Wednesday, August 31, 2005

idée fixe

These bones shall mend. A broken femur, shattered fibula, cracked tibia - yes, these bones shall mend. A childhood fall from a tree results in injuries easily repaired. An idiotic, alcohol-fuelled leap from a raised sidewalk produces no damage which can't be healed in relatively short order. This, however, is different. A strained malleus, splintering, a fracturing incus, a disintegrating stapes - ear bones: the hammer, anvil, and stirrup. These bones shall not mend - not while listening to you.

"Where do all the ideas go?"

In your mania, your desperate grabbing for understanding, wisdom, your voice has raised to an intolerable level, grating, becoming an unbearable shriek.

"Where do they go? I'm writing, coasting along, really in the groove, you know, then all of a sudden, the tap is turned off, I'm shut out. Just like that, left stranded! Dying of thirst!"

The human body, little more than a machine, doctors, surgeons little more than glorified mechanics, plumbers. A worn out alternator requires a simple replacement. A leaky pipe beneath the kitchen sink is easily fixed, unclogging the trap, tightening, taping the connexions.

"We used to sit around and laugh, remember? We'd laugh at this mad scramble for enlightenment! Nobody is content to just wait their turn, sit tight, waiting for their number to come up, you know? We used to laugh at these suckers in this obscene rat race of the arts, this eternal chasing of ideas, non-ideas. Now I'm right there with them, no-one leading, each of us tripping over the other, falling ever behind!"

The human mind, little more than a machine, psychiatrists, neurosurgeons little more than glorified electricians, engineers - and you obviously need one or the other.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

élan learned

Sensei kicked you out of the dojo. Just like that - out on your ass. Months of erratic attendance, lewd locker room talk, and your worthless cronies hanging around was enough to send sensei off. Thinly veiled slights, disrespectful remarks, and flagrant impersonations were enough to earn you a ruthless, lightning quick punch combination, finished by a swift kick to the solar plexus. With nonchalance, you were sent to the mat, and three words were tossed on your already aching self: "You - go now." The next day, so sore, you came by the dojo only to find your Gi hanging by the front door - your locker had been cleaned out.

So, why is it that you keep coming back? You drop by the dojo several times a day, and hang around outside after classes, asking your fellow students if sensei has said anything about you. He hasn't, they say. Not a word. Your little visits haven't gone unnoticed, though. No, far from it. Sensei does not see you, himself, but catches your image on camera, watching on a tiny black and white monitor in his cramped back office. You walk with humbled steps, carry yourself with sorry poise - he can see it.

Sensei knows what it is to be a punk kid: untouchable, invincible, demanding respect from the get-go. But respect is not given freely. No, respect is fought for, taken by force. You acted out in frustration, wanting it all now, not able to wait for that ever-delayed train called enlightenment. There are steps, obstacles, a long rugged path between student and master. A fact hard to take - not nearly as hard as hitting the floor after a solid kick to the stomach, but hard nonetheless.

So will you ever possess skills equal to those of your teacher's? Sensei does not know. You are a student whose pride is too easily hurt, and now, a student without a dojo. You grew up in, and were shaped by, the instant gratification obsessed point-and-click generation. Nothing worth having should have to be worked for - it is all right here, spread out before you, free for the taking. At the click of a button.

But you will persevere, trying to make it in sensei's slower world, for you know that without the limited knowledge imparted on you by him, you'd be nothing, no better than the wretched rodents you run with. You used to punch with the ignorance of a child, but now you've at least the strength of a teenager. Strength bent by anger, twisted by delusion, warped by impatience. In due time, though, you'll be permitted to resume your studies. But it is the sensei's dojo, and he alone determines who may boast membership and when. Prove yourself.

Monday, August 29, 2005

élan vital

Decidedly distant. Easy to get along with, impossible to get close to. You know him. He's the guy you want sitting next to you an a plane. He'll give you your space because he wants his. He won't say a word - though you wish he would. You don't normally want to be bothered aboard flights, but just this once it would be nice. Though a seat sits empty between you, you can feel him sitting there. Just minding his own business. Jerk!

You'll fidget in your seat, trying to get his attention. Turn the pages in your magazine rather loudly. A cough here. A throat clear there. The only response you'll get is when you clumsily cross your slender legs - legs a little too long for such a manoeuvre - bumping the seat ahead. An affable smile. Almost apologetic. Condescending? Jerk!

