Jesus poem (1970 approx.)

Sticks of wood make a frame

around your picture

your hair flows long

and your beard is running

through the streets of chicago

smoothing lines of anger

I see your glassy frame mounted

in a hundred million houses

and your poems on everyone’s lips

I speak your name

and music runs through the night

on crazy roller skates

I gave the ocean to a girl (from 1970)

I gave the ocean to a girl

at a bus stop

she tossed it carelessly

into her purse

along with the cosmetics, loose change

and papers of identity

then with a practiced step

she climbed into her regular bus

and disappeared

lucky for me I still had the moon

in my back pocket

It can’t happen here (1970 approx.)

An uncertain combination

of numbers wires and fingers

brought your voice to mine


it found me lying with nomadic 

echoes of my tongue


so we roamed through 

the illogical backyards

in the night


chased by telephone poles

down laughing hallways

where the doors just swing and slam


with a click

I returned to another room


where a friend asked me

what was going on


I looked for him

through tangles of impossible kelp 


sometimes there are no words to reach me


Note: I have about 30 folders of old poems dating back to 1969. I have been intending to go back and look at them, see if some would be worth posting here. A lot of the early ones almost certainly involved smoking something…. This poem, I think, dates back to 1970, first year university.

The travel agency offers dream cruises

Photo by Dan Fraser

The travel agency offers dream cruises

I don’t know how I flew to different worlds

in the twisting dark

there are no straight lines in that land

even the curves are crooked

and everything seems to be falling apart

I gently press things back together

and sleep

wake and sleep

even the circles are not round

where did I go where am I

the colour I miss the most is green

I long for green and blue

The secret of slicing

I cannot teach the secret of slicing

having to speak the words

can destroy the joy they bring

fruit that cannot be sliced cannot be eaten

the secret of slicing cannot be spoken

speaking the words

destroys the joy they bring

Hunger turned away

Photo by Dan Fraser

Hunger turned and looked away

empty won’t be filled today

thirst retreated deep in dreams

nothing stays the way it seems


Longing looks within the heart

for future’s promises to start

time is crawling grains of sand

falling gently from a hand



Photo by Dan Fraser


If I took the top off my head

would all the butterflies fly away

or would a few still find it

a comfortable home to return to

after fluttering all day in the sunshine