Sunday, January 27, 2013

Marks of meaning

inky scratches on pulped-up trees
pixels leaking across pastel screens
trailing smoke writ large across sky
these twenty-six marks shared wide
expressing the fruit of the mind
some plucked green and sour to taste
others bursting, heated, fermented
or brushed with the colour of ripening

for the essence of you we must use
the same name for the being of me
your love is my love is their love
as though our myriad affections
and joys must all feel the same
only words, these utterances
to which we trust all meaning
with which to capture everything

yet they are precious to some
wanted fiercely, sculpted freely
into clouds, into music and landscapes
keeping time with our fluttering hearts
giving voice to the thrumming and flooding

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Half-dozen morning

It's a familiar concoction of sensations
Being jerked from sleep far too early
Shrugging on clothes with abandon
Ignoring the rumples and tousle of hair
Then climbing behind a familiar wheel

When we part it's only for a weekend
Still, amidst the cloud of impatient taxis
and the dying breath of many cigarettes
We are declarations of love and quick kisses
Thankful for the luxury of a private ride

She goes on to the home of her mother
And I, sheet-creases still pressed into skin
Breathing the sweet clammy stink of jet fuel
Succumb to the temptation of ritual:
One coffee and six American donuts.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Letting go

It's as easy as an autumn leaf falling
She intones from the front of the room
And all I can think of is the whomping willow
Tossing its branches like a head of hair
I spread my arms like a stumpy tree
And imagine shedding golden leaves
Each one is a word, a shame, a memory
Awaiting some celestial broom or breeze
But we've already started the next
I must be slow at this letting go thing
Maybe, like a regular tree, I need time
To sever connections, ease the flow of sap

Poetry persists

They say that it doesn't pay
I've been told it does not profit
to write in this fracturous way
it's done just for the love of it
Still it's the choice of adolescents
(Though generally squirreled away)
It's best for us life-convalescents
For the serious mind this is play
For me it's too hard to resist
I'm a hoarder, a herder of words
What I know is that poetry persists
Like the flight of migrating birds

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Poem: Sun rise

I can tell you when I last fed
my ever-begging belly;
How many hours of sleep I
foraged in the wee hours;
How many decades I've notched
into the headboard of time;
That the years have lapped me
like cars on a tyre-worn circuit
since I last crashed into love.
But I don't remember, couldn't
say when I stopped writing
letters; or held onto a joke long
enough just to tell it; flew a kite,
rode a bike, made mansions of
chairs and blankets; or watched
the sun cleave from the horizon.
My voice - my real voice, the one
with nightingale ambitions - creaks
with disuse. I have chased the
tumbleweeds of language into a
desert with no light. But I am still
here, hidden in the dark. All I need
is a hum and a whisper, a suggestion
of dawn, to sing into the sun's rising.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Love is not enough

I've had this idea rolling around in my mind for a few months, about love and how we know it. I believe strongly that the feeling of love may be unconditional, but relationships should not be.

My childhood taught me that love is not enough, because people commit all sorts of atrocities in the name of love.  Love lets you accept awful things from the people you care about.  Love is what we call it when people who aren't good for each other stay together. Love is what lets families cluster around people who have done someone else harm, and protect them regardless of innocence or guilt.

But love is not enough. The feeling of it, the words we call it. The language of love is useless and insulting without acts of love to accompany it.  Acts of love are not standalone behaviours that we can cast about and say 'here is proof of my love'.  Love is always contextual, always matters in light of what has gone before.

Staying with someone is not always an act of love, and leaving them sometimes is.  Rage is not an act of love, but the right kind of anger can be.  Pouring out the flimsy words we use to describe love can be an act of love as much as it can be an act of violence, of manipulation, or of selfishness.

It's all too easy to list all the things that love isn't, to talk about why love isn't enough.  All of us can list the things that others do that make us feel unloved.  Lots of people are good at seeing when they aren't being loved in "the right way".  But that doesn't help us know it when we see it, when it's in the room with us.

I may not have been loved by any man, but I surely know what a woman's love is.  I know what women's love is capable of. I know the love that I am capable of.