Tuesday Morning

December 2, 2008

Michel says:
I read a disturbing statistic last night
according to a study done by the WHO, 9% of Americans suffer from bipolar disorder or clinical depression

Ali says:
I knew it was high but that means it’s like 1 in 10 people have severe depression
and do you know how it would be changing recently?
maybe go even higher
Michel says:
I’d assume so, since their hopes and dreams are hinged on that fickle economy
Ali says:
that’s true
in a capitalist society we invest our sense of self in the economy
Michel says:
The mythology of the country (and subsequently all countries influenced by it) arbitrarily places value on something that cannot ever be attained, happiness through wealth. This is very good for production, but very bad for emotional stability.
Through media manipulation it’s wonderfully effective to have people believe this is capable, perhaps even attaining the delusion that they’re succeeding at it
Although, success is the less likely option.
Either way, the American Dream is untenable.

Ali says:
how can a society that’s used this system for so long break from it?
Michel says:
It would need to make a conscious effort.
People make a conscious effort to see that it’s bullshit, or the system collapses and they are awakened to its fraudulent nature through suffering
Having dwelled with working class Americans, though, I am not sure the second is likely. Their suffering is so ingrained as the fault of themselves or another person’s that they don’t even begin to question the system that allows it to exist.
To suggest such a thing makes you crazy

Ali says:
maybe an economic depression will help change that?
because now, people must feel that they are suffering at the greed and carelessness of someone else
Michel says:
Maybe in the eyes of the educated, which is as good a start as any. The people that I am talking about are the people who have always been depressed: po’ folk, uneducated people who have nothing but their mythology
The average American is very limited. The exceptions are what prove the rule, as always. The difference between the average person that works at WalMart trying to make ends meet and the rural Chinese who thinks Chairman Mao could fly is much smaller than you’d imagine.

Detroit, MI

November 29, 2008

Detroit, Michigan, desolate and alone at the turn of the clock, the metallic sting of hunger on the tongues of the American mouth.

Detroit, lost and turned feral, your roving bands stagger through snowy streets while frothing about the mouth, falling only to catch themselves seconds before defeat to gravity.

Anderson Cooper, tiny eyes of pearl: “Falling stocks, falling dollar, falling prices, falling security, rising misery.” But Detroit, you’ve been hungry all along.

Detroit, there’s a die-in in your coach terminal; bodies strewn across your benches, garbage lying on the floors – only the janitors seem happy, because they aren’t charged with the garbage on your streets.

Detroit, it’s quaint, the way your country speaks of money: “your future”, “another bloodbath on the stock market” – we were never as safe as our illusions.

Detroit, you are a soft-footed ghost that wanders your own halls. You are cold, and you are unbearable; why isn’t there a single vegetarian dish in your vending machines? When I am with you, I am made heavy and restless as the change lining my pockets.

Detroit, you know Ginsberg was never America, not even New York-alabaster, but some strange and holy thing like a single bloody heirloom perched upon a frosted vine. Burroughs was America, crazy in Tangier. Kerouac traded hands obsessive as a dollar bill, till they broke him to make change, using his rolled body to snort cocaine off unclean counter-tops in all night coffee joints.

Detroit, I am bored and pondering mythology inside an empty bus your security guard let us sleep inside because it’s warmer than the bus terminal – I see people pace inside there, reflections on the window.

Detroit, it’s important that I get to Chicago. No one knows if this bus is going to Chicago. It’s 6am and we’ve looked lost to each other for an hour, faces neon signs that say “Chicago?” but nobody dares speak the word “Chicago” because in here, Detroit, your legacy has made us cower at ourselves.

Cafe poem

November 29, 2008

This girl with red hair
sat across from me
and asked if she could
read the poem my
notebook opened to:

“Cool,” she said
“I write emo poems;
not cool poems.”

“I’m sure there’s a
place for them
Then I smiled.

“You don’t have
any drugs, do you?”

“No.” I said.

“Any at all?”

“Sorry,” I said
and watched her
walk away.

Chicago apartment

November 24, 2008

For the millionth time
Matt explains to me
the one that he’s been
looking for: “Everything
will line up, one day.
I just need to believe
the one that can
complete me exists.”

I’m staring at a spot
on the floor, four
feet in front of me.
“I suppose you can’t
be sensibly erotic,”
I muse out loud
and take a pull from
good Wisconsin beer.


