Kharis 

Kharis 

 

is this the last wrap

or the first

the first wrap was a tissue

of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

I used that wrap

over & over

until the tissue

was a layer

layer after layer of

‘oh i’m fine’

‘i don’t mind’

‘how can i make you happy’

 

walking away

rather than add another layer

hoping nothing had caught

no thread was snagged

on a expectation

an exception

on resurrecting love

 

I was protected

entombed by safety

by the fact

that all anyone wanted to hear

was ‘oh i’m fine’

‘this bandage solution will do’

‘you deserve to be fixed first’

 

bound tight

peering at life though the slits

surrendering to the weight of history

pushed along by an unquestioned past

by ritual expectations

controlled by the clasp of gauze

layer upon layer after layer

some turned to dust

some turned to scar

some turned to face the sun

reaching for release

 

decayed tissue 

dust motes settling in the moonlight

‘how can i make you happy?’

‘how can i unravel the book of life’

can i survive

without another layer

of this tissue

this scar tissue of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

This one was written October 2017 before I watched The Mummy (1959), then worked on the next day after I watched it. In the movie the resurrected Kharis sinks into a bottomless bog. He sees no wrong in what he has been done. His self-sacrifice is unquestioned while none of his victims acknowledges that the mummy may have any sense of self. Not that he gives anyone an opportunity to reason with him. He was ‘pushed along by an unquestioned past /by ritual expectations.’

The piece started with that image of bandages as a tissue of lies. The prime lie being the self-sacrifice lie ‘oh i’m fine’ which come out of ‘the weight of history.’  Culturally men are to keep their real emotions, except anger, under wraps. Questioning the history is to cast doubt on one’s real manhood. It is better to sacrifice than surrender.

It’s so easy for people to accept ‘i’m fine’ without questioning it. Kharis is a man sacrificed to protect the princess he loved. He is a type of zombie compelling by spiritual forces not by his own mind. Not questioning our male history makes many men into zombies fulfilling the prophecy of male stoicism.

I play with metaphorical bandage images through the piece twisting them round each other the way a mummy is wrapped to point where one no longer knows who is actually under those bandages. We never see the ‘naked’ man only his eyes through the slits – a sort of tunnel vision.

There are some direct references to the 1959 film as well – there is a ritual to resurrect Kharis, it is read from the book of life, he then hopes to resurrect the princess, his one true love. This hetero love is found in nearly every variation of The Mummy – of course the hero’s fiancee always looks like the dead princess etc. All caught in a powerful plot devise nearly as confining as the layers of wrappings.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Emotional Extremities

Emotional Extremities

these aren’t my hands

I don’t know

whose they are

at least they match

unlike my feet

one is size 12

the other is size 10

so you can’t judge

the size of my hidden extremities

by my feet

or this nose

at least it’s in the centre of this face

this time

even if it isn’t the nose

that goes with this face

 

I think my legs match

in length

though one is hairier

than the other

 

when these hands

touch you

this brain

doesn’t know who it feels

what this emotion is

but there is a change

in my hidden extremity

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Space Scum

Space Scum

he opted not to say anything

no one would believe him anyway

he didn’t believe his own eyes

when he saw

the creeping scum from outer space

dissolve his dog

his parents

now it was oozing

into the city sewers

 

he knew if he told the police

he would be blamed

for the houses

the slime comet destroyed

blamed for the ruins

of the school

the church

for the shattered scattered bones

of his high-school bully

none of that was his fault

it wasn’t him

this time

really

 

so let the space slime

bubble up in their toilets

dissolve their sorry asses

he’d keep his mouth shut

even if it killed him

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Listen

Listen Closely

did you hear that

 

I heard something

while you were talking

a whisper hiding in your words

it was a sinister shush

but when you are silent

all I hear

is my own breath

 

can you hear breathing

down your neck

waiting for that something

you must hear it

it doesn’t come from you

that much I know

that’s why I have to listen closely

hear what it has to say

it comes from behind me

not from you

but with your words

 

sometimes

it moves a curtain

in a room 

where there is no curtain

 

shh did you hear that

 

you must have

it was so loud

like a book falling of the table

onto a cushion

like the soul

leaving the body

at the last breath

no don’t stop breathing

I can’t stand the silence

 

did you hear that

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

The Haunting of Him

The Haunting of Him

it is a parapsychological theory

I learned from ghost hunter shows

which says it is unfinished business

emotional 

hidden treasures 

lost keys

that keeps restless spirits on earth

but we had no unfinished business

so I don’t know why

I’m haunting him


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

 paypal.me/TOpoet 

Bloody Footprints

Bloody Footprints

the movie opens

on a busy sidewalk

someone with a knife

stabs a stranger

keeps on going

while the victim collapses

remember the knife

the flash of it

the thrust

blood blood blood

 

