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.