2004 by yaofenji

VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 63

									                                                     TABLE OF CONTENTS
                                                   OVER THE RAINBOW-2004

Skating Towards the Setting Sun .................................................................1
Beware of False Mantras..............................................................................1
Apple Blossoms in Spring ...........................................................................3
Not Tonight ..................................................................................................4
Re-examination ............................................................................................5
There‟s a Tree in My Way-III ......................................................................6
All Is Freedom .............................................................................................7
Shazam .........................................................................................................8
Once with Alan Ginsberg in the Wakefield General Store ..........................9
Looking for Companionship ......................................................................10
My Father‟s Last Lesson ............................................................................10
A Message to Veronica ..............................................................................11
My Wife the Muse .....................................................................................12
Letting in the Light.....................................................................................12
A Moment of Passion.................................................................................13
The Mind of the Meadow ..........................................................................16
---speaking of Michelangelo ......................................................................18
The Mind That I Was .................................................................................18
The Truth of the Matter..............................................................................19
Last Job for the Day ...................................................................................20
Icarus ..........................................................................................................21
Two Approaches to Nothing ......................................................................21
The Truth of the Matter..............................................................................21
Its Still The Same Old Story--- ..................................................................22
He Falls as the Leaves Do Fall ...................................................................22
Playing Pool with Words ...........................................................................23
10 Important Facts That Will Get You Through Life ................................23
More and less .............................................................................................23
Self Destruction .........................................................................................24
Contemplations on Stopping ......................................................................25
An Ode to “Bridge” Players from “500" Players .......................................26
The Sculpture .............................................................................................26
Looking Through a Pane Lightly ...............................................................27
Key Research Document #37 .....................................................................28
Canadian Flowers.......................................................................................38
Where‟s Waldo ..........................................................................................29
Reflections on “1984" ................................................................................30
Child‟s Play................................................................................................31
Trip To/From and On The Polar Bear Express

  Village Poet‟s Holiday ............................................................................32
  Another Note to Allan .............................................................................33


                                                                         1
 Dome Car in Setting Sun ........................................................................33
 Beethoven‟s Best.....................................................................................34
 Illusion ....................................................................................................34
 The Last Marquee ...................................................................................35
 The New Bank of Canada .......................................................................35
 Belonging to the Ages .............................................................................36
 There Is Nothing I Can Say .....................................................................36
 A Tribute .................................................................................................37
 Round Bales in Autumn ..........................................................................37
 A Traveler‟s Momentary Delay ..............................................................37
 Rail Surveyor ..........................................................................................38
A Posthumous Major Poet .........................................................................38
Art as Meditation .......................................................................................38

Wakefield Seniors Trip to Niagara Fall

  Overwhelmed by Riches .........................................................................39
  Fashion Parade ........................................................................................40
  Profundity................................................................................................41
  Four Ice Ages Have Passed Through Here .............................................41
  Blown off the Band Stand .......................................................................42
  Niagara-on-the-lake ................................................................................43
  Real Winos Don‟t “Taste” Wine.............................................................43
  Man and Dog in Van ...............................................................................44
  The Last Workman..................................................................................44
  Where All Others Have Failed ................................................................45
  Maybe the Seagulls Know ......................................................................46
  The Day the Slaves Rebelled ..................................................................47
  Over The Rainbow ..................................................................................47
  At The End of the Vineyard Row ...........................................................48
  A Good Way to End the Summer ...........................................................49
Another Spaghetti Western ........................................................................50
The Last Day of Autumn............................................................................50
Hyber-nation ..............................................................................................51
Keeping Warm ...........................................................................................52
Brownie ......................................................................................................53
Early Moon-rise .........................................................................................53
The Year the Red Sox Won the Pennant ...................................................53
Three Perspectives .....................................................................................55
The Sad Truth of the Matter.......................................................................56
It‟s Your Choice .........................................................................................56
For Example --- ..........................................................................................57
Global Refus - II.........................................................................................57
Owner Assisted Suicide .............................................................................58




                                                                        2
S




    1
KATING TOWARDS THE SETTING SUN




              2
1
                         KATING TOWARDS THE SETTING SUN


It‟s “Let My People Skate” all over again.


Day‟s end
The lake frozen
Skateably perfect
The setting sun
Just above the trees.

We arrive,
And
Rush out to take the obligatory archival photographs.
Rush for the far side,
The sunlit side,
Rush towards a backdrop of glowing rock outcrops.
And beneath our gliding feet,
Nearly perfect ice,
The last rays of sun, as always, rich.

Now,
Duty done,
Leisurely wending our way back
The Sun before us
Sending sublime messages to our brains
Before sliding into nothingness amongst the stark Winter trees.
Me,
Wondering
Whether it`s better to continue skating towards the setting sun
Or start to skate away from it
Whether to resist the end of day
Or
Accept it with grace.


                                                      27 Dec 2003



                              BEWARE OF FALSE MANTRAS


Catholics say a prayer and move on to the next bead
In order to communicate




                                                2
Buddhists have prayer wheels
Or
Stare at a spot on the wall
In order to communicate.

Farmers begin again
With each cycle of the season
As do baseball players.

For office workers
Work weeks are mantras
But in a mind numbing way.

We Canadians though
(And perhaps a few others too),
Have our special mantras for both the cold and warm seasons.

In Winter
We sit and rock
In front of a lovely wood fire,
Rhythmically undulating to the cadence of our thoughts
While staring at the dancing flames.

In Summer, too,
When we move our rocking chairs out to the front porch
Some of us can still watch the dancing flames,
Only now
They sparkle and dance on one of our many cold Canadian rivers.

In all
Of the above cases
Love
Is being communicated.


But there are other mantras too.
Those more sinister
Those of the mesmerizing sounds of marching jackboots,
Of the withering rat-a-tat-tat of machine gun fire
And the repetition of messages
That the spin doctors are sending to us

These too are mantras
Except that in these cases
It is no longer love that is being communicated
                                                      2 January 2004




                                                  3
                                APPLE BLOSSOMS IN SPRING


IT,
The most difficult thing to take in life
Is not
Being born,
Growing up
Or for that matter
The loss of puppy love.

In each of these cases,
Regardless of the loss,
Perhaps lamentably,,
Life goes on
Hope returns.

Of course
IT,
The most difficult thing to take in life
Is the “end game”
You know
When you‟re the surviving elder in the family
The widow
Widower
The one that‟s left
After “the truth is done---”.

Oh
If you‟re lucky
There are descendants that can distract you and religions that provide capital “A” answers
But for those of us
Who are not afraid to be naked
(Or have no choice)
The end game
(Some call it the dwindles)
Is the toughest thing in life

Oh we may tell ourselves stories
To make ourselves feel better
But you know,
When they take away our hard won toys,
Rip them from our hands one by one
Without explanation,
(Except perhaps for a hopeless shrug)
That,
That
Is the most difficult thing to take.
                                                4
And
I don‟t have any answers
Except, that is,
For apple blossoms in spring.


                                                    3 Jan 2004


                                          NOT TONIGHT


I‟m not going to listen to the news tonight
Not turn on the 5 o‟clock radio
To tune into more death and destruction.
I‟m not going to turn on the radio tonight.

Oh
I know that we need to visit the dark from time to time
In order to better appreciate light
And that
It would be no fun
If we lived in the light all the time.
After all
It would be rather boring
To spend one`s life specializing
In detecting the subtle differences between
Egg-shell white
And
Snow white.

But nonetheless
For tonight at least
I`m
Not going to listen to the news
Rather
Just sit in the light,
Sit in my little home at the end of day
Log fire,
Dogs,
Wife,
All around.
Each of us
Appreciating our moment of peace
Together.


