Night Bird Discovery

True Pencil Notes my old friend for you this day

What words can I say that won’t give my aching heart too much away

Regret

Reminiscence

Redirect

Guilt insistence

Survival

Melancholy

Memories

Some nights when sleep won’t come I let it be as it may

Let darkness sit beside me while I contemplate awake

Now and then I’ve watched my thoughts wander to you

I’ve looked but not too hard

Did you ever look for me

What is it we hope to achieve by our reverie

We lost something or we let each other slip slowly out of view

What does it matter

What is there left in this mysterious life to figure out

Drifters sway together parlay awhile then part lose or win

No reasons offered none returned

Last night I searched your name

No rational expectations

No expectations at all

I search places people ideas every day

I am not unlike the I then of the curious kind

And searching just as often saves me from wrestling with presence in mind

When did we last meet

What did we talk about

What did we decide

Who was last not to write

Somewhere and someone else along our crooked separate highways

To unknown yet predetermined destinies

Remember these scenes:

You at the bus stop on Denman in coastal rains again waiting for me

You poised always ready and me stumbling unsteady through time

Both of us watching for what was inside while stepping just outside prescribed lines

We were single raincoat bus riders then

Occupying our cubbyhole apartments in the occupant heavy West End

Why should the smokers have the prime furniture

They have their fog to comfort them

I said there’s no need to send requisitions for change

Synchronized in willingness and deviant vision

Wait for departing lunch people then we’d rearrange

Ah, I hear your laughing voice rise as we struggle up those stairs

What about those bright yellow stockings you used to wear

Bumble Bee woman

That black and white photograph of you and me standing close laughing

When we were both bleach blondes and hopefully young

Matching robes flashing in summer morning’s light winds

Luminescent as our sun licking away Pacific sea sins

So what is your smile doing tonight among these year old obituaries

Smuggling my cat in the No Pets Allowed elevator

His striped tail keeping four/four time from the box

While we avoid eye contact with your suspicious neighbour

Lists grow short as these hours of light

Those who know us knew us when over there before better than or

Still under construction

Oh maybe I ought to have known or guessed

You gave me a pair of desert boots when I came to see you after

The move a long long time ago

And when I arrived home I could find only one.

Guide

There are no tourists now

No trekkers following close behind

No hikers underestimating the distance

Overestimating their stamina or agility

Almost a whole year’s income forfeited

The guide paces his village

His friend, porter when they’re on the trails

Leading the curious from around the world

Over steep mountain passes

Counselling on how to safely pass a Yahk caravan

Returning from a trading journey in Tibet

Designing routes to accommodate trekkers’ demands

Limitations or schedules or delays due to altitude sickness,

is anxious too but not so anxious as the guide

Who thought he could endure month after month at home

Being a grandson a son a husband a father a farmer

Stationary

His friend says we will rebuild and we will soon again traverse

High mountain passes through Langtang, Annapurna, and the mighty Manaslu

We will stand at the edge of the world and watch the clouds fill up

the depths of Kali Gandhi Gorge at Khopra Ridge

They will return and we will guide them again, my brother

But the guide is inconsolable

He retreats into himself and does not eat

No one will remember us he tells his friend

The world is afraid of us now

The trekkers are gone forever and we are nothing

In the West, we do remember

Two humble young men who became guardians

To us in an unfamiliar and perilous landscape

Its spectacular natural beauty eluding capture

In photographs, its vistas defying description through mere words

Two who educated who held us when we ran out of breath

Whose patience coaxed us to the survival side of our trepidations and fears

Whose care and kindness effected permanent changes within us

We do remember

With a bond borne of gratitude and love

And upon receipt of our nominal gift the guide sends his quiet message

Namaste. Thank you, mama and papa, for thinking of us

It’s so strange having no work when we are always ready

But you are right maybe

We will all somehow make it through to 2022

One day maybe we will again see you

I read his words through a blur

And hope somehow that distant dream might come true.

Connecting roots

In the silence between morning birds’ song

whispered comforts or threats traverse unseen

Communities of canopies

Neighbourhoods of heartwood sheltered deep

for decades or centuries

Human steps tread past or with bravado some ascend

lookout holding steady trunks endure

fragile limbs of women and men

Night gatherings moonlit shadow shapes

sacred swaying to the rhythm of stars

Record keepers

inhaling exhaling all glory all decay all debris

Beyond the continuum of this holy life

our human eyes may glimpse a light amid seas of possibility

Yet misinterpret again and again the message of our role

and what could be

We occupy this fleeting existence so temporarily

what has been and always there will be

beyond you and me beyond all of us in our collective lack

Despite our elevated posturing our experiments our narcissism

our valour even our creativity

After we again have surrendered and ground ourselves back to dust

There will remain the one constant one glory whose truth

always was and ever will guarantee

Survival of the Tree

Hands

We were slow shuffling up Pilot Street

I promised I’d show you where fairies reside

Sea was roiling west winds were sighing

Stop for flowers we lingered no consultation between

Sometimes kindred depend on synchronicity not words

Man and his camera honouring life beneath stoic Garry Oak

We decide it’s phenomenon worth brief watching

But it’s the mirror on a trunk affixed askew

Spoke to me about what to do

And I like the way you smiled your acquiescence

Raise your small open hand you gentle friend spirit

I know the difference between a wave of hello and

Help I need rescue

Art

Why should I want to contain you

Place your beauty within this cage in this frame

For is not arresting all at the essence of Art

Fragrance of imperfect freedom

An unleashing

Flight from confinement

Escape from ordinary

Exploration of sensescapes no corporeal beings roam

Wings

Logic and deduction and evidence and explanation

Too loaded to follow

A bridge deconstructed an outline made of squint

Lace and velvet satin and flowers rivulets of sky in an ocean of dream

Scenes of an unscene

Can I slip into my/your/our centre in secret moments

Touch your raw naked pulse

Feel

What it is to know truth at the intersection

Where imperfect breath and depth of life exchange promises

Without uttering a sound

But a shift

Caught drifting soft past

A presence

Something there

Bees

Fortune arrives to those who expect it

Who said that, asks the one still waiting

Bees forfeit sunlit blossoms to suckle a blank wall instead

What made sense yesterday leaves a smudge for us to ponder

A circle is unending like a fortress of safety forever watchful

But through a new jaded pair of eyes a circle is a prison

From which only the secretive and most cunning may manage escape

Tunnelling through ages of rotted ideas and misguided plans

Breathing shallow so as to avoid disease by the effort

Believe in change, the mantra humming in their heaving chests

Through filth and squalor a sliver of light hints at silver

Bees circle upon walls, forfeiting temptation’s blossoms

Allowing either conspicuous gaps or innocuous bee suckling spaces

Readying themselves for the new age where winged things flourish

Where honey is the preferred currency

Pencil on paper. Images arise. Message received.

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