Influence versus inspiration

Seeing Permanent Red

They say us red heads have
tempers like East Coast weather
unpredictable and vicious.

I would argue this point but
it would only send me into
another full blown raging whirl wind.

I turn into a Snickers-less Joe Pesci.
I become Oppenheimer.

Without a moment’s notice.
Even my Jekyll is more like
most people’s Hyde.

Today when I could not find my hat
I felt like I needed it
like some average Junky,
then the more I couldn’t find it,
the more I became Herbert Hunke.

Suddenly I was a barrel short
of 12 angry monkey’s.

I miss a bus and start mumbling
to my room:

“How in the history
of all the holiest fucks
of fucking fuckers
have I lost this goddamn hat
when I have yet to leave the
house today?”

The theories get elaborate, fast.
Some kind of starving, stray
micro-goat-like creature
which normally subsists off odd socks
has not found one lately and has
decided to get brazen.

I must still be wearing it I say,
and pat my red, slowly
sweat-gathering
heavy hair.
Nope.

I check the legs of jeans
startling my bed’s frame
like crusty farmer clothes on
rickety, birch fences.

My inner Shining
declares that
Genes got me here
to begin with.

I go to punch air
and I hit the corner of my door
gashing open my hand,
now I’m bleeding and
cursing and mumbling and
tossing clothes around
like a baglady at the last
Sally Ann sale of the Earth
positive that any second I will
start to shit out everything
I have ever lost
and that’s a lot, a lot, a lot of shit.

By the time I give up and
put my hoody on
I’ve missed another bus
I’ve screamed in italic’s of cuss
I’ve prayed like a desperate Catholic
to a Mexican pick up truck’s Jesus-rust.

Curse this temper of mine.
All it was ever good for
were broken Super Nintendo controllers
dry wall craters covered in NIN posters
and a good post-meltdown chuckle
like the one just now,
while writing this poem.

Maybe that’s enough.

Teacher Student Relations

You are gonna meet all kinds
of people who will tell you
your words are
not as good or
not as worth mention
as the words they say are
better but the truth is
most of them
have big drinking noses
not big writers eyes
and the truth is
they will gather dust with
chapbooks nobody will ever read
and they will piss off more students
then they will help but the most important
thing you will learn from them is that
you can overcome the urge
to remind them their personality
is drift wood
and not even the cool kind
that artists can fashion
something beautiful from,
just gnarly clenched up shit
that nobody
not even their close friends
really thinks any excuse can
justify.

You will also
meet some amazing and
helpful and inspiring ones,
and you will remember them by the
books they developed to show you that
you were not some extraterrestrial to greatness,
and they will always, pound for pound,
outweigh the bitter ones who should
be locked away and kept from the
hands that scrawl on walls the demands
of a new tongue-generation.

They are the ones you need to
worry about impressing,
because they are the people
who teach you the importance
of only writing for yourself.

So let the drift wood
drape its ageing ideal
on the beach
of someone weak enough
in character to actual give a shit.

You have the Gregory Corso gift.

You will rip what little advice can be gleaned from them,
and shave their existence from your margins, otherwise.

If greatness was something that could be mapped
by washed up never-were much’s,
then they would’ve struck the iron,
they would’ve hit the horse
between its eye in their own time,

not still be repeating the wrote requests of
“don’t write like this,”
“this is not how it is done” or
“I hate vampire stories”.

Whatever it is they tell you.
Keep this in mind.

A teacher is only as great as their weakest pupil.

fame poetry (Poem on the Inner Mechanism of a Short Story Writer)

I want this to be a good little twister.
I want Twilight Zone style karma.
The protagonist. He’s a Jimmy.
A Jimmy Jetson.

He’s Canadian with German parentage,
and he gets teased constantly by
jerky Nazi salutes’ and bad German accents.

He doesn’t give a fuck though,
because he read Mein Kampf
and he knows Hitler was a
fucking Jerk-off artist,

and Jimmy Jetson was born
in Jasper, Alberta,
so what the fuck did he know
about his heritage anyways?