There's just something about him. You have to know more. You'll consider the last time you craved knowledge so badly. It was...maybe never? What is this draw to certain strangers? An unseen spark. A passing of energy. A distant, ancient, connexion. You'll fall asleep, comfortable beside him. You'll sleep right through the seatbelt warning. And you'll sleep right through the landing, only waking after the plane has taxied to a stop.

You'll find two empty seats beside you. Panic sets in. An isle crammed with people. Him, half a plane away, jostling towards the exit. You'll wither, your mind filled with a thousand possibilities, missed opportunities, watching him walk away. Such energy radiating from that suede-clad back - jerk.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

élan absent

More intriguing than talented. You know this - you've made a life of it. The measure of a man can be found in the opinion of others. Keep people wondering; they're most comfortable in the dark, anyway. Stay amidst the shadows; details hard to pin down near perfection in imagination. Always be as cryptic as possible; elusiveness is key. Convince those around you that you are a genius and you are one. Convince those around you that you are not bored're still bored. All right, so the theory only goes so far.

Garrulousness covers up a distinct lack of substance. A migratory lifestyle hides an absence of roots. Hyper-animation disguises the fact that you shuffle amongst the walking dead. The sum of these equal a deficiency of self. You find comfort in the dead ideas of dead men, and you build your own tenuous theories on the weak backs of these corpses like some grotesque cheerleading pyramid with your cadaver triumphantly kneeling atop. But the layers rot beneath you, ever-weakening, eventually giving way beneath the weight. The resulting pile of decaying flesh and ideas will take centuries to clean up.

And here's you at the end of the day, wishing it would have been more, hoping that tomorrow your own grand idea will come. Days spent waiting, a crushing weight. Others pass by, and you wonder if they're as bored as you. You search their eyes, looking for that spark which could light your fire. Provide a renewed sense of vigour. Verve. Help you leave behind this endless torment of a life, non-life. Carrion: the birds pick away, fighting amongst themselves, squawking: Carry on! Carry on!

Carry on, friend. In the mouths of worms, in the bellies of birds, carry on.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

beide (und keine)

two poets
walk into a bar.

After far too many
and a whole lot of
one turns to the other
and says:

"I'll bet you
thought this
was a joke."

Not allowing himself
to miss a beat,
the other smiles slyly
and replies:

I knew it
was poetry
all along."

Monday, August 22, 2005

beyond the type

in the dark

strange things follow, words disappear as soon as they are typed, and loved ones turn to monsters. An open Word document torments, that damn blinking cursor, relentless. It's hypnotic. You can almost hear it. For each blink, one word: you. can't. write. don't. even. try. You stumble around in the halflight of your house, lights off, blinds closed. Going outside won't even cross your mind. The muscles in your neck, jaw, and head, are tense, painful. That bottle of Tylenol is always close at hand. Alone at your kitchen table, the green numbers of the stove clock catch your eye. Those two flashing dots in between. It's too quiet: you. can't. right. this. You don't even try - there is truth

in the light

your mind runs ahead, there is meaning beyond the type, and loved ones love. Words flow, and you feel so good, so alive, that you know you can do anything. Why sit at a keyboard typing when all of this creativity is flowing? Why not write a song instead? Why sit messing with chord progressions and scales when all of this creativity is flowing? Why not paint a picture instead? Words flow, music flows, and paint flows. You feel so good, so alive, that you know you can do anything - so you wind up doing nothing. After the storm, the sun comes out, the dam breaks, and a tidal wave of ideas comes rushing, flooding, drowning, destroying, leaving you washed up on the shore battered, broken, and

in the dark

Friday, August 19, 2005

when beginnings and ends collide

It's all in the finish. Whether you're writing a story, building an armoire, or playing a game of chess, what matters most is the finish. You can write a story snarled with seeming contradictions, totally discombobulated, but if you tie it all together with a strong finish, it may well be astounding. You can build your armoire hurriedly, and of the cheapest wood, but if you finish it just right you may very well dazzle with your new piece. And if your opponent manages to overlook your lackluster opening game, and underestimates you during the slow middle, it may very well be your genius finishing moves which snag you the win.

The middle: whether it's a novel, a cross-country road trip, or life, the middle is nothing more than a series of events designed to get you from the initial exciting event to the final.


Just like that. See? You've got birth: everybody does it, and there's not really a unique way of doing it. Sure you can be a twin or a clone or whatever, but the general gist is the same. Then you've got your series-of-events: again, typical. You live your life putting together a puzzle, thinking you can make a difference, collecting. Each life is designed in such a fashion so as to convince the participant that they are living their life their way. Uniquely. Ha. Finally, you've got death: this is really the showpiece. The crowning stroke. The chef-d'oeuvre. This is the moment when the participant takes her bow, is showered with praise, truly appreciated, and exits stage right.

