The One Tree


The One Tree

I wanted to marry the maple tree

in the yard two houses down

Danuta lived there
she was in my class at school

our house had no back yard

not even a fence
only a dirt patch for my Dad to park

Danutaʼs had flowers grass
a fence and a maple tree
with leaves that swam in sunlight

waves in the breeze

I would climb into
the weave of branches
dream of a life
in the arms of my tree house
the wall paper would change

color with the seasons
in winter I wrapped a scarf
around the trunk to keep it warm


Danuta thought I was strange

the boys thought
I was in love with her
you and Danuta up in a tree 

k -i -s -s – i – n – g 

if I didnʼt think anyone was looking

Iʼd put my arms around the tree

kiss it quick
the bark tasted of earth

my Dad got a better job in another city
we lived in an apartment over a parking lot

I was sad mopey cranky sullen

my Mom said
it was because I missed Danuta

they never found out that I slept

with a maple leaf under my pillow

there were maple trees in the city

in the fall they cried leaves for me

messages of love from my maple

but I never could touch them

my heart was true to the one tree

as an adult
I returned to Danutaʼs

her family long gone
but the maple was there

the bark torn by raccoons

frost rotted branches

needed to be lopped off

aging falling apart
but it was still there

in the silence of that back yard

no one was looking
I kissed the tree
the bark tasted of reality

11sofa33This is the last piece in the Lament chapbook. Much like the first piece it involves affection for inanimate objects. The voice is more innocent though, as I use a childlike memory approach. I like the narrative flow in this piece which makes it a great one for performing. More story telling than poetry expounding 🙂 11sofa07As with many of my pieces, it started with the opening line. I wanted to write a piece that was very Canadian & the maple tree fits that bill totally. I also wanted it to be memory piece that listeners & readers would easily identify with. It also has a reliable narrator because the marriage fantasy is so grounded in that dirt patch.

I don’t recall where the name Danuta came from – I did want a name that wasn’t Anglo but also one that didn’t imply any direct ethnicity while remaining feminine. 11sofa35As a child I did like climbing trees & loved that sense of being above the Earth, I loved of the sound of the tree as it swayed in the breeze. Here I push the sensory and the relationship with the tree becomes stronger, more romantic.

I get the feeling that his boy is lonely & isolated, even from Danuta. Like this boy my family did move several times as jobs got better. Never staying in one place long enough to really make friends. I never even had a Danuta in those years. I did have a sense of magic though & would save little mementos.

I maintain this innocent recollection even in the closing when my hero revisits this tree from his past. I have gone back to places where I grew up on the east coast. None have this sort of resonance for me though. The tree becomes a a symbol, the poem an allegory, for how what we loved as children changes as we grow up. Ideals that get shaped by reality and the longing for that innocence.

11sofa13I love this final image – my hero coming to terms with the ‘damage’ of time with affection. It was the perfect ending to the chap book as well. The pieces in it go from innocence though various, sometimes harsh, realities of violence, longing, exploitation, injustice in our culture but it ends with a gentle hope.


cover170x170-1on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Deliciously iTunes

June 3-5: attending: Capturing Fire 2016 – The DC Centre – 2000 14th St NW, Suite 105 – Washington, DC – I’m registered 🙂


check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015:

June 11, Saturday  – attending: The Toronto Poetry Talks – 10 AM – Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Toronto, Ontario M5V 3C6


June 12, Sunday – participating: Michael Matheson – The Axe and the Scalpel – Editing Your Own Work 1:00 pm – Bakka-Phoenix Books – 84 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2H7construction vert

tickets here

September 1-4: attending FanExpo 2016 (I’ve already registered)


November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo



Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington – sweet,eh?

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblrcouch02

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