Amongst the Green

Andrew Mitrovica has a great piece at ipolitics about Stephen Harper and his policies. Here’s the beginning:

“Before last week, I thought I understood the depth of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s malevolence. I was wrong.

Only now do I appreciate just how ugly this prime minister is. I didn’t think it was possible for even a government as rabidly partisan as this one to add Palestinian children to its long list of enemies. That’s not hyperbole. Truth.”

Go read it all.

Amongst the Green

The September winds
lift the leaves of linden trees
and, amongst the green,
I see death creeping again
with its old companion, gold

Posted in Autumn, Death, Hunger, John MacKenzie, Malnutrition, Micropoetry, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Poverty, Social Commentary, Tanka, The Earth, The Wind, War, War poems | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Euclid vs. The Slow Worms

Every spring, spades turn warming soil
Over and mound it up in rows.
The spaced seeds germinate while
The furious sun grows old.

The slow worms under the garden
Squirm through their loose knots and tangles,
Keep the soil aerated, healthy,
While we lie coiled around our thoughts.

We hiss and we bite in the mornings,
Or half-choke on words in our throats
And knock on wood against moments
When our strangling wants might get loose.

We plant our dead in cold coffins
In graveyards’ euclidean rows;
As if our once-parellel lives
Only end, never drift apart.

The carrots, the uncut rhubarb,
The turnip and peas go to seed;
The crows, and the long-squabbling gulls,
The skunks and raccoons eat their fill.

Posted in Art is lies, Art is theft, Astronomy, Biology, Cemetery, Cliches, Crows, Gulls, John MacKenzie, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, The Earth, The Sky, Time | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Short Summons (A Sea “Shan’t No More”)

 

Short Summons (A Sea “Shan’t No More”)

I was a wild rover
Roving the world over,
Leaving lovers lining the shores

Till I was given short summons
For all my goings and comings
And my wife said, “You’ll do it no more.

You’ve made round the belly
Of many a Maggie and Nelly.
No one can count up your score.

Those kids need to eat
And bacon ain’t cheap,
So we’ll carve you and hang you in the door

Of the smoking shed
Where you lay down and bled
Your blood all over the floor.

You sharpened your knife
All our married life
In Barcelona, Beirut, Baltimore,

But I made the final cut,
An inverted vee in your gut,
And nothing’ll be your fault no more.”

I was a wild rover
Roving the world over,
Leaving lovers lining the shores.

But I was handed short summons
For my goings and comings
Now I’ll be going nor coming no more.
No, I’ll be going nor coming no more.

Posted in Art is lies, Art is theft, Harbour, Hunger, John MacKenzie, Malnutrition, Music, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Poverty, Sea songs, Social Commentary, The Earth, The Sea | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Self-Portrait of a Blind Man at Evening

 

Self-Portrait of a Blind Man at Evening

Maybe you’ve seen him by the harbour
in the south wind, listening, trying to hear
over waves the distant fugue whale pods
still continually compose off Chile
in groans of carbon compressing to diamond,
in the grind of glaciers over granite.

Maybe you’ve watched him turn the blue
heron’s beak to a compass, trace the sky’s
arc to the horizon, take the obtuse
triangle of neck and wings for an easel,
sketch underdrawings with charred lashes
plucked one by one from his eyelids.

Maybe you’ve studied the twisting lips,
the slow pendulum swing of tongue
from corner to corner of his mouth,
and the adam’s apple bob bob bobbing
in time with the channel markers’
relentless rise and fall on the waves.

Maybe you wish to ask these questions
swarming on rapid black wings under
the moon swelling like a tumor in the sky,
ask him if the sun’s already fallen
among the trees and burns there in autumn
leaves, blackening boughs for winter.

Will he answer you? No. He’ll stand there
intent on the whales’ slow song of Pablo.
So? Listen with him. They sing how to fill
a mouth with salt, and veins with the green
cryogenic sea. Listen. Maybe you will learn
what to preserve, or when to persevere.

Blue Whale call (turn up your speakers: “Low vocalizations of a Blue Whale. Much of the calls are generally below human hearing. Sounds provided by the Bioacoustic Research Program and the Macaully Library at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.”)

Posted in Art is lies, Art is theft, Autumn, Blue Heron, Charlottetown, Crows, Geology, Gravity, Harbour, John MacKenzie, New poems, Pablo Neruda, Poem tweets, Poetry, The Moon, The Sea, The Sky, The Wind, Whales, Winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Language is Hollow

It was mentioned to me yesterday that I haven’t been writing much. So I wrote.

Language is Hollow
for Megan Burke

My language is grim because I was born
in mid-century shadows cast by mushroom
clouds, eyes narrowed against brightness
yet to come; burning as the sun burns, limning,
morning and evening, the wings of gulls
in white and gold fire against the blue.

My language is grey because it’s been left
carelessly to weather in all seasons,
the absences of its broad vowels settled
in winter-long silences under roofs
while impatient winds pried at shingle
after shingle, rattled windows and doors.

My language is bitter because it’s steeped
in the lye seeping from ashes of truth
burnt daily by priests and prime ministers.
My language is neither salve nor balm,
it’s not a prayer or promise but a notice
served: all gods must die if we’re to live.

My language is hollow because it searches
in the broken coffins of our dead, stretching
dried skins taut and testing the resonance
with femurs lifted from the litters of bone,
tying phlanges of fingers to ribcages
hung from limbs of dying elms in the wind.

My metronome is the green autumn sea,
its constant waves against the shore
breaking into foam gulls rise from, white
and shrill; their cries are the cries of children,
hungry morning and night, drifting on
the wind from all quarters of the compass.

Posted in Poem tweets, New poems, Science, Art is theft, Epistemology, Poetry, Art is lies, The Wind, The Sea, John MacKenzie, Gulls, Harbour, Social Commentary, Poetics, Charlottetown, The Earth, Poverty, Hunger, The Sky | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Old Men In Love

Old men in love, awakening stiff
In their joints and contemplating the hard
Task of getting up into the day,
Dream of past mornings. They remember cocked
Hips and bent knees, and the pressing
Engagements that rose reliably as green
Shoots of crocuses and tulips
In dense and urgent clusters out of spring.

But old men in love let go their pricks
Of memory and turn to watch with crooked smiles
What they’ve rarely considered
Over lifetimes—their slow-swirling currents of blood
Thickening, as the waters where river
And harbour meet grow tangled and slow with silt.

Posted in Art is lies, Autumn, Consciousness, Harbour, Hillsborough River, John MacKenzie, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Social Commentary, Sonnet, Spring, Summer, Tide, Time | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Darkness Settles Early

Darkness Settles Early

The end of August.
The turning wind edges north.
Though darkness settles
Early now, the evening crows
Find their way home. Where are you?*

*Tankas really are country songs.

Posted in Art is lies, Art is theft, Autumn, Country music, Crows, John MacKenzie, Mary Gauthier, Micropoetry, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Tanka, The Wind, Time | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment