Today's confession: controllable urges

Every so often I am tempted to chop up this blog into several dozen smaller blogs, with each category or 'flavour' of post as its own blog. Have the 'half-assed short story blog', the 'spooky rhyming ramble' blog, and the 'poems about girls' blog etc etc. I think it would make my writing stronger, provide focus that is sorely lacking, and in general give me a kick in the ass. It's the grammarian in me, or maybe it's the mad scientist trying to tame this multi-headed Frankensteinian hydra of the imagination... The problem is how do I delineate the categories in a way that doesn't peter out all my creative momentum? How much do I give in to structure? I fear that once I got going I wouldn't stop subdividing my output into boxes until there was nothing left of the original pelican man. It could be a colossal waste of time, and probably mean a colossal loss of readership as most folks would just assume I jumped the shark and I couldn't blame them either. But I like things to make sense too. I want to give my stuff an even break, have people ACTUALLY READ IT, and it's not that easy when you intimidate the reader with all these voices, styles, sometimes-big-words-sometimes-small-words spontaneous-to-a-fault proto-blogger satirist-realist-mega-micro-not-a-poet-but-an-omnifauxet everything-in-the-universe-dancing-on-the-head-of-a-pin all-things-to-all-eyeballs ambition. Ag, stop - this analysis is giving me cancer.

Or maybe I've just got that New Year's old-year anxiety. What have I accomplished anyway?

Pedro Loved the Sheesha

It was an all-encompassing, even throbbing desire. The sheesha was like a man inside who drove him to ruin. It possessed a strawberry silkiness, and Pedro quaffed until the small hours. At least, until 9pm, when CSI went on. Pedro watched the television like a man on drugs, and that drug was the sheesha. He cried out to his housemates, "I am seeing spiders, and they refuse to give up the remote."

Pedro regailed us of his Turkish exploits, of his proclivity for coffee and smoke in the cafes of Istanbul, where he would clutch a half-dozen wenches at his side each night and order each one to sing his favourite bagpipe dirges. "You there, in the brown burkah, your timbre is way off," he would yell one particular night. And "you sound nothing at all like my daddy's bagpipes." Pedro loved to harrass the wenches, and he promised the Western world. But he was about to encounter a culture shock that would make him wet his pants, and scream like a whiny boy with his socks on uncomfortably tight. "Please, someone," he said, "show me to the nearest hosiery outlet store." Pedro was always wanting new socks.


I need caffeine

(impenetrability factor: 8)

Smoke sucks souls from the physical solid, burgundy bears squat in woods, so squalid. And humming is insolence; what can I do?

My lady of the lake, her back to the wind and freckled and slim, all hyberbole and seminal vitriol, words flown together like association blots, cordial at gunpoint but acidic in the corridor. She’s drunk on grape, shot in the nape, kissed by a vampire - the lip of his cape - blurring the line between passion and rape.

But don’t draw blood like a forensic pathologist. Don’t tell me how it is. You gotta feel it like ya do; 'make the blues hurt' – dripping with sweat from your 4-dollar shirt.

Loosening knots, abandoned cufflinks a clue, do unto others as Scooby did do, snax/relaxation and a month of traction, revisit errors and curse your abstractions, at bottom the well is dissatisfaction, and the Nowhere Man can relate.


Love in the Time of Sheesha

(more apochryphal narrative from west end Toronto)

Love in the Time of Sheesha

The Taps were full of nogoodniks that night, a few Fitty-soaked hockey fans and a three-legged waitress with split ends and a lazy eye. Her name was Bea and she drooled all over the menus. "I had three doses of novacaine," Bea explained, "and I gotta go back tomorrow to finish the root canal." We looked across the table at each other and sighed. The holidays made people do crazy things, like remove all their teeth. Joe complained his own teeth were giving him trouble, and good thing we were in the Portuguese Dentistry District. "Too bad I don't speak a lick o' Portuguese," Joe said. But I reassured him; "let your booty do the talking," I said while gesturing with some crudite. Joe was a belly dancer, the only male dancer in a troupe of sixty Mideastern belly-quivering beauties. That's how he turned me onto the sheesha: I took my first pull of the wacky weed in the garage of one of the dancers, a certain Aliyah Van Snooten, a half-Dutch half-Persian shemale transvestite with knockers up to Tuesday and a sweet falsetto voice. She couldn't dance a hog's darn, but man could she sing. I mean he. Aliyah was also called Frank, he moonlighted as a plumber to pay for his sheesha habit, which ran over five bucks a week...



