Shopping Carts

Shopping carts discarded on lawns

beached like turtles immobile

on their backs in the sand

delineated “bad” neighborhoods in our new city.

We were a thee shopping cart neighborhood

which improved over the years as the city sprawled.

Here was where I learned

not to walk home, alone after dark

or to cross the street if I saw a man

walking alone.

“Do you know that that's called?”

my mother asked, urgently.

“Wary.”

The word repeats itself

every time I see a shopping cart,

sinsiter in a dark alley

or a stranger in my periphery

as I walk home alone at night quickening

my steps until I am almost

Running.

Vancouver

Bébé took me all the way to the ocean without protest

top down unless it was raining

really downpouring like that night in Hearst we went for a walk for darts

then crawled into the backseat to sleep and

woke up stuck to the leather.

It's nightfall when we reach the seawall

yearning to witness the Pacific sprawling

off toward unknown horizons

but I can smell the sea brine and hear the tide

rising and slapping insidiously against stone.

In the predawn gloaming

a woman fishes from the seawall,

casting&reeling,

casting &reeling.

A newcomer draws up a fish, first try

she glowers and settles deep into her canvas chair

disgruntled.

A solitary seal barks amusement then swims

quickly, quickly out if the way of a cruise ship

that in the dawn of the waking city looks confusingly

as if a skyscraper has become unmoored and is drifting through the harbour.

Blood&Bones

The extent of what I own is my blood and bones

The rest is only borrowed.

I bought a fern to take her turn

in the windowsill parade

dollars spent and heaven sent

a green & quiet room.

Worship

He left God in the mountains

and learned to worship on his knees

before the bodies of women,

their hands clasped in prayer and

whispering songs of exultation.

Oh God, Jesus;

How men came to create their Gods

and demons too is evident

in the empty nights that follow

Swim

I have lived lifetimes while you slept

traversing ranges of linen mountains and valleys of faces.

The church bell chimes eleven times and you say “Swim, you know how,”

the salt is a surprise on my lips as I swim out to sea.

.

Hair

My braid lay in its secret autumnal gold and dusk brunette 

coiled in a shoebox in her closet. 

Furious and confusingly touched I returned it to it’s alter; 

Saint's relics behind a mirrored sliding door. 

The foot of virgin childhood hair intended for wigs and instead, 

hoarded by my mother alongside cast-off teeth 

and indecipherable journal entries 

and Crayola drawings of fantastical horses 

with stiff necks and stand up manes. 

 

Racing Lads

Spumante foams along the neck of the bottle and flecks our clothes
as the race-worn horses foamed at the iron bits and slathered,

feet dangle from the trunks of Audis that speed, celebratory, up Chalk Lane
remember being suspended above the churn of steel shod hooves at speed.

Languid ponies loose in paddocks on the Downs serve to reenact the starting line-up,
the day's winners urged on to glory in a hundred different retold versions.

Sun

You sprung from streets and cities of hot seasons
redolent of tar and fetid waterways, river being a misnomer
for these sluggish grey channels with concrete banks
and chainlink fence scenery-

You didn't know the smell of the sun, only chlorine haze
and burning rubber bodied machinery.

I had inhaled it;
summer dreaming in sweat stained cool sheets of faded paisley
sun dried on the line that divided the lilacs from the hayfield.

The farm! Three years gone and summer with it
Still internally protesting the turn from the highway to town.

I had jumped up to lead you to secret meadows where does hid their fawns
dappled in sun and wild youth, before I remembered.
It was winter anyway and the barn to the trees to the sky
would be uniformly gray.