Poet Commentaries

Under the Radar

Gray Painted Gold

Weak words in cliches
stride out of sync
with slap stick
trips and falls.

Butchered words;
the hide stripped
the blood drained
the meat criss crossed
on the grill.

Yanked metaphors
and blind potatoes
coated in the calf’s milk
churned, aged and soured.

Out of order courses.

Wobbly chairs.

Warning labels
on after dinner smokes,
the nutritional value
of head cheese
written in bar code.

Make a sentence,
a disjointed guest list
with no rhyme
or reason.
Just for fun
play with
seating arrangements.

Wrap the guests
in siblings and rivals
disguise peace
with loud words,
arguments about trump,
shoulder punches
and bear hugs.

Properly done
you can avoid
frozen foods
and can hide your poem
from Autorank

Michael Schepers



I remember hiding in closets,
it was half the fun and terror of life.
Squeezing an eye against the keyhole
and giving yourself up in laughter
at seeing how they never quite got you.
Waiting for the dark and angst to pass,
sensing that the light through the cracks
would always let you see just enough.

That’s why I’ve built closets for years
despite the recent open concept craze.
I love the fresh smell of cedar shavings
and working where whispers are too loud.
Here, space is just barely enough
and I always seem to bump
into some new part of myself.
Here the smell of old and forgotten
refreshes with an exhilarating breath of precious.

These are no small closets I am making.
Between my neighbours and acquaintances
there is a vast space where I build
solid doors and curtained alcoves;
never teasing handles or yanking pulls.
Occasionally fine covers slip, doors open
and a clamour of noise draws the gaze,
Seen briefly is the hoarders contents strewn
but I am a closeteer who knows aversion.

Hiders get the importance of what I make.
People who can see beyond the badges
and don’t knock loudly on doors that are closed.
They are susceptible to Stockholm Syndrome,
know not to snoop in stranger’s closets
and know just how long to keep their own open;
always aware of what closets can secrete.

Hiders have spools and spools of threads;
so colourful, silky and strong.
You see their supply sneak out
in pockets of intelligent conversation.
When caught they blush and confess
never having figured out to weave a badge
with all these wonderful colours,
fearful the mix will make black.

Closeteers know the conversation of content,
of how even after thirty years of marriage
there are baubles and beads that spill out.
It takes practice and years of training
to get over the ominous sound of a door click
as even partners run and hide from each other.
So endearing the muffled activity from within,
the sound of hangers sliding on a rod,
the hollow thump of a box taken off a shelf.

Wise girls closet behind hoodies at night.
They hide curves and walk like men
Doing their best to hide the badge of female.
They give out wrong phone numbers
and have the sense to make creepy cabbies
drop them one street and two doors down
from their real hiding place
They should not have to but they get
how to protect what is precious.

A home and a good community has space
between closed doors and drawn shades.
Necessary rooms where all is wide open,
porcelain closets that invite all one by one.
We flush with embarrassment at times,
dust bunnies under ragged couches,
and we can only hope our good neighbours
know the art of faux distraction,
of never quite seeing the mess of us.

Those loudly flinging the woe begotten,
who stick out a tongue discoloured,
boot black from licking the wrong shoes.
Those who wave flags and badges
while they yank open closed doors
having forgot that smiles and nods suffice.
Those who have rented storage lockers
bursting with documents of inequities
will not fit in the hiding places I build.


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