Author Archives: John MacKenzie

About John MacKenzie

I'll mumble for ya. Poetry, plus most things quantifiable: science, neuroscience, memory, epistemology, baseball. And so on.

How to Make a Love Song, 2020

Start with the shapes of all you have known Scrawled upon yellowing paper; These are studies for the ideals Of slavery and genocide You see preserved in bronze on squares And on street corners waving flags And swords and pistols … Continue reading

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Trump Can’t Wither George Floyd’s Memory

June. This wind of hell Blown across the continent Out of the Southwest, Out of a buffoon’s slack mouth, Can’t wither forget-me-nots. This wind cannot touch These flowers, their blue petals, Among leaves of grass— Instead they shear it into … Continue reading

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End Racism. Speak Up.

Silence is complicity. Racism exists, not only in America, but in Canada as well. And not just in some abstract far away version of Canada—Racism exists here, on Prince Edward Island, and always has. Racism is endemic in our Island … Continue reading

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(I Heard You Saying) You Were Waiting for Jesus

This one has been sent off to Mike in hopes he can turn it into a real song I was out at the casino last night In a smoky and crowded backroom I heard you saying you were waiting for … Continue reading

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You Might Know

Spring, you might know, is blossom-heavy. But May always begins the same way; The rain comes tapping at my window, Knowing I lie alone in the dark. So I go walking in daylight hours Among the apple trees and splaying … Continue reading

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April Forehead tanka

Even in April My forehead’s a bare hillside Sloping to the sky Grey clouds are thin around it Rain gathers in shallow pools

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The Quiet Leave-Takings of These Times

My mother finds it hard, she says. An old friend died, and there can’t be Long lines of people at a wake Talking earnestly or smiling As they tell a family stories About the life as they perceived it. No … Continue reading

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Spidersong, Satisfied

I lay in the dark Almost     not quite At the end of the world And from the tips Of my spinnerets The sticky silk swirled My webs floated Over the garden Light on the air And I tied them off … Continue reading

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The Whale in B minor, reading

I video-recorded The Whale in B minor, a poem I wrote a while back (poem text here), but wasn’t happy with the video aspect. So I did the logical thing. I extracted the audio and inserted it into a video … Continue reading

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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. … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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A North Wind Ravels

Midnight and now the full moon falls Down the other side of the sky. A north wind ravels skeins of snow Along the river frozen black. A dead spruce stands among the fir In snow here up to their green … Continue reading

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November Rain

I can’t quite remember the rhythms Our pulses beat together at night. All I hear now is November rain, Thready and erratic in the eaves.

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Frost in Autumn Grass

When we stop telling lies to ourselves What is left to us but silence? The past is frost in autumn grass Out there turning buttercups blue. I remember the sound of wings In the mist on a morning river. There … Continue reading

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Night and Day

In dreams the impossible becomes routine. You skate exuberant rings around Saturn With me in one moment and, in the next, pause To consider Jupiter’s situation With gravity before waxing nostalgic About dark Mars bars on late October nights. You … Continue reading

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