What Once Was Beauty…

from within the narrow tunnel
the howling paroxysm
of the sunspent sky
cunvulsions of hail & lightning
& all that had been, so subtle
so touched with that fair tip of
summer’s brush was blown wild & wide
with gaping seams torn, jagged gentle agonies tossed about like refuse
common became the corpse of such spendor

we sat, ragged & a little beyond,
in the netherworld, waking, but still finding the nightmare
lives & breathes, on & on


(Below, a small clip after it felt safe enough to return to the main floor after waking the kids & taking them to the basement) 


Our neighbour is a little wrecked up and that was the worst storm I’ve personally been in. Was super loud & super scary. Brief. But scary. Other parts of the city didn’t even get rain, while at our house it was so loud between the hail, the debris, the rain, and the wind I wasn’t sure that it wasn’t a tornado at the time. I was definitely concerned the willow would blow over. Had to get the kids out of possible harm’s way. Better safe than sorry. Made last week’s wind storm look like a sweet tree balet. I’ve never seen the trees bend that way. Wild weather these days. 

Not Once Was I…

Let me linger a moment, there in the pain of you; your lips trembled with a deep torture; your eyes fighting but losing the battle of loosing tears; your heart, I could literally see it dripping out of you, coming up your throat, sputtering & choking; the skin of you was heaving, barely remaining upon your bones; your mind had become a loud roaring hum of near obliteration; and not once was I healed by your pain. Not once was I skillfully, miraculously cured of my own agonies or my own sadnesses. Never have your tragedies made me triumphant.

Foreignity

watching this light—it is mine, this quality of ownership invades me & spirals out, encompassing 

I’ve no interest in this is your & this is mine & im foreign & you are native & this was theirs & then I stole it & then they lost & then we won, & ive no interest in stars or stripes or leaves or colours or ownership beyond a moment, the one now, where the trees have this particular sway, in this particular light, & this moment here, in this place, this is mine, this is mine, forever, this. is. mine. 

So Much Sun & So Much Rain

This constant equalizing
how it fades from one to the other
just to find itself in the other
the light pushing up the clouds
just to empty, just to shine
just to flood
like heaven & life & love
& the strange things of lore
rising storm to sky
to heart
like warmth whispers
to heat to sweat to
mist…& i’m not certain if
the cloud is beckoning or frightening
i’m not certain
but i know this heat
& i know the feel of wrinkled skin from just the rain, unsubmerged but entirely saturated
just like the colours that drench the inner walls of my soul, screaming,
light & dark
whirling…

Deep Water

These warm wedges—from life’s hot turbulence
Super compressing the little bones
Until they’re eeking black & poison

To syphon it up & ooze
To explode & become the fire upon the water, unquenchable & hissing
Tongues licking out & breathing under the
Thick smoked sky

This is death’s door, wide & welcoming
A seat given to every venturing soul.
How we wish life were so welcoming, cool & smooth & luxuriant, & so so sweet, kissing us as in we come.

The Long Read…

Once, many years ago, I learned to read. Like most children of North America, I learned at school. I recall my Gr.1 teacher painstakingly pulling a classroom of reluctant emergent readers through various tales of “Mr. Mugs” like it was slew-water, each child dreading their turn to read aloud before all the other dreading emergents. 

Reading became a sport. Skill & desire to participate were closely linked & some of us, tho perhaps not pre-school readers, had extensive home libraries where we had poured over books on long lazy afternoons. Our home library had been carefully stocked by my mother. We were nearly banned from consuming tv and so, books were our thing. Everything from picture books, large illustrated collections of fairy tales, bible based books for children & adults, comics—some my dad’s in German, some classic Disney & such—one memorable one was an illustrated version of The Hobbit, but we also had encyclopedias & science & nature books on so many subjects I simply could not get bored. “Reading” to me in preschool life had been a slow, leisurely consumption of information & imagination. 

Then, “Mr. Mugs” wrecked it all. Reading became, as stated, a sport. Competitive relays & speed & written reports & never a quest for genuine adventure. It was forced upon us all. 

I believe I retained some of my early joy of reading, finding treasure in Beverly Cleary & a plethora of horse novellas in the mid elementary grades. I discovered I preferred adventurous animal fictions & discovered Richard Adams, at my mother’s suggestion, and then moved in to Tad Williams, & that genre carried me into high school. High school became the ultimate attempt to turn love of literature to hate. Tho I loved most novels we were assigned, historical fiction beginning to really emerge as the perfect marrying of adventure & history education to spark my interest, for the most part, they take the driest, most detestable forms of reading, throw it at you, impose a deadline & report upon you, & expect you to enjoy it. Few if any do. 

Most develop a keen & awkward hate for Shakespeare & for poetry, for short story & certainly for writing about literature. School takes the pure adventure out of reading, stripping it down to the bones & leaving it unsalted. 

After high school, I began the classic adult life of the uneducated. Life gets hard quick & reading usually gets set to the side. Between 3am feedings & laundry, brains just don’t function so well, let alone eyes for words on a page. Over the years my reading consumption has been mostly spiritual in nature with the odd splurge on something fictional. 

I say splurge because it has been. I pick up a book, and in three days it must be done, at the cost to nearly everything in my life—the house is a mess, the suppers are barely made, kids are left to veg on tv—all while I binge on a book, or heaven help me, sometimes a trilogy. This has been how I’ve consumed literature for years—a guilty pleasure squeezed into a life overflowing. I’ve not had the leisure of slowly consuming a book. If it gets put down, that’s it. Game over. The book hits the shelf & isn’t likely to be picked up again. Life gets too busy & frankly, I lose interest. 

