Monday, December 7, 2009


At work, when the customers dry up and there’s nothing to do, the passing of time feels like the creak of aching bones. The superhuman supervisor is always one step ahead of everyone else. I think he has precognitive abilities. Anything I can think of doing he has already done.
My head gets that achy, floaty feeling, like my brain is slipping on ice. That feeling always makes me thirsty, so I grab a paper cup. I feel tired and hopeless and then I hear a noise that gives me hope! The clinky noise of the ice machine!
Forgetting myself, forgetting my surroundings, I crouch down and open the sliding door to watch the slow tinkle of ice babies being born and I smile.

Later I walk home and shield my face from the blows of the sun. Under a tree I seek refuge: a brief respite from the heat and a chance to wipe the sweat from my brow and regather my wits. Just when I’m feeling better I look down and see two broken halves of an eggshell. Instinctively I look up for a nest but see nothing. Down below is the horrible carnage of the ants, their gooey mandibles tearing at the yellow innards of the shell. Clawing, clicking, crunching.
I can’t watch.

Later at home, long after the sun has gone down, I’m still awake. I lie down in a bed with a gaping hole on one side and stay there feeling the pain of that void and nothing more.
I can’t sleep. I toss and turn for a while.
Much later, in a semi-lucid state, I take a pillow and put it against the wall, down low against my back. And as I drift to sleep I forget the simulation I have made and it becomes real, and for a few slumberous moments she’s lying next to me in the dark, our bottoms softly touching beneath the blankets.

Ways I Feel After Watching A David Lynch Film

Scared. No, Terrified. That is foremost.
Tired and Woozy.
That weird Headachy feeling. When your eyeballs slide.
Sexually Stimulated, particularly when Naomi Watts is involved.
Titillated, Fascinated and generally Overstimulated.
Confused like running through tunnels.
Awed that someone can imagine that way.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Version of Me

Sometimes I wake up in the morning half alive half dead and wonder whether there’s any reason to get up at all.
Sometimes I realize I don’t like me a whole lot but that’s okay I’ll just create a new me starting now.
Yesterday I realized my narrative voice is terribly unnaturally inauthentically me.
Yes, yes there are a lot of things to correct.

Most days I spend at least 15 minutes wondering just what the hell it is I’m doing.
In summer I usually seize up in terror once a day wondering if this is the day my hair melts into the top of my head like some greasy cake decoration.
(Black things conduct heat)!

Sometimes I think my love of sci-f has taught me to be good at sex.
No seriously because I can suspend my disbelief and focus and not get hung up wondering how on earth I got myself into this situation in the first place.
Otherwise how would anything get done?

In certain specific conditions I will lose my appetite entirely for three days and not really know why.
Then my hunger will return at 3.22am in a rush like copulating teenagers.
And then what do you do?
Somebody tell me seriously I don’t know. Can you justify getting something to eat at that time?

Some part of me still wants to be used and abused by awful sorts because let’s face it doing the wrong thing can be fun sometimes.
Even if it ends up feeling like tearing the muscle clean off the bone.
No no wait no it’s more like that disappointment feeling.
Like that moment of quiet ‘oh.’ when the house lights go up at the end of night/start of day.

Sometimes I like to go swimming in the mornings even though I’m half a chance to drown myself.
Me in the water is like a fish trying to swim through chocolate syrup.
But that won’t stop me I’m stubborn like that plus I love that aquamarine colour of water in a synthetic body.

Somewhere I read that the smell / look of violets evokes memories of the dead and dead romance.
This interested me enough to write it down in my notes but how can I use it?
I don’t know anything about flowers.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Today I’m not the driver
someone else is in control
but from him or her I’m totally

I’m not sure that I trust the
person sitting at the wheel
because they’re always trying to make
a stop.

I hope they know the way to
go I’d help them if I could
but it’s difficult because I’m

Monday, November 16, 2009

Little Tree

Here I have a little tree. It wants so much to grow.
It needs a lot to nurture it, but what I do not know.

I don’t know how to care for it, to get the balance right.
Frequently that keeps me up with worry through the night.

