Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Memories of Dad

With all this horribleness going on, it's time for some beauty. At least, it's a memory that makes me smile.

My Dad was a master builder. He could make just about anything. He extended and renovated the house, practically rebuilt the cottage, and fixed everything else.

When my parents bought the cottage, it was in a sorry state and needed lots of repair. I have memories of tearing down the back wall, and ripping the black tiles off the roof, and fending off the black flies of June as best as we could. Dad made plans, did the math, measured everything, checked it all, measured it again, then made the cuts.

But for some reason, there was a 2-inch gap between the window over the sink and the edge of the cupboard. Dad could not believe it. He checked all his measurements. That 2-inch gap should not have existed, and yet, there it was. It infuriated him.

When I'd be doing the dishes and he'd come out of the bathroom, walking behind me, I'd tease him saying "Hey Dad... check this out," and then run my fingers along the 2-inch gap. He'd growl at me "You think you're so funny."

The cottage was warm, inviting, and welcomed many people from all over. Although we don't have the cottage anymore, it is one of my favorite happy places that I go to in my mind during times of strife.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Eyes I've not seen
    Divided by miles
    Separated by borders
        Connected by computer screens

Lands I've not seen
    The winds sing their earthen song
    Joined by a rumbling mountain beat
        The ocean's skin, a flowing sheen

Colors I've not seen
    Birth, life, death, rebirth, relive
    She takes his hand, the wheel turns
        Our magic, so powerful it seems


The winds thunder
The thunder rumbles
The rain tumbles
    And I stand, lost in the maelstrom
    Eyes on the horizon
    Slowly, I walk my path

Colors fill the sky, puppets dance
Her breath gives life and I hold on
A child again, laughing, playing
    I feel you pulling me closer
    Embracing, loving, releasing

Friends come, friends go
All leave their marks
Carvings in bark
    I was here... Where were you? --1992
    That was a year that ended in tears
    When roses returned blanketed by snow
        And I bid you goodbye
        Eyes on the horizon
        Darkest before the dawn
            Phoenix reborn, bring back the sun

Night Cries

The golden streets
    tainted by the city lights
    are white-washed by her broken face
    her tears rain in
        invisible streams
        indivisible dreams
across the glistening boulevard

A beauty
    admired but never captured
    Just beyond reach of her children
    her children of the night
        the homeless
            the heartless
                the hopeless
                      the inhabitants of that

Blamed for long walks
    Loved for its' bright light
Blamed for long talks
    Loved for the warm night

Gregorian chant
Hoods and robes rustle
Pay tribute to her mystery
    her magic
    to her

She wears her mantle with
    practiced ease
She looks down
    not hiding her scars

A mute orb of indifference
    tears that rain in
        invisible streams
        indivisible dreams
across the glistening boulevard

Copyright 1993 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Once and Again

Once and Again

The Rain lashes at walls of my home
    and I drink the fruits of its labours

The Snow absorbs every space, nook, and cranny
    and I bundle myself up against the storm

The Wind rattles the panes, shattering the silence
    and I lean hard against the glass, absorbing the blows

The Sun's rays flatten all that falls beneath
    yet I can seek shelter in the shadows he casts

And when I cannot brace against the storm
    I have only to reach within my soul
    to find the seed that you planted once and again
        drawing strength from its roots
        rooting my strength into earth
            strengthening my place in your world
            strengthening your place in my world

Come the harvest, seeds abound
    and I will plant them in you once and again
        as the Rain lashes the walls of your home
        as the Snow absorbs every space, nook, and cranny
        as the Wind rattles the panes, shattering the silence
        as the Sun's rays flatten all that falls beneath

Breathe the cool air that comes with rebirth
And I will be there, planting a seed

Just as you did for me
        and again

Copyright 2003 -- John David Hickey



When the morning sun rises
snow-seized grasses shiver in the light
The rays pierce the drifting night
    Catching your eyes
    Warming your skin

I watch you sleep
The cares of the world dance
Beyond your reach

But even as I reach for you
Gently, timidly, lovingly
I cannot reach, breech, or pierce
    The walls around your heart
    The roads to your soul

Ashamed, I withdraw my reach
I pull into myself, afraid to cry out
As ghosts hover and mock my fear

Even the morning sun recedes
The grasses cry out as I cry in
The light in the sky
The light in your eyes
    Nourishes us
    Makes us whole

But as the darkness deepens
Your eyes open, sparkling, dancing
Your sleepy smile welcomes me back

The morning sun fills the room
The cares of the world dance
Beyond your reach
    But I reach for you
    Our eyes sparkle
        And we dance
        Lost in our smiles

Copyright 2003 - John David Hickey

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Ring Box

This is a true account that I posted this on my Facebook recently, about 5 minutes after it happened. The memorial referenced was for the passing of my good friend Jack Nissenson (June 24th 2015).

