Man I'm tired

Whew. Four weeks. Ok I'm gonna take a break from FIAC for a wee bit. But it's been a blast so far. See you soon!

Snappy advice from the insufferable pundit

some analysis from our local hockey jackass:

1. Maybe not this season, but next season Tomas 'Suicide Pass' Kaberle should be playing left wing, not defence. His ineffective man-to-man play and atrocious own-zone passing choices have directly led to about 15 goals on Toronto in the last 2 months; he's cost the Leafs 3-4 games all by himself. Yet by some miracle he happens to be +16--go figure.
2. 'Mississauga Matt' Stajan must never, ever be benched in favour of goons like Wade 'Chopper' Belak (suspended for the duration of the season, thankfully), Chad 'Who?' Kilger or the entirely spurious Drake 'Spare Part' Berehowsky. Especially on a team that is second oldest in the league (younger only than the ageless Detroit Dinos)--Stajan's 20-year-old legs are more important than ever right now, as even horses like Mats 'FrankenMats' Sundin and Gary 'Judge Dredd' Roberts appear flagging this late in the fray. Plus, The Kid knows how to find the back of the net--his shooting percentage is among the tops in the league. Stick him on the power play I say; park him in the slot as he's tough to knock down.
3. Bryan 'Mad Dog' Marchment--get this freak show riding the pine instead. Marchment aka The HatchetMaster, is still playing in some 1970s Time Warp: he's singlehandedly responsible for 60 per cent of the Leafs' dumb penalties. A playoff nightmare, as the Leafs are already the third most booked team in the NHL. I'll take a softer defencemen, one with actual ability (even Karl 'Counter-intuitive Pronunciation' Pilar), over one more shift of 'Marchmania'. As soon as Ken 'Klu Klux' Klee comes back then Marchment has absolutely no cause to be playing, esp with Brian 'Man, those Rangers are Stupid' Leetch and Calle 'Proven Commodity' Johansson on board.
4. Tie 'Penalty Minutes in the Sky' Domi: asking 'Domzilla' to contribute on a power play is a bit like asking an elephant to snap its fingers, so get him outta there ASAP with the extra man. Come to think of it, coach Pat 'Looks like My Dad' Quinn also seems stuck in the '70s; no way should Domi be getting more than 8 minutes' icetime a night.
5. When Michael 'Feisty Swede' Renberg comes back, please don't let him anywhere near Alex 'Smooth Papa' Mogilny and Sundin. Either 4th line, or bench him in favour of Stajan and Todd 'Excels at Icing the Puck' Fitzgerald: the former is better than Renberg offensively, and the latter more consistent defensively. And definitely another one to keep away from the power-play--seems MR has forgotten he's actually allowed to shoot pucks at the opposing goalie, instead of just cycling it along the boards. But he'll be injured again within 3 games anyway, so it doesn't matter, really.
6. Darcy 'Redneck' Tucker--limit his ice-time in the playoffs to 3rd/4th line duties and the odd power play. He's not quite Marchment with the stupid penalties, but he's pretty dumb most of the time--another postseason powderkeg.
7. Aki 'Cool Ice' Berg. I love this guy--he's big and tough and, unlike Kaberle, this non-Flashy Finn almost never screws up in his own zone. Don't bench him.
8. Mats 'Super Mats' Sundin: no complaints with Captain M, except one observation: whenever he's out for a faceoff in the late minutes of close games, Sundin always seems to get thrown out of the circle by the ref--MS should always be backed up with one of Joe 'Goose Neck' Nieuwendyk or 'Uncle' Ron Francis in these situations. (As an aside, with Sundin, Nieuwendyk and Francis the Leafs have probably the best faceoff trio in the history of the NHL.)
9. Poniko-Antro-Nieuwendyk (PAN): these guys are PAN-tastic--just let them to do their thing. The Skyline is 'sky high' right now.
10. Owen 'Impressive Stubble' Nolan: having a tremendous season although his stats don't show it. Increase his ice time; stick him on a line with Roberts once in a while to scare the crap out of the opposing defence pair.
11. Brian 'Muscular Neck' Leetch: hands down the most talented all-around Leaf (only Mogilny comes close, but Alex plays the game with too much insolence)--minimum 30 minutes a night in the playoffs for the Puck-Trucking Leetch (and knock Kaberle down to 15-20).
12. Eddie 'Mad Max' Belfour: pray for the health of his back, that The Eagle might soar.
13. Coach Pat 'Quinn The Eskimo'--is looking more handsome than ever. I like his new glasses.

Nonsense redux

I snap Jasper twigs amid a florid tentacular grunch, but like the zappity Hartford brunch, I billow speciously into fisticuffed granulations; I tether the frutonia like sworling hogg yashews in brigadoon ballrooms.

The mooncock pheasants bray widely and fecundistically while a groony faffle of quoral narwock vagillionaires court calamity in yew pine meadows. “Tra la la,” saws the Woad Granger as consequence tribbles igloo-like underneath goondoggled parth bunions. “Fazootska my haberdashery!” I cry to the fop; I wizzle toward the coughing narcot.
But ’twas all darwood and mammaries, ’twas blue-blood rothmunching gunderskunk.

Welted in lackadaisical fraggery, the dasil beech yadeblow pops into my mind--quite mephistophysically I might add--and Father Tune zounds me a bright plinkered package, a Kazakh dreedle slashered with neo-preen fetishistic varicosity. I fold open, and drawjopped, I manulate three sammy clucks and a dark widgical loofula:

“Woe, vloosh, and salmon trestles,” I emittify, for it is a fortunary blooshing. “Anon, I was tuckered and yet here now fronds the underclutch!” My my, the ironious turn of gluck--ha, like I always said, life is full of ridiculistic zapretskys!


pain't by numbers

addicted to the figuring
eaten by arithmetic
this is your brain, and
we are getting sick of it
always twisting on a calculator to
quantify the strain
hitched to the rhythm
of a binary train

from here on in I sing
wear velvet, leather gloves
hair slicked so well
but I’m always out of love, like
Elvis was king a spell, a
diplomatic dove
until he started messing
with that evil jezebel

your heart is bigger
than a gigantic fuzzy banana
your legs are stronger
than the cement sidewalk in front of
Keith’s Fine Foods
that’s why I fall to pieces
when you jump up and down


Excursion, with footnotes

Sunday I went to Mimico with a flamenco-dance flamingo called Maraca Natty Senko: lives in Camp Tawingo, plays acoustic classical and gnaws a purple mango.
(we drove past Lakeshore, that’s where it ended; at Royal York it’s north, and you never see the lake again.)

At Yonge and Lawrence there’s a busy coffee shop devoid of personality; that’s where it all happens. I can see through the citizens fleeing to their afternoon respites and it is easy to write write write when white blankness (blank whiteness?) is all around--spherical silence like stereo surround.

But I’m like an instant teller; I can tell instantly that you need a hug. You you you clutch that latté like a security blanket; you hanker for good tube time to set you free, to light the farthest fence post guiding on the walk back home, frothing like espresso machine mad dogs and flimsy polystyrene cutouts on the Dufferin St. telescope strip. Hey hey the walls of Jericho fell the other day, so rake up stray bricks into recycling piles, to further your ambition of neighbourhood regeneration. We’re starting up a re-evolution, the kind of progress clearly necessary; we will drink away our yesterdays in the Purple Jesus tub, we will ask each other longingly for warm back rubs.

In the boardroom sits the beleaguered accountant, swearing into his palm pilot, head in palm, wondering what became of his friends, the physiatrist, the blinking slick-backed football player who might have made a boffo dentist. It’s odious coagulation of pent-up past competing with inert adolescent regrets, so I pop my minty clorets, breathing freshness into this chlorine bleached parchment, inspiring chlorophyllic respiration and NO-2 fits of jest. “Have you seen my raccoon face? The trick is in the wrists; curl your fingers into binoculars; go giggling in the mist.”

O dear, you never made it to my sofa--that’s where I give my massive heart attack massages; I can pencil you in for February, though it’s shorter than them all.

I entered Yorkdale from the sidewalk circus revolving door, beheld Babylon in her glory, and the giant indigo chain that will never sell my books--but I enjoy sniffing the candles so I walk in and have a look. On the display table there is Heather’s Pick and Oprah’s Picks and I wonder—am I the only man who reads? A glut of prissiness, ‘In Style' nazinas ruling our marketplace for thought. What of tractors, testicles and skanky bi-otches? Now that’s some manly literature. Baby get undressed--I’ll read the sexy journals, I’ll write like Hunter S.

But now and again you wreck me. You really do.

ps don’t yell at me xoxo u no hoo

Wednesdays at the Mod

Shazbat shazoom, we enter the room, the last pit stop on the path toward doom; heaven sends visions to coerce the crowd, the saxophones sounding for the weak and the proud; it’s another Wednesday in your charcoal city, I’m combing alleyways for pity’s sake; fantasy, ecstasy, some ice cream cake, anything. Tonight’s make or break: we take a piece of ass action, lap dance dissatisfaction; we can wiggle on after to Mississippi Jackson’s. But nothing makes sense.

“Forget me not,” whispers one-eyed Betty, until I tell her I’m related to Ed Lorenzetti—shrieks, “you Mafia goons ain’t welcome here; keep that drink and finish your beer”—cackles curses, I’m blue in the face, the Sad Sack Sisters just smack me with the mace. Cellephones clanging in the midst of a skull, come out Alexander, to the conqueror’s ball: back up to wall, rohypnoled bottles, but we don’t fall, pressure’s intense against balcony rails; ha ha Betty, it’s Murphy’s law: the chick in red, tall heels, getting hit up for feels in strapless sequin dresses, pink Medusa tresses, I’m guessing she’s a call girl, y’all.

