Read sample poems.
The Hugger Mugger
The Hugger Mugger is under the bed,
In the top of the wardrobe, behind the door,
Along the walls and across the floor,
He pushes in on my sleeping head,
Big and smelly, smothers my breath,
Blindfolds me, presses to death,
I can’t get out from under him.
I scream but nobody hears
I call, my voice is dry
I know that I’m about to die,
The Hugger Mugger is on my face!
I heave him off, my blindfold is stuck,
Adhesive, I have to peel and rip
To see if I can give him the slip.
Now YOU are here.
He’s here in the room!
He is, you say,
He’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere
You are. You think he’s gone but he’s not.
That’s it, struggle up and turn on the light,
Short of breath in the dead of the night,
Stagger up to the open window,
Look at your watch, it’s ten to two,
The Hugger Mugger is still with you.
His tender fingers ripple your hair,
He leers from behind the easy chair.
Wherever you are, you are in his grip,
You can’t escape him, he is your shame,
Out on the prowl under your name,
The side of you you don’t want to know,
Your inside turned outside, rampant,
Grimpant, and grinning with rage and fear
As his razor slashes from ear to ear.
You can scream all you want till your voice will crack,
The Hugger Mugger is on your back.
You can cry all you want till the tears run down,
The Hugger Mugger is on your crown.
The Hugger Mugger will sit on your head,
He will bugger you as you lie in bed.
Why, look where he goes! He’s under your feet
As you dash to escape him down the street.
Bare-bummed with dangling dick, in a sweat,
As I run I smell a familiar stench.
There he is sitting on a park bench
In the pool of a glow from one street lamp,
And there beside him sits his vamp,
Her lips gape wide in a sickening grin,
She shares with him, she shares his sin –
Her lips are blue, her lipstick is red,
She snuggles down and gives him head,
She sucks and sucks, she licks and licks
Until at the end she sticks and sticks
And he jumps to his feet and runs down the street
Pursued by this shadow who clings and clings
Crooning and muttering ceaseless things.
He pounds her into a pavement crack,
She sinks with a sigh – but she’ll be back.
The Hugger Mugger is on me too,
He’s here, he’s there, whenever he’s you:
Sometimes I catch him in my hair –
A trace of slime that sticks on my comb.
I wipe him off with a tissue and throw him
Into the bin. I’ve got rid of you.
I am dead to you, I am dead to him.
There you go, gloomy and grim
Looking for your next victim.
But clean up your act, stand tall and bare,
Comb the Hugger Mugger out of your hair.
You will sleep on your front, you will sleep on your back
With a smile on your lips, and if I am kind
You will find me beside you, my flesh at your side,
The corrugated soft ridge of my sole
Just touching yours as we spin and glide
Like a sycamore seed through breezy air.
The Hugger Mugger was in your dreams.
Be here in me. ALL IS WHAT IT SEEMS.
Now is the end of your nightmare.
Now I have you in my care
Clinging to my night-dark hair.
The Sound of the Sound
The sound of the wind in the trees, and of the sound…
Let me explain. We are in a clearing
In the woods – birch, maple, spruce, fir – and the breeze
Bends and sweeps, twists and turns the trees.
They hiss, rustle, swish with unvoiced sound
(The only voices ours). So far so good:
These are the sounds of the wood.
But the other sound, from out in the bay
(The sound) – not with us at low tide, a mile away,
Then more like a change in the background:
Not a roar (that cliché) nor the boom
Of waves, it’s a steady rushing
As the tide engulfs the sandy, muddy ground.
This is the sound of the sound.
No To No
O Canada, the band plays
On the sun-deck of the ferry.
Lust like an arrow
Shoots ahead of the prow
Slicing through the sound
Where killer whales prey
On salmon, seal, and otter.
(O of two backs arching
Like killer whales
On their tails,
O like parentheses
Face to face around
A soundless sound).
The sea is innocent of slime
And mud, light-speckled
In its postcard sublime
Sun sparkling on the snow
Of the Olympics.
(O of this poem in my head:
The usual compound
Of desire and dread)
I will say No to No.
The Barn Room
The barn room where we played those wind quintets
By Mozart is falling to bits,
The ceiling panels dislodged by racoons –
Eating glue, I suppose – their shits
Dried on the now rotting spruce-plank floor I laid.
The barn is falling down, like us who played
There almost as one.
The clarinet, the flute and oboe,
The horn and bassoon are set aside in dust
Or lost. There is no room for us now.
And we have no need of it: dead or dying
As all things do – even barns, even raccoons.
If I had stayed there, steward of that place,
I could have held back entropy
A while. I would have shot the raccoons, at least:
They would not have had their nocturnal feast
In anything of mine.
It’s the dark hair and eyes
Of the clarinettist that worry me, the studiousness
Of the flautist, the joie de vivre of the horn –
All gone. (I don’t know where the oboeist is).
But I am here. Perhaps I should take up the bassoon
Again: same fingering as the flute I’ve set aside,
And the saxophone I played
In the local dance band – a double life
In music! All gone. Too soon.