Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Drug Room

Inside the flower shop, I walk upstairs and turn to the door on my left that is already nudged open; I push gently and I’m greeted by the most beautiful white cat in the world with large angelic eyes. The beat apartment is dusty with a toxic air that tugs at my throat; Goodfellas is playing on a television that rests on rotting brown shelves; a lone pull-out coach is in front of the television, the only furniture in the room. The apartment is shaped like a box, the kitchen has crumbs all over the counters.

“You don’t mind do you -- if there’s weed here and there?” My host Craig has appeared from the lone back bedroom.

“Ah, no man, it’s okay.”

“Cool. Do you smoke?”

“No, not really.”

“What does that mean?”

“Well, I did once but my chest got all congested and I got a weird cough.”

“Yeah sometimes you cough up black shit.”

I hear him incorrectly. “Cough up blood!”

“No, black shit; blood only the odd time.”


“So what’s up Nagger?”

“Nothing I’m bored.”

“Me too, I’ve been on E.I. for a year now, busted up my shoulder, had a few surgeries on it so I can’t work.”

“That sucks, man. What do you do all day?”

“You’re looking at it”, as he motions to the sad couch and television. “I also get stoned. I’ve become a real pothead.”


“Yeah, like I do it every day, all day. People come my house all the time and all we do is get high: Dole, Brun, Brady”, he lists off the old road hockey crew from high school.

“Oh yeah, how are those guys doing?”

“Brun’s been to rehab twice now I think for coc.”


“Yeah, and Dole’s a dealer drug dealer now.”

“Dole, really?

“Yeah man, where do you think I get it? But he at least has a head on his shoulders; he’s going to go to school.”

“And Brady’s going to school too, right?”

“Yeah, Brady’s Brady. They all come over here and get high.”

“Every day?”

“Yeah man.”

“Do you like them coming over all the time”

“No. I like my quiet. That’s why sometimes I just tell them all to leave and they’re like, “What you’re kicking us out?” and I’m like “Yeah”.

“Hmm”. There was a pause in our conversation. “Where’s your girl?” I ask.
“At her sister’s.”

“Where’s that?”

“By the railway tracks; it’s not bad”

“What’s she doing?”

“She had like three eye operations, but she works during the day, I’m not allowed to because of the whole E.I. disability thing, and she’s not my girl anymore either, we ended it, but we’ve been together five years and we still sleep together and stuff.”

“So what’s the probability of your shoulder getting fixed and you being able to go back to work?”

“I don’t know man, but I don’t really wanna go back to work. See, I have a physio appointment for 7:45 this morning but I missed it, screw it. You see, my philosophy is that I want to move away, just get out of here. I want to be able to open my door”, he gestures exaggeratedly, “and see the beach, the ocean. I don’t want to put on my coat in the winter, what’s that?”
I didn’t know. “Where are you thinking of going?”
“Thailand. I just want to go there and start over. Everyone says I’m crazy but I just want to go with nothing at all and walk around and get a job and everything.”

“So why not go now?”

“I’m behind on rent. I owe like a thousand dollars which isn’t so bad and I’ve been with Kate for six years. Six years. It’s not like high school anymore where after a month you can just quit.”

The cat rubs against my leg.

“Oh shit, excuse my language, I forgot you’re allergic to cats.”

“It’s all right man.”
“No. Mischa, get away from him.” He brushes her gently away from my leg; he treats her with great affection. He also has a monster lizard in a clear case that he says he can’t afford to feed anymore. I laugh until I realize he is serious.

“It’s three bucks a week for that thing, man, but I took him because my friend gave me him for free and I’ve always wanted a lizard.”

“I need a smoke now. Just stay there, I’ll go to the other side of room.” He crosses the room and fiddles with the lighter. “Oh sorry, I hate to do this, could you pass me the ash tray?”
“Sure”, I hand him a black ash tray.

Immediately as he lights the cigarette there is a knock on his door and he opens it to find a friend looking for a quick roach smoke.

Craig briefly introduces us and feels we should know one another from high school, we don’t, and he barely notices me as I introduce myself. Craig walks over into the kitchen and pulls a point off a shelf, with a bag a weed right up on the herb shelf as if it were a seasoner. “Mind if we smoke a little?”

“No, go ahead.”

Craig’s friend has a deep toke, Craig tells him to blow away from me. I ask the friend a question as he is exhaling and his face moves inward and his face is stone and he blows out and his slits rest on me and he is now intrigued by me because we know some of the same people from high school. Turns out he’s a dishwasher for a restaurant I dig in town, Frankie’s. The door shoves open again and another person walks in, I recognize him from school, Trevor Cakes, and Craig makes sure that we know one another.

“Got a stick”, Cakes asks.
“I thought you don’t smoke”.

“I don’t” and Cakes inhales on a tobacco cigarette.

“See,” Craig says with a smile, “People just come in and leave whenever they want.” I couldn’t tell if he was in his element or not. He takes a bottle cap, puts some weed in it, and somehow makes a bong out of a plastic Nestle bottle and they take turns inhaling. Before the friend inhales Craig asks if he’s walking, and he answers yes. “This will make your walk better.”

As smoke began swirling around the tiny apartment my eyes began to water, my contacts were drying out and I was afraid to smell of drugs. I told Craig that I had to take off but that we should get together some time for hockey. “Cool man, see you soon.”

Friday, July 3, 2009

She Hangs Brightly

She was gone away and now she is gone here. Once thought the slight waif, the ethereal voice, had slipped into a warmer world, softer hues and shyer people, rising to butterfly mornings and absorbing silver afternoons... not genuinely otherworldly, you understand... but spirited away to a green meadow in among the blood orange trees: her imaginarium as penetrative lights revealed her to a black mass of frightening admirers... now... telling of a life floating, sometimes violently, Through the Devil Softly, singing perfume once the lights are dim enough... waiting to stand coldly, licking her dry lips drier and consciously emitting a tortured meeeeeeeeeeow to a new generation of rot.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Trois-Pistoles Blues

Frosty hands, enveloped in froth, an impenetrable cloud that draws adverse reactions upon each introduction, reaches instead for a dulling pencil and immerses into a pleasurable sadness:

Pedals for fingers in her hands, a sympathetic smile acknowledging time,
Hunching over a wooden cross then moving from grave to grave distributing,
Until the end of her life with flowers enveloping her body, it taking twenty years for her cheeks to pale,
Fading into the land together and reappearing as a flower underneath a rotting cross.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A censored stream of consciousness

The slothful beast rises late afternoon, ostentatious and obese; sizzling bacon topless, whistling between his teeth, an awful hissing noise that fills the house with douche. I stare emptily at a computer screen, begging my fingers to miraculously type out eight pages of literary criticism on Flaubert's Parrot. My ambition is limited to aging this evening, many evenings. Bad noise permeates drywall and my ears droop. Internally I am as complex as embryology, externally I am as simple as a goose flying north for the summer. Simile is seen as inferior to metaphor, but I ask you: are "as" and "like" really our enemies (or at least our lesser friends)? Is the phonetic of simile unforgivable? Nonsense. Simile is a horse! Forgive my attempt at recycled cleverness.

The computer screen remains white. Should I turn aside the literary criticism and open the latest product on my mental shelf: literary dreamism. No; not now. I cannot dream myself dying of plague under the supervision of Camus now. I imagine that black bubbles on my scalp, blown through the devil's wand, are a tad too distracting.

I peek at my circus calender: human salamanders blow fire upwards, either a nihilistic attempt to burn down the heavens and shower in the ashes of truth, or entertain the underbelly of humanity. A poetry reading is scheduled for Thursday. I have never thought Thursday particularly poetic. Patrick Friesen disagrees.

The cursor blinks at me repeatedly, like a confused child, awaiting an answer that refuses to reveal itself.

Monday, March 23, 2009

We're like the wild roses stoned in the backyard

For Sebastian, the classroom is the place for sensual longing, or maybe even lust if the lecture is particularly vapid. Time for his PRESENTATION:

Professor: Sebastian, expound on the spiritual context that the relationship between Rachel and Nick is found in, then connect that with the theory of literary dreamism.

Sebastian: Interesting you should ask that, because I found...

Professor: Can you answer the question Sebastian?

Sebastian: Interesting you should ask that, because I found...

The deflection strategy is working well. The question is the launching point.

Professor: Okay okay. Now how do Nick's relationships in the work impact his psyche and relate this to Freud's theory of pyschosexual development. Also relate this to the whole of the work in its ethical and religious context.

Sebastian: Quite frankly, Ibsen, is a homo. I mean, why bother pontificating his views on morality when those gnarly sideburns could have put him in constant revelry?

Professor: Sorry?

Oh shit, Sebastian thinks. Not again.

Sebastian: The Nordics produce pretty girls and bad literature. What was Myrdal's excuse? He was well positioned to pick up a rush of Swedes and become a sextextual in the classroom. Instead he became an out of words intellectual in the junk yard of shitty lit.

Professor: This has gone far enough Sebastian

Sebastian: Maudlin monsters [sardonic voice] Poem dedicated to Johanna:

Peeling back her mandarin hair,
revealing the pulp of her neck;
quietly smiling,
inviting the freckles to dance
on soft ashen skin

A long and tattered French pop skirt
resting beneath knees,
but a consolation of
naked toes curling under
her soles

Sentimentalism is the end of genuine emotion.

Professor: Leave the classroom Sebastian.

Sebastian: And that's not all. Back to Ibsen: that guy had the balls to hire out his own personal Ibsen scholar.

Professor: That's not true. Leave.

