In the Middle

Once I was at the end of the love song

crying for years because it was over

before it even began. We were caught

loving the wrong person. I immersed

from my drowning and swam to the

beginning of the line. I sailed across

your poems and floated on your words.

You sent them to me by mail, on out-

dated postcards, you wrote them on

the back of my hand with your

fingertips. I sent you magic and

illusions with one needle on your

arm. We lived in a movie and

recited Shakespeare naked in bed.

You were not even close to being

who I thought you were. I was

too much for you to handle back

then, wanting to do everything

and doing absolutely nothing

about it. I climbed Mont-Royal

in heels and you laughed at

my absurdities. I was spontaneous

and explosive, until I wasn’t anymore.

I bent backwards on words

and the power of your hands.

Now I’m in the middle of something

that will change me forever.

I will never bet that girl again.

I have to be someone I thought

I would never be. Life throws you

these wicked curveballs

and I am catching them,

ready to be stuck here

hoping that it will not get

worse. All this hope

for songwriters and poets

but for a regular woman like me

it’s a waste of my time.

Where I lay my nest

Along the shores of my bank,

I spotted this seashell; it was

the color of my childhood.

In a tiny plastic bag, knotted twice,

I was given ink-colored rocks

along with a note,

written by his aunt,

Greek tiny writing.

 

These rocks are from Voulagmeni Beach. For you with love,

so you could always have a part of Greece with you. 

Your aunt, Tasia. 

 

I did a DIY and recycled

glass lime pies

cute decorative bowls

I could not throw away,

along with Petite Maman jam jars.

Covered the note under them

like a lost treasure.

 

Who will find it next?

 

The dead

have so much more to say

after their death.

Tiny handwritten notes,

photos from 1956, first passport

upon entering Canada,

more recipes,

my own cards with no dates.

 

It was my father’s birthday yesterday,

he would have been 76.

I said Happy Birthday to you,

to the ice cold day, parked in

front of the cemetery on my way

to Starbucks.

I lay my nest in all the places

where I lived.

On Stuart Street, 1974,

running across the street

to elementary school

while the bell rang.

Grade four, suburbia nightmare,

large backyards

and poker parties.

I lay my nest

where my children are

my husband’s hand

my dead father

my mother’s midnight panic attacks

my brother’s sweet soul,

while

everyone else

begins and ends my days

with artful quotes

maniacal attacks,

while everyone begins to think

they are just a character in my next

novel. The truth is

no one exists

for that long

except characters.

Lay my nest within

for soon enough

everyone will be gone.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Lessons Learned

You once told me

you’re my lesson learned

or some other nonsense

that upon hindsight

deciphers how your soul

is as blind as mine.

I rarely keep my eyes closed

watched a movie

in a catatonic state

only to wake up to analyze

the ending in a forty-five minute

discussion about Mexican cartel.

I taught high school,

adults, children

all those degrees on the wall

are some type of lessons

I carry with me to the cafes

we used to visit

across the university campus

where a Philosophy major met

an English major

and we never stopped talking

you could never kiss me

you loved me too much.

You tried that one time

to invite me to a party

but I said no.

I was lying on my bed

with the telephone wire

wrapped around my finger

Depeche Mode was playing on my turntable

and you said

c’mon, bring your friends.

My friends had no place with yours.

We were a semester of illusion

discussions

as you played me the guitar

I sat on your bed

and you talked about Descartes

and when I ran into you at Loyola Campus

you came running down the stairs

to stop me

come see what I’ve written now,

you said,

come sit with me a while.

I have class,

I said.

But we both knew,

our time passed

and you had me on your bed

your roommate gone

and believe me I waited.

 

song

You talk some trash and watch me vacuum in my knee socks

phone in my back pocket

my headphones on so loud can’t hear the soccer scores

you like my ponytail

ignore the players

and end up all over my spring blouse

unbuttoning my friendship buttons.

