A half-completed roadster
rests in the gloom
of an open garage.
silently watch the road
as it patiently waits
to be reborn
-an old man
made young again.
A half-completed roadster
rests in the gloom
of an open garage.
silently watch the road
as it patiently waits
to be reborn
-an old man
made young again.
I was not dead, well, still half-dead but still here above ground. I had simply passed out from the overall strain of whatever I was doing which I could not exactly recall so it must have been very intense. For how long I was out for I wasn’t entirely sure but I had awakened to hands shrugging my shoulders with increasing intensity and so crossed my arms over my face to shield myself while shouting, “No! Get away from me, you Haggard Wench!”
Calm, cool hands brought my arms down gently and I ventured to open my eyes to find not the easily excitable (and extraordinarily insane) healing bag-lady but Sophina knelt down before me, peering into my face questionably. It was quite the contrast. Sophina looked so much more outer-worldly majestic than at any other time that I had seen her. It ached to watch her, even for a moment. Black dress, black lipstick, black hair, large black eyes and a white porcelain face from a dolls from a dream that you would not want to ever forget faced me and I somehow knew that she was not here to harm or terrify me, not this time.
‘Dweller.’ She whispered.
I gazed at Sophina as an artist would a fine painting. That she was here seemed nothing short of a miracle and reinforced what Jacob had said about her being my keeper. I still did not truly understand what that entailed but I didn’t have to, not right then. I had never been so close to her and I had just opened my eyes. That in itself was its own reward. The question of why Sophina was here or how she had got here did not seem too important at the time. The fact was that she was here. I felt as though I was staring at heaven, a dark heaven filled with impossibilities to be broken.
I reached out and touched her face. Sophina did not back away, instead her eyes grew with curiosity so I caressed her and she let me, even leaned into my hand. There was such sadness in her there that I did not see before. It was breaking my heart to look at her but would only break it even more to turn away.
(Excerpt from ‘The Dweller’ Chapter 11)
I open doors for hipsters
when they’re on a bike
and I’m in a car.
You had to get it just right.
Timing was everything.
It wasn’t easy.
I don’t think that most people would
appreciate how much of an art form
it really is.
The hardest part was getting close enough
to be effective
without them noticing.
you had to drive an unassuming car.
It couldn’t have looked like anything from Mad Max
or something equally as menacing.
The doors had to have heft
but not enough to lag when attempting to open it quickly
and the longer the door the better.
That’s why two door coupes always worked the best.
Routes were easy to pick.
Universities and downtown areas
were always abundant.
Otherwise anywhere with coffee would do.
Targeting them was even easier.
Visual assessment was Fast and Furious (Vin)
thanks to the beard
the absurdly large sunglasses
the sweater vest
the knitted cap
the legs rotating the pedals like an
awkward malnourished chicken.
The key was that
you needed two people
that were able to really work well together.
Team spirit, you know.
“Look, look, look! There’s one there, see him?”
“Short ginger fuck that dresses like Kanye west? Yeah, I got this.”
“He’s gonna get it good.”
“Fucker’s going sailing without a ship.”
You rev up beside him
maybe just a little closer
and then WHAM!
You had to really lean into it
against the wind and
manage to close it afterwards
with you still inside
but it was worth it
It didn’t take much
as we weren’t trying to murder anybody here
a slight little light maiming would do.
Feeling the impact of the door,
the vibration, the moment of reaching out
and connecting on so personally a level
even the little squeak the hipster FUCK made
as they flew off the bike towards an unforgiving curb
was absolutely enthralling
so rapturous that
everything was hushed afterwards
like the crowd before erupting to a winning goal.
It felt like God was watching.
“Right into the fire hydrant, Damn!”
“Fuck yeah! Blame the media, Hipster, blame your MOTHER!”
There was nothing quite like it.
It gave you shivers down your spine
and made you want to do it again
but most times you couldn’t as
once they caught on
the fun would be over
so you waited
until the time was right
and you always knew when that was.
You just knew…
and when it came
you picked up the phone
and called your buddy
giving them a pick-up point
with the advice:
make sure you aren’t followed.
Then you get behind the wheel.
You slide on the leather gloves
turn on the engine
listen to it purr with eyes closed
feel the rhythm the heartbeat of the car
feel one with the car
your doors will connect today
then crank up the Insane Clown Posse.
Now you’re ready to start hunting
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This poem is not intended to offend anybody but Chad.
It was only -17C this morning but still I had to scrape off and warm up the car hopefully without stumbling this time and helplessly sliding down the sloped driveway screaming towards the merciless blade of the gigantic plow that marauds our street in these ridiculous hours because I once again forgot to purchase road-salt at the beer store.
