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Sunday, 6 November 2016

The Silent Evermore

bones, bleached bones
we are dead bones and marrow
at the end of the day comes
the spade and the barrow

we fritter time away
unafraid of the reaper
we glimpse as we age
the cost of time’s keeper

bones in museums
bones in the earth
all these remains are
runes in the dirt

no more petty woes
nor bitter grief borne
just the dirt and the worms
and the silent evermore

from this silence we came
and to it we return
one bacchanalian ball
ere a rest undeserved

no more petty woes
nor bitter grief borne
just the dirt and the worms
and the silent evermore



cheers! and here’s to friends
on whom each passing year
we increasingly depend
–cold days draw near

and gently who with sledge or blade
can clear away the solid ice
from a chilly core where love did play
amongst the naughty spy some nice

with age the lines are blurred between
familial blood and friendship’s love
ere the end that comes oft unseen
be true and strong until it’s done

happy birthday! happy christmas!
light the candles and serve the dishes
banish worry and welcome bliss
take heart from flame and make a wish

hang your joys and vivid fears
string them high upon the tree
bring them out each passing year
and light them up for all to see

let’s hang them out like dirty laundry
judge not our lives by hollow musings
both our sunday best and knickers tawdry
as we own and live them, our utmost truths


Saturday, 5 November 2016

The opposite of grief is not happiness. Rather, it comprises those rare expansive moments in our lives where something beautiful
or magical captures our attention and for a brief respite, we

unreservedly immerse ourselves in the truth of an
external reality.


The Fallacy of the Concept of Evil: Or Why Hitler Didn't Kick His Dogs

Centuries of lingual and rational shortfalls have resulted in the concept of evil as a concrete, externalized force. Evil has become a token of a dichotomy described only in black and white tones. However, it is a false dichotomy predicated on the idea that human beings are either good or bad.

Reality dictates that good and evil are poor descriptors of people and their behaviour. Just two shades of the morality scale are hardly enough to describe the complex blend of values found in human psychology. Yet we cling to the simple notion that evil is an outside, absolute, all-consuming entity beyond our own determination.

Heinous deeds do not require the presence of a mythical totem. The truth is, good and evil actions result from the choices we make every day and every hour.

Hitler committed some of the most despicable acts on record. Yet it is recorded that he was kind to his dogs. This means that there still remained within him some small scrap of humanity. The icon of ‘evil’ displayed kindness and affection towards his pets while trying his utmost to exterminate the Jewish race.

This doesn’t mean Hitler was by any means a good man, but it shows good or bad deeds stem from the decisions we make day after day. And that just because an individual may choose to commit a litany of barbarous deeds does not show him incapable of mercy, tenderness or love.

The responsibility for our deeds falls squarely upon us. On us–not a shadowy myth, not a winged do-gooder and not any externalized force or supernatural being. This can offer us misery and it can offer us hope. But it also tells us the choice–in the end–is ours. On our choices shall history judge us. For they are ours alone.


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Home And The Unseen Transfer

I bleed with weariness one mid-June evening. My being reeks of addling insomnia on the bench waiting for the homeward city bus. My head is down, ear buds in, hands in jeans pockets and legs extended and crossed. An unmet woman bumps into me and abruptly sits down. Starts speaking of bus routes and detours and unreliable general contractors. At me.

She’s an unemployed widow, says she. In between her tirades on one unsatisfactory aspect of life and another, she starts in on how she’s a christian woman and about Jesus. She has much to say on the matter. From my bleary fog I notice her face, her body and her pleasant appearance. Middle age has blurred the lines some but not overly so.

She is patronizing and chatty when my only wish is to immolate myself against a deafening wall of silence and stumble home to my warm bed. No empathy is in me for distractions just now. I weigh the option of positing an opposing view on religion. But I just don’t have the energy. And the Jesus people are heavily defended. I was.

Standing in jerky, achy motions, I excuse myself from her earnest soliloquy, replace my ear buds and stretch my legs. The bus arrives in the nick of time. The detour proves less bumpy and I close my eyes. The diesel noise and foul fumes pollute the interior. Seats jostle as the driver guns down suburban streets. Stops come and go.

