One Big Silence

two voices
reach my shores
hinting metamorphosis
no expectations
only secrets buried under
awkward desires
with one big silence.

an old order
bends
beginning a new story
but i idle
in the dregs
of how the story goes
wondering how to move
with this unrecognizable gesture.

dodging my blindside
i get stuck
fearing what else I might miss
if i don’t face the opening
step through the passage
pay the respect
of knowing
that i’ve got nothing to lose.

You Were the One

cherry pink
compacted losses
pretty feathers
you were the one
i completely screwed over
so softly i barely knew it
a shadow of a move
tracing backward
showered in shame
and emerged under the table
of a dog’s breakfast.

On the Shore of Everything I Created (Without You)

this quiet night
i reach
to sense
for the opening
to a calm
about the choice you made
to collapse your world
to shift
your focus
and to find your place
within the arms
of this new universe
on the shore of everything
i created without you.

there is a shakiness
that comes with this
heading out each morning
locking my front door
half expecting to see you there
when i turn to face the day
relieved at the impossibility
still, scanning the slushy streets
looking over my shoulder
on the streetcar, wondering
what you look like
as a stranger now
from across a crowd of people.

and now that you’re here
somewhere tangible
within this city
i can get a little choked up
thinking of what you might be facing
but i know better
to not extend my reach
into the nothingness
that swallows our history
we have nothing there now
to balance on
this means something new
needs to be created
and there is simply
no place for that.

instead i see myself
settling into an order
that has been restored
you are here
with those you love
who i love too
and they all love us
so I’m somehow happy
to know you are nestled
into your own fold
of this night unwinding.

I Do Love You

i do love you,
over and over
bright light eyes
draw-me-in grin
you make me feel
closer and closer still
curled into
the creases of your soul
i offer up
every part of myself
each day
like a completely novel idea.

If There Were Parts Like This (June 2000) [from the archives]

I’m reposting a very old poem. I’ve reworked this so many times over. I want this piece to be illustrated. And printed in children’s book format, with a paragraph on each page, rich with visuals. I’m hoping that Sandy and I can one day do that together.

I

Recently, the sky has fallen
and there have been cold flowers at dawn.

She slipped out the front door
one evening,
sat on wooden steps
in her summer dress
and said,
“I’ve been watching the stars fall.”

II

It had been a warm summer.
The landscape hummed when it was dark,
allowing silence a chance to be heard.
And it was in those moments
that she would think hard about the dawn,
the cold blue flowers
and why they might have stolen her wings.

She thought hard about other things
she may have said that would cause
such things to be taking place.
“I have been careless with my wings before”,
she said,
“but there have never been cold flowers at dawn”.
Not here.

III

A few summers ago, she watched a piece of the sky fall,
but thought that it had only been an accident.
And besides, she had her wings, so it helped;
she was always able to catch the stars before they hit
the humming landscape.
It was a busy night.

She hadn’t been getting much sleep.
When evening began
she would slip out the front door
and say to herself “I guess I’ll just sit on these steps
and watch the stars fall, one by one.”
She was clumsy, so she didn’t try to help the recently falling sky,
she thought it might make things worse.
She would just wait, until dawn
and then walk over to where they had landed,
look down at the cold flowers that had replaced them
and ask in a very low voice “Do you know where they are?
My wings, they’re gone, and I don’t know why you are here”.
She cried a little bit.
And walked back to the steps,
thinking hard.
“Sky. Cold flowers. I don’t know.”
Her white shoes were dirty now, from these
walks out to the flowers.
By this time, the sun would be out and she would
feel hungry and lonely.

IV

The kitchen was bright
and full of dusty sun beams.
She ate a plum over the kitchen sink,
and wondered why no one was noticing
what was happening.

“Or, maybe they have noticed.
Maybe it doesn’t matter.”
She realized there was a chance
that none of this really mattered;
because it happened all the time,
and that makes it right.
Something right, and not wrong.
Things happen.

But she was sad.
She couldn’t help but be sad.
She could only whisper to herself,
over and over,
about the falling sky
(long breath—“..the sky. it’s falling.”),
her wings
(heavy—“..my wings.”)

She mostly kept quiet about the cold blue flowers.
She didn’t understand why flowers
could surprise people,
at a time like this.
She wanted to ignore their existence.
She didn’t have time to be thinking
about new (beautiful) events,
she was busy
staying up all night,
worrying about lost and broken things.

She sat down at the kitchen table.
It was quiet, sunlight was moving in waves.
“I don’t know how the story ends.
I know how it started;
I know every absence, I know I was making it go this way.
Now, it’s stopped. Flipped. And, flowers have come
here, they’ve stolen my wings.
Making me sit here and watch.”

V

She was right.
The sky really had been falling.
The ground was scorched,
but people would just walk by
on their way to work, stepping over the debris:
half lit super novae, spinning stars, even rings from planets.

It was so quiet, and she couldn’t stand it.
There was no laughter, there were no smells,
there was no saving anything.

She walked around outside,
passing over the same things,
and felt split in half.

The flowers
in her periphery
stayed cold and blue –
but she noticed
they were growing.

With the utter of curiosity
she was compelled
to ask the flowers a question,
and with this
the night unfolded into day
as it does,
and she woke with the morning sun
to find the answer.

With My Arm Wrapped Around Her

I often dream of my grandma
glimmering Ukraine eyes
sometimes right up close
draped in her mink coat
overlooking a mint green sea
on a continent I’ve never been
my arm wrapped around her
offering affection
she would not reach for then
but was claiming here right now.

I moved from within
to enfold her
capable and sturdy
all 4 foot ten of her
my head tilted to touch hers
my chin itchy
on her cashmere beret
her sparkling brooch
dialoguing with the sea
looking down at her face
I see her eyes
steady and smiling
and I knew
that us meeting here
like this
was no minor thing.

Other times it’s over there,
I see her in saccharine mist
walking a leafy autumn hill
alone as she would have it
and I deeply sense
the deliberation of her choice
to be with me
extending vigor and clout
to take into my waking
sleepy morning darkness.

I Saw it Living Inside

the art inside me
seeped out on bloor st. west
the snow beneath my heel
i felt the art
that i’ve been reaching to create
i saw it living right inside
with me everywhere
spilling out so effortlessly
now, onto this moment and that
and i wonder if
this is what it’s like.

without the old tether
i see that things like inspiration
are right here
in the radiatar and red clock,
not perplexing me.