banff poetry

Hot Cross Buns

 

Snow sounds swish underfoot

Slip slide swoosh shy

Away from underbrush

Twigs and twisted traces of

Land beneath this winter blanket

My snowboard ploughs through powder

Making white icing strips on

Hot-cross buns of grey rock

Wishing the world a silent night

A holy Christmas on top of

This lowly mountain

 

 

The Fight

 

Serendipitous, I sit

The wind a perilous presence in this land of cold

From my perch on white chocolate rock

I see the world from the viewpoint of God

See the trees as jagged bristles poking up from a head of powder

See the people as little Lego figurines

Scaling snow-creased walls as if to conquer the world

In a land without war

In a land bored with peace

We do what we can to fight our carnal selves

By challenging nature to a battle

It never agreed to

And will ultimately lose

 

 

Winter’s Wail

 

Their feet leave invisible prints on slippery sidewalks

Their faces, imprints upon my mind

Smooth flushed faces

Their frosted hairs braced against winter’s wail,

Eyes flashing bright with life

Legs moving swiftly as if in a race against time

Denying the undeniable cold

Fostering an inhuman need for warmth

A need fuelled by oil and gas companies

Whose hearts are frozen shut by the slimy fingers of

Cold hard cash

 

(poems written from a coffeeshop in banff)dscn0539

circling sadness

“as she walked away, my tears fell on a letter she’d written, smudging the ink.”

my friend proceeded to share how she’d drawn circles around those teardrops, as her older sister–the only one who’d ever shown her any semblence of love–left home for college.

the bible says God does more than circle our teardrops–he collects them in a jar. i believe he uses them to water heaven’s flowers. whatever the case, nothing is wasted with God.

we may feel invisible, but God sees even the lowliest of creatures crying… and, as he holds out that jar to collect our sadness, he whispers, “i will never walk away. i will never, ever leave you.”

The Tank Man

tianasquare

The red folds of the People’s Republic of China flag flapped noiselessly in the wind, its golden stars abused and misused emblems of hope in a severely oppressed land.

The camera panned over screaming students, raging bonfires, men on stretchers, and girls lying dead, protest signs smashed in oblivious dirt. And the tanks—countless tanks, endlessly rolling over the desperate courage of a smothered people, suffocating their chants, ending their cries for freedom, forever.

On June 5, 1989, the day following the senseless massacre, silver smog lifted with the coming of dawn. Beneath the thick blanket of cloud lay hundreds of murdered bodies, mere children who’d stood up for their rights, marching the streets for the past five weeks.

One by one, the tanks began to engage in what has been described as a dance—an absurd waltz of victory. They made their way, guns lifted high, down the abandoned streets, revelling in blood-stained victory.

And then, there he was—the Unknown Rebel of the June Fourth Incident. A grocery bag in hand, he seemed an ordinary man, stepping out in extraordinary shoes, standing tall, shoulders slightly bend, white collar shirt stained with sweat and fatigue, blue dress pants creased, worn. He stood before dozens of tanks, blocking their route. Behind him, bodies lay in peaceful piles.

Perhaps this silent man realized nothing more could be said? Perhaps he’d spent the last few days huddled in his tiny apartment, head bent over knees, weeping endlessly for someone he’d loved—someone who’d been killed by the very tanks he now faced?

Or perhaps he was just tired of words in general—useless words, flapping like China’s red flag in a perfectly controlled wind, unable to do anything except flap.

And so he did something. While seemingly suicidal, he merely exhibited a nonchalant laissez-faire attitude: whatever must be, must be.

And so, it was. The tank tried to roll around the man; he jumped in front of it. It turned back the other way; he followed it. Then the tank did the unthinkable, and shut off its engine. The other tanks followed suit, and for a moment—inconceivable quiet.

The man jumped up on the tank, opened its lid and began talking to the people inside. Then he leapt back down…

And stood, oblivious to impending international fame, to thousands of shutters clicking and cameras rolling. All that mattered to him was his duty to stand there, to force a deliberate decision in the face of innocence. Would they choose to let live, or let die? The man knew, in that moment, he wasn’t alone: crowding around him were millions of martyred, slaughtered souls who’d dared to fight for what they believed—ghosts of China’s long forgotten, the soundless sighs of unsung heroes.

