Quit your day job

(Get a day job and quit)

The emptiness that came so swift upon
being respectable
the pointlessness sets me adrift on being

I don't speak any more, it's
circumspect to piss or spit
when you wake up too early to work late
complaints don't rate
when I can't raise complaints I feel so
normal even keeled and self-possessed and
god I
hate it.

This is the other half, the
greener grass, the moment past for future moments that will pass
so think about half-naked women so nice
and car insurance and a motorbike
monthly pay is comfortable, safe, that's good advice

You get old, accept that excuse
nobody promoted from a recluse cave and
integrity's a kind of
ascetic self-abuse I guess so
let up let up get up and give up

And if you just stopped reading
then you deserve what you get.
'If I just stop writing I'll get everything
I deserve.'


Sympathy for the Devil

(The evolution made me do it!)
Heaven doesn’t glow with the fires down below, a bit sterile and empty like Leonard Cohen sang, it’s closing time for heaven, I’ve got somewhere else to go when it’s half past eleven, down the alley there are drums in the alley drunken bums, fisticuffs and satin fluff on a blonde wearing mink earmuffs. Coddle your bimbos three by three, they probably all failed Grade 10 History, and so everything repeats, like the staring at the teats and suffering of the people at the hands of an elite. We evolved from the army ants, hierarchy and caste transmitted through our pants, blame the progeny of your genitals and that’s why women love to dants. The tribe rules, look at Survivor, and Dilton Doiley ain’t MacGyver, it’s those firefighter high-fivers and the 6 ft 4 NASCAR drivers that are the result of this DNA (why you love
T & A) tumult.


Dress up Thursdays

When I was 19 I would dress up in a shirt and tie - every single Thursday.

I'm not sure why I started it.

"So..." people asked, "why are you all dressed up?"

I had no good answer. But I kept dressing up. It had the makings of a story.

"Because, um. It's Thursday."

I wore a tie every day for five years in high school - but it was a non-issue. When you go to an all-boys private school, having a physical appearance is mostly a non-issue. As a teenager I was all intellect and brain vapour. I had no use for mirrors.

Then I got to university. 'Feel good by looking good' was my new philosophy. It worked. People got to expect it - the tie, the style, the smile. It was strange for me, because I don't really like attention. The direct, staring 'who's that guy'? kind. I still don't like mirrors; they force me to stare.

Anyway, my first haircut at Queen's was on a Thursday. It was early November, my hair was criminally shaggy. And my new hairdresser was hot.

"Why are you dressed up," she asked, "on a Thursday morning?"

She had an incredible figure and bottle blonde hair. But Christ - her first name eludes me now. It was one of those blonde-bombshell names.

"It's this thing I do." I was half in love already. "It's dress-up Thursday."

Jaclyn? Holly? Amber? Sonja? Kendra? Tricia?

"Ok.... Why do you do it?"

Cuz I'm an eccentric baddass daredevil, I wanted to tell her. Glad I didn't. It was a great haircut. She cut my hair every two months for the next three years.

"I guess because it makes people smile."

I was 100 % faithful to her. Her scissors, my hair, three years. I've never been committed to anyone that long.

She moved to Ottawa in 2000 to open a salon. I think of her every time my hair grows shaggy. I'm sad about her name now. I'm sad because she asked me the best questions - and I'm letting her down.

"It gives people something to talk about."

I've never told any hairdresser since Keira about Dress up Thursdays. It was our thing, and besides - they might think I was strange.

Ah. Yes. Keira. Keira. Keirah? No.

I miss you Keira. Move back to Kingston. Thanks for indulging this incoherent anecdote. I wrote about you so I could remember your name.


ludicrous trash

Great big bird! Enter and I am atyourservice. Great things we expect, not least is this cheek, offered up, to be pecked, your beak this lip, need for affection least changeable thing this week. Oh jump! Oh bump! Oh cancerous lump! Tie to me to a trapeze, such acrobatic phlegm in a dogmatic den of sorcerous orthodoxy Рlong on melancholy and choking on conformity. We serious lynchmob, long for big guns, warm bullets, chickens with no heads, sweaty fingers itchy for a target, big bull and bear maul all strangers in the market. Cranks and critics lash invectives, reviews a reflection of their talent in the trash. The guttersnipe attacks itself, the self-esteem suicide is the master of self help. Oh night, grey day, mad morning and unspoken traffic torment, sewer rust and clich̩ lust, too snobbish for an Elvis bust on your housewarming holiday.


Ms. Rhythm makes a comeback

She came into the night and this light dying and my heart failing. After hours of screaming silence, she winks and whirls into the river, as though escape by water could excuse her crime. She didn't leave a calling card or a thoughtful hand-written note. I scour the bank upon a skiff, a boat beneath me to float that way and this, the merest whiff, perfume in a jar in my memory, across the ocean she's laughing or crying. I asked her mother her new address; I carried a photograph of her silk black skirt, I don't remember clothes but I remember certain textures, powders or sensations of heat. She was a criminial no doubt, word was out in the town, most wanted thief, most feared devil, most loved siren, most certain death.


don't forget

the strength it takes to be a gentleman.


