Triumphs

 

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Triumphs

Now is the time of minor triumphs:
waking to birdsong in the morning,
making it safely to the bathroom,
shaving without cutting my face,
getting in and out of the shower
with neither a slip nor a fall,
drying those parts of the body
that are now so difficult to reach,
especially between my far-off toes,
pulling my shirt over sticky patches
still damp from the shower,
negotiating each leg of my pants,
tugging the pulleys that permit
my socks to glide onto my feet,
forcing my feet into my shoes,
hobbling to the top of the stairs
and lurching down them, left
then right, one step at a time …

Battle Axe

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Battle Axe

Grim-faced, ageing,
wrinkles bone-deep
sculpting her skin
into unsightly waves,
a grimaced frown,
much practiced,
worn as a mask
to keep the world at bay.

Over her shoulder,
the mail-pouch slung,
brimful of letters,
bills, in all probability,
their content unknown
until the recipient’s
thumb or pocket knife
slits open the envelope
and reveals the secrets.

She carries more secrets.
They bob along in the streams
that flow beneath her skin
where joy and sorrow mingle.

Tomorrow, the surgeons
will perform their biopsy
and search out those secrets.
For now, she walks
with her eyes cast down,
unwilling  to meet
my all-seeing gaze.

Double Trouble

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Double Trouble
“I’ll need some ID,” the guy selling Fred a new cell phone said. “Something with a photo on. May I see your driving license?”
“Of course,” Fred pulled out his driver’s license.
The salesman took it, glanced at the picture, walked over to the computer, and started to type in numbers. Fred watched him as he nonchalantly punched the keys. Then Fred saw him stiffen and straighten up as he held the license up to the light, double-checked it, and frowned.
“I’m sorry, sir,” the salesman said, looking very sad. “This license has expired. It’s more than two years out of date.”
“You’re joking,” Fred said
“No sir,” the salesman replied. “This license expired two and a half years ago.”
He handed it back to Fred who also checked it with care. At first, the figures seemed blurred. Fred took out his glasses and put them on.
“You’re right,” Fred said. “It is out of date. I must have the new one in here somewhere.”
He started to rummage through all the plastic cards in his wallet. But there was no new driving license.
“I must have left it at home,” Fred muttered.
“They usually shred the old licenses,” the salesman smiled. “They never let you keep them. You must have forgotten to renew.”
Fred placed his hands on the cell-phone counter, looked down, and saw his face mirrored in the shiny plastic. He gazed into his own eyes and they looked back at him. Then his mind flashed back two and a half years.
He had just been through the biopsy, a messy, painful, and unnerving affair, and the results had come back positive.
The urologist demanded a new battery of tests: X-rays, bone scans, blood tests, MRI’s, examinations, more examinations, questionnaires, discussions about possible forms of treatment …
The different treatments were set out like food in a self-serve restaurant and, like the strange foreign foods that Fred liked to try without knowing exactly what they were, their names meant nothing to him.
Then there was the travel: out on the road between his little place in the country and the major cancer hospitals in the province with an examination here, and a consultation over there. All the medical staff he encountered were kind and helpful and the suggestions they offered were sound. The winter road conditions complicated matters, though, and twice he was forced to cancel appointments because of road conditions.
Then, a week or so after the MRI, the allergic reactions set in and, over a three week period he lost all the skin, first off his hands, and then off his feet. He watched the skin bubble, then he saw it go very dry, and then it just flaked off. He remembered getting out of the shower one morning, drying his feet, and staring down at the little pile of flaked-off skin that had come away with the towel.
A little later on, came the injections, the tablets, and that was before the start of radiation treatment …
Now, two and a half years later, Fred’s driving license, the one that should have been renewed on his birthday, had expired. He remembered that birthday well. He lay on his side in the hospital and the specialist drove that first needle into his buttock … what a birthday present. And now, two and a half years later, he had another special gift from that birthday, an expired driving license.
He thanked the cell-phone salesman, put his expired driving license back in his wallet, and said how sorry he was that e would be unable to purchase the cell-phone at this time.
Early the next morning, Fred went down to the Driving License Renewal Center to discover his fate.
The lady on the counter was most sympathetic. She listened to his story and told him not to worry.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “It happens all the time. But I’m afraid you’ll need to take all the tests again, including the road test. That’s the law. I’ll need to see some documentation. A photo ID is preferable. Do you have your birth certificate or your passport with you?”
Fred nodded. He had checked online to see what he needed and had brought all the right documents. He handed the passport over.
The lady behind the counter took the passport, opened it, and looked up at Fred with a sad little smile.
“I’m sorry, sir,” she said. “You are in trouble. Your passport’s expired as well.”

