The Internet (Poetry from Spam Email Subject Lines)

Stop-Spam

The fake internet is coming!
They want to sweep this under the carpet
Here’s how to pay it today…

Can you have all night long joy?
Your profile caught my attention.
Record it all on a spy camera,
you will LOVE the results on your organ.
Give her the best of you.
Educate the young on ways to have fun.

YOU HAVE ONE LOST MESSAGE ON FACEBOOK
This is not a myth.
Stop being a nervous wreck, there are
Highly active girls craving for
Individuals devastated by personal issues needing support
and Jailed Because Of Skimpy wear, booze, babes and more!

Have a passion for design?
She will surely pounce on you, so
PROTECT against Bed Bugs!
We consider new variants, no regrets after doing this.
Can I trust you with The Answer To Everything?
You don’t want to pass on this.
Be the perfect size gentleman and
spend time with me.

Yes, it happens to you.

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We Thought We’d Be Astronauts

When we were young, we thought we’d be astronauts,

had comets and starships orbiting our cradles

we were the centre of this diaper-clad universe,

and our parents were suns and moons,

keeping us warm, guiding the tides

with divine consistency.

Until the moon started working late

and had arguments with the sun in the living room

about mortgages and missing glances and

Who The Fuck Is Gloria?

The solar flares carried on well past your bedtime,

and you decided maybe space wasn’t all that friendly,

and sailing the stars could be left to someone else.
When we got older, we thought we’d be explorers

striking out from the motherland across oceans and jungles

driving handmade flags into foreign soil

that had been erroneously claimed

by the kid next door.

(What a jerk, right?)

There was always new continents to conquer,

a fresh playground, an undiscovered shortcut,

the secret tree-fort you cobbled together

that would stand the test of time…

until it didn’t.

The hidden paths were bulldozed to make room

for new subdivisions,

you tree fort rotted away, exposing tetanus teeth

And when the neighbourhood bully made you

eat dirt and worms as punishment for trespassing

you decided exploring the undiscovered corners

could wait until you came back later

with a proper expedition.
When we grew older, we thought we’d be knights

charging down windmills and wizards without

the slightest concern for our safety

cause we were the good guys,

and good guys never got hurt, if there was one thing we’d learned

from comic books and Saturday cartoons,

it was that everyone but us has terrible aim,

and all explosions reach out in slow motion

too slow to catch us. There was nothing to fear, so

we flung ourselves from the battlements howling like lions

until we tripped over our pride and limped back home

with skinned knees, broken arms,

and memories of the one kid who danced

too closely with the freight trains.
When we grew older, oh man, we wanted to be cool….

…whatever that was.

It felt like the greatest bonfire party of all time

except instead of wood, they were burning

all the things you used to love, throwing your wide-eyed self

upon the pyre, adopting a smoothness

reserved for fighter jets and dreary-eyed dolphins

performing backflips for strangers just to

feel some kind of love again, and either

it ate you whole

or it left you cold, shivering on the outskirts,

broken toys by the donation bin.
And when we grew older, older still,

old enough to take the long view

atop a mountain of late nights and rocky days,

maybe we climb down back to that bonfire, the heat

long since off the ash, sift through with weathered fingers,

trying to find a remnant of a storybook we once held dear

fragments of fantasies, the scrap of a blanket

we clutched like a shield,

the compasses that guided us through foreign fields

the spaceship pieces we stole from the garage

it’s not just a nostalgia trip, not just an homage.

To hell with the rent and the job and the cars

We were supposed to be astronauts,

now we can barely put our eyes to the stars

like fingers to the most painful braille,

that jabs “We let go.

All of this was just letting go.”
So if you still have that smouldering scrap of yourself

that you pulled from the fire of your youth

lock it tight in your lungbox

swallow the key

and shout out smoke signals into your sunset skies

They all made a damn good case for letting go.

Doesn’t mean we have to.

Stumblethrough

Dress-rehearsals-for-A-Mi-001

Shamble up and over
coffee quakes and tea dreams
pace the floor, shake out the fridge,
notice how quiet it’s grown,
like the part in the movie where something bad
is about to happen
except in this case, it already has.

