Empathy

House-hold

coming up the stairs
with all the lovers
you have had

at once
a party,
a rebels march,
a taking back,

of the creaking tomb
now owning your morning
and your night walks,

I can see myself,
falling, into the ocean
or, a pendulum swinging
on a crooked branch.

you can’t see me
like I can

and that’s what makes it
easy, like yours,
hard, like ours,
complete, then mine.

a set of advantages
builds,
oceanic

and all that rests
is the applause
of crowd laugh,
of foot twitch,
of airs,

untold,

of a tour,
of a chorus,
of everything,
in-between,

buy the hat,
sing the dance,
make it yours,
and mine,

mine
is an easy calligraphy
in-between the mad,
coarse
dance that
shuffles us,

into new, exotic
singularities

we want to raise
our finger
into the air

and ask it for anything
but what we already know

so that,
and this,
and our dream
meet,

a half burning finger
in-between

that stings,
and sings,
and singes,

that easy binge,
it brings
us cover
to honesty

it brings us
closer to sovereignty,

and it clings us
to the envelope
so that we cannot
grow
without
that

and we go
we go until
there is none left

and that is it
for us

isn’t it?

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Freezes & Thaws [I & II]

Freezes and Thaws I

She was sure the package
would not arrive Friday.

They’re kicking up
an awful fuss!
The Post is cutting back
deliveries!

The people of St. John’s were they,
especially in matters concerning
government, doctors,
or postal workers.

In her account of things,
it’s us, vs. them.

They’re closing everything
down here now.
Nothing left in Newfoundland,
no work, sure not a store left Downtown!

I’d almost believe her
if not for the waves of
new store-fronts.

It’s clear.
Nan’s world,
not the city,
is shrinking.

Oh, no mail Fridays now
?
I ask, knowing
this is not so.

She’s a cold one today.
Be sure you keep your hat on tight,

her morning words
are often weather related.
Blow ‘da head off a ya.

It doesn’t seem that bad
by my window, Nan!

I use the fact
the living room
is at the opposite end
of the apartment,
to defend incoming predictions
of untenable weather.

Nan often concedes,
since it’s a theory
she thought up.

Yes the wind is on the back, see,
so when ya go out be careful!

We’ve lived together
since Pop passed away,
and I came from Ontario
to attend University.

Not raining at least, hey?

This is my tactic:
to negate one element,
with the absence of another.

If there’s enough wind to blow the head off ya,
at least it isn’t the rain whose
every drop would fill a bucket!

Too hot? At least it would
be dark soon.

Well, at least it isn’t snowing, hey?

and the battle continued.

No, she returns,
but they’re callin’
for heavy snowfall
around the Bay,
whether or not now
we’ll have it,
nobody knows.

Hard ole day lookin’ out!

Freezes and Thaws II

Last semester,
in German Post-War Film,
I learned about
freezes and thaws.

Relations with Nan
are like the wax and wane
of Soviet-ruled East Germany
before re-unification,
when, The Wall torn apart,
thousands of separated hands,
grasped to reconnect.

Like the professor says,
it’s a matter of
constant freezes and thaws.

This fact’s echoed again
this term, in Soviet Cinema.
Khrushchev would allow
more liberal arts to be made,
then, in a cold-snap,
everything has to tow
the party line again.

Did you hear about the
ghost ship from Newfoundland, Nan?

I don’t bother mentioning
its name, Lyubov Orlova,
is that of a Russian film starlet.

Keep it simple.
Current events.
Weather.

During periods of thaw
our exchanges are
almost fluidic.

The warm water of
communication extends
beyond courtesy.

I keep my door open and
she can see me
from her rocking chair.

This leads to
open fraternization
on a variety of news items.

Yes, and wherever that ship
ends up now my son,
them rats are getting off her!

She’s heard about the ship,
which means we can
further the discussion.

The boat is lost.

Nan suspects,
it was intentionally set adrift,
by the Port Authority,
most conveniently,
in International waters.

It’s filled with
what the British tabloids
are calling cannibal rats.

Yes that’s true Nan,
I mean there is no way
to track the thing now,
since the rats took over.
No radar or nothing, hey?

I know that when I move out
in the Spring
it will be harder.

The mornings quiet
as an empty water.

Instead of painting her apartment
twice a year,
she might have to do it
every four months.

The fleet of miniature spoons
that adorn the walls
on massive collector shelves
will be taken down more often,
each one soaked in a sink
of polish and hot water,
then returned
to individual hanging positions,
like hundreds of miniature
violins, dangling by their necks.

They tell of her life and family,
who always send a spoon
when they move West.