Dec 25

Happy back-slapping fistpumping and ‘you old galumph’ing strutting turkey stuffed with pepper chugging nog or sleeping late unwrap Lego/Lincoln logs after breakfast, watch DVDs and cough a lot. Smile at doorbell oh no your distant uncle smirks at little ones smacking robot fists into brains and wait for dinner cooking bacon or baking cookies until lights gleam from drunk drink and coffee ground in sink wiped with a rag oh this winter I’m not so white, bigflake snowmelts and I ride my bike.


character sketches - monosyllabic

Bill: Sweet and good, yet hates ice cream. Does what he wants. Has bad breath. Pours spit on the page.

Jenn: can draw frogs, not much else. Votes for change, yet won’t dress in new clothes. Likes to watch geese in the park.

Lee: brags to his friends, smirks at the boys; bends the law, scoffs at the cops. Known to hiss like a snake.

Viv: eats cheese from a bag and wears pink hats; drugs her cat with red wine, sings Prince songs in the car. Broke her leg on bad ice and walks on a crutch. Hopes to run free one day soon.


diarrhea entry

Sanctified oatmeal
mollified moonwalks
grunting pockets of pith
geranium joy and callous powder
liquor-store vermouth in a paper bag conceals more than addiction
(your fear of getting arrested)
it’s nearly Hogmanay
and I’m still not a Brit
he who smelt it, smelts shit
gamma mocha rays and raisinettes on buttery tubs of rice pudding
this is how we sell our sols-
you who enjoy the short days
the sun’s rays don’t faze
but they’re underground and S.A.D
hooked on fluorescence and antidepressants

but we gab and gab and gab and SING!
And the bells for Christmas RING!

I don’t even own a scarf
Just typing for a larf
Metaphor for barf

I got a shiny new toy in the trunk
By the time it surfaces, covered in gunk
Got that cliché funk.

Me? Dressed in black.
Momma? Smiling through a heart attack.

I had 50 good memories today
Make it 51

I blinked approximately 2000 times.

This is still not sufficiently weird.
You people get spam-mail about lusty virgins teens and peppering your inbox
Yet you don’t bat an eye, right click and forget

But out on the street we all look the same
Shamed about our shameless brains
And the three-legged men and Lewinsky stains
“Oh god not that old chestnut,” I’m
boasting in an open foyer

Gotta find a way to end this ramble.
Thicket thorn, rose bramble
Semantic scramble.
Cannibal ramble
Hannibal the preamble?
Mammal. 32 chromosomes. Has cell phones. Reads in monotone. Make bad jokes, people groan...



"The man who invented the transistor was probably a midget."

... and 15 other highly disprovable conjectures of science and history

(lunacy factor - 9):

15: If a geisha suddenly gains thirty pounds, the water in her town will turn black.

14: The 'panorama' setting on most digital cameras causes violent seizures in thoroughbred racehorses.

13: In skin, broken glass causes bleeding - and in New Zealand, parades.

12: Daydreaming about marshmallow salad aka 'ambrosia' is easier than remembering your own name.

11: An argument about feminism will divide your family, not only along gender lines - but also on lines of Balzac, and lines of cocaine.

10: If a U.S. president dies in office after being gored by a bull, and death is due to the negligence of one or more cowboys - then the deceased's family will receive all the southwestern states in compensation.

9: Excessive heat will kill humans. But it will bring Hitler back to life.

8: A woman will talk about shoelaces as long as the lace is long. (?)

