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this is why.

Jan. 22nd, 2009 | 09:09 pm

This is my all time, without a doubt, read-it-a-million-times, favourite poem.
It gives me the shivers every single time.

I have not had much to write about lately.
But I'm still here.
I'm still figuring it out, day by day.

I feel it all.

Purdy says it exactly the way I feel it.


The Darkness

- particularly in Renfrew County
when I chased that porcupine
from cellar to woodshed
from lawn to road with flashlight
and felt affection for it
that I couldn't explain to myself
but do explain
as if it embodied
all the lost
doomed animals crushed to death
on highways or swallowed and eaten
by fiercer animals - by man
Why should some comic beast
like a briar patch on four legs
be anything but that?
Anyway I'd stand there
beside the porch when bugs were gone
with everyone else asleep
looking up at that great ocean
that place where you're able to think
father than you're able to see
billions of miles - or think you do
for surely observing light from that distance
is having your mind touch its source
having it brush against stars?
my smallness therefore conversely important
my heart beating across that void
a tiny pump supremely unimportant?
Then I laugh
how ridiculous to invent methods
of receiving yourself or pretending
you touched the far edge of the cosmos
Only settle yourself on the shore
of this bright sea this glittering enormity
and close your hand on a scrap of it
the darkness the massed nothingness
say I have grabbed some and held on
Surely if that frightened porcupine
could represent all dead animals
then I may I allow myself this conceit:
to feel with hands and heart
the black reaches of light-absence
and the whip of comets
pulsing like swift little fish
when lights leap like car headlights
gleaming on wet pavements in the sky
What this comes to is religion
not the conventional stuff
but some sort of lost kind of coherence
I've never found in people
or in myself for that matter
only in the unhurried natural world
where things are uncrowded by things
with distance between animals
star distance between neighbours
when the grouch irritable universe
fumbles with understanding
and a god's coherence
Look down on me
spirit of everyplace
guardian beyond the edge of chaos
I may be a slight reminder
of a small tribe that occurred to you
when you were thinking of something else
even tho I am of little importance
and conversely of great importance
I am waiting here
until the dark velvet curtains
are drawn and the scrap of darkness
I clutched in my hand
has changed to light.

- Al Purdy

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a sign

Jan. 8th, 2009 | 06:44 pm

Naked Poems

(each stanza is meant to be on its own separate page)

An instant of white roses. 
A black butterfly's
                twitch and determined
collapse on a yellow round.

near the white Tanabe
near Layton's Love
outside     falling on
the pavement
the plum blossoms
of Cypress Street

the yellow chrysanthemums

                   (I hide my head when I sleep)

a stillness
in jade

                   (Your hand reaches out)

the chrysanthemums


         (Job's moaning, is it, the dark?)

a whirlwind!

Eros!    Agape      Agape

Her sickness does not ebb
anyhow. it's not a sea
it's a lake largely

I can see her perfectly clearly
through this dusk her face
the colour of moonlight.

Maybe my body, maybe I?
But when has my love
                         ever been
offered exactly
and why should she be an

walking in dark
walking in dark the presence of all
the absences we have known.       Oceans.
so we are distinguished to ourselves
don't want that distinction.
I am afraid.   I said that.   I said that
                                               for you.

My white skin
is not the moonlight.
If it is
tell me, who reads
by that light?

a curve  /  broken
of green
moss weed
kelp   shells   pebbles
lost orange ring
orange crab    pale
delicates at peace
on this sand
tracery of last night's

I am listening for
the turn of the tide
I imagine it will sound
an appalled sigh
the sigh of Sisyphus
who was not happy

Hieratic sounds emerge
from the Priestess of
a new alphabet
gasps for air.

            We disappear in the musk of her coming.

I hear the waves
hounding the window:
lord, they are the root waves
of the poem's meter
the waves of the root poem's sex.
The waves of Event
(the major planets, the minor
planets, the Act)
break down at my window:
I also hear those waves.

The dead dog now
the one I saw last night
carried on a man's shoulders
down to the beach
he held it by its
dead crossed legs

I have given up

but nobody

"That ye resist not 
evil" falling
limp into the arms
of the oppressor
he is not undone
by the burden
of your righteousness
he has touched you.

Phyllis Webb


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(no subject)

Jan. 3rd, 2009 | 01:22 pm



 ...I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be,  be wise, and that you will always be kind.

-Neil Gaiman

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hello, new year.

Jan. 2nd, 2009 | 06:43 pm

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.
And I  hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

--Neil Gaiman


For me, I aspire to learn and grow as much this year as I did last.
I would consider myself very, very lucky.



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I will never be more than this.

Dec. 19th, 2008 | 01:59 pm

Last night I went through all my desk’s drawers, crammed full of papers and things I (at some point in the last five years) thought should be kept.

Class notes, essays I was proud of, an unopened package of 16 different coloured threads, tapes, pictures, birthday cards, cords from old computers. And my old course packages. I was so excited to read through poems I had studied and loved and couldn’t find again. One of the packages contained a bunch of poems by Al Purdy – Orchestra, After Rain, The Darkness - another had Phyllis Webb’s Naked Poems, which I’ve spent years searching for.