                                                    10 Jan 2004



                                                5
                                     RE-EXAMINATION


Having reached another grand milestone
(It doesn‟t matter which one)
And
Having decided to tear down my latest wooden forts,
My icon infested shrine.
Tear down another of my kids` forts,
Gleefully throwing off
Tacked-on-weathered boards.
Taking off
Ancient storm windows
That were used as lookout turrets
Through which we could watch for the mythical enemy‟s approach.
From the land or by air.


And finally,
The fort gone,
Standing naked,
Dressed only in my father‟s slippers
My faithful wife by my side,
Surrounded only by ruins.
She,
Wondering again
Why I have to go through these self examinations
Wondering
But still holding hands
Looking around at the rubble
Looking at the scattered bits and peices
Of all the things we had so lovingly placed around the house and dusted.

She
Tentatively reaching for one of the rubbleized icons
Thinking about saving it
And perhaps
Everything else
But then
Drawing back
Somehow sensing the wisdom in my never ending stupidity
My never ending quest
To start our church all over again.


                                                    11 Jan 2004



                                               6
                             THERE’S A TREE IN MY WAY - III


Tree time
That time of the year again.
Sun blue sky
No wind
Snow boughs on the spruces across the driveway.
The river on the other side of our river road
Frozen solid.
Once again
The tree is shielding me from the rising Sun
Shielding my eyes
Tree time.

And,
As I write,
I digest the latest news
Two manmade robots are wandering about on Mars,
While wise men debate the big bang
And
The importance of Einstein‟s fudge factor.
I wonder whether the tree or the Sun are aware of these robots
And
If anything
What do they think about Einstein‟s fudge factorÉ
Probably
Nothing at all.

By now,
The slant-climbing Sun is clearing the top of the tree
And
Appears to be delicately poised
Ready to leap
Much like Frost‟s “Swinger of Birches”.

Perhaps therein lies the answer.
Perhaps
Each morning
We,
Like the Sun,
Must rise up,
Kick out,
And then
Allow ourselves to be lowered back to Earth
Ready for another day of work.
Another day begun.

                                                 7
Perhaps
In reality
That‟s all there is.
Not too shabby
Eh?


                                                     18 Jan 2004



                                      ALL IS FREEDOM


My walls
Do not imprison me,
Nor should yours.
My walls keep me warm
Even when the cold winds blow
Even in the dark of night.

True
Like you
I long to be free from my walls
Free to fly
Fly the way I think I remember
Free to become all the things that God meant me to be
All that is within me
All that I want to manifest
All that my parents wanted me to manifest.

But mark you this
Lack of Freedom is only an illusion
For in reality we are free,
If we want to be.
Even if we think of ourselves as not
Even if we see our protective walls as those of a prison,
And
Ourselves as prisoners.
Prison is only in the mind
There is no freedom
All is freedom.
There is no prison
All is prison.


                                                     27 Jan 2004




                                                 8
                                                      SHAZAM


Master Po visited the other day
Visited me to help celebrate another birthday cycle
Left me presents
Tapes of our heros
Ginsburg,
Dylan,
Sandburg,
And Omar Khayyam.
All of which I dutifully listened to.

Perhaps I thought
While listening,
Perhaps the ultimate truth is hidden here.
Perhaps Master Po is leaving me the final clue.

And,
In truth,
It was lovely to hear the past-
Alan‟s holy ranting
Bob‟s courageous selling out
Carl‟s pontificating
And,
Of course,
Omar saying live in the present.
All sounded magnificent
But all
Sounded like voices from the past.
Voices that were no longer alive.
Each
Only long gone moments in time
And
Imperfect at that.

Only the present is real
Only the present is perfect
Only Master Po‟s visit exists
And that too
Was over too soon.


                                                      21 Jan 2004




                                                  9
      ONCE WITH ALAN GINSBERG IN THE WAKEFIELD GENERAL STORE


Oh ass-hole seeking poet of my youth
Organizer of,
Leader of, a generation
Who ended up like all the others
Using big brother
Loving big brother.

Perhaps there is a string of us going back through time
You
Talking with your mentor Walt Whitman in a “California Supermarket”
Walt talking with his idol
Et cetera
Et cetera

Perhaps each of us ends up
Looking back with despair
Talking with our poetic fathers
And realizing hat were also no better off.
Perhaps my Wakefield General Store,
Your “California Supermarket”
Or Walt‟s whatever
Is each no better.
Perhaps my return to the basics too
Return to all-over-again
Is no better than yours or his was.
Perhaps finding solace in a river
Finding solace in a village that time forgot
Is no better,
No better than your trying to escape the madness of our American kulture
By creating a counterculture
That could kill Golom
By ignoring him
By laughing at him
A culture that would save us from the bombardment of the Icons.

Will I too end up being surrounded by epigone sycophants?
I too thinking only about taking my next shit.

Oh great leader of our Lost Generation
Scout leader that took us out of the McCarthy Era
And
Into antiwar protest,
Tie dye
And gay-rights

                                               10
Oh great symbol-clapping leader
Squeezer of harmonium,
Oh great lemming leader
Are you proud of what you have done?
Are you any more proud than Walt Whitman was
Or
His mentor was
Or even I will be.

What will your spirit say,
What will our spirits say,
Our collective spirits ?
What will they say
As we sit together in that somewhere
Looking at the last gasps of our futile efforts
As the lights are turned out
And
As a new dawn begins.


                                                       23 Jan 2004


                              LOOKING FOR COMPANIONSHIP


Perhaps we‟re all looking for the same thing.
A warm breast to reach out to
To reach out to for comfort on a cold Winter‟s night
Reach out to
Underneath the bed covers
While our foolish heads
Still search for better ways
To achieve immortality.


                                                       23 Jan 2004


                                 MY FATHER’S LAST LESSON


I don‟t remember much about my father
But I do remember the way he died-
Throat cancer.
In the end
He couldn‟t eat
And
Didn‟t want any heroic measures performed
To keep him alive
                                                  11
So
As he wasted away
His end came slowly
With
His wits about him
And we
The family
Joked with him
Reflecting.

Not bad for a last lesson
Eh?


                                                   31 Jan 2004


                               A MESSAGE TO VERONICA


Great poets
Such as me,
And
Hopefully you,
Can only learn poetry yourself
From your heart.
And
The way you write
Has to be “YOUR” style.
Education about “poetry”
The process whereby “THEY”
Criticize you
While pretending to generously give you permission to be yourself
Is a bunch of crap.

The less you learn and read
About poetry
The better your chances
Of being a great poet too.

Remember that.


                                                   7 Feb 2004




                                              12
                                     MY WIFE THE MUSE


My wife of 40 years
Is the unlikeliest muse you‟ll ever meet.
Her body is lovely
But
Reflects her age
And
From time to time
(Actually its a bit more than that)
She says the stupidest things.
(At least that‟s what I think).

But
Nonetheless
If you ask me
She still does a pretty damned good job as a muse.


                                                     7 Feb 2004


                                  LETTING IN THE LIGHT


Lovely morning
Gentle snow falling outside
Truth
Descending from the sky
Dissolving icons
Mine
Me
My pride
Letting in the light.

For it is not up to us to protect all
To have Solomonic opinions
That other mere mortals are incapable of having
That only WE understand.

Hogwash!
In reality
The only real effect of our stance
Is that
Even with the best of intentions
We only end up blocking the light
Blocking light and preventing others from growing.
                                               13
Preventing the next generation from growing.
Even preventing ourselves from growing.

“And the real truth”
Says the falling snow
Says the snow as it falls
“Is that sometimes
It is better to let the veils of conceit fall away
Let the light blocking veils fall
Leaving us naked
Surrounded by the rest of the living world.
Our living world that will continue to grow
With or without us.


