Everyone is Coming to Arrest You

The park detective is
dressed as a child and coming
to arrest you for eating asparagus
with your hands and for calling it
Asperger’s at the store last week on purpose
just to see what the cashier would do.

There is a drug dealer
without a shirt on chugging
chocolate milk from a 2L carton,
and the secret police in dog
clothes are coming for him too.

There are microphones buried
beneath the trees and speakers
hidden in their branches.
They let out soothing bird chirps,
specially programed with subliminal messages
to trick you into believing
that everything is as it always was
and was how it is today.

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The End of the World

The End of the World

When the world finally ends,
 we will trade forgiveness
for bits of broken mirror.
We will trade forgiveness for buttons
and long sleeve t-shirts, because nothing
will mean anything to us by then.
It will be hate and love that brought us to the end,
and then we will try forgiveness.
When the world finally ends,
we will call crickets, crickets,
even though they act like locusts.
We will lie in fields where they’ve eaten all the grass,
and they will cover our bodies with their bodies.
When this happens,
we will think of the word tenderness,
and we will remember.

Mary’s Diary

May 10th, 7am, 1BC

Dear Diary,

Last night I was visited by and angel! I woke up and there with this guy in my room. He was so tall he seemed to go all the way up to the ceiling. He had enormous white wings as big as tree branches and a white tuxedo and white tennis shoes. Everyone mostly just wears robes and sandals around here, so the get-up was mega-impressive.

At first, I thought I was still dreaming. I made the angel pinch me a few times and splash water in my face before I really believe that I was awake and that the angel was real.

“Do not be afraid. Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son.”

I could barely believe it! He said some other things about kings and patriarchy and stuff, but I was stuck on this pregnancy thing. My cousin Elizabeth is pregnant, and she’s already gained twenty pounds.

When the angel was leaving I asked if I could try his shoes on, and he said no. I asked him if this pregnancy would make me fat, but he said he had more important things to take care of and disappeared leaving feathers all over my room.

August 14th, 8pm, 1BC

Dear Diary,

Joseph says an angel came to him too! He may just be making it up because he prays way more than me and was super jealous when I told him I get to have God’s baby, but he seems pretty happy about being God’s baby’s step father or whatever.

Of course mom doesn’t believe me that it was God who knocked me up and not Joseph, but she’s going along with it because otherwise I’d be stoned to death, and that would totally suck.

P.S. I’ve gained some weight, but I’m not nearly as fat as Elizabeth is.

October 5th, 4pm, 1BC

Dear Diary,

I went to hang out with Elizabeth, and she’s in real bad shape. Her ankles are as round as oranges, and she’s blown up like a balloon. Apparently, her son’s got some sort of divine God powers as well. She says it was dancing in her womb or something, but honestly, I’m sick of talking about it.

Joseph says we have to name this kid Jesus because the kid will save his people from their sins. Apparently that’s what Joseph’s angel said, but I want to name the baby Heathcliff. Joseph says that can maybe be a middle name, but I don’t see why Jesus can’t be the middle name. Heathcliff J. Christ sounds just as good as Jesus H. Christ to me.

December 20th, ?? pm1BC

Dear Diary,

I’m writing this from the back of a wagon in the middle of a fucking desert. Caesar Augustus wants to count every roman in the world, and Joseph and I have to go all the way to Bethlehem wherever that is. I’m boiling hot, and this demon baby keeps kicking on my bladder. There isn’t even cellphone reception out here, so I can’t even tweet my frustrations.

December 23rd, 3pm, 1BC

Dear Diary,

Things went from bad to worse. We made it this hick town called Bethlehem where Joseph apparently grew up, and every single inn is full. I told Joseph to make a reservation before we left Nazareth, but did he listen to me? Of course not.

He’s in the Best Western right now, pleading with the manager to give us a room. We just came from the Howard Johnson where Joseph went on and on about the king of kings inside my uterus, and we were kindly escorted out by security. I hope he hurries up, the ox and lamb are getting restless, and I’m really craving an ice cream sandwich and pickles.

