Survival

Have I Ever Told You About My Ghost Sister?

Have I Ever Told You About My Ghost Sister?

When we were young
Mom would ship us off
to spend the summer
in Newfoundland for what
must have been her
own personal bit
of relief as well.

I loved these trips.
They meant I was without
a bedtime because I
had always stayed up late
but grandparents never anticipate
their home becomes the
largest open cage for the most curious
of child-mice, and I discovered
in those summers, my love for late night TV.

Cheers was still in its glory,
Diane’s dress was pure 80’s conservative,
and Sam’s hair was still flush with colour,
even Cliff had hopes he wouldn’t die
only having lived with
his mother, who was the great
and the marvellous Jessica Tandy.

It was after 1984,
the summer when Rebecca,
as though signalling a shift
in the public conscious,
took over when Shelley Long mistook
her popularity for greatness.

I remember because I hated her at first.
She didn’t read like Diane.
She was all about money.

That was the year I met my Ghost Sister,
and just the once.

During the day I had
left my model glue under the
kitchen table where I spent many
of my days, back when being under a table
was not merely acceptable but in fact
the greatest place one could occupy in the house.

Under the table was where
you got all the best stories.

I heard my Aunt Jane tell Nan
over Tetley and Camel’s, about
her husband’s gall-stones and
how it was “like a golf ball coming
through a garden hose”, an image I
have never forgotten either when
watering the lawn or seeing a second
of golf on TV before shuddering
changing the station to, hopefully,
a pre-Becca episode of Cheers.

My grandmother had a small fit
over my younger sister, a creature
I had decided was mostly a waste of time,
except when I managed to get
a moment alone and made a grotesque,
zombie face, until she wept, and then
adults came and nobody understood why.

She had somehow gotten the cap off
the model glue, proving she was not
completely a pile of baby fat and stupid,
and was digging right into it like it was
plum sauce, her chubby fingers the chicken nugget,
and my Nan made sure I understood, in typical
“I don’t believe a child can be too traumatized” fashion,
that I had almost poisoned my sister, to death.

That night, she came to me in a moment of lucidity.
I had never seen a ghost, so it was exciting before
it became completely terrifying,
when she pointed toward me, as if to say

“soon I will be able to speak,
and your faces of zombies
will be known to the world”

before she literally tipped over,
sideways, like she was cardboard
that had been held up by a gust of wind,
and her phantom-form mist-and-blue light,
evaporated into the floor,
presumably to the downstairs of the house,
to watch something that was on TV,
or to finish eating my model glue,
and I knew then, even without being
aware of it fully,
that I loved the terror of my imagination,
and that I only had a few good months left,
before Sis learned to talk,
and then,
the gig was up.

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)

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.