by Joseph A. Dandurand

I did not gather

we are all here for the
same reason or another
and the breaths we take in
and out and in and out
give us the time to
experience all that life
has given us and we
never question our place here
and I am like that in some way
as I guide my people
away from despair.

we are all the same and our
hearts beat for decades and
decades and we grow old and
slow a bit and eat very little
and we do not become great
beings of strength and wisdom
but we become the lost shells
on the beach of eternity.

we are all alone on a planet
filled with lost and forgotten
people who may live to
starve to death and they may
live to die in a fire set by a
madman but we move on
and we breathe the poisonous
air into the unattractive one
thousandth day of our lives.

we are all sinners
of one religion or another
and if I could find my angel
I would make love to her
and we would have children
who would drown in the
lust of all the other evil
men who wander this earth
and only appear when they
are caught in the
spider’s web.

we are all told at birth
that one day you will
vanish and I did not
gather that idea of
living forever and so
I find myself being reborn
and reborn and reincarnated
as a simple man with four walls
and a doorway and one window
overlooking the rising river of
my love for all that
in and out
and in

At night I am broken again

I have tried and failed
at taking my own life and the
first time I ran out into
oncoming traffic and I was
broken up and drunk and did
not realize that the girl I loved
did not even know who I was.

spent some time in a madhouse
and slept beside Jesus and he
woke me up one night and told
me to drink his blood and eat
the body of Christ and I did
because he was Jesus and you
do not deny Christ even when
he began to sing songs of glory.

I had a dream of driving my car
into oncoming traffic but my mind
could not trick my arms from pulling
the trigger so I drove
from coast to coast smoking
cigarettes and drinking whiskey.

I’ve slit my wrists but only
deep enough to draw blood
and I watch it drip to the ground
and form a puddle around my
bare feet and I began to dance
in a circle and beg forgiveness
as the sirens could be heard
in the distance racing to me
as I slowly bled.

I imagined hanging myself
in my smokehouse at the
back of my house but I could
never tie a proper knot
and I just stood there with
the rope around my neck
as the smell of smoked fish
covered me and I realized
that at night

Inspire the other

we left each other wondering
if there would ever be a tomorrow
and she told me that she loved
another man and I took it badly
and ended up unable to eat and drink
so I sat there and stared at the walls
and I wrote and I wrote bad poems
about the question of why did she
love another and how could she
love another.

as the pieces of me began
to come back together
I met a beauty from another
nation and she had a son and we
both devoured the other sensing
our losses and remembering our
past as we tore into love making
as if it would be the last time we
ever touched another human being
and in our wanton ways we were
able to put the last piece in place.

when I was on the road
I could search for women
who only wanted me
to take them and we would
play games and for awhile
I was rather good at taking them
to the place they needed to get to
and we would both dive into
the sorrow and the lust of one
another and I walked away
and out the door and down the road
I could hear her whisper to her
lover that there would never be
another to take his place.

centuries later I got a call
from her and she said she
missed me and said I was
always on her mind and I lied
and told her the same but I could
not tell her the truth that the
man she knew so long ago
died in a flame of destruction
and all that was left was the
need to inspire the other and she
hung up the phone and forgot all
about me and even though I had
glimpses of love I walked out
the door and down the road
as the day opened up
to the new love and passions
as the

I see the great cities

in the depth of the streets
there are creatures who
come out at night and they
seek to take the will away
from those dreads who sleep
on the ground with only
one blanket to cover
their lives.

the day begins and the
lovely people come out
of their mouse holes and they
seek that tasty piece of cheese
and they scurry from here to
there and they make small
weeping sounds as the city
overcomes them and they
race to get back to their
mouse holes and they dine
upon their rotten piece
of cheese.

the drunks open the bars
on the eastside of this
floating city with buildings
so tall they talk to God
on a daily basis and the drunks
sip cold watered-down beer and
the clinking of their glasses
creates a symphony of the
heavens and the gospel like
chorus of heroin addicts bring
the whole show to its
ultimate climax.
a child walks from corner
to corner asking if anyone
has seen her mother but the
people deny ever knowing her
and the child walks on into
the night and goes to every corner
of this city and moves on as
she and I go to the great cities
and we walk on searching for
our mothers who have been
missing for far too long
and now the missing fall
to the heavens of another
too far to see
too far to walk to
as the

About the Author:

Joseph A. Dandurand is a member of Kwantlen First Nation located on the Fraser River about 20 minutes east of Vancouver. He resides there with his 3 children Danessa, Marlysse, and Jace. Joseph is the Director of the Kwantlen Cultural Center. Joseph received a Diploma in Performing Arts from Algonquin College and studied Theatre and Direction at the University of Ottawa. He recently published 2 books of poetry: I WANT by Leaf Press (2015) and HEAR AND FORETELL by BookLand Press (2015). His newest book of poems: The Rumour, will be published by BookLand Press in (2018) SH:LAM (the doctor) will be published by Mawenzi Press (2019)