Buy the new Hip album or I will kill you...

(...with reminders of how extremely good it is!)

My Second Album Review: World Container
It will be written: in 2006, Gord Downie discovered melody. And heart. And Bob Rock didn't put up with overintelligent lyrical obfuscation. And the band kicked it as usual - with piano!

The Tragically Hip are the only band I'll stoop to review; here's my nonsensical track-by-track analysis of World Container - possibly the third best Hip album ever behind Road Apples and Fully Completely. It is surely Gord's best vocal performance to date.

1. Yer Not the Ocean: Gord loves nature - but hates Stephen Harper. Harper's a piddling puddle, he's no Atlantic. Look beyond politics and this is a rebuke to mankind (yes, one of those species-wide rebukes): "I'm standing on my toes" and "[you] can get out of your own way" are references to evolution. Ie for all our advances the water is still above our heads. Kim Jong Il (evolution's finest product) should listen to this one. Oceans can take only so much crap.

2. Lonely End of The Rink: Song-about-Bill-Barilko-who? Song-about-Bobby-Orr-what? This track officially replaces the national anthem, the Hockey Night in Canada theme, as well as every Tim Horton's ad in existence. A classic 'story song' for goalies, who according to GD play "the noblest position in professional sport." 'Lonely' is inspired by Gord's dad, a former travelling salesman with 5 kids who nonetheless managed to watch young Gordie play net as a kid - showing up halfway through a game, watch Gord make a few key saves, and then vanishing. All I can say is - sweet smokin shitbricks! Don't get shredded by the opening guitars.

3. In View: A love song, the antidote to Harper. Also the best song about cell phone paranoia (and call display) ever recorded. The melodies shine out for the first time; finally, a Hip song we can hum!

4. Fly: This is untapped potential, the urge to realize dreams; also about Gord finally tapping into his heart with his songwriting: "something deep inside saying - 'Where you been all my life'." Also about talented and well-educated immigrants who come to Canada and then get shafted into "pushing the broom," doing work far beneath them. The coastline of Canada beckons like 'a pair of glowing thighs' but many immigrants end up cheated. Fly fly fly. Lots of choruses. Fly 'Air-World Container', yes.

5. Luv(sic): a pun in the title! Another song about airplane sickness aka soggy puke. I mean, love. "Words I carry in my heart?" - but hadn't the courage to say, for fear of succumbing to soggy cliche. Can the Hip grapple with Cupid - without becoming... Stupid? Is Love the only virtue there is? The Hip sound convinced.

6. The Kids Don't Get It: About how hard being as awesome as the Hip is; how hard defining Canada for all the clueless Canadians is. This is about how if humans don't cut back on CO-2 emissions Ma Nature's gonna deprive us our high-horsepower engines, kick our asses back to the Paleozoic and devolve us into whiny paramecium. Er, yeah. Anyway - some quite capital screeching here!

7. Pretend: I could 'pretend' this isn't another heart-filled love song - but I'd be lying. The keyboards are a huge departure. What's next - a random rant about lovesick Killer Whales?

8. Last Night I Dreamed You Didn't Love Me:
About 'old school' Hip fans who don't like the new stuff, especially departures like the previous track. Also about two minutes too long - the only song on W.C. I don't really like. The irony. Flush it down the World Container!

9. Dropoff:
Some bands are afraid to experiment. The Hip are NOT such a band - and it can be scary. To experiment that is. Fans don't want change. Even Bob Dylan got/gets heckled - and he's a narrowness-bestriding colossus. Has the word 'iridescent'. Spurts of machine-gun lyrics recall '100th Meridian'. Some verses remind me of Georgian Bay. I love Ontario.

10. Family Band: holy crap - I'm hemorrhaging from my incredulous forehead. 'Family Band' is possibly the best Hip song ever. Possibly the best Hip song ever. Unfortunately... bad title. I prefer "Rock the Universe - Hardcore" or "The Day the Earth Exploded" because that's exactly what happened here. FB is an FU to Kim Jong-Il, Harper and all their jabronies, and a big thumbs up to all that's incorruptible like James Brown, Elvis Presley, shiny Lamborghinis and quality street meat (?). Climaxes with a scorching mid-song pause + hypermetal reignition which make all of 'Little Bones' seem like a stupid accident.

11. World Container: This is all Bob Rock; a complete killer-whales departure with keys and a rollercoaster melody - Gord vocal's the equivalent of a trapeze acrobat. Lyrically, I suspect it's about Kim Jong-Il or Stephen Harper -"the one who couldn't imagine all the people [Canada] living life in peace" or maybe Gord's on about fickle fans again: "The good news is that you're smaller/the bad news is you can be smaller than that." Or maybe it's about how vast the sky is. Whatever, it's instantly likeable and makes me cry. Or laugh. "Laugh and laugh till yer told 'please dont come back'." Please come back!

Down with Harper, up with bodies of water. 'Save the Planet' and don't Contain the World. Five stars!


Song for lonely jazzheads

Some things are insufficient to express, me not prone to the mental undress.

