Monday, 30 September 2013

1 New Poem

Caught the Light

Out of focus, lens cap lacking, the raindrops turning
lamp light explosions, rendered a Skeena Fall's red hue,
a barrier coral's shade of ocean depth, and the
thousand pigments held in Kamchatka's frozen ground,
was the way you caught the light.

Auburn, tree trunk melody of tapping wind whistles,
conspired a conjure rise of possibility; feline
string pulled in taught constriction, close to burning
from two smooth-rubbed sticks, stepping to night's frigid breath
was when you caught the light.

From witching hour's twinkle-sway, romantic constructions
of past-pot and Popsicle stick could be made
beneath the haze of adolescent drippy desire,
but never that, something in elegance ageless,
was how you caught the light.

Evergreen fragrance and champagne flutists I swam
about, parting bodies seeming sewn in thatched pattern,
heedless charge in charity shop shoes and high school
dress coat, though I could reach closer and be within:
the way I wish we caught the light.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

1 New Poem


A bit apple and two flashes of lightning
were all we wanted out of each other,

just as well you seemed as the last
rose in barren landscape, drinking the desert water,

came across the high cliffs and pin-wheel spiral
of dry-crackle fire-spark oak leaves,

the honeysuckle you roamed between, open umbrellas
in milk-supple tone.

Reading Pablo Neruda on the early bus from Galway to
Cork, seat lights in their cheap half-blue fluorescence,
the road signs in Gael flowing; canal water I
wished to drown in, the pools I cast fishing wire
between, cast cupped hands for livelihood. You
looked as two nuclear shadows, cast in lead,
cast in the fort's wall feeling that comes when

loving is so short, forgetting so long.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

1 New Poem


When I looked at you in pale moonlight's depth,
your figure cut clear air as a sheathing knife,
inspired thoughts of a three-day stay in a
wordless motel room, sunlight's dawning cast
shadows in long tempo on the stony-smooth
patches of your skin.

In memory as highland mists, I painted you in
softest shades, knowing hard edges sought to make
a house of dollar store playing pieces, but I
remembered you beneath the parliament lights at Christmas,
making snow angels in blurry photos with the
flash held half off.

As I said, “put me in with the bomb throwers,
the women burning dynamite sticks as candles, kindling,
and the men who sprawl their hearts on pavement
for a mere chance to know their lipstick fragrance”,
and you, caught in the seasons of your day, just
chuckled in bound ecstasy.

When I looked at you in the dull wash of mid-April through
the ruddy dorm room curtains, limbs strewn about
the couch fabric's floral pattern, a brief sight
came of our hands in symmetrical grasp, lying
in prominence of together's sins and virtues, but
gone just as quickly.

Friday, 27 September 2013

1 New Poem

Another Friday Night

Riding the conflicting waves of alienated love, and
the loving of alienation, the screens flicked by,
suited men saying something important too
low to hear, too familiar to be trusted.

It was blank, window open wide to catch the night air,
bring some voice bleats along for the ride, room friends
and I sitting silent with our paper pads and tea cups,
looking out and thinking how the street lamp hit the leaves

might have been the most perfect for your face's framing,
but I was stuck with the cloud roll of Centra milk
in store-brand tea, nothing more than the same
old set of switching lights for company's comfort.

Something amazing might have been meant, some travel
or grand work to be made in its name, but
judged and measured in half-day's retrospect, it could
have only been so in mirrored illiteracy.

No, this was the meeting minutes from another round of
EU beef tariff talks, the idle chatter of stiff
men by watercoolers to stave off another day's
inevitable betrayal; only this, upon a night.

1 New Poem

Undressing Gowns

With nightsweats congealing in grease pools
on my breakfast plate, terror's dark clutch bone
breaking the salt sea waves which weathered
drowning sailor cap-and-gowns, ceremony swords
crossed over bravery's breast and cloaking dagger,
I sought

cross-examined testimonies written on left-handed
yellow legal pads about your dreamscape memories,
the upside-down bottles and cans in the sand
where sun sets up on a roping ladder,
stand softly but for a century's midnight for
burning twine.

When time ran off with the dish and the Mad Hatter's
watch, juggler's knives thrown alight to
tree trunk marked graves, I papered the
walls in Gramsci's Prison Notebooks and the
collected works of young Ezra Pound, it was then that
I found

the sun was not truly orange, but chicken,
cowards' bellies growing big as the city fathers;
placed your name in a plaque site, boxed
beneath the granite carve-polish, noses
pressed to see the stripe-scratch marks in
naked glass.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

2 New Poems

It's Not Me

How many refusals, how many half-actions, apologies, in
a month, a year, a lifetime's era, were made
under sullen grandeur's pretext, under illusions of
morality superior, under some vain belief of
oncoming love?

It's uncountable, the wasted night notes in back pockets
with jar change, with gum wrappers and scribbled phone
digits we never received from faces we never spoke
to, all because we thought it better after all to
be a heathered bull.

