"It's about words, and words are all I have…"



In a great Hold Steady song the name of which I

cannot remember  a girl sports a tattoo: Damn Right

I Will Rise Again  The Boss too sings of  The Rising

And then there’s Jesus   But not John Lennon  unless

he is resurrected every time you refuse to believe in

Zimmerman  or Tarot  or Jesus fer Chrissakes   But I

doubt it    John is likely in Yoko’s sock drawer


And as I look around the park where I write  the girl beside

me licks her cone hungrily   Incisors glinting   A Rising in the

offing?  Tight medium pink  ribbed sweater   Bra impossibly

pointy    Trumpets blaring


Risings   I’ve had a few  ( I’m hearing Sinatra )  They take so

much energy  +there’s self-immolation involved too   All of

which at a certain stage go the way of your velvet skin  +high

tight cheeks


Ice cream now done  our licker sidles over: I’m working   The licking

ceremony no doubt used to lure un-ressurectable poets into fuckery

Now she straddles me  ( No  not reverse cowgirl )  Leans in on lean legs

+rocks my soul in the bosom of Abraham  No!  She begins to spit up bits

of ice cream   Her eyes roll back  + I call 911    The Rising  my ass


I don’t believe in magic
I don’t believe in I-Ching
I don’t believe in Bible
I don’t believe in tarot
I don’t believe in Hitler
I don’t believe in Jesus
I don’t believe in Kennedy
I don’t believe in Buddha
I don’t believe in mantra
I don’t believe in Gita
I don’t believe in yoga
I don’t believe in kings
I don’t believe in Elvis
I don’t believe in Zimmerman
I don’t believe in Beatles
I just believe in me

(John Lennon  GOD  1970)


Spring 2018



There was a birdbath in his yard   My taciturn uncle’s   It was

among the most magical totems of childhood  Ditto  my mother’s

hairbrush   200 strokes each night   Rapunzel-like hair  down to

there   Uncoiled from bun   Spun golden brown


Unlike Rapunzel  no princely suitors   No gentleman callers  climbing

Rather locked away   In a place of suburban decay:  a plaza  a school

+a pile of plump nouveau riche wives   Sans the luminous hair


At the base of the birdbath lived a toad   Tiny  +bewarted    I loved it

passionately    And did not exactly kill it   Just played with it to death

My own hands bewarted over time   These days I am not as partial to

frogs   Even my young cousin had a run in   His with an amphibian herd

On a slick rural road


There were hundreds of them  +it was pouring  +the car was thumping

Over them  +through them   Frog-matter everywhere!   Windshield + hair


Today I sit at a birdbath of sorts  secret garden U of T   Lawns emerald green

Squirrels shifty   One eyes me hungrily  as men on rooftops used to do   There

are 2 Canada geese  I feel unkindly towards them immediately    +cast unholy

aspersions with a kicking motion   The larger of the 2  squawks apocalyptically


He grabs the hem of  H+M dress  +nearly rips it off of me   With this I

become murderous  wrapping fingers around a throat  so smooth +iridescent

I am reminded of the womb    Where the sound of brushing  entered psyche

Mother-goddess metronome  lulled me into trance  so what was coming wouldn’t

hurt as much   Except it did







I once worked with a 7 yr. old girl   Her mother a deaf mute

Ran away when she was 3  +her most vivid memory  a hair

brushing ritual before bed   For 2 years much of therapy

consisted of silently brushing her hair  And keeping her from

assaulting me   She + I  counter transferentially  returning the

world’s lost mothers to daughters open arms + gnashing teeth

It would be a long long recovery



Heal the patient, heal the world   C.G. Jung


Mother’s Day 🌸   2018



When Tracey K Smith ( Pulitzer  Princeton prof.  poet )  sits down

to write  ( Vogue April 2018: husband poet literati  daughter a

deadringer for Tracey  brownstone done in heathers + blues

hues associated with heaven )  does she become distracted by

the neighbour’s yapping dogs?  Old one died covered in sores

Couldn’t jump up into SUV anymore    Carried like the Christ

up+down the stairs


I called police when barking led to meandering thoughts of murdering

husband  or her  or her demure mother   She doesn’t speak to us (!)

apparently   In tight white jeans  she glares  As every dimple calls out

for more   Or is Tracey distracted  by feeling so good  that anything is

possible?   Probably   People  +especially poets like Tracey  are

particularly dear to those of us who have only wasted a year or 2



She poured doubles like an angel, right up to the lip of a cocktail glass,

no measuring. You had to go down on them like a hummingbird over a

blossom. Birth should have felt like that.  ( ..not written by Tracey K Smith..)




