You don’t understand my language.
You understand television soap drama,
empathise with the unwanted dregs
in the bottom of a
bottle of wine.
You don’t see me the way you see fantasy.
You’re still living in your younger days,
rapid moments, breathing in fresh clarity.
You wanted to travel,
to be a ghost among place names,
to disappear through those
white metal gates
that made you an inmate
in your outhouse.
You didn’t want children.
Neither do I.
You never needed to marry.
I understand why.
I am the echo that reverberates
back over twenty-one years.
I am the child that wanders your streets
trying to find purpose in her own self-defeat.
We only want each other
because we are stuck with each other,
like a reflection you would rather
the mirror kept to itself.
You don’t speak my language
or understand the emphasis of my italics.
You bury yourself inside your apathy;
In Orange County
In Orange County, Californiyay,
When you arrive at John Wayne Airport,
No need to show driver license or passport,
But be prepared for inspection to gain entry.
Are your teeth white enough to light the roads?
Is your navel hairless and clean enough to be licked?
Do you have two tats, if not, get going back
If your not blonde, produce pictures of your parents,
In any event, law demands, go directly to the colorist!
Everybody smiles and says hello, so friendly,
But having mastered the technique of doing so
While looking over and past you, rest assured,
Your New York sensibilities of ignoring the movie star
Sitting next to you on the subway feels like the ultimate,
In this place the sun never sets, which is why the citizens
Have sunglasses surgically attached to their heads.
Have not seen a big nose 'cept mine
Being looked down on from people who by law
Must be a minimum of six feet tall.
Need my gritty, need my cabbies giving me the finger,
Need the senior citizens fighting tooth and elbow for anything on sale,
Need my rivers, need to bleed orange and blue,
Need my ballet, my museums, my rude compatriots,
Who rush to your side when you sidewalk stumble,
Who never judge a book by its cover,
Cause the jerk next to you is likely the author.
Who open their pockets and hearts to every needy person,
Hand extended, give 'em a buck, genuinely wish 'em God Bless,
They who let us share the fabric, woof and weave of our
City streets, their homes...
I got beach, I got mountains,
So maybe they're not visible from my living room,
But I got more living in the hearts of my fellow Yorkers,
Than there are grains of sands on the beaches of
I found myself, today,
by human trash
in the streets
in the stores
in the houses
and as I looked out
I began to see
in the trash
of what sort of man
could see trash
a little piece
of my soul dies
every time i see
some poor girl
who thinks that
she is everything
but all she does
is throw herself
to the dogs of this world
i wish they
they are not wanted
in a year from now
they will likely
take to the streets
because that is
the only place
left for them
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
When he was away
I sent him picture messages
Of me holding signs
He was the only one for me.
That our love was endless.
That one day, we’d have the house, the dog, the stocked wine fridge.
And I doubted it was true
Even as I wrote them.
But it was the fantasy to believe in
That he and I,
Two world-class fuck ups
In our own rights
Fuck this one up.
What once was joy and laughter
And holding hands on public streets
And feeling validated from when he would call me sexy
Lying on bedroom floors
Sobbing to the carpet
Heaving for breath
Wondering how it ever came to this.
I love to hate him.
The scars you see
Are ones he gave me
As I experienced the worst of
We allowed ourselves disillusion
When reality became too tough
When hands that were holding
Felt like squeezing
When air we were breathing
When love we were feeling
I thought about all those signs today
Those signs I put in the “his” box
That he collected when I wasn’t there
Because I didn’t want to see him
And I wonder what he did with them.
If he threw them away
Like he did with us
Or if he has them still
And wants to be reminded
That he still fucks everything up.
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.
Tonight the sky is my only friend,
The stars all watch me as I'm walking these streets.
This concrete ground is the most stability I've felt
All year, and I love these hours between day and night.
These are the hours where the truth comes out, the hours where you just want to tell them everything
Honest for once in my life.
these are the minutes where we talk about our lives
and have heart to hearts.
the minutes we count until we have to go home,
The minutes we wished would go slower
These are the seconds that you spend with someone you love.
The seconds that you can't catch your breath,
because the sky takes it away.
the small seconds you look at him,
but then look away before he catches you.
these are the:
where the truth comes out.
Dear brothers, sisters, strangers, lovers, nomads, squatters, bozos, hobos, dharma pilgrims, wierdsters, screwballs, friends and punks;
Lest not we forget all roads are open--
gates, tollbooths and traffic lights are phantasms
of the night and mirages during the day.
I pray your drive for answers doesn't distract
from the scenery.
you pass have a story buried
under the grocery stores, banks and police stations.
who walk in and out of your life
or even next to you when crossing the streets
have a story burning in their veins.
you touch; be it a plastic shopping bag
or a dear friend's soul are stained by your mental scents and sounds.
Each moment on the road is adventurous--
our wings of profound restlessness
and legs of conscience wanderers
speak without words to our hearts and minds,
because we know there is more beyond what we perceive
inward and outward.
Follow those cravings, aches and questions
even if there are no visible answers
on the highways, boulevards and alleys.
Rejoice in now!
I thought to those hands that draw my strings
why do ghosts only haunt the living?
Fear slithers down from the stains on my ceiling
coiling thickly around my throat
dripping feted sweat
from the tips of its' fangs
“To Spur You To Run”
so down the darkened hallways and
out to the dirty
downtown streets I flew
skittering fitfully between the alleys
for risk of being seen
before slipping into that same empty bar
me oh my, what dim corners you have
ducking onto that same crooked confessional
oh great bartend, what clouded eyes you have
where I am promptly handed
my glass of Sorrow
deliver me from evil
atop a napkin wrote with print
“All The Better To Drown You With.”
it seems I have forgotten
if this sip or the last
was bitter or sweet
but it burns my eyes
twists my ribs, thickens the wind
and in the moment I see that face
out beyond the foamy waves
that shore upon the dregs
oh hallowed face of Judgement,
it seems blackened ivy has taken root
around your eyes
"I Tip Your Service With A Nod"
every block that I stumble by
orange streetlight onto the sidewalk
which whetted feet find liquor slick
thus put nose to grindstone, idiom or no
I hear the whispered Fury
when I fall down far enough
when my ear is planted to the earth
addressing me curtly
burning up through the asphalt
and stretching uncomfortably underneath my fingers
she lifts me screaming from the molten gutter
"To Hell With Forgiveness"
I find none other than Passion
standing under a spotlight
always dreamed of becoming a star
on the next street corner
you burned out far below the heavens of the hollywood highrise
she beckons me over with knowing gestures
but you still wound up center stage
“I Am Cheap and Love is Dead
Buried With All The Other Fairy Tales”
to which I respond
“We Must Make Due.”
She came and left swiftly
departing with the last of the warmth
in this empty room
douses candles in gasoline
burning half as long but twice as bright
after which I rose and went to my window
listening to the chirps of Melancholy
singing of sin.
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