Nothing

In death

people don’t disappear

they brighten up and write poems

on the other side of the sky

wait for you to decipher

their lines.

They bury the flowers

you planted and eat your leftover soup

even if living with the dead was hard

their life in your hands

is as comparable

as empty hands and brick walls.

Revival

On the days I feel I have nothing left to give

a root sprouts with verse. I have to be

a psychologist with no degree, give so much

to get nothing sometimes. Appreciation

flushed down the toilet. Revive me with

an oxygen of words. The revival of

the artist within

with raw poetry

in my veins. I have nothing else

to give you or make for you

but Greek hand me down recipes

that I botch up. My tired legs

and lifeless soul need ventilation,

pass the glory of self-publishing

into modern technology

reap no rewards. I try to revive

myself when the alarm rings

with caffeine and poetry.

Pack the lunch, make breakfast,

start the car, reminders,

doctors, appointments I forgot,

trace the outline of my body

with imaginative chalk

as I hold onto poetry

for dear life

and let everything else

fall apart.

Brand New

Every dress she wore

had a hole in it. She used to sew

but they always came apart,

she was never as good as

her grandmother. Now it is

a stand she takes

to break down

the hold he has on her waist

on her tight fitting dress,

she refuses to make it

brand new

preferring the tattered one

for it is the perfect shade of black

she paid five-hundred dollars

and still has the receipt.

It never fades. Everyone knows

she loves that dress,

but his jacket covers her moles.

He could buy her more,

but having names on her ass

means nothing to her

if it is not poetry.

She believed in old hockey cards,

the ones she found in his attic,

The Rocket

close to his heart,

she competed with dead hockey players,

he competed with dead poets.

She found his hockey skates

in a crate dated 1977

an expo hat that his uncle

from Greece left behind

in a rush to get back to the olive trees.

He found nothing of hers 

ever

this pained her

this idea that he would discover her soul

in death,

this burial of all her poems

only to be unearthed by him.

If only she had driven him that night,

he would be here

reading her words

and not under the frozen earth

and she using words like

Forever

Always

and meaning them.

Postpartum

I was thinking of writing a love poem

as usual

driving to get my Tim Horton’s

the words on the edge of my mind

about the invisible strings

in the sky connecting us

then I read about the three young angels

dead in Delhi, found one after the other

wrapped in postpartum love

and all the memories come back

of Amanda and Sabrina

how we loved them

cherished them

consoled the mom when her husband ran away

only to find out she too

had left them on the couch

with prescription drugs

and ran from her melancholy

smashed into a pole.

All these angels surround us

killed by the love of a mother

we give life not take it away

and so many mothers

struggle with their own breast-milk

their minds listening to voices

we can’t hear

their love consumed by fears

concocted death scenes

terror

little floating bodies in rivers.

It’s the ones we know who have

died this way

that shatter our dreams

like those two angels I taught

and still hang onto

their drawings

the little one with ginger hair

and loving eyes

the older one holding on

to sad goodbyes.

They were the exact same age as my

children.

The reasons don’t matter

when you see white tiny

coffins.

hip and cool

In the darkness of the day I can feel his arms around me

as far as he is

he can duck and press the gas medal

quickly, urgently, not even a riot

could stop him from ringing my bell;

he can come up close to me

and kiss me with his fluent tongue,

charming words,

hot love escaping his pores

as he races to see what the fuck

I am up to today

with my theory of the day mood swings

poetry readings in crumpled sheets

playlists of old tracks of my heart

that still make me pounce

on the front line of his soul.

Every city sinks at one time or another

every colour turns blue

shades of grey

are just a fantasy

memories float on the river

of my small city

(who the hell collects postcards besides me

who the hell cares for seashells

in the middle of winter).

One hundred pages left in my galley

but I have to check on my sanity

from time to time

escape the characters in my head

that live and breathe

without my knowledge

never wanting their story to end.

It is never enough to love for eternity

not even  possible

to have one love

all a mere rock on the bottom of the ocean

no one can see.

Ready for him

when he is

determination

should be written on his sleeve.

The only lovers left are the poets

creating a secret world

among the appearances

of the living

who often

seem dead. I am so alive.

Come from your frustration

and enter my highway

park

drive

and stay a while.

Write another poem.

To Be Continued

Self-doubt
is my slow killer.
Fancy that running
into you at the grocery
store would make me
want you harder.
Babies cry and
daddies chase me
down aisles.
Sometimes I wonder
about all these strangers
loving me. They can
treat me better
or worse? Married
or single? But then
you leave me all these
trails to your soul
all these tracks to
your mind
and I blush
in front of the
pasta section.
I change every morning
into some girl
in the morning
who had a father once
and now visits
cold snowy
cemeteries for fun.
Death is not comforting
for me,
He was.

I want your arms
to wrap me up
like a warm blanket
I had as a child.
I will not take away
my gaze
from yours.
It is too early
in the morning to compete.
This is what keeps
me going today
and you
are always
to be continued.

The Tree

You climb the steps every day

what pray tell is different today?

As soon as I stepped

on the concrete

the cement was fresh

the sound of my feet

silent

the sky, undeniably gray

new sod in the yard

tree was bare.

I should revel in the stark new ground

yet for all that I see

when I look around

is how you painted my deep red walls light

I should be a bird ready for flight

how the change glues me

to the pond

of my heart

of my clenched nervous hands

shaking to rise in new lands

as most bring up the past

how the trees had cancer

(it was a good thing, you say,

they surely couldn’t last)

but I like to wipe the brow of the dead

kiss foreheads, revive

recount my love stories

in various messed up beds

who can see the future

bury the ancient Queens and Kings

under the rubble

make wax heads like

Madame Tussaud

artistry out of death.

I step on the grass

dare me to talk

I will not be so crass

pretend you don’t see me

as I smile and agree

how lovely

a dead tree

can be

in the middle of my life.

The kids used to climb

my cardinal bird used to visit

so I drive to Starbucks

to save myself again

and what should come on the radio

but our song

and you could never guess

how I need my lovely mess

as I put on my new pretty dress

and forget how everything old

must be replaced

with something new

but as usual

I digress

my mind never paying attention

to the street signs.

Time like this

Who can really sleep at a time like this?
Second death in one month
heart, youth, love amiss,
in the joy of the day
death comes calling
never asking, only taking
bringing loss like divorce
hatred and denial
unanswered questions
facebook updates and status deaths
leave your soul in Barcelona
or Cape Cod
anywhere but Montreal
where they breathed.
Both fathers
and lovers
their wives sorting their affairs.
I had to pack the clothes
and hold it all together
but when you put me on
on the Sygamore bridge
I felt the crash
again
the faces
trembling
and again
you saved me.
I was shaking at the wheel
my son analyzing Rush lyrics
and how you had to be brilliant
to listen to the music
but my head was elsewhere
unfocused, misled
welcoming fear and its claws
as it entered my head
pulled me down
shattered my soul
and I couldn’t do it
so I watched you drive
through Vermont
I admired your strength
your comfort
you let me be
and at a time like this
when the dreams are floating away
I wonder what life is
and children
and parents
and friends that come and go
and family
how that dreaded day comes
and you don’t know what hit you
a regular fucking day
another departed
so I visit my dad
again
and kiss his picture
It’s on my way home.
Finding comfort in his silence
as I do in Yours.