The Curve

A long slender branch
cut across your cheek
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.

The Silence of Being Buried – 5

amputee tree - 35 mm b&w film

amputee tree – 35 mm b&w film

quiet as a swallow that
at the peak of its arc
stops moving
and suddenly drops

quiet as sunrise

quiet as sunset

quiet as the cat that
sits on the windowsill
and watches
the car as it goes

quiet as the sun

quiet as the moon

quiet as the leaves that
sprout and grow up and out
every year
from every tree in the yard

quiet as air

quiet as ground

quiet as the space that
closes over and covers up
nothing can be done

i will occupy that chair in the hall


(Every year, I make a point of writing a poem on my birthday. This was written the year before last, in January.)

i will occupy that chair in the hall

this ritualistic offering is simple
yet it keeps me steady
i look to myself and concede there is no loss of time
i preserve the being that changes steadily
and wonder at the great tragedy of living

take your turn as your turn invites you
i continue to watch horizons
they shift in colour and duration
they lose their moments and become unstable
imagine a boundary between what is real and what is not

turn the earth slowly
I tip my shovel forward

my favourite is the ocean distant line
where sky subtracts is being from the water
and light can trick infuriating
to paint a line of something hard where
nothing but water and air meet

i shift in place and look for changes
but feel the same through many mornings
i’ve missed this being something other
lacked my own anticipations
yet still stand out in the open

raise a cup in honourthe things i do won’t make me greater
the meaning is lost between these two moments
significance belongs to a world without colour
is colour in a world made of shapes
the earth is no such idiotic space