But I

I would prefer to be mad about it
but i’m trying to be a grownup
I call myself a late bloomer
but i’m old for crissake’s
I built this space around me
but it was given to me for nothing
I wish she was still here
but i cannot thank her now
I only have people in here that i want
but they don’t return the favour
I wonder about wandering
but i’d get no understanding
I know that i’d be on my own
but i’ve always been alone
I thought i had someone
but the desert between us says no
I think these plans are wise to make
but i sure don’t want to make them
I might find a grand adventure
but i think i probably won’t
I will have my self-respect
but not much else besides
I can’t say i didn’t try
but everyone else probably will
I suppose it won’t matter
but oh boy i know it does
I’d like to be in a rage about it all
but i’m just sitting here crying
I feel relief in the decision
but it hurts all the same
I don’t want to do this
but i might die if i don’t
I am already saying goodbye

~ Mine, May 10, 2021

IMAGE: Atlas Green

Pockets

I was watching a program on telly
when i heard a noise outside
I immediately looked to the corner of the room
while i hit the mute button
My ears open
my eyes wide
I got up and walked to the door
First i turned off the porch light
then i looked out the glass at the top of the door
Seeing nothing, i flipped the light back on
I checked the front closet
and once again flicked my eyes to the corner of the room
My soldiers stand ready should i need them

I was walking the dogs down our old gravel road
as i do most days
When i saw a vehicle turn down our way
There’s only one other family that lives down here
and that’s not their car
I do a quick itinerary:
Wrist, check
Pocket, check
Fanny pack, check
I can let the one off her leash
Her growl can turn blood to water
I go over my scripts
I relax my grip as i see it’s the beekeepers

I was downstairs doing laundry
folding warm clothes to make room for more wet ones
Woolgathering
while soft voices murmur in the background
My son yells at his game from upstairs
and i ask myself what i would do
if that was someone else’s voice
I look to the pile of 2X4s in the corner
as i pat my back pocket
I would get up the stairs as quickly as i could
I could get cornered down here
but there are potential weapons in each room
and i’ve practised with all of them

I was eating lunch by myself
at a restaurant i like in town
I can see the kitchen and it’s always sparkling clean
which cuts down on my anxieties
There’s a man eating alone at another table
who catches my eye with a smile and a nod
I was just idly looking around while eating
I immediately go over my scripts
What i will say if he makes small talk
What i will say if he compliments me
What i will say if he asks me out
I check for weapons should he follow me when i leave

I was lying in bed, waiting for sleep to come
with my husband snoring beside me
He sleeps like the dead
So for the thousandth time
i run through what i’d do
if we were confronted in our bed
by violent intruders
I remind myself where the weapons are
I go over how i’d wake, help, save my man
I pat my phone
911 is programmed in and it’s a 1-push button
Whether they stand there and threaten or come straight for me
i know what to do

I was walking home from seeing a movie
I went by myself because i can do that now
No one else was interested or had the time
I like it because no one talks
and i’m not tempted by real buttered popcorn
being devoured by greasy handfuls beside me
It’s dark and there are many more men than women
I love Godzilla
What can i say?
I have quite the hike home
I could save time and energy walking as the crow flies
but that would be foolishness
I pat my pockets and stick to well lit streets

I was weeding the front flower garden
when a strange car pulls into our driveway
We’re at the end of a No Exit road
and i’m not expecting anyone
The things i carry when i head out into the world
are inside in a basket by the door
but there’s not time to get them
I go to our big dog on her chain
She’s already straining to get at him
I can let her off the leash
which will free me to go for my weapons
I check that my face is implacable
I do not smile when i’m alone with a strange man

I was showering before bed
after watching a documentary on a woman with a stalker
He tormented her for years
before he finally killed her in her home
I think about what i’d do if someone came for me
right here in the bathroom
Wet and naked in the tub
I know what to do with what’s at hand
Hot water, soap, detachable curtain rod
Sitting on the toilet
I have help in my pants puddled at my feet
in the back pocket
There’s help secreted in the basket to my right

I have a thousand little plans
for a thousand situations
I have been leered at
approached
chatted up, asked out, complimented
followed, chased, pawed at, catcalled
And menaced, threatened and name-called
when i deny them
or i just don’t respond to their liking
and their little feelings get hurt
I expect the unexpected
because it’s not so unexpected in my experience
They’ll come for me as they’ve always done

