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Tricia's Blog 

Tricia McCallum is a Toronto freelance writer and also publishes fiction and poetry.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Last One Home.

My attraction to abandoned places continues to prompt my writing, in various ways. Here is a piece I wrote last month, by the water at dusk, after all of my guests had packed up and returned to the city. Such a difference when everyone has left.

The resident family of loons, emboldened by the sudden silence, magically reappear, and glide ever and ever closer to the dock, happy to have the lake returned to them once again.

Last One Home.

The dock bobs in the brilliant sunshine,

not a soul on it.

See the watercraft there, lined up along the shore

like silent soldiers,

oars at the ready for willing hands.

Lifejackets in bins lie folded and stacked.

Rubber buoys squeak and jostle

with nothing to do.


The hammock lies still,

awaiting a sleepy visitor.

The firepit seeks a crowd of rowdy singers.

The chipmunks scurry freely

And no dogs give chase.

 No voices calling back and forth.

Sunscreen, please. More towels.

My I-Pod!


The birds sing
but half-heartedly,

with no audience to perform for.


the sunset unfolds its glory

all on its own.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

For Chuck.

I just heard about the sudden death of a high school classmate. Chuck was my date for the prom, my soulmate during some dark days of my youth, my port in a storm. This, then, is for him.

For Chuck.


When I first heard you had died

and far too soon

I picture you

running at full tilt,

fearless as ever,

down the back hallway outside the chemistry lab,

to take the five steps down in one flying jump.


I see you next at my parent’s front door

on a cool spring night,

my date for the prom,

nervous, exuberant.

overpriced wrist corsage in hand,

And me,

stunned someone had asked.

I wore my sister’s dress from two years before,

the sleeves shortened,

but it mattered not,

because you told me

I looked beautiful.

You actually used that word.



Thank you, Chuck,

for that night,

for seeing in me

what no other boy did,

what I couldn’t myself,

for actually listening when I spoke,

for telling me I was smart,

and not saying

for a girl.


Thank you, dear boy,

for the kind of laughter that hurts your stomach,

for dancing with me that night in the gymnasium
to the Righteous Brothers,

for making it magical somehow,
despite the basketball hoops
and the scratchy sound
and the bad lighting.
For delivering to me the moments that help define us,

and shape the best

of what we can

and will be.



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stephen Hawking, tectonic plates, and going with the Buttercup.

On a brilliant summer afternoon I am reading Stephen Hawking. OK, perusing. Who ever reads Hawking except Hawking? And I am wondering what part of my brain is missing as I work my way through it. His observations are uncanny, wondrous. To wit, here's classic Hawking:

"If the rate of expansion one second after the "big bang" had been smaller by even one part in a hundred million million, the universe would have re-collapsed."

On that comforting note... And what to do with it?

Well, one thing I did was write this poem, "Why Worry." Actually, I do find these lofty pronouncements comforting in an odd way.  I don't know what it is about looking at the bigger picture for me. I do it a lot, as witnessed below. Instead of troubling me it gives me solace. Perhaps because it reminds me how miraculous it is that time and tide conjoined to bring me here at all. To bring each of us here.

And it reminds me how unimportant it is whether I go with the Highland Cream or the Buttercup paint, although I am leaning toward Buttercup.

Here, then, I ask: "Why Worry?"

We sit on vast tectonic plates 
equivalent in thickness
to the skin of an
a vast pool of molten rock, 
so hot it burns 
clear through the Earth's crust 
up to the surface. 
Did you hear me? 
The skin of an apple
determines our fate. 
We are powerless.
We tread on the
of a spider’s