December 23rd, 6pm, 1BC

Dear Diary,

I could kill Joseph right now. Instead of even trying the Hilton or the Fairmount, we’re sleeping in a barn. According to Joseph, the manager at the Best Western had to pull a lot of strings to let us sleep out here, and it would have been impolite to refuse the offer. For someone so concerned about the son of God, he doesn’t seem to care that this future world leader is going to be born on a dirty floor surrounded by hogs.

December 24th, 1am, 1BC

Dear Diary,

If sleeping in a barn wasn’t bad enough with the animals shifting and shitting every five minutes, now there’s this spotlight coming through the window. I sent Joseph to go see if it was a flood light or something that could be turned off, but he’s telling me it’s a star. He spouted some bullshit about how the star is to mark where we are so that people can come and pay tribute to the new born king, but it’s not like anyone going to be coming to a baby shower in a barn out behind the Best Western. I may never get to sleep.

December 24th, 4pm, 1BC

Dear Diary,

It’s coming!

December 26th, 2pm, 1BC

Dear Diary,

Seeing as this baby is a demi-god, I was afraid it would come out with weird shrivelled wings or something, but it’s actually pretty cute. It’s just a normal human baby aside from the beard and the halo. Joseph shaved him this morning, but the kid still has this weird almost alien glow over his head. It was kind of blinding at first, but I got used to it. I’m happy and the baby’s happy, and maybe soon we can get out of this barn, and stay in a real hotel. Joseph thinks it might be a while before we can head back to Nazareth.

January 6th, 3pm, 1BC

Dear Diary,

We’re still in Bethlehem, and we’re still in the barn, but I guess Joseph was right about the star overhead leading people toward us. We’ve had guests all week, coming to pay tribute to the messiah and giving me presents. You won’t believe it, but these three kings just came and brought me gold, frankincense and myrrh. I have no idea what frankincense and myrrh are, but they sure sound fancy, and I of course appreciate the gold.

I’m pretty exhausted now though, and I probably smell horrible from sleeping beside animals for two full weeks. Joseph is at the 7/11, picking up some more party mix and diet coke, and oh no, I think I hear another visitor approaching the barn.

January 6th, 9pm, 1BC

Dear Diary

This afternoon, while Joseph was still at 7/11, I opened the door to a little boy who had seen the star over the barn. He had walked the whole day with margarine container holding an ice sculpture he’d carved to give the baby. Being in the middle of the desert and all though, when the kid opened the container, there was nothing in it but water. He started crying, and I started crying too because I’ve never seen an ice sculpture and the kid sure hyped the thing up. He told me it was like a diamond only cold.

Anyway, Joseph came in and found me crying and this kid crying and the baby crying too. Joseph shoved party mix in all our mouths, and asked the kid if maybe he had some other gift he wanted to give the baby. It was amazing. I was a little worried about how Joseph would be as a father. He’s always so cool and pious, but he was great.

The little kid looked down at the margarine container he’d brought the ice sculpture in, and said that maybe he could use it as a drum and play us a song. I laughed at the idea, but Joseph nodded, and the kid started playing, and you know what, it was pretty good. The ox and lamb kept time, and I think even the baby kind of liked it.

Joseph says he got us a room at the Howard Johnson tomorrow night, and then we’ll make the long trip home. I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed and show off all my frankincense and myrrh to my cousin Elizabeth.

The Sky Collector’s Husband


When the sky collector died it was his husband Gary who was left with all the skies, sunsets crumpled in corners and slate grey storms cluttering up the empty apartment. After weeks of tripping over tattered summer days with his sadness swelling to anger at his late husband’s insane hobby, Gary finally decided he had to do something with all these used up skies.

The first place Gary called with God’s house. God’s wife Mary answered the phone with her voice of unfiltered cigarettes and bottle caps, and he explained the situation.

