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The walk down O’Shaughnessy through Glen Park was a long one.
The eucalyptus berries which were trampled underfoot released a pungent fragrance.
Even now the scent wafts back over 26 years and more than15 000 kilometres.

I google-walked the old neighbourhood last night.
There’s a Starbucks on the corner where a stationery shop used to be.
Ebenezer Lutheran Church is now painted purple. Large banners announce the celebration of the feast of the divine goddess, drumming circles and kundalinin yoga.
McAteer High School has become Ruth Asawa School of the Arts.
The old busses have been replaced by hydro-electric ones.
The frozen yogurt shop is a deli.
The coffee shop is a dry cleaners.
The pizza place is a French bistro which bookends a psychic with sushi.

Ten minutes and my nostalgic arm-chair tour was complete.
As I navigated my internet ship away from street-view maps,
I felt the old familiar tug at my heart.
A piece of me still lives in the shadow of Twin Peaks.

I wonder how many other spectres wander the streets at night.

Autonomous Tongue

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Looking back
hasty words
litter my path.

Friends bear scars
from stumbling
over thoughtless phrases.

Full of remorse,
I vow to walk in silence
but break word fast
two steps on.

Solomon knew.
The mouth of the fool
is filled with pride.
And James bore witness.
Listen with patience,
be tongue-tied.

May I use this arsenal
(which is love)
to tame the beast
rather than justify the rhetoric.

Gravity

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Steadily pulling,
you drag us to our graves.

What delight springs forth at birth:
a hope,
a dare,
a laugh in the face of newton.

But each skinned knee
is a reminder
of mortality.

With time
(which you also bend to your whim)
we learn to stay aright
and even use attraction to suit our wiles.

As I go
I will sing a song
of invincible grace.
And by that grace
I will thank you very kindly
for recycling these bones.

For the more you claim
the more love
will create.

Chorus of Dawn

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The cry of the hadedah
slices the morning air
and reverberates in the forest
(bouncing from tree to tree like a pinball)
then slowly fades into the distance.

The hands of the small red clock
dutifully march around the ring
announcing every step:
dee dah dee dah dee dah dee dah

The small feline tuxedo
pushes her way from beneath the duvet,
stretches her back legs
(first the right: then the left)
and after a back arch
she dutifully begins her morning groom
rocking the bed with each assault of the tongue.

The rumbling hum of her little engine
brings a smile to my face
and I, too, stretch
to start the day.

 

Strelitzia reginae

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strelitzia reginae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You point your long accusing blue finger
(almost purple in its intensity)
at the sky,
flinging your orange tendrils to the wind.

“Come,” you taunt.
And the melodic “tweep, tweep, tweep”
of the olive sunbird
tumbles from the tree with the tiny winged nectar-grabber
as he lights on your perch-like snare.

Tipping forward to thrust his tubular tongue
into your pot of sugar gold,
he opens your petals
covering his feet and belly with powdery pollen.

As he leaves you gracefully hold your head high
and wait for the next compact interloper.

Middle School

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I would like a day of wonder,
a minute of joy,
an instant of yes

when that kid with the lopsided grin
(sitting in the back of the class
muttering under his breath)
suddenly appreciates the beauty and balance
in an algebraic equation

when the girl with the curly hair
(who only wants it straight
and despairs over the latest blemish)
is blown away
seeing herself in relation to the entire universe

when the boy who never volunteers
(for fear that he’ll stammer
and everyone will laugh)
writes a story so brilliant
it stuns the class to silence

when students, hanging on every word,
(thrilled with the composition we call earth,
in awe of how intricately all the pieces fit together)
forget themselves
(for a brief moment in time)
and start singing with the stars.

I would like a celebratory second,
but I worry
that wonder died in fourth grade.

Somehow hope keeps me coming back
(wading through miry angst)
searching for the spark
that will ignite a fire.

I would like a day of wonder,
a minute of joy,
an instant of yes.

Today

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Today yielded
fences sliced open top to bottom like skinned rabbits,
windows smashed,
rooms pillaged and raped.

Today yielded
words slammed against used-to-be friends,
fists raised in raging wrath,
noses bloodied.

Today yielded
motives challenged,
insinuations levelled,
promises broken,
futures questioned.

Today yielded
a hangnail.

And that’s when I cried.

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