Friday, August 26, 2011

Jack Layton - 1950 - 2011

a man comes by and you know him,
some place inside you that recognizes
what is good in the world

a man comes by and you listen to him
because truth does not harm, does not
want anything but your battered heart

a man comes by and you follow him,
not aimless idolatry but out of a country's
yearning to be more

a man comes but once in a lifetime
to teach the teachable
and humble the proud

Saturday, August 20, 2011


a mule sun and colour
has bled out of the hills,
all is straw and dry throats
but there is thriving in the wastes,
leaping before your feet
as if to free themselves
from the baking earth,
with their ridiculous legs
made for such bounds

we caught them as boys,
bait for trout in the clear streams
they left tobacco juice on our fingertips
as we impaled them on our hooks,
a grizzly ritual to be sure

i enjoy them now
creeping in their hesitant way,
mechanical, a whimsical
circumspection through the deck glass

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Red Peppers

I see them pause to touch you,
fingertips unbelieving along
the market sidewalks,
something to feel
in an artificial world

I would like to stuff you
into my vacant heart,
replace that parched
and withered thing,
set it ablaze until I burst
with colour

Don't try and stop me, I am no thief
but a budding eccentric,
play along with me
until the bleeding fills my shoes

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Speed of Life

Sparrows under the tomatoes
spearing the chubby nematodes
They stuff the hot pulp
into the gawp of throats,
those fledglings quivering
like plucked strings
A greedy little garden song
then a bath of dust that rises,
motes of spinning worlds
fugitive in the slant of August

They will never know how
the snails travelled all day
to see such things with their
umber polyps, sensual horns
eager and retractable,
making muted love
in the errant grass

Saturday, August 6, 2011


you don't live in crowds,
not a meadow ablaze with you,
nothing but a singular ambition
to be known

how I steal your song
as it lifts from the parched earth
and shout it out to everyone
who can hear it

not many, perhaps,
but a few at least willing
to know you one more season,
revealed at last by observation

if you are pleased to surrender
your secret through
my consciousness,
I will never know

perhaps it is your divine undertaking
that you willingly grant to the world
so we will never forget
what is beauty

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Five Snakes Passing By

He showed me the grim mouth
and chrome eyes, the unblinking patience
of a viper and how it seemed
broken from a tree, a serpentine branch
sage strewn over the black rocks

It touches the earth with all its length,
its armour of plates and the remarkable
loose segments of its tail passing by
I imagine its purple tongue,
split and stabbing, tasting me

And the other fellows
with their evolutionary glory,
boas and constrictors
and one fast and yellow and electric,
a trajectory of light at your feet

That one I picked up as a boy,
so curious to see him watching me
as he left his smell on my hands,
a reptilian introduction
with its striped dorsal rainbow

He sees with a fine sensitivity
to what is loathed in the world,
what has been lost,
a reverence that we need to come back to,
his gift to us all