Short Story

Poem for the Harvey Danger song, “Radio Silence”

I don’t know that I am anything
but a Frankenstein robot, poet model,
a heart made of sound bytes
and those parts of speech
from my better friends and loves.

I don’t know that I’m not doomed
to be like
“the lo-o-o-oonie up in Togus”

I’m afraid not of patterns in the
program or the walls, but the
Dead Literary floor that’s turned
your average neighborhood underground
into a snotty man’s hyper-ceiling.

I think it’s a little demeaning to
expect your audience to know what
you’ve been feeling when it’s
layered so heavy beneath
your “intensity” which I think
we can easily ascertain as just
some assumption of superior rank

in a non-existent illuminati
of time immemorial. You think you
have the prose of an aural aurora borealis?

Maybe so, but what’s its function aside
from your peers and a few couture critics?

I link my day to a page and afterwards,
scour with most basic set of senses,
my surroundings Are the next sentence,
line, next moment, next kiss, write, next,
dream, write wake next, sip cackle groan vent, next,
write, next.
and it just goes on like this.

If you like dj Bl3nd maybe
you’ll like my schizoid-script.

I beat the beat beaten until
Broke, and beaten, got out-spoken
and beat the silence back that beat him!

Let us beat the wool
with universal words
like Ya Basta!

And while the inner circle
of finely crafted naval gazing
fills in the required allotment
to be considered a kind of
crafty craftsmen,
help the others row the
Drunken Boat ashore.

“I get out of bed like Rimbaud,”

(Anything else you pay more)

The new words will be spoken
and will resound with a bored thud,

A Shock-Shock-Shock you
(Yeah-Yeah-Yeah)
when you see they’re just
the same primary colors’.

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Meanwhile, Back at the Glass Cabin…

(for R.E. and M.W.)

Up until now, I only understood my old friend in passing. I mean I knew his type of (or rather what I until now regarded to be) his type of cynic. Or even a passive aggressive way of dealing with the acceptance of legions upon legions of things one knows today that readers of Dickens’s serials didn’t likely have to bear the weight of. I’d get drunk and pick arguments that had no real conclusion, knowing he would say the same things he said, and I would say the things he said. And I would feel smug, and then shameful for thinking that of someone so important to me. There are certain voices in your life that might take you a decade to hear properly, but when you do you have one of those synchronistic clashes of a bunch of things like at the end of Signs. Except creepier because I actually do bear resemblance to the scariest 2 seconds of an alien apparently, ever.

“It’s always been bad. Have you read the Canterbury Tales? Shit has always been bad, but I believe people will figure it out. They always have.”

Then I would go on about some new internet sensation, something about Monsanto or Bees (but nothing so ridiculous as the last parts of The Happening), and we’d always end up at the same seeming loggerhead. Recently I found the center of that kernel budding in me, and much like the cocoon-gestation state for the baby face biters of Ridley Scott’s far superior, (pre-Prometheus puritan right here) Alien/s series, the early life of what I will call the “letting go of fictional friction” because I see now that is what it all is. Fiction.

Even if the government is out to get you, what good is it to run around like Charlie Sheen with your crack cut off?

Our fear for the future is a frictional fiction, something we invent to justify whatever we need to, in order to survive in body and mind. This shouldn’t be mistaken for the real kind of change people pursue as a result of the need for change, like reducing ones footprint or recycling (unless you worship at the church of Pen & Teller’s bulls**t) or any number of proactive tings people are doing in hordes nowadays, like the kid in Pay it Forward Because people can do things in a calm way, a collective way, after being presented with facts and proof, and logical and sane practices in presenting them. But nobody ever changed the world with worry or the worrying of all around them. No matter of scare-mongering or chicken little-fretting ever really amounts to anything, except antagonizing one’s community. State your concerns, write them out, act them out, film them or sing them or scream them to the nearest mountain (like all those terrible Scripturama’s, or even the occasional gem), and let it be, like the song, the sentiment and the necessary sacrament to the acceptable social cues and norms.

Because otherwise you’re just waiting for someone to teach you a similar lesson. Like at the end of Rudy when the coach got the ole “we are all Spartacus” treatment. Nobody left in the Western hemisphere is going to benefit from being grabbed by the proverbial shoulders’ every day and called a “sheeple” told the sky is poison and the government is under their boogeyman beds (like Howie Mandel before the germ thing in Little Monsters).