                                                          14 Feb 2004


                                     A MOMENT OF PASSION


Brownie,
The family dog,
Is older now.
No doubt about it.
His hearing‟s going,
His eyes are dimming,
His hair is matted,
Falling out,
And
Of course,
His strength is failing too.

It‟s been quite a while
Since he was a pup,
Since he had the strength to jump up on our bed.

Now
Sometimes
In Winter
When he takes his daily walk around the hill behind our house
He no longer has the strength to leave the trail to shit
Poop.
The snow‟s too deep.

Oh
He hasn‟t lost his sense of politeness,
Respect,
That only grows with age,
It‟s just that the snow‟s too deep.
                                                     14
And sometimes, too,
When he‟s lying in front of the wood-stove-fire
And
Goes to stand
He can‟t-
His rear legs just don‟t have the strength
So
He rests a bit
And
Tries again
Eventually,
So far,
Succeeding.

And
I‟m sure
That as you
The reader ages
You too have seen the same thing
Perhaps not with the family dog
Perhaps with someone else you love
Perhaps yourself.

But make no mistake
And take these outward signs of loss
As signs that the heart-
Your heart too-
Has lost its ability to love.
We who gracefully grow into age know better.

And of course
Brownie knows too,
Even if he isn‟t cursed
With the ability to write about it,
Even if he can no longer leave the trail.

Each morning
As it should be with all our lives
He and I have our routines
For starting our day.
For the most part
Our days don‟t overlap.
I,
Starting the coffee,
Bathing,
Getting dressed,
Everything in its place,
Each
Part of the mantra,
Each
                                                  15
Equally important.

For Brownie, too, it‟s the same thing
But different:
Morning trip outside,
Dog biscuit,
And
A myriad of other details
That I don‟t even know about.
Perhaps its better that way
My not understanding, that is
It might shake up my sense of superiority.

But “I was saying,
When truth broke in
In her matter of fact way”
I was saying
That each morning
Our mantras done
The marvel of dreamland gone
And
Another day before us,
I seated in the couch
Day‟s list on my lap
A cup of coffee beside me,
The world beyond
Just beginning to wake too.

Each morning,
Each and every morning,
Individual mantras done,
Brownie comes over
And
Buries his aging furry head
In the space between my leg and the sofa.
Me
Responding,
Us
Touching,
Our brief moment of passion
Acknowledging the source,
Love
Acknowledging each other
Acknowledging our love
And
Acknowledging that
Without love,
Love for each other,
Love for life,
All else would cease to matter,
                                             16
Perhaps cease to be.
But of course
None of that is said.
No need to,
Each Morning.


                                                      15 Feb 2004


                              THE MIND OF THE MEADOW


There‟s something odd about us human beings.
That is,
The way we embody so many different minds at once.

Morning conference
Me
My wife
Opposite each other
Me
Facing her
Facing the meadow beyond.

We talk about things:
Global politics,
Friends,
Ourselves,
The party we have to prepare for tomorrow.
Each different,
Each a different mind.

And from time to time
As we talk
My focus shifts from her
From the mind we are in at the moment,
To the meadow beyond,
To its mind,
A mind that stays the same
Regardless of which mind my wife and I are in.

Right now:
Morning,
Cold,
Minus twenty,
Snowy blanket,
First morning rays striking the meadow.
Cat tail and stubble
Poking through the whiteness.
                                                 17
All is still,
But make no mistake
The meadow knows the Sun is there
And that Spring is on the way.

And
Each time I regard the meadow
It‟s the same
Not like us humans
A bit of peas
A bite of potato
Add a bit of salt.
Not at all like us.

Out there
In the meadow
All is continuity
All is contiguous
Each part of each other,
Change only coming with the weather-
Cycles of the seasons,
Phases of the day.

Not like us
And our change-the-channel minds
That imprison us.

Of course
Within us too
Amongst all our other minds
The meadow mind exists as well
For otherwise
We could not see it,
Could not be part of it:
The coldness,
The snowy blanket,
The warming rays of sun,
The cat tail and the stubble
And of course,
Spring on the way

But perhaps in the end
Only meadow mind is important
Perhaps
When our plug is pulled
All our anthropocentric minds disappear
And
Only meadow mind remains
Especially the thought
That Spring is on its way.
                                          18
                                                       20 Feb 2004


                             ---SPEAKING OF MICHELANGELO


Poor Mr. Elliot
So bored
And
So angry.

“In the room the women come and go ---”
Poor old T.S.
Such a lonely man
Not being able to see
How much love one can express
Even with banal words
Spoken by apparently banal people
Such as me and my friends
Perhaps such as you
The reader.

Its a shame he didn‟t understand
How rich our verbal dancing is
In spite of its Quakeristic simplicity.
Its a shame he didn‟t understand
How rich the palm fronds in our rooms are
Even when they are not on the cover of Home and Garden Magazine
But only on the edge of our Prufrockian dance floor


                                                       21 Feb 2004


                                   THE MIND THAT I WAS


I am looking at the pastel painting of myself at age 5,
Or was I only 2?
Josef did it.
No telling what he saw
But,
Whatever he saw
Is there now,
Just as Josef is.
He‟s looking at the painting too.

But he is not looking in the same context as I.
He,
                                                  19
Josef,
Is looking at me as if I am still in his 14th street studio
And
He is looking at me,
Painting my portrait,
As I contemplate IT,
This thing that we are part of.

Now
No longer contemplating IT
But rather
An adult:
Surrounded by IT,
Awash in IT,
A part of IT,
But somehow still alive,
Having made it through to the other side
The way that Josef never did.

I hope that Josef can see this
As he sits here with me
Contemplating him and me
Then and now
I hope he realizes that
Even if he didn‟t make it through to this side,
I did,
And
I‟m trying to pay back the favour he did for me
Even though
He can only be here now
In spirit.


                                                         14 March 2004


                                 THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER


Through the magic of “Transcendental Insight”
I have just had the privilege
Of witnessing the beginning of time.
That‟s right,
Witnessed the big bang,
Witnessed creation,
And have lived to tell you about it.

Once again
The scientists have it all wrong
The Big Bang was not at all primordial
                                                    20
But rather has been patented by Montsanto
And
Sponsored by a consortium including
Philip Morris, Royal Dutch Shell and the IMF.
The original big bang happened 4,268,472 trillion years ago,
But fortunately
The original sponsors
Have located the masters in their vaults,
Have remixed and enhanced it
And
Will soon be bringing it to a theatre near you.
Popcorn is optional
But can only be supplied by registered franchisees.

                                                     20 March 2004


                                  LAST JOB FOR THE DAY


End of day
Jobs done
Waiting for dinner
Which
Is still a half hour away.
I look at my list.
“Maybe”,
I think,
“Maybe I can get one more job done before dinner”.

I look up.
The sun is setting.
Slanted evening rays are radiating from the natural chaos in the growing field.
At this distance
My field of view is sufficiently restricted
So that its hard to tell
Without prior knowledge
Whether the sun is setting or rising.

I wonder if this is true with our lives too.
Perhaps
Because our field of vision is so restricted
We are confusing the end with the beginning
And
Forgetting the simple solution
That
You can tell which way you are going
By the direction that the shadows are moving.



                                                21
                                                     22 March 2004


                                            ICARUS


If you really did get your wish
And
Suddenly could soar into the unknown that surrounds us
It would probably make you autistically crazy
And
Probably dead.

Its much safer
To watch the rays of setting Sun on the field
And
Enjoy the end of day.


                                                     22 March 2004


                             TWO APPROACHES TO NOTHING


Glennis fills her nothings
With thoughts from books.
I fill mine
With the last rays of the setting Sun.


