Three Times

“My theme is alwey oon, and evere was—Radix malorum est Cupiditas.”
~The Pardoner’s Tale.

And we together, wrought
by a thunderbolt of azure
eyes and snow white boots;
tales taught by a pompous
ass; and a love as giving as
a striking moon.

And I, hypocrite, solely
taking at every promise
to give only, proferring
failure to each eager hope,
loving desperately in
atonement for every
poisoned bottle and stab
at Death.

After three times a decade
in receipt of more than
just desert; still guarding
rotten relics like a cankered
banker; grasping like an aged
beggar for another day,
another hour in your company;
and never bearing to think
it profligate to assume.

Beloved, you are my full
compass. My sustenance,
my respite, and my cure.
The branch to my root,
the vein to my pooling blood,
the opening to my every door.

And greed–if my resilient,
teeming yen for you be such–
must coat my every evil organ
like the finest mist.

[for Julie]

Caleb Jones

Who are you, Caleb Jones?

Your name is ages
of cattle
and straw,
a careful grey beard,
though no mustache,
beneath eyes
chinked out of flesh.

But today,
you are a blonde boy
from Westmount,
whether to laugh
or cry
in your father’s arms.

Dream of Nakedness

I was handsome, I was strong,
I knew the words of every song.
Did my singing please you?
The words you sang were wrong.
-Leonard Cohen.

I dream of nakedness, of stories
sung at podiums
without benefit of tailors.

My song drawing eyes
from between my legs
to stubbled lips
turning to pastel.

I must use caution.

The musk from my crotch
still pervades, still catches
nostrils incapable of twitching,

reminds all:
my song
could be wrong.

Eyes So Open


“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.”
–Song of Solomon

Awareness follows love
inside the smile
that betrays your eagerness —

the kind anticipating
no need for rest.

You were preceding tiny,
but even your mother
couldn’t detain you
from starting too early.

Your parents swallowed
hope like gentle wine,

felt it
holding life
like an offered chalice,

and passed it to you
in the kissing breath
that now makes your
eyes so open.

[for Patrick Young]

Daphne, 1929-2015


Do not look for me in the curve
or colour of the rainbow,
or in the pleasing shape
of a passing cloud.

Though I loved them,
I am still not in the small
petal of the lilac, or
the sweet spring scent of
the lily of the valley.

And you will not
find me anywhere
near the chiseled dates
and letters on those
gleaming plaques.

Do not worry.
When you need me,
you will find no search
is necessary.

I am already behind your eyes
and closer than your own skin.

Cry for us both now,
if you need to,
but know that,
still and always,

I will find you when
you’ve fallen
and help you again to stand.