I was dreaming one of my favourite dreams
I’m in a huge fancy mall and i’m buying everything
Beautiful clothes and so much jewelry
and i’m eating steak and cake
I can feel him as soon as he arrives
He’s on the periphery watching me
His eyes are glittering and hot on me
It burns and i feel filthy
But i know i’m dreaming and i’m filled with joy
Step into the ring, fucker
I swallow my triple layer chocolate and ganache confection
I call him to me, laughing while i hover in the air
Gathering fireballs in my hands

I have told you i have plans
but not precisely what they are
I have told you i have weapons
but not all the whats and wheres
I’ve mentioned my scripts
but not regaled you with their cutting eloquence
I cannot, for the world is what it is
and it is full of people who will do what they will do
I will do whatever i must
which includes my constant mental rehearsals
My feints within feints
I will bend like a reed in the wind
and i will get you before you get me

~ Mine, April 27, 2021



IMAGE: DESIGNECOLOGIST





Ready For The Sun

I’m not entirely sure i’m ready to move on
but moving on i shall be nonetheless
If i need to look back
to step back
even to revisit
then so be it
For some days now though
i’ve felt something settle into my blood
my bones
I can see it in my eyes
my visage
It’s in the way my hands set to a task
in my feet as they form their steps into the rug
the hardwood
the gravel road
I feel a pull in me
It’s not intellectual
as is my usual way
Nor do i feel it in my heart
that alternately achy and bursty palace of hot muscle
It’s lower by a turn
My solar plexus and my navel reach out
towards the road
Tendrils of diaphanous wishes shooting from me like silver threads
a diaspora from my own country
I will travel far from home
as far as i may
I was only born here
I don’t know what’s out there
but this was never my nation
and i am ready for new lands
This place i’ve grown up in is beautiful in its way
but the familiarity of it cannot penetrate my despair or self-pity
My knees wake me in the night
craving adventure
bucking me out of the warm softness of my bed
Yes
i’ve worked hard to carve out this space around me
and it’s pretty and safe
but the rains and winds
and welcome swelter
are too well acquainted
It’s time for me to move on
I look at the horizon and it always glows
It could be a train
sure it could
but i don’t think so
Poetry aside
my friends
i think it is the sun
And i am through with crying and feeling this sad

~ Mine, April 13, 2021

IMAGE: Helena Gunnare

Up

Sometimes, my thoughts become so small, so insidious, that they slip between cracks in my brain
becoming trapped in the earth beneath

It’s here that the light is so very far away, and i know that i am a thing from the deepest darkness
made of hard clay and sand

My senses fill with ancient life, and i’m full of death and the taking of it, the taking and the making of life
persistent in the ever blackest earth

I shift dank fragrant soil towards the sun, the softest, tiniest glow, from the hottest brightest life
and i will myself up up up

Away from the deep cold lands, away from my old evil, from the dirt of knowledge that i’m a grave
My will leaves me for the sky

Up up up, through the crack from which the promise of gold beckons, a blur in the night
showing roots pointing to a better place

I know that i am the thing in the deep, but i reach high, scales and caked fingernails
poking through like a dandelion on the sidewalk

The sun bakes my scales into skin, my clodded earth now eyes and mouth
I walk clumsily because i’m always looking up