Sebastian: Fuck that.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I've seen the future, brother: it is murder

Segment One

The shades come down and the room begins to darken for the final time. The light fades from a man's prematurely aged face, firm and frowning. The man locks the door and moves slowly along the terrace, thinking of his wife; the woman is lying prostrate in the corner of an aging apartment, eating cheese and slapping herself with a tasbih. "Ferdowsi Ferdowsi, it's my fault my fault my fault." Ferdowsi wishes that he could console her; he wishes that he did not loath her. He turns away from his thoughts, away from the ninety-nine bruising beads, away from the great bruise in her stomach; Ferdowsi wishes not to remember.

Ferdowsi chooses to walk the long way to the apartment, through the tattered neighbourhood south of the subway line. Along the way he sees a blue girl with ashen skin and pink ballet shoes strung around her shoulders slouching along a set of stairs. Ferdowsi vaguely understands the melodramatic nature of young girls but he speculates upon her sadness anyhow; is it that she cannot elegantly perform a chassée in front on her more advanced peers? Ferdowsi's thoughts quickly return to him memories of which he wishes not to remember. He is now thankful that the girl will only remain in his vision for a short while longer.

"Please, sir."

Ferdowsi is startled. He stops and turns towards the girl and meets her puffy, bloodshot eyes.

"Please, it will be dark soon."

Ferdowsi looks away; a tear escapes from his eye and it moves slowly along his cheek, over the crevasse of his upper lip, and into his mouth. The salty taste reminds him of his boyhood days along the Caspian Sea. After his parents had been killed in the revolution, Ferdowsi clung to the coast where a local fishery fed him their daily waste and expired bottles of doogh. He often slept on the shore, buried in the sand to keep away from the cold breeze that came in off the sea at night. As Ferdowsi grew stronger the fishery hired him as a hand and Ferdowsi learned the art of fishing aboard the MarjAneh. Ferdowsi's work ethic impressed the captain, and Ferdowsi's humble and quiet nature impressed the captain's wife, Farah.

Farah dreamed of a more fulfilling existence than that a of fisherman's wife and, before Ferdowsi joined her husband's crew, she would often stare out the window praying that her husband's boat would not appear on the horizon at twilight. Ferdowsi himself found life at sea a lonely existence and he resented his haggard shipmates who enjoyed low brow humour and only saw the rials when the sturgeon were brought up from the sea. Ferdowsi and Farah's common misery brought them together at the light house at night. Ferdowsi said that it was their love that blasted a light across the sea, and Farah would smile longingly.

Ferdowsi's nose for nostalgia has lead him away from the present and has caused him to momentarily forget about the little girl slouching before him. Ferdowsi moves his thumb along the right side of his face, wiping away the evidence of his reflection and softly asks, "What can I do?"

"Some food?" The girl's puffy pink eyes match the hue of her ballet shoes. Ferdowsi always has been a keen observer; it was this qualification that got him employed at the lighthouse at night when he could no longer bear to sleep in the captain's spare room, away from Farah.

"Is no one coming for you?"


End of segment one.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blood Oranges

"Twenty-two may not be the start of maturity but, in all conscience, it's the end of youth."

The only thing that could of saved his brief legacy: assassination. But the blood would of stained the First Lady's gown and it was nonrefundable from designer Isabel Toledo. The blood stain would not fit the chief's motif anyway, because a blood stain is tangible and impure; his soaring rhetoric is perfect because the people cannot criticize Lockean political philosophy and the meaning of post-Puritan freedom. These were indoctrinated in them upon their exiting of the womb with a recitation from the sixth edition of Liberty or Death followed by a slap on the ass. Even more, his cold face would be splashed across the cover of tabloid magazines like Time, and a public mourning for their fallen Napoleon would always be compared to that of his predecessor, Jackie's husband Jack.

Assassination saved Jack's legacy. The hero's moral death, birthing the Vietnam War, is now never spoken of. Perhaps this is because one cannot blame him for producing a murderous child. He could not raise her, lest the child could raise her father from the dead. His shiny legacy is lauded across lands everywhere because planting a seed to destruction is all right so long as one does not water it.

The current chief is not so fortunate. The seeds are being watered. How are you doing old chap, my fellow, dear old corporation! Why certainly, full immunity for all telecommunication corporations for eavesdropping on Sylvia asking Mary the proper technique of knitting. Why hi there Israel! Yes certainly, continue new wave apartheid in Palestine! Of course, destroy Alena's school (she was always a slow learner anyway). Do you need some matches to burn the bodies? No no, I still go by Uncle Tom, not Uncle Jeremiah. Please continue the hegemonic wars, we will just withdraw some combat troops, all the other non combat troops and corporate troops can stay.

Domestically, well, admittedly, I can do very little constitutionally but my vagueness will prevail; inadequate environmental policies wrapped up in gold are the wave the future; a stimulus to an unregulated economy is practical; an increase to the military budget is necessary because we must fight rising temperatures by building a giant ice gun; and I will proudly carry the torch of hyperliberalist tradition to free us from our responsibility to the people! Because we can.

Speech speech! The people cry to me. I am not a man of the people. I look away. I am not a poet-in-chief. I can only speak the truth: my youth is gone but my maturity is in question.