POMES: longer poems copywriter toronto


Where sky and land meet
in the restless cleft of the shoreline,
the first liquid births tender sparks of fruit.

Their cauls break,
leaving messages on the tongue.

Too much like us
to be anything
but the meeting of tears and tides.

All salt and origins.

Suddenly, the urge to fix stuff

Lamps rewired.
Lingerie micro-repaired by hand.
Hardware stores lingered in hotly.
Purchases that tighten, secure, stick fast,
look and feel warm and necessary.
Coats scotchguarded.
Epoxy mixed; everything loose, flapping, rattling,
acquires stability.
WD40 on all hinges sluttily smooth.

Fixtures, screws, and tape arrive in bags.

Knife blades are glued into handles,

An imperative issued from the marrow of the bones:
I’m starting to trust where I am.
And I shore up the nest with pebbles and sticks
against the certainty of battering from god knows what
and god knows whom.

Readiness helps with the grief afterward.
"I did all I could."

A wishbone is a dowsing rod

And we’re so stupid
we think we should be breaking it
instead of watching where it points.

It gets shattered for nothing
because we never ask for directions,
just decisions.
As if left and right were destinations.

Dumb us.   Wandering with
absolute certainty.

Wishbones are the binary intellect.

What cab drivers know

They breathe the fumes of
others' states for a living.

A man rode to the airport with a driver who said,
I hope you told her you love her...
after hearing his fare was in town
"visiting an old friend."

What if we spent our days and nights
sopping up radio signals from three feet away?

Would we evolve fine antennae like the hairs on our arms
that stand up in the presence of unspoken truth?

Would the diameter of the pupils in the rearview
or the few raw cells on the vocal cords
or the clinging half-dozen molecules of an Old Friend
start to organize the static into syntax?

Cab driver biathlon:   Driving and discerning.

People give me their old stuff

How come, then, the next time
they see it, they want it back?

They're miffed cuz I gave the thing a home
with a stroking hand
and a spotlight,
and they visit to find it sleekly enshrined
and peskily fetching.

For consolation, they savour their old stuff
ricocheting un-earned esteem back on their taste.

I love seeing them happy this way.
Resurrection does make the eyes shine.


My eyes are faithful dogs

They take heartless beatings
and still fetch the desired image.

(Through water, even if they drown.)

And they hand over the image
with anticipation of favour.

With the object in their teeth,
they show their complete joy in
always answering Yes.

They offer the unmistakable and
stomach-churning vision of unusable love.


Sleeping girlies January 2001


An eight year old girl
can break your heart in
a million different ways.

With baby-fat
and conscious charm

and her trust
that you'll live through it.


At age eleven, she still
turns over in her sleep
the same way she did when she was a baby

who only comes to visit now
for a few minutes each night.

I stay awake to meet her.

Wet concrete

Wrote in it, finally,
Never done that before.  Woohoo, wild woman.

The usual stuff:  Love icons in the runny rock.
Wondered when I would walk by it with runny eyes
and read it beside my two feet.

Read it two weeks later.  It was still true.
How long can something stay true,
just because it's in concrete?

Ten years later:
Warning:  Concrete should not be used metaphorically.
It has no power except to outlast your sentiments.

Cheeses and Terrines
-- To a friend, musician, and cook

This is hunted food.
This is the rosy partaking of sacrifice.

The hotly iron liver injecting the sinuses with
the scent of exposed pulse; what's under the peeled fur;
the taste of the original felling.

Accompanied by turgid milk thieved from babies.

We make it different than it was;
framed with our stylized devouring.

In front of this table, there is no place to go.
I avert my eyes from my own appetite.

The Point of Kids:
My Daughters from Louisville, Kentucky
And How They Love Me

We used to live someplace else together,
my little girls and me.
Now we live in a new town.

In Louisville, I said
"Let's go to Kroger!"
for food. (For seven years,
from when they were just babies.)

Now it's Toronto and I have to say,
"Let's go to Loblaw's!"
and sometimes I say the
wrong word without knowing.

My older girl, 11, says,
"Mom, it's not Kroger."
My little girl, 8, says,
"Mom can say what she wants;
you know what she means.
Mom, you can say Kroger if you want;
I know what you mean."

That's the difference between
my daughters, and the point of my daughters:

One keeps me on my toes.

One forgives me.


In defense of me and my Gushy Observational Excess - but briefly.

No one who brings a tin cup to Niagara
will go away thirsty.

But they may not complain about getting drenched.

Nor may they complain about the crowds.

Plumbers over-charge me

I have a complaint.

They turn on the tap,
rip the handle off the faucet,
take it with them.

Where does it go? --this water, nectar, brine,
whatever it is that doesn't stop.

They drain it from me gracelessly, walk away parched.

I am milk for a stillborn baby.


Look, there’s a man in the hive!

© 2004 by Ralph Coffey
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan

The tired old man is now at peace;
his stress filled life is over;
He lies
at rest deep in the earth;
beneath the grass and clover.

Long streams of bees are nectar bent;
will rob the blossoming flowers;
From dawn to dusk, all summer long,
throughout the daylight hours

Nature recycles everything.
It may seem rather funny,
but the juice that once ran through his veins
may now end up as honey.

[Mr, Coffey was my highschool English teacher and author of four books.  He passed away March 2006 . He once treated me as an adult when I was 16 and I never forgot that.  Treated me as an asshole adult, quite correctly, but still an adult.  And he was the first person to rave, sorta, about my writing.  Cheers, Mr. Coffey.  Be at the gate when I get there, please.]


“Sleeping girlies January 2001”

"Wet Concrete"

“Cheeses and Terrines Sept 6/01”

"The Point of Kids"

“In defense of Gushy Observational Excess”

“Plumbers over-charge me”

“Sailboats' ears”

Mentor corner: "Look! There's a man in the hive."