Test Poem

Strangers Follow Us

We are the haunted few still
undistracted entirely by screen
or pandemonium or dance, and the
stranger’s have always followed us.

This bus I was on once was
overrun with their
loud, obese stories and I
could do nothing to avoid our
imminent collision.

On my left was a young girl and
her “old man”. They
were some of the first junkies
I ever met. I was intrigued, but
wary also. I wouldn’t be taken
on my first trip out West.

I had months of notebooks and
all intents to make my mettle as per
that great Ontarian ritual-voyage
to BC. I would smoke weed and
write of all the things done wrong
by the world to the artist.

I was basically full of shit and
sure of its value to the world.

These two were heading out of
a long haul doing rehab for family
members piece of mind, all the time
planning their Bonnie & Clyde escape.

I ended up seeing them on the streets
periodically as I job hopped like some
come from away or illegal, barely keeping
some jobs long enough to take a second pay.

Behind me and junk row
was a strange solitary girl
dressed in a mix of rag and garbage bag
and patches of herself seemingly just
flesh with marker or paint.

She became if you haven’t guessed yet,
an early lesson in the unpredictability
of cross country busing,
to this younger, yours truly.

Somewhere between the beginning and
the long anticipated end of the prairies,
it started:

a noise so jarring and yet unmistakable
no matter how inexplicable it seemed,
began to emanate from the last row of
the slow going people’s Greyhound,

like a roll of tape being constantly ripped
off about 4 feet of itself at a time in well
timed, 5-8 second intervals, for at least
a half an hour although it could’ve been longer.

I slowly peeped my head up and looked
to see what was going on, since others
ahead were doing the same to me .

And there she was. Taping up her feet and
upper leg. By now she had socks of tape.
Teen junky’s Old Man got up and threatened

her, I want to say with a knife but I think he just
smelled bad and go close to me and I code him
as more harmful, more foul than he really was.
I do remember clearly the way he said. Each. Word.

“If.You.Pull.Another.Strand.Off-”

And I remember how the bus driver,
stirred to action by the Jerry Springer Show
brewing on his back rows, pulled off to the side
of the road somewhere just outside Canmore
and, making his way past each now spellbound

and rubber necked passenger, found and for some
reason I still don’t quite understand, assumed
we were all together; the greasers and the socials

and me, a young bullshit scribe, now admittedly a
little petrified at the prospect of being left in a strange
and uncertain land with such savages. I had to make it
out west, I couldn’t let it end like this.

“I have no idea who this nut bag or these
Freaks are Sir! I’m not with them!”

“I don’t give a shit, all of you make
me stop the bus again, you’re all out.”

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful.
I stayed awake in fear of reprisals against me,
besides who wants nightmares of being tied
up in tape and poked with needles when you can
scribble your first poems on British Columbian soil,

off to find some new strangers to pry another
poem from.

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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.)

Psych 1000 Test

I hate tests. I don’t even
like a foot race if I can avoid it.
I just prefer to read movies.
Yeah I said it.
I scan it all.

I’m like one of those
barcode scanners at Sobey’s
but for useless movie knowledge.

So that’s how I encode
(encoding: processing of information
Into the memory system)
What I can for them.

Memory Retrieval techniques:
Free Recall is an easy
One- because Total Recall
The sequel should have
been “free,” with no prompting
of audiences to pay attention.
(Prompting-re: Retrieval cues)

Mood-Congruent memory was
my adolescence coles notes style,
so that’s nothing.

For the parts of the Middle Ear
I thought of “Middle Earth”,
then Cambridge my hometown.

This Memory Cue always brings
this comic strip me and Pugs read
at Kings Palace. The protagonist of
the strip was hailing the greatness
he saw as Hamilton
Aka “THE HAMMER” – which,
Along with the Anvil and Stirrup
Make up the middle (earth) ear.

For the Cochlea, I know it was that same
spiralling, boney liquid filled tube
a proff I knew had to have operated
on as a result of it being “off level”
and giving her extreme bouts of vertigo.

Parts of the eye and their function,
Tricky? Not for a savant as I though.

Since Rod is already conjuring
Roddy “Rowdy” Piper!
And the Rods are responsible for
white black and grey (which recalls the aliens
he so valiantly strove to kick ass against),
I have an easy They Live memory cue.

E.S.P. and Parapsychology are easy
Because they’re just silly.

Synesthesia carries into poetry
“I can hear the smell burnt toast”
also works.

For “visual cliff”
I imagine Carla throwing
Cliff off an edge as an ‘experiment’

Psychophysics? Norman Bates with
a textbook in his other hand.

The student survives.
The movie lover adapts.
The poet gets…inspired.