CRAFTING TRAUMA IN THE WINSOME WAY OF THE POET
for Joan Fiset, after the conversation on home
This is how the eye begins to see,
namesake and heritage of the DNA.
Physicists tell me that consciousness
is physical matter, and it washes over my brain
as testimony. Like in the Leonard Cohen song?
Yes. If you are fire, then I must be wood.
Then you know of the work of Svetlana Alexievich.
The recording of the hesitancies and reversals
in the human voice telling its way through pleasure
and danger. This is the academic exercise? Oh,
the poor, poor brain, being pushy again.
The shy side, where the poem wants to be born,
needs a bit of time. Wisps, hints, and hunches
are the midwives of birthing. And gestures,
like the way your father squeezes his nose
before speaking? Yes, kind of like that.
Sometimes there is a love story so simple,
I want to call for the end of words.
It’s a fight to get into the in-between space
where vertigo rocks what wants balance,
but that’s where invitations seat themselves
before falling or righting the ship. Sleeplessness,
sometimes serves as the door of awareness.
Home and home not. Home’s own
nothing doing. Gabriel says goodbye
to Adam at the edge of the park.
Adam hesitating, his one question
about love on the tip of his lips.
How is it with the Angels?
Gabriel with that penetrating smile.
25 January 2016
Joan comes in this afternoon
on the plane. It’s my granddaughter’s birthday.
She’s 10. We ski together.
I’m sitting in the old train station
drinking coffee from Rwanda
waiting for a young woman
who has decided it’s past
time to put it all into words.
I have this habit of reading poems
before looking at their titles.
The coin I purchased for my grand
daughter is an investment
in her life story. Joan
is one of the messengers.
The coin, designed
by Canadian artists
Tony Branco and Arnold Nogy
is a lightning strike minted in silver.
It shows a rocky island in Ontario’s
Georgian Bay with bolts of lightning
in a summer sky. When illuminated
with an included blacklight
bolts take on life-like intensity
and luminosity. If you’re 75
or older, you can leave your shoes on
going through security
as long as they don’t set off
an alarm. I know this because
I’m at the airport waiting
for Joan’s plane. Karen’s
with me, a witness. All of us
are under 75, carrying poems
as if our lives depended upon this:
that our poems pass through
Sitting in the Gobi-Rattler Room
this morning before coffee,
in the silent time. I have found
a way to turn another man’s
words into prayer, Lord.
It terrifies me, this reclaiming
of words. Once, in a mountain
village, a man in a collar
got off the bus holding every
thing he owned. The leader
of the village took a breath
and said, He can’t stay here.
He stayed. And he stayed
with her blessing.
She must have taken another breath.
22 January 2015
Deanna, Dee, Dee’s, Deez, Deez’s.
Dheezus to me. Rhymes with Jesus.
Know enough, now?
Know enough about Dheezus?
Know about the two of us.
Dheezus and Grampa.
That’s pretty much it.
15 January 2016
ASKING MY 8-YEAR OLD GRANDDAUGHTER
WHY SHE LIKES TO RIDE HE CHAIRLIFT ALONE,
Grandpa, the reason Sammie and I
like to ride the chairlift alone is this:
There are things you don't need to know.
15 January 2016