The story is all about this
great art project he is planning.

He is reading lots about Andre Breton,
maybe a few quotes.

At least an allusion.

The story hinges on his frustrated
attempt to create a work
that will dwarf anything,
anyone has ever done.

He also wants to give those fuckers
around town something, bad.
He crucifies himself of course,
and has utilized local homeless
and orphan kids
(it’s a dystopia)
stuffed in an homage
to the taxidermy of Norman Bates,
and they are all in poses
of the crucifixion.

There is even a Pontius Pilate.
Was previously a local postal worker.

I can’t decide if that is too overt
a reference to Bukowski, or not.

The end is like an
apocalyptic mass suicide-in.

All the worlds artists
and all the worlds poseurs
all jumped up on crosses,
convinced it was a sure-fire
way to secure their family name
in truly worthy artistic fame.
It gets to the point it is fused
with reality TV and a showy game,
where people get plucked
from the fringes and made
to make it through razor blade mazes

and then churches pop up everywhere,
and everything is basically
the same way it was before Jetson took off.

(Jimmy Jetson walks off
into sunset drinking bottle
while mockingly taking Christ
poses and screaming like Seal on “Crazy”)

And then the story gets lazy, up on it’s cross,
and falls down too, and gets reborn as moss.

And even the moss is a little alienish,
Steven King as Jordy saying, meteor shit!

And that’s all so far I have of it.

This is Why I Do It

A flash of brilliance

is worth a thousand scorpions,

is the weight of
a gallon of your best friends laughter,

is the Beelzebub of Ghostbuster caught demons,

is the Houdini prestige,

is a marble in a mason jar,
tumbling from creak-heavy rocking chair,
onto creak-heavier hard-wood floor.

The sound of the shatter
is the alarm clock
the blade of evil light
the day job
the departing whore
the piss-heavy dog
waiting at the door,
to take you out,

back into normalcy.

Back to a quiet,
saturate hell.

And anyone tells you different
is a shit, a liar, an idiot,
or some kind of religious.

Characters on a Cooking Show

for Chad

Two old friends, in the midst of
some really poor, broke-ass times
would make each other cackle,
on a shoe-string diet, with little else.

Taking turns putting on impromptu,
quasi-starved cooking shows,
monologues that were somewhat tired,
and giving it a bit of flare where
such fanciness was possible.

“Tonight we dine on Mr. Noodles and Tuna,
and I don’t know about you audience, but I
am just super excited to dig in and make
the meal shine, you know?”

“Today’s shoestring meal is brought to you
by the creamers I lifted at the coffee shop
earlier, making that batch of peppered Kraft Dinner
something to really write home about!”

“These peppers I shoved into my backpack
before leaving work are going to go well
with the discounted taco shells and beef!”

“We take the leftover juice from our
Tuna-Mr.Noodle Surprise, and freeze it
for later reuse in this handy margarine container!”

When you have nothing,
you have a sense of humour
about your own sunken belly.

When you have a friend with a similar
sense of survival, the cooking show
can even fall into a couple condiment packs
and a few looted, workplace goodies,
without losing any of the comic flavors,
sealed in now by time, survival
and salt.

Eat your fucking heart out, Ramsay.

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass” – Anton Chekhov

Chekhov wants the glint does he?
I’ll give him something to talk about.
They were beautiful and terrible girls.
“We’re from fucking Montreal man-”
I heard them telling some meat head outside,
and I just had to call back
“Hey, I was born in Montreal!”

Because exotic dancers have always
been fascinating to me and
in my darker moments back then I called
them strippers like everyone else
because I loved certain poets enough to
risk alienation by the crowd at Starbucks,
and because above all else I lived for story,
and story was always about the details.

The ring-leader was leathery in face,
haggard old mop hair held back in a
fraying scrunchy that I can still see, slowly removed,
back at the castle of other dancers who all slept.
This was after the after hour club I went to with them,
like some proud puppy eyed kid, the other meat heads
all staring at us, eating my face with their eyes,
quick as the blow went up noses in every stall.