Bass is pumping, girls and boys in back stalls humping--little does she know he’s got the clap; little does she care; it’s laser lights, it’s dry ice in bleary-eyed dazes, it’s all about scraps, the visceral commotion in the sex club trap.

form over. (just) content

The trouble with you lefties is
you’re just so goddamn

You just don’t fit in with our needs at this time.

Pander pander--just pander.

You can’t just depend on creativity all the time—it needs to be diluted. You know, rationale, a structure.

You know, dependability?

Mediocrity is just a necessary evil, but

just give people what they expect, and everyone has a nice weekend. That said, I’ll see you Monday morning, bright and early.

Fuck that

Here’s the best advice
I can offer:

you come across someone with

chase after them
as fast as you can

—someday they may
save your
with a miracle


Loveless Rita

(for those who know what it's like)


Loveless Rita

Loveless Rita, metre maid
power trips in single file
perches, swoops as time expires
pitiless tagging parking cars

Arrive at dash, five minutes late, the
coldblooded bitch doesn’t hesitate
what can you do, it’s all she wrote
all she left is a yellow note

Her methodical cop car, outta the blue
I rush inside to tell you, then
it’s acrobatic adrenaline haste to
outrace relentless Rita’s pace

Mocked, loathed, scorned, feared
sows resentment with her pen
the eight by ten notice clearly warns of
Rita’s wrath in rush hour

But we despise you Rita; you’re who we blame
(bottom of police food chain)
our every meeting is the same—it’s
20 more smackers, down the drain.

my heart on a napkin...

‘So,’ she asks, ‘what were YOU like when you were twenty-two?’

I stare into the corner; then it comes to me--I ask for a pen.

I spend the next 10 minutes scribbling on her napkin.

‘What the heck you doing?’

‘If I die tomorrow,’ I look up, deadpan, ‘make sure they play this at my funeral.’

‘What is it?’ She seems nervous.

I hand her the napkin, look her full in the lips:

‘It’s the answer to your question.’

MuSE (118 min)

Side A

She’s a Rainbow...................Rolling Stones
36-24-36.......................... ....Violent Femmes
Slipped Disc..........................Benny Goodman
Funny Face...........................Martina Sorbara
In a Little While....................U2
You the One.........................54-40
I’m So Free...........................Lou Reed
Beauty Mark.........................Rufus Wainwright
Here Comes the Sun............Beatles
Beach Music..........................The Watchmen
Long Time Running...............The Tragically Hip
Anybody Else but Me............The Odds
Even When You Fall..............The Skydiggers
Half a World Away.................R.E.M.
Walk Away............................Ben Harper

Side B

I Held Her in my Arms............Violent Femmes
Pump it up.............................Elvis Costello
Find the River........................R.E.M.
Don’t Get Your Back Up.........Sarah Harmer
Catch....................................The Cure
Hollywood Cemetery.............Cracker
Jealousy................................Natalie Merchant
Paper Bag.............................Fiona Apple
No One Else..........................Weezer
Pay Your Way.......................Pure
You’re So Great....................Blur
Under Pressure....................Queen + David Bowie
I’ll Fly Away..........................Allison Krauss

ps I’ll be 26 in July.

(There was no second date.)


Dramatic hangover

I walked into yesterday, snapped my fingers, but nothing lingered except the sweet trace of goldschlager on my collar, the spilled ale--so carefree in the midnight acts of id. And today is a vomiting heat lamp, white hot with regret and incomprehension. Oh I was taller than a Nietzsche hero for a few hours; I was tougher than Joe Louis. But nothing sucker-punches like the morning after, and I woke in thick vicious dullness, swallowing my tongue; consequence pounding my brainstem like a sadistic Irish-Catholic prison warden rapping at the door. The daylight laughs at you, shrieks in your ears, meting out its punishment. Nothing stings so much as dawn, nothing gets the glare out of your eye. Oh I’ve been knocked down and dragged out and through my own ass hole--what’s there is my liver, inside a urine-soaked bottle of whiskey--burning, burning.

[si, un po’ drammatico, no?]

Giancarlo's woman--an analysis:

Devious doors open and shut during a five hour date; she taps at the cracks in the glass and considers the fastest way to get inside. Into the heart, through the stomach, by way of the crotch, perhaps through the pocketbook. Or maybe I just want a trophy to show off to the ginos on Weston Rd. Every time we’re together there’s this untouchable tension, hidden by mutual consent beneath the surface. She writes volumes of her insides on a sheet of paper, but in person there is a greyness about her. A matter of time before she cracks from the frustration. Ok maybe I think too highly of myself; maybe it’s not me who’s her problem—it’s she who colours the issue. She wants someone to worship, I can see it. She’s got this unconditional look about her that is completely blind to offence; she utterly lacks an ego, which makes her kind of attractive.

Man I'm such a hypocrite.

Simple Simon met a Pi man

Simple Simon met a Pi man counting on his hands, Simon said unto this madman, “Hey, there are crinkles on your face!” But the Pi man whispered to his digits—“get me to another place.” Simple Simon started whining, “Hey, I love pie as much as the next guy, but’--but the math man interrupts: “I am the Pi man, I am a wise man—but pi means please shut up!” Two million digits had Pi man tracked in his never ending quest, so Simon relents and quietly tries to sing his level best: “I am a simpleton, I have a wife and fam, we take long walks on Sunday, and yesterday I waxed my chest.” The Pi man lost his count and shrieked, “Who cares about your wife? Who cares about her Sunday cooking? I spit upon your life!” Simon frowns down to the ground—he never heard such poison words; Pi man was to blame. But Pi man drew a perfect circle, shoved the page in Simon’s face; Sim was shocked, he soiled his frock--he wiped Pi’s ass up with his fists.


Cover letter #99

Finding a decent job is tough.

Cover letter #99

Dear sire:

You can kiss my ass

I wouldn’t bother asking you to hire


But I feel like putting myself through the

wringer today

And the rent is due tomorrow

If I call you boss, you can call on me

I guarantee:

No one smokes pipe quite like me;

So please, roll down those pants,

Stick that hand up my dress

--and I’ll wipe you up after

with my

perfumed résumé.
Don’t lose it all, make backup copies. What if coffee spills on your keyboard, and the circuit board short circuits and you lose everything you ever created? A reminder of the fragility of the enterprise. But I keep myself teetering on the brink of accidental erasure.

Dream it up people. I have good news.

Hey hey, I can cry.

She’s a woman who needs to be with someone; Lena, a tall Swiss vision with a smile to kill over. She worships the man in her life, but is afraid she’ll be abandoned. So she checks under his bed for photos of other women, which makes no sense because who would put such photos there?

Andy Warhol and his factory? I show it to friends, they think it is weird.

A boy finds a yo-yo in the kitchen. Fascinated, he picks it up, dips it in the pot of tomato sauce cooling on the counter. Yo-yos and tomatoes don’t mix, he concludes after the first lick. Then he sees the string, the loop to put his finger through. He swings in a circular arc around his shoulder, a perfect three-foot radius. The sauce comes crashing down, clattering porcelain shards. Tonight there’ll be hell to pay.


Freedom is a cupcake

(the one that started it all; the one that keeps it going)


Freedom is a cupcake

Freedom is a cupcake, liberty a bagel, I don’t put up with adults except if they are able. I loathe butter, cringe at bitter herbs, televised blurbs and curds and whey, apple betty and John Getty, obscure reference, like to the screenwriter of Deliverance.

Myopic and despotic, let’s get off this topic, as I waddle hobbled into middle age, subscribe to PermaLase, remove unwanted hair and shake my head free of dandruff. Sniffing at my armpits, popping adolescent zits, I want big fat tips and sticky tack and painted red toenails. Oh there we go, I don’t slow, I don’t show, you don’t own me you know. I say hey you and hi and oh and we can go now. I rake leaves a little while, ‘til it goes out of style; I fight roosters in the barnyard, cocking fists, baring wrists to force the fowl down onto a plateful of noodles: cock-a-doodle-don’t! I won’t, I can’t, I mean I shouldn’t at least, rest in peace, poor beast, man’s feathered friend—please, Elise, go, leave this place and fetch the priest.

Let’s talk shop, about five-beat hip-hop, the dropping of rocks off bridges, and how you slept through college; I’ll blackmail you to mom--admit it son, you set off that bomb. We listen in on CBC, metro morning, Andy B, a clear voice, stern warning, never hoarse, inspiring us to make that choice. I relax, naked, in the tub, aching for a back rub; you shrug, I’m thinking you’re unblinking (it goes without saying that recourse to praying is time we are wasting).

Mop the tiles, shovel the drive, thrive when you have life, a pregnant wife, blessed lack of marital strife. “I never needed anybody” I heard Julian croon; in mid June you clung to me like men on the moon, never knowing my dark side, the far side, the comical aspects shrouded with whisper, going crackers, cashing in his chips—‘crispy lips’ is what they quip. Don’t flip out, I’ve figured it out: you go out, buy socks that match your shoes; remain thin and rake it in while I stay in and sing the blues.

My brother talks conspiracies, irrelevance and theory. I nod, smile; it takes just a while to humour madmen, but it takes all day to greet the postman. Finally arrives, packages cash on delivery, he’s like Garibaldi in Sicily, red shirts and blue movies, chasing skirts, chewing certs to make his breath smell fresh. I realize when I claim my prize: he was wise to my recent trial, my love of boysenberry pies on the Royal Mile, my casual heil, the unicycle fair with rodeo stares and white hot flares, where I tossed half a dozen midgets into a well, wishing for heaven but deserving hell.

