A Weekend on Mars


This Moment In Time

Just when the crescent moon appeared.
When the ailanthus shivered.
When a heron shook its feathery crown
and the little wheel turned inside the big wheel.
While the palmist sighed, old and alone.
At this juncture. At this moment in time,
Winter putting on its walking boots,
Autumn reflecting on the iniquities of Man.
When the owl shrugged and field mice tittered
and all the beggars stood in unison, alive
to the instant, waves of fire crying the sun has risen.
The sun, churning the blues and gold of morning.
Where high angels are said to reside.
Just when the last star falls from its height.
The gambler and the drunk leaning back in their chairs
and there is no light to guide them.


The Learned Pig


Flaming Star

She loves me, she loves me not …
We continue in this manner long into the night,
stars falling like toppled tyrants, like the stock market.
Stars falling like money down a sewer grate.
Like trees in the Brazilian rainforest.
I seek to affirm a preexisting notion.
I act upon the urges of whimsy,
stars falling like crashing Chinese satellites.
Falling like Eve’s forbidden fruit.
Like stones hurled from the icy absolutes of darkness.


The Learned Pig



A weekend on Mars, a little getaway –
touring Biblis Tholus, Arsia Mons, Amazonis Mensae.
You and I putting away our troubles,
having travelled a million miles a minute,
our blue world behind, the red planet beckoning,
we two arriving unannounced and unattended,
little detail of our past addressing this tentative future,
when love will soar among the visible worlds,
Deimos nodding in time, Phobos winking naughtily,
new words like lingula and scopuli staining our lips,
and us dressing warm for Mars’ immaculate winter.
There, I’ll say, pointing out a star,
pointing out a scar on the Martian horizon.
This other day in another year,
two lovers will lift a glass and toast the human hour.
Explorers. Earthlings. Aliens.
A green sea sloshing in our blood-warmed veins.


The Learned Pig


Dark Beyond Dark

My reflection, my friend.
Constant companion.
Conjoined twin.
Dark-hearted dark-eyed one,
our long walks at noon,
your voice in the night
begging for light
like a child asking for water.
My second skin, my other self.
Silent philosopher,
trembling at the prospect
of evening approaching.
My better half, who tags along,
who guides me, a darling stalker.
We’re so close and yet
I’ve never named you.
When I pursue you
I’m the one pursued.
There’s not a question you ask
for which I have no answer.


The Learned Pig


Brass Nuts Off A Bridge

My parsimonious landlord,
I appeal to your better angels –
send up more heat!
We’re as cold as Hamlet’s
bitter business.
It’s colder than iron,
than Balzac’s icy crypt.
Winter has crept among us
and stolen our breaths
and you’ve a lock on the furnace.
We’re shaking in our skins
and you’re measuring coal
in teaspoons and scruples.
Our rent is paid in full
but you’re as cheap as dirt.
We’re burning furniture
and our old clothes,
the temperature dropping
like the glances of the shamed.
We’re told that Spring is coming,
if we should linger through Winter.
We’re warned that sinners burn
in the fires of their passion.


The Learned Pig


Header image is from a series of August Strindberg’s Celestographs, 1893-4, courtesy of the National Library of Sweden via Flickr.

This is part of RHYTHM, a section of The Learned Pig devoted to exploring rhythm as individual and collective, as poetic and biological, and the ways that rhythm dictates life. RHYTHM is conceived and edited by Rachel Goldblatt.

The Learned Pig

Bruce McRae

Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island BC, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with over 1,500 poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books are ‘The So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press); ‘An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy; (Cawing Crow Press) and ‘Like As If” (Pski’s Porch), Hearsay (The Poet’s Haven).