Purple Toothed Grin

Tag: napowrimo

A country walk through the city

Toddling with my daughter
transforms the landscape of the city—
it stretches sidewalks like chewing gum
as every step forward is
four tiny steps back.

It makes dirty things sparkle,
things that live in the cracks,
things that fell off telephone poles,
things stuck to the underbellies
of picnic tables;

the discarded,
upcycled in her
head, made beautiful
by crude innocence,

made pure by her sticky hands.

pictures from her picture books
begin circling—


and then,

Birds! Birds! Birds!

I look down as she looks up;
we each see the most miraculous thing.

Once the birds disappear
behind some dilapidated building—
the foetus of yet another condo—
we continue our daily trek,
stepping on all the cracks

her gait too small to protect my
aging back
her mind far too big to worry about
such things.

Tragic Contingency: Nixon’s nixed speech, redacted

brave men know
there is no hope for mankind

they mourn their family and friends
mourn their nation
mourn the people of the world

mourn a Mother Earth that dared
send two of her sons into the

they looked at stars
and saw blood

others will follow
but these men were first
and will remain
the night

widows-to-be end communications
the clergy mend their souls

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Original text found here:

Quiet, Poem

Before you introduce them to each other,
let words huddle in the corners of your mind
cowering at the thought of their own might.
After all, words must quiver to deliver,
so lock their doors and breathe and count to ten
and listen for that faint, ethereal hum.


I was just born again,
I’m born again each year;
you’ll know me by my smell,
you’ll know that I am here.

The treasures I uncover
are sometimes better left unfound;
and though I shower for days and days
I still smell like soggy ground.

I’m sprouting a moustache
but it is patchy and it’s green;
I don’t have a mouth but my
tulips can be seen

kissing all the neighbours lawns
while the leaves on all the trees
wave goodbye to the endless cold
and wave hello to me.

[And here’s a link to an older one that I think is a little more fun.]


My mind resists the fragmented notion of
the dactyl and the trochee; it wants words to
flow—perpetual—around the very stones
that Sappho planted.

The dactyls and trochees build a wall but words
seep through the mortar not yet set and warp the
thing and let the view beyond become a part
of the wall itself.

An Elegy for the Canadian Copper

The penny earned
is but a paperweight
for dollar bills
long extinct

a tarnished memory
swept into the dustpan
then in the bin
with a muffled plink

constellations in
when the sun hits them
just right

a shallow cameo
tossed but never caught
holds fate in the balance
and then land tails up

among the fallen leaves it is but a fallen leaf
as prices even out and wallets heave sighs of relief

Monday Mourning

The sun saunters in
beyond the ‘no trespassing’ sign,

crawls into bed with me
despite the blinds,

and warms your spot
already cooled and disappeared.

I turn and face
the glare of what’s to come

with the weekend recorded thickly on
my tongue–

a film set in the desert,
bacon sputtering under hot studio lights,

breakfast burning freckles
into recently discovered flesh,

freshly opened, just beginning
to expire.

It’s monday again;
the weekend will be kept
on ice.



The month of April
and with it
the daily prompts
(that got me out of my bed and into my head in the good way like the good pain after exercising when you discover new muscles and poke at them flinching with pride.)

In truth, I
rarely followed them
but dutifully
got on the starting block
and with a giant leap
dove into unknown waters
sometimes to sink
sometimes to swim.

From the depths
I pulled out a handful of treasure;
still a little dull
from their long sleep.

But I take solace in the belief that there are countless other treasures down there
lining the sea floor
waiting to be discovered
by me
or carved
out of a shark’s belly.


I used a note that
I found in the lobby
to sop up my spilled coffee

and as I took a moment
to mourn the loss
(having paid airport price for it)

I watched the words Darling,
please don’t go

get swallowed up by

my misfortune. The barista,
not recognizing my face,
charged me for a new one;

I mumbled something
about compassion
and drank it black

taking comfort in
the bitter taste
it left in my mouth.


With grief a squatter in her vacant heart
she calmly tried to fold her paisley
napkins out of existence. Calloused
notes trod heavily through the living
room wearing Jim’s big ol’ boots and
suddenly she missed his mouth, the
stale breath of a happy marriage and
not the cotton candy lips of that first
summer. She wished she could find
the photo from Times Square where
they were both squinting into the sun
though she didn’t get up to look. He
was a brute; she always planted flowers
on the periphery of the lawn instead of
a garden hugging the house, even more
passive-aggressive than a picket fence.
The winter was an issue, especially after
The Big Stink; 1998 was a good year for
civil discord on a small-town-block scale.
She had accidentally sold his best suit at
a garage sale so he had to be buried in a
borrowed suit and could feel his annoyance
through the soles of her feet. She did get
up to find her slippers. The dark halls of
mourning twisted and writhed and she was
lost in her own home; his favourite armchair
veiled under the quilt she made, was hiding
its tears. They never did have a child so the
furniture was well loved and missed him
madly. One day he had said, ‘My Little
Trout, the grass will grow even after I am
no longer around to mow it’ and he was
right but he knew he would be because
how could he not. She glanced out the
window and that same lustful lawn was
hoarding all the neighbours’ fallen leaves
and she finally smiled because at least
someone was gettin’ some and the
neighbours’ trees felt violated and a little
boy squatted way up in a tree house
as the neighbourhood called out his name.