                                                     22 March 2004


                               THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER


The truth of the matter is that
Even when the Sun sets
The field is still there
Is still alive
And that
Even in Winter
When all is covered over with white
The field is still there
And
Still alive.


                                                     22 March 2004
                                                22
                           “IT’S STILL THE SAME OLD STORY---”


In the old days
When day ended
And
I was on an “acid trip”
I used to believe
That I was about to see the real meaning of life
And
Would panic.

Now,
Day ending once again,
My two dogs in front of the log fire,
One looking enviously at the other
As it chews on a piece of bark.,

The real meaning isn‟t that scarey after all.


                                                            22 March 2004


                             HE FALLS AS THE LEAVES DO FALL


I was fortunate in that
I always failed in attempting to live life to its fullest

As a result
However
I avoided burning out.


                                                            22 March 2004



                                 PLAYING POOL WITH WORDS


Writing poetry is like shooting pool:
When you write
You always have an objective in mind
And a plan for how to proceed.
Then
All you have to do
                                                    23
Is aim,
Shoot,
And let the ideas bounce off each other.

Of course
Some things don‟t quite work out as planned
But that‟s al right.
Hopefully
You enjoyed playing the game
And
The company of the people you played with.


                                                           2 April 2004


       10 IMPORTANT FACTS THAT WILL HELP YOU GET THROUGH LIFE


1. Dawn only occurs in the early morning.
2. Light always casts a shadow
3. Burning fires are usually hot.
4.Empty chairs have no one sitting in them.
5. Ice Skating can only be done on ice.
6.The existence of data ONLY means that something has been measured.
7. Water wants to go down. Trees want to grow up.
8. Cats always sleep in the same position that they are lying in.
9. Upside down bathtubs don‟t hold water.
10. Clever people who question the above rules are going to die anyway.


                                                    4 April 2004

                                      MORE AND LESS

The reason that “more”
Is ultimately unsatisfying
Is that
We don‟t really get
To enjoy the newly acquired more
Before our socially induced addiction for “more”
Kicks in again.

The value of less
Is that we get to enjoy what we already have
More
And
Who knows
In the end
Perhaps get to enjoy the ultimate “less”,
                                               24
Ourselves.
                                                     7 April 2004


                                      SELF DESTRUCTION

Future-shock has arrived
And
Even if we think it‟s not our fault
It is
Because it‟s our society that‟s doing it.

Maybe mankind‟s self destruction makes sense
Maybe jumping out of a burning World Trade Centre makes sense.

Maybe the reason that we‟re self destructing-
Smoking more,
Piercing our bodies,
Taking too many drugs,
Drinking too much,
Overeating and becoming diabetic-

Maybe the reason that we‟re doing this-
Committing suicide-
Is that we already feel the heat,
And
Rather than suffering anymore
Are
Doing ourselves in.
And
Maybe it‟s for the best.
Perhaps the Earth needs a rest.


                                                     27 April 2004

                             CONTEMPLATIONS ON STOPPING


A morning breeze is blowing,
Sleeping life is awakening.
Yet
The Springtime field before me is just like any other-
Filled with detail,
Things of beauty
That we have no time to stop and see,
Stop and share with our own growing fields within.

And
Of course
                                                25
There are fields beyond,
The ones we can only see in our imagination
They, too,
Of course,
Equally rich.
All
Containing myriads of roads to be taken,
Not taken,
Ones we can only stare along
“Till they disappear in the undergrowth”,
Stare along
Before continuing on our own path.
Promises, promises, we tell ourselves.
That‟s why we move on,
That‟s why we keep swimming,
Avoiding drowning,
Avoiding drowning in the contemplation of the myriads of paths
That stretch before our feet,
Myriads of paths that we can only dream about-
Dream about and shrug
Before moving on.

And of course
The question is why not stop
Why not drown in the glory of the moment
The thought of all living things together,
All at once?

A morning breeze is blowing.


                                                    24 April 2004


               AN ODE TO “BRIDGE” PLAYERS FROM “500" PLAYERS


You bridge players think you‟re so damned smart with your ability to count cards
Remember what has been played..
Thinking that you‟re smarter than us less-anal 500 players
Think that it is better to know all the Latin names of the flowers in Spring
Rather than smelling them,
Smell them like we 500 players can still do,
Are still capable of doing
Because we haven‟t been dumb enough
To clutter our God-given brains
With the idiot-savant‟s ability to count cards.

Oh yes
I forgot
                                               26
This is supposed to be an ode to Bridge players from us 500 players
Sorry
I really didn‟t mean it..


                                                    23 April 2004



                                     THE SCULPTURE


Once
While aspiring to be an engineer
A brilliant family friend
Took me to his lab
And
Sculpted for me
A genuine crystal set radio
Complete with a hand-wound coil, earphones, Selenium crystal and cat‟s whisker
Which could magically pull the light-speed waves out of the air
With no power source
And magically place them in my earphones
So I could selectively hear
The dazzling sounds
Of the mysterious electronic reality,
A reality thst I aspired to grow into.

Now
Later
Awed once again,
Listening to the oncoming rumble of a Springtime thunderstorm
As it drifts across my river valley.
Nearby
Another piece of sculpture
This one fashioned for me by another brilliant friend
Its arms outstretched
Made from wrought iron pieces of this and that, that he had found around his blacksmith shop
A caryatid
It supports the extension of my drain-spout,
Holding it up
So that the storm charged run-off
Will cascades into my burgeoning garden.

Once again
Just as with the aid of my radiolistening device
I can hear voices from another reality
A reality that comes from a world other than our own.
Here
I am listening to the heavens speak,
                                               27
Speak with a language that I don‟t understand but am part of
Rather than in a language that appears understandable
Which unfortunately
Is really saying nothing,
Never did.

                                                     4 May 2004


                         LOOKING THROUGH A PANE LIGHTLY


New York City apartment
Circa 1955
Sitting in front of my 10" black and white RCA TV set,
Sitting in my living room
Looking up now and then
Looking out over a distant Hudson River
Looking at an unattainable world beyond
Looking through a soot encrusted window
My mother an inmate in Bellevue.

Now
Looking up once again
And
Looking through another pane
This one clean.
Looking at the rushes growing on the far side of my pond
My four Pekin ducks paddling about
Examining the new pipe I installed
To insure that the Spring melt
Doesn‟t wash out the pond‟s far embankment.
And inbetween
On our driveway
My wife is greeting a friend
Who has just gotten her bicycle working for the first time this Spring.
Sure beats my New York City apartment.


                                                     16 May 2004


                             KEY RESEARCH DOCUMENT #37


In order to truly understand Philip Cohen
It is of first and foremost importance
To recognize
That in his later productive years
He truly loved the richness of the World
                                                28
And the pleasure he derived
From how much he was a part of it.

It was for this reason
That he stopped feeling that it was important to write Poetry
Since all about was poetry
All was beauty.


                                                      16 May 2004


                                    CANADIAN FLOWERS


Canadian flowers in a Springtime garden.
Theater-goers
About to see a play
All having endured and shared another Canadian Winter.
Milling about in the formal gardens outside the stately theatre.
They stoop to read the bronze plaques that identify the plants
“Butterfly weed”
“Lupine”
And a whole host of other common names.
For this is not just another garden of “exotics”
This garden is just as native as we are.
And
Because its Spring
All the flowers in the garden
As with all spring gardens
Are dressed in their Sunday best.
Iridescent blue
Sexy pink
Sun-warm yellow
All singing
All in accord.

And too
The human flowers
My fellow Canadian flowers
We
Dressed for the theatre
Dressed too in our Sunday-best
Dressed up in our own Spring colours
About to enter the theatre
Glorying in the return of Spring
Glorying in the thought of what is growing in our own garden.


                                                      22 May 2004
                                                 29
                                      WHERE’S WALDO


In the doctor‟s waiting room
One of the ingenious coffee table books
Invites us to find Waldo.
A cartoon human
Hidden on a huge page
Filled with bustling activity.

And I
Like most others
Take up the invitation and search.

But what am I really searching for?
THE answer?
Sunshine?
A better political system?
Salvation?
Belonging?
Love?
Or perhaps a scape-goat
On which to hang my frustrations.
In any case
I am not finding the answer
I am not finding Waldo.

But isn‟t that what competition is all about
Isn‟t that what supply and demand is all about.
If they didn‟t give us Waldo to search for
We would become frustrated and revolt against out “Democratic Keepers”.
That‟s why THEY-
The market-
Provides us with just enough coffee table books
Just enough to keep us engaged
But still productive

You know
Religion
Sports
Politics
Health
Relationships
Etc.
An open market
Where we can each carry on our search for Waldo
But of course
Only to a point of balance
                                             30
Balance between supply and demand
A balance THEY hope will keep us entertained
While we sit in society‟s waiting room
Waiting to be cured
Looking for salvation
Not realizing
That we are the Waldo that we seek.


                                                      4 June 2004


                                  REFLECTIONS ON “1984"


Nineteen-eighty-four,
George Orwell‟s year
The year I came to this Wakefield land
The year my real growth began.

Now
Twenty years later
There are three white ducks on the pond,
Pekin ducks,
The breed that the celluloid ducks in Duckburg are modeled after.
A breed that has been genetically modified over thousands of year so that they can‟t fly
And
Can only look longingly overhead
At real ducks as they pass by.
I look at the reflection of these three ducks
Living on the pond
Their pond
Their pond that at least four generations have known,
Starting with George Orwell‟s year.

I look at their reflection
Reflections of my own Disneyesque past that still surrounds me.
Its too bad that Walt didn‟t look at his prototype of Donald
And come up with an alternative definition of who we are
Of who Donald is.

Instead of seeing Father Donald as self centred
Single minded
Grouchy
And
very territorial,
He should have created Donald
Not as a reflection of the madness of Duckburg
But rather as a reflection of the world that surrounded its denizens.

                                                 31
If he had done so,
I would be seeing the reflection of my three ducks differently.
See that their images are reflected
On the ripples in the water
That has been created by a breeze
That comes from somewhere far off,
That the images of my three ducks
Are not of Donald at all
But arise out of a world that we are part of
That are reflected through the filter of the living world that we are part of
Not through Walt‟s filter
Or for that matter George Orwell‟s.


                                                       13 July 2004


                                         CHILD’S PLAY

Modern day
Water-slide amusement park.
A string of ants
Carrying their colourful inflatable on their heads
In a soldieresque line.

Carrying lovely shards of green leaves on their heads
Carrying it back to feed the larvae
While the queen produces more and more eggs
Preparing for the next generation.


                                                       15 August 2004


                                 VILLAGE POET’S HOLIDAY


I have been training in my Wakefield dojo for some time now
Parrying and thrusting with sparing partners from my village family
Practicing for the day when I would re-enter the world that lay beyond my village‟s frontiers.
Practice-sparing with my fellow spaceship-voyagers
Helping them to become strong and agile,
Helping me to become strong and agile
Preparing for the day in which I would venture forth once again
Preparing for NOW.

Now
Seated on a long distance bus
The journey beginning.
My hills,
                                                  32
My Valley,
Disappearing from view.

All is changing.
I‟m passing through Mattawa
Home of legendary logger Big Joe Montferrand
Sailing up and down
Bigger-than-life hills
Just as bigger-than-life the legendary Joe was.
“Parry, thrust,”
I repeat to myself as I start to be overwhelmed
As I am blown away with higher-order-of-magnitude vistas
And long straight ribbons of highway
That make me think that I am looking through the wrong end of a telescope
Roads that are so straight and long
That my bus can pass two eighteen wheelers lumbering up a hill.

“Parry, thrust” I repeat to myself
Trying to stay centred.
Don‟t be overwhelmed.
All situations are the same,
Only different.
No situation is different than any other.
All you have to do is parry, thrust.


                                                     31 August 2004


                                 ANOTHER NOTE TO ALLAN


Now
Returning from the other side of one of the world‟s many essential singularities
Leaving Moosonee
Leaving James Bay and the edge of the Arctic
Slow moving express train from the past
Passing South over the Moose River
Coming back from the edge of North
Coming back from staring at the beyond.

The moving train
Creating a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of light and shadows
Creating a kaleidoscope
As the setting sun flits behind the passing trees
As the setting sun slides behind
Back lights somber clouds.

Oh,
I too have seen
                                                33
“The best minds of my generation
Running stark naked through the negro streets
Looking for an angry fix”
But I have also fallen out of Allan‟s Global Village paradigm,
Have fallen into the outside world
No longer concerned about the fallen World Trade Centre,
No longer worrying
As I ride the train back from Mosonee
Riding the train back to rejoin Allan‟s crumbling world,
Our world.
Wondering what Allan would say now if he were me
Knowing that there will be life after our civilization‟s imminent demise.


                                                     1 Sept 2004


                               DOME CAR IN SETTING SUN


Hurtling South through Northern Ontario muskeg
Coming back from an edge of The True North
The setting Sun to my right
Our straight line swath through ancient forests
Our Zen arrow
Lunging on towards the horizon.
I pause to wonder
An elephant‟s-eye-mackerel sky above my head
Pause to wonder.


                                                     1 Sept 2004


                                    BEETHOVEN’S BEST


Beethoven‟s greatest symphony
Was one he wrote after his death
Wrote one day while the setting Sun
Was backlighting a lush background of distant evening clouds
Was backlighting cascading waterfalls of wispy-white foreground gossamer
With strident brass and plaintive oboes added for colour.

All of this being played out on our Earthen stage
As it bent away
Just beyond the grasp of our mental horizon.


                                                     2 Sept 2004
                                                34
                                               ILLUSION


There are no new worlds to be discovered;
There is no India across the Atlantic,
No West beyond the Rockies
And even no Pacific that lies beyond our land.

There is no future,
No new worlds to be discovered,
Only Now,
Only the moment
Moments that take our train past Medusa-fied forests of humans
Turned to stone by our electronic global-village
Moments in which we come to realize that this train has no destination
Never had
That we are the destination
The only destination
And
We are there now.


                                                       1 Sept 2004

                                     THE LAST MARQUEE


Picture this.
South heading train
Setting Sun‟s rays
Projected on the train‟s Eastern inner wall
Passing through a filter of the spindly tops
Of a northern scrub forest.

Looking sort-of-like
The incandescent pixilated messages
Of the Philip Morris Marquee
That scrolled across the Times Square of my youth.

Now
The Sun is setting
The scrolling lights going out
Sliding off the screen
Only a faint afterglow remains up on the eastern wall
Perhaps a message to our civilization.


                                                       1 Sept 2004
                                                  35
                                       THE NEW BANK OF CANADA


I saw a new Bank of Canada the other day
And realized that
It was not just a puppet of the U.S. Fed. after all.

I saw the Bank of Canada
As a bank of evening clouds
Blocked
Filtered
And amplified
The magnificent gold of the setting Sun
Blocked out all except for the magical silver lining
That stretched before my bedazzled eyes.

