The Curve

1
A long slender branch
cut across your cheek
Saturday.
It left a swollen scratch.
Luminous pink with tiny beads of blood.

I traced your outline
on the pavement
with chalk.
You let your eyes go flat.
I let my mind go blank.

We filled your space with leaves
and clover flowers.
I snapped the branch and placed it
where your cheek was cut.
The curve of a short smile.

The second bus
goes across town.
It takes us past the shipyard
where your grandfather worked.
It takes us home.

Etch

Long exposure from a moving car ~ Exa Ihagee

Long exposure from a moving car ~ Exa Ihagee

The success of moments
upon the skin.
The pain of swatting flies
or stabbing a pencil into
your leg.

Trip over the outline
left on the ground.
You mark the soured earth
with your spit words
and poor taste.

Scratch the dirt away from the stone
you buried.
Rub the surface to search for letters
the ground will etch the truth
into the surface.

The ground will find its way
through the air above.
Those normal things that move,
that go or stay
remain in their decay.

Scratch the dirt away and look for the hints
you’ve hidden.
Memory created you from a pile of garbage
a pile of other peoples’ actions
or so it seems.

Wake up.
Swing your bare feet to the floor.
Try to put your shirt on right side out.

land1

First Morning of a New Year

first morning

who are you?

I scraped the mud from my boot
on the fabulous boot blade
installed by the door
where everyone can use it
and no one can fall on it and get a
cut throat

who are you?

I picked several berries in the forest
today
and I saw many birds in the field
on the way back
to the hotel where she is lounging
drunk and dirty

who are you?

I scraped the food from the plates
into the larger of the green bins
on new year’s eve
as the guests walked out to the yard
with their torches and
guns

who are you?

I picked a flower for my hair
and danced with Leo in the firelight
from candles lit
on new year’s eve
with the band playing a very bad version of
Wish You Were Here

who are you?

I carefully marked the package
with the correct address
and set it by the door
to take with me when I finally go
buy the bullets for the
gun

who are you?

I carefully tucked my white shirt
into my underpants
and pulled the elastic as high as it would go
and looked at myself in
the full-length mirror
and stuck out my tongue

who are you?

I carefully arranged the cupcakes
in the tray
and put them in the freezer
since they were not even touched
by those rude friends of his
last night

who are you?

I carefully broke the vase
against the leg of the
dining room table
and arranged the pieces
just so
and smiled.

In the time of Narcissus

The girl looked at the sky,
it stayed away.

Mother moved in circles
with the man from across the street.
Their hands touched light
and steady
while they tripped staccato
their feet.
The girl laughed.

“I’ll bring my clarinet tomorrow,
and we’ll swing the real way.”
“I think I need a shorter dress
to dance like it’s 1920.”

The girl looked at the sky
and felt such hope.

Mother poured coffee
for the man from across the street.
She put her hand on his arm
and smiled
while he shook and sighed
in the chair.
The girl watched.

All through that night,
a small dog cried,
somewhere out in the world.
The girl would wake and hear the sound.

Seen through the dying petals,
no world retains its colour.

The Silence of Being Buried – 13

bus - 35mm black and white film

bus – 35mm black and white film

we hunt tigers in limited numbers

drive cars
left of the city
ash and magic
the sound of fabric ripping
as he bends to snatch a butt
still burning

cars drive
right of the city
sex and stench
the atmosphere clotted
by stick deodorant and disposable razor blades
still languishing

my man
broke the window with his knee
and opened the door
and stole all your stuff

my man
watched you sleep

my man
never left

Statue

make me a man
of ashes and dust
and I will show you

I grind glass to make sand

I mix the mud in my hand

shape me a man
of wisdom and truth
and I will laugh

I bake earth to make stone

I mix the mud with the bone

show me a man
of stature and grace
and I will show you

I hold the moment
I try to hold
the moment

but it
terrifies

so I let it go

make me a man
of ashes and dust
and I will show you

I shape the earth in my hand

I hold earth in my hand

NaNoWriMo — It Ain’t Me, babe

I may be posting every day in November but it’s coincidental with the whole internet phenomena NaNaWitsmMaCooky or whatever it is. The fact is, in 2007, because November has traditionally been a fairly empty month for me, I decided I would force myself to write a poem every day of the month. I’ve done it every year since. So — that means I have 6 Novembers of poems already written. Until this year, practically no one has read any of them.

I always focus on certain themes in the November poems. memory, however, if always a theme. I use these poems to reflect on my life, on what I think, and on poems I wrote before – or my memory of them.

Anyway – just wanted there to be no confusion.