Chris and Di among the paupers

Princess Diana once waltzed through
the intersection at Queen and
fleeting sunshine on a Saturday and we
loved her smile and swish; and
hoboes gather round to worship her and we
tolerate hoboes here, but
really we want them dead;
in this city we tolerate everyone and
we hate everything:
weekend afternoons run by
sidewalk punk-freaks and ephemeral
ecstasy in hot veins that we struggle to
accept in vain

fuzzy J’s an assassin in front of a store, in front of
a crimson door on the corner, a
king of the score who
winks at Di as she’s passing by;
he’s handing out high-fives and more

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

St. Christopher’s alive at
Queen and
Bathurst, below
a super-sized poster of Britney Spears
(another delightful Di)
his healing hands on a hot forehead;
he notices you drinking
a cold black coffee,
eyes and face so teary and red.

he says,
in my house you will get
warm food and a hot chocolate
no exceptions here
- I don’t tolerate hungry strangers

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Now Christopher’s stuck downtown
he’s got a full house and
a long way to go, before we
forget the dead princess
and pray for the living saint.


Recipes for dust

It's another half-baked creation, mess of switches, wires and circuits; a heap of nothing coddled in a cocoon, map to nowhere, a corridor between pantries filled with styrofoam, puddle of egg whites whirlpooled to a froth, supped on by a dog and dried out in a dull grey sun. A wooden toothbrush or electric spoon, a fusion-powered-dandelion-sweater weaved by supersonic loom; it's a cocaine-fuelled symphony that ends in a capella scat, a rat-trap-factory janitor who takes catnaps in a sack. A windstorm in a barn or sand silo in the Sahara, table top varnished with wallpaper bits, brushed on with a mop ... some things don’t make sense, other things do, but this is something special, and I wrote it just for you - 'cuz there was nothing else to do.


Ms. Rhythm's Revenge

(to be read ALOUD)

Ms. Rhythm's Revenge

She came in all twinge and cringe - and without a sound she took me down.

I was a thundercloud then, a heavy shroud, but I was dry inside, chased by hell's hounds, and she was proud; she froze me, shattered me with no warning somehow. It was a crowning act of glorious mourning, it was low-down and crazytown, all sugar, corrosion and clowns, it was all around and I was picked apart, eaten by her crows; it was a massacre, it was art: my limbs crippled, my heart ripped from its beating start; I was a quaking termite mound, aching to shiver, collapse and drown. I got hit hard, I admit - I was eyes closed, head down; I was beaten into the ground, I got raped all night in my wedding gown.

I woke, paralysed and screaming, disbelieving, all fume and steaming, wasn't sure I wasn't dreaming, robbed of all meaning, leaning barely on the railing, ailing – sure, you could call it that. I was wailing wild jazzy scat; once I was a cool cat, yeah, but I was absolutely nowhere now – that was right where I was at.

But Bobby pulled me off the mat.

Bobby yeah, he saw me bleeding, grabbed me cuff and sleeve, taught me to breathe again, stand up, smile, say cheese again. He dried me, tried to guide me, had me fed, clothed, made me realize where I was, to remind me of the prize; I sighed, I cried sure Bobby, I am finally alive. But I lied.

I had long put down my sword. I was drilled and bored, I was bull-gored, I was wiped out, humiliated, had lost the war, was hiding from the Lord; and so I slept for two years more. But Bobby waited patient at my door.

For two whole years he heard me snore.

Then Bobby got mad, had enough, shook me, kicked me raw, beat me up and worse, pity-time was over - his voice mammoth, mighty and terse. Bobby told exquisite truths, he knew just how to hurt. I shivered, wasn't ready, the furthest thing from rock-steady, I was all dread and leaden, couldn't fathom heaven, forgetting every reason - it was simply not my season. Bobby had to show me, teach me how to show her, to really get to know her, to learn her tricks, that Jezebel, that witch, to smack her and run right over her, to chop her up and rip her, cast her in a ditch. But I was so slow; I walked with a limp, I was an easy target for that bitch.

