Tag Archives: amwriting

God is Whoever Will Recognize Your Sacrifice (A Spring Poem)

When the heat rose

It brought the ants out with it—


The bedrock slumbers under the shivering topsoil,

All winter huddled up—


Now comes the tilt of the earth—

Now comes hibernation hangovers—


The creak in your elbow

Only you can hear—


Now comes the sun again—

Now the snakes sun on gravel roads—


God is whoever

Will recognize your sacrifice—


So every bud, rosette, and bug eye

Turns to the blinding star—


Half a life

Lived in chrysalis—


Half a life

Lived in fits—


Spring demands stridency,

Summer demands sweat—


Autumn begs for acceptance,

Winter requires sacrifice—


No one pouts as the beetle

Strains over mustard seeds—


Whimpering is pathetic,

Go gnash teeth instead—

Uh Yeah, Me Neither… (A Poem)

Do you take

all your poems

out ‘round back?

Fantasize

about them

during teleconferences?

Sketch them

from memory by candlelight

when the wind sounds

like orgasmic gasps?

Does your blood

burst in your genitals

when you feel

the line break?

Do you try

to conjure their smell

and end up hyperventilating?

Tell me, do you ask

all your poems

to stay for breakfast?

Presence

I have been absent. This blog hasn’t had much of an update in some time, and I have no illusions that this is a bad thing.

Then again, I consider myself a writer—or at least I aspire to be a writer—and a substantial part of being an active, contributing artist in our modern society means having a presence.

Of course, that primarily means an internet presence. The flashy artists, the ones who show up in trendy magazines or are renowned in the lit scene, they live in big cities and can attend live events, buy drinks for fellow poets, or have a one night stand with that cute up-and-coming singer/songwriter. More than anything else they do, they show up.

More than anything else I do, I don’t show up.

I have a measly internet presence. Years ago, a woman wearing too much make-up laughed at me. How the fuck could I even be human if I didn’t have Facebook? It was a naïvely idealist view, at the time. Something I could roll my eyes at and dismiss. But since then, it has become more and more true.

Not that I feel any less human. In fact, in the past year of neglecting the internet—after too many years trying to coyly join in on the party—I feel more alive than I ever have. But then again, as the Millenials say (and let’s face it, Millenials will become the dominant force as Baby Boomers vegetate & die): if you did it but didn’t record it, did it happen at all?

None of it happened. Because life never happened. It is happening, or it is not. Anything besides what is currently happening is either memory or imagination. Life itself is an existential experience, a matter of the present—of being present—of presence—and there we are again, with that goddamn pejorative.

What really gets me about presence is Definition 1.1 in the Oxford Dictionary: “A person or thing that exists or is present in a place but is not seen.” That is essentially internet presence, although of course, with the narcissistic twist that the internet produces, this usage gets confused with 1.3: “The impressive manner or appearance of a person.”

The first definition speaks to something beyond the self, something beyond the senses. The second speaks to ego, the self, the senses. The way we interact with the internet is that: it’s beyond the senses, beyond the self, beyond the ego—and yet it engages the senses, the self, and the ego. It’s an empty egg, and we’re subsisting on an imagined yolk.

I prefer the first definition. I even take it to heart and let it expand: “A person or thing that exists or is present in a place but is not seen, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted.”

Then what is it?

I don’t know. Maybe that is what I am endeavoring to find out.

A Poemization of The Twilight Zone: Season 1, Epidsode 7

A POEMIZATION OF
‘The Lonely’
Ep. 7 Season 1
The Twilight Zone

OH boy
now we are done in

picture a dungeon and we are in it
it might stretch to infinity
you are too small to tell
you live in a shack
with a touring car
with nowhere to go

let the record be known
that the containment placed upon you
by the judge jury rocket program
shrivelled your skin for a crime
you committed
before that court scene
faded to black

sentenced
on a rock
isolated in space

all the months of the year
are the same
every now and then
some supply ship
comes
they bring things for you

the silence
yourself

the wind
yourself

I believe you know
that it lies
like the grass
it pushes
down

*

Pull out the chessboard
company is coming
the cookbook has it all
laid out the way it should

how it be, my friends?
how it be?

