Friday, November 9, 2012

just here

a small dog, paw on my leg

where has she got to?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lené Gary from the blog Counting Petals was kind enough to send me 
the following link to a site displaying spine poetry, the process of creating 
a poem by making a stack of books and reading the spines. I actually 
found this  to be a fascinating progress. It was almost a physical manifestation
 of the process of editing a poem described in Ted Kooser's wonderful 
book The Poetry Home Repair Manual in which ( my interpretation) 
you might move the first line to the end or vice versus or remove
 lines entirely even it is the best single line in the poem or the line that was 
the original impetus for the poem if it prevents the overall
 poem from jelling. I have done this in my own work and felt 
it helped and I removed and rearranged books here for
 the same reasons. I also think this would be a great way 
to get your creative juices flowing before you own writing.
So here are my versions of spine poems. I suspect I will
 create more. Since I used my collection of SF, horror, fantasy and 
poetry  the poems may have a bit of a morbid cast
( insert Vincent Price like evil cackle here ) enjoy.

Thanks Lené

A Wine of Wizardry
Whispers in the Night
Stories That Could Be  True
Death is a Lonely Business
And Afterward, the Dark

Reluctant Voyagers
Pilgrims Through Time and Space
Other Dimensions
The Hounds of  Tindalos
Shambling Towards Hiroshima
Disclosures in Scarlet

The Wind from a Burning Woman
Her Smoke Rose up Forever
Beyond Remembering
Only Begotten Daughter

Monday, September 3, 2012

Crows are back, Carrack Carrack
The great phalanxes of autumn slipped back unheralded until today,
now they make the aspen tremble, with their heavy bodies, strident calls.
Silent  magpies assemble, white chests still gleaming with the rime of winter,
watching these noisy posers, who carried spring home on sleek black wings.
Spring is back, Carrack Carrack

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Finding Beauty

" Our kinship with Earth must be maintained; otherwise, we will find ourselves
trapped in the center of our own paved-over souls with no way out."

                                                       Terry Tempest Williams
                                                               Finding Beauty in a Broken World

I would never disagree.
I understand the world needs another weedy lot covered with satellite dishes,
signs extolling all you can eat lobster and 24 hour hamburgers. I know our cities
are sheltering atolls in the wilderness busily excreting their coral rings of big box
stores, car lots, and airport hotels to welcome the weary traveller. And I know this
is both proper and inevitable, who am I to stand in the way of the organic growth
of the inorganic.

But when you have the asphalt ready for the next mini-mall. let me know so I can
descend into the excavation past the condoms, cable lines and storm sewer
pipes. There I will lie down among the grooves left over when the last glacier
peeled clean the world. And let me take with me the unneeded, the unwanted,
the dispossessed fox, the back porch skunk, fast food gulls and the crow with
the broken beak. Cover us with the hot mess and let the world wake us
when your done.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Eye, Fly, Awry in this Landscape of Words,

They say don’t feed the birds, you encourage
dependence, promote non-native species.
who knew, it seemed such a harmless lark.

And what is the result of my two week vacation,
starvation throughout Brentwood stretching to
Dalhousie and Charlewood, or is it more widespread.

They do fly after all and we go through a lot of seed,
will they be dropping in Shanghai and Topeka,
and if not mass starvation, perhaps delinquency.

The whole of bird society breaking down, begging,
sexual license, belling cats, downing power lines
pushing each other into the air intakes of jets.

Or could it be positive, native species returning
Bluebirds, Martins sundry Warblers all jostling
wildly for the vacant nesting boxes and bird baths.

Maybe we should think big, Passenger Pigeons,
Carolina Parakeets, Labrador Ducks, who knows
what these misplaced Weaver Birds were up to.

Maybe we will see the great brown spurts of Bison
moving out of the river valleys with their attendant
packs of Grey Wolves and lumbering Plains Grizzlies.

And if I stop feeding the sleek Black Squirrels
that hang like misshapen fruit from my feeders,
what can I get for that?



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

by Max

The Cat Wishes to Use the Pen

To write doubtless,
about the space under the rug where he keeps things and
the spot under the coffee table where he also keeps things
including himself, dreaming of jungle, he would like to
immortalize lurking unseen.

Unless he wants a drink in which case he will write
of the white porcelain tub where he sits demanding
a drink from the faucet. Or yowling through the house
until someone follows him to his dish to witness
the wonder of a feeding cat.

He would include a triumphant inventory of the
clawed furniture, the red leather chair, the sofa, the
good  Lazy Boy. The declawed cat broke lamps but he
is all about fabric, sweaters, wedding dresses,
comforters and of course the good Lazy Boy.

He would surely write about laying across a warm chest
with one paw extended purring happily. But there will be
no mention  of the small white dog who sniffs his butt,
let him write his own poem.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Poet Warns of Self-absorption

My mind does not remember my face.

It proceeds quite happily, unless tweaked,

by a doctor, an ache, a grey hair, mirror.

I can remain the same callow, gullible,

easily-distracted youth I always was.

And it is this person the dogs welcome home

because they haven’t aged either.


