Recorporated

 

Recorporated 

I was on the subway. Standing & avoiding those crowding close me. Breathing slowly into my mask, head down to keep as from contact as possible. The new reality.

People got on & off at each stop. Each negotiating space around them & between others. Some apologizing for brushing up against someone when it was impossible to avoid brushing up against someone. The old reality.

In the window reflection I saw someone stand close beside me but when I glanced to them there was no one there. The reflection was unchanged though. There was clearly a person – I say a person because though the shape was clearly there, the face was distorted by the glass. I couldn’t tell if it was male or female. I couldn’t even see any race. I could feel them press against me as the subway stopped. When I looked to apologize there was no one there. No one.

They were only there in reflection. Wearing a mask much like mine.

The train stopped at my station. I moved to get off but stopped for a moment to glance at the figure by me. I saw it moving past me in reflection. I followed. It turned. I saw it full face. It was me. He exited. Stunned, I couldn’t follow.

The door closed. I had no reflection. I merge back into the crowd. Stood behind someone, willing them to look up. When they did I saw my refection.

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I Did It

I Did It

because 

I wasn’t a star pupil 

I lost to a cheater

I was mocked for being fat

I wasn’t good enough

I saw what I shouldn’t

I was put in a closet under the stairs

I was always picked last

I was misunderstood

I was shamed

I was bored

I was the wrong colour

I wanted to see if I could get away with it

they were vulnerable

they deserved it

it was their fault

they were sinful

I had to punish them

the Bible told me to

voices in my head said it was right

I had the opportunity so took it

I was forced to

I just felt like it

I was entitled 

they disagreed with me

I did it to get even

to get famous

to teach them a lesson

to make a statement

to find out what it felt like

to be President

I did it

to have something confess

so I could say

I did something

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Mask of the Breath Death

Mask of the Breath Death

perched above the city

from Prospero’s castle tower

the vast sea of lights

spun in endless eddies

cloudless night sky

the naked face of the moon

was the one we all looked to

the moon didn’t breathe

as it rose in our dreams

<>

the movie panic

didn’t materialize 

beyond a few shoving matches

over toilet paper

there was no riotous looting

at least not because of breath death

the civil war continued

only now with masks

of white yellow orange, 

blue violet or black

a legal requirement

shooting one another 

was taken for-granted 

breathing on one another

was criminalized

lungs were weaponized

<>

Prospero chose to be unmasked

even though to hold your breath

was more vital than

hold your fire

as the his guests arrived

they were forced

to shed their masks

to greet their host

<>

he retired to his tower

while they were fast tested

only the negative

could continue deeper

into the protected chambers

those that couldn’t afford

to be safe

didn’t deserve

his breath death

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The Discorporated Man

The Discorporated Man

<>

at first 

I thought I was dead

I thought

so this is what death is like

you feel nothing

you see though

<>

because I could see

I figured I wasn’t dead

I held my hand up

I couldn’t see myself

not even a reflection

not even that lame

blurred outline

like they use in movies

I wasn’t transparent

like glass

because you can see glass

I wasn’t there

<>

I could feel my skin

but all I could do was touch

I couldn’t hold

couldn’t grip

I couldn’t feel the air around me

yet I knew was standing on the floor

it was solid under me

I didn’t know if it

wooden carpeted earth

well I saw it was wooden

I knew I was here

<>

outside 

no one could see me

they didn’t walk though me

but somehow

around me

I could touch them

but not feel them

they didn’t feel me

not even a sight breeze

<>

I went to the office

no one sat in my cubical

the office manager

asked where I was

I could heard myself answer

she didn’t hear me speak

I was present

I wasn’t there

<>

I was breathing

I could feel my heart beating

I was discorporated

and I liked it

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Backstory

Backstory

 

during a total eclipse of the sun

a plunging comet

caused a power surge

that burned out the electronic

safe guards at the nuclear plant

near the asylum

built on an ancient native

sacred temple

where blood sacrifices

had opened a portal to another dimension

releasing a radioactive

cloud creature

that was struck by lightening

on Friday the 13th

exactly 101 years after

the town had vanquished

the minions of the blood sucking

mistress of the the enchanted forest

where the outcast

son of the the dethroned ruler

was cutting the 13th head of the dragon

to get power from

Slyggothora

that would return him to the throne

made of the sacred bones

of the creature found

the the smouldering remains

of that craft that fell from the sky

during the ceremony of virgin sacrifice

on the spot

where the comet created

a fold in the time-space continuum

setting off a war between

the robotic androids

and the last of the human species

that hadn’t been infected

the psychosis inducing virus

spread by ants

that had eaten the leaves

of the mutated plants

grown from seeds 

found in a urn

in a long lost burial chamber

by a fourteen-year-old

mixed-sex clone



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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.

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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

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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. 

 

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November 1 -30

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http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday


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

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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

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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. 

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