Tag Archives: creative writing

Sonnet 29, a 21st century remix

 

when I’m depressed and feeling crappy

and been unfriended by those who know me

if there was a god I’d pray to him or her

but since there isn’t I wallow in my despair

I dream of winning the lottery

becoming a one percenter chased by paparazzi

a superstar walking life’s red carpet

receiving honours that make the news at six

but I’m no paragon, I’m nowhere near

self-loathing sends me into a depression

when by lucky chance I think of you

and like a tweet gone viral in a flash

I shake away the blues to sing your tune

since your sweet love is all I need, not volatile assets

 

 

David Trudel     © 2015

 

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backseat windows

as a child I would lock eyes with other kids

captive in the back seats of station wagons

hurtling down freeways

or slowrolling through clogged streets

 

I would lock eyes

 

trying for some kind of psychic connection

anticipating a future meeting

hoping that decades later

our eyes would remember a moment held between us

briefly as a hummingbird’s visit and just as sweet

 

when we were young it was easy for me

 

seeing the world from inside the safety glass of the family car

innocence was as easy as unlocked doors

knowing who lived in each house on the block

and who’s mother made the best cookies

 

I thought that everyone else was as safe as I was

in those days before I knew about torture

about abuse and cruelty

punches that split skin

and the weight of undeserved guilt

 

perversions frequent as autumn rain

for too many, too young

too terrible

 

now, in this future of punched out walls

I wonder what happened to them

I try to recollect those faces

dredged images from ripped memories

some of those eyes must have been shrieking in their silence

calling for sympathy or salvation

locked in rolling hells

moving closer to the next indignity

while I worried about a music lesson I hadn’t practiced for

if I could return to those moments

I wouldn’t challenge fragile eyes with directness

I‘d look at you obliquely and offer you my passing tears

I’d applaud you for carrying on

holding your head up as you looked out at a world

that held more sins than miracles

 

I would unlock my eyes from the illusion

I would try to see your truth

not mine

 

 

 

David Trudel     © 2015

 

 

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sepia toned

we woke up sepia toned

not drained of colour but transformed into shimmers

 

light lays flat

yellowed as yesterday’s bloodied sun

slipped sideways on a once upon

 

we call each other asking

“do you see it too?”

and words like apocalypse

like endtimes, like otherworldly

fill our mouths as the sky fills our thoughts

 

later, waiting for the ferry

I walk the beach up to and under the dock

crosshatched shadows feed the noontime reek of creosote

triggering memories of campfires

then all I smell is the smoke of a carbon sink

a million trees candled in the wind

a burning world

riding thermals down every seaward valley on the coast

until each wave pushes another dragon under

 

we try to laugh about how strange it looks

as the sun reddens its shroud

 

today is marked in black

this is the year when winter thins its cool

no matter how golden the sky seems right now

or how wonderful splintered light appears slipping through ashfall

this is no celebration

this is not the same as other years

when autumn slashpiles streamed pendants

 

today is amber

a moment to hold long enough to remember

how startled we once were

 

 

 

David Trudel     © 2015

 

 

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looking for the aurora

toes curl

gripping rock through shoe and moss

pressing brief bones against a plunge of denseness

my tongue tastes endurance

more feeling than looking

then up, inevitably

up into the great whatever

not into riddles or faded histories of starlight

catching yesterday’s plasma

high flies

against the big black fullness

high flies

rippling daggers slice the empty

 

this point a singularity

 

under it all

holding on to nothing

holding nothing in

until the next point is less than something

nothing is left

but the rock

the sky

and me

 

 

David Trudel       © 2014

 

 

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Tubing on the Cowichan River

I reach the ramp to the dock and walk down it, not paying too much attention to the handful of teens waiting there. My tube, which was once bright red, has faded closer to orange but still holds my breath of two summers past when I last inflated it. I place it on the dock beside the ladder and climb into the water to wet myself down. At this time of year, late August, the water is warm enough not to shock but to soothe, even on this slightly overcast and cooler day. It’s a sensual frisson that gets my nerves tingling though, so I waste no time in grabbing the tube from the dock and placing it just so, while I move into position, and lean back into it as I shove off from the dock. A little wiggle of adjustment and there I am, trailing hands and feet in the river, floating in my tube. The current is slow so I paddle out into the centre of the current, looking at the weir that marks the transition from lake to river. This year has been a dry one and I’ve heard that they’ll soon be raising it to store more water. Now, the lake is low and the river lower, making it a challenge for fish, for tubers like me, and threatening the mill downstream with imminent closure if they can’t maintain the water flow.

