Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rhubarb Flowers

My brother-in-law Blake's vision of Tim. It's called The Big Bang.


under the sea

Blooming rhubarb

I had no idea.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26

When I was very young, I imagined I would live like I do today. Specifically, I imagined poetry, good friends, cut flowers, a clean home of my own, a beautiful body, and a modest supply of wine and beer.

It is almost unreal to look at the envelopes on my desk, stuffed with poems and addressed to the editors of Geist, The Three Penny Review, and The Dalhousie Review. Beside the envelopes there are two packages, one for Emily and one for Glynis; and I'll go to the post office tomorrow. The Lily of the Valley grow under our mailbox. It's one-thirty in the morning, and the room in which I'm typing is lined with lemon squares and bookcases and teapots and microscopes and desks and guitars in orderly array. Nothing feels better than using my body, washing it, watering and feeding it as deliciously as I can. I've gone biking along the edge of the river valley several times these past ten days. My limbs are becoming lighter and stronger, my heart beats more insistently, and the bathroom scale is a happy sight. (I've lost twelve pounds.) At this moment, the refrigerator stows two bottles of Yellow Tail and five bottles of Guinness.

Now, when I come in from errands or exercise, my husband rubs my shoulders and talks ethics with me. I have one tutoring student this week, and, with any luck, a steady job starting next week. I have eight tomato plants. I have a new journal. I can write again. Oh, I am happy.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

You're Beautiful by Simon Armitage

You're Beautiful

because you're classically trained.
I'm ugly because I associate piano wire with strangulation.

You're beautiful because you stop to read the cards in newsagents' windows about lost cats and missing dogs.
I'm ugly because of what I did to that jellyfish with a lolly-stick and a big stone.

You're beautiful because for you, politeness is instinctive, not a marketing campaign.
I'm ugly because desperation is impossible to hide.

Ugly like he is,
Beautiful like hers,
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his,
Beautiful like she is,
Ugly like Mars.

You're beautiful because you believe in the coincidence and the power of thought.
I'm ugly because I proved God to be a mathematical impossibility.

You're beautiful because you prefer home-made soup to the packet stuff.
I'm ugly because once, at a dinner party, I defended the aristocracy and wasn't even drunk.

You're beautiful because you can't work the remote control.
I'm ugly because of satellite television and twenty-four hour rolling news.

Ugly like he is,
Beautiful like hers,
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his,
Beautiful like she is,
Ugly like Mars.

You're beautiful because you cry at weddings as well as funerals.
I'm ugly because I think of children as another species from a different world.

You're beautiful because you look great in any colour including red.
I'm ugly because I think shopping is strictly for the acquisition of material goods.

You're beautiful because when you were born, undiscovered planets
lined up to peep over the rim of your cradle and lay gifts of gravity and light
at your miniature feet.
I'm ugly for saying 'love at first sight' is another form of mistaken identity,
and that the most human of all responses is to gloat.

Ugly like he is,
Beautiful like hers,
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his,
Beautiful like she is,
Ugly like Mars.

You're beautiful because you've never seen the inside of a car-wash.
I'm ugly because I always ask for a receipt.

You're beautiful for sending a box of shoes to the third world.
I'm ugly because I remember the telephone numbers of ex-girlfriends
and the year Schubert was born.

You're beautiful because you sponsored a parrot in a zoo.
I'm ugly because when I sigh it's like the slow collapse of a circus tent.

Ugly like he is,
Beautiful like hers,
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his,
Beautiful like she is,
Ugly like Mars.

You're beautiful because you can point at a man in a uniform and laugh.
I'm ugly because I was a police informer in a previous life.

You're beautiful because you drink a litre of water and eat three pieces of fruit a day.
I'm ugly for taking the line that a meal without meat is a beautiful woman with one eye.

You're beautiful because you don't see love as a competition and you know how to lose.
I'm ugly because I kissed the FA cup then held it up to the crowd.

You're beautiful because of a single buttercup in the top buttonhole of your cardigan.
I'm ugly because I said the World's Strongest Woman was a muscleman in a dress.

You're beautiful because you couldn't live in a lighthouse.
I'm ugly for making hand-shadows in front of the giant bulb, so when they look up,
the captains of vessels in distress see the ears of a rabbit, or the eye of a fox,
or the legs of a galloping black horse.

Ugly like he is,
Beautiful like hers,
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his,
Beautiful like she is,
Ugly like Mars.

Ugly like he is,
Beautiful like hers,
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his,
Beautiful like she is,
Ugly like Mars.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010



I want to marry you because I like your mind. When we were first going out it didn't even matter that you were a boy; you were the first proper person I'd met, who thought about the same ideas I did. I like the things you like. I like your reasons for liking them and me.

