Two portraiteers reassure each other

(warning - these poems written in 45 seconds are becoming increasingly shitty!)

Oh you're a fool

to expect what you tinkle
to truly impress

This is dusting
-light shapeless sprinkles,
elevator music for
Rip Van Winkle

But when I wake up
the whispering stops and
the screaming starts
then I'll holler
‘bring your camera’

-or, make it an axe

you can hew me permanently, I swear

until then, just relax.


The internet cafe

He-man on Harbord street beside the alleys behind Bickford Park, tampering with hydrants for a lark - fifteen minutes after dark. Crowbar Sam and Juliet dance the downtown minuet, trading saliva and gum after smoking a cigarette. The laundromat has a wide foggy window, cleanfreaks avoid each other, apologizing for existence, inches apart in a social limbo. Flicker of the bicycle repair shop open sign neon. Slush on my pantleg but it dries soon enough, enter like an unhip oscar winner, order soup at the counter from an unshaven guff. Park to carve my stuff: Connect wirefree, float fast, giggle-tee-hee; clickety-beep bumblebeeings don’t make sense to me. Another dumb numbness. I’ve had enough. Spazzing on –asms: orgasm chasms; my big black book spasms, burps and sleeps. Spamming my brainstem; who wants to play chess. The silent screen sickens me. Do I hear correctly, yes?

Silly little drunk song

You who fret
what you get
Do not bet
On my demise

See free sheep
Beep beep, beep
beep, asleep
Does not make me wise

I drank all night
cried all morning
cherry hair and
apple pie

Wolfhound teeth
and cobra tongue
told the truth
about your lies


Herbert Yeeshmaggots cuts down a tree

(written accidentally about two years ago - glad I found it... unedited for your pleasure)

“Curse the architectural landscaping of this part of Palmerston!”

A tall oak tree was trying to make it home before it got dark, but he was stuck in the sidewalk. He stayed that way for a hundred years, and it wasn’t until he saw a man with a chainsaw walking near a van that said “We chop trees, you be pleased, low low fees!” did he feel any hope. Now the oak tree was called Volvovia. Volvovia cried out using the pharyngeal apparatus for speaking that is located in the bark of every single tree in the world but only oak trees can truly utilize it. He said “halt there, O man bearing my chainsaw of liberation!” And the man, who was called Herbert Yeeshmaggots, did a triple take of confusion and surprise. “I am truly taken aback,” cried man after hearing the voice of the worm-eaten oak tree. The worms had been chewing at him since December 1923, but he was tall enough to survive such annelidic intrusions, and this made the tree, called Volvovia, a bit more intimidating that usual. “Can I believe my ears, a talking oak” wondered the chainsaw toting fellow, “I am the most mystified chainsaw bearer in these parts.”

“Enough pleasantry, enough urbanity,” chuckled the tree, and he summoned an owl to present a list of propositions to Mr. Yeeshmaggots. The demands read as follows: 1) please chop me down ASAP; 2) please take me home to my fatherland, which is in the woods.

Mr. Yeeshmaggots did as he was told, for the oak tree was prepared to pay handsomely. “$100 just to chop you down? That’s pretty generous for an oak tree… you acorn-possessing long-branches are alright!”

“please, Mr. Yeeshmaggots,” said the tree, “cease the flattery, the strokery, and chop me up and take me home.”

So the oak tree fell to the ground with a mighty crash, it was loud and the sawdust covered all the neighbourhood. But this was no ordinary neighbourhood.

As Volvovia came crashing down Yeeshmaggots saw the sign behind the tree: “Palmerston Environmental Freaks (PEF): we freak out about everything!”

And as the oak tree’s branches covered the sidewalk, the doors of the PEF office swung open and a skinny sour-faced woman wearing a hand-knit shawl and hemp sandals jumped out.

“I am filled with puke and disgust at what I am beholding,” cried the sour woman, who’s name was Salome Seldom-Lade

[unfinished of course]


Paragraphs wisely abandoned

She walked into a fist at 3am. It wasn’t a pleasant 3am fist either; it had bare knuckles that bruised the nose. The fist’s name was Norman. It was brutal and unkind...

Two longlegged creatures named Seth met at a windmill. The first Seth was an ostrich, the second a horse. The horse Seth shouted above the din of the windmill "We are here for a good reason.’" The ostrich Seth chortled “You know it best...”

Out of an outhouse shouted a mouse: “I shit thee not – yet you shit in large, lumpen pots!”

Into a street-corner Quigley cantered a curmudgeon. The curmudgeon was Gaelic, his name was Waylan. And the Quigley was for snooping...

Eleven of my best friends exploded themselves on a bus in Yemen. It was group terrorism gone haywire...

From the great pizzamaking genius of the age came an idea to distribute cheesy delectables to the third world. The pizzas of Sancho Silverthorne were delightful and succulent. Things unlike butter, yet buttery. Things sweet and tawdry they were not...