I saw her the next day in an alleyway, and my hand went straight to my switch. I took a good look at her, tried my hardest not to retch, I felt a sharp sliver of fear, and a shiver, like an excruciating kiss. When revenge is next to ruin, you must be careful which is which; you must make certain what to pick.

She was all talons, tar and fangs, garlands of strung-up claws, tusks, snake-scales, a man-eating vulture squat on her shoulders, she was Medusa and Delilah, Mistress of Hades, crushing boulders with her teeth. She hissed and spat and laughed; it was her rules every time, man, always her kind of scat. She wanted blood; I should have run, but she caught up with me every other time; I should have brought my gun...

(to be continued)


The end is near

(an almost true-to-life account)

Daniel David Earnest Witham is the
king of the earth
a prophet of god,
a 17-year-old in Bermuda shorts, 5-foot 8 Latino, blue eyes, fledgling goatee
who skateboards at the corner of Queen and John and
predicts a massive earthquake that
will destroy all of California
in April 2005.

At the time of this writing
there are 6 days left in April, and
I’m beginning to get scared, see -
David’s the only prophet I’ve ever met, and sure they don’t tell lies

“The devil created dinosaurs”
he says,
“so men would get addicted to
hmm, the Fossil-Fuel Curse, an
interesting theory
about as good as any
such a comfort that the mouthpiece of
heaven is a modern-day

He’s following a long line of liberators
- Lincoln, Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King -
David hassles me in a phone booth
asks me what exactly am I doing:
“I’m just here to tell a few jokes,” I say
and that’s God’s honest truth
I’m just another hurried

I take David’s hopeless literature
insert my indifferent coins
It’s apocalypse, revolution, repentance, catastrophe
tossed together on 8x11
the Keeper of Secrets is a fellow downtowner
makes me proud to be an eccentric

Dial tone, click, it’s my cousin in
Los Angeles, David’s doomed and soulless wasteland
I hang up in a minute or two.

In five days I will write a
frantic email
telling him to
pack up his possessions and
get the hell out of there.

Note to one self

There is nothing I can do - is a lie.

Fear of rejection – get over it.

Stop playing around.

What you aren’t doing is just as important as what you are.

Watching your every move. Thinking your every thought.

Fear is the killer.

Come to me.

Why pile up these future regrets?

Stop watching your every move – before you don’t make it. Stop thinking your every thought – before you don’t think it.

In the past is a rotting carcass of anxiety and inaction. The French have a word for this kind of paralysis.

You’re better off as an amputee. Cut it loose.

Every day I give you a clean slate; I’m always striving to say hello.

Hello hello hello.


"Everyone should live the way you do"

Len Ford Park is at the
edge of the City, the end
of the Lake -
here is your freshwater forest-top metropolis,
long branches and alder woods,
weeping willows and the wind at
1:24 pm; cold breeze, blue water
heart aches, head clear as
a blue bell
and on a clear day you can see
past the armpit of Ontario,
on a clear afternoon you see for
miles: solitary single women, grandmas
pushing strollers, babies
baptized by the waterfront and
tiny proud bungalows along the
shoreline whose owners must
wake up every morning inhaling the air
like kings;
given the right situation,
the lie of the land, given a
chance and circumstance anyone can
be a king;
canada flags flutter, smokestacks
rising in the west
beyond the busy highway,
it's virgin territory
a patch of green outside the everyday
grey; so look for secrets here,
discover a new Toronto; it's in
the winding narrows and
vast expansive spirits, buried
just beneath the surface in April
in the southwest corner
of Etobicoke.

(a 'poem' poem... yich ~pm)


Nathan Bugsy Villespliff V - Son of an Ant-Poison Factory Foreman

(a complete accident - do you dare read this?)

"I could really go for some onion rings,"
I said to myself.

I went to the tall man at the counter and he gave me a lot of onion rings. It was a Saturday afternoon, and the drugstore was empty except for us. The man said, “these onion rings will make you digest.”

