Thursday, October 13, 2011

lampshade - another poem by me!

You think it’s absurd when I put my fingers under our only lampshade and

touch the flesh of my finger to the yellow. It’s only then you will yell –

you love me and my skin is burning and I am MAD

the gold band on your left ring finger has only given you a headache

it is SEVEN AM. There are always other excuses, Henry: you Must Consider the Time.

Daily: as I watch the news and eggs fry and a million other lazy men lay in bed, with wives who don’t touch their breakfasts,

you say it because you’re upset and you will never mean it, you swear. You don’t even mean it in your sleep, when I linger over you, ready to grasp the moon of your body. I pluck you from the bed, my giant rock, my hunk of cheese, my saviour.

I can’t think of a time when I didn’t turn or acknowledge your remarks, except today – my eyes, transfixed, were on sweltering fingers and I tried to take stock of my accomplishments– it’s a Tuesday in October, 7:05 AM, and all four are on the bulb. And it’s glowing. You hold your breath and I haggardly count bodies of water.

Huron, Ontario, Michigan.

You tell me you love me as if I’ll forget in the space between 3 and 4.

Friday, September 2, 2011

- poem

sometimes, i think,
I Am Loved
and it is.

sometimes, i think,
I Am Alone.
and there - it sits.

sometimes, i think,
You Are Loved
and i sing.

sometimes, i think,
you are alone
and we lay together until
it weaves us into an "it"
that moves like me and you
and talks as you and I do
in a language we speak but don't understand.

sometimes, i think,
we are loved and alone, always
and it all depends on the time of day

Thursday, July 14, 2011


La belle province.
I am here for a french-immersion program. If you didn't know this about me, I have an obsession with France.. I know, I know I am in Canada, but still... It's the closest I can get to touching Europe again.

I always had a love/hate relationship with Regina Spektor's music. For some reason now, I really love it. Her voice is so... I hate it, but it's amazing. I don't really know how else to explain it.

I love Quebec. Remind me how much I love Quebec if I ever forget.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I am turning into a sloth.
I have had so much cleaning to do and books I should read and movies to watch and clothes to wash and pack... but I have barely gotten around to any of it. Summer vacation has grabbed me by the neck and its fingers are slowly pressing deeper and deeper into the flesh, choking me. Pardon the metaphor. I am being melodramatic, something that happens when you spend a good quarter of your time surfing the interwebs.
I keep having awful dreams about a certain person who once meant a lot to me. I keep feeling weird and gross and jealous about things that don't make sense.
I am so worried and nervous for university next year I can barely think.
Overall, I am not feeling the greatest. When I get back from the dentist today, I think I will actually start packing for this damn trip... or I'll continue my metamorphosis into a three-toed sloth.

Monday, May 30, 2011

excel chewing gum - a monologue

We used to watch thunderstorms together. You know? In his garage. It was one of those two car garages and we would sit on the side that didn’t have the Ford Taurus parked in it and it would smell like motor oil and his dad’s cheap cologne and rain. His parents wouldn’t be there and neither would his sisters because they were always doing something else and so we would let the garage door open and feel the mist swirling outside, not quite hitting us, but not quite hitting anything, either. And we would just sit there and just watch the sky until the clouds were no longer black. When I told some people this they thought that maybe we would kiss or hold hands as we felt thunder and heard rain and imagined houses getting ripped apart by tornadoes. But no. The most that ever would happen on nights like those was when our legs would touch and I would smile at him without meaning it and he would pass me a piece of excel gum and I’d wonder why his dad bought such cheap cologne and if his mother even liked me after all.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My favourite passages, books, poems.

All Quiet On The Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque
"Comrade, I did not want to kill you. . . . But you were only an idea to me before, an abstraction that lived in my mind and called forth its appropriate response. . . . I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony—Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?"