When I was in Florence by the Duomo, and Ethiopia where they found Homo sapiens in the lava, like Java man in Indonesia, under my boots were the roots of humanity, archaeological ambrosia. And Formosa is Taiwan, remember, Myanmar is Burma: we change names after a while, giddily hiding our guile; this nomenclature restyling really riles the cartographers, and kids who spend a lifetime learning maps, converting kilometres to miles, knowing Sweden versus Switzerland (home of the Von Trapps).

Typing by the Thames, in London dairy air, licking the milk shake too thick to suck, I gawked at the overtime puck drop, quick and pathetic like a mercy fuck, a dead buck tied up on a pickup truck, knowing big-breasted blondes have most of the luck.

I don’t stay long, meander home, getting to bed before the light goes dead, asking God to bless my friends: Fred and Ted Jennings, Ernie Laurel--the three Irish lemmings I call them. Sunset ends it all every night, so why put up a fight? I sigh, put on my pjs, sewing a knee patch needing mending--I am Zorro with a thimble--ending one more day of thought upon the pale blue dot.


Garish in the morning rush hour, the daisy buds in the amazing clay pot of destiny. The warmth of the breeze, the huckleberry bosom of my beauty by the bay, the ruby pearl smile of my lover, the honey I slather over Sunday morning waffles, the peck of the baby chick cozy in my palm: these are good things and I will protect them, save them from your tyranny.

A twinkle of a far off star, which had so much hope to see us miles and miles from the quasar, to see us as we really are: riddles rhyming un-metric time, the 60 beats per minute of your hopeful heart, the hop and skipping limits; the undulating omniscience of the great blue whale, telling tales at such frequencies that humans can’t perceive; the winter birds returning to give hope to a frozen people, who see the worst is over--the cycle, the wheel of fortuna finally reversing her favour, the profit realizing on those hard years of thankless labour; the reward of a job well done, the Xmas wrapping—will it hold, or does it come undone?

Geriatric Hades and Persephone, beneath the surface of this planet, bickering thickly over a pomegranate; the rhetorical flourish of a Roman orator, atop the rostrum eating ear niblets bought from a Thracian vendor of animal parts; the crowd parts at beck and call, they are marvelling at the totality of his knowledge, the transparent displays of intelligence; don’t they gasp and sway at his furrowed brow, curled in dismay, exhorting them to tax delay, to withhold from the Senate their hard earned crops, the tears and sweat mopped from Etruscan foreheads?

Elvis Presley charisma and the twang of a banjo gets your pelvis dripping with readiness to kiss the man and go go go down to the record shop to snag his latest disc, product of his voice and the machinations slick, of a record company exec who’s got a wife and kids to feed so why not, what the heck--ride that Alabama boy good and hard, cash another paycheque. Why not indeed--turn your best friend in to police if he is a communist; if you’re not with us you’re with them, or least, you’re with someone else. But no, you protect the good inside your friend; the yellow, the grey, the banana boat fantasies we’re dreaming every day.

And if reading this you conclude that worms are inside me, that the parasite has taken hold, then step back, look at yourself, check your head for colds, and sure you’ll see a different shape unfold: the fortune five hundred destiny of my piddling ink motorway, the black umbrella tossed into the back of the barn, the iodine pills keeping your blood good and thin, the bigot paradise where Klanners plan community retreats, ridiculing a dwarfish talk show host who has a weekly segment titled ‘tall tales of the outrageous kind’--the irony being short men can’t be tall, irony being the description of that which is iron, the irony being being a extraterrestrial made of iron hence described as irony, the irony being being being the state that that being is alive, which is better, to be alive rather than not you will concur, and you will endure my thousand words of pap just to retrieve one nugget of clarity—at least I offer joviality—and the saleable output of this fevered typing, um, maybe not so good for business, but good for a good laugh. Ah, yes, time for a nap!

Today's boring announcement

Click here for a boring web page.

See, it's boring!

Not so easily classified

Clickety clack sound magic fingers and, ahoy, the heft I lift reveals scenic Siena landscapes, ruby emerald pastels, lush Chianti vineyards, a framed showcase of my gothic marble ambition. But lichen always grows on the side of a tree, signals ceasing immortality; arthritic shoulders can’t bear the load, so I sit and hum my Springsteen—‘The Ghost of Old Tom Joad’:

Wherever there’s a cop feeding a tramp;
wherever there’s a president sobbing in his hands;
wherever there’s a spinster smiling at a babe
—I’ll be the vampire, sucking at the drain.*

[*not the actual lyrics]


Urgent announcement

With any luck and some diligent investment, liquid meat will soon be a staple on your supermarket shelf.

That’s right, liquid meat is poised to make its breakthrough--it's just a matter of when.

Usually, when you heat a cut of meat in, say, an oven or BBQ, and the temperature gets too high, the meat will burn: black, charred, inedible. Nasty. All of us have witnessed this tragic phenomenon; such is the nature of conventional cooking and chemical reactions. You heat it too much, and meat burns.

On the other hand, there are those among us who wish for meat to melt when heated; not burn. I for one would love to liquefy a cow and serve it up for dinner, to consume a flank shake, not a flank steak. Liquid meat: the mere thought waters my mouth. And I wouldn't be alone in this. Who wouldn’t love to come home after a hard day facing the world, knock back a pint or two of quarter-chicken-dinner--in liquid form--and let loose with a foghorn poultry belch? You know, swig some pig, suck the goose juice, etc? Sure sounds tasty to me.

And yet it seems this liquid meat is still just a dream of ours; a foodstuff forestalled. We remain unquenched.

Purees, admittedly, have been tried. But a puree is mostly solid meat bits chopped up real small; the water oozes out, and the resulting mush is but a gooey facade, an empty vessel parched of liquidity. No, I won’t settle for the ‘watery meat’-liness of a puree: it’s just not the same as true liquid. I want my meat to have a milk-like consistency and viscosity. I want to be able to pour a leg of lamb out of a carafe, to see it flow like wine (wine--that most seductive liquid, but far from liquid meat).

Friends and associates have encouraged me to cultivate these notions, and I have profited from their wisdom. For instance my colleague Jen offered an interesting alternative—what about ‘alcoholic beef’? She said to me, “If you can’t liquefy a cow, Pat, isn’t fermentation the next best thing?” Hmm, a canny insight, Jen. Yet I remain idealistic; I shall not settle for mere meat-flavoured beer--t'would be a poor second cousin to the genuine liquid article.

Basic science informs us that for all substances there are three physical states: solid, liquid, and gas. The parameters of our meaty conundrum fall within the realm of the solid (the resting state of the meat) and the liquid (the desired state)—this much is obvious. How to go about it then? How to get animal flesh to liquefy, and not burn?

The answer to this riddle lies, like so many others, beneath the surface of the earth's vast oceans. To make our liquid dreams a reality, we must construct deep-sea ‘meat liquefaction vents’, down at the bottom of our ocean beds. The key to obtaining liquid meat is in exploiting the simple but powerful equation: PV=NRT (see appendix A ; this is known as the Ideal Gas Equation; it holds also for liquids under certain conditions). Only under situations of extreme barometric pressure, in the order of GIGA-pascals—such as only exists at the ocean floor—will bovine liquefaction be possible.

Under such deep-sea pressure, a cut of meat might NOT burn when heated, but instead it might very well melt into a delicious, healthy and profitable protein ooze—to be transported, bottled and then resold in grocery stores the world over. Liquid meat could thusly be enjoyed by all consumers--by you, by me--as often and guiltlessly as we like. Everyone wins.

For a detailed explanation of what an underwater meat-juicing contraption would entail, click my new web column at www.liquidmeat.com. I leave you with this inspirational mantra:

“Let us build amid the oceans deep, and one day drink of liquid meat.”
Finally... I got rid of those annoying titles and time-of-posting signatures at the bottom of each post. I hope you enjoy the fresher, cleaner layout. Smiles and sunshine. -P


Out like a lamb?


Out like a lamb?

I’m a flighty little chickadee in the warm March Chinook; I’m a useless wooden shelf when it’s finally wiped of books; I’m a tired soda courier in the back of his truck, huffing at a bubble--maybe that’ll help my luck. The red laser I lent to the science institute, my blue moon in January—‘twas all fallacy; a masochistic mast to which I tied myself, so today I joined the massive underground conspiracy, the flaming underwear magenta jamboree. I holler with stylish citizens at the gate--at the plated gold Rolls; the ribald ruckus in the basement of the bar, the squealing pink magnificence of my brand new K Car. That Betty’s a blonde with curves, she’ll caress my neck and sing; Midge is frigid in comparison, and Ron’s a ditzy fling. I’m hot on Lois and her sister Delores, so I try out for their chorus, and I won’t sue Philip Morris for the smokes they make me buy...

Do do do do NOT cross yourself at the crosswalk

Don’t don’t don’t hesitate when turning a corner

Delight in life, smile like a phantasm reborn!

(And walk softly when carrying a club: we are with you stalking loftily the honey up above—stray rocks can stir the pot, the hornets get upset, they buzz and sting; they’re zuzzing bloody murder—it’s the price you pay in Spring.)

In angry defense

(I have no idea...)

Empty blue crates resting against the newspaper boxes. The yellow sign slathered with tasteless, large sans-serif advertisements, ‘Have a break! Have a … Kitkat’—wow; worming its way into popular consciousness. But I don’t break the fast; it’s still Lent.