And,
As the Sun emerged below this magic bank
Blazed its last golden rays before flaming out
As it passed between the heavens and the Earth
Blazed its last rich rays of gold,
I thought
At last there‟s a Bank I can be proud of.
                                                        1 Sept 2004

                                       BELONGING TO THE AGES


“And I saw rays of morning sun bending „round the Earth
Electrifying undersides of sleeping clouds along the way”1
Saw a Northern Sunrise
Accompanied by the passing symphony of a boreal forest
Saw the curtain rising on new future
Rising on another day
A new day
Heedless of yesterday‟s past

Saw the sunrise as I passed by morning fog on the fields
Passed through still sleeping villages,
Their street lamps not quite yet out
Even the dogs were still asleep.
Passed by fixed point cemeteries
Me
No longer mourning lost childhood
No longer seeking to perpetuate myself after death.

1
    Leave Taking Poetry 1972 page 47

                                                   36
Now
Just a passenger on the train
Enjoying the scenery
Enjoying my belonging to the ages.


                                                       2 Sept 2004


                               THERE IS NOTHING I CAN SAY


There is nothing I can say
To tell you of the textures of the mist on morning creek
As it drifts off to join the coming day.

There is nothing I can say
To tell you of the textures of a pioneer‟s farmhouse
Surrounded by its hard won fields,
The combatants not yet up.

And
There are no words I can use to convey
The sorrows and joys
Of your own ongoing struggle to continue to grow,
Only you know that.

There is nothing I can say.


                                                       2 Sept 2004


                                             A TRIBUTE


We must always pay tribute to the Sun
Regardless whether it is rising or setting
Even though we can never truly see it


                                                       2 Sept 2004


                                 ROUND BALES IN AUTUMN


Morning Sun warming rusted farmhouse roof.
First frost dusting on the tops of bales,
Round bales
                                                37
Round bales at rest
As they contemplate the grandeur of their Autumn field
Conscious only of the light
Not yet thinking about the winter to come
Awash only in the dawn,
Dawn of this rich golden morn.


                                                   2 Sept 2004


                         A TRAVELER’S MOMENTARY DELAY


The train stopped in the middle of nowhere.
“I wonder what‟s the delay”,
Sez my wife,
Looking up from working on her acrostics.
I do not answer.
I am looking at the lovely moss covered rocks
Outside the train window
That are basking in the warm morning Sun.
I am thinking how much they look like
The rock outcrops that dot the landscape of my own home
I am Wondering how my are doing.


                                                   2 Sept 2004


                                     RAIL SURVEYOR


If God would grant me only one more wish,
One more life to lead,
I would want it to be as a rail surveyor.
One of those who planned the spanning of our land in days gone by,
One of those who walked the endless miles of muskeg
Maps in hand
Planning on which side to transit a valley,
How to cross a stream,
Helpers at hand
Planning a future rail line
Planning a future
That would connect our insignificant outposts of dots.


                                                   2 Sept 2004



                                              38
                              A POSTHUMOUS MAJOR POET


He was a major poet
Only after his death
Because
During his lifetime
He could not be bothered
With such unimportant things
Such as trying to tell others what he was seeing
His time was too precious for that.


                                                        2 Sept 2004



                                    ART AS MEDITATION


In meditation
The essentials are to be centred,
Let go of whatever comes into your head,
And
To focus on Nothing
Or the equivalent thereof.

And, too,
As artists,
As we create our art,
As we saw and hammer with the tools of our trade.
It is also important
To say or do what is necessary
As best we can,
And then
As lovingly as we can
Let go and move on.
We are not the thoughts we create
Nor do we know how to execute them.
We are not the icons that we create.
We are more than that
And so it is with our art,
Our work:
We are more than that too.


                                                        9 Sept 2004

                                                   39
                               OVERWHELMED BY RICHES


Senior‟s bus trip.
Modern camel with plug in earphones
Tour guide with plastic name tag.
Guiding us
Lots of grey hair and aging bodies.

We are going down an early morning highway
Starting our day by being stuck in commuter traffic,
A daylong journey to Niagara Falls ahead of us.

Yet,
And yet,
In spite of this apparent drabness
I am overwhelmed by riches
For
The other seniors are my friends,
Friends from my small country village,
Embarking on our annual trip together.
Each of the travelers
Each of the lovely people seated around me
Part of me
Part of this rich world we live in,
All of us off for a hoot
And it doesn‟t matter how or where we are going.
As far as we are concerned,
The bus
The earnest hostess
Even the traffic jam are irrelevant.
For
No matter what we do
We will be overwhelmed by,
Be able to savour and enjoy,
Our shared riches.


                                                       20 September 2004


                                     FASHION PARADE


No-name parking lot,
No-name hotel chain,
And
Somewhere nearby,
                                               40
An over-commercialized Niagra Falls.
Across from me,
Across from my motel room,
Across the parking lot,
There is even an affiliated no-name restaurant.
One from which I have just returned
From pigging out
On an all-you-can-eat breakfast.

Now
Sitting out on my motel room balcony,
Watching my sated friends return
Bellies also stuffed with scrambled eggs and sausages.

I wave to them as they parade below
Rich too
Like me
We
Having come from a world where people can still be real
Don‟t have to nurse from the electronic nipple
And
Still carrying that seed within us.
Radiating that richness which we brought with us
From our no-name village of origin,
Returning to their rooms
So that they can prepare to continue the journey.

I cannot begin to tell you
How gorgeous my friends all look
Parading through this no-name parking lot.


                                                       21 Sept 3004


                                        PROFUNDITY


Alone
Settled in my contoured-foam tour bus seat.
I am here before all the others
Wanting to write something profound about visiting Niagara Falls.
Nothing is coming to me
I am staring out the tinted windows
Mesmerized by the swirling pastel of neon coloured signs
I can‟t let down my anti-electronic-reality shield.

Suddenly the homeostasis is shattered
Other friends begin to board the bus.
One lovely grinning friend after another begins to parade by
                                                  41
Stops to say hello
Genuinely wants to know how I am
Wants to tell me how they‟re doing
Interrupting my search for profundity
With our own profundity.


                                                       21 Sept 2004



                    FOUR ICE AGES HAVE PASSED THROUGH HERE


Tinted tour bus
The practiced animator
The practiced animator is describing the Falls
As we slowly drive by
“Four ice ages have passed through here”
She sez.
Four ice ages
I think to myself
As I
And my other ancient friends
Pass by
In a relative instant
In a tinted tour bus.


                                                       21 Sept 2004


                               BLOWN OFF THE BAND STAND



                                                  I

The melody is called “Niagara Falls”.
Not quite “A Night in Tunisia”
But nonetheless the soloist is swinging.
She is describing the attractions as our tour bus rolls along.

She,
A magnificent improviser,
We
An adoring audience.
She draws us in
Pauses
Does a Charlie-Parker-sheet-of-words
                                                  42
Pulls off a fast Dizzy Gillespie joke
And then draws us in with a soulful Chet Baker soliloquy.

                                                   II
“25,000 years from now
Niagara Falls will have crumbled
Will be in Lake Erie”
Sez she with a dramatic pause.
I can do that too
I thought
So I leap up to the band stand
Wanting to jam too
“The hotels, the restaurants, the casino
What‟s going to happen to them” sez I.
“Shut up”
She sez,
Pushing me back in my seat
As she continues to jam.


                                                        21 Nov 2004

                                   NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE


“Why isn‟t our Wakefield like Niagara-on-the Lake?”
Sez my seat mate
As our tour bus rolls down the “quaint” main street of their village.
“Just think of it;
Fifteen-hundred bed and breakfasts,
Forty-eight restaurants
Famous actors putting on classical plays.
And to boot, their village is surrounded by estates,
World class wineries,
And elegant tasting rooms.
Why isn‟t our Wakefield like that?”
“Lucky, I guess”
Sez I.