There is no other like it though that you won’t believe.
Secretly I’m worried that it’s losing all its leaves.

The little tree is stunted, sickly, colour drained to mauve.
It has no place to plant its roots, no sanctuary grove.

But still the tree it struggles on, it knows no other way.
Apparently it’s meant to keep on living day by day.

Sometimes I even prune the tree, to keep it safe and small.
I wish I could protect it, hide it, block it with a wall.

A person tried to strangle it, to wring its life away.
I didn’t get his license plate. It ended in a K.

It seems there’s always someone trying to hurt my little tree.
But half the time I tend to think the hurtful one is me.

Of late I have been wondering how long my tree can last.
Any way you look at it, 8 months won’t go by fast.

But if my tree can last that long it all might be okay.
Apparently I have to keep on living day to day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Emma's Eyes and the Seaside

Looking through the windows
of fragile, gemstone blue
a looking glass, a portal,
a song begins on cue.

It feels as if a raft is
riding rapids in my chest.
It feels as if I’m coming home
to calm after the quest.

How can a simple pair
of eyes speak vividly to me?
“We will cross the borderline,
the gap across the sea.”

And though the dreams might haunt me
sending shadows in the night,
a beacon helps me find the way
from eyes of blue too bright.

And in that beacon’s shining gaze
I know I’ll find the shore,
and I can dock there safely
and be with my love once more.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Aileron Song

That tarot smile has got me aching
Honey drip eyes upturned to heaven
“Somewhere out there
the story of our lives is written”

Did you really know we were ready to go?
Torn up, ripped up, metal debris
Little bits of fire falling into the sea

She’s locked me in with words of reason
Can’t seem to breathe, the air’s recycled
Fixed on this path, I’m acting like
My aileron is broken

What’s the answer from above?
What truth pulled from the ether?
God looks at us and shrugs and smiles,
says “I don’t get it either”

The turbines cough, the engine splutters
We can’t compete with such resistance
Luck takes no sides, it isn’t fair
But what were we expecting?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I Don’t Belong Here (Positively Grant Street)

What am I doing here in this place?
Cigar smoke blown into my face
Made to feel like a fucking disgrace
My so-called friends leave me displaced
Among the phony's and their lines
Imported beer, designer wines
And do I like the new design?
It’s driving me out of my mind
The expression on my face is
Cold and stony

Invited for the sake of form
The people watch with looks of scorn
Some of ‘em wish I was never born
And even the drunk that mopes and mourns
Is about a million times more
Welcome than I am through that door
It’s about image and nothing more
And not even my sweet Lenore
Could convince me it was anything
Else but phony

The chain-linked circles lock me out
The social scene, the verbal joust
You’ll get your way, you’ll moan and pout
It all leaves me without a doubt
The glittered sparkled make-up eyes
Of deepest blue they can’t disguise
the thinly veiled threats and lies
the hostility behind your eyes
The unspoken warning that the
Cat’s got claws

And “he said”, “she said” let’s take sides
The petty squabbles and the cries
And though their brain cells might be fried
Even the junkies have their pride
And I’m not here to get involved
I don’t even think Sherlock Holmes could solve
The mysteries of those who are so devolved
And yeah I got a lot of resolve
But don’t ask for my opinion if all you really want
Is to hear yours

How did I get mixed up in this?
The brightly coloured curb-side mist
and broken glass and flowing piss
The lovers locked in deadly tryst
The blood red tint across the moon
The endless loop, the same old tunes
The fiery ashen scream comes soon
I wanna retreat to my cocoon
And act just like nothing
Even happened.

