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PMc May 2021

My soul is a vacant lot.
Years ago sold to some shyster
looking to make a quick buck.
No one could live on those kind of wages.

The emptiness now a flattened yard
all sorts of wreckage leaking power steering fluid with anti-freeze
an environmental hazard if nothing else.

My spirit is an abandoned brownstone
where photos once tacked
on walls reminiscent of happier times
smiles were genuine, ties were taught
Sunday best meant just that – then and there
A home fully furnished with memoires back in the day
now foreclosed

My heart is an empty warehouse
years ago used to recycle broken promises, empty wishes, hollow, unrealized dreams
My good intentions could push through the hurt
a cost of doing business
never questioning the **** in – **** out logistics

Then, the last love broke away from the loading dock out back
on its forever journey to paradise
while I stood there on a rotting, empty platform
with the invoice in my hand
the NSF cheque written in blood
signed with my tears.

9/10 Feb ‘21
Honestly this is not as dark as it might read (honest).  It is a pragmatic look at love and love lost again and again.  I read this to friends who immediately asked me if "I was okay".  'I'm fine - thank you.  The truth needs to be told and I like to think I'm lighter for it.
PMc May 2021
Colleagues might ask, “was Santa Claus good to you”?

I consider briefly, “you mean thee Santa”?
That sanctimonious, judgemental clown,
produced and promulgated by corporate America
as vehicle for annual mass consumption
of soft drinks, fast food and *****?
The Santa that personifies everything wrong with western society,
brought forth during the annual ‘meaning’
that, thanks to him,
has since been rendered meaningless?
     You mean that Santa?

Spending weekends loitering in malls making promises he has
no intent on keeping – nor the wherewithal to do so
Listening to the gimmie–gimmie, want–want from the youngest of children
with pasted obligatory smile
complicit in a con-game that borderlines *******.

Thankfully the “hustle and bustle” as it was once known
is a scant eight weeks long.
During Boxing Week, the Santa suit’s dry cleaned with bells on.
Through February Santa can go to hell until Halloween,
a week or so before Remembrance Day’s sanctity.

By mid-November the corporate puppet dons the suit once again
Action packers of the annual holiday graffiti,
temporarily dragged from basements,
with hopes that the meaningless meaning might
be remembered this year.

Santa should be thankful for summer
letting kids just be kids,
monsters at bedtime, animals at the supper table
no longer bound by naughty/nice lists

We might shake the meaningless meaning one day
perhaps next year
and not bow to the corporate Santa ensuring
we don’t remember how that feels.
I was Santa's helper for a weekend - decades ago.  NEVER again.  I've never forgotten that.  If you want to spoil the meaning of Christmas once and for all - be a Santa for a day.  The gimmie-gimmie is relentless.  The meaning is I WANT.  It was personally hard to witness.  Sad really to be an accomplice to that.
PMc May 2021
So this is what it has come to
whereby you feel the neesd to sneak
into backyards, running fences
while running your chores
just leave my baggage on the patio pickup spot
a weekend errand
with me a simple afterthought
a kind of “on the way to the drycleaner” task

There – your DVDs are returned – what the hell else do you want?

Time was, there wouldn’t be a day go by
I’d be tracked down through downtown
down back alleys, backyards then against a fence
a week’s worth of passion exploding into paper towel
“clean up behind unit 6”
repeated two, three times a month

All leading up to this afternoon when
I sat staring out my kitchen window
watching the new truck roll past,
parcel pick-up, drop off so quick, effective
you’d done it a thousand times in your head
finally brought yourself to come to terms with
everything that made us so different
not giving a second thought to a second thought
once your mind was made

The best laid plan was yours, no turning back
no what-if
get on with what you came to do.  
Drop a parcel or three, move on
through back yards in back alleys along your life’s journey.
One of those weekends where "that's it - I'm leaving you" (the fourth time).  I just grew tired of it all.  Besides - having people in my life tends to cut into my writing time.  That simply won't do.
PMc May 2021
My pen is leaking
ink pooling into my pocket protector
the one I’ve had since before the new math
My uncle gave it to me – I remember
it’s got the logo of his insurance company on it.
that and, now the ink stain.

Ink running through the cracks in the pocket protector
leaking where uncle’s meat thermometer pushed through tight plastic
staining a once yellow shirt

Stopping by the dry-cleaner for pick up
the vendor says she couldn’t get it all out
but it’s better than it was.
Hands me a small plastic sandwich bag filled with strips of paper
the size of those you see on magnets
for fridge poems

“Don’t know where these came from” she says, “****** near ruined my dryer
spinning around there – clogging up the air exhaust”

I whisper under my breath

From the ink.  
The words in the pen
would not go unnoticed.

