Thursday, December 30, 2010

behind us

padlock on a rusty gate,
table with candles,
candy and cake,
disappear behind abstract talk,
laughter loud and fake,

where do we go?
into the crowds or behind the curtain?
into the sound or behind the mind?
to rooms,
to beds,
to dreams,
ever seeking...

I am,
so many other places,
so many other parts.

Monday, December 20, 2010

death by shopping cart

shoppers salivate,
grab their angst,
and grind their teeth,
open the cattle gate,
tear in,
like a snowplow over a sewer grate,
meet the demand,
get the deal,
grab the boxes,
an old lady squeals,
"It's not like it was in the old days,
people were courteous and had respect for their elders!"

The place went silent,
you could hear an angel fart,
the old lady was dead,
run over by a shopping cart.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

this place

can I go away with you?
this place is cold and lonely,
my friends have gone,
they have been replaced by things,

can I come away with you?
this place is dark and I always feel sick here,
it's empty and there's no one to talk to,

can I tag along with you?
I hate coming home to this place,
to the deafening silence,
to these thoughts,
to these memories,

is there something I can do for you?
that might give me a reason,
a way,
to help me carry myself,
away from here?

...because I don't like this place.

Thursday, December 09, 2010


people on TV shout it,
politicians proclaim it,
teachers teach it,
preachers preach it,
coffee shop folk conspire it,
families pray it,
people at work avoid it,
people on the bus pontificate on it,
students argue about it,
some soldiers are convinced of it,
others aren't,

...but how can you be my enemy?

I don't even know you.

butter chicken

false teeth,
greasy comb,
leather pants,
dollar store cologne,
cheap motel,
cheaper bed,
bad whiskey leads to,
bad dreams,
about a bullet to the head,
cold days,
colder nights,
ever walk the streets alone?

ever check the coin slot on a parking lot pay phone?

pick up the flu,
from dirty dishes,
dirty hands,
ever feel like no one understands?

feeling sick,
but the clock keeps tickin'
stuck somewhere between,
a bleeding tattoo,
and a plate of butter chicken.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

tossing and turning

tosses and turns,
watches the clock,
tries to take stock,
but loses the memories in the clouds of thought,
one day blurs into the next,
moments strung together,
like a frayed rope,
hard to cope,
burning, craving, yearning,
known in youth,
but lost with age,
disappointment and despair,
disappearing into thin air,
calcified bones and a steady pain,
he dreams of being young again,
but he wakes into the early dawn,
a reluctant yawn,
outside the window,
a gentle snow falling,
a gentle voice calling,
from somewhere inside,
through so many years,
through so many miles,
"Time is now,"
...he smiles.


now a word from The Boss, dedicated to all you wanderers out there.
I was 11 when this song came out. Can you identify the actor that gets pulled onto the stage at the end of the video?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

black city

black city,
breathes steam,
over greasy streets,
a dishwasher smokes a cigarette,
and watches cops drink coffee,
in an idling cruiser,
whores, junkies, bums,
united in their collective despair,
high rise lights,
throw yellow beams into the foggy air,
bus brakes hiss and pop,
street corner preacher starts from the top,
baby dreams to a Thelonious Monk tune,
a brokenhearted drunk,
mutters softly,
to a brokenhearted moon.


Get lots of pics for this blog from The caption with this photo read: "Father River Sims, a Catholic priest, right, speaks with a homeless man in San Francisco on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010. Sims, a former sex worker who spends most nights handing out food, condoms, socks and needles, says, "I don't pay attention to what the pope says. Never Have. I've done needle exchange and condoms for years. I go by what people need."

