Boy Scout’s Survival Guide To Life


On Decoration —

You’ll wear your merit badges
whether you feel like it or not,
sewn into or under your skin, these
sigils of your success and sacrifice
are insoluble, scars and stretch marks,
razor burns of rapture
and freckles of forgiveness.

On Knowing All The Knots —

It is impossible to know all the knots
because every person’s a different twisted shape,
some are made to support your heels and hands
and others just to string you up, so the key
is not knowing them all, but knowing the difference
without testing the weight with your neck.

On Starting Fires — 

Like wars and reality television series,
fire start when you will,
but they do not end when you please.
Before starting a fire, choose your site carefully,
clear of personal debris
and don’t soak it all in gasoline unless
you’re only planning on keeping it lit one night.
And if you’re worried about embers, don’t.
Better to be kept alive by ghosts
than to have never sparked at all.

And Lastly, On The Woods —

Not everything out there is going to eat you alive,
but those that are hold no malice in their hearts.
They’re just listening to their blood,
like tigers batting away at the bars of their cages
we will never tame it all.
The woods are as fluid as our secret hearts,
as impossible to hold as fists of oil.
So when something in the dark of the woods growls at you
growl back,
unarmed, unarmored
and unafraid.


The Bones

collyer death chair
We have bulldozer brains these days
and jagged fingertips to claw at unyielding earth.
We carve tunnels through our mountain hearts
because the journey gave way to the direct line
to the A’s to B’s
straight shot across an untamed country
just begging (in your eyes) for the whip
and the axe.

Because the unspoiled wasn’t clean enough
because prairie plains weren’t clear enough
because our eyes seeks out gunmetal over green
to call home.

But if we dig
deep down enough
we’ll hit the bones.

The crumbling outlines of ancestors,
the silent downstairs neighbour who never complains
about our fighting and our parties.
They just sit about in armchairs
and reminisce, drumming fingerbones on muskets,
swords and rifles, sent down by
squadron lines or wrong-place-wrong-time’s
they wait for newer company, and to them they ask
“What was it this time?

was it God or King and Country
leading at the fore?
For gold or oil or scraps of earth did you
baptize years in blood,
or was it something so simple
as an idea that laid you low?
You wanted a reason why you
spent nights and nights in trenches
and now
and now
you’ll have six feet worth of reasons
not to rise.
And all the clamour of the world above
turns to whispers, nods and sighs.
So pull up a chair and listen
see what you can surmise.”