something caught in the throat, like a feather

I found out second hand, when you cheated on the girl you were fucking behind my back. She came to me, crying,
and asked what she had done wrong.
She didn’t know that we lived together, that you and I spelled a mutual m-i-n-e.
All she knew was that I was her friend.
I considered the satisfaction of throwing your things out the window then,
the meticulous movie moment of exploding chaos, socks spiraling to the street, books flapping their pages like miraculous paper birds attempting futile flight.
I had your childhood pictures and birthday cards from your sister.
Your special keepsakes in a box you had brought with you all the way from Australia, all the way from when you were born.
Perhaps it would be raining, when I did this Hollywood thing, this burst of scripted anger.
Even in August, it rains here a lot.
Your letters would get wet and the ink run in the gutters. Your jeans would soak through and become too heavy to carry.
Enough water and you would have nothing left with to remember your mother.
I thought about these things, and the mess, and the shouting, wondering if it would be satisfying, if I would feel absolved from your crime,
and I whispered a statement to the empty room, claiming it, before saying it to her,
and somehow, to you, rich with disappointment, I am sorry.

And now, once more, a drawer. What’s inside? This time I do not know. Clothes, a toothbrush perhaps. It is a mystery contained, hard-edged. A simple pull on the handle and the secret is out, but I do not want to look. The idea makes me flinch. It is terrible how small I am in your absence.

I do not wish to be reminded, nor read again the topography of your things.

my heart drains

And then, unexpected, the smell of cigarettes mixed with blood, as if you are beneath my window, about to throw a stone.

My belly hollows, my already pale emotions dissipate. I am caught in the intimate, unkind glare of my own sharp headlights, memories of what we’ve known, emptied, wondering when change is going to come, when I will finally begin to be free.

if it wasn’t worth it, then you’ve killed us both

I love him like fire. Warmth, light. Temptation drives me farther away, of desire, malicious, feigned, humming electric through my body like waking up to a kiss, welcome in the middle of the night. Chorus end, refrain. My hands flex, the desire to blacken his eyes, break his fingers, as I say to him as he clatters down the stairs next to me, invisible as I refuse to look up, “because that would mean more to you.” The verses repeated, wait, I love you. Funny way of showing it. Every day, a song that sounds the same. Bridge. Sharps, flats. Chorus again, our voices together. Refrain.

I will never be your beauty queen

Her hair spreads out like fire and its like she just can’t stop
and then the cops come: Doughnut guard state car rolling up along the side
With the fire lanterns burning, the sirens opened wide and they say,
“Excuse me, little miss, it’s time to take this home”
and they try to get her address, she says, “Sorry I don’t have one,
it’s only me and these feeding fields, look where you are”
She kicks at the hem of her skirt, and on go the cars.

He sits across from me like a carving in diamonds and soft, stupid gold, caught in the betrayal he wrought, delicate and final, wet, salty, and full of things I dare not speculate, not if I care to stay sane. We are at lunch, recovering from the power outage at work, offices on the same grid, the mean infinitesimal click of my machine shutting off, along with the lights. A sound like his eyelids slipping into place, the smallest of tics in the middle of the night. (Remembering, suddenly, how he cried.) I am not well, too torn, too unhappy. There was too much to gain to have it so thrown away. (Remembering, too, how he drew in ink on my flesh, how I traced the word redemption with my finger on his chest.) Watching our silence, watching words lash like justice out of me, I order an ice-cream sundae instead of a meal, a frivolous urge born of rioting self defense. Meeting him blankly, gesturing with my spoon, the ice is broken but it does not save me. It is all I can do not to leave, to leave and keep walking, to keep walking until I am half asleep, crumpled and restless, a nameless bundle treading sacred ground by the side of a highway. South maybe. East. All I can hope is that one day this will be behind me, a memory of pain my brain might not decide to keep.

She says, “Take me around and dance me outside, show me a place where we might hide.
What I want, I’m afraid, that you can’t afford to buy”

Tear off my bared feet. Pluck out my eyes. Pluck out my hair, write out my name.

Silence. Only the collapsing echo of my love, a birdcage, emptied and drowned.

These hands, remove them for me, fold and press their digits gently, remember what they once touched, remember the velvet folds between the digits, how they tasted, and make sure to pack the nails extra carefully. Press them too hard into your skin and they might break.

These wrists, full of frail, bird-like bones, light as crumbs, take them too, for the sin of curving too well, for allowing the hands to cup, to make shapes in the air. Layer them in paper, remember they do not need starch. My feet, including the tired ankles and the firm flesh up to the knee, may be treated the same.