You can write a blog post which goes on and on, saying nothing, totally formulaic, but if you end it with a bang it can be made into a real gem. It's all in the finish, after all - and I've got nothin'.
Disgorged by: Trite R, 2:07 PM | link | 0 comments
Thursday, August 18, 2005
not everything needs a title dammit

__________ten years ago

Flight of fancy. Dipping, diving, rampaging through the woods. Flying on our feet. I soar over the broken root of an ancient tree, swoop beneath its tangle of branches, and look back to make sure that you did the same. I see you, hear you, laughing, and I keep on running. We're not even touching the ground now. An eruption of cracking twigs, rustling leaves, clattering rocks. Us, thrashing through the forest.

__________five years ago

Awake in the furnace of a tent, all aglow with the morning mountain sun. It's different up here, you say. And I say it, too, just repeating what you said because there's no better way to say it. Nothing to add. It really is different up here. My mind turns to the fire from the night before: flames licking the sky, a shower of orange sparks - even now I smell the smoke clinging to my skin.

__________one year ago

Lost in a southern town, all truck stops, cops with mirrored shades, and gophers. There's sand in my shoes. I look over at you, recognising that squirm. You've got sand in your pants. Where will we go from here?, you ask. I tell you we'll work our way north, head up towards the Great Lakes. There's good fishing up there. Someday we'll grow up, right? Lead adult lives? You're staring blankly at the horizon. Staring at nothing. Flat all around. No, I say, we'll never do that.


A Lover's Discourse? Got it. Discipline & Punish? Got it. You're down another isle. I hear you, but I don't see you. Hey, you say, maybe we should bring some of our books in, you know, to trade or whatever. I stick my head around the corner, and I'm greeted by your grinning face. I don't even have to say it. Just screwing with you. Come on, let's go grab a coffee.


Flight of fancy. Dipping, diving, rampaging through the streets. Flying on our feet. I soar over the uneven corner of a sidewalk slab, swoop beneath the collapsed awning of a fruit market, and look back to make sure that you did the same. I see you, hear you, laughing, and I keep on running. We're not even touching the ground now. An eruption of crushed pop cans, rustling newspapers, and flapping pigeons. Us, thrashing through the city.


It'll come.
Be patient-
we'll wait

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

leaves fire, that's what they say

to say what
something is:

completely impossible;

that's how I'd describe you.

slightly intolerable;

all aspects which make you
irresistible, lovable-
totally unavoidable.

Someday (but not soon)
I'll quit this
on a lark-

_____you'll see.


(in the south of the province)

"He leaves fire", they say,
"watch that boy;
all consuming,
he'll burn you alive.

Lit up like
a torch, he cuts
a wide swath,"

they say,

Friday, August 12, 2005


Midnight came and went. Savka lay on his bed in his darkened room looking out the skylight above. He fantasised about blotting out the stars one by one with a Sharpie permanent black marker. Scribbling over the moon. Starting over. Tabula rasa.

Like bumping into the infinite on a street corner, Savka wasn't so sure he would recognise the moment between being awake and asleep when he met it. Is it even a full second? he thought. Half a second? Is it any time at all? Perhaps untime. No, maybe more like non-time. Savka closed his eyes, and before he knew it, was asleep.

The next morning, Savka thought back on his slip into unconsciousness. When did it happen? Where did that moment go? Like a reflection turned inside out, it simply disappeared? Like a shadow folded up and placed into an envelope of darkness? Like it was dropped into the magician's hat? Maybe, just maybe, it never existed at all. Each moment, a moment is born while simultaneously disappearing into itself. Born and unborn in an instant. Two sides bound together, twisting and turning, plummeting at terminal velocity. The flipping of a coin, flashing in the moonlight.

*Last night, a dream of a ravenous, all-consuming fire. Before it could burn me, I was able to ask it a few questions: Were you born? If so, do you age? What do you dream of when you sleep? I received no answers. Hungry, near starving, the fire swallowed me whole, its roar smothering my screams.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


In three pieces:

1. Without
2. Referral
3. External

1. WITHOUT (and beyond)

You age most on those days whiled away doing nothing. Time appears slow, creeping, then unmoving. Static, time has become you. You'll feel it first as a twinge of boredom: a listless glance through a smudgy window, that fourth cup of coffee, a book's cover opened then closed - a bored pacing. It's more senescence than aging, I suppose. More maturing than senescence. And certainly more fermenting than maturing. The fermentation process works best when all is still, undisturbed. And here's you, unstirring.