Spring 2018



You will remember these days one day  when your fragrant

sister is all a fire with longing for your Arabian friend   Body

yet crumpled  Skin un-crepey (creepy..)  Mind questing to be

as smart  as you  or anyone  Doesn’t yet know she’s smart like

whip    And is not yet a mother


U 2 eating giant subs  while your lithe girlfriend dances like a

young Storm  y    You will remember these days   Right now they

escape  like tadpoles tossed down the drain  or into the can  Only

to morph into frogs+princes  when it’s too late   That’s no way to

set your tadpoles free


These days that run away like wild horses   But u 2 have no way of

knowing this   yet    Yesterday  midges were flying up my nose   +

hundreds of them swarming my own brother’s mouldering ear    I

remember a kickass girl  in cowboy boots  (Mary)  coming to pick

him up   Easy Skanking  blaring   White convertible   His cowboy boots

snakeskin  (like Keef ‘s in the Wild Horses video..)


Father  long dead  smiling a crooked smile   Dying brain cells on a

rampage  most days    Once I wrote that children are the immortals

among us   To a big brouhaha     And they still are    Needing to be told

to get out of the $15 plastic pool  when it’s lightening out    I implore u to

imprint  your sister’s smooth skin  +her rabid belief in every word you say





SPRING  2018   for Sonny+Rachel   



My young friend + I commiserated  after jerk lobster the other

night   About other jerks  one’s we had loved  and not so much

I recall the phrases: Monogamy sucks   It’s not even natural   No  

it’s all about religion  +opiating the masses   Warriors knowing

who their sons are   Israelites figured  who’s your mama?   moot

The Nazis too   If your mama  a Jew  that was the end of you


Other subjects came up too:  Entropy of lady parts  +Viagra  (even

Tiger Woods has a stash   a big one)   Wanting a 1 bedroom with Netflix

Tortured whispers of:  If I just had one week on a beach/yr.   That’s all

I’d need   To stay   One of us thought 2 weeks a better option   And it likely

would be  To then re-contort yourself into the positions of the cross u bear

To be there


Now lumpen proletariats of love  Lumped in with the rest   Whose divine spark

hot wired to the waiting cab  outside of an apartment   The one in your mind’s

eye  where the young James Taylor +his cat live   James  when he had that thin

moustache   He smiles  +crooks his finger    And mouths your husband’s name


My love is a hummingbird

Sitting that quiet moment on

the bough

As the same cat crouches

(Charles Bukowski  Love Is A Dog From Hell  1977)





Spring  2018   in full bloom  +here comes the first hurricane  severe weather watch in progress  but i digress..



Last day of April 2018   A sickly looking Canada goose   1/2

in 1/2 out of verdigris pond  U of T   Sickly poet too  a lighter

shade of pale green  Has she been gutted  or swept clean?  One

precipice too many for angsty Jew   Another winter come+gone

Ended in plague of ice   God’s testicles frozen too   $18,000 roof

leaked   Act of God  said Snidely Whiplash the Roofer   Ice Goddamn!

sings Nina  up in heaven


Goose inching closer to me   Nasty looking cuss  one eyed  like nephew’s

rotting dog   A recent picture of Chloe blinking on Insatgaram  Really?

This is all you have to show me  you bugaloo motherfuckers?  (..this

stolen from Dr. John’s producer upon listening to  Gris Gris  an album

full of Delta witchery..)  Up here in the Great White North  the founders

too squeamish for Voodoo  Just Old+New Testament vengeance wreaked

By male sky Gods  white hair  +freezing testes    It’s a cold cold place to be


All of which tempts poet to seek a warm country where the national drink

involves sucking the worm dry  +swallowing it    Instead of being the worm

sucked dry by a country devoid of fairies   Founders  Stoics   Jesuits  +Saxons

But there is hope!  Soon the first ever Centre for The Conjuring Arts  at Carleton U:

Focusing on  perception  illusion  deception  influence  +theatre   (..sounds more

like Trump White House than academic pursuit..)


Whatever the case may be  it sounds perfect for me   At about the age of 10  bros+I

discovered a well in a basement closet   One in which a variety of personages lived

Bearing uncanny resemblance to adults in positions of authority  i.e., the racetrack

lady  + a muscled strongman   The rabbi’s grandson  a foaming bully had his own

well  peopled with Chasidic sadists    These days  we don’t call upon them anymore

But maybe we should


Help us build the thin veneer of hope+good cheer remaining in adult children of

parents who battled McFate  not all that successfully   Especially in areas of heart

+ mental  health   And raging against the fading light   We had a pet giant as well

Looked a lot like father   He  the raging bull  of an overly orchestrated  suburban

existence    Father +his horse Tex   Yes  we had a horse too   They have been home

on the range for nearing 3 decades   Steering clear of those vengeful Gods   Taking

siestas under Bohdi trees  +chasing senoritas around the dark recesses of heaven

Magic was made for our family    So do sign me up please


Carleton U received a 2 million $ gift for the study of  Conjuring Arts  + a donation

of over 1600 texts on deception. (Reported in Globe+Mail April 28, 2018)



Upon hearing of my application  husband #3 said:

U will become a master of manipulation! 