Monday, November 29, 2010


dragon in the street,
dragon in my room,
dragon on the ocean,
dragon on the moon,

dragon in the woods,

dragon on the town,
every time I see that dragon,
I get to feeling down,

black eyed stare,
chewing on a bone,
mommy never loved him,
heart cold like stone,

rough skinned dragon,
always spoiling for a fight,
watching me bleed,
the only thing that makes you feel alright,

dragon drank my whiskey,
then passed out on my bed,
I see that dragon everywhere,
he lives in my head.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

night guard

I used to be a night guard,
like the night guards that sign me out,
a coffee stained journal,
and an old radio,
a chair worn down from long shifts behind flickering console monitors,
a lunchbox and a Maclean's magazine,
pencils scattered amongst
sports sections
and completed crosswords,
a ball of keys,
a late patrol,
a black sky,
a cigarette under a full moon,
I used to be a night guard,
you dream with your eyes open,
when you're alone until noon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ticket on the dash

windy punch,
the ache of morning,
tired traffic,
and inconsistent coffee,
stern faces chew cash crunch sandwiches,
and hustle through mazes of parking lines,
ticket and receipt,
receipt and ticket,
"is there joy somewhere throughout this thicket?"
attendant looks at me over his glasses while handing me back cash,
"I don't know about that but I do know that it's five bucks more if you don't leave your ticket on the dash."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

between periods

fierce force,
open the boards,
mark the ice,
fierce fear,
warm above,
cold down here,
remember the plays,
under enemy gaze,
it don't feel nice,
the strategy ok'd,
but a choice was made,
didn't have a choice,
but to make a choice,
to play the game,
and give the anger a voice,

look to me,
I'll look to you,
to play through the pain,
through inclement weather,
ready for whatever,
we'll put it together,
between periods.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


your love comes in Morse code,
a tarped load,
one shoe on the side of the road,
tossing and turning,
while memories are burning,
out of the comfort zone to begin learning,
sometimes regretting,
a meditation on forgetting,
how do we live in these times without letting ourselves get pounded,
by the beats of an eager heart,
draped over a rusty motor,
forever pumping blood to the flesh,
on the bones of the Toploader.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


it gets frightening,
face in the darkness,
voices in the hallway,
it gets tough,
alone with the sickness,
voices in the head,
it gets lonely,
wind in the woods,
rain on the roof,
it gets hurtful,
forgotten words,
heckler in the crowd,
it gets complex,
twisting highways,
unfamiliar streets,
it gets panicked,
food, shelter, safety,
sirens in the night,

resolve the outside,
through the inside,
so as not to hide from The Test,
but to plunge into it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

aye, Samhain!


ghost in the mirror,
skeleton dances slowly,
wind in the room,
blood drips quietly,
woman in the painting,
old man,
bolts awake,
from a dream,

"who's there?"

woman in the painting whispers,
"It is the dead, they pray for you."

a comment from Old Olie got me thinking...
from Wikipedia:

Samhain marked the end of the harvest, the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half". It was traditionally celebrated over the course of several days. Many scholars believe that it was the beginning of the Celtic year. It has some elements of a festival of the dead. The Gaels believed that the border between this world and the otherworld became thin on Samhain; because so many animals and plants were dying, it thus allowed the dead to reach back through the veil that separated them from the living. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. People and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual, and the bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames.

The Gaelic custom of wearing costumes and masks, was an attempt to copy the spirits or placate them. In Scotland the dead were impersonated by young men with masked, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white. Samhnagturnips which were hollowed-out and carved with faces to make lanterns — were also used to ward off harmful spirits.

The Gaelic festival became associated with the Catholic All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, and has hugely influenced the secular customs now connected with Halloween, a name first attested in the 16th century as a Scottish shortening of the fuller All-Hallows-Even. Samhain continues to be celebrated as a religious festival by some neopagans.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


the mind is a thicket,
a dark woods,
tattered by hardened soil,
torn by thorns,

the mind is a midnight street,
wet with oil and litter,
lost drunks,
and mangy dogs,

the mind is starless sky,
stretching a lonely echo,
across a darkened valley,

the mind is an unruly ox,
tamed only by a master of reality,
with a boxer's resolve,

the mind is a house,
full of sounds,
and voices,

the mind is a room,
with cracks in the ceiling,
a window to rainy gloom,

a place to return,
where tangles unfurl,

the mind is a door to the world.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

lady boss

I work in a box,
I watch the clock,
I measure the money,
by the tick of the tock,
I cross the "T's,"
I dot the "i's,"
I deliver the deliverable,
and don't ask why,
no one hears you scream,
no one hears you cry,
cheap shirt,
cheap pants,
cheap tie,
I'll be your monkey,
at your beck and call,
just make sure you shake your ass when you walk down the hall,
hell, I'll do the chicken dance,
when you lean,
I can see the cleavage,
in the back of your pants.