people stepping in it

as they step over the body

on their important way

bloody foot prints

quickly splotching the sidewalk

as the camera

pulls up up

the police arrive

the credits roll

over the expanding trail

of bloody foot prints

 

steps lead to smart shops

to offices

into elevators

down marble corridors

over carpets in hotel hallways

cafe floors

washroom stalls

 

blood gets on hands

trying to clean shoes

the fingerprints on mirrors

coffee cups

documents

dried flakes fall between 

keyboard keys

smear smart phones

traces tracked undetected through 

airport screening machines

splotches on luggage

the blood travels around the world

 

the sidewalk

with the outline of the body

is a pool of blood

after crime scene photos have been taken

after cellphone photos have hit the net

city works come to clean it up

 

the camera looks for the stabber

pushing through crowds

roving over heads shoulders

no faces

hands washing

blood pooling in sinks

almost dripping down the walls

of apartments

seeping out of TV screens

bloody footprints

lead up to a door

 

the bell rings

you reach to open the door

the closing credits roll

This piece is based on a real movie but I can only recall this opening sequence of the stabbing and the falling to the ground. I’m not sure if it didn’t happen as they were crossing a downtown street, rather than just walking down a street – people jostling in opposite directions. A car horn honking while another car drove around the body with a close up of the irritated driver’s face. All before the opening credits come up.

That’s all I remember of the movie. I have no idea who the cast is, what the music was like. The time area was early 80’s. The plot was, gasp, a killer targeting random people one of whom was his actual victim. American – probably United Artists – a studio that specialized in this sort of thing. Bumbling police with one detective needed to redeem his reputation by solving this case – which he does.

The rest of the piece after the first verse is my imagined plot. Some based on when I watched shows like CSI, some based on the real indifference people have been shown to show when violence happens – avoiding involvement. The blood becomes a symbol for the emotional effects of the killing. Those traces that remain, sometimes for decades, when someone witnesses say a car crash.

It becomes a list poem of where those blood traces travel, of some of the ways crime is treated now with cell-phone pics as we rush passed. The only difference her his that there are no reports asking people ‘how did they feel?’ But the movie camera keeps up the search. It is the detective following the clues. 

The poem ends in a way no movie can end – here you, the reader, get pulled into the both the poem and the movie. Sure the ending is a bit of a literary conceit and at the same implicates us in the crime in a fun way – what do we walk away from when shouldn’t. 

 

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

October scary poetry every Wednesday & Thursday

November 1 -30

http://nanowrimo.org

November 15, Thursday: Hot Damn! It’s a Queer Slam – 8p.m. – Buddies In Bad Time Theatre, Toronto



http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Die! Monster! Die!

Die! Monster! Die!

abattoir hook 

fire ants

broken bottle to the face

boiled in oil

crushed by metal crusher

cut into tiny pieces

drowned

drilled through the brains

eviscerated

exploded

fried in vat of boiling oil

flayed

gutted

gassed

hung

harpooned

incinerated

incased in ice

jigsawed to bits

juiced by blender

knife to the heart

karate kicked to a pulp

lazer sliced

lethal injection

mummified

machine gunned

nailed to a cross

nuclear detonation

occult undermining

over fed to exploding

pit of sulphuric acid

poisoned

quicksand

quartered and drawn

ripped to pieces by razor backs

riddled with bullets

shovel to the head

stabbed

taxidermicide

tar pit trap

underwater grave

ulcerated colon

vaccinated with anthrax

vacuumed into space

wired to atomic bomb

wisteria soup

x-ray over-exposure

xenomorph attack

yellow jacket swarm

yoyo string garotting 

zebra stampede

zika infection

 

and yet it still walks amongst us

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice-cream in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

The Mummy

Kharis 

is this the last wrap

or the first

the first wrap was a tissue

of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

I used that wrap

over & over

until the tissue

was a layer after layer of

‘oh i’m fine’

‘i don’t mind’

‘how can i make you happy’

 

walking away

rather than add another layer

hoping no thread was snagged

on a expectation

an exception

on resurrecting love

 

I was protected

entombed by safety

by the fact

that all anyone wanted to hear

was ‘oh i’m fine’

‘this bandage solution will do’

‘you deserve to be fixed first’

 

bound tight

peering at life though the slits

surrendered to the weight of history

pushed along by an unquestioned past

by ritual expectations

controlled by the clasp of gauze

layer upon layer after layer

some turned to dust

some turned to scar

some turned to face the moon

reaching for release

 

decayed tissue 

dust motes settling in the moonlight

‘how can i make you happy?’