Spring  2018



ROOM 1009


Late into the night my cousin + I  discuss  anarchy   He believes

big money   big brother  +shadowy industrialists  own the world

The petite bourgeoisie still lulled into torpor  with their bon bons  +

chintz seats   And today  anarchy  reigns   Right there on my Bubbie’s

street up in North Toronto   A lone driver in a white van   Mayhem  on

a Spring day   Orange body bags   People running   bleeding  +sceaming


Local newsies ask imbecilic questions: Did people run toward the bodies?

Yes   And away from them   Anarchy  as in the fall of Rome  when moral

backbone  (do Sapiens have one?)  broke down   This week too in India  an

8 yr. old girl  Asifa Bano  was raped +murdered   She from a nomadic muslim

tribe   2 of the 8 gang rapists were police officers   1 was a priest   They are all

in custody


The rape of children is not uncommon in India, where 1.3 billion

people are squashed together in an area smaller than Quebec.

There are 54 child rapes each day, and the number is growing.

(Globe+Mail  April 21, 2018.)


A few years back I worked with a 4 yr. old boy   Adopted at 2   Apparently

the agency  did not know much about his birth family   Dig deep  I strongly

suggested  During each session  a vivid depiction  amidst choking +screaming:

A baby is trapped in a stroller in a motel bathroom   Smoke rushes in from under

the door   More crying +choking ensue   The baby cannot move


Many months later a package from  the agency   An old file uncovered   Parents

were drug addicts  living in a motel  3 children locked up for hours on end   No

food   No toileting   And yes  a fire   My client the only escapee   In our mind’s eye

we see smoke filling his nostrils  +lungs   Arms strapped down in stroller   Later

in sessions he will tie the doll baby in place with sadistic pleasure


The months add up to years   Sessions shift to the savannah   where our boy

becomes enamoured of elephants   Tenderly lifting them out of bins  washing +

feeding them   And as he begins to thrive outside of the playroom   Our good-bye

party looms   One day he says: The great thing about elephants therapist   is they

have their own hose!


Today in our national newspaper the obituary for Daphne Sheldrick   Saviour of

Africa’s orphaned elephants   When Daphne was asked in 2009 why she admired

elephants so   she replied: Their tremendous capacity for caring.  They have all of

the best attributes of humans and not many of the bad.


We can add to this: hoses    The healing epiphany in the playroom?   Many

elephants were brought to the motel   They showered and fed the babies when

they were alone in the dark   And when the smoke came they knew just what to do

That’s the great thing about elephants   But no elephants on the streets of Toronto

To stand in front of citizens as the white van approached   Or even a lone elephant

To lift the troubled young man right out of the van  with its hose






Bloody Monday   April 23   2018






Yesterday a friendly +handsome roofer  leaned in close

He said: Are you afraid to get your hands dirty?  Now

handing me a..  (would this be brothers un-pc joke  ie.,

You’d pet anything ?)  No!  He handed me a moist bundle

Twigs  foam  caulking    No one has ever given such a gift

to me


Yes Corey  roofer of my dreams  my hands are dirty   Quite

sullied   from my years spent in the trenches of humanity  With

the suffering   Digging in the dirt  as husband #3’s analyst  in a

Brixton accent  said of Psychotherapy  He also regularly chimed

re my biting wit: She said that!?    Yes    I did


Now I sit with this early nest  discarded  as Peregrines ate the

first chicks of house wrens  Corey also said: I want you to feel the

moisture my dear    Such a gentle roofer  And feel it I did   Perhaps

a little birdy-blood on fingertips   Wash as I might  this stigmata is

permanent   Reminding me of fledgling parts of Self   They never saw

the light of day   Couldashouldawoulda  Actor  Dancer  Rodeo Queen


As Corey left  he said: Now pet this   Stiff  upper lip  fancy lady   This

here leak may never reappear   That’s the thing about water  + beauty

One is wily and the other indifferent    I sit back +marvel at my roofer’s

dialectic   and wish I had met him years ago    Before exile set in



Homo Sapiens is the only species 

to suffer psychological exile.

E.O. Wilson




Spring  2018




Hot tub a phantom now  + so too Pleiades   The 7 sisters I

watched cross the sky  blinking archaic codes  to those in

the know   Immortality is free!   they said   It’s not a perk!

