Useless in November

Useless like a nickel
under a bus stop bench
unwanted and alone
without the outside world
coughing up another

Useless like
emptying your tax free savings account
so that you can buy
very expensive cigarettes
in Halifax.

Useless like an arsonist
with only sticks of incense
to burn down whole cities.
Sure, he smells of vanilla
and green tea
but what’s an arsonist without flames?

Useless like drugs without the high
sitting in a hazy room
listening to shoe-gaze drums and guitars
and staring at all those blank faces
filled with pupils left wanting
seeking peaks that aren’t
appearing on any horizon.

Useless like 29 days
of this long month
of slog and cold
and dying leaves reminding you
that beauty fades and flies off down the street
at the slightest
kiss of cold.

Useless like a team of therapists
cutting down a hanged man
two days after he’d been found
in a skid row flat.

Is it any wonder that the Christmas lights
are coming out earlier and earlier
as they offer their only little lights
at the end of the tunnel
300 at a time
for $16 at Canadian Tire.

Their little reminders do help though
they remind me that I am
not useless
because I’m still here
and while I still draw breath into my lungs
and while I still write poems
into the dead of the night.

I realized that all of those poems
and all of those breaths
have ripples out into the world.

And you would never say it was useless
to throw a stone
into a perfectly still lake
would you?


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