But that’s not what I’m thinking about. I’m remembering my friends Manjeet and Janice who graciously walked with me partway along the trail that runs into town from their place, until they had to turn back as they were expecting a call. I’m thinking about the growth of the town of Lake Cowichan that I’ve seen over the years, as businesses go bankrupt or are born. I walked past the new library on the way here, smiling at the thought of the excavated dirt from the site ending up at my friends’ place for a landscaping project. I paddle along, watching the riverside homes and wondering about the lives lived and love shared in them. The water is clear and I can see the bottom except in the deepest pools. Although I’m enjoying the river, the slightly cool temperature and high clouds have kept the usual crowds down and I’m virtually alone on my journey this afternoon.

Of course, nobody is ever really alone. My restless mind chatters internally, I hear the sounds of people on shore, the splashes of children swimming and the drone of traffic in the distance. Insects fly. Birds swoop close to the water to catch them.

I let the sensuous pleasure of the water distract me, luxuriating as I feel the water flow through and around me. The Cowichan River is extraordinarily clean at its source, made from snowmelt and raindrops in a valley at the edge of the continent, at the edge of the world. I keep paddling, using my arms as oars with a sporadic power ten to speed me along, then drifting, occasionally letting the tube turn in a circle so I can get my bearings. The first footbridge comes and goes quickly and by now I’ve adjusted to the water temperature so that the wet just feels like heavy air on my extremities. Up ahead there’s the larger bridge where the road through town passes. Last time I was here, boys were jumping off it but now with the lower water levels they aren’t taking any chances, at least not at this moment. A few other tubers wallow in back eddies, drinking beers, but I continue to press on, moving through the big wide pool, passing the floating garbage buckets which always make me smile for some reason. It takes a while but eventually the first of the rapids appears. I spin the tube around and face this obstacle head on. I draw a bead on what seems to be the deepest part of the current and squeeze past a few rounded boulders that don’t quite break the surface. The riffle of the waves sends splashes of water up and onto me as I speed my way around this bend in the river. Now the houses thin out, and more trees bring more birds to listen to and observe. The ravens are noisy today, as are the Stellar Jays. Dragonflies encrusted with turquoise and sapphire dart across the surface, at times seeming to draft along in my wake. More rapids up ahead grab my attention and I hustle to move into a better position. Stroke, stroke and whoosh, down I go through the sluice box of river rocks into the next pool. From here it’s easy to see the mountains that line the valley. I notice the cutblocks logged decades ago and the new growth coming in. Along the top ridges, a few clearcuts register, spilling over from the next valley where Mother Nature is as bare as you’d expect after a visit to a Brazilian wax parlour. Bald isn’t sexy I think, and spend a few minutes ruminating on our obsession with skin and hair, while I splash and kick with my feet which are wearing ridiculous looking but practical foot gloves in place of the watershoes I once used. I enjoy the absence of music and talk and listen to the rhythm of the riverwater tumbling over the rocks, the birdcalls overhead and the hum of the crickets. Up ahead there are a few other tubers that I’m catching up with as they stretch out their time here. I know I can always come back and besides, I need to travel another half hour at least from the usual pullout spot at Little Beach. Now there are another set of rapids to contend with and I follow the general advice to stay left, managing to avoid either getting tipped out, or even worse, puncturing this vulnerable craft. For a second I remember coracles and other lifetimes as I continue my hedonistic drift downstream. I use my feet to kick off from a boulder that looms up in the green water and continue down through towering hallways of hemlocks and firs, bigleaf maples and cedars. The green spikes of golden irises line the side of the river. In some places the banks have given way and tipped themselves into the river, along with the burden of whatever trees were reaching up to the sky overhead. Now they have been turned into weapons, sweepers that threaten to scuttle me or stab me below the surface. This section of the river requires concentration, as I’ve learned on previous trips, and I paddle and plan, selecting each angle I take with care. I think about Manjeet and Janice’s friendship and the times I’ve spent here on the river with them, and feel a bittersweet tug as I remember the impending sale of their house. The river pulls me along, past the splash of a river otter sliding off the bank across from me. Another swimming hole appears, where supple children swim unfettered by concrete edges and lane markers, desultorily watched by dozing parents. A dog barks as I drift by. More rapids and I read the river carefully, looking for telltale markers that help me get by the rocks. The tube splashes down the river as I navigate, using my hands to manoeuvre past the stony obstacles. I thank the creator for the absence of other dangers; there are no crocodiles, alligators or caymans here, the fish are innocuous and even the snakes aren’t poisonous. Of course, on shore it’s another matter, what with the bears, cougars, elk and deer all of which have their own risks for humans. The sun is fading into the west and the shadows spill across the river. Trees tilt at impossible angles out from the shore, leaning like it’s getting close to last call. Hold on, I think as I slide by, don’t let the weight of that butterfly tip the scale today. Up ahead, Little Beach comes into view, with its long, deep swimming hole dotted with kids swimming and jumping with the eternal enthusiasm of innocence. I continue past the pullout, while some folks look at me askance, as if to say, “that way lies monsters”. The most immediate of which is the shallow river, causing me to develop a crablike hop and lift technique until I’m able to float freely. From here I am much more alone, as the houses become less frequent and the birds more so. Eagles are soaring overhead, woodpeckers are tapping into stumps for meals of insects and just a few feet off the water a heron cruises upstream. I hear the rumble of the next drop in elevation before I see it and manage to luck out on the path I choose, slipping as easily between the rocks as I did when the river was a foot higher. I float along, finding peace and tranquillity. The river washes and absolves, cleansing my worries and leaving me with love and gratitude as I pass the boathouse turned artist’s studio, not too far upstream from my friends’ place. Now it’s my turn to go slow, letting the river drag me along, until up ahead I see the familiar landmarks of my destination. As I leave the river, I pause, sending a prayer downstream with each drop I shake off. Later, I’ll drive home over the infamous Malahat Highway but for now I look out at the river, listen to the sound of creation and give thanks for this day.

