Three Poems

By J.S. MacLean

The Holy Ghost in the 20th Century

In ’38 my parents
went honeymooning
to Niagara Falls.
My father paid a nickel
for a glass of water.

Back in ‘55
at the county fair
I saw the Holy Ghost.
He had a cancer on his lip
that looked like a Bassett’s Allsorts,
the sprinkled kind.

In ‘58, I sent love notes
to an older woman
in Sixth Grade.
At recess, I lifted her dress,
saw her panties and yelled, “Free show.”
Things have changed.

In ‘66 my father
was a pillar.
Every Sunday he tugged
the belfry rope and took collection.
My mother was a vessel
and collected all our hurt.

In ‘72, I think,
I saw Satan and Jesus
in a tiled floor’s flecks.
Now I check
all walls and ceilings,
those two are everywhere.

In the winter of ‘82,
down Sylvester Creek
my fire threw no heat
at the wilderness.
At 40 below,
it was freeze or burn.

I put the fire out.
It seemed relieved.
To survive, I trekked
from the forest,
over thin ice and terraced dams,
to schooled fires, the world, and women.

It wasn’t really the Holy Ghost,
just an old man
who went on & on about it.
That year, our calf Goldie
had a blue ribbon bow
set between her horns.



The old man stood on a col
of the continental divide.
He marveled at ladybugs
sleeping in the scree,
then peed on either side.

Soaring, on his Everest,
he contemplated
from Bariloche to Tibet.


The "Me Clone" Talk

Still there is no word.
Misread desire was better
than this duty thing. At least
you have some grandma.

An educated man might read
but a lazy man might not,
so the important bits are;
“He who hesitates is lost”
and “Haste makes waste.”

Someone said,
at least I did,
that if anything exists,
then everything must.
It’s probably true,
but forget belief,
as long as something
is there to ponder.

Just be yourself
but only while
with others.
Truth is not in poetry,
but so is metaphor.
Study mountain streams.
The answer is not beyond
retreating -4 degrees
or down hadal zones,
but with the tripping flow.


I’m squandering your time

. . . sone.


J.S. MacLean lives in Calgary Alberta. He has had poetry published in a variety of journals in Canada, the USA, the UK, and Australia. He has served as poetry and art editor of the Triggerfish Critical Review. Later in 2012 he plans to self publish a body of work titled Molasses Smothered Lemon Slices. In his spare time, he works.

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