How Manet Times

Let’s begin with a simple fact: time passes faster in the mountains than it does at sea level.
—Carlo Rovelli

From tremulous-trunked
Ash on a mountain down to
The slow-heaving sea,
What’s time but smeared colours,
An Impressionist painting?.

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The May Moon

Against the sky the other morning,
Above birds rehearsing endlessly,
The moon was pale: the ball of a thumb
The weight of everything pressed upon.

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When A Southwest Wind Stirs Magnolia Petals

So. We never did walk together in
A cool May’s sweet and inky scent
Whispering from white blossoms

And now under Iowa soil you have
Neither voice nor thought. You have no
Knowledge of how spring pulls all
This colour from pale, entangled roots

(You don’t care if it rains enough for corn,
You won’t notice how a farmer
You may have traded nods with
Might kneel in a field across the road

To feel how earth will crumble in his hands)
While my grey and thin hair moves in
A spring wind you cannot feel in yours.

Posted in Art, Art is lies, John MacKenzie, John MacKenzie Poetry, Magnolias, Memory, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Sonnet, Spring, The Brain, The Wind | Leave a comment

All My Dead Gather

I know all my dead gather on these spring days
Under the ground, unreasoning,

Their restlessness a writhe of slow-waking worms
Aerating the newly-thawed earth.

All my dead gather under the crocuses,
Twist among the magnolia’s roots;

They make the greening blades of marsh and marram
Grasses shiver when south winds stop

Briefly in the afternoon. All my dead sprout
Pale tendrils in spring, as the last

Withering root vegetables in the cellar
Grow whiskery, grey. All my dead:

Those I still ache for, and those whose funerals
I would gladly attend again.

Posted in Art, Art is lies, Death, John MacKenzie, John MacKenzie Poetry, Memory, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Sonnet, Spring, The Earth | Leave a comment

Walter, Down on Queen Street (on the Death of Harold Waite)

Hank is dead now as found his place
Daily on the low step there
A block below the liquor store,
Cardboard cushioning his bony arse

Against time and cold and the slow
Tide of malnutrition that crept
High enough to leave traces in
Foam at the corners of his mouth

Under the mustache sharing
The same droop and tobacco stains
As the brim of the white straw hat
Sagging towards his forehead.

It was the epilepsy got him.
Had a seizure outside his place—
That red one down there on Bayfield?—
Fell down and didn’t get up.

The young fella with him—they’d just
Got a bottle from the liquor store—
Told me he had to get help to
Lift him inside and Hank lay down

In the hall and opened his eyes
For a second, just a second,
When the paramedics started.
Just for a second, he said.

Hank is dead and the landlord said
He’d pay me some to clean the place.
I’m outta smokes. Fuck. Harold’s dead.
And the landlord wants me to start.

Posted in Art, Art is lies, Charlottetown, Death, Desperation, Hunger, John MacKenzie, John MacKenzie Poetry, Malnutrition, Memory, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Political Commentary, Poverty, Social Commentary, The Brain, Time | Leave a comment

The Ocean, Still

Can you see the ocean still
At high tide? Do you remember
The windless harbour poised to spill

Over piers and pilings and fill
Our ears with hollow timbres?
Can you see the ocean still?

See black-backed gulls wheel and mill
While the western sky drips amber
The windless harbour’s poised to spill

Over the worn horizon’s sill
At spring tide in late September?
Can you see the ocean still?

See waves begin to form high hills
Of secrets cold and grey and sombre
A windless harbour’s poised to spill?

Do you see the low capes crumble
In dreams you refuse to remember,
Can you see the ocean still?
The windless harbour poised to spill?

 

The Ocean Still

 

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Nuance

There is no mystery
In an onion—tear away
All the tissue-thin
Layers one by one. You’ll find
Nothing irreducible.

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