 

 

David Trudel     ©   2014

 

 

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fragment

that fall from grace a mere trip

a glide into unfixed morality

quantummed checkerboard deserts

where rivers dribble

past thirsty farms

here where rain and wind

are corralled and fenced

traded and brokered

fragmented beyond limits

to where guilt

is weightless enough to be free

no charge for sighs

those breaths expelled

gracelessly

 

 

David Trudel         © 2014

 

 

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worries

3:00 in the morning

 

alone in silence

it’s dark

 

I wake to worries

worries about myself and what I’m doing

and not doing

 

worries about those I love

and what’s happening to them

 

worries about those I know

but not well enough to love

and their troubles

 

in the dark it’s easy to worry

 

each small concern

unavoidable as a 3:00 a.m. heartbeat

 

it’s easy to worry in the small hours

thinking how big the problems are

how powerless I am

 

at 3:30

the dark deepens

now it’s worries about the wars

the earth

the rivers of blood

ignorant hatred

while I’m bothered by my lack of sleep

 

so at 3:45 I worry about selfishness

how my first world problems

are inconsequential but persistent as mosquitoes

 

I’m feeling guilty about worrying needlessly

but I can’t sleep

the silence is too loud

loud enough to drown out my heart

 

loud enough to echo in the dark

 

in the dark

where I lie awake

full of worries

about all the disappointed yesterdays

and fears about hopeless tomorrows

 

 

4:00 in the morning arrives full monty

in my face

as unavoidable as the seagull shit

splattered on the oversized bronze statue

of a long forgotten fool

who slept through his worries

until they called him hero

 

staring at nothing

it’s dark and quiet

at 4:15

 

my heart races itself in circles

until time doesn’t matter

 

all that’s left is everything that isn’t right

and that’s enough for one night

 

 

David Trudel   ©   2014

 

 

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