Bruce McRae



Night falling in perpetuity.
Night an arch in half-remembered sleep,
the Earth’s lullaby stuttering.
Night, dream-laden, cool by nature,
the unseeable thought-provoking,
our armchair-poet hastily jotting it down.
Digression following digression . . .

I’m up unusually early. I’m up decidedly late,
solitude the ideal companion,
night a hymn for celestial choiring,
the jack-in-the-pulpits soundly undisturbed,
autumn entering, stage-left, from the wing
of a darkened theatre, the play’s cast busy resting,
night’s impresario swallowing his losses,
nocturnal show business a risk for investors,
its monologue, like our theme, meandering off-subject,
sentiment such a wasteful emotion,
much as vestigial tailbones or atavistic appendices.

Night, our slippery object at hand.
Cat-kingdom. Home of the flying mouse.
Where the old gods go when they tire.
The stomping-ground for witches and those hunted.
A respite for the blank pages between chapters.

Dress rehearsal for the end-times coming.


Next To Nothing

Among chattering pines and dunes altering.
Under the epochs and wind's reign.
Beside the stars shifting in their restless quarter.

Where I've inherited a grizzly's impatient snort,
more storms casually swinging by,
creation inventing its subtle fiction.

At the centre of a true circle.
Along the periphery of a mindful edge.
In the beginning, where things start to end.

Here are the ghosts juking in lamplight
to the song of the moon and dark's chorus.
And here I am, witness to the slaughter of time,

keeping still, following sleep's equivocal trail,
strung between patches of mist,
knitting fog into a thought obscured.

On the sun's dark side, so I'm easy to find.
Where stitches intersect and lines hatch.
Where two Xs cross each other out.

Here, in dreamtime, you just open your eyes,
straddling the flame of reason, details
a bit oblique in this cryptic mud-bath.

Here, or downtown, or near to the crematorium,
alongside the millstream, in a rustic hollow,
the green plum of the sky sweetening your tongue.

Aboard lenticular chanting and odes.
Hunched inside the mighty persimmon.
Swimming through the oceans of nod

to where mad Phobos peeks over a hill
and death's rumour goes a-wanting;
a place that's awash in sound, its bell ringing like hell.


My Last Poem

Done with cities, their labyrinthine daze
and overabundance, with seeing
through closed eyes in the clotted darkness.

Finished with mouths talking and dead languages,
with what must never be heard,
values dashed like an egg, hope a childish notion.

Done with workhouses, playhouses, the houses of love:
love a ship in dense fog on a starless voyage,
love a white tree or bear in the body's basement,
its face scratched, its shoulders hunched and reddening.

Done with the covenant between paper and pen,
with the skeletal dance, the moving circuitry of sugar and shores.
Done with running under the ground and dead heat of August,
the body anchored and timely sea come calling.

Done with my name and mind.
With the brute reasoning of consciousness,
the elation barely kept in check, in cold storage, as it were.

Returning to the beginning, but not starting again.


Bruce McRae

Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island BC, is a Pushcart nominee with over a thousand poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books are The So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press), An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy (Cawing Crow Press) and Like As If (Pskis Porch).