Every province is there,
even the Territory’s.

The Prime Ministers up until,
and including, that fella Trudeau.

The royal family,
one spoon for every marriage
worth mentioning,
up until poor old Diana.

Birthstones.
Provincial flowers.

Their cleaning is
guaranteed to soak up
at least half of a day.

Well, at least it’s gone from our area, hey Nan?
Do you need anything while I’m over at Sobeys?

I’m good, Nan.
I have my key if you’re going, just lock the door.

Yeah I have class shortly.
Talk to ya after!

I sip on coffee,
and scour the paper for
something to top the ghost ship.

It won’t be easy, but,
something always washes up.

Just then,
the familiar boots
followed by the shuffling
of our mail box
being filled.

poem for La Mer [NIN]

Graduation

I am almost done it,
that quest I told you about, and
I promise I will make it back,
and I will no longer try to
save you from yourself.

I will let the kiss in the bus stop
rain go unnoticed I will not
smile at the driver from
outside, dampening with
every extra tug back toward you
in your sleek bomber
you with those Docs on your feet.

Because I have read more
of Gilbert and Gubar now.
I know it is me who,
like every power hungry fool,
has been your bane, and
I know the boon is knowing better
than to tie rocks to a feather,

I am going to shut in on myself,
I am the book of hate for objectified
love,
but I still miss you.

I will find a way
to make it back
but I will first
eradicate, even that
foolish desire.

I will run through the library
with the scissor of open books,
I will emulate no other poets.

I am here now.

The Nothing and My Statue

I want to tell you
about the nothing
and how it was on my back
from late 90s to just now.

My first time was
just a six pack
of coca cola I was
12 maybe 13,

and I was up all night
with the caffeine propping up
my stinging eyes like,
twitchy invisible insect germs,
holding up heavy red curtains.

I used it to get more comic books read.
It gave me the strength to watch
entire nights of reruns.

I moved onto vodka pretty
much the next summer.
Because it made me think I was
an extrovert and a revolutionary,
and because Val Kilmer drank
as Jim Morrison and I wanted to
be a rebel like him.

I always sounded more like
the Lizard King after some drinks.
It was like the liquid gave me skill.

First pack of smokes found
in The Beer Store parking lot on
Chopin Street in Preston.
They bought me the prison yard acceptance
of first year high school.

I smoked more green any man ever seen,
we had something called wheelchair pot and
I laughed at the sky.

Our crew donned Value Village polyester and
tie dyes from local hemp shops.
We slunk through corn field grids
like eager pony tailed lab rats,
hunting down the cheese of
some wheat kings secret plants.
Dried them out in our parents rafters,
sold the shit for better stuff.

Drank a bottle of Robitussin
because some raver chick in
funfer pink told me it was like Acid,
which was hard to come by and
always made me feel like Neo,
even before The Matrix came out.

My first line was the last thing I
ever put on my back,
through my nose.

I say first because it’s all
the same line,
one massive one that stretches from
a cramped apartment on St. Andrew’s hill,
winds through the jungle of a hundred
dirty stalls, stripper’s breasts, mirror and
chipped dinner plates.

I earned a twitch in the final years,
when I would go for days at a time,
I can’t quite tell you
for too long about it
without risking the
abyss taking me back
you have to take my word
you have nothing
to lose by gaining better ground
in this war,
you lose only your mind when you
play the game with the Nothing,
the nothing,
the not-knot but
not-rope
that you see hanging
from your neck on trees
the next morning,
you’ll have to take my warning
as it is.

I’m just not far away from the fire yet
to turn back and laugh
without risking a salty
statuette of my good intent.

I’ve earned that much.

And how.

I sip coffee in the morning now
with all the music that
was always there to
bring me into sleep,
it is the drug I will always
lean hardest on.

Note of Hunger

[In The Footnotes]

There was a rat
in the heart
of Dickens that
ate away at him.

You can find everything
in the footnotes.

You can spend hours
in their margins.

You can arm yourself.
You are Spy vs Spy.
You can give
everything in the text

a shot of adrenaline,
a battery charge.

A rude wake.
A muffled tear.

The smell of the workhouses
comes up through the floor.

The sounds of
the children
as their bones
become brittle
in hard beds.

The claustrophobia
of the chimney sweep
is given legal parameters.

A rat makes its way across the
secret history of
snuff and Mudfog
to snack on the
salivating eye of a student.

I roll up my sleeves.
Not to get to work.
But because it’s warm
in the workhouse.

My eyes aren’t dry they
stayed up with the orphans
long enough to hear their
stomachs churn in on themselves,
nibbling at the lining.

