Of Love and Bones
Pulling bones, pounding veins into powder,
my mother’s blue twisted hands
wrap around fish dough,
sizzle of ball after ball
drops into water.
Her triangular body
dances between counter and stove,
blood red hair
bobs over steaming pot.
She screams to Aunt Betty
for salt, to stir, more salt,
as I lie under the metallic table,
listen to life being crushed
into Passover dinner.
Fish guts and sweat fill my nostrils,
blankets me as I doze in the comfort
of the hustle and bustle
of the afternoon.
At night, my mother exhausted,
body clumped into the sofa,
knees pulled up to sagging breasts,
a fish ball crumbling.
The stench of death still wrapped
around her praying hands,
closed eyes rummage
through a turbulent history
bubbling deep inside her.
She moves from one end
of a bad dream to another,
the death camps,
the family carcasses piled against
a wall of stories told over time
pull at her frail bones.
Memories burned into each family ritual
fall below the mind’s surface.
In the dark she reaches into thin air,
twisted blue hands searching
desperately trying to wake up.
On Being Ashley Judd
Just for a moment this morning
when the fog cleared from the mirror
from the corner of my eye
I thought I looked like Ashley Judd
and I felt beautiful.
I could hear my mother’s voice
whispering in my ear
You are a raving beauty!
I knew in that second I could do anything.
As the image dissolved with shower mist
I was left remembering
my mother cursing as she yanked
my tight knit curls into compliance
telling me with each stroke
“You better take anyone who will have you
they won’t be lining up for you, you know.”
Gathering wet towels from the floor
I told myself
beauty is not store bought
packaged and labelled and lining shelves.
It is like the fresh clean blue
that makes you want to kiss the sky
when you stare across at the mountains
on a clear day,
or the red of your checks from climbing
to the top of the world
when you thought you couldn’t.
It is surviving in the world
when your mother couldn’t stand the sight of you
and knowing inside, there is an Ashley Judd smiling,
waiting to come out.
2016 (Forthcoming Publication date) Poetic Inquiry, ‘In the ER’, Sense Publishers, The Netherlands
2015 Poetic Portions, ‘Where do the Robins Go’, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
2014 Cherry Muse ‘ Deer Bones,’ Love and Bones’ and The Inner Workings of an Injured Brain Trying to Find It’s Way Home.’
2014 Family Ties: Memories, Poems and Good Food (Poetry),
2014 Royal City Anthology 2014 ( Poetry)
2013, Leaf Press, Monday's Poem. "Saying Goodbye to My Mother and My Lover on the Same Day"
2013, Passion: Poetry!, "Lost World"
2013, The Ottawa Arts Review, "After Loves Silence" and "Rejections"
2013 The Family Anthology, "Sabbath Ritual" and "The Garment District"
2013 Grandfather, Father, and Me...Stories, Poems, and Good Food, Hidden Book Publishers, "On His Own Terms" "Elegy"
2013 Guest Editor Quills Canadian Poetry Journal
2013 Co-editor Pacific Poetry Project, Alive at the Center “Forgetting Mr. Low”
2013 Illness Crisis & Loss Journal Volume 24, Number, Article, “Even in My Deepest Sorrow Th Promise of Tomorrow Still Burns.”
2013, Illness, Crisis & Loss Journal, Volume 24, Number 1 Poems. “From A Distance”, “And in the End..”, “Saying Goodbye to My Mother and My Lover on the Same Day”.
2012 Haunted Waters Press, (on-line journal) “In Memory”
2012 Quills Poetry Journal. “Slipping”
2012 Mutanabbi Street Anthology, “ Floating in Afghanistan”
2012 Contributing Editor Mutanabbi Street Anthology, Mutanabbi Stops Here
2011 Quills Poetry Magazine, “When Someone Forgets to Say Goodbye”
2010 (February) Article, Wordwords The federation of BC writers magazine, “Pandora’s Hope”
2009 (September) The Toronto Quarterly, “11 pm,”
2009 (October) Quills Poetry Magazine, “Of Love and Bones”
2009 ( Summer) Guest Editor, The Mutanambi Street lives here Project
2008 (May) Moon, “Dissection of a Marriage”
2008 (February) Blue Print Review ‘The Warehouse’
2007 (November), PoetsLane.com, "The Suitcase,"
2007 (September) Quills Poetry Magazine, “At Midnight”
2006 (October) Blue Print Review ‘Chaucer and Hass’
2006 (October) Parentingexpress.com, Article ‘Outnumbered’
2006 (November) Illuminations Expressions of the Personal Spiritual Experience, ‘Crying out loud in Jerusalem’
2005 (June) Quills Poetry Magazine, Guest Editor for Summer Issue
2004 (January) Luluzine On-line Magazine,“ Taking Stock”
2003 (April), Hackwriters.com, “Between The Lines, Will Booms Drop on Vancouver ?”
2002 (November), Hackwriters.com, “A Poetic Nightmare”,
2004 (October) Quills Poetry Magazine, “Book Review ‘The Address Book’ by Steven Heighton
2004 (June) Quills Poetry Magazine, “Book Review ‘Hannah and the Holy Fire’ by K. Louise Vincent
2004 (April) Driving Home, www.hackwriters.com
2004 (March) Alice Died in Wonderland, The Garment District, Quills Poetry Magazine
2004 (March) Quills Poetry Magazine, “Book Review 'BonFires' by Chris Banks
2004 (February) Facing The Elements,Lululemon.com, Luluzine on-line magazine
2004 (February) Black Roots, Red Heart, www.hackwriters.com
2003 (December) On Being Ashley Judd, Quills Poetry Magazine
2003 (December)Quills Poetry Magazine, “Book Review 'I Would Be The Sea'
2003 “(November) Logger's Destiny, BC Loggers Magazine
2003 “(November) Symmetry,Lululemon.com, Luluzine on-line magazine
2003 “(September) Loose Change,Lululemon.com, Luluzine on-line magazine
2003 “(September) Transformation, www.vancouverjazz.com
2003 “Too Short A Time”, West End Writers’ Web page, Vancouver BC
2003 (July) "The Path To Sunshine" Lululemon.com, Luluzine on-line magazine
2003 (May Edition) “Stories Through a Lens: Out of Season at the Ironworks,” Hackwriters.com Review
2003 (May) “Vision” Lululemon.com, Luluzine on-line magazine
2003 (April) “January’s Variant” Greenboathouse Books
2003 (March) “The Garment District” goodgoshalmighty.com
2003 “Camelot” West End Writers’ Web page Vancouver, BC
2002 (July) “San Francisco 1906”, Hackwriters.com
2001 “Passover”, ‘Stirring the Melting Pot’, Las Positas College Anthology, Livermore, California
2000 “Playing Shadows", and “Sabbath Day”; ‘Eclectic Reflections’, Las Positas College Anthology, Livermore, California
1999 “A Walk In Fall”, “Bereft”, and “Dust Settles”; ‘Undercurrents’, Las Positas College Anthology, Livermore, California
1999 “A Walk in Fall”, “City Light Books”, and “Bereft”; ‘Many Poets Many Voices’, Across the River Writers’ Roundtable
1998 “Suburban Peacocks”, “Writer’s Block”, “Landscape (A work in Progress)”, “The Dinner”, and “Sirens”; ‘Treasure House’, Las Positas College Anthology, Livermore, California
1998 “City Light Books”, LPC Express, Livermore California
1995 Published in two Brampton Writers' Workshop Anthologies Bulrushes and Cat Tales and The Peacock's Tale