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.
In the sky,
What you doing in my eye,
It tastes like sugar,
It feels Like soup,
Oh My God,
Its birdy poop.
I am experiencing the human condition
Or I would be, if I knew what such a thing was.
They say poetry is an art form designed to show emotion
emotion of course representing such a thing as a human condition
but my poem is broken
I must insert 25 ccs of suffering more,
50 ccs of subtlety more,
and 100 ccs of emotion more,
not to mention the 600 mg of lithium,
the 25 µg of Wellbutrin,
and the 100 mg of synthroid I put in myself.
But my poem is broken.
And if poetry is a form of the human condition
and I cannot form my poem
then I cannot form the human condition.
This is an inevitable factor in the world of man
most people tend to forget it, but it is so
the more I cut myself off from the world around me
the more I become what the world needs from me.
Then comes righteous silence.
Silence is golden but only in small amounts
Silence is only golden when the faux silver of duct tape must
simply not do.
Emotion is a human condition, but I must take the pills.
After all, if these pills are not effective,
they’ll simply electroshock my brain
in order to find my human condition
Who am I?
Why am I here?
Forget these questions--
hey, hand me another beer.
But surely--or Shirley--the animal crackers in my soup
are just as sick and tired as I of being a pawn--
afraid of the magic space wizard destroying us all--
they are just as afraid of the inevitable,
that indeed, everything all along has been true
and tis all forbidden
Afraid that perhaps the friendly raccoon’s intentions
are not so honest as they appear when we first move
to our new woodland home
Perhaps my animal crackers in my soup
are more afraid I will lose myself
as I stumble down the rabbit hole
looking for the man who burned down my home
only to discover he truly was the innocent
(In this crime, at least)
Or perhaps as I stare these pills down,
muting my human condition has come easier;
no longer am I attacked by strange men
for a golden woman carrying a blue staff
No long must I boldly proclaim
that I’ll go out through my kitchen
when indeed, for someone with my body
(human condition aside)
belongs there, if only to make a sandwich.
If only there was a dictionary definition in the back
of every high school textbook
and we are made to ‘put it in our own words.’
Defining what should be such a simple thing
should be rather easy then.
But nobody said it was easy.
We were all told that we were special
but I have come to the conclusion that
saying everybody is special is really saying
that nobody is.
And if nobody is special,
should not our own human condition be the same?
or is is simply that no,
humans are manufactured on a mass-produced scale
for the pleasure of those powers that be?
Yes, they have a tough game with tough rules,
and they’ll win (and I’ll always lose)
but am I a design flaw? Something wrong in manufacturing?
I’ve traveled to these human distribution centers
and there were many babies wrapped
in blue or pink cloth dictating from birth
a key aspect where the human in question
has no choice.
And their human condition has been dictated to them
but I paid no mind
(I ignored the stains on)
I allowed human condition to be dictated,
knowing most of these children will grow to be
a design flaw like me.
And waiting on a mother swan to come
and tell me I am beautiful, and indeed
I have been in the wrong place the entire time.
And as I left this distribution center
of humans, and the human condition
I asked myself
“What god would make this world?”
“What god would make this world
with so much suffering and pain and make us
unable to identify for fear of what will happen to us?”
“Was it an angry teenaged god who played a game
only to find that his friends were murdered around his ears
and he must have to build this universe by himself?”
“Was it a god who lived in a world all alone
only to hate any form of life beyond himself?”
And as I asked myself these questions
I prayed that it wasn’t true.
That maybe, this is just exclusive to my
inability to find my human condition.
He loves cautiously
He needs to know there’s water in the pool before he jumps, which often makes these romantic moments, so much less romantic. Because a love and let love mentality just isn’t a possibility, at least for him- it isn’t. But I think thats what works for us. He’schecks the safety nets and parachutes and iI well iI uncontrollably free fall, face first, into any feeling that inspires me.
with him, iI can be that wounded girl looking for someone safe to vanish into and he can be the strength neither of us ever had. But for him to do that, for him to feel safe enough to be the strong one, he needs me to tell him simply and plainly, without any room for doubt, that I love him.
So when he asks me with his voice hoarse and bourbon hushed, whispering down the length of our shared pillow, if next year we can spend christmas with his family- I don’t promise him all my holidays or say that with him, christmas can be a can of chicken soup in bed.
instead, I scoot in closer.
instead, I kiss him and tell him yes.
It took you some time to get
Where you are; no overnight
Fall or idle thought to drop out
Or taste how the other half lived,
Although now you know,
But a collection of erroneous
Decisions or the wrong people
At a bad time, or maybe that child
You lost and husband quitting,
Was all too much for you
To soldier on in the complex
World of the here and now.
Shelter is shelter, you mumble,
Sipping the warm soup, the memory
Of the last good supper long forgotten
Or put aside in that room marked
Verboten, and the trainers, yes,
The trainers fit the feet well,
Best for ages, you smilingly mutter,
The rest are rags, but they keep me
Warm at the best of times, which
Are few, you add, sensing the chill
Of the wall against your back;
Maybe Buddha would not pass by
Unnoticing, maybe he will give
Smile or coin or kind words
Like oil for rusting joints.