I shrugged. I was having a mess of trouble with my digestion.

“Whatever," I said, "as long as they’re not filled with ant poison.”

Since I was seven I'd been antithetical to ant poison. However I was desperate for more digestion aids. I collected them like baseball stickers.

"Ant poison? Hell no!" This man was a bit too friendly. "This here's a drugstore, ain't no poison shack." So I scarfed them down, with vinegar. And he was right - they tasted just fine.

The drugstore was called Beelzebub’s Drugs N Such. It was painted white, and had way too many windows. Several times a year it burned to the ground. Good thing it was an open-air drugstore.

My papa Nathan Bugsy Villespliff IV used to work as the night foreman at the ant poison factory. The place was massive, chock full of the stuff. He would bring home tins of ant poison and bat them around like hockey pucks. It was the worst. Lucky thing by the time I was eight he switched to a caterpillar poison job. My father had no problem destroying future butterflies by poisoning them as caterpillars. He was a singular weird guy.

"Thanks for the onion," I said to the drug man. "Mind if I let loose with a foghorn?" And then I belched.


A real throat-rattler. The man was amused.

"Hee-yeah," he chuckled, "you got some set of lungs!"

I winked and left him a tip.

Walking home, I was still undigested. “Maybe,” I said to myself, “I’d like some licorice.”

I looked back at Beelzebub's. It was the only store in town. But now it was 6 o'clock, and the tall man was closing.

"Dang," I said, "that drugstore is a tease; they ought to burn it to the ground."

I reached for my lighter.

"Dang," I said.

I realized I had left my lighter in Beelzebub's.

"Double dang."

A caterpillar whizzed by.

"Dang," I said looking at the caterpillar. "Where's my pa when I need him?"

My dad would know what to do with that critter.

I said "Dang" six or seven more times, and walked right on home.

Dad was waiting there. With a tin full of ant poison.

The nostalgia came flooding up like a river. I wept tears of joy.


Epilogue: You know, I still think that caterpillar was a sign from the Lord.

She said

(and so I stopped to listen)

She said

"they say
the best things in the world can sometimes come from the
bottom of the barrel of a gun,

they tell me one year of pain is worth a moment of gain
and try not to think about it - it's just your brain."

"tough love, the way the world works, the earth randomly sprinkled with a fistful of jerks;
don't feel guilty for not being poor? shame on you, now donate some more
feeling a tad overqualified to march off to war? close your eyes, now forget you're a sacrificial whore"

"who made these rules? It must have been they
but they aren't here, not today, yet they
always get their way
(always the way, the way they get away),
always in the way"

she said "I think the devil of they, calls himself 'the people'"

"the people aren't they, the people are me and you, Betty and Lou, and another teeming six billion point two.

"they is the excuse, to put a noose on yourself, to serve something else
to grin,
lay in bed, offer blood
while the bullet from some firing line tears through your head
(judgment takes a holiday, your insides go grey, so don't think today)"

she said "don't lie on the shelf
don't live for someone else
don't stop churning, questioning, yearning
as long as you're burning, much as you're earning
don't fade away."

she said "when I'm finally me, how happy we shall be! when the subject is the object, then my life sentence is complete."

they don't like what she says.


I Guarantee Sun on Sundays

Heaven and hell smell, it's
well to dwell on the death knell, but
it's swell to bell-clang with lung men
though we shout and hang the delirious gang,
we think, stink and rinse,
drink pink fluorescent mixed things, me and him
big pig bins and thin winnings.

Cranes build high and we sky-sigh outside in the
dry warm blast of mai-thai soaked vermilion,
the million clicks that make a clock, smiling
walks around a block the rocket stopped to mars,
money-mad for moptops not marvels,
the fancy foreign cars that park remarkably politically
and the loanshark harping for men desperate to make a mark - into this tank of fish we swim in day and dark,
it is murky and lark-laughable, jerking, rustling, expecting
affable but facing disaster, able only to chew, unable to do or undo - this, sadly, is you.
Boo hoo boo hoo, you get what you choose.
And me? Woo hoo - time is chipping me, ripping me, spitting at me, sticking me in a memory glue.