~ Mine, March 10, 2021

IMAGE: istock

Poem From a Woman*

sittin’ in my jammie-jams because hey
at least i got up
and that is a THING
and as i gather myself for whatever i can put into the day
sitting on the red couch that i always wanted
-who knew it’d only cost me fifty bucks?-
i look to my right to adjust the ponytail-loopy-messybun
that’s designed to keep my hair somewhat cute
with a minimum of hassle and no brushing
BONUS
and i catch sight of my ankles
and the tops of my calves
the mirror is floor length – not even my biggest one
i have them all over the house
because my house is small, broken down a bit
a dream house built for a grandmother-in-law that i never knew
decently built in the fifties but now in need of repair
sorry house but mine comes first
and the renos have been a nightmare
so for now what you get are mirrors
because back when i thought you weren’t good enough
i was binge-watching HGTV
and they all said mirrors make spaces look bigger
and i am so bigger
too bigger
and i knew i needed bigger spaces, even if it was an illusion
so my little crooked house thanks me sarcastically for the band-aid
by showing me my cankles and tree-trunk calves
-but wait now-
i’ve been tapping my pontoon feet on my old hardwood floor
listening to Amanda Palmer while jigging my body on the red couch
as i pull bits of my hair here, there
pleasing myself with the arrangement
i watched so many videos
and tried so hard
but i could never master the casual flare of the messybun girls
i gave it up long ago like it did the makeup toots
-holy christ so many hours of that!-
i discovered i was almost as unskilled at drawing on my face as i was on paper
and my Twin and i realised i’m not that girl
and she even gave up collecting makeup we never used
and i discovered that i like a defined brow
and lipstick
and a bit of blush
and that’s pretty much it
just as i like my weird loopy-ponytail thingwe
i’m staring at myself in my smartass floor-length mirror
looking at my ankles, my calves
feeling the hot acid accusations being thrown
hearing decades of admonishments
i turn into it
and i am become the mirror
and in it we are infinity
i can see me all going back
further and further and further still
and i see that i have made these ankles thick
and i see that i have carved these tree trunk calves
they are me – they are who i am
they are who i want to be
i put down the magazines as i have turned off the makeup gurus
and the hair tutorials
and the home decorating channels
and the goddamned celebrity interview programs
and the accursed diet mavens
-omg god could they fuck the most off already?-
i stand up and move into my kitchen where there are more and bigger mirrors
i face them – daring their judgment
standing on my hideous stained linoleum with walls in desperate need of paint
clownfeetthickankleshugecalvesthunderthighsfatassmonkeyarms
tootalltoobigtoomuchtooloudtooweirdtoopoortoodirtytoolosttooalone
and i turn
and i leeeean into it
the images repeat, each folding into the next
i grew this big because life worked me out
i grew this tall because my children needed shelter
i became this loud to drown out the hate
i became this weird to survive poor, dirty, lost
and alone
i always wanted a red couch and i found one for fifty bucks
i filled my house with mirrors because i wanted my house to feel BIGGER
i filled my house with mirrors because i wanted it to SEE
my house is exactly as it should be
the decorations are not tricks or masks
they are adornments
we are all of us decorated as i intend
i had thought i was just beginning to create myself in my own image
but as i look from breakfast-sausage webbed toes that are so well suited
to both gripping the earth and swimming in deep waters
to my Amazonian body
to my tattooed lips and brows
to my wacky-ass hair conglomeration
i see that i am fearfully yet wonderfully made to my own specifications
standing there in my faded pink, Paris-themed pyjamas that make me feel cute
i look just as i should just as i want just as i wish
i have been creating myself all along
and no fashion or lifestyle or home improvement magazine
television show or internet channel
could have even come close to doing this spectacular a job of it
i square my fantastic football shoulders
and walk into the kitchen
i’m hungry
I believe a grilled cheese and ice cream are in order.

~ Mine, November 2, 2020

* Decided last night i was going to post “poem from a girl”. This morning as i went to do it, this piece came flooding out of me. I almost like it, and i no longer hate the other one. There’s an obvious lesson in that of course. It’s a lesson that i am, and will continue learning.

IMAGE: Christian Mack




poem from a girl*

The sweetness that comes with remembrance of youth was never mine
Instead a tree overladen with bitter fruit
bowed to the ground and scattered about with rotten flesh
To taste of it is to be spirited away to Nowhere, Neverwhere

My body flows through with its potent poison
numb and heavy and dully moving for no reason save because
Twisted roots bequeathing its sick mythologies
filling me up with wrongness and setting my feet on the wrong path

Oh, but where i walked there grew green things
My calloused feet yet kissed the earth and warm things drew close
to drink in my beauty and rest awhile in my light
They whispered secrets before they flew and i marked where they went

A simple song of a little wild thing, sung in fairytale keys
She turns her bright chubby face towards the horizon
Her upturned nose as dear as her tremulous voice
She stops when i stumble and beckons me on to the glow in the distance

~ Mine, September 29, 2020

*Sat on this one for a long while. Couldn’t make myself trash it, but couldn’t get myself to post it, either. Poetry is a loaded subject for me to begin with, although not for reasons of my past in a direct way (indirectly, everything is), but when any writings pop up in my drafts folder that aren’t from me specifically, i struggle. This one makes me cringe. Frankly, i hate it. I think i know who wrote it, and she’s 8, and i find connection with the younger parts difficult. I decided to post it because i’ve been trying to connect with them, to shed the disgust that came on me due to what was done to me, not who and where i was age-wise at the time it was done. I can see the distinction intellectually, but to live with it as truth and function on the daily from that understanding is quite another thing.

