Just kind of had some fun with this commentary. Still needs work and I got lazy and didn’t do a fourth verse, but here it is from March/Nov 2014
What if mermaids poured down
from the sky into Baltimore Street?
Flopping as they land.
And they crawl away in search of water
anything wet…mist, puddles, the ocean…
How long would they survive?
From the middle of the city to wherever
they could drag themselves
breathing heavily, short breaths
the gills in their neck, panicking the scales
leaving shimmering slime behind
as they crawl down Charles St
towards the harbor
ignoring the shouts all around,
“Don’t go there! The water will kill you!”
It’s a risk to try.
Or not to.
What would you do, if you were a mermaid
landing desperate in Baltimore?
A pulp of orange
pumpkins turned jagged-teeth men
or witches, cats, aliens,
an unusual likeness of Elvis
sit wondering on St Paul, waiting for what they’ve heard
will be the night of nights
what they’ve been grown for
will glow for.
What would you do as you sat with a candle in your head
knowing – because you’ve heard –
that tomorrow you’ll still sit here. Your hat burned.
Your hate brimming? because you’ve heard
that soon your mouth withers, wrinkles, wraps around
your teeth and eyes, sinking in to cement steps.
And you’ll still sit here.
And sit here.
And sit here. Still on St Paul.
But on that night, would you refuse to glow as high candied legs
yell “Trick or Treat!”?
Would you straighten up proud of the carves and scars
that will rot tomorrow anyway?
Would you think why not shine?
Do you feel a choice inside?
Until a good child gone costumed stomps down. Hard.
Standing strong against the sun
snowmen, bravely hold out their skinny stick arms,
giving the world a high-five. Or the finger.
Some just want to be left alone –
to freeze (for what they may imagine) forever
What would you do if you knew?
Maybe you would want freedom – to melt
in your own way. Maybe head first
or you’d let the left belly-roll slide off.
It all flows back in to the ground. Or the gutter.
How would you withstand the heat,
knowing – against hope – that spring was inevitable?
Would you slip into oblivion? Silent?
Or protest on the corner of North Avenue, as you stood there
until your mouth melted.
Then there’s Spring.
On Thanksgiving Day, I met a 94 year old girl full of life and sparkle and just couldn’t help but write about her:
There’s a history in your face
Every line that
In these few
Moments that I’ve met you
The little joys in the upturned lip
The slight piquant in your nose
in your eyes,
Your daughter’s life
And two marriages in your dimples
“They called me ‘heygood lookin’!'”
And you pinch me
I see the loneliness reaching up but you’ve pressed it down
Shaken it up
Disallowed it in every coursing blue vein
Is difficult, shaky, comes in tiny breaks
But you catch every sound around you
You watch me closely
Your eyes alert
Ready to soak in my life, more life, more
Yours is crowded so beautifully on your face.
Not a Mona Lisa but a joyeux de vivre.
Could a well-oiled, put-together puzzle, complex
in its structure and solution
withstand an earthquake
of questions and doubt?
Yes. I think it could.
Could the one who created this world
setting natural and spiritual laws in motion
stand under a barrage of
angry pontification or
sobbing accusations or
I think he would.
If we think we see a crack in our foundation
isn’t it okay to peer down into it
pick at it?
Are we so afraid that this scab
would reveal an anemic system
or a suffering of hemophilia,
gushing unfounded and diluted answers?
There’s a sense of safety
in never questioning,
security in full acceptance
but a complete contentment
with cryptic concessions
can only in the end
Could it be
daring and disturbing
frighting and fruitful
spacious in mind and moral and mystery
“I need to see and touch the scars”?
On Nov 8, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. Working where I do, we are surrounded by the news, and it’s easy to become numb to the numbers. But today, seeing pictures, reading almost-surreal first-hand accounts of a devastated place half way around the world, a couple thoughts came to me…
You know what I can’t imagine?
Waiting for that storm to hit.
Feeling like you can’t do anything else – but
perhaps, if you dare,
And just wait.
And knowing that the odds are against you.
Against your whole community.
Knowing you or your neighbor will be the one washed away.
And if it’s your neighbor,
You’ll be walking by his body in just 24 hours,
But relieved that you’re alive.
Or will you be?
And so you sit and wait and only hope.
As the winds get stronger.
As the rain falls harder.
Is there a calm that falls on you, like an eye
In the middle
or right before?
Or maybe I’d want to shout,
“Typhoon Haiyan – WE SALUTE YOU! Bring your rage on!”
But it would do no good.
Bravery and death
have no correlation.
And the only question I have left now is…
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This was a bit of an exercise – my sister sent me a topic, and this is the first draft
we feel grown up
but the sugarcane rises tall
the sun beats
hot on our bare shoulders
machete in hand
we take turns
chop at the bamboo stalk as if our lives depend on it
sharp leaves cut into my fists
the effort it takes
– to chop back the bark
– to chew the sweet wood
– to spit it all out
Overpowered by the
The sun stops moving
green grass glares emerald-bright
on the machete on the ground next to us
The water holds me
enwrapped in frothy motion
pulled by the sway of the moon
to the sights beyond my eyes
Bond of life
surrounds my islands
floods my stories
it pounds; it swirls
waves and glimmers
across the journeys
the fluid thread of
all that belongs to me
Liquid rhythm of life
Here’s hoping the winter will soon go away. I should be thankful though, Baltimore winters are not so bad as Calgary ones which is where I wrote this…
Sweeps my gaze to my feet
I feel frightened
That I am going to turn into
A frozen wife of Lot
Covered in white
Found later in mid-stride