All posts tagged writing

bus boy

surrounded
by the smell of wet rubber
and human bodies
i had a short-lived affair
with the back of your neck
it lasted 30 minutes
each way
on the days that i could make
my connection

i wrote poetry to
the arms of your glasses
before my morning coffee
saw your hair
in the summer grass
drought gold and curled
counted the colours of your shirts
my gaze followed you
across the parking lot
down the sidewalk
like a lost dog

only when i had carried
the note in my pocket
for three weeks
did i realize
this was a one way trip
and when the students returned
left
a half hour earlier
so i could miss

your smile

l.t. dougherty 2012

hushed

I wanted to write something worthy
of Don McKellar
but I lost my voice
somewhere between 1996
and this very moment
this very moment
this very moment
somewhere
between the wanting and the doing
between the waking and the page
between the working and the 9 to 5
there fell a silence
and a distance
from words
and I was
hushed.

I wanted to say something worthy
of Jane Siberry
but I lost my nerve
somewhere between the bare linoleum floor of 17
and this very moment
this very moment
this very moment
somewhere
between the stockings and the carpet
between the branches and the leaves
between the technology and the passion
there fell a silence
and a weight
in my throat
and I was
hushed.

I wanted to build something worthy
of Joseph Cornell
but I lost my sight
somewhere between the image of my incubus
and this very moment
this very moment
this very moment
somewhere
between the wisdom and the fingers
between the meaning and the reconstruction
between the object and the longing
there fell a silence
and a stillness
in my hands
and I was
hushed
and I was
hushed
and I was
hushed
and I was …

l.t. dougherty 2007

lightning strikes

lightning struck the house next door
and no one lives there anymore.
cars keep crashing on my street
on sidewalks where the children meet
to play the games the stalkers like
and cars are stolen. so are bikes.
my neighbour had a heart attack
last wednesday, and they took him back
to the hospital where he spent his life
on the drugs that kept him from the knife.
the woman who lives two doors down
is missing. they think that she was drowned
in a boating accident on the lake.
i hope not, for her mother’s sake,
‘cos she has cancer of the liver.
another blow like this would shiver
her world, and break it down to dust.
i just don’t understand the lust
for tragedy most people seem
to want to have. it’s like some dream
where you’re standing out there at the edge
of the crowd and gawking into the wedge
like cars that slow at the accident site
and people who look as if they might
see a body part. or a splotch of blood.
i wonder, if they thought they could
would they take away a souvenir
so that they could say “hey, i was there,
right there, when they carried the bodies away.”
it’s kinda sick. but i can say
that i do not follow police cars.
i shy from the yellow tape that bars
the murder scene, the bombing ground.
there is enough tragedy around
without my being there to see
the things i know could happen to me.

l.t. dougherty 2002

jon

this work is from the collection of poems called “living in epiphany” ©2000. to purchase a copy of the book, contact me by email.

 

Jon

it was a long way to hell,
my shoes split
my feet bleeding
but i’ve carried this torch
for years
for just
one
kiss.

singing over the dark wires
i mourn the innocence i squandered, carrying bits of myself
in my pocket
my absolution
incomplete,
i would that i could lose
this treasure,
become again
a pauper
with the world
in my hand.

i call you mercury –
winged one,
closed within the box
i carry in my hand –
i would meet with you
in the palace of words,
give to you
no man’s bounty
my only hoard
one woman’s gift.

stranger, with all these people watching
consummation is the furthest
word from my lips;
scarred with lust
i sully the white bandages of my love
with false intentions.

I would take your face
within my palms
kiss your eyes of love
would it not be taken for weakness.

l.t. dougherty 1996

navigator ii

this work is from the collection of poems called “living in epiphany” ©2000. to purchase a copy of the book, contact me by email.

 

Navigator II

It was an error of geography.
all my tributaries
flow down
like all roads lead
to you
my Rome
my Eldorado
my Atlantis
the merciless slow waters rising
each hour
each day
and in each moment as I stand
anchored, I drown.

Two islands
each within itself
we thought the water enough
to hold us apart
forgetting as the tides rose and fell
around us
that islands do not float.

But not for us
Pompeii
no lightning flash
to stop us in our footsteps
to burn our shadows on the walls.
we live as San Francisco,
our faults
forever lying under our thoughts
each time our fingers pass our skins
waiting for the spark, the fire
we shudder
and in our love
the earth does move.

l.t. dougherty  1996

untitled

this work is from the collection of poems called “living in epiphany” ©2000. to purchase a copy of the book, contact me by email.

 

it was
a night of omens
a night
too sad for poetry
too dark
for the jar of fireflies
I carried
in my soul.

I found the feather
you lost
the first
to fall from your cloak
but not
the last;
the first,
like the word
that began it all –
carried it in my fist
as I flew through the streets
my love
my torch of memory.

l.t. dougherty 1996

navigator

this work is from the collection of poems called “living in epiphany” ©2000. to purchase a copy of the book, contact me by email.

Navigator

As evening fell
I found myself
to be a two-way mirror
to your eyes,
your deep and well-spring coloured eyes
fathomless
as your questioning words.

It is something that
I chose to be,
this map,
this undiscovered country,
the roads within me
too well trod
by feet that led away.

