Category Archives: Poetry

The Food on Air Canada Rouge

The Food on Air Canada Rouge

What’s worse than a summer deluge?
What’s worse than Christmas with Ebeneezer Scrooge?
What’s worse than a ride on a runaway luge?
the food on Air Canada Rouge.

What’s worse than a sequel to “In Bruges”?
What’s worse than a night in a crowded refuge?
(the air, loud with snores, toxic with flatulence)
What’s worse than another night in the same refuge?
the food on Air Canada Rouge.

Air Canada Rouge is a no frills version of a no frills airline. I just travelled with them from Barcelona to Toronto and it was a long nine hours – the on board entertainment system (download an app, sign on to on board Wi-Fi) didn’t work, legroom was minimal, service was begrudging, and as for the food, see above.

The Toddler King (parts 1,2 and 3)

IMG_0247 (3)

The Toddler King

1

5 am. in America

the toddler king
checks his Twitter feed

a five hundred pound ball
of carbohydrate and grease
rolls across the parking lot
of a big box store

assault rifles take stock

the second amendment
thinks about making amends

the founding fathers
find themselves wanting.

2

5 am. in America

the toddler king
checks his Twitter feed

in the empty parking lot
of a big box store
a plastic bag pirouettes
on the halitotic breeze

national monuments
fear for their lives

the adjectives – good, bad, great-
drop in value again

the toddler king
picks a fight with himself.

3

5 am. in America

the toddler king
checks his Twitter feed

an empty shopping cart
rolls across the parking lot
of a big box store
and wishes it was
a metaphor for something

rivers say goodbye
to their banks

the ocean
eyes the shore

the toddler king pardons
those great American dioxides
sulphur, nitric, carbon
they are quickly released.

 

Parts 1&2 appeared previously on this blog, participating in dverse Open Link Night

Butcher

 

img_0843-3

Butcher

7: 30 in the morning, at the corner of Main and King Edward, a butcher in a white coat stands looking out from behind the empty meat trays in the window of the Windsor Packing Company. Back in the fridge, somnolent sausages, blood red sirloin, and thick pink pork chops (each with a trim icing of fat) wait patiently for their return to the public eye…

January wind
Order your Christmas turkey!
Now! The sign urges.

…in response to the dVerse prompt to write a  morning-related halibun.

End of Summer double septo

IMG_1330 (2)

End of Summer double septo 

like a wasp in late August
circling a bin of regrets.

This poem is a double septo also known as a quatorze, it consists of two seven syllable lines. Sometimes, I find that the five syllable lines in a haiku create a flatness, a po-faced solemnity…wasp in late August…too much oracle not enough bounce. A seven syllable line allows room for rhythm.

Obviously, I made up the double septo bit. Recently I wrote a quadrille as part of a dVerse prompt and it got me thinking about arbitrary verse forms. A quadrille is a poem of exactly 44 words, it doesn’t get more arbitrary than that.

Down and Out in Idabel

Pigments (2)

 

Down and Out in Idabel

How Myron found himself in the parking lot
of the Holiday Inn in Idabel, Oklahoma
looking out at the road
on a Saturday morning in April
– after a breakfast of brittle bacon,
sausages slick with grease,
dry fluorescent scrambled eggs –
is not important.

The road pauses, a skittish dog roams.
Myron’s eyes are drawn to a dead armadillo
upside down on the hard shoulder
an empty beer can in its claws
Old Milwaukee, prehistoric drunk,
someone’s joke.

A pick up truck passes
a pick up truck passes
a pick up truck passes
over the fence a cow chews grass
and makes a meal of it.
Dogwoods bloom.
The cow moos like a reluctant foghorn.
Myron’s mood turns
he thinks about the cow,
Manifest Destiny,
the plight of the bison
our lust for red meat
while greenhouse gas
shimmies upwards
ice caps melt
glaciers retreat
and looking down
the road to Shreveport
buoyed by the prospect
of seeing Idabel
in his rear-view mirror
he quietly resolves
to recover what he was
before sadness lodged
like a wet sack
in the back
of his head.

This poem originally appeared in issue 38 of The SHOp poetry magazine (print) which was a fine magazine, unfortunately they closed up shop a few years ago.

 

 

 

Earth (quadrille)

IMG_1362 (2)

This poem is in response to the dVerse challenge to write a quadrille (44 word poem) about “earth”.

Earth (quadrille)

wind and fire
earthling, earthenware
is buried in
hearth, dearth, breath
can also be found in
don’t fear the reaper
clear the room
Neanderthal
the Lord’s Prayer;
David Bowie
was the man who fell to earth
Major Tom observed
that planet earth is blue.

A Scarecrow looks back on his Life

IMG_1274 (2)

A Scarecrow looks back on his Life

Before Oz
I had control of my life
I had a purpose
a reason for existence

a modus operandi:
stand in a field
and scare crows
that’s it, that’s all.

It was lonely at times
I admit, particularly
at night, but occasionally
a farmer returning

drunk across the fields
would stop and tell me his life story
then fall asleep, snoring
and farting at my feet

and yes, oh yes
I listened in on
acts of intimacy
on hot summer nights

and heard sounds
that made my straw curl;
then Oz occurred
and it was no longer

about presence
it was about absence
the absence of a brain;
children would circle me

and sing that stupid song
suddenly I was pathetic, forlorn;
what got me most was the
sheer illogicality of it all –

to yearn for a brain, one must
have a brain to begin with,
sometimes, I think the sole function
of a brain is to yearn…..

(…hang on a second, I’m sure I saw that same crow yesterday. The little bugger won’t come within twenty feet of me. I’ve still got it….)

This poem was inspired by a dVerse prompt to write a poem from the point of view of a character from The Wizard of Oz..a scarecrow, a Tin Man, a lion. I played with that a bit.