“There are some really nice ones here,” Gary told her untangling an oatmeal sky from a dusty twilight.

“I get that you’re trying to move on,” said Mary, “but you humans keep having babies. They’ll tell you myths about hell and purgatory when you’re little so that you’ll sit still in Sunday school, but here’s a secret, God’s a real softy. Last week I was in a round robin tennis match with Hitler and Genghis Khan. Every human gets to go to heaven. Every single one of them, and we’re over-crowded. We don’t have room for every human and every sky.”

Gary wanted to remind her that she was once a human too, but he knew better than to reason with her when she got like this. Instead, he thanked her for the lilies she’d sent to The Sky Collector’s funeral and hung up.

He looked out the window at a cold grey sky that would inevitably end up in his apartment. It seemed like just last week that The Sky Collector was alive and flipping through the blue skies of endless summer days, but it was fall now, and the weather was turning cool. He went to the boiler room to turn on the furnace, and a sound like a metal train trapped in a metal cage came out. He shut everything off, and tripped over a hurricane on his way out. It was always the Sky Collector who had dealt with the furnace in the winter.

Gary blew into his hands and called local weather man. They had met at a cocktail party some months ago and had exchanged numbers to talk about a croquet tournament Gary was organizing.

At first, the weather man seemed interested in the leftover skies.

“Some of these skies are real collector’s items,” said Gary. He was sitting on the kitchen table wrapped in a Caribbean sunset for warmth. “I think I found the sky on that blue summer day right before that July hailstorm no one saw coming.”

But this gave the weather man pause.

“Listen,” he said. “Thanks for the call and for thinking of me, but seeing all those rainy skies on days I promised sun, and the tornado I wasn’t able to warn anyone about, I think it would break me, you know? To be surrounded by all my failures like that.”

And so Gary accepted an invitation to the weather man’s house for dinner later that month and hung up again, no closer to getting rid the skies than he had been at the beginning of the day. He found another warm summer sky to wrap around himself in the chilling apartment and called the CNIB in case blind people who couldn’t see the skies wanted the opportunity to touch them instead. He called a few art galleries too, but no one was interested.

That night, a new crate of used-up skies was delivered to Gary’s apartment, but he didn’t even unwrap them. He let them sit in the front hall with the skies from the week before, and the week before that. The sun had set now, and an October rain beat against the windows. The apartment was so cold Gary wore both his bath robe and The Sky Collector’s old bath robe as he heat up his Lean Cuisine and watched three episodes of The Mindy Project on his laptop.

Without anything else to do, Gary climbed into bed just after nine-thirty and stared at the sky The Sky Collector had tacked above their bed. It was the sky from the day they met. The Sky Collector had taught Gary all the names of the clouds that day, and later on, he would get so frustrated when Gary couldn’t remember the difference between stratus and altostratus or understand why it was so important.

Of course they had had their problems, as all couples do, but it was never boring with The Sky Collector, and they had loved each other until the end.

Gary fell asleep still wearing his robe and The Sky Collector’s old robe, but he woke to a strange sound a little after 3am. It was a high pitched chirp that at first Gary thought was coming from the smoke detectors, another thing The Sky Collector had always dealt with. Gary followed the sound out of the bedroom and down the hall to the box of skies that had just been delivered. The chirping was frantic by now. Gary pried open the crate and found a little bird that had somehow gotten tangled in that afternoon’s storm clouds. He held the bird in his hands and felt its little heart beat against his thumb.

“How did you get in there?” he asked. His voice felt strange echoing into the night.

Gary’s bare feet were cold on his apartment building’s concrete stairs as he carried the bird outside. The fall wind bit into his cheeks and his robes flapped in the breeze. The clouds from earlier that day had rained themselves out, and Gary could see the light from stars millions of light-years away.

