Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Loose Dogs

We all know our days on this curious planet are numbered. Today I am thinking about the ones that are still with us, not so much about the ones that have left. There are so many of you that are here and yet I miss you like crazy! Time and work and money and bullshit stand in the way of our days together, our days of each other. Our days. Our talks, our silences, our way of being. 

Hungry for Gravity

The subway platform at Keele station opens wide
to take in mouth- fulls of snow and night air.
If you stand on the periphery, looking out into the dusk
you can still hear church bells on un-holy days
and feel the lull of  evening settling around you like ghosts
at the end of a cureless journey.
You are impossibly in love with this city
despite its buried creeks and oil tanks
you pirouette in its doorways, keep vigil over chimneys and seasons.

And while the snow moves in from the north like a slow cancer
you remain as loyal as breath
democratic, while the tempest, sharp as fishbone, howls across waters
altering and dismantling the patina of spring and fire.
You stand under the birdless skeletons of cherry birch
craning toward the marmoreal sky
wishing to be nowhere else but in this state of atonement
- a kind of trust, in the algorithm of sidewalks and horizon.

Soon you realize all days are un-holy and Sunday’s silence grips you
like a malignancy.
The arithmetic of your step takes you to the redolence of regret
and into a wider destiny where the neighbourhoods bark in reverse.
But somehow, it all adds up and the dimming light breeds layers of kindness,
under which the seams of longitude split wide open.  
An un-tethered vertical beauty prowls the city like loose dogs
under the ministry of moon while tongues lie sleeping.

Clouds, hungry for gravity, press into you and you run,
in the only direction you know, on stupid legs,
faithful only to themselves.

"I am a good dog, running half-way home..."

                                     The fantastic Amelia Curran

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

That Said

It's been a while... 

...feeling happy today and kind of nostaligic. Spent a great evening with old friends yesterday. An amazing private reading by Huttel at the Beaches, pink sky as a backdrop and a tiny little moon trying to make itself known. Talking and talking about heroes, music and movies. Inevitably Hawks, Malick and Cimino came up. To Have and Have Not and the one and only Walter Brennan and in the background, Nick Lowe going on about Chirstmas At The Airport. It was a great reunion, it was poetry, it was just us! 

Chemistry of the Unknown

There was a small night years ago. A few drinks, good friends and a rock and roll band.
Afterwards, walking to the car, steam sailing off our breath into the frosty night, you said we looked like a pack of bison.

“A herd, a gang, an obstinacy,’ I said. 

“There is nothing falling out of the sky,” you answered.

I thought about the chemistry of snowflakes. The H and the 2, the bonding of crystals, water molecules and hexagons. I thought that maybe you were the story of my life, the love of my happiness. So I walked beside you for the next 20 years.

Today a letter arrived from the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. There is enough gravity left for one more dance.

And here is the fabulous James Bay.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Dictator Poetry

Oulipost was a fabulous dream that is now over. I loved it to bits! It brought me outside of myself and into the shenanigans of politics, stocks, weather, births and deaths and the carrying on of others. I had to stretch my imagination around the block at times just to nail down those few words on the page. The challenges were at times frustrating but mostly they were illuminating and they gave me the opportunity to play with language in a way I have not done for a long time. For that, I thank the fearless Oulipost leaders! Oddly, I found it liberating being told what and how to write. Mind you it was for only a month and that’s good enough for me.

The “dictators” ask me what my street looks like? Tree-lined, sometimes lonely- on Sunday mornings-, but mostly my street looks like “home”, even when the geese settle onto the middle of road lounging.

I will miss my journey down the Oulipostian highway, I will remember it fondly and I will carry on along a different road, fiddling with words, buying newspapers, looking for headlines and you will find me, always, on The Kandinsky Highway.

Happy trails! That’s a wrap.

Poetry, poems, writing, write, Necakov

Friday, 11 April 2014

Thelonius Monk and Copernicus

I can’t remember when I started liking jazz, but I do remember when it crept its way into my writing. 
Jazz was a little piece jw curry created and published in 1982 under his imprint CURVD H&Z.

My saxophone farts
little black farts
all over your white shirt.

This would have been a tribute to Charlie Parker. All those snappy notes flying all over the place. Nothing as smooth as Dexter Gordon or Grover Washington Jr. or even Stan Getz. This was a little off- the- cuff kind of piece that was a direct, gut response to the bebop rhythms of songs like Bird’s Cherokee.  