The riots are breaking out,
the poor are organized
with fire and fury and
the full stomach of the court
is foul, is fallen into full view.

You can smell it on their breath.
Something is rotten.
Something is happening,

in the footnotes,
you can hear the heart
of the orphan
beating to Beethoven’s 6th.

Smashing with a frail fist,
the locks on the food cupboard.

PR men don’t exist yet,
they’re still wet dreams in
Hitler’s unborn henchmen,
but propaganda is as old
as Constantine.

All the King’s men
can’t hide the
footnote.

The one that breaks the truth up
passes it around in
edible, ingestible morsels.

The collection plate is full.
The cup runs right, right over.

Everyone asks for more truth.
Everyone dreams of escape.

Nobody gets out of it without answering.
The clergy are not even safe.

Footnotes for all of them.

Let them have knotty
endnotes, if not.

One Size

I can’t stand shopping.
I used to love being a kid in the cart and
grabbing stuff from one aisle when nobody looked
and then dropping it somewhere else:

maybe I was a child anarchist,
maybe I was a shit,
maybe I was a fucking artist,
without proper tools or inspiration.
so I took to the shelves and remade them
in my own twisted version of store planning,
in my own storm of shop dropping,
two decades too early,
two little fistfuls of products, poised
to my own devious ends.

Years later when I worked in a grocery store
all that karma was reduced to a single bill
I owed what I owed and at the end of the night
I had to fulfill the duty of looking for products
that been left in the wrong spot
the entire fucking store, shelf by aisle by freezer by display
for lost items, that they called “orphans” in case the
average minimum wage employee needed reminders that this
was a dire and crucial element to the job.

I think about the orphans when i shop now
and still once in awhile create a little chaos
for the next kid whose just trying to finish their shift
and get to some party where they can talk about how
it makes no sense to call them orphans since
they have never really left the florescent home
and they would by this logic call shoplifters kidnappers.

I have to shop sometimes though.
It is water boarding for my soul.
I loathe every salesperson not because
they invite it but because I just detest everything about the phony process.
I even start to sound like Holden Caulfield.

I needed boots though.
It could not be helped.
The previous week I had done a rush job of foot wear.
I had bought a pair, believe it or not, an entire size larger than mine.
This is how much I hate shopping.

They were like clown shoes after a few hours.
So I wore two socks.
but then my feet got all sweaty
and I’m pretty sure some sort of
athletes foot started to flare as a result.
They were on sale too. So no returns.
Now i had to return to the scene of the hell-crime.
I had to do twice what I reluctantly do once a year or more.

So I tried on 18 pair.
No luck.
everything felt like it was hard and designed for robotic footed beings.
everything felt like a twisted Cronenberg three hour retelling of Goldilocks,
with redheaded temper replacing blonde earnestness. Every sales clerk was
more and more a grizzly.

I gave up on Pay-Less.
It should have never crossed my mind to enter since
it looks about the quality of Al Bundy’s shoe shop,
and that can never be good.

I ended up back at the place I started.
Endless bus rides, hours of muzak and increasing
sense of panic driving into my body,
back to the fucking shire I went, seeking the impossible.

I saw them out of the corner of my twitching eye.
They gleamed like fucking Excalibur.
but then they walked like geisha clogs.
5 more pair.
5 more runway walks.
you always fucking wish the salesperson
would just fuck off
and not watch you do your test walk
like what am I going to do?
run out of the store in tight boots?
has this happened?
is it an epidemic?
i start to think about how this must be the shittiest job in the world
watching for potential kidnappers
putting boxes of orphans on shelves like a
detective at the end of some show
and finally
a pair of Timberland’s spoke
my fucking language
and I almost threw the size 13’s from hell
back at the sales clerk and
decided against it
I almost put them on the shelf
but didn’t
I just walked home
proud for having avoided a total rage out
and put the 13’s in the box the Timberland’s
my sacred number 12’s
had come in, and I put the box in the back of my closet
next to the other things
I like to pull out of retirement
for a laugh
now and again you need
to laugh at your own foolish abandon
of logic
of reason of
all fucking hope

because boots are made for walking…
and orphans are made to be re-shelved,
and shopping is for masochists,
see you again next year.

Crazy Butterfly,

Crazy Moth

If Crazy was all moths’,
baby I’d be a bulb, like 80-watt!
I would give shop-talk
something to squawk
about and I’d chalk
my own crooked outline,

I’d rip the shadow
off-a-Rip-Van,
and do the James Brown
half walk off
the stage with it, son,
ima’ rage when the time come!

See spots? hell I see flower pots
with leering sunflower skulls on top!

