Category Archives: Last Week’s Poetry

An Austro-Canadian in Italy

Two weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to join a group of Austrian blacksmiths on their journey to the world blacksmithing championship in Stia, Italy. This poem is a sort of culmination of the various interesting experiences I had there – from hole-in-the-floor bathrooms, to five-course meals, they sure had it all.

We drive into a game of Minecraft
pass anti-terrorist stations without a bother
(The bar lifts, no need for passports)
drive on, drive on through a European Philippines

Public enemy: public bathrooms
without seats, without that northern need to pay
no fifty-cent charge, no landlocked terrain
Order pasta without a word of Italian
like a multi-cultural sage stricken mute

Up, up, up the mountains
passing Lego cars, tiny as the collective imagination
The buildings all brick; the rock all sedimentary
Layers upon layers follow us into no-man’s-land

Dinner that day is traditional
Serve me once, shame on you
Serve me twice, shame on me
Serve me three times –
where did all these courses come from?
Serve me five times, we’re in Italy

Back and forth like the ‘scape
Hammers ring and people mime like pros
Before we know it the bus is loaded
beers before midday, Austrian cheers
prayers sung at mealtime, prost
the works

We drive back out of that Minecraft game
into the familiar expanse of Terraria

M.
Sept 1-16/17

Advertisements

20 Feet/5300 Miles

Ascent: to rise and see your cares below
laid out like buds in blossom growing tall
no longer trapped by ice, yet blooming slow
those cares turn warm in summer, lost in fall

To Fall: descending from that highest perch
to muddling ground, where peaceful stories lie
they bask in fading sunlight, sometimes search
for answers to the seasons fading by

These Stories: in a word, more than a word
I tell them, though their purpose fades so soon
they clamor with the seasons to be heard
to rise and fall in cycles, wilt and bloom

so summer shrinks and fall begins to swell
our stories change; but do we change as well?

M.
Jun 29/17

Hands

I attended by best friends’ wedding this week, and I couldn’t help but notice how different my stubby, scarred blacksmith hands look compared to those of most other young women. So I did what I do, and wrote a poem about it:

too long it’s been for me to change these hands
my fingers curl, my fist here ready stands
were I a girl, I’d have less blemished skin
stretched over knuckles rough like battered sands

at least, that’s what the universe here cries
when peering down my forearms with its eyes
the scars and burns stand proud despite its glare
each cicatrix a story here describes

it’s tempting, still, to heed the sacred lie
that states I am what I look like and buy
defiant cries from surface, screen, and air
once muddled, focus, then my strength belie

“the outside can be changed,” the TV calls
the ads flash bright, the colored screen enthralls
and I look down, the difference too stark
my skin more marred beside these whitewashed walls

disarming, how a sight can make you see
both forest and the lonesome standing tree
and I, that tree, think sometimes that to stand
alone is worse than leaving all of me

and yet, return from that most dangerous thought
is brought by comfort and with sunlight bought
the golden rays pass hands in great exchange
bring color to my arms, til they burn hot

my fingers can now hold the very fire
that runs beneath my veins in friendly ire
and pick up steel turned orange by the forge
that formed my scars, did every burn inspire

refusal to give in to what they say
has led to holding fire in this way
for with each mark the sunlight here cements
a hold upon my hands and heart each day

each morning I look up to see the sky
hands raised in praise, no though of asking why
no blemishes, no failures mar my skin
each scar is beauty – beauty found within

M.
Jun 26/17

The Crow

I recently was lent a copy of The Diamond Age, a novel by Neal Stephenson which explores a fantasy-like future in which nanotechnology and cultural constructs reign supreme. It was in this unlikely (and thoroughly enjoyable) bundle of pages that I found an intriguing poem – “The Raven” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whom I had studied in my grade twelve Literature class.

As you can likely tell by the title of this post, the poem struck a chord with me. The following composition is based on Coleridge’s “The Raven”, with my own ideas thrown in for good measure.

Underneath a stout walnut tree
There was of swine a great company.
They grunted as they crunched the wood,
Which, not long after, no longer stood. Continue reading The Crow

Just Friends

[Inspired by Disney’s Beauty and the Beast]

I watch you,
ten rows down at
two-and-a-half-feet a row
Space
enough for friendship

Courting indifference
– uncertainty, adventure,
due diligence, rebellion –
whatever sugar we’re coating it in
these days
I feel lost in a world where
blue and gold
turn grey

Just friends
until somebody takes a chance
like I did
bending to a plucked rose,
still yellow
but fraying red

Torn between
thoughts and feelings
– neither being rational –
but pretending, all the same
that the mess makes
some sort of
Sense

Senselessness,
as in, unfeeling
pricked by a thorn
outward perceptions and
melodramatic music, TV shows,
movies you care nothing for
and beauty found
in people
smaller than their
circumstances

I am smaller, too
than I ought to be
Uncertain
of that same space,
frozen, locked away

And all I want
is to turn the key
poised precariously
ashen lock – torn, yellow curtain
longing
for freedom

M.
Mar 18/17
Picture: mild steel hibiscus blossom

Soulcrushing

Close your eyes
and think

Does it almost feel
like nothing
changed at all?

Try to let that
sink in
and open those
little eyes again

Go soulcrushing
with the best of them
Like when I’m
crying on the floor
at midnight,
wishing I had muscles
strong enough
to heave up dinner

Holding my own
fingers, cause
no one’s there to
hold my hand
as if it mattered

Screaming dead-aired
screams
Weeping without tears
as I –
Or as you, rather –
wait for the melancholy
to pass

Snot dripping down
your chin and into
your eyes
Mingling with your
shaking breath
and shaking limbs

Close your eyes
and think

Think about anything
but think about it
before you die

M.
Feb 20/17