I Remember by Nikki Giovanni
i remember learning you jump
in your sleep and smile
when you wake up

at first you cuddle
then one arm across my stomach
then one leg touching my leg then
you turn your back

but you smile when you wake up

i was surprised to know you don’t care
if your amp burns all night and that you could
play ohmeohmy over and over again just
because you remembered

i discovered you don’t like hair
in your bathroom sink and never step
your wet feet onto a clean rug

you will answer your phone
but you don’t talk too long and you do
rub my toes and make faces
while you talk
and your voice told her anyway
that i was there

you can get up at three and make sandwiches
and orange juice and tell jokes
you sometimes make incoherent sentence
you snore
and you smile when you wake up

i know you cry when you’re hurt
and curse when you’re angry
and try when you don’t feel
like it and smile at me
when you wake up

these things i learned through
a simple single touch
when fleshes clashed

Unwritten Law, Louise Glück

Interesting how we fall in love:
in my case, absolutely. Absolutely, and, alas, often—
so it was in my youth.
And always with rather boyish men—
unformed, sullen, or shyly kicking the dead leaves:
in the manner of Balanchine.
Nor did I see them as as versions of the same thing.
I, with my inflexible Platonism,
my fierce seeing of only one thing at a time:
I ruled against the indefinite article.
And yet, the mistakes of my youth
made me hopeless, because they repeated themselves,
as is commonly true.
But in you I felt something beyond the archetype—
a true expansiveness, a buoyance and love of the earth
utterly alien to my nature. To my credit,
I blessed my good fortune in you.
Blessed it absolutely, in the manner of those years.
And you in your wisdom and cruelty
gradually taught me the meaninglessness of that term.

Aubade, Louise Glück

The world was very large. Then
the world was small. O
very small, small enough
to fit in a brain.

It had no color, it was all
interior space: nothing
got in or out. But time
seeped in anyway, that
was the tragic dimension.

I took time very seriously in those years,
if I remember accurately.

A room with a chair, a window.
A small window, filled with the patters light makes.
In its emptiness the world

was whole always, not
a chip of something, with
the self at the center.

And at the center of the self,
grief I thought I couldn’t survive.

A room with a bed, a table. Flashes
of light on the naked surfaces.

I had two desires: desire
to be safe and desire to feel. As though

the world were making
a decision against white
because it disdained potential
and wanted in its place substance:

of golf where the light struck.
In the window, reddish
leaves of the copper beech tree.

Out of the stasis, facts, objects
blurred or knitted together: somewhere

time stirring, time
crying to be touched, to be

the polished wood
shimmering with distinctions—

and then I was once more
a child in the presence of riches
and I didn’t know what the riches were made of.

The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. We live in denial of what we do, even what we think. We do this because we’re afraid. We fear we will not find love, and when we find it we fear we’ll lose it. We fear that if we do not have love we will be unhappy.
Richard Bach

“Sometimes just one voice
can forever change the way
the world glows for you.”
— Daily Haiku on Love by Tyler Knott Gregson.

Sonnet XVII

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off. I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul. I love you as the plant that never blooms but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers; thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance, risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: where I does not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep. (Pablo Neruda)

yesterday was the last day of summer
and it makes sense you weren't with me then
or even on this rainy afternoon
you're teaching me to live apart from you
which has reduced to breakfast dishes crowding the nightstand, the tv droning with some julie christie drama, my black hair unwashed for a fifth day.
after all what's grief to someone who
never tires of longing except a manner
of existing in the present, where nothing is derivative.
it's easier now to reconcile the scene of when i first saw you
crossing a city street on a busy september afternoon.
the one perfect moment, before language.

- david semanki.... poems of new york

Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life.
—Mary Manin Morrissey

Hidden, Naomi Shihab Nye

If you place a fern
under a stone
the next day it will be
nearly invisible
as if the stone has
swallowed it.

If you tuck the name of a loved one
under your tongue too long
without speaking it
it becomes blood
the little sucked-in breath of air
hiding everywhere
beneath your words.

No one sees
the fuel that feeds you.

The First Straw | Jeffrey McDaniel
I used to think love was two people sucking
on the same straw to see whose thirst was stronger,

but then I whiffed the crushed walnuts of your nape,
traced jackals in the snow-covered tombstones of your teeth.

I used to think love was a non-stop saxophone solo
in the lungs, till I hung with you like a pair of sneakers

from a phone line, and you promised to always smell
the rose in my kerosene. I used to think love was terminal

pelvic ballet, till you let me jog beside while you pedaled
all over hell on the menstrual bicycle, your tongue

ripping through my prairie like a tornado of paper cuts.
I used to think love was an old man smashing a mirror

over his knee, till you helped me carry the barbell
of my spirit back up the stairs after my car pirouetted

in the desert. You are my history book. I used to not believe
in fairy tales till I played the dunce in sheep’s clothing

and felt how perfectly your foot fit in the glass slipper
of my ass. But then duty wrapped its phone cord

around my ankle and yanked me across the continent.
And now there are three thousand miles between the u

and s in esophagus. And being without you is like standing
at a cement-filled wall with a roll of Yugoslavian nickels

and making a wish. Some days I miss you so much
I’d jump off the roof of your office building

just to catch a glimpse of you on the way down. I wish
we could trade left eyeballs, so we could always see

what the other sees. But you’re here, I’m there,
and we have only words, a nightly phone call - one chance

to mix feelings into syllables and pour into the receiver,
hope they don’t disassemble in that calculus of wire.

