Mid-February

Today the willow
Bending low over the fence
Sketches on the snow
A night from late in summer—
Moonlight squeaked beneath our feet

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February Thaw

Even in this fog
The harbour isn’t silent.
Unseen, the gulls mewl
Above ice broken, but thick
Still—frost lies deep in the ground.

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I Don’t Hear the Crows

I don’t hear the crows
gabbing their garbled gossip
in this morning’s rain
you opened the door to leave—
the whole street was a murmur

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Pond in Winter

Where the fat frog splashed
After summer rain, snow falls
Silent from white trees

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Big Snake Oil (to the tune of Merle Haggard’s Big City)

Big Snake Oil

I’m tired of these alternative diets
Entirely too much paleo and chewin on clay
And I’m tired of these superfood berries
Think I’ll eat down at KFC today

Turn me loose, set me free
Somewhere in a baron o’ beef buffet
Gimme all the fat I got comin to me
You can keep your kale and quinoa
And your so-called free-rangin poultry
Big Snake Oil, stop peddlin your idiocy

Been hearin bout your coffee and bleach enemas—
Well, cancer and autism ain’t cured by burnin’ out bums
There’s families you’re robbin and kids you’re killin
Think it’s time that pricks like you were on the run

Turn me loose, set me free
Somewhere in a baron o’ beef buffet
Gimme all the fat I got comin to me
You can keep your kale and quinoa
And your so-called free-rangin poultry
Big Snake Oil, stop peddlin your idiocy

Yeah, Big Snake Oil, stop peddlin your idiocy

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Rumours of May (or, What the Apple Blossoms Might Say) [poems from old notebooks, April, 2008]

Waiting for blossoms I hear them whisper,
“Forty-one stares you in the ass—
you’ll be an old man someday
with ears of stone and bones of glass.”

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Drunkard’s Walk

Having been more lazy than usual lately, I decided on Wednesday evening to ask Sandi Hartling to give me five words I would try to write a poem with. She obliged with: fission, sleep, index, shore, length. I found fission especially daunting, so grinned and got at it.

Drunkard’s Walk

In the silences of a winter night
Falling randomly between the long,
Wavering whistles of northwest winds
Through thin lines of jackpines forever

Twisting their trunks away and stooping
With bent, arthritic limbs along
The rusty capes and crumbling headlands,
The sleepless coyote cocks an ear

To other absences: the almost
Soundless hiss of air behind careful
Thrusts of a Barred owl’s wings above
A meadow sloping towards the strait

(An owl that’s likely hunting inland
Tonight, its offset ears searching
For the distant broken glass jangle
Of mice tunneling under snow);

Or the crash of waves along the white
Length of the shore subdued, for now,
By the dead weight of ice gathering
In slumps here from December to May.

It does not hear me either. I see
This landscape only in memory
Tonight. The sea ice has yet to form.
The owl still hoots deep in the woods.

It does not hear me as I stagger
With memory’s drunken walk in search
Of ways to index loss. But when it
Raises its nose to the deaf stars,

And the first short, shrill yip fissions
Into two and those into four more…
I hear each death I’ve known quaver
In the long question of its howl.

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