Rant

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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Your Story

I met you on Route 18.
It was the ugly morning
two after my Mick’s ashes
were put besides his father
and his son’s bodies.

You could see that
I was willing to listen to just about anything
that was not my vacant body
colliding with each bump
in the road and swerve of the transit.

This is the route to his house.
The one I took every weekend I could get off
from the butcher shop in the grocery store in town.
This is the last time I am ever taking this bus.
You see that I am clutching an acoustic
in a flailing black coffin.
Like it is all I ever had.

You start telling me about your quest.
To bring Home Hardware to its knees.
They stole your idea,
your patent pending,
for an apparatus that is both
tape measure and magnifying glass and level.

They stole it right from under you,
and you didn’t care what stood in your way,
you were getting it back.

I thought about the windshield wiper guy,
and that movie that I think only robots
don’t tear up watching,
especially when you told me

how your wife left
and your kids were all grown up
and nobody was on your side
but you were gonna spend your days
making that corporation pay.

It wasn’t the money, either.
It was the truth.
You wanted the world to know
so you had the paper
write an article and you made copies of it.

You let me tell you about the guitar,
and how it was a piece of crap,
truly beyond repair, no strings, warped.
Mick had told me to take it one day last spring,
and it was that ugly day,
when his remaining children,
puffed chests and dry eyes,
had left the wake to go hear the will called out.

When I was told I was not to be their
upon their return, I left.
I left the crowd who
didn’t know my grandfather,
not the way I did.
Not as friend.

I walked past his house.
I finished my 6th beer.
I opened his pickup because
he never locked it.
And I turned it on and
put in the Johnny Cash cd
I had burned for him
a few years back,
when anything that impressed him
I did with a son’s joy.

I wept a little. I cried some more.
I got out with a mission.
I would go into his house
that was never locked, one more time
and I would take my guitar.
My useless, weak instrument.

And I would learn to play
Silver Haired Daddy on it.
It was a song he had cried to many nights
when telling me his own father’s story.

You, Windshield Wiper Man,
you had to ask then, why was I returning
the guitar in its tattered vessel now?
And so I told it true.

His children had called the police.
They had told them I had broken in,
like some criminal, and stolen the only thing
I had left with.

Something he had given me.

So the officer had forced me
to either return it,
or face charges.
It was only right.

Then, you looked at me,
and we shared that moment,
that realization we had both
been put on quests that were
about more than money.
More than family.

Truth.

I told it all then.
How his children had become suspicious when
I started spending time with Mick.

How they had flown in from the West Coast
most having avoided any contact with him,
unless he was buying them condos.

They had learned to roll
their eyes in every language
when he got a few drinks in
and started to tell a familiar story.

And I was suspect.
Because I was interested
in every one of them.

That was when you looked at me,
strange man on a strange quest,
and you said that
no matter what they did
they knew they would never get his
love or respect
not like I had,
and that was all they could do,
was try to take everything else,
even a broken guitar.

You told me
“your story is his story”
and nobody will take that away.
Nobody can.

Then you got off at your stop,
heading toward that massive
Home Hardware.
They were gonna hear from you.
Until you ran out of time.

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.

No Reference Left

Ok fine, you don’t want
the gravy that couples everything
in shiny black shadow when I am high.

You don’t like this meta-business,
it makes your head hurt?

Then let me give it straighter
than Russian Vodka.

Let me give it to you like a football
from Africa kicked
into Spain’s net.
Hot and Fast.

This world is a mess of amazing
and terrible moments.

We all have our respective
backpacks or trunks,
you fit what you can
I’ll go for mine.

And everything else is fine,
bump the table once to get back
to faithful metric and rhyme.

So you’ll have to repeat the
reference or obscure question in
braille of bullets screaming at me
like Neo before he uses the Force,
and you better make mine shaken,
not stirred bitches, because when

I get going I’m part Walt
to wit with
some Pinkman tweak,
some bait and switch shtick.