But what’s the use in trying to run?
They got me trapped they’ve already won,
There ain’t no knife, no sword, nor gun
No shield to save me from the sun
Of painful glaring bright white eyes
That pierce the soul and condemn the mind
And leave you stripped naked and blind
A coiled spring you can’t unwind
So stay on your toes and don’t let ‘em
Catch you nappin’

How am I gonna get outta this rut?
Surrounded by these hungry sluts
And this one looks like Jabba the Hutt,
And the scar on my hand from the cigarette butt
That you stabbed me with in your drunken haze
And the fevered sweat in the dancer’s cage
And the boys are going along with the craze
In the desperate hope they might get laid
And the mother’s all sit at home and pray
That their kids have been taught well enough to stay
Out of trouble and wear coats ‘case it rains
But if only they knew that there is no way
That the kids are ever gonna do anything else but act stupid
They’re barely lucid

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Agent in Japan

Remy was a man
he was living in Japan
he said “In the neon city
I can forget who I am”
He drinks his cup of joe
in the morning ‘fore he goes
and then he disappears
into the streets of Tokyo

You can run
you can run
but you can’t forget
you’re walking on a tightrope,
you haven’t fallen yet
You can hide
you can hide
from the things that they said
but they’re still scratching chalkboards
inside your head

He finds it hard to sleep,
dreams he’s drowning in the deep
he’s locked away a secret
that nobody should keep
The images replay
like the helicopter blades
and pretty soon his mind could blow
just like that grenade

The sky’s overcast,
the people pressing past
he’ll never be alone again
he’ll never be the last
He’s never truly free,
he drinks too much sake
and all that gets him through the nights
is karaoke

Friday, October 9, 2009

Davy was a Drifter

It’s a lonely speeding train
that runs along my chosen track
there’s nothing runnin’ parallel
there ain’t no turning back

My name is Davy
I live on borrowed time
There’s a constant ache
in my railroad spine

I’m trying to make new friends
like it’s some emergency
but they speak in codes and riddles
on another frequency

This cold world
is a mountain I can’t climb
There’s a constant ache
in my railroad spine

I swam in the Dead Sea
but I couldn’t stay afloat
Everyone was laughin’
‘fore I’d even told the joke

There’s a bent and rusted person
sleepin’ in the marbled sun
in the cities central circle
but he’s visible to none

My name is Davy
I live on borrowed time
There’s a constant ache
in my railroad spine

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mind Games

she doesn’t look at me
the way she did before
she stares so angrily
but she don’t use the door

She looked at me with those
dull windshield eyes
raised a brow
and looked away into the sky

I don’t want to argue
I don’t mean no harm
it feels like struggling
to keep an ocean calm

A fragile glass breaks
in a corner of my mind
It’s even sadder that these golden years
are meant to be our prime

I’m on the podium
but then you take the floor
When did our love become
an endless game of tug-of-war?

You said I broke you into pieces
like a teacup in a storm
well we owe it to each other
to not let this be the norm

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Day This Is Not

We met in a bar
she said come to my car
and we can go back to my place
It was all in good fun
‘til she pulled out a gun
and the colour, it drained from my face
This wasn’t as planned
I held up my hands
an’ she took everything that I got
And though I wasn’t dead
I still shook my head
‘cause clearly my day this was not

So I walked on alone
and when I got home
the wife asked me where I had been
Though I did not confess
she still smelled my breath
and soon she had started to scream
“Go on explain,
why I should remain
or else sign here on the dot!”
So now I was divorced
I felt such remorse
clearly my day this was not

My feet were like lead
so to go clear my head
I went off and sailed to the coast
And amongst the sea air
and the mermaids so fair
I felt I had something to boast
But as I came into dock
the keel struck a rock
and soon it’d sunk my yacht
And as I swam ashore
I couldn’t take anymore
clearly my day this was not

But through it all
I’d get up when I fall
say “Tomorrow’s another day”
For if it was not
then myself I’d boycott
‘stead of pushing on through the fray
When it’s getting me down
I try not to frown
though I often feel it’s my lot
I’ll keep moving on
‘til the day I am gone
but the last of my days this is not

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Are you afraid?
Static-coloured sky

Feel the vibrations
Social minefield
Watch your step
Watch your step
Where’s it gonna land?

