Hamilton

On the shores of Lake Ontario we built hell
And a skyway to see it from

There is no night here nor is there day
Just a muscled arm of coke fire reaching up, up

To shake down cancer from the clouds
A fine, particulate way to go

Breathe deeply, your unconscious participation
You must die so that others may live

60 storeys up and 60 kilometers away
Where snow remains white

Where a thrumming horde
Of engineers and accountants

Shovel you unmarked
Into the blast

what must

he speaks brawn into it
why not me
already knows but anyways says
why not me

never been disappointed while expecting injustice
why not me
balled fist leaks red scent
why not me

whispers whirl into wind again & again
why not me
again already knows what must
why me

perhaps sings

today is prosaic
a chorus of flat words trudges
towards the horizon

we have forgotten how to speak
& more to read

the age suffocates the urge
whose palette is technocolour
all greys

we are labour we are grown
we are approaching it

except all at once a bit flips
& we see these marvelous
objects are more

song we sing
or perhaps sings

the fist of my gut

somewhere
in the fist of the earth
enstrata, folded warmly

is that person who
spoke into clenched ears
acted against deserted rows

their legacy may be grasped
a scrap of fabric hooked
and torn away

a few shorn word, no longer
contexted, slipping under:
sublime

I open my mouth, felsic,
fecund with their antiquations,
belly-deep, spewn

somewhere
in the fist of my gut
is the was

season’s

this season is full of nothing
& nothing is as heavy

torrents obscure white dashes
wilderness bisected so

we could connect to we
on either side new species

brook along babeling
canticle nothing
chorale nothing
anthem nothing

Father Christmas bursts through cokeflame
singed & sooted to deliver his verdicts

incandescent yet another year
we beg: coal, coal

yesterday’s forest afire
breath it in breath it out

smoglike greyness
letter nothing
phoneme nothing
pronoun nothing

tw/ice

two roads diverged &c.
so I took them both

long story short
now-me is wise

and she says
at least I took the right road

can’t say I disagree though
I do and I don’t

to choose to freeze is
to choose to burn

one way
and the other

feels like home

don’t remember much now
says the rocking chair with his
wrinkles down to here
covered in a blanket
riddled with holes

except

The fabric!
The static!
The electricity!
The spark in a dark room!
The viscous loom shuttling!
The sputtering note of petroleum!

burned but survived
preaches the bedpan hollow
out into the halls hallow

no-one listens without anguish
so no-one listens




Heartbeats

Inside you the slow-breathing coal accelerates.
It’s fierce now. You expand like an old star.

I write down what I can.
Inkstained snow falls and lies piled around my chair.

I bargain. I accept nothing.
I say, Perhaps instead you can take…

So tomorrow I will lead you into the chamber
and feel your heartbeats flow between my fingers.

I cannot keep them.
I cannot be rid of them.

one of eleven

Write eleven; choose one.
To find that one the eleven must be written.
There’s no way around it.
You’ll find it in revision.
Five might seem like enough, but no.
Or ten? but again, no.
Eleven is the magic number.
Eleven is when something pops.
Still, treasure the first draft.
It’s not right, but still you love it.
It’s not quite, but it’s got that magic.