I want to shake your hands
each one of you

they aren’t even happy to see him
the supply ship takes six months to feed him
they spend years without knowing their families
their sons become troublemakers

the guys only have fifteen minutes
so let’s get this over with
you criminal
don’t you keep you us out here
too long

it’s terrible scheduling
the logistics are a mess
who knows what the next couple of years
will bring
who knows what will happen before
anything changes

yup
but

you are a murderer
you killed someone
and you are worth
a rocket ship
and supply ships
to keep you fed and lonely
for forty-six more years

the supply guys are going to bring in the crates anyway
there is food and water and magazines

some nice stuff but no leniency on the sentence
that rocket ship is getting old
too expensive to double for return trips
the procurement process would be a nightmare

after five minutes
and a tense conversation
they leave

they leave
the crate unopened

inside there are
a few vacuum packs
a caution
read the instructions
prisoner
please wait until we leave
before you open the crates

see you in three months
after we raid the next planet
for some fruit and
precious plutonium and a few
alien sex slaves

*

them nice supply boys
they brought a woman

a real reasoning speaking woman

with the lips and thighs and
under normal circumstances
has the same life span of a natural human being

my name is alicia
what is your name?

get out of here

get out of here

I don’t want a machine

my name is alicia
what is your name?

ok
ok

ok
come in

*

I brought you some water

put it over there

can you feel thirst?

yes

cold?

yes

pain?

yes

how?
why are you a lie?
your face
your flesh
a machine
a terrible machine
built to make me believe

that I will take this kiss

but it’s a lie
you mock me

i’m sorry
you hurt me

how can I hurt you?
this isn’t your flesh
you’re a reminder
that I am so lonely
I am about to lose my mind

but you will wipe that tear
you will hear her out
you will let her back in

*

you and alicia will play chess
for eleven months

no sum total
man or woman or machine or an extension of
you

your emotions
unto her
like your rook
to her queen

at least
you are not lonely anymore

nothing else matters
another forty-six years to go

yup
but

*

after enough time
for two people
to fall in love

the supply guys come back
with good news

no time to talk
move along
pardons for all
get the hell on the ship prisoner
you are a free man now
carry your fifteen pounds

nothing more
short on fuel
we got some next poor devils
to drag away
back home

alicia and you will finally wave it all goodbye

fifteen pounds
former prisoner
no more

she is my

she is a robot
think with your head

fifteen pounds

no wait
throw out some equipment

fifteen pounds
I don’t got no choice

she’s a woman
alicia

fifteen pounds
and now only fifteen minutes

don’t you understand?

*

all you are leaving behind
is grief
long bored memories

keep it in mind
but
leave it behind

get on the ship

*

there is a fragment
of a man’s life
waiting to rust with a machine
that will sink
like a sphinx into the sand

to be secret
like the grains
blown in between the machine’s toes

*

[ END ]

How to Write a Poetry Chapbook

How to write

a poetry

chapbook:

 

Fill

seven notebooks

with longhand poems

for eleven years

 

Tear out

your best

heart-pounding words

 

Lay them

on the floor

 

Let them

tell you

a pathetic story

 

Then

collate

accordingly

in proper

manuscript format

the way William Shunn likes it

 

Douse

in

diesel

 

Strike

match

 

Ignite

 

Dance

a pagan jig

 

Repeat

In the Newspaper: One For My Mom’s Fridge

Caseros - Meridian Booster 2015

Read the full story from the Meridian Booster online.

If I was smart, or more adept in the Ways of the Extrovert, I probably would have done this a long time ago. But alas, my introversion has conversely become something I have accepted…and something that I would readily trade away for three magical extrovert beans.

It took me too long to seek out some exposure for my novel, Onwards & Outwards. I am getting used to the idea that the artist in modern society is, more than anything, loud (it has probably always been the case). The quiet artist, the secret sharer who bares their soul with the door closed, or the one that does not ask for a person’s eyes, ears, and heart, is one that easily becomes just another weirdo in the din.