I want to sing the world a
hybrid of Imagine and Hurt
turn the hysterical mob up
to full blown tangent, demand it!

If I was an episode of Crypt Keeper
Tales, they’d a never aired it!
If Crazy were a punishment,
I’d have three sleeves of demerits’,

so let’s take the concertos’ out
back and blow the angel kiss,
see how weird the symphony can get,
fantasia meets heavy metals freakiest .

I’m Always ready for all that and more, shit,
I was born crazy, practically inherited it!

If ghetto life were an asylum
I be the asshole warden,
the tremens jittery janitor
and the public enemy #1 up in it!

Come unlock the red devil.
The truth is like the shallow
to the grave to the shovel.

Un-muzzle me I promise,
I’ll quiet down.
I’ll do better.

(by promise mean never)
(by never mean ever)
(by all means not)

Eulogy for a Labtop

I Give You, A Laptop Eulogy

She was drawn from the earth
in silver and copper first.

Even some really crazy shit.
Like stuff entire continents
suffer through conflict’s over.

She is born of cultural impropriety,
and she is born of the Vaio-Sony Corp.

She has cradled over 100,000 movies and audio files
yearly now, but once she was just the cold,
precise sum of her factory-slid-into-place parts.

I got her in my place,
and she was ready to go.
I filled her up with every
piece of media we could raise.

She taught me all about feminism too
so don’t get bunched in your Haynes.

That shit is just year 4
so we have to behave.

My vaio deserves a full send off, ok?
So where were we oh yes, the first days…

How they went on and on,
I left you on all night a couple,
I fell asleep with you once
in the bed and woke up to you
screen-down, left to what I thought
might have been choked on your own bits,
face down though I re-lifted and
breath of button flicked you came out of it,
you were a champ even then in the
early virgin years, you know that Vaio?

Year two I, like all pc-men, got sloppy with how I treated you,
and we had our moments, a couple reformats if you don’t recall?
(hahaha get it Vaio-la? Because your memory was wiped and all?)

Oh fuck it, by year three we settled
in again like that was all nothing,
and we have some recovery discs now just in case,
right my little digital honey bunny?

Year four and I count every
day we still have as blessed,
we’re like Deckard and replicant
played by Sean Young, heading West!
Maybe we’ll freeze you awhile
and make a 7 year stretch?

What all I can I will do, to postpone your cyber-death
to this alone I pledge.

My (V)aiolo!
(insert Perry Ferrel reference here)

People Love Puppies

It is morning and you
cannot tell me you
are happy to be outside
in the sunshine
not if you are like me
and you stay up later
and sip beer and tap at keys.

There is no coffee shop
jazz smooth enough
to straighten your
knotted neck, and a light
but effective sharp jab
of pain around the temple region
is just praying you try
and focus on the screen
or a page or anything
that is not a puppy.

The patrons are all
gathered around one,
a baby black thing that
is going to be loud
and annoying before it dies
and leaves the family
in shaky tearful messes
on the floor, and not
before it leaves a couple
hundred runny sloppy ones,
to step in still warm,
to curse at while half gagging
on the mysteriously pungent
stank that manages
to come out of
a toy bred ball of fur
and teeth and drool.

But that’s it, nothing
you can do about it-
you cannot stop them
before falling in love.

What can be done?
People love puppies.

What In The Holy Demon-Fuck Is Going On Around Here?

It is getting to the point
where aliens
would be a blessing,
and that is when
you just know
there is nothing out there
but star dust
and inattentive,
non-existent,
or too damn proud God(s)
but most likely nothing,
but particle after particle
of cold steely space
that creeps up every old woman’s
spine just before
she makes a final,
upward arch.

Even Cassiopeia
had to break her back, once.

It is getting really fucking ugly
in the desert oil states,

and the opposite but parallel offices
where the next moves are made

are looking an awful lot like
where paedophiles and terrorists
go to dream and play and pose
next to pictures of Satan

like at some fucked up,
godless bacchius carnival,
where babies roast on spits and women
are ripped apart for sport and pheromones.

It’s getting a lot like
Mad Max Fucking
Thunder-dome
Or Home Alone redux’d a la David Lynch.

Soundtrack is Badalementi fused
with Dj Bl3nd,
touch of the 9”Nails.

Something to keep the fuckers
up on their cross,
my guess.

I’m tired of the end of Spartacus.
Rudy needs a new Jersey.

I’m picking up for the Kids in the Hall.
I’m wondering where the fuck we are.

Killing over paper, oil, and hate.

That is what the fuck
is going on
around here.

That, is where we fucking are.