I love all these guys and then, there is Dinah Washington, Alberta Hunter, Bill Evans and Sarah Vaughan surrounded by Ornette Colman, John Coltrane, Billy Holiday and Ella. These and so many more brilliant musicians have either made their way into my poems or provided a filter through which the words could be seen in a more magical light. Mine is a strange little universe, a tapestry of mathematics, sound, poetry, bicycles, silence, film and science all tethered together by jazz. These are the things I love and the things I love to write about.


coherent unit of matter
celebration of the Eucharist
the velocity and distance of my journey have not separated the dream
from the dreamer
yes, I can stand on the edge of the moon
yes, I can feel the marrow-piercing silence up here
Thelonius Monk spiralled us into a frenzy past the limits of imagination
Copernicus gave us the keys to a white El Dorado
we could drive into the centre of imagination
you told me god existed
that I could piece together a ladder of bones that would take me to him
I could walk a tightrope of stars
I can no longer tell if there is even an angstrom of difference
between the spirit and the mind
the only truth I find is in the cadence of my own words
sound and meaning are lost up here in the heavens
E = be and bop, everything is unbearably relative
I am alone
a once-fallen angel risen, allowed beyond the blood rainbow
from my observatory the rivers run cherry, crimson, scarlet
my trajectory is not exact enough, I can no longer feel the pull
my escape velocity has taken me light years away from you
I dream of atoms, neutrons, protons the precise language of science
I see diamonds in the night
my heart is concave, convex
in my pocket I carry an astrolabe made of gunmetal
the distance between us is insurmountable
I have no way of telling you there is nothing but confusion and dust
I am unable to will you to point your revolver in my direction
what exists up here is not what you wanted
I have lost all sense of seasons and the position of the planets
I sometimes curse Nic for giving me those keys and sometimes myself
for taking them
I listen hard for the laws of physics, the laws of Monk to bring me home
hoping there would be a simple aria at the end of it all
hoping I might be able to explain the essentials behind the miles
hoping E equals something
that the brilliance of the sun has not been lost on us
I close my eyes briefly; the circumference of my nightmare is vast
some things, even at absolute zero, do not freeze.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dexter Gordon

Friday, 4 April 2014


I have a little note at home, written on Canadian Senate letterhead, signed by Romeo Dallaire himself. That gem sits in my jewelry box and is probably the most precious item in there, next to my grandmother's ring.

It was a number of years ago that I sent a copy of my book Hooligans to Mr. Dallaire. You see, I had written the poem below, for him and I wanted him to know and to read the poem. After all, Romeo Dallaire is one of my heroes. To my utter surprise several weeks after I had mailed the book off to his office, I received this wonderful, tiny envelope. Inside a few choice words, typed, and then, at the bottom, his signature. It meant the world to me and still does. 
Dear Romeo

Today is October 7th and I am sad

a strange little man jumped in front of a subway car
the other day

I am confronted with wizened flowers
and smudged eulogies
as I enter the High Park station

the sun is warm and persistent
the man at the post office –black as tar-
smiles at me
as if to say
“such things happen”
as if he knows what I am thinking
his mouth is precious
his tongue is true

not even the thought of Fermat’s theorem
can shake the sadness
and I think of you
not motion
as I run my fingers along
the cool metal of my bicycle
what did you tell the allies when they came?
could they see
the pictures in your head?

I try to recall playing cowboys and Indians
in the days before we discovered the voice of John Lee Hooker
whatever you did is alright
I am only angry with you
because of what you saw
and because you then told me
I carried your book with me through three seasons
it was like an uncharted melody
that moment during childhood
when you realize the meaning
of a very small word
and suddenly
where happiness was once an entire hemisphere
you find yourself standing on only an inch or two of possibility

I have to tell you
David McFadden wrote an entire book
called “Why Are You So Sad?”
It’s a book of poems
and he is a sad Canadian like you and I
his heart is not bent though
he knows how to stop the chaos

I run for miles
to outrun my own self
outrun my footprints
your insomnia
the hate

invisible rhythms of breath
something resembling peace
then waves of rhythm
and beats
drumming and bullets
pounding and machetes
last breaths

this is the thirty fourth letter I have written you
and never sent
I am sad Romeo.

No movie talk today, just a little John Lee Hooker to get us through the April blahs...