Mark Martyre – Poems and Songs

In An Empty Room

Sitting in an empty room,
listening to Erik Satie,
while I see Past and Future slow dance
along to the gentle notes
of the piano.

The music makes the pain beautiful.

In an empty room,
Past and Future dance barefoot
over broken glass.
And I don’t notice the blood
that pools beneath them.
I only see the flow of their dresses,
the breeze through their limbs,
their closed and dreaming eyes,
and the way the moon shines
and reflects off the floating figures
around me.

But when the music stops
they both limp, and crawl
to opposite ends of the room.
And I see shards of broken glass poke from
their weeping flesh.
Their bones bending under the weight
of their bloodied gowns.

So, I press play again,
so that the magic can lift them back into the air.

I try to keep them gracefully dancing,
and floating,
with their eyes closed,
above the haunting memories,
and clawing ghosts,
for as long as I possibly can,
here in this
empty room.



I Was Listening To The Music Of Bruce Springsteen

as I walked along the boardwalk
on the Halifax pier.
The cold rain was falling
in a soft mist.
It was a gray,
The waterfront was empty,
and I could feel every step
along the wood boards.
My hands in my pockets,
and a scarf around my neck,
it was me,
and the promise
of the ocean.
Y’know, some moments
just make more sense
than others.
Some moments,
without trying,
can come as close to perfect
as you can imagine.
And the same is true for poems.
Unfortunately, though,
the two rarely occur
at the



From Cole Porter To Me

Tonight I’m listening to Cole Porter’s songs
sung by great artists
like: Ella Fitzgerald,
Tony Bennett,
Dean Martin,
Louis Armstrong,
Billie Holliday,
and many others.

I look out the window from the fourteenth floor,
and in the distance
I see the city skyline,
the CN Tower
and surrounding buildings
all lit, glowing
in the dark December air.

I see cars careening around the edge of the lake,
traveling east and west
along Lake Shore Blvd.
With the wind rattling
against the building,
howling through the glass,
and its whistle
matching that of the kettle
on the stove.

And there I sit,
softly listening and looking.
It’s my idea of a good time.
Relaxing, planning, thinking.
Hiding, looking, waiting.

And when I see Toronto from this distance,
and when I have this beautiful music
playing at the same time,
it all seems tolerable.
All of it.
I admit, it does look good.
The city, and everyone in it,
looks good.

There’s beauty from this distance.
And I can just imagine how great it might look
from a different city,
a different province,
a different country.

So maybe, one day,
I’ll look west from the Eiffel Tower.
Or maybe I’ll walk towards it
along the coast of Barcelona.
Or maybe I’ll sit and daydream, at a cafe,
on the patios of Venice,
and I’ll remember it all fondly.

And maybe, one day,
you’ll feel the same way about me.
When I’m just a memory
and you’re reading my letters
from across the sea.

Or maybe, one day,
when the cold December wind
is banging on your walls,
and you’re listening to my songs,
long after I’ve been gone,
and somehow, from that distance,
the magic still carries on.

From Cole Porter
to me,
and from my window,
through yours.



Author’s Statement on Beauty

I was asked to give my thoughts on Beauty. On what it is, what it’s made from, how it’s created, etc. But, I’m not sure if I can give a careful and concise answer to those questions. Even if I thought long about it, I’m still not sure if my thoughts would be anything worth reading or listening to. They might begin to ramble, and not even make that much sense. (I think Beauty and Dignity are laced together somehow… does that make sense?). So, perhaps Beauty isn’t something I can write about directly. Maybe it’s more like saying something with the look in your eyes, rather than with the words from your mouth. Maybe Beauty is something that only your heart sees, and therefore only your heart can truly talk about. (Though, in my case, my heart tends to ramble and not make much sense, most of the time.)


Mark Martyre is a Canadian writer and musician. His prolific songwriting has produced 4 full-length studio albums since 2012: Down, Record (2012), London (2013), Red Letters (2014), and Bluebird (2016), as well as several live records, and bootlegs. His music has garnered critical acclaim and attention both nationally and internationally, and in 2016 he published a collection of his lyrics. More at: