Monday, October 29, 2012


Now I realize
I couldn't say I love you
because I didn't.
Now that I know what love is,
I have the freedom to lie.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Sometimes I make apple pie,
but there's no one to eat it.
It sits there on my table
until it begins to mold,
and then I throw it away:
a waste of ingredients,
not to mention of my time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Three Kinds of Cheese

This piece of found poetry was created from an essay by Ellen Etchingham.

There is a fundamental sameness
the apparent makings of good advertising
It’s big, it’s loud, and it’s on
the shiniest available object
one glob of formless, pointless bluster
just One Great Meta-Product
the One God of the Israelites
the One Ring to Rule them All

Likewise, every player I’ve ever seen
one Hockey Player
blondish and muscleyish
vague, unfocused expression
he’s not entirely sure where he is
low monosyllables
dragging ummmmmm
a laugh that isn’t really a laugh
He always says the same things

What’s your favorite pre-game meal?
Chicken and pasta

It’s always just “chicken and pasta”
Never penne alla arrabiata with sliced herb-marinated chicken breast
or roast chicken legs on a bed of spinach linguine
or even Kraft Dinner and buffalo wings
just “chicken and pasta”
dude just boiled a pound of spaghetti and slapped a slab
of boneless skinless on it
called that dinner.

last Saturday
I saw something on a Jumbotron
a challenge:
guess how many types of cheese a Toronto Marlies player can name.
The fan suggested five.
Then cut to Hockey Player naming cheeses.
He said one quickly, I couldn’t hear which,
Cheddar and Swiss,
and then just stopped.
At three.
Three kinds of cheese.

Everyone can name more than three kinds of cheese
most people have more than three kinds of cheese
in their house right now.

This continent has six fundamental kinds of cheese:
cheese on pizza
cheese in plastic wrap
cheese with ham
cheese on tacos
cheese on pasta
cheese on bagels
not fancy, high-falootin’ cheeses
aged in the dank bottoms of Swiss caves
You don’t have to be uppity to have the basic six-cheese-consciousness
Yet here is an adult human being
who made nigh on a million dollars last year
and lives most of his life
in the largest, uppitiest, cheese-filled-est city in Canada
and his awareness of the food ends
with Cheddar.

“Three kinds of cheese”
the best possible shorthand
for the professional hockey lifestyle:
really, really boring.
Boring for a reason.

For us, things like “dinner” are pleasurable occasions
fulfill our animal need for sustenance
explore a variety of social and sensory experiences

For hockey players
“dinner” is not about silly things like “pleasure” or “food”
It’s pumping fuel for hockey through your mouth hole
as efficiently as humanly possible.
Why doesn’t Hockey Player eat cheese?
Because cheese is food,
not hockey fuel.

Hockey itself is unbelievably intense and dramatic
the off-hours lifestyle is dull, rote, and repetitive
His game day routine
it’s not that different from the average day
of a heavily medicated, institutionalized psychiatric patient.

Think about the houses
so-and-so invites the cameras into his palatial estate to show it off
sometimes you get guy with a ritzy condo downtown
sometimes you get family dude with a mass of children
who all seem to be the exact same age
playing on stained beige carpeting
mostly you get blondish muscleyish dude
guiding you through an enormous building
that he appears never to have been in before
a really nice enormous building
clearly there have been decorators
a tour of a model home from an extremely disinterested trainee realtor
enthusiastic host desperately trying to get Hockey Player
to express some enthusiasm
Sometimes they get it,
usually for the room with the video games in it.

That’s what hockey players do in their houses
They sleep and play video games and eat chicken and pasta
then they get on an airplane and go to a hotel
they sleep and watch CSI and eat chicken and pasta
then they get on another airplane and go to another hotel
they sleep and watch CSI Miami and eat chicken and pasta
then they go home
do the whole thing over again
a desperate attempt to keep up these dull routines
in an endless succession of generic non-places
in airports and on airplanes
in hotels and hotel restaurants
in the private hotel that is, technically, his house

The routine is necessary
absolutely peak physical efficiency
consistent inputs
regular, predictable, optimal fueling
regular, predictable, optimal sleep
regular, predictable, optimal exercise
constant travel
injuries great and small
illness, exhaustion, stress, anxiety
it takes every ounce of boringness a man can muster
to preserve physical and mental stability
waiting and preparation
rest and recovery
more waiting.

