Friday, January 29, 2021

Five Poems, by David Martin


This tree,

a furious machine,
spewing blossoms about
its face. And fruit, obscene,
demeans birds who pick out
with rancid shouts
the limits they can glean. 

Root splines overrule
the soil’s fallow pact,
and thylakoids in leaves
deceive light, extract
photons and stack
up throbbing molecules. 

Though engine appears
to sleep, its pore-exhaust
will soak into our night.
Upright, bole burns frost
so no fuel’s lost
in deciduous gears. 

Profit of breath is mine.
My greedy instrument
consumes as its bond
beyond what it can vent,
and never content
with either air or time.




My crank radio wound to its utmost, I ease
into the smoke-lacquered cab to oversee
a construction site through its night scree.
Static cranes, stark girders — it’s these
I guard by flashlight, flip phone, brass keys.
After final newsbreak, fade-in with spooky
intervals, and this episode’s keen guest: he
solders words into a fine wire breeze,
segues from stone age to neutrino quarks.
Remote viewing. Ghost ledgers. And Ouija
credos. Wrap up with Earth’s ballooning core.
I haven’t slept in dark for years, but my work
of sitting watch from dead hours to sun debris
allows airwaves to mute my brain’s bed roar. 



All-Ages Show, 1999


Slam-dance riot; stropped elbows seek the jaw.
The Neckers squall in Carpenters’ Union Hall.
Teen punks pissed in alleys, our hair like saws.
Slam-dance riot: stropped elbows greet the jaw.
To practice or sign to a label’s against the law.
Set’s done when your drummer begs for a brawl.
Slam-dance riot. Stropped elbow quits my jaw.
King Rats spew at the Carpenters’ Union Hall.


A Frame 

            for Ron Martin

They say the first time you do it is a mess.
Five-hole, they’re right. I pounded with a crew
those studs that will abide just south of true.
Joists, sills, headers of our frame under stress
of inexperience erected an edifice you’d guess
hung by drunkards, addicts, those with screws
well past loose. Again, on the nail. We blew 

cigarette crows from nostrils, stooped to bless
bungalow sprouting at edge of endlessness,
and saw its future, owned by the likes of you,
gratefully guileless of novice hands that glue
boards just enough to turn backs on success,
then head home, blotting tissue with alcohol,
and shrewd enough to never look inside a wall. 



Carrots, pasta,
grapes, and water. 

Lego, Minecraft,
Harry Potter. 

Bicker, settle,

Giggle, gloating,
grudges, grieving. 

Freckles, iris,
blood type, skin tone. 

Carefree, anxious,

Mirrors, puzzles,
son and daughter. 

Carrots, pasta,
peas, and water.



David Martin works as a literacy instructor in Calgary and as an organizer for the Single Onion Poetry Series. His first collection, Tar Swan (NeWest Press, 2018), was a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award and the City of Calgary W. O. Mitchell Book Prize. David’s work has been awarded the CBC Poetry Prize, shortlisted for the Vallum Award for Poetry and PRISM international’s poetry contest, and has appeared in numerous journals across Canada.



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