Intellectual piracy

New ideas showboat, take a shot, put up,
draw attention to their nethers. Old ideas
tremor, glower, dream of virginity, sip. No idea
worth its salt cowers below deck through weather.

Ideas drink. Ideas gorge. Ideas horde maps.
Ideas lash the truth from one another.
When one confesses, wash its wounds with seawater.
If it gives none, let the rogue fester.

Ideas ink conquests and trauma. Ideas lose limbs,
get hooks and pivot on canes. Some ideas prefer
the company of parrots. No ideas retire.
All ideas leather.


My most recent prompt was pirates, in part because I’m reading Gary Barwin’s Yiddish for Pirates. Expect Yiddish in future poems.

I’ll apologize now for not keeping up a new poem online per day. Some of the poems I’ve written so far have been just too raw to share just yet.

A recommendation, fellow WordPressers: follow Adam Sol’s How a Poem Moves. He updates once a week, giving a wise and considerate read of very good poems. Great resource for anyone looking to either hone their craft, or just deepen their appreciation of poetry.

Year After Year


Of course you may go out but you must know

when I alone lay down our son, full of formula and promise

I instinctively envision single-parenthood while I sing him

“Wish You Were Here” for the hundredth night.


When I was seventeen I envisioned that anthem

sound-tracking my painless, accidental death

featuring my cuckolding crush weeping over my body,

as Pink Floyd synced the monitor, and up the camera went.


I am thirty-one and you are thirty-one. In the nursery,

our son maws gibberish in the dark. The female cat

who you correctly identify as my cat, whinges.

Oh wife, come home to me, and spoon my nervous hinges.

Civilization: Single Player Setup


I’ve been trying to up my people’s happiness.

The central tenet of our faith: water is good.

Ottawa is hash-tagged with rivers and canals;

today, we should be ecstatic to be alive.


One suicidal friend fled west, says

he is shamed by dignitaries. The downtown

BIA shuts down a t-shirt giveaway;

you must ask for the right to be generous.


Another suicidal friend ripens in subsidy.

She repays charity with other charity,

literally. She dreams of renewal;

to be made useful in the arrow of ex-pats


teaching English in the East. A third friend,

also suicidal, once East, appears automated.

From above he appears to be in perpetuity

finishing a painting, thick with better edits.


More friends, maybe also suicidal, pen odes

to their prescriptions, fatten with baggage.

I feel each draws on my productivity, heathers

my vision of a hundred percent self.


These are not my stories to tell but I am in them.

The rural legislator describes the defense

he pit against his arsonist son-in-law. His daughter

condemns what Hansard cannot deny;


it was not his story to tell. My friends

once saw themselves in my words for myself,

my baggy self-portrait. I am sorry

for saying nothing so long, and now so much.


My advisor has no answers. She assigns icons.

When I will not share she presents me a red shield.

To my common cloth she has affixed a purple medal.

But I do not know if the gold diamond or blue vial is better.


I have never been assigned a plain, smiling face.

The eye is winked or the tongue is stuck. Maybe

the Pac-Man’s cheek is blushed, but it is never

a plain, smiling face. I am sick with nuance.


This is my story but I am not in it.

This baggy caricature slips off my motion.

In three-hundred words, a stranger insists

Robin Williams did not die from suicide;


he died from depression. No one dies

from suicide, the stranger insists. This

they insist is requisite to development,

to people who live so long they stack.


I’ve been trying to up my people’s happiness

posturing as a provider of day-dates and texts.

My advisor has no answers. She identifies

my greatest share of costs is personnel.


I close my window, lift my red shield.

The sky is off-white with water, rain today

or snow tomorrow—either way the city wet.

I ask someone to chill, but fuck if they forget.


Near miss


It is no secret I know magic. Forbidden words

from my mouth trigger anger. We only hurt

the ones we love because we have a buffer

of expendable experience points. Otherwise

may we at least agree, when we meet

we have never met before?



I want to slur somebody. Life has been

so easy so far. For me, it’d be like

being dropped in a hard level

with just the one life.

It’s a total mess of blind spots

and potentials. According to the Sun,

now’s the day. Would you describe

the driver, their sex, their age,

their race? Could you pick them out

from a line?



The italicized line is from Stuart Ross.

You don’t steer a train




Because your baby is a hummingbird your hands are camcorder. In the nursery you study them: one reads REC, the other today’s date 16/04/10. Your son won’t stop announcing ballgames, and the players keep updating their wills. The call goes to machine: It’s your mother; she dug another feeder from the attic.




A couple of wheelbarrow approach with their toddling luggage. They tip their trays and spill a little recognition. You and your partners’ pull-tab noses grin apart your Frisky tin lips. As your child flutters from mouth to mouth, theirs springs its handle and screams out its flight tags, “I wanna go in the trunk! I wanna be packed forever!” The baby-book cools in the fridge.




Again, you pace towards the window. The fish chum stains paint a trail towards the crumpling society of ants. You remember.