We walked on St.Paul all night

chasing our dreams

together

and kissing in cabs

I remember everything

the flashing reasons

I love you blow up in my face

erase the scars and build new castles.

You know how to fall in love with me

for decades, finding new things

to love

not being pulled in by my witty lines

my poems

but my real legs

on you.

You know exactly where I was when I lied

and you loved me anyway

chasing me down

showing me how you are the only one

who can handle my locked up days.

Play me that song

none of that new crap

but the one you sang to me

at your bar

in front of a live audience.

This is what keeps me close to you.

Ticket Train

Look up and watch the fall sky.
I keep on waiting
for the perfect day
to burn the notes
but they remain intact
an abstract Pollock painting
locked up
in some burgundy chest
bought at Winners.
No one holds the lock and key
as tightly as you do.
Even if you knew me then
against the high school wall
or now
as I wait in the sky
or in the future
writing you in my life
none of it would matter
except half-hour dates
and minutes to destiny
as love affairs
come and go
like snowstorms
leaving me under
to feel the freezing water
waiting to melt
at his warming touch
and thaw out
under his skin.

Murders in Montreal
rapists in hiding
driving on Sherbrooke Street
looking for tattoo parlours
to imprint your soul
upon my skin
as if it could even
be done.
None of it is real.

What a lively imagination
you have
just listen and maybe
you will hear the birds too
in -20 degrees
Tiffany did, she told
me so this morning.
I lit a candle for her
for her cat-scan
for her life.
I keep on praying for others
who will ever pray for me?
I know the dead do.
The only ones I can rely on.

Predict me

He says it’s hard to read me
when I scrub the floor
you want me on my knees
no?
Love will make you do
irrational moves
do you know the taste of my lust
it comes in fragmented sentences
in coffee sips.

Officer, I was distracted
with doctors
and Christmas lights
with past lovers
and modern romance.

He says he has never been
more in love with me
I tell him pinch me
I’m real.
Always laughing at love
and loving to laugh.
Always crying at songs
commercials, news, movies
shows
the dead, the living
~
Always.

When will you ever grow up?
Never.
I always say never
and I mean it.

Officer, I was looking down
I didn’t see the car
I didn’t see the boy
some things you can’t predict.
Some predictions remain in the stars.
~

Await

There was a title to my love
story. I changed it about
as many times as you left
then came back with
those images that always
worked before. Before him,
that is. The title is in the works.
In my deep mind of altered
dreams. You are inside me
now, like the poems I write. You
write. I sleep. You sleep. I dream.
You dream. We meet. We part.
I want no answers. This is my
main problem. No solutions.
Most girls want it all. I want none
of it. All the things you can’t see
this is what I want. I need to
disappear, even under the sheets
will do. With or without you. I
recite Bono too often, claiming
this time I have tricks of bravery
up my sleeve on bristol boards
of love. I will run to you.
What else will keep me going
from one frozen day into another
as doctors call my name in
waiting rooms and I create
some kind of poetry that wakes
you from sweet daily slumber
and boredom on your screens.
Head on the desk, claiming
the flu has caught you again.
The headaches they’re back.
This stays within me. This long
drawn wait for the inevitable.
Health. Love. All this I claim none
of.
All
This
I
Await to read
screens of destiny.

in simple words

Some people think
writing poetry
is a waste of time,
others absorb words
like young pupils,
still others have their hat on
and
walk right past us.
It may seem like a breeze, a simple tune you hate, that may have taken days
to compose in the heat of the muse.

All these wonders,
most of Them skip tracks on life;
you do not need to hold my hand too closely, I’ve always seen it.
So perhaps it’s time to tell you
that,
I will always love you,
it may be simple to say,
but we both know
how writing this
and saying this
are polar opposites
in both worlds.

It is somehow in all these places
on earth,
we visit,
reminding us of
the one we love
no matter
which ocean
we look out from.