I built this wall unit with my own two hands.
What do you want?
It’s not Michelangelo’s David
or some space contraption that lands
on distant meteors,
but we do the best we can.
I’m proud of my efforts.
I was never overly handy with things,
so this wall unit took a lot of work.
And the instructions were garbage.
They came in five languages and not one
of them made any sense.
It’s like they want you to fail.
But I plowed through the thing
and got it done.
Yes, there’s a bit of a lean.
So good of you to notice.
The floor has never been level.
Not my handiwork.
Things get mean without regrets
and the waiter walked over to the table
section of the furniture store
handing an imaginary couple
some napkins from his pocket
which could have been menus
before asking them if he could get them
something to drink while they decided
what to eat.
He then walked over to a long wooden table
and asked the party of seven if they
were ready to order.
As he went to clear a third table
and collect his tip, a man approached
in a suit and interjected:
“excuse me, but…”
The waiter knew it was rude to cut the man off,
but it was the dinner rush and he was very busy,
politely asking the man to wait back behind
the Please Wait to be Seated sign
that didn’t exist.
SHE GIVES ME SPACE SO YOU CAN SEARCH
FOR INTELLIGENT LIFE IN YOURS
A woman who understands
even when she doesn’t
that is both the promise
and the expectation.
Filling station cameras
turned in on themselves.
like wet firecrackers.
And the modern banking system
cannot be trusted.
Ten centuries of blondes
that have too much fun.
She gives me space
so you can search for intelligent life
An office with a black swivel chair
and great latitudes.
that the punch clock
was never willing to surrender.
So we have a chance.
So I can get this down.
WHEN YOU SHOP AT BIG & TALL, GOLIATH
BECOMES MUCH LESS THE VILLAIN
He had to duck through doorways
watch for overhangs like spot planes
once searched out submarines
in times of war
reach down into the seventh circle of
some sketchy Darwinistic hell
to tie his shoelaces
and the ladies all loved him
because a large frame often meant
a large something else
and a few of the men too
from the university
and he had a very fresh take on
David and Goliath
if you were open to giving
HILLS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN MOUNTAINS
IF THEY HAD TRIED HARDER
I sit and listen to the cars rush by in the street.
The heavier chassis of the trucks with questionable shocks
slamming off the pavement.
Sitting on the couch in the next room.
Noting the back lift doors that have not been properly fastened
and the sounds they make.
Like old mining cars run over tracks.
There is a wart on the index finger of my left hand
that has been there for more than a decade.
It is older than most governments.
I rub my thumb over it and think of topographical maps.
Of hills that could have been mountains if they had tried harder.
Something stupid like that.
That one of those motivational speakers might say.
The doctor has taken his dry ice laser to the damn thing
at least five times.
He gets excited when I come around.
Like a child showing off his new toys.
But the wart remains.
And the whooshing of the cars.
And this couch and me.
The sounds the day makes
and some of the nights
THE JAPANESE KITE MAKER
He came over
after the war.
From a small fishing village
with more American servicemen
He came over with his wife
and opened a kite
Forty years later
it was a neighbourhood
all the neighbourhood kids
would take the allowance
they had saved over the long
and head down to the kite shop
with their fathers
trying to find something to fly
in the park.
He built the frames
in the back
and she made the intricate
nor his wife
liked to discuss
would talk kites
they are both dead
and talk about nothing
And the kite shop
is a pizza joint
that serves nothing
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
—Canadian Poet Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
Welcome back today to Canadian Ryan Quinn Flanagan! Today is Groundhog Day, which gets a lot of attention in the U.S. for some reason. I googled, “Do Canadians celebrate Groundhog Day?” and what came up was “Groundhog Day is growing more and more popular in Canada. There is a festival in Wiarton, Bruce County, Ontario, where the town groundhog, Wiarton Willie [a rare albino, by the way], delivers his ‘prediction’ early in the morning on February 2 every year.” Check it out at visitwiarton.ca/profile/wiarton-willie-festival/959/. Both Punxutawney Phil and Wiarton Willie saw their shadows today, which means another six weeks of winter for both the U.S. and Canada.
Tonight at Sac. Poetry Center, Bob Stanley will host the book release of Lift by Connie Gutowsky, 6pm. [Note early time!] Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.
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