November 20, 2008

I let myself out of his house when Fitzgerald started nodding off from the Oxycontin he’d taken earlier. About halfway home, I realized how apprehensive I was. My mind was being pulled around by someone else. I was like a small, runny-nosed child in a snowsuit tripping along the sidewalk to keep up with the incredulous pace set by the mitten fastened around his forearm, the disembodied voice yelling Hurry, hurry! We’re going to miss the bus!

And I thought, Why am I doing this? What exactly am I rushing around for?

“The future,” answered a fat-bottomed snow man from a nearby lawn.

“The what?” I asked.

“The future,” the snow man repeated.

“The what?” I asked again, and winked.

The snow man winked back.

It’s one-thirty AM on a Thursday morning. These moments boil down to me and the rabbit tracks in the fresh layer of snow. If home is my end-result, how does it matter which way I get there? I put my brain inside my legs, and became aware of how every muscle and joint twists and turns, the shocking weight of gravity. The motivation for my next step was that my last step worked. If Newton and Descartes were wrong, the universe and human reality do not proceed as clockwork, than we’re foolish indeed if we do not participate with awe in each second’s procession of tiny miracles.

When I walked slowly with my mind about my body, the shadows of the trees appeared to be creeping toward me. The thin fingers of traffic light reflections caressed Victoria Street’s wet pavement, and the whole scene shivered. Crisp sleigh lines cut through the snow, carrying more reality about them the make-believe ones across the map.

About a block from my apartment, the opening simile came into my head, so I chose to write this down when I got in instead of an email to the red head that’s been shy of contact lately.

If you’re reading this:
Give me a call sometime. My days and nights are mostly full of magic, as you have observed, but I might be able to make a slot for tea between Buddha and the other eiganvalues.

Some short films from Osamu Tezuka

November 15, 2008

Osamu Tezuka is the accredited “Father of Anime and Manga.” I’ve always sort of known who he was through my childhood obsession with “Astro Boy”, but I never imagined that I would recognized him as a brilliant and experimental artist. How he saw things had clairvoyance, and he possessed the skills to mirror something unsettling, wild and profound with his simple drawings. While looking through Casablanca books I came across a couple beautiful volumes of his retelling of the Buddha’s life, volumes 1, 5, and 6. I bought them all, and I was so moved by the end of volume 1 that I ended up ordering all of the others to complete my set. Moving on from “Buddha”, I’m reading his masterwork “Phoenix”.

Whatever is the established styles in anime and manga today are because of Tezuka, but Tezuka they are not. I have problems getting into the medium. There have been a few stories that have struck me as inspired uses of the animation and comic-book style, like: “Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade”, “Samurai X”, “Metropolis” (another Tezuka original, but animated years after his death), “Cowboy Bebop”, “Akira” and everything by Hayao Miyazaki, but mostly I find formulaic soap-operas that rely heavily on deus ex machina to resolve a convoluted plot-line. After getting over my initial interest with anime and manga back in sixth grade when it was foreign and exciting, I’ve failed to have my interest really captured by much, even though people hurt to show me these things.

Tezuka’s command over his stories is what sets him apart from the rest. With a immaculate way of interweaving subplots into the main story that further character and create and resolve tension with power and subtlety, he carefully guides you into a place where you can see the world with his astounding moral compass. Effortlessly you’re are moved through natural humour, romance, drama, and profound concepts in an excellent and entirely accessible way.

From the 1960’s until his death in 1989, he played with animation. These are, frankly, trip-ass. Like “Oh my god, I’m still on acid does this shit ever wear off?!” “Jumping” is really the highlight of these three, and it won several awards. The other two are mostly experimental, and very interesting to see some of the things that are being done. The longest of these is almost seven minutes. Enjoy.



