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poetry by Michael Penny

Michael Penny

Out of Office

by Michael Penny


I am away from the clouds
and will not be checking the wind
but if it moves me
I will return to the sky.

I am off the planet
ascertaining the space between stars
but if they become too bright
I will put away my measure.

I have left my memory behind
preferring the now and instantly lost
but if you knew me then
I will, to please you, pretend.

I have lost consciousness
and now spend my time in black
but I may know you
so please leave a message.



Anatomy Lesson


My nose breathes in viruses
and my ears accept deceit.

My skin invites irritants in
and reddens at its effrontery.

Muscle pulls away from bone
offended at its ivory rigidity.

My bladder refuses liquids,
even water

and my bowels growl
unhappy with the menu I provide.

My lungs, once puffed up
with their importance, are deflated

and the liver says
what the hell, you need a drink.

My nerves keep everything else
awake all night with their loud jangling

and blood gets into everything

My eyeballs cloud over
as the sky’s become too bright

and my heart simply
flubs it.

Oh brain, why are you
leading this charge?



Island Time


Clocks are irrelevant
to the pieces of time dropped
on islands.

Our arrangements do require
a time to meet
and agreement.

Appointments are only late
if expected to start on time
and no-one expects

even rain to fall as forecast.
It’s no excuse but things
do happen when they do.

Events react to minutes
the way waves do, with momentum
and a crash or a drawing back.

Something happening when it should
removes surprise
which might delight

and the wounding
of expectations missed
can leave bruises.

But go with it, on its time
which will be on time
as islands allow escape

from the selfishness of schedule
while the sea’s surrounding
perimeter fence guards

with its barbed foam of waves.
When time is neither fast nor slow
it warns against attempting departure.




Michael PennyMichael Penny was born in Australia, but moved to Canada as a teenager. He now lives on Bowen Island and works as a consultant on regulating professions. He has published five books of poetry, most recently, Outside, Inside from McGill-Queen’s University Press.