Irresistible was written for the 2006 CBC Poetry face-off. I liked hearing my voice on the radio.

If she’s close we ferret out the black clothes
far, we hold an impersonal vigil
burn the candle of newsworthiness
till the commercial break

Ahh, there it is
the inevitable sigh
the oh-no, under the breath
the crinkling of the nose
as if we smelt her

but she slides by unnoticed–she’s disguised
as tragedy or accident
as a marriage or argument
gone way way wrong
as a bashing, a mugging or a murder
as disease or poverty or famine or or

anything but what she is
she is standing at the foot of your bed
tugging on your toe
she is an unpaid visa bill
she is an annoying cell phone ring
she is on hold
and you see the red button flashing
in the mirror

Oh Death, Oh Death
I got your number, you got mine
I know you want me all of the time
“Patience” she says
“is a good thing for those who wait.”
But my distracting doesn’t work
’cause she’s a quick bitch and takes
Carolyn, and then Noel, and then Barry,
and puts a hook in Ian’s cells
tugging again, killing a little bit, again
and one and again

And I can’t see through the tears for a second
when i look again she’s taken a bit out of me
little bits maybe i wouldn’t miss
a bit of hair
a bit of spring out of the skin
a little lube out of the knee
but she’s greedy
“She wants all of me
Death wants all of me”

And i want to waltz with her
swallow something or cut myself
fall into her arms
or i want to surprise her
show up uninvited
death must be from Saskatchewan
or from P.E.I. (before the bridge)
she leaves her doors unlocked
I let myself in

Death cuddles in the fetal position
in a ratty t-shirt, no bra
“Tre-pendulous” i say
Death peels the cucumber off of one eye
“You should call before you come”
I call out “oh god!”
You look pale
“Maybe it’s pale” says death
“Maybe it’s cadaverine”
So I follow death to the bathroom
She pees standing up
Death is in drag
“It’s so passionate” Death says
“The cross part.”

Death is going to be my last lover
no matter what
“Some kinds of love are half way home”
he says
His eyes are the kind you follow out the door
his hair short
he lets his underwear show
when he’s dressed I ask about the sickle
“that’s so century before last” he lisps
“I carry a syringe now”

Death knows where you live
She follows you around at night
logs your kilometers and calories
and your careless love making
She’s turned down a Health Canada contract
but does outsourced work for the Bush administration
. . . among others

My father has seen her
He ran into a church for safety
“Smart move” says death
It’ll save you all
on transportation”

Oh Death
I taste you in my mouth, like stale blood
I’ll wager you against grave
my youth, my children, my optimism
you cheat, you thief, you win

like it’s oh death
your sting
like it’s oh grave
your victory
and oh and oh
and you lay down
then a little death
ina your ear
and oh and old
chilly river to cross
and I’ma cold ina my bones
and there’s a sound
like trumpets and a mighty rushing wind
but ina my good ear
a silence