Of potions, Winston sampled many. Of jewel thieves he knew a dozen. Of lashmaking hooligans he acquainted himself and stole away slurping. It was slurpee season in the post office where Winston toiled, sorting mail, shipping it, opening it illegally and cracking his toes like a man who invented a more delicious lasagna...

What weapons there were in the attic did not interest Giles Huffnagle Troutbubbles. He was not an axe murderer, and that’s why men went into the attic, did they not – to fetch weapons to scare away the neighbourhood children? But no, the 'axe murderer' legend, which he concocted to maintain peace in his square patch of earth, would ultimately lead to asphyxiation...

...Capricorns are everywhere. So what?


Another unexpected jewel from the archives...

(silliness factor: 9)

The Smelting Panacaea

Smelting was Bob’s obsession. His last name was Toadfeather: Robert Longleggings Toadfeather. How he could smelt! The char destroyed his nostrils and offended his wife’s sensibilities but Bob was stout in his firmness, rigid in his stiffness and thick in his density. It was sanction season at the UN, where Bob smelted, and this brought a touch of ranklish nostalgia whenever discussions turned to Cuba, North Korea or one of the rogue states. ‘My smelting could cure their wayward disobedience,’ thought Bob. And yet his wife was a communist.

Turncoats rankled Bob. His communist wife was chief rankler of his life, or rankless, though she pulled rank. It stank. Bob was a frustrated thespian, a smelter, yes but an actor all at once; his smelting was accomplished during the day, and this left time at night to act. His acting filled the townspeople with bawdy enthusiasms and great oathsmen were heard to utter monstrous items of praise in Bob’s general direction. Patrons and pottymouths shouted at Bob. For he was tall, and stout, like a massive pint of beer that overflows the glass and takes a manlike dimension. So stout was Bob that he took his wife one day by the ankles and flung her round his head like a Chinese butcher tethers a frozen cat. That’s how imposing his figure was. That was Bob: smelter, thespian, communist intolerant and generally flamboyant. While not gay, Bob still pricked his ears at talk of leather chaps. “Sale today at Dwight Von Gaylord’s – are you going Bob?” This kind of question made him hesitant. He was a hesitant metrosexual and leaning toward stick in the mud.

Bob’s wife joined a new communist chapter every week. They sprang up and folded like so many pages of the telephone books. Bob’s wife sauntered from hotspot to hotspot, always with her tea cozies and her hotpots. Bob swore at her to her face, even calling her a ‘Toadfeathered she-hag!’ and wiping her phony eyebrows with steel wool. Bob did not like his wife, but she knew how to drive and he didn’t. For this fact he was trapped- like a man caught in the jaws of a giant cobra will surely be swallowed.

(unfinished of course)


Renew your vows!

Oh big bird in the moon, deliver me to June. Sunshine and pretty please, mango and swiss cheese, supped on til belly swells and then naptime cools my coffee mug half drunk in lazy Sunday sultriness.

Half empty, hauling my windless trireme and messed up on Mr. Clean, fumes inhaled after losing a bet; wiped with fastfood napkins and the map of a treasure chest. Whimper by the dock as sailors leave for legacy, I’m locked inside eternity, and hypocrites threaten me with piety; so what if I treated myself to licorice bits after a three-hour workout? I tune it all out, more upset at my burnout I guess, than what the vindictives figure out; still in disbelief at how I turned out.

Why no anniversaries? Or confetti under palm leaves. Frazzled by freakonauts fresh from maternity leave, a spitting image of June Cleaver’s son Beaver- or so I’m flattered by the cleaning lady who’d marry me in microseconds to her daughter Gabrielle. But no, not Gabrielle, no chance in hell - I’d rather be stowed in a whale belly, or forced to join the Navy.

Sentimentality's tempting, but there’s something more sustenant I’d be pre-empting. First-person bloodlettings and group therapy hugfests for neurotics and the depressed? I won’t wear such easy clothes - every swimmer borrows those. I won't put on my blood-red dress. No dirges or hellfire if I'm at my best. So it’s decided – we play at chess! I won’t barf on you, I promise. And I will clean up my mess.


Fanning an old flame

(and smothering it to death)

I don’t remember how
we touched
but won’t forget
how it touched you:
my remembering
how touching it was
that you remembered
my touch.


I have too many friends!

(and so do you)

I have so many friends
they live around the world
they like to lol with me
some are boys and some are girls

when I say ☺ they do the same
when they are busy they don't say anything
sometimes I don't say nothing, because I'm cool like that
sometimes we both say brb
and there's no arguing with that.

