Silver Birch Trees

Silver Birch Trees – by Shannon Griffiths

Eye stabbing night moon bleeds
It is the reason for tidal changes
Sun-soaked canyon wells
Her lingerie would fry in an instant of exposure
Suburban shake smiles
Dishonest translations via internet conversations
Dripping words, caressing syntaxes
Beach dreams
With isolated and obsessive thought
Of controversy in relation to the crisis of the world
Spatially unaware,
Mentally underdeveloped,
Physically shattered
Cellular conversations are so odd to me
Interrupting reality of now
In hopes of connecting…
Separating, devastating, nonetheless

Remember the wars between us?
Within myself, between my body and mind?
Where were you when I cried for my life?

Blue jays flock in leaves of a different being
Silver birch trees, symbiotically
Why can’t we have that?

For weeks
I thought I had an ingrown hair on my knee
When it was actually a splinter
Where did my self-awareness go?
My intuition?
A child, I was so intuitive
Now I am a brick wall.
But at least I allow for vines to grapple onto my grooves…
At least I allow for some outer beauty
To come into me.


Forgive Me Father

Forgive Me Father – by Shannon Griffiths

Life song bizarre entertainment
of toothless men in grey suits of sky
Mind of watermelon – texture thin, light, dense, heavy
Contradictory in all possibilities
Life song wide smile
Encroaching teary cheekbones, shaking earthquake chin
Spark loneliness, loss

Remember that prophesy I had years ago?
When I told you your father would eventually forgive you?
When I reminded you that a father leaving after years
of uncertain cloud guilt was not
a burden for a child to be carried?
Remember when your mother came back to you?
She cried for you each night.
Organs of tarragon, skin of turmeric
Pregnancy of India
Funeral ritual drum beats
Warn community of life lost, and new life gained

Ocean wave breeze smooth
Distant raven cries
a spirit animal mourns its fallen angel,
Guiding frowned upon for the individualist – capitalist
painting of gold purity
Gold dandelions in wind of day
Dare to divide your love among others
Painful, fruitful, wishful soul encounters
You miss your father
You miss your soul

And now with your mother dementia mind
You worry she will forget you in time to come
You worry she will get lost in the place you grew up
and lose her way home after collecting groceries
Innocent ignorance is bliss however
and denying this is insane
Life clarity invisible to earth
Her soul will not forget you
Her soul will not let go of you

Scatter syntax ash from shore to shore, sea to sky,
land to metaphysical realm…

My dream of you sharp line image
Forgive me
Forgive me
Forget how I abandoned you
Forget how I left you loveless for a time

Forgive my mother father
She loved us all she could
Forgive her for the new locks locking old doors
Forgive her for the failed promise
but everything she did was for us
Forgive so you can look at us without seeing her
in our faces, auras, personalities, etc.
No guilt no anger
Let go or return to her

White wall house lonely without you
I miss your smooth jazz records
Nina Simone
and the eclectic others
I miss your philosophy majors
and your psychology minors
Father forgive me
Father I let you down
I let you go before my chance came to make you sane
Forgive me

Love stream glow white
No more ugly hospital room with accidental medication overdose
Love stream life of dream
Believe in Jesus to receive new life
Forgive death
Forgive your father
Let go of damage childhood collapse memories
Forget inexistent untrodden roads
Love your pure mind
Taste freedom in forgiveness
Touch love
See clear sunlight sky ahead
Be rational, be true to reality

Thank you for guiding me to McLeod’s book store
I find you in pages of used books,
in words of old scholars, in verses of dreamy poets
Your soul has been on this earth before
many times, I can sense it
Your soul too knowledgeable to have only existed 55 years

Thank you for keeping me safe as a little girl
Thank you for whispering all the rights and wrongs
Thank you for showing me the best music to soothe a mending soul
Thank you for helping with homework,
your encyclopedia brain is tremendously
admirable, astonishing

Thank you for teaching me to keep through suicidal
tendencies, to never stop living
Thank you for your life testament to lead me
Thank you for loving me
You were meant to be

Thistles Are Still Beautiful Despite What People Say

Thistles Are Still Beautiful Despite What People Say – by Shannon Griffiths

Brain damage

a curse ??
or a blessing ??


an illness ??
or a prophetic gift ??