 

KIRA

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KIRA

Kingsbrae International Residence for the Arts has appointed five artists who will work in residence at Kingsbrae and Kingsbrae Gardens (St. Andrews, New Brunswick), from June 1 to June 28, 2017. The artists who will work in Kingsbrae in June are Carlos Carty (Lima, Peru, musician), Anne Wright (Ottawa, multi-media), and Elise Muller (Muskoka sculptor). They will be joined by two New Brunswick artists, Ruby Allan (Fredericton, painter), and Roger Moore (Island View, poet). Note that KIRA is making a special effort to encourage New Brunswick artists. Full details are in the link above.

The selected artists met face to face on a video conference call and discussed some of the work that they could do in common: more about this later. Suffice to say for now that joint workshops on different forms of creativity are being planned. While the residency will be an excellent time for individual work, each participant has a specific project to be undertaken during our time at St. Andrews, there will also be time for the interchange of creative ideas and for readings and workshops within the local artistic community.

My own project will be to establish a Bakhtinian poetic dialog with my time (June) and my place (Kingsbrae, St. Andrews).  This follows the ideal of the Bakhtinian chronotopos, as outlined in my earlier post Alebrijes or Inspiration, and I plan to use my time to reflect upon and write about both St. Andrews and the Kingsbrae Gardens. I intend blogging regularly throughout the month of June and I look forward to posting photos and cartoons to accompany my poems and the journal that I will maintain throughout my stay. My blog is located at rogermoorepoet.com.

Further to this project, I hope to establish a rapport, much along the lines of my poems on Monet at Giverny, between myself as poet and Kingsbrae Gardens as a subject for poetry. Giverny and Monet at Giverny 1-4/16, Monet at Giverny 5-8/16, Monet at Giverny 9-12/16, and Monet at Giverny 13-16/16 offer a model for some of the art work I would like to accomplish.

Each artist will have studio space. Should you visit St. Andrews in June, please consider not only visiting Kingsbrae and its beautiful gardens but also dropping by to meet us as we work to accomplish our artistic tasks. I, personally, will be very happy to meet and talk with visitors to the residency who are interested in the daily workings of my art.

 

Lost

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Lost

My body’s house has many rooms and
you, my love, are present in them all.
I see you here and there, glimpse your
shadow in a mirror, and feel your breath
brush on my cheek when I open a door.

Where have you gone? I walk from room
to room, but when I seek, I no longer find,
and when I knock, nothing opens. Afraid,
sometimes, to enter a room, I know you are
in there. I hear your footsteps on the stair.
Sometimes your voice breaks the silence.

It whispers my name in the same old way
I remember … how can it be true, my love,
that you have gone, that you have left me
here alone? I count the hours, the days,
and snatch at sudden straws of hope,
embracing dust motes to find no solace
in the sunbeams, salacious as they are,
that drag me from my occasional dreams.

Bearing Witness

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Bearing Witness

Pen on paper,
words falling like tears,
salt waters that erode
the hardest of stones.

This man bears witness
to thought, word, and deed.
He’s the outsider who sees
the interior world
and drags forth its spirit
for others to see,

not painted in paint,
not sculpted in stone,
not a breeze through
bound river reeds,
just words on the page
lined up in thin lines
to flower and flourish
like an army that conquers
the world of the soul,
and leaves fresh footprints
on eternal snow.