 

Yosemite (the poem)

IMG_0406

 

Yosemite

The sun is slowly leaving
the party that is the day,
things will not be the same.

When he finally tumbles into his room
at the Mariposa Lodge outside of Yosemite
which the Miwok Indians call Ahwahnee
meaning Large Mouth,
Myron turns on the television
to find Patrick Stewart
shouting into the camera in blank verse
and even though Kenneth Branagh is nowhere in sight
he quickly deduces that this is Shakespeare,
Macbeth, in fact, but a strange one,
there are soldiers in Soviet uniforms and a fridge
and of course bad things are happening, off stage.
Then the bottle of Salmon Creek Pinot Grigio
which he had at the Butterfly Café,
starts to take its toll
(‘butterfly’ is the English word for Mariposa),
and lulled by the convolutions of the language
Myron falls asleep and in his dream
Patrick Stewart is staring at him.

“ Brush thy teeth”, Patrick yells,
spittle spraying the inside of the screen.
“Brush thy teeth
lest thou rise
foul of breath
In the sulphurous morn.”

 

This poem appeared a little while back in The Galway Review 

(It’s open link night at dVerse, so thought I’d give this one a bit of exposure)

The Vancouver Folk Festival 2018 (Live From The Wisdom Tent)

 

 

 

Back in mid-July, I attended the annual Vancouver Folk Festival at Jericho Beach Park. It was a beautiful sunny weekend, hot by Vancouver standards. The beach, adjacent to the park, was crowded; beyond the beach the bay was busy with paddle boarders, swimmers, yachts, kayaks and of course, tankers. The north shore mountains looked down on it all, a little miffed now that the ski season is long over and all the attention has moved to sea level.

Highlights of the festival for me were Ry Cooder (and the Hamiltones), Wallis Byrd, Darlingside, James Mc Murtry and Neko Case. The performances were less politically overt this year, there was a sense that enough had been said and the diversity and inclusiveness of the occasion and the creativity on display was sufficient response to the ugliness, racism and bigotry currently on the march in some parts of the world.

My friend, Slim, got a free weekend pass by volunteering at The Wisdom Tent. All he had to do was turn up once a day and dispense wisdom for an hour. Slim is not a man known for empathy, so his choice of volunteer job surprised me. He could, for example, have volunteered at the recycle stations explaining to people the complex and arcane choices available to them; or perhaps, he could have dressed up in a tutu and sold raffle tickets, all perfectly good options. But no, he had to sit in a hot tent, imposing his gnomic bromides on the defenceless public.

Live from the Wisdom Tent

IMG_0714

(I sat in on one of Slim’s sessions and secretly recorded it. The following is an edited transcript of the recording. Note: Slim sat behind a trestle table, his visitors approached one by one. I did not transcribe the sometimes withering and profane responses to his proffered wisdom.)

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
the secret is……..hang on, is that James McMurtry starting on stage 5?

(male voice) hey man, where are you going, you’re supposed to be here until 4?
(Slim)…you should get rid of those dreads, you’re not from Jamaica.
(male voice)…who was that pot-bellied old fart?

Excerpts From a Long Weekend

 

Haiku (conversation overheard in a downtown bar)

he wants to retire
back where all the spires conspire
to show him the way.

Too much of a good thing

summer evening
the red sunset bleeds regret
maturity lost.

Why can’t I write like Rupi Kaur? (1)

my quinoa* quota
was far from quotidian
thanks! sunflower seeds!
*’keen-wah

Climate Change is Opening Windows

rumours dropping from the eaves
neighbours thick as thieves
singing off key at three

o’clock in the morning.

Haiku written while painting a room…

IMG_1034
Haiku written while painting a room…

haiku written while painting a room
searching for a transcendent metaphor
thinking someday maybe I could write
inspirational poetry like rupi kaur

you are
what you
are meant
to be

that kind of thing
do a book signing at Indigo
start a line of greeting cards
anything’s possible, really,
if once, just once I could resist
the impulse to be a smartass
……the haiku:

classic grey, cloud white
super eggshell for the walls
flat for the ceiling.

Collectives

IMG_0159

Collectives

A durante of toucans
A piety of soutanes
A woggle of scouts

A caveat of emptors
A torment of mentors
A loudness of louts

An agenda of schemers
A cumulus of dreamers
A Hamlet of doubts.
Note: Lines 1 and 3 are taken from Wiktionary, Glossary of Collective Nouns

…taking part in Open Link Night at dVerse, check it out here.

The Daily Jolt Names the Day (plus a haiku about law enforcement)

img_0168 (2)

…and the day is Friday!
…and your Daily Jolt is…….

Scofflaw

…which is an actual word meaning : “a person who flouts the law, who literally scoffs at the law”

Scofflaw (the haiku)

call yourself a cop
well, who the hell arrested
your development?

If today’s jolt word inspires you to write a post, let me know by linking your post to this blog, or post a comment.

Daily Jolt Update:

So far, the most frequent contributor to The Daily Jolt has been the witty, the inimitable, the one and only Steve Simpson, in fact he has been the one and only contributor.
If you are not reading Steve’s blog you are missing a treat; Steve is one of the most original poets out there. He writes fantasies underpinned by the everyday! Check him out here !

Four Lines That Kill Me Every Time (1)

IMG_0401 (2)

There’s flies in the kitchen I can hear ’em there buzzing
And I ain’t done nothing since I woke up today.
How the hell can a person go to work in the morning
And come home in the evening and have nothing to say.”

This is from “Angel from Montgomery” by John Prine……a life in 4 lines, says more than some novels.
There are many versions of this song but one of the best is by Bonnie Raitt and John Prine.