Speaking of which, I’m walking by the Cathedral this afternoon, and I catch quite an earful:

My god you secular atheists are lazy; always so pale. Don’t you at least believe in sunshine? Maybe you’re outside today to get a tan?... Ha, I pity anyone who never even learned their basic Bible stories. Say what you like about faith, or lack thereof; that’s a huge gaping hole in your education. Hello—Noah, Abraham, John the Baptist—ever heard of them?... How can you call yourself a member of Western civilization? Oh wait, I forgot, we’re in Canada—‘cultural mosaic,’ blah blah blah. ‘Deluded cultural wasteland’ is more like it. Face facts, your parents did you a myopic disservice by not bringing you to church, and your wishy-washy ignorance is the result. Huh, what’s that? Oh there I go again, you say. The Holocaust? No, you’re wrong—Hitler wasn’t Christian, any more than Stalin or Pol Pot: they were all practising secularists; what Hitler believed in was the rational mechanization of the state, not a higher power. True, faith gone wrong may lead--every few centuries--to brazen crusades like the current insane terrorist jihad; I grant that, but look at the numbers: it’s cold, rational reason—that’s what fuels a genocide. ‘I’m just following orders, it’s for the ultimate good; the betterment of society.’ God is dead, right? Well so are six million Jews, 25 million Soviets, 1 million Cambodians; who knows how many in China? That’s the spiritual lesson of the 20th century. So don’t insult my intelligence by dredging up that ‘why is there suffering?’ chestnut. And don’t dismiss or mock me because I know the words to the Lord's Prayer or 'cause they forced me into a confessional when I was only eight years old. I feel sorry for you; as you get older, you will realize how much you missed. And you won’t catch my kids within 50 miles of a public school; not even close... Just remember: you and I both are going to die someday too, whether it’s by genocide, jihad or falling down stairs and cracking our skulls. Yes, the death rate’s still at an all-time high: 100 per cent. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you secularists are scared shitless about that. ‘Rage, rage, against the dying of the light?’ Forget poetry, forget those insolent academics; you still gotta pay the piper... Me? I’m fine with mortality—this planet isn’t the be all and end all of the world; I’m not afraid of that crossing… What, leaving so soon? Ok, ok; I’ll shut up and leave you be. It makes you uncomfortable? Fine, I’m kidding about the whole thing… I’m just playing on your massive spiritual insecurities…hahaha. Ok? Ok. Last laugh.

By this point he is red, veins bulging; grotesque. I turn and tell him—politely—that I’d been to Mass already that morning; that I’d given up chocolate for Lent, and how about him? Haha, you shoulda seen the look he gave me—priceless. ‘Oh… sorry,’ he says eventually, and I go on my way. Haha. I chuckle. Preaching to the converted. Jesus, what a world.

(But I lied about going to Mass.)

Agog on the sidewalk, 10 years later


They called me Mindy-Nanu-Nanu

I was the ugliest girl in your class;

You sat in front and to the left of me

in Advanced Physics I think;

I never said much, but I have to say

the way you mussed your hair, was adorable.

I finally lost weight I guess

Fun days? yeah, they were… I guess.

I wish you’d have called,

got in touch—something,

--smiled even

before I left for London.

What’re you staring at?

Oh right; haha, no those aren’t

papayas in my blouse--

those are my new double-C’s!

--sorry, but I’m married now

and I’m better off without you.



The techno-babel genesis*

Catch what good Reverend Descartes says
he be preach da magic gibberish
Shrug at the prosecution’s threats
ask the def counsel for a limerick
And computer geeks speak in Boolean
when not dreaming Pythonese
Html? Um, what the hell?
Ever find out what a chloroplast does?
Hmm… I mean, what I reason what it is is
a clear case of dissociative displacement transferral

*“Let us go down and mix up their language so that they will not understand each other.” (11:8)
Why thank you Peter--you're pretty honest and disturbing yourself (though far from morose--which is a good thing). Mad love.

Another one

So far, chicken beats egg, but we're still accepting votes (see 3/12/2004 post). Let's try this one out. Enjoy!


And even the darkness is no good for imagining. No, it’s not love. There’s no love in that. The self-sustaining logic of the system was impenetrable. I was helpless against his logic. I was defenceless against your arguments. I gave in because you are smarter than I, and I don’t know what I want. When it gets this cold outside, who has the strength to argue?

O dear, you disappeared on me. O dear, you never say what’s on your mind. You don’t want to come with me, and so it’s not going to happen. It’s crumbling: the synergy, the trinity, the togetherness, the coming in harmony and synthesis; even the pokiness of co-operation.

Let’s give that relationship a proper burial--what’s on your plate this year is more important; who can blame you if there’s nothing you can do. Life is tough; it’s ok, go hide in that new job. You can’t be held accountable; you’re just a cog in the machine. It’s just for a few years until I’m in a better position to do what I really want, you know—when I’m rich I can finally do some good for other people. But until then, you know it is dog eat dog.

O dear. You are dry, exhausted. It scares you to hear this, but you are wasting your life. Don’t you see the woman on the corner, shaking her ballcap full of coins? Is she a scam-artist, or a victim like you and me? Do we hold the middle-class failures in contempt, yet spare pity for the homeless? Or is it the other way around? Maybe you in your white-collar job, you need pity too? Maybe the hobo deserves to die. Let’s run him over with a semi; wipe away the body with a street cleaner. Because he reminds us that we are helpless. How he insults us; how dare we be made to feel uncomfortable. And the rich man, waiting to get through the eye of a needle, will he get his act together? Stop sipping that coffee, there’s a flyer on your doorstep about tonight’s city council debate. But you don’t care about things at the grass-roots level... do you actually believe the rhetoric you are spouting?

And no, for me, it doesn’t work; it’s not convenient for me to ignore this. If the empire crumbles, if the sky falls, me and my little lady, we got to be good together.


Zowee wowee

A job interview on a Saturday, is that ever an insane proposition! I walked along the Bloor Street in minus 20 weather and it was clear by five minutes that no job of any calibre would be able to get me out of that bed at that hour. I was called aside to talk the talk with the human resources team. I was able to decide at the very least that cobalt and the frunge of the lunatic mind was reeling with sidelong hesitance. Keeling and canoeing with the J-stroke unlucky, how does it happen that men get clothes muddy when the last thing they ever want is to destroy the lemur, the magma carta, the pontificate zoom, the never ending sentimentality. Klown college butchers in the afternoon, weatherspoons and grundies and the tides of bays of fundy. I am a man of everlasting impertinence. I am a man of ever trusting beneficence. I am always striving to say hello. I am always striving to say hello. I am trying to discuss your boy problems with you. I am trying to unlock those special secrets you know. Why can’t we be together my sweet. When will it be my turn finally please. I need together, I need us, I need the two nice smiles in the same head-space. Can we shiver together at the warmth of the pleasure--please please I have far too much leisure. Please Please will we ever be together? I need to continue but the feudal dues are forgotten clues to a lifeless past. Please please please me. I desire nothing except to expire in your fire. I thrive with the life of the knife edge and the longing letters of the distant wife. I breathe strife into every jealous insinuation; you’re so dangerous it sets off alarms and blazes through the wicker-timber, the bonfire of my heart. I couldn’t think of a better solution, turn the massive men inside out, the small will finally overcome, the lame will scream and shout, but with victory this time, the unsipped bottle of the finest wine, finally uncorked unstoppered and glugged with vicious relief and unbridled exultation. We are the words: the description of a feeling, the moments unfelt for crying cubs caught in corporation cubicles, the nuanced innuendo and the subtle tawny laughter, the tested vicious inclemency, the tired dismissal of the non-chic, the beleaugured attempt of Godel at completeness and consistency, impossible, for then all combinations of words could be accounted for, and then fiction would cease to be. And status is descending on the fresh men, the young students unmolested by professorial prejudice, and the TAs with their grad school ambitions and the pledge to unionize, to cut up the onion in fair little slices. To throw the dice in one last attempt, the dire threading of the warbling needle, humming and declaring silence, its stitches uncreased and unceasing relief. And the police arriving off the street to club protesters with the blunt ends of nightsticks and matchstick arsonists setting off the school yard, to frighten the monitoring teachers to allow ten more minutes of recess. We count we count the words to meet the protocol, to meet the demands of the editor at the desk with the counting clicker in hand, fitting word to space, matching content to page and concrete to abstract symbols. Gutenburg and the Lobster Newburg untethered and undone, we hear groaning and the gloaming of the Roman soldiery, geysers spouting and the firewall blocks unwanted Ethernet viruses, keep out the cyber molecules that could be construed as maleficent, and the dried toast on the rack is left to burn everlasting with the pulsating preference of the pigeon stool. The wired desirous hymen, the orthoptera, the winged insects like the butterfly. We stew at the edge of a precipice, we glue unused egg shells back together to recycle and reuse, waste not want not right? We have arrived at a most vicious conclusion, and it is this: that so much nonsense could be written so completely superfluous, and even Atwood and Dostoeyevsky are just sick in the head puppies and maybe Ms. A just got lucky with her sensitivity turned gold mine. We are destroying the cable television in our own city, we are acting on impulse to churn out the words, but back to love--oh dear, why did you go away? Pollination comes too late, and oatmeal burgers are unused and under-absorbed in the moments just before dawn, this is true. I am the clutcher of the fiery gnome, I am the weather in mid winter, I come with reason, I leave as a man without cynicism. I am finally a real good kid, I have finally made it into the fustling blight, I’m the turbinated power propeller sent to the Seadoo storage facility in the middle of the night. I have the power to turn you to jelly, and yet you are able to rip me open and analyze my feelings, insightful, intuitive as you are; you are the nut I don’t dare crack, the first fist of the fight, flying into the overhead fluorescent lighting, the shuttle cocked racket, the taut strings of the elliptical hammock, the wiry frame of Mediterranean waiters on cruise ships bound for Stromboli from Naples.


