Tag Archives: Photography

Sound Heard While Replacing The Basement Toilet (plumbing tanka)

Sunrise over Planet Cistern

Sound Heard While Replacing The Basement Toilet

a ghostly whoosh
echoes down the open pipe
a toilet flushing

in a neighbor’s house uphill
yes, we are all connected.

I hardly ever do this but here’s a challenge to all you poets out there: write a poem about plumbing. There are no rules, write about anything – an ode to your favourite plunger, a sonnet about a dripping tap, a haiku about flexible hoses!

Link back to this post if you like, so I can read your poems.

The Sun God

juxtaposition

The Sun God

Myron volunteered once
as a caretaker on an island
in the middle of a lake
in the High Andes, North of Puno,
the Altiplano.

The top of the island
was as flat as an anvil
and every day he would climb up there
from his lake side cottage
to study the funerary towers
of Silustani over on the mainland,
using his large binoculars.

It was never quite clear to Myron
what exactly he was taking care of.
He had a house,
a dread-locked alpaca
and three guinea pigs.
The guinea pigs were housed in a wired compound,
inside the compound was a miniature mud hut
with a thatched roof
and three open doorways which the guinea pigs retreated through
every time he approached.
He thought that,
perhaps he was supposed to eat the guinea pigs
it was clear that they thought this also.

Located close to the funerary towers
were the remains of an Inca temple
worshipping the Sun God,
at that time in his life
Myron was losing faith in atheism
and the Inca worship of the sun god
had a certain logic to it.
Without the sun where are we?
Where are we, indeed!
He wasn’t overly keen on human sacrifice
but he had to admit that the Incas
dealt with the blood well,
channels and drainage being an Inca thing,
knowledge they acquired along the way.
Subjugate, assimilate,
and so it goes forever.

Myron thought he would use this time to write
but mostly he sat looking at a blank page
listening to the tinnitus in his left ear roar
and in the absence of his fellow human beings
he began to think that the alpaca was judging him,
the way it stared at him from under its matted fringe
and down its long nose.

One night he found himself shouting abuse at the alpaca.

The next day he left for Puno
and got drunk on gassy lager
in a pizzeria on the ragged, dusty town square

not far from the shores of Lake Titicaca.

This poem was previously published in The Galway Review. and also was posted over at earthweal.

Taking part in Open Link over at dverse.

Of Fish and War (Edit)

Of Fish and War

In the city of Nha Trang, Vietnam
at the National Oceanographic Institute
among tanks cramped with
circling neurotic fish
(Hit the glass. Stop. Turn around)

there is a multi-colored specimen
whose toxin,
according to the description,
renders its victims

“unconspicuous or even dead”.

Conspicuous behind glass
further north
in the Hanoi War museum

lie the dog tags of dead American soldiers

to a man
young, buzzcut and hopeful.

This poem was written a number of years ago, after a visit to Vietnam. The news out of Ukraine this week, for some reason, made me think of that visit and what happens to a whole generation on either side of a conflict when leaders decide to go to war.

It appeared in Open Link weekend over at earthweal.

Now also in Open Link over at dverse

IMGP0855

Photo  taken outside The Hanoi War Museum

The Trucker Convoy Protesting Vaccine Mandates Crosses Burrard Street Bridge

The Trucker Convoy Protesting Vaccine Mandates Crosses Burrard Street Bridge

as seen from the park below
the trucks look like toy trucks
driven by children
which is partly true
given that the logic of their rhetoric
resembles that of a petulant child
and I’m being hard on petulant children

the blaring horns sound like
the dying groans of white male supremacy
the Canada geese look puzzled
the crows go crazy in the trees.

Taking part in open link weekend over at earthweal

A Scarecrow Looks Back on his Life (Edit)

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 minute
I’m sure I saw that same crow yesterday
Look! He won’t come within twenty feet of me!
I’ve still got it! I’ve still got it!

Taking part in Open Link Weekend over at earthweal.

Toad at the Gates of Doom (with extra verses)

Toad at the Gates of Doom

Outside the Gates of Hades
sits a cross-eyed toad
beside a burnt-out serpent
a broker and a phone

Outside the Gates of Heaven
sits an angel in disguise
beside a corpulent bishop
with ecstasy in his eyes

and the sign on the gate says:

Closed for Renovation
No judgement today

If you’re looking for accommodation
Clear off, go away.

God is on vacation
taking a well-earned break
there’s only so much suffering
one true God can take

So, get your ass back down there
be good to everyone

drink lots of water
and try to get along.

Outside the gates of Hades
sits a cross-eyed toad
beside a devil with a laptop
revising the Moral Code

Outside the gates of heaven
seven priests in a line
they’re longing for eternity
but this is not their time

and the sign on the gate says:

Closed for Renovation
No judgement today
If you’re looking for accommodation
Clear off, go away.

God is on vacation
taking a well-earned break
there’s only so much suffering
one true God can take

So, get your ass back down there
be good to everyone
drink lots of water
and try to get along.

Revelation in a Diner (wayra)

Revelation in a Diner

not the kind of place
for revelations, then boom!
awooga! there it is, the
unbearable flatness
of beige pancakes in the morning.

