Poetry ~ Chad Norman
SURVIVAL: HERE I AM!
My foot in a favourite slipper
taps just above the carpet
installed years ago,
across the room filled
with the songs of Bad Co.
making me cry,
feel for the days I was 15.
Here I am back with Mystery
or am I moving ahead
holding its hand not knowing
a thing about the future,
standing nonetheless on "Only",
a place I was afraid of,
standing though, only, only, only...
Steps continue to be effective
one, still after, one, how to
be about survival, how
I will survive again, moving
still, an older man I want,
an older thought of who he is,
or, perhaps, an older me now ready
for the newness I know nothing about.
I see the bird feeder is being soiled.
I revere the birds unafraid of the storm.
Here I am,
asking for nothing,
with no hands brought to a prayer,
here I am
setting out to help the crows
who always have an answer first.
WHERE THE PATH IS MELTING
How quiet can a child be?
Please, please, bury me
with Hope Sandoval singing,
"In To Dust"
as the singer of Mazzy Star,
as the world becomes more bizarre.
How quiet can a man be?
Thank you, thank you, hear me
with only these words,
my words, no famous singer,
just me, saying these lines,
just the world ignoring the poet.
It is day now, so daylight talks,
in among all the voice of Winter
lodged where cold isn't a brute,
but when I recall that child
asking for so little when so little
I love how much I don't know,
I don't want to know.
Done with the branches' strengths
you come up the driveway
with perfect legs, playing yourself
through strings and power
left to a song you know I know.
The one left of where the pen sat, yes,
over in the drawer you protect
where the child & man have laughed
over and over because life gives,
of course, gives each one a bit
of daylight and darkness.
Something someone will find
out in the middle of a field
where snow drifts over old footprints.
The melting path of all planning
to leave homelands being bombed
or lied to, taken from their children
they believe Canada can help raise,
can help to get to the other side
where a piece of clear ground is found.
No snow, no wind, no opposition
to them simply hoping
to stand and not slip on
any wish to have them fall.
THE PROOF IS IN THE PUPPETEERS
for Michael M.
Beauty is also found
in the arrival of darkness,
I watched as the clouds
became the new land
and dear, rainy Glasgow
disappeared beneath them,
it was then I remembered
my son, the one I don’t like
to call step-son, the one I
have heard say he loves me.
And that has been enough
throughout all the years we
managed to stay alive here
in a country where the news
given to the public in all ways
he now as a young man of 19
finds impossible to believe,
a young man alive in times
glutted with sources, sources he
will not trust, a young man I
sit and listen to, hearing his plight,
hearing him asking for honesty,
asking me to accept his pure mistrust,
or is it distrust, or is it being lost?
How many living-rooms are open
for his calm, for him to sit
and look at me, sitting in my
beliefs about all of it, all of
what I can say something about,
so he has more than my face
looking as searching as his.
Just the sofa and chair there
holding us for those moments
when we were able to share
not only opinions and vehemence
but all the easy-to-discern lies
we both were being fed, and
unfortunately paying for in order
for all of it to enter the room
where we sat briefly, a room we
grew up in, a room now filled
with a world we knew was better
than we heard, a world we knew
to be the one being lied about,
a room where my son was able to
reveal his feelings brought about
by a look in my eyes too, a look
so vital we felt life very close,
so close the talk faded into smiles.
Humour is also heard
in the departure of silence,
I smiled thinking of Wales
how much I had left there,
most of the world’s strife
and how I needed my wife,
the woman who gave me him
that far-away young man filled with
all what he deals with daily.
But the dismay right beside me,
the load I know we both carried
even though an ocean then
was between us, was more
than him and his young years,
a load I will try to take
from his shoulders, from his doubts
I do not wish to see there any longer.
A beauty and humour our lives
will go on with, our chats cannot
stop being chats, even though all
of the world we hear about isn’t
always the world where we try to live.
There are strings attached to them,
strings being agreeable in the hands
of the puppeteers, old, too old,
men dependent on the corporations
they have misled for the benefits,
for the lack of creative abilities
on how and when to make their
tugs, their pulls, on each string
to somehow mean goodness for those
they desire to swindle, and continue
to leave my son without a direction,
a quiet time where he could get
behind the removal of anything
I ever let set in my pointing eyes.
Hope is also found
in the whispers of the ones
our bodies and doubts have made.
The meaning of us,
of all of it, in a photo,
someone will find one soundless day,
one, perhaps, in the future when
the word people will always be
chosen before migrant, immigrant,
or even refugee.
MAKE-UP ARTIST FOR A NEIGHBOURHOOD STONE
During the invasion of a virus
throughout the smogless streets
I am thankful to use
my winter-gloved fingers
to gladly wipe away
a group of smaller stones
someone not so hopeful
chose to cover the larger stone
there on the healing earth
with a message saying,
painted on it in yellow
and left by some brilliant child,
a hand I wish I could shake
and hold onto until forever returns.
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.