Whoever I'm supposed to be would not abide this,
he'd turn up tender nostril to the very question
of spirit casks left out in the rain, of swaying body dance,
he'd cast odd-angled judgments about as protective fly-fish hooks,
with excuse of,

“it's just not me.”

Middle River

As we were watching the suds of river foam
flow past in Sunday's naptime current beneath
the overcast clarity, the gushing tone of rotted weather
gate to keep us company, hidden wishing coins,
drunkenly-hurled cellulars and Bavarian beer cans
lining the dug-in rock below depth's visions,

you said we'd both grow old one day, but
that didn't mean we should grow old together,
the pairing swans would lose feather flight,
bodies plucked ruddy to the midship mud, and
even the leaves on the maple trees grow
tired of the place they came from.

In time, the circular placing's logic would be
known as the eastward sunrise, would be as
well-welcomed as midnoon's saucer and teacup;
I could see the appeal, but not the complacent
stammer, not the river-lazy objections to
some statement so grand as that, and

you said people were always changing, but
they aren't always changing for the better.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

2 New Poems

Two Cents

Take my word for it, it's not worth it
the laceration scars and ink blot bruises
never sit quite right on your skin, they are
forever unwelcome guests to your cathedral dinner party.

Challenge-clash between reason's disaffection, and
the faintest half-twinkle of two specks of exploded
stardust that could have been meant to touch,
in that contest, it's best to take the first bet.

You'll be tempted to stray and sway upon the vastness
of Anatolia's plains where you look for a left-on
porch lamp carved in the shape of your father's
arm, in the shape of your mother's lips.

And sometimes you'll think you see a film reel
in your lover's eyes, of secret names and
moon-washed Croatian beaches where your feet
feel six-feet-sunk in white pebble sand, but

Take my word, for what it's worth.

How Do You Feel About Europe?

I thought about kissing you in the Sandinista rain,
grey sky storming reflected in revolutionary sunglass,
trains carrying our tender skin, milk-white in shade
from Beirut to Buenos Aries and back, and
never had I known your touch from the opposite
side of a kitchen table.

I thought about you at a rooftop party in Brooklyn,
the dusk of August breezes dancing through strands
of your hair as hitchhikers and squeegee men through
a Don Valley traffic jam; you'd make the round,
red wine glass in hand and talk to me just the
same as the others.

My life seemed so bland to compare, colourless, eating
Tesco bread and jelly snakes in a County Tipperary
coroner's office, the sun tick-tapered behind about
six layers of concrete and piping, double that
for clouds and clinging indifference coming on
tight as turning hairpins.

I thought about your many-coloured coats streaming through
Prague's November snows and the breweries of Plzen,
standing still as Cubist lampposts on the side-street,
my legs shivered bone-deep beneath thin polyester pant,
reaching limit, stepped into the bar with the pivo place-mats,
neon flicked a second


Monday, 23 September 2013

2 New Poems

Daily Actors

Of all the bloody-eyed, bent violins playing wedding hymns,
of all the marks left in hesitated haste, dry mouths
from running and communion wafers' contemplative taste,
the worst is always the newest.

Still fresh, scab-like peel of name etched in thought
as eroded water rock, as gift store broaches
carrying Connemara's marble eyes, thought it over
coffee and tobacco pipes; it was not so.

Tip-show in dancer's style, moving to the doorway and back
in weakness pretending not to notice your musing
features, pretending you weren't brighter than the
halogen lamp, pretending vision did not stray,

and most of all, pretending nothing lasted.

Museum Pieces

This skin is not fine pottery shard, encased in
inch-thick glass and alarm, not to be touched
for voices echo sets afoot the teeter-fall
to shoe-polished floor and crooked smile reflection,

though it seems in midnights as fragile.

This breath is not becalmed as September's breeze,
casting window's light at awkward angles, tilting gusts
at Eindhoven windmills, shaking loose beach grains
and abandoned gum wrappings in casual float,

though it can pretend at moment's alert.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Spoken Word Piece

Unknown Names

I never told you my name, you never told me yours,
or maybe you did and I didn't think hard enough to remember
and maybe I told you mine after all and you never
thought to mention it again, as it didn't need
to be said any time except for once.

You had your blue coat with the wooden baubles instead
of buttons, that's how I remembered to look for you,
the girl in the blue coat with the odd fasteners
in two of my psychology classes who was the
only person I'd really talk to in either of them.

We'd talk about little things, nothing really:
the weather, the heat of the room, a bit of biography.
You learned it was my first time in Europe, explaining
the wandering accent, the half-amazement at daily lives,
the looking everywhere at everything.

I learned you had done a semester abroad in French,
explaining the cool poise of your boots and posture,
and that you could read the half of my anti-poverty
button that most other people couldn't; we'd
always take our seats in separate rows.

I noticed you always sat at the end of chair row,
closest to walkway and the exit, I wondered whether
it was because you were busy, it seemed like it
might be that because you always looked like you
were thinking about something, or you just liked to sit there.

