November 11, 2010


And camera goes click
and you press record
and you hand the document
to the jazz musician
after they perform

And you talk and you listen
and you protest this war

And there is pain
and it instigates change
and there is frustration
that your voice is not heard
when you protest the war –
with a sign above your head –
in words

And your camera goes click
as you press record
and the can of gasoline is there
on the ground
for this final document –
your protest against the war
and some of us understood
you know the history well

And your camera goes click
as you press record
and you pour the gasoline
and Malachi you light match
that ends your life
in this final statement
and some of us heard
your final words

and Malachi you light match
and some of us heard
and some of us understood
your final word

Blue Sky and Branches

You’re always saying
that I am the one always saying
whatever I think is true.

Every time I’m telling you
everything I always wanted to do –
and I’m wondering if you
get it, get it, get it, get it
got it — ever at all.
If you ever got it –
if you’re ever gonna get it at all.

Every time I show you
what I’m working on
and what I gonna to do –
I get this feeling, this feeling,
this feeling, this feeling
and it worries me,
and it makes me sad,
but mostly
I’m just glad that I’m not you.

And I know what you want to see,
what you always wanna see,
how I see you
and why I’m still sitting here,
sitting here,
watching you react to me.

And you’re wondering,
wondering, wondering
what I’m thinking,
thinking, thinking.
What I’m wondering is
why you’re thinking
about this over and over again.

And this is where we’re gonna put
the silence
that I think you manufacture
to point out
what it is I do to you –
poor you, oh poor you

What it is I do to you –
everything I’ve turned you into
that you say you never were before.

It’s me that this is about – not you.

It’s me that this is about.
It’s me that this is about
– not you.

The Discussion

I was late getting to the restaurant
you were there with your colleagues discussing life after death.
I sat down next to you and you introduced me.
One by one they met my eyes and then ignored me.
I motioned for you to pass me the menu
and started reading short poems about the food.
The others, they’d already ordered.
I picked the mussels in rose sauce
not knowing if rose was a colour or a flower.
I sat there and said nothing
and your colleagues didn’t even pass me the fucking bread.
The woman next to me was a philosopher speaking about
cultures that believe that after death the souls go to places populated by virgins.
I was thinking that sexually inexperienced young men
hold little appeal for me, when you said, “That sounds good.
That sounds good to me, but where do the women’s go?”
Where do the women’s souls go?
Another guy said, “Women don’t have souls.”
Women don’t have souls.
I guess this was funny. Maybe it was wry.
Ya, maybe it was wry.
And I sat there and said nothing and your colleagues
couldn’t even pass me the fucking bread.
After the discussion, on our way downstairs, you said,
“I know my friends are thinking you’re too young, too young for me.”
And I laughed and said, “Well, what did you tell them about me,
what did you say?”
“I didn’t say anything. Nothing.”
Oh, I was a woman, just a woman, sitting next to you,
eating mussels in rose sauce, saying nothing,
nibbling on your cheesecake.
Your colleagues couldn’t look at me, they iced me out.
Maybe you’re known for this. Maybe you do this a lot.
And your colleagues couldn’t even pass me the fucking bread.
Where do the women’s souls go?”
Where do the women’s souls go?”

One Man’s Anger

This one man’s anger
this one man’s rage
this one man’s fear – it comes from pain
oh ohhhhhh – it comes from pain
No matter what look is on his face
what words he choose to say
this one man’s anger
comes from pain
it can fool you – you can be tricked
he will tell you otherwise – otherwise
But as he’s walking down the way
you will know this his anger comes from pain
comes from pain
This one man – is not a bad man, no
he’s not a bad man in any way
but this one man’s anger and rage
coming out again
is from fear of pain
And in the hollows of the shallows
of the dark setting in
In a quiet timmmmmmmme
A look on his face – just a flicker like a flame
will allow you to see
his fear is his pain
he fears the fear
he fears the fear of pain
This one man’s pain and his angry ways
the fire versus the flame
the fire and the flame