And lately - with this whole war thing - the language machine
supporting it - I feel betrayed by the alphabet, like they’re

injecting strychnine into my vowels, infecting my consonants,
naming attack helicopters after shattered Indian tribes:

Apache, Blackhawk; and West Bank colonizers are settlers,
so Sharon is Davey Crockett, and Arafat: Geronimo,

and it’s the Wild West all over again. And I imagine Picasso
looking in a mirror, decorating his face in war paint,

washing his brushes in venom. And I think of Jenin
in all that rubble, and I feel like a Cyclops with two eyes,

like an anorexic with three mouths, like a scuba diver
in quicksand, like a shark with plastic vampire teeth,

like I’m the executioner’s fingernail trying to reason
with the hand. And I don’t know how to speak love

when the heart is a busted cup filling with spit and paste,
and the only sexual fantasy I have is busting

into the Pentagon with a bazooka-sized pen and blowing
open the minds of generals. And I comfort myself

with the thought that we’ll name our first child Jenin,
and her middle name will be Terezin, and we’ll teach her

how to glow in the dark, and how to swallow firecrackers,
and to never neglect the first straw; because no one

ever talks about the first straw, it’s always the last straw
that gets all the attention, but by then it’s way too late.

I Met a Genius, Charles Bukowski

I met a genius on the train

about 6 years old,
he sat beside me
and as the train
ran down along the coast
we came to the ocean
and then he looked at me
and said,
it’s not pretty.
it was the first time I’d

*this next one made me cry at school!
[who died in a mental hospital, aged one]
John Silkin

Something has ceased to come along with me.
Something like a person: something very like one.
And there was no nobility in it
Or anything like that.

Something was there like a one year
Old house, dumb as stone. While the near buildings
Sang like birds and laughed
Understanding the pact

They were to have with silence. But he
Neither sang nor laughed. He did not bless silence
Like bread, with words.
He did not forsake silence.

But rather, like a house in mourning
Kept the eye turned in to watch the silence while
The other houses like birds
Sang around him.

And the breathing silence neither
Moved nor was still.

I have seen stones: I have seen brick
But this house was made up of neither bricks nor stone
But a house of flesh and blood
With flesh of stone

And bricks for blood. A house
Of stones and blood in breathing silence with the other
Birds singing crazy on its chimneys.
But this was silence,

This was something else, this was
Hearing and speaking though he was a house drawn
Into silence, this was
Something religious in his silence,

Something shining in his quiet,
This was different this was altogether something else;
Though he never spoke, this
Was something to do with death.

And then slowly the eye stopped looking
Inward. The silence rose and became still.
The look turned to the outer place and stopped.
With the birds still shrilling around him.
And as if he could speak

He turned over on his side with his one year
Red as a wound
He turned over as if he could be sorry for this
And out of his eyes two great tears rolled, like stones,
And he died.

***one of my all time favourites***
To Dorothy, Marvin Bell

You are not beautiful, exactly.
You are beautiful, inexactly.
You let a weed grow by the mulberry
And a mulberry grow by the house.
So close, in the personal quiet
Of a windy night, it brushes the wall
And sweeps away the day till we sleep.

A child said it, and it seemed true:
“Things that are lost are all equal.”
But it isn’t true. If I lost you,
The air wouldn’t move, nor the tree grow.
Someone would pull the weed, my flower.
The quiet wouldn’t be yours. If I lost you,
I’d have to ask the grass to let me sleep.

