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…

Taxday Homestretch

there it is, the line and we are not the smug ones smirking today over brunch no, for us, the race is on cross-country, in the rough hacking with pens like machetes through this bristling, sucking undergrowth of paperwork that bays around us. how does it come to this? every year, astonished that left alone…

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…

Turtle Island Easter Prayer

O Lord, renew me this body, this heart, this mind this soul O you Good Spirits you Saints who intercede budge aside, if you don’t mind just enough to let me speak to Manitowak i do not know whose names and specialities were not passed down Holy Mother, some of your children are standing in…

April 5: Landing

for Catherine Sewell, who walked on at 39, or else would have been 55 this day would she have laughed? i met our old colleague in Superstore talk turned to landing kids so as to break that trope of Indian comes to City and skids out of control into alcohol, crime and life as a…

Some Snow: Poem #3 of 2017 30/30

I’ve started a new page, in honour of Poetry Month, where I’ll be posting daily (one hopes) poems. I had a blast trying this out last spring, having been inspired by This year, I’m playing 30/30 with pals in The Stroll of Poets, and we’ll be posting as a group after our month of shenanigans is…

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…

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…