Sometimes I'd catch a glance at you from the
side of my vision when I'd stretch in reaction to
the cat-nap-ready warmth of the lecture hall
or the professor rambling off the point with some
personal anecdote, and I'd notice your ambiguities,

or another word like that, I can't really think of
which at the moment, but how rather different you
looked depending on the mood of the light, beautiful
in all directions, mind, just different, a bit like
a Parisian screen star one time, a Galwegian trad singer the next.

It was in those moments I'd muse about asking
you to go for a coffee or a pint or a pint of
coffee, the thing itself didn't matter all that much,
I don't really like coffee or pints all that much,
and I guess I never knew to ask if you did either,

but that's the sort of thing people are supposed
to say to each other, isn't it? It's remarkable
how much of our social interactions are just these
ingrained patterns we pick up from TV or the cinema
or the radio or somewhere like that, isn't it?

I'd think on it for a second but I'd always come
back to the fact that I didn't know if you
had a girlfriend, or a boyfriend or both, or you
were somehow the only person in the world who doesn't like Canadians,
or you just found me a mediocre-to-okay conversation partner.

I'd also think about my mirror's reflection in the morning,
about how greasy my hair was or how I was wearing
the same shirt as I was yesterday and though I was
pretty sure you wouldn't notice, if you did, I didn't
want you to think I was sort of person who

wore the same shirt two days at a time even though
I evidently am the sort of person who would do that,
mainly because something told me that guys who wear
the same shirt two days at a time don't get to go out
for coffee or pints or pints of coffee with girls like you.

But, then, I'd think, sure, I should ask, why not?
There's not a harm to be had in asking, after all,
and the worst you could say would be no and you'd
probably be as polite as possible about it, given that
it was someone you barely know asking to be your exclusive

company for at most a couple of hours.
And maybe we'd have a fun time and you'd laugh
in the way you sometimes did when the professor made
a mildly off-colour remark, and maybe I'd learn
more about you and why you always looked busy and

sat on the far end of the row, and maybe
you'd want to know more about me too, though
I'm sure I had little to tell you hadn't heard before,
but maybe I'd somehow manage to be charming in
my provincial Ontarian manner about it.

And maybe we'd have one of those Before Sunrise nights,
where we'd reveal way too much about each other to
someone we barely know and we'd meet nine years later
by coincidence and learn we loved each other all along,
and maybe, and maybe, and maybe . . .

Well, by the time I was finished running the whole
absurd scenario through my head, and thinking how it
might make a really interesting spoken word piece,
you'd already left with your blue coat with the
odd fastners and your busy and your beautiful ambiguity.

I remained a second watery still, collecting
thoughts and books to bag, swinging shoes to look
cheerful, and considering how it's almost certainly
best to leave things like this the way they
began, and that your coat wasn't even that blue,

But maybe . . . next time.

3 New Poems

Dancing At The Roisin

I was watching the rising pint explosions as fireworks in miniature,
amber light of the wax table candle, it was minutes
in memory's depth, feeling eternal beneath the
sable sway of the very moment itself.

Dancing to the Little Green Cars song, I was ready
to be embarrassed, ready to be risky,
I was ready to be heart-broken by night's end,
ready for whatever it was that came next.

You held in the moonlight's swaying supple
between Quays and the canal, Portland
accent and DC manner set as drunken tables,
romantic cliches and silence in equal disdain.

The Impermanence of Time

You fell as grains of sand, coarse-ground salt
sipping through lined fingers bathed in off-brand
Aldi cider, always a clumsy kind of slipping
through, always a regretted few words swallowed.

I could watch gracefully hung clocks for guidance,
visions of Berlin and Belfast passing by train car
in your absence, cold light of computer codes,
soft morning's sun reflecting pavement the same.

Lacking complaint, struggled compliment, stepped separate
to the mid-morning market queues, the fishmonger
and the falafel truck spurt-splattered under tarp rain,
the half-light of Irish grey same as I.

Approx. 8 Hours

If I were waking up meaningless, the same confusion
and hollow-emptied conch shell numbness every time
flitting fire light bug from echoed lampshade skin
to the paltry pale hosts of autumnal snowfall,

would you be still as Winter's end?

If you were woken in cold clamor stupor,
teeth glowing wolf's tone in the curtain cast moonlight,
head full of chest drawers all sorted and folded,
still some empty place left in shadow,

would I be some cause of half-regret?

If we looked out on Galway Bay, saw the waves
tidal toss tumbling the wooden sail ships, world's
end coming quick as Summer's soon defeats,
measuring cups could flood over in salty brine, but

would we know both Ottawa and Albany were never really that far?

Thursday, 19 September 2013

1 New Poem

Distracted Walking

It was you in your red coat with the Albany State pins,
and me looking in downward avoidance, hoping to
fiddle and press enough with buttons, enough with
trip wires and signals, to be transparent glass.

