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Lying, All Week

I went around with
The Blower’s Daughter and Delicate
in my ears
because I wanted to
look at every person in the street
like we were in the
credits of a movie,
of a great life,
together, and
we didn’t even know it.

I try not to do this anymore
it is too hard to go home
after that rush of eyes
meeting for once,
for only one moment,
just one brief smile,
and a hundred moments

that flicker in futures
that are no more real

than love at first sight,
left alone in an elevator
or peace on earth,
rolled up in a newspaper,
or a last unicorn,
scratching on maps
its last whereabouts,

or anything else they’ve sold
out of existence,
cornered into stalls
of soundtracks,
made typical like
lucky trolls or
Marguerite umbrellas.

I still go out.
Music is still my wet street.
It’s still filled, too,
with eyes like that.
I just don’t write about it anymore.
And that, more than any of the rest,
is the best lie I’ve told,
all week.

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poem for La Mer [NIN]

Graduation

I am almost done it,
that quest I told you about, and
I promise I will make it back,
and I will no longer try to
save you from yourself.

I will let the kiss in the bus stop
rain go unnoticed I will not
smile at the driver from
outside, dampening with
every extra tug back toward you
in your sleek bomber
you with those Docs on your feet.

Because I have read more
of Gilbert and Gubar now.
I know it is me who,
like every power hungry fool,
has been your bane, and
I know the boon is knowing better
than to tie rocks to a feather,

I am going to shut in on myself,
I am the book of hate for objectified
love,
but I still miss you.

I will find a way
to make it back
but I will first
eradicate, even that
foolish desire.

I will run through the library
with the scissor of open books,
I will emulate no other poets.

I am here now.

The Nothing and My Statue

I want to tell you
about the nothing
and how it was on my back
from late 90s to just now.

My first time was
just a six pack
of coca cola I was
12 maybe 13,

and I was up all night
with the caffeine propping up
my stinging eyes like,
twitchy invisible insect germs,
holding up heavy red curtains.

I used it to get more comic books read.
It gave me the strength to watch
entire nights of reruns.

I moved onto vodka pretty
much the next summer.
Because it made me think I was
an extrovert and a revolutionary,
and because Val Kilmer drank
as Jim Morrison and I wanted to
be a rebel like him.

I always sounded more like
the Lizard King after some drinks.
It was like the liquid gave me skill.

First pack of smokes found
in The Beer Store parking lot on
Chopin Street in Preston.
They bought me the prison yard acceptance
of first year high school.

I smoked more green any man ever seen,
we had something called wheelchair pot and
I laughed at the sky.

Our crew donned Value Village polyester and
tie dyes from local hemp shops.
We slunk through corn field grids
like eager pony tailed lab rats,
hunting down the cheese of
some wheat kings secret plants.
Dried them out in our parents rafters,
sold the shit for better stuff.

Drank a bottle of Robitussin
because some raver chick in
funfer pink told me it was like Acid,
which was hard to come by and
always made me feel like Neo,
even before The Matrix came out.

My first line was the last thing I
ever put on my back,
through my nose.

I say first because it’s all
the same line,
one massive one that stretches from
a cramped apartment on St. Andrew’s hill,
winds through the jungle of a hundred
dirty stalls, stripper’s breasts, mirror and
chipped dinner plates.

I earned a twitch in the final years,
when I would go for days at a time,
I can’t quite tell you
for too long about it
without risking the
abyss taking me back
you have to take my word
you have nothing
to lose by gaining better ground
in this war,
you lose only your mind when you
play the game with the Nothing,
the nothing,
the not-knot but
not-rope
that you see hanging
from your neck on trees
the next morning,
you’ll have to take my warning
as it is.

I’m just not far away from the fire yet
to turn back and laugh
without risking a salty
statuette of my good intent.

I’ve earned that much.

And how.

I sip coffee in the morning now
with all the music that
was always there to
bring me into sleep,
it is the drug I will always
lean hardest on.

