Welcome to wordcurrents

Thursday, March 23, 2017

* * My new poems here to date: 1,149 * *

img_2108The header above is out my back window just about dawn.

wordcurrents is on Facebook now.

Also new: You can now “Share” and “Like” my posts. Please do so. You will see the buttons below each post.

Over time, I have taken my own advice and compiled a collection of my favourite poems from this site. I did this by clicking on the “FavoriteAdd to favorites” link below the archive version  of each poem that I like a lot. (If you don’t see the link, click on the post’s title to get to the archive version.) Each selection is stored in your own list, accessible in the “Lists” menu, above.

If you are a subscriber, your list is stored in the site database. If you are not a subscriber, the list is stored on your computer in a cookie, which deletes your list if you delete the cookie. All lists are private; even I can’t access any but my own. If you do have a list, I would be pleased to hear about it. Cheers.

“Popular Posts”  I am amazed to discover that some of my posts have been viewed multiple tens of thousands of times in the past six years, since I enabled the counter. (see column to the right).

What do you think? Please comment on any post.

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If you ask what inspired me to write this poem
my civil response is to send you hoem.
If you ask me how I wrote this werk
I’d answer you with this rational perk:

If I waited to be inspired and fonkey
I’d write with the skill of a typewriter monkey.
I sit down to write every day at these times
because if I don’t there won’t be any rimes.

Writing’s a craft just like any werk:
‘Til you turn on the heat, your coffee won’t perk.

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wordcurrents’ 11th anniversary

Deadlines are often seen as a scourge: they create stress and are often viewed as unreasonable demands by the poor striving minions who work under them. I know that, because when I was sixteen years old, I faced the deadline of having to produce two columns per week for our local daily newspaper, The Northern Daily News. For five cents per column inch, I stood, Monday and Wednesday evenings after supper, at the big cast-iron Underwood typewriter that stood on my bedroom dresser and pounded out items of interest for my fellow students, for my column, entitled “Collegiate Chatter”. I discovered early on, that the more names I dropped, the greater my readership. I did that for two years until I left for University.

With that experience behind me, I was ready for essay deadlines, which for me, were child’s play, at zero cents per column inch. And, after all, the deadlines were usually about a month apart.

For many years, when I was teaching, I rose at 5:30 AM to write, sadly, without a deadline except for breakfast, when I had to stop, eat, shave and get ready for work.
It was not until I retired in 1993 that I had the wonderful leisure of being able to write during any part of the day, as I pleased.

But I found I was writing all over the place, without much intent, focusing on writing plays. I experienced a turning point when I was invited to become part of the Playwrights Unit in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre, where I was under contract for a year. During that year, I was one of nine playwrights who met with dramaturg Lise Ann Johnson and occasionally Arthur Milner every second Sunday afternoon to share and critique each other’s work.

The experience was exhilarating. I discovered deadlines all over again, and found my writing was blooming.

After that heady experience, which culminated in public staged readings of excerpts from our scripts — by Equity actors, no less — at The Great Canadian Theatre Company and Arts Court, I returned to writing without deadlines, and found myself lamenting the lack thereof.

For number of years I continued writing, but found I was getting nowhere. I needed a deadline, obviously; but until I had an editor or a publisher demanding that I finish work on time, that was not going to happen. I contemplated trying to find an agent who could get me an editor or publisher, but I just did not want to spend the effort doing that, when I could be writing. I faced a paradox: my writing would go nowhere without a deadline, but I was to preoccupied or lazy to do what I need to do to get me a deadline.

Along came blogging. I started reading blogs as they became popular. It took me a few months to realize that I could write a blog, and it could become my deadline if I stated publicly that I had one. So that is what I did. I stated at the top of my blog that I was intending to write a new poem every day.

On Valentine’s Day, 2006, I wrote my first poem for wordcurrents, and posted it here.

I did that, religiously, every day for about three years. I stopped doing that, and turned to novel writing — but that is a different story.

So, here I am, 1148 poems in eleven years later. Scourge? Hardly. Incentive, blessing, even? Most definitely.

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The Silence

In the evening, we surrender to our
screens: they command, we submit.
Sound-cancelling headphones for me;
some use earbuds. No one speaks.

Beautiful lady, may I
slide my fingers into your ears?
You do not hear me: your earbuds
block my fingers. No one speaks.

Too intimate you say
—would say, if I could enter you.
Wait: a child is dying; her
mother and I weep, on Netflix.
No one speaks.

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Stone Cold Love

Again snot-nosed kid
in snowsuit squirms,
screams. Woman smacks,
almost knocks him out
of his stinking squalor
in the shopping cart.
Hard eyes confront.
Silence for a preschooler
on Thursday afternoon.

Were he to lie bleeding
under that cart
or a careless car,
would she wail and bleat
her fists against
her leaking eyes?

Oh, yes.

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It is not unlike a beach hammock
this vinyl and chrome articulated
head rest, back rest, bum rest
leg rest, arm rest swoop on which I lounge.

I open wide, surrender: her gloved
fingers approach, bearing the sharp,
shaped needle pick she will wield
to scale and clean my teeth.

The spatter beads my lenses:
I see as a housefly: cannot focus
on her eyes above that surgical mask;
she hovers, multiplied, before me.

Water sprays, the suction’s
white noise dissects me.
Her softness nudges my arm
her fingers probe my mouth.

Her fierce tenderness
holds me: I cannot leave
I think her name is Calypso.
We meet again in six months.

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Time shift

The letters I wrote so long ago
tied together in their tattered envelopes
like an oven-roasted brick of fossils.

I was so frantic and so far from you
my panic was restrained to epic
by butterflies and impossibility.

I see the microscope
that was my mind
through the telescope of time.

Archaeologist, astronomer, Odysseus,
I search the rubble of those stars,
find humour in those words.

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On the cold dark road

Jet black pinion juts just off vertical
flutters on the pavement from a clump of
coal — or feathers, jumbled black feathers,
I see now: a crow lying on the road.

No accident this, but cold intent. A rock
— lowbrow tool’s tool, I heard it hit and
flip, followed by the scrambling splat
of the questioning crow, crying on the road.

Talon twitches at the end of a thin inkish
squiggle — and that fierce dark disk tilts,
looks for the explanation, please — a reason;
but there is no why, just dying, on the cold dark road.


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