You sit and stare and muse
And feel the wind whisper,
Sense the passers-by look down
At you, feel their eyes, their
Muttered utterances, their shakes
Of head, their tut-tutting, and just
Remembering now your mother’s
Soft hand brushing your childhood
Head, soothing the poverty from brow
And cheek, maybe that’s what you want
On this street, maybe it’s her that you seek.
I can not tell you
when my life became imaginary.
It must have been long ago,
that day I forgot about the Sun.
The walls were closing in tight!
They where all I could think about.
Ever since I have been punished
upon its arrival.
Night and Day.
My white prince sits on that empowering doorstep!
I'm blowing out smoke!
I’m yelling at trees!
On my hands and knees
digging because we are all itchy!
For if I dig long enough I will make it through ground.
"And through is where I am suppose to be."
Singing the most beautiful song you where ever here.
Slopping up soup and forgetting what time it is.
Rolling on the ground again, I am still itchy..
My mother and father and sister who would all forget me!
No they cannot forget me they are imaginary too!
Crying very loudly,
No, I am just laughing.
And then calmness when my prince kicks in,
Waking up to see Sunshine.
Is it Summer already?
If I feel long enough he can bring me through winter too.
If I lie long enough…
Oh, God just let me through!
I rest again and wake to see no more Sunshine.
I smell the miso soup and curry
though its bowl's contents
have been long licked away
I see you when I look at her
Her eyes that wander and eyes that sigh
longing for you as I do.
Maybe even more.
She waits and speaks and fights.
I wonder if she wants to be with you yet
I hope not, because I need her still but
I need you, too.
It's selfish, but I am speaking my mind.
The pain I felt
three weeks ago when I remembered you was physical
My breath came in short puffs
and the tears pricked and the leaves swayed
as I looked out the dirty window.
Maybe I was expecting you to swoop down, hug me,
and tell me you were sorry
for leaving so soon.
So, so soon.
It's time to go, so I touch the small of her back lightly
and help her into the car
something you used to do.
I am not angry.
But it hurts.
Knowing that you never saw me dance
or play the piano
or walk up the stage to receive my diploma
Knowing that I'll never be Princess Aurora
and you'll never be Prince Philip or the dragon again
Knowing that as long as the sun rises and the moon smiles
I'll still be here
I love her.
So for you, Lolo*, I'll take care of her as well as I can
because I know it will make you smile
and that will make me smile too but I still miss you
and it still hurts sometimes.
"You're a disaster", he said.
I know, I know, I know.
Because I never know where I'm going.
Because roads are still new territory
Even though I've lived here for years.
Because I sneeze in evens and cough in odds.
Because my socks never match
And you still react like you're not used to it.
Because I catch pitter-patter on my tongue in spring.
Because singing in the shower counts as talent
Although my snaps are missing rhythm.
Because I wrap my guilt thick like a December sweater.
Because I regret nothing and everything
A moldy breaded soup sandwich.
"You're a disaster", he said.
"But I'll always want to clean up your messes"
He never asked me for anything.
His humbleness and fruitfulness grew on me
Without knowing that his hand could carve words into ellipticals and parabolas.
His cooking skills were awful,
but he can make a Ramen soup
That'll make your knees melt like overcooked chicken broth.
He was 24 when he first came to this country,
his English broken like the glass protecting his eyes,
He left African battlefields and deserts
To generate cereal boxes and lithium batteries.
His pockets stuffed w/ month-long receipts,
because he always wanted to keep track of where he spent his hard-earned money.
Nobody gave him a cup to piss in, much less a pot.
But he always felt optimism grow in his foreign lungs,
swinging his voice like a hammer to build maturity,
to stand like golden shrines.
He’d pray every night to speak to his lord,
to ask God to help shape him into something a bit more,
like his shoulders were too weak to bear the struggles of his cries.
He works harder than ghosts to keep his heart in this world.
The Beach Boys were his favorite band when he first came here,
and he always babbled about Brian Wilson because he wrote poems.
He searches for lost poems that he's buried inside the mother of his children
He visualizes the pages of these poems,
writing themselves on the faces of his children.
He tries not to see too long, too hard,
because then he may see too much of himself inside his oldest son.
heaven is this bowl of soup in my hands, its warmth radiating insistently against my cold skin.
heaven is your eyes upon mine, gaze gentle and acceptant, the color in them boundless as it mixes with my own.
heaven is the gentle breeze which tickles locks from my neck, its scent containing a sort of nostalgia.
heaven is a flickering fire; angry, powerful, and capricious.
heaven is travelling to nowhere- not a purpose nor goal in mind.
heaven is a butterfly, wings fluttering, circling fast against an invisible current .
heaven is the smell of the ocean, rich with life and death and the thoughts in between the two.
it seems heaven is easily an achievable place once you allow it.