Friday, August 19, 2011

The Touch
I grow tired of waiting. Waiting for me, the writer, to make words out of this creative sorrow and weave a story worthy of the art to which I aspire. That's my great wait, and it exhausts me. Like I'm crippled by a numbness that tires my soul, I never seem to sleep. My wary, weary eyes never shuttering. The story is the wait, I know. I need to go somewhere. Find something in this closing world.

I swear I grow tired of the places I wait in, too. Like the all the night diners. Alone I sit, a sleep as elusive as a lover I can never kiss. Sometimes I'll stay late on a winter night and watch the falling snow. The stories are those men and women with their caps pulled low, their collars turned up against the wind. That's the art to which I aspire. But my coffee turns icy. So in chilly sadness I ask myself for words to warm these lips. But only a coldness stays, so I wait for that story. Those crippled words to come to life in a parable walk. Like I say, the story is the wait. I need to go somewhere. Find something in this closing world. So I turn up my collar and step into the snowy night and touch my aspiring sorrow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I blink my eyes and hold them shut,
There is a wandering darkness in these stray thoughts
I open my eyes wide. And you are there!!
But in an absence you disappear
I blink my eyes and hold them shut,
but they too are tired
The one chance I had, and you are gone, I bemoan that second
As in the time of a heart's beat, or an eye's lonely blink
As me saying I need you in silence
I am the castaway
I am the tired, broken mind
Good-bye to you, as she falls madly into the night

The City
I look out a window
My city is on fire
Smoke is everywhere, flames rise from the rooftops
I smell the burning
I hear the people's cry: "Our city's on fire!"
I can almost touch the blackness
Soot and fear is everywhere
But I feel safe in this vanishing city, more alive then I've been
Then I hear the voice of my people's cry, and I too begin to fear

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Rain
They killed a man in front of a pizza place last night. A couple of guys stabbed him multiple times. A friend who was at his side said there was blood like it stretched for miles. He told the papers of the scuffle at the Sally Ann, then by chance how they all met under a street light. When they saw his buddy they went after him with open blades. Stabbed him deep, so many times. God only knows if his eyes narrowed before he died. His mother told the paper he was a boy who was troubled by drugs and alcohol. But he had a good heart, before it got sliced open by another mother's troubled son. There I was late at the scene. The cops cordoned off some of the parking lot with yellow tape twisted upside down. Beyond the yellow tape young people were opening the pizza place for lunch. Soon customers would ask what happened and the workers would shrug and say some guy died. Tonight the weatherman predicts another bloody rain. I guess in the end, that's what it takes to wash away a homeless man's name.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I put my hand inside an open window
I pulled out what I thought was mine:
This home of fire
Cindering blackness
Burglarized, or burgled as the British say,
of smoke wrapped round me
Thievery apprehended by smoldering freedom
Whistle blowers
The burnt offering. The window now closed.
Airless lately,
I can't breathe
I lay in clasping breathlessness
I think of what they say: When a brother dies, you die with him
So with open hand as fraternal friend
I pull out what is mine
The hope I know in cindering blackness
I can't breathe
So I slip, slip
So I dream a peculiar dream of home and fire
My final sleepy eyes, like the years ahead, is yet to be

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Canine
I am the Stray Dog. I walk close to the ground. My paws…calloused by time; they stride over broken concrete—discoloured from dried blood of the forlorn. Those sad, discarded drops of red, each a tale of its own; but that’s a human story. I tell you I am the Stray Dog. The Square Corner is my home. I was born to a hellion mother; reared in a hellion litter of nine. A scoundrel of a dog. A mutt. Pug nosed. Oval brown eyes set wide apart. My shoulders broad, I lay low like a bulldog. I’ll pounce. Rip out a pincher’s throat. I’ve done it more than once. That’s my reputation. The Stray Dog from the bad part of town. I’ve never been petted by human hands. Never licked a human face. Sat on a rich dame’s lap. Nor do I beg for scraps under oak tables, resting my wanting head on a kid’s bent knee. I’ve never been leashed. Don’t even try. I’ve never walked merrily through well kept parks…beckoned by a silver whistle. I’m different. I’ve pissed on dead cats. I’ve squatted and shat on tony front lawns. I’ve bitten SPCA guys, watched them bleed from their hands and wrists. I’ve been beaten by them, too. Their long clubs, electric prods. I've done daring, impossible things. I tore my way out of a kennel, before they gassed me in a chambler of death. I am the Stray Dog. Now you know my story. Or you think you do. Because I, too, am the Square Corner. But my paws hurt now. Arthritis in the hind legs. I can barely lift my legs sometimes. I pea like a poodle bitch. They want me, those young mutts. The vicious mix breeds just like me. Tough and cagey, with sharp fangs as I once had. Take down the Stray Dog. They know it’ll make their reputation. Thirteen years I been on the street. Now what becomes my home? The back alley of the One Lucky. Late at night he feeds me, this bartender with aching shoulders. He opens the kitchen door. Drops off table scraps of half eaten meat and french fries, often soaked in human spittle and brown beer. He knows not to pet me. I know not to lick his hands. If he were born years ago to a hellion litter, maybe he’d be just like me. I guess each of us has a tale of our own—some of us tell it close to ground. Our paws or feet, calloused by time

The Bartender
It was 3am. 'Beer Mugs' Moran closed the One Lucky. He had someone to take care of now. In the back alley a stray dog would sleep in between the garbage cans. 'Beer Mugs' fed him, mostly table scraps. He wished he could give the dog something more than half eaten hamburgers and soaked french fries. That's because he respected the toughness in his new friend. There was a kinship betweem them, he believed. That bond that happens sometimes between man and dog. 'Beer Mugs' knew not to pet him. He saw a sadness, a weariness, a fierce independence in those dog eyes set wide. He wondered if canines were like humans. If they, too, thought of death and the last years of life lived in loneliness and hurt. 'Beer Mugs' bent over and swiped the plate of food into his friend's bowl. The bartender's shoulders hurt as he closed the back door. The stray dog ambled slowly to the food with his aching hind legs. He ate alone, satisfied by the human meal he had.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Once I worked in an office. Those graceful days. At night I burnished diamond stairs to the glassy rhythm of time. My first job to sweep golden dust off gilded lines. This teenage boy wore working jeans. His long ropey hair was mine. The corporate men were long past; blinded to me as I was to their money eyes. Ah, those graceful days. I remember the gleam of emeralds. The floor I waxed to a midnight shine. Then lastly, before the morning light, a reflection was my callow dream in shoes hardly worn. That's why I remain as graceful as those days. That's why my eyes stay blind to those gilded lines.

Come'on, Georgie. One more movie. Whaddya' say? Come to my place, we'll watch a DVD. An old Gary Cooper picture, like High Noon.

You lost your mind long ago. Been hospitalized too many times. Your teeth turned rotten and fell out in a bloody mess. People like you know madness. You know homeless sleep on winter nights. Cardboard blankets. Warm bowls of soups for Salvation songs and hungry prayers.

Come on, Georgie. Whaddya got, really? Not your mind. I got an old Gary Cooper movie. What do I got? An old TV. An old collection of movies that I'm sure you'd like. I'll feed you, too. Not much, because I don't got much. But it's better than the streets. It might keep your mind in check. It's the least I can do for a friend I knew before you went mad.