Rathbun

FANCIFUL

Dodge the pellets
pull hard – left
-wings drop under blue
sink into a nose dive
and pepper your opponent.

Wake up from dream
listen to the Deseronto Bay
sit up and look out
gaze high
-the sputtering of crate paper
(you’re next)
for 5 hour lesson.

Mom and Dad don’t know
they’re in Mississauga
believing I took work
and traveled maybe as
far as Cornwall
-but I stopped 2 hours short
asked for a uniform….

I’m Ready To Become a Hero

MAYBE NOW I’LL LEARN SOMETHING

I never knew my borther
9 kids
me – the last by almost
20
-he was the oldest
2nd brother so he became a mentor
but…

there’s a picture found in the closet
I’m 70 and it’s the first
I’ve seen it.

My 2 oldest brothers
standing together in Texas?
in uniform?

Picture titled
1st day in U.S from Ontario….missing Rathbun…

CAMP RATHBUN 2 KILOMETRES EAST FROM NAPAPNEE

In the background a local
tells me
he has struts from a plane
which crashed on his
property
-had propellers as well
but was eventually stolen.

His father saw it
well – heard the crash
and saw the plane upside
down from a nose dive.
put out the fire
and pulled a victm from
the wreckage
-RFC came and cleaned it all up
well…..most of it.

Local says
he wasn’t born yet
didn’t know the fliers name
-no record.

…I think about my brother

THE TRUTH

I’m trained now
had a meal in the cafeteria
-looks like a converted tractor
barn.
heading out now to
Texas
then off to where
the action is.

I’ll say one thing
I won’t miss pushing these
damn planes in the snow
Texas is sounding pretty good
in December…

I will miss Christmas with
the folks tho.
sent them a letter in
the mail
-told them the truth.

YOUNGER BROTHER

Got a letter from my
younger brother.
Ma + Pa flipped.
-I figured they were already upset
so…
I may as well join too
before they returned to their
senses.

DAMN FOOL

Received a letter from my
older brother
he’s in his 90’s.
says that pic in Texas
was taken on his first day
-big brother shipping out for the
front.
-last photo of them together.
he didn’t say much else in
the letter
other than…..

they were damn (proud) fools

DESERONTO ARENA

I brought down some artifacts.
all the stuff I found in closets.
cleaned them up and put them in
proper frames.
going to show them at an
RFC festival at the arena.
-maybe someone can tell me more
-maybe I can tell this story to
the next generation.
-maybe I won’t feel so old
or lost.
-maybe I’ll see my brothers
in the eyes of another family
telling a story of their
own.

Dear Johnny
Dear Tommy

You Damn Fools. Damn Brave Fools


Dreams

Give me scissors
to cut the tulip
humid Sunday of July 1 –
Confederation you say

where the lawn takes a day of sun
ready for another week of rain
where dogs don’t want to shit
for fear of being pelted by dropping clouds
(and cats)
stay inside while mice rustle in the brush
breathing relief.

The tulips are ready
bring them inside for warmth
the wild roses are corner ways and
drown themselves in the sorrow
of an eavestrough tired from 30 days straight labour.

I am in love with you
but you have moved 500 kilometres north
and why do they call it North bay they ask?
because it north from Toronto
and Nipissing doesn’t roll off the tongue
(is harder to spell)
Miss iss ipp i.

We run ourselves in circles
trying to discover a medium
a middle ground
fence line where we can tie off the horses
and set down a blanket
read Thomson to one another
the braille in the paint work
while his body floats lifeless from bad
debts

give me the scissors
the tulips are ready
the roses need time
you and i
have a month of separation
before the rains stop
and shows us the way
home.