Hitler’s in the parking lot
In the dirt

Watch your back
Keep your eyes on
The Blue Gate
The Blue Gate
Guards are on the edge

Keep away from me
Those tombstone teeth
Barbed-wire hair
Ripping up my face
Hurts my eyes
Bomb-scare breath
Leave me gasping
Where’s the mask?
Where’s the mask?
The dark eyes?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Goodbye to Gollierstrasse

Audrey eyed us from above
With cigarette in hand
The snow ticks past at 2 am
when sleep is in demand
Andy’s smiling shyly now
At me in triplicate
The afterimage burning
In a screen inside my head
It’s time to say goodbye to eyes like mine
To eyes like mine

It’s history repeating
Music playing in a loop
It’s a story in the news for weeks
But I don’t know the scoop
The gridded streets surround me
Looking totally the same
I try so hard to lose myself
But end up here again
It’s time to say goodbye to eyes like mine
To eyes like mine

What do you need to hear?
What do you want me to say?
I’ll spin you anything you want
I’ll tell you night is day

The mirage words bounced off me
But they left a subtle mark
I’m struggling to make a move
My body’s stuck in park
I’m hoping the paralysis’s
A temporary thing
But I can’t help but feeling like
A bee that’s used it’s sting
It’s time to say goodbye to eyes like mine
To eyes like mine

Sunday, October 4, 2009


When I walk the street
my ear’s to the ground
I don’t want to meet
don’t want you around
Don’t want to see
your silverfish smile
Don’t wanna get caught
in the broken turnstile

Your saccharine words
just came out as hiss
The garden’s bright serpent
and apostle kiss
Why can’t you see
you brought this to an end?
So don’t expect me
to still call you friend

Back then I was blind
you were cruel and unkind
but I just didn’t learn
Now you’ve been confined
to a space in my mind
a place where you don’t return

When you were around
sometimes it seemed
my conscience whispered
when it should’ve screamed
I should’ve seen
the die it was cast
The state of your mind
was a ship with no mast

I was sick of your boasts
and of being the host
to all your parasitic lies
Though we were once close
if I had another dose
of you, I think I’d die

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Each Town's Saloon

The golden sky
catches his eye
The setting sun’s
got him on the run

He rides from town to town
then disappears
A man of such renown
a man without fear
He lies, cheats and steals
in each town’s saloon
An ace up each sleeve
a showdown every noon

“This time he’s gone too far!”
Sheriff decreed
“We’re gonna hunt him down”
“We’re gonna make him bleed”
Old Willie’s sold him out
Big Red is dead
The townsfolk’s greedy shout
for the price upon his head

The sheriff’s closing in
he’s handy in a pinch
The posse march on through
they’re crying for the lynch
Under that setting sun
in a foreign land
He once more grabs his gun
for this, his final stand

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Ballad of Des

He works at the local fish market
on weekends as a checkout teller
The look in his eyes says “Fuck it”
but deep down he’s a real nice feller
He looks out from behind his vacant eyes
and tries to find a reason why
he puts up with what everybody says
His name’s Des

What he’s thinking, I can’t tell
what is his secret wish?
To escape the clientele
or the constant smell of fish?
He stares out from behind his cold eyes
and dies a little more inside
for all I know he’s probably on meds
Well that’s Des

Salmon, herring, bass and flounder
Des is anchored to the checkout counter
Freedom seems forever out of reach
when your stuck selling lemons at a dollar twenty each

Des gazes from behind his tired eyes
and tries to find a reason not to cry
Perhaps to cheer him up I’ll buy some PEZ
For poor Des

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Two Directions

There’s an icy wind a-whippin’
down the alleyways outside
and an awful silence playin’
over again in my mind
There’s a broken wall between us
and a street without a sign
now you’ll be headin’ your way
and I’ll have to move in mine

As my feet strike the sidewalk
the sky seems just as grey
as the church bells sorrowed singing
closing out another day
Well there’s history behind us
and the pain is in the past
and the sun again is setting
and nothing gold can last

One of us was always tryin’
to rule with an iron fist
but we couldn’t see each other
through the murkiness and mist
But I’m sure I will be seeing
things much clearer the next time
while you head in your direction
I’ll go heading off in mine.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

O Country

O Country,
how you permeate all things.

O Country,
how your fingers work the strings.