I can Hyde another skin
on the fire for you,
but you better have mine
Mad Max medium, rare,
I want to flip the Bird
on a Wire

to Fred Astaire
like the head of
the Griswold homestead,
give me acid instead
of Tylenol though,
these Purple Patch
Addams Family Pills
go
to the stomach lining
like Alien/s or The Blob

and I prefer to see
babies on the ceiling
if I’m going out like that,

and maybe some fucking laser
guided shark-creatures as well,
because without a laugh
you aren’t going to Escape from Alcatraz,

whether you’re Good, Bad,
or Ugly as sin, like The Mask,
uglier than Fast and Furious
and just as fucking predictable,

I bet you’d like that wouldn’t you?

You want to come into
tomorrow on some
sort of multi-pass Jovovich
but I’ll have none of it-

I’m up in the Canadian Bacon now,
and we have Nunavut
the way Alex Supertramp
had Alaska and the
way Star Wars distracts
from The Conversation,
so too will poetry take
from the vein of film
running in my arms,
a fucking Spike’s worth
or re-run’s and watches,
and the Marathon Man
like Power of One,
all in the back pocket
of Carol’s Dicaprio shadow,

-but you cannot just
petition new poetry for
a pamphlet to take back
to your little literary Stasi.

We aren’t taking new members.
Come back in May
with the embers,
and bring the cat
from the freezer.

And if you didn’t catch that last one,
don’t bother coming back,
at all. I’ll be here in
The Yellow Wallpaper,
clawing at the wall,
etching my initials in it,

and picking through
the last couple references left
like The Omega Man,
tripping on blue meth,
i’ll be here until i’ve referenced
myself to Death.

The Nightmare of the Zombie

It was the way it always is.
I was in a cemetery with Judith
and we were talking about how
bizarre the whole fame thing is.
How it’s absolutely the work of
bad ju-ju, of hocus pocus, of mice
transformed into the size of men,
of ants and birds and bad things like that.

I guess it was the wine, and the moon,
and the small vortex that opened up,
sort of like in Quantum Leap, so
damn conveniently at the end of each episode
before little Jerry O’Connell got shot by
angry white men or run over by a truck.

We ended up in Los Angeles, but it was
more like a Ridley Scott L.A., and I realized
I was in one of my dreams again, or
I took too much, man. Then I chuckle
while repeatedly saying,

“You took too muuuuuch, man.
Took too much.” just like
del toro’s Gonzo, until Judith
points out the old cemetery
and we wander over.

It’s huge. Like,
a shopping mall of carcass’.

And of course the song from
Return of the Living Dead
plays on some ghetto as a punk
with a Mohawk and a chain
from ear to lip walks by
and spits near my feet.

And then the first heads
start to pop up,
and before you know it
they’re all there.

Orson Welles.
He looks about the same. Belligerent, too.
Hemingway. His head is sort of a mess.
But he has the same jovial spirit!

Bukowski is there.
And Marilyn Monroe
looks pretty damn good.

Which Judith notices me noticing and
makes some ridiculous comment about

how I can only get it up for the paranormal and
cartoon chicks, and I say something like

Jessica Rabbit is practically human.
It’s all her voice.
Shut up and let’s meet some
zombie celebrities!

Everything was going really swell.
I was like a kid in a decomposing candy shop

I talked about Fitzgerald with Ernest ,
and about drinking with Chinaski,
and movies with Welles.

Then we made the mistake of going to some
fucking party and you just knew something
shitty was going to happen, it just felt bad.

The kids at the party just dissed all of them,
if they knew them at all, and called them misogynist
or said they were drunks, or both.

They said Orson Welles was
slow and over-rated.
And no Tarantino.

I wept.

They said Hemingway was
just a representation
of the patriarchy,
and a dirty man,
and Bukowski they
said made Ernest look
like a fucking saint.

I sank.

I don’t even want
to re-describe the way the
feminist crowd devoured
poor Norma Jean.

I understood
where they were coming
from but at the same time,
even a zombified Marilyn was
exhaustively enchanting.

In the end, the old stars left.
Bukowski and Hemingway said they

were gonna go to a fight,
or have one themselves,
whichever happened first.

Poor Orson went looking for some old woman.

Marilyn went out the window rather than
spend another minute with all the bores.

That’s usually when I wake up.
Sometimes me and Norma make out first.
There I said it.

Confusion is a Kiss Best Re-heated

It does not matter that I am not always able to be water.

