Tag Archives: literary

I Thought I Told You Twice: Bike Thiefs’ “Lean Into It”

If you’ve been seeking a band that supports dogs with anxiety and demurs at the consumerist principle of destination weddings, you probably need to meet Bike Thiefs.

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Fundamentally, I insist that you need to have your bike stolen to really understand life–fortunately, this three piece out of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada isn’t so dire. Conversational, yes. Sardonic, sure. Sincere, probably.

“Just last week my sister went out and bought a new Dyson.

About goddamn time I felt some excitement…”

Their latest album Lean Into It, shows the band growing into some new sonic textures. Punk is a vast ethos that is limited to the safety pin aesthetic for most people. Bike Thiefs already proved with their last records, These Things Happen All The Time and Bloated, that you didn’t need three chords or a mohawk for punk to work. With this record, their sound is crisper–less screaming and more jeering. But still, as my tattoo artist told me, close enough for punk rock.

Which is good. From the punchy ‘Destination Wedding’–complete with the music video’s most honest portrayal of a Monopoly game–to the twang-ish swing of ‘Melatonin’, there’s a lot in the record’s seventeen minutes.

“You know me so well.

How low is your bottom?

And I tried all my best

to be transparent, militant, eye contact, intimate…”

They claim their new approach is conversational, but I find it almost literary. When I Google ‘literary music’ though, there are more references to existing literature & poetry appearing in music. Which I find strange, because that’s just gilding the lily. That’s not being literary–that’s just using literature.

Bob Dylan obviously won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Tokyo Police Club is a modern contender for me. Other than that, the bands I’ve been listening to most these days work with sound best…their vocals act as just another instrument. I guess I’m making myself out to have an unreliable opinion in the matter (and I certainly do, as with most things) (My wife informs me that my penis ensures I can hold unqualified opinions; I don’t understand why she rolls her eyes when she says it).

Thankfully, the music speaks for itself. My favourite song, ‘Cosmetic Damages’, is a poignant story of a minor fender bender with an asshole:

“Can’t you see I’ve got places to be?

I’ve got goals, man…

My Hyundai Sonata, my high blood pressure,

my left turn…

Now and I see

that your wife

is shaken and crying.

It’s my god-given right

to stay here and fight

and I fight good.

 

I’ve had nothing to drink.”

I don’t want to spend more  time explaining why you should listen than it would take you to listen. It’s been like…two to five minutes. You could be up to a third done by now.

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The End of the Era of Blakean Patience

Just for the flair of it

we abandon the fairest before they plummet—

 

Before the end is done

it’s better to look like the clever one who seen it come—

 

Showered in shards of glass kicked up from your sandbox,

Running from the rain with hot slag in our socks—

 

Soon unblocked, like hips opening up in a squat—

Soon unlocked, like a juiced kumquat—

 

For now, stuck in your garden variety pot,

an heirloom fruit of the tomb fettered in thought knots—

 

A feral hairless ape who has finally heard enough,

who resides in the time to buy lace only to tear it up—

 

It’s the end of an era

and any end summons terror—

 

But there’s a secret sharer between the burning sensations

intercepting fate’s fishnets while we stroke our impatience—

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?

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

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*

Na, No NaNoWriMo Fo Me

Today I briefly considered joining my provincial writer’s guild. I thought being part of a guild will help validate my writing. Like being part of the club will mean I was in. I could make witty lit small talk at book releases and at the guild’s annual conference. Maybe I could run into Ibi Kaslik again and we would have one too many G&Ts and hop into a cab and let an ellipsis say the rest…

I visited the guild’s page, to remind myself why I have refused to join in the past, and I saw their notice about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which is November—or, if you are a writer, every fucking month.

The guild is advertising events in and around the provincial capital, far from my city in the middle of the prairie. But it looks exciting: parties, write-ins, presentations from authors. It is an encouraging event…as the guild’s website proclaims, NaNoWriMo is, “for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.”

Fleetingly. That is a funny word, especially in reference to novels.

I never want to read a novel by someone who had a fleeting idea about it. That is the problem with pulp novels, isn’t it? I could never articulate it before, but the word ‘fleeting’ is poignant—what I find most irritating about ‘cookie cutter’ authors like Danielle Steele and E.L. James is that their work is flippant. Like they were making tea—or *cough-cough* reading a popular teen trilogy—and thought, fleetingly, ‘Hey, I could write a book.’

Sure, why not.

Anybody can write a novel, just like anybody can be prime minister or anybody can be a reality TV star. So go ahead and join NaNoWriMo, and write your 50,000 words, and leave them unedited to collect digital dust on your hard drive. Why not? Because maybe your whim to write is fleeting. That is fine. But let those who are haunted be read. Haunting words are anything but fleeting. And they are not exclusive to November.

Heartbreak in the Rockies

Back in the bar where I first bumped into her there is no sign of life, it’s like an abandoned building overtaken by overexcited drunks who try to sing their own songs over the lone guitar man playing a bastard cover of Your Time Is Gonna Come. Well maybe his time, but not mine.

– from ‘Sorry (Sayonara)’

It’s always exciting to be published. I’m not proud of it, but the recognition, even if it is by a single person, gets my dopamine flowing. I am sure it is the same feeling the first poet had, when (s)he uttered the first verse and a fellow tribe member raised their head to hear.

Typehouse Literary Magazine is a new publication out of Portland that’s based around The People’s Ink writer’s community. They just published their inaugural issue, and I got to be a part of it with my short story, “Sorry (Sayonara)”. Read it, and other jive works, here.