Titch  will be my next book out.

Here are a few poems included in that manuscript.

Here is “Poplar Grove” with thanks to my talented son Gabe for recording and to Kye Marshall for her lovely cello accompaniment.

And here is “Faith,” accompanied by a Gabe Flaherty original soundtrack composition. Thank you Gabriel!

I’m proud to say that “Frank Slide” was shortlisted for Arc’s Poem of the Year 2019 🙂

 

Frank Slide

now Crowsnest Pass

 

I heard about it before I saw it—

Frank town buried by landslide—

kids in footsie pajamas, a dog by the fireplace,

grandma in her pine rocker, the transient

looking for work, the husband saved

by chopping wood somewhere

else that night, helping out a friend,

the one who came back to grief and debris—

young Lilian Clarke returning from late shift

to the ruin of a town under rock-pile.

Just like Pompeii—the spoon in the bowl,

hands turned to stone reaching at the door,

the dog curled into statue. A rumble resonating

all the way to Cochrane that night, and up my spine.

We sat in the truck, looking through the windshield

at a plaster dog with marble eyes

scratching a calcified itch,

rising from the dust and coal-smudge scene,

painted smoke and limestone shale. And I thought of

how the CPR migrants moved those stones

one by one—as in a tomb—its stone rolled away—

to make space for the resurrection of a new town,

and a new line, and the few who were spared

praying seven times seven thanks under Turtle Mountain;

the way they blasted rock in a spiral right through

like Kicking Horse Pass. And a man,

Choquette, running three miles

to warn the train chugging towards buried tracks … Wait,

I thought, I never saw the rubble at all, just

heard the tale of baby Gladys’ survival in a bale of hay;

the laze and drone of truck-hum

put me to sleep as we drove that four day drive

to the Rockies. Wait, I thought, I am dreaming now

of the buried city, some treasury of memory

petrified like a bug in amber, horse bones in the tar-sands,

and, look, here is the fossil dog rising from its curled epitaph

coming right out of the dream towards our truck—

that wolfish dog he rescued with one blue eye,

mountain dog in my dreams digging deep in the rubble

for something still alive.