V. C. KAELIN, Poems

The Secret Space of Fabric | Every Garden an Eden | Earful (Narrative and Dramatic Poems)


Earful (Narratives and Dramatic Poems)



Sloping Sensorineural Loss



In the Cartesian field of aural life
where “Y” is volume, “X” is pitch,
you can assume the banana smile
of human speech spreading through
a web of sound, unless -
nine days were you alive by means
of antibiotic drip, as meningitis gnawed
away the delicate nerves of pitch.

Then just beyond your crooked grin
mysteries escape within
the soundless cochlea:
a lone cricket with frantic, signing legs;
a bird that warbles in the breastbone of your cagey ribs;
the ultimate violin strain disappears too soon;
a blizzard of drunken flirts sipping
the declamations of an open mic
while punkish pool players bump-clack
away and hoot.

For this wistful arborphile, for whom
insufficient tree odes are said, let me relate
the unrequited missive of my fate:

[And by the way, for this,
no beige contraption is capable yet
of clearing out the rustling mess
or knocking away an ESL’s mistaken shoulder chip.]


Sight of Sound

Staring so at trees for half a century,
seeing their surfaces stir,
only in the highest shuffling of a coming storm
would I have guessed these
had been gossiping among themselves
all along.


The Ears

.. aring  .o  a.  .ree.  .or  .al.  a  .en.ury,
. eeing  ..eir  .ur.a.e.  ..ir,
only in  ..e  .ighe..  ..u..ling  o.  a  coming  ..orm
would  I  .ave  gue..ed  ..e.e
.ad  been  go..iping  among  ..em.elv..
all along.


The Trees

St.....  s.  .t  t...s  f..  h..f  .  c..t...,
s.....  th...  s..f.c.s  st..,
....  ..  th.  h....st  sh.ff....  .f  .  ......  st...
.....  .  h...  ...ss..  th.s.
h..  ....  ..ss.....  .....  th..s....s
... .....


Reprinted, with slight revision from:
Earful: Narrative and Dramatic Poems. Toronto: Polyglot Press and Promotions, 2003, 11-12.




The Cat Man


Unconcerned, a jumbled pride of cats preened
in the dusty store front amidst a frightful fracas
of upturned mattresses, rusted metal, and
unmemorable rubbish.

It was impossible to pass by without
silently emitting the double cry of life:
Horror and Tenderness,
a cold ripple creeping beneath the skin.

The Queen East neighbours must have complained:
A disciplined but crinkled script taped behind the door pane
explained that the invisible occupant, he,
dutifully fed and vaccinated his rescued charges.

One day,
men in zippered, white paper overalls,
wearing masks, arrived.

Some people had known him before his
wife had left: He had had a refined profession.

Having no food,
the feline wards became resourceful…
Poor architect, good to his word,
fed them to the last.


Reprinted from:
Earful: Narrative and Dramatic Poems. Toronto: Polyglot Press and Promotions, 2003, 15.






I wonder what the fuss is all about,
what phobias do prey upon the heart,
when straight or bent, the pointing fingers shout,
which way you want to blow, you queerish tart?

She’s known since she was born, the dyke avows.
(Her certitude’s betraying clear mistrust);
While the dame, with her shining knight endowed,
might just have missed the Ms. with whom she must.

What if the loves that have gone by and too
the loves yet to be qualified, belie
the single choice the Present thinks is true,
when all your lives do one life make, I sigh.

Relax! Be happy for the friendly spasm
that kindly knits the soul’s unhappy chasm.


Reprinted from:
Earful: Narrative and Dramatic Poems. Toronto: Polyglot Press and Promotions, 2003, 25.


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To Cite this Work

CMS Valérie C. Kaelin Website; “Poetry: Poetry Bio and CV” ;December 13, 2012. Accessed Month, Day, Year.http://www.valeriekaelin.com.

MLA Kaelin, Valérie C. Poetry: Poetry Bio and CV. Toronto, 13 Dec. 2012. Web. Add Day, Abbreviation for Month, Year.