Monday, October 18, 2010


wide wind,
crackling fire,
rushing water,
turning soil,
red sun,
open sky,
gypsy reads the lines in my hands,
psychic sees I'm gonna die,
pyramid the heart and mind,
to see the soul's third eye,
old pastor's certain I'm going to hell,
angel says "it's hard to tell,"
Devil whispers "it could be worse,"
white light gonna shoot through every dark verse,
old master's whiskey heats on the hearth,
baby sleeps,
and dreams about a new, blue earth.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


there's an old rusty dumpster,
in the alley below my room,
it's where my soul goes when I dream,
it stays out all night,
and sings with drunks,
feeds homeless cats,
and watches the moon.

Friday, October 15, 2010


got friends,
who've gone to heaven,
got friends,
who've been to hell,
some stayed,
some returned,
oh, the stories they tell,
we long for one,
but we live in the two,
it doesn't matter if you don't,
and it doesn't matter if you do.

industrial park

smoke stacks,
mechanic shops,
the belch of diesel,
the cynical eyes of a junkyard dog,
cubed cars
beget streams of leaking gas,
pop cans,
broken signs,
discarded hubcaps,
delivery men argue,
cops speed through,
cigarette butts,
used condoms,
dumpsters drip rust,
bums wander hopelessly,
in fields of overgrown weeds,

time is drunken angel,

the heart becomes an industrial park.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


to be the alien,
a man dead to his work is,
not extraterrestrial life,
not unauthorized immigrants,
but a man divorced from his passion,
to endeavor without significance,
to labour without meaning,
a stoic resolve,
owned by the market,
the appearance of contribution,
how long can he stay busy?
the heart is neglected,
creativity is resented,
financial projections,
neurotic over-management,
transparent relationships,
chronic fatigue,
to escape one's own longings,
to be a product of duty,
to be asleep,
to the freedom of choice,
to be the alien,
this is the essence of loneliness.

Monday, October 11, 2010

used to write rock songs, still do

my simple poems are affected,
by years of writing rock songs,
never wrote anything outstanding,
is that so wrong?
had nothing to say on this Sunday night,
so I thought I'd put in an update,
had some turkey with family this weekend,
it tasted pretty great,
saw a homeless man giving thanks,
I guess it's never too late,
who knows?
someday I might have nothing,
but can a psychic pinpoint a date?
I've been a little down lately,
but I'm trying to look up,
a friend once told me,
drink deep of life's cup,
I often stay up at night,
stare at the stars and moon,
or just stare at the street lights,
outside my room,
I reach for my understanding of what I perceive as true,
when I think that I find it,
I realize I never do,
but when I need a boost,
I reach for a blog by you,
did I mention I write rock songs?
...I still do.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Roshi Dogen, Roshi Elvis

"Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken. Take heed, do not squander your life."

Dogen Zenji (1200 - 1253)

"A little less conversation, a little more action please."

Elvis Presley (1935-1977)

Saturday, October 02, 2010


long weeks,
sleepless nights,
paycheque and hair thins,
pot bellies and double-chins,
youthful memories,
packed in tea biscuit tins,
weddings and divorces,
professional development courses,
blue-toothed mid-lifers,
driving Porsches,
office birthday, a bottle uncorks,
sugar cake and a plastic fork,
how'd I end up in this march of the dorks?
just wanna have a round with my friends,
play guitar on a porch,
hold a little bit left of the fight,
quietly watch the night,
slowly swallow the evening light.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

clock on the wall

the clock on the wall,
was the clock in his head,
a friend lay fading,
on a broken bed,
nurses, doctors,
needles, medications,
anatomical extrapolations,
this was the fall of a man,
a fall of nations,
a shadow, an echo,
a crumbling of the foundations,
of what had been built,
through time,
through fight,
yet quickly,
in the night,
the very sickness that would make a struggle,
to get from bed to urinal,
reduce truth to a kernel,

would in a breath,
take what was temporal,
and make it eternal.

