Monthly Archives: June 2013

Ten Minutes To Eleven

At ten minutes to eleven

It is still not still


A mosquito worries its way across the screen door

Looking for a gap

As my exhalations send it into blood frenzy


A leaf drifts to earth

Odd, since it’s early summer yet

I wonder if a caterpillar has eaten it through


A child tugs at her father impatiently

He’s talking to a neighbour at the end of the driveway

Postponing some outing

Now her singsong Daddy, Daddy

Increases in volume and frustration


Six birds trade places on two trees


At ten minutes to eleven

It is still not still


A rumour of a breeze

Stirs branches randomly


A seaplane flies overhead

Its pilot intent on the descent the plane is poised to make

A passenger looks out the bubble window

Wondering at the mundane lives playing out below


While the rooster next door proclaims his sovereignty

Reassuring his hens

Ruling his dominion


Insects cry


I hear traffic humming in the distance


At ten minutes to eleven

It is still not still



David Trudel   ©  2013



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Pre Op Thoughts

I’d be going crazy if I was still living in some of those places

Like when I was an urban cliff dweller

Looking out at a forest of concrete and glass

Seeing forty thousand pairs of eyes looking back

Makes one a little squirrelly at the best of times

Let alone a few weeks before open heart surgery

Trying to wrap my head around that thought

So I appreciate my forest oasis at city’s edge

A small piece of ancient landscape left untouched

Where my feet can connect directly to bedrock

Resonating on a time scale of profundity

Where I can look out above treetops to the sky

Where I can consider the future from a far-seeing place

I play with alternate versions of the Chac Mool moment I’m on course for

A Stoic exercise of negative visualization

Asking what’s the worst that can happen

Then imagining how that would play out

In order to prepare a strategy of positivity

It’s strange since I don’t have any symptoms

I don’t feel sick

Quite the contrary, I feel better than I have for years

But I’m told a valve needs replacing

It’s a wonderful thing to be alive today, I think

In this world where medicine has become clairvoyant

Where heart valves can be manufactured and installed

Without missing a beat

Now I have a medical team

I am conveyed from one appointment to the next

Relentlessly lining up for ultrasounds and angiograms

Until the moment my chest will be opened and my heart repaired

My sternum will be wired back together

I’ll be stapled shut

There will be no heart attack in six months or a year

The only murmur I’ll hear will be the whisper of the sea

And the wind in the trees

Singing heart songs that I will listen to

With gratitude



David Trudel   ©  2013




Filed under Cardiology, Poetry

Back Seat Windows

When I was a child I would lock eyes

With other kids in the back seats of station wagons

As we hurtled down freeways

Or slowrolled through clogged streets

I would lock eyes

Trying to make some kind of psychic connection

Or anticipate a future meeting where decades later

Our eyes would remember

A moment held between us

Briefly as a hummingbird’s visit

When we were young

Looking at the world from inside the safety glass of the family car

It was easy to believe in innocence then

To think that everyone else was as safe as I was

In those days before I knew about torture

About abuse and cruelty

Frequent as the autumn rain

For too many

Now I wonder what happened to them

I try to recollect those faces

Dredged images from ripped memories

Some of those eyes must have been silently shrieking

Calling out for sympathy or salvation

Locked in rolling prisons moving closer to the next indignity

While I was worried about a music lesson I hadn’t practiced for

Or inconsequential bullshit

If I could return to those moments

I wouldn’t challenge fragile eyes with directness

I would look at you obliquely and offer you my passing tears

I would applaud you for carrying on

Holding your head up

As you looked out at a world

That held more sins than miracles



David Trudel     © 2013



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Filed under Poetry


Why is the heart associated with love, I wonder

Why not the brain

I can think of other body parts

If you’re going to pick internal organs to represent that feeling

That divine state of bliss we call love

Or even tarnished affection for your familiar co-accused

Why pick that steadfast pump in the middle of your chest

As a grand metaphor for the mercurial arc of love

Love, weaving infatuation into lust

Followed by mutual seduction

If you’re lucky some romance but that wears off

At some point you learn to compromise

Come to some kind of understanding and acceptance

Then you learn to give and receive forgiveness

Taking comfort in care and affection bestowed and shared


The heart is definitely important

But it’s really not adequate to portray love’s tumultuous adventures

The stomach might work better as a proxy

Considering its capacity, appetite and potential for amorous metaphor

But then what kind of symbol would we use for it

Not that the stylized version for heart bears any relation to reality

Looking nothing at all like a real heart

Actually it takes its shape from the emblematic seed case of a plant called silphium

