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Posts Tagged ‘alan neal’

For perhaps the first time in the history of my poetry, I’m writing about something topical. You might have heard about this volcanic ash that is sweeping Europe right now and forcing airlines to cancel all flights to the surrounding areas. It’s chaos. Don’t expect anything but the busy signal when you try calling Air Canada.

As many of you know, I was supposed to leave for the United Kingdom on Thursday afternoon. Obviously, my flight was canceled. I have been feeling very sorry for myself over the last few days because this trip was important to me, and now everything feels very uncertain. I’ve also been thinking about the hundreds of thousands of people who are stuck in one place or another, who are unable to see their loved ones and have no idea when things will clear up. It’s frustrating because there’s nothing that can be done; there’s no one to blame; and there’s no knowing what will happen next.

That same evening when I should have been on a plane flying across the Atlantic, my friend Paul accompanied me to a poetry show. (You know someone is a good friend when they will spend time with you even when you’re in a destructive mood.) I was so inspired by the evening’s performances — especially some new poems by the incredible Kevin Matthews — that I felt the need to dash home and write something positive, perhaps even uplifting.

The next afternoon, I received a call from CBC Radio 1, asking if I would come in to the studio and talk about my experience on All in a Day with Alan Neal. Guess they had been following my Twitter updates. I had about 15 minutes to get from the Glebe to the top on Bank Street — during rush hour. Amazingly, I made it. On air, Alan and I conversed for a couple of minutes, and then I performed the (rather personal) poem I had written the night before.

And I used this opportunity to promote my upcoming poetry show with Nadine Thornhill with the Dusty Owl Reading Series on May 2. C’mon, I’m only human.

Anyway, here is the poem…

~~~

Dear Volcanic Ash

Dear Icelandic shards that clouded the European airspace

That forced Air Canada to cancel my trip to the UK

That prevented me from seeing that someone I love and adore

More than space never stopped us before

But now the price of distance is this

I’ve missed my chance to see her up close

When I yearned for her the most

And I’m not here to place blame

On any natural disaster

Even though this feels disastrous to me

On this hard-hearted day

I promise not to complain

I only wanted to say

Thank you

For teaching me patience

Because even though this hurts more than words can show

I know that when we finally come face to face

These feelings of hate will dissolve

And I will be so so grateful

That I will kiss her that much more fondly

And it will be as beautiful as a third kiss should be

Our embrace will be so steaming hot

That volcanic streaks will appear as mere brush strokes around us

Splashing blood orange vermillion between us

And I would repeat

Thank you

For teaching me patience

Because now I know what it means to be devoted

Because I have waited this long

And I will wait three thousand weeks longer

To be with you

And whether or not this makes us stronger

It will make us remember that we conquered volcanoes to be together

That we dove into burning hot lava

And reemerged untainted

Save for a splatter of colour

That remains a blush in your cheeks

That sustains a flush in my fingertips out of reach

Reaching toward you

No matter how far you might be

And I see

That this has taught me patience

So that if ever I forget to adore you every day

This foray into the power of staying

Will remind me

That you are worth waiting for

And for you I will wait

Till dawn breaks

Till my heavy heart breaks

Until the intensity of these trials

Breaks my weary back

Back to the beginning

I would start again for you

From the beginning

At the beginning of all things

When there are so many possibilities

And I can choose only one

I will choose to wait

For you

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