Naked & Ticklish

The last two guys I started something with had Rottweilers.
I’m not a Rottweiler fancier at all
Guy One’s dog was young, dumb
it jumped up, got its nose between your legs
and ate the sleeves of Guy One’s wool sweaters
Guy One wanted to control the way the dog behaved
Guy One wanted to control everyone
He was starting a new religion
— a new religion without a god
I guess Guy One wanted to be the number one guy
There was no door on the bedroom
and the dog and his jumping ways
and his cold wet nose were distracting during sex
Guy One got up and took the door off the bathroom
and hung it on the bedroom hinges
but the bathroom door was simply smaller
and it did not close.
Guy One got a big chunk of coral from his collection
to hold the door closed
Guy One was a big guy — over six feet tall –
and he picked a big piece of coral
and for myself when I went to the bathroom
I bent naked, naked and ticklish
lifting and carrying the large chunk of coral across the room
with the door now freely open
and Guy One’s dog with the cold wet nose —
and me being naked, naked and ticklish —
looking for where to set the coral down
Guy Two’s dog was bigger and older
Guy Two threw chunks of prime rib across the room
Guy Two’s dog didn’t eat the sleeves sweaters
yet it did want to come into the room during sex
but there was a door and it closed
without anything from the bottom of the sea holding it
— holding it closed
So this was an improvement
until it came time to settle in for the first night
turns out the dog sleeps on the bed every night
and I am in the dog’s spot
and the dog would like his spot back
He keeps standing up and turning around and around
the door is freely open until the door is closed holding it closed
holding it closed — naked and ticklish — naked naked and ticklish

Da Da Da Da

He was reading the newspaper,
on the white leather couch in his library,
I was sitting near the fire,
too close to the fire
and he looked over the top of his paper
and said I looked like a street urchin sitting there,
whereas I felt like I was part of something romantic
That was Sunday and now it’s Tuesday
and he’s almost gone, erased from me
Da da da da
I woke up early, I couldn’t sleep
he kept jamming an extra sharp toenail into my leg
I went downstairs to sleep on the white leather couch
he woke me up and told me to go back upstairs
the next morning, over pan cakes
he said he was going on a sailing trip to Turkey
I asked if he’d be seeking the company of other women
he smirked his answer — he smiled and said
that until I had a ring on my finger
he’d do whatever he wanted
That was Sunday and now it’s Tuesday
and he’s erased from me
Da da da da
In the push and pull of wanting to be close, too close, too fast
hinged to pathology
all of what’s inside
too close to me
That was Tuesday and now it’s Sunday
and he’s gone from me
Da da da da
In the push and pull of wanting to be close, too close, too fast
hinged to pre-exisiting pathology
rolled all of what’s inside
too close to me
That was Tuesday and now it’s Sunday
and he’s gone from me
Da da da da
Da da da da
Da da da da

Climb Higher

If you told me
If you came to you and told me
You gave it all up
Gave it all up
You let it all go
To climb higher
If you came to tell me
You gave it all away
To climb higher
Climb higher

This Comforting Thing

I went out with a guy in March, for the month of March.
He was working on a writing project
to bring together world philosophies.
He’d been told he can write, he can really write,
by people who know such things, they know such things.
I told him things about my life.
I was telling him a story about my car dying
at the border when we were heading
to Seattle to open for Fugazi.
It’s a good story.
I tell it well and it says a lot about me.
I’d only gotten about this far,
when he hijacked my story and told his story
about being at the border between Mexico and the USA
and the customs guy turned his guitar upside down
and a peyote button fell out it rolled under something
and was not found.
I listened to his story
and I felt less like telling my story.
As intimacy grew, I tried to say that I wanted to tell my story
of my little life
of my experiences.
I asked that I just be allowed to tell my story
without him re-processing it
or referring to something in his experience.
He stuck out his chin — big guy — 6′ 4″ —
and he told me I was trying to change him.
And this is how he is and he’s not changing.
This is who he is, this is how he is.
I started to cry. He comforted me.
I hated that I was crying, unable to talk —
wondering if he wanted me to cry
so that he could do this comforting thing.
This comforting thing.
He seemed quite familiar with this part —
this comforting thing.
This comforting thing. Anyway, odd guy.
Something seemed to surface —
bouncing around in my mind.
My mind, my mind.
In this flexing in relation to new information.
Bouncing around, bouncing around.
He said he was a very caring man.
A loving man.
Yet I felt he was actually sort of mean.
Mean to me.
Mean to me. Bouncing around, bouncing around.
A flexing in relation new information.
And I started to see
that the things he said about himself
didn’t seem to match what I could see.
Deception in this case was —
not a man trying to get me to see things
the way he wanted me to see them.
Deception in this case was
a man deceiving himself.
He’s deceiving himself.Not me. Bouncing around in my mind,
my mind.
He’s deceiving himself
He’s deceiving himself —
not me.
not me.

