not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


a bowling pin
a car over the window
swing ropes beyond

let childhood remain
let not our adulthood sully it

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

even the poplar

did you know that even the poplar run?

i wanna taste, mama.


she laid her tongue to the bark of it in all of our human greed, in all of our wanting to know and capture.  she grimaced.

it's bitter! her indignant and beautiful surprise.

yes, love, it tends to be.  it's up to us to boil it down.

Monday, March 28, 2011

the maple and the sugar shack

everything is a surprise,
every damn thing.
trees, their lines,
the light that passes through them,
the light that does not.
do you know that at the base of a tree in the snow
a hollow melts away?
i considered this the other day,
the tree's heat.
i wanted to touch that tender and vulnerable spot
but i felt it was too intimate.
i was uninvited.
and too, what would i receive as such a taker?
i would receive less in the touching than in the consideration.
yesterday we passed an unassuming field of maple,
buckets to their lips.
we stopped and i approached the fence.
it was like i was witnessing an orgy,
not sexual, but an intimate and slow giving.
alongside the field was a short squat sugar shack,
the chimney trailing smoke.
i imagined the interior of the shack was snug against
the cold, unforgiving bite of winter's last.
i hoped the man or woman inside sat quietly

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

a witness between neighbours

do i have a beautiful mind, do i, do i?
you, you have a beautiful mind. 
your back curves.
you're four foot six. 
you're shrinking.
you pass me the plate
already cleaned.
apple bake.
where did it go?
did you eat it already?
does it wait for you?
will you watch it like a building
waiting for a door to open?
i touch your back. 
you go home alone.
once you lived in this house.
once you walked this kitchen,
you loved in these beds,
you shit in this toilet.
and now i send you away.
you're tiny.
you're a bird of a woman.
you are going back towards birth.
you're just passing through death first.
do i have a beautiful mind, do i, do i?
you, you have a beautiful mind.

Friday, March 25, 2011


if people weren't busy pushing me to the mud
then i was busy giving them a reason to.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

history does not die

nothing dies, really, in the way we fight death
it just becomes something else

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

thin red book

i have beside me
a thin red book

To: Florence Reid
Millbank Ontario
from: Aunt Maggie

Stonework of our house
was started on May 29th 1907.

and i look to my house
and how it is exploded
upon itself
exponential stuff

The baby was born
on 20th of December
His name was Kenneth Steard.
Allan Grieve died

April the 4th
buried the 7th 1908.
Allan was 16 years and 2 months old.

and i look to my house
my pages
my words
and how it is exploded
upon itself
exponential stuff

and lives and lives and lives
are laid in this thin red book
real feeling loving fucking laughing grieving lives

Grace Pelsh died
Aug 26th.
Buried Aug 1908,
was 11 months and 6 days old.
Her birthday was on Sept 19th.

things to remember
people now gone

gone, now, yes, 
but please—

Grandma Reid died.
Bellers born.

Threshing is the order of the day.

There was an awful thunderstorm
Aug 15 1910
and quite a bit of hail
about 0 in size
and some was a good bit larger.

and the hail does pelt
and we do run

and dodge
and duck
and we take to house

and my house
it is exploded

and she baked a sponge cake on July 26th 1911
and there were marks for her class
and Florence Reid did come third
and with a gloating asterisk:

*Emma Reid
with 362
did not pass.

thin red book

On October 4th 1911
I got the both of my legs scalded
and they did sting.
The teapot
fell when i picked it up.

and i have had children broken
pulled from between my legs
and houses have had new corner stones laid
and marriages have been snapped in frame
and broken
and people too young have died
and hail has come
this size


and i look to my house
my pages
my words
and how it is exploded
upon itself
exponential stuff

thin red book

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011


a chickadee
called to me

that's all
nothing else

Saturday, March 19, 2011

ivy, a small story of being seen

i took pictures in the way
in front of the patio door
while the children ran inside and out
my children
the neighbourhood children
i had taped a piece of white paper to the back of the pantry
in behind the ivy
so that it might show with great contrast
in the afternoon rotating light
the children fumbled with their shoes beneath my feet
muddy and damp
spring arriving
they pushed past me on their way to their bikes
on their way to penny candy

what 'er ya doing?
the neighbourhood girl with the moon face asked
as though i were an alien
and before i could answer my daughter said
she's taking pictures
she put up the white sheet to better see by

can i take a picture mom?

