Bloody Footprints

Bloody Footprints

the movie opens

on a busy sidewalk

someone with a knife

stabs a stranger

keeps on going

while the victim collapses

remember the knife

the flash of it

the thrust

blood blood blood


people stepping in it

as they step over the body

on their important way

bloody footprints

quickly splotching the sidewalk

as the camera

pulls up up

the police arrive

the credits roll

over the expanding trail

of bloody footprints


steps lead to smart shops

to offices

into elevators

down marble corridors

over carpets in hotel hallways

cafe floors

washroom stalls


blood gets on hands

trying to clean shoes

the fingerprints on mirrors

coffee cups


dried flakes fall between 

keyboard keys

smear smart phones

traces tracked undetected through 

airport screening machines

splotches on luggage

the blood travels around the world


the sidewalk

with the outline of the body

is a pool of blood

after crime scene photos have been taken

after cellphone photos have hit the net

city workers come to clean it up


the camera looks for the stabber

pushing through crowds

roving over heads shoulders

no faces

hands washing

blood pooling in sinks

almost dripping down the walls

of apartments

seeping out of TV screens


bloody footprints

lead up to a door

the bell rings

you reach to open the door

the closing credits roll

Much like Psycho Zombies in the Rain this piece is very cinematic – in fact it includes camera angles 🙂 The opening is one that I saw decades ago in a movie about a serial killer, I think. My memory of the plot is rather vague of what happens after the victim collapses other than people annoyed & reacting as if the victim was drunk not dead.

The rest is inspired by CSI, when I used to watch the show, by how they followed clues to unexpected locations. The poem is a list poem of various places this blood could have been tracked to. I realize it probably wouldn’t stay on shoes long enough to get where I take it, or that it would stay wet enough either but this is poetry not a text dealing with blood spatter theory.

Each of the bloodied locations would get its own screen time while the audience sorts through the clues to figure out which ones are relevant because narrative logic dictates that some of these locations must pertain to the identity of the killer. This is one the frequent plot ploys on many detective shows – too many clues to sort through.

I like the overhead camera view of the corpse with all these foot prints leading away from it. Prints made by people oblivious or perhaps indifferent to the body, to the crime & later miffed by having to clean the blood off their shoes.


The ending is a riff on surprise endings where the narrator turns out to be the killer – it is a bit of a cliche mind you but I couldn’t resist. Here it is ambiguous – has the killer come to your door or have the bloody footsteps lead the police to your door? Either way you’ll get what you deserve 🙂

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shall I compare thee to a hand

severed from a corpse

an unidentified left hand

isolated insulated in ice

not yet murky with drifting pinks

lit from below by a cool blue

as blue as your eyes

when you concede

that even though you are right

you will never get your way

so this wild wound

will howl at the afternoon sun

fearful of losing its shadow

in the comfort of my affection

In the chapbook this followed the anti-war rant. A change of pace, pov & a sort of mental palate cleanser for what follows. It’s very sort & to the point, unlike the war rant. Short but perhaps not much easier on the mind. This was inspired by a moment on some CSI type show in which a severed body part was floating in a lab tank. Thin strands of blood were drifting from it in the carefully modulated light of the room.


I, for one, doubt if in reality these labs have such subtle soft focus, indirect lighting. All those dim corners would be too scary and I’d end up squinting all the time trying see what I was supposed to see. I can hear some set designer ‘ooh’ at the divine, delicate effect of light on red corn syrup in ice water – which was probably also given a shot of something to make it the right shade of blue.

But this a love poem, not a critique of crime TV. The opening refers to one of the most famous of all love poems Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 – yes I do have some classical education but chose not to use it much 🙂 The severed hand is certainly the opposite of a summer’s day, though time of year is not germane to the content at all. I push the images from concrete realism to romantic abstractions.


Sonnet 18 is emotionally uncluttered – I love you. ‘hand’ on the other … um … hand, is emotionally & graphically loaded. Clearly, to me, there is some sort of dark struggle here between the object of affection and the observer. Readers of this piece, in the past, have been a little creeped out as their identifying with the voice switches from observer to being observed.


Everyone wants a flowery love a la Sonnet 18. But a love lit from below is only for the brave.


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Badalamenti Baker

What can I say about Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks music that doesn’t sound like fan boy gushing. I love this soundtrack. I can remember hearing this for the first time on the TV show and being breathless with the mix of fifties’ swing, rock and sweeping romanticism. It’s one of those cd’s that I always play twice in a row.

suitcase body in a suitcase?

Eerie, evocative and unforgettable it elevated TV soundtracks to a whole new level without resorting to trends (CSI using Sigur Ros). Mark Snow managed to equal this with his music for the X-Files & Millennium. But Badalamenti’s TV music hasn’t been bettered. As much as I enjoy the Julie Cruise cuts they drag the cd down. We don’t need no freaking vocalists 🙂

blueart remains to be collected

I came across Ginger Baker & the DJQ 20: Coward of the County as a delete back in 2006. Baker’s history is what made me buy it. I hadn’t really followed his career after The Cream – though I do have some of the GB’s Airforce in my collection now (more about those when I get to them oh the pop shelves).


home in the wild

The cd proved to be solid jazz. No exactly easy listening banal but nothing jumps out about it either. Guest on sax James Carter is great, tasteful and sweet. Baker plays well – no showboating drum solos. It was well worth the $1.99 I paid for it.



‘What do you see?’

I looked around the backyard. A path had been tracked  through the snow to the gate. The snow lay dirty and uneven from fence to fence, higher along the sides of the path  and melted unevenly in some areas.

‘Dirty snow.’ I shrugged. ‘Birds have found a few convenient spots for their business.’

‘Good. Not everyone would see that. Anything else.’

I wasn’t sure just what it was my Dad wanted me to see.

‘Nope. Wait. The grass is brown like its been burned by the ice?’

‘Nice try. But you’re going to have to better than that. I’ll just leave you here. Say five minutes? Use your senses, not just your eyes.’ He went back into the warm house.

Oh great! I’m going to have smell the rotting winter soil for him. I made my eyes go from corner to corner. I pretended they were mowing the snow like a lawn mower mowing the grass when it came back to life. Back and forth my eyes moved from fence to fence to either side of the yard, around the edges of the garage and closer to the house till I was staring at my feet.

What did I see? Our yard. Nothing much changed in it. Snow now, then grass would wake, bulbs would pop up, later the annuals & perennials my mom would plant, then leaves would fall for me to rake.

It was by the maple tree that I had stepped on the rake tines and cut my foot. The handle of the rake jumped up to hit me on the nose at the same time. I don’t know what bothered me then – the embarrassment, the sudden fear of it lunging at me, or my sister seeing it happen & going into convulsive laughter when it happened. I could have killed her that day and then myself.

Now there was just that uneven snow. What was under that clump of snow? Ah yes the yarrow that I used to call Queen Anne’s Scab for some reason. A clump of it that had been there when we first moved into the house. We had added some pinks to contrast with the yellow and white.  It was three or four years before I realized it wasn’t a weed after all.

‘See something.’ My Dad was behind me suddenly.

‘Dirty snow. Isn’t that where the yarrow is?” I pointed over to the clump by the maple tree.

‘So it is.’


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