Thoughts on a Fire

I pick my feet through the bones of my burned out house.
I step over a melted lamp, its fixture fused by the heat
As it juts from the wreckage like a survivor’s limb
The twisted metal vaguely resembles
A limp human hand.

I perilously walk across the untouched steel bar that reinforced the floor
I approach the island of surviving floorboards.
There’s a fiendish groan.
My foot cracks through a weak spot.

There is a pile of blackened rubble.
I lift each charred board.
I excavate the reams of smoked gypsum
I unearth a cracked throne
Still gleaming white beneath the soot.
It had fallen into the kitchen when the second floor collapsed.

I unearth the stone basement steps.
There’s exploded cans of stewed tomato,
Cooked onto the stone,
Like paint with plenty of texture.
I descend into what was supposed to be the family room
We were going to build it someday,
Have a lounge and a foosball table,
Maybe a bar and dartboard.
Whenever I had got around to finishing the basement.

In the corner, our trail bikes have melted together.
The water heater, an exploded cigar.
The unused exercise equipment, a jungle of fused metal.
All mutated mementos and refused requiems.

Everything is still wet.
From when the fire fighters perfunctorily
extinguished the smoking heap.
Long razed before they even got onto the scene.
By the time the alarms went off,
the home fires were burnt out.

I have learned many things.
Never live in the country if you want adequate fire coverage.
Always remember your wedding anniversary
Always buy her flowers
And never, ever marry a woman
With a history of arson.


There is a flower that drives men mad.
She only grows on the rocky bluffs of Nothingness.
Only blooms once in a man’s lifetime.
Sprouting where Hakuin clapped his hand,
She remains hidden,
Only to be claimed by the intrepid.
She awaits the bold,
Blessed with strong fingers.
She grants a solitary wish,
To those willing to lose themselves.
In time, in mind, amidst the vined cliffs,
In the waterfalls that ring the Staircase of the Gods.

Colour of the most sanguine red.
Eight petals shaped like tired blades.
Each one curling to the Right.
Four slender pistils,
Sit in a shapely cup.
She’s beautiful,
She obliterates the Is.

I climbed to claim her.
But when I clutched her,
She withered.
When I freed her,
She flourished.
I meditated on her scent.
And heard thunder –
A muted Mu.

Creator of Worlds

Creator of Worlds

You make art.
You summon emotion from a featureless plane.
Your slender hands guide indelable ichor.
through unforgiving curves
Where perpective means everything
And assuptions nothing.

A picture is worh a thousand poems
Regardless of the brevity of the imagery
I can describe a hand with allusions and allegory
But you start with a base of originality
You can sketch a hand that people can see
The same way we all see hands.
You can stipple in textures
Showing the callousness of over worked fingers.

Good Time Gals

They are the good time gals.
They are the women who make the world,
Who come in many forms,
Who cross all boundaries,
And struggle against stacked odds.

They are mothers born and goddesses chosen:
Some warriors, some healers,
Some brutal, some savage,
Some kind, some rude

  • All equal.

This is an ode to the feminine form
in all its guises,
To the women who made my world.
Not all of them birthed me
But all shaped me
All equally,

Equally beautiful
Equally monstrous
Equally stormy
Equally righteous

Some were a passing light
Flittering across smokey windows
Some were lingering lanterns
Guiding the way down twisting corridors
Some were pragmatic nurses
Closing the dead eyes of fathers.

They are the good time gals
The women who remake this world
Who propelled us as a species
And might help us tear it all down.

Do It Yourself.


In Belize, I saw a “DOITYOURSELF” heart-shaped slogan decorating the walls of a San Ignacio coffee shop. We took a much needed break there during the afternoon of the Shoulder season when the heat lingered and the humidity concentrated in the shift from summer into the rainy season. While ideal for exploration with few crowds, the oppressive weather warranted periodic lazy days when the only agenda was comfort. The sparsely-decorated coffee shop had two main attractions - air conditioning and decent coffee. The longer we stayed, the more we realized how it emblazoned the very loud and proud Belizean culture. At least, the small subsection that we saw running through the veins like brilliant calcite crystal snaking its way through this country’s Mayan bones. The coffee shop stands out like a yellow plume against this country’s lush backdrop.

The decor had the theme of a foreign entrepeneur who visited an indepentendly owned coffee shop in Fargo, North Dakota, and returned inspired. After all, they chose the brown plasticized booths with accent stripes in browns and cross-hatch textures of every shape and size. While the cushions felt like bus seats, they invited you to torment your spine and collapse like a preMahogany tables designed to allow maximum sprawl ate up so much space they could have doubled their occupancy and still feel spacious. The huge aluminum and glass window belonged on any dollar store trying to keep costs low They mounted power outlets mounted in the middle of the wall so each table traded function for easily-accessible form. All of the design decisions preferred practicality over aesthetics, but the deliberate wall art and the Chinese characters depicting the shop’s name in gold, polished glyphs with hammered filigrees set admidt a field of symmetrical, shining stars, left an indelible impression of a cultural conversations even more than the four different groups of customers and employees having four conversations in four separate languages before conducting their business in well-practiced English.

The matron of the establishment held court from her supervisory position fenced off by a wall of cafe supplies and the Simonelli espresso machine. In rapid, loud Cantonese, She ordered around her children employees who carried the mixed heritage of strong Asian decent mixed with strong Kriol descent. They, in turn, enacted her every command with the scurrying promptness reserved for the children of military parents or stereotypical old Asians. The kind you don’t want to generalize but then who publicly model themselves like Mrs. Kim from the Gilmore girls. Whatever her motivations, she ran a tight ship and her children make one hell of an Americano.

Enumerating this woman’s bold aesthetic rev