Wednesday, May 07, 2008

good grief!
I have been working
trying to get this blogger thing going again
hey Susan!
i have no idea if anyone will ever see it
but here goes

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Tangles – anna hood

She said: Geese etch triangles
across a pewter sky. The Pownal River
rattles his great jagged teeth,
scrapes the sun’s reflection
over his cellophane skin while north winds
bleach marsh grass the colour of tea.
The kingfishers have returned;
they sit, ick-ick-ick on the wire
above the pond. Tough pale shoots of tiger
lilies thrust themselves from earth
brick red. Her golden horses
prance and kick in their frozen pasture.
Manure piles steam.

She told me: long ago
when they were young
luck lived inside
their summer brown bodies - an invited guest -
their mouths tangled around
each other like a good merlot
or N’awlins coffee smooth with chicory.
Her velvet curtains trembled
guitars when they kissed.
She wrote love poems
on his right thigh.
He planted apricot trees.

She says: now luck’s moved on
leaving her body pale
fragile as Limoge china,
tissue paper. In the dark she’s alone
with The Shopping Channel
some decorating maven god forbid
Gilligan’s Island
Brown Bats.

It is March after all.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Women are from Venus ~~ anna hood ~~

I loved you
then, back then
when you were
a God. We fit.

Back then you did
God-like things.
and kissed and kissed and kissed.
Steamy kisses, damp and misty kisses
kisses without beginning or end kisses.

And like an ancient knight
it caught your fancy
to wear a lock
of my pubic hair
pinned like a medal
to your chest.
Sexy beast.

We used to walk
across the milky way
the pathway of souls
across the roof of our world
night swishing our ankles
our footsteps ankle deep in sky
our lungs full of sky
our mouths full
of secret words
like forever and always.

Our voices lit the night
with breath hot
as Africa
my nipples firecrackers
under your tongue.
You smelled like a God.
You tasted like a God.
My god
I thought you were God.

Somewhere along the way
it changed
Mars maybe
you remembered your home
remembered Mars the war god.
Somehow it changed
the pubic hair medal gone
kissing’s somewhat pallid
the sky no longer our pathway
and although you’re still a god
you’re definitely a god
with a small g.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Go Deeper ~~ anna hood ~~

Look into the mirror, look
past the blank
blue-eyed stare, red mouth
of a Modigliani nude
past the morning routine
two coffees, one double double
one black
past last evening's love-making,
hot kisses.

Look deeper
past the meadow
white snow covered
gold buttercups covered
trails of field mice
and garter snakes.
The old apple tree
naked now

Go deeper still
past the throat singers of Mongolia
who whistle like flutes
who whistle like birds
whose whistles spark
memories of fast horses
cloud covered backs
hooves sparking mountains.

Deeper deeper
into your DNA
until the scent of Africa
fills your lungs
and you wake to the music
of your ancestors.
Your emotions bow down
under the enamelled blue sky.

Look into the mirror
of your eyes

Can you see
your future?


Monday, February 19, 2007

They never fit. ~Anna Hood~

Hip bones clanged
too many teeth
his tongue too sharp
hers could cut steel.
And possibly worst of all
for him at least
she had breasts so small
as to be nonexistent
(and him a tit man)
but still he’d said
he’d like to get closer.
‘Move in with me,’ he said.
‘We’ll be a pair,’ he said.
‘You and me. Babe’
as if he was Sonny for Christ sake.

She a hedgehog
prickly old maid
hard as nail polish
slick with hair spray
tailored suits and a bank account
ignored her more and more
ramparting misgivings
(what if this was it?)
agreed. Settled for second best
maybe third.
She didn’t like
his aftershave.
Sometimes when dining
out he used the wrong fork (!)
and how could she bear it
a snowstorm of dandruff
on navy or black.

Even in the beginning
her sleep patterns
were disturbed.
She was hot
in the night dreamed
scarlet mounties
musical rides, black
horses in time.
No pyrotechnics from him
only those overhead wires
astride his house
their heavy black strings
their razory thrumming
strings, vibrated her nightly
and not in any good way.

She’d never cooked
grilled cheese her mainstay.
The first wife had
and well it seemed
delicious gourmet treats
thoughts of the sauces
made his mouth water
or so he said
made his mouth flap
open criticize her sandwiches
perfectly golden
the cheese melted
cut corner to corner
sweet pickles artistic
on the plate.

Weekends a war zone
the visiting daughter
named for the doll
but neither thin
nor pretty
hostile as a shrew
and equipped
with his paternal tongue
sharp and so viper quick
that a word, even kind
could throw her into a fury
of rage or indignation.
Wouldn’t eat grilled cheese
‘hives,’ she said
‘lactose intolerant,’ she said.
Stepmommy said, ‘Bullshit.’