The first book I recall meandering through, perhaps ever, was The First Men in the Moon, H.G. Wells, just a few years ago. I slowly read it, pondering his writing, his skill at taking what little he must have known of the moon, and braiding this beautiful sci-fi from that knowledge. The characters were lovely & the adventure was so very real. It was a classic & instead of rushing it, I savoured it. 

Now, I’m working on book 3 in an eight book series, the writing having spanned from the early nineties until just three years ago. It is historical fiction with just enough sex I don’t care to recommend it—to each their own. But it is the long read. It changes times from the 1700’s to the 1900’s, the details can be cumbersome, quite unlike popular fiction these days which tends to be more like you’re watching a movie than reading a book, so it takes some amount of digestion & processing. I think I’ve gotten lazy. I’m more used to the easier reads now. But, because of the length of the novels, plus the amount of them, I find myself unhurried & able to set it down, days at a time, and return to continue the journey of these characters. 

It just dawned on me, that perhaps after a life time of school-taught reading style of binge consumption & hurriedness, this is how reading is meant to be. How nice. To just take your time, & read. 

It Feels Selfish

So, this is an unfair statement, but it is how I feel: when I hear someone who had family, talent, friends, money, everything that so many don’t have, have taken their life, I’m angered. Yes. I know about mental illness. Yes. I understand, they were in enough mental torment they chose this. But, man I’m angry. 

It makes me feel, snippy & defensive. My inner dialogue says: how dare you. When you had all that, to just disregard life and end it. How many people struggle & despite having far less, find a way to fight on. But, I suspect I don’t really understand mental illness to this degree. I have felt many times like we are all running from a black wave, a tsunami. I do. But then, a moment, one brief, minuscule moment & I can feel how quickly you can feel every pain is so worth this thing called life. 

That being said, I have a very strong belief in life & a hope after death, and a hope within this life that many don’t have. 

But I just feel angry. More than sad. I don’t understand how they can put those suffering life’s ills through yet another, purposefully. It feels selfish. How dare you inflict more pain on a world in agony. That’s what I feel. Nothing else. 

The Harder Days…

So among the thing seldom spoken of among pet owners are the days when you’re kind of just waiting for the inevitable. 


We’ve had Nysa (Nee-sa) for over a decade. She’s such a lovely dispositioned dog. We got her from a rescue society & to my surprise she has been the best dog I’ve had. She’s been my companion everyday, guardian to my kids, and a faithful watch in the night. 

The last few months she’s really slowed. She’s begun to seem disoriented and often, I will wonder if she’s dead on her dog bed as she stares at nothing, barely moving. This week I’ve begun to find blood on the floor, assuming it’s from her mouth, and she’s been throwing up water. Otherwise, she seems okay, tho she sometimes opts to be let out the door rather than going through the dog door. 

This morning, she’s super not herself. She’s been like this before, but not with fresh blood on the floor. She’s bleeding from somewhere tho I can’t find where & it isn’t obvious now. I would guess cancer. She’s lathargic & I’m feeling quite weepy about the whole thing because tho I’ve grumped about her hair overload, I know it’s getting time to take her in.

Funny how tragic these things feel. I kind of feel broken hearted because I know I have to make the call, probably in the very near future, unless she just passes away in her sleep. Which is what I want. No one wants to make that call. 


Her & Spitfire have always had the most special of relationships. Probably because Spitfire is her baby. Until these two, I’d never experienced how a dog can just love a child. X & Roxy have this same closeness.  Dogs & their children, so sweet. 

She mothered a litter of abandoned kittens & certainly mothered Roxy. 

These last days are just so hard to watch. I’m sad to know our days left with such a lovely creature are almost done. 

Rückenfigur

It is, from behind I approach

The crumbled walls of the silent Abbey—

Do you see it’s coming death?
The crosses & graves strewn about, gaping raw & emptied of their clutch-treasured bones

I hear the heaving oaks, creaking with abandon, disintegrating, where once, the mourning masses stumbled in their tears, in their agonies, praying to their silent gods & idols, mumbling little prayers while the Devil looked on, lighting candles, the flickering flames of every soul he’s savoured. 

I look from behind the moment when silence grips the Abbey, the echo of the forest smooth like water over the rocks & I’m not lonely—there the heavens lay, a wide wide sky, the clouds roiling, the sun lilting, everything capsizing & burbling up, history to future, future to eternity, where all the birds & souls belong, like orchestral notes making a whole. 

This, the crumbled Rückenfigur, of what once was the darkness of time & gods, unseen & black as agony. 

***   
(The much adored, Casper David Friedrich’s The Abbey in the Oakwood, probably best known for The Wanderer Above the Sea Fog, but really all his work appeals to the Romantics as we wonder what the story of his painting is.) 


Reaction Redacted

we spend childhoods learning
vivid response to stimuli
words & behaviours demanding
our Pavlov hearts to salivate
to grip & tear & smear ourselves
with defining behaviours

the sanguine of my soul, strong, equilibria, lively now
dulling down, learning to
unreact, purposefully
quietly
the hush so loud it deafens
my once pin-drop ears
learning to not react
to a motion of these tides—
how quickly the steamrollers roll
they come down on bones tenderizing
tissue & screams are gurgled & bruised &
expected

i redact all reaction
what looks to be melancholic is
phlegmatic—have you stiffled a scream? that is strength

what once was, quick & impulsive & soft & sweet & beaitiful & naïf is full bodied & aloof & dim & steady as the light in the fog

what a world of crimes i see, & all that i feel inside, i tamp down—but i am not numb, i am not numb