One Size

I can’t stand shopping.
I used to love being a kid in the cart and
grabbing stuff from one aisle when nobody looked
and then dropping it somewhere else:

maybe I was a child anarchist,
maybe I was a shit,
maybe I was a fucking artist,
without proper tools or inspiration.
so I took to the shelves and remade them
in my own twisted version of store planning,
in my own storm of shop dropping,
two decades too early,
two little fistfuls of products, poised
to my own devious ends.

Years later when I worked in a grocery store
all that karma was reduced to a single bill
I owed what I owed and at the end of the night
I had to fulfill the duty of looking for products
that been left in the wrong spot
the entire fucking store, shelf by aisle by freezer by display
for lost items, that they called “orphans” in case the
average minimum wage employee needed reminders that this
was a dire and crucial element to the job.

I think about the orphans when i shop now
and still once in awhile create a little chaos
for the next kid whose just trying to finish their shift
and get to some party where they can talk about how
it makes no sense to call them orphans since
they have never really left the florescent home
and they would by this logic call shoplifters kidnappers.

I have to shop sometimes though.
It is water boarding for my soul.
I loathe every salesperson not because
they invite it but because I just detest everything about the phony process.
I even start to sound like Holden Caulfield.

I needed boots though.
It could not be helped.
The previous week I had done a rush job of foot wear.
I had bought a pair, believe it or not, an entire size larger than mine.
This is how much I hate shopping.

They were like clown shoes after a few hours.
So I wore two socks.
but then my feet got all sweaty
and I’m pretty sure some sort of
athletes foot started to flare as a result.
They were on sale too. So no returns.
Now i had to return to the scene of the hell-crime.
I had to do twice what I reluctantly do once a year or more.

So I tried on 18 pair.
No luck.
everything felt like it was hard and designed for robotic footed beings.
everything felt like a twisted Cronenberg three hour retelling of Goldilocks,
with redheaded temper replacing blonde earnestness. Every sales clerk was
more and more a grizzly.

I gave up on Pay-Less.
It should have never crossed my mind to enter since
it looks about the quality of Al Bundy’s shoe shop,
and that can never be good.

I ended up back at the place I started.
Endless bus rides, hours of muzak and increasing
sense of panic driving into my body,
back to the fucking shire I went, seeking the impossible.

I saw them out of the corner of my twitching eye.
They gleamed like fucking Excalibur.
but then they walked like geisha clogs.
5 more pair.
5 more runway walks.
you always fucking wish the salesperson
would just fuck off
and not watch you do your test walk
like what am I going to do?
run out of the store in tight boots?
has this happened?
is it an epidemic?
i start to think about how this must be the shittiest job in the world
watching for potential kidnappers
putting boxes of orphans on shelves like a
detective at the end of some show
and finally
a pair of Timberland’s spoke
my fucking language
and I almost threw the size 13’s from hell
back at the sales clerk and
decided against it
I almost put them on the shelf
but didn’t
I just walked home
proud for having avoided a total rage out
and put the 13’s in the box the Timberland’s
my sacred number 12’s
had come in, and I put the box in the back of my closet
next to the other things
I like to pull out of retirement
for a laugh
now and again you need
to laugh at your own foolish abandon
of logic
of reason of
all fucking hope

because boots are made for walking…
and orphans are made to be re-shelved,
and shopping is for masochists,
see you again next year.

Thirty-Three

Thirty-Three

He got up early,
it was his birthday,
so he wanted an hour to write.
He could no longer rely
on bottles and rolled goods,
so he thought

“I can have whatever else I want”
and all that meant was an hour.

All week there had been enough to do
and all weekend would continue.

He had started to replace all the music
on his player with old stuff he
had not listened to in a long time.
Even Green Day “Dookie” &
Weezer’s Blue Album.

It reminded him of the time before
the drink and the blaze,
when comic books like
“The Savage Dragon” or
“The Maxx” were his best friends,
when he had a copy of “Creepshow” in
graphic novel format,
and just like the kid in the paratext story,
he cursed anyone that got in-between.

After that he had gotten into “The Hobbit”,
and R.L. Stine, until finally,
in grade 5, he met his first fave writer.