Lovesong, Ted Hughes

He loved her and she loved him.
His kisses sucked out her whole past and future or tried to
He had no other appetite
She bit him she gnawed him she sucked
She wanted him complete inside her
Safe and sure forever and ever
Their little cries fluttered into the curtains

Her eyes wanted nothing to get away
Her looks nailed down his hands his wrists his elbows
He gripped her hard so that life
Should not drag her from that moment
He wanted all future to cease
He wanted to topple with his arms round her
Off that moment’s brink and into nothing
Or everlasting or whatever there was

Her embrace was an immense press
To print him into her bones
His smiles were the garrets of a fairy palace
Where the real world would never come
Her smiles were spider bites
So he would lie still till she felt hungry
His words were occupying armies
Her laughs were an assassin’s attempts
His looks were bullets daggers of revenge
His glances were ghosts in the corner with horrible secrets
His whispers were whips and jackboots
Her kisses were lawyers steadily writing
His caresses were the last hooks of a castaway
Her love-tricks were the grinding of locks
And their deep cries crawled over the floors
Like an animal dragging a great trap
His promises were the surgeon’s gag
Her promises took the top off his skull
She would get a brooch made of it
His vows pulled out all her sinews
He showed her how to make a love-knot
Her vows put his eyes in formalin
At the back of her secret drawer
Their screams stuck in the wall

Their heads fell apart into sleep like the two halves
Of a lopped melon, but love is hard to stop

In their entwined sleep they exchanged arms and legs
In their dreams their brains took each other hostage

In the morning they wore each other’s face

Nothing But You, S. B.

We spent fall comparing
guns and graffiti
and wearing diamonds around our necks.

I felt like you weren’t
supposed to become a man.
Not now.
Not at all.

I learned too soon
about the tainted bodies and faces
covering your wall
and that if you did
become a man
I would join the ranks of those girls
no matter how hard
I tried to stay
barefoot and dreaming.

You told me
that I wasn’t allowed to grow up.
Not now.
Not ever.

You said you were always
going to protect me,
no matter what,
and the boys who waited
next to our tree house
wouldn’t be allowed to
stain me as long as you were around.

And you always would be.

I spent the summer
listening to the doors creak
open and closed
and whispers fly through windows
and watching the boys get
impatient, waiting on the lawn.

You were swept away
by the faithless girls
who seemed to have stepped
off your wall to steal you.

I learned how
to lean on brick walls
and fences with the waiting boys
who told be that your promises
had been nothing but you
making down payments
on guilt.

P.S., by Franz Wright

I close my eyes and see
a seagull in the desert,
high, against unbearably blue sky.

There is hope in the past.

I’m writing to you
all the time, I am writing

with both hands,
day and night.

I Carry Your Heart
E E Cummings
I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear

no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)

I want

no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)

and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)


You are so beautiful and I am a fool
to be in love with you
is a theme that keeps coming up
in songs and poems.
There seems to be no room for variation.
I have never heard anyone sing
I am so beautiful
and you are a fool to be in love with me,
even though this notion has surely
crossed the minds of women and men alike.
You are so beautiful, too bad you are a fool
is another one you don't hear.
Or, you are a fool to consider me beautiful.
That one you will never hear, guaranteed.

For no particular reason this afternoon
I am listening to Johnny Hartman
whose dark voice can curl around
the concepts on love, beauty, and foolishness
like no one else's can.
It feels like smoke curling up from a cigarette
someone left burning on a baby grand piano
around three o'clock in the morning;
smoke that billows up into the bright lights
while out there in the darkness
some of the beautiful fools have gathered
around little tables to listen,
some with their eyes closed,
others leaning forward into the music
as if it were holding them up,
or twirling the loose ice in a glass,
slipping by degrees into a rhythmic dream.

Yes, there is all this foolish beauty,
borne beyond midnight,
that has no desire to go home,
especially now when everyone in the room
is watching the large man with the tenor sax
that hangs from his neck like a golden fish.
He moves forward to the edge of the stage
and hands the instrument down to me
and nods that I should play.
So I put the mouthpiece to my lips
and blow into it with all my living breath.
We are all so foolish,
my long bebop solo begins by saying,
so damn foolish
we have become beautiful without even knowing it.

Billy Collins

Monday, May 2, 2011

bombs overhead

the planes have lost their wings,
sky is dark.
we stare into black until they drop to their
ten-ton-knees and remember
how young we are.

it is for your safety i cover our eyes with
our fingers and run my lips over your cheek skin.
it is not as soft as i had imagined -

what are thoughts when flames tease the air we breathe with trash? the debris
of our lives . ....... ?
i can't help but wonder if i could have stopped this or
recycled more.

it is now i feel hot breath on my beck and pry away your fingers from my knuckles and knuckles from our faces and suck in smoke through every part touching air

i hope to God we leave.

the past.

new soul

I Carry Your Heart
E E Cummings
I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear

no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)

I want

no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)

and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)