The words I say, the ways I think,
the things I crave to eat and drink.
The brazen views on ways of life,
the one I choose to be my wife,
and oh so much more.

O Country,
is my character my own?

Or Country,
am I just one of your clones?

To fight for inches, tooth and nail,
and hope for smoothness in my sail?
To knock and sell things door-to-door
to homes that shine, where flags do soar,
or am I maybe something more?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Summer Days at Elizabeth St


Little waddled steps
on little stumpy legs
down into the backyard
for a new adventure
already lived a hundred times before.

Carefully, carefully,
down the red concrete steps
into the pavement wilderness,
under the yellow sunny sky,
hot and sticky.

The heated air rises
all wobbly and warm
jumping up from the bricks
on to my hands that sweat and sweat
til I wipe them on my denim overalls.

Now watch me go!
The mini-Indiana Jones
hopping from brick to brick
dodging the cracks
‘cause the cracks are the traps!

Into the jungle shade,
into the darkened caves, and -
Look out!
A snapping yellow wolf!
Imprisoned in a wooden cage-

-“Watch your fingers! Don’t get too close!”-
- Rusty barks twice. –

I’ve beaten the traps,
and now for the GOLD!
I snatch it and clutch it tight
and run and run,
invisible boulders rolling at my heels.

Big Plant

The bright yellow sun is right up high
leaning on the cloud
in the middle of the sky
its long golden fingers poking at me
making me itchy and more sweaty

So I go seeking refuge
inside the clothes line,
its drippy inhabitants so cool and white
they flip and they flap about when I pull them
and SpinSpinSpin!

And then a voice cries:
And it’s time to run and hide
into the plant, quick!
Crawl inside.

Cool, wet shade and a hiding place
that smells of rubbery green.
The big leafy arms curl around to embrace,
while I brush the prickly dirt
from my hands and my knees.

The voice says: “Where is he? Where could he be?”
I stifle a giggle because they can’t see.
And the thrill and excitement
and small tiny fear
they all make me grin ‘cause
they’ll never look here!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Last night I had a dream.
I dreamt I walked down a long corridor
further than eyes could see or ears could hear
and as I walked I realized
I was not alone.

Around me in the darkness stood a million solid figures
with a million solemn faces;
every person I had ever known or met
standing in lines to infinity
on either side of my bare shoulders.

As I walked my eyes adjusted to the dark
and I noticed each person, though unmoving,
seemed always to face me with eyes that prickled my pale, naked skin,
seeing deep beneath the surface,
into me and even through me.

I noticed then that each person held a single object
clasped in white-knuckled hands
and pointed straight at me
held aloft in judgment in the shrill, piercing silence.
I tried to focus.

A teacher held the test I cheated on as a 10 year old.
My brother held a guitar with missing e string.
An ex-lover gripped a bloody heart in her fist.
A cousin held a dead bird, a bullet hole in its' chest.
Frightened, I began to run.

My footsteps made no impact on the deathly silence.
The invisible ground was cold on my lonesome feet
as I passed by the people of my past,
the curator of a strange museum,
with exhibits more disturbing than wax figures.

As I ran I glimpsed you from the corner of my eye.
I skidded to a halt, slipped and crashed to the ground.
I scrambled to my feet, eyes searching for you frantically
until I found you in the line,
one amongst the millions.

Carefully, I approached
struggling to see what was held in your hands.
As I came closer you held it up before me
A mirror shrouded in white light
and I was unsure whether or not to be afraid.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Conscience Can Be Hard To Find And Harder Still To Lose

I came inside
with a fistful of 20 cent pieces
and all my dirty laundry
my phone turned off and left on the car seat
I was alone and untethered and it felt alright

Flyers on the wall screamed for
my attention but they only disappointed
like the old magazines at the doctors surgery
the desperate refuge
of a bored man

The door opened
and the winds rushed in and in
she came
windblown and green-eyed and
oh-so pretty

All woman and right there in front of me.

At home I stumbled on the front step
my hands once so sure
couldn’t find my keys
the keys couldn’t find the lock
and the floorboards cried when I stepped on them.

