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Panicle

Panicle

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Fifteen Paths

Fifteen Paths

How to Tune Out Noise, Turn On Imagination and Find Wisdom
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Everyone Rides the Bus in a City of Losers
Excerpt

 

La Rockette

 

No, I will never be as cool as the guy from Les Deuxluxes,

 

even if I buy him shots and quote his covers,

 

even if he says to me, “Look, man, all you need is a good friperie.”

 

Will you never love me, Anna Frances Meyer?

 

 

 

But moustaches always made me think of arcade perverts

 

and my neighbours in Verdun.

 

After Nirvana played the Verdun Auditorium,

 

they found Courtney at Bar Côte St-Paul by the Cash’N’Loan.

 

 

 

When Jack White saved the Jack White Auditorium,

 

was it more Massey than Tony Wilson?

 

If she skips another shower, will the bartender at La Rockette

 

smell more like Durutti than raclette?

 

 

 

The guy from the band says that I should go.

 

But I won’t go. Not until I meet Anna Frances Meyer.

 

Not until last call lights up the walls

 

and she finds me in the bathroom stall writing,

 

“You just can’t run, you just can’t run from the funnel of love.”

 

Ultramar

 

The last place I went was Ultramar.

 

I walked my friends there and said,

 

“You can hail a cab at Ultramar,”

 

the Ultramar where I bought ketchup chips

 

and Coffee Crisps and one time even Ringolos.

 

 

 

Only the night attendant knew my love of Swedish Berries

 

and plastic-wrapped smoked meats.

 

Only the night attendant who blasted Appetite for Destruction

 

knew my sweetheart’s craze

 

for M&M’s and Pez dispensers.

 

 

 

I bid my friends adieu at Ultramar.

 

They claimed Verdun was the middle of nowhere.

 

It’s only the edge, I said to them.

 

Nowhere is somewhere west, out past the neon

 

5e Avenue on the New Verdun Diner.

 

 

 

My friends scrambled into taxis

 

shooting northward and eastward.

 

I bought a coffee at Ultramar.

 

I caught the night attendant air-guitaring.

 

I had to move by twelve o’clock.

 

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Self-Defence for the Brave and Happy
Excerpt

 

1: The Country of Previous Enthusiasms

 

The Country of Previous Enthusiasms

 

 

 

The grandeur of their Expos was familiar:

 

their pastime was commuter rail departing

 

from geodesic spheres, and grand arches built to span—

 

if only allegorically—disparate ideals.

 

The elders of our nation found it quaint.

 

 

 

Their designers were philosophers. Ours,

 

engineers. In their country, with its globular buildings,

 

and lanky, finned automobiles, the people

 

might have been happier, but we

 

have more efficient use of space.

 

 

 

They would chat with their neighbours about

 

such bric-a-brac, and visit their landmarks

 

in eager groups. When they finally reached

 

the age of shortage, overcome by harsher facts,

 

their assimilation was all but certain.

 

 

 

There could be no treaty. It isn’t just

 

the Apollonian need to set things square.

 

There was always so much waste, even in the way

 

they walked. Our incursion was immaculate.

 

We are a decent people who only wish to be correct.

 

Without Architecture

 

 

 

There would have to be another vision for occupying space,

 

new rituals for sitting and standing, for the physical interruption

 

of the planar world. No longer would we distinguish

 

between exist and inhabit. No asking where we live.

 

 

 

We live. Now to lug our dwellings like a hermit crab

 

or not. What would the word for shelter be?

 

Like cave or under-hang, or more like shade or company?

 

Two hundred words for horizon comprise an anthem.

 

 

 

Without walls, privacy would still occur, only wilder.

 

We would vote by standing upright, and emphasize

 

ourselves by raising our hands, lengthening our votes

 

as a challenge to the levelness of the meeting place.

 

 

 

Prisons would be nothing—but banishment theoretical and severe:

 

how best to find a cave or shade beyond the vanishing point?

 

And who goes there? It was the heretic and prodigy who said:

 

I can make a cathedral of my condition and worship there.

 

Without Agriculture

 

 

 

We’d have to rethink our investments—bearish

 

on the local trade. We never put much stock in that.

 

And reckless with our gratitude, assigning it

 

helter-skelter to the windfall and the kill.

 

Otherwise, we’d only have ourselves to thank.

 

 

 

But we’d be bullish on travel points and dining out.

 

And bad with names: no Mud Hens, no Netherlands.

 

Of course there would be more fundamental gaps.

 

Just tally up the unanswered questions: How

 

do you make a straight line run parallel to another?

 

 

 

What are the secrets of the integer and the abacus?

 

When does the accounting of an ox head lead to A?

 

Without roots, we’d find the answers here and there.

 

Here, the world would be our chocolate factory.

 

There, we wouldn’t have to settle for anything.

 

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The Sky Manifest

The Sky Manifest

A Novel
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also available: eBook
tagged : literary
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Happinesswise

Happinesswise

Poems
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tagged : canadian, death, family
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Can’t Lit

Can’t Lit

Fearless Fiction from Broken Pencil Magazine
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
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