We ditched a couple other meat heads that
wanted her and the hot one to go back to a motel,
but wouldn’t let me come. I realized I was a feeler.
A tool to see if creeps were to be trusted or avoided.

We cabbed to their secret lair, where no men were
allowed to tread. We crept up a winding staircase,
dawn starting to stain our shadows, the older one
shushing me, the young one smiling at me and saying
things to the leathery one I couldn’t understand on
my mere catholic grade school, non-street French.

There was some sort of comfort knowing I made it
back to the inner sanctum, after all was said and done,
and all the shit was gone and the road rocket slammed,
I sat on the toilet as the steam removed her from my view.

She wouldn’t let me alone, naturally, with the blonde,
and this meant I was sitting on a toilet that faced a mirror
watching the leathery girl as she tried to talk to me and
then in French occasionally to herself, which was the best
thing really, I had heard in a long time. I grabbed a chunk
off the top of a nearby empty case of 24 beer and I jotted
a few deets from the night, and I bet its kicking around in my drawer
with all the other sacred artefacts.

When it was time for me to go she pulled out her
deodorant stick and uncapped it revealing a tight
wad of money instead, and gave me cab fair, and
more or less assured in me, as I know still to this day,
that people are all just looking for someone they can hang out
with, safely. That we are all pretty decent. Even the leathery ones.

But meat heads should never be trusted.

Confusion is a Kiss Best Re-heated

It does not matter that I am not always able to be water.

It does not matter that the woman said “Holyrood” (pronounced Holy-Rude)
and that the old fella heard it “Hollywood” and was at first astounded.
All that matters is me walking past, and sitting back at my desk,

and knowing 12 years ago, some poet wrote about his
apologies being like thorns, hoarded and kept in a mason jar
to solve some unknown “X” immunity, that basically
“the roses didn’t mean shit” in a bizarre dollar store notebook

where someone has written in as large as the letters can fit,
“what’s that shit smell” in bold, obviously meant to convey silent rage, letters.
Or maybe it’s just meant to be a joke, left over from some cranked out night.
Maybe it’s meant to be another of those things that doesn’t count.

But all you know is all I show, and that’s what counts.
So know that safe in heaven, dead, they all have notebooks too.
And keep going. And fill this one, too.

This is obsession. These are the rules.

Comic Book/Stored Antithesis

The soft, off yellow light often
produced in the dim chamber
of your childhood comic shop
and its ability to seem
from the kneeled position
over gargantuan strip boxes
of back issues, back then, in the
middle of your proverbial Sandlot
to act as temporal vortex.

A conversion of worlds,
a threshold.

Campbell was right.
It is all journey.

(This one shop owner in our core
had an eye patch and a limp
and I’m sure he did jail time
for weed. He hired us as helpers
me and my buddy from Sekura)

We had the whole back of the
store to go through, just tons of
back stock and all the new stuff.

It was the greatest thing that had
happened to me since Zelda and
sure, maybe even Shadowrun.
(but that’s entering the debatable)

I found The Maxx and Savage Dragon
as the boys from Image left their own
safe worlds and travelled to unknown
riches

(most of them anyway, Sam Keith
is like me I bet and re-watches Cheers,
missing Coach and Diane and the 80’s

as they go by in a slow tightening of flare
and lessening of hem’s, until culmination in
Rebecca’s premiere a la red leather mini-skirt. )

Reading a superhero like Keith’s Maxx gave
me new dreams as a writer. Aside from Steven King,
no other influence has tainted me so deeply,

as those I found in the downtown comic book
stores (there were three at one time, where now
only one will ever at a time today)

Frederick Philip Grove talks about how he
found this call to adventure in Siberia when
he encountered these Khirgiz herdsmen who
yowled and yawped and sang out the true
beatific essence of life, masked in beard and
riding a slow trail to insignificance.

I don’t regret my influences at all.
The darker the Cave, the brighter the sunshine.