Ivy and the Eggs

Ivy Johnson was a tall, energetic filipino boy who collected kinder egg surprises. One day, he grew up, he grew facial hair (as well as hair in other places) and decided to become a dentist. His father cried and cried, mostly because Ivy was a huge disappointment, but also because Ivy’s father was an actor, who that day happened to be practicing a scene which required him to cry. A lot. Anyway it was Ivy’s mother whose opinion mattered more, since she was the one who had the key to the bookcase, where all the family’s dentistry books were locked up. When Ivy told his mom he wanted to stop collecting kinder eggs (he had collected 3,651 so far), Momma just shook her head and laughed. “How can you be a dentist, when you don’t have any teeth?” It was true, thought Ivy. Eating one Kinder egg every day had thoroughly rotted away everything in his mouth. Too much sugar was, in fact, a bitter truth, not a sweet one. Ivy, crushed by his mother’s response, went back to collecting kinder eggs, and never told anyone about his secret dreams ever again. The moral is: chocolate, though tasty, can often ruin a young man’s career.


Settle this mofo for good

A doozy, admittedly, but this simple poll ought to give us a reliable verdict.

Once we put this sucker to bed, we can move on to tomorrow's complex dilemma about trees, falling in forests...

backyard gretzkys


backyard gretzkys

in my 20-ft arena I’m
the great one, I’m
rocket roger
nolan ryan
ryne sandberg
rolled into one
catlike reflexes
I’m pat roy
patrick the king.
just watch what I do with
my fancy
glove hand;
trust me you’ve
never seen
moves like this—
it’s like I’m
like you read about, I’m
like you watch on tv.

(it sucks
when the tennis ball
bounces over the fence and you
have to climb into
mrs. heighley’s yard.)

Letter never sent

Letter never sent

Where are you now?

Last I heard it was Guatemala. You must still be helping out the poor and the ill.

You used to help me too, you know. You brought me joy, just with your presence.

I think one day--when you are tired of being famous, and I'm tired of being old--you'll come by my neck of the woods by accident, and we'll go out again for breakfast, like we did. And I'll be happy to see you, and sad at the same time, because you have to leave again, and go off to where it is you're going. And it will return, that feeling of disbelief--that I was ever in the same room with you. I will remember how that disbelief never did change; how thankful I was to wipe away my own sorry problems for the split seconds we ate together there on Princess Street.

I hope you never figure out how magical you are—self-awareness never did a thing for anybody. You with your big teeth and boundlessness and your hairy blonde warmth, you make us laugh; at the same time you make us fall for you.

I wish you the best in your extraordinary life. And you better not a) deny that you deserve these words or b) let them go to your head.

(written on the back of a paper napkin, in the restroom of Bar Alfieri on Via Pantaneto, in Siena, Italy)

‘To those who have much, more will be given; and those who have little, even that will be taken from them.’ (Matthew 25:29)... (no, I don't think he was talking about compound interest)


Take my survey!

We'll see how this goes.

Great name for a garage band


The Bloody Stools

Can you top that?

Park Place, Too

to the tune of 'Grace, Too' by The Hip.


Park Place, Too

I said I'm fabulously rich/
cuz I just passed 'Go'/
I am the battleship/
call me Monopoly Joe/
with all my properties/
I am the king of the board/
you're totally broke/
if you land on Ventnor

I own the railroads/
States Avenue/
I got red hotels on Boardwalk/
and Park Place, too

The secret rules of the game/
are hard to enforce/
the acquisition of Baltic/
is just a matter of course/
but I can roll a 3/
land on Community Chest/
what does your Chance card show, dear?/
I won a beauty contest

I own the railroads/
Pacific Avenue/
I got red hotels on Boardwalk/
and Park Place, too-ooo

I sang this 'Parker Brothers' version of the beloved Hip classic in front of a live audience, with a full backing band, at a big house party, my friend Barth's place on Stuart St in Kingston. The date--Saturday October 16, 1999; it was my debut performance as a rock n roller, or as singer of any kind. Suffice it say 'Park Place Too' left the crowd stunned, uncomprehending; more or less 'with faces melted'. I quietly left via the back porch and went home. I haven't picked up a microphone since.


A jackal wanders into my kitchen, he is scrounging for some meat. It is late in the afternoon, the sun hidden behind the roof of the neighbour’s house, and so I see the jackal approaching without any glare, no fanfare--no love lost between us two; he the beast, I the custodian waiting to dole his daily treat. It is a wiry willow in my front yard that sways beneath the April stars. And in this hemisphere we call West, we pretend it best to ask discreetly at the bar-rails—please Mr. Sneeze, can I have the bathroom keys, I really need to take a whiz. Hey there; sure just give me a sec, as I look around the register—Reggie puts the keys there, I bet. I met a man crawling on his way to meet the Pope, so I encouraged him to sweep all the dust out of his coat.

for Steve Moore

You got beat up bad
Real real uncool
What that Bertuzzi goon did
We’re thinking of you
In your time of trial
We know you’ll make it back
In just a little while
As an aside, I sure hope I don't end up looking like this guy. But you never know. Oh well, it's better than being like this dude... but if you are going to end up on the furry side, perhaps it is best to end up like this.

The Man Who Could Not Eat Himself

An existential conundrum: if you were starving to death, would you eat yourself to survive? Not to be taken literally of course, but I think that's a question a lot of artistic types ask (when "Where am I going to get my next meal?" is long since hopeless); with the strange answer being, "Yes, I think maybe I could... eat myself."


The Man Who Could Not Eat Himself

There was a man who lived in a town. The man's name was Tibor. Tibor was made of the best food. He was very good to eat. Whoever ate Tibor grew strong, happy and delightful. His arms were succulent and sweet. His moist internal organs gave off a pleasant aroma as they slid down one’s throat.

All the people commented to Tibor how tasty he was, and this made him happy. “They love me, they love me,” he thought, “for I am good to eat. I bring health to those around me.”

Soon the rest of the townspeople, having grown accustomed to the nourishment provided by Tibor’s body, threw away their other food. They stopped farming the rural areas, for Tibor provided more than enough sustenance to satisfy their needs.

Tibor, however, had nothing to eat, now that the only food source in town was himself!

What was Tibor to do? He did not know how to farm, and had little desire to eat one of the other townspersons. “How strange,” thought Tibor with a flourish, “that in order to live I must eat myself!”

But Tibor could not bring himself to eat his own body. He tried many ways. One time he cut off all his hair and tried to chew it one lock at a time. He did not like it, and spat it out. He was at a loss. “How will I function if I eat my own body? How will I walk if I swallow my legs?”

Though he was aching with hunger, he simply stopped eating, and began to waste away. By the time he died there was nothing left on his body to eat, so the townspeople said, “Let’s go to Burger King.”



Not in my backyard

The sign says
“No trucks”
Mommy, Daddy get
that Mack daddy
Off my street
He’s spilling coal
Into my drive
such chunky bulk
I’ll call police
I’ll your tow dirty truck
and teach you to be neat

Sure I drive a Navigator
but that’s a nicer kind of truck
I work so hard each every day
To make an honest buck

There’s a difference see
Between my truck and yours:

My model’s built to be elite, but
your nasty beast just roars and roars and roars...
What to do, if you’re you

Ask me for the password
To get into the club
It’s what gets you past
the big fat bouncer
It’s: “Let it all hang out.”

Hey—let it all hang out
‘Let it all hang out’
is a song, if
you’re barely hanging on.

Me? I let it all hang
And you kicked me
Beat me
But I’m better than you, ’cause
I was hanging when I sang;

So hang in
Baby, shake that thing
You get so tired, but
don’t hold back
now—get it all out
Let it all hang
Inside the whale

It is warm, but there’s a decided lack of dryness;
I wish I could get a television signal.

I spend hours playing chess, with a glop of rotting plankton
--it mates me in 12 moves;
I haven’t been this upset since the moray eel called
my momma a whore.

Tonight I’m thinking of making a pass at the blowhole.

Avs' Moore taken off on stretcher

This story makes me near sick to my stomach.

I went to high school with Steve Moore; he is a fine human being--intelligent (scholarship to Harvard, along with his two brothers, one of whom was also drafted into the NHL), modest and a gentleman.

I hope Steve comes out of this ok, and I hope the guy who attacked him is barred from playing hockey for a long long time.


The Lady and the Snake

Perhaps the first poem about a 16-lane highway ever to make it onto a blog site:

The Lady and The Snake

My Lady begged unto The Mayor:
“I am choking, Doctor Miller,
your 401’s grown into some
black asphalt Anaconda;
this highway beast is swallowing me,
my arteries sluggish and hardening; please, won’t you
prescribe your laws, and let me breathe?”

The Mayor said unto The Lady:
“You’re seething with this reptile’s virus, it’s
called ‘MercedesHondaBuicks’; luckily
there are vaccines up my sleeve
--a dose of TTC will do it--
but if I can’t kill this bloated snake
to Doctor Ottawa we’ll plead.”

But The Driver cursed unto The Mayor
“You’re nothing but a quack;
you’re better off to feed the snake, and
hitch your wagon to its back;
I may someday ride the Rocket Red unto
the rescue, to bring your Lady back, but until
that fancy day should come, you’ll cut the motorist some slack!”

Hark I hear my Lady wheeze; I finally make my choice:
“Liar Liar, Mr. Driver, your tailpipe's on fire,
and the devil’s in this concrete serpent’s spiralling coil,
strangling, spitting smog and oil, until she’s hoarse;
Milady’s ill, I know her well,
I spent a life walking astride her;
though pale now, she’s inside me still; I’ll lend to her my voice.”

So I march to the edge of the Avenue path, where
there, I stare at it, squeezing slowly ’neath the overpass;
high atop its shimmering, scaly mass, I holler at The Snake:
“Hie thee hither, Mr. Python; you can consider me St. Pat;
do your best to heed me, and dare not my Lady take;
go swallow someone else’s town, or
slither back into The Lake!”