You slip into boredom easily. Like a comfortable pair of shoes, worn by a thousand miles. Like an old pair of jeans, fading just right in the knees - like your favourite shirt. You feel most comfortable in that little space between new experience and old. That little space between activity. That little space between. You slip into boredom easily. Enveloped, ensconced, you're a coin fallen between the cushions of a couch upholstered by the fabric of time.


You look at boredom as the perfect state. It exists outside of expectation in that nothing is expected to come of it. It exists outside of chronology in that there is no right or wrong time for it. It exists flawlessly, eternally, while failing to exist at all in that nothing is nothing, nothing can never be something, and nothing is perfect. You recognise each of these things, barely understanding them, and see yourself as a great explorer constantly on the verge of a great discovery. You stand proud at the bow of your ship, spyglass raised to your eye, scanning the ever-distant horizon. You wait. And wait. Nothing comes. In fact, it rushes right on by, fast, in the blink of an eye.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

birds from dinosaurs

It's like time slowed down when he described you. Now, what was it he said? Something about long blonde hair, honeyed by the sun. Two-toned eyes, blue fading to brown. Cute little nose. I don't know - he soon remembered he had a picture of you in his wallet and proceeded to ruin the whole thing. I was busy building you up in my mind when reality grabbed me by the lapels, shaking vigorously. Such a girl does not exist! Idiot. Reality's like that; a little abrupt.

A string of details
like pearls on a chain-
milky, white, opalescent.

So how is it that you come to be sitting across from me right now? I'm picking at a sandwich, wishing it had more tomato. I'm being elusive. Avoiding eye contact. How would you react if you knew that I had met another you? In another time, another place, another universe? In my goddamn mind. Jesus. I'm clearly not listening, so you repeat your question.

"I said, where have all the men gone?"


"The men, you know, the real men."

"I, I'm not sure I-"

"Okay, so, once upon a time men were men and women were women. It was a time when men and women were allowed to be themselves. Two seperate, and very different, beings co-existing. Then, something changed: men became women and women became men. Now we're all looking for the wrong people."

I wasn't sure what to say, so I said nothing. The way I took a bite of my sandwich must have told you that I wished you to continue.

"I'm just tired of finding these men who are trying to be women, you know? I want a man who looks like a man. A man who forgets to shave sometimes. A man who doesn't have his eyebrows plucked, his back waxed. I want a man who doesn't have perfectly manicured nails, who doesn't think so much about his toes."

I smile, chewing.

"A man who doesn't know the difference between foundation and concealer, who doesn't get into my eye cream, my masks."

I try to pick my teeth with the point of my knife when you're not looking. I'm sneaky like that.

"I want a man who likes hunting, fishing, and hanging out with the boys. A man who doesn't apologise every time he comes home late, who doesn't always place his underwear in the hamper. A man who wants to take me to a hockey game instead of the ballet-"


My Hmmm serves to break your concentration, bringing your rant to an end. You look at me expectantly, awaiting a response.


"Did you ever come here when they used to put capers in their steak sandwich?"

"Were you even listening to me?"

"Oh, yeah, I think my mind was wandering. Uh-"

"I think I love you."

Tuesday, August 9, 2005


Little Lenny didn't make it home to his wife and kids today. No, wait, perhaps that's misleading. I don't just mean to say that he never made it home today, no, I mean that there is no going home. That Lenny made his last trip home from work yesterday. That Lenny's wife and kids will never see him again. That Lenny is dead, hit by a black Volkswagen Jetta whose driver is now safely at home with her husband and kids. That Lenny is nothing more than a limpid ball of black hair on the road. Yeah, every squirrel in the world believes that there's a diamond encrusted dumpster out there waiting just for him. It's filled with the finest of garbage, (and by finest I mean stinkiest), it's got a little ladder running up the side made just for little squirrel feet - the lid is always open. It was in pursuit of just such a dumpster that Lenny met his untimely end.

The driver of the murderous black Volkswagen Jetta is safely at home busying herself with supper, whistling a terribly off-pitch tune. (Something by Abba, I believe.) Her husband is in the other room folding laundry, trying his best to fold it neatly, and in such a way so as to minimise the annoyance his wife will feel later on when she goes to put on a shirt and finds it full of wrinkles. The two kids, little Jake and Susanne, sit giggling in front of the television watching their futures unfold. None of them are aware of the earlier violence perpetrated against little Lenny. The black Volkswagen Jetta lurks in the darkened garage, its grill smiling sickeningly.