7: Complaining about the weather is found to be ineffective - especially compared to blackmailing it.

6: If you suffer from bipolar disorder, all geometry eventually becomes meaningless.

5: After chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov lost to Deep Blue, the computer, he got drunk, started talking trash, and had his ass kicked by Deep Purple.

4: A 40-sided Rubix Cube was invented long before the familiar six-sided toy came out. It was rejected for manufacture however, because the only people who could solve it were Sith Lords.

3: When asked what job he'd like after quitting the Bush administration, Colin Powell replied "Secretary of Turtlenecks."

2: A dromedary can go without drinking for six months. After three months, dromedaries are very angry. After six months they are donkeys.

1: The man who invented the transistor was probably a midget. Conversely, the man who invented the canoe was a giant - with size 12000 feet - who simply wanted a pair of waterproof clogs.


Difficulty is a Carrot

Grinding goose mush mouth motorola mannequins, mortgaged on Monday and plundered on Sunday. I listen to Greasniks and Velveteens pluck strings, thin and balding and passive aggressive inhaling cider and chicken wings, trailing their names with initials to signify their highest level of incompetence.

I’m so easy to be around, but I’m in love with Difficulty. Difficulty is a Carrot. Meritocracy is a hierarchy of disappearing burps, chasing down nothing to infinity. Smokestack status-quo simpletons worshipping gross domestic product use fatalism as an excuse for inertia. Blogworld utopians each writing his own general theory of utility, but the only thing we agree on is qwerty - inefficient in fact and not even a word. We are exploratory souls, delicate sails so unique or is it eunuch splintered against sociocultural reefs calloused into coral from leftover crapuscules of the lowest common denominator. The most Googled word in the universe is Britney.

What have you done for me every single second? I will right-click you into irrelevance. Don’t blink - you miss several thousand lifetimes. I could have fathomed 4.6 billion years of three dimensions no problem, but now I’m lost in improbabilities, spatial discontinuities and the meaninglessness of time. Gah.

(Yet I awoke today from a long-awaited dream with sleep in my eyes and my premature winter was melting; sure slush sullies your pantleg but so what. I called up that girl I like, she actually agreed to meet me for coffee. Hip hip hurray, I don’t have to mortgage my next Monday. Hip hip hurray - happiness is a choice.)


August 13

(four days before I came out of my 48-day retirement)

Beneath a manhole cover, I was inside a sewer, smacking reptiles aside with a crowbar, examining every labyrinthine twist of the underground. I sloshed knee deep down to the river, underneath the expressway, down to the butterfly park, where a gravel path made me giddy; there is a stiff breeze blowing from the northwest, from the armpit of Ontario, and a lonely fellow stolid on the rocks needs one word from a stranger to stop himself from suicide. “When it comes to work-related ‘cides’ it’s the ‘homi-‘ not the ‘sui-‘ I’m worried about," to quote the desperate downtown lawyer.

Yuletide is so far, the season is still summer, I was a bit of chlorophyll but now I’m a tree ready to be eaten by beetles, I am a soufflé so light and airy you can breathe me through a straw. The path is bumpy and broken, and the tires on my Peaches so bald, how easily we slip and scrape our skin in the dirty parts. But I pine for my pristine racetrack; I was guaranteed a wide berth and a clean slate. I always get what I want. I never know what I want. Desire is a Goose Chase.


The Personal Ad

...that ended up getting me kicked off Lavalife - circa Fall 2003. I knew it was kicking around here somewhere. Please no snickering, here ya go:

You and I can wander on long walks, wondering at the marvels of the Earth and the secret cosmic destiny of humanity; or we can sit around and complain about the weather and those disappointing Toronto Maple Leafs -- whatever floats your boat.

Me? I have two degrees (economics, linguistics) and next year will be starting a third—in that narrow academic sense you could say I'm ‘intelligent.’ I'm a humour writer, a former reporter who ran the university newspaper; you might call me ‘interesting’ too. Heck, you might even call me 'left-handed' and 'prone to sinus colds,' but that's irrelevant now isn't it.