But with noxious carbon venom, its hissed monoxide breath
The Snake has kissed My Lady City
with the crude exhaust of death, whispering unto her:
“I grow fat on your vitality,
I expand with all my gluttony
You’re addicted to my enormity;
and I’ll feast upon your breast.”

And so we dare not exterminate
The Snake, or drive it underground
for it’s wormed its way into Her fibre,
wasting, rusting till she’s brown
From suburbs to the Gardiner, the Snake poisons our plans
And the Don will no more teem with fish
Because the Valley’s paved with fangs.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Look at you, you’re shivering, and out in the snowstorm too. There’s not a bird in the sky, and you’re so feverish. Why don’t you let my daughter take your coat, and you go sit down. Jeannie--take his things to the closet; sir you need to take a seat. You’ve fallen down, dear me. Got a fright in you don’t you. Heaven knows what you catch in this weather. Jillian, girl next door, she’s a medical student, maybe she can look at you. No, don’t wanna see her? That’s alright then. We’ll just sit here and listen to my radio program. I do love that nice man who’s on in the afternoons. What’s his name again? Tom something—such a nice man. Now there, sip some of that hot tea if you’re cold; Lord knows the way it’s blowing, you catch a frost.

See now, I was never so good at talking to strangers. But there’s something about your manner, sir, and that silly coat you wear; must have bought that 40 years go didn’t you? Well a nice thick cut like that should keep you warm in winter at least.

Why don’t you just ask me for some help. I could lend a hand so easy--but people got such pride. Whatever you do, don't go out there alone, facing those folks who brush past.

And when we're dancing it almost feels the same. And it's just breaking my heart, cause she's not you.


"... it couldn't come at a worse time" --GD

for those compelled to speak when they shouldn't; for those compelled to silence when they should scream. Whatever happens, fight for your medicine man.

what you didn’t say

what you said

shocked me;

I admit.

but it’s

what you didn’t say

makes me afraid

--not that I was losing you--


I never

knew you


you never said it.

and now

what we didn’t say


what we are afraid

to find out


tell me

I am right.)

What the ^&%#!@ is this??

The following is a telegraphed report from Lieutenant Salty Nipple, during an invasion of his battalion fortress by hostile rebel forces, in response to an earlier transmission by one Major Cobud at base headquarters.

What it all means: hmm. your guess is as good as mine. Enjoy!


Major Cobud,

This is Salty Nipple speaking for Captain Grey Eagle..the Eagle wounded grievously by a volley of melons during field maneouvres...will attempt to convey recent hectic events in and around the hot centres of rebel activity...WARNING:
code may---a kh sf breaK UP on occasion...transmission officer down with case of utter foolishness...communications asst. Lt. Milo Farnsworth has defected for Aussie curling team--search in progress amidst sheep and bovine country.... patience requested cmdr {comm breaking up}...

Extreme action has been taken in the past two days... psyches are quivering from ij5o35 {code failure} asdasdasjd cognitive dissonance... due to philosophical pressure, men discarding behaviourism for mentalism--Watson out, Titchener in ...

endeavoured afjhsk sa {code problem} first to manufacture dissent within inner circle of rebel high command...our link to rebels is disgruntled english cripple--Tony Motocar...implanted toxic array of herbs and spices
within neural nets of Motocar's superior colliculus...feeb uncooperative at first--soon submitted after series of well-placed bitch slaps to face and ears...Motocar may prove 4353kksk {code problem} turncoat--alternative course of action? staple explosives to billy goat, catapult into rebel bunkers; wait for BOOM...


Reinforcements have proved able and malleable to our designs...Grey Eagle expresses thanks from hospital operating table... branflakes no longer critical issue due to influx of soy-based snacks... skanks yet to be fondled in the line of duty ...the men's aching desire yet to be quenched...


news from the quartermaster: lack of toast remains our achilles heel, commander... cracker/butter diversion [regardless of jam content] merely inflamed restless spirits... men collapsing from elbow exhaustion ... increasing refusal to watch any and all reruns of 'Friends'--understandable yet unacceptable...request permission to brow-beat pet grasshopper with humiliating memories of larval-stage incontinence... such action will instill obedience in enlisted men who fear
analogous verbal tactics...

...some positive news: Rebels deemed 'smelly' by passing motorist; much assenting and huzzahs from men... captn. fitzwiggin received two dozen pounds of liquid bromine in care package from parents--bodes well for aspiring chemists in 'G' company... eleven spaniards discovered in kitchen sink--refugees from Barcelona plumbing
conflict--may prove competent whiz-bangers and/or bang-whizzers...

...Loss of G.E. may demolish chance at defeating rebels in many theatres of conflict--especially all-county pie-eating contest in June... high command has ordered immediate and thorough cessation of mitotic cell division within camp--hopes to baffle rebels with biological conundrum-- Salty Nipple skeptical at such anti-genetican practice...

Also from High Command:

pencils forbidden, except for use in long division and ass-scratching... new command slogan, "less class, more sass" met with random clucking and repentance among men...

{code problems}


Major Cobud, rebels have breached outer wall...hand-to-gland combat ensuing... we must beat back malodourous pervs...IMMEDIATE ERUCTATION NEEDED...I REPEAT: IMMEDIATE ERUCTATION NEEDED...

i must...

[transmission severed].......

???????the end??????????

(what do YOU think happened after Salty Nipple got cut off from Major Cobud?)

Unromantic Latinate thought

I did not consent to a lack of urgent intervention, or detriment prevention, when a convening of previously unmentionable sources of dissension in conversation might augment the edification of a persona hell bent on self-destruction.


three more shot to death in Scarborough

I was down at Scarborough's Bluffer's Park two days ago. It was almost deserted, except for birds; the snow was finally melting away though, so it was pretty alright. When I got home I turned on the radio to pick up the news; all that came to mind was 'rat-tat-tat'.

Rat-tat-tat (hip beat to hop to)

Rat-tat-tat (shoot up his window)
Rat-tat-tat (oh your poor husband)
Rat-tat-tat (now you’re a widow)

Up near Finch Ave. and McCowan
where the cops don’t know
who wants to rat
no one talks
gangbangers walk
where CityPulse won’t even go
it’s rat-tat-tat, and
Chief Fantino has a coronary.

And in Rexdale where
there’s a hundred languages
but all the street kids hear
is rat-tat-tat;
they all get
what’s going down
and everything is broken.

But in Bluffer’s Park,
not far from Malvern
when sun reflects
you find a quiet bay
far from shattered glass
away from rat-tat-tat;
where seagulls, swans, ducks and geese
coexist in peace,
and all you hear
the wind and the waves.
She sits with her friend at the table across from me. Friends from university, maybe old roommates. The tall one suggests a cookie for a snack; folks designing cakes and fig pastries for a good time in love. A tiger decides to enter, and I'm tricked into the silence the heart brings upon itself when it tries to sing. Desperate Manitoulin prospectors discuss the Mediterranean problem, the excess plankton in the Tyrhennian, the lack of good men in the space shuttle. The other day, I could smell the sweat on her lips. I tasted the anger of Zeus, first son of immortals; the lantern on the hill glowed green, and the blood in my head froze blue.


Pure rant

Fetch a newspaper from the basket and grill the smile away from the tanned model on the front page. Severed relations and defenestration is a complication of the brand names Naomi abhorred. I deplore the Count of Elsinore, a didactic bore, pedagogically misinformed and so forlorn. We are warned by the gauge of the gas, the measure of mistrust, the tossed best hope of lust into the restful crèche for Christmas carolling, the seaside swirling of feathers, light fluffiness in any weather, like 10 below, best fit for curling. Jason the Argonaut, Son of Siam, the King of Araby, the Sheik, truly chic, chiclets and chocolate populate his pocket, a Lettieri oath a Starbucks sandwich. Pepsi cola is drunk, is recognized as a word by microprocessors; who can be sure that Billy Gates’ programmers aren’t inserting practical jokes into the software? The reason we use it is everybody uses it. Conventions like shaking right hands before a conversation. We are accustomed to our foibles, the dirt inside the oil, the maddest mildew ever to soil a bathroom. We consider a no-brainer that which is to come, to undo things never done, to devise loyalty and group cheerleading and election smearing in inns with beds that come with plain duvets and overused ashtrays in this, the month of melting snow. Yes men in temples north of southeast Yemen—these are inspected with respected technique, by a black creek pioneer in the discipline of international security, the lowest rung of the telephone nook, the big red book Mao undertook to wipe away the crooks. The longest look at my sweetheart fading on departing trains, the sweet disdain for stupidity, the lustful cupidity, the raging thirst for souls at Bathurst and St. Clair, it really gets my goat. The unqualified knowledge of the unconscious mind, the land we mine, landmines we find. I am dissolved in an onion, things for fun, not known ever to come to the one I love, or the righteousness that angels sing. Drink ginseng powder to invigorate your trousers, the best of luck to the top ten competitors, the yo-yo whirled in Musicworld with a yard of thick string. We sing bling and fling tent pins into bins at bargain basement prices, prizes that Honest Ed doesn’t despise. The good lies on golf courses, the fresh green manicure of the fairway, the increasing incidence of fair play, it warms me up inside. We are snide but affable, incompetently capable, amenable to the palpable, ignorant of the metaphysical. Jestering in the court, a full court, pressed till all the oleic acid drips into the bottle, here it is, the olive oil; one percent acidity is threshold for extra virginity. We are flung, my erring do allows me and my crew to access the newly brewed glue. We sniff and are licked by dogs, hairy beasts pooping on logs that in a month’s time are cut up for clogs. Most disturbing of all, web logs populate the net, unread pathos and cathartic kilobytes, sent to flight in the middle of the night.