You are the nude Algonquin

You are the nude Algonquin
and I chase the light
leaving Huntsville
the all of you that can never be explored

understood – yellow autumn tamarack

You peek around the bend
and I chase you over to the Falls
wash you beyond all the fur of hibernation
(you offer to take me home)

north Bay – Nipissing

I will love you Algonquin
but I will never fully understand you
or see everything beyond the light
that deeper meaning

those changes in – quick storm

My woman
let me follow you
further in
run the granite top
walls of highway 11

winter digs in – and we search for shelter
 
I won’t conquer you
But I will love you
My Algonquin mystery
Woman of fantasy


To a Poet Going North by Darren Moore

I’ve written many a poem about other ppl and those whom I admire, never have I had one written about me…..to Darren Moore, my poetic brother (in arms) …..thankyou
There he is, with his trademark cap
Underneath, those Irish eyes always
Like his words,
Weighing up the scene
Pondering the palette and
Choosing colours
Same as any artist.
And you can be Purdy sure
He’ll say the names too
Come out just audible enough
From the dojo of Stage Grumble
And dusty country roads.
Where the maple syrup flows
And pilgrims journey
Past beaten down barns
And the whole weight of pioneer history
Up to the Tweedsmuir
Musing first Tuesdays,
Washing over, with hand-picked words
The dank scene,
The varied audience
Just a long lost member
Of the group of seven.
Just a skater born too late
For the Leafs of ’67.
Just a young guy in an old man’s A-frame
Where he doesn’t belong,
Which means he does.
And off he goes now
Away from the corduroy roads
Of Downie’s Sunday drives,
And southern Ontario
Must live with a little less poetry;
One of her sons
And let’s be honest,
One of her translators
Has left.
May the black spruce, cold waters, and clear night skies
Prepare themselves
They will be necessary and brilliant.
And way up there
A good long drive up highway eleven
Sink a shovel, turn some sod,
Find a place to plant your pen
Maybe a stage
Or page
For its produce
Hell, even some paper plates.
‘Cause up there on the bevel of the Canadian Shield
It takes a special kind of poet…
And there he goes, with that trademark cap
A trail of breadcrumb words on the highway
Not to find his way home,
But so it can follow him.
And Hastings and Prince Edward
And fellow Musers;
An empty glass somewhere in Trenton
A tired pub in Tweed
They’ll miss that trademark cap
And his rich, ripe words;
They’ll miss Martin Durkin.

when the Temp reaches 36 degrees

she’s going to fight it – the entire way
empty dryer spinning
washer machine with open lid.

she’s on her side
and her eyes are opening.
she has slept night long
and the meadow background shines.

but here tucked under fern
drumming your missing rib
she smirks and quotes Dylan
says ‘read me some Thomas’

tell me about his version of Adam
and his version of Eve.

tells you whether inside the gated community
or on the outskirts
her day won’t begin until someone apologizes
to her…..


God is Ready to Present His Findings

eve looks over her shoulder
Spain – rooftop – the public shower
hovering
above the treeline.

her skin
is now a full day sun
a toaster
an oven door cooling in the kitchen
dishes ready to be
washed in the sink.

no one is there when she looks over her shoulder

the ocean is not heard in the background
trees stand still as her only audience.

on the street
passing the same building
Adam searches the tourists
worried.

passing the open door
he hears the shower
and realizing the ocean no longer moves
he pauses
and realizes the trees no longer sway

he has found her

and God
is now certain

they belong together…..


The Woodpile

i’m chopping wood
and in the middle of the chore
i’m thinking about you.
the
mind it travels during the menial tasks
and solves math problems
sentences that won’t work in a story.
there is no half ass reversal of the sexes
the swing of the axe – is the swing of the axe.
but the thought of sex
comes to mind
the idea of love vs. hard work
and I suppose
hard work vs. good effort.
we
are worth the effort
and that’s a separate matter from hard
work.

the woodpile is finished now
i sling the shirt over my bare shoulder
know that supper is bubbling on the stove
and that you will need a few cords to keep the
stove
keep the fireplace going

but not the home fires.

and the summer cabin smells good
it smells simple
and of pine and some left over cedar
sparking safely behind iron doors.
you
smile as i enter the cabin shadow
back lit by a 5pm sun bouncing off the lake.

which one of us has the shirt off?
which one has been cooking supper?

it doesn’t matter.

we are one….
and that takes only effort
a desire
to be more than we are
beyond the everything
which we began
with
on our own….


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