Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Forest

I fell in love with you

On the day half the forest disappeared

In this little patch of woods behind the bikepath

Back when the forest was complete

Right on what is now the border between tall slim trees

And stubby muddy expanses

Was the place I first felt the Mother


Reach out her hand to soothe

Another broken heart of mine

Many years ago

As I lay with my face pressed to the forest floor

Now when I call on Her to guide me

Again through the terrible love for

A disappearing man

I remember letting you, a stranger, see my tears

For the violated forest

Naively assuming that men honour forests and hearts


The things that disappear through men’s fears and women’s tears

The sacred slaughtered groves

I call on Her still

She is far greater than the stranger by the road

Or the clear cut strewn with garbage

She is the new green leaves
And the sky in the spring
And -

and, again

here it comes
after months of self-deception

here it comes
the poetic wave where
my heart bursts with love for myself
and a thousand memories of love
flash in
from the past

snowy night on King st outside the Starlight Night Club
the sky glittering
with his head on my shoulder
or just
us all
roving in high heeled crews
feeling old
when we were so, so young
perhaps, in the middle age of young
too old to be young
but with no idea what was in store for us
how long life can sometimes be
(if we're lucky)
and how lonely it can get

that moment in 2008 
at 2 am at the jane bond
when I thought, my life is just going to be a 
bad canadian indie movie
and whatever happens,
i will end up here again
alone with a friend under the neon lights

or wandering home in the snow
with her,
my lost sister
and all that orbitted around us
from the first plaforms I bought at the Rideau Centre
with her
and the walks we took along the canal
or late nights coming home from the Revolution nightclub
past Macdonalds
or tears in the hallway

all that, 
so much
from 1998 to 2009
at least
and a bit before, 
and a bit after
before: alone, in the domestic wild corners of Ottawa, the edges of the river
the tree by the highway
after: somewhere in Waterloo, alone, beloved trees and rolling hills 
the highway that sounds like a river
and the chronicles of narnia
long winter walks
birds in the snow, bright red or yellow

and of course,

for a while

all this poetry buried within me
standing next to you at church in our best
hoping to be that nice mennonite girl

i am old,
older than you
wouldn't you like to see the world through my eyes?
there is so much to see 

but i have a past too
when I was your age
i was listening to this song
at the grocery store, maybe,
or at the jane bond
at 2 am, 
waiting, waiting for that person to love

and then
going home alone

you've probably gone home now too
from the place I would have been standing next to you
and i chose to stay inside
listening to this song
and remembering what it means
to be me

Saturday, July 15, 2017

black eyed Susan's

when I saw those
Black-eyed Susans
by the highway
blowing in the wind
and i didn’t care if you ever saw them
and if they ever brought you the same joy 
they bring me

i knew i was fucking free

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

the grand river in elora

The cedar trees hang over the grand river
clinging to limestone cliffs
water flows below the land i sit on
carved out over years

spiders build webs over the ever-flowing river
while giant carp nose the fallen tree, nibbling it's cedar fronds
in the dark

across the river,
two white swans come along from the bridge to downtown
they stop in front of a house backing the water
as if conferring
finally one climbs up the bank and walks over to a wide dish
and eats for a long time
while her partner paddles the water, looks around
finally he concedes and climbs that bank
eat from the bowl with his mate

when she fills, she comes down to the bank and jumps into the water
he follows soon after
and they paddle back towards the bridge

i lay back and look up at the cedars
while birds have a shouting contest in the trees
and the light fades

Friday, June 2, 2017


I want to shrink to exist
Solely in the broad, brown west entrance stairwell of Connaught School
Where the primary kids climbed to their classrooms
And we took piano lessons in the rooms to the side
Between the playground where I got stuck on a skipping rope I was using to climb a slide
And no one helped me and I lay there for ages as the yard cleared
Until I finally realized I could just climb myself up
And the classroom where I want to paste all the things
And was afraid of everyone except my teacher
And then of her, when he told me to dial down the pasting
Ashamed explorer, scared achiever, trembling endless will to master
I want to live in the stairwell alone
Before, after and within my humiliations
And the feeling of being alone in a crowd
Here, I am just alone
And I can remember all the books read to me
And the books I’m going to read


Could learn about medicinal plants via the TransitionTown group
at Bechtel Park on Saturday morning
Or could lie in the sun there and listen to the water bubble
Smell the damp earth and cedar
And empty my thoughts

Strange Street

A square sloping lawn with ancient trees
Down on Strange Street
With a mysterious art deco power station in the distance
And then the stream, hidden
All this, just before Victoria Street
Where the road opens out to bright sun again
This was once the further reaches of my journey south
My secret park
When Kitchener was only mine