I wrote this in November

...but I don't think I showed it to anybody. If you care about municipal politics and senseless verbal abuse, this is for you.

Two friends are at a restaurant discussing the Toronto mayor race.
(one of the friends has borderline personality disorder.)

John: Can you pass me the pepper?
Marilyn: No. Get it yourself. I don’t give you no pepper.
John: Why not?
M: Because your breath stinks.
J: Well, your chest is too small.
M: Fuck you.
J: Well I just want some pepper for my sandwich
M: I don’t have to listen to this crap.
J: You can always cut your ears off
M: If you're going to be like this, I'm going away...
J: Then go, Van Gogh.
M: Hmph, trust me to sit at a table with a total smellenk.
J: What did you call me?
M: I wish I had called you an assless dickbutt, but I didn’t; I just called you a smellenk
J: And that is…?
M: A lake fish, one that swims with only the ventral fins
J: Ventral fins? Lake fish? Since when did you get into marine biology?
M: Since last weekend, and the TLC special on Great Lakes ecology, ass master! Duh!
J: Huh? Ass master?
M: That’s right, butt lord! Try learning a little science, Lonny Luddite!
J: Lonny… who? What the heck--why the belligerence?
M: Why the shmelligerence??
J: You are on medication, right, because right now you don’t make too much sense
M: At least I don’t make big black poos like you do!
J: What?
M: I snuck into the washroom last night, before you had a chance to flush. I took it in with my own eyes, and it was not a pretty sight, Señor Logjam! Maybe eat a few less corn chips, huh
J: You are a psychotic monster
M: At least I know how to accessorize my lipstick with my shoes, zitface! And at least I don’t leave no Chernobyl disasters in the goddamned toilet!
J: There’s no call for potty talk. And why are you talking about my shoes?
M: What else is there to talk about, huh? The provincial government?
J: No I’d much rather discuss municipal politics. But not with a jibbering loony…
M: Who’s a loony? You’re a big baboony
J: You're acting like an infant. Who are you voting for mayor?
M: Probably someone with integrity, and who isn’t a loser. So I guess that wouldn’t be you.
J: I for one am tiring of your attitude
M: I for one am tiring of your whining stuttering squawking.
J: Anyway--let’s see, mayor: Miller doesn’t want the island airport expansion, but that could just be a leftist pipe dream. I hear it’s a done deal, and—
M: Yeah, a done deal, just like your stupidity
J: And then there’s Tory, this dude’s a corporate baloney—
M: You know what’s baloney? Everything you say! Know what else? My shoulder is sore, would you mind rubbing it with some of your oily hair grease?
J: Huh?
M: You know, Johnny Gino, cuz you’re such a greasy Gino, your stupid hair must be oozing that oily stuff like pus from a gonorrhoea patient.
J: Hold up—while we’re bringing up stale hags festering with VD, let’s talk about you, Ms. genital warts queen of the world!
M: Yeah, nice comeback. And now I am going to take these toothpicks and rip your vocal chords into bacon strips—
J: Try it and you’ll be eating your meals through a straw
M: Silence your moronic brain, noodle-head; we were discussing the mayorship
J: Right. I am convinced Nunziata is the man for the job…
M: Yeah, maybe if the job was called 'Worst candidate ever!' Any other predictions, Johnny the Greek? Maybe the Zulus will win the Boer War?
J: What? That happened over 100 years ago!
M: Yeah, 100 years ago-- right around the last time you said something intelligent
J: Your psychosis really troubles me, you know. I recommend you shove your afflicted head into a blender and press 'on.'
M: I recommend you learn how to debate politics like a man, not cry like a pansy every time I point out your lameness, Lonny Lame-o
J: Who is this Lonny you’re always talking about?
M: Someone just like you: a pimple-necked, gruesome hunchback—only he’s much better looking than your lame-ass face of turd droppings.
J: What? First, you are the ugliest person in this city. At least I am not a toothless witch with split ends and a lazy eye. And 'turd droppings?' It’s enough to just say ‘turd’--that is a redundant insult
M: Maybe redundant like me talking to you, when I would be better off talking to my own mucus
J: That’s it, I am sick of this abuse. I’m gone. (leaves)
M: Wait! What about Tom Jakobek! I think he’s got a chance!

(epilogue: Hostilities aside, Marilyn was quite optimistic with her final comment—Tom Jakobek received just 1.2 per cent of voter support in Toronto's November 10, 2003 mayor election. The other candidates were David Miller, John Tory, John Nunziata, Barbara Hall, and Tom Jakobek. David Miller won with 44 per cent of the vote)

ps to anyone reading in Germany or Italy--I miss you!


So what's the deal with Tim Hortons? I know there couldn't BE any more donuts in that place, but the big T.H. is seriously like OD-ing on the D'oh! I mean, what's with them not taking Interac or Visa--hellooo... if I wanted to buy donuts in 19th-century Little House on the Prairie-Land, I'd build a time machine called the 'Old-Fashioned Donut Store Seeker' and fly with MJ Fox and Doc Brown searching for "ONE_POINT_TWENTY_ONE_GIGAWATTS" of stupidity. What is this, Back to the Timbit Future?? Is anybody home, McHortonsFly?? Sheesh, Timmytollah No-Brainee, get with the times, sweetness.

And another thing, my ass is sore--does anyone around here know where to find a decent butt massage?

And is my boy Brian Leetch the bom or what. He my boy. My boy gonna take us to the Cup. Shazak. Take that, Marian Hossa--you gonna be like that other bad guy, whatsisname, Saddam Hossa--you end up in the Hossa Hole; you gonna be cast out of the game, like in the Flood of Jeremiah! You get cast out of the Bible, Hossa! I spa-zeek the tra-zutth!!




money is love

they say it can’t buy it
of course it can
it’s raw potential
in the palm of your hand
if it can’t buy it
nothing can.
soon all transactions will be measured
in l-o-v-e
because we know
that’s all
that’s worth

Paranoid Lunatic on a Date

The following is an attempt at a (very) short story; maybe you'll see some value in it. I certainly can't.

Paranoid Lunatic on a Date

What struck me about the way Evette walked was her hips, her sweaty hips, copper-coloured like a penny. They glowed when she wore her red cashmere sweater, even though the fabric didn’t cover her hips at all. She cackled her private school laugh and I was charmed instantly.

I asked her out for a cup of coffee and dessert; I recommended a good Norwegian café—I knew a thing or two about reindeers; how their milk, when cooled made some damn fine milkshakes. Evette nodded eagerly in assent, with a swift side to side motion of the head, making an ‘X’ with her fingers and then running away, screaming. Inside my heart leapt high, as though thousands of jumping beans were exploding in the heels of my fake-Italian leather shoes (Except my leather shoes had to be in my heart, and that’s why it was leaping so high.).

Walking home to fry up an egg for dinner, I imagined all that would transpire that night; the way Evette would giggle when I told her I was the one who invented the Mexican piñata; how she would blush in delight when I did my ten-minute impression of ‘the lower intestine digesting a four cheese lasagna.’ I couldn’t wait to show her my collection of seagull feathers—my most prized possession (I had stolen them from a friend who worked at the beach). There was a certain je ne sais quoi about this date, and it made my nose bleed in anticipation.

But, as I was mopping up the blood I realized I had forgotten something: what about Rory? My cousin Rory had made plans to visit me, you see, even though he didn’t know where I lived, and I had never told him I was even in the city.

Rory, damn, I had to find way to ditch him. I started to worry--was there something about this night that was not meant to be? Could it be that Evette only agreed to this date so she could humiliate me? Could it have been true that my shrink was really a black bear who wanted me to take down my pants, to inspect me for honey, grubs or salmon? (She always insisted I not wash before seeing her, maybe so she could lick me clean. I made a mental note to fire her). As for Rory, if he came over to Evette’s house, I would have to act like he didn’t exist, just like Dr. van Leeuwen said he didn’t.

I supposed Evette to be a typical young French woman, and being a typical young French woman, I supposed she would want to make fun of Algerians—for a full seven minutes—before wanting to go out. So when I arrived at her door—seven minutes early, natch—she

(and I can’t seem to write anything past here—any suggestions on what happens next? )

"Interesting little fact..."

From every mountain top, Dr. King said, let freedom rain. In every country, let freedom rain.

Well, interesting little fact: Freedom did rain.

Freedom rained from the skies, and it landed here, quite accidentally, in my bathroom. Here in my bathroom there is delicious freedom: open markets, wonderful credit agencies, luscious interest rates, all beside the toilet, which I somehow manage to keep clean despite living my hectic daily schedule.

Freedom in the bathroom, yes--but oppression in the closets, intolerance in the kitchen, sadomasochism in the bedroom, and imperialism in the foyer. Whatta shame.

How to write a newspaper column

1. Begin with cheeky reference to anything in current events: "Believe it or not, Toronto may be at a loss for Mel Lastman."
2. Rehash previous week's stories for 150 words or so.
3. Throw in a 'but'.
4. Add an 'and'.
5. Insert rhetorical pause as you approach finish, ala "Yet the mayor still expects us all to rely on public transit."
6. Closing with "Well, until city hall decides to ante up, no one ever will."


Amateur Night at Charley's

So last evening I was stuck in traffic in the industrial North York wastelands around Finch-Dufferin, where I noticed a giant flashing neon arrow and billboard announcing a 'house of ill-repute.' When I finally got home I wrote the following, based on that sign:

Amateur Night at Charley’s

time to strip
rip off our thong
I tend to giggle when
I ride the pole;
let me stuff all my
sexy into these red
tassles, this
ridiculous role;
get ’er up, gentlemen
start your wallets
I’ve never done this
--but you do it so well
you’re a natural;
it’s like you fantasize
about this
your whole life.