Overnight his photo would inspire a world. Overnight his picture would become a symbol of peace, of spirits exploding in an otherwise stifled country. The nameless, faceless figure would serve as a muse for those trapped in labour camps, and for those continuing the fight for freedom.

Yet all he was trying to do was abide, in a world gone mad.

Political Greed

At what point did politicians usurp integrity for the sake of power? At what point did the almighty dollar start to matter more than the human heart? And what will be the ultimate cost of this disgusting display of greed, rampant across North America today?

There is an old Russian fable about two peasants, which was recently, and aptly, quoted by economist, social commentator and nationally syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell. The only difference between these peasants was that Boris had a goat and Ivan didn’t. One day, Ivan came upon a strange-looking lamp and, when he rubbed it, a genie appeared. She told him that she could grant him just one wish, but it could be anything in the world.

Ivan said, “I want Boris’ goat to die.”

Sowell goes on to clarify that politicians today are channelling people’s hatred towards CEOs’ hefty paycheques, or Boris’s goat, in order to disguise the real problem: an economy driven by politics.

Even if CEOs were to be paid in pennies, it wouldn’t affect the price of oil. Sowell then points out the millions earned by Tiger Woods or Oprah–yet no one is accusing them of theft.

It’s easier to accuse those whom we don’t know; to hate that which we’re ignorant of, rather than face up to the fact that we’ve been duped. Acknowledging the truth–that the economy has plummeted on account of sheep gone astray–is to acknowledge that we, the public, are to blame.

Yet what would happen if, instead of resorting to hatred, we were to hold our heads up high, keep our hands on our wallets, and march determinedly past the green-faced political giants? In no time at all we’d see the value of our dollar rise and the economy, restored.

But will this happen? It will take more strength than has been required of America in a long time: strength to refrain from turning on the tube; strength to pick up a book and read, to gain knowledge, and then strength to walk out our door in the name of integrity.

Ultimately–it will require the strength to win back a crumbling nation from the grip of politicians, and to restore it to a land on its knees crying “In God Do We Trust.”

my muse

leaves-small

while walking in white pillow snow, i realized…

without nature, i grow dull, listless.

sad.

exercising indoors, working all day within the confines of my purple office,

i dry out. become a cardboard copy of myself.

today i finally stepped outside. began to walk, began to open my heart up to the message of the woods.

branches reached out, black hands, embracing white cotton puff. autumn leaves lay sleeping, breathing colour into the washed-out underbelly of winter. tree limbs danced with each other, garbed in white linen ice, their reflection rippling across the shivering grey creek bed.

i breathed deep and long. felt the romance rising in my soul. felt creativity bleeding through my veins. rushed home to my purple office to write these feelings down…

thereby abandoning my muse, in my hurry.

water-small

kindergarten coup

funny. up until now, i was sure i lived in a democratic society. in a country where voting meant something; where the majority ruled, and where candidates who lacked the balls to state their true intentions were not allowed to rule.

that is, until now. it would seem the freedom we’ve so righteously professed in the past has bit us in the butt. our leaders, the ones who claimed to hold our best interests at heart, have torn up our ballots, tiptoed into back rooms and cast their own vote–three against one.

while harper celebrates his victory, three sore losers who hold no more respect for each other than they do for the current prime minister, are joining hands and, with white-stripped grins, promising to do right by a country they’ve already let down.

dion has been rejected by his own party; layton relies solely on the blame game, and duceppe represents just one of 10 provinces: yet they promise to solve our economic crisis while restoring national harmony. have they even considered the profound cost of this kindergarten coup?

up until now… i was proud to be Canadian. now, i’m just scared.

chocolate-icing beaters

there are days when i’m convinced we adults have it all wrong.

days when slick tear-water, weeping willows and smudged mascara tell me i’m acting too old.

days such as today, when i –a weeping willow–picked up a chocolate-icing beater and, in a moment of weakness, licked it clean.

then i picked up the other one; licked it so fast it smudged my cheek brown, and  i smiled. laughed, as the smooth icing coated my tongue and dried my tears.

the children were right, all along.