Wednesday, April 25, 2018



"Today," says Glo/NaPoWriMo, "we challenge you to write a poem that takes the form of a warning label . . . for yourself!" 

How Much Better Could You Have Lived Your Life

You smoked—nicotine, that is—at fourteen.

Your first hangover happened three years later.

How many times 

        have your wings been singed by the flames of addiction?

        have you lost/gained/lost/gained/lost/gained weight?

        have you wished you'd done things differently?

No matter what you're doing, you're distractible.

        Can't put an old head on young shoulders.

        Too soon old, too late smart.

        There are not enough aphorisms to save you.

Here I am with a deck of Aunt Nancy's smokes. I'd have used this photo had I found it first!


Tuesday, April 24, 2018



Today Glo/NaPoWriMo would have us "write an elegy that has a hopefulness to it." 

So without further ado, let's get writing!

Mom last week. I would have used a photo of her at the place referred to in the poem but poor Goldie Laptop is still trying to download some 50,000 (I know, I know) pictures so I can't access the one I'm thinking of. The poem I read her is one I wrote right here at the beginning of the month. Regarding the last line in this new poem, she's tickled pink!

I Promise My Mother a Poem

Yesterday, after I got her to put her hearing aids in,

I read a poem to my mother, 

a poem about her and me, 

the time we swam naked in the river, 

and after I was finished 

she asked if I would read it at her party,

should she be around for her hundredth 

in a couple of years.

I told her I will, and not only that, 

I'll read it at her funeral.




Goldie, my sweet little laptop, had to be rushed off to Emergency yesterday, so I didn't manage to post anything for National Poetry Month. After an intervention she was discharged late this afternoon. She's currently busy trying to recreate herself, but we've managed to get this far so...

I think I'll just try to play catch-up here.

Yesterday's prompt from Glo/NaPoWriMo was to write a poem based in sound. "It could incorporate overheard language" or "a song lyric" or "language from something often heard spoken aloud (a prayer, a pledge, the Girl Scout motto)".

Yesterday the unthinkable happened in Toronto. Ten people dead, people who were out walking in the spring shine, buying groceries, hurrying to appointments, doing what people do in a day. Like many of us, I'm both angry and sad.

Supertramp is one of my favourite bands, ever. When I get home (still house/pet sitting) I'll take my own photo of my own copy of this album. Meanwhile, this grainy, no doubt illegal screenshot will have to do.

Is Anybody Listening

All the world's a stage
still, there are bad actors
may we stop a minute 
appreciate what's good in the unthinkable
find heroes in places you'd least expect
pull hatred up by its bootstraps 
and still have time 
to squeeze a tear from a desolate eye
listen to a neighbour
hug a friend.

Crisis? What crisis?


Sunday, April 22, 2018



Another double hitter for you today. It's Earth Day, so first, here's a #bookspinepoem to honour that, this one thanks to books by Julie Bruck, Kate Braid, and Emily Kendal Frey:

"Today," says the wonderful word maven at Glo/NaPoWriMo, "I’d like you to take one of the following statements of something impossible, and then write a poem in which the impossible thing happens:

• The sun can’t rise in the west.
• A circle can’t have corners.
• Pigs can’t fly.
• The clock can’t strike thirteen.
• The stars cannot rearrange themselves in the sky.
• A mouse can’t eat an elephant.

If You Don't Watch Out, Said Mother Earth

you'll see an elephant turn to jello 
as mice creep out 
from holes in the sky the stars leave 
when moved by music
of a clock striking thirteen times 
and just as the sun rises over a western hill
a pig will abandon its precarious perch
high in a kauri and soar to ground 
cornered at last as the bellowing elephant
sinks to the ground beneath its jello-y feet  
while mice tie on their tidy bibs, dig in
for what will be their final feast 
—a square meal made of madness.


There you have it. Not sure how a New Zealand tree wound up in there, but that's Poetry Month for you. (I think I like the #bookspinepoem better). 