My favourite joke:

A salmon walks into a bar. The waitress looks up at the bartender and says, "Is it just me, or is there something fishy about that guy?"

Hello and greetings from the centre of the Earth

It is hot down here, so please send us a fan, or some ice cubes. With a molten iron core taking up 90 per cent of the available volume, there is not much room to decorate, or even add a mirror to give the illusion of space--the stark reality of life in Hell. I wouldn’t mind a little distraction, like a garden to putter around in, but that would melt and vapourize within seconds here at 10,000 C. The environment is toxic for most species, except bacterial thermophiles, and the souls of the damned. That lucky bastard Dante isn’t even down here, though he was the architect of the place. Excommunicated for being a Bianco, he never made it to heaven, but I guess somebody took pity on him and allowed him a permanent vacation in Limbo. It’s not what’s on your conscience of course, it’s who you know. I hear Charon takes bribes, and ferries you away to the First Circle if you slip him cigarettes. Dante had friends too, he’s buried in Ravenna, and there’s a monument to him in Santa Croce in Florence. I would settle for First Circle--Lust or something easy like that. But I’m stuck here in the Ninth, listening to the nickel oxidize itself outside my cramped dorm room, and metamorphic rock forming from the intense crush of tectonic shelves. That’s worse than any Treachery I did, but that’s why it’s a living hell, I guess. Though, I would do it all over again if I had the chance. No regrets, except for the eternal distance from Him and His Love. That kind of sucks, but hey, paradise is probably overrated, and at least we get Fox News down here. And did you hear -- Lucifer’s giving Rupert Murdoch an honourary degree at next year’s induction ceremony. Good on ‘im I say. Of course Rupert’s an old alumnus, resurrected to punish North America with When Animals Attack and Bob Saget. Nothing like that to scare folks about the afterlife.


Wisdom from the cynical bastard

1. When a paramedic asks you to get out of the way, so he can carry a sick patient on a gurney out the door you're blocking, you better do it or else people will think you're a jerk.

2. To get the attention of the total bimbo who works out at your gym , then just forget to bring your eyeglasses to the workout one day. If you can barely make out her voluptuous features due to blurry vision, you won't focus on how physically attractive she is, and she'll feel a subconscious snub, that you don't stare at her like every other guy in the gym. This way you shut down one of her key sources of validation/sense of self-worth, ie being gawked at by drooling neanderthals. (if you could see properly, you would be in that neanderthal category like every other schmuck, and she then has no need for you) Basically you are playing 'hard to get'--but only because your vision is incapacitated. Her ego bruised by your inattention, she may actually begin to think you somewhat interesting, and your chances of landing a flirtatious smile when you finally do put your eyes on her will increase correspondingly.

3. Each and every car in Toronto that is parked illegally, right at the corner of an intersection--blocking entire lanes of traffic and generally creating gridlock, especially between 3-5 pm--is by necessity an SUV, driven by a well-to-do married wife in her mid to late 30s, on her way to a chain coffee shop to get her decaf chai latte and biscotti to go, who of course is justified in breaking the law and causing hell for other drivers, 'cause "I'm just gonna park there for a minute, and besides I don't have time to find a spot because I have to hurry home; Bob just got a promotion and I'm rushing to help the nanny fix a snack for the kids and after I drive them to karate class the two of us are going to Centro to celebrate, and maybe after we'll meet Marv and Irene at Kalender for martinis and dessert." (I know this last one isn't quite wisdom, but it's good to get it out)

A threatening letter from my Arch-Nemesis

He's on to me--I thought I could avoid him, but after just one day online he's tracked me down, and is already trying to do me in. I received a letter in my mailbox just this morning; I opened it up only to see him, lying in wait with some kind of toothbrush. I'll say no more, except that I got away from the lunatic this time, but next time I may not be so lucky. Read what he wrote, and pray for me. -P

My dear Patrick,

It has come to my attention that you are a scoundrel of the first order, and have acted in monstrously wicked ways for some time now.

Now, it would be very easy for me to denounce you right now to the local magistrate, for he would have the good sense to pinch you on the ears until you are humbled. But I care only for your continued health and your ultimate success, Patrick; which is why I have requested permission from the authorities to punish you myself, slapping you upside the buttocks with a wooden paddle, until you have learned a thing or two about the truth.

We live in a world of powerful forces, such as the inexplicable and dangerous force that makes you act like an utter buffoon.

Truly, you remind me of the foolish characters once written about in novel lore: I can think of a few examples, such as ‘The Foolish Dolt’ by EK Fingers, and ‘Mercy denied to the Fop’ by Solomon McSinister. Remember what befalls the antiheros of these works, O Wencherous One: they are cast into ditches and pelted with gourds, forced to take their families and livestock with them into exile; they are drowned in rivers and then fed to penguins. I don’t want to scare you with such talk, but I must avert you of your brain-addled jiggery!

You need direction, you need a mentor. You do not, as you claim, need extra cheese on your ‘already-cheesy’ pizza, and a large bucket of melons for dinner. You do not need a life-size statue of Giles Rankin-Snifter, the infamous Austrian ecologist, in your shrimping parlour.

Giles Rankin-Snifter is a fraud, a quack, a phoney; you ought to expunge his teachings from your mind. He has said that we need to clean up the air and wipe the soil with ammonia to make grow more robust soybean crops. This, Patrick, is folly beyond the acceptable scale. Remember well that Rankin-Snifter too was threatened with an ass-slapping by paddle, until he swore off his heresy, and his punishment was lessened to a few kisses on the cheek by his distant aunt, who had nasty tuna breath and multiple boils on her neck.

But while it was not too late for Rankin-Snifter to turn from folly, I fear it is too late for you.

Let us consider some of your heinous malfeasances:

1)You have threatened to collapse the root principle of the universe into an omnipotent theorem called ‘The Answer to Everything including Why Hummus tastes Gross’. I beg you, do not do it; allow us to cure you instead! Also, 2) You have drawn a cartoon of a talking light bulb named ‘Clarkie McBrightness’ on the back of a sheet of cardboard, and sold it to Ping Poy Loh the one-legged grocer on Bilbo Boulevard--an act which galls me. Could you conceive of a more blasphemous effrontery to the truth?

You have much perverse devilry in you, Patrick and it is this I must correct, whether with paddles to the ass, or by gluing a carrot to your nose and having you attacked by a corrective jackrabbit, until you recant, due to the many scratches on your face.

You dare to rub your elbows in a muddy peat bog and prance about the sidewalks of the Cathedral District, showing your muddied limbs to the townsfolk and asking them directions to the Plumbers Convention? Well, that sort of foolishness may go unpunished in laxer counties, but you forget that I have connections with the township. The bureaucrats, when I say ‘fart!’, they ask me ‘how loud?’, ‘how long?’ and ‘how gaseous?’

But what is your response to my warnings? More tongue-clucking, more rebellion? Fie, fie, you have tested my patience beyond the limit. Out with the electric armpit-enhancer!

Yes the armpit enhancer will be your first lesson in remorse and regret.

Now I will give you a taste of my special instruction; you will feel shock, first in your armpits, and then in other places, so long as you persist in this delinquency. In my hand is a toothbrush, yellow, and bristled at both ends; because it is not the usual type of toothbrush I have decided to call it an ‘armpit-enhancer.’ When your armpits feel the brushing tip of the armpit-enhancer, you will howl in helpless ticklishness; you will be helpless in your agony and I bet that you’ll renounce yourself at once! You shall dare not laugh at me, while I tickle you!


Your Arch-Nemesis

My love of figs

Perhaps the reader would like to know more about the author. Well, I was born in the Year of the Horse, and while that has no bearing whatsoever on my personality, it’s always nice to bring up the Chinese, especially when explaining one’s life story.

(and then a sudden overblown tangent on figs)

From the first, I had a passion, unparalleled in this celestial plane, for figs. The fig is an exotic and heavenly fruit, you will agree, and as a connoisseur I grew up unmatched by any other in Toronto. The fig attracts me like a flame does a moth, and I have suffered such blissful and excruciating lustings after this god-fruit, that it caused me once upon a time to rent my face open with a sharp metallic device, one known to the plebeian as a fork.

Yes, it was with an ordinary fork that my inevitable fig-prompted wounds were to manifest themselves, and since this particular incident I have essayed to wean myself off the fig’s alluring and also nutritious bountitude.

Let me explain further:

One day, while lusting after figs in my usual manner—that is to say, while whistling and cavorting about a steamship, a foppish varlet, legs akimbo ‘mongst the aristos on the third deck of a Mississippi river belle—I was struck by a thought: What if, down below in the galley, there were others—more fortunate than I though poorer they were—who were enjoying all manner of figs? What if they should be partaking in the blessings of fig-eating, all the while I remained above in the periphery of such gloriousness, such figgery? I was driven to madness by the mere suggestion, and you could well guess the end result: I was driven to a crazed state of fig lusting!

I could not stand this; I sat down at once for some self-reflection. Before I could act against this ostracism from the fig-eaters in the galley, I needed for myself some wise counsel. And so I sat and pondered this strange conjecture of the figs.

But as fate would spoil my lot, a fork then fell from the sky.

A shimmering metal fork it was, silvery in colour, serpentine in shape, lethal in its treachery, or so it would prove. It clattered to the floor and I seized it; in my right hand I took it forth.

The fork I held aloft like Excalibur, as though rent from some strange and prehistoric stone, and I was brash King Arthur. I considered that perhaps the fork had been enchanted by mysterious, long-dead shamans, who with prayers and incantations had set it deep within the rock, or--in my case--had sent it clattering onto the third deck of a steamship. Perhaps this gift from above would prove to be an ally on my road of living, I thought; perhaps this fork should be a friend or helpmate in my lifelong quest, to eat as many figs as possible…