Terror

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.

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This is Sparta (but not the movie)

I didn’t meet you at a bar.
I am not your friend,
we are not comrades.

This is not a real war
and this is not my true intent,
but blinded we’ll walk a little

straighter, don’t come here.
We hate this but leave before
the song’s through.

I didn’t invite you, this
is invective with a personality.
I didn’t try it came in twitches
and in concert.

My fingers aren’t trumpets.
and the features of the sky
in no way resemble leviathan,
the priesthood or another Jesus.

This is not pick-up trucks rusted hood.
We’re talking one of those old school,
“Blockbuster” joints before boo-tied
treasure got flicked to the parade-mob,

like violent Mardi Gras, this is no
party. This is misery I swear this get’s
too ugly and raucous to pacify or
make famous and chain to a linked brand
fence for carrion devouring, sacrifice.

This is Sparta.
This is Contra,
this is Birth.

Post-Humour

He thought he would have had it,
if he had only been richer,
or poorer.

He thought he might get a
better girl and write legends.

If he had made money
from stock exchanges.

Got his life back from the
web and the net and
all those tangled tangles.

I could’ve killed him
a hundred times:
from highway overpasses
he could’ve leapt,
or been strung
up on any number of
neighbouring trees.

I could’ve strangled him
some nights
when he went on about
how it wasn’t fair
that some
new age writer had gotten a
new
contract and here he was, just

“taking up space in spiral margins.”

I almost threw him to a pack
of wolves one night
in shame,
but I knew I would only wake up
feeling like I had chewed him myself.

So I did what had to be done.
I buried him. He’s still there of course,
Only now he’s got the weight of Hardy
and Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell
to keep the little bastard at bay.

Then I took away all his weak and
(programmed) Middle class
inclinations;

to drink as though Rimbaud
and await new lines in temper of a child.

To talk like the
Lizard King high on some psyche’s
bought with pawn shop or rent.

All of these things and more got curbed.
And only then did my Self sit down,

encouraged by having shut the hell up,
And wrote for its own reward.

And I am with him still.
And we aren’t going anywhere,
But through this stack,
Through these cracks,
Through this black old game.

Not to hijack Frost,
but that shit made
all the fucking difference
in this terrible little
bastard red-head’s life.

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.

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.

Happy Birthday, Welcome to the Family

Me and Gramps met when I was
in my early twenties.

He was a stout old fucker by then.
Still had his graces,
his smirk and his ocean blues.

His fists gnarled and nose nipped.
As he informed me often;

‘The Shithouse Fighter’
cause you’d get kicked
If you fought in the bar
back then, too.”

We were out West where
all his kids were, and none
of them liked me much,
especially the two sisters.

I ended up with at some Greek spot
In New Westminster me and the
Eyeless witches and
Poor old Mick

He was so embarrassed
when they began to argue and shout.

I topped up our wine, and
we exchanged pleasantries.

Since I had just shown up
They’d assumed I was as obsessed
with his will as they seemed in
that moment to me, at least.

(“you’re the one who said he was a mooch”)

And I just smiled and poor old Skip,
I topped up our drinks again and

it felt like I was initiated
a little further into
the black stain of our family.

An Irish Newfoundlander
-Cosa Nostra.
In Greek Vancouver.

How post-modern of us.

Life as News

Life & Byline
(my life is a daily newspaper)

Today’s (coded) Headlines;

A whisper strewn like a bag of marbles
on your hard wood and crawling
to your toes, kid, so be safe.
Buy extra socks!

Entertainment

My Creativity is Matt Damon’s Character in Good Will Hunting!

It twists and turns and
makes fun of the asshole at the bar
who just wants a degree to be a dickhead.

I have drunkenly sung Pulp’s
Common People at least twice
In some random neighbourhood.
No future shows planned or booked though.

Other News

The country is falling into
piles of pawn shops and palaces
Peppering the the top of the pile are

Idiots kicking bigger
holes than their buddies in the
sand just to be tough!

Local

The disease known as heart seems
To have won the right to speak later
today at the woman debate.

The testosterone rebels are of course
planning action and have no intention
of being “pussy whipped or any of that gay shit”
one source noted.

Personal Ads

The woman from Fight Club with her
nitrate and her loneliness.

The gushy feeling from the
jersey solidarity scene in Rudy.

The theme song for Cheers.

World Events

A butterfly is introduced to
corporate rock and goes back
to being a caterpillar.

A bunch of animals get further encroached.
Something dies that gets put on a different
endangered “tier”.

Snakes get shot in fields.

Employment

Chicken catching has been declared
the least responded to job posting, ever.

(Additionally, only 9 percent of first day workers return.)

The people who run Money Mart have
bought all the temp services, and
essentially own the new market.

Someone somewhere, gets richer.
A junky does the funky down the street.
This is metropolitan life, after all.

Weather

Don’t go out.
Plenty to do right here.
Snow.

Sekura Street Crescent

The kid who always stood there like our
little sub divisions oracle, our quest giver.

Our helper.

If he needed to know something a price came.
Where his asthmatic sister was, what time it was,
whatever it was.

We made him take out his glass eye,
and show us it too.

It always made me sad that he would do it

but I was too devastatingly fascinated
each time, to look away.

His house was beautiful in the sun
but when the willow out front

took it into mid day shade,
something sinister crept over it.

His mother always cooked Baklava
which for years I associated every
time I read the word Balaclava,
and thus the food seemed illicit,
somehow terrorist.

As foreign as
that little marble
in his head.

Time Storm

S. Heffernan

For C-

When I was young I believed in everything.
Angels and demons and everything in between.

I believed I would be a legend,
I believed I was chosen for a spell.

Music made love to the frozen neurons and
I even dreamt of super-powers like invisibility.

It got pretty complex, pretty distinct.
A perfect world.

For awhile I dug serial killers.
I’m not ashamed to admit it.
The paperbacks stacked around my room.

I had a mattress back then,
even the frame of a bed was
too constricting too much like the construct
I was so fucking cliché but it felt real, so eat it.

I can get a little obscene.
No show is too small though,
I’ll perform at your bah mitzvah or your
divorce party.

Even if you’re a forgotten celebrity.

I had one of those IBM processors
from the late 80’s
with the interchangeable font-balls?
(I…

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