Small talk


Come evening we sit in the front room-you with your chamomile and I have my crossword puzzle on my lap. I swear when I make a mistake in ink.

The phone rings across the room. I cough. You turn your head once, but you don’t get up. I claim I can tell it is a telemarketer by the tone.

“Is there any beer?”
I continue working on 23 down, not answering.
“Is there any beer?”
“There is no beer.” I write in the answer.

The clock strikes 8.
I put down the puzzle.
“Meet you there?”
“Well it is Monday night.”
“So it is. Did you?”
“Yes, of course.”

I stand in the doorway in crimson.
I wear only black, but I promised to always wear
his favourite color red on Mondays.
“A new one. Lace?”

we lie very still
he on his side and I on my back
He makes a pretense of coughing.
“Your hair looks like satin in this light”

“And you look like the boy I met on the train.”
“Was that 1988?”
“You know it was.”
“Best day ever.”
Smoke rings at the ceiling speak of it.

I sit cross-legged while he brushes my hair. Every few strokes he leans forward and speaks directly into my ear, whispering
“I love Mondays.”

“Did you say you bought roses?”
“Red ones, two dozen”
“Where are they?”
“I saw you were home and ran in quickly. They must be in my car.”
I smile.

I lie on my side and he on his back. I push hair off his forehead with a delicate gesture. He closes his eyes.

“Let’s lay here until Tuesday.”


There are seals on envelopes with glue
we moisten, and in former days
a wax seal to show a name
full of news, photos, hopes and dreams

I break the coffee’s seal
then bring it up to my face to sniff-
I love how the top of a jar pops
when the suction is broken

The seals playing in the surf
are oblivious to us, and we
draw from creatures some kind of strength
from doing what comes naturally

Do you believe in sealed fate? Do you
think everything will happen by plan-
or was that seal broken the day we were born
left to grow and change and alter it at will


I sent my manuscript to members of my family
I wonder if they will read it
I wonder if they have read it
I wonder if they are reading it now
and know who I am for the first time

It was cheeky of me, since
they did not ask me to send it
my siblings (our father) my aunts and uncles
printed on 67 lb multipurpose
copy paper with 92 brightness

I had been sitting and writing
sitting and reading
sitting and thinking too damned much
and it occurred to me, that
my own family should read me


I see the end coming
far off
(but sure)
I feel the pull of the earth
when it used to hold me tight

my eyes blur
you are hazy there where you sit
nearly with me
but somewhere else
at the same time
the fog rising between us

I see the end coming
far off
(but sure)
the aches are greater
when it rains
your anger is greater
when I cry

and I wonder why
I have failed
to dredge up empathy
among the roses
this dry spell of months
is heavy to drag behind

Passion and politics



Raindrops are lost to clods of dirt
stirred by your footfall
you- so much taller than I
I thought they were your tears
falling over my head

I wish you had been sober
when you said you wanted me
I wish you had been kinder
when you got sober

You voted badly-I know it
you hammered me with your politics
you didn’t know shit
about foreign policy

You still could have stayed-
you could untie my knots
and did not tell me, while
I was trying to get at your heart

You said you hated the Beatles
but I still would have stayed
when you smashed my vintage ABBA record-
I walked out and you panicked

I miss you staring into my eyes
til I had to look down
I miss staring at your lap
til you blushed

It is raining again
the clods of dirt
stirred up by your footfall
I still listen for


in some realities
all the roses have thorns
some lives matter
others wish they had
not been born
clinging to life
I turn from the naysayers
fistfuls of candy
from wolves
and the players
I find it difficult
sleeping at night
so I stay awake wandering
avoiding the light

Mid-week stomp

Wednesday wakes up and walks on my face
twenty minutes before my alarm goes off
I cover my head from the sun, swearing
at him for opening the drapes so early

Wednesday spills coffee grounds on the counter
and I feel them under my socks
moving through morning chores I no longer
think about as I accomplish them

Wednesday says, ‘today is hump-day
and you have not been humping,’ and
mocks me, laughing when I am late
but I move on, move on like any other day

Wednesday follows me to the grocery store
and I scurry around corners to shake him
but when I get into line, he is before me
giggling with too many items in express

Tantalizing Tuesday: Barbara Stanwyck


The first time I noticed Barbara Stanwyck she was protecting the family ranch in Big Valley. The next time I saw her on my screen she was gunning for the fetching Richard Chamberlain in the very twisted Thornbirds mini-series in the 80’s. I was taken by her strength and resolve. Whatever she was after was going to be hers. She didn’t always win but she usually did, especially when it came to men. She wasn’t just tough, she was often cruel. They gave her some very tough parts that she bit into fully and completely. But here we see her softer side in The Lady Eve (1941) having Henry Fonda on his knees putting her shoes on.

In Crime of Passion (1957) Stanwyck is married to Sterling Hayden’s character, a police officer who is not as ambitious as she thinks he ought to be. She cheats with Raymond Burr to try and get her husband promoted, but he acts honorably afterwards and won’t give in to her pressure. He says,
“In my book, you have enough chips. Cash them in and go home.”
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