So after I quickly threw on multiple layers of clothes, scarves, duct-tape, old newspaper and my jacket before stuffing pillows into every available space I then set myself on fire, opened the front door and charged towards my car with the ice-scraper in hand like a war-crazed native from a dense jungle wall.
As I was viciously scraping the impenetrable ice from my windshield my next door neighbor casually strolled out of his garage whistling Niel Young with his hands shoved deep into his pockets as if it were a calm spring morning. I scraped faster trying to avoid eye contact which was an exercise in futility because he was standing right beside me.
“Hey Neighbor! Nice crisp morning, ain’t it?”
“Crisp.” I said. “Like lettuce.”
I scraped even faster. You could barely see the scraper by this point it was moving so fast. He started wandering around my car.
“You get any letters from the city?”
“no…lettt..tt..err…s..s.” My teeth were chattering and starting to crack. Please go away, please please go away and I’ll never jerk off again. I thought.
“Well, welly well well…I got a couple.” He exclaimed as though the very idea of it aroused him. “One for my truck being a couple inches out onto the sidewalk overnight and another for the sidewalk not being cleared.”
“That’s horribb..bb..bb..le.” By this point there were icicles forming in my esophagus and my eyes were crystalizing.
He obviously didn’t share my pain because he was a polar bear of a man and had a lot more blubber encasing his bones than my South American ass. But I couldn’t be anything but nice to him because he was always kind and plowed our driveway whenever it snowed so I occasionally cut the eternally joyous fuck’s lawn in the summer.
I was just about done and he was strolling towards the road where his wife was calmly seated in their nice warm minivan when he turned to me and began talking about the weather just as I was about to scurry back inside like a cockroach when the lights came on.
I thought about killing him to end my misery. Sometimes certain things had to be done and this was why people turned on each other. I could lunge forward and ram the scraper into his throat, thus rendering it futile for him to breathe. I could picture his huge head turning beet-red as he helplessly clutched at his crushed larynx until he fell lifelessly backwards to thud against the pavement.
But then there was his wife that had witnessed it. Would have to take care of her too and then ditch the minivan. Fuck, that might make me late for work.
Yes, when you are talking to someone who is quickly turning into a snowman this is what is rolling through their head. Be kind to your neighbors who are not whale-seals like your complacent couch-eating selves and just let them scrape for God’s sake or maybe next time you’ll end up garbage-bagged under a foundation of the housing project across the field wondering what was going to happen on the next episode of Duck Dynasty.
It was -26C out.
I had turned the key twice but my car wouldn’t start.
It would just growl a little then die.
I gave it a dirty look.
I drove across a city
covered in ice as brittle as glass
and snow turned hard as stone
screaming along to a rap song I hated
but knew the words to anyways.
I passed a kid who had his tongue stuck to a pole.
His was frantically waving his arms about.
I gave him the finger and hit the gas.
I laughed. He looked like a penguin
except that he was holding a cellphone.
There you go, Buddy. Don’t need your tongue to
text your way out of this one.
Text, Motherfucker, text!
I got to her house and barged in wearing a squirrel.
Putting beers in the fridge I wondered why
it was cold as my ex’s dead heart inside
when she came down wearing a parka without pants
because nothing about her made sense
except her legs.
“I have baseboard heating. It’s too expensive.” She said.
I turned on the sink
hoping for some hot water to splash into my numbed face
but the pilot light must have been off because
it came out colder than glacier run-off in Alaska.
I thought that it could have been
another money saving device.
What the fuck, was she a penguin too?
Penguins, they were everywhere…they were watching me.
I knew her for ten years.
We’ve only fucked twice
and that made me inexplicably sad
all of a sudden
so I cracked open a tall can.
“Really?” She said. “It’s 10AM.”
“Best to get an early start.”
“Why do you always drink?”
“It helps me face the absolute terror of every day.”
“So, you’re a coward is what you’re saying.”
Women were always on the attack with me.
They hated me secretly and used everything about me
against me with relative ease and the reason
that I hung out with them more than other guys
was because I was the biggest fucking masochist on the planet.
“Jesus, is EVERYTHING cold around here?” I shouted
then gulped the thing down.
‘Oh, that’s nice.” I said.
She laughed. “At least your beer is cold.”
“Yes, it is.” I said. “You are so maddeningly beautiful when you’re disappointed in me. Do you have any perks?”
She smiled, turned around and opened a cupboard.
I sit at a workstation all day
moving things around on the screen
between people coming over to talk to me about absolutely nothing
because I obviously had nothing better to do (Yes, that’s right. I’m actually talking about you).
Still, I suppose it was good for the occasional chuckle.
There was always a free giggle at the laughing factory.
