotted the city you were headed for
blame it on uninformed geography but didn't
realize you'd be completely across the country
(didn't tell you but
your cat kissed my nose from the bathroom counter
while i was peeing
and i thought it was one of the most endearing things
that probably ever happened to me)
got to your roof outta breath
all adrenaline and eyes
took off that big leather jacket lined with fleece,
wrapped it around our backs and sat
facing the city you'd be leaving and i'd be entertaining
watched the traffic crawl on the BQE
the sunset bored, you spilled your beer-
kept rolling in it innocently- stoned
laughing, god i just
wanted to keep touching you
couldn't decide what to eat
both didn't wanna impose
neither of us could remember the name of that tree
littering pink slippery offspring in spring
for you and me to exclaim fondness over
you were the birth of a simplicity
it was so
terribly easy to be happy
I can't help but dream of you
and me, sitting, drinking cups of tea.
Talking, mildly discussing, of the color blue;
all its hues and its philosophy
Alone without the fussy world
distracting. To Be, no fear, simple.
And in the crashing waves of endless Time
we could stop.
Gertrude, Stradbrook, River and Roslyn,
off of McMillan, my thoughts froze on Osborne
A drive through the village on slippery streets
Bought records, drained pints
swallowed down summer nights
Back home in Wyoming--think I'll be fine
'til some night, filled to gills
trip through streets with a stranger
and sing "One Great City"
through swollen closed throat
And I remember...
Confusion Corner, commuting through cold streets
Watched you drive as the daylight died
I narrow my Focus,
you eased into traffic
The Assiniboine ran and was watched by Riel
Took Yellow Dogs for long walks
and Exchanged now for then.
Portage & Main
at a Tavern Uniting with friends,
'til we took the King's Head...
We took the King's Head.
Long live the king.
Curry soup, curried thoughts thawing,
melting, falling from pickled brains,
through lips chapping
Form a Perimeter
Frame a city
Bullseye, center, a Gold gilded Boy
he leans into sky, as they sing, as I hear.
The road North Ended--November, it was.
I think, one year prior, in Robin's Donuts
on hinges that sighed metallic,
I caught your eyes--organic, unplanned--
through fog frosting lenses
Caught them, held on
Held your deep brown
In my gunmetal blue
Seasons will chase--haste to follow more seasons
White streaks to green
and the Red River runs.
When they score at the ballpark,
"Go Goldeyes!" the cheer sounds
The Guess Who still suck,
but the Jets completed their round trip
"Go, Jets, go!" so the cheer goes.
"Cheers!" Cheers like bells.
Peeling like your sunburnt back
Bells singing long
Bells sounding loudly from Grace Bible Church
baptizing Baltimore as it kisses Osborne
Bells ringing. Round sounds.
Round rings for fingertips touching
Round sounds that hang on my neck
and sing me to sleep every night--
remind me how badly you wanted those bells
I denied you.
They sing "Left and Leaving"
and show me old scars
they ring and peal and strike
I remember April of 2008
Dropping my toque in the mud-and-slush street
We took Pembina Highway
Commuting through cold streets,
Watching you drive as the daylight died
In your blue '02 Focus
Ease us back into traffic,
The Assiniboine River.
And Louis Riel.
So tell me...
Comment-allez vous, ce soir?
Je ne suis pas comme ci, comme ça.
It was once an empty piece
Of latex, small and not yet obese.
But you breathed in your life, your magic
Until it didn’t look tragic.
And then you released it, let it roam
The great blue skies above our home.
It caught the wind and soared higher
Until we lost it in the sapphire
Sky above the city. But we still
Watched the heavens, remembering the flight,
Holding hands, forgetting the last fight.
The sun is millions of miles away from us
And there is more out there past our blue sky.
This city is barely a fraction of this world
And this world is only a tiny pinpoint on the map of the universe.
We casually pass hundreds of people each day
All with their own lives and stories.
I've just now realized
That I'm never going to be able to go everywhere and see everything.
I won't know everyone and everyone won't know me.
I'm not going to be able to learn everything or fix everything.
I've just now noticed
How small I really am.
in the backs of cabs that reek of stale vomit,
blue salt specks are dragged against their will to rest in the ridges of the floor mats.
fluorescent confused cubicles of light flashing by-
your mind fighting to make shapes out of the blur.
it’s january, this is everyone’s mood.
fingers folded into fists, stuffed into nylon pockets,
catching your breath and watching the scenery swirl past
like the entire horizon is made of melting wax.
you’re replaying day old conversations, analyzing cryptic eye movements
and body language of those people that strike you so suddenly.
those strangers that have pushed and shoved every defense and nestled themselves
into every fiber of your being. you sicken yourself with these sappy adolescent romantic bouts
but they’re the only thing keeping you alive.
you don’t know these people.
you don’t even know yourself.
the cab driver mumbles something over the radio and your attention is brought back to the present.
he’s on the phone-
you’re a little concerned-
your life does lie in the shivering hands of a stranger who boredly grasps and curves a wheel, after all.
but you play it cool, you turn to nihilism- it’s easier this way.
death is fine.
the cab driver is passing your house while you’re swatting at questions.
you uncomfortably raise your quiet voice for a few hesitant notes.
“Here is fine!”
you urge to the driver while a fumbling hand shakes down your pockets for a twenty.
there’s your house- standing just as you left it
through the white mystery patches on the back window.
chock full of memories and problems and decay and warmth.
everything seems to rest so calmly in the palms of the bittersweet.
tell the stranger to have a goodnight.
he returns the favor.
everyone needs to hear these things-
it’s january, after all.