All I've done so far's unscrew; I have so much more to brew, but the recipe's in flames, I'm distracted by the dames, I'm a crutch away from lame and I haven't got a clue.


Thoughts on MegaRant PDF

Finally, we have the MegaRant.

I still don't know what to make of it. It depends on what kind of mood I'm in when I read it. The order of the pieces is mostly random; though I did a lot of preliminary mental fiddling and I can't see how changing them around would much improve or worsen the collection. Overall, I do think it's fun to read, esp. if read aloud - got kind of a hypnotic rhythm. Maybe I just like the sound of my own voice though.

Maybe there's too many big words in there. Some of them even I don't understand, some of them I made up because I thought they should exist. If you don't like em, try to treat them as sounds. I do like to make mixed tapes; any rant I write has to function on your brain the way a mixed tape would. Every sentence is a tiny song. (yet another wannabe rock star.)

Other than that, your opinion's as good as mine.

Up next - Liberty is a Bagel.

Just another day at the office folks!

ps. Hmm, maybe there's too much 'personality'? Am I, like John Cale sang, 'in love with guile'?



I just like typing. :-)

and layout


difficulty in walking

(I wanted to forget this one... it's literally back with a vengeance)

difficulty in walking

conscious and not
tired and awake
straggling with sore knees
bent, back like a beggar

quick, there’s a sale at Yorkdale
diamonds on
Bay Street, go become a lawyer
drain your brain of Sammy Twain
Huck Finn and his Nigger Jim, and sly Tom Sawyer

I prefer the uptown traffic
the easy pace of the Avenue
condo folk talk Tommy Hilfiger
I dry out over the Globe, inside a Second Cup

I am disappearing in a thousand ways today
from all my loved ones
spiders shirk the windy corridors
stillness feeds insects and poetry

I lit the candle in the attic, set it on fire
but I smelled the café bagels
blueberry maple and cream cheese
and was reminded of my stomach

I drive down the street and park my Buick
pop the trunk and grab the notebook
buy a coffee and sit
and cough on my pen
I peek at pretty visions—
but they don’t look at scary men

(Oct '03)


Have a nice day


Have a nice day

I sure hope you do. Hey after work
let’s get a slice of

Have gum in your hair?

So what - I'm still
fond of you.
Chew on that!

You know what sucks?

Nothing! I mean, things
are pretty good.

You look great

Absolutely stunning
in that outfit.

You mean a lot to me

Bar none, you are the

It’s one of those days

where planet earth
rocks my world. You
feel the vibe?
heavenly apples!

So I was thinking…

about lending you
some of my
favourite CDs. Heck,
you’ve earned it.

I haven't got a clue

How to fix my
Can you lend me a

Dear Roy Orbison,

I think you are
perhaps the most
beautiful man who
ever sang.

Do I have hypokalemic partial paralysis?

A lack of bananas can

stop a man in his tracks and

reduce him to a

cripple --

more proof that

God used to moonlight


a comedian.


Bakuta Lady

(I can only keep up with my actual thoughts if I type really really really fast; this was one of those hi-speed sessions)