I transfer at the Lakeshore and there’s a long wait. I walk a stop but my feet aren’t amused. The soles are tired and sore. So I sit. I’m listening to a classic rock station. Hardly listen to the radio anymore. They were playing 1980’s music at the restaurant but it quickly wore on me. Platinum Blonde and Duran Duran have lost their appeal as decades slipped by. Little wonder.

A group of special needs folks amble up with groceries. But they don’t want to sit so they move up to the sign to wait. CCR plays, a Steppenwolf track, John Lennon’s last single. Cars stream past.

Two twenty-ish hormonal couples show up and play flirt-flirt for a bit. They emit a ‘we-just-fucked’ vibe. The girls toy at colourful straws in their slushy drinks, laughing and joking. The oral metaphor seems to amuse them no end. I avert my gaze. The bus is visible and I move toward it.

In a half hour’s time, I’m deposited at the train station in Port Credit near where I once lived. Wrong-numbered buses cycle through without a hint of the westbound 23. Brick buildings across the street catch the colours of the setting sun. The air cools and dampens.

I think of boyhood walks with my mother and sister along these tracks at sunset before the station was built. Back in the simple days before an internet age could be dreamt up. I recall the joys of playing outside, petting our cat as it stretched in the sunlight. The way our imaginations dominated our young lives. The truth of a simple life bound together by love and strength.

Lights blink on around me and the gray-haired woman sitting with her rolling walker. We are the only fools waiting on the scarce-seen 23. I remember another grayed lady I was rather fond of. I miss her still. Exhaustion is often attended by emotion. That’s the way it goes with me.

I’m sitting on a concrete abutment retaining the slope of the train platform above. Bells ding as eastbound cars slow into the station. There is a sweet smell in the twilight I can’t place. It isn’t lilac. It isn’t the cloying scent of weed. It’s lovely.

A mother and daughter saunter by and enter the converted apartment building opposite. The infestation of condos continues to wrack this former village. The city is still mainlining developer fees. Those big wheels keep on turnin' too. The fucks.

23W rolls round the corner in the failing light. I wave the lady ahead of me and step aboard after her. My Presto card beeps the scanner and I nod at the driver. Our empty bus slides through town. Hipsters crowd the patios to sip their boutique ales. Pub grub is carried out to their tables by nubile servers sporting yoga pants.

The rippling Credit shimmers in the encroaching dark. Kayakers pull out at the rowing club upriver. Yachts and sailboats sway in their harbour slips opposite. Mute and empty churchyards lit by floodlights stand abandoned. The old petro fields lie barren but for toxic trees. I nod off once or twice.

In the distance I see Silver Birch Trail and relief. Bexhall is announced and I yank the string to request a stop as we roll by. I pull myself up with the yellow bar and slope off my last bus into the suburban nightscape. Downhill I float past short-sleeved kids playing ball and teenaged boys smuggling beer to a townhouse.

Coins jangle as I pull my keys. The lock clicks and in I step. There in the dark, unseen, is my huge bed where dreams of black birds and bare breasts await me. I’m home. This long and lonely day butts out with diesel engines droning in my mind. Wheels turn. Metal clangs.

But just cause I paid the driver, it doesn’t change my destination.


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Goodbye Now And Nothing More

you were still
and everything
went mutethe doctor
and his wristwatch
last words we had said
and your hand held
there in a hospital bed

we told your wife, your mom
huddled in a room
tears streamed down lost faces
family held fast and tight
how could he now be dead
the friend who grinned and said

at your service in
remembrance i said
we come to mourn his death
a man ever laughing
a smile lighting up his face
a richly lived life lost
too too soon

sincere words were said
and teary goodbyes met
and you in a wooden bed

afterwards i sighed
a lonely turn inside
how could your life be gone
and we to carry on
the oblivious world spins on

what words might we all have said
what good times laid ahead
plans dashed now and forever
it’s goodbye now my friend
and nothing more


Monday, 11 August 2014

In Rhyming Chain

It’s delicious lying crooked in bed
composing poetry in my head
luxuriating in the afternoon
dreaming of a woman i once knew

i feel so drowsy i may doze
dream of her remembered pose
skin as soft as a petal’s rose
downy and fragrant to the nose

i could lie in bed all day
and wrongwise write the day away
typing stanzas with eyelids shut
in poetic dreams, director’s cut

what is a poem it has no mass
a thread of words laced with panache
puzzle of meanings subtle and plain
poignant message in rhyming chain