One of the sales team came to my desk
sat on it, leaned over and asked me how I was doing
but more so like,
“How have things been for you? Any changes? You still with the same girl?”
“Good. Yes. No.” I replied but he still sat there unwavering and determined on having a conversation.
“What happened to the girl? She was really something.” He pursued. He seemed genuinely concerned.
Realizing that this was going to be more engaging than I had initially anticipated I dropped what I was doing, swivelled my chair around to face him
and starting talking
as he sat there
on my desk
in his salesman suit with his salesman tie
and that salesman smile.
It actually wasn’t a bad conversation.
Maybe sometime I will invite him over and we could discuss life on commission and the rise of commercial exports from China.
I ended the day trying to chop all of my pens into pieces with a box-cutter before my co-worker dropped me off at the mechanics.
“Who told you to come now?” Mechanic Mike said, exaggerated and comical as per usual. Mechanics, they had a sense of humour. Fuck, they had to. I mean, have you ever been to one of those places where they fixed cars?
I was also developing a tendency to stamp whatever their occupation was to the front of people’s names. They love it: Mechanic Mike, Bartender Billy, Pederast Paul, Sexy Suzy (yes, as far as I’m concerned, it was her job).
“I said I would be by at three.” I replied, but I was used to this. I had cars fuck off on me all the time since I’ve had my first and I knew that the labour portion of the bill was completely dependent on how things went and judging by Mike’s face I knew that things weren’t going so well.
Last time I was here was a month ago when I had a flat tire and had to get towed so I came back and bought a donut and jack so I wouldn’t be as helpless next time. The next day I found out one of my good friends had a bad accident and I hated myself for not going to see him. I’m so sorry. The next day a friend passed away. My mother was battling radiation treatment and my father had to go in to something removed from his eye. Oh, and a house had exploded down the street. It just exploded. Mostly I had my head lodged in a book that I was editing for so much of my time that it was driving me crazy crazy crazy…
“What is it, a tie-rod?” I asked.
“No, a bushing. Mike’s been battling with the damn thing trying to get it off for the past hour!” The other Mike said. The third Mike was in the back of the shop changing tires and listening to Ozzy.
“We’re waiting for a bolt to come in.”
“Car won’t be done for a while. You need to be somewhere?”
“Just home. Can you run me an estimate?”
“Sure. hold on.”
As he ran up the total I really wished I had some pens and box-cutters or some dolls to rip apart while listening to Marilyn Manson.
“Three-hundred and ninety eight. Tax included.” I love how they said that.
“Four bills for a bushing?”
“Okay, that’s much better.”
“You want to take my car for the night?”
“Yes. Yes I do.”
That was definitely a fist in the gut but at that point my worst ailment was winter. Yeah, I know that I live in Canada. Go fuck a polar bear. If I had to go through one more colourless, overcast, bitingly bitter cold day I would end up dead inside forever and back at the Homewood Health Centre reduced to a vegetative state with a permanent grin stamped on my face and drool collecting on my chin as two bored orderlies carted me off down the hall:
“Oi, what’s this one’s problem then?”
“Seasonal disorder. Drinking problem. Delusions of Grandeur.”
“Full set then. What set him off finally?”
“A bushing? Oi, we’ve had a lot of those come in this year. Well, let’s take him to the common room and set him beside the ping-pong table and let him reminisce back to a time when he had balls. Then we’ll go have a smoke and talk about Rhonda.”
“Oi, sounds go.”
“Oi! Oi! Oi!” They said in unison and clicked their heels.
The mechanic’s car had the radio set to a country station. I cranked it up as I drove home. It made me feel at ease with all things in general. Fuck, this shit actually worked! Look for me at the Stampede Corral hitting up a cowgirl from here on in. I’m fucking converted.
Four-hundred for a bushing…whatever, I’ll absorb it, but fuck man…fuck.
I pulled into the driveway.
My neighbour was standing in his open garage.
As I got out he looked at the car and said,
“What? Did you get demoted or something?”
“Yes,” I replied, “by my mechanic and in life lately it seems.”
I complained about my car. He complained about his jeep.
Very neighbourly, I’ll tell you.
“They just get old and things start to fall apart inside.” He left me with.
For some reason I thought that he was now talking about me.
I went inside and looked at my face.
It was haggard and angry in the harsh light.
I didn’t like it.
I went to the fridge to get something to eat
listing off in my head everything that I needed to do before the day’s end
but then I saw the bottle of Scotch
sitting there all lonely on the shelf with a label that read:
“Drink all of me right now. Give in.”
Good thing I wasn’t staring at the bleach.
It had such a compelling argument
that really spoke to me
so I grabbed the bottle instead and
took a hardy swig on my way to the garage
where I sat down
packed a pipe
lit a cigarette
and wrote this.