11/13/15

bridgelocks2

there is a bridge covered in locks
some with no keys, some sealed with long-forgotten combinations
some quietly closed with ribbons, with twine

there is a cathedral owned by gargoyles
pigeons and peasants
there is a tomb covered in small stones
flower petals, metro tickets, teeth, candy, gratitude
another tomb queerly smothered in lipstick kisses
still another dares us to break on through
to the other side

i got pooped on by a bird
while gazing up at the bell tower of notre dame
there are few times in a life you get that lucky
so i took this as a great and good sign

there is an art store on blvd. edgar quinet
right beside cynthia’s house of croissants
and confiture and catacomb secrets
the five-spoked wheel of montparnasse will never be solved

there are names that will forever soothe me
raspail. vavin. les gobelins.
place de la concorde. sacre-couer.
gare du nord. austerlitz.
trocadero.
this place felt like home the first time i breathed
in its sexy hot metal tang, its pink-grey scaffolding,
its sour-sweet sewer pong, its metro b.o.,
its cafe au lait, its legendary light
its arrogant smirk

the louvre. d’orsee. marmattan. pompidou.
l’orangerie. champs-elysees. l’arc du triomphe.
roland garros. louis quatorze.
piaf. monet. manet. dufy.
vincent slept here, and pablo.
ernest. gertrude and alice. toulouse lautrec.
all the genius ghosts.

rue mouffetard. the latin quarter. les halles. defence.
it’s shakespeare & co., stained glass and merlot.
it’s vervaine & lemongrass soap, striped marine shirts
and blue ascots. it’s berets and bastille,
brie on a baguette, pain au chocolat
steak-frites and pickpockets and a plethora of bad smells.

and it’s love.
it’s love and romance, this city of light
this city of forever light in your heart, your essenceGauloises
amour mama, not cheap display
you either love it or hate it,
this infuriating frustrating glorious
demon-angel of a city

it’s bonne mama abricots on a still-warm,
fall-apart-in-your-hands pastry
it’s slinky underwear and stilettos and a million androgynous scarves
it’s drinking wine from the bottle on your tiny front step
perfume and tulips in the tuileries
fountains and bees, creperies and gauloises
veuve-cliquot and trains and bonjour, allo, d’accord, d’accord

it’s anguish and liberte and fraternite
it’s haughty and magnifique and cold
it’s paris and it’s gorgeous
it’s paris and it’s burning

it’s a man on a street piano playing imagine
nothing to kill or die for
no religion too
imagine all the people
living life in peace
to a broken
weeping world

 

bridgelocks1

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hit refresh and let internet wash over you

(source: online newsalizm headlines and good ol’ yummy e-spam)

you wrote that you looking moped rental and chicago
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five things that should never have been pumpkin-flavoured
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zombie outbreak likely to lead to collapse of civilization
unless dealt with quickly, university of ottawa students conclude

just to say

this is just to say
i got your note.
really, willy. the last plums.
you knew i was saving them
and still you ate them. all of them.
so delicious and so cold.
fine. i hope they froze your tongue.
you have always been selfish.

~~~

this is just to answer your note:
i’m sorry you feel that way. I truly am sorry
about the plums. i didn’t expect you to take it so hard.
look, there’s a banana on the counter,
why not have that?
oh and by the way, did you ever stop to think
that perhaps the plums were a fucking
metaphor? maybe when i wrote ‘plums’
i meant eggs, or stones, ovaries, testacles.
maybe i was being all in your face
with the sexualization of fruits. seeds. nuts.
(nuts. get it?)

this is just to say that maybe i was gazing
upon those lovely luscious purple plums and couldn’t help being
transported to your breasts, your round, supple, smooth
lovely breasts, and i had to pop them
in my mouth, even though they were so cold
(unlike your impeccable breasts.)

maybe the plums were the first thing i’d eaten in days. would you still
begrudge me their flavour, their violet skins,
their rejuvenating coldness?

maybe i just needed to satisfy
an oral craving. maybe i just got home from a bender
and was in dire need of greasy eggs
and coca-cola with a slice of lemon but all i could find
to appease the raging hangover tongue was your silly little juicy
plums, all ‘c’mere, c’mere’ taunting me from the basket
in their deep cold purpleness.

this is just to say that maybe nothing else on this day
was ever going to quench
my thirst for you, my darling, not even
those lovely, luscious plums. but i had to try.

this is just to say
that i thought, i hoped
you would be mildly amused by my poem
my admittedly bratty apology, my little-boy, ‘please don’t hate me
but i ate your plums’ exercise in male privilege.
yes, i did eat your plums, because deep down i felt entitled.

this is just to say that, had i thought for one second you genuinely
would have a problem with me eating the damn plums, i wouldn’t have
eaten the damn plums. but my god, i ate them.
and they were good. they were possibly the best fucking plums i’ve ever had
with all their purpleness and coldness,
you know? they were awesome fucking plums, for christ’s sake,
and i would do it again, i would eat the damn plums again, even knowing
that it would freak you out and cause you to rethink
our life together. still
i would eat them all over again. so get off my back.

this is just to say that i am DREADFULLY sorry for eating
the plums but i think, all things considered, you probably
WANTED ME to eat the plums. why else would you have left them
right next to the cheese drawer? i swear, i will buy you
one thousand plums
if you will forgive me this indiscretion.

sincerely,
w.

