ELEGY FOR MY MOTHER
. . . Reta May Keeler (01/11/1912 - 01/24/2004)
In your beginning was the blood and breath,
the sharp inhalation of the carnal chaos of life.
Born 6 lb., 6 oz. in the pubescence of a century
of unprecedented carnage and creativity,
the state marked the occasion with certificate 12 05 037696.
In the unelectric world,
devoid of devices of diversion,
you flourished in family
and began your career
pushing placenta and parenthood
onto the open palm of life,
swaddling your children in an abundance
of cuddles, caresses and embraces.
And so you earned
your Bachelor of Mom degree,
graduating into grandchildren
for the Masters of Mom,
but the world wasn't finished
with your dissertation of lineage
and great grandchildren won you
the Doctorate of Motherhood
As I walked along the avenue of my life,
a time came when my knees weakened
(a fallen leaf on the sidewalk)
then onset type2 diabetes
(another leaf on the pavement)
then diminishing virility
(another fallen leaf)
then a stroke
(a litter of leaves)
My trees are not yet barren
because it is September,
but for you, my mother,
a cold wind swept down
with January ferocity,
liberating your soul
for post graduate work with the angels.
Your spirit is a kite tethered with umbilical love
and gentle unto the good days,
memories like random breezes tug
-- what is the wind but a woman
loving us with caressing directions.
Your life straddled two millennia.
Your children born in peacetime
bracketed the world's worst war;
so I enjoyed your memories
of the pre tek world,
of the pre penicillin world;
from pre flight to post lunar landings,
your life was grounded
graceful as a backyard garden.
I regularly visited to mine your memories,
plucking nuanced nuggets of ageless gossip.
On the weekend of your death
I meant to ask you about your first kiss
but you replied with your last three diminishing breaths,
like the ellipsed ending of a love long life sentence...
Defiant of Death Certificate 422 372 045
you will remain an unfinished poem
carried into the interstellar future
on the crest of code of dna,
forever in a state of becoming . . .
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
ELEGY FOR MY MOTHER
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
STONED IN COBOURG, AGAIN
2008 I occupied space
on Pizza Palace patio across from
Cobourg District Collegiate Institute, West
where 1966 I occupied space
in my grade 12 history class
chin cupped in hand
like a soft boiled egg
and nothing on the blackboard
worth deflecting my interest
away from the house fly
frantic for escape
out the window,
she sneaked up on me,
the teacher, I mean,
ambushed my pre occupation
“Well, Wally, it seems you’re not with us.
Are you stoned on something?”
. . .“Excuse me ma’m, I’m NOT on drugs;
. . .I’m on poetry.”
. . .So . . .
. . .against the advice of Guidance Counsellors
. . .I failed to graduate
. . .preferring the business
. . .of trafficking in poetry
. . .fool time
. . .permanent.
Poet Scheier, recently moved to Brooklyn, New York, won for his collection, More to Keep Us Warm. (ECW Press). The citation for his work reads: "More to Keep Us Warm invites the reader into a world of hope, pain, laughter and forgiveness – elements that reconcile the human drama through the power of love and sheer poetic invention. With deep affection for his work, Jacob Scheier manages his debut collection with precision, grace and stunning metaphor."
The jury for the English poetry award consisted of Di Brandt (Brandon, Man.), Pier Giorgio Di Cicco (Toronto), and Connie Fife (Nanaimo, B.C.).
Jacob Scheier and myself participated with "blurbs" a couple years back in the making of a video about Robert Priest for the Heart of a Poet tv series. I had recently caught up with Jacob a month ago, and he kindly participated in my FREE SPEECH propaganda blog.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
My long-time poetent friend, Robert Priest is a poet, playwright, song-writer, and novelist. You can view his expansive imagination and poetic gift in these videos.
Robert Priest also known as Dr Poetry on CBC’s Wordbeat has performed his exciting mix of poems and songs all over the world. His words have been debated in the legislature, posted in the Transit system, quoted by politicians, turned into a hit song and widely published in text books and anthologies.
The author of fourteen books of poetry, he won the Acorn People's Poetry Award for his now classic Mad Hand (1988).
In his alias as Dr. Poetry he wrote and performed thirteen segments for CBC radio's spoken-word show Wordbeat.
As a songwriter, he co-wrote the number one hit, Song Instead of a Kiss,for Alannah Myles. You may even have seen him recently singing topical songs on CBC Televison's Sunday Night News.
He teaches a lyric-writing course at U.of T.'s School of Continuing Education. His Aphorisms have already appeared in The Farmer's Almanac, and Colombo's Canadian Quotations.His musical play Minibugs and Microchips received a $25,000.00 Chalmer's Award.
His novel, Knights of the Endless Day got an 'Our Choice Award; from the Canadian Children's Book CentreBoth of his books of poems for children: Daysongs Nightsongs, and The Secret Invasion of Bananas are on the CBC's recommended reading listAs a teacher/workshop leader he has been described as "Ontario's most popular poet in the schools" by Today's Parent Magazine.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
You are invited to the launch of Issue 10 of the literary journal, Misunderstandings Magazine. I will be one of four featured poets performing
November 12, Wednesday evening, 8pm, at Cervejaria, 842 College Street, (just west of Ossington), Toronto.It will be my farewell-to-Toronto performance. I am moving to Montreal end of November, to be with the woman I love, Bonnie Sharpe.
My performance will begin with 422-902-510 reading the “prayer”, a tradition since the first safe landing of the Peoples Republic of Poetry in 1972. It will be followed with Elegy For My Mother, then through 3-4 poems, after which there will be a break for a brief commercial flogging FREE SPEECH. I will take an overdose and dedicate the end of my performance to Barbara Hall, her Text Tyrants and their TXT Tribunals; ending with APOETCALYPSE NOW followed by THE WAL-MARTYR. This is the script for THE WAL-MARTYR.
The WAL-MARTYR made an appearance at the 2007 Nuit Blanche, by walking down Queen Street West circa 2am, entering galleries to confront mediocrity. The WAL-MARTYR was briefly detained by police. This is not the first time this poet has been engaged by authority. The Peoples Republic of Poetry, in a poetic event, BIRTH OF A CLEAR VISION, the CN Tower was brutally attacked with safe satire on it’s opening day to the public no less; ludicrously, the police were called in to disinfect. Then there was the 1970’s pro-longed Orwellian tit-for-tat with various Canadian security authorities.
I would enjoy your presence to witness my performance. FREE SPEECH cards will be handed out to all for the price of a photograph to be posted with the growing collection of images at I HAVE FREE SPEECH.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled banalities.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
By Stephen Adams, 30 Oct 2008
A poetry group has been banned from performing in its local pub on health and safety grounds after the council said the landlords had the wrong licence.
The Royal Standard in Ely, Cambs, has been threatened with a £5,000 fine because it only has an entertainment licence for singing and not speaking.
The threat forced landlord Richard Whitmore to call time on the poetry group, called Turning Point, which has been drawing in customers on quiet Tuesday evenings.
Rest of story here: The Telegraph