Forgotten synaptic firings,
Lost neurological connections,
Faulty myelin sheaths,
Dreaded implications of stress

We must be crazy right ??


We must be brilliant
Because we are made to be
Creative, abstract thinkers

We see things
Feel things
No other could dream of

Coastal Temperate Rainforest

Coastal Temperate Rainforest – by Shannon Griffiths

my bones magnetic pull as
sharp glacial mountain carve as
smooth ocean current wave

realign myself with star
bright fortress
sunlight break through shade of green
moonlight gleam on water edge

ice caps




my home;
do not leave me now
after all these years of coming back to you


Stars – by Shannon Griffiths

what was it you told her
that made her stay awake at night?

(not good enough to love
too shameful to be seen with
a bad person through and through)

like a raw steak, she was
already tender –
you did not need
to use your words like
a hammer against her flesh

what was it you told her
that made her disappear from herself?

(looking for too much attention
begging for anyone to love her)
you said she did not deserve
your love

and it broke her

she laid awake at night
trying to see the stars from
the cracked window
above her bed
but the streetlights outshine them

and she discovers that this is you –
a light that hides the beauty of
darkness… she thought your light
was lovely at first,
only to discover blinding…

she forgot she was yearning to see

the eternity of the stars

and not the fleeting light

illuminating the ground below
why is it so difficult to understand
that it was you

to offer suicide as a way for her
to give you all her love
she couldn’t live without you
but you couldn’t let her live for you

Love is Time

Love is Time – by Shannon Griffiths

his life became words in mine,
and the stories of us became tragic poems
I’m not sad about him
I’m just sad he was my inspiration to write

and I don’t care that he lives within the pages of this book
and I don’t care that he may never realize what he lost

because now that I found someone else
my heart is growing
and we are growing

and I realize that I wasted so much clean paper writing about him
when I should have just been planting new trees

Light Collisions

Light Collisions – by Shannon Griffiths

the stars and planets were somehow
not enough for us to light our desired path
because we are never satisfied until excess
is achieved

we created an artificial light source
so we were able to stay awake at night long after dusk,
so we were unable to feel the true aloneness that we are
we are scared of nature’s unknown capabilities,
so we deny it of any action;

this fear dictates our lives as our greatest weapon and demon.
we are so full of irony…
because now we have an empty night sky
and a longer day
which bores us, exhausts us, alienates us
and only thickens our feelings of aloneness

we have made our world hollow
the cosmic connection is lost;
we’ve forgotten what a light from above is like

New Generation

New Generation – by Shannon Griffiths

Carbon dioxide and methane overdoses

Death calls your mother
up on the phone –
invites her to dinner

Dreamy realms of fungal networks
among the roots of trees
Another high-rise has plans to take over

Death and urban development share
common interests
(like the politicians and stolen money)
Your mother, indifferent to both

Pipeline expansion proposals
proposing a new type of natural disaster
(one that is not so natural at all)

Political leaders must be excited to
kill the diversity of the coast and watch
life drown in spilled crude oil; in selfish, exploited
resources; in the epitome of political leverage

Death calls me
up on the phone –
I tell him to fuck off


Jimmy – by Shannon Griffiths

old friend photography
in my slow motion tear drop memories
shapes of my puzzled self
in your faded presence

creation of separation and destruction of joys

you have travelled
while I haven’t seen the light of day

and perhaps this inexperience has pulled

the subtle divide

between you and I

I am so proud of you
I have seen you find yourself
through split social media screens
I am so happy to see you accept
what society may not

you are a beautiful soul
to be placed in my flowering heart forever


Ayahuasca – by Shannon Griffiths

the Great Barrier Reef
is becoming more bleached each day
like the female movie star’s moustache

the overtaking perception of my surrounding world
is losing vibrancy…
where have all the colours gone?
to what great extent have I been driven into the depths
of an artificial dimension? what energies reside there?
what energies reside in me?

the Amazonian Rainforest is depleting //
its peoples are crying

but we don’t understand their languages
because we were too preoccupied to learn anything
contradictory to our imperialistic thought

and it’s such a shame,
for the aboriginals residing there are geniuses
I hope I don’t have to further explain myself

