insomnia

silence outside
yet the screeching
grinding
gears of mind
protest
awake awake awake
fatigue
becomes a plague
shush shush shushing
rusty cogs
how do i oil
screaming memories
nail down squeaks and groans
when there aren’t
floorboards
or even solid ground
i should have found
by now
the resting place
instead returning
idiot-like
to industrious thought
solve it solve it
dis-solve re-solve
until nothing is
a solution

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poet, awakening

cursed consciousness
tracing origins to ooze
amphibious ancestors lugging
scales from swamp
they didn’t laugh
but perhaps they cried
just a little
at becoming
boundaried
circumscribed from
universal detritus
unlimited variation
gnawing, digesting, creeping
in alien bodies
through meaningless
time
until all at once
i
sit up in bed
grey matter zinging
why why why
worries nobody can solve
that don’t matter
in the vastness of space
or do i mean time?
as sleep flees
i think i feel
connections
long forgotten
the matter of me
yearning
meaningless body
staring into darkness
wondering
where my elementary
particles
were born
and why
there is a soundtrack
playing in my head

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the quiet moments

IMG_7990in the lull between waves
exists a quiet
retraction, indwelling,
sucking-in of breath
hush now
can you hear?
house noise, muted
plates clatter
dishwasher overloaded
somewhere my feet
purr
no, that’s kitty
now is observation time
mixing metaphors
children come
and go in waves,
on Wednesdays
week of chatter
nosebleeds,
laughter, navigating
week of loss
inhale
not loss,
just a certain missing
chaos,
there are signs,
like clam holes in sand
hand-prints in the hallway
small shoes line the wall
they forgot their raincoats
and the horse picture
is crooked
again

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magic in the pieces

i fancied myself mended,
kintsugi heart
cleaved with gold
turns out the mortar was weak,
beautiful crumbling dribs and drabs
caught in muslin,
prescient, i
made a tramp’s package
studiously knotting
netting
all the broken bits
contained, no longer
beautiful to gaze upon
but they jingle-jangle
as i run
and i guess
that’s its own kind
of magic

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She Makes Me Tea

She asks me
Would you like some tea?
As I read,
Lounging,
The expanse of
Microfiber couch
Between us
Shrinking
Her voice
Tender,
She doesn’t drink
Tea
Or vodka,
Her consideration
So difficult to believe
How do I accept
Unconditional love?

She rises,
Traverses a menagerie
Boils water
Scoops dried leaves
Into my favourite
French kitten cup
(The one for tea,
She knows coffee
Goes in the green
Starbucks mug)
Steeps,
Long enough
And places beside me
Smiling,
“Drink it,
Before it gets cold,”

My heart quickens,
Remembering her soft lips
Heart bursting
Three years
I still don’t quite
Believe
Are real,

But she is action,
And her everyday kindness
Is its own indelible
Poetry
Etched forever
Into the hollows
The dents and cracks,
Of our mutual
Crazy
Love story.

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still life

see this
curving teak
bowl,
brown as whole wheat toast,
handcrafted, fair-traded,
all smooth and concave
tiny droplets of water glistening within,
not from the yellow mangoes,
over-ripe,
waiting to liquify;
the bowl is weeping,
forgotten,
useless as rotting fruit,
wishing to return
to the tree,
wondering why
she has been forsaken
here, on a blue-tiled counter,
with only fruit flies
to whisper
stories of home

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Charlie

one spring day,
not this one,
i took sweet Charlie to the vet
for the last time;
a small thing
we all do,
eventually,

she was special,
my Charlie,
who arrived to a Bad Marriage
and was Love incarnate,
letting toddlers pull her lips
and try to ride her…
so loved we got a second dog,
her younger sister…
running away in her older years
because she was deaf
and my voice no longer
penetrated her obsession
with food,

and then,
then…
old, and sick,
she was caught in the middle
of The End,

a marriage marinated in alcohol
battles for custody
manipulations grand and microscopic
and one little dog,
rheumy-eyed and stinking,
slowly dying,

until that day,
four-year-old crying
“mama kicks Charlie”
the usual denials,
the lack of proof,
my heart,
shattered,

i remembered all the times
in denial,
i had heard X muttering drunkenly
in the kitchen,
“i hate these damn dogs”
Charlie, as ever,
underfoot when food was at hand,

Charlie’s sister died of cancer;
a long process
of peeing blood and incontinence
doggy diapers
specialist visits
iv’s and needle aspirations
painful and, in the end
for nothing,

then, one year later,
in the middle of a war zone
Charlie started peeing blood
she became incontinent
“mama kicks Charlie,”
a small voice telling
a big truth,

when my week came
i took my little boys in my arms
and told them Charlie was sick
and soon would go to see her sister
they cried
they accepted
as children do,

i split my heart in two
one half strong and capable,
taking my sweet Charlie one last time
to the park,
the other half climbing a high tower
in an unfamiliar castle,
searching for a way
to survive,

i found a homing pigeon,
waiting atop the tower,
head cocked in perpetual question,
eye blinking at me

i had never sent a message
by pigeon,
but this pigeon seemed capable enough
so i pulled a red crayon from my pocket
and drew half a heart
on a bit of gum wrapper,
rolled it into a tiny scroll,
and placed it on the castle wall,

the pigeon took my burden
and spoke to me,
which also did not seem strange,
“i will find you in the future,
and bring your message home”

with the relief of feeling only half the pain,
Charlie and i made the final journey
where i dropped her off at the door
and did not accompany her
just a quick kiss,
and “see you later my little love,”
knowing i would not,

time passed
the divorce was finalized
life moved on
became more stable
the kids became happier,
and by some miracle
i found love,

perhaps it is five years to the day
but my mind won’t remember it
so i couldn’t say for sure
but last night,
i awoke to the sound of tapping,
and there was the pigeon,
head cocked,
waiting at my window,

she had come home to roost
bearing my broken heart
across time,
writ in crayon
on old gum wrapper
precious only to me,
i took the message in shaking hands
and cried,
feeling the full weight of guilt
and regret,
why had i not gone with Charlie,
to the end?

i understood at last
that survival sometimes requires
imperfect solutions;
Charlie, stoic as she was,
would forgive me,
and at some point,
soon,
i will forgive myself.

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anxiety

do you feel the ticking?
time bomb in chest
egg timer clicking down
seconds to detonation
never exploding
just tic tic ticking
anticipating something
but what?
can’t think
brain muddled and,
anyway,
it’s too hard to know
what future to hope for
so breathe so breathe
the only sign
that little flicking
of the fingers

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shame

i yearn to carve
silence
into subjugation,
stretch skin over bone
drum beat truth
from the dark,
name it
art

but these lips
they don’t speak
so they’ll
sing you a song,
full bodied
raw
’til i’m done

i buried
pain in the back yard
except the bits i flushed
with the goldfish
even now
hard to
admit

shame coils
serpents
at my feet
now i am
a snake charmer…
come shame,
dance me
poetry
hum me
worthy

shame sticks
to skin
stings the eyes
tar and chlorine
if i were feathered
i could fly
away

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Ruptured

Her water didn’t break,
It exploded
A river overflowing barriers
Uncontained by sandbags
Or military intervention
She awoke

She,
Swollen,
Oozed and dripped
As tsunami subsided
Into stream
Creek
Puddle

w
a
t
e
r

Life

Earth surged, quaked
Rended
Relinquished
Control
Rendered life
Pushing
Fuzzy head
Through cervix

Primal screaming
Mother and baby
Separate
Unite
Quiet
Eyes
Wet bodies
Rest in wonder

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