Oversion

86 of poetry

I’m 52, look younger, feel older, or will be, in October
so I can imagine the challenges and glories of the elderly.

It seems like there’s a wall between older people and various
distraught eyes sometimes. But it’s vivid everyones both
old and young.

It’s heroic. My mother rarely fails to walk
the waterfront most days, 86 she’ll be as of midnight.

We are a frail cast at that age. And of course
if someone asked to escort her or even
talked for too long, we’d suspect trouble –
whose will power exceeds that of Lance Armstrong
or Jacques Cousteau, at times: She recently spoke
of the same man talking to her 2 walks in a row
last month, telling her his troubles.
That is instantly concerning.
But there’s always that sense that in
Windsor people talk more, than less human Upper Canada.

Poems for the occasion


Lawn Mowing Songs

Our neighbour Mr Brown, from 1973 until his passing
just this decade managed to mow his lawn every day,
thanks to his brilliance at rotating between mowing
the front one day and the back the next. People who
compulsively fold napkins are so much less trouble.

He was a saint or paragon. He rose at near 5am
as sometimes I’d still be out there from the night before,
and we’d have old fashioned neighbour talk –
how everyone was, and the weather conditions –
as he set off to deliver pharmaceuticals to the shut ins.

This was still the case in his mid80s. Gasoline smell
to start every day of lawn mowing season. He still mowed it
into the fall too after picking away at the slightest
droppings of leaves,

whereas our house we hardly could even mow it
since the land had sunk on the piping systems
and the huge willow roots were everywhere,
and we let our tulips grow ‘among the grasses’
so there were spots here and there one could use the mower on,

but if you tried to steer through the whole yard there’d be
more than one blast of sheered tulips and a few
shatters of blade off the piping fits and tree roots.
Only a fool would have mowed our lawn.

Friday Night Slide Shows

The past is good for the heart
I always rejoiced when the seasonal slide show
night would be declared, swedish meatballs, cheesies,
a fondu, barely required to make it marvelous
the miraculous slideshow going back to east windsor
and air force housing st jean quebec
and then on back to moncton and the
all b&w photography era, it’s not grey
it’s not sepia, more like a rare stone
the old precolour photography
bestowing a magic on the photos
in the gentlest sense. “Wonder”
doesn’t contain the awe
or emphasize it enough
but is probably the closest word to it.
Wonder in a serious way

Living in St Clair Beach was so quiet and green
after all the populace parts of places we’d always lived in.
In Quebec, the Burke family lived right through our wall
more or less visible if both households had their fireplace going
at the same time. The brick duplex on Latour
was joined at the fireplace with my then best friend Pat Burke
and his family next door. Whose garage do we store the
worm buckets in? “Both our families are going on vacation
but put it in ours and we will keep it sealed”
and off the families would go to visit ancestors
and relatives in Hamilton and Newfoundland.

If only we’d thought to just pour the worms out of their buckets
Childhood mistakes. Pat was basically a french kid. Mother french
a noble friend, father an traditionally overworked Newfoundlander
the Moms ran the households in those days.

The slide shows would fly through those years
and on into the snowed over house times of year
and ocean swimming of earlier childhood. Every
one of the places was my whole and primary life
unquestioned and total. And no overlap but family
from life to life.

Now as we all live our cosmopolitan lives
All intellectuals and artists and cyber visionaries
we bid fondly to the once entirely real world.
Now everything’s about imagining

But as long the tapwater’s good, we will thrive

plastic bottles will never work out. they should be banned

obviously

The Coming Winter

Windsor has calm gentle winters.
for all the dry thunder of Augusts
and 1st disappearings snows near December and January 1
the plants are still growing and rarely is it cold
rugged strolls on the river front seeing breath
the winter ducks laughing in blizzards from the terrace
and the Russians on their ships through the deep creft of Detroit River
a glacial crevace to the depths of the planet
careening around lake st clair and dropping through windsor detroit
an improbable inland port

Windsor sleeps peacefully as the ships go by
while in Detroit they live the dream

Birthday Poems For My Mother

eve of

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