McDonnell's Fields

I’m reminded about the togetherness of things
in the way things resemble each other,
breaking apart, so that it’s possible pulling
is in the reaching,
and this often when the world persuades
us to sleep, conceals its darkness traversing
the wind in this old soybean field
that sews its dress for the invisible
to dance in.

I’m reminded,
walking this morning across McDonnell’s Field,
of trees etched naked by thin edges of sun,
calloused soil poised to feel
what I might break next. I’m peering down
the old well the Mennonites dug,
the watery coin of wish
undifferentiated between being dropped,
tossed away.

You’re walking too, the other way,
the wind climbing over dirt
that, like me, will not get caught in you again,
as I get caught up, hoping for the best.
Perhaps this morning your words
will be a simple pail I tug from the earth,
each grasp bringing ache into my arms.

The Night Says

I’ve been watching

the snow, pressed

between

the pages of a forest,

brush the light from

a dark bird

of prey.

My eyes turn silver,

that’s the degree

to which

my eyes wish

to be green.

We have a deal.

They tell me

where they’ve gone

when I am here,

I lie to them, understand? They

promised

so much.

“Night, love is

first sight.”

they say.

“Yes, love,” it says back,

“we’re blind.”


DIY

Remember the Christmas we spent painting the rooms on Beverly Street? I stole Remember the Christmas we spent painting the rooms on Beverly Street? I stole some cheap-ass cans of paint from work; we were broke, and they were going out of business anyway. Looking back, you just wanna forget the number of layers, the heaps of reassurance, you need to persuade decay into white again (don’t you think?) I read on a DIY site that if you paint something once, you’re gonna repaint, and repaint, so try hard, know it takes time. Funny, today I’m beginning to see why, seeing the patches making their way back through the paint from the other side of the wall, like two salt stains between the door and the place where you kept your boots.

Tourists

It looks like it’s me,

this yellow couch

in this window of particle and light.

Can we be sure

or do we confuse certainty

with things that stay?

When I hear you call my name

like a lighthouse,

like a shaft of dust in sun,

does that bring us nearer

to an answer,

or to that bluff

we’d never perfectly pronounce,

the capital of emptiness,

that place we’d see, sometimes,

up above the bay?

Draft

I remember the pain.

Now a thought, like a pillar

cracked down the centre

holding a roof that leaks

into the basement.

I listen for

the tiny letters

the steps of mice

write in stone.

I feel a draft this evening.

I felt for more, of course,

a river,

the bright black hair

of the sun cooling my ankles

into pain,

no, not this pain,

this

idea of braille

as falling snow

burning into eyes.

Excerpts

The snow, loose upon the windows,
is a mass of seconds. Moments collide,
time migrates. Rockets cough sparks, stars
dust out. The things you say to yourself is glass
on which cold excerpts light.
Learn their silences, what words don’t mean.
Memorize them, hum weather
no one’s witness to.

Work Horses Seen from a Road in December

The horses seem to be blackened grain in grainless fields.
Perhaps their watered eyes have frozen this world to stone,
the whites having seen to it that it blinks with snow.
I assume they know they cannot plow forever,
cannot continue to turn over sky matted with foreshadowing.
They must expect eventually it will overtake them,
outgrow their fields, see birds defect through contrails,
or, rather, fence lines withering under a lifeless winter sun,
not blinding but as it probes our night,
reveals the braille of what we are not able to see.
I stare at these second-sighted beasts,
groomed in weather’s imminence. Is truth beauty,
is it in their knowledge that this world will melt,
and though there will be no new world,
this is the one always leaving?

Becoming Winter

Yesterday I felt statues of deer tremble
from boughs of cherry trees, snow-feathered,
leg-trapped in sticky paths of goldenrod,
creek-oiled flowers of ice. And a white sun
swimming in shines of icy prey. 
Nothing is
what it is with me. Falling snow’s a gown,
the morning a luminescent fox.
I sway, gut-shot, in blizzard growls. I call to it, cull, cull,
a gizzard, ripe with heart of make-believed blood.
I cannot choose, I choose what comes to me. But choose.
Let each lie ask the beautiful questions of the hunter,
what man did I kill, what beast am I?

The Problem with Death

It’s not death because
only you feel your absence

And the birds translate
the broken windows’ whistling.

It’s death because
only you feel your absence

And the birds don’t understand
the broken windows’ song

is just the wind.

Portage

From the eleventh floor at my desk in Toronto,
I watch a band of Cormorants fill a landing place,
like a bracelet on the edge of a small lake.
It’s somewhere near Misabi, where the river,
like its twin, runs alongside the Nastawgan portage
that brings you to Obabika. I could hardly find it this summer
and on the video I’m watching, it’s nearly not there.
I’ve been thinking what somebody said recently,
Cormorants aren’t indigenous here,
so you can you blame them, they’re bloody,
and they’re so strangely beautiful.
I recall the trail again, from the window,
birds peeling away, as I do,
and below, the streets bare things the way fire bares
ruin and the skin of a heart, peeling away, too,
from every mark, like a blaze in a tree
whose writing is always about the path to water.