A recipe for Eden
A recipe for Eden
There are late nights and then there are late nights without you.
There are sidewalks and then there are sidewalks absent your feet.
There are summer nights and then there are summer nights when your body is in the next room, reading a book about the state of Virginia or drinking a beer.
There are movies to watch and then there are moments when all I want to do is rip the TV out of the wall and kiss you until the film crews show up, (ours is a better story anyways.)
And Trevor doesn’t really talk much at school
and we wonder what happened to him
And his lunches always look like
they were packed by a Sasquatch
and not by a mom
and the other kids moms always give them Dunkaroos
and his mom always gives him a ziplock bag
And Trevor doesn’t really hang out at the back of the school where the
backboard ballers gather
in packs and prides
wild beasts, all of them
Trevor climbs to the loneliest monkey bar he can
a sandbar 70 feet out in the ocean of the playground
and he sits at a vantage point where he can see
but is not seen
And Trevor doesn’t spell his words right
no he usually tries to squelch in an
extra “u” or
curve in a “v” (
and the class holds back a flood water
And Trevors shoes look like
he’s walked farther than most of us
and that he’s seen more,
and that his words have a little more weight around
and they peel our hearts away from our bodies
like a little bit of water on an envelope stamp
and maybe, like most things
that just scares us
Because in the face of fear it is an easier feat
to forget our feet
and kick out at the unknown
till its face is bloodied
and its lips are scabbed
and some of the teeth might not settle straight
in the jaw because
we have made our fear known now
And Trevors smile is crooked after
and his speech is a little slurred
and i’ve noticed
Trevor doesn’t really talk much at school.
The street feels somehow heavier
as though the shatterproof glass
and then pieced back together
by people with patience and
a cup of coffee from across the road.
that the sirens lights did a slow ballet
I was at the bar up the road
and having three to many.
But I still don’t know how
I missed the car careening
with a drunken grace I possessed
a modern day, metallic
John Wayne entering a saloon.
And I still don’t know how -
on a Saturday night so late it’s early -
I didn’t notice the men
limb over limb,
lanky planes of the night
struggling to get their
wings of metal
off the runway that is Canada St.
and fly east.
And i’m still not quite sure how
they found all the weapons,
sniffed out by hounds,
when it feels
under everything I touch.
Aphotic. A love song for the beautiful city of Hamilton
So excited to announce that I’ve begun recording my second EP at Sheepdog Studios in Hamilton this past week! More updates to follow! Head on over to the site and check out some of the work that the immensely talented Glen Watkinson is doing!
It was nearing 4:30 on a Wednesday
when my mother found out that her piano teacher had died.
We were standing together in a cold afternoon winter light,
the light of the stove melding with the light of the sun on the
white tile floor of the kitchen,
none of it saying much.
The phone rang and was followed by the stillness that walks
hand in hand with those conversations.
And I just stood there
washing a delft blue plate,
a statue, a monument
not knowing the cause
or the place
or the final words.
Only able to remember
a bright eyed picture of my mother
playing the role of promising pupil and her mentor
a quiet Sunday-afternoon-confidence resting on her shoulders,
both of them sitting and creating a
home, a raft, to keep afloat,
out of an old maroon piano bench.
(Pictures are faulty frameworks
to trap a person inside.)
And yet, as we marched onward with our
conquest of the kitchen,
her being started to play off the photograph in the darkroom of my mind.
I realized then I’d known her all this time.
Seven years old: helped me in my discovery of middle C.
Ten years old: shed a movement of tears in solidarity with my mother when I quit my lessons.
Sixteen years old: silent shouts of encouragement when I sat down on the bench again.
Twenty two years old: listened to a myriad of elegy come from my fingertips.
All these years, I have been listening to the soft hammer-strike heart of you
through my mother’s songs.
…but you walked in. You threw your coat on the chair along with all of ours.
We toasted our failures and our faults and the fearlessness we approached the day with and you said your piece.
You are in all of this. You are in the hellos and farewells and the faces of all these men, just trying to find our voices again in the thin places.
Now as I put the whiskey to my lips
and felt your hand rest coolly on my neck
I wondered at the empty, burning drops
that heralded my lack of self-respect.
