Biography

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.

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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.

Seeing Permanent Red

They say us red heads have
tempers like East Coast weather
unpredictable and vicious.

I would argue this point but
it would only send me into
another full blown raging whirl wind.

I turn into a Snickers-less Joe Pesci.
I become Oppenheimer.

Without a moment’s notice.
Even my Jekyll is more like
most people’s Hyde.

Today when I could not find my hat
I felt like I needed it
like some average Junky,
then the more I couldn’t find it,
the more I became Herbert Hunke.

Suddenly I was a barrel short
of 12 angry monkey’s.

I miss a bus and start mumbling
to my room:

“How in the history
of all the holiest fucks
of fucking fuckers
have I lost this goddamn hat
when I have yet to leave the
house today?”

The theories get elaborate, fast.
Some kind of starving, stray
micro-goat-like creature
which normally subsists off odd socks
has not found one lately and has
decided to get brazen.

I must still be wearing it I say,
and pat my red, slowly
sweat-gathering
heavy hair.
Nope.

I check the legs of jeans
startling my bed’s frame
like crusty farmer clothes on
rickety, birch fences.

My inner Shining
declares that
Genes got me here
to begin with.

I go to punch air
and I hit the corner of my door
gashing open my hand,
now I’m bleeding and
cursing and mumbling and
tossing clothes around
like a baglady at the last
Sally Ann sale of the Earth
positive that any second I will
start to shit out everything
I have ever lost
and that’s a lot, a lot, a lot of shit.

By the time I give up and
put my hoody on
I’ve missed another bus
I’ve screamed in italic’s of cuss
I’ve prayed like a desperate Catholic
to a Mexican pick up truck’s Jesus-rust.

Curse this temper of mine.
All it was ever good for
were broken Super Nintendo controllers
dry wall craters covered in NIN posters
and a good post-meltdown chuckle
like the one just now,
while writing this poem.

Maybe that’s enough.

Leaving Lost Angels

I am emptying at your move
I have no choice but love
I no longer fold my hands for anything
but rest
I have earned
every scar
and all I know of capes
could be squeezed,
uncomfortably into
a dire, match-book mattress,
I only give up when
it protects you.
Tonight I push the bill
off the bar and no longer
snort my way back to sick,
warm, real abandon.
I don’t live in the name of
Rimbaud, Kerouac or Morrison,
this little thing is mine,
and only mine.
The easiest part was killing it
in my head .
Otherwise,
the hardest part is being
aware you are MISSING
irreplaceable days,
and in finding your earnest hope,
for a chance
to live out
what many might call
average lives,
you get to partake of
each individual
dynastic star from
the purview of
cell, stone, and bars.

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.

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.

Teacher Student Relations

You are gonna meet all kinds
of people who will tell you
your words are
not as good or
not as worth mention
as the words they say are
better but the truth is
most of them
have big drinking noses
not big writers eyes
and the truth is
they will gather dust with
chapbooks nobody will ever read
and they will piss off more students
then they will help but the most important
thing you will learn from them is that
you can overcome the urge
to remind them their personality
is drift wood
and not even the cool kind
that artists can fashion
something beautiful from,
just gnarly clenched up shit
that nobody
not even their close friends
really thinks any excuse can
justify.

You will also
meet some amazing and
helpful and inspiring ones,
and you will remember them by the
books they developed to show you that
you were not some extraterrestrial to greatness,
and they will always, pound for pound,
outweigh the bitter ones who should
be locked away and kept from the
hands that scrawl on walls the demands
of a new tongue-generation.

They are the ones you need to
worry about impressing,
because they are the people
who teach you the importance
of only writing for yourself.

So let the drift wood
drape its ageing ideal
on the beach
of someone weak enough
in character to actual give a shit.

You have the Gregory Corso gift.

You will rip what little advice can be gleaned from them,
and shave their existence from your margins, otherwise.

If greatness was something that could be mapped
by washed up never-were much’s,
then they would’ve struck the iron,
they would’ve hit the horse
between its eye in their own time,

not still be repeating the wrote requests of
“don’t write like this,”
“this is not how it is done” or
“I hate vampire stories”.

Whatever it is they tell you.
Keep this in mind.