You know what? People need solutions. People need a hundred more Venus Projects before one finally sticks, they need engineers busting their assess and they need to understand how rigged the democratic system is. They can learn all this in morsel like bits of earth shattering info, but I have yet to see anyone in my life take to the kind of fervent, snake-oil hucksterism of most extremist conspiracy nuts (Alex Jones, et al.) when they pound the same points in daily, in some effort to – for all I can seem to interpret- ascertain some level of control in their lives. Join Greenpeace. Sell your car. Dig wells. Plant trees. Garden. And yes, collectively mobilize. But there’s no need for Jerry Maguire tactics. “Gee you know, that maniac in the street daily screaming about chemtrails dear, I think we should really heed his prophesies of doom, don’t you?” – said but nobody rational, ever.

And I for one stopped reading a bulk of the more preposterous links. I don’t benefit from that kind of hyperbolic mindset even if its 80 percent true. Why? It’s gaudy, that’s why. Yeah I said it, I like my philosophy like I like my women, presented clearly and cleanly in fresh, and inviting formats. I don’t go for the bottom of the barrel assholes like David Icke and Jones et al. I’m sorry. That’s not how you win friends, and it is only how you DISASSOCIATE good people form learning anything. So from now on I read nothing that’s hackneyed and ridiculous, unless it’s my own poetry during the dreadful next day scan, like buddy with his Kublai Kahn in Pandemonium.  If it has some level of professionalism and doesn’t simply reiterate the Alex Jones “They Are All Part of One Grand (I’m kind of off my meds so I see grander patterns than usual) Insidious Plot of Illuminati”, then I just scroll on, brothers and sisters. Unless it’s Unsolved Mysteries, I have a soft spot for that level of “professional” terribleness it imprinted in childhood. Perhaps that’s why I have trouble taking people seriously that present facts like Sean Penn high on blow in Hurly Burly mid-rant.

Old friend if you are out there, know that I acknowledge it. You were right. It’s never THAT fucking bad. People will rally, and shit will get fixed, or it won’t. No need getting out of your groove over it, right? Besides how else are we ever going to get to see a post-apocalyptic world where you can buy peoples experiences on the black market like Strange Days, if it doesn’t keep on truckin’ right? We already have Juliette Lewis primed as a singer for it too…

I guess what I’m saying is, I would rather talk movies, than hollah at the masses so often, they fail to listen when I finally do, Marvel and Greek God’s forbid, say something. Leave the slaughterhouse to the task of setting about chickens sans top, now and again. It’s been happening since Chaucer and will long after “Mr. Vickers” aka “The Heff” aka “Ginger” et al.

Dedicated to the Spirit of Film Friendships,

Namely Mr. Ebert

(and the sock puppets formerly known as Theodore and Roosevelt)  

Losing the Teacher

I’ve always been quiet, and even more so scrawny, even frail in form, and most especially so when in that most wretched and inspiring, that most depleting and renewing of places; the institutions of education and vocation. I make this distinction not to inflate the story herein; for be assured it is a short and narrow version of a variety of moments. I have always been a thin fellow, and at 30 years and just barely entering my 3rd year of university, (and what was incidentally my first since leaving St. Mary’s in Halifax to come home, to Memorial), I was just a little less so on both accounts. I was still in that earliest of stages to the campus: when I entered the tunnels I wasn’t sure where I would end up, when I wanted to go to the Library from anywhere, I walked above ground no matter what the weather…it was…trying. Instinctually, I took a day before classes started and mapped out my class locations- I was after all, a two year vet to the game and the race.

His class was three of my mornings, every week, earliest of them too. Anyone who has had a morning class knows how debatable mere attendance, let alone the gods forbid, attention, can be at these classes. But I love short stories, and from the start I enjoyed His lectures both for their literature, and his personal asides. There is not even really much mystery to why the fondness was so instantaneous either, I hate to disappoint, although in fairness: I warned you this story was short. It’s really hard not to be content with a teacher who at once evokes figuratively and literally, the reincarnation of Santa Claus with white beard, round face, blue eyes and even pot belly, and in temperament were like the kind sort of grandfather everyone idealizes someday. He even had a couple blue wiry veins along the nostrils, like mine did, although I suspected for different reasons.

