Tag Archives: Youth

REMEMBERING VALDY

REMEMBERING VALDY

Play me a rock and roll song
or don’t play me no song at all

I might not remember your name
but I know you’re a friend all the same
when you put the needle down
on that record by the bed

Everything that still moves moves
and memories come flooding back

Girls and cars and beer
as every year becomes that year

Thank you dear

WORKING WITH FATHER

WORKING WITH FATHER

In the short days of a long winter
we sort nuts, bolts, and washers
against the busy days of summer

Place them in well marded bins
accompanied always by his mentor’s
Never waste five dollars worth of time
looking for a five cent bolt

The 9/16th fine-threads do not go in
with the regular or coarse

When you’re four
it’s not hard to get up
at four to ride in the cattle
truck to the city with your dad
excitement keeps you awake all night

There are knots you need to know
reef, sheepshank, and the ever
popular bowline that can still
be undone even after looping
a red bull weighing a ton

Hook the twine around your
little finger just son, in a way
that I could never get,
three turns and knot
the gunny sack
in two seconds
flat

Heel that calf, or turn the herd
drive the truck at the perfect speed
to catch the combine
on the fly

There is a great deal of pleasure in
doing something right, when right
is the only way anything should
ever be done

But never far, even yet
from the red-black cloud
of doing it wrong

NEW TRIBES

NEW TRIBES

From the old tribe of Isaac
and the old tribe of Ishmael

Israeli and Palestinian
couples and their children
come together by the sea and share

We are teaching the skills of listening
the skills of sharing and skills of hearing

The rules are simple
tell your truth as your truth only

Assume as you listen
that the person makes sense
If they do not seem to make sense
assume you need more information,

By the end of the weekend
the eight year olds are sleeping over
teenage walk on the beach till dawn

A new tribe being formed

THE INNER CRITIC

THE INNER CRITIC

Poor little Keystone Cop
(although often not so funny)
Leaping from shoulder to shoulder
trying so hard to keep us safe
yelling or whispering in each ear
the old rules based on fear

Telling us what we should have done
and what we should never do
Enforcing rules learned long ago
that may no longer be true

The voice of your mother, still
nags when your room’s not neat
The voice of your father
still wants you up at dawn

Your teacher and your coach
Your country and your culture
Your parents and your younger selves
with messages to keep you safe

The cop only knows what he used to know
and still does what he was told to do
You don’t have to destroy him
or shove him out the door

Just put your arm around him
and tell him you’re no longer four

THE PELICAN PROJECT

THE PELICAN PROJECT

In July 2000 New Dance Horizons in Regina
Saskatchewan put together a presentation for
“Dance and the Child International”

It consisted of dance, song and poetry
performed by about thirty young people
many from Canada’s “First Nations”

I had the privilege of coaching and guiding
them as they wrote their own poems

Following are some poems that I wrote
for samples of metaphor, and for the awe and
respect I felt for their talent and their courage

Also, I was totally star struck by the grace and
beauty of Robin, the director and dance
instructor who goes around quoting Neruda
and holds my disowned love of movement
so wrote poems for and about her as well

SMALL TOWN – GRADE SEVEN

SMALL TOWN – GRADE SEVEN

In a town of six or seven hundred
you get a cross section of the country

One classmate’s father’s suicide with shotgun
splattered walls

One boy my age, drowned
in an upturned truck in a muddy ditch

One with leukemia, white as the snow

One redhead, Leslie French, as beautiful and
mysterious as the language

One blonde, Shirley Long, to long for

She’s only interested in grade 9 boys

One bruised heart

Not yet hard enough to be broken

GOODNIGHT MARILYN

GOODNIGHT MARILYN
(or dyin ain’t easy but it’s a livin)

All heroes will be expected to die young
to keep their fans from growing old
and will be well rewarded
in unspendable gold

If it’s sex you give then sex it pays
so take along the two young Ks

Though a frozen instant Porsche crash
could be worth a lot of cash

And the Colonel smiles as the money piles
for haunting supermarket aisles

But for biggest gross and largest fee
it’s still the cross at thirty three

LEA

LEA

When you walked West from your home
down the main street to the
heart of the town
a car driving in from the country
could slip up silently behind you

A quick blast of the horn
and your knees
would collapse and you’d
drop like a stone

Good sport in a small town

If you were walking down that street
today
and I was driving behind
I would be sorely tempted to do it again
but this time
I would want to catch you

MY COUSIN WAYNE

MY COUSIN WAYNE

When Wayne was thirteen
he had the finest blondest hair
the finest features and the finest mind
of all the cousins round

A city boy and cooler about everything than all of us
until we took him hunting

When his first shot hit the rabbit
he ran and cried and held it till it died

At eighteen he quit school with A grades
a month before graduation to get a jump on a job
met a girl and bragged of achievement on first date

Over achievement it turned out to be
quick marriage, quick, two children, three

Army for security, liquor for the pain
it was twenty years before I saw him again

He was in a downstairs bar
sitting there as coarse and thick as adobe brick

I wanted to roll it all back
reach in for the lost fineness and yank it all inside out

And hold him like the rabbit when he cried
still innocent when it died