Remove, as well, my tongue, tear it from the root like a vegetable from the soft, red earth of my mouth. Strip it of skin, of any velvet layers of language that survived after the word goodbye. Do not spill whatever sad whispering kisses remain. They are of limited number and will be worth more later, each delicate, easy to tear, a collector’s item.

Take, too, my lips, stained scarlet, but drained of blood, pinched, sorrowful. Press them like a plucked and dying flower between the pages of a book.

Behind these is my larynx, my voice, now as dark and mysterious as a cardboard tube. Close it, sew it shut, and hang it outside in the rain. It will predict thunderstorms with the accuracy of a stick charted tide, with the acumen of an owl late at night. Once that is done, reach in again, press the roof of my mouth with the tips of your fingers as we did in love, wetting your nerves with the heat of my mouth, and twist out my teeth, each fanged ivory key a bead for your rosary, an atheist’s prayer for peace.

Stop my pulse next, the musical hammer of blood through veins, the countdown beat between this second and the next. Slice open my arteries with your fingernails, as tenderly as you might touch me in my sleep, allowing for the sweet balanced tension and compression of dreams.

Once you have broken my skin, peel my forearms, elbows, arms, and shoulders, organic fabric tatters, then take the hard knife of your mercy to the cream between my breasts, illustrating scarlet lines like elegant letters only the dead may read, break upon my ribcage, and note the already amputated heart, orphaned without you. Remark upon it, the hollow gap, the empty cavity underneath the cracked bones in the moist center between my lungs, remark upon it and continue, excise the organs that carried the breath that beat with your name. Pat them dry. Wrap them in silk, my undyed hair.

Dig out, as well, my liver, ancient seat of bravery, and my bile, black for Spring, to mark when first we met. Unseat my pancreas, my kidneys, my overweening spleen, as livid as it’s ever been, (anger, as you know, is in these days), my perpetually mistaken brain. For the sweetbreads you will need vinegar, for the ovaries you will need salt.

Somewhere underneath my organs, my failing stomach, the deeper tissue structures, frail as the same, rests the train crash of my spine. Pull it from my body like segmented string, each knob a memory under your fingers, a zipper torn from the history of our flesh. Caress where the joints surrender to movement, think of puppetry and wood, the blue milk pale of bone, think of how it arched when you asked it to during the dark forensics of sex, then coil it, paint it white, coat it in silver, and wait. Your guilt will subside.

Yes, as a matter of fact, if the situation presented itself, I would do it.

Staring into the sky, wondering at the blue, mesmerized, I caught the corner of my bag on the edge of a newspaper box and immediately turned to apologize. The world is turning, bringing my patch of Earth into sight of the sun, yanking flowers out of their buds, insisting we all move forward, drag ourselves out of wool coats towards the light. I am meeting Michael for lunch again, as I have every day since we met on the bus two weeks ago. We sit in the park when the weather is like this and eat our sandwiches lying on a blanket made of our overlapping jackets. Soon it will be summer and we will no longer need our coats. What then? Perhaps I will keep a cloth folded in my desk for our noon hour picnics. Perhaps by then we’ll be dead. Why think about it now, when the sun is out and company waits?

what really happened at columbine

Laid out on the bed like a window display, later, Michael and Emily, Randa and her kitten, Nicole and Ray, hiding from hockey, from being outside. Someone laughs, percussive, a wildfire spreading. I smile as I stand in the doorway, warmed, another full pot of tea in hand, (the mellow red packet marked JOY in black letters), feeling welcome in my social space for the first time in a very long time, following the breadcrumb sound like a trail in a forest. It has been too long since I’ve had friends over, since I’ve done anything but hide out of town, too busy dismantling the quicksand feeling of holding onto a stalled relationship to have people over during the week or really go out. Already it’s gotten dark, but we don’t care if it’s getting late. We’re sitting in the comfortable jewel-tone pillow heart of our own entertaining light.

Thank you, Michael, for letting me make this up

I am proud to announce the winner of Your Best "O" Face ’09 is Michael by an incredible seven votes.

He will be presented with the coveted lesbian porn chessboard by local artist/girl-about-town, Tillie King, in a private ceremony later this week.

crash into blue

For your further entertainment, I conducted a short interview with our illustrious winner, Michael, this morning, before his busy schedule called him away:

Jhayne: What brought you to the O Face arena, Michael? Your work is impeccable, your poise and display are the best I’ve ever seen.

Michael: Well, you see, I actually come from a long line of "O" Face artists. My father and mother met while on the promenade, competing against each other in the Welsh finals. It was very romantic, apparently. They even turned it into a double act later, which also runs in the family.

Jhayne: That’s fascinating! I had no idea.

Michael: Oh yes. I was told that one of my great aunts even "O" Faced Queen Victoria.

Jhayne: How juicy. So is that how you began your studies? With your parents?