Used as a contraceptive by the ancient people of Cyrene

It worked so well that it was used to extinction

Yet lives on to embellish boxes of chocolate on Valentine’s day

Fittingly adorning ritualistic displays of romantic attraction

It’s quite charming to consider how those unbridled orgasms

From twenty six hundred years ago are still echoing today

Propelling meaning across centuries and tongues

Into the synchronicity of love



David Trudel   ©  2013



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Filed under Cardiology, Poetry

She Said

Concise expansivity is where it’s at


She said


Arching her back

Looking over her shoulder

At me




Do you mean pinpointing infinity


Opening your singularity to the collective


She waved




I shrugged it off


But I still hear that echo reverberate



David Trudel  ©  2013



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Filed under Poetry


Have you experienced any shortness of breath?


No, while thinking sure

Every time a beautiful woman looks in my general direction

I’ve had my breath taken away enough

Enough to keep life interesting


I’ll take that as a no, he says

After my recitation of the home gym, walks and bike rides


Now I wonder

My fingertips seemed colder in those new gloves last winter

Was that a sign


Maybe there’s a bunch of shit I can blame on the faulty pump

Post op, that is


After that waking up moment

Through queasy fog

Time splinters rustling like wind chimes

Into the coming to in recovery

Where you realize you have more lines running into

And out of your body than there are lines on a gaff-rigged schooner

Pain, an explosion swaddled for now by morphine

Or something

But there

There, coiled like some viper biding their time

In the center of your chest

Through the haze you realize the battle has begun

So you deploy relentless optimism

Against enervated ennui

Every kind of discomfort imaginable

Until it gets better

Which it will and does

In time



David Trudel   ©  2013



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Filed under Cardiology, Poetry


Even the cardiac surgeon remarked on the irony

Must be a bit of a kick to the head

He said in the closest thing to empathy during that conversation

Filled with too many words like urgent and critical

Don’t get me wrong, I like my surgeons focused and intense

I can get sympathy from others

Still, when my struggle for fitness was so close to being won

It seems so wrong to be scheduled for heart surgery

So I nodded and smiled ironically back

Curtailing the impulse to blurt out something like fucking right

Because I’ve never felt better in close to forty years

But that was an illusion, like so many others I never saw through

Apparently feelings don’t come close to truth

Truth waits in ambush behind stethoscopes and cold eyes

Ready to knock you off whatever size horse you’re riding

Deftly as any plot twist in a serial adventure

To be continued

David Trudel  ©  2013

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Filed under Cardiology, Poetry

Upcoming surgery

I am writing to let you know that I have been diagnosed with a heart condition called aortic stenosis, which means my aortic valve isn’t functioning properly.  As a result, I’ll be undergoing surgery on July 22nd  to replace the faulty valve with a mechanical one.  I’ll be in hospital for about a week and full recovery takes about three months.


It’s likely that this was something I was born with and has gradually worsened over the years.  I haven’t experienced any symptoms and if my family physician hadn’t noticed a heart murmur and sent me for tests, the first sign of the disease may well have been a massive heart attack. Ironically, I have never felt better after losing so much weight over the past year or so, moving to a raw/vegan diet and exercising on an almost daily basis.


As much as I know that there will be pain and inconvenience involved through this process I am looking at it as a positive experience that will help to keep me around for many years to come. So rather than keeping quiet about it I’ve decided to let everyone know what I’m going through. I will try to keep the heartsick metaphors to a minimum on the poetry front, but no promises on that.







Filed under Passing Thoughts


There are sins

That taste so delicious

They become virtues

There are vices

That are never left to their own

But are still quite


Odd, how we colour emotions

With shades of judgment

Isn’t it?

Verdict, please

Guilty pleasures

Are almost requisite

To be pleasures at all




David Trudel         © 2013


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Filed under Poetry