But that’s okay. Because I don’t have to deal with coverage and criticism about people crying because I didn’t sign their autographs.

Are you an artist? What has been your experience with exposure and self-promotion? Tell me all about it below. I look forward to downing some Writers Tears while reading your stories.

The Office Window Tease (a poem)

Real hell is there in the office; I no longer fear any other. […] For me it is a horrible double life from which there is probably no way out except insanity.”

–FRANZ KAFKA


My office window

is a mute tease.

Bared for me to see,

glass bones and all.

 

Just on the other side

a few millimeters away

the wind blows

lilac bushes.

 

They smell lovely, probably.

The wind feels refreshing, I bet.

No need for all that life

in this office, though.

 

A few millimeters of glass

will be just enough

to let me know what is out there–

and remind me what is not.

‘Onwards & Outwards’ Now at Saskatoon’s McNally Robinson (!)

From the pragmatic, not-so-creative aspect of Life: Onwards & Outwards is making strides out into the world. Newborn fowl strides. But steps nonetheless.

And the cool people at McNally Robinson were kind enough to concede that Onwards & Outwards is indeed a book, and it can physically sit on a shelf. So if you are in Saskatoon and already not stopping at McNally Robinson, do it. Not even for my shit. You want to go there because they do good things for much better writers. And the food at the neighbouring Prairie Ink restaurant is tempting and just as pleasing (I suggest the grown-up grilled cheese; do not eat while reading).

…Then take your time to step through their bookshelf cove. The Saskatoon location even feels like you are on the film set of someone’s personal library. Endless good finds, and though there are not used bookstore prices, the selection is incomparable.

It also happens to include a little book about some kids doing some stuff called Onwards & Outwards.

It is already a little awkward to see your own name on a shelf—objectified and commodified, the titles blinking on the spines like a proto-Broadway sign as the eye scans down the row—it is even more awkward to be the person who has the carry the books there.

For one thing, books are heavy. The box is awkward to carry.

But there is also a vulnerability. It is different when you encounter a thing on a shelf in a store—it is there, outside yourself, magically ready and available for your consumption. Much like meat packaged in the store, you never have to think about the animal it came from (if you don’t want to).

But I won’t ask you to feel compassion for this cow. If that cow is me, then I guess that makes me a butchered carcass. This metaphor is getting out of hand. Suffice to say that Onwards & Outwards is at a cool place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

I have some other exciting projects too that I would love to write all about. Unfortunately, I have known way too many blowhards that talk a lot and don’t do shit. So don’t worry, I won’t bother you with things I have not yet done. You will know about them when (and if) they get done.

Onwards & Outwards Into the Physical World

It has been a long time coming.

After the utter failure of Onwards & Outwards as an e-book, I decided to strive with my head to the proverbial wall of rejection and put some resources into putting my words into print.

Dig it? Touch it.
Dig it? Touch it.

In all honesty, I did not even really want to read my novel as an e-book. Call me a Luddite, but I am still unconvinced by long fiction in digital format. Some of my favourite things about reading happen in the visceral aspects of our material world. I was cheating myself by taking the easy shortcut and presenting my words unto the Universe as lifeless kilobytes…instead of dead trees.

Feel free to buy this book to burn it.
Feel free to buy this book to burn it.

You can do a quick search & probably find Onwards & Outwards paperback at your favourite online retailer. If you are in Canada, and specifically western Canada, message me and I can hook you up.

I would love to spend the next few months travelling around, particularly in warmer climes, to do readings and peddle my book  and generally be the vagabond poet I was born to be. But alas. Much like this book, I too am of this material world.

Prices are rising. Get it quick, before your national currency collapses!
Prices are rising. Get it quick, before your national currency collapses!

At best, you can be in on the pyramidal ground floor of a cult classic. Or you can have some emergency 5×7 50 lb crème toilet paper. Either way, I think you will enjoy this.

Trust me. We’re friends damnit.

This is the best list I will ever be part of. *cherished*
This is the best list I will ever be part of. *cherished*