(The same year he fainted
during a video the Roman Catholics showed them
of a baby being born, despite his love of horror movies,
and the sight of nothing else had
ever made him so queasy as all that blood,
from some random Catholic woman who
presumably had offered up her home video birth
to frighten the shot out of the kids
at St. Peter’s Elementary.)

That year he stayed up all night with Cujo
and knew he wanted to write like the King.

He was happy again now,
the way he was back then.

It was going to be
one fuck of a year.

You can trace the magic
in every day
track it bloodhound down,
like streets without names,
pics without frames
players without games.

Or you can get hung up on
what you don’t get to do.

He looked at his watch,
and saw he still had 45 minutes.

He looked at his son’s photo,
the bright of his eyes,
and he thought of how amazing it was
that the kid loved Green Day and
was devouring King now also,
and how,
in no short time,
he too would be 33.

And for the first time since he dried out,
it was more than enough
to keep going.

Swigging, the Light Fantastic

Give me one more big fucking swig.

I want to leap out of a window some days.
It is nothing special.
I am not infected with anything,
it is just the slow drawl of truth,
giving you what for,
while you wash the whole
floor of the library, with your eye.

I want to creep into the auditorium
and rip out all the seats
and force everyone to dance
at every event
even dog shows
even hockey
even pope visits
and especially pope visits,
but crunking, all of us, dry humping
to his slicked back religioso.

I want to sing in the basement of the madhouse
with my headphones duck taped to my ears
so they can never break me out of my routine,
not easily, you’ll never take me
from my own mad shuffle,
without a fight,
without some scratching,

and some twitching,
and some devil tongue,
and some downright tongue.

I want to eat all of the spirit.
I want to fuck on tombstones and in catacombs.
I want to piss my name in the snow of your culture.

I will be the prisoner out in the yard,
collecting rocks,
making a crude chess set,
trying to learn a new way to say fate,
producing a work that is
half scream,
half tune.

Give me one big swig,
and you can have me
for another day here.
I will close the window,
quit the dance and find
my own way home.

Just give me that bottle.
Give me five minutes of your time.
Give me your first born.
Give me your Jack and
I’ll give you my Queen.

I still have the black one
up my sleeve for later anyway.

Give up already,
we’re already 9 floors down,
and 18 more to go.

Get ready for the finish,
it has nothing to do with circularity.

I wanted to give you one last
echo is all.

Is that not what you longed
for from them all?

Just one reverberating kiss
to guide your final ascent?

Or would you like to come along,
have some fun beneath?

Glass Slipper

Here, another secret love song for the ephemeral lady of the ages who,
shining in the atmospheric disparity of now,
manages to still make me smile.

I wanted to let you know you were exceptional
and you have no worries about anything bad
getting the better of you because you are one
of those exposed nerve types who braves way to much
of what is really going on to ever lose track of yourself.

There is this beach in California that became beautiful
as a result of all the garbage people flicked off a cliff,
and slowly, over the years, despite an awful thing done,
the beach became overrun with perfect, rounded globes,
rounded glass of green from the sprite bottles of the 70’s,
and orange from rusted car windshields, all of it now
given over to the strong argument for light and truth.

And even though the same people originally responsible
came with the hordes of others and slowly with shovels and
gallon buckets pilfered her new suit, leaving a couple rubies for
the desperate late comer tourists to hustle amidst her sandy locks for,

I still think it is amazing and remains worth nothing that
the struggle in everything is like this. It permits us these moments,
and we can all race rapturously to accumulate a chunk of it,
or we can lay in a bed of precious trash made glass or
we can be the beach itself, let the world make us
its temporary Prometheus, and either way I had
to say to you that you are like that California beach to me.

(Or I’ve lost myself in the allegory and given over to the infamy of romance)

It is only a matter of time and the world will take most your jewels.

You will still be perfect to spend days with though.
You will never get boring to me.

I am your biggest fan.
Sign me up for the newsletter of your heart.

