I wrote this after seeing Leonard Cohen in concert, which was sometime in 2011 I think. His voice seemed so frail, it made me rather sad. The reference to the golden voice is from his song ‘Tower of Song’


Sit with me and my sweet libretto
I will tell you
Under columns of light
In my golden voice
One by one
These are all the girls I have lost
Their names on scraps of paper
I snared them with music
And broke them with words
Like barbs
Like arrows
And how I hated them
For being beautiful
I never shouted
(Except in Greek)
For fear that I might ruin
That golden voice
Now all stone
The girls are all gone
Only the words are left
Like barbs
Like arrows
Pointing nowhere

Vancouver shipping forecast

I have a particular dislike for local poetry that basically consists of name-dropping and then automatically gets published as a result. When I was asked to write something about where I live for a class, this is what I wrote.

North Vancouver, West Vancouver: leashes, silver, glibly aspiring
West End: flirting, muscled, decaf latte, stiff breezes later
South Granville 16 to 44: boutique, fixtures, haute cuisine, gently rising
Main Street: Ironic, laptops, canvas, Mao on t-shirts
Commercial Drive: Assorted, candles, Kerouac, discreet baking, Joy Divided
Kitsilano: Sodium, picket fence graveyard
Point Grey: gouging, drapery, blissfully rectal
East Hastings: ignored, hasty, skirted, darkly pulsing.

Despair Prevails

Strike the day
From the list by the bed
Despair prevails
Insistent as a switchblade
Writing thin red scrawl
Musings, simply musings
Nothing so coherent
As a stream of consciousness
The pages all torn out
Wrapped in wire and ribbons, dark under my skin

It seems you have opted
For vanity fairgrounds
And golden cups
I am behind the blackout curtain
I think it may be daylight outside
All that grows on this side
Are the uncurling tealeaves
And discarded films
Spiraling mazes left unsolved

There is little time left now
We pull apart the muscles
And grind down the bones
Try to find that divine spark
Like making fire
By rubbing skin on skin
Turn aside for envy
Press out the light against the wall
Every just-glimpsed tress
The only desire left
For a rhyming couplet
Despair prevails

Do not stop to pack bags


Roll on
roll off
loop this sound
in the open shut
infinite legato
blink your eyes
cardboard cutout
propped against the wall
you are hidden
can’t see it coming
go visible
no longer gaussian blurred
no longer concealed
aiming to be perfect
the pen hovers over you
multiple choice
moves on
always moving on
without anchor
launched frozen waste
blank space


I believe this was written while in Japan several years ago


We flick through the pages
All numbered wrong
Fold and unfold
Your pretty cranes
Tiny droplets
Whisk by on the window
Stream them fleet away
You hurry by
With yellow balloons
Even though it is raining
Sidewalk puddles reflect your face
Or the shadow of every other Monday
Carefully draw letters in each
Too-easy crossword
You are fighting back
Against the wind that screams
Between the skyscrapers
And the tousled cryptic pages
Someone once told you
‘life is not about flowers’
but just for today
you bend at the waist
to peer closer at them
that oil-tinted reflection in the puddle
goes on
in its hand a bunch
of yellow balloons


Again this has been posted here before, but I do like it. What is strange to me is that I have a memory attached to this piece, and someone else may read it and attach it to a different memory. Even though the words are the same…

somewhere in this layered
cubist collage of touch
it is possible
if one peers from the right angle
to separate
three bodies
pry apart the tessellating edges –
divide this flesh into separate forms
but for a moment
linked together
a lifeline drawn in blood
pencil vein
for a brief pulse
a quartz vibration
there is something akin to perfection
in this movement
then you fold back
into the mental space
the thoughts return
of how his body is such
styled and flowing
copperplate in the square-nibbed pen
and red ink so distinctive
those complex German adjectives
seem to ripple across him
he is a living calligraphy
and she so
clear and radiant
she bends light towards her
like glass
it follows the waveforms
of the boundaries between
her and not-her
of what is sadness to touch
and what is nothing
your body is so
covered with corrections
rewrites and editing marks
the edges all noise
ink bleeds into the white fibres
the shouting of the fights
that made a simple skin
into this memoir, battleground
each skip dull version of
scratches between the grooves of the record
he holds it up to the light to test if it is warped
tosses it away
this is something too far from perfect