                                                        21 Sept 2004


                            REAL WINOS DON’T “TASTE” WINE


My wine-snob friends
Insist that “taste” is the real reason for drinking wine.
Colour,
Bouquet,
After taste,
                                                   43
Pour out the rest in a spittoon
And then
Clean your pallet with a cracker.

“Poop”,
As Dizzy Gillespie used to say,
“That‟s a lot of poop”.
We winos know
That the real flavour of wine doesn‟t come from the wine
But rather from its surroundings;
The friends you are with,
The laughter
And
The breezes blowing through your mind
As you sit on the outdoor stone patio.
Of course the percent alcohol also enhances the warmth.
Poop on bouquet.


                                                        21 Sept 2004

                                     MAN AND DOG IN VAN


I don‟t know them
Man and dog in rusted white van
The dog seated in front
They peer ahead together
Wondering where to go next.

We pass them in our tour bus
Looking down on them;
They cannot see us through the tinted glass.

I imagine them to be modern day explorers
Still believing that they will find the all-water route to India

We,
More modest in our objectives,
Just looking to be entertained,
No longer searching for the pot of gold.

Of course
Neither is more right
Or for that matter wrong.
Although
I suspect it‟s rather more exciting
To believe that the all water route to India is still waiting to be found.



                                                   44
                                                           21 Sept 2004


                                     THE LAST WORKMAN


The tourists
Gone now.
All is quiet.
In the distance
In the vineyard
A lone workman can be seen amongst the countless rows
Testing
Pruning
Tying up vines
Moving slowly
Methodically.

He is standing in between two rows of laden vines
Vines bearing rich clusters of ripening grapes.
Despite the immensity of it all
There is only one workman tending all these vines
Yet all is peaceful,
All is harmony.

The workman turns to leave,
Go,
The vines don‟t know it but this is his last visit.
He will no longer return.
The vines think they will not need him.

He leaves the field,
Walks past the formal rose garden and
Across the flagstone patio to the now empty manor house.
The lords and ladies have already gone and
The windows are boarded up.
There is no longer any power in the manor house
All telltale signs of habitation have disappeared

The Sun is setting
Never to return
The vines don‟t know it.


                                                           21 Sept 2004




                                                      45
                            WHERE ALL OTHERS HAVE FAILED


There is a gene in human nature
That is called
“Where-all-others-have-failed” gene
It kicks in
When we throw tantrums as babies,
When our proud parents watch us at music recitals,
When we fall in love,
When we get married and
When we buy lottery tickets.

You know
All those irrational beliefs of invincibility
That unhappily we outgrew.

But now I am free from all that,
An adult,
A senior.
I have in effect conquered the
“Where-all-others-have-failed” gene
And
Have gotten on with my life.
Now
I exercise a lot,
Bicycle 120k,
Run 10k,
Eat healthy food
Have a drink once in a while
Visit my doctor and chiropractor often
Enjoy a healthy laugh with friends
And
In general
Am putting myself in the position to be the first
To live forever
While,
At the same time,
Keeping my family and friends alive too.


                                                         22 Sept 2004




                                                    46
                              MAYBE THE SEAGULLS KNOW


For some time now
I have been observing our human madness
And wondering why
It continues unabated and unchecked
Even though it is well recognized
For the evil that it brings.

Perhaps the seagulls know the answer.
Perhaps
When they fly
Circle
Soar through our space,
Mankind‟s space,
Space that exists over our parking lots
And other man made dumps.
Space that exists in sunny parks
With man made lakes
Surrounded by picnickers.

Perhaps when they are sitting on the tops of cars
Patio umbrellas
And all our other man made roofs
They are observing
Taking notes
Analyzing
Reporting and
Watching.
Perhaps they know.


                                                     22 Sept 2004



                            THE DAY THE SLAVES REBELLED


“And just what do you think you‟re doing?”
Said the white shirted casino croupier
As he pushed the call button for security
As my friend Edmund piled three pieces of personally split firewood
On the odd square of the croupier‟s lovely forest green felt.
Edmund said nothing.

That‟s when Mary placed her two cherished calico cats on the red
                                                47
And
Larry Lafleur quickly bet the picture they took
Of the Las Vegas Dancer
Sitting on his. front row lap

And outside
Outside in the rest of the world
The power failed globally
The managers lost their voices
And the captains of industry burst into tears
Saddened by all the evil they had done,
The day the slaves rebelled.


                                                       22 Sept 2004


                                    OVER THE RAINBOW


Leaving Niagara Falls
My last view is of the rainbow in the mist above the Falls
Seagulls soaring overhead
And
Me still wishing I could fly too
Thinking of Dorothy‟s mournful “Over the Rainbow”song
About slavery and freedom
And all the dreams of my youth.

Now
The seniors‟ tour bus
Leaving Niagara Falls,
My beloved wife of 40 years beside me
Surrounded by my village friends
Suddenly realizing that I was “over the rainbow”
And
Wondering how I had learned to fly.


                                                       22 Sept 2004




                                                  48
                          AT THE END OF THE VINEYARD ROW


-“Maybe he‟s not coming”
Said one viniferous spectator to another.
-“No,
I can see him down at the end of the row”
Said the other
-”But he said something about not wanting to be recognized,
Enjoying his anonymity---.
He‟d rather be looking at us
Instead of marching down the row and having us peer at him as he passed in review.”
-”Look, I can see him down there, sitting, writing.
He‟s just enjoying us being who we are,
Looking at us all lined up
Our leaves fluttering in the breeze
Our branches loaded with ripe grapes
And cricket sounds of autumn in the air.
He doesn‟t need to march down the row to inspect us,
And anyway
Even if he did come
There would be no float
No roses
and no bands.
Why don‟t we just go back to enjoying the day
And forget about him.”


                                                      22 Sept 2004




                           A GOOD WAY TO END THE SUMMER


The senior bus trip to Niagara ending.
All of us subdued,
Tired.
Our minds drifting back to unfinished chores
And the routines of the winter that lies before us.

Summer ended,
The firewood already stored,
Vegetables harvested
And the winter supply of feed safely stacked.
“All that needs to be done”,
As my friend Connor would say,
                                                 49
“Is to tighten things up a little bit”.
Fix the torn plastic on the windows of the chicken coop,
Check to make sure there are no dead mice floating in the spring,
Adjust the angle of the automatic barn lamp,
Disconnect the river water
And
Drain the hoses before rolling them up
Putting them away.

Winter‟s like that you know
It brings out the other side of our spirit
The other side of our mind
Puts the Summer one back to sleep.

Oh yes
We still keep our oneness with our friends and neighbours
Darts on Wednesday
Cards every other Thursday
And riverside jam sessions to help fill the frozen stillness with dreams.

But we still have to let go,
Let go of our oneness with the natural world around,
Let it slide away between our fingers
As we search the cupboards
To find our tukes and mitts
As we reluctantly embrace the new season.


                                                       22 Sept 2004




                                                 50
                             ANOTHER SPAGHETTI WESTERN


Just think of the stars
And
The wonder they leave us with.

Now
Connect up the stars
Each and every one
With a piece of “Spaghetti Western”

Now
Instead of a sky filled with wonder
We have a sky filled with a mosh of spaghetti Westerns
Sort of like the world we live in today.

While we poets could live amongst the real stars
And forget the spaghetti,
We chose instead the role
Of wandering about our mosh
And
From time to time
Removing a strand or two
Cutting out a strand with our poetic scissors
And placing it before you,
Sort of like this.


                                                    27 Sept 2004


                                 THE LAST DAY OF AUTUMN


Autumn leaves ended.
The last day of Autumn.
The last tourist train has come and gone.
Only we locals remain.

Grey rainy day
Cold winds
Tearing off yellow leaves
They spiral back to Earth.