It helped that the stories were so good I think; Poe’s “House of Usher”, “Sonny’s Blues”. “The Lottery”. Oh and that one where the captain watches over his men in a boat after their ship is sunk. That was one of my favorites. When He read passages from the story He got into the roles of the different men, and even waved when reading the part about the useless priest on shore. I got a real kick out of him I must say. It wasn’t one particular thing he said or did either; it was the overall way he said it all. He was almost…sly the way he snuck knowledge into stuff. Took a little while, see, because as I said I have long been thin and quiet, and even after you age some, the rooms of uniform chair-desks, still have a way of…quieting you. The room, and my foolish choice of spots in it- they kept me uncomfortable for most the semester. But I took solace, perhaps especially so, in the Grand-Pa-Santa performed tales all the same.

Front Row, top left had corner of the class. It’s been one of my preferred seats for some time now; you are far enough away from most the students to avoid most eyes, and when the time nears you can make a decent bolt around whoever threatens your anxiety-like, sweat-drenched, and itchy exit.  All because of one unseen, but major issue which quickly, ahem…’arose’ that first morning. I hadn’t really considered, and it worsened as class progressed with such steadiness that I actually began to clear a course of each one based on my state of discomfort- each state that worsened told me we were one step closer to the climax, then the denouement, and finally, His final remarks on the story. My release from this mental ambrosia, this physical hell. You see, the entire circumference of the left bank of our class, our troop toward understanding- our exile from darkness to lights unfathomable- was window…window that called the heat of earths mother, a window that was directly and forevermore, facing the god-damn sun.

It was not even an issue for much of the left bank of the institutional trench; it was just the top corner of the teachers desk – which incidentally He never once sat at, for obvious reasons standing centre, in the beloved and cool shade of the other 80 percent of the warzone of quiet ignorance and brilliant conjecture of young minds, which somehow surmised my place in the whole of things- skinny, quiet, and usually somehow on the fringe, mature student in the hottest little corner of the room, wondering on that fateful morning when silence killed the battlefield all over- even (and be assured to my shock) my own lips couldn’t find it- the name of the town or state or city of the days short story. And there he was, finally exasperated with months of only a couple students answering the bulk of the questions, and ready to blow his top. They had finally done the impossible with their silence: they had broken the sunny demeanour and light hearted kindness of Grampa Santa. But first, a lesson in the history, short as it had been, yet excruciatingly long for me, of that very quiet front.

As established, I was older than most 2nd years, having doddled a bit with my course load and not entered University until 27. And I have always been thin, and quiet. And fair skinned. One might even hazard the term, “red haired and freckled”. There we have my state, and of course here we are  at my predicament; the sunny corner of short story class taught by coolly shaded Grand-Pa Santa, who just happened to be a naturally gifted teacher of one of  my fondest subjects, as though the torture of basking in the rising sun, magnified by double pained Atlantic ocean style windows. Already born quiet and thin, it seemed my lot to waste away in sweat during what should have been a joyous traversing of the hollows of literature. I should have been as free as that biplane pilot in the Alice Munro story, but instead I was stranded, with only one calming source of hope- the man himself.

Every once in awhile his Newfoundland accent washed up, quite intentionally mind you, and yet he didn’t do it haphazardly. It was so sparse, see.  And He used it to both drive a point home and restate a previously “properly enunciated” version of the same sentence.

“So…what’s ‘dis all about”. “Now, what in god’s name is Poe on about with dis passage”.

That was part of the charm I guess. He already emulated Gramps, now he occasionally became the old man when he was on the piss. For like Him, Gramps could manage mainland elocution just fine- if he chose to do so. Unlike many younger teachers, he didn’t waste time trying to win the affections of his students either. And to me that was respectful of him, the profession and us most importantly- to be an ambassador of learning, a Captain of the written word as it were, this is an honourable title in my opinion, and it’s one that needn’t wilt or waiver in the face of modern youth’s expectations of “new wave” teaching. Rather than capitulation, we got these wonderfully crafted excursions into the jungles of each authors mind and life- we became enthralled by osmosis- myself perhaps also some photosynthesis- of being in his well laid path. We were safe from many things, though. We wouldn’t be spoiled. Fooled into thinking it was easy to navigate a great short story. Imbued with the notion that stand up comedy and lecturing university are one in the same. No Sir.

We were going to learn the easy way- which is to say the only way, that is, the Right one.

