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.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

On The Stroll ~~ anna hood

Let me paint you the scene:
The moon a frozen amber pendant
street lamps a gauze
of night fog.
The light on the corner blinks.
Nailed onto a retaining wall
a sign - 4X8 splintered plywood
blares its crimson message:
Jesus Saves!! Find him NOW!!
Across the bottom inticate
and beautifully drawn
in lime and grape dayglo
a clue to Jesus' parentage,
what he does to his mama
the posse he runs with
the size of his privates
small - is XXed out
then the correction in black
LARGE - Very Very Large.

On the stroll
on dark greasy pavement
safe in the armour
of her terrible beauty
Scarlet (her mother calls
her Jane, her neighbours call
her Ho) stuts in loose knots
with others of her kind
as they ply their trade at 64th and 10th.
Six Johns a night, eight if she's lucky
and quick, keeps her head
above water.

Cars cruise, bass throbbing
like a vein, window eyes tugging
the short vinyl skirt
the fake fur jacket.
Her sixteen year old hips
sway ripe. Good teeth
show in her smile.
Legs like a runner.
A gold Camaro stops. 'Hey Baby.'
Scarlet Jane says,
'You lookin for some fun?'
Her hair a halo of mist
her lips a ruby blur
as painted fingertips cross
her heart.