~~~

this is just to say, william, that you are such an ass.
while you were going on and on about the damn fucking
marvelous plums, i was out licking the beautiful, most
perfect plums, not cold, tucked inside your
best friend’s trousers.

have a nice day.
sincerely,
sylvia

nov. 12, 2012
author’s note: the things you stumble upon
in old, forgotten notebooks.
i might go to hell for this abomination.
are there plums in hell?
probably not cold ones

something i wish i’d written; by bob hicok

Other Lives And Dimensions And Finally A Love Poem

My left hand will live longer than my right. The rivers
 of my palms tell me so.
Never argue with rivers. Never expect your lives to finish
 at the same time. I think
praying, I think clapping is how hands mourn. I think staying up and waiting
for paintings to sigh is science. In another dimension this 
is exactly what’s happening,
it’s what they write grants about: the chromodynamics of mournful Whistlers,
the audible sorrow and beta decay of Old Battersea Bridge. 
I like the idea
of different

 theres and elsewheres, an Idaho known for bluegrass,
a Bronx where people talk 
like violets smell. Perhaps I am somewhere patient,
somehow 
kind, perhaps in the nook 

of a cousin universe I’ve never defiled
or betrayed 
anyone. Here I have 
two hands and they are vanishing,
the hollow of your back 
to rest my cheek against, your voice and little else but my assiduous fear to cherish. 
My hands are webbed 
like the wind-torn work of a spider, like they squeezed something in the womb 

but couldn’t hang on. One of those other worlds 
or a life I felt
 passing through mine, or the ocean inside my mother’s belly 
she had to scream out.

 Here, when I say I never want to be without you,
 somewhere else I am saying 
I never want to be without you again. And when I touch you 
in each of the places we meet, 

in all of the lives we are, it’s with hands that are dying 
and resurrected.
 When I don’t touch you it’s a mistake in any life, 
in each place and forever.

Bob Hicok

the stars are watching you

the stars are watching us

if i could come to where you are
if i could touch your shining face
if i could hold your broken hand
if i could sit with you in the treetops

my eyes grow dim
but i could sculpt you in the dark
and the stars, the stars are watching you
even when night is brittle cloud
the stars are watching you

if you could come to where i am
if you could touch my grateful face
if you could hold my broken hand
if we could dance in places soft

your eyes smile and cry at once
they show me how to open
when november cleaves the tides
the stars are watching us

friday nights in grade 8

we had no boys at our parties
just tea and cribbage
sometimes a bowl of bugles
beatles 45s and one glass of pop each if mom was in a good mood
she loves you ya ya ya 8 days a week baby it’s you

we hung off each other and slowdanced a clumsy box-step shuffle
secretly wishing it was max coulson’s hands around our waists
or pete scanlon’s short dirty legs rubbing up against our nervous thighs
rec room couch not quite lumpy enough for the cottage

spin the bottle, truth or dare
by 14 a couple of boys came calling
it was always awkward
til gary and ray started sneaking canadian club into the 7up
then we were all relaxed and stupid

anne went off to neck with gary
peggy had a thing for ray
i just kept changing the records
refilling the chip bowl
and tried to keep mom from coming downstairs

kisses at 14 seemed so much more thrilling
anne’s dare kiss ray on the mouth
peggy’s truth have you ever, you know, let a boy touch you there
consequences of telling a lie go outside topless and run three times around that big tree
kelly’s lament why isn’t max coulson at this party!

at 14 you still have your freckles and eyebrows
and all the cute boys in the world seem somehow attainable
in your dreams at least
where paul and john sing an endless loop of baby it’s you
and i wanna hold your hand

and what would i give to hold your lonely hand now
in my sweaty 14-year-old palm
curl up under the tv blanket
graze elbows, touch timid toes
giggle and fall asleep smiling
before the late night horror movie even comes on

february 2015

Another Golden opportunity

My second book, Kissing Keeps Us Afloat, was honoured with a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in the poetry category in July. I was not able to attend the awards ceremony in July in New Orleans, so this afternoon Frontenac House publishers Rose and David Scollard have invited me to crash their Quartet 2015 preview party (2 p.m., Harcourt House, Edmonton). I’ve been asked to kick off the readings with some selections from KKUA and my debut collection, White Shirt, which also won a Goldie in 2011. The event starts at 2 p.m. and will be hosted by Quartet editor Micheline Maylor.

This year’s four-pack features:

  • Changelings by Calgary poet/storyteller Cassy Welburn;
  • Two Minds by prolific B.C. author Harold Rhenisch;
  • Niche by Nova Scotian visual artist and poet Basma Kavanagh;
  • ClockWork by California based poet Zaid Shlah

    frontbooks2