If there’s a sanctum somewhere in this town
I doubt it’s at the bottom of this glass,
but just in case it is I’ll drink it down
a peace that passes knowledge just won’t last.
Because I made my bed and I must lay
because this is a landscape that I know
In holding all the words that I should say
This has become a garish circus show.
If this was all just water into wine
maybe I’d be a healthy fucking vine.
I’m standing in the bathroom.
My hair dishevelled.
My eyes still foggy from
last nights crimson lipped wine.
We are getting to know each other
In the smallest, safest ways.
You walk out of your room
A plaid parade of the way I wish all my mornings would go.
I’m drinking coffee out of a rust coloured mug, my eyes are starting to understand this morning light.
Running my hands over your jaw line, finding the fault lines in a flawless place.
You tell me your body betrays you every once in awhile,
Keeps you humble.
The landscape of you lays me low.
He pokes his head around the rusty door frame,
Hesitance ripping across his eyelids, burnt oak hair lacing his eyelashes together.
He takes the time to twist the apple in his hands to “E” before taking that first satisfying bite. A perfect, toothy testament to grade school lunch.
We were all this young once.
We all put our hearts onto our sleeves, and then polished them onto apples.
DULL SUBJECTS ARE THE ONES WE HAVE FAILED.
She wraps her hands around yours
cradles your callouses
holds the centre of you
in the fewest
part of her
She sings with
the harmony of the way you
She builds a bridge across
the ravined construction
have barricaded around yourself
She begins to play
quarter note contemplation
your vulnerability only
a second at a time
your open heart
touch and go chaos.
She is teaching you to earn the
silence you have hidden behind.
wonder if your heart is
shaped like this and if that
is the case could I hold it in my hand
and would it be warm like a
cigarette or would it shake and shim
like a fifteen year old version
of yourself at the school dance
and that was the time you were
first aware of this
madness that was caged up
beneath your starched-collarwhite
but my god she looked good
and your heart,
And now time has found us like sailors stars
In oceans of clock hands and gears we lay
aging and sailing our craft through the day
building prisons of waves, foregoing bars
We were all assured of a journey far
to the north and then east of Georgian Bay
where my father bore witness to deep decay
our darkest and dearest bleed the same tar
But hope for our time is a gift we see
there’s truth in the stars that lie overhead
Though hearts are heavier cargo than we knew
In time all this madness will cease to be
Your truths are the scriptures I have not read
Words the compass that will bring me to you.
The sound of all this city-scape,
a choir now, a church’s bells,
a canvased land of caution tapes
dissect and map my civil hells.
The streets of London, quiet now,
like all things peaceful in my dreams,
they left me with only why, and how
to fix the fault in my rotting beams.
Men who know more than I have said
the body is a house God made,
and while we live our windows bled
the Lord’s returning where he once stayed
But lately all that my house holds
is muted tones on walls and stair.
I’ve listened to all that I’ve been told
assured no Spirit is staying there.
For love is here, a quiet beast
that roams a few rooms in my chest,
and all the while it whispers words,
of grace that I try to forget.
You are a letter. You are a letter that I’m still writing and a letter that I have already sent.
You are a blank piece of paper, all wide eyed and windswept,
I’m holding you in my hands.
They tremble with possibility.
You are waiting for someone to place a story gently on your skin,
let it roll over your calves and glide gently over your hips.
I’m waiting to write this with nothing but my fingertips
and my newfound freedom.
I have stories already on my skin,
you said you kind of like the way I read,
asked me what genre I was.
I said mystery.
You said you can read me like an open book.
Like a Dan Brown novel.
I’m in love with the woods
and the rock and the rook
and the vastness that from some men
their sanity took.
I’m in love with the cold
when your hands lose their thoughts
and the currency of the wild,
and the secrets we bought
And the secrets we bought
And the secrets we made
And the secrets we invented
the reasons we stayed.
I’m in love with the birth
of fire and foal
of your hot breath on my skin
fingertips like the coals
I’m in love with the hunger
of a land and a lust
for the wilds bleak forgiveness
for my innate lack of trust.