He was never forceful, quite the opposite in fact. He would ask and re-ask and re-ask questions, never a hint of stress level raised, never any indication, save the accent coming out in planned, perfect intervals for humour and emphasis that anything changed in him despite its obvious challenge. Especially when it was place names and easy stuff like that: stuff that was on the first damn page. But he didn’t. And I guess that’s where I found some recompense for silently melting to death in the top left hand corner of the chemistry building at memorial, those September days. To raise that arm and quietly break the calm more than usual. Because I was about to experience one of the quietest semesters…of my life. Perhaps, I thought, squinting one day with arm raised so as to both block sun and grab His attention, of all time.

Yes ,it was That quiet. Young people today, I remember thinking, are just quieter I guess. Tweet, Text, Gaming Online. It’s all very semi-social, and often with the graces of distance between target and shooter, talker and listener, teacher and student, to wit. But even by that standard, this class was a trench of young kids yet unable to even raise the white flag of uncertain hypotheses. It got so that each time I raised my holy thin branch of relief, I would first look back to the class and just make sure I wasn’t being too eager. I’m no greenhorn remember. Never once did it occur that way. Never. Once.

Maybe it was because he was so kind, the kids could sense it as a way to subvert the morning and half sleep through his lectures, my answers, the wind whipping around the curtain in the left corner of the room, the only redemptive burst of cool in the sun-lit area, which was two desks away from me at all times. And not a word mentioned that wasn’t dragged out, often with such reluctance He almost had to do it himself. It was a horror-show some mornings. If I had read the wrong story or not had a chance to re-read the one we were covering, it could get truly atrocious, even gory.

But then one day the impossible happened. Nobody could answer the first and most basic question of the story. I had been under incredible stress that week, my best friend and fatherly-influence, my grand, grand Grampa…had taken a stroke. Then a second. Now he was hospitalized. He was tied up so he wouldn’t continually rip out his own feeding tubes, with his gnarly, bar-fight-fed fists. He was 76, and still drank a flask or a half in the evenings with is best friend “Prince William”, a black lab “left on his Texada Island property by some crazy old goat lady down the way. He whined all night in my boot on the porch II wouldn’t look at em at first.” Mick had just had the second of what one day would be all three of his sons, all to Heroin and her varying side-effects; OD’s, HIV-related pneumonia. Found inevitably in parks and dirty hotels. Eaten by a war unacknowledged.  He had been my confidante for a decade or so of close conversations and laughter and home cooked meals, and now, he was one foot in the grave and refusing anyone outside his own kids the chance to visit.

And here was this man, who by all accounts had given it the best fight a man can give in the battle for young minds’ attention and, god forbid, the insight of that holiest, most divine thing: an individual thought. A step. It was all he had begged for, just one foot gained. It wasn’t as though he’d expected us to win the war. Just take a yard. Even a mile. And all that withstanding, if nothing else couldn’t we please Name the god fer’saken town b’y da jeeesus. This was late November now. We had been to the House of Usher, we had survived the sinking of the Lusitania with Stephen Crane and we had even worn the smothering sad injustice of Gogol’s Overcoat, and now we would fumble and break the perfect demeanour near the end, hung up on a story I can’t even recall, though I am sure it was either Cheever’s The Swimmer or Carver’s Cathedral. I mean these were modern stories, not like Poe with the weighty tongue of old gothic- and yet I couldn’t summon the answer. And he finally broke. The man who had been by all intents my Grand-Santa, smiling back at you when you asked who is speaking in A Clean, Well-Lit Place, smiling when he agreed about the ending of “The Yellow Wallpaper”, smiling and kind despite the artillery of silence and more silence daily aimed toward him, despite all the eyes blankly unable to mouth even a guess and left him to lean on even the hope of one- had finally had enough.

“Well.”

“Well I Just Can’t Believe It. I mean come ‘Awn guys”

“This is ‘tree months IN”

“Does ANYone know the setting? It’s not a big question here guys… ”

I think of him now with the other running list of them. The good ones; Mr. Pardo and the voice’s he used to do on the side for his friends and neighbours answering machines. He decided to quit the job eventually and do voice work full-time.  Mr. Hadwyn; taught me the word ambrosia, in the context it was the word he used when he had to smooth something over with the missus- “just compare her to ambrosia, the fruit of the gods gentleman.”. Ms. Macdonald who wanted my short story to get published way back in grade nine. And Mrs. Kelland later in adult high- the one who he held all other people to as a sort of moral and human meter-stick. Who attended my first big readings. The ones who should never have had to run out of patience. Not because of that gawd fe’ersakin quiet, of all ‘tings.