Yours,

The blade of light that cuts across the page
of the recent tome claiming you which,
stinging eyes, washes up just a little
more rounded, more solid, soul
than before, kept warm, loved.

We’ll have a kiss one day.
I have a sense about these things like
a photic sneeze that
last’s one hundred nights, finally giving over
to a glint of waxed moon, giving
over to the precise waves of time,
giving over to truth.

Get Me To The Geek (or) Better Dancer Than Me

He would dance sometimes

high out of his fucking mind

and it would be like something

in the background of Mass Effect

or some character in the movie Strange Days.

He was free only then.

Other times it got sloppy like Kurt and Goldie in

 Overboard, more booze than uppers and maybe

a few too many nights in a goddamn (“I say God-damn”) row,

and he looked more like Elaine dancing on pain meds on

Seinfeld

Seasonally, a haggard rendition of Chevy Chases

Fred Astair and Danny “fucking” Kay rant

while twitching like something in the background of

Scrooged during the X-Mas party scene

where Bill Murray could’ve totally gone home

with the cute secretary and has to watch it

all in the Ghost-bleachers with that crazy cabbie fuck.

Maybe a rowdy alien at the Cantina, busting a Jedi-Funkified remix.

He would dance sometimes like the white kid

In The Power of One, but that was strictly for the purest high.

He would dance around a glass table and finish al the lines

like a champ. Like Rocky meets Hurly Burly,

On K he was MJ in Moon.

On whites he was schitza-a-shiva on a tilt a whirl,

an arcane hunter of shadows.

Bob Marley on 9 hits.

Enough of everything, and the mother fucker floated like

Powder, or that patented Spike Lee head/shoulder angle,

ghetto blaster over the other.

A big, bad motherfucker like Uma and Travolta in Fiction.

Like Carleton on Fresh Prince.

But no matter how blasted, how gone how other worldly,

how Sheen-i-fied or Scottied

he might have gotten he never,

ever pulled a Risky Business.

Dance magic Bowie? Enough shrooms and sure.

The classic Julia Stiles gets taught to dance “black”?

Enough pheromones and Beer from a brown paper bag,

and anything is possible.

Finally done, he’d head home.

Find something to watch.

Fuck This Job

I know he was Korean because he always took the time,
after insulting me in his native tongue, to translate.

“You know what I just said? I said
‘You Are a Useless Fuck’ in Korean!
That’s what I said.”

He would actually get on like that.
His life seemed to be pretty empty;
divorce had him haemorrhaging cash,
he barely saw his son, and he was always
miserable and convinced employees were stealing.

(this was exacerbated by the fact that the lead bartender,
some guy form Barrie, who gave me a job after I showed up
there and spent 100 dollars on Absinthe, was indeed ripping him
off, and good, for quite some time before I showed, then he quit.)

And he left me in his place to do a job I was untrained to do,
instead my training consisting of a long prolonged Korean lesson
or two, each time I attempted to do anything- serve or cook or clean,
and he would watch me, and wait until I needed to be told “No”.

This all only went on about a month, until I finally pissed him off
and he fired me, but not before I threw a glass of Absinthe
at his wall and told him to go fuck himself, in English,
using my hands in non-official ASL to even translate this lament.

Back then, anyone who insulted me in the workplace got a similar
farewell. I could go through 3 jobs a week in BC and never run out
of terribly oppressive managers to tell the same to. It was great fun.

I guess my super power that counter acted this villainy is that I did
bust my ass pretty good for the kind and generous few who taught
me better words, and received in return similar encouraging.

If you treat yourself
like you deserve
to be told off in
any language
you will universally
be saying to those
you encounter that
you are worthless.

You need to know when to say
“Fuck this job, and you as well”
in the universal tongue.

And that’s what the old fucker taught me.

He would hold after hours parties at his club
and all the young girls would flirt with him for drinks
and I figured that was pathetic and I felt kind of sad for
him just before I looked at him smiled, slammed what was to be my
last Absinthe at Tribeca on Georgia, and heaved it in his direction.

That stuff always did bring out my inner Bolshvik.