Bakuta lady (part I)
I have wandered through neighbourhoods and delighted in the small things, and I have tried to ignore this screen, but something sticks in you forever… I am looking outside, at a lot people walking down the street, at an Asian man in a black cap with foggy glasses, a buzz cut redhead looks back down the sidewalk, a bit skittish, maybe he was feeling guilty for littering, and the Keith’s logo above the recently bankrupt store doorway. The phone number for a hairdresser in a yellow font on an awning; light comes through the window and through a clutch of potted ferns and small Amazonian trees with highly bunched flat leaves, more dignified than a palm, and the nice Native Indian looking woman in the kitchen maintains this oasis of calm on a dusty crass blue-collar street. One sketchy looking mechanic walks in; he has no business being here, he doesn’t he know how to read probably, he’s waiting for Bakuta woman in the kitchen, maybe he wants to kiss her; I know I probably do. She wears a red apron, has a royal bustle about her, round lips that could melt a lead pipe. She has a shimmering gold thing around her neck. There's a defunct organ by the doorway in the north end of the cafe, not useful for much else beside holding up knick-knack statues and empty candlesticks. What’s that smell from the kitchen? I feel like I’m somewhere in the Caribbean, except for the bland Canadian radio, so I disturb other coffee drinkers with my Roy Orbison squeaking out at the lowest possible setting, barely perceptible enough to get you distracted (I have a fondness for small mind games.) There is an announcement board across from me, cluttered with tiny neighbourhood emergencies and all those unknown hopes and dreams and shysters or lonely folks looking to find community where public broadcasting says there ought to be. I went to the washroom, found genuine flowers and some tasteful magazines. I tried my best not to piss on the floor. Bakuta woman is too good for the sketchy looking man on the couch; he seems gruff and lazy, a bit long in the hair. I try not to pass judgment, leave that for the Lord, but when you’re by yourself at a coffee table you can’t help wondering. I tried different styles today; I tried Bob Dylan’s triplicate rhythms, I tried a rhyming thing that made me queasy just thinking about it, and I tried to write a cover letter for a job application, but practical things have abandoned me completely. I don’t think much about my broken body when I’m typing like this; my MRI was pushed back five months, my pelvis is out of alignment, I have no core stability; I’m talking about it like it wasn’t even my fault. Was it my fault that I broke my body? I don’t know, I stopped being able to place blame. I don’t know much about placing blame but I don’t mind stepping forward and taking responsibility. And that sure is a bitch.

(to be continued...)


Mind game

after 6 pages of John Searle's new book)

What in the world could be deduced from a splattered can of nous, the Greek word for mind, a find, also a French pronoun so politely reclined; have you called a truce? It is a verbose pose, a lachrymose boast, counting on toes and digits, the basis for calculation lingers, and who made us count by tens, my friends, was it laws of heaven or of our fingers? Why not count by chicken-eggs, the hens laying zeroes in every coop, we confuse the Moors and the moops, it takes you for a loop... This thought was over before beginning, a future interception, a lousy self-deception, prose without a plan; It is random, I’m random, ‘I’ is not me, identity does not exist, at least not for me - what a limp-wristed explanation or evil abomination! a poor excuse for abandoning speculation. I read more when I was younger; I did not have hunger, I was a wonder, like thunder, a bustling tongue-wagging punster with tricky meaning, sheen and sizzle, a swizzle-stick sized to stir pots, a photo-essay in Camera-lot. Mind and soul, body too, the duelling dualists run it through, the frog Descartes, his mind was art, his body pained gave us a start. I am I is no white lie, you are you, this too is true, we are us in the grammar pew. And so they say, but what is ‘they’? They’re not them, not do they obey my fingerplay; do they say nay, or say they ‘neigh’? Nay on neigh I say today; hey, a horse of course eats its hay, its mind is naught and soul a blot, the animals and flies we swat; and then there’s God, dominion Lord (we’re so 'fraid that we get bored), and what is Time, can we rewind to the Big Bang rhyme, to remind me of my mind, materialism is fine alright, but things inside now give us fright, (the dreams you have at night, do they arise from oligodendrocytes?). Or so we hope and pray inside the mind, that soully brine so undefined and intertwined with ‘causing things’ in wavy dots and quantum zings, and so we’ll never know upon this train what reasons are upon this plane: mortals discordant, Immortal Supreme - in this spinning world is a balance beam and thinking through it makes everything cold and chaotic scream, so bold, beautiful, velvet and chocolately serene…


Taking Tony Down a Peg

(haven't written a story in ages... this one took about 7 minutes. I think it has potential; I especially like the second sentence.)

Depegging Tony van der Meulen

Tony van der Meulen liked to smoke pillows of corduroy fabric in his office. It was the cause of everything else that happened.