Thoughts of her old solitary life
became attractive again.
Her own bed
mounted scarlet men
atop black horses
(or her)
weekends without Barbie
no razory thrumming wires
vibrating her (she had a vibrator
thank you very much)
We’ll always stay friends,’ he said
She nodded but thought
a cat might be nice.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ricky ~anna hood~

Over her head he sleeps
curled away in the straight-jacket
of his mind

his body thrashing

Does he dream that someone
loves him? No one does (do they?)
except Daisy
the black and white collie
whose whole body shivers
with love for him.

She tries really she does,
what mother
wouldn't/couldn’t love her child?
(God help her)

The children, even the kind
ones call him moron
spaz lunatic. She tells people
something misfires in his brain
crashes smashes mashes trashes
in his brain my GOD
she's beginning to sound like him.

She tries to love him. Really.
Where did she go wrong?
She did everything right
the vitamins
the exercises, no alcohol
not even a drop on her birthday
sat for hours at the old Heinzman
in the porch playing Gershwin for him
(Someone To Watch Over Me)
read to him
(Beatrix Potter and such)

when he was just a slippery
fish even then thrashing
kicking lurching around inside her.

At night when he sleeps she reads
the National Enquirer mostly
and wonders about aliens.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Dragons ~~ anna hood ~~

Once again I dream:
I am six curled up beside my sister
tucked tight under the eaves
of our little gingerbread
Outside the moon
her bones, eyes and wings
her polished face
embroidered onto the gentle black
cloak of night spills
over the sill splashes silver
my sister’s hair
tints her eyelids mauve pale.

They flutter
hiding her green eyes,
bright as bird song.
Green as spring
my mother used to say
or liquid Palmolive soap
or new lettuce or the wine bottles
in her paintings or my sister’s eyes.

My eyes are grey
the pupils outlined in black
like a funeral notice
like rainy mornings, like
shingle houses on a stormy Cape
Cod, grey as the owl who takes me
to the scary dreamland I visit.
My mother never painted my eyes
too drab perhaps for her
paintbox of brilliance
My mother never painted me
a green eyed dragon.

As her dreams take her
slipping sliding
between realities
my sister’s mouth curves
into the technicolour world
she visits each night
the vein on her neck
thin as blue silk thread
pulses her breath a ghost of wind.
She’s gathered into a ball
in her favourite Snoopy
nightie shapeless as an amoeba.
Curtains of blonde hair
the colour stolen
from a January sun
ice the pillow.

I want to siphon them
away, those dreams
take them for my own
enter her cotton candy world
my own mouth curving up
into my sister’s eyes
into my mother’s paintings.
But no. I’m down here alone
in my black and white dreams
where the only bright thing
is my sister’s green eyes.

I am tired of these dreams
tired of writing poems
about dead friends
and lovers.
I’m tired of winter.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

GYPSY WINDS ~~ anna hood

(Pooka: a faerie spirit in animal form - always very large.
Appears here and there, now and then, to one or another.
A benign but mischievous creature.
Fond of rumpots and crackpots.
The pooka Harvey was made famous
when he appeared with James Stewart
in the film entitled 'Harvey')

Gordon Foster sat at his special table at Starbucks,
a slight crease between his eyes, as he mused about
how his life was going. Until Russell happened along,
things had been going rather well for Gordon Foster,
a bit dull, but he was getting on to about fifty and well,
dull isn’t so bad. After his father had died Gordon
had stepped in and taken over the hardware store
and if he did say so himself he’d done a damn fine job of it.
Business was booming, mainly because he’d brought in
a new line of housewares and his customers were buying
expensive pots and pans like they’d never cooked before.

His mother seemed pleased, thank God; she’d stopped
complaining about his drinking - that was because
he had stopped drinking - well almost. But this
wasn’t due to Mother this was Mona’s doing.
Mona was Gordon’s girl; she didn’t like his drinking either
but she didn’t nag on and on like Mother; she had a
better cure: if there was even a hint of liquor
on his breath Mona refused sex and if there was one thing
that could deter Gordon from the drink, it was sex.

Gordon had been somewhat of a late bloomer;
he’d never had a girl before Mona, never had sex
until he was forty-three, but oh he’d taken to it –
he’d taken to it like the proverbial duck to water.
When Mona had come to work at the hardware store
and let him slide his hand between her legs it was like
someone suddenly turned on a light bulb. Now she
had switched off the power. She was refusing to even
go to the movies with him, never mind sex.
“Get rid of Russell,” she’d said pursing her lips
in that way that Gordon didn’t much care for,
“and we’ll see.”