Saturday sun’s already trying to claw inside
like a nosy neighbour
like a serial killer that wants
to warm you up and go for a walk
to get croissants.
Last night rests in your stomach
like a houseguest on the couch
you’re not sure if you should disturb
with breakfast or gravol.

Put an old record on,
a classic you pilfered from your father’s collection,
sway and saunter through the crackles and pops
and stretch from one end to the other,
picking yourself up as you go.
Find your feet where you left them by the front door.
Find your tongue in the sink with the other knives.
You’re not quite sure how your arms wound up behind the couch
but you vaguely remember losing a wrestling contest with yourself.

Snap yourself back into place like a Lego castle
you cobbled together from four other sets.
Something’s missing, but you’re still all together.
Call that enough for now,
Call that enough pieces
start your stumble through, and remember
it’s okay to pause the scene and ask yourself
“Any notes?”

Corner of Desperate and Cheap

In the beginning, there wasn’t much of anything
You had a hotel parked on the corner of Desperate and Cheap,
holes in the roof you swore you’d patch but never did,
Hourly rates for those that came and went
Monthly rates for those that never left.
You had carpet in the lobby the color of wasteful regret
the color of a bar floor at 2AM
the color of her hair after the accident.
The walls whispered in burnt coffee tones, the stairs spoke
the ceiling fans were sacrosanct, they
scattered the smoke to as not to disturb
what few fire alarms still worked.
Nothing much mattered.

You had fights snarl up and spin out
on the front step of the establishment
you had villains prowling about outside,
denied harbourage once and forever, their faces
joining the growing wall behind the lobby desk
of those dire enough to be turned away on sight.
Eventually the list grew so great,
it became difficult to tell.
Some of them got haircuts and checked in anyways.
The clerk you hired on never was too sharp.

This is where a dozen dozen dreams died
in fever sleep and rose like screaming firebirds
from the ashtrays.
Between these walls, methadone exorcisms,
the briefest glimpse of sun
and love songs burning brighter
than halogen Shakespeare sonnets.
Brighter than the buoys calling out
to step lightly around the sharpest rocks
the sunken frames.
This is where they fell asleep
sharing a single stolen blanket and half a pillow each
dripping Canadian Club and shedding regrets
like snakeskin.

In the beginning, there wasn’t much of anything.
The ending wouldn’t stray far from the script
once the eight groaning floors were brought low
by a bloody balance book, bad decisions
and stonefaced demo crews
who ate lunch over your bones.
After the funeral, a fence sprang up
and shiny steel fingers began grasping
up and up, out of the grave
towards the sun.

Five Days of Fear

Sooner or later, it eats you up
and you’re rolling out of bed at three in the morning
to check the twitter feeds again for key words
close locations.

On the Skytrain, everyone’s a blinking hazard light,
the floors are made of lava and the handholds are
electrified.
More so than ever before,
you don’t touch anyone.

At work, you hit the refresh button
on the news sites like an exercise routine.
CNN, BBC, CBC on repeat
like the Greatest Hits to your confidence
your very-shakeable sense of safety.
New reports on the daily, the agonizing microscopic details
unfold like a flowchart for disasterpieces.

You wonder who among your friends will get it first,
if you’ll find out at a dinner party when they lurch out of sight
for the fifth time, and someone has the foresight
to leave while the getting’s good.
Maybe it’s a family member, calling up
to say they’re going into quarantine awhile.
Stiff upper lips dissolve into machine gun questions
as anxiety blossoms into beautiful, cold-clawing terror.

And maybe it’s her, sleeping beside you
coming home one day from work with a fever
and spiralling out into something worse, you say your goodbyes
through the glass in the isolation ward
you make arrangements.
You pace the midnight hours away
sweating out your
farthest flung fears like an alcoholic
sifting through the empties for one
last
drop.