You'd wave and smile bountiful harvest bright,
myself rubbing shoulder, thin of nerve to imagined
insults, missing connecting excepting last seconds
when “loving is a clash of lightning bolts”,

or some such saying.

It was a turning about, lost for voice's anchor
in the mellow sea of Galway's daylight,
I spun on slippery show heel, choked logic
being all I could manage.

A greater man in me wanted to gather his adventure's
packing, run fast as the bulb switch catching up,
out of breath muster some overheard phrase to adore,
wanted to turn back and yell you were my life's love,

how silly of me.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

2 New Poems

Same Time

About two pints of cider in, the creeping
cause coming across forehead flopping salted tones,
the pub walls packed to gill-breaking, knocked around
quick as broken pixels, harp-carved glasses
lifted above thicket maelstrom of arms and
folk fiddles, tapestry of dead men's pictures,
living men's bulletins.

Lonely with puzzle pieces, whiskey math,
blunt chewing day's false promise, held out
amazed expressions burned by refusal's coal,
glowing dead-bright upon bed linen, staining
starry-eyed affairs, clutched blank sandy hourglass
drippings; little more known than bitter musings,
could have been.

One word's caustic impression left burn-bitten
on scarred cheek, quarter-speak a Burren silence
between two sets of weary lips, questions on
hair colours, strawberry fields manner of dress,
left to hesitations, waves put off from tearing
nerve in two places, literal basis for a
night's same ending.

As You Were

Was this a happiness, sinking feel to couch
cushion, expressions made same as pained cross-eyed
winterings, but silver sting edge worn by time's tepid
washing, the cut no longer so deep to wound?

Maybe it was, you'd say, no better than this could
life be, no greater things our finger traces determined
than maps of the campus ring of bars serving
off-week fryings and barely-spoken half-hearts.

Socratic, I'd ask, about paint spatters of cloud cover
and the time sidewalks froze in skating rink style,
when we held close in slip-shod shoe leather, the last
indignities we had been willing to lonely suffer.

Lips were moving, we'd think about oil and water,
separations in bottled jars of turned wine, casks
overflowed in casual regret, timing and wordplay;
you took to the water as grace, myself never so much,

And I wish I could be as you.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

2 New Poems

Clear in the Dark

In the daylight I was possessive,
greedy with time around you, in my
thin-knit sweaters and coughing fits,
unhealthy breath and half-off expressions,
it took some doing, some convincing task,
bad winds cross-wise blowing to be ignored,
twinkles of half-recognition to be misheard.

By midday's apprehension hung aloft high noon
star, it had started to fade as washing line linen,
two hands running fingers apart each other
for the same squalid reasons as all else;
mince words, stall sayings, cool over
beverage cups finding lacked grace.

In the nighttime's pale dancing motions,
tongue kissing barmaids were it so simple,
you were all made-up and painted, pretty
as magazine covers to the rest of the world, but
never better than in morning's simple shades to me:
it was so clear, so darkly true.


The rains fell heavy, dark morning on the
green isle grand, clamped the bike locks
and sheet metal, the construction workers'
stickered-yellow hardhats in reflective colours
of misty tartan kind.

As umbrellas flashed open, torn-toss asunder
by the coastal's blighted gustings,
ghosts of drowned fishers filling the lighthouse
boardwalk, past phrases bespeaking still the shore,
salty Atlantic tongue taste.

Held a sketched map of Canada in the
shape of your face, between cardboard
Fosters' coasters and flickered light of the
TV set, half-thrown to the ocean-bay, half
wishing water's end.

Monday, 16 September 2013

2 New Poems

Trying To Say

Watching the window morning fog thick with water,
just close to covered in midnight's unheard rain,
leech-leaking on the latches, same as
four-square bus opening on the 95 and 97 routes,
I'd trace scarce-read messages as
children's fingerpainting, flick by in the
street lights and CCTV cameras.

In a cafe with the wooden chairs and the five
euro breakfast plate, I'd rub the coffee
stains out my head with hurried thumb;
try to cover it with new coats of facepaint,
the crushed conscience of Friday night and remind
of whenever I tried to drink up courage, I'd just
end up face down on tables like the Jack of Hearts.

On Sunday with the Mass bells, crumpled cans of
cider-ale and ice cream litter, woke up red
stars and hearts pinned to coat sleeve, badges
of idiot wind pronouncement; green eyes catching
gold flake notices, farmer's almanac for your
facial expressions incalculable as an hour's
cloudy skies, confessions did little for me.

Conversations We Didn't Have

It does no good to harbor illusions and strange fantasies,
no good to heart nor sense, stresses breaking spirit
as faux-suede shoes cracking in the Irish rain,
the little lines first showing in innocent hand turns and
shortness of breath, self-committed robberies of voice,
becoming lavish feasts of defeated hours.

Then why did we take the honeyed wine,
the sleeping pills in handfuls to help dreaming?

