British Columbia's forests are ablaze
burning centuries of growth
killing innocent animals
threatens the communities
the very fabric of the civilization
that produced the pollution
and caused the greenhouse gases
which raised the temperature of our planet.
The wind blows
plumes of acrid smoke
over the Rocky Mountains
across the Prairies
under the waterline
through the 6:00 news
blots the sky with ashen cover
that turns the setting sun into a dire warning.
California also burns, and Greece, too.
Catastrophic flooding in Africa and Europe
and New York and New Jersey, so-called
500-year events that are happening
with increased frequency.
Just when it seems it can’t get worse,
Greenland’s ice summit witnesses rain
for the first time in recorded history.
…had his first chapbook, Scarborough Songs, released by Lyricalmyrical Press in 2013, and charted on the Toronto Poetry Map. Other publication credits include Blue Collar Poetry, Rabble Review, and The People’s Voice. His first full collection, The Other Life, was released in 2021 by Mosaic Press. His new chapbook, Worth the Wait, will be released this Spring by Cactus Press.
Strive to change the world
in such a way that there's
no further need to be a dissident.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Poetry as Insurgent Art
Rising up from deep within
the very core of my being
the essence of who I am
underneath my public image
is the need to find myself
someone to admire.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti spoke the words
the world needed to hear
at that exact moment.
Best of the Beats
because he promoted the rest
Paragon of enlightenment
inspirer of a new way of being
artistic role model.
Ferlinghetti would have loathed
such titles based on what
little I know about him.
He would have frowned
if not downright sneered
at such fanboy foppery.
In the same way
many reading or hearing this could be offended
by words like humanist, socialist,
countercultural, malcontent, protestor,
activist, freethinker, nonconformist.
In the Coney Island of My Mind
—or, more accurately, Exhibition Place—
I get to play with words
turn image into meaning and back again
with enough musicality to form a poetry
of concise language and complex thought
imagine these words
making this world a better place
at least for a moment
and believe if I say them with clarity
and integrity for long enough
you may just listen to me.
I have lost my voice.
The only word I have ever felt beating
in my heart, echoing through my mind
has been taken from me.
The other prisoners
hiss and whisper the words
the broken-hearted cannot say out loud
and leave me in solitary silence.
But I know why.
They don't understand
the burden I am bound to carry
and must keep hidden deep inside.
This burden keeps me alive.
It gives me passion and purpose
and is the only thing I have
which is real.
If this word trapped in my throat
found daylight at the tip of my tongue
I would sing and shout, laugh and cry
and my sentence would be complete.
If I could see her again
make love to her slowly and gently
if I could say her name once more
then I would be free.
Middle-Aged White Men Are Ruining the World
The Saturday bus ride to Morningside is so much better
than my weekday drudgery along Sheppard
up whichever connecting route presents itself
to get me east on Finch to my workplace.
Everybody is in a better mood, more courteous
more concerned about others around them.
They are on their way to fun excursions, or shopping
to meet their needs, as well as those of whom they love.
The Morningside bus ride south is even better. The bus takes
longer to arrive, but the driver wants to chat and be part
of the community, part of your day. Everyone makes room
for baby carriages and people with canes and each other.
But not LAST Saturday.
A guy about my age got on the Morningside bus with his two sons.
Two stops later, a kind enough looking guy, clearly down
on his luck, maybe hadn’t eaten in a while, entreats
the driver to let him on the bus without paying.
The guy about my age turns to his sons, shakes his head,
saying, “The driver let him on the bus for free.”
The two sons were at that age where their view
of the entire universe was filtered through their father.
What an entitled, arrogant, self-righteous, ignorant…
What kind of legacy are we leaving behind?
What kind of world are we leaving for the children?
What else can we teach them other than right or wrong?
I wondered how he would feel in the unlikely event
either he or one of his sons were in that predicament.
the world tries
to tell me
I am something
I am not
and I fight back
and I lose
so I try
to be what they say
they want me to be
and I succeed on their terms
for a moment
and then the moment passes
so I try
to be myself again
and I fail
and then I try
and I fail
but the failure
seems to be
the shit I must get through
so I can
finally grow up
so I laugh
not a maniacal laugh
merely a buffer
against the underlying darkness
to overwhelm me
try to clean myself up
this is the day
a little more
…first chapbook, Scarborough Songs, was released by Lyricalmyrical Press in 2013, and charted on the Toronto Poetry Map. Other publication credits include: Blue Collar Review; The Toronto Quarterly; Spadina Literary Review; Sharing Spaces; Tamaracks; and Tending the Fire. His first full collection, The Other Life, is newly released by Mosaic Press.