Bruce McRae's Poems
Thinking of you
is a bridge never crossed
and waters rising.
Thinking of you
is an obelisk in Arcadia.
A bird in a net.
A butterfly over an ocean.
My head hurts, like teeth hurt.
My head is a bowl of dust
or ball for kicking
or cold Monday morning.
In my brain is a museum
where I go when it's snowing.
It's a library closed
by the heart's eviction.
A thinking person
weighs every thought,
and thoughts of you weigh
seventeen point four five grammes.
The mind wanders
and I'm Nostradamus
and the future is unknown to us.
I'm a comedian
and our joke needs telling.
Thinking of you, because
I'm always looking for excuses
or odd emotion to taunt.
I'm building a ziggurat
made of potions and charms
and peopled with priestesses.
A temple graced by oracles.
My mind is abuzz
with the voice of insects,
the thought of you
a desert caravan and exult
of a thousand little gods.
My imagination is a box
I can't quite open.
Our book remains half-written.
Our new house
hasn't any windows or walls.
Thinking of you
it's always Christmas in Vienna.
Or we're strolling along
some boardwalk or forest path.
It's a warm summer's night
and we're lying on the lawn
while counting stars
and reshaping constellations.
For a thousand years
our love has been sleeping
within each other.
Thinking of you is a mountainous song.
Even when my mind is lost
I hear beautiful music.
Out Of The Toybox And Into The Fire
Every midnight Johanne's toys come alive.
They raid the kitchen and play with cutlery,
mother's suspicions turning to concern
after dolly has moved a muffin.
They hide daddy's papers
so he'll be cross in the morning.
Teddy sacrifices a mouse
on the altar of his yearning –
oh to be human, or very like Johanne,
his wooden soldiers planning a bedroom coup,
the hour primed for revolution.
The day is near! My brothers and sisters.
The playgrounds are for burning.
Not To Mention
When there's mention of politics
I want to lie down in fields of alfalfa
and make silent movies in my head.
I think of swimming the passages
between doormat and faucet.
My teeth begin ringing,
tiny bells the colour of starshine
and bootblack and bone marrow.
The idle talk of politics,
while we're slow-waltzing into history.
Empires failing and falling.
Our pylons toppled. The comedians
being hung for laughs,
political beasts in the countinghouses
among high numbers,
trading fortune and Yankee dollars.
They're putting on their coats of many arms
and striding over the bloodied snowfields.
Flightless birds of indefinite colours.
Too Much Time Is Not Enough
Becoming old is not unlike
having a rat in the house.
Ancient auguries come to fruition.
Artful life is abandoned by the roadside,
an Appian Way lined with crucifixes,
real blood-and-guts oratory for the damned
seeming an earful of wax and honey.
The tower block of my hyperbole is being torn down,
tenants evicted, it's basement flooded, a cold furnace
like a bed of coals at Christmas.
Becoming old is much the same as
sitting naked in a vegetable garden.
Your bones turn coat. Merchants prescribe coy medicines.
You're as welcome as a heron in hell.
The heart ticks like a deathwatch beetle.
Blood is water mixed with wine.
Wild animals come closer, no longer afraid.
Dreams are like a ledger being displayed
to a beggar Harpies willfully blinded.
I'm always looking for a sock under the bed.
I eat slowly. I misunderstand the moment.