Vanishing Point (Little Sands, PEI)

I was sent a fine, short, dark image the other day about stillness in Little Sands. It precipitated this poem since I have felt at the water that sort of stillness that seems both complete and empty at once. I think it springs from our predilection for assuming meaning in, and imputing intent to, everything, and I suspect it is where the eminently attractive and utterly mistaken concept of immanence came from. The poem then, I suppose, is an attempt to capture that feeling while recognizing that it comes from inside us, from our species’ pattern-and-meaning-seeking brain, rather than being a message written, or an entity lurking, in the gulls and the sea and the stars.

Vanishing Point (Little Sands, PEI)
for Carolyn McKibbin

The wind at its vanishing point between
Day and night leaves headland grasses still.

The early evening Strait stretches
Tight between its shores at high ebb.

Nothing moves now but rising smoke
From the cigarette you left burning.

White clumps of gulls wait for low tide’s
Mussels, dark clustered revelations.

The stars will rise tugging at the moon
And tides as they drift slowly apart.

Posted in Art is lies, Art is theft, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Epistemology, Ghazal, Gravity, John MacKenzie, Little Sands, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Process, Science, Space, Summer, The Moon, The Sky, Tide, Time | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Behind the Dance of Moon

tonight you will
hear how the stars whisper
behind the dance of moon tangling

Posted in Astrophysics, Cinquain, Cosmology, Gravity, John MacKenzie, Language, Micropoetry, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Science, Summer, The Moon, Tide, Time | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lists of Words We Have (poems from old notebooks, September 2008)

There are lists of words we have,
implacable, stained at their edges
with the dust of silk roads
to the distant yellows of forgotten linen,
the pale, dry stamens of saffron,
or the patinas of old ivory cue balls,
but gray at their centres
as sodden bone ash spilled behind a kiln
when the potter hurried to fire
a soft-paste porcelain pitcher
with an involute spout closed at the end
and tubular as the lumen of the brain stem
through which our word lists loop,
implacable as blood through
the open systems of vein and artery and gut,
across hours and years of hunger and deferral,
through the cerebellum, cerebral cortex,
amygdala and hippocampus
to become memories and wishes
and harden into habit.

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Another Night Done

Weaving home through crowds—
another night done in this
bagsticker July
below clouds like torn, piss-stained
sheets under the turnt up moon

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Where Prime Ministers and Other Pricks

I am, it turns out, a misanthrope,
And, though I don’t wish you all a rope
Around the neck with a lovely knot
Tucked behind the ear, I’ve often thought
A scaffold—black with ravens and crows,
Where a white dancer dangles his toes,
Percussion knock knock knocking in his knees
While he jangles his bones on the evening breeze—
Should stand on a hill above broken bricks
Tumbled in strews down towards a strand
Where prime ministers and other pricks
Are buried up to their chins in sand
As a spring tide rolls in, cold and green,
And the rising moon finds me still, serene.

Posted in Art is lies, Corporate Capitalism, Crows, John MacKenzie, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Political Commentary, Poverty, Ravens, Social Commentary, Sonnet, The Moon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

After a Hurricane

The tide green and full in the harbour,
the contrary remaining winds stipple
the taut swell like skin after a shiver.
More rain and lightning in the forecast;
the clouds still thick and dark in the west
with a chance of thinning towards morning.
Maybe through them we’ll glimpse the slender moon
foundering at dawn—if we’re not busy
as usual ignoring each other
by then, heads turned opposite on pillows,
nothing left in our larynges but rasps
after a night of talking feelings
instead of facts. Or maybe I’ll step out
and listen to the crows grieving the moon.

Posted in Art is lies, Consciousness, Epistemology, Harbour, John MacKenzie, Memory, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Sonnet, Summer, The Brain, The Moon, The Rain, The Sea, The Sky, The Wind | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


The sea sorting sand grains
by size and shape
into this beach we walk on.

The wind gathering loose
grains into high,
slow-cresting waves behind us.

The sun’s photons warming
wind and water,
the complex swirl of currents.

Matter’s slow compression
over eons
from gas and dust into stars.

The clench of gravity
driving fusion
in stars until they explode.

The drifting of atoms
to molecules;
oxygen, hydrogen, ice.

And molecules chaining
into proteins
and amino acids—cells.

The division of cells
into blood, flesh,
and the firm, round fact of us.

The pulses of current
through our axons
and dendrites—decision trees.

The syntax that brings us
here (and patterns
our faint footprints in the sand).


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