Boom Boom Boom

Oh ya and weirdly
the last song I wrote —
off the top of my head on Wednesday
is about a Vietnamese woman about my age
who swims over to me in the hot pool
to tell me a bunch of things — I get this quite a lot
people tell me things
She’s telling me about being a small child
walking through the jungle for a long time
there are dead people everywhere
and “boom-boom-boom”
she makes her arms straight
like guns on planes pointing down
her face a fierce frown
She doesn’t say the word war
she calls it “boom boom boom”
they are leaving because of
“boom boom boom”
it’s like she’s back into child-thought
I get the impression some people
don’t want to listen
and the more she senses
that I am listening
the more she has to say
She looks at my arms
saying I am so strong and she is too skinny
and I can tell she wants to touch me
looking for a place to just touch me
as she tells me about
walking in the jungle with seven brothers and sisters
she holds up nine fingers when she says seven
and she tells me it’s great
that I understand her English
because other people say
they can’t
I say, “Your English is fine — they don’t want to listen.”
And it seems like a relief
that someone says this
and she tells me that she’s been here all these years
and never gone back
never wanted to go back
until she got word that her father was going to die
I ask if she’d been one of the Boat People
that came to Canada and I make a gesture
with two fingers skimming the surface of the hot pool
and say, “Boat People” and she get its
and I feel like I’ve just invented
the universal gesture for Boat People
— weird little thought —
She applied for a passport and they
phoned her at home
and asked her too many questions
and she’d started to cry
she makes the universal gesture for crying
two fingers down her cheek from the corner of her eye
They gave her the passport but her father died —
there wouldn’t have been enough time to get there
So she thinks she’ll take a trip to Seattle instead
I laugh and we we introduce ourselves by name
As I turn away to move through the water
I reach back to where her tiny hand is
floating in front of her
I take her hand for a second
while our eyes aren’t on each other
a separate connection is made

Wasn’t Said

Look ahead to the time
when you’ve forgotten all that was said
when you look behind
and it doesn’t matter anymore
Look ahead — it’s hard to want to go there now
that’s where you’re heading
that’s what you’re waiting for
it’s what you’re waiting for
that time, when you’re looking behind you
and none of this will matter
all of this confusion
will be so far in the past
it won’t matter in the now
In the now
that’s still ahead
Looking ahead to when
none of this is gonna matter
how it went
and what was said
and what wasn’t said
To make this void of no communication
no communication
no communication now
there’s nothing now
There’s nothing now
but to look ahead
when none of this will matter
what was and wasn’t said
It wasn’t said

In Over My Head

You’re swimming out from the rocky shore
You jumped straight in
I’m still standing in the water but I’m already
In over my head again
Ohhhhhhhhh, the lake is cold but it’s silky against my skin
You’re way over there
swimming away from me
I can’t keep up
over my head again
You’re swimming away
I’m swimming out over the lake
On the surface where it’s warm
I don’t want my legs to dangle down into the unknown
Oooooh, you’re swimming back to shore
Oooooh, you’re swimming back to me
Oooooh, are you heading for the shore or straight back to me?
We’re both in way over our heads
Aaaaah, I’m out of my depth again
Oooooh, you’re contracting and expanding underwater – you’re green
you’re heading for you towel
purple towel on the rocks
you swam right past me
Oooooh, I’m heading for the beach,
I’m heading for the shallow water,
heading to the rocks again
Oooooh, the lake is cold
silky against my skin
I hear the waterfall
I hear the waterfall
You’re on the rocks way over there
With your purple towel
I’m heading for the beach, heading for the rocks
I hear the waterfall
You’re way over there
I’m in over my head again
In over my head again
Oooooh, I’m in over my head again

Any Other Day

A day, seemed like any other until you said,
“Take a new approach.”
Oh you got me thinking, oh ya, it would be better for you
If I just did what you told me to.
Oh ya, it was a day just like any other
Until you let me know I needed to re-consider
Oh I needed to do what I am told.
Oh ya, day like almost any other
until you let me know
things would be better for you
if I did what I was told.
I could be a day – a good day
like anybody else’s
Oh you got me thinking, oh ya, it would be better for you
I could be like any other
I could be like all the others
Oh ya
I could be like anyone else
If I’d do what I was told.
Oh ya, another day.
Just another day.
Just another day.


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