Michael: At first it was my parents, but I didn’t really feel a connection to the art until I was older. I can actually pin-point the exact moment it shifted from being something I practiced at home to make my family happy, to something I was doing for myself.

Jhayne: Can you tell us about it?

Michael: It was at a competition on the Drive, the local neighborhood where all the poets and hippies hang out, kind of an open mic gig where people would go up and do their routine for, like, 30 seconds and then be rated on their technique. Very tongue in cheek, and I could tell the people up there weren’t really trying. It was a joke to them, you know? Something to film and put up on the internet to laugh about later. I think that’s part of the problem these days, part of what I’m trying to do now is create more of an awareness, that this is a real art that people take seriously. Anyway, I never really practiced my “O” facing out of the house in those days. I mean I knew I had the background and I would always be practicing with my parents and stuff but I never thought that this was really for me. But when I went up there, it felt right. It felt like that was what I was meant to do. When I was finished I looked at the judges, and you could see it. You could see that they had witnessed something really special, that this wasn’t just someone’s hobby, it was real.

Jhayne: I’m familiar with the recording. It’s grown to be quite a popular bootleg, and cited as an inspiration by some very influential people.

Michael: It’s lost it’s grandeur these days though. You go into a coffee shop, meet a nice girl, tell you that you spend a lot of time pretending to have orgasms in front of a mirror, and she looks at you like you just fell from space.

Jhayne: And what effect has that had on your career?

Michael: I don’t do it professionally anymore, just, you know, charity gigs, stuff like that. I went into philosophy because I knew I couldn’t cut it as an "O" Facer, what does that tell you?

Jhayne: Yet you’ve kept your hand in, continuing the small circulation specialty magazine your parents founded, Le Petit Mort, and turning it into quite the success. It seems like you’re actively cultivating a burlesque cult of personality.

Michael: It’s true. When Le Petit Mort was founded, it was very DIY. We would spend our evenings hand setting the type for the printer we kept in the garage. Our clothes would always smell like ammonia. It was pretty punk rock. Now, though, with the advent of the internet, I’ve been managing to expand our subscription base. Offering a forum where "O" Facers can find each other and connect, share tips, it’s like a miracle. All these people thinking they’re laboring alone, and I get to offer them a community. It really made me, as a celebrity, in a totally new way. I’m hoping to eventually gamble on that, and try to expand our web presence, maybe push our tiny empire back into regular public consumption, restore "O" facing to its former glory as the face of American culture, back where it belongs on the front of every magazine, like the good old days. Sex sells, after all, even when in caricature.

Jhayne: You’re saying appearances are more important than objective truth?

Michael: Yes, definitely, though I don’t mean to say "O" Facing is insincere. It certainly isn’t. Making an O face isn’t just about sex, it’s about life.

Jhayne: Enjoying life, maybe.

Michael: Ha. Yes. Well it’s like we’ve always said in the magazine, it all comes down to the core rules of the “O” Face: Concentrate. Build. Relax. It’s true for pulling off a good “O” face, and I think it’s true for everything else, too. It’s about empowerment.

Jhayne: It seems that’s an interpretation that’s been lost in recent years, replaced with the idea that it’s no longer a lifestyle choice, but an eccentric hobby.

Michael: Very much so.

Jhayne: Did you feel any sense of regret about that, or was it a relief to say, "Okay, this is how we have to do it"?

Michael: It was weird, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, like I was finally coming into my own as a person, reinstating myself as the defender of the "O" Face. I could feel that I had a responsibility, that I couldn’t let the tradition go on like this. All these amateurs, mocking what used to be a respected institution.

Jhayne: Was that part of what’s prompted your recent re-emergence as the undisputed master of the "O" Face?

Michael: Completely. I’m a veteran "O" Facer with a loyal following. I couldn’t just walk away from such a public challenge. If someone else won, I’d have to start over, building my cred from the ground up. I’d rather step in to stay on top, even at the risk of being made fun of, then fade away, forgotten except as footnote. “O” Facing is important, and I’m glad for the chance you offered to showcase talent.

Jhayne: Well, thank you very much for showing up and giving us your best!

Michael: No, thank you. It was my pleasure.

Thank you to everyone who participated, with a special mention to Chris, who actually got naked.

who wants to make cake?

Wednesday, April 11th is the birth of Anton Szandor LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan.

To celebrate, we will be usurping Michael Elliot‘s hot tub in honour of DJ Spaz Mike‘s birthday.
He is now a grown-up and should be shown the error of his pure and pretty electrotrash ways.

All are welcome. Chocolate is encouraged, as are naughty underthings.

this event is downtown, at smythe & richards
either call or leave a comment for directions

Festivities commence at 7pm.

we could build a comfier version

“Who’s got the ball…I’ve got the ball..”.