I was perfectly out of place to see it all; I was older, I was 3rd year, I was the guy who’d deluded himself out of adolescence with delusions of being the next Jack Kerouac or London, but ended up looking more the Burroughs, or worse, Huncke. I could see the literal unfolding of the silence over just a single gap of time – a decade and a half or so- from my earliest years as the tall lanky ginger, wise-cracking but otherwise shy kid. In high school I don’t really remember cell phones. Just weed and hacky sack, pool halls and public parks. Now a hush comes over the titillated mind. The over-twittered, under-spoken. A nation of shyness to hold us back.  And the last few good people aghast at the funeral of conjecture, of discussion, of thought- paid to try to hustle a few marks into an average, nothing more than monks robbed of their patience, hope. Passion.

And yet, by the next class, his temper returned to the infinitely Buddha-like smile and, as though Cheever’s Swimmer, half –senile, or as even the rider who manages to escape Usher- Mr. B- made his way through the trenches of quiet once more…a few good hands to aid, be assured, but amidst the fiery true force of a silence just the same.

By the time I lost Mick, exams had rushed past. I wasn’t really there anymore though. I was finally making my way from the hellish prism of that vantage; court side to the slaughter. It didn’t even occur to me until shortly before sitting down to provide my portion of the events leading up to December 8th that he was technically only a few parking lots away the whole time. My grandfather, who hated more than anything the thought of dying for years in a hospital, visited by those he hated but loved. He had refused me admittance after the second stroke with the spastic waving of clawed hands, a childish face according to one family member, who in her usual crudeness had remade the sour pus and claw outside Carnell’s Funeral Home.

The entire time I was writhing in wonder and later despair and being powerless in his end, he had made his way closer still to my discomforted place.  Whereupon he was eventually sedated and restrained after several, quite violent and swift attempts to dislodge his air tube- he finally followed that hellishly bright light.

Mick loved a few things enough to break his staunch agnostic approach to life. “I say a prayer still for my boys dead and buried” his eyes red each time they came up, “and my old man.” (his father, a veteran at 15 – notoriously declared himself the youngest Newfoundlander to enlist, lying about his age at 14 to escape the coal mines of Glace Bay)

He loved to drink, he loved his dog, he loved a woman once, and he loved to tell and almost as much hear a great story. Maybe I am misguided in my detail of his last attempt then; perhaps; hearing the silence broken by the voice of a clearly trained professional in the trade of storytelling and re-telling and re-telling again – perhaps ole’ skipper wanted just to get a better seat for the show!

To sneak one last laugh out of it all! To be away from dat god forsaken hospital. There’s a story yet to be told. It’s a good one, about two atheists who end up praying on each other’s souls, in the end.

Lady Fate

I fell for this girl who
also called herself fate
when allowed to take
another name.

We met in summer school,
this cramped class, a far too
idealistic teacher, and this
young, perfect encounter.

I read No Great Mischief and
The English Patient that year,
Both of them were the some
of the first words I really got
swept away by. Macleod and his
similes, Ondaatje and his
Herodotus histories of desert
storms. It was enough to fill my
notebooks with proud dream
journals and even six months
Sans drunk if I recall.

I was already betrothed to a girl
who had never known a trustworthy
role model in her entire life. Her family was
cold, her mother might’ve inspired
Nurse Ratchet, clamped down the kind
hearted father he didn’t even
remember having a pair by time
I showed up with my Kerouac
and my heirs apparent. I, who ordered
Salmon when we went out on their
dime because is somehow felt
like the right thing to do, like it made up
for their having ruined the girl’s youth.

This fate lady though, was different.
She was all black straight hair
and daddies attitude and heart
on her sleeveless, summer arms.

I told her I recognized her and she
just about lost it.

“How could you have seen me?
I thought that show was only on in the states!”

It was, but I had a step father who loved
technology; we had laser disc players and a
satellite which meant I had Nickelodeon
when it still had some integrity.

I had been unimpressed with her show, but
she was clearly caught between finally showing
something emotional, she was proud and
wanted to be fawned over for her claim to fame.

