Other People’s Poetry

Letter to Her Brother


In the tombs orgies go on by themselves
if the white images are alone,
I with
my parenthesis that was not supposed to last
the notebooks
of my minds wrapped up in your winter coat
at its peak: to you I send
these brief charges, no
explanation can make you keep your time
if the dance tune is this extinguished crater.


I do not want
to write in the far away mountain
anything but works about me:

come with me and I’ll map hell for you.

Amelia Rosselli (1930 – 1996)

Five Minor Observations on the Eve of My Thirty-Ninth Birthday

1. I woke up the other day with parent goggles. I learned this after a visit to Bellevue Square Park in Kensington Market. I hadn’t been there in some time and before becoming a father, my opinion of this little park went something like this: I love this park! It’s so eclectic and diverse and teaming with street culture! What other place can you have hippies and graffiti artists and old Chinese immigrants who probably lived through the Cultural Revolution all sitting around and enjoying the sunshine? I’m going to go home right now and write seven poems about this place! Well, when I visited the park just last week with Lisa and Ava, l discovered that my appreciation of the park had altered somewhat. It now goes something like this: Honey, don’t let her touch those cigarette butts and ewww, is that a condom? Better keep her off the swings. To make matters worse, I finally “get” McDonald’s.

2. Everybody has a little dogma in them. If I can take anything away from the hours I have spent on Facebook, it is that I’ve been very wrong to attribute blind faith solely to those who are religious. Be it an impending environmental catastrophe, the evils of government, the perils of vaccinations, the truth about 9/11 as well as the Moon landing (and now the Mars landing), the plethora of natural cures that have been silenced by Big Pharma, the things your doctor isn’t telling you, the things your leaders aren ’t telling you, and what the police don’t want you to know, all of us believe in at least one thing so strongly that we shout down or dismiss any evidence that might disprove it. I’d like to list some things I’m dogmatic about, but I guess, as with everyone else, I’m tragically blind to issues about which I’m so darned bull-headed.

3. Backpacking is no longer an option. Lisa put it pretty bluntly the other day when we were weighing our options for doing some travelling: “I don’t want to fly to Halifax and spend the week eating sardines.” To those of you who might respond to my wife’s comment by saying well, yeah, of course, you probably aren’t aware of how Lisa and I used to be able to travel for weeks, sometimes months, at a time without bankrupting ourselves. Well we did it by using a method of travel which involved the use of a decent car (or a good set of thumbs), a tent, an air mattress, some mosquito repellent, a map of RV Parks and Campgrounds across the country, and of course, a stack of sardine cans containing our favourite sauce flavours. (Lisa’s fave was Lemon, mine was Mustard.) But sigh, our canned fish days are now in the past. From here on in we will no longer be those sinewy, road hardened travellers, but instead one of those lightly tanned and slightly doughy married couples (not Lisa of course. Hot! Hot! Hot!) chasing our sunblock-marinated toddler down a freshly groomed beach.

4. Nacho Libre is still hilarious, even after all these years. And it would appear that opinions of particular films are genetic. This is the first movie that Ava sat through, pretty much in its’ entirety. She seemed to get very excited during the fight scenes. Not even the Devil’s Cavemen rattled her.

5. For the first time, my doctors have begun attributing my aches and pains to my age. And the fact that I’m using the plural form of the word “doctor” should have already been setting off alarm bells for me. I went in a few months ago because of some foot pain the cause of which I was certain was a metastasized tumour. Without taking a look at my foot, the doctor told me to go by some insoles. I asked him why this is happening to my foot and he looked at me wearily and said why does it happen to any of us? It’s just life. For me that was a first. It used to be that aches and pains would just work themselves out after a couple of weeks. Now, it seems I have to start adopting lifelong routines and methods to keep the aches and pains at bay. To take from comedian Louie CK, wearing rubbery insoles (foot pain), playing cricket sounds on my stereo (tinnitus), being careful not to mix alcohol with spicy food ( heartburn), and just being mindful of food in general (spare tire) are just some things that I will have to DO now, for the rest of my life. In a way, my body, for the first time, has begun to let me know that it actually exists outside of my desires and impulses, and it’s not going to put up with that kind of crap any longer. In another way, it’s much like finding myself joined at the hip with a grumpy Walter Matthau.

Even 5 years ago, I never thought that I’d be making disparaging remarks about Bellevue Square Park, nor would I have ever considered stepping foot in a tropical resort, but I’ve come to realise that, like having kids, people don’t want certain things, until they do. And there’s no discernable rhyme no reason for change of heart because the explanations and justifications usually come afterwards. Who knows, maybe it’s all just simply a matter of doing what you do while trying to enjoy the ride.

So a happy birthday to me then!

Other Poeple’s Poetry

When Clouds Will Be Clouds

by Dawna Rae Hicks

Cricket heat morning, all elbows and
the whites of our eyes
sharpened sun braising the walls through the blinds;
a mirror tipped up to the sky, welcoming
anything that might come down. It just has to be
something. For now you are enough to stop me
from stepping in, through, and climbing into the sky.

I remember the first time I saw myself
and nothing’s changed. What a trick
to put us in these awkward gizmos.
I’m not even in the room behind my eyes.
a jangle of ashtrays and carkeys beside a bed are almost lovers,
or lovers that have forgotten each other’s names.
That’s how it begins.
Unrelated, a correlation is drawn. A finger in the air.
This, and this. Bound. From there on in,
a slow or speedy severing, a diametrical fleeing,
a driving away, key secure in the ignition.

I’ve told you almost everything you need to know.
Every sprinter secretly yearns for
the Achilles to be pulled so tightly
they are hobbled. Or better, broken, brought down forever.
We wait for a puff of smoke, or
a cloud that looks like something else so completely,
miraculously and finally,
we can lay down in the grass and know we’re finished.
This meatsuit doesn’t need to run anymore.
We just need to look up from here on in.

You say it does not have to be that way:
you call it love because it is a good reason
to start letting days go by
without secretly lifting a corner of the blue world
and begging to be let out.

You tell me I will forget about how things tied
come apart, sooner or later. That I will
lay down in the grass
not broken, just resting.
Your arm across me will someday have been there
enough times to know better.
And clouds will be clouds.
You tell me I will even forget
to slip into mirrors, I will forget
where to wedge my fingers in the sky
because it is here right now,
all around us and always

Dawna Rae Hicks is a native to Scarberia, and still ducks when she hears a car backfire. She has been out of the writing circuit for some time due to impatience and being a single mom. She lives in Oshawa now and is an insurance broker. A long time ago she was published in about three anthologies but that’s neither here nor there. She believes that sometimes, life itself is enough and doesn’t need translation, but there are rare moments that require it.