Everyone asleep.

I took a shower
in water that ran cold
I eased myself into bed and drew the covers up
and sleepily my wife
threw an arm around me

I shut my eyes tight and waited for sleep
to engulf me and wipe away the day
and as I drifted off I realised
I fucked her
I fucked her in the laundry as our wet clothes tumbled round us

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Elegy for my Lost Keys

O how could this come to be?
What trick or trap or devilry
couldst provoke this tragedy?
Come back to me o missing keys.

I took for granted for too long
your metal jingle-jangle song
come back to me, for I was wrong
Come back to me o missing keys.

You travelled with me far and wide
when doors were drunk and hard to find
those nights you let me back inside
Come back to me o missing keys.

It took me far too long to see
you weren’t just a utility
to open doors and beers for me
Come back to me o missing keys.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Compass Is Broken And Does Not Point North

The world outside was cold, dark and smelt of burnt cinders. He drew his coat close around him and set out for the barn. He looked out across his father’s land, so different to what he had once known. The spindly, barren trees reached up desperately into the night sky, as if searching for God’s hand to pull them free of the scarred earth.
They had been lucky. The fires had come awfully close.
The winds picked up as he reached the gate, and he saw that his father had been right again. The horses were spooked all right. The gales howled through the rafters with a haunting melody.
He moved to quiet the horses, their eyes like liquid fire.

* * *

His mother moved about setting the table and fretting. His father and Eli took their places at the table as he opened the door and came inside, shaking off his coat. He sat down as if in a dream, his mind in other worlds. His mother closed her eyes and began to say grace, but he didn’t hear or see it. Instead he saw the quivering ghost of his dreams: a place far away: a city.
A land so bright in his imagination, it shone and rippled like heat rising from the tarmac on the highway.
The highway.
The only paved road for miles, at least half an hour away from here.

He picked at his food. His father said nothing, eyes never leaving his plate.
The clock stuttered from its place on the wall.
Mother began to clear the plates. Eli excused himself and scampered upstairs to bed. His mother disappeared into the kitchen and returned with tea and coffee, setting the tray on the table and smoothing the tablecloth. He reached for his cup in the implacable silence, unnerved. He shut his eyes tight, unsure of what he feared most: continued silence or the questioning.
The steam rising from the cups seemed to cover the room in sinister mist.

* * *

He walked up the stairs with shrieking voices in his head, loud enough to cover the hushed tones of his parents’ voices down below.
The silence in the house lay shattered like glass.
He walked into Eli’s room. The little boy was in bed with a book in his hands, brow furrowed in concentration. He sat in the seat by the bed, watching his brother.
“Bobby, what does this word mean?”
“Aw c’mon. You know I’s never one for them fancy books.”
Eli looked pensive for a moment and then put down the book.
“Bobby… what did Mr Jamison say?”
“Ain’t no good news. Still no work for me,” he said with a grimace.
“Does that mean you’re gonna stay and keep helpin’ Daddy on the farm?”
“Don’t look like I got much else to do,” he said, smiling and punching his brother’s arm. He tousled the kid’s hair and said goodnight as he got up to leave. At the door he stopped and turned.
“Hey Eli. Whatchoo wanna be when you grow up?”
“A fireman,” he said sleepily.
“A fireman? Why you wanna be a fireman?”
“What’s better than being a fireman?”
Bobby smiled and shook his head.
“Goodnight, little buddy.”

* * *

He walked to his room, shut the door behind him and gazed out the window to the stars. The darkness hid the destruction from sight, but in his heart he knew it was there. No matter what happened tonight, come morning there’d be no birds singing in the trees.
The scars would remain.
He shut his eyes and leaned his head against the glass, hoping it would cool his burning mind. He wanted to rest to purge all thought from his mind. There were so many tough choices ahead. He thought about his little brother, so sure of himself.
A fireman, he thought.
He wished it could all be that simple.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

At a Bar, And Afterwards

A room of recognizables, but strangers nonetheless
I sense the ghost receding, pressure easing in my chest
A world of dancing dangers lurking down around my knees
Is somehow strangely soothing even when I hold the keys

A synapse fires early, and the words escaping out
Conspire to overthrow me, get the General to rout
Decorum is the enemy, I hide behind my eyes
And all their polite questioning is only to disguise

The mottled, blind, self-interest that makes me so forlorn
An answer out of category will win the people’s scorn
And when did the brains trust decide that this was all okay?
For cultural myopia to rule the children’s play?

