BANDAID ON THE SIDEWALK
One day how
the future may sound
could be echoes
of children’s footsteps
overtaking the ears
on my oversized head–
remember, it is actually spring
when the ditches begin to sing.
Isn’t it timely how
the sun lights up
all the white hairs
on a black sweater.
One day the
sidewalk looks wounded
all the leaves
dead in pools of rain
fallen weeks back
without a season I crave,
my feet need, covered up by
perhaps, the numerous injuries
left unseen like Nature’s worries?
A cover up
maybe, but doubtful
as I am growing certain the “we”
has grown more
aware for some reason–
I guess I just want
to believe in you,
all of those who are children.
I have decided to
not peel it back–
the wounds of the world.
Strangely the students
play recorders outside,
songs drift through
then I can’t decide
when such sounds
I don’t know at the moment
but quickly I hear
to peel off the bandaid,
peel it off,
dares posed by
those who’ll take over,
those who can never hear what I do,
voices saying we will help others
coming to Canada for safer lives,
but we placed that bandaid there
on purpose, to help our future, to
find those who know about Inclusion.
I want to peel it off the sidewalk.
I want to take it off the world.
I won’t be the one man scared of wounds.
When will we evolve?
To be, simply, loving?
Who gives their essence to skin?
Are we so limited when colour must be sullied?
Remember, children have put a bandaid
on the sidewalk where I was stopped,
where I’d never believe hatred
is, could, or will ever be a fashion.
DECLARATION FOR THE BANISHED
May they come,
come in numbers.
May they be safe
no matter the plight,
no matter the chosen route.
Our economy needs them.
Our hospitals need them.
Our schools need them.
Our cities need them.
Our towns need them.
Our children need them.
Our fears need them.
I have no problem
from any other country
coming to Canada
to exhibit the cost of
wanting to remain
a human being,
being allowed a
new chance to be alive.
There, I said it.
I SPEAK AGAINST YOU
Even though you may be like me
I speak against you,
you who speak against them
saying they are taking “our” jobs,
saying they are stealing gov’t funds,
saying what I hear as exclusion.
Even though you are not like me
I speak against you,
you who speak from what I hear
as ignorance, as intolerance, as
what sounds as if you’re a racist,
but I don’t believe all that
feeling strongly you are better
than all that–after all I am sure
you live a life open to helping others.
Yes, helping, not adding to their
plight almost hard to understand.
Yes, being available, feeling something
about the humanity in yourself.
I expect better from the Canadian
you expect others to admire.
Even though you maybe like me
you are not in any way that,
you are like those I watch close
and listen to the reluctance
coming out from your mouth,
words, even though they hurt
and exclude, are of the lost,
are hardly what this country needs.
Change is a word too.
One which hasn’t been
sucked dry, hasn’t been
taken off somewhere, far away
from its unchangeable definition.
THE BROKEN GARDEN
Never mind the nightly or morning news
it isn’t worth watching, or wasting
the time you call your life, to be
in front of the screen you pay too much for,
and finally say, “I have had enough of
Eden being a garden I am to tend,
Adam being some guy I must admire,
Eve being a leader of women somewhere,
and that poor innocent tree
with one branch some serpent chose.”
I’ll say it again, ” I have had enough of
being called a sinner for the Cross,
for a Christ they have all wrong,
not a man I choose to see their way,
and all the Commandments used to
hold us back, keeping our humanness
from a fuller evolvement, letting minds
get beyond a book God had to self-publish,
had to rely on us to try to get through
without going to the mirror for a search,
a search of a face ready for some love.
Perhaps, I’ll say it again, “I’ve had enough
of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and
the lot of you, saying this is a freedom,
what some of you may want to say
and may believe to say it is going
to provide a free pass to that place
supposedly under us known as Hell,
but, please, say it anyway, “I’ve had
enough of…”, finally knowing to follow
all of those misadventures is a rip-off
devised and sent to leave you one thing,
the inability to hold out both hands
and help them from the many vessels
they had to board in order to sit
for the hours hope held them within,
hours either upon a sea, or looking
at clouds constantly forming shapes
pointing at this country, our country,
and what you know to be a safe landing.
Regardless of all the heaven stuff
my worries have nothing to do with it,
as a member of the broken garden
if I ever go anywhere after my flesh is done
I ask it is a real place, one where
we all sit and hold hands screaming
a prayer to explode the War Machine.
THE PEOPLE ARE WAVES
To be on one side of the window
is my gift at the moment
you see I paid for this
days away from the grind,
and by grind I mean
one thing for now, one thing
I know better than many,
one thing able to make me
feel the coolness of a wall
against my more-than-able back.
I have a job, too many don’t.
I have an income, too many don’t.
I have a home, too many don’t.
I have a full fridge, too many don’t.
I have a warm bed, too many don’t.
To be able to open a cupboard door
and stand stopped by indecision,
to be able to sit & hear the cat purr
and enjoy a doc on Bobby Kennedy,
and finally know it takes Time
to present it, the gift called Duration,
the gift given to History, and it is
then Time’s duration finally becomes
History, how the waves of People roll in,
and roll on back out, to only roll
on back in, the waves of People
I am watching, riding the waves they
find their lives atop, their lives somehow
riding a lack of food, riding a
lack of a job, riding a lack of an income,
riding a lack of a full fridge,
riding a lack of a warm bed,
to open the cupboard and find
themselves stopped by indecision.
And now, right now, this very moment,
to be on the other side of the window
and have that my gift
what I also paid for, to be
part of another form of grind,
one which leaves a man standing
outside a liquor store,
dressed head-to-toe in camo
unable to shake with what was
his good hand, a hand
I sadly, yet gladly, place a fiver in.
Chad Norman, Truro, NS, Canada
His poems have appeared for the past 35 years in literary publications across Canada, as well as a number of other countries around the world.
He hosts and organizes RiverWords: Poetry & Music Festival each year in Truro, NS., held at Riverfront Park, the 2nd Saturday of each July.
In October 2016 he was invited by the Nordic Assn. for Canadian Studies to give talks on Canadian Poetry and read from his books at Borupgaard Gym in Copenhagen, and Risskov Gym in Aarhus, as well as other readings in both cities and Malmo, Sweden. Because of that tour Norman has started the manuscript, Counting Coins In Denmark And Sweden.
His most recent books are Selected & New Poems, from Mosaic Press, and Waking Up On The Wrong Side of The Sky, from Grant Block Press, and a new book, Squall: Poems In The Voice Of Mary Shelley, is due out Spring 2020, from Guernica Editions. Recently, he completed the manuscript, The Black Rum Poems, and presently works on a new manuscript, A Small Matter of Inclusion.
In October of 2017 he read at various Eastern Canada venues in Kingston, Ottawa, and Montreal. And in the Fall of 2018 Norman gave a speaking/reading tour of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, as a celebration of literacy and Canadian Poetry.
He is currently a member of the Federation of NS Writers and The League Of Canadian Poets.
His love of walks is endless.