Normally I do not include comments on this page but last Wednesday
we went to the first poetry reading I have actually attended,
Billy Collins, one of my favorite poets, visited the University of Calgary
Thanks for pointing that out Helen.
Not only did he read some of my all-time favorites poems of his,
“I Chop Some Parsley While Listening To Art Blakey's Version
Of "Three Blind Mice”, “Today”, “Another Reason Why I Don't Keep
A Gun In The House”. He also gave some advice, one snippet of which
I used while writing this poem. Lots of his poems including the three
 I mentioned can be found on sites like or the website for
Poetry Magazine. The Paris Review also has an interview with him.
" Billy Collins, The Art of Poetry No. 83 available on the Internet.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


From Corson’s Inlet A. R. Ammons

“ like an inlet’s cutting edge:
there are dunes of motion,
organizations of grass, white sandy paths of remembrance
in the overall wandering of the mirroring mind: “

Days hot as a train burnished penny,
small footprints traced in asphalt.
Stop and go, hide and seek
childish shrieking until the streetlights come on.
Sitting on the porch while the day recedes
cats drowsing in the heat of a window ledge
nighthawks rising to the currents of dark
each dawn seems life foretelling death.
Day no more than a featheredge
like the inlet’s cutting edge

rolling to night’s sleepless sea.
Sparkles, fireflies, fireworks
and a fat moon face in the window.
Great search lights ever scanning
giant footsteps ever stamping
foghorns on the river, dream of the ocean.
The man at the top of the stairs; no light can dispel
rain sounds, headlights, great snakes of shadow.
Sliding slithering englobed by a nightmare sea’s devotion

there are dunes of motion,

sky great clouds and swirling curtains.
Remember a park big as the world
with all the world’s knowledge at its heart,
piled with leaves, flowers gone to seed
swarming bees, red birds, bugs in jars.
A fathers time, a childlike allegiance
evening, walking past the baseball diamond
sucking on a straw full of candied sugar.
No relentless waves of truth can unbalance

organizations of grass, white shady paths of remembrance

of tales told in a graveyard night

cobblestones eroding under waves of cars.
Home from church in the dark
the moon now no more than a rind.
Freighted so with emotion in today’s dawn,
thoughts of return sadly declined
as every wave propels the swimmer forward,
no tide can carry back the past’s lost child
to a nonexistent city now confined

in the overall wandering of mirroring mind:


Form Glosa

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Carving A Bufflehead

Sitting here on a hard wooden chair in my room at the Capri Centre, It looks like the wind is rising and I see lightning in the distance,
I am restless for home.
Riffling through things I could be doing there, I remember books, errands, projects and a small wooden duck now long gone,
can I carve another?
I have done it before, so no doubt it should rise a small winged shape whirling up from the turbulent surface of my mind,
has it been there all along?
No longer than my hand, a small black blemish from the black paint of the eye staining the clean basswood of the head,
enshrined now in a coat of vanish.
Is it there, the person I was still buried in the person I became, can I reclaim that person with each stroke of the rasp on the same blond
wood that gave that other bird life,
I want, I need to summon back that small delicate migrant, to float once more a calm still shape in my mind
can it find its way back?
Carrying  on its wings the feathers and pinions of not just one me but all the selves  that loved white pelicans floating in a northern river,
drumming grouse at dawn.

What will it carry, what will I receive, the sound of marbles,  the smell of chalk brushes, snapping kites against a blue sky, frustration, longing, joy.
A lot of freight for one small bird.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

In Some Far Future Autumn

In Some Far Future Autumn

Standing here with my firefly mind flitting wildly, I wonder what it was I needed in this room, which

errand has slunk silently away with more of my confidence, do animals go through this, does the

squirrel or sparrow have the luxury of confused revelry or endless trips in search of keys or the

word powerbar.

Maybe only long lived animals but its hard to believe that parrots, the bright punctuation of the world

stop lost in thought, perhaps tortoises, after all who would know if they stopped to remember whether

they were seeking food, or sex or fleeing some geologically paced natural disaster measured by


Will being a poet help, since one is always sifting through one’s mind for a shining tag to end a

metaphor, maybe not, spelling and punctuation were always problematic and remembering the words

of songs or poems, but now the words themselves threaten to disappear.

Words I do not wish to lose have migrated to some farther lobe, artifice has gone taking travail with it,

iambic pentameter has scuttled centipede like into the undergrowth, its many syllables high stepping

rhythmically amid layers of colons and semi colons.

Occluded is almost hidden from sight along with any hope of spelling kaleidoscope or kleptomaniac

without a spellcheck and pronouncing quetzal, forget it and should I meet a pangolin or a

brontotherium in the park I will be reduced to saying that’s a, that’s a followed by a lengthy,

inexplicable description.

And if this is aging, along with sleepless nights and stiff hands let’s hope I reach some equilibrium

amid  loss and gain, and when I finally go, let it not be like an aged cat calling from room to room, let

me drop like a leaf in due season, sere and quiescent, rising only to dance in the wind.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

 Washing Dishes
Outside the window the wind tumbles
the sparrows, seizes the leaves in its teeth
and scours the bricks with the bodies
of summer turned autumn gold.

Later tonight I will waken, anxious

in the winter dawn, and know briefly that

death is closer than birth and that my past

cradles more years than my future.

Outside now the wind has vanquished
both sparrows and leaves, still

a jay confident in cached nuts
screams defiance at the coming cold.