Alone, at home, I feel that I’m that cat inside the box
Equally alive and dead, so long as no-one looks
And why can’t I express the things that mean the most to me?
Her words take me to other realms I feel but cannot see

And yet my words fall silent, dead before they’ve left the tongue
Perhaps the words have dried away, used up when I was young
Or maybe I can find the words in someone else’s song?
And use those ‘til my own return, I hope it won’t be long.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Near or Far

You are my late nights.
You are my early mornings.
The robin’s sweet song and the cool breeze from the North.
Far from sight but never from mind.
You make my heart dance, dance, dance like soda bubbles.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Strange Man

I met a strange man in Arts Lecture Room 8.
He frightened me at first glance.
He had the look of a wild dog backed against a wall.
I swallowed hard when he sat next to me.

He wore a long-sleeve collared shirt that might have started life as white,
But had long since been stained yellow like the teeth of a pack-a-day man.
The shirt had a print that looked as though it had gone
Out of fashion in approximately 1971.

On top of the shirt, he wore a shabby brown vest, woolly and dirty.
Brown pants with no belt.
Tattered shoes clinging desperately to their own remains.
Dark hair, unkempt. Dark eyes.

Unshaven. A slight odour.
The general look of a man who had spent the last ten years
Grifting his way through the mid-West.
A time-traveller from the Depression-era.

He sat next to me; I kept my head down, kept reading.
He muttered to himself incessantly. He made me nervous.
He asked what I was reading: Calvino, for Post-Modernism.
He said: “I loved it. Did that unit. Did pretty well. Wait til Murakami though.”

He asked about my summer.
I said it was good fun, but that (as usual) I’d got to a point
Where I was itching to get back to doing something real.
He said he didn’t have a job over summer, so he’d had a great time.

After the lecture, he got up and walked away;
With the posture of a bald eagle, rigid, unyielding,
But the fluid movement of a dancer,
The jittery spasms of a junkie,
The imbalance of a drunk.
He was gone.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Polemic in the Dark

‘Neath buckled concrete, splintered wood
And metal contortionist,
Entrenched under wrinkled, thin-skinned tarp,
Bones writhing in the feverish yellow lamplight.
Consumed with ache for empires lost.

Oh! White pillars,
Oh! Sweet river in the reeds.
For azure sky, untorn,
For golden orbs draped from the boughs,
For reckless love and glowing fingertips,
What I would forsake.

A jolt! – The sky splits electric.
The burning drops begin to fall
And sleep refuses the bleary eyes.
Hard broken ground in vicious segments
Ravages the aching legs and back
And the solitude stings.
The only companions the soulless,
They of pelt or scale.

And yet…
Summer in the Wasteland
When the sun briefly burns away the haze
And all around the bare threads of colour manifest
As grey mists recede…

Shadows of forgotten time, etched in landscape;
The light glints off the rusted chassis,
And the edifice of past life stands still,
And the tiny mosses grow amongst the skeleton trees.
There stands amongst the ruins – a blueprint.
The possibilities of beauty half-forgotten
And Hope.

And in the hard rain
‘Neath the slick and sodden tarp,
In the cloying dark and asphyxiate fear,
He thinks of yesterdays.
Before the rain
Before the war
And then he thinks: tomorrows.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Miss Stormy Weather

I knew something was up instantly, from the moment she walked in. Actually even before that, when she called, I knew something was wrong. Of course that didn’t mean much. I was always on the ball with reading people’s emotions. That didn’t mean I was any good at dealing with them.

“I feel shitty,” she said presently.

“Can I do anything?”


“There’s nothing I can do to take your mind off it? Or do you want to talk about it?”


“You sure?”