Ayahuasca spiritual cleansings only work
if you want them to // there’s this strange thing about believing
in what you cannot logically comprehend

its Canada’s 150th anniversary but what the fuck
does that mean to the people who lived here before that?
why don’t we celebrate the 150th year of
successful cultural genocide?
Canada is an illusion //
like all borders and political dogmas

I do gardening for a living and it proves to be
more meaningful each day

I enjoy weeding because I choose to dig
out the roots to prevent further parasitic expansion
as opposed to merely interrupting it

I feel as though the weeds only come back
with a vengeance to rise against me…
plants have memory with room to spawn grudges //
we mustn’t assume we are any more conscious

but is it not all a way of life?
to destroy the roots of the problems instead of skimming
the surface, denying their hidden manifestations?

Humanity was never a harmonious concept
// an illusion //
it was never what it was supposed to be.

Howling for Kaddish

Howling for Kaddish – by Shannon Griffiths

Ginsberg told me
No word is distant
No word has foreign relative
Element to be what is and was and ever will be

I lost myself
I told myself I could let go for a while
To drown in peace

But words not forgotten
I write on
I ride on into the storm of dawn
I keep word
He and I are word

And Ginsberg shares his love
For what has never been, what will never be
The word to cease
Him laying under grave
Let him rise with word

He and God sit greying
Not in form but in mind
Saddened by the world they left behind

What rays of light upon thee lay?
What say of mouth upon thee pray?
What eye of hope upon thy sky?
What drug of choice for thy high?
What heart of gold hold in thy night?
What word forgets thee of hard fair fight?
What start of fire in thine heart?
What grace of God plays in thy part?
Gone Ginsberg, gone
Take thy flight
Gone Ginsberg, gone
Thank you for word
Word never gone

Fentanyl Crisis

Fentanyl Crisis – by Shannon Griffiths

ambulance sirens singing
death tones
at least five times daily
ringing through my ears
at work,

trying to make a living
but can’t stop thinking of all those


artificial opiate – liquid
materialization of death
the plastic cylindrical cloak
drapes around the user’s blood;


escape into their minds
away from their lives
sometimes          forever.

take a difference chance at dying,
the way of living
is forgotten now.

Factory Existence

Factory Existence

 – by Shannon Griffiths

Putting a price on the earth and
on people’s lives
at a cheap cost
because that’s all you think it’s worth

A child’s factory existence
a penny a day… and we don’t even have them
anymore, so how can we fathom this?

The earth is raped with each new pair of jeans,
each new piece of plastic
we feed to our oceans

Your pound of coffee took
an entire year for one plant to grow
and you drank it in a few weeks…

Timal was murdered today because he didn’t
pan enough diamonds in an hour…
only Timal worked with what the earth provided

Alicia was kissed by a man
thrice her age on her wedding day,
and her mother cried

Damien was making the “world’s best sneaker”
by the time he was four… what have you created by then?

We are all one, can’t you see
that when you kill a man
a part of your soul dies too?

We’re All Fucked

We’re All Fucked – by Shannon Griffiths

why must we trust the choice of one individual
at the extent of millions

it’s kind of funny to me that we all like to think
we trust science, yet we view ourselves outside
of the issue of climate change
“it’s not really an issue if we pretend it’s not real”
(I have a fucked up sense of humour I guess)

we choose to live like we do,
denying anything is wrong…
but think about the fact that we are so
and ironically we are killing ourselves

it’s so redundant –
it takes three litres of water
to make one litre of bottled water

our oceans are getting acidic.
REALLY acidic.
and our oceans give life to the entire planet

and now with trump.

if I still believed in the bible
I would think this is how the book
of revelation must start.
if you think my words sound vulgar
you are not prepared to see the ugly truth of our future.


Letters – by Shannon Griffiths

Sometimes I envy those
surrounded by friends they’ve had for
40 years since childhood

How my gravitational pull differs vastly…
Maybe I am meant to drift in and out
of your lives                  to always be
that                   unopened letter you received
on your birthday
years ago.

Perhaps I am meant to be with you
for a specific time,
with no reason
until it flashes
before your eyes on your deathbed.