“Go south,” Gary whispered to the bird, still feeling a bit odd. He reached forward and let go as though offering the bird to the sky. The bird seemed dizzy at first, almost running into a tree branch, but after a few flaps it found its wings and flew into the night.

Coming back into his apartment, Gary felt different than he had before. The skies were still there, and he still didn’t know what to do with them. The heat was still broken, and even the Lean Cuisine package was still on the coffee table where he’d left it, but Gary felt lighter somehow, like his chest was opening. Inside, it wasn’t blood and organs and a heart that might give out at any second like The Sky Collector’s had. Inside Gary there was a dark night sky with stars from all over the entire universe scattered across. Some of those stars had never been seen before, and some of those stars would never get named, and some of those stars had already gone out, but their light was still there, shining through the night.

WANTED: Three Legged Elephant

WANTED: Three Legged Elephant

To: Uncle Nelson, Apartment 16, 222 West 81st St, Manhattan, New York, New York, The United States of America, North America, Earth.

I heard on the radio that New York was a concrete jungle, and I know mom said that’s different from a regular jungle, but I thought I’d better write you because New York’s about the biggest place I know and you’re about the smartest guy I know and we need to buy an elephant.

I’ve got eight dollars saved up and Donny always says how he gets two times the allowance I get, so he must have at least sixteen and we can probably get five more dollars each by the end of next month if we keep all the dandelions out of mom’s garden and Donny’s mom’s garden.

Michael looked it up on the internet for us and he says an elephant would cost $10,000, but that’s brand new.  Dad says there’s always a deal if you look hard enough.  He got our car for next to nothing because they were about to bring it to get junkyard for scrap.  A four legged elephant might be $10,000, but I bet we could get a three legged elephant for almost free.

Michael put an ad on Craigslist for us: WANTED: THREE LEGGED ELEPHANT, KING COUNTY. WILL PAY $15. CASH!!! (Dad says it’s best to low-ball.  We don’t want them to know we’ve got $24 right away.)  We haven’t gotten any responses to the ad though, and I was hoping you could look around New York for a three legged elephant for us.

Donny and me are trying to start a circus, see.  Donny’s learning to breathe fire, and I’m working on the elephant, and we’re trying to get Donny’s sister Elizabeth to learn tight rope.  We’ve been doing it in secret mostly, so don’t tell mom.  King County’s not supposed to have a circus after what happened last year.

Last year, they set up the circus in the big field behind the high school like they always do, and all the acts were the same as every year except instead of having The Incredible Bending Woman, they hand The World’s Strongest Man.
The World’s Strongest Man looked just like a normal guy though.  He rode up on a motorcycle instead of in the caravan with everyone else.  He had slicked back blonde hair and a leather jacket and he didn’t even wear a helmet.
All the girls in town thought The World’s Strongest Man was so dreamy, and after he spent all day lifting about 100,000 pounds he’d take the girls for rides on his motorcycle.  He wouldn’t even shower first.  He’d be all sweaty and get the girls to grab around his waist and hold tight.
Well, here’s what happened.  On the last day of the circus, Donny went with his whole family.  Most of them had already been, but they all went again on the last day.  About ten minutes before the performance started though, they couldn’t find Donny’s second cousin Mary-Beth.
The way Donny tells it, it was him that found The World’s Strongest Man and Mary-Beth behind the football bleachers all naked, but Elizabeth told me that her and Donny were in line for popcorn at the time, and it was really Donny’s mom and his Aunt Linda that found them.
When Mary-Beth started getting fat a few months later, I didn’t understand what the big deal was because remember how after Great Uncle Harry died, Great Aunt Mildred got so fat so fast she couldn’t even climb the stairs anymore?
Soon it wasn’t just Mary-Beth getting fat though, it was two other girls in town, too, and that’s when everyone in King County started going crazy.  The circus had only been in town for three days, and The World’s Strongest Man had knocked up three girls.
“A hatrick,” said Dad
“That’s inappropriate,” said Mom.
And now we’re not allowed to have the circus anymore, and Donny and me don’t think that’s fair.  We’re trying to make our own circus, and we figure if we show how fun the circus is, people in town will remember, and they won’t be angry anymore.
So if you hear of any three-legged elephants we could buy, please let me know.  You can tell the seller we’d be willing to pay $15 for one, and if they won’t budge, offer $18.  We’ve got to save some money for peanuts as well as popsicle sticks to make a fake fourth elephant leg out of, but we’d be willing to pay up to $22 which I think is a fair price.
Thank you in advance,
Jeffrey