Get rid of Russell? Russell who loved a wee nip,
Russell who didn’t know the meaning of the word
closing time, Russell who had attached himself
to Gordon Foster like a tick, Russell the pooka and
not an ordinary-run-of-the-mill-Harvey-type-pooka
either, Russell the fox pooka, a very big fox pooka –
standing over seven feet tall when he was on his tippy toes
and needless to say Russell was always on his tippy toes.
Easy for Mona to say, get rid of Russell. As if he could
just get rid of Russell. As if you can just get rid of a pooka!
And besides, Gordon didn’t even know if he wanted to
get rid of Russell.

Russell had his faults - all pookas do - you can never be sure
if they’re telling lies and of course there is the drinking and the
tricks. Truth be told Russell was cunning and sly but he also
was wickedly charming in his foxy way. Oh, he was fun and
he had style. Everyone who met him, well, except for Mother
and Mona of course, liked him. He was a good friend
for all his failings.

Gordon sipped at his coffee turning Mona over in his mind.
Mona wasn’t to everybody’s taste, hell she wasn’t even
to his taste but at his age he had to take what he could get
and, God love her, Mother approved. Come to think of it
Mona was quite a bit like Mother, all knobs and angles,
eyes tiny as seeds, her hair snagged back into that tight
little bun she thought was so sophisticated. And thin!
she made his teeth ache, but she worked
hard and well, stingy as she was with it, there was the sex.

The trouble really started when Russell told Mona
that outrageous lie that Jeannie Walker the hairstylist
down to The Family Cut and Curls was trying to make time
with him. Jeannie Walker curvy and laughy, dressed
to the nines, auburn hair gleaming around her shoulders.
Unlike Mona, Jeannie always, always wore high heels.
Gordon loved this! Sometimes when she’d be cutting his hair
he’d sneak the back of his fingers against her legs... so sleek
and smooth in their nylon stockings.
A little heat gathered in his belly even as he thought of it.

And then there was that business with the Harley.
Gordon laughed out loud, causing some of the other
Starbuck’s patrons to look at him in alarm. He thought
of the look on Mona’s face when Russell told her that he,
Gordon William Foster had used their down-payment money
to put a deposit on a Harley, and not just any Harley but one
of those expensive new Fat Boys. Russell had clicked his
foxy teeth and told her the motorcycle was Black Cherry and
on the first nice day he and Gordon and Jeannie of course
were going to head off into the sunset.

Ahh daydreams. Who wouldn’t want Jeannie Walker
and who – even at his age - didn’t think about growing
a beard and riding off on a Harley.
God, Mother would have a fit!

A gypsy wind was gathering in the hills outside town
when Gordon stepped out of Starbucks; it brought
the smell of the far distant ocean into his nostrils.
He looked east, toward the hardware store where
Mother and Mona had gathered like a couple of black crows
on the sidewalk and then he looked west, down to the
Harley dealer where Russell stood on tippy toes,
the sun glinting off his red tail.

No one has seen Gordon. The Family Cut and Curls had to close
down because their favourite hair stylist has taken a powder.
And school children tell this fantastic story of a big fat motorcycle
whizzing by with a huge red fox standing on tippy toes
on the back fender.

Vroom Vroom.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Sacrifices – anna hood

Someone gave me earrings
made from the ears of cod.
Wires loop though holes
in my ears, tie me to you
your luminous discs old as salt
shiver beside my face.

I listen suspended
in water green as youth
Baffin Island cold
beside dead Vikings. Jellyfish
beautiful and brilliant streaming hair
ride the current, drift toward Canada.
You follow Neptune
into nets tricked by the sun’s
chill spite, your bodies shadowless
as they drag you through
the skin of the sea
onto splintery wooden decks
that glitter with scales of your kind
the blood roar of shovels
scraping you into the hold.

No one hears your last gentle breath.

The olive oil is hot, smells of Greece
or Italy. I add garlic,
black olives, diced tomatoes, dill.
Your firm white flesh, sizzles.
The sacrificial earrings
bend forward touch my cheek.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Herbivores ~~ anna hood ~~

He’s running again
the man on the TV.
I don’t pay him much mind
he’s been on before
when I’ve been busy
with my lunch
a magazine, the newspaper
but today as he’s running
there’s something …
and I watch.

He’s not fit, not in runner’s gear
splashy in bright neon
no expensive shoes.
He looks like somebody’s dad
a little fat, a little bald
and yet he’s running
as if he’s a deer

and out of the corner
of his herbivore eyes
he sees the lions

and he is running
as if he’s a lamb
again those herbivore eyes
see the wolves.

He’s running
as if the dark might
swallow him whole.

And I’m watching now
as he runs
runs runs
through junkyards of dead
cars and graveyards
past churches
and shops and schools
by train tracks huffing and puffing
his way past
shoppers or walkers, children
in strollers running and running
and I’m watching
him run run run.

Then the announcement:
‘Most sufferers of ALS lose
the use of their legs in two years.
What would you do?’

