Category Archives: Poetry

After The Queen’s Funeral

After the Queen’s Funeral


after 10 days of pomp, mourning
and celebrity tears


the evening news with alarming insouciance
reverts to reality

the high cost of bananas
the prices at the pump
the war in Ukraine
another climate change catastrophe

the door slams shut on a fairy tale world
of kings, queens, princes and princesses
palaces, country estates, horses, hounds, corgis

and armor that’s always shining.

Desire – what is it good for?

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Desire – what is it good for?

tender is the night
long is the day’s journey into night
it’s easier to name a street car
than it is to name one’s desire
never attempt a ménage in a glass menagerie
there is nothing less erotic than a red wheelbarrow
a thing of beauty is a joy for a fortnight.

This poem was originally written as a response to Anmol Arora’s prompt – Poetics: Desire and Sexuality in Poetry,  at dverse 

photo taken in Sitges, Catalonia.

Also taking part in Open Link over at earthweal: earthweal

Skipping The Light Aphoristic

walk past the writing on the wall
look neither left nor right

*************
always whistle past a graveyard

*************

today is the first day
of the rest of your life
tomorrow is the next

*************

walk towards the noise
walk towards the noise

*************

neither a floater
nor a settler be

*************

to find the person of your dreams
you must first fall asleep

**************

if you’re feeling abysmal
pepto bismol will do nothing

**************

talk softly
don’t carry sticks of any size

**************

be all you can be
then try harder

***************

like a frog down a well
we only know the walls.

***************

to leave no footprint
we must fly and never land.

***************

never drink anything blue

***************

life is waiting for the other shoe

Taking part in Open Link over at dverse, where the prompt is Aphorisms

Todd and the Time Machine

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Todd and the Time Machine

I
Todd’s time machine
has three settings:
time was
time is
time will be.

II
Sometimes
the time travel sickness
hits him
like a five alarm flu.

III
Returning through the time hail,
through the accelerating centuries
he hears his wife yell
from the ever present
from the basement stairs:
I’m turning off that bloody time machine
your dinner’s getting cold!

This was originally written as a response to a  dVerse prompt “Time and What if”.

Pigeon (Anthropocene Poem)

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Pigeon

Early December,
downtown Vancouver
and it’s raining
more than the usual
cats and dogs,
it feels like the city
is trapped
in a giant car wash.

All year long the weather
has been acting like a child
that hasn’t been taught limits.

Three months of summer drought.

We woke up one morning
and white ash from forest fires
covered the deck,
and that evening down on the beach
we were treated to
a red ball sunset
worthy of Beijing or Mumbai.
The Indian guy in the coffee shop
told me it made him feel homesick.

Something’s happening to the frogs.

The Oregon spotted frog is Canada’s most threatened amphibian,
I saw that on TV program called
“Canada’s Most Threatened Amphibians”.
Also threatened is the northern leopard frog.

Sea stars have sea star wasting syndrome

We’re losing song birds, bats and bees

The world is an orchestra
and the string section is leaving
one by one.

Anthropocene
Anthropocene
Sixth Extinction,
soon there will only be us.

******
At the corner of Georgia and Granville
a pigeon waddles through a puddle
created by a blocked storm drain

and I’m thinking:
Who’d be a pigeon on a day like this?
Who’d be a pigeon at a time like this?

 

This poem originally appeared at dVerse and  earthweal

Beginnings (Paradise and Everything After)

Beginnings

I have always thought
that Eve ate the apple
because she was bored
out of her tree
which is not to imply
that Eve lived in a tree
it’s just an expression
nor do I mean to imply
that boredom is a feminine condition
no far from it
far from it
but let’s face it
Adam seems more than a little boring
as does, let’s be honest, Paradise
as a kid that was what I thought
nothing much happening
trees and fruit
trees and fruit
a serpent
a bored Eve
and hapless Adam
and as we all know
boredom is the mother of destruction
just hand an empty glass bottle
to three ten year old boys
on a stony beach
on a wet day.

Brendan over at earthweal asks us to write about beginnings.

A Villain in a Villanelle (edit)

A Villain in a Villanelle

he was a villain in a villanelle
a doomed lover in a sonnet
he played his part , yes, he played it well

he once did a bit with Howie Mandel
he played Wallace, he played Gromit,
he was a villain in a villanelle

a costive mule for a drug cartel
‘tho he does not like to dwell upon it
he played his part, yes, he played it well

he shared an elevator once with Kristen Bell
she’s not available for comment
he was a villain in a villanelle

he had a career without parallel
no low point and no summit
he played his part, yes, he played it well

he liked a glass of zinfandel
ice cream with caramel on it
he was a villain in a villanelle
a doomed lover in a sonnet.