I’m in love with the great
letting go that’s required
and the fulfillment
in giving away what we desired
I’m a shitty pioneer
because I have not done right
or by the dappled light
that your fingers could trace
that your eyes once held
your wilderness smile
the secrets you’d tell
and the secrets we bought
and the secrets we made
and the secrets we invented
the reasons you stayed
well the reasons
like the wild
have been commandeered
by good sense
so why run to the wilds
built a fence
built a home
built a school
built a job and a car
I’m a shitty Pioneer
because I haven’t journeyed that far.
Transient thrifted soles,
traversing between the lines
Rows of houses.
District of houses.
Shoulders begging for sweaters
and kindred shoulders
to buffet down this hidden lane with
this secret lane
this grid lock lane.
Back alley dumpsters holding last night’s
More trouble than they’re worth.
The restaurants at either end
bookend this byway,
opposing story lines,
telling similar tales.
The hint of whatever story they’re telling tonight,
lingers on the tongue,
taste of the sea.
Hear the guttural sounds of the mechanical
laying siege to either end of this path.
Glinting, metallic howls a sign that they’re
Distrustful of the other beasts in the cage,
Feet pick up gravel,
cracked and cold.
We are all moving down alleys,
In one way or another.
There was noise, reaching a fever-pitch, cacophony. The sand was serenading her. The sand was reminding her that we all go home. The sand was humming his song, singing it, with all the little inflections in their proper place, like shoes in a line on Sunday morning. She walked along this path that was not a path, a writhing floor beneath her. The sand was getting to her, or maybe it was the heat? She was rather old after all. Everyone had told her not to journey out here, to come this far. The elderly have an allotted number of footsteps in the minds of the youthful, her quota was almost filled. Her nerves were starting to twist, her palms aching, her back twinged, her ar- everything ached. Everything except her soul. Her soul was hungrily eating the open sky, lapping up the sand, blanketing the warmth. She was warm again. She was warm and back in his arms.
The cab squealed in the slick soaked streets. The tires locked, the fingers flew…at full mast. Hands becoming ships with one message, sailors cursing in the swells of the city streets. We are all storms she thought. The taxi driver glared at her as she advanced the cross walk. Murder glinting in his eye, his hands kneading the steering wheel of his garish yellow cab like a loaf of rye dough. She didn’t care, he was waiting for her at the coffee shop just around the corner. Its wooden floors spotted with the conversations of a hundred couples just as in love as they were. Rings left on table tops, staining the good intentions. He was a good man. She knew that he was a good ma-
It was getting difficult to keep her bearings in this sea of sand. She turned around and saw her car, beams of sunlight powdering off the hood, a small remnant of smoke still fluttering gently out of it. Rentals. Never to be trusted. He had told her that. They had been vacationing up in Virginia, the hills greeting them like long lost friends, wrapping them up in verdant arms, larger than the land itself. The car had smoked then to, exhaust making thick grey lines behind them. A testament to the travellers heart. They had laughed at their stupidity, they had taken the thick brown woollen blanket from the trunk and made a ramshackle fort beside the abandoned road where they made a ramshackle kind of love. In Virginia everything’s coming apart at the seams, they had gone there because of this fact. But that was before he had been called off, before this sand had swallowed him. She took a few more steps, feet sinking to the ankles, ankles sinking to the knees. Each step a war, she was throwing it, that was fine.
His hands were trembling, that was never a good sign. The paper in his hands shaking like a birch, shaking like her hips had last night at the legion. Her dress, smoky blue, hugging her body, his hands lightly smoothing the folds as they twisted and twirled in the sooty light of the Legion hall. Dancing every Friday had been his idea, she didn’t mind one bit. He looked up at her, pain riddling his features. So he had to go, they had been expecting this, but expectation never made it any easier. She stopped cutting out the recipe for brioche on the back page of the paper. She cooked with fervor and fury and failed more often than not and yet his plate was always spotless by the end of dinner. Putting the scissors she had been holding down, she walked up to him. Bending over she placed his face between her hands and used her thumbs to gently smooth the crinkled creases beside the corner of his eyes.
He was gone. He was gone. He was gone. The song of the sand couldn’t drown out the mantra that had been running rampant through her head. She stumbled forward, her eyes barely able to make out her feet in this whirling, tumultuous sand storm. She slowly started to sink, a biblical earth swallowing, tunnels to loved ones. She was coming back to him. A small smile, a break in the storm, sunlight beating down on her face. There was noise, his voice. His song. She was finally coming back, it all comes around.