Always sharpening. Sharpen yourself into electric current, until your eyes are a solar eclipse - and you draw blood by being invisible.

You sitting on a bench, by the tin, in the park, beside the swing, sit and sigh - skyscrapers are selfish; they make the sky dark.

Traffic pumping blood; open door equals flood, metaphor equation, permanently transient nation, this tree in spring – I remember tiny buds, thanked each leaf, chased each in autumn to rescue gratitude from the thud.

Nobody dreams of work. They dream of fringes, exceptions. I dream of Mediterranean vacations with my rose-coloured queen. I don't recall dreams much but this one reoccurs. She has straw hair like cornstalks, laughs three millimeters from my cheek. That night in Ottawa I told her how proud she made me. She didn’t expect that; choked up. I never complimented her but this time I did. She could not speak, eyes watering. I forgot how intimidating I can be. ‘Love is an action’ I told myself - but women aren’t made that way. I felt like an alien. You can't speak... I choke up. She couldn't read my music for the notes I wrote her. Like a jazz pianist with mittens.

Me high? On pork tenderloin, cab sauvignon. Medications, milady, we’ve taken a few. I’m wrapped in butter and slippery do, and no no no - I never ever did stop loving you.


What's Troubling Marjorie

(short story squiblet, best not to read this... I haven't bludgeoned y'all over the head in weeks)

Big asses troubled Marjorie Gold.
That was for starters.

For example the 62-inch ass of her cousin Desmond was a source of consternation and regret. His ass glowed in summertime, as a result of sunburns on the superfluous flesh that extruded from Desmond's jeans. This ass made a fool of Desmond - who was presentable but for this troubling fact. To Marjorie, Desmond was more foolish than a toad with a top hat who spoke lousy English (and whose ass was bigger than acceptable). Marjorie wrote notes for Desmond - which she never sent - advice on how to disguise himself with foliage, perhaps twigs, or judicious drapery. But she was much too shy to rebuke her cousin openly about his copious rearage.

The uneasiness over Desmond was not the end of her neurosis. Marjorie was a self-conscious girl who often vomited in public. This made her very shy. She vomited during prayer meetings at her parish; she vomited on strangers on the sidewalk if they moved too quickly from side to side to avoid Marjorie while she returned from the grocer with a large basketful of spinach or plums. She vomited a lot, and her stomach lining was in ruins. She consulted the internet on a thrice-weekly basis to find naturopathic cures for damage due to bilious discharge. Hers was not an easy lot, but then many teenage girls had it difficult. Some girls did not grow very big chests, and had to obtain special brassieres. Other girls had braces which made it impossible to kiss boys. Then there were the girls with embarrassing parents, transitional complexions, braces and small chests who did not want to exist at all. These girls were sometimes sad, yet were often interesting and always had an inner beauty which writers like to mention - because people like an underdog.

Asses and puke were thus the two extremes of Marjorie's exotic teenage life. And yet to call Marjorie 'exotic' is a blatantly sarcastic reference, and Marjorie feared sarcasm most of all.

One day Marjorie was avoiding sarcasm by paddling a canoe along a river. The river was an urban estuary that local activists had revitalized with applause-worthy endeavours like “Wish for the Fish and Switch from Filling the Ditch with Garbage, Bitch!”which had reintroduced salmon spawn to the downtown marshland. Not all such activist endeavours had rhyming names, but most were well-received. The estuary in question had recovered its ecological vigour, and Marjorie saw a turtle flapping its tiny limbs beside her metal canoe. “How I love the simple turtles,” she said to herself, “they remind me of myself – with their tough exterior and soft underbelly... Or is it vice-versa?" And she sighed, continuing this 'canoe of thought', "Not to mention some of the boys have complimented me; they say I have the nose of a tortoise.” This last thought was true: Marjorie had the nose of a tortoise. A strikingly tortoise-nosed, but nervy and puke-prone girl was Marjorie Gold. It was the new millennium, she thought, and Reality TV shows could be made that featured even girls like her.

It was an idea, she thought. Reality television would be an escape from her 'exotic' life. Marjorie had connections in the television industry. She had bought a television once at Radio Shack, now called the Source. “That man who sold me the TV – maybe he knows how to get me a reality show,” she thought. Marjorie was tenacious, like a turtle-nosed wolverine. What she lacked in knowledge she made up for with a turtlish, dogged wolverine-like donkeyheadedness. Marjorie was, indeed, a complex girl.


So much for that

tired of wiring myself and even more stuck
not exactly prescient
vagaries become the president
tape-recording a seagull cluck
oh beautiful girl! I was thinking of
your eyelash. If Monday means the apocalypse
then I'll be waiting with my

I visited Copenhagen when I was 25, and no, jealousy is not the word to
describe my experience. More like 'this is how blonde people live.'

I hollowed my wooden leg into a canoe. I can't run marathons but
the portaging in Algonquin is grand.

O great woman! Let me taste that recipe. But Thanksgiving's near and I'm
empty of claims, nobody owes me a thing.

Upon purchasing a Mac I'm learning to write all over again. Like wearing Luke Skywalker's prosthetic arm (hollowed out leg)