I’d run.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Cowboys ~ anna hood ~

From now on I'm gonna keep
my promise forget you
bad boy
no dreamin for me
of old lovers specially you
specially you! your pretend wings
stolen from some old Indian Chief
leather smell
no hat (what you thinking! )

when you come rappin
at my dreams some night
at 3 probly
when the moon's a hot copper
square on the bedroom floor
when the sheets are a tangle
roun my legs your arms wide
invitin me to dance
invitin me to Georges

c'mon you say lets go
down to the quarter down
where the old bluesmen live
c'mon babe we'll fly
I'll drop a dime
in the juke box B12
Patsy still lives
there in B12 you know
for a dime she kin
take you to heaven
c'mon babe I'll wear the hat
all endings are brutal
tomorrow's soon enough
for promises


Monday, January 15, 2007

Thin Ice ~~ anna hood ~~

The Rideau Canal has opened
Do you know it?
Ottawa, Canada?
Doesn't matter
really. We skated there
when we were children
on Baccarat crystal
ice etched and scored
with secrets. Mummie,
we always called her that,
bare legs, great legs showing
them off, skating
a stream of black hair
twisting and whipping
young men following
like, well you know like what.

I won't tell you
her faults. I never told then
I won't now, the stamping,
the slamming the slapping
and some others
faults unmentionable
maybe but then
we won't speak of that.

But she could fly, my mum
down the Rideau Canal
twin blades slicing
secret patterns across the ice
her own fire blazing
red coat red
lips red hot heat
and us
in her shadow
her awkward brood
swanlings all
waiting to be beautiful.

I closed my eyes for a moment
and we're past it
past our prime
past being beautiful
(we never quite managed)
and she was gone
like this winter afternoon
like the deep mauve sky
hanging heavy
pregnant with unshed snow
just out of reach.

None of us skate.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Gallerie Impressions ~~ anna hood ~~

They danced endlessly and forever, around and around
the painted ballroom. The ladies in silken jewel gowns,
lace at cuffs, pearls gleaming on slender necks.
The men formal, proper. Golden sparks from the candles
bounced across the dancers’ hair.

Each lunchtime, except when it rained, Jeff Symonds
sat on the stone bench in front of ‘Gallerie Impressions’
eating his sandwich and gazing into the window
at the dancers as they waltzed endlessly around
and around the light-spangled room.

The painting on display was recent but done in the manner
of the impressionists, light drenched, back lit, with moist
reflections. Bursting with colour.

He was a student of this painting, knew all its characters
by heart.He’d named them, given them jobs - in his mind
of course. Often at night, after his book store, The Last Edition,
closed he’d take his evening stroll, his Scotch
terrier Angus sedate at his side. He’d stop
at the gallery window and softly whistle a dance song.
He favoured old music and as often as not it would be
a sprightly Cole Porter tune. The dancers would change
pace, legs would kick in time to, ‘Anything goes,’
or perhaps, ‘You’re the top.’

The girl in the pink frock, standing alone, her head slightly tilted
as if she was listening, was his favourite. Jeff knew every curl
on her head, every fold in her dress. He knew her bra size,
that she wore flesh coloured panties. He’d felt the
silkiness of her inner thighs, knew that the curve of her hip
fit perfectly into his hand. Jeff knew all there was to know
about her. She smelled liked almonds.

Evenings he’d stand outside the gallery window dreaming
his head was in her hair, breathing in its auburn scent.
Lost in its gleam. Her name was Natalie. Jeff knew
she still lived at home with an elderly papa. Old money there...
not that Jeff was interested in her money.

He’d watch her smile at the dancers. Smile at her Papa
who stood, top hat in hand, as he talked with a young gentleman.
Gentleman hah!

Robert (Jeff prounouced it Ro-bear.) stood at the drinks table
beside crystal decanters bursting with painted highlights,
holding aloft a champagne glass, smug, a sly gleam
in his black eyes. That moustache! A bounder for sure.
A social climber! Trying to marry into her money.
A red rage washed Jeff crimson. He was just ready to take
his fist to him when Angus placed a paw on his leg.
Jeff bent down to the little dog, “Time to be getting home, boy?”
Then they’d make their way home where Jeff would go to bed
to dream dreams where Natalie would visit.

One evening in late April, as Jeff was passing by the gallery
Ro-bear deliberately, and with malice, turned his face to leer,
yes leer, at Natalie. It was too much for Jeff.
He scooped Angus into his arms and stepped into the picture.

The next day The Last Edition was closed. The sign on the front
door read: Gone dancing. No one noticed any changes
in the painting, that the man with his champagne glass raised
was missing, or that the girl who wore the pink frock
and smelled of almonds now danced with a gentleman
in modern dress, or that a little Scottie dog watched
from under the drinks table.

When the Cole Porter tune ended Jeff nuzzled Natalie’s
neck, "Let's go home, sweetheart," he said and whistled
for Angus. The music started, a Strauss waltz,
and the dancers once again began their endless
dance around the sun drenched room.