I stepped out of the metro car, fighting back the tears that threatened to flow as I rehearsed what i would say at Jack's memorial when I spotted it. It was a tiny red ring box with a golden knob on the front. I stopped to pick it up, afraid the ring might still be in it. The box was empty.

I thought of who bought it, who might have received the ring, and the whispered joys of unknown years to come, and i could not help but smile. I put the box back, thinking someone else might enjoy the sight of it, and turned to face the metro. There was a woman on the other side of the closed doors with a single hand pressed against the glass. She had been watching me the whole time and she was smiling. I smiled back and we held each other's smile as the metro slid away.

Sometimes, I love this city.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Nuit Blanche 2015: Tribute to Irving Layton

So I had the immense honor to share the stage with some of Montreal's finest poets during the Nuit Blanche festival this year. I was invited to take part by Betty Esperanza (100 Thousand Poets 4 Change) and we were the English portion of a tribute to the late, great Montreal poet Irving Layton. I was also honored to share that stage with Susan Shulman and Regimental Oneton.

Unbeknownst to me, the stories were also recorded by Akim Videos (Youtube site). Photos here were taken by Yvon Jean.

JD Hickey, Nuit Blanche 2015

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Nothing More Than Nothing

Tell me the weight of a snowflake", a coal-mouse asked a wild dove.

"Nothing more than nothing", came the answer.

"In that case, I must tell you a marvelous story," the coal-mouse said.

"I sat on the branch of a fir, close to its trunk, when it began to snow -- not heavily, not in a raging blizzard -- no, just like in a dream, without a wound and without any violence. Since I did not have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952. When the 3,741,953rd dropped onto the branch -- nothing more than nothing, as you say -- the branch broke off."

Having said that, the coal-mouse flew away.

The dove, an authority on this since the time of Noah, thought about the story for awhile, and finally said to herself, "Perhaps there is only one person's voice lacking for peace to come to the world."

This appears in various forms across the web, and is referenced either as "Thus Spoke the Caribou" from "New Fables" by Kurt Kauter, or from "Synchronicity", by Joseph Jaworsky

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Yuletide magic

With 10 days to go before Christmas, I invite you all to revel in the holiday spirit. No, I don't mean the shopping. In fact, I'm suggesting that you try to tune out the calls for shopping and insane consumerism that has given this time of year a bad name.

As winter comes upon us, the need to come together as community, as family, as humanity is stronger than ever. The nights grow long, the days are too short, and the ever-present cold is unnerving. In this season, we need to come together to share what we have, to share the warmth of our hearth fires, and to protect each other. Because if we don't, the harshness of winter can literally kill us, both in body and in spirit.

Instead of griping about the consumerism and the crassness of the holiday, I invite you to extend your generosity of time and effort to people who need you. Do what you can, when you can.

  • If you see someone in distress, ignore your first impulse to not get involved and go see what you can do to help. No gesture is too small.
  • If you see someone stuck in the snow, go help them out, even if it makes you late for something. 
  • Whenever you can, look people in the eyes, shake their hands, and wish them a happy holiday. And mean it.
  • Donate your time, your talents, and if you can afford it, your funds to charities that support people in need, either locally or abroad.

If you do all these things already, do it more.

And if you have the good fortune of being the recipient of someone else's generosity, be gracious, modest, and appreciative. Also, take the time to mark this moment as a happy memory. It will change how you relate to this time of year.

The darkness at this time of year can be deceiving. It fools us into thinking we are alone and that there is no one else out there in the darkness. But the truth is that when you share your light with others, you end up with more light, revealing all the people who are there with you, who have been with you that whole time. It's easy to forget that, but I'm reminding that it's true. You are not alone.

I wish you all a memorable, safe, loving, generous holiday season. All of us are looking forward to your generosity of spirit.
Copyright© 2010 John David Hickey