Don

In her sleeves drowned
bees drift in freeze dried hair
Someday fear will come
she will not die when it’s fair

When words fester 
chaos can be counted on
to show up dressed as grief
Curled into sleepless nights

under your sleeping bagged eyes
uncomfortably restricted thoughts
tossed dreams against your lashes

As she begins to absorb your passion
clarity and strength
emboldened in hilarity 
honoured to carry you
under her eyes
sleep well
wise friend.

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Bubbles on the Rocks

I thought I would know
after high school on a plane to Calgary
tears hidden inside my bucket hat
further then I’d ever been from friends and family

I thought I would know
when I met folks kinda like me
fuelled my search with beer and cigarettes
just like everyone I leaned on to see

All I really know
as my hair turns grey I get glimpses of me
but she says things I can’t understand
so I sabotage her with bubbles on the rocks

I thought I would know
when I got married
When I had children
a house, a car, two cats
Things that define what it means to be a grown up

All I really know
is some of that is me
and when I listen to the voice
that guides my pen, my feet and my knife
I notice the love I have
for the love in my privileged life

And I’ll take it all
With bubbles on the rocks

Over for the first time

I didn’t see the vacuum as it
sucked out all the air from my body
when you sat at the end of my bunk bed
to define us.

You used murky absolutes and flailing doubt
as my lungs grew sticky
my heart double beat, I flushed
I felt like I had just tested
a battery with my tongue
I wanted to recoil and spit
out the fact I had ever known you.

I tried to remain calm but the anger!
It seeped though my blood and
I could feel it drip off my skin
for 5 minutes I became
predictably insane.

When I finished we were overcome
by an underwhelming silence
then he left and it was over
for the first time.

I wrote the first daft of this piece in my early 20’s. It’s been bugging me ever since, I like this version….for now

Imperfectly perfect in every way

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Imperfectly perfect humans
free to play make believe
self-assured and questioning
ready for their world uniquely

Imperfectly perfect humans
presented to the end
of innocence when they become
aware of judgement as we grind
them though the we’re-all-the
same-o-meter otherwise
know as school

Imperfectly perfect humans
taught to fear failure
lost the sound of their own voice
over the volume of media
reflected off the face of those
who care for them the most

Imperfectly perfect humans
frustrated by a future
of “terrorism” and “danger”
emulate the anger
translate it to stoney resentment

Downeyville

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I’m from Toronto
Unless you’ve heard of Peterborough?
I’m from there, at least
It’s where my brother brews stoney beer
Where my grandma lives beside the wal-mart alone
Famous for her (shhhh-bipolar) smooches.

Unless you’ve heard of Lindsay?
I’m from there, at least
That’s where I went to high school
Drank warm, milky whiskey from a recycled jug
Shared with friends on the street laughing.

Unless you’ve heard of Bobcaygeon?
I’m from there, at least
My mom works at the shoe store on the corner
My dad has a boat parked where
A hip band once saw some constellations.

Unless you’ve heard of Omemee?
I’m from there, at least
It’s where my bothers and I learned to swim
watched Canada Day fireworks
went grocery shopping with my gran.
(fact: it’s also where Neil Young got polio)

Ever heard of Downeyville?
I’m from there, at least
it’s where my heart is
sober static memories
of an evening clover field
a lonely girl with an empty baseball glove
a whispered promise it gets better
after the game, a smile
for the red ten cent freeze.

ninaoneill

I wrote this after a friend teased me about how I dealt with telling people how I grew up. I moved to a tourist town where the conversation was always the same;

“So, where are you from?”
“um, do you Know where Toronto is?”
“…..Kinda”
“Sweet, I’m from close to to Toronto.”

I have gotten down the line to where someone actually knew where Omemee was (never Downeyville though) and I always feel connected to these people in some way, they know a bit of where I came from, where my family live, where my heart is.