she saw me
she saw me
my daughter saw me for a moment
against my cheap white sheet

Friday, March 18, 2011


can we have a day of nothing
i will use my table manners and say please
i'll line up my fork, my knife, my spoon
i'll press my napkin at its crease
my chair will be polite
can we have a day of nothing, please
every blunt memory
and every jagged charcoal thought
will be brought against my knee
the snapped in two refuse
will cease
one image only today, please
my knees
as they break the rise of hill
and light breaks there upon me

Thursday, March 17, 2011



Tuesday, March 15, 2011


no matter the structure
let's hope there is always
the chance for

Monday, March 14, 2011


as varied, as accessible, as dangerous, as decrepit and wonderful
each of us~

Sunday, March 13, 2011


what i know of me is x
what you know of me is y

where do we meet?
where do i live?

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Friday, March 11, 2011

happening upon a tree

try to tell me just where my beating fervor lies
tell me if it is inside or out
and what is right or wrong
try to tell me that you know perspective
better than the next person

incremental sluggish draws
life grows of its own volition

Thursday, March 10, 2011

aging, a joke

so, a cat and three women walk into a bar.
one year later the cat is white. no shit, white.
what happened to the three women?

ok, so it's not a joke but it is funny, what happens to us in a year, and how that might manifest itself.

my son's birthday: my mom, my sister and i sat in the living room, my mom just over 70, my sister 50, and me 40.  it just didn't make sense, you know, and yet it did.  none of us felt like the other looked their age and none of us felt that we ourselves looked our age, our age some kind of cheap lens that passes over us.  and none of us felt that number either.  and yet, and yet, one year later my cat is white.

i want to be an old woman with sacs of skin and still feel what i feel.  now, that would be a joke.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

all or nothing?

it's a curious thing
some days open up reptilian
like a mouth
without even a throat

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


the supports of the old bridge
from a time when the town was adjusted differently
had different bearings
when the river actually froze solid
and horses and buggies descended onto the ice with skaters
days were spent
memories made
not so long ago

i like to see things
through other things
i like for there to be filaments
between time and space
between people and things
as though that might grant

- what?

Monday, March 7, 2011


what is beyond
and on which side
the door itself
the sky

the chain

Sunday, March 6, 2011

by moonlight


what shadows do we cast?

sometimes even morning light
                                  is ominous  

Saturday, March 5, 2011


i am incredibly ignorant
each next season lies like an impossibility beyond the door
imposibility, see?
and so when it comes
i am shocked
and humbled

we got a foot of snow yesterday, at least that much more to come today
to think of a violet breaking ground!

oh, the tenaciousness of life!

Friday, March 4, 2011


it becomes harder and harder for me to be absent myself
this is when i have to be submerged in other people, no matter the situation
today i am absent

Thursday, March 3, 2011


do the trees have memory
can they remember a year
can they pass me hand by hand
    to that place

              that place of innocence?

i wrote some time ago:

doesn't life sometimes feel like
a steady fall from innocence,
every beginning so transitory
it becomes muddied as we fall from it?

i have to remind myself constantly
that there is no real such thing
as a beginning or an end.

so then,
what of innocence?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

in the tide

i am trying to understand what it is that i see
why i see it
i am drawn to certain things, as you are, as she is
and so why this
why always the vestiges of what came before
is it to learn the story of without
or within

a hanger caught in the tide of history
there is so much
it is difficult to begin

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


It is only when you know it
that you know it
it is only when you've suffered
that you can celebrate
only when the pine holds meaning
only when you have stood beneath its boughs
in summer
light flooding out from the limbs
of this giant umbrella
only when the spring rain has plinked
and clung
and last minute declined its dance
only when the boughs like arms
have taken you in
to cut the wind's autumn's whip
only when you have stood beside
the quiet descent of winter's shoulders
laden white boughs
your arms, its arms
there being little difference,
only then will you know 
and then when you know
when you know it in your bones
when your blood adjusts
when your eyes receive
and you forget to fight
only then are you complete.

it has shadow
all day long 
it broods 
it warns 
and if you dare
it excites 
and when you are spent
it holds you
like a lover spooned

and then
you have it
and it has you.