I won’t ask my friends to help me move
or cook me soup when I am sick
I won’t borrow cash from them
because they are just my friends
and I only lol with them

I have 462 friends
I am the champion of friends!
highest ranked on friendster
on my birthday they send e-cards
when I get married they will (K) me
when I die they will :(


maliciously vague

(and stupidly vague)

something pink struck me, mid think
it bothers my Aunt Betty
she of ol timer skin, overripe pheromones - that senior citizen stink
geezers don’t get it, and I won’t own up;
I get into trouble quaffing bubbles that I blow
every jury hung by an 'I don’t know'
-describing clouds from the inside, mirrored rooms of fog-
if reason is a carrot that's chased by a rabbit, why then
I’m an unpet dog.



(a true story for the living)

After this morning's breakfast
with an angel
and the afternoon warmth that
reminded me of possibilities,
I looked at the map of Toronto and drove
to Mimico Creek;
where ducks swim
beneath trees in the valley
in the river flowing unfrozen
-walking across wood bridges
with no snow beneath my feet-
I'd never been there before
and wanted to explore:
cute girls with dogs
and senior citizens smiling
the thaw in winter
is what we live for, I
don't mind telling you,
it's our little secret.

Fifteen minutes after leaving the park it
was in my car
on Rexdale Boulevard
by Woodbine Racetrack when
I realized I was having a
panic attack:

it must have been God telling me that
another one of my classmates had died.
My body understood it, felt the news
though I hadn't heard the words
pounding in my chest.

At 427 and Eglinton, afraid to close my eyes
-is it my diet?
....but I had veggies at breakfast-
so why this awful dread?
I silenced my music
and stared at the road
80km/hr in the slow lane
opening and shutting the windows didn't help so
hoping for a friendly voice to help me home, lightheaded with a
knot in my neck
I flipped on the radio

it was 3:45pm
12 hours after his accident
I remember thinking I must get home; there's nothing more lonely
than dying on the road
I told myself I'm not ready
because I didn't want to die alone
-so breathing deeply, panicking, I drove home.

Precisely at that moment on AM 640 the newswoman said
a bright young police officer named
Davis Ahlowalia was
killed in a tragic crash this morning
, along with two others
whose names have not been released.
I didn't make the connection until the announcer said
he was 28 years old.

I was suddenly calmer and deeply sad
I said a prayer:
I don't believe he's dead
please, oh please, get Davis
home, and
get me home

I think of the wounded survivors, Matt and Stevie Moore;
I remember Graeme and Stu and Adam-
plane, car, and tragedy-
and I marvel at how long I've been along this road and
why I haven't died
and at home in my inbox were urgent emails
from old friends;
so I wrote this for them
to let them and my dead friends know how
we know they haven't died.

Gentlemen: we have lived well, and suffered much.
There is nothing words can say today -
and yet, I think, if we have lived well, somehow that is enough.


The Shirtless Sherpa

(zassafraz factor:11)

Was it the shirt he forgot? He drove a leopard to work. It was the Himalayas so of course the high altitude can be used as an excuse. No gas in the car, no air in the tires, it was a reason to exhale. People tended to be silly, but so what – it was not that kind of September.

Of poison there was too much, of pizza not enough. Things were frozen and jellied, swollen and brown like too much muckraking. Bisons exploded along the water and nobody wiped the entrails. Many prawns died in the flute nook.

Did envelopes matter anymore? Of course someone’s cousin always cornered the gazpacho and drank, until Tuesday seemed like a better idea than Wednesday. It was a dissociation of vocabulary that drew elliptical tangents together in a coherent driving rhythm. But where were the denouements when you needed them? And why whisper to the wallpaper; things get written anyway, whether observing or absorbing.

For instance, last October eleven tapioca muffins congregated at a stool. And a bartender bet his retirement savings on a sixpack.

(a letter on behalf of my nephew, who cannot yet read:)
Dear Santa,
My nephew J is cute. He likes Star Wars and Superman but I think Star Wars even more. Master Yoda once called me and asked if J would like to be a Jedi. I said ''He would be a good Jedi one day’. Anyway I think you should give him a new lightsabre but only if he eats his own food and not the food on the floor.

the Dog


Preparing for my latest embarrassment

(the calm before the rejection; also - why our friendship has a hole in it)

either I’m disingenuously naive
or superstitious
or fatally me,

pretending honesty isn’t my fault
that ignorance of your mindset isn’t my fault
spoiled by innocence, expecting too much of
grace. Just like a poet.

oh me
falling victim to the
memory of her honesty
expecting someone else to love honesty
as much as she

expecting ‘I like you’ not
to become
‘I freak you out’
just another sweet dismissal, or
fodder for an elegant epistle
planting seeds for the
bittersweet reversal, ie
years from now
when you look at me with big eyes
but all I hear are echoes of
my honest mistake and
your stupid pride
and then my stupid mistake:
my wounded dishonest pride begrudging
your self-inflated, knee-jerk
retreat; you so ignorant
of all that's stillborn
and me painfully aware of what never was and
we both teased by what
could have been sweet.