Tag Archives: literature

When They Said Kill Your Darlings…

When they said

kill your darlings

they didn’t explain

how they would only ask about the rabbits

 

so I said

ok, maybe

we can just stay here

for a while

 

so I stretched

& scratched my head

& bled

& waited

 

waited until they said

“look what you made us do

we sat just around

all afternoon”

 

didn’t understand

what else they were supposed to do

couldn’t soak in

those few moments

 

before I’m through

& through

& through

& the rabbits burrow away for the winter

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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?

In an Age of Ice, An Auger is a God

Just trying to break the ice.

That’s the problem with taking too much time, whether it’s away or closer or wherever else we go when we are not present.

I’ve been away. Need to get back into it. But the blank page is a haunted house–the blinking word processor’s line is a reminder that bringing form into formlessness isn’t that hard…it’s only tricky if you want something more than a line.

The line never says enough. That’s where we pick up from.

And that’s where I need to pick up from. That last line, so long ago.

Don’t get me wrong. Been writing as much as ever. Just much more focused, less distracted by this social posturing.

But here I am. Getting back into it all–for posterity, for popularity, for the possibilities we are promised by extroverted polemics.

As simple as taking a solid stem auger to lake ice. Hold steady and let the drill’s teeth do the work.

At least until I break the ice.

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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’ 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*

Sir John A Macdonald Turns Two Hundred (a poem)

SIR JOHN A TURNS TWO HUNDRED

I have fond memories of Sir John A Macdonald,

(Canada’s first prime minister

who would have turned 200 today

had he been a vampire).

.

I have fond memories of John Mac—

not the man, of course,

the Hamilton high school.

.

For years my sister danced in competitions there.

(She danced competitively lots of places,

it was a great way for me to travel,

but something I could never appreciate at the time,

helping my mother lug bags of costumes and shoes).

.

She danced in Hamilton annually

at Sir John A High.

I never saw the place with students, only

with sequinned tots and pre-teens

with long fake eyelashes and too much blush

and taut hair and ticking tap shoes.

.

If I tell people now about

how many dance competitions I attended

they say something like,

‘Oh, lucky you, all those girls

and you that handsome boy’.

I was never handsome and rarely was I lucky.

This was no exception.

.

The girls were dolled up so much that they were fake,

or they were mean and called Brodie and me

things like Dork and Dorker,

or Ugly and Uglier,

and I was always the more pejorative one.

.

Brodie’s sister also danced.

We were bored lots together.

One time in New Jersey we spent days running around

whatever bumblefuck suburb we were in.

(We rode with the girls on the bus down there from Toronto,

tormented the whole time,

with the dance teachers smirking on,

thinking we were having fun being made fun of).

.

Those first few times in South Carolina

we made prank phone calls and found every nook in that theatre

and Brodie’s dad decided to take us away for a day,

and we went deep sea fishing,

and I got so sick I spent the whole time trembling in a blanket

beside a garbage can below deck

(I have never been deep sea fishing again).

.

I remember Sir John A High as a sprawling school,

a huge theatre that made it perfect for dance competitions,

and so many levels that it had an escalator.

.

Every year for one weekend the place was crawling

with these little dancers.

If I had been old enough to get high I

would have been so tripped out.

Feathers and flashy fabrics,

Spandex and sparkling glitter.

.

Brodie and I had seen enough dance routines to know how they go.

We had lots of time to wander.

We probably knew these venues better than the architects who built them.

.

At Sir John A we found stairwells and unlocked doorways,

A way onto the roof,

And the maze of its hallways.

.

The first time we found the way out

of the public area we climbed up

the motionless escalator

and scoured the shadowy hallways.

We were still young enough to think

school was a venerated institution,

so being in an unsupervised school

was a thrill we could not fathom.

.

In this one long hallway we found an open locker.

Then another open locker.

All the lockers were unlocked.

They were full of stuff.

Books, papers, binders,

shit left behind by students in a hurry

to get the fuck out for summer vacation.

.

Naturally, we started going through

the strange and exciting finds.

Then we left behind intrigue

and welcomed chaos.

.

We tossed out all the shit from the lockers,

emptied them all out and left the mess

in the darkened hallway.

.

Then we thought we heard someone coming.

We ran the hell out of there.

That was how we found the way onto the roof.

.

When we thought the coast was clear we

tiptoed back through that disastrous hallway.

.

That was Canada, there:

Treasures left orderly in good faith,

scattered by disenfranchised

and bored explorers in a new territory,

lining the empty hallway,

becoming a tousled tiling

that made sense in its own way.

.

That was how I knew Sir John A.

Happy birthday.

(And sorry about the mess we have made).