Saturday, December 04, 2004


is now
a test tube
in my laboratory.
Surrounded by
bubbling beakers
and alembics, I
am peacefully at work
creating myself.
My foetus
is seated
in the test tube
like a fiddlehead
or a face
bowed in prayer.
His transparent heart
under a veil of skin.
glass bead eyes
stare out at you.

--First Published in Grain, Winter 1988; subsequently in Guatemala & Other Poems


The day stands, bright and still.
A sheet of sunlight through the window
lies square on the dusty floor.
I set aside this heart, sad and blind,
just to look.
The day stands, an altar in the sun.
Here, its golden mandala.

--first published in Pouèt~cafëe, Printemps-été 2002

It amazed him to wake up that fine morning and find himself staring through the same eyes at the same trunk, legs, feet and hands. He could move these objects up and down at his own will, and this he tried a few times: first a hand here, then a foot there. It was almost as if they operated by their own invisible ropes and pulleys.

After climbing out of bed, he discovered himself placing one foot in front of the other in little repetitive motions people commonly call steps.

"So," he said to himself, "I must be a human being now."

Why not an orangutan? or a grape?

This seemed very odd.

He made his way through crowded streets and sinuous underground malls. He entertained questions that he kept to himself because, fundamentally, they were ridiculous. Questions like: "Why am I just the same one person? Why not many people all at once?" Or, "Why do people go into restaurant washrooms and always manage to come back out again?" Or, further to the point, "Why do they all keep moving? Why don't they just black out, and collapse in the street?" (With this: a steady rain of bodies and briefcases thudding.)

Rather than content himself with answers to these questions, he began to write these lines . . .

Guatemala & Other Poems


He entered the mucky-webbed
Mossy-toed tree curtain:
Deep damp and green.
Shuttering eyes
Inclining ear in widening
he listened the lisping layers
the swzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
tr tr tr ’nnn KICK! KRICK!
wizzuw wissuw ’nnnn
wuff wuff wuff of wings
into wild waterfalling
shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh of leaves --
’Till the lashed lids raised and the light slashed in
trunks rising out of his eyes like serpents slendering into
women’s arms that crotched and veined into sky blue speckles
Wissssssssssssssssssssssspidernet galaxies
Limp between the limbs.

Oh good this was, so good!
He shuttered his eyes again
breathed deep deep the tendrils and shoots
salamanders ’nnn twisting fornicating bark
blooming feathery lilies deep in lung ’nnnn
all the wet mushrooms
exploding in his mouth like a heart.

“Fragula cathartica,” he thought.
“Cathartica orgiastica!” he shouted and stood up.


Crouching low again –
Inhaling all the jungliness.

Did it matter now
That his watch still ticked
Spreading the span
Of its golden talons on his wrist?
5:31… 5:32 … 5:33 … 5:34 …
fidget . . . fidget . . . fidget . . . . . fidget . . .

He rose and strode out into the sun.

Guatemala & Other Poems

In the corner of the garden
The woman clutched herself. She rocked.
Her sobs were a violent laughter.
All around her, almond trees bloomed.
Birds cheeped in a nest, somewhere high up.
On the other side of the garden wall
Two men discussed the falling prices
of sugar, oats and gold.
Their voices were quite audible.

Guatemala & Other Poems


"Once upon a time," he said.
"Once," he said.
"Upon," he said.
"A time," he said.
Why once? Why just once, among at least two hundred billion humans living or dead, sixty-five hundred quadrillion organisms, one thousand decillion octogintillion septenseptuagintillion to the power of googolplexplexplexplexplexplexplex of stars, gas giants, comets, meteors and whirling cold clumps of earth? Why once?
This upon. Upon a time. How upon? A time, especially a time? How can anyone be upon a time? Why not within? Without? Inside? Out? Under, over, in front of, back of, beside, above, beyond?
"Twice beneath a time."
"Thrice beyond a time."
"One hundred thousand three hundred and forty-six nonagintillion duocentillion sextendecillion times without…"
…a time? Why not space? Space-time time-space space-time times time-space?
Why a? Why not the? Why not beyond above beneath in back of in front of a or the? Why not between a and the?
"Thrice throughout the spaces, two dwarfs and a bear…"
"Forty-nine times within outside a space-time discontinuum, this raven-eyed witch…"
"In a nonillion of spaces contained within each other, beyond all time, beyond all space, here now but not now ever, there was this golden-haired girl …"
"Ninety times twice times thrice at least, this time and last time, and indeed, within a moctogentillion googolplexplexplexplexplex of non-times and non-spaces repeated over and over within time/space multiplied infinitely inside a realm of unrepeatable nothing/something void/fullness, there was - will be - this man, woman, shall we say character, this non-person personage, who cannot ever be or say or even pronounce without an everlasting transient strangeness







First published in CONTINUUM Time: The 4th Dimension (Cranberry Tree Press Annual Anthology, 2004)