Now an artist has set up his easel in front of the art gallery.
His subject: The book store, The Last Edition. He’s painting it
in the manner of the impressionists. Back-lit with moist reflections.
Bursting with colour. Patrons sit in the window drinking espresso
and nibbling croissants as they turn the pages of their books.
A little Scottie dog sits on the front step beside a young woman
with auburn curls. She’s dressed in an old fashioned manner
in a pink frock. She rocks a baby in a carriage.

Soon this painting will be on display in the window
of Gallerie Impressions. And one of these days perhaps
a young man will sit on the stone bench and
watch as the woman endlessly rocks a baby in a carriage.
Perhaps he might imagine her name is Natalie. Perhaps
he’ll begin to imagine wicked things about
the man who watches her from the book store window
with a tender expression on his face.

Perhaps she’ll steal his breath away.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Elvis is alive and well in New Mexico ~~ anna hood

She’s turned 70 discovered
- after all these years - she’s a night owl
gets up at noon.
Her midnight world is a lost and found
of oldies station, magazine dreams
and the shopping channel.
She asks for her discount
keeps vodka in the freezer
Jim Beam on the buffet.

When he died she was born
again, learned to drive
the old Buick, goes to The Bingo
nearly every night, wins sometimes
reads the Enquirer believes Elvis is living
somewhere in New Mexico.
She paints her eyes
her toenails, colours her hair
red. Fresh flowers in the bathroom.

Don’t cook now, likes Stouffers
mac and cheese, empties washed and stacked
on the top shelf, bags of candies
along with quarters and nickels
in a drawer beside the sink
for the kids. Phone never stops.
Girlfriends in flowered dresses
bring pizza and beer.

Got a kitten, calls him Timothy
he scratches the sofa. She don’t care.
He likes her Joan Rivers
earrings, her painted toes
He never steals the crossword puzzles
don’t mind when she whistles.
Nobody told her
old age could be good.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Max ~~ anna hood

These days I feel
I’m only a shadow
iridescent as mist
an echo of old Stones
songs an invisible woman
speaking foreign tongues.
Silent as a fish.
Quiet as the dead.

Night thoughts are not
day thoughts and in winter
words tremble at the edge
of sleep messages
heavy with the smell of cold
heavy with regret
forgotten ideas
for things said or not said
thick with sadness.
Friends appear on indigo wings
now and again but mostly
drift by on a sea of past years.
Sometimes they die.

Flying is not all
it’s cracked up to be.
Damn hard work
mostly repetition
lungs pumping
with only the sound
of wings and voices
like broken mirrors
sliding between stars
dead planets
and words hurled in anger
never to be reeled in.
Sometimes you see the earth
as you’re falling.

An old friend died
the other day
burning a hole in the sky
taking with him his thoughts
his music, a violin perhaps
an organ playing Bach
shimmery in the cobweb corners
of my mind or maybe
its my own voice

We never slept together
I wish we had.


Sunday, December 31, 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I have a house full of company
so can't be around much for a bit.

Blogger is giving me heaps of trouble.
I have tried to comment on each
and every blog I visit to wish you guys,
who have become so dear to me,
a happy and wonderful Christmas season
but couldn't, so here it is:

to all of you
Happy Holidays!!


Friday, December 15, 2006

Thin Air ~~ anna hood ~~

I’m up here alone
so high so high
above the speckled
blue bay
my tight rope wobbly
my words glass thoughts
tangled around the rivers
of my wrists.

Around my neck
an amber pendant
for luck a slice of time
a few gentle phrases
by Brahms or a lullaby
in air so thin so thin
in the blue eye of heaven.

I once heard of a man
who wore strung from his neck
small blue bottles
that clinked and clanked
as he walked in his sheet of glass
a glimpse of blue
in the eye of God.

I’m up here alone
so high so high
in unshed snow
in cheesecloth air
the man’s shimmery coat
a glimpse of blue.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Wolf ~~ anna hood ~~

just before dawn
when aspens quiver
with the first breath of day
I hear them
my brothers, as they cry
their unknown names to the wind.

I leave my nest of down
leave my warm place where words gather
into clumps of futile thoughts
where Vivaldi’s notes tremble
among spider plants that line my window
where paint tubes hold unspilled portraits
of burnished suns or peonies lush
and fleshy as plump bathers
and I go out into the dawn
where the gaunt landscape shivers.
I shed my soft woman body
leave my conscience
my useless guilt and worry at the door
join them in the hunt.