Tony van der Meulen was a Pisces, which meant he had fishlike pretentions to wisdom, but it did not mean he had gills. Or even wanted them. But as for corduroy, pillows, and smoking concoctions of the two, it was a vice that led him down many dangerous paths. For instance Tony once took his eyes off the road while trying to light up a corduroy blunt. Days afterwards and he was still cleaning old-lady flesh out of his radiator grill. Ms. Wasabe Fitzsimmons, age 82, of Mississauga, was in a strange coincidence wearing a corduroy shawl that day - although the cloth guilds declaimed all responsibility. After his manslaughter trial, Tony smoked up in prison too. Smoking gave him an awful case of the shits though. Which gave new meaning to the phrase ‘hit and run.’

But I digress. Fast forward 15 years, and Tony was now a manager at AmFast Trucking Solutions Ltd. Eschewing a life behind the wheel, Tony kept to torturing his office staff; he was my boss, and I didn’t like him much - corduroy or no corduroy. I harboured a grudge; when I saw the man it made me want to drive my Buick off a cliff. Luckily Tony was grounded, never to set foot behind the wheel by order of just about every local magistrate with a gavel. And yet my hatred for the man was relentless.

One reason Tony enflamed me so was his insistence on using strike-anywhere matches to light up his corduroy blunts. I was convinced he was merely bowing to pressures of conspicuous consumption – why did anyone need to strike matches on a whim, irregardless of texture or environs? It was like Western consumerism knocked on Tony's door and called him its bitch. Tony was like the Timid Servant, or the Doubting Thomas, or the Man Who Sold the Emperor’s Clothes – basically he was an amalgam of all my most loathèd archetypes. Also, in my other day-to-day observations I had noticed that mankind clearly was getting too big for its britches; Tony exemplified to me all things in the universe and solar system that ought to be taken down a peg. I would de-peg him, I promised myself; I would confiscate his allumettes.

It was a task that would prove easy in the doing, but was a long time in the brewing. Tony’s matches were like an Excalibur in my mind, and it was a high hurdle, to take that step toward symbolic sabre clutchery. I trained myself for weeks to gather nerve to yoink away these matches. I would learn Tai Chi, boxaerobics and even train to be a short-order cook. And my actions regarding Tony would be just that: a short order of revenge. Revenge is what I craved; and my cravings were not to be ignored. For it was the 1980s, and I was indulging my inner child.

It was a lazy Thursday afternoon. Tony was smoking his corduroy blunts in a particularly egregious manner, puffing smoke rings out of his office door into the hallway, polluting the air of the corridor with his stinky old corduroy. I ignored the near-rhyme and

[unfinished of course...]


rhythm experiment

(to be read aloud)

one big tree's all I need
topple you with my big poo, it
clangs and shakes the motor breaks
the fist I take and ram it through

everyone must catch the meaning it
sucks the brain and takes the tweezing, it
calluses the inside of my head
it rocks and talks the way we trust it
must unrust the bust I lust for else I'll
end up dead.

Here I can and now you can't you are a sinner
you must recant, you can tell me and everyone I see it's
a walking talking fantasy, so come with me
don't tell me lies, it sighs skies I realize a hypnotizing rhythm
unwise to surmise the fly-pies in the eyes of the wiggety white guys.

And taking and telling unravelling hellions and
the motorcycle millions and the silly old sarcophogal mould
the older I get it's useful to forget the
truce I won't regret it begets clorets
and menthol cigarettes, I take bets to
impress the suffragettes.

In and out I tinker about so long without
my baby trout, she cannot shout about the drought she
walks about the square and there is nothing there care to for,
romeos and wherefores I scare
forlorn to winter time so wash the brine from my hide,
it cracks inside, yet we grow stronger in the meantime, the faulty brick it
sticks thick and makes me sick this rickety stop I
wonder at the top it unlocks bricks to throw at cops.
We can stop we can't heave it over the top it rolls logs and clogs itself like a sewer dog, pollywog and hunted hog.