If you were all told this  the powers that be  would never have

been able to tithe you so lavishly   The body  a carpetbagger of

the soul   Rented  +rent   they blinked   You there filthy squatter

Don’t get too comfortable


Now having dismantled the hot tub up on the 5th floor rooftop

where water continues to pour in until this day   The past 4 have

brought the ice storm of the century  Rivulets run from surround

sound ports in ceiling   Onto me   As I toss on the night sea journey

Medical pot  induces blank spaces  where crooked sailors used to wink

There is no REM  on THC


I miss those sailors more than life itself   The force of which diminishes

in the 2nd 1/2 of life   Soon the jettisoning of an Ego   One who worked in

the salt mines of consciousness for some 61 yrs.  It may be a relief to not

have to be   To rest on laurels of head-banging   Sit quietly   Not being smart

or pretty  (bitter psychiatrist to beautiful mother: I’m not here to be pretty)


No clearly not   Nor to gaze into the recesses of a human soul  +see beyond

what stares you in the withered face   The whole of a life   One that cannot

be reduced to fit that tiny corner of your reductivist brain  Where pat answers

sit beside antiquated revelations  bullshit  +deep vicarious pleasure  As your

own pleasure centres enfeebled by years of looking  but not seeing   No cataract

surgery invented for this malady


How does this happen to one who wanted to vanquish suffering?  Your skills

at observation are rusty   That sine qua non of all sorcerers  +pedophiles    All

night now the patient wails in the mother tongue of her ancestors  And I too have

begun to sing in Russian  This at 4 a.m.   When the Ego  we will soon ditch  hears

knocking  +bells tolling  in these endless numbered days +nights   Except  they are

not     Yet  not here to be pretty  wasn’t slipped the wisdom of the Pleiades   Does

not see  the poet  in the rare beauty   The Ego railing against its jettisoning



When I clamour for God  he sends me back to time.

I want to sin, to be free. It’s as if God’s smacking me around,

pushing me away –  

(Adélia Prado – 1987 –  Griffin Lifetime Achievement Award Poetry  2014)




Spring 2018

..Ms. F. Marlieb 94.. was published in the Montreal Gazette at 10..

.. she is also a rare beauty..








I say to the BIG BURLY MAN at Metro: You going in here?  Now gesturing

to the cashier I am approaching   BBM at Metro: Darling  I don’t know

where I’m going   We commiserate   There is nothing vivid about today

Dark  grey  hulking April   He takes my comrade in arms chitchat  for

something else  +follows me to my car making soft mewing sounds


A lot of men call me pet names: darling  honey  sweetheart   The ones I know

have reserved others: Frosty  a.k.a. strong forthright woman  though this is not

what they mean  It rhymes with  witch   Also: Little Aprill Loo   Red   Munia (!)

Sister Christian   3rd husband: Buzzkill  due to penchant for moaning about

anarchy quite endlessly  +Buttercup  as in  suck it up   These might be heard

as somewhat endearing


Perhaps it is time to reign it in?   Effervescence   can be bloody tiring   for all

Do not confuse humanitarianism with people person   which I am decidedly

not   Last night well into the wee hours  I tried to convince a young interlocutor

that my real interest is in the  microcosm   +he suggested I may even be a

Republican!   Sans the gun lust   But it became a little tricky when I waxed

romantic  on Leon Trotsky  (Lev Davidovich Bronstein)   Trotsky is not the

answer to anything!    And he left in a huff


But Trotsky did more than dream revolutionary dreams  even though he ended

up ice-picked in Mexico   And his revolution  ok  a hammer + sickle fuck you

to the masses   A gateway to the Gulag  that swallowed up the poet Akhmatova’s

son  Lev   + later Osip Mandelstam   The great poet Anna A.  stood in line with

bread for Lev  for up to 16 hrs each day  while he languished in prison  One surefire

way to bring her to her knees   You cannot suck and blow at once   Tow the party line

or never be published again in your lifetime


Today there is much talk of  Revolution   And so many different movements afoot

But none feels terribly Trotsky   Yet in the face of another chemical attack on Syrian

children  it may be time for anarchy+apocalypse  a la  Cormac McCarthy’s: The Road

Mere Revolution will not do   Without despots herding + opiating us  we run amok

And after the Fall  deep in a glade  the one un-butchered family who remain  wonder

how they will steal the fire   Gnash pointy incisors +howl at the moon   Utopias are for

innocents     Suck it up



Once there were brook trout in streams. On their backs were vermiculate

patterns that were maps of the world.  Maps and mazes.  Of a thing which

could not be put back.  Not be made right again.  In the deep glens where

they lived  all things were older than man  and they hummed of mystery.  

(Cormac McCarthy  The Road  2006)





Spring  2018   btw  Zara has a Spring shoe  lucite heel  with a goldfish in it   U in?



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