The Fallen (An update after hearing about Steve Bannon’s Conviction)

The Fallen 

Today I thought about Reince Priebus
not so much the man,
more the strange music of his name;
those slender vowels reversing
that echo of wince
the possible meanings
a salve, an ointment
put some Reince on that cut, son;
the Latinate portliness of Priebus
a writ to slap someone with – Habeas Priebus
a complicated skateboard manoeuvre
he executed a perfect reverse Priebus;
then I thought of Anthony, dear Anthony,
Scaramucci, Scaramucci
will you do the fandango,
you were not long with us
but still the smell of aftershave lingers
and it was you who let us know
about Steve Bannon’s auto fellatio,
alas, poor Steve
abandoned on the side of the road
like a rumpled sofa
a rumpled sofa smelling of yesterday’s sweat
and stale doctrine;
and what about Spicer and Huckabee
cartoon characters
Plucky and Angry
your souls will be in the repair shop
for some time to come.
They appear in waves,
the arrested –
Flynn, Cohen and Stone,
the ones who once were serious people –
McMaster, Kelly, Bolton.
In years to come when men and women gather
to talk of greatness
your names will be long forgotten.
The list of the fallen goes on and on
and still Humpty continues his slow and tortuous fall.

A different version of this poem appeared in Oddball Magazine

Heavy Metal Heaven (Edit 2)

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Heavy Metal Heaven

Slim plugs in his guitar
sets the dial on his amp
to “heavy metal”
hits an E minor seven
walks out of the room
makes a cup of coffee
drinks a cup of coffee
checks the football results
texts his brother in England:
what’s up, mate?
his brother doesn’t answer
he starts writing a novel:
The sun –
a red ball of anger on the horizon –
shouts through the brown chemical haze:
“that’s it, I’m outta here”.
Then, and only then, they hear a baby cry.
That’s all he’s got
He returns to the room
that E minor seven
is still going
but faint now
like a rustle of paper
like the distant chatter
of dead drummers
in heavy metal heaven
he picks up his guitar
hits an A minor seven
walks out of the room
starts his taxes……

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Having a Coffee and Reading Tom Wolfe on Chomsky in Harper’s

Having a coffee
And reading Tom Wolfe
On Chomsky in Harper’s
Riding the express train of his prose
As he hurtles through Chomsky’s early life
Circling back all the time to linguists in the jungle
Linguists in the jungle some where
Until finally he pulls his linguist out of the jungle
To attack Chomsky’s theories of Universal grammar and Recursion
With news of the Piraha tribe in Brazil
Who have no time for Jesus or Crooked Head tales
And no concept of the future or the past
There is only today and the other day
And together they conspire
To chew up Chomsky
and spit him out.

The theme for this week over at earthweal is “Wild Language”

This poem first appeared in The Galway Review

A Hoedown for the Pronouns (Grammarama 2022)

A Hoedown for the Pronouns (Grammarama 2022)

This year for Grammarama
we attempted to organize
a hoedown for the pronouns
they, she, he
but we couldn’t get the verbs to agree.
Things got very tense
they kept dredging up the past
getting all conditional on us
every time we seemed close to a consensus
they would run off into corners
and conjugate.
Then it got melogrammatic
the pronouns them, her, him
announced they were tired
of being used as objects
and refused to participate.
In the end we threw up our hands
and gave up.
Give me a bunch of nouns any day.

Foraging with Farage (Co -starring Boris Johnson in Happier Times)

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Foraging with Farage

In his new television series
Foraging with Farage
coming soon to The Bollocks Network
Nigel laments
the influx of foreign fungi
to the hallowed fields and forests
of the Kingdom By The Sea
and the subsequent decline
of the Great English Mushroom.

In the final episode,
under the influence of psilocybin
Nigel takes a walk in the forest
and encounters a naked Boris Johnson
sitting on a giant toad stool
in a sunlit glade.
Boris, Nigel exclaims,
full of chagrin
and psilocybin,
I thought you were a natural blonde!
Has it all been a lie?
This is dream sequence, you fool,
Boris replies
The writers have run out of ideas.
He then tumbles off the toad stool
and bounds on all fours into the forest.
I tell you folks
if you miss one television series this year
make sure it’s this one.

The Doggerel Days Of Summer, Part 2

The Doggerel Days of Summer Part 2

Oft on a still summer evening
I take my doggerel
for a long, long walk

looking for rhymes
in all the wrong places.

I bring with me
a small, beige, plastic bag;
when I finish the poem I’m composing
I place the poem in the plastic bag
and deposit the bag
in a trash can deep in the forest

a trash can known to all the local poets
a trash can where moon always rhymes with June
a trash can where clouds
are as fluffy as mashed potatoes.

The challenge over at earthweal is to write about ‘wild stillness”. So this is a poem about an attempt to write a poem. Check out earthweal here for poems that actually meet the challenge!

Relatives

Relatives

Slim* has an aunt and uncle
who fight all the time
like Simon and Garfunkel

they have a son
who looks like
Russ Kunkel

the session drummer
who played with,
among others,

Joni Mitchell
and, yes,
Art Garfunkel.

Slim also has a cousin
who likes to snorkel,
at the local swimming pool.

She is constantly amazed
at how pale the human body looks
when viewed under water.

I’m amazed at how pale
the human body looks
when viewed under water

she says,
every time she returns
from the pool

her name is Rachel
Rachel, who likes to snorkel.

*aka Slim Volume, real name Reginald Dwight…..not really, think that’s Elton John’s real name. For more about Slim, see here.