The worst thing about having a cineplex imagination
is that something there’s nothing on but disaster flicks.
House fires from stoves you erroneously forgot to kill,
Emptied studies after an open window turns into an invitation
One day, someone just doesn’t come back from work,
no explanation, no au reverse, just a name on a ticker
in the one-year-later memoriam special on the news,
while pundits bicker about what should have been done.

This isn’t a preview of coming attractions, though.
There are horrors, but they don’t all
converge in the same afternoon.
There are wolves in the dark but they’re oft content to stay there.
Sooner or later, you pull yourself together,
quit the compulsive scratching for another hit of paranoia
and take a walk in the fall leaves,
crunch a few Golden Oldies
remember the rays of the sun
and that there’s so much that’s still, and will always be
out of your control.

Like always, the Bard said it best:

“If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all.”

Get some rest. You look like you could use it.

It’s Magic, Don’tcha know (First-Time Elephants)

 

Cut to the thick of things,
and you get yourself the marrow of mankind
spilling out of crowded subway stations
holding hands in a September thunderstorm
watching the leaves change with the kind of wonder
reserved for kids and Disneyland. When you
see an elephant for the first time, your brain
has to swell to fit it all inside, some kind of pachyderm sorcery
has to be afoot.

It’s nonsensical beautiful,
like walking along a 3AM highway
singing drinking songs and swearing
“Fuck, I love you!”
staring down the headlights with your
Come-and-Get-Me grins
Wild like the moon,
hungry like the borealis,
and direly in need of a double-bacon cheese.

it’s the young punk on the Millennium Line
holding his head like it might explode
every time the station name was called
by the friendly robot lady voice.
Either he had a hangover
the size of the Big Bang
or he was listening to some kind of four-chord magic,
the kind that saves souls and spikes hair higher
than the legal limit, the kind
that pulls a wafer-thin persona from the filing cabinet
and adds fire and fifty-pounds of muscle
just to see what happens. 

It keeps the daffy-eyed dream fiends
hooked on motivational tapes and recycled promises
plunk down their credit card for one more case of
overpriced mangosteen juice, and say
“This is gonna be it. This time
I’m really gonna be a winner, dammit,
it’s written in the stars!”

But stars don’t hold your handwriting all so well anymore
they’re getting harder to see, we’ve got
satellite ambitions instead, not to rocket away but to float
in comfy orbits, gazing down
at city lights and puzzling out
the patterns in their eyes, wondering
what might be going on down there.

But if you squint real hard, you can still see
the sparks generated by a shared cigarette
waiting outside a Greyhound station
in a town you thought you forgot, the looks
you see in airplane arrival terminals
that could burn California to the ground
with unfurled passions, or that first awkward dance
around the kitchen sink at a house party
you thought you should’ve skipped
to watch Lost

You gotta step closer by stepping back,
but that kinda sorcery is still there, it just wears
a different pair of jeans these days,
a different set of stars. 

Lights Down, Lights Up

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When your fight song plays on the dance floor
You wanna just reach over and punch
The nearest person
With your teeth.
You got a strobe light heart and an attention span to match,
rolling out of bed with your 4AM eyes still on,
wondering why the world is still so damn bright.
There’s things to figure out, like where to eat
and how you’re affording the tickets for
Burning Man this year.

When you’re in a carousel of taxicabs
When hangover brunch is sacrosanct
When you got your hallelujah headphones on
You hear that song in your every cell
But you don’t hear much else.

Missouri’s aflame, gnashing teeth
drinking molotov cocktails instead of coffee
and not giving a good goddamn about curfew.
Iraq’s in convulsions, left high and dry
on a mountainside to find their way home,
with sharks circling, ready to post
the whole bloody affair on Youtube.
Ukraine’s a bloodied boxer pacing
wild-eyed around the ring,
just wanting to pull the gloves off
peel the tape away, and go sit at home
with her kids.

And maybe then, after a half hour of accidentally
clicking from link to link, you might realize
you spent four hundred dollars on a ticket for Burning Man
when you could’ve opened a newspaper to see
brutal deconstruction at it’s finest.