Monthly Archives: November 2011

Union Church

What if Jesus had been a union man,
and his twelve disciples had all been plumbers?
Or tool-and-die guys, or even
photocopier repair technicians?

Imagine the parables that might have been told
of leaking U-bends, and toner cartridges
found at the back of the supply cupboard,
right behind the post-its and motivational t-shirts.

His mother would have run the show
for sure – along with all the other stalwarts
who had paid their dues over the years.
You know the ones I mean – there’s always one or two.

In the end, the church probably would have been
better maintained, and letters and regulations
would always look just so. But you can be sure
the internal dynamics would be just as dysfunctional.

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Twenty years

Whenever I see her
picture, or hear a friend
describe what she
is up to now, I can
still feel her holding me.

Whenever I see her
name in print, or I smell
the sweet perfume she wore
for me that spring, the lust
I felt still shakes my core.

Whenever I see her
in a dream I know that
my heart’s still open to
her summons, and she can
crawl inside me where- or

whenever. I see her
breath on my window, I
taste her salt. I left, yet
still after twenty years
these dry bones won’t forget.

Trinkets

(a kyrielle)

A shadow hidden at the back
of her dresser drawer caught my eye
the day the movers came. I thought:
we keep things though we don’t know why.

A hundred foreign coins, a stack
of travel documents signed by
some long-dead border guard who fought
to keep things though we don’t know why,

a broken pocket watch, a black-
and-white shot of a compound high
in India, crammed in a box
to keep things though we don’t know why.

Tracing the alligator track
around this lid, I think of my
own collections, what I just bought
to keep things though we don’t know why.

Time stands still in keepsakes. We track
our past with trinkets that defy
every explanation sought.
We keep things though we don’t know why.

*** Terms and conditions apply

*** Listen, we know everyone likes a
good deal, but good grief, we couldn’t afford
the rent on these posh New York offices,
or the mural in the executive
washroom, if we actually paid out
on this outrageous offer. So get real:
you are not eligible if you are
bald, foreign, introverted or stupid.
If you’re a chef or a plumber, no way.
Pro athletes need not apply. Same for cops.
We love hunky guys named Cole.  (Just kidding).
Actually, unless you’re a drug lord,
you are willing to bonk our CEO,
or you have a lawyer on six figures
you can lean over and kiss your tuckus.
It’s time for our massage. Have a nice day.

What won’t wait

What won’t wait for you tonight? Take the car
and drive like Jehu through each stop sign far
across this sleeping town. Out of the mist
you carom down main, but draw no interest
from the wayward souls spat from Louie’s bar

too late and too far gone, their minds ajar.
No time to ask permission, or to spar
with strangers over places on a list;
     what won’t wait

is screaming at you here! Nothing can mar
such perfect clarity – the morning star
is crowning now. Now! Tonight you exist
only to be held by one tiny fist.
Leave the rest: the things we cannot plan are
     what won’t wait.

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