“For fuck’s sake would you just drop it? I already said there was nothing you can do. Get over it.”

I grimaced. Things were off to a good start. As usual.

“Hey, did you see yesterday’s paper?” I said, moving into phase two. Phase two is the part where I try to act normal, as if I can’t see the invisible worm that’s chewing up her insides minute by minute. The part where I pretend there isn’t a sympathy worm tearing up my own guts.

“I dunno. Why?”

Short and sharp. She must really be in a bad mood. So much for small talk. I wonder what it is this time?

“Oh... well it doesn’t matter.”

Funny. Whenever I have bad news she always presses me for it. Grinds it out of me like the enamel of my goddamn molars. Nothing worse than grinding teeth while you’re getting your daily shuteye. If I could just get a solid forty winks just once it’d probably be worth forty grand in dental work later in life. Hell, The way I look these days, I could use it.

“Wanna go to town, get a bite?” I said.

“I’ll come, but I’m not eating.”

“Not hungry?”

“Just don’t feel like eating.”

“Babe, you gotta try to eat something.”

She just shook her head. I grabbed the car keys. My piece of shit Bug wouldn’t start at first, so I had to push-start the fucker. Once it got going, I tried to fiddle with the radio but it was no use. The thing hadn’t worked since January. I don’t know why I even bothered. Probably to get my mind off the cold front that had developed between the coasts of the driver’s seat and the passenger’s. I tried to think of something to say but nothing came out of my mouth. Nothing came out of hers either. I kept driving.

In town we hit some crummy fast food joint, and to my relief she ordered a burger. She picked at it sullenly for a while, but she did eat it. She even managed to say a few words about nothing in particular. Now seemed like as good a time as any to start phase three, which come to think of it, is a lot like phase one: trying to figure out what the hell is wrong.

“You know you can always talk to me.” I said. I braced myself inwardly. Her reaction could go either way.

“I don’t need to talk! There’s no point talking to you about it, you can’t change anything about the situation so why would I bother?”

That wasn’t so bad. She was mad that I wouldn’t drop it, but she hadn’t stabbed me yet.

“I know, but I can listen. I can care.”

She looked me up and down for a moment, gave a look of irritation. Just when I was about to give up on the whole damn thing and walk away, she started talking. She laid it all on the table. Some Joe she was seeing had been jerking her around, not treating her straight like a real man should.

I felt that worm in my stomach again, but this time it wasn’t just a sympathy worm. She must have known how I felt about her. How much it hurt to hear some of the shit she said about her and some other schmuck.

But I asked and there it all was.

“So there,” she said, “now you know all that useless shit that you can’t change or help me with, and I feel even worse.”

I felt a lot worse too. But that didn’t matter to me so much. I was used to it. We trudged slowly back to the car as I again tried to think of something to break the ice. As we got to the car park it started to rain, and I mean really bucket down. Great. God’s not just spitting on me, now he’s pissing all over me.

We jumped inside the Bug, drowned as rats. I knew the car wouldn’t start so I didn’t try it. We sat there awhile looking through the waterfall windscreen at the blurry patterns of the world outside.

“You know what’s worse than raining cats and dogs?” I said.


“Hailing taxis.”

She gave me that look for a moment. The incredulous one that looks adorable. Then she burst out laughing.

“You’re such an idiot sometimes,” she said as she chuckled.

It was a pretty bad joke, but it cracked that safe on her face and made her smile. Things were okay again for a little while.

The Destined Burn

The more I find, before my eyes
The gridded lights of tomorrow
Wired awake and burning cold, the more that
Painful bright seems translucent and
Just out of reach

My attention is
Diverted by diverging lines
Which sweep through and seep
Into me and stretch into frightful, eternal space
Like LA from the approach

But I am trapped in-
side a box with the rigid Now;
Unbending, cyclic
Epiphany follows regression, regression
Chases epiphany again, again, again

Today I can
Accept it, take it all in stride
You are, like me, imperfect and beautiful and I can
Accept it with open heart but
Tomorrow it’s unbearable

You are perfect again
And I am a stain on the curtains.

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