Elementary

Lopsided, I lug my tote bag and clomp into the change room of the community swimming pool half an hour late – because of work. The lane swim began at 11:30. I like to get there for the start,  be the first one to break the surface of the water, make the first wave, set the pace. I tiptoe through the heat-fogged room in winter boots, careful not to slip on the slick floors. I love the smell of chlorine at high noon. I’m in my element. Continue reading

Performance appraisal 2017

christmascookies

Will work for cookies.

 

Pat stamps fast tracks –
tap tap taps.
Baas assays Pat’s annals,
yack yack yacks,
alarms Pat. Nay ‘scape.
Can’t sass. Facts am facts.

Pat drafts a brash plan,
charts tasks, basks –
ha ha ha – all’s grand and
all that. At last, Baas marks
Pat A1 – nay spat – pays scant.
Alas, tax man grabs all back.

For Cynthia*

Cynthia Jobin, a blogging friend, passed away last month. I knew her voice through her poetry and generous, insightful comments on my blog and many others. Her comments bit sometimes too, and made me mad but those comments got me to look at my writing from a different viewpoint. She was honest – unreservedly so. I miss her presence.

At 7:00 this morning, as black turned to grey the colour of old long johns, a trio of Continue reading

Blue becomes you

Sun glides over snow, checks the pulse of earth, cracks open the ribs of this black morning, revives light. Colour rises, rosy – respires.

Dawn yawns, inhales grey, exhales pink. Later, when the day dons blue we force ourselves out. For the dog. Why else venture into frozen lung territory where breath pinches nostrils, a sign not all pink is benign.

We creep across the snow crust, wish it were pie crust  we could eat instead of feeling eaten. Snow bites our feet. Where did my toes go?

We unpin icicles from the roof, chew blue, become the hue because this is what we do in winter – respire*.

___________

*I’m tinkering with the word respire which means to breathe, but also has an older definition meaning “to recover hope, courage, or strength after a time of difficulty.” I like the idea that winter is a period of recovery, not just something awful to be endured and gotten through. And of course every dawn is just that – hope for a better day.  

Here’s a musical take on blue for you, something mellow to sip your coffee by. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4PKzz81m5c – Chet Baker – Almost Blue

 

bluebecomesyou-1

Milkweed husks

 

 

 

 

 

Silence and abandonment

Dear Ilya,

I read your poem “Town Watches Them Take Alfonso” this morning as I cradled a cup of coffee, caffeine infusing my bloodstream. My heart rate rose with each sip. Its bitter mouthwash browned my teeth, a consequence I live with because I like the ritual.

Some people practice morning writing but I start the day with a poem that is delivered to me from Poets.org which is how I found you. Afterwards, I sometimes write a poem inspired by lines read or sometimes I free-write based on the resulting brew in my head. Occasionally I read the daily poem aloud in the car as my husband drives me to work tunneling through the darkest winter months with high beams of beautiful words.  Continue reading

Profoundly seeing

national-gallery-entrance

National Gallery of Canada’s Grand Hall

This is our tradition on New Year’s Eve: Make a fancy dinner, drink wine, and watch a movie together. It started in 2008, when the best paying contract I’ve ever had came to the end and we decided to eat like January 1st was the start of the zombie apocalypse. No matter that I’d be collecting unemployment insurance until I found another job and the future was as murky as a snow filled sky. We would what-the-hell it up, mouths brimming with bonhomie. Continue reading

Senectitude

nationalgallerycanada

National Gallery of Canada overlooking Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada

They say it’s all in your attitude but today
the calendar displays the ultimate
senectitude – time’s run out for forays.

 

This annual cleansing ritual winds down
to winking seconds, a lewd tyrant’s
frown and unglued verisimilitude.

 

They say tomorrow we are clean without
a shower or being nude but this New Year
starts in a dirty stream praying to St. Jude.

Yes, yes, I’m feeling glum. If you want good cheer, go here and here.

Nine hours and fifteen minutes*

winterhat

The rejected hat

No one in the family likes this hat. Composed of odds and ends of yarn leftover from other projects, it flops at the back halfheartedly, neither all the way down nor pointing straight out. No one has a coat that matches it either. Its awkward, like the sad uncle who shows up at Christmas and slumps in the plaid wing chair, sending out waves of malaise along with a faint aroma of wet wool, coffee breath, and an under note of evergreen air freshener. Continue reading

Things about snow

Footprints show.
Also blood.

Knows no law,
no diminishing
returns.

Snow
is a commie country,
knows the value
of a single
flake
but only works
in the collective.

Snow cannot
express itself
without a mass
of friends.

Too, there are
no atheists
in igloos.

Still it falls
and despite
it all, the
choral conductor
organizes
the blizzard
of assembled
singers, brightens
the bottomless
dark,
composing
songs
on the fly.

creektree_2016-12-11

Sawmill Creek

Dilly beans

I thought someone had bled into my salad, and was on the verge of sending it back when I noticed the drops were congealed into tears. Glossy among the shredded California greens (so 1990’s) and underneath the teepee of skewered and charred pink shrimp and salmon coloured salmon, they were flames licking my protein. Continue reading