A teacher is only as great as their weakest pupil.

The Meta-Movie-like Hangover Experience

Head like a Hellraiser cube.

Eyes like Demons.

Feeling about a foot tall like Puppetmaster,
or some remnant of Harryhausen’s Ghost.

Woke up this morning like Groundhog Day.
Wanted to Lennon Bed-In my way out of it.
Couldn’t find the light switch like Waking Life
meets Philip K Dick meets 12 Monkeys,
or Mice of Men meets T-2, making robotic motions
slowed down like Fear and Loathing’s
man on an ether binge scene.

I’m stuck in my own meta-remake like
Last House on the Left meets
Cabin in the Woods.

My head feels like Blow Up.
I wanna throw up, like the
intertext of Stand By Me.

I want to crawl up inside a replicant,
I want to be Deckard, I want Daryl Hannah
from Clan of Cave Bear, to teach me about fire,
and how to be a better warrior, like Braveheart.

My fucking head feels like Scanners,
just seconds before the bang, like original
Total Recall, just before “Two Weeeeeeeks!”
and even a little like the Red Mist leftovers
of Hurt Locker opening scene.

My stomach is like Videodrome.
I could reach inside and pull out a pistol,
long as any of Eastwood’s, but surreal
like one of Nicholson’s Joker props.

My sinus’ like that guy in Crocodile Dundee
in the New York House party, eyes red like the infected in
Return of the Living Dead, Jonny about to scream
“Ginaaaaaaa!”. My nose filled with shit that alternates
between Slimer in Ghostbuster green and
the 80’s The Blob’s pinkish hue and the yellowy rust of
the alien in Enemy Mine.

I’m propped up at the table,
like Texas Chainsaw family,
or even the elder zombies in Dead Alive.

I feel like Gilbert Grape. I try to talk,
sound more like Mumbles from Dick Tracy.
Pale like Powder.

My memory is all Memento meets Hangover
meets Being John Malkovich.
I feel like the actual New Jersey Turnpike.
Like Kafka woke me up in a script for a
Basketcase remake
and all I can do is try to scream but my mouth
is all Mr. Anderson shut, or
even Twilight Zone movie-clamped up.
Either way it’s Eyes Wide Shut darkness.
Event Horizon of the holidays.
Candyman mine as well be in the shower,
and I’ve begun to turn like American Werewolf
in snowstorm. I just want to get back to school
like Dangerfield or Slater or Cusak
in any number of films.

I just want to dance,
like the guy in Dazed and Confused.

Where’s the easy voice over of Daniel Stern?

It’s a fucking miracle we survive every day.

This poem is best read to this:

It’s a fucking miracle we survive every day.
I don’t ever forget that fact that the internet shows you
that every single terrible piece of shit you thought was out there
is just the first stage of the real hell of them all out there, in their undecided,
cynical, high and drunk and violent natures, casting their own shit in verse all over the world.

You can tell me that you see a world of rainbows and honeysuckle at midnight
out there in the one and the zero forever fields, but it is also slain bodies of a million
and it is the empty crevice of idiocy that drives all of them together to fight for their
own pop star suicide and it is the end on repeat in your room for three days and
it is the spectacle of it all removed of all repercussions and given all manner
of righteousness and it will always be this way until we finally go right over the edge.

Some of us will praise
the coming back
of the night.

Some of us will go right on back to our supermarket mimesis,
wandering through a burning, rat-filled Wal-Mart
aisles of melting celluloid and human fat,
everything seeping into the new history and tainting all the fresh ideas again,
it’s a fucking miracle we are less like the matrix trilogy than we are.

But I guess we have Baudrillard
and Nietzsche to thank for that.

You can tell me all you want that it is just a movie, that it is just reality,
that it is just Africa, that it is just truth, that it is just some beat poem or elegy.

I will be left,
in the night of reason
to fiddle my way into
seeing something more.

It is just in some of us,
just in some of us
to be curious with anger
to have an angry
curiosity is the only
healthy aggression you can
ever hope to inherit from
anything you take into your body
your eye
your mind.

Treat them with some fucking Respect.
Then tell me you don’t see the potential for doom in everything else.

Tell me it’s not a miracle,
every day
we get another.

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?