It was unnoticed features, once-bitten tongues
turning over to marinate in the blood six times
as dejected, crinkled pages of a Human Rights
textbook; the moment to make small gestures having passed,
listened instead to the echoes of dropping pencils,
the fizzle-crack of an opened Club Orange.

Wanting to say some apologetic reflex, unmanaged
even that smallest of dignities.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

2 New Poems

Thought About

I spent all my summers drinking from paper bags,
and regretting every unmade decision,
bar room lighting dredging daylight warning,
reflections caught in the glass above the faded
Soviet propaganda poster, were our testaments
crowned in suspicious plumage.

When I'd think of calling, I'd say sweet things
like, “mere minutes with you would be of gold weight”
in my head, but they say “you only get out what
you put in”, and the phones don't ring,
I'd put in nothing, except red-face confessions
wrote out over telegraph wires.

I spent all my winters, warming hands by the
broomstick fire, and looking out on the Ottawa
River, frozen in lovesick spire,
classroom clamour pounding rigid signatures,
sipping whiskey and rum and Coca-Cola and gin,
all mixed up in plastic glasses.

When I'd think of writing, I'd talk in romantic echoes
like, “all the time I was burning up for you”
in my head, but they say “you don't know what
love is”, and my hands were shaking; I know
the bitter-brill taste of springtime,
waking up same as last year.

Blues About Water

There was a street busker banging out Smiths chords,
at some place between the Spanish Arch and Shop Street;
I stopped for a moment, shine-grease forehead,
tourist bag in hand with sunlight splattering breezy
rainclouds through the lens-frames kept close,
looked out as far as I could see to say
and thought of you walking between the
Metro Centre and the CN Tower:

There was some man shuffling a propaganda paper
in front of you in Kensington Market, could have
been myself without illusions, you took one out
of courtesy and half-companionship, knitted cap
compulsion; still further between the Triad funding
and the Germanic cheese shop, you'd a place and
you'd look out over the docking waters, but
all that could be seen was Rochester's skyline,

and Buffalo, a bit.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

2 New Poems

Ethanol Marks

Laid in squares as grandmother's quilting pattern,
high noon's bitter sunlight paints shrubbery shadows
on the canvas of dull green tenant building
walls, block marking of dripped liquid, stomping
hiker's boots, giving way to carefully cut stone wall
windowsills bustling with empty liquor bottles and tricky
little plant places.

Finding placid peace with the placard poses you'd make,
tangled twistings brightly dressed in off-brand colours,
singing love songs to absent-minders, quickly
tapping dance chorus through the ring-road roundabout;
I wasn't one to judge or beg, nor throw upon
hearth stopping heart and sleeve coat,
unless I felt.

Drowned it out with off-license whiskey, marked
in barcode letters only, generic burning smell
amber ember filling the room with dishonest
jeerings, early mornings leaking from heavy-eyed
liberties taken with the tale of last night,
hustled and bundled close truth of how I was on
fire for you.

Unbroken Circle

Sprawling close, two drawn lines on liquid paper,
skittering as skipping stones on the Great Lakes,
came close enough to glance shimmered metal,
close enough to share the briefest touch.

Nervy zig-zag, collision crash on the four
walls, patient pacing hospitalization wards,
salt in the wound words, take it off
the table, vanish as quickly.

Calm free-hand, tightly wound calligraphy,
inch approximate of ancient texts, held sharp
in poised precision, cut camera-shy,
no comparison possible.

Friday, 13 September 2013

2 New Poems

Dans La Ville

In those Ottawa streets where you and I would meet,
snowy winds toss-tumbling the bureaucratic brick,
October midnights to April mid-mornings,
bustop shelters where we'd scan the faded, always-off schedule paper,
and mix palms with smoldering smoke of breath,

I had wanted to hold you.

In the buses lined with off-putting half-plaid,
where we'd sit together amongst the girls in their
two-sizes-too-little dresses and the boys in their
two-layers-too-many aftershave, when you'd step
off in the light of the Defense Department tower,

I had wanted to kiss you.

Beneath the half-flicker of the power-saving streetlamps,
protest posters plastered to their hilts, taped
with glass glue, halo-bright touching my thriftstore
trenchcoat and your overpriced dress, where
we'd laugh about the foibles of our friends,

I had wanted to tell you.

When we walked lightly on the Gatineau bridge,
the August sun caressing you as Casablanca
sand, our footsteps still echoed in the girders
of welded iron, placed before the thought of us,
and all the time, really, truly, madly,

I had wanted to love you.

Writing Indoors

Looking out on wet-based brick of the courtyard,
jacket colours came past in dervish swirl, casting
kaleidoscope to the broken beer bottles, starring lenses
at the bottom of this cider pint.

Faces come to me, all askew in pursed annoyance,
all rightly observing the rumples in clothing,
ill-shapen form pressing tucked in scrunched
shapes, breaking limit in platonic ideal.