‘how can i unravel the book of life’

can i survive

without another layer

of this tissue

this scar tissue of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

This piece was inspired by both the phrase ‘tissue of lies’ and seeing Christopher Lee in ‘The Mummy’ 1959 – that was on TCM. The essence of the story is a man so in love he can’t stay dead. I saw it as an allegory for the notions we get wrapped up by our culture about what love means. How those wrappings confine rather than preserve and yet many persist in putting them on voluntarily.

There’s also reference to the ‘bandage solution’ in which the apology is supposed to be absolution that lets one off the hook. ‘I’m sorry for queer bashing you so please don’t send me to jail.’ Enough layers of ‘sorry’ and guilt gets buried.Here too I see the bandages as those things we say to placate others while we hide our real feelings – ‘I’m fine’ rather that ‘I’m fucking angry.’ 

In the Lee film there is The Scroll of Life that brings the Mummy to life – no moonlight tanna leaves in this version – one ritual has to be performed moonlight etc. The power of the word replaces the mystic of plants. The Mummy’s drive to protect and make happy the princess & goes about it blind to any damage left in his wake. 

Masculinity can be like layers of bandage, traditions & cultural expectation that men find themselves compelled to fulfill – a weight of history & unquestioned pasts that like the ending of The Mummy drowns men in a swamp of ‘oh i’m fine.’ Is masculinity a better option than admitting that entitlement can’t unravel the Scroll of Life. 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice-cream in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

The Villagers

The Villagers

 

Anton was restless 

it had been a boring week

it seemed like ages

since they had stormed the castle

to stop the brain surgeon

who had transplanted 

criminal brains into spiders

which wasn’t as much fun

as the time the villagers 

had tracked down

the radioactive slime centipedes

 

let loose by the deranged 

unmarried woman scientist

she had hoped the slime

would restore her youth

but instead turned flesh

into hair then eyeball eating centipedes

Anton longed for the days

when there was castle

worth storming 

when fools who would play God

with forces of nature

would be forced to face the wrath

of uneducated villagers

 

the last time they had lit their torches

was to storm

the local coffee shop to force it to add

pumpkin spice latte to the menu

but that wasn’t as satisfying  

as chasing the giant 

bone-marrow-sucking mutant leach

into the power lines

to electrocute it 

that smell lasted for weeks

Dragos stopped him

‘Anton did you know

that the abandoned meat factory

that was once the asylum mortuary

has been leased to a Doctor Mortise’

 

things were looking up

it would soon be time

to open the torch shop again

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice-cream in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Zombie Dance

 

Psycho Zombies in the Rain

it was raining ballerinas

you know

rain so heavy

each drop created a splash tutu

as it landed

on its one toe

to join the corps du puddle

a literal rain dance

 

wet ragged gene mutated zombie

staggering down the street

skin stinking in the rain

crumbling for the lure of brains

grabs a light pole

flings aimless decaying arm

drops into the gutter

eyes washed but not cleaned

lightening strikes

the unlucky char

washed down the sewer drain

 

the rain not a sheet but a curtain

a shower curtain

lightening cuts through it

an electrified knife

stab stab after stab

screams drowned out by the rain

rain so heavy

we can’t see across the street

can’t see 

through the car window

wiper blades not cutting it

smearing rain like blood

on a steamy bathroom tile

Can you name all the movies referenced in this piece? This piece is a word-association dream-logic poem that pays tribute to at least two of my favorite movies in a mash-up of those genres – Psycho and Singing In The Rain. The logic flow of ballerinas to Gene Kelly dancing in the rain seemed quite natural, to me. Thanks to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies it isn’t such a leap to zombies in the rain, is it?

‘rain dance’ leads directly to the most famous rain dance: the classic scene of Gene Kelly dancing and splashing and singing and swinging on a lamp post. I give it the full decay treatment – I love this so much I want to see this movie. Michael Jackson’s Thriller didn’t go far enough. Real rotting corpses would fall apart dancing like they do in his video. But then again Triller isn’t a documentary.

Char down the sewer drain took me directly to swirls of blood down shower drain in Psycho – a move that features Janet Lee driving through the most amazing rain to end up at that charming motel where she cleans up real good. Hitchcock doesn’t go as obvious as I do  with lighting cutting the air while the knife slashes his heroine but sometimes poetry isn’t about subtlety.

I love so many things about this piece – it has no political subtext 🙂 It is full of crisp, cinematic images that flow effortless from one to other. Images that have become cliches in horror films & yet have been repurposed to create a whole new movie genre and a fun poem too.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice-cream in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet