Monthly Archives: September 2011

Don’t Drink and Hitch Hike

Don’t do this. The story I am about to tell is true. It happened fifteen years ago, so we can laugh at it now, but, please, don’t think this means I am endorsing the actions of any of the characters involved.

I was coming home for Thanksgiving from university in Kingston, Ontario thumbing it two and a half hours to Toronto. The first car to stop was a woman in her forties. Opening the door of her mini van, the first thing that hits me is the smell of the alcohol, punching me in the face.

Now a smart person would have just closed the door and gone for the next ride, but, I am not a smart person. I get in, and the first thing she asks to me is, “Do you want a drink?”

Now I think I should probably get as drunk as she is so that if we do crash, I won’t feel it. I remember my recent reading of The Way of The Tao: the drunk man falls off the horse softer than the sober man. I think, let’s be that drunk man.

She tells me to help myself and I look back in her mini van which she’s converted to an open bar. She’s got bottles of gin, rum, vodka, beer, wine, whiskey, tequila, with mix of Coke, Sprite, orange juice, tomato, Clamato juice, she even had salt shakers and lemons and limes.

I start mixing myself a drink when she says, “Can you make me one, too?”

So now I’m mixing my driver’s gin and tonic heavy on the tonic.

And after an hour, Diana and I are singing together, we’re sharing secrets, like she told me she’s an alcoholic, (though, I’d kinda figured that one out opening the door of her mini van), and I told her my fear of peacocks.

When we drove into Pickering, Diana said her brother worked in the Pickering Mall, and we should stop in and see him. She told me that her brother didn’t like her picking up hitch hikers, and that it’d be best if we pretended that we were old high school friends. Did I mention that I’m twenty years old in this story and Diana’s in her forties?

We walk arm in arm like drunken sailors, leaving the mini van in the parking lot packed with Thanksgiving Friday shoppers, to find her brother at work.

Of course her brother works in a bar. He pours us more drinks and after many free rounds of scotch and sodas, Diana confesses that she thinks she’s too drunk to drive the rest of the way to Toronto.

‘You’ve driven drunk all the way from Moncton! Now you realize you’re too drunk? We’re in Pickering! We’ve almost made it! We’re only one town away!’

I tell her I need to get my bag out of her car. We get out in the parking lot, 6pm the Friday before Thanksgiving, the lot is jammed with cars and we can’t remember where we’d left hers. We walked around for two hours looking for that fucking minivan. Do you know how many minivans are parked in the Pickering parking lot the Friday before Thanksgiving?

After two hours we found it. We hugged like we’d just climbed Everest. We embraced like we’d just done the single greatest thing two people had ever done together.

It was hard saying good bye, after all we’d been through, after all we’d meant to each other. We were pretty plastered, and it brought out the dramatic side in both of us. We embraced for one last time, tears in our eyes, promising never to forget each other.

Diana, if you’re out there reading this, you can see, I kept my promise.

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King Solomon and the Mother of Invention

Matter cannot be destroyed

as stars crush carbon into diamonds

I crush these letters into these sentences.

Mud.

Musicians crush notes into tunes.

Blues.

No matter.

I still have a crush on you.

We shoot satellites into space for answers that are hidden in the tiniest spaces of our galaxies, electrons circumnavigating the nucleus of our existence.

The dance of the universe.

Cut it in half and leave a nuclear fallout in your wake.

Good job, my ex girlfriend, good job Oppenheimer.

I wonder how many citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

he spends his eternity with.

Water, My Lover

Oceans wash over us

dressed up as sky

potions pour through us

sunshine through clouds so high

fills me like water through the gills of this fish

this wish

that I’m not trapped in this fish bowl alone.

Water, my lover

comes through me and

emotions I’ve never known

come swimming through me

these motions are spawning

emotional anarchy

when eighty percent of my body

tells me I’m

drowning down stream my stream of consciousness

waking up in a dream

and nothing wakes sense.

This ocean comes swimming

covering me in its need to be

kiss me and let me breathe through these gills

feed me the need to need me.

Amateur Shepherd

Bob loved watching animals. He was the San Diego Zoo’s best customer. Bob went every day to the zoo, spending all his money and free time there, staring at everything from elephants to emus. But, at $34.89 a trip, it was getting expensive.

The day Bob spent his last $34.89, he asked the ticket seller, “How do you get a job here?”

He was told by the girl’s boss, Ms. Katherine Smears, that the zoo wasn’t hiring right now, but they were looking for volunteers to watch over the monkey cage and make sure they weren’t fighting each other. The monkeys had taken sides and were in the midst of full on monkey-clan warfare.

So, the following morning, Bob showed up at the zoo for his first day on the job, bright eyed and bushy tailed. He was led by his supervisor, Florence, to the monkey cage.

“Now, keep a close eye on those two monkeys right there and there. That’s Ajit and Sanjaya. They’re the alpha males of their troops. They rarely fight, but they agitate the others to fight, so, when you see that happening, press this button and the noise will get them to stop, got it?” Florence pointed to a red button, the size of an elevator button, installed on the glass that kept the monkeys in and the people out.

“Ok,” Bob confirmed he got it.

“I’ll be back at noon with your replacement, do you have any questions?”

“Yes, when I press this button what sound gets them to stop fighting?”

“Blame It On the Boogie, by Michael Jackson. Do you have any other questions?”

“No.”

“Great. Remember, keep an eye on those two, they’re always the ringleaders of violence.”

Florence left the monkey cage to the monkeys and Bob, who would soon be sharing the cage with the tourists.

Not long after the first pack of tourists had arrived, did Ajit start pushing the back of a larger monkey. The larger monkey started swiping its claws at another monkey that naturally swiped back. Bob wasted no time in pushing the button and sounding the voice of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. Just like Florence had said, the monkeys ceased their fighting and began dancing. Most of the monkeys put their paws on the ground, leaned forward and bounced their butts up and down in the air, though a few were exploring the air with their paws in a funky monkey rhythm.

The tourists went apeshit.

When the song finished, the monkeys stopped dancing and went back to sitting quietly, all hints of violence gone.

At least for ten minutes or so, then Ajit was at it again, shoving at the back of a larger male, going, ‘Hee! Hee! Hee!’ in his ear. The other monkey responded by scratching at the closest monkey and the fight was killed by Bob’s quick draw on the button and once again, Blame It On the Boogie started up and the monkeys got down to boogie.

From Bob’s point of view, Ajit was the best dancer of all the monkeys. He was the most in sync with the music, and his arms and paws were the most creative and expressive. The little stump tailed macaque could dance. Bob wondered if dancing was the real motivation behind pushing other monkeys to fight. ‘Is the monkey fighting to dance or dancing to fight?’

Bob thought he’d stop a lot of future violence by pressing the button before Ajit got up to provoke another fight. The monkeys, on cue, got up to dance. However, as soon as the music stopped, the monkeys started to do battle.

Bob, shocked, was a bit slow on the button, hitting it only after a dozen or so monkeys had been scratched and/or bitten. And again, the magic of the Jackson 5 charmed the monkey cage, getting them all to dance, even the injured and bleeding.

And again, as soon as the music stopped, the monkeys set to scratch, swipe at and strangle each other. So, Bob set to start the music again.

When Florence showed up at noon, she found Bob on his knees, pressing the button as soon as the song had come to its end.

“You just have to press it once,” Florence said, hearing the beginning beats of the bass line start up again. She looked at the monkeys, they looked dead tired. They were still dancing, though, lethargically, as though their hearts really weren’t in it.

“You have to keep pushing it! You have to! Or they fight right away! They’re waiting for the music to stop so they can fight! I just thought if I played it once early, it would-”

“What did you do? No one told you to play it early! Your job was to sit and watch and react! No one told you to initiate anything! A monkey could do your job!”

All they could do was dance or fight, never taking time to eat or sleep. It was either fight themselves or dance themselves to death; the zoo thought it looked best for the customers if the monkeys danced themselves to death, so they kept the music on all the time. Eventually the entire barrel of monkeys would succumb to exhaustion and die and Bob would learn not to monkey with nature.

Trick or Treat: The Ultimatum

I think every day should be

just like Halloween

so I go trick-or-treat

at your door.

We’d wear our costumes

to show off our moods

and you’re the wicked witch

when I come to your door.

Now you’re the whore of Babylon

next you’re my Muse then you’re gone

and I don’t know if it’s right or wrong

taking candy from you.

You hand an apple to me

you’re dressed up as Eve

but Eve didn’t put razor blades

into its core.

So I’ll take off your mask

I’ll take off your costume

and I’ll see there’s nothing left

of you.

So what I loved

and what I feared

disappeared

and I’m left with a handful of candy

and a mouthful of cavities.

Addicted to You

Sitting here smoking your pack of cigarettes

the ones you left behind

when you got on that train and left to anywhere

I don’t know, I didn’t read the sign.

And once they’re all smoked, there’ll be nothing left of you

cause the photos didn’t come out

I’ve smoked most of them thinking of you

in the pack there’s only two

the taste of your mouth.

And I pick up the last cigarette

and put it in my mouth

and I smoke it till there’s nothing left

the taste of your mouth.

An addiction is nothing

but a condition to something

that is always here.

I could see myself getting addicted to you

that’s why it’s good you’re gone

you were starting to go with beer.

Sex Like Baseball

In all of those moments, it’s not the orgasm I remember, but before the orgasm, the anticipation of it.

Like baseball happens between the action, my sexual nostalgia is filled with these sorts of innings. Have you ever tried to hold on to an orgasm, put it in the lyrics of a song, or, focus it into an object in your room, or, breathe it in as her perfume, something you can look at again, hear or smell again, something that will trigger that unbelievable feeling of coming before it all goes away? It doesn’t last very long, does it? And you can never recreate it, no matter how many times you close your eyes, breathe deep and try.

I wonder what life would be like if orgasms could last up to three and a half hours, the same length as watching an installment of The Lord of the Rings. Do you think we’d even need movies then? Do you think we’d ever go out, get jobs, remember to eat? I guess we’d have to. I guess if it lasted that long, like anything else, we’d get so used to it, sex would actually be less interesting, less exciting, and not having an orgasm would be the greatest feeling in the world because it’d be so fleeting.

I don’t know, it just seems like life is always turning us inside out, and here’s just one more example, the relationship between my sexual appetite and the orgasm, which I view as the main course and the dessert all thrown into one delicious dish.

But, the craziest thing is, it’s the appetizer that fills my memories.