Then the fire drill.

I smoked then but was trying to quit, so
I was wandering outside hoping to bum one.
The crowd thinned out, and eventually it was
just me and her, in one of the few cinematic and
romantic scenes in all my existence took place.

It started to pour. Sun shower.
My personal favourite
of all the varieties of rain to stare upward into
arms outstretched, crucified by joy.

Then she did. So I did too.
There we were in the sun shower,
arms stretched out, heads raised
toward the fragments of light ripping
through the dissipating wall of cloud,
completely silent, a temporary relief.

Just like Gordie Lachance and the deer
in Stand By Me, I kept that to myself until
just now, when I reopened it for you, like
a butterfly wedged in a bible for 12 long years,
dreamt of often, but never actually let
back into existence. Still just as perfect, too.

Sleep well,
Lady Fate.

The Electric Ginger Kool-Aid Acid Test Experience Or How To Avoid Death By Gingercide, by Red Vickerson

The Electric Ginger Kool-Aid Acid Test Experience
Or
How To Avoid Death By Gingercide, by Red Vickerson

The Argentine and I had been friends
on the surface for years, but secretly we
tried snubbing the other out like
Spy vs Spy on mescal or a sadistic,

Red-Headed road runner facing off
against a better looking (somewhat)
version of the Javier Bardem villain in Skyfall

(But no less dark and certainly as deadly. )

Little did the mad southerner know,
his usual concoctions, (likely some type
of hybrid new age tantric majick mixed
with the older school brouhaha of
dark variety I suspected but could never prove)
all the while, it boosted my tolerance.

Because you see, when you’re a red-headed-
Bastard-step-child living in an anti-ginger world,
you build a certain second skin, see.

You learn to Suspect interference,
to anticipate anti-Ginger sentiment
at every turn and to remain

Ginger proud
On the outside
at all times.

I took to parading my belief’s
as a humorous shtick in around
2005 and flipped quite the return out of it,
not to mention a back log

of information on hundreds
of involved parties in public displays of “G-Hate”
I became like the Stasi or the KGB, or G-Men
and kept similarly laborious notes.

I invested in a new phraseology;
Gingerfictation, Gingiduce, and
Ginscrimination namely.

To which he even playfully executed
a response of late
Which included full on Gingercide;
the ultimate party gift!

The gingerier the better!
And how fucked that gingerier
is an accepted word!

(see http://hernanjmonzon.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/how-to-kill-a-ginger/ )

I spent hours re-watching every red-head
Coded film (2,227 or so)
and found all the necessary algorithms
of hate to confirm my suspicions;

a worldwide plot to eradicate us
has failed time and time again,
because we are the chosen ones,
and must mobilize, as my weekly
pamphlet and webcast
“The Red Truth Diaries” explores
in more detail.

(see “The Red Mailbox: Stories for the
Formation of a New Red Initiative”)

In the end this endless war
will undoubtedly burn
but will be forced to take small and minor place
amidst the greater atrocities of oppression in history.

But we will keep absorbing souls,
and gaining freckles for each one,
like vampires, in the folkloric pop culture
Et al. public subconscious long after every
Other demon has been vanquished, extolled,
expired.

We. Are. Le’(Gin)gion.

(drinks anti-freeze, absorbs another soul,
Moves on, cackling like Ron Howard
During the 2001 Oscars saying yeah bitches!
A Beautiful Mind is an allegory for my people!
When I use Albino’s I’m really saying
“Gingscrimination”)

We will rule one day,
and forced Gingrifying will
take place in every city.
A mass, unconsentual
Gingrification, indeed.
It will be like when the Christians
Fucked the Jews out of Rome and
Ieverything went to shit, but more epic.

And it will be me and the Argentine there
laughing, piss-poisoned-drunk and only
to willing to encourage mayhem further.

Such it is, being the Red Other.

The Parenthesis Buzz

Note: Parental Advisory – Parenthesis Buzz Poetry is for the sick-minded, the low and base and sardonic and for anyone who can laugh at South Park, headlines and every other terrible truth on the Naked Lunch menu.