My trusty laptop is feeling quite unwell and has to go see the doctor tomorrow which means I may or may not get something posted over the next few days. (I'm away from home for a couple of weeks). But I'll be reading a number of your NaNoPosts! Over and out for now.


Saturday, April 21, 2018



Today, Glo/NaPoWriMo would have us play with the myth of Narcissus. "After reading the myth, try writing a poem that plays with the myth in some way. For example, you could imagine that imagine the water is speaking to you, the narcissus flower. Or you could write a poem in which the narcissus berates the Kardashians for stealing their neurosis. Or a poem that comments on the narcissism of our time, i.e. beauty and body obsession, etc."

Weird enough for you? Here goes...

Watch Me Watch

You want for nothing
yet feel empty, lost.
You have no clue 
how hard I work
to make you look as perfect
as you think you do.

I watch you watch me,
you with hair 
that begs a finger-comb
or at the very least, a flick.
Do your hands turn blue
in this nightfall cold?

When the sun goes down,
and my surface sheen turns black, 
you can no longer find 
yourself in me. 
You weep and moan,
how lonely that must be.

The look of consternation
on your face
when you lean in
and I allow the wind
to stir me as it does,
quite takes my breath away.

Come closer, little one,
come down to where
our lips might meet. 
In fact, come step inside.
Come in, come in—
my arms are open wide.


Friday, April 20, 2018



Yes, another #bookspinepoem is coming your way. I was out just about all day on behalf of poetry.

I drove to Balfour to catch the 2:50PM ferry over to Kootenay Bay/Riondel, which is where I was reading. 

Another view from the ferry from Balfour to Kootenay Bay.  
Longest free ferry ride in the world (or at least it used to be. Now that the new ferry is faster, who knows?)
 Got there in plenty of time to a) refresh my memory as to the location of the library and b) to go and park by the lake and work out (ie. time) my reading.

Riondel's library is now the home of the Riondel Historical Society. These two, Terry Taylor and Susan Hulland, are two members of the Society and have written books on the history of the area.
Susan Hulland was first up. She read a delightful section from a memoir she's writing about growing up in Oyama.  

Wendy Scott organized the reading. She's a lovely hostess.

Alanda Greene read an engrossing section from her sequel to Napi's Dance. 

Luanne Armstrong began her reading by showing us a couple of books she's helped midwife into the world.

Luanne then read from the introduction to her new memoir, due out this fall from Caitlin Press.

I read a few poems, including two that began life this month, right here on this blog. You can tell; take a look at this, for example.

I caught the 8:40 ferry back to my side of the lake by the skin of my teeth. Drove to Nelson where I'm housesitting for a couple of weeks. 
Not entirely sure where I'm supposed to sleep!

But I'll be okay

Oh yes! I promised you a #bookspinepoem and here it is, inspired by the absolutely incredible part of the world in which I'm lucky enough to live. Assisting authors: Catherine Anthony Clark, Jennifer LoveGrove, an anthology edited by Jodie Renner in which I have a couple of poems, and Miranda July.

Now to see if I can get a small corner of that bed. Thank you, my lovely, faithful readers, for checking in. I know who you are!


Thursday, April 19, 2018



I've been invited to read at the Riondel Library tomorrow night along with Luanne Armstrong, Alanda Greene, and Susan Hulland. Riondel, a lovely little village on the east shore of Kootenay Lake, is celebrating the official opening of the Historical Society's new location in the Library building. I read there last in 2015. Lovely community that celebrates the written word. The evening kicks off at 6PM with the readings from 7 until 8. Everyone welcome.

And as I'm putting together what I'm going to read tomorrow, here's a #bookspinepoem for Day 19 of National Poetry Month. With deep appreciation to Stuart Ross, David W. McFadden, Kirsten Emmott, Heather McHugh, and Rosemary Griebel.

I'm calling this one Finger Dogs Feel Serious. Yes?