IMAGE: qi bin

A Day in the Life

As i arc ’round the sun, swinging
like Bakshi’s Spider-man
speaking laconic and sly too early
grinning and breaking my bones
drowning in my own sea
My toes can’t reach the bottom,
so i make macaroni and cheese while
Doc Ock nullifies my ache
in muddy greens and go-go music

Rounding the bend i see them, screeching
squealing like happy little Piggies
Awkward pause, that heart-drop moment
and i am the Wolf, interloper
eating smirks and snorts
chewing my own tongue
choking on bricks and mortar
A grim existence, grins like whips
Grandma blows the house down when she gets home

Consumed and consuming, too full
to be refilled, bellying up for
Nothing, acrid air and flesh like dust
seeping in like night
settling in like decomposition
hop, hop across the floor, petit jeté
lying in wait for the sword through the mattress
Drinking welts and eating bruises
Hercules and Rocket Robin Hood feed me breakfast

IMAGE: Enrico Mantegazza

September

Sitting with him in the dark
parked on the side of the road
I sit rigid
with my eyes so wide
Trying to swallow the dark
and still wear it like a blanket
He cracks open a can and hands it to me
I drink it in 3 or 4 draughts
It fills my lemon-stomach
and gurgles in the quiet
He passes me the other thing
the stuff that loosens my tongue
One rail and in 5 minutes i’m spilling
the things in my brain that gurgle too
The voices
Icy swords and hot daggers
Lollipop lullabies
Zigzagging like lightning
Roiling the sea and Oh
My Ship full of Fools
They’re all crying out
to me and to each other
punching holes in the night
The words dry my tongue
and crack my lips
Falling out like old driftwood
Splitting open and spilling dust
Motes in my eyes
Silt in my lungs
He cracks open another and hands it to me
I chuff out my breath like a bellows
and he tells me it’s going to be all right
I drink in his pale, silent beauty
and try to see the world from his eyes
To hold his hope in me
with the same fierceness that i’m holding his hand
More of the Devil’s potions and powders
More of my knots are untwisted
He gently asks who i am
and i tell him i don’t know
I don’t know

~ Mine, September 23, 2020

IMAGE: Trevor McKinnon

Never Have I Ever

Squelched ocean sand between my toes
or picked my own mussels

Gone houseboating down the Shuswap
and sunbathed on the beach

Crowd-surfed at a concert while
others hoot and holler in celebration

Run through mud and rope-climbed walls
with fellow plucky survivors

Bungee-jumped or whipped down a zip line
or jumped out of a perfectly good airplane

Visited the lands of my forefathers
nor broken bread with those who yet live

*****
Felt completely at ease in a group
even if they’re all people i love

Stood in a line up without worrying
because i know someone must be staring at me

Gotten dressed up for some event
and been completely satisfied with my appearance

Had an argument where i wasn’t terrified
or a discussion where i didn’t feel attacked

Not worried that a man might want sex from me
or a woman was going to hurt me

Felt truly safe around other people
or utterly let down my guard

This is not poetry.
This is a bucket list.

IMAGE: Courtney Moore

Singing in the Dark

Heart of my heart i went down to the water to see you
But i couldn’t
I got lost in the eddies and captivated by currents

Mind of my mind i climbed up the mountain to hear you
But i didn’t
The wind was so loud so i picked a few wildflowers instead

Flesh of my flesh i delved deep in my dreams to meet you
But i shouldn’t
The dreams are lovely and terrible and i find it hard to leave

You are the water that threatens to take me
You are wind that will blow me straight off the cliffs
And you are the dream that will hold me in sleep forever

Song of my song i wrote this to sing for you
But i wouldn’t
And my throat ached at my resistance

Pain of my pain i reached out blindly
And i would
I sat still in the dark tonight and sang it to you

You are the one who gave your life for me
You are the reason my body yet breathes
I will sing to you now and always

I found you here and here you ever shall be

~ Mine, September 03, 2020

IMAGE: Pawel Szvmanski