Wednesday, January 15, 2020

'To A Sad Daughter' - Michael Ondaatje

All night long the hockey pictures
gaze down at you
sleeping in your tracksuit.
Belligerent goalies are your ideal.
Threats of being traded
cuts and wounds
--all this pleases you.
O my god! you say at breakfast
reading the sports page over the Alpen
as another player breaks his ankle
or assaults the coach.

When I thought of daughters
I wasn't expecting this
but I like this more.
I like all your faults
even your purple moods
when you retreat from everyone
to sit in bed under a quilt.
And when I say 'like'
I mean of course 'love'
but that embarrasses you.
You who feel superior to black and white movies
(coaxed for hours to see Casablanca)
though you were moved
by Creature from the Black Lagoon.

One day I'll come swimming
beside your ship or someone will
and if you hear the siren
listen to it. For if you close your ears
only nothing happens. You will never change.

I don't care if you risk
your life to angry goalies
creatures with webbed feet.
You can enter their caves and castles
their glass laboratories. Just
don't be fooled by anyone but yourself.

This is the first lecture I've given you.
You're 'sweet sixteen' you said.
I'd rather be your closest friend
than your father. I'm not good at advice
you know that, but ride
the ceremonies
until they grow dark.

Sometimes you are so busy
discovering your friends
I ache with loss
--but that is greed.
And sometimes I've gone
into my purple world
and lost you.

One afternoon I stepped
into your room. You were sitting
at the desk where I now write this.
Forsythia outside the window
and sun spilled over you
like a thick yellow miracle
as if another planet
was coaxing you out of the house
--all those possible worlds!--
and you, meanwhile, busy with mathematics.

I cannot look at forsythia now
without loss, or joy for you.
You step delicately
into the wild world
and your real prize will be
the frantic search.
Want everything. If you break
break going out not in.
How you live your life I don't care
but I'll sell my arms for you,
hold your secrets forever.

If I speak of death
which you fear now, greatly,
it is without answers.
except that each
one we know is
in our blood.
Don't recall graves.

Memory is permanent.
Remember the afternoon's
yellow suburban annunciation.
Your goalie
in his frightening mask
dreams perhaps
of gentleness.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Nobody

I ask myself, what is my brand?
A collection of ideas?
An echo in eternity?
The beauty of chaos, unceasing?
Or the power of imagination, unfettered?
I am nobody, and everybody
Teacher, Banker, Manager?
Poet, writer, philosopher?
Partner, Son, Dad

All boxes,
Waiting to be checked,

Pick your career, said the mentor
Focus said the boss
Make money said the pragmatic
Be narrow, said the world

But I belong to no story
I belong to no role,

I live to breathe air
Of worlds waiting to be discovered
Of words waiting to be spoken

I am Nobody, Somebody, Everybody
I walk with the herd, and yet I walk alone

All these boxes, still waiting to be checked, unchecked

Thursday, March 21, 2019

More from the past

The construction of a catastrophe

The reckless adventure of attempting the im-plausible
The feeling of being a step closer to your calling in this world
The madness of self belief in the face of an ever changing probability
The rush of blood from an anarchy of ideas
The anticipation of a possibility becoming a reality

On the precipice of disaster
the edge of catastrophe
is it all worth it?

Does it matter?

It is in the very nature of the universe.
Some will brook success, others abject failure.
We serve a purpose.
Be it a guiding light or a warning bell.
Speak out. Serve your purpose.

Circa 2008

Into the shining sun

ticking away
catching up
no escape
no getting away
inexorable, the wings
freedom stings
life goes away
and you hold

memories,fading away fast
briefs flashes
of time
the greatest keeper
in time we will all
fade away fast
too fast

and still we try to
to collect
to enslave
what we cannot
Happiness come again,
and this time
no binds
no bounds

no false notions
of things not mine
This time will be different
and no staring audience
lets just start again
this time is different