And Inside Me Was an Enormous Octopus.

When the earthquake hit, the teacups on the shelf in my bedroom started dancing around and there were about twenty minutes there, before I checked google, when I thought that maybe they were possessed or enchanted or something.
That night, I had a dream I was pregnant with a gigantic octopus.  I was the same size I am now, only I knew there was an enormous octopus larger than a skyscraper inside of me.
I woke up and it was still dark out and my legs were aching like they needed to move.  Twitchy legs like old men have.  That’s a thing, right?
It was 5:30, and I waited until 5:45 because I figured the serial killers and rapists would be in bed by that time.
I stood in my kitchen, waiting, opening and closing the fridge door.  I took out an apple and washed it, then I washed it again using soap and a sponge, and at 5:45 I put on my coat and I said I’m going to walk every fucking street in Toronto.  I said it aloud, and I might have woken roommate by saying it so loud.
It was like the earthquake was still going on inside of my body or maybe I really was pregnant with a gigantic octopus only you couldn’t tell from the outside.
I walked east along Bloor and the sun rose like the city was drawing itself in, becoming three dimensional again.
At the used car dealership before Lansdowne, I thought it was raining, but when I looked up, it was just the foil fringe the owner had strung across the top of the parking lot rattling in the wind.
I kept a lookout for the Lansdowne rapist because I don’t think they ever actually caught that guy, and the further I walked, the more people came out of their apartments like they were all coming to say good morning even thought I knew none of them actually cared that I existed, and I guess it was fair because I didn’t care that they existed either.
I got to Korea Town, and the sun was right in my eyes like I was walking into it.  There was a doll’s foot on the sidewalk.  I don’t know where the rest of the doll went.  The earthquake was still going on in my legs and I could feel the octopus tentacles brushing against the inside of my skin.
At Spadina, I went south and started eating my apple.  I started thinking about taking the greyhound back from my parent’s house the Sunday before and how there had been a terrific thunderstorm.  I had kept falling asleep, and every time I’d woken up I’d had no idea what time it was.  It had felt like we had spent all night driving around and around the outside of Toronto, only when we got to Union Station it was just after eleven and the rain had stopped.
I was in Kensington market now, and it was the same kind of feeling as getting off the bus but worse.  I knew I’d walked the whole way there, but I couldn’t piece together how it had happened.  I thought maybe I’d always been in Kensington Market, looking into the window of a cheese store, and maybe I’d always had an earthquake in my legs, and maybe I’d always had a spectacular octopus in my chest, only I’d forgotten for a bit.
I had to work in a few hours, so I took the streetcar home beside eight or ten people with red eyes andtravel mugs stuck to their faces.  I looked out the window at the way people look when they are driving alone in their cars and don’t realize that anyone is watching them.  I thought about how all those people were once babies inside other people.  I thought about how all those people knew tonnes of other people and how we all somehow know everyone.  I thought about how the earth is so big that the sun never sets on it.  I thought about the earth how we’re all balanced on tectonic plates floating on melted rock hotter than anything anyone can ever imagine.  Sometimes the tectonic plates crash into one another, and sometimes they don’t.  I still had the core of my apple in my hand, but I couldn’t remember when I’d finished eating it

Worth It or The Cat Keeps Shitting on the Carpet

The cat keeps shitting on the carpet.  It’s not my cat, and it’s not my carpet, but I pay fifty percent of the rent, and the whole time I’ve lived in our apartment, I’ve never shat on the carpet, not even once.