Over at dverse , Grace’s challenge is to write a wayra incorporating onomatopoeia. What’s a wayra? I’ll let Grace explain:

“The Wayra (Quechua – wind) is a popular verse form of Peru and Bolivia. It appears it originated in an indigenous Quechua language but has found its way into Spanish literature. It is a short syllabic verse form found at Vole Central and some other sites around the internet.

The elements of the Wayra are:

1.a pentastich, a poem in 5 lines.
2.syllabic, 5-7-7-6-8
3.unrhymed.”

Hal The Halibunist Looks Back On His Long Career (2)

glass 2

Hal The Halibunist Looks Back On His Long Career

halibuns about Haliburton
halibuns about halitosis
halibuns about Halle Berry
halibuns about Halley’s Comet

halibuns about Spiritus Mundi
halibuns about Rosamund Pike
halibuns about Solomon Grundy
halibuns just for the fun of it

halibuns at Sun Dance
halibuns in Halifax
halibuns about halibut
halibundance
halibundance
halibundance.

Taking part in Open Link over at dverse.

Thom Yorke takes a walk on Halloween Night(4)

IMG_0194

Given the week that it is, I decided to bring this poem back from the dead…..

Thom Yorke takes a walk on Halloween Night

The dead move slowly
through the graveyard,
they are few at first
but as they pass
each row of headstones
grey fists punch
through mounds of earth
in a manic salute
and the throng grows
and the throng grows
and the night howls
and the fog curls
and a thin cloud
bisects the moon
and at the edge
of the graveyard
is an old well
and at the bottom
of that well
is a little boy
and that little boy
is crying for help
and that little boy
is Thom Yorke

The Name is at the Bottom Blues (2)

View BTH

The Name is at the Bottom Blues

it’s a name that you come across
in someone else’s bathroom
beside the shaving cream
the Tylenol
and those pills that people use
and suddenly
you’re soaked
in melancholy
from your head
down to your shoes
there ain’t no doubt about it
there ain’t no doubt about it
you’ve got those Estee Lauder blues.

A Reasonable Facsimile

A Reasonable Facsimile

that’s what Myron’s mother called him –
a reasonable facsimile ,
of his brother, that is,
in that his brother
was preternaturally unreasonable
if his brother was the weather
his mother said
he would be deemed unseasonable
his actions were incomprehensible
reprehensible, irredeemable
so based on the principle
that no praise is too faint
Myron was amenable
to being called
a reasonable
facsimile of his brother.

Taking part in Open Link over at dverse

Dunbar the Bucolic

Dunbar the Bucolic

up on Dunbar Street
the barber shops are empty
a guy smokes a joint

and laughs hysterically
at the blank screen of his phone

when asked if the melon is ripe
the girl behind the counter
at the Chinese-Canadian Deli
sniffs the pale green globe,
shakes her head
and pointing to a small beige circle,
says:

this is the melon’s bottom
the melon is ripe,
when the bottom smells sweet.

outside the traffic stalls
on Dunbar Street

Sherry over at earthweal asks us: “Tell us about the places you hold most dear in the corner of the planet where you live. Share them with us; let us see them through your eyes and your words”.

I live just off Dunbar Street and to be honest, the street is more than a tad prosaic, even if the real estate pamphlets call it “bucolic”. But if I don’t put Dunbar in a poem, who’s going to? So these are two slices of Dunbar life. By the way, for some reason, there are more barber shops on Dunbar than the population could possibly need.

Tree Lot (leave no image unturned)

Tree Lot

Call yourself a tree?
My bank has more branches!

**

a raven rising above the trees
seen from a boat on the swirling river
leads the tracker to the bodies

**

avoid foliage
excessive leafiness
too many trees
the reader needs to see the poem

**
The leaves on the trees
bordering the soccer field
have abandoned
that chlorophyll thing
and are leaking
yellows and red
like a paint store catalogue

**

The sun drops behind the ridge of the house
the wind goes crazy in the trees,
the moth balls smell like halitosis
on the warm neurotic breeze.

**

Paradise as advertised:
a coral reef
a bluebottle sea
sting rays undulating
pelicans plummeting
palm trees swaying
in the reggae breeze

**

Life’s like that
from time to time
you bark up the wrong one.

Brendan over at earthweal asks us to ” spend some time and thought in our hearts with trees, for nurture, communication, grace and grief. You decide.” I’m not much of a nature poet so I searched my blog for references to trees and came up with the above collage (?).

Spiders, Vacuums and Mike Pence’s Head.

Domestic Terror

allergens loiter

on the vacuum’s humid breath

spiders abandon

web based solutions

seek cover in crevices

domestic terror.

Sarah over at dverse asks us to write about things that creep and crawl, so I thought I would resurrect these two poems. (The one below was inspired by a fly that appeared on Mike Pence’s head during a vice presidential debate back in the glory days of demagoguery.)

The Fly on Top of Mike Pence’s Head Speaks

It’s so white up here.
What’s that fragrance?
Is it Rogaine?
Is it piety?
Is it Rogaine and piety?
You seem a little nervous
around the women folk, Mike.
Can I recommend a good conditioner?