Lenny's wife sits up in the crook of their tree, scanning the streets and walkways below her. It's not like lenny to be so late, she thinks, quickly turning her head this way and that. Her emotions run the gamut from annoyance at lenny's tardiness, to anger at his outright inconsideration. He could at least call. Anger turns to paranoia as thoughts of an affair cross her mind. Probably at that little hussy's place over on 49th. And paranoia turns to fear as the awful truth dawns on her - Lenny isn't coming home at all. A red Mazda 6 creeps past her tree through the twilight street. Her heart jumps as her eyes fill with hate. Will they ever just leave us alone? Her thoughts turn to her sleeping babies. She tries to envision their future without their father.

They'll grow up with the same dreams as all those before them. They'll long to move south and live out their long lives under the summery Californian sun, lounging on the beach, eating the discarded remains of falafels by the sand. They'll be attracted by the big city lights of the east, lured by the idea of all those people living on top of people, enticed by the promise of a neverending supply of hotdog butts. They will, all of them, grow up chasing that empty dream of the diamond encrusted dumpster waiting just for him or her. The one with the fine garbage, that little ladder - the one with the lid that's always open.

Monday, August 8, 2005

life planning

I wasn't a terrific kid,
but I was at least


With 'Student of the Week'
always just out of reach,
I had fun at school instead.

I didn't need to know
about Columbus
or his rotten voyage-
because I was going to be
a ninja.

And I didn't need to know
my times tables or
the table of elements-
because I was going to be
a rockstar.

Yeah, I had it all worked out:
a ninja rockstar-
what could be better?

Thursday, August 4, 2005

one of

So sudden, so new. You, a breezy gait, stepping out of the shadows. There's a street in your city where you go so see and be seen. A place of colourful clothing boutiques and cramped coffee shops packed with character. Each day, a parade of new tourists, their new shirts bulging, pressed khaki short walking. There are the regulars playing hacky sac in the park, those hip kids posing by the record store, and the line of heads hiding behind sunglasses, keeping an eye on their motorcycles - and the girls going by. Yeah, it's a street where you go to see and be seen, and a street which you normally avoid. Well, today you're stepping out. A book in one hand, a tea in the other, you emerge from the shadows, joining the throng of consumers on Clover Boulevard.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005


A bug: unimportant, inessential, dispensable. Insignificant, the world does not need it - yeah, you've felt like that. In your mind, you somehow exist outside the butterfly effect. You could go and away, and no-one would notice, no-one would care. All jacked up on self-indulgent pity, feeling sorry for yourself, you sit alone in your room and cry. You push away those who love you - your anger towards others is paralleled only by your own self-loathing. Spinning out of control, you set out on a safari of errors culminating in one giant mistake.

So, you took a wrong turn - now what? You'll have just enough self-respect, and respect for those around you, to pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and get on with things. There's no room in this world for another small time soap opera, some second-rate melodrama. There's just enough room for you. Not some giant you puffed-up, expanded by theatrics, displacing everyone else. No, only you. Harsh? Naw - realistic. You'll figure out that you have to live your life your way, for you. That you need to stop looking for yourself in others. That you have to create your own importance, your own reason for existing. That you need to stop projecting an image and just start being who you are - and that self matters.

A bug: unimportant, inessential, dispensable - things you're not. Quit it.

Monday, August 1, 2005

summer heat

There are certain things that can not be rushed: the yellowing of a leaf on a tree, the aging of whiskey in a cask - cab drivers. I flip each page in this book, waiting to be grabbed, to be brought into the author's world. Page ten comes and I'm still not certain about whom I'm supposed to care. Approaching page twenty, I'm made uncomfortable by the awkward dialogue. I reach page fifty and I still feel like I'm just reading a book. But, I'm patient - I can wait. There are certain things that can not be rushed: the suspension of reality. I guess.

From another room, the radio tells me it's a cruel, cruel summer. Made listless by the heat, a wandering, lazy mind, aimless and detached - a perfect state for reading, a lot can be forgiven. But writing? Better to be certain and connected. Two qualities which my melting mind currently lacks.

Summer heat-
a bead of sweat
runs down my neck.

Summer heat-
thought arrested,
I'll read instead.