I keep thinking about that time my friend had manic depression.

“There are ways you can manage this,” the doctor had said.  “This doesn’t have to be a detriment on the rest of your life, the rest of your life, the rest of your life.”

And then it went away.  After a few months she felt fine, and she’s mostly felt fine since then.

“I think I was just sad,” she told me, but I wonder if she wakes up some mornings and looks in the mirror with her hair all messy and last night’s makeup scrolling down her face and really quietly or maybe just in her head she says, manic depression, manic depression, bi-polar disorder, disorder, disorder, the rest of your life.

Sometimes, I look in my mirror, and I ask myself, am I out of control?  Whose control?  Who is control?

I think I’m most beautiful on hangover mornings.  I rub the black from under my eyes, and then it’s just the red that surrounds them.  My eyes look so clear on mornings like that.  I feel delicate like I’ve lost an entire layer of cells, peeled off like a sunburn except off everything, my brain, my heart, my lungs, everything but my teeth when I forget to brush them.

I don’t know what we’re going to do about the cat.  This morning, hangover morning two for this week, although I try to only have one, I saw the cat had shit on the floor, and I just stepped over the shit into the bathroom.  I washed last night’s mascara from under my eyes, then stepped over the shit again and went to work.

Last night, I went to a bar and stood outside to watch my friends smoke.

“Guys, what’s the name of this bar?  Where are we?  How long have you known about this bar?”

“I don’t know,” said one of my smoking friends.  “I think it was always here.”

And then we looked at each other, and then I looked back at the bar, and I could really believe that it had just always been there, not in the sense that Neanderthals had stopped there for a gin and ginger on their way home to their caves, but more it felt like we were the first people, the first people ever, and that this was the beginning of always.

I was woken up this morning by the lesbian mothers who live up the street from me.

They were shouting their children’s eccentric names.

“Garnet and Eleanor, don’t cross the street without us.  Garnet and Eleanor, wait there.”

“Garnet,” I said to myself in the mirror after I’d rubbed the black from under my eyes.  “Your name will be Garnet forever.”  I was so happy that it wasn’t.

On the way home from work, I saw my old landlord out the streetcar window.  We used to call him Toben.  He looks like a guy whose name would be Toben.  His name is actually Doug.

Doug-Toben stepped out of a store and there was a dog in front.  He went up to the dog and he started petting it, and that made me so happy.  It was great to see my old landlord in real life petting a dog and to remember that he still existed and I still existed even though I didn’t live in his apartment building anymore.

I sometimes call the cat Taya even though that’s the name of my dead dog.  I sometimes do it to be funny, as a joke just for myself, and I sometimes do it because I forget.  When I do it because I forget, I get sad because Taya is dead and this cat is still alive and shitting on my carpet.  But then I remember that I will probably live longer than this cat, and most of the problems I have now are not problems I’ll have for the rest of my life, the rest of my life, the rest of my life.

I’ve been wearing my underwear inside out for two weeks now, but one day I will do laundry and one day I will cook a real dinner and one day I will get my haircut in a salon.  The water will be warm on my scalp and the stylist will run her hands through my hair.  I will have a memory that is impossible to have.  It will be of me as a baby taking a bath in the kitchen sink.  I will remember that the soap smelled like oatmeal and that my skin was so soft, and I will know then that it was worth it.

