Bette had a way of dancing
when she got into rye.
She’d start up in the middle of the cabin
all by herself, feel the beat
move to Lenny Welch
the spinning of the forty-five,
Since I Fell For You.
She’d sway, hold her hand
a little high and to the side
like Auntie Mame
without a cigarette,
invite us all to dance
coax us to our feet, picked me
the shy one, dragged me up,
moved me about the floor
where in a swollen beat of time
I lost all inhibitions, felt the music
take me out of the prison I was in.
Then Malaquena, its haunting Andalusian
notes twisted the room into distorted shapes
where I could conquer windmills,
fight dragons, fall in love with Dulcinea
with every pure plucked string.
Do you know how beautiful you are,
neck curved into a prow to push water?
You lean your folded wings into the wind,
steer by weigh-shift on a ripple,
own this pond, terrorize mallards, widgeons,
fight for every inch of earth with wild geese,
your long clipped-wing dash to chase them
up the field until they take flight,
circle back behind you,
to land upon the water.
At night I hear,
alone among the reeds
your mournful call.
Seems I’m collecting dead people’s clocks.
They’ve run out of time. This is the first.
I waited, John, for you to show up
on the bus to Mt. Tremblant
where we roomed together for almost twenty years,
trained together, a tidy pair of skiers,
ate breakfast before first run,
dinners with friends, and scoping bars at night,
but you just didn’t show. You lay there in
the morgue a pile of crushed bones
identified twenty years younger than you were,
a John Doe, not my John
who leapt the Bloor Viaduct and left this clock,
the one I can’t resuscitate.
lives in Nanoose Bay, on Vancouver Island. He is the founder and
Ascent Aspirations Magazine,
since 1997. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in over 65
journals including Three Candles, Regina Weese, Ardent, Quills and
Ygdrasil. Last year David Fraser was included in Rocksalt,
a new Anthology of Contemporary BC Poets launched in the fall of
2008. He has published a collection of his poetry, Going to
the Well (2004), a collection of short fiction, The Dark
Side of the Billboard (2006 ) and edited and published the
seven print issues of Ascent Aspirations Magazine
second collection of poetry, Running Down the Wind appeared
in 2007 David is currently the Federation of BC Writers Regional
Director for The Islands Region. His latest passion is developing
Nanaimo’s newest spoken word series, WordStorm,
Recently David has been chosen to participate in the nation-wide
poetry reading event, Random Acts of Poetry
in October 2009.
David Fraser has a BA in English from University of Toronto, and a
M.Ed. in adult education from OISE. In Ontario he taught English,
Creative Writing Writer’s Craft among other subjects at the
secondary school level for 30 years. Currently he is a full time
writer who also teaches skiing at Mt Washington in the winter.