I sat on my floor and read aloud to myself for hours.

I want those words to be a part of me.
I want to hold them in my hands, to taste them in my mouth, to have their imprints on my body.
I want to consume them, to be consumed by them.

They make me feel, they make me alive, they make me more.

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Where you landed was me.

Dec. 17th, 2008 | 01:43 pm

It’s snowy, still, in Victoria.
But wet, slushy snow – April in Montreal.
I like sitting indoors, warm, and watching it.
I hate wet, cold feet.
I like wearing leg-warmers.
I hate chapped lips, split from freezing, dry air.

I love perusing sites of poetry on my lunch break.

Thanks to G., for – as usual – exposing me to a new writer, poet, love.
Jeanette Winterson and her exquisite thoughts:

I thought you were disappearing - the white snow wrapping you. Your outlines wavered. You sparkled. You had stepped inside an ordinary phenomenon and you had turned into a miracle. You were not disappearing, you were landing. Where you landed was me.

I have given up wasting energy where I can’t change anything or do any good. I don’t mean I need to see results or instant whatever – it is worth pushing on with something almost forever if you believe in it, and results don’t matter in a direct way, but still you know you are making a difference. But there are places, people, situations, that are a total waste of time. Leave them.

Don’t let your need for control get out of control.
And thank life for life. Where there is life there really is hope.


Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous ones we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be good as fingers.
They can be trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.

Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.

Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren't good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.

But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible
things to repair.

-    Anne Sexton

A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

My swirling wants. Your frozen lips.
The grammar turned and attacked me.
Themes, written under duress.
Emptiness of the notations.

They gave me a drug that slowed the healing of wounds.

I want you to see this before I leave;
the experience of repetition as death
the failure of criticism to locate the pain
the poster in the bus that said;
my bleeding is under control.

A red plant in a cemetery of plastic wreaths.

A last attempt; the language is a dialect called metaphor.
These images go unglossed; hair, glacier, flashlight.
When I think of a landscape I am thinking of a time.
When I talk of taking a trip I mean forever.
I could say; those mountains have a meaning
but further than that I could not say.

To do something very common, in my own way.

-    Adrienne Rich




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Last year blows through the window, the day finds me as ever.

Dec. 15th, 2008 | 01:14 pm

How to be
where I am:

but there is more
                      what falls apart is held together
                      atom aligned

- PK Page


Tonight we do the tree.
It's snowy and bright, like my winter last year.
And cold, cold like I got used to.

I still feel stuck here (sometimes):
frustrated each time I get 'meeting minutes' that were written without me there,
sad when I can't reach friends because of time differences,
far away from so many people who I want to live next door to.

I try to remind myself that if I was there, I'd be missing here in the same way.
Wouldn't I?
I guess that's just the way it is, now.
I complicated my life when I moved last year.
I can never be somewhere without missing someone,
but it's better than never knowing them at all.
And I do want to be here, in lots of ways.
I just hate feeling so far away.


You always stole all my last words.
Here's no exception then, one more for me to send,
and nothing happens in the end.
I'm thinking of you less, more concerned... and more is less,
I guess it doesn't matter now.

So here's the last one I have left:
We fell a little deep, I watched you fall asleep.
and nothing happens in the end,
but I remember when I could remember when.
Seems like a long time ago.

- The Weakerthans


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Dec. 12th, 2008 | 03:56 pm

The planet does not need more "successful" people.
But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form.
It needs people who live well in their places.
It needs people of moral courage willing to join in the fight to make the work habitable and humane.
And these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.

- David Orr -

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I'll be the one to hold the gone

Dec. 12th, 2008 | 03:39 pm


And it came a heat wave
A merciful save
You choose you chose
Poetry over prose
A map is more unreal than where you've been
Or how you feel
And it's impossible to tell
How important someone was
And what you might have missed out on
And how he might have changed it all
And how you might have changed it all for him

Did I...
did I miss out on you?

- Feist


That is not what I meant at all,
that is not it at all.


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It has started. Enjoy your storm.

Dec. 11th, 2008 | 01:14 pm


Moonlight. This milkiness along your thigh, your arm.
Such royal skin. At midnight , you're translated

into tenderness. Say this in Spanish. Cariño . Repeat
the word that means the whole black sky, and the word

for a gorgeous net of fishes. Silvery, leaping. Imagine
the Mediterranean , a coastal village. Let yourself

go. Say Granada . Barcelona . Under the hushed vowel
of moon, the darkness whispers that you're beautiful,

and even if you don't believe it, trust the way night fingers
your throat, telling you what it likes best, and how, and

for how long. Say it again. Say how you want Cassiopeia's
radiance under your tongue, how you want the stars undone.

-    Anne Simpson

I’m happy. I still miss you – every day - but I have settled.
Just don’t forget, okay?

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