Grey Autumn day,
Windshield wiper day
                                               51
The last of Winter wood put away
The barn water supply finally insulated
The pipes for the new well
Covered over too.

Autumn ended
The wood fire started
The river no longer swimable,
It‟s too cold
(The river, that is).
It
Feeling the first chill of this year‟s ice,
Ice that will make its bones go to sleep.

And we too,
We humans,
Entering our period of dormancy, too,
Our period of sleep
Our period of bundling up
We too,
Surrounded by cold fields of crystal white.


                                                    10 Oct 2004



                                          HYBER-NATION


Enough of keeping up with the Joneses.
Enough of keeping pace with modern technology
Keeping pace with our cyber-nation.
This Winter I‟ve decided to hyber-nate.
My doctor has given me a pill,
That‟s perfectly safe,
Which will slow down my metabolism
And
Let me sleep through the Winter.

Of course
I‟ll be a bit scruffy
(Stink a bit)
And certainly ravenous when I awake
But think of the advantages
Think of the savings
No more shoveling snow
No more getting into cold cars
No more getting up in the dark.

                                               52
Of course
My wife
Who is not planning to take “the pill”
Is still undecided whether she wants my inert body beside her
Or
In a separate room.

Of course there are a few other problems
Such as missing Christmas and New Years
But nonetheless
Think of all the advantages.

Not only that
But think what would happen
If we would all hyber-nate
A nation of hyber-nators
Why
We wouldn‟t have to worry about higher Winter oil prices
Worry about green house gasses
Or keeping our pipes from freezing
To hell with Bill Gates dream of a cyber-nation
Up with hyber-nation
Just think of it.


                                                    23 Oct 2004


                                      KEEPING WARM


Sunlight is good
And
Fire is evil
But nonetheless
We need the two together
So that
When the sun is not with us
We can use the fire to keep us warm
Even though
We hnow that it is evil.


                                                    24 Oct 2004




                                               53
                                           BROWNIE


It‟s sad to see my dog growing old.
First lame
Then deaf
And then grouchy.
But now
He has returned to being at peace
Resigned
Living out his days.

It‟s sad to see my dog growing old.
And
Its sad because
Even though I know he has found peace
I have not yet
For I still fear the journey
Perhaps
I too will be lucky
I too will find peace before I die.


                                                     24 Oct 2004


                                      EARLY MOON-RISE


“Isn‟t the moon-rise early” sez I to my wife,
“Or is it just my imagination?”
“No”
She sez
“Didn‟t you hear on the radio?
The Earth has broken free from its orbit
And
Is heading into outer space.


                                                     24 Oct 2004

                     THE YEAR THE RED SOX WON THE PENNANT


I am not a baseball fan,
Never have been
Nor,
Probably ever will be.
                                                54
In spite of this however,
Because of my New York City childhood conditioning,
I have always been a Red Sox fan.

You see
When I grew up
In Manhattan
All my friends were fans of one New York team or another
The Yankees, the Dodgers
And
Of course the Giants.
In order to cover up my shameful lack of interest
I became a Red Sox fan
So that none of my friends
Could discern
My woeful lack of commitment to the American national sport.

Over the years
However
I think I even deluded myself
And
On several occasions
Caught myself crying when the Red Sox lost at the last minute
Or
Feeling maudlin when Ted Williams died.
“Stupid asshole”,
I chided myself,
“Its only a game after all”.

Which brings me to the present
The Red Sox have actually won!
Won the World Series
Finally won again after 86 years of drought.
While some of my peers
Aspired to be alive to welcome the new millennium
I realize now
That all I ever wanted to stay alive for
Was to see the Red Sox win.

So why then am I not elated
Why am I in fact
Rather sad.
Perhaps its the
“Not with a bang but a whimper” syndrome.
Perhaps I am too wise now
Have deluded myself into believing that
All victories only occur in a context
Are only local.
Hence,
No victory is absolute
                                              55
Perhaps the answer is to become unwise
To forget about “the big picture”
Think about the small victories;
Getting up alive each morning,
Being loved,
And of course
Having someone to love.
Maybe the meaning of life
After all
Is being cheered by such things the Red Sox winning

“---I would not sleep here if I could
Except for the little green leaves in the wood
And the wind on the water---”


                                                      27 Oct 2004

                                     THREE PERSPECTIVES

When I was growing up as a white Liberal New York City kid
I gleefully sang;

"This land is your land
This land is my land
From California
To the New York Island
From the Redwood Forests
To the Gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me."

Now,
As a Canadian
I gleefully sing to my frustrated American friends;

"That land is your land
It is not my land
From smoggy CA
To your city prisons
From the former forests
To the dirty Gulf Stream
That land is what you made of it."

But perhaps
If I were an aboriginal from this continent,
I would probably not want to sing at all
But rather
"---Beat the drums slowly---"
And
Remember.
                                                 56
                                                    6 Nov 2004




                            THE SAD TRUTH OF THE MATTER




No matter what we delude ourselves into believing
God does exist
And
A new Moses is once again in our midst.

The sad truth of the matter though
Is that today‟s Pharaoh
Is the President of the United States
And we are the Egyptians.


                                                    6 Nov 2004


                                        IT’S YOUR CHOICE


If you choose to play the Human Game
Then
Either you‟re a victim
A conquerer
Or
Even worse
You‟re stupid enough to waste your time deluding yourself
Into thinking that you‟re neither.


                                                    6 Nov 2004




                                               57
                                      FOR EXAMPLE ---

The hardest thing in creative writing is not the craft
But rather the ability to believably recall the myriads of luminous thoughts
That cascaded through your mind in a dazzling instant.

Preamble

The only thing that you need for the journey
Is the knowledge that continuity exists.

Step One

For some reason
People who try to understand “IT”
Get inadvertently overwhelmed by the tools of their trade
And
Rather sadly
End up in believing
That their one dimensional path is the way.
This will not work,
Is doomed to failure.
There is no path to “IT”.
The only way to get from here to there
Is to not try at all
But just “groove”
And let the power of Continuity take you there.


                                                     13 Nov 2004


                                     GLOBAL REFUS - II

À bas ”les Anglais”, L‟Église
Ils ne sont plus nos maîtres.
À bas les fonctionnaires
Les politiciens
Et tout les autres fidèles des nouvelles églises
A bas les hommes d‟affaires
Et tout autres “experts”
À bas nos “boss” qui gardent les murs de nos prisons
Qui “nous protègent”
Qui “nous protègent”
Relevons les peuples
Relevons nous-mêmes
Vive nous-mêmes.

                                                58
                                                     12 Nov 2004

                                OWNER ASSISTED SUICIDE


Owner‟s not the right word
But you get the idea.
Quote “Putting an animal down” unquote
Is too escapist
Too Hygienic.

Our big thick furred family dog of many years
Our dog Brownie
Has become deaf
And now,
He can‟t get up.
Can no longer climb the stairs
To sleep on the carpet at the foot of our bed
And he‟s too big to lift.

3 AM
I just went down to visit
He was on the hardwood floor
In the living room
In front of the wood-stove.
He‟s lying comfortably on his side
Partly on some scatter rugs we put there to help him try to get up
He still wants to
But can‟t
His body‟s given out.

When I came downstairs I touched him to see if he was still alive
Woke him
He starts when I wake him now.
He can‟t hear me when I approach.
Once he realizes it is me I can feel him smile.
I stroke his head
He lifts it for an instant
And then
Flops it back
Content
He still has enough strength to wag the tip of his tail.
His time has not come yet.

I pad back upstairs to bed
My wife of many years asks how he is
Comforts me.
Some day it will be one of our turns too.

                                                     27 Nov 2004
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