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Gospel Drunk

Gospel Drunk

also available: Paperback
tagged : canadian
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The Child is Still Kin



Child's pose

Both hands spread to feel the floor,
the child I am is still kin to carpet,
tile, dust-drift beneath cupboards.


The child I am spreads forearms
along this coolness, taking in
how much the floor gives and resists.


She curls into her kneecaps, warm
familiars, pressing into the small
dark made by her greying head.


The tops of her feet flat against
the ground, the child I remain
makes herself hummock, hill, barrow


full of the self's jewels, small spine
a path from darkness to darkness,
arms twin tree roots cradled in earth.


If I can be brave

I love to lie on the rust-orange carpet by
the shiny floor that stops at the heat vents,
black slats like little venetian blinds.
I peer between them. Can I see the basement?
Can I hear Grandma and Grandpa talking?



I slide along the varnished floor in sock feet,
turn and creep down the basement stairs.
If I face it, the darkness, if I can be brave,
Grandma will give me a glass of 7UP
and scratch my back on the green and white
brocade couch and let me watch every last
minute of The Lawrence Welk Show.


Let me make it through the black basement
kitchen, then run into the living room. Lamps
will be on. Grandpa will smoke a pipe in his
brown leather chair. Grandma's hair will shine
in its perfect silver waves. Everything will
be safe, blanket-cozy, almost-bedtime good.



The un-sister who barely came to be
in this world stayed in God's mind
with the un-roses: red almond-shaped shadows.


I dream her idling about the un-garden
with all the un-born, bodiless smiles
painted on the airless atmosphere


of the vast un-place of the un-made,
faux perfection of the un-tried and un-spoken.
I hold up my hand of flesh, bathed


in particle waves of material light.
It cannot close around nothing.
We're always bearing handfuls of atoms.


Even when very still and thinking
of my un-living sister among the haze
of un-created flowers, matter sparks.


Light dances across synapses in the mind's
dark, where everything imagined
has its name, its own small electric body.

The horse is a cathedral

When I was tiny and afraid of everything,
I still wanted horses. The merry-go-round
was an embodied swirl of everything
inside me: roundness, heaviness, smooth
hooves, necks arched and settled into
elegant skulls with coal-of-fire eyes.


Even horses' nostrils opened and shut
with strength, with rushing intent. Across
their broad backs and taut haunches spread
the finery: false gold and silver, painted
brocade, lacquer-leather, riot of faux luxury.


A horse is a cathedral of a beast, its
central nave and side chapels buttressed
in holy proportions, its bell tower set
with eyes, its mane pennons streaming.
An assemblage of disks and spheres,
planes and pulleys, vivified into anti-


gravity glory: the pressure, the pound
of galloping, pulling away and away from
earth like pushed blood, heart's hoofbeats.
The first photographers captured the horse,
harnessed the heft, the muscular curl

of it in midair, four hooves hovering
in a knot above the ground: emblems,
heraldic angels, seraphim packed tight
into their bodies and sent down to run,
to make the dusty earth a pulsing drum.

close this panel

A Beginning Sky Report: at Night


Egotistical gaseous ghosts, trying on dresses: Northern Lights

neither impressionist nor expressionist. Though anger is

rarely bright nor happiness heavy together: an epiphany.

There will be a birth through it all as soon as impatience

appears unappreciative before longing, here, in the parody

of a pilgrimage the advertisement, encountering (truck stop: convenience store)

mild creativity, reaches

Dresses made of theatre curtains, shifting

old Gods trying to make a come-back like Classic movies

or clouds that came over from Europe, decadent tardy

apologies. Imagine they have brought songs,

foggy sycophants...They warn, but in using rhyme

give all away: how do we address the following longings--?


Let your butterfly-utter fly: wings,

abstract, lose a pillow fight for sky/ the victory

is for an emanating butter medallion

strung on high/ like a culminating fact...


The Gods watch our cars drive away, their inversion

of the stars, as we rush home to watch Canadian Idle.

Imagine how narcissus would feel in outer-space

--besides being unsure of when he was drowning--


And I am somehow certain that if he did drift it would be

exactly static, he would be such a perfect representative

of "us," thinking we are beyond all psychology, a new

disorder removed by a meltedsilverspoon scalpel, eaten by a

wealthy philistine, assuming it was a "growth" to fill the stomach


Like the dandelion of nostalgia, as when finally entered

a planetary atmosphere, it would not need to have "life" :


The thickness of the gases that suffocate, pillow-wielding murderers.

We would have abundant chemistry kit and it would be enough:

and for hope he knows beyond personification

that a fossil is not a momento mori it is more important

to imagine nature outracing all our technology a silent burr

in the terrible chill of the silk fabric of space / time: mutation

in the fortified seed.

Could not the gender of the Gods go off to an abstract war?

They must combat the voids, vast statues who shower in meteors.

The cherubic faces of planets: shields to which the Gods' intentionality

are alien fingers pointing, groping at hidden interiors

gasesous spills sensationalist wills if only telescopes were neighborhood

window sills.

If galaxies were only bloody, perversely, there is/was life out there?

This seems like the version of God that emerged in history

not refined by curiosity--yet, this is a projection steeped in irony.


But the stars have "reached the point" where our metaphors

need far greater sophistication: the stray satellite

will earn its rust badges, the dead ears of pure space.

Instead, consider the phrase of a literary physics its non-reality:

Mere/ age in (the) dis-trance (a child thinks this, looking out home window)


So that when we think of life, we imagine we are still moving...

Here on the prairie, we walk through the graveyard's

strange parallel happenstance, a crash test dummy's speed bumps


The retreat of space into its own victory yet, when we think of time

liberated from our own aging...a new sense of time emerges.

In the house, is a winding star-case:

The skylight in a child's castle ceiling opens to a combined space:

Forbid the bureaucrat of stars, stick it notes on making constellations

On-the-page-poet, but only briefly.

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