They’re there, outlined
against the glowering sky
tongues lolling from smiling mouths.
Raindrops cling to their ruffs, their tails
the wild scent of them.
The pups, there are 2,
nearly grown and eager, yip with excitement.
We’re hungry, bellies tucked tight
against our ribs.
We touch noses
then we’re off, our legs tireless

We travel an ageless path
along a sharp ridge where the wind slices
slivers of pewter clouds
hangs them in spruce trees.
Rock cliffs rise in layered pastels.
The purple and gold meadow
blooms with cellophane petaled buttercups
and violets. Fox kitts play.
We drink from the spring where the river is born.
The sun comes out heat shimmers
in rainbows across the valley.
The miles pass. Our hunger grows.

And then we find them
a small herd of caribou rest in a clearing.
We crouch low, heads down
bellies scraping the earth
as we circle downwind until
until it is too much to bear and one of us
with a golden tongue starts the race.
The earth pounds
with their heartbeats, with ours.
An old cow falls behind.
In seconds we are on her.
Three of us slash her hind legs, two her throat.
It is quick; she is ready,
ready to give us this bounty
ready to meld with us and become us.
She drops to her knees as her heart bleeds
its gift into our mouths.

We stop our race
we drop our heads and eat.
Teeth tear into still warm red meat.
Blood stains our muzzles; our belly fills.
After, we the pack, roll on our backs
in the morning sun.

And I have no conscience.
And I have no guilt.
And I know I will never
be the same again.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Forests for Bernita ~ anna hood ~

Last night as I lie
all snugged up in my envelope
of down and silk, I decided
to visit the green vistas
of my mind. It’s been awhile.
I’d track down Diana
or Artemis or whatever she calls herself.
(that girl has a dozen names)
She hunts in the East quadrant;
we’d catch up on things.

Imagine my surprise
read that Dismay! or even Horror!
when I found no wild green forests
no flowing streams
or cypress. No stags, No does
just a barren place
of rock and heat and dust.

But Diana was still there racing
her 2 fleet desert hounds,
her Salukis, the pale bitch
Dawn, the dark male Dusk.
My god, those names! I used to think
use a little originality
but over the years, well
I’ve grown used to them.

Anyway I found her Diana
or Artemis
at the southernmost tip of Ursa Major
She pointed a finger at me
(she’d had time for a manicure, I noticed)
‘This is all your fault,’ said she.
‘Why mine?’ I queried, all innocence.
‘Do you think this place stays green
and lush without some upkeep?
Do some homework.
Quit reading that mystery junk
read something worthwhile
or pick up a paintbrush
for god sake.

The dogs pranced and tugged
snapping at the bear
ear leathers whipping, tail feathers flipping.
And then she was gone
just like that, never looking back
leaving me wondering
Is this the end?
But after a bit
I noticed in the cup
her heel had made
the soil had grown moist
and tiny seedlings
were stretching up
up into the light.

so maybe not.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday Night ~anna hood~

His shadow, lungs near exploding
enters first. Unsteady pointed toes ballet
across the sill on a river of Scotch.

She’s crouched
behind the door
plastic sacs bulging, horns
hidden inside pink foam
rolls of hair. Yards of chenille
cover legs that end
in cloven hooves.

Clutching shoes, he weasels in
peering ‘round corners
ears straining, nostrils
flared, sniffing through furniture
polish, onions, cat box odours
for wifely scents.
Claps, silently. Grins. Safe
thinks he, the old bag sleeps.
This, is when she springs

from behind her door.
Pretending innocence.
‘What time is it anyway?
Is it late? Just woke,’
lies she, grinding pointed teeth.
‘I just got up to warm
some milk.’ O acid sweet.
Pupils a slit
in yellow eyes.

Fuzzled brain still doing the mambo
with Johnny Walker
rocks and rolls, reels
from cerebrum to cerebellum
hop scotches with answers
thinks a good offence
et cetera et cetera, says in a macho
slur, ‘I am the man here
and will goddamn well do
as I please.’

The Chenille Mountain erupts
spewing shirts, pants
shoes, ties, words
and him into a tumble
in the yard
Bang! goes the door.

Then weeps
as she watches him slow dance
in his closet on the lawn.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Teachers ~~ anna hood ~~

He taught her his language.
She learned his words
her mouth full
of them breaking
her teeth as she swallowed.

Later, choking shame
them clicking
pictures a blood shot
bullseye right between
her legs
her shattered battered head
combing – my God!
swabbing scraping
not even whispering
‘a few tests for venereal disease

‘I’d have fought;
why didn’t you fight?
her mother.
Her friend,
‘I’d have screamed
Did you scream?’
as he held the knife at her throat.
Then the police: ‘well how?
and did you?
are you sure?
have you ever?'

Her man couldn’t touch her.
He’d pat her thin shaky self
like an old hound or brush
her cheek with a cold
hard mouth.
One day he left
‘Can’t deal with it.’ Him
whole as he could be left her
tipping off balance.

Chained days turn
into weeks into months
shackled between walls of
whys without answers.
A trembling branch
against a three o’clock window
can shake her world, race
her heart, flood
her face, her nightgown
with salt, her skin
pale as wet tissues.