I pay her – grab my shirt, my jacket, my tie
grab the baggie of words
in no particular order
thank her
and with the welcome bell’s ding
I head into the street
a very satisfied customer

****** pen is still leaking by the time I get home
It’s leaking tears by now
tears that fill the ink well of my memory
dip and scribble dip and scribble

Thoughts almost painful
long forgotten
or so I thought
Last days on Brunswick Avenue
knowing I would have to return to school
emptying that huge street-facing bedroom
I got a lot of miles looking out of those windows
if I wrote a lot
I don’t remember
Late nights, very early mornings listening to
the hourly chime of that nameless clock
that made up the entire downtown Toronto skyline back in the day

The words that dotted the paper sometimes
sometimes made no sense
my friends politely remarking
“That’s good.  I like it” were unhelpful

Further future desperation wasn’t far
just need a receipt or a bar napkin or
a box from a Big Mac ripped into 4x2x1x2x4
whatever I could get my hands on
just trying to appease the leaking pen
from getting too far ahead of my regretful memory.

IOUs, shopping lists, debits to society
love poems, goodbye notes, “I miss you”
they’re all there, we just have to remember what they are

Words write themselves.  
The ink, the tears
the blood, the fridge magnets
have already formed the words.
I am the one with the ideas
when I meet a new lover or
fall out of favour with an “ex” – yet again or
attempt to describe three shades of orange or
when I want to remember to pick up pickles

They are stuck in the pen
until I am ****** good and ready
with the roll of the ball-point
to see where the words land this time.

Written as part of a pandemic poetry group from Jun 2020.  We challenged one another to various formats and "themes".  I think this one was to "write about writing".  Alas, the pocket protector and the insurance company are my doing.
PMc May 2021
A thin line lay between the - is
and the – was

though my life hadn’t crumbled the day
I listened to you cross that line so peacefully,
it had changed

Life as a memory filled with love, laughter, fear, loss
at times lively with laughter, then broken in loneliness
a circuit of energy,
broken in that instant
The line much thinner than imagined

Those fun-loving puppy eyes sitting up front
top of lungs YELLING at trucks passing for no reason
“Wow this is exciting!”

Laying prone with you – a Thursday afternoon that was not random
a family planning day I had pre-planned
to limit the amount of our family anguish on an otherwise
beautiful summer day.

It had always been easy to make decisions for you –
your best interest – my life goal – though me
Your only interest, love to me – through you

You’d shake with excitement just to hear my voice
as soon as in the drive
inconsolable me, grumpy old man home from dreadful, ****** human days
Just –
   let’s go for a walk, you can fill me in on the way.
then late afternoons disappeared with a ball, a bark and a bribe

The week that “whatzername” finally left
you could hear the emptiness in my heart
so you lay there, listened as love lingered.

You were so afraid to be away from everyone
anyone for very long
cried like a little girl in the front seat waiting for ten human minutes
through the shock and ordeal of
what seemed like
an entire canine summer there on the front seat
yearning my return.

* * *
We lay here now – this cold, damp institution
it’s me this time crying like a little girl waiting
listening for you to cross that
thin dark line.

From this bitter, ***** soaked floor
you can smell the spirit of my late father
standing out back waiting
to listen for your storied years
of mischief, and fun and love and small talk
and the perfect

Dad’s a good listener too
Just –
   go for that walk, you tell him all about it

We’ll meet again old boy
on the other side of this thin, dark line.

((Jeb The Wonder Dog = May 1997 – July 2011))

6 Apr 21
One of the smartest decisions I've made in my life was to pay for that day in full - in advance.  I'd paid for the two shots, the run, the cremation - the whole thing (tax and all), knowing I would be an emotional balloon of tears leaving that office.  Sure enough I was.
Perhaps the best decision I'd made in my life.  No doubt the most difficult.  Has it really been ten years?
PMc Jun 2020
Happenstance of happened chance
meting you in - of all places -
a shopping mall

me, broke and somewhat broken,
myself the only credit to the credit cards
I can’t have

An opportunity afforded us at an inopportune moment
seeing you bleary eyed none the less
your scent drawn intense
me, smelling mostly from my nose
no haircut as yet, barely bathed
weeks of laundry piled in corners of darkened rooms

Heading toward leaning forward
to greet you as I thought I ought
forehead to forehead
having to all but chase you down the hallway
to simply hold your hand
wondering once again if it were you
or a mirage of someone I’d met
months ago

Kissing your fictitious kisses
there on the street for no one to see
perhaps that’s why there are so many alley ways
in this frozen town
too many couples like us with too many,
far too many complex issues,
too many to talk about some times
I realized then
we were talking on the street or talking in a mall or talking in a bowling alley
that’s all we’re ever seen to do

and I’m not sure you want to talk about it at all.
PMc Jun 2020
Let’s be civil you said
and I believed you then
and now I’m a stranger in my own home
lost amid the music, food
and lost happiness

Civility, in my terms entails a
certain awareness of one another’s feelings
weren’t you thinking - dropping by at the drop of a hat
with those you’d be ashamed to be
seen with had it been my invitation to you
rather than theirs

It was you who touted that you’d be
embarrassed when you were invited to my home,
“it just doesn’t feel right”, you told me
“they’re too close to me to make me feel comfortable”,
and now I can’t seem to share this evening's laughter.

The invitations faded as we spent more and more time
alone, together
and now that you’re alone with them,
and I with my thoughts
I wonder if you can feel any pain through that laughter
likely not.
An "ex" drops by to visit with room-mates and - it - is - awkward.
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