Dangling on a Hook‎ > ‎Poetry‎ > ‎

Time to Start Thinking


How do you keep despair 

Way in the back?

You shut off your mind

You shut off your mind

Here are the devices you can use to

Shut off your mind






Nordic Ancestors, Crows, Fate & Perfection

It’s a linear thing
A line from here to there but
Slipped into a neat little box
All tied up with the big bright red ribbon of
It just don’t look the same

My brother brought home a baby crow
Found at the bottom of an old tree
That baby crow, he’d been pushed from the nest
Henry we called him
Lived with us for a time

Henry used to sit on our old black wall mounted telephone
Hunched over, feet clutching the receiver
Wings stretched up and out of the way
He’d squawk and crow and flap and carry on
Whenever the telephone rang
Harbinger of news coming

Northern cultures, crows and ravens
Doves and wasteland elsewhere
Handed down “step stones” to survival
Rain and floods
Pestilence and weakness
Brave new worlds

Another time I sat out in a back porch
Folded into a window sill
Smoking cigarettes
Watching the darkening sky
Evening after too many evening
My babies fast and asleep in the rooms behind me

Eyes wide
Fearful and afraid I watched
Huge flocks of crows
Black secrets
Blotting out my “vision”
Dragging me to fate
Whirling and diving and flocking in the air
Eating at my heart like birds will
One peck at a time

I tucked my babies around me as best I could
And ran away

Cruising across Georgia Straight
Half expecting to see a mushroom cloud
Rising above the ruins behind me
But instead I encountered
Two crows on a beach
One nagging the other
Cawing and beaking its companion

“You call this a vacation!
You promised to take me to some place nice!
Look where we are!

The companion crow stiffly walks away
It’s “partner” two stepping close behind

“All year I work so hard making a good home for you and this is my reward!
Dried up seaweed and sand!”

The companion crow turns and stares hard at the nagger.

“Just once I’d like to go some place nice!
Just once!”

The companion crow turns and goose steps away.

“Listen to me when I’m talking at you!
Can you hear me?
What am I going to tell my friends? “

The companion crow, not a glance behind, lifts black wings of redemption
And flies away

And then I came back.
Walking around the corner from “the hard”
Headed down towards the big dock
Slammed in the face with a genuine reality vision
“Oh no!”

Hundreds of crows
Crows on the road
Crows on the railings
Crows on the office window sill
Crows on the overhead fence
Crows on the dumpsters and the recycling containers
Crows flying overhead
Crows meandering in front of me
Crows chatting with each other
Crows laughing at me

“I’m just a tad uncomfortable about this”
I understated to my companion as we waded through the crows
Lazily lifting themselves out of our way.

Is it Art?
Nod your head
Pontificate the appropriate
But don’t forget

Henry, the crow my family cared for when I was a child
Was sitting out on our white picket fence one day
Minding his very own business
Watching the world with his beady little crow eyes
And the “Garbage Man” (we called them that then)
Came down our street
Scooped Henry off the fence and straight into a can
Slammed the lid down and then open it again
To throw Henry in the back of the truck and
Hit the compactor button

Pieces of stories
Cut up and put down into a
Jig saw puzzle of order
An illusion
A fantasy
Twisted to fit
Ordered to perfection

I Live on the Water

If It Dries up for Me

It's Bad for Everybody

Riding on The Wind

Cranes soar, floating, tipping and turning, rising and bending on the warm roller coaster winds. Steady as She Goes. Second or third maybe growth forest on the port side. Charcoal rocky beaches covered with temporarily forgotten logs. Patches of green scratchy growth drenched in misty rain and low hanging clouds. Rainforest primeval seclusion. 

Flick a Switch

Dr. Hook plays on a machine. Gawd bless the 21st Century! I don't know where it's leading to, but I know I can make it if I can lean on you…

Out the Window

Starboard reveals BC Ferries looming in the mist. Sharp edged fog and rumbling water taxis cut through our wake. 

Watch Out!

Grumbles from the Captain. Something about too many old crab traps. Down in the stern Faith, her feet on the back of the settee, pretends to read a book. Hair in a high tight ponytail, runners on the upholstery, small brewing frown on her face. 


Awesome majesty surrounds. Ask the Birds! Seagulls and loons and crows and eagles and geese and ducks and swans and flitters chorus and solo, praise and complain. Dowager's engine rumbles on and the water goes "Poosht" as her bow bucks into the next wave. 

Flick Flick Flick

Ripley the Wonder Dog vigilantly patrols. Wheelhouse to salon. Salon to wheelhouse. Wheelhouse to salon.

"Lay down!"


Killer Whales salute nonchalantly in passing. Dolphins show off frolicking in Dowager's wake. Sammy Seal peeks. Fishies. Don't forget All The Fishies that Swim in the Deep Blue Sea.

Hold On!

Caught in a storm! We're all a little afraid. We've been listening to the radio telling us that some other people are "caught in trouble". Bump! Ker-lunk. Maybe we're in trouble too? "Don't talk. Just do. Do it now!"

On the Hook

The water binds us or separates us. Barriers normally erected, stable and true, fade and distort. Concrete images are worn away. Requirements become ruthlessly simple.

Shiny bright materialities are simply covered

Then turned back into
What They

All Ways

Were Intended To Be


For All the Fishies in the Deep Blue Sea


You and Me 


My Name Is

I went to The Psychiatrist and he told me
"You've got poor self-esteem Sheba."

I went to The Psychiatrist and he told me
"You're too controlling Shirley."

I went to The Psychiatrist and he told me
"You're sad Sally".

I went to The Psychiatrist and he told me
"I won't lend you any money Sandra".

I started to get pissed off

I went to The Psychiatrist and he told me
"You can't escape your fate Shelby."

I stopped going to the psychiatrist.

It is Unwise

It’s unwise to discount the wants and desires of youth
Their rage is pure
Unclouded by accumulated power and perspective
Youth longs for freedom

Not the spurious freedom adulterated through control over others
But freedom

I once overheard two women in conversation
Locked inside my cubicle at a “ladies” public wash room

“What do you think happened with her?”,
asked the first
“Bondage experiment gone bad”,
was the instant reply.
Then they laughed.


It is vitally important

That we remember




A Deck of Cards

Money and Time, Finance and Physics

Once upon a time I was responsible
For the droughts in Africa
Then I cried for two years
And brought the droughts

Once upon a time I nightmared
Of being a sole survivor
Screamed out against a charted fate
And then I got over it
For awhile

Once upon a time I saw a future
Too far ahead
Despaired at the facts
And then I stopped

Once upon a time I believed I was merely a mirror
A reflection of the people and conditions that surrounded me
Alice in Wonderland buffeted and distorted
By all the scenes and characters
In her life
And then I died

Code Words

Nc pn tm y knw Dth

Rght frm th bgnnng whn y nd Dth frst mt

Dth ddn't lk y

N rsn

Jst nstnct

O wll

Bng yng nd wntng t b lkd

Y trd t cgn Dth's mnd

Wst f tm

Wst f tm

Cn't fght nstnct

O wll gn

Y vntlly hd t rn

Dth's dsr