A poem for the movie They Live,
(and people with mildly dark senses of humour)

If you’re duplicitous and you know it, make it show.
(whips a hundred treasures out a window)

If you believe in God cover your ears.
(burns every bible ever written while
dancing hysterically and naked and mad)

This is the evolution of style into bleak satire.
(empties deadly virus into water supply)

This is Sparta. (Kicks man into well)
This is Hell. (“I am God here”)

Good morning dear! (gargles acid and spews it)

Hello Ms. Jonson lovely rose garden as always!
(stomps fellow shopper on Black Friday)

The movement will not be televised!
(entire generation misses point of The Matrix)

I love coming here to eat, so delicious!
(feeds tapeworm in jar under table)

Oh Tommy I’m so glad you found a nice girl!
(spraypaints doll hooker green for irony)

Can’t wait to stretch out and chill after a long day!
(digs own grave with breaking finger nails and all, buries self.)

Poem ends with rash series of empty threats.
(Ginger. Is. Coming.)

Up Early (for Gary)

I’ve been up before;
up so early they called it
better late than never.

I’ve torn at the panties of night like
a creeper under its dominion,
but I‘ve never stolen anything
that wasn’t stolen
from someone else.

So here: a story in place of the
final pieces of the poem you were
just hustled into the heart of –

I have just enough time to tell you about Gary,
the junky piano player I ran into a few
times more than I would’ve liked,
but enough, it seems, to have educate me
on the naked and ugly edicts at the last
supper of the fallen addict.

Gary was the guy who my painter
friend introduced me to during
my first real night in BC.

Gary could go through a bar
it seemed and slap and shake a dozen
people that eagerly greeted him
for whom he had been.

None of this came immediately
to me though, I studied him each
night we were desperate enough
to have dial his number.

When every other
contact we knew who held had bailed,
& even the street strangers scuttled off to
warm holes of their own hard won highs,
then? You had to go to Gary.

And it was never pretty.

But I was still obsessed with the idea
of the junk. I had picked up a spectator love
of Burroughs and like cockroaches all
this other stuff now festered in my unkempt soul.

I had a Golem-like Huncke or two,
who skitterishly dashed into dark crevices
when you switched on a light.

There weren’t any lights left for Gary.

I can go back to the moment I
understood the drug when I saw his
life displayed before me.

He had a piano still somehow.
It wasn’t in great shape I wonder
if he still does now…

On it were pictures of the other man
he was. Suited on his wedding day,
with a pretty young thing in his arm.

Completely oblivious to the shit
that the proverbial box of punk
rock and weed were going to
carry into his soul, soon enough.

It’s really that simple.

Then he played. He played and the
first time 5 years later in Uni when
I read Sonny’s Blue’s I thought of
Gary, the same way I do when I see
a grocery store rotisserie chicken, too…

Why? Because one night I had to witness
an unnecessary further cautionary
lesson, a follow-up to the lonely
broken piano reminders that the
man had already provided.

I was with the high strung Quebecor,
“La Fletche” we called him.

He loved the powder like me,
and like me had been destroyed
by our previous peak into
Gary’s living room void.

“Faaaaaaack eh?”

So when Gary refused,
boldfaced to score for us
one night until, and I quote

“I get my fucking chicken,
a whole fucking bird right now.”

we were slower than usual to comply.
Not because we thought it was an
outrageous request,

(I once paid the line of people
ahead of me once at a Tom Petty show,
2 pints ran me 75 dollars all told,
but the experience was worth it,
so I could do strange)

The Frenchman and I saw something
that night, that horror movies can’t touch:

a grown man in a dirty black
overcoat and greasy slicked-backed
Goebbels-Nazi-hair, with pock marked
cheeks to match, hunched over beside
what remained of his victim,

a sad smattering of bone and a few inedible bits
of torso frame; a mirror of the man himself
prostrated and licking his nimble, tar/crack
stained fingers one at a time for the remains,
then, with the exuberance of a ghost-
occupied school boy jutting up, and began to
re-animate toward the door, the cause, the high.

The Truth.

I don’t have time for much more tonight,
Up early tomorrow for once for something
Far less dark and sinister;
A paper on Rome and a midterm on
Shakespeare.

Rear Hindsight

In the room one over, the radio
dollops out bingo winners along
the southern shorelines, slowly,
patiently, the old woman listens with
poised dabber.

One floor up the old couple
try to do it to Cohen like
they used to and it is
awkward and squeaky.

Down below a near-retired
and exuberantly drinking
school teacher whips another
batch of profanities up for her
poor, meek husband, who kind
of resembles James Cromwell but
with none of the power of his roles.