National Motorcycle and Tattoo Show and After

Saturday night, I found myself with a job at the National Motorcycle and Tattoo Show.  I sampled kangaroo jerky and held out impotent pamphlets for motorcycle safety courses to bikers with face tattoos who refused to make eye contact.
And after I was at a friend’s house, drinking wine from a teacup and listening to a French band from Brazil.  It was a record from the 1970’s, both authentic and ironic, and apparently, it kept skipping, and it might have been the wine, but I didn’t notice.
The tattoo booths, lined up at one side of the show, held overweight men with their shirts off and smelled antiseptic like some intimate sickness as though HIV had a scent.  Even after I got on the streetcar, I could hear the tattoo guns buzzing like there was a man in the back seat giving out free tattoos to children, “Did you want an eagle or a crucifix?” He’d ask.  “I’m only doing eagles and crucifixes from now on, or I can tattoo a picture of a cat on your neck.”
It was raining nuts and bolts as I walked Dufferin to King to catch the streetcar going east, and I kept my eyes on the McDonald’s sign, Over 99 Billion Served.  I passed people going in either direction with bags of french-fries and greasy burgers, and I pretended I didn’t need to eat.  I would get drunk faster if I didn’t have dinner.
On the streetcar, I listened to a mother scream at her son.  A man and a woman got on and talked to the kid about Thomas the Tank Engine, and then everyone was calm.  I sat beside a man with red hair, and we didn’t look at each other the whole way.
At The Motorcycle and Tattoo Show, there were Bikers for Christ, the Ride for Lupus, the Jewish Defense League and the Sons of Anarchy.  The man at the jerky stall told me he’d almost perfected walrus jerky, and everyone had matching vests because they were all in secret clubs, and I wasn’t a part of any of them.  Three policemen walked by, but I didn’t see them arrest anyone.
I didn’t really know anyone at my friend’s house.  I had another friend who was supposed to be coming but not until later, and for some reason I was sitting on a bar stool, and everyone else was on regular chairs below me.  It didn’t make me feel like a king though.  I drank my wine and ate popcorn and tried to pretend I wasn’t hungry and tried to think of things to say that were funny but non-offensive.
The tattoo booths all had line ups, and I was too shy to speak to anyone there.  I wanted to go up to the neck tattoo people and cover their noses and mouths to see if they could breathe through the holes in their skin.  I wanted to ask everyone there if their blood felt more colourful now that they had ink inside of them.
When I got off the streetcar from The Motorcycle and Tattoo Show, I still had to walk a long way to get to my friend’s house.  I took a side street, and the walk felt even longer because it was just me.  There was a light on in almost every house, and I don’t know why, but that made me so sad.  Maybe it was that I was hungry, and I didn’t know how far I needed to walk, or maybe it was that I could hear my footsteps and each streetlight projected a perfect circle onto the wet pavement, or maybe it was just that all those people, metres away from me, were already at home, and I still had a long way to go.

Sometimes We Try


Sometimes we try not to think
about how scared we are of ourselves,
how our rooms smell
after a night out and the taste
of the bean burrito we had for breakfast.

We try to be nice to each other
and buy each other americanos
and listen.  We are trying to remember
what it was like to hold hands and kiss
like we did before this mania overtook us.

We try to say the things
that seem true to us and to listen.
We try to listen.  We are trying
to be sincere and have feelings
and say things and buy each other
americanos.  We are trying to listen.

When the Aliens Come

When the aliens come,
we will want to tell them everything.
They will be like children, and we will be
like children.  There will be lineups
winding around street corners to see them,
each of us wanting to sing them
our favourite songs or else just hold them
like we like to be held so they know
how it feels.

We will explain to the aliens in simple terms
how our grandparents poked holes
in the sky and how we are trying to close them up.

“Noises sound louder you’re hung over,”
someone will tell them.
“My father was a math professor
at Michigan State,” another will say.
“And he never learned to tie his shoes.
He spent his whole life in Velcro
and slip on loafers.”

“Velcro?” the aliens will say.  “Hung over?”
“Exactly,” we will say back.

We will be nothing like the aliens
thought we would be, all of our space
initiatives, projecting our messages into the sky.
It’s only when the aliens get here
that they’ll realize how we really act,
sitting around, kissing each other and
saying to the aliens how happy we are
that they finally arrived.