April 10, 2016


They may not think of it as running away,
But at 15 they:
Entered the convent and put on the veil
Got in the pimp’s car and became a whore
Enlisted and were given a gun
Joined the sect to work for free.
              Many never got out alive.

Never join if they tell you
What food you can’t eat (for religion, not health)
What clothes you must wear (that mark you as different and owned)
What music’s forbidden (even if no one else hears)
How your hair must be cut (for organizational reasons)

Run away!
They are stealing your life with their vows and their lies!
Run away! You are under no obligation to stay!

But running away does not need to mean attempting suicide -
From that too, many never get out alive…

O young people!
At 15 it is best, if you have to leave home,
To go overseas on a high school exchange for a year.
Almost as good (but short term)
Is to run to your family’s friends
Or your friends’ families.
But if you have to leave family behind
It is better to run off and join the circus
Or move in with an artist
Or work your way round the world on a boat
And to go from idea to idea
(This is the secret. Not to get stuck in any idea. The world is too large),
Than to live with the one-idea people
Who will suck your brain dry.

You may never get out alive.

Published online: Snakeskin 225, January 2016

April 3, 2016


When Konrad Lorenz studied how small fish
Overcame lethal greedy tendency
By activating new dependency -
Called love - to build a larger fulfilled wish,
He clarified the dynamic sweep and swish
Of conquest across Earth’s wide land and sea
That gave to humans such ascendancy,
Watched warfare grow as in a petri dish.

War against Other creates Family.
The nut of war that no hard mind can crack
If opened would show God Life Blaze Attack,
Drying white hot deaths else left clammily.
So life says Outcompete! Outnumber! Breed!
Build Love of Tribe and State! Expand! Succeed!

Published online: Snakeskin 225, January 2016

March 27, 2016


There flows in my veins the most ancient of ardors:
Not power, or love, nor yet worship of God;
The fight that each tiniest baby fights hard as
Fought earliest man: “Understand!”  Pry and prod
With unquenchable flame of the world-disregarders
For Truth! – be it complex, destructive or odd.
If this fire is from Heaven, then Heaven I’ve earned;
So write on my grave: “This stone too shall be turned.”

Published in Shot Glass Journal, #18, January 2016

March 20, 2016


The future is a long low passage,
Whitewashed, undulating,
A moving forward-flowing track,
No chance of going back.

The future has no message,
Its ads are guides only to the past,
Misleaders, redesignposts,
Echoes, undefined ghosts.

The future is travelled without presage,
Always onward, none comes back.
Predestination without destination.
Stationary or walking, you’ve no final station.

The future goes on until you get off.
I won't. I will not to get off.

Published: The Rotary Dial, Toronto, January 2016

March 13, 2016


The future like an avalanche
Is roaring down the sky.
If you’ve prepared no hiding place
Then be prepared to die.
You never reason why.

The future like a question mark
Is scything humankind.
If you can see, then handle it –
You’ll be cut down if blind.
The future doesn’t mind.

The future like a giant wave
Is heading for the shore.
If you can ride that wall-like wave
It’s no wall, but a door
Into forever more.

Published: The Rotary Dial, Toronto, January 2016

March 6, 2016


Midnight making moonscapes of you on my mattress
I bounce across you in shadows and one-sixth gravity—
One-sixth gravity, and five-sixths levity.

Published: Rat’s Ass Review 2016

February 28, 2016


My heart's a jigsaw Eschered with small hearts:
Poets: Donne, Arnold, Hopkins, Eliot, Cole – 
Ancestors: captured, wed while on parole –
Family: formed from wandering in wild parts –
Bits of my heart. A house, view of the sea –
Rain-lilies, poincianas, jasmine scent –
Azaleas, goldfish, owls, field grass rain-bent –
Cafe on loud street – quiet library –
My jigsaw's nearly done, a work of heart!
But where’s that long-lost girl-shaped piece…
Lost, it prevents the whole, prevents my peace…
I circle endlessly for that lost part,
The missing statue for the purposed plinth,
That girl lost in some Escher labyrinth.

Published: The Lyric, USA, January 2016

February 21, 2016


Odin had a spider
In a web above his throne.
“Out!” he said; it came to him.
“And up!” he said; it grew.
“Legs go this way, legs go that!”
The wind began to moan.
Odin touched a spur to Sleipnir,
Through the storm they flew.

Published, Anima, UK, No.2, 2016

February 14, 2016


In the hard granite of a human chest
Love’s small explosions blast a cavity.
While pumps and sluices clear ore and debris,
Miners create a cavernous heart divest
Of wealth gone out. There may at times unfold
Sad tales of miners trapped by falling stone,
But life demands the risky work go on:
This treasure chest of granite’s veined with gold
The world demands be brought into the light.
A huge cathedral of the spirit’s left,
Caverns of empty worship, dream-bereft,
The treasures claimed by others as their right.

But flecks of gold still glitter in the gloom,
The heart remembers glories in its tomb.

Published, Anima, UK, No.2, 2016

February 8, 2016


The wide world has its glories
In a rich complexity
But sitting watching the sun set
Is good enough for me.

Canada has six time zones
From sea to sea to sea
But one tide lapping where I sit
Is good enough for me.

The muezzins in the Saudi mosques
Wake all to pray and pee
But a rooster crowing in the bush
Is good enough for me.

And Singapore is lush and green
And managed prettily
But scrub grass and a sandy beach
Are good enough for me.
All – good enough for me.

Published online: Snakeskin 225, January 2016