Getting ready for the onslaught!

I am Andy, a Toronto-based writer and lawyer, getting ready for my second PM. I completed the half last year and found the first few hours fun and invigorating. The last half of the half-marathon was a slog. But at the end of it I was pleased with what I had accomplished. Speed writing (getting something down, working hard under a time limit to revise it) is a worthwhile endeavor because it forces us to draw on the creative concentration we all need to refine our craft. Looking forward to jumping in with all of you. Good luck!

Hour Twelve: Celebration Supper

If I could pick nine dinner dates
to form join a table set for ten,
I might know where I’d start my search
but I don’t know where I’d end.

The first five choices would come quick
and if they would just agree to read
my writing, good and bad, then I would
flatter them by naming them aloud.

Number six would from my community
who shines her beacon bright,
whose soul selflessly sings ‘Zimmer Frei’
every hour of day and night.

Seven would be—I’d want him back—
my dear departed Dad. Give eight to Mom,
though I had more time with her,
cause without her he won’t come.

Nine, the last, the final spot: I’m torn;
I may have no choice choice.
I may just leave it empty and see
who needs to share their voice.

Hour Ten: Heartbreak Hill

I wrote all of these poems
without wifi,
without the internet,
with nothing but a single bar of data
on an outdated mobile phone
and a folding keyboard
that wants to do nothing more
than capitalize letters at the

start of lines. The thing
doesn’t even have
a delete key.
Deletions have to be
tediously erased with the backspace key.
Even the bloody dog knows
that the backspace key
can function as a delete key,

but he is pissed off,
and I don’t blame him,
because I have not
walked him nearly enough today.
He is of no help.
The same is true of my intellect,
straining to find words
and form them at this hour.

Hour Nine: Yielding

They say of many things—statistics,
prisoners, friends, the truth—if you
torture them enough, they will yield.

Not me. I was the first to tell you I loved you,
long before you said the same to me—
long before you were I sure. Before I was.

I was the first, in a cruel twist of traditional
to say ‘I do.’ You said it too, and I know your
arm wasn’t twisted up behind your back.

You were holding my hand, yours in mine
and mine in yours, looking now as it did then,
except for the engagement ring that is not

the one I gave you, and except for the missing
golden band. Mine you took off. I won’t torture
myself by guessing when his will go on. I yield.

Hour Eight: The Light Held us in Silence

You sit there, the sun mounting
a late afternoon offensive—you
sitting stoically with your place
in the rank behind, what seems
now to you anyway, to be a dugout,
a trench, marking the place where he,
the family cornerstone—that’s what
you called him—has been laid to rest
after his final battle. This won’t be

your final battle. You sit in silence,
mind protected by dark glasses,
soul protected by the dark leather-
bound, gilt-edged bible, clutched
to your chest, that nobody, but you
and him, bothered to read anymore.
Still, they who have no higher claim,
want the precious book, as they
do the watch, the ring, the car,

the money, the house, the farm,
his throne, now yours. Hypocrites, they
praise the sunlight: “God, sent his angels
to carry him home.” You know this to be a
a sign of the devil, scorching the earth
to make sure he is dead and gone. He
is gone, leaving you to hold the hand
of the women sitting beside you who
in another time knew and loved you.

Hour Seven: Time Heals?

     T I M E
              A L L


I mean, if you
have to work
that hard
to say it,
it ain’t so.
I cast my


Hour six: the writer’s life

The book of short stories sat opened
on a page of endless dialogue,
the author having chosen
to portray his characters
through spoken word
and not by action or deed.

The book of short stories sat opened
while the reader, tired
of absorbing dialogue, chose
to take a break to write
a scene for himself,
A curious action indeed.

As in Michel Tremblay’s “Belles-Soeurs,”
he wanted an act in which
the actors spoke freely.
But unlike “Hills LIke White Elephants”
he had not one ounce of
Hemingway’s skill.

The book of short stories sat opened
on the table beside the bottle
of scotch and the carton
of smokes next to the paper
on which twas written
“Writing bloody kills.”

Hour five: Lucy

It came Six months short
Of when the vet said she’d live
sixteen year old Lucy
fell down fourteen stairs.

The fall brought to a close
what had been months of despair.
“Don’t let her jump!”
“Carry her, please, to her chair.”

Gone was the worry, now,
just like the bear
that she chastened away,
without worry or care

Or the fisher rebuked,
the red fox in its den,
the legion of deer,
who won’t tempt her again.

Don’t cry for Lucy.
She had the best life.
The best life of any dog.
Of any of us, a life.

Hour Four: Greatest of all Time

We’ve never bought a goat,
at least not for us.
We did buy a goat, once,
or maybe twice or thrice,
as part of a holiday
donation, although we
neither met the goat
nor the family for whom
it was bought.

We bought a family of goats
once, three small wooden
mountain goats, lovingly
made by time-worn hands
in a pristine alpine village,
far from our home and
far from the family
for whom we the goat
we never met brings joy.

We need more goats.

We need to be with
the goats.