In a bit of a gravestone triumph, I’ve got reliable work in the week upcoming, but only because a friend’s mother has caught thick with cancer and, as she flies north to take care, her absence creates empty shifts at the Dance Centre. I’m going to be spending next Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings there. Time will go by slowly. Visitors with, say, cupcakes, juice, bags of frozen vegetables, cheesecake or turkey sandwiches and especially delicious books will be met with especially slavering open arms. Bonus points for [CENSORED-edt] with red.

More on Baudrillard.

For those who like philosophy, there are two plays coming you should take a gander at, (not to, if you have a goose you want to abandon somewhere, I suggest my freezer. furthering the thought I should have scrounged more food earlier):

Kyle! As! Miami Vice!

Our resident Official Thinker-Person, Michael, is going to see Socrates on Trial, March 14th at 7:30, at the Chan Center. Tickets are $12, $5 for students. It’s a short run, only two nights, with a talk-back after the show on Thursday. Tickets can be bought at the door, unless you’re a keener, in which case you deserve the woes of Ticketmaster. Go with my blessing. I’m not going to be there, not being much a fan of Socrates, but Michael will be and he is cute and single. Kyle (as seen on the left) will also be going, but he is less single, so not as much a draw, though he does recite dirty poetry about otherkin dragons furries and in return for taking nice pictures of him, he’ll write horrible plageristic things about you and chocolate pudding in Mike McGee’s voice. He’s a dear. Honest. We’re only at war when the dessert supplies run low.

The second play is Bertolt Brecht’s Life of Galileo, running March 29th to April 14th, at The Western Front. Tickets are $20, $15 on discount, $10 on 2-for-1 Tuesday. Mimi is stage manager, our friend Peter New is in the lead, and Sam‘s playing, um, something with a slightly pretentious title that I don’t actually have the power to recall right now. Needless to say, it’s got a good tag-line: He showed us the universe. The church showed him the rack. Despite the cost, I’m going to try and lure someone into going with me on Tuesday. Peter is always clever, and Sam, well, I haven’t seen Sam act in anything in the last year other than films about creepy black and white priests. In fact, I may have only ever seen him play priests*, so perhaps a different sort of cleric will be a breath of fresh air. (This role may not be that different, but suffice to say, I do not expect they have him singing with a kids toy or a crucifix-in-the-eye scene).

Than is dreamed of in your philosophy…

*I lie, I think he was a skinny opera singer in Lady of the Camillas.

did anyone get pictures?

Oliver made our relationship over into a self-fulfilling prophecy. (The only person to dare claim I would ‘understand when I was older,’ he would constantly harp on my age, instead of realizing that his sheltered, unscarred perception was the emotional problem). I realized I had his number when my friend Stephen, Michael‘s father, asked after him last night. One of those well-whatever-happened-anyway questions. Tears sprang stinging to my eyes and I quietly said, “I didn’t expect him to be so faint of heart.” The instant I made my reply, the curtain sighed as it fell to the stage. I grasped the explosive charge and extinguished it with my bare hands. Stephen looked up from the ice-cream he was inspecting in time to look at me, understand, and say, “I don’t know you incredibly well, all things considered, but I do know that you’re most certainly not for the faint of heart.” The release, a statement of the obvious, as I rose out of my post-glory depression from Saturday night. (It’s terrible, how after I felt like falling down and crying. I wanted a kiss so bloody badly, some way to celebrate, some incredible smile to drown myself in, to let go of the show by unwinding out of my body around someone else. I’ve never had that, you know. No one has ever stayed long enough for me to share a victory. Not once.)

The fire and fireworks went so bloody well that I was almost amazed. It was a potential disaster of the worst sort. We almost didn’t have a finale. Those rather essential things we needed to make a show? Gone. All our fire torches, staves, etcetera, got themselves misplaced between Thursday night after dress rehearsal and when I arrived Saturday afternoon at 2 o’clock.

No one could tell me a thing. I arranged search parties for hours, grasping for any clues, any ideas as to where our kit went. After I vowed vengeance several times, and condemned our ridiculously poor security to be the first against the wall when the revolution comes, we managed to borrow some odds and ends off Elliot Neck at the very last minute. Less than twenty minutes before curtain, gear finally arrived. By the time gear arrived, we’d used all our fuel filling Tiki torches. Which meant that we ended up lighting with Citronella. Yes, Citronella. That’s what the gas station had. As if to add insult to injury, the delinquent half of my crew didn’t arrive until five minutes before call. Except the arsonist, who’d been there since five in the afternoon. It was like I pulled the entire show from the air.

It was amazing.

However, so was my show.

I won.