March 18

False spring this year, all brass, centre-of-the-road,
gone with what tempo it came. February, the deceitfully
short month.

There were flurries after that, but half-hearted.
No accumulation to speak of, no drifts.

March 18. Middle of the day we saw optimists
in sawed-off trousers shouting the winter over.

They might be right. But then I’ve seen many a false spring,
two to a season. No much more to say than
I’ve seen them.


I keep a piece of stone in my head,
just behind my eyes. It is magnetic
and points me home.

If you ask me “where is home?”
I will say “ask the stone.”
I am not a map.

Sometimes I come to a body of water.
I build a boat. Is this not why
anyone builds boats?

The boat sinks. I build another.
I drink the water and die of thirst.
I build another.

If you say to me “tell me your story.”
I will tell you the story of the stone.
I am not an author.

If you say to me “I am your home.”
I will say nothing, but start
building another.


plummets (scuttled) cloudward

its choice we undertone
understandable we mutter

such humdrum business here
our vast concretes

we who navigate by torchlight cigarettes
who guzzle uncountable cakes

its chosen sky Jesus
its sensible harp sweeps

not these thunderheaded alleyways
not these lightningous fingers

Toronto // Nowhere

A man walks down a street
but only the street exists:

You can visit it if you like.
He walks through an arch

slung over his back.
Only the arch exists, barely,

a sad little thing, a facsimile.
He leans out over the water

and the water does not exist.
In its place is another water.

He takes a picture of a reflection.
Only the picture exists:

The reflection has washed out
to the other reflections.

A different man holds the photo.
I would like to meet him,

he thinks.


with your jaw i have
slain a hundred men

dulcimer ploughshares

the book that should not have been opened
says what if the book had not been opened

smooth teeth you
have eaten the world

lettres à un ami allemand

i would rewrite you
witless vile scared vain thing

who knows your address
double-windowed red little door

who tucks maps in pockets
for later for never

who bellows vanity into
white-hot absurdity

i would rewrite you
until you are the essential me

the invisible me
who is not and never

The City Is Too Full

Who works very hard not to see
Past the fence past the buildings
Past the road to the plain beyond

Who works very hard to keep from
Chewing its lip from grinding its teeth
From obsessing about stamps

Who is obviously not a horse
Who wears a tie who eats sushi at lunch
Who knows the words who must shout

Who works very hard not to stare at
This speaking in tongues streetside
Who thinks the city is too full

Or —

your bird
pressed up againt the bars

becomes a
hoarder of newspaper

whatever scraps
remain shitcovered

she will
take them
wash them
knit them
paint them
bend them
iron them

until that other bird
that 2/5 of a 1/3 frame

or —