Purple Toothed Grin

Month: October, 2014

The Whale Song

i.

I listen again to the woman wail
and my tired eyes
take a moment to adjust to the
adolescent tunnel vision,
to the darkness that comes with being
the centre of the universe,
snapping the telescope open
to look into the mirror.

ii.
I listen again to the woman wail
and am reminded of a time when
music was not accompanied by a screen
and we were able to
see ourselves dancing
on invisible wires;

we all walked on water then.

iii.
I listen again to the woman wail
and suddenly find myself
sitting in my father’s old car—
the boxy blue Bonneville—
my grandmother and him in the front seat,
me alone in the back,
my cassette in the cassette player,
knowing the f-bomb was about to drop
and there was nothing I could do to stop it
and so I just looked out at the ocean
only to see a huge fin emerge.

Entranced, I never noticed
if they felt the earth shake
when the bomb dropped
or if they too saw the leviathan
peek out and wave at me.

iv.

Time has not been kind
to the rebellious voices of my youth:
The righteous wails now heard as whines,
the lyrics, they contain no truths.

Still, I travelled back to see
that girl I cringe to say was me
and I dive back down into the deep
swimming in tears, unable to weep.

Encore

It was a packed house.
Someone remarked how
small he seemed in front
of the piano

which was true;
he looked like a child.

The lights went down
on a whole row
nodding in agreement.

He played

and for a time
everything stopped

but the world can’t stall on its axis like that
without repercussions. Things begin to tumble
upward, fall into the sky.

Feeling the pull
the crowd grew restless, 
they grew old.

He played.

His melodies froze in their ears
but he did not stop,
he could not stop.

He was still playing
when people began to trickle out
and they threw pity into the aisles
like confetti,
littering the ground with
condescension:

Who thought this was a good idea?
Someone should stop this.
He never should have been put on that stage.

Poor old fool.

Ain’t it a shame when the mind goes?

So sad, so sad.
So, so sad.

With tongues like snare-drums,
they shook their heads
out of tempo with the music;

they were no longer listening.

The doors closed behind them with a crash
but the syncopated sympathies
lingered in the empty seats.

Sad, so sad.

Still, he sat at the piano,
never once thinking of getting up,
happy just to watch
his fingers dance.

Spring back, fall forward

Through the smoke
the night’s bony arms
reach out and pull us in
like poker chips

his smile
a reflection of
yesterday or
tomorrow

is not a smile
at all.

The Changeling

And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
-Bob Dylan

A baby on a change table
just loves to flip around,
a slippery eel, a flapping reel
winding but unwound.

One false move and she might fall
and hurt her little head
or her diaper’s smelly pearl
might begin to spread

on little hands and little heels
(it’s more than you can take)
until your baby’s frosted like
a goddamn chocolate cake.

And yet you still step up to bat
each and every day
but not without a grumble
about earning danger pay!

She sleeps

and I pick myself
up off the floor
piece by piece like
Lego and rebuild
constructing windows
out of missing pieces
knowing full well
I will be demolished
and reassembled with
clumsy fingers time
and time again.

The Fall of Summer: A HexSonnetta

Majestic in the sun
she preened her deep green leaves
so ready to receive,
wanting to be undone.
She heard him whisper, “Come”;
she wanted to believe.

And she is blushing now
as she peels off her clothes
with every breath that blows;
seducing every bough
is the wind’s empty vow:
To warm her in the throes

of winter’s icy kiss
left frozen on her lips.

Taking an interest

The weather’s cooler over here
which signals not the end of year
nor the change from summer to fall
nor any of the four seasons at all.

It’s that fifth season, that as a Canuck,
begins with the drop of a puck,
when you bid your loved one “Bon soir”
and he hightails it to the bar

to join the other hockey fans
with stats for brains and beer for hands
and you refresh the hockey site
before you go to bed that night

to check the score and then prepare
one of two jerseys for his sleepwear,
each with a name on the backside:
one reads Jekyll, the other Hyde.

Nap Time

Yes, I should have slept
but coffee is a siren
and I am a wreck.

Your brother

Half.

(You correct me every time.)