Spring, 2020

April. Already
Magnolias contemplate white
Silences to come.
How many will we see wither
And die while May petals fall?

Posted in Andrew Griffin, Capitalism, Corporate Capitalism, Delusional thinking, John MacKenzie Poetry, Magnolias, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Political Commentary, Protest poems, Spring, Tanka | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An uneven reading of the Masque of the Red Death

I recorded this afternoon for a friend. And now you all can have it.

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A Train Whistle Far Away

It is winter and you are gone west
Where foothills crumble into desert
Resting your head against the black,
I imagine, the cool bus window.

The sun has fallen behind mountains
And left the night stained blue as the sea.
You hear a train whistle far away,
You tell me, doppler into memory.

The trains must flow like water, you say,
Seen from above, through the deep rock cuts.
Those are the channels where the unknown
Moves, the dark currents of continents.

Should I envy you the desert or
The distance, here in the rain-shadowed east?

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Boy in Wolf’s Clothing, an album by velvel


Vevel (the fine singer/songwriter and sound designer Michael Leon) has finally released his album Boy in Wolf’s Clothing of angry, sad, and beautiful songs. I wrote the lyrics to one of them,
I’m proud to say, and it’s not even my favourite song on the album. I can’t pick a favourite song yet. Kalashnikov is Weeping is my favourite song title ever, though.

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What was Blood What was Oil What was Water

After the war the cities were dust, and where
The desert met the sea there was no way to
Tell what was blood what was oil what was water.

Don’t listen to the wind on the sands at night—
It speaks with the rasping tongue of cracked leather,
It speaks with the voice of the cold, empty sky

And it murmurs of millions of drying bones
It will splinter for the fatty, latticed marrow—
Just run for the mountains and the outer sea.

Run now for the outer sea where the wind has
Gathered all the hope of the world at the shore
In shifting dunes held by nets of thin marram roots.

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Mary Poppins’ Promises

She blew in on the East Wind
Clinging to an umbrella
Of black silk and memory
Snipped from a thundercloud’s heart
And stretched over hollow bones.

She walks streets in silence now
And sings her songs through others.
The raven is her favourite:
Its croak is resonant with
Deep-toned bells and April rain

And cries of children to be fed
With cakes and meat and carrots
And shown that love is not just
A kiss and whimsys catered
But knowledge that others dream.

Mary Poppins promises
Two things: she will hear your screams
From the deep and treacherous
Commerce blue of china bowls
Where old men leer in shadows;

And she will help you smash them
When she blows in resonant
With ravens’ throats and thunder.

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Where to Begin, And When to Harvest

In Memoriam: Robert Smith

I see you in an old photo
Young and gangling in overalls
Standing in a field, hands on hips,
Considering where to begin
The planting and when to harvest.

I see you in an oil lamp’s glow
Considering all the angles
On a crokinole board where you
Held the same distinctions between
Black and white as you did elsewhere.

I remember you on the shore
Forking trailerloads of seaweed
To bank the house against the winds
Winter sent to nullify wood
You cut to stovelengths stacked in cords.

I see you after the farm truck
Ahead of you on the highway
Flung broken steel through your windshield
And through your eye. I see you smile
On the porch gazing at the strait.

You grew old on the land you worked.
Much of it lay fallow later,
But the truck didn’t take away
Your foresight. So tall windmills turn
On your land, harvest laden winds.

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