Broken Down Film

I’m a fall fucking fair

November 15, 2008

the farris wheel fire breathing cotton candy candle jack catching the curious in the twirliwhirl of the fiddlecrow I am here but I should go nothing’s here I should know
i made it
create it
flipped and spade it
royally fair-trade it
it’s my blade to shave it
something’s happening
my stain is spreading
drinking sky cumulous with my key-cracker delight bleeeeeding across the night

reports are coming in from around the country
a vaudevillain cod-fish in the clouds lapping up the creole of the sky
I am everywhere where did i go
flashbomb fantasy raining from down to fancy sea
sad sucker scalliwags scared to see me
wheee hee hee heeee

Betty says:
i’m tied to a lot of things.
i’m in a good mood.
Michel says:
So am I
I want to siiing bluuuuuuuues
Betty says:
i want to start a fire.
and sit around it
Michel says:
I want to learn to play bluegrass
Betty says:
i like twang.
Michel says:
I want to learn how to play Russian instruments with unique pitch
I want to learn how to play the trumpet and wail like Miles Davis
I want to learn how to bang on a Shaman’s drums
and ride the spirit northward
I want to be the hoooo of a conch shell
I want to march around like a vaudevillain circus event
the vaudvillianeous of them all, in a frock coat with two lobsters and feather head-dress
Betty says:
what are you doing tonight?
Michel says:
then I’d dance around the fire, jumping on one foot at a time like an ostrich
Maybe making some music with Sam and Ali (Capwn)
Betty says:
i just got this urge to disappear.
Michel says:
I have this urge to be magic on the breath of the wind
around and through the ravines between cactus needles
hoooow do you mean disapppeeeeaaaar?
or fa d e a w a y
fade away like a blue sun in a deep space delta
unobserved by our telescopes and loves
becoming something else
supernova stellar star
Forgive the oddity, I may have broke the bottle that regularly contains my spirit
we can’t let it fly about all the time, m’dear
it’s disconcerting for the concert goers who expect to see “Art”
low men with loooooooooooooooooooooooooooong faces
Gone. Away. Disappeared.
Like that.

Living room conversations

November 5, 2008

I have moments between studying The Three Principal Paths by Lord Tsongkapa, eating, and reading the issue of Parabola Magazine that sits on my coffee table to watch Gord Downie act out Al Purdy’s poem “At the Quinte Hotel”. My mother is restlessly moving the furniture around the living room in the background, dusting things I would never think to dust. “This current generation of poets makes me sad perhaps by comparison. I am sad that Al Purdy is dead, along with Irving Layton – Leonard Cohen is 74, I think.”

“You miss the poets of my generation,” she says while taking a painting down and cleaning the wall behind it.

“Roo Borson is a cat lady. Tim Lilburn perhaps knows too much what he wants to say. Dewdney’s doing digital dialectics on neurological rock formations…” I still have not looked away from my computer screen.

“I thought you liked them,” now putting the painting back on the wall.

“Oh, I do like them. They’re what’s good in the Canadian scene. Let’s not forget Dionne Brand. It’s the poets in between. They win pitiful little awards, they publish books, and they sort of hurt me to read them.”

“Who knows. With this new President, you may be surprised to see what might surface. Art’s never been created in a vacuum.” Now she is behind me, dragging a heater that is disguised as a steel fire-place across the carpet to wear our fish aquarium used to be.

“I wonder what we’re saying, really –no, I know what we’re saying, and that’s probably why I’m sad. No, I don’t actually care. I’m making a martyr because I’ve been subjected to shitty poetry in the last two weeks.”

“So why did you bring it up?”

I spin the chair toward my mother, who is pushing the faux-fireplace into the wall. “To see if I care or not.”

“So you don’t care?”

“No, I don’t care.”

“Good. Can you vacuum the carpet?”

Ngen Jung (Renunciation)

November 3, 2008

Worms drown every rainfall. The roof is leaking and my house is live with electrical fire. A Filipino immigrant, father of two, spills across the highway in a high speed collision with a banker that was driving his Porsche to endless love and happiness. The drugs might stop my heart. Renown won’t stop my mind. Upstairs a man lives by an oxygen tank and on his door there is a sign asking us politely to smoke outside. The ‘Cradle of Civilization’ wears smart bombs and gun fire like Christmas lights and neon, fashionable gifts with the ‘Torch of Freedom.’ Approximately 3650000 cows are slaughtered daily to meet our consensus taste. We hope that if we can see ourselves on TV one day then we will forget that we are hurt and lonely.

If “We think of the key, each in his prison / Thinking of the key each confirms a prison” then leave both key and prison, desire for life and self.

The worm has no control over the weather, and I could die before I finish this sentence. Now I am ready for freedom and peace.

The new anthology of contemporary Canadian poetry: “Boring Landscapes”

November 3, 2008

a place
teenagers gather to

It’s alright guy, I knew what you were saying.