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day 17she dreams of the pink swing set under a canopy
of leaves, shoes brushing colours of autumn
of mud slicked steps, rusted spoons and clear
plastic forks turned opaque from grimy hands
of lard-filled jars and broken glass,
glittering teeth hidden beneath tree shadows
of scratchy hay poking ankles and, below, sharp
metal just peeking through faded itchy yellow:
day 3you said: there is just
something about myths.
i thought there's just
something about your lips.
tell me the myths of
your sleepy hometown
and the truths of hands
held proud in public.
i'd like to learn the
stories of your skin,
the loud silence of
heartbeats and bed sheets.
you don't sit beside me in class anymoreyou look like oversized sweaters waiting for
mr darcy vapid vanilla shows up late to
class with coffee cheeks flushed from cold
(but there's more than meets the eye. i like
the flush of your cheeks and last week i
wondered if you bite lips or lick them; if
you'd change my mind on holding hands)
gone is your floral perfume soft breathing
arm brushing mine proximity pulsing legs
crossing blurry profile in peripheral
(but now i almost like it better this way. it's
easier to follow concentration as it moves
along your features and i have always been
more comfortable with distance anyway)
lost in space1
there were words once, listen:
quiet, soft, like fingers brushing over the fabric of a sweater, tickling your ear, warming, small gusts of heat that spread to your toes, a glinting eye, a curved mouth, a promise.
there were words once, listen:
hard, rough, like metal scraping over concrete, bruising, marking your arms, legs, ribs, even your spine, purple and black blossoming on dark skin, yellowing until silence, an apology.
there were words once, listen:
now there are no words, only the deafening roar of silence.
there are words now, listen:
the old stars whisper to each other. they have discovered the secret of patience, a conversation lasting the ages. a single word may take years upon years to travel and you have to know which way to send it. careful, precise, or you may tell a stranger you miss them.
you can hear the sound of these words, like fast cars on a track, restless and enduring. the faster they travel, the slower time moves, slowing rapidly until it sto
sharp nailsthere is a pattern of
veins on my right thigh
that looks like the long,
blue bones of a hand
sometimes these thin,
spindly fingers crawl
up my veins and
arteries to clasp around
my heart, tug on the
back of my eyes,
dotting and blacking
they scrape the nervous
system and i think i
used to pray to settle
from 3429 ft.two years ago from paris, saskatoon looked like a small solar system, hazy with rain and cold. three days ago from toronto, it is midday and foggy, a thick blanket of grey masking tiny grey buildings cut by a tiny grey river. but the feeling is the same and i want to reach across the aisle to hold my sister's hand much the same as two years ago, russell reaching for my hand, any hand, two changed souls unprepared to face the sameness of home.
but the feeling is not the same. we are not two changed souls: we are just happy ones, 'satisfied with the trip' ones, and i do not hold hands when i am happy.
may 3i press tissue paper to the skin
above my ankle, apply pressure,
try not to think about the red and
searing and the itch in my hand.
i decide i want to cover my body in
ink, beautiful and expensive.
my grandmother asks me why i
want a tattoo.
i tell her, "i think they're
five years of thinking pass.
birds fly across my wrist and i trap
beautiful and expensive.
reverberationshey skinny boy, you walk like you know where you're going
and when you kiss me, i don't know what to say
( and it sort of
reverberates between us, doesn't it? )
parenting 101when our children wake up screaming in the middle of the night
or crawl into our beds, we have a list of reassurances:
"it was just a nightmare" and
"it was just the shadows" and
"it was just your imagination"
until they, too, are desensitized and locked in a cage,
condition themselves to be blind and sane like the rest of us
ViolinI remember the day
you told me violins
were strung with cat gut
and that is why
you hated music
(who says that to a child?)
I followed you
all that summer.
I watched you
grow away from mother -
your whiskey held better conversations
and all she did was cry.
We'd sit cross-legged on the porch
and count the horseflies
settling on our lunch.
You would drown tadpoles
in a bucket
surprised they could not swim
and I would dream
of cherry popsicles.
And when night would gather
on the sidewalk
I'd hold my breath
until a star appeared.
Don't bother making wishes
you'd tell me -
stars are dead weight in heaven
and God has cloth ears.
My School Says I'm Worthless (sort of a rant)I'm a criminal because my values aren't their values
And I'm scum to say the least
Because I'm not on their list
Ones who have their lives set out
And drink from molten glory raining down from
School top balconies...
And I have myself left to blame for all the non-attempts
And truancies; the bleak distractions
That help me escape the inviolable test-score stares
Of disapproval that I attract from their
And they're forced to ask me 'Why?
Why are you still here?'
And I can barely say
That I'm afraid to leave.
That I know that no-one knows
Or what they want to be
But unlike those
I gave up
A while ago
And they can't tell me to my face that I'm a failure so they heavily imply
That my lacking presence
And even less impressive
Tendency for slacking off is evidence
That I am stupid and a fool and nothing more than such a waste of resources
And it's a disappointment
That I don't hold their ideals
VesselYour heart is a compass.
Broken, perhaps, but I know
It’s always searching for the North Star.
Which way will your beard point tonight?
DanielYou are vertebrae
reinforced with titanium
that does not make you the lesser -
You’ve got the weight of the world
on one shoulder
sometimes you trip because of it -
you’re still walking
and if things fused wrong
post or anterior
and if things fused out in the interior
your circuits live on
and if your thoughts get circular
or so do your moods
and your mind blanks and you forget -
you’re nervous but strong -
then I’ll remind you.
Because you give me
the backbone required
you’re my Atlas, so I lift my head,
you’re my axis, so I can face the future
because you are vertebrae
reinforced with titanium.
You’re my inner strength.
FallingFailure after failure
A life not worth living
Lost in my misery
Long gone are the good moments
I keep falling
Nothing can save me now
Gone my hopes are
Because He'sHe’s listening
Millions of them.
A flash of red
And a navy hat
No warning – now motionless
With skin turned to shadows.
All Here For A ReasonI turned onto a shady, well-manicured driveway that, for all intents and purposes, looked harmless enough. Maple trees lined both sides of the street, and a parade of Canadian geese marched across the road to a wide duck pond with a flamboyant fountain. There were blooming crepe myrtles and rose-of-sharons, and as I grew closer to my destination, neatly trimmed gardens with neatly trimmed bushes.
I stopped to let the geese pass. They looked at me; one hissed. I honked my horn and moved around them.
At the end of the road sat a collection of grayish buildings and a number of signs directing me to the appropriate parking lot. "Welcome to Ten Creeks Hospital," said one of them. "Please enjoy your stay." I parked in the visitor's lot. Surely I wouldn't be staying.
I was shaking when I got out of my car. I had spent the morning getting high. One foot in front of the other, flip-flop noises, hot sidewalk. Mulberry and magnolia trees, freshly shaved grass. A bench and pan for smokers. A set o
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