Causeway ice caused the diamond road pattern,
brittle breaking to weight, shifting melt
to December's uncovered sun; I could
see the slip coming, coarse inspection

with my feet up on the couch table.

1 New Poem

Moments Are Meant To Pass

Thinking about the captain's cliffs,
we were seeking out triangles of the
porous ocean light, literary watches
ticking bell hours in the damp night.

In the morning in the bathtub, waking up
soaked-sullen as ever, great Gods of the
Marianas Trench, rising deep between ourselves;
your eyes flickered as vineyard wine in monastery casks.

Reached out to hold lightly, your skin well-known
as the New York skyline, traces well-trod
as the MTA map; forgotten faces flickered
coarsely as rocks on sandy parchment.

Blood was pumping, rising up swiftly
hearts melding cautious to elixir's dawn;
I never looked upon wind favourable,
tossing ship-ward aquamarine allusions, until you.

Teeth chattered to the blanket warm-up,
glinting dull grey-yellow in the morning's indifference,
floods of inevitability washed over
us, tearing apart and soaking through,

and two islands again we were.  

Thursday, 12 September 2013

2 New Poems

Watched Reflections

Contradicting as Parisian cafes in Galway Bay,
were the light-lily shadows, from the poster
d'un chat noir hanging sullen on brick,
cast upon your face, lighting like screen starlets of old.

I caught ourselves half-mirrored, faded as
blank portrait paper, nostalgic and waiting
for a time few days past, before the cooling
of untouched coffee. Then I . . .

Felt a strange wondering, if your other self
in the window glass would love me, if my
same-seeming double would know right things

to say, speak charming as trad singers.

Hallway Chairs

I'd clear the room, tables and places to sit,
like a blind pig serving bathtub whiskey brew,
wanted to be ready for the walk-in of guests,
fitfully dusted, waiting on your makeup.

It was nights when you were unreadable
closed and rejecting clumsy overtures,
unlike in sunlight, day calm and under-dressed,
only a bit of the time, though.

Darkly continental, confusions of interest,
I looked to you closely, some kind of
affirmation sought, hair greased and all;
it was little wonder I ended alone.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

2 New Poems

After Saying

I had the taste of honking car horns and
empty bottle spasms over lacking your love,
nothing splendid as English textile, Milanese silk,
mere stewing sinew, fever-frozen in pale

Checkered cloth we wrapped around our hands
to keep from cutting bruises, marked
as continuity from our father's pounding
the brick of uncosted houses, the grace of their

If I said a cruel feeling, cost of lifetime
to learn how it was, you'd take
the bitter swallow to avoid thought, and
if I said I fell in hopeless limerence, you'd never


There was a judgement coming on, rat-like
scurrying to hiding places far from eyes to see
how ill-fitting, ears to hear how uncouth
the hanging clothes soaked in gin bathtubs.

Pointed, sharp as dagger-teeth, to the creaking
of pre-chosen knee points, heavy breathing
chest fat and dead-chosen 9 o'clock dinners;
yes, you could all stare.

Mockery's tithe, cost of betterment cheaply
sought, the comparison of thinning hair, overfed
belt; tried to escape the lies of watery mirrors,
eyes as cold casting considerations as any pair.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

1 New Poem

Waiting For Rain To End

Black-eyed, musty mange collar, took in
from the pincushion clouds, hit fitfully
from the impending squint of first light,
took the chance to ask about a yellow
umbrella, shifty shelter, but some kind.

Coat creasing impermanent lines sitting
beneath the chilling comfort offered
half-serious, half-wishing never to be,
out of the brown-burgundy London Fog,
awkward posture distorting shadows complex.

Fevered feeling walking up the staircase,
imagination cast most impossible regards
upon you, assured to be most unwelcome;
it was not, cast in cold stone, it was not

exploding as wood sparks to the July air.

Monday, 9 September 2013

1 New Poem

Other Intoxicants

I don't know if ever you noticed
my recoiling from touch, when
I thought about embrace, sweeping of
feet over thresholds of picket fence places,
stove-hot reflex set apart for us.

Let from youthful ventures too, hat pin
prick suffocating childhood amusements,
it seemed a cause settling between us;
never needed a noisy dance floor to feel lonely,
never needed these Hollywood loves.

But, oh, to drink of your polished
poison, bitter flower fruit, names
in handwritten script on Waterford crystal;
I should call it the marvel of rare spirit,
swallowed, caution lacking, enthused as I manage.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

2 New Poems

Caffeine & Wandering

The sky was painted grey-cap snows,
tumbling leaf-fall ground bucket-soaked
from permafrost delusion and elder indifference,
as silence traced the dawn hours, washed
linen light falling through cracked kitchen tile.

Taste of tea with sugar-honey, pieces bread
and biscuit caught between teeth tone,
faces seen in coughing fit on Greenbriar
cliffs; missing past, two trains passing red time,
there was little more to say.