It does not matter that the woman said “Holyrood” (pronounced Holy-Rude)
and that the old fella heard it “Hollywood” and was at first astounded.
All that matters is me walking past, and sitting back at my desk,

and knowing 12 years ago, some poet wrote about his
apologies being like thorns, hoarded and kept in a mason jar
to solve some unknown “X” immunity, that basically
“the roses didn’t mean shit” in a bizarre dollar store notebook

where someone has written in as large as the letters can fit,
“what’s that shit smell” in bold, obviously meant to convey silent rage, letters.
Or maybe it’s just meant to be a joke, left over from some cranked out night.
Maybe it’s meant to be another of those things that doesn’t count.

But all you know is all I show, and that’s what counts.
So know that safe in heaven, dead, they all have notebooks too.
And keep going. And fill this one, too.

This is obsession. These are the rules.

Best Friend

My Best Friend

for HJM

When I needed someone
to protect me from the car
of angry Mexicans I
drunkenly slurred at one night
by merely getting out of
the car while I shivered
a bit in the back seat with
scrawny ginger shame,
it was him.

When I needed someone
to grab me by the throat
and push my face into
a desert of glass on my patio
after roughing me up and
letting me struggle a little,
it was him.

When I need someone to
goad me into picking up the pieces
when all the whore has run out on me
and all the drunk still in me

writhes and whimpers
“like a little ginger bitch”
Again, I am indebted,
to him and him alone.

You can talk on and on
about the myth of masculinity.

You can talk about male hegemonies,
and about the patriarch.

But I still dig having a best friend
like Christian Troy, you know why?

Because the world is filled with Kimbers,
and nobody wants to be Sean McNamara

All the time.
Anymore.
Or ever.

When I come across
The newest picture of
someone having done something
too stupid not To be
internet-mummified
by way of meme;

a ghastly old woman painted
to look like a demon
or one of a ginger zombie
Ronald McDonald making love
to a deadite dressed as a nurse
while in the background
various characters from Hellraiser
and Event Horizon do foul things to
stuffed people with stuffed animals,

It’s his wall I copy/paste it to.
Not even my own.

And that is what a best friend is;
the person you excitedly take
a new piece of discovered darkness to.
So you can both laugh at it, in the face,

And try to find something to top the others
recent post. Another heaping handful of hell,
to pass the hours with.

Anything else would be healthy and balanced,
all that other boring shit reserved for those
earning their way into heaven with
public displays of pompous charity.

When we find people like that we just nod,
look to one another with bug eyes on the side,
knowing full well that shit is just for show.

“The Gleek”

“gleek”

building up saliva in the salivary glands using some stimulus, like sour food or yawning, and then pressing the tongue upon the glands, causing the saliva to shoot out, usually at an impressive distance. Urban Dictionary

for the gang.

I don’t know where this little atrocity began.
I can tell you what I know though.

For me it started with the kids from The Heights.
This one kid Deckard in particular, but the lot of them
Were like something out of The Sandlot. Literally.

Albeit, the cartoons and movies, the porn mags and weed
have all since increased in varying potency’s, so this
lot were a plenty more crude in their delinquency.

It was like art to them I swear.

One summer for various social-political reasons
I had left the safety of my gang and splintered off,

and somewhere between the first girl I loved and the
first one who shagged me up, I spent about 8 weeks
embedded in the tribe of the fixed income housing
that loomed over our streets relative calm like

Edward Scissorhands place, but they were always
The most fun to hang out with, the richer kids were
boring and as the middle class kids, you naturally
wanted something to do that wasn’t a reminder of
the fact your mother was still basically ruling your shit.

These were the closest thing I had to a gang for that period.
I admit when the time came to make amends with
Whatever tryst stricken friend I was eager to do so and get
back to more civil surroundings, (where I wasn’t wondering
when and if I had already been the next victim of “The Gleek”

The Gleek was one of a variety of means by which the
young demon boy child could take their saliva and turn it
into an assaulting weapon of mass disgust-ment.

There was a more crude one wherein the attacker uses
index and middle finger as launcher as well. Other, more
theatrical and ornate ones which I never attempted. I was
only there for a quick time and didn’t want to make waves,
spittle or otherwise. They used to take turns choking each
other out and once in awhile someone woke up Gleek’d on.

Come to think of it, that was a little funky.

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.

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.