(photo by D. Neutel)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


slip away from this brick and mortar world,
into checkered beats,
and black lit triads,
step down your leather shoes,
into a puddle of spit,
wipe your valves,
with a sweat dampened rag,
find the half-count,
pick-up on this B flat,
move to the F then to the E,
and hold it gently but tightly,
until your air is gone,
your lungs burn,
your veins throb,
empty all of yourself,
so there's nothing left to bury,
but a trill,
a rim-shot,
a pause...


Thursday, September 16, 2010

drive-thru haikus

leaves touch pavement

starry skies of summer end
please don't go

grey skies hang
my loneliness seems more visceral
where's my smokes?

plume of smoke
burning leaves smell blows past
cold misty hands

remembering back then
kissing her in the rain
change is hard

fall then winter
seems like things die slowly
beds get cold

this old sweater
good for drinking big pints
cherry pipe tobacco

life the search
art is the universal religion
birth through knowledge

lost at sea
"great writers steer you home"
bloggers remind me

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Program

frenzied voices,
shouting and laughing,
echo down the wrinkled streets of The Glebe,
university students pull couches off U-Hauls,
blaze up on paint chipped porches,
new roommates,
good-time grins,
fresh faced parties,
turn to hustled friendships,
and desperate relationships,
days fly forward,
course loads to deadlines,
grades to degrees,
blown by the cold fall wind,
ambition goes blind,
numbers are collected,
rankings are published,
competitions are run,
starry skied summer conversations fade,
faces turn strange,
hearts get torn,
trust gets lost,
like a rain-soaked mitten floating on the Canal,

before we knew it,

The Program had begun.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


old paint fades,
old clock ticks,
old lovers separate,
old dog, old tricks,
old car sputters,
old drunk hums,
old guitar screams,
while the old drummer drums,
old lady shivers,
until the old furnace heats,
old boat sinks
while the old heart beats,
old sun shines,
dries up the old rain,
shines down on the old fighter,
fighting through the pain,

a poet is a fighter,
fighting with the mind,
sorting through the truth,
sorting through the lies,
pulling from the emptiness,
to make old words rise.

(photo by D. Neutel)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

thy temple

sycophants, parasites, snakes and witches,
a shivering dog's coat matted with blood,
land fills, sewage, torn flesh, defecate,
an unemployed man vomits rivers of anxious bile,
regret, self-loathing, confusion, nausea,
a prostitute fills needle holes with poison,
a knifed punch, kicking, biting, cutting,
a elderly man suffocates alone,
failure, rejection, a nightmare, a virus
urban narcissism, suburban numbness, rural ignorance
the illusion of civilization,
the essence of fear, dependency and frailty,
a broken-hearted mother sits in a church and weeps softly to a silent
as her starving baby chokes on the crust of this rotten world.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


bloggers meet,
under dim lights,
paneled ceiling,
bended taps,
bloggers discuss
amongst preoccupied waitresses,
hustled meals,
an ocean of voices,
bloggers leave,
with unaddressed topics,
unfocused accords,
suspended arguments,
bloggers walk
amongst youthful beauty,
homeless zombies,
leering cops,
bloggers separate,
drunk and unsettled,
into the listless wind,
and languid night,
borne of fractured memories and confused dreams.

