Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Surfer King

Surfer King

Sunlight hits peanut butter skin
over muscle mountains
running north south, shoulder to glute
a valley between cradles the spine
which holds this surfer
centered and whole

He stands on old lava, board in hand
times his heartbeat to the incoming wave
As foam licks his feet, he leapfrogs forward
board like a shield
lands first on the water
becomes his ship

Arms are paddles up and over
through the surge, foam, the wicked
rocks submerged under harder current
He pushes out and on, joins the loose
line of laid back loungers
tag team of water walkers

hair or not, male and female created
different but equal on aquamarine bed
He points board nose back to shore
matches paddle speed to incoming wave
springs up to slice the belly of the rising water
until it folds him over and under

spits him out to go again

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Way to Work

Five magpies
hold a board meeting
black and white rules
bosses all

Black and blue bins
full of themselves
refuse and reuse
march two by two
to the curb

Can you smell the peach
compote in the pink morning
or is it over-ripe apples
as they lose their grip and fall?

Green blades gather on golf links
freeze at the frosty command
of the cold killer
yellow bellied leaves tremble
fall faint to the ground

I walk with a long shadow
urge October to throw coal on the sun
wait for winter's white wonder
dream of a Christmas beach

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wild, Wild, Wind

Wild wind
swaggers into town
drunk on mountain air
rattles windows and bangs shutters
Gallops down streets and back lanes
looking for another drink of summer
lassos leaves and deck chairs
drags them in a whirling dervish
throws pine cone bullets at their feet
commanding "Dance! Dance!"
strips the branches of gold
robs autumn and my sleep
leaves town with a stolen herd of hopes and provisions
uttering threats that his cold heartless cousin Snow
will soon be by to bury us.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Autumn Snapshot

The river's rising applause
reaches my trailer by the bank
All I could ever need
is in this 13x8 space
tucked between aspen and stars
My dog and heaven
sigh for sheer delight
settle in to fall

Sunday, September 8, 2013

We're Good

Goodbye B.C.
Thanks for the rugged beauty.
You'll never be Alberta but as long
as you hold my son well,
we're good.

Photo credit: Joyce Rempel, lower mainland, southeast of Chilliwack, BC

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Road Trip

Sunbeams slice through misting rain like high beams through fog. Light and shadow spotlight mountain shoulders wrapped in spruce shawls, crowded together in a patient line - each frame a deepening shade from green to black.

I curve through the valley on a casual road, capture frames of junk cars, prairie grasses, abandoned barns. Run with a giggling creek (the one with a glint in its eye) who throws rocks and plays peek a boo around corners.

Detour to drive over the wooden bridge with no rails, hike up a washed out road. Discover cliffs and jump into clear emerald water chilled by silver springs. Float in gold sunlight and laughter, watch fear and foolishness fly off higher ledges, splash into long-weekend legends, climb again to dry roast on boulders.

The dog and I rest under shade, watch the world swing from the hammock. Tall branches pose no obstacle for scolding squirrels or the bevy of birds flitting like fireflies. Raucous Whiskey Jacks scavenge at nothing, Chickadees bounce like salt and pepper from a shaker, peck at insects in the dirt. For supper, Juncos catch moths and my thoughts.

We drift away, hot cloudless day melts in orange fire sunset over water into dark chocolate night. Distant coyotes yip over a kill, silence sings a lullaby. The dog circles, curls her body careful against my side, settles and sighs. We smile ourselves to sleep.

Photo credit: Joyce Rempel

Thursday, July 18, 2013

not a preacher

I come from a long line of preachers, I used to say
kinda wanna be one, I used to wish
but when I think of preachers I used to know,
I recall the ones who've fallen

up front on a pedestal, in front of God and everybody
the higher you go, the farther to fall
the harder to keep your balance
I better keep my feet on the ground

whisper truth and love right there
across the table to where you sit, stir
that cup of coffee with laugh-lightener, tear-sweetener
(gimme a double-double of that brew)

lips busy on the sip, my ears hear you
my heart captures your drift
knits our conversation into a net
ready for the catch of the day

so if I lose my balance
your words hold me
and if you lose yours
we both fall with grace

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Night Light

Just after the sun conquers the eastern horizon,
before the mountains win in the west,
the magic hour casts its lumens
like the pink dress or golden hair of a young girl

I am five, stare with child-wonder,
pivot from east to west, sparking bright
light mirrored in my face from infinite prairie
to snowcapped peaks

There is no darkness
no measurable blackness
only, with time, comes the absence of light
to my sight, to my heart

Yet the Light is always shining
it is my perspective that changes
hold that child-wonder in the night
the morning is a breath away

Saturday, May 25, 2013


when I smooth back my wet hair
how I look like my brothers, the shape
of rising cheeks and hooded eyes
salt-and-pepper roots older than time
Mom’s Jantz curl frizzing at the temples
a right-side cowlick over the high
forehead she always tried to cover
using a lock coloured with Loving Care
horizontal lines map tired paths
beneath my chin and toothy smile
vertical lines between my brows
plow deeper furrows as I lean
into the vanity mirror searching
for something far deeper
than the size of my pores

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Take These Broken Wings

In the safe comfort of a cosy place, I wake almost content.
The new friend who snores gently in the other bed is good company.
She is laid back, undemanding and in tune with the spirit.

The poet in me wants to move to Rosebud.
To write art, capture touch, love unwounded
but I am not yet ready to know myself that well.

For today, wings still bandaged
I return to the city
until I am called out of hiding.

Friday, May 10, 2013

On Malcolm Guite's Singing Bowl

(Read/listen to Singing Bowl first)

I begin the song exactly where I am
and read it first, the black print on white field
while the space behind my eyes fills with volcanic pressure
erupts into my frontal lobe and tears run terrified
away from the bomb blast of epiphany

I let him read it then to me, his clipped British accent
oddly smoothing the standing hair
on the back of my tense neck, crowned with pain
from years of trying to keep a cap on what he says
was both about how to pray and how to fulfil my vocation as a poet

Guttural groan escapes my lips like a long shackled muse
finally seeing the light of day, unsure whether to laugh
moan or write and know, somehow, all three are worship
Today I have chosen to take the road less travelled
as the Singing Bowl unlocks the gate.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Poem Before Morning

Wake sweltering at 3:33 
drink a glass of cold water
to purify my body of the wine
I had last night 
listen to a soft voiced man read 
his poetry for a university crowd 
and find it ordering my life
explaining God and my affairs
close my eyes
as he shares a poem about 
talking his wife to sleep
and I am introduced 
to satisfying intimacy of a mind 
mapping a path I knew was there
but could never find
the clock reads 4:44
God is a god of order
all is right in my world
and I dare to drift into daydreams
dive from this obligatory shore
into the solitary sea of purpose
the rest of my days
becoming poetry
to make sense of a senseless life
make life of a senseless death 
explore an unknown language:
how to talk my love 
into satisfying sleep

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Prayer

Dear Lord Jesus, friend, brother and living Love,
May you rise again in me each day,
May your life in me bring love to all I encounter -
in each touch, word, glance, prayer and work of art
May your light empty our personal tombs,
raise us as songs of your glory.