Sunday, 6 April 2014

"Bark" excerpt from Further Out

     This story is cheap. If a movie, sandy Etch A Sketch waves would separate episodes dredged from a murky blindness. This is the past. But then everything is past. Or nothing is?
     Ooh, that’s a big thought swimming in a small brain.
     Erin must have put a cramp in someone’s style because she is away at bible camp on a sponsorship for underprivileged kids. How they got under in the first place is an unsolved mystery. Even worse than camp is her first period. Stop. Bleeding through all her clothes is so natural no one talks about it. Except, they let her use the counselors’ bathroom to rinse out her panties each night. Aside from this repeat cycle, she is a regular Jane. See Jane run, jump, climb, swim. Funny, funny Jane. Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, said Spot.
     That’s a lie. She does none of those things and is not regular. Mostly, she reads on her bunk and the other kids avoid her. Blood must spell trouble. A girl in her cabin says she talks different, like a grown-up.
     “What’s wrong with you, anyway?” Megan says, screwing up her face.
     “What’s wrong with you, sourpuss?” Erin shoots back.
     Megan keeps her comments to herself after that.
     In truth, she has been a bit isolated lately. Sylvie wasn’t letting any kids come by, and now, all of a sudden, she’s surrounded. What do kids even talk about? She tried to bring up Justine, even though she doesn’t like her much, but a boy just called her bizarro girl, and the conversation never went anywhere after that.
     No one wants to bunk above her. They say she smells like compost. She wants to tell them it’s just the food she’s saving under her mattress, but it’s a secret. Monkey says it’s weird to hoard food, but Erin knew that already. More and more they think just the same.
     But then her cabin leader finds the hoard anyway, adds that to her weight and odd behavior, and reports them. Sylvie’s case worker, Marg, mutates from a voice at the end of a crisis line into something mobile and making house calls. 
posted by Aleks

"Kid Store" excerpt from Further Out

     Inside Erin’s fridge is a Tupperware container half full of gasoline-polystyrene gel, mixed for her animal rescue operations, but transferrable to other situations. She tears off a hunk, plops it into a bread bag, and packs it, along with some matches, in her shoulder bag.
     As she scuttles through the alleyways past midnight, all is quiet except for the odd scrape of feet on gravel. Other miscreants out on nefarious errands, no doubt. She approaches his place from the back, nestles the glob of gel against his garage, then, crouching into the fence for wind break, strikes and tosses matches until one catches fuel to set the structure ablaze.
     Fire is an immediate pay-off. Back home she curls, toasty, into a bed of cats.
     Two nights later, bolstered and impatient, she decides to take a leap, cautious increments be damned.
     Utensils in hand, she wears the familiar path to his back gate where no dog is his best friend. Just a chain link, a popped basement window, and she’s in. Street lights outline stairs, a door leading into a dingy livingroom, its heavy curtains drawn. What’s he hiding? As if she didn’t know. She passes through the bedroom doorway, starting to feel him out in a frenzy, feral claws digging earth for bone. And when they finally connect, she is lost and found. Is it fever that wets her hands?
     When the cops arrive (alerted by who?), they have to drag her, kicking-feet-first out of a closet she doesn’t remember crawling into. Enraged, Erin spits in the face of the nearest one.
     “I’m diseased and now you are too.”
     The older cop leverages behind her, pulling her wrists together and forcing on cuffs as the now-diseased cop puts her legs in a choke hold. In this way they haul her out, body thrashing against the immanent fact of being reeled in. 
     Having neutralized her in the squad car, rookie goes back in. She waits as no bodies are brought out and no yellow tape is applied. There must be a forensics crew that does this. She doesn’t really know how it works, not being a fan of cop shows.
     “What a mess," rookie says, getting back into the car. Then, in a lower voice: “Hey, do you think she was telling the truth . . . about being sick? Should I get myself checked out?”
     “Guess you better. We’ll get her a work-up too when we get to the hospital.”
 posted by Aleks

you are here

Spread out across a dash or shaky on handlebars, legends assure travelers that the road underfoot does not stir.

Taming and flattening wild things into terra-stories with departure roots meaning nourishment, soil, earth, but also frighten, exclude, ward-off.

Smoothing mindscapes scarred by pitched battles, skirmishes, treacheries, all the layers of upheaval, their manifold histories marking inroads to somewhere else.

Denying recalcitrant peoples, insurgent subjects who stumble over weary border guards and ancestral carcasses to unsettle official orders.

How we get through the streets and corridors of power, with what assistance or suffering
is in the invisible hands propping up executive towers.

Our take, a matter of means, the bicycle’s intimacy with streets obscured by the smooth ride taxis afford. The train’s backstage view of production proves though modes do melt into air, industrial wheels still whir amidst old-world coal stacks, scrap-yards, graffiti trails left for future translators of multiple eras.

All those tags are pitched tents against laws of permanence and mobility equals privilege, against every work of art is a crime uncommitted. That reversible jacket has worn out its welcome mat now reads keep out and other signs the lines are hardening against anyone who would draft dodge this allegiance of life’s lease unpaid is crime.

posted by Aleks

We the Multitude

There was a video circulating, Russell Brand promoting his Messiah Complex tour concerning the likes of Malcom X, Ghandi, Che, Jesus Christ, esteemed company to be sure.
There he is with some of his mates who are outsiders, by which he means