But you,
you with your compass-heart
who quotes mythology with the damned,
it seems you recognize the language
spoken by my wind-blown veil
it seems to me
my murky depths
to you an uncharted river be
to you a glyph’s no mystery
to you i am a geography.

l.t. dougherty 1996

rentfree aphrodite

this work is from the collection of poems called “living in epiphany” ©2000. to purchase a copy of the book, contact me by email.

 

Rentfree Aphrodite

Oh,
we’re living here for nothing
at the Rentfree Aphrodite
and they say the place is haunted
but we’ve no one else to blame;
some people say we’re hopeless
but we’re living on our nightmares
so sit down but keep your shoes on
and I’ll pour a cup of rain.

See, Johnny’s got a problem
says the bottle is his mom
so he drinks her down and throws her up
steals another when she’s gone
and Lucy there has nightmares
they make her roll around the floor
so she spreads her legs for money
but she’s really not a whore
and Doug loves Dave, and Dave loves Barb
and Barb loves everyone
but late at night she sneaks downstairs
and polishes her gun.

Oh,
we’re living in a pop song
at the Rentfree Aphrodite
but it ain’t Bananarama
and it ain’t Duran Duran
“cos there ain’t no heat or hydro
so the bands have gone acoustic
it’s the fashion in Seattle
so we’ll flog it while we can

We got junkies in the basement
we got pushers on the stairs there’s a necro in the bathroom
having wet dreams ‘cos he cares
for the black-haired vampire siren
who’s been sleeping with the skins
they tattooed her ass last Friday
using ink and safety pins
and Kenny’s sick and Gord’s insane
and Bobby’s on another plane
and Chrissy tries to feed them all
but to Dennis it’s a game.

Oh,
we’re living in this hellhole
called the Rentfree Aphrodite
‘cos it’s cheap and quick and plastic
and it sells well on the street
we got watches, rings and cd’s
we got credit cards and crack
I can sell you back your wallet
hey – just trying to make ends meet.

You can call them trash and garbage
but to me they’re family
we’ve got morals we’ve got customs
we have our own integrity
and it may not look like much now
but it’s more than what we had
when we came here from wherever
and it really ain’t so bad
if you don’t mind getting cosy
and if you don’t care if it’s clean
then again, it ain’t the Hilton
but that’s really not my scene.

Oh,
we’re living here for nothing
at the Rentfree Aphrodite
it’s a million miles from heaven
but it ain’t hell all the time
‘cos I’m gonna be a writer
gonna be a big bestseller
gonna buy my own computer
buddy – can you spare a dime?

l.t. dougherty 1996

 

blessings for the dead

this work is from the collection of poems called “living in epiphany” ©2000. to purchase a copy of the book, contact me by email.

 

blessings for the dead

for those whom advent never ends
for those whom sunrise never does
for those who want what never is
I give to you
this wooden box
to fill with blessings for the dead
to fill with blessings for the dead
to fill with thoughts we never said.

for those with shoes they never filled
for those of empty hearts and beds
for those whose lives are lived with shrouds
I give to you
this empty cup
to fill with blessings for the dead
to fill with blessings for the dead
to fill with tears we cannot shed.

for those who weep when faced with love
for those who run from love bestowed
for those who close their eyes to mourn
I give to you
this book, this pen
to fill the longing with hope instead
to fill with thoughts we never said
to fill with tears we never shed
to fill with blessings for the dead.

l.t. dougherty 2000

the defense rests

this work is from the collection of poems called “living in epiphany” ©2000. to purchase a copy of the book, contact me by email.

 

The Defense Rests

Exhibit 1 – Bell Jar

I am alone, and I am waiting, the world around me turning,
And I’ve sealed my heart inside me in an apothecary jar.
There is peace inside this stillness, in the endless day’s unwindings,
For even though I know you’re out there I still don’t know who you are.

Exhibit 2 – Wind Chime

The chimes are ringing and you stand there. Your hands are brushing snow off.
The glass inside me is exploding with apocalyptic force.
And you’re smiling and you’re speaking while my knees beneath me shaking
For in the face of my denial I now know it’s you, of course.

Exhibit 3 – Soap

There is fear in this, and loathing, despite the torrid hope that’s building,
And with soap I want to wash this clean and make it whole and pure.
But your eyes have now misread me. You misunderstood the trembling
And we crossed the line unheeding that, for this, there is no cure.

Exhibit 4 – Willow Tree

I am alone, and I am trying to make sense of all this crying,
And to live with your denial while I sit beneath our tree.
For your face keeps reappearing, and the world around me bending,
For as much as I keep leaving something leads you back to me.

Exhibit 5 – Stones

We have talked all night. It’s morning, and I watch you while you’re sleeping,
While the pain of our forgiveness collects inside me like a cairn.
For although we spoke of loving, of compassion and of learning,
Something deep inside us both knows that these empty fields are barren.

Exhibit 6 – Ring

With this ring I to you promise that this hope is not for nothing,
That one day we’ll rise above this and our hearts and souls fly free.
But although we are together, I just cannot see forever
In your eyes, and this is binding me to something that can’t be.

Exhibit 7 – Box

I am alone, and I am empty. The box beside me now is waiting
For the things that once meant us to us, the objects we adored.
We made promises, and broke them, and both love and hate were spoken.
My defense, sir, is this token. I cannot love you anymore.

l.t. dougherty 1999

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