Of a kind with pink lip, curled hair,
talking nervous postulate, dead-eyes passioned,
seeking some shelter's regard, umbrellas
unfurling to drip-drab cross rain,

changing pace as salt-spray.

Postcard Moments

Numb bone ice-stewing beneath useless logged
cloaks, standing on world's edge atop
the Moher's cliffs misty, as wanderer to fog,
last line of country's end became clear.

The ocean sprayed a briny belligerence, coughing
up a morning's charm bell, surrounded in all
directions by the rain-suited men, tarps flapping
about in faint ridicule, hiking boot step above.

Muddy plish-plosh, distant rain gutters gurgle
crossing tunes on the unpresent trumpets,
traces faint as ghostly graves from
Ottawa street-corners trudge memory up.

Cut through the step-up sawhorse, past
the electric wires and Private Property signs,
seeing downward to watery entomb; vertigo
set itself a bit, height crashing as ever.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

5 New Poems


I was looking for something to erase this,
powder, pints and early morning's chill holding
only oil slick appeal, the gravitas cascade
strained glass portraits of angels, robbed men;
seemed a vague resemblance to love.

Taking wafer-wine as charity, golden hoist
of the criminal class, robbers, liars, all;
I was lost to the touch, numb limb limping
through scorning back alleyway, in bell time,
it was just the same as before.

Strong gust at noon's day, light line across
confession boxes, shadow breaking out all over,
crawling through glass glintered ruby, false shimmer
in the blood summer; living a bit suffers,

the time lost to being without.

A Kind of Falling

Glacing exchange, rooms cross ruddy
apartment kitchen, brim spilling over,
shoes and blinkered refusals in the hallway,
like the sword spark, brief flint, we crossed.

A sense of lonely lost night, hiding feelings
behind amber glass, approaches never considered,
flop-awkward dance across the bit of bar floor,
the distance of errant clouds to home.

Tracing backwards, not quite the same,
between the light of Centra and the Tesco Express,
revealing laughter, bits of biography, nervous
handshake at the last of the night.

I never wanted much more, peck on the cheek,
in my wildest moments, thought about fish and chips
at a shop in Merseyside, the exasperated
grasp for the air in front of you.

Harbours and Bays

This day was held in sea shell, blue diamond's
reflection of the vastness sea, ocean of
wind sweeping gusts, across the false plain
grass, above the rocky scattered sand,
out to lighthouse lane.

Briny peace, currents cast full moon shadows
upon blind-bright pale of long-wasted skin;
the scent of clinging salt on breeze,
the taste of breaking waves upon your lips,
the sound of life being lived.

Appearance of flop-eared dog, casts about
frigid goosebumps on themselves, internal
chill touching the heat of matter, never
could shake these things off, memory too
desperate clung to the water.

Thoughts Over Bar Pints

Clinging to table wood as a child to
mother's aprons, strings kept close held;
anchor in open water, deep swimming azure,
there was something about dark beer, glass shattering,
sets heart's eye a-twitch, to some people,
but, oh, not I, not I, rather be indoors and warm.

Dress shoes heaves as tower block constructions,
shaver's lip nick dabbed with the alcoholic's pen;
there was something I wanted to write about you,
closer I same to saying once, words hit as
dry ice on docking floors, denied myself
a taste of sweet civilization.

Now there's echoes about me, bar band clanging
pop song chords through a hallway body stacks,
closing about the grim chimes of Catholic bells,
reminders the ashen taste of Sunday;
friends were there too, living out their tragic
loves to the same dancer's tune.

I could have spoken with them, but, I just
wanted your voice.


It was the finding of dusty bookshops,
paper yellow creaked, untreated nicotine
teeth, words on the shelf spelled out
how it was we were to feel.

Dubliner sighs, case kegs moving off
flatbeds of ricket trucks; I kept
a verse volume close-pinned to my heart,
feeling changed too quickly some nights.

Fence posts, chest-height slabs of stone,
meaning of separation cut in loudness grassy
green; sunlight reflected off the cheap
wood grain, the illusion of something thought to

be there.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

3 New Poems

Watching Movies Indoors

We sat reflected in the soft quarter-light,
computer screen glow of BBC dramas,
hand folded together, legs crunch-crossed,
lest we even a bit touch, deep gulf
of plush seating, unsightly floral pattern.

You were unmapped, twisted as thrashing English
rose thistles about garden gate's cut wood,
in nervy poise waiting for the hour's end;
still, bright as a Niagara's sunset,
nostalgia's haze about your smile.

Studying the light lines cast upon you,
it seemed a work on oil canvas, brightly
warm, hearth's glow of beating embers,
tick-tocking as the pulse quickened;
I could have been tricked to your same thought,

but who am I to say.

Two Midnights

Clashing dust storm pitch of two coming about
in tempest's jug, swirling in rock river
current, dashing all cuts leftward and right,
forming wrappings close until neither was distinct.

They began so different, one with the
sloshing sud of brewer's pump and distiller's
water, the other simple invitations, two
flights of stairs up to a room, little words.