I have dual Italian-Canadian citizenship; so if there are any Italians out there who want to chat, great. But by no means do I discriminate based on ethnicity, religion, hair colour, tattoos, cola brand preference, or most any other sociocultural shibboleth. My experience is that if you brush your teeth regularly and have some respect for your body and for the way you smell--that means no smoking--we should get along.

The one thing you DO need is a sense of humour. I'll make jokes on those walks of ours; I’ll feel ripped off if you don’t ever laugh. Don't make me tell my friends you're a joyless granny who picks her nose and hates children.

Contact me; send a ‘nod' or a ‘wink’ or a ‘collect call’ or a ‘complimentary cocktail’ or a ‘come-hither stare’. Flash me your goodies, I’ll do the same; especially if you're the woman of my never-dared-to dreams, destined to bring me joy forever until the stars explode and death does us part... Good luck with that last bit ;-) I'll settle for beer and wings on a Tuesday night.

Romantic relationships? Well, if you're like me scouring the twisted corridors of lavalife, then you'll agree that the universe sends us signals all the time, but we are always hedging our bets, too opportunistic to just take one good message and run with it. We don’t trust each other, because we know that each of us is human and therefore fallible. And some people put their faith in technology and computers (and online dating) for the same reason that I don't: precisely because those things aren't human. And yet computers are certainly creations of the human brain, the mushy tissue that coordinates itself by some divine miracle or some hyper-logical neural net (whatever religion you decide to believe in--Darwin or God--it's still a miracle) and gives birth to our irrational consciousness. But enough quasi-theological cognitive philosophy... I just want a spontaneous(ly combusting) woman who's also
pretty hot.

epilogue: they refused to let me post this ad, because it mentioned 'lavalife' in it; I got upset and made fun of them in my next ad, comparing the administrators to Stalinist censors; reactionary babies, they suspended my account; a week later I was reinstated, never went on a lava date again. but see Chateau Nice for more recent shenanigans.


Searching for Yvette

(frisky fingers aka 12 minutes no looking)

Huffing at the edge of a tank, hank being money in the bank, I met a tall skank in fishnets and pink anklet, a stud below her lower lip and green eyes glazed on a nip of marijuana. Policeman made me mad, so I stabbed him in the leg and took his dog to a foster home and fed his fish turpentine. Jasper Johnson was a gay old pig, he took his mellow laxatives and pooed all night and morn; it was the most crap ever that was oozed onto the floor, it was the longest log and twirliest matter that ever made it down to earth. I was inside the wall and sniffing at the grate, a hemisphere away and longing for the yellow two-ton banana, the closet clothed in drapery and the papacy holding the holy Spelling Bee, grammer kings and syntax Shahs saying blah blah blah and messing up the toads the frogs and the goaded lovers coaxing kisses and cuddles from a tough-wrapped huddle. Lite up a stone and fall into the ocean, it was the motion of the tummy and belly, and the swollen television liver, kidneys purifying limbic cortex in the brain and the lame men snatching toys from the minds of the girls and boys who never sucked at the teat of self-indulgence, it was the yuletide moaning and poverty’s revenge. I liked Benji, I liked all the dogs who stopped the war, and the metallic manganese elemental store I set and detected fluorescence and craned my head backward leaning over the bridge spitting at cars and weaving through lane markers above highway overpasses, every car that passed below me was another death, I was a cat with nine lives, a four-year-old with head lice, those narrowtooth combs scraggled mites from my hair so tiny those bloodsuckers and that warm winter blanket up on a bed, me lain down and drunk off kahlua and picking at tree bark with my swiss army knife, every memory flashes and teases: grass I lay and tumbled in, clods of earth and ants the red ones and the moss-covered rocks and park bench by Lake Ontario where I played for a 16-year-old French Canadian girl who wanted to love me, and the kiss I refused her and she even visited me in my house to hear me play guitar but I was watching playoffs on TV and trembling at the thought. Was her name Yvette? Yes I'm certain it was. Why don’t Yvettes fall from the sky more often? It was instant legend those Yvettes but I can’t remember 99.99 per cent of the notes I play or the keys I strike but I touched her arm that night and her blonde hair fair and she and me there so why don’t I dream of French girls anymore? Why doesn’t the world fall through the floor? Suffering and bliss, ever wonder when and why we decided to put the laughter in manslaughter? Wigwam centuries in tired fruitbat follicle and haberdashery addiction amid a city council meeting on Tuesday before the basketball game when the PTA disbanded and you were elected director of the food bank just before your Master Business License arrived and you decided to incorporate? Swirl and logic distended and stretched and ended and this is a commotion a pulse alive a lump to be digested and expressed or you die. My friend Bobby was alive with the lion and the feeling he distressed and the flowing and the heavenly heart got itself into the ouija board process the jaded bitter interconnected tyrants and those who float free and fall fast, you fizzle and you cry and your love can never last. I was almost convinced I could be permanent until I sat upon the pew and prayed again, me graceless with a pen, sinner in mid-June then I got a bike and pedaled through the moon. But enough! Now it's hallway chatter and passing bits of fluff and the water bottle you recycle and the guff that must be put up with.