The Gas Station Angel

Hell exists. I have seen it. It is contained in a stretch
of about 6 city blocks in Downtown Vancouver where
people twitch out like glitch background characters in
a sandbox game, every third vehicle is law enforcement or paramedic.

I would get up at 6 am and take a bus there, with the other
Suckers and suits. By the time the shift ended I was sweaty,
and had my fix of junkies for the week, no matter what time it was.
I had learned empathy from their ashtray faces, their rusty chain link arms.

Horror is not a genre to them. It’s a state of being,
Wedged between “waking” and “high again”.

She always came mid-day and always wore a cheap green coat
I was sure she bought at the Value Village next to us, along with
the strange costume bangles she wore to compliment her over-applied rouge.

It was a wind breaker, wrinkled as though left a hundred times
after rain-walks when she has forgotten her umbrella again,
and again, and now the thing was as withered as her
vein splayed hands that count loonies on the glass counter as I smile.
She was an Irish princess to someone once, and Hastings a booming community.

She looked like Jessica Tandy (whom I secretly teared
up over at 12 in Fried Green Tomatoes and feel far
less ashamed now than I did for it, thankfully.)

She would come in and buy these French Vanilla
powdered machine drinks, made buy some massive
and dark corporation with little care for the former
Princess of and Irish Poet, nor Hastings or its glitch mobs.

Sometimes her husband had a chance before work
(his suit and tie never perfect, him always mildly agitated)
and would walk the four blocks from their cramped, dim- lit apt.

I know it because one day, much to the anger of my boss,
I walked her back there when she all of a sudden, having left
and gotten ten feet, all of a sudden perked her head up like
a Scottish Terrier hearing some inaudible sound, seemed altogether
lost and out of herself. She did seem off to me earlier, but
I hadn’t noticed, busied by a slew of usual as usual.

The Greek Goddess I never had the courage to chat with
except to learn she worked in “publishing”.

The one we called “Mr. Chu” whom was the one homeless
one allowed free loitering-reign in the store (a common practice
I noticed in many stores throughout the city, something I always
rationalized was both for Karma and a handy witness to deter or
in the chance report malicious behavior, of which this neighborhood
could provide enough for a thousand gas stations and Mr. Chu’s)
of course all he ever wanted was the washroom key, he was
granted microwave access and spent hours stood at a lottery table
that nobody but him seemed to use, and scribble childish pictures,
occasionally laughing to himself, causing me to smile and stop.

The man I called “The Gambler” because he ritualistically
came in 3 times a day and dropped hundreds on Keno,
and I decided must work in some type of stereo business
or manufacturing, because his hands were clean but he was
always in a denim jacket and smoked cigarillos and what
the fuck did I know at 21 anyway you’re thinking and you are right,

I didn’t know shit.

But when I saw her there, lost, I couldn’t not walk her home,
carry the drinks (her quiet seemed to testify to accidentally
pouring a second but having been too embarrassed to say.

She had the sweetest frailty, the bluest eyes, long and straight
and still mostly blonde hair and I thought, the slightest lilt in her voice.
She mentioned having been confused, and when she realized I was
listening she calmed down pretty quickly, and we reached her apt door,
and I even came in and set down the syrupy, leaky mess of the cups.

Seeing she was safe, turning to leave, I will always remember that the
entire place was bathed in yellow light, and dozens of paintings had over
taken the entire place, everywhere space permitted they were jumping out;
each one of a sunet, or a valley, or an ocean and Cliffside

Some were quite good, but the ones closer to me revealed someone else
had painted them, more child-like, less aware.
The suns looked like burning sunflowers in the sky, the clouds and cliffs
often shared commonality to the point of bleeding into one another.

She had been slowly giving over to fantasy, as all around her the old streets
were filled with anomalies, and walking back to a reprimanding boss,
the sun cutting through the high trees, to Victoria and Hastings,
I knew there were only so many canvas’ and pages to fill before
we all end up negotiating the dark like the Irish Princess or Mr. Chu,
and all we get is now, now is heaven- now is West Hastings, clean
and ready to greet us each day.