For My Mother

April 17: Nocturne: Tiny Now She is tiny now, my mother and jokes in the morning, when her teeth aren’t in, how she whistles like a little bird. And i want to reach back to the nights when she brought the piglets in laid them in the woodstove oven so tiny, but she believed in…

Blue Seed Pattern, 1987

for Trish Sewell and MM What if we stayed up all night? This was long years before Seoul Tokyo, beloved Kyoto singing Daijobu! with the genki boys down on Kawaramachi-dori down by the hot coffee machines.   What if we walked the city? This, after years walking the long browed hills of the north only the…

That Old Alchemy

Happy World Poetry Day. For the occasion, a poem inspired by Confucius, and journeys in various communities. That Old Alchemy I know it well, that alchemy making virtue of necessity; less well do I know the point at which another change is due lest we mistake which ingredient is catalyst and key, pursue those things…

For the Light Returning: How Not to Freeze

Free Tibet! bang bang Free Tibet!  Their voices and their drums shimmered through the frosty air. They danced past the doors of the Strathcona Farmers’ Market, and i hustled in after my hubby, looking assiduously away from them. I’d recognised one of the dancing drummers, indigenous of mixed ancestry, and an artist -so, not unlike…

Seeking Names

This grows in my garden: As you can see, the stalks grow 8 feet tall, and taller, with multiple little heads that clearly show this plant belongs to the sunflower family. This is what we eat from this plant: You might know this plant as Jerusalem Artichoke, or Sunroot, or Sunchoke. You might, if you’re…

A Rant for Rick Mercer: The Problem With Gord Downie

Hey, Rick, Been listening in on your rants for years, as we all do. Now I’ve got one for you, coming from a place of Cantankerous Love, on the problem with Gord Downie. The problem isn’t Gord Downie. He’s doing something brave, meaningful and relevant with his last remaining days among us. That is laudable….

2015: by the Light Given

2015 it’s a day in may we watch the election turn our province map orange on screen, tuned to cbc radio for the call. i feel at home for the first time, and for a long time knowing that this would have been worth living for dad, to see your grand daughter following the flow…

2014: Nomads

it’s 2014, high june i tour to toronto i am not a rock star i will not become a rock star but i am paid to make poems.   i meet up with zooey we started out together as lesser-thans in our creative writing class like mice or bees, the way we moved made our…

2013: Cranes

if you ask what i remember from my laureate days it is a thin, rare song.   children i’d loved since infancy stretched out their voices to the sky, in the gym of the school that we saved in a song about whooping cranes singing again in the wind because we dared to say extinction…

2012: Wolf Work

it’s 2012 national arts council meets here to know the land they serve i am invited to a reception no poem commission, just to be face of our mayor’s personal commitment   laureate memo: always carry poems are easy to conceal mind you, the law of theatre applies here; if you see a poet it…

2011: Uses of Poetry

it’s 2011 i’m the City’s Poet chosen to laud us to declaim us, to name us exhort us, inflame us   actually, people often ask me what does a laureate do?   it is not, i assure you a position designed to discover just how bitchy, back-stabbing and vain poets can really be, for how…

2010: Olympic

it’s 2010 i go to the olympic edition of talking stick festival in vancouver, i walk this is how to learn a city walk from dorothy’s up on coal harbour down to cambie to the roundhouse to the show   i will never be a headliner i will never be on the podium i am…