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

 

Posted in Art is lies, Cliches, Gulls, Harbour, John MacKenzie, John MacKenzie Poetry, Language, Memory, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Process, South Shore, The Sea, The Sky, Tide, Villanelle, Writing | Leave a comment

Nuance

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

Posted in John MacKenzie, John MacKenzie Poetry, New poems, Poetry, Social Commentary, Tanka, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Consider That I Am Mistaken

I’m sure there is someone I almost remember
Who may have once told me they’d never forget
The blue of my eyes in mid-winter sunlight
When the geese were long gone and the gulls alone
Might be heard over the harbour, a broken
Bagpipe band skirling in northwesterly winds.

I will not consider that I am mistaken;
That only the moon ever looked back at me
While I whispered under the evergreen trees
About how a dust from mid-summer lindens
Lingered, fragrant, on our January thighs.
I will not consider how often I’ve stood
Watching how the river enters the harbour
Under the bridge; current quick, quiet, and free.

Posted in Art is lies, Consciousness, Gulls, John MacKenzie, John MacKenzie Poetry, Lindens, Memory, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Sonnet, The Sea, The Sky, The Wind, Wild Geese | Leave a comment

Snow In A Field At Night

I passed a painter all alone
Walking in the night, her eyes filled
With rods measuring remembered
Skies and their uncertain hues

Against wide wavefronts of blue
Twisting particles and pieces torn
From dying stars and galaxies
Into figures like me and you.

I saw the painter shake her head
And step into a field where grass
Rose tall and wild with greying heads
The wind wavered slowly through.

I left the painter there alone
Sketching memories in snow.

Posted in Art is lies, Art is theft, Astrophysics, Chemistry, Consciousness, Cosmology, Cryptomnesia, John MacKenzie, John MacKenzie Poetry, Marie Fox, Memory, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, The Brain, The Sky | Leave a comment

Winter Solstice

I lay in bed not thinking until
I thought of your breath rising slow
Between me and the hill silhouetted
Against the lemony western sky

Towards the last thin peel of moon
Curling away into the night.
Below us, skin of ice growing heavy,
The December river creaked and groaned.

Posted in Art is lies, John MacKenzie Poetry, Memory, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, The Moon, Winter | Leave a comment