I want to talk with you. I want to listen to your ideas. I want to support you. I want to respect you. I want to keep your confidence and entrust you with mine. I want to reserve my affection for you. I want to care for you. I want to love you. I want to read and cook and bicycle and climb trees with you. I want to strive with my own happiness to make you happy. I want to speak well of you. I want to be honest with you. I want to give you space. I want to share with you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 12

My entire day has been an exercise in avoiding the dishes. In order to avoid them, I have eaten two bowls of tomato soup (one with cheddar cheese and one without), washed the windows, dug up a potted shrub to put at the bottom of the concrete stairwell that leads to our front door, watched an episode and a half of All Creatures Great and Small, Season Two, done a load of laundry, planted carrots, poppies, and lettuce, watered the peas, had a bath, cleaned my toe- and fingernails, ordered the playlist for the party, replied to a job posting, made the bed, lit candles, finished the sparrow duvet cover, scrubbed the stove, and stressed about the wedding. Yesterday, Tim and I invented an avocado and vanilla cheesecake to bake on Saturday, but there's also homemade bread, hummus, pistachio ice cream, lemon sorbet, and greek salad to prepare, and we haven't started anything. Tim is moving in to the suite tomorrow. We're cleaning house and cube-building and dough-mixing tomorrow. Friday there are flowers to buy and a pedicure appointment to keep in the morning, supper to make, and a wedding ceremony to get ready for by five o'clock. Then we're going swimming. Saturday is the big fete. We have 13 bottles of wine. The dishes are still waiting.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

May 8

I did some more jigsawing today, cutting corners very square for a new book cube.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Epithalamion For Tim

Two scared to become one,
We still married
And in our first bed

Inspected our bones:
This was our spine,
How we held up -

But left my lover's
Left ribs unaccounted for.
In the morning,

Love, how did I know
Whether to try to take one
Or offer one?


Will you bring the spider plant with you?

Will you mind if I rescue it?
Once we are married
Once I have the wifely rights to proclaim
Who lives and dies
In a small apartment

We Sleep

Legs without tiger walk, shoes
Lacking the lion's stalk
No life to win

We sleep in a kid goat's skin

new poems

As a rule, I save my newest poems for my newest zines, but I have not published an issue of Tom-Tom since September, what with university and planning a wedding. The poems want to breathe public air, and I am anxious for some feedback. I'll be posting a few pieces on Feed the Long Neck later today.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Luckiest

I don't get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns, the stumbles and falls
Brought me here

And where was I before the day
That I first saw your lovely face?
Now I see it everyday
And I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

What if I'd been born fifty years before you
In a house on a street where you lived?
Maybe I'd be outside as you passed on your bike
Would I know?

And in a white sea of eyes
I see one pair that I recognize
And I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you

Next door there's an old man who lived to his nineties
And one day passed away in his sleep
And his wife; she stayed for a couple of days
And passed away

I'm sorry, I know that's a strange way to tell you that I know we belong
That I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

- Ben Folds

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 4

I couldn't resist modelling Emily's scarf.

The day began terribly:

- I slept in and had nightmares

- it snowed

- the streets, and my boots, became swamps of slush

- I got an email gently informing me that another girl got the chocolate job

- my laundry piled up.

However, not wanting to cave under the gloom, I've made a list of up-sides:

- the reason I didn't get the job was not one of a bad impression or insufficient qualification, it was only my student's availability

- my house is warm and bright, and by now, almost clean

- there is yellow pea soup to eat later (and there's already been a fresh mango)

- Emily's scarf is finished, and ready for shipping

- Jillian will still get her Omega Lime

- Laura is coming over tonight, to plant basil and watch Blade Runner

- I have a new journal

- most of the watermelon sprouts are still alive and kicking

- I am skinnier, and healthier, than I have been in months

Sunday, May 2, 2010

too tights

In a construction phase today, sewing up my first duvet cover as carefully as if I were putting up my first building, even finishing the seams.

This evening I tried on the grey tights I bought to wear with my wedding dress, hoping they would fit properly. They did not. Tights never have. Google dredged up hundreds of women in similar straights, unable to find a pair of tights or pantyhose which do not constrict their waists, slide down, or create artificial lumps and bulges.

Tim suggested I design a solution. I think it is a marvelous idea. I am planning a trip to the fabric store, and, if she doesn't mind, a flash tutorial in sewing with difficult fabrics from Laura. (What do you say, friend?)

Making up with Tim feels very good.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Running the risk of crunchiness . . .

After the nightmares I endured yesterday, I ate a lot of junk. Fries, ice cream, mix hot chocolate.

When I woke up an hour ago, I felt sick - and in a way that was familiar from stressful weeks this past winter before I began making an effort to eat consciously.

But this morning, I knew what I wanted. It wasn't more ice cream, or white bread, or sweet cereal, or even juice. It was about a litre of water, and some fruit, and some hot tea.

It is excellent to know this much about one's own body. It's a cause for a small celebration. Raise your mugs.

"To health!"