Some players
do interesting things
wearing clothes
a band
a really cool dog
Paul Bissonnette

But how much evidence do you ever see that hockey players
live anything even remotely resembling a superstar lifestyle?
Millionaire or no, celebrity or no,
there’s only so drunk a human being can get
It ain’t any better for Mike Richards
than it is for you

We assume hockey player lives are amazing
because we assume that they get to stick their penises into lots of people.
But there is only a tiny fraction of one’s life
that can be spent with your penis inside other people,
given that one has to wear clothes
and play hockey.

Maybe, once upon a time,
it was possible to play hockey and live like a rock star

Most of that is gone now,
gone with intermission cigarettes and huge steak dinners
gone with the WHA and the bench-clearing brawl
An ever more disciplined game
demands ever more disciplined players

I don’t doubt that there’s drugs and debauchery
somewhere beneath the bland surfaces.
I do doubt that it is so much or so exciting as we imagine
It has to happen in the interstices of the season,
those few precious days when there’s no routine to hold,
no coach commanding a dry island
or checking your key card

The rest of the days pass in repetition,
each much the same as the others,
on airplanes and in hotel rooms,
eating chicken and pasta
and only three kinds of cheese.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sonnet LXXXIII: Eternal Life

If I think of Heaven ever,
I almost weep in my despair
at the thought of ends that never
are reached, horizons everywhere.
For all that I achieve will be
rivers filling up the oceans,
tail-devouring snakes my motions,
all journeys Möbius for me.
They make no sense, the things they say,
for how can Heaven be the way
they describe? Both peace and pleasure,
happiness combined with leisure—
you can’t have both, they’re opposite;
it’s peace I want, to rest, to quit.

Coloring Book

What if I lived forever,
and nothing changed?

It isn't at all difficult to imagine an eternity of days
waking up to the same mess
in a succession of apartments,
apartments that are all the same:
the same teetering pile of pans in the cupboard,
the same hair in the bathroom sink,
the garbage that the cats have knocked over,
the way they knock it over every day.
And if I clean it, it only gets messy again--
my husband's clothes on the floor, the dresser drawers pulled halfway out--
as fast as I clean, it becomes unclean:
the apartment,
my ability to think,
my muscles and my bones.

I can imagine an eternity of days
waking up in the same body,
the one that I'm trapped in,
the one that's not even part of me so much as it is
the thing I can't get out of.
And every motion I tell it to make
is slightly off--
singing to myself, writing a letter, half-heartedly jogging:
it all falls just short of acceptable.
The scope of my ambition is like a coloring book,
and I can't quite keep inside the lines.

Every month we make the same mistakes.
It's almost like time has stopped, except
that with every moment,
I can see my chance to escape getting smaller
and smaller.
I have know idea where all our money goes--
late fees, probably.
I'm not even flustered anymore
when our credit cards are declined,
or when once again, the landlord
threatens to take us to court.

I try my best to do a good job pretending
that I think things can get better,
that I believe that if we work hard and are responsible,
we can fix it.
But even I know that's bullshit--
we're not going to change,
and so nothing is going to change for us.
Sometimes I wish I could just accept it.
This is how life is going to be.
We should thank God
that we're eventually going to die.

But at the same time, I just can't help it.
I can't help wanting to be better.
And I know I could take that desire and use it to power some kind of action,
but I don't think any action would be strong enough
to overcome the laundry,
and the bills,
and eternity.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012


It's just one pointless quest after another,
and I still don't belong
to anyone.
And it's not like I want someone to tell me
that I'm beautiful:
I've seen my face enough,
reflected back to me in the impatience
on the faces of others.
Every gift I have been given
is gathering dust.
Because it doesn't matter what I memorize,
doesn't matter how much pain I've learned to withstand:
I have nothing to fight for.
If I could just have that--
just somebody who could put me to use--
that's what I'd die for
and live for.
How many swords have I collected by now?

By now I know what this is about.

Go on being hurt.
I need you to keep breaking,
again and again,
so I can keep fixing you
(so I can keep fixing me).

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

And then everybody would be safe.

When in the evenings
I dream of my happiness,
I dream about you.
I dream about you dying,
bleeding in a ditch,
a cold, slow death all alone.
And nobody cares,
and nobody looks for you;
it's terrifying,
and it's humiliating--
just ugly enough.
But that's pretty terrible,
wishing for that stuff,
and if I had that power,
I wouldn't cause that.
I'd choose something so much worse:
I'd choose to be free.
I'd wish you were never born,
that you never lived,
that you never existed,
that you changed nothing at all.