He still thinks of her.

She knows.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Walking on Water ~~ anna hood

I float roses on the snow.
The wind catches them
tosses them onto the bed
where Oriental poppies sleep
like you.
‘Don’t be afraid,’ I whisper,
‘it is only the wind.’
It lifts my skirt
the poplar trees shiver.
‘Shall I sing for you
as I scatter petals on your grave?’

This morning I sat
in your chair. You’d look
out the window when you’d write
watch the birds. They still wait for you
with your bucket of seed.
You knew their names, their calls;
you could read the map of the sky
painted on their wings.

In my wallet – photos
a lock of hair – a wish.
My hair is short now
some grey, the colour of a nuthatch,
mixed into the blonde.
You’d like it, I think.

Do you know
there are eight million Shinto deities,
That sometimes now I walk on water?
Do you know I miss you?

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Sock Monkey and The Ballerina ~ anna hood ~

The sock monkey had been asleep
for a long long time.
He didn’t know exactly how long
but he knew it was very, very long.
But he hadn’t been alone. Oh no.
Miss Minette the most beautiful ballerina
in the whole wide world was sleeping
right there beside him.
The sock monkey loved Miss Minette!
He didn’t mind that she was nearly bald
and that her tutu was raggedy.
She was kind and sweet
and she always made him laugh.

And Miss Minette didn’t care
that he was missing an eye.
She often told him he was her knight
in shining armour. The sock monkey
didn’t know what shining armour was;
he only knew it was something good.

One day, so very long ago, Emily
had hugged him and wrapped him
in a fluffy blanket and gently
put him into the box beside Miss Minette.
“Go to sleep now.”

Before they went to sleep they talked
about Emily, how they loved her
long silky blonde hair and
how her giggle made them happy.
They said, “There is nobody
in the whole wide world
who smells as sweet as Emily.”

One morning, after so very long,
the Sock-Monkey felt himself moving.
“It's time. Miss Minette, wake up!”

Then, the box-top was lifted
and the darkness disappeared.
Emily was there; she was all grown up!
“I have somebody I want you to meet, but first
we must get you ready.”
And she sewed shiny black button-eyes
on the Sock-Monkey and dressed Miss Minette
in a frilly new pink tutu.

This is Katherine,” she said, and she put them
into a cradle with a brand new baby.

“She’s beautiful, don’t you think?”
asked the Sock-Monkey.

Miss Minette agreed, “Yes. She smells sweeter
than anybody in the whole wide world and her hair
is just like mine.”

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Waiting ~~ anna hood ~~

Four o'clock: nearly dark
night in the afternoon.
Winter darkness.
The dogs whine for one last run.
I get my jacket.
In the field beside the house
mouse trails scribble back and forth
across pale blonde grass.
Hundreds of crows returning home
to Victoria Park blacken the sky.
They are either hated or loved
no neutral.
I like 'em.

The dogs three little terriers
two sleek, one fat and hairy
put up a raft of black ducks.
We pause for a second on the dock
these dogs and I
watch the ducks, watch
the sea slide her slick skin
over the rocks, sighing as she retreats.
I sit in the splintery
paint-peeling Adirondack chair
under the old floor lamp I've hauled
down from the house.
The corona of pink silk shade trembles
her fringes.

It's a fire hazard, I know.
Extension cords linked
together like words
in a poem, snake their way
across the yard, over the dandelions
and crab grass and creeping charlie
that we call a lawn
their joints bristling with electicity.
Sometimes there are sparks.

The dogs race up and down
the silvery boards. I sit
in the pale pink light
and wait for winter.

It always comes.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Come Dance With Me -- anna hood --

'Come dance with me, my girl,' Pa’d say
sweeping Ma up into his arms.
'Ye empty headed git,' she’d shrill
cloutin him alongside his ear,
her little feet kicking at his shins.
'I’ve the dinner goin.'

My sister Colleen would turn up the radio
and we’d skip and clap around
the two of them as they spun like moths
in the yellow kitchen light.

Ma’s hand would creep, gentle-like
up around Pa’s neck.
He’d head for the stairs, her in his arms,
flinging words at us over his shoulder.
'I’ve something to show your Ma.
Watch the supper.'

We’d tiptoe up; listen at the door.
Colleen’d whisper,
'They’re doin it.'
Us giggling behind our hands.
Pa’d come roarin out, holdin his pants closed
catch the three of us racin for the stairs.
'Git down there the bunch of ye.'

'And don’t let that supper burn,'
Ma’d holler from the bed.
Course it did.
The tatties’d scorch n stick
and the sausages’d turn to cinders
fillin the kitchen with smoke.

They’d come down; Ma’s eyes shinin.
Fingers busy
with her hair. Pa laughin,
'You lot! The supper’s done for.'