At once I could see the end, same way each time,
flicker of computer screens, mouth sodden-soak
with unheard phrases, love poems and vulgarities,
blurring close, crossing sweat and strong whiskey.

Clocks crept on from a witching hour,
still I wished a closer hand to hold.

Another Way of Saying

Brown floor tiles and shows, the same no matter
the country name, the manner of speaking,
the contrasted clash of sky and soil,
any other thing you could think of;
it is a constant.

Window glass casts cold judgments ever the
dreary, a few angle's degree difference
depending on which pillow the place makes
at day's end, sunset's stripes fall in patterns;
it is never that bright.

I'd always find the fastest way to be
lonely as ever, boards and barricades
to keep apart, itchy triggers in evening
places, the matter of flag incoherent;
it is a fearful thing.

Monday, 2 September 2013

2 New Poems


Impermanent, cigarette smoke trails, lasted as
trace spire on walls thin a wax wrapping
yellow teeth colour, stewing Jazz Age
scent, heady breaks from mouths of
mushy men beneath the half-lit lamppost.

The neighbourhood's bully boys had spray-painted
some vulgar thing on the building's arcade arch,
black-green paints, edges fuzzy as old
photographs, scratched as aged vinyl copies,
it said a flash-thought of you.

Far across time's reach, there is nothing in our
town so grand: it was all built on 60's confidences,
now pushed around in rain-soaked tatters,
carriages of neglected babes flown far from
mother's breast. It was a vision in stuck-on siding,

you stood out from the rain gutters.

Difficulty of Goodbye

Closely-held, for a pause-brief moment,
slipping from view as a rusty pane's water,
blank wind cast-backs rattled the door screen,
your arms crossed as two pallid, underwater
latches, was the last time we touched.

It was months going with a windy cascade,
down-course from the grassland basin of the Ottawa
Valley, the loping slope came as walls of jail
stone, keeping cross the one-way streets dotting
in bureaucratic tie fashions, laminated ID cards.

When you came back from the frozen
midlands of the English countryside, accented-speaking
and all that, it was red-faced calm, drained
dry from criss-cross flyings, I came close
for another time, the cold comfort was

same as always.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

4 New Poems

Walking Home From Pubs

This is a feeling of serenity, ghostly
whisps of the buskers' last guitar strum
echoing through the castle window brick,
up and down Shop Street to the water-dock,
the same as footstep stopping to turn
back in clumsy rhythm.

Our hair and shoulders turning to
swirled sand on abandoned beachfront,
green bottle glass collecting fragments
of darkened water, dying new embers
in the Claddagh houses painted
bright in tourist-type shades.

The balcony light reflecting soft
amber designs through the hanging
willow leaves, set itself in graceless
moonlight chalking upon ashen canvas
of archway and lift-lock compressions,

led us home as nothing else could.

Rough Estimations

I met once a girl in Ottawa,
she came fair from the north country:
hair jetted black as starless night,
frazzled and tied as sloppy work-hour practicality,
and eyes like fresh-mined coal.

We both seemed calm as overused mobiles,
though she claimed the greater cause to it,
not me with my constant wasted hours;
time was rung, between weeks of absence
and the mere minutes we could make.

Loving her was push-and-pull, a bit
closer sitting on the red-white buses in
the early morning, a bit distant over
that awful coffee creamer we'd complain
about and look lie we'd nothing to say.

Never could I come to tell these sayings,
coming from cheap paperbacks, as they did,
a kiss we could trade or a nighttime happiness
come to an acceptance of, I was minding
the heart's matters in clock chimes; for her,

I suppose it may have been the same.

About Us

I think about take-out menus and the Canadian winter,
the bone's chill of minus thirty through
the blinking red lights and switching taxi signals,
the still silence of grace on Parliament Hill,
when I think about home.

I think about Belgian coffee shops and Germanic
crosses, a charge-flash of faces through the
limestone walkways, the thousands of conversations
unheard, the last weeks of summer faded as family curtains,
when I think about you.

You think about something much greater,
exciting lives of catered dinners, suited lunches,
when sent through a cheery moderns postbox,
nothing close to the truth of barely-held pieces,
when you think about me.

You think about a foolish fracas,
two lonely people clashing as switched
breakers, making the rare arch of
shuddering light cross between themselves,
when I think about you, thinking about us.

Weights and Measures

Something in love was an ocean,
so I'd written at 15, nothing known of the sort.

Days upon days, the Keatsian swirl of stepping across
light as pointillists' brushes and twice as sharp,
or some other such thing to hide behind,
words chosen as jokes, but sincerely worn.

Checked-out pulp paper, cheaply milled to shape,
felt as evoked weather, grey dawn
and battered January snow, the same as
a height measure to ourselves.

I am a struggled stitching of veins and
cartilage, you were made of metaphors,
sugarplums and arsenic; I came to
terms with the difference in time.

It was a wonderful way of
being alone.