Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Today is my forty-first birthday,

8:15am, forty-one years old. After the past year, it couldn’t come fast enough, it would seem, from some of what has been happening. What a difference a year makes. August and September completely upended, from the death of my mother to the end of a relationship we don’t talk about anymore. A cousin with a brain tumour in January, my father with the tumour they found in his colon a month ago, with two last week surgeries cancelled, for god knows how long (and a couple of other things I can’t discuss here). One hell of a year; stress and stress and stress. Upended, as one project ended and another began, currently working on my post-mother creative non-fiction work, “The Last Good Year,” working on poems that breathe and extend and most often halt.

The past seven months, letting my hair grow, long. Stubble declaring itself my first real beard; I haven’t shaved clean since the funeral. I have told myself: I will shave when I feel better. Does this sound pessimistic, optimistic, overly dramatic? Is this a bit like Samson, building and compiling strength?

Forty-one years: here no talk of origins but instead an ongoing assessment, reassessing. I have to admit, shock, at just how far away I currently am from the same time last year. The whole plan of what happens next torn apart, completely rewritten. The decapitated arc of three years and finding one’s feet again, how a new one begins. Curves, curls and aim. Can’t walk or run until you know exactly which end is up. Is this?

This new normal: I am writing it now, but so much that can never be the same. One step, and another step. Many years of my mother, leaving the 8:15am phone message I’d let ring, sleep, hear later. Who will call me now?

What stays a marvel,
poems for a forty-first birthday,


hollow waves imagined;

to tense a crease,

thin brush of sand
, remarkable

silken dust,

& floating bodies

tires & planets spin
at different rates,

, align


oh, I see: randomly address,
the self

regular, a check

the passage of years,
condition, of

a foreign tongue,


there is a way that time moves
, gravely

smoothed, & trimmed
with gold leaf,

blindness carved
through silhouette of earth,

a hinge,

transcript of houses,

crackled soft,
& cut


breathe, &

the secret hope is


as if in truth,
indifferent cloud

& raised

, part transparent


a thistle,

of lemon


hard facts consign a rule,
depend upon

wheelbarrow stone,
or painted wagon

, Radio Flyer

hard facts a mile
, kilometre rough

unopened, tailspin
hardscrabble fables,

erase an edge,
a territorial boundary,


Anonymous said...

Happy bday Rob from a former sometimes beer drinker at royal oak downtown - 10 + yrs ago. I see it's been a rough year. I hope 41 will be better for you.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Rob.
From Gene Villeneuve

Lary Bremner said...

Go-tanjoubi, omedetou gozaimasu! 41 is young (young!) - from Fukushima Japan