I especially like the American Horror Story
Character; he out did himself there.
I wonder if any war criminals live in
this area? I don’t have any particular suspects,
The local drunks are too far gone, the
criminal element far too juvenile and high.
Nazi’s though, they make the best villains.

A couple doors down a gay couple
who have moon rays on the lawn
that are always getting
kicked over, though not for any
malicious reason
just the proximity to the
housing area where, not
As though they have a choice
in the matter, the poor pass on
criminal excuses and anger and
addiction (that’s what the screen says, anyway)

I’ve tried despite my inclinations,
to remain a more hopeful
And empathetic sort.
Lord knows they’ve tried.

I remember a bus trip from BC
o Ont, and me and this
Really nice black guy from Montreal
were sharing smokes much of the way.
I ran short half way back,
so it was handy. But anyway this
couple got on somewhere in Calgary.
Screaming baby. Memorable.
I was such a miserable young traveler.
In the middle of the
night the young couple got into
some intense thing.

It increased an audible decibel.
The look on the Montreal guys
face when we both heard the slap,
the whimper that chased
after it, and that strange human moment
where we both I assume
considered what options
were next available.

There aren’t any hero’s
In that one I’m afraid.
The fight ended and
the other passengers all
pretended to be sleeping
while the girl hid her weeping
and the repentant and shamed
young boy sternly
begged forgiveness.

Ladies Man

One of the best weed highs
we ever had was around ‘95.

We just started grade 8, my younger
accomplice, who was also a come
from Newfoundland-er.

This kid was a born hustler,
a ladies’ man at 15.

He was great for shoplifting and
in general I owe all the
(extracurricular) criminal/delinquency
to be had in my
Half-assed attempt at being cool, to him.

(Sorry, no energy
for the manic
distancing tools of reforming
grace, or redemptive hindsight,
or even casual reminiscence.

And fuck all the after
school misery, too.)

There is no
Good Will Hunting to be had,
and nobody left anyone
For better things either;
he still has a way with
the ladies, even if the fates have
dulled his senses,
encouraged by all those pretty horses,
the gunmen and the lever,
the stirred-up and the Hammer,
an anvil and a believer.

“You hit on the run,
The run hits back on you.”

That kind of hyperbolic
hyper real meta-
Monster ego destruction

of the Roman persuasion;

the kicking of
men and women into eternal fall,
the removing of hope,
the unadulterated slaughter of it,
time.

Anyway we used to smoke this stuff
up by Cherry Tree Island
(a Portuguese guys backyard
we had assumed as ours),

And one spring, a principal of a near-by
school came up and started giving us
Shit, and I (brave because I was moving
across town and this asshole didn’t
know me from Job) told him a slew
of inventive ways to get fucked, and we
darted across fences faster than he could
flair about in the loneliness of useless
threats; he didn’t fucking know us.

Fuck him.

Those early highs were so liberating
I felt like god whenever I got a few
puffs into the night. We would gorge
on Frosted Flakes and fits of near-fatal
laughing forever, make fun of his retarded
family with their accents so much stronger than
ours, and which we’d never have again the same.

Our unique speech already
like clippings of hair on a barbers floor,
got devoured by the
clean, close shaven-ness of,

The Mainland Dialect.

Stupid Questions

What Do You Do?

I write.
Usually, at night I

rebuild streets
to Miles Davis symphonies

I erect a hundred effigies to city lights
fill dozens of chalices, full.

Oh no I mean,
what do you do so
that society doesn’t
do away with you,
call you scab or fleck,
fuck you from existence
on any given/slow motion
night?

Simple,
I find new things to write about.

I practice my funeral pyre
To the trepidations of horn
and hammer.

But don’t you need something
More?

I have the absinthe nightmare
of my adolescent hi jinx.

I replay my stupendous pride.
Internally, at my soulful cine-plex.

I sneeze and Greece eases into the ocean
a little further, I shit and LA loses a mile

of shoreline,
I trip, and dynasties lay to ruin, smoulder.

What about security, how do you sleep?

Like Kubla Khan meets Mario Bros.
With a slice of Fincher and Lynch.

I sleep between scenes, in a pinch in a ditch,
always the same; another watcher, another eye.

Dreams?

The epic fallout of our time.

Hopes?

To live long enough to see it all fall apart.
And write the first post-apocalyptic poems.