Monday, September 06, 2010

eternal return (plus recess)

the sky gets grey,
shoes get put by the door,
lunch boxes get lunches,
school bus rounds the corner,
bike locks,
alarm clocks,
coffee cups for yawn-filled talks,
hit the weights,
get the grades,
welcome Sally, James and little Jack Horner,
waxed floors,
squeaky classroom doors,
hey, I've never seen her before,
bully the bully,
salute the principal,
the force of an idea,
makes the inevitable, invincible

fear meets courage,
resistance meets will,
traditional meets eclectic,
potential energy meets kinetic,

what's beginning,
is ending,
and beginning again.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

gonna have me some fun

They call me The Snake.
I'm a slithery snake man,
I eat bad food and wash it down with whiskey,
I ride the trains with Curtis Mayfield in my headphones,
I wear leather shoes,
and sleep in a rusty bed,
I got one glass eye,
and one that works,
keeps a lookout for witches, liars and jerks,
my father was a lion,
my mother was a dove,
they taught me stories about a devil above,
I buy cheap suits and keep a harmonica in my pocket,
a pusher tried to push me once,
I pulled his shoulder from the socket,
I step from the platform and into the street,
a bum and his mangey dog,
are the first I meet,
he shouts, "Hey buddy, gimme some change,
I gotta get a train to my baby, she's been acting strange."
I say, "I saw your baby and she's got a new man,
she don't need you no more you understand?"
He screamed, "Go fuck yourself!" as I walked on by,

The rays of a skyscraper sun were cutting through the city sky,

it was good to be home.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Days with Mary

It had been 3 years since the divorce and 7 years since Mary's death.

Hit by a drunk driver while bicycling to elementary school, the loss of
his daughter had made the last seven years a long rain of agonizing
loneliness. His construction business had been suffering in the new
economy but it was his soul that was failing. As he sat on the park
bench and watched the fathers playing and talking and smiling with their
children, their daughters, he was filled with a deep, painful resentment
and envy. He wanted their happiness, he wanted his own daughter back.
His mind was spinning, chattering about justice and fairness, re-hashing
legal discussions he had once with lawyers, lawyers that didn't
understand that there is no justice. He thought about the driver, about
the parole, he pictured him eating in restaurants, sleeping soundly,
making love and laughing with friends and he was enraged. He wanted to
kill, he wanted to find the driver and hurt him, kill him maybe, he
fantasized about drowning him, drowning him with liquor and beating his
limp body until he could hit no more. His heart raced and his hands
shook and he felt tears streaming down his cheeks. He lit a cigarette
and breathed calming breaths, that's what the doctor said to do, when
the feelings came. So he waited and sat. He sat and waited for everyone
to leave, for the chatter and laughing and smiling fathers to leave and
for the sun to sink down, down into the black night. It was late now and
Tom sat alone, save for a transient singing to himself on the other side
of the park. Soon he was fully alone. He sat under the moon and smoked
and felt waves of sadness and rage, rage and sadness. It was dark, the
wind was blowing paper and dirt into the night air when Tom felt it.
Something had come. He looked around and behind him but there was
nothing...nothing but the wind and the night. Yet it was there, it was
with him. Someone was there...someone had come. His hands shook and he
wanted to scream out in agony but he sat and he waited. It stayed with
him, it felt warm and peaceful. In the silence of the night he cried
When he got home, he opened the door and sat on the couch. Something
was breaking inside, like a chain, something was changing...opening. The
rage was pouring out...emptying. He felt so tired now but the rage and
sadness was fading like voices from a memory. He knew someone had come
to him and he wondered if she had been with him. His hands had stopped
shaking and he felt had been so long...and he fell deep
into a restful sleep. A sleep so deep that his body began to repair
itself from the years of pain. He dreamt. He dreamt about the days with the sun. They were at the lake...she was there...they were
together. They were in the boat on the water and the wind was warm. He
was looking at her and she was looking at him... and they were laughing.

When Tom awoke there were calls on his phone. He had slept so soundly,
the most in years.
He went to the window, it was raining and the wind was howling. He
opened it and let the water come in, it flowed down the wall and onto
the floor. He felt the mercy of release.
He felt she was happy.