fifteen forever

I like you so please
Please Oh why oh why oh why
Why Don’t you like me

(a haiku)


back to rhyme

Cracked basement brouhaha, smackdown on a couch, lay me down and scold me every single time I slouch. Float notions across the ocean, sweeten tea with hibiscus and honey, rub a genie belly magic motions from a tummy. Violence can be beautiful? Well the converse is undubitable. Flip your mores and morphs and become a semantic seaman, permanent navigator in vain channels, ionic eye on electric intercoursing, neuro locks undone with a chemical gun; so sit and stare, no serotonin anywhere, don’t be a dopamine, just get up and run. Transmitter I am, smiter of a tan, faster than all bran, hours in the bowels of your stomach and soul, a soup and ether dug out maniacally by a man I call a mole.


about (bad) poetry

(shackled in ironies, I am)


about (bad) poetry

This is a poem about
It has a rather
arbitrary layout scheme.

The title is transparent,
annoyingly self-aware
(you might, parenthetically, suspect me
of being up to something. Don’t waste
your paranoia)

A modern poem rarely does rhyme,
--the penman’s prerogative, I’m told.
Alliteration and assonance are all I owe, you know,
at most, to all of you, you see,
so there

This one wants a pulsating rhythm
but it stacks up well
in, ah, what’s the word—
‘diction’ or something?
Wait, check that;
‘cheek’ is more like it.

It’s a dry, dusty well,
unduly discovered;
a scribbled mirage,
this poem disappoints
the readers
who die thirsty in the desert
for lack of ‘well’-written verse.

And like a one-legged poet who runs out
of ideas, my metaphors are lame,
and my similes are
the Satanic Spawn of The Guy With No Imagination Incarnate.
Oops, gosh consarnit—
no more of gross personification,
flowery comparison or cryptic gravity.
Bury it all in the cemetary, I say,
with the graves and the crypts.
Do it by night or by day,
It rots!

A poem should have a voice
but this one, boy, is it ever cloying,
monotone at best.
You ask me to ‘shut up, moron’
and I’d forgive you
for telling me to smarten up or tone it down
I give you bad mood, after all
no feeling at all;
I feel you up and down, I do.

And ultimately a convoluted poem
is really rather bad;
duly considered punctuation cannot save it;
cannot fix it, period.
It’s a ‘cata-pos-trophe’.
Superficial and so insolent, it’s
exactly unlike
all those really good and meaningful
anthology poems.

What of the theme, you say:
avoidance of serious engagement,
the making of a mockery instead,
out of fear that earnest effort
would come short;
and so resorting
to self-conscious self-ridicule—

it’s so cliché;

almost as cliché as saying
something withered and bankrupt
that sword imagery, professor—I find it sooo Freudian.

So, yah, poetry is great,
just great.
I mean, what’s not to like?