We’d be sent to the chip truck… a treat.
Comin home the smell of vinegar’d
tease our noses. Our fingers’d
sneak into the brown paper, shiny
with grease. Steal a few.

Sometimes now when the Big Galoot and I
are fighting for the sink in the morning,
Ma’s soft green eyes smile
out at me from the mirror.
I touch his neck, say,
'Come, dance with me,'
and laugh from the bed
as breakfast burns.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ghosts -- anna hood

As the first sun
trailing slivers of orange
falls into my blue mug
an old song shimmers
off the radio.
The melody eases itself
into that achy spot
I can't bear
to touch and although
I push it away
it catches hold.

I leave the dogs twitching
dreaming of rabbits in a blanket
of light, leave the house
breathing cinnamon and coffee
leave the still life
waiting to be painted
a couple of Chinese pairs
(you used to love them)
a bowl of tangerines,
the house too thick
with memories
too heavy with ghosts
of old songs
old loves

bundle into that old brown jacket
still kept on a hook in the hall
(do you remember
the one with a rip in the sleeve?)
In the pocket keys to a car
I no longer own, keys to the house
though the locks are changed
a lined sheet of paper
with scribbled sketches
of gulls.

Green wellies tramp the sleeping pasture
past stunted skeleton trees
past the fallen down fish shack
where the vixen suns on the roof
past sweet marsh grass
that elbows her way through
cellophane ice
to the beach
glittering a savage beauty.

Waves all white and glory
leap from the cliff
spatter Cyrillic poems
birds have written
with webbed leather toes.
Once a heart was here
scraped with a stick.

I wish ...
ah the hell with it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Majestic ~~ anna hood ~~

The Majestic: open at 5
to rain
red vinyl booths
a counter with stools
donuts under a dome
of plastic, smelling of coffee
bacon and toast
wet wool, wet newspapers
brown puddles.

Elena, young wife hustling
glasses of liquid sun
cups of day starter
flying with empty plates
plastic buckets of silverware,
wiping formica tabletops with a grey rag,
swooshing crumbs from skinny booth seats.

Nick behind his window
curtained with clothes pegs
where pale green order slips dangle
spatulas flying from each hand
buttering toast
flipping pancakes
swirling eggs into a golden
whirlpool, shouts
'Pick em up
come on my lovelies
pick em up
eggs over easy
fried ham sandwich on brown
pancakes and sausage.
Pick em up.
Pick em up.'

He roars out into the throng
of morning diners
a green slip smashed between fat fingers
'what sum bitch want this?'
spit flies , 'French toast, not overcooked'
A cinnamon coloured sum bitch
stands, 'hey Nick you old bastard!'
An old friend - a quick embrace
kisses on both cheeks
then Nick returns behind his window.
Elena clatters empty cups.
The lovelies pick em up
eggs over easy, pancakes,
fried ham sandwiches.

8 AM the sun breaks through
spatters my coffee with morning.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Swimming to Peru ~~~ anna hood ~~~

Last night I was dreaming
or perhaps I was writing
a poem about swimming
in the river
your river that cuts
the marble hills in two.
(They say it flows all the way
to Peru) You were there
promising me a ride
on your boat, Queen Mary
tied to the dock below
the big house, Alcatraz
hunkered down behind sentinel pines.
Look up. Look way up.
Your mother's there working
lurking on her web
hair battleship grey
blue blood beating her temple
lips thinning to nothing
against her serrated tongue
splintering her martini
-very dry dear with a twist-

Anyway in this dream - or poem -
I was swimming
shiny phosphorescent as a rainbow
trout chasing the silver spoon
your threw
spinning twisting
snaking breaking
the water where money flowed
where I swam.
I rose to the bait
didn't see the line
but felt the bite
like a black widow's
when you bagged me.

Damn Incas.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Still ~~ anna hood

Rain on the tin roof
makes him remember
as do the shivering poplars
that line the lane.
Their long sepia shadows
twine his legs
as he sits evenings
under their branches.
The one-eared grizzled tom
she'd found starving
in the barn keeps him company.

She'd painted them, the poplars.
At dusk their outstretched wrists
hold the sky
and pale birds, their gleaming breasts
swollen with song that wake him
when daylight is still
a foreign country.
The painting, now above
the fireplace, the ghosty smell
of turpentine turns his blood
to tar.

Her voice
in the sea sound of a shell
the sadness of some horn
wailing a blues song
down on the delta
in their daughter's laugh
sets his heart careening
into the wind that wrestles the clouds
she painted.

He was full of her
like a religion.
Like a beautiful song of faith.
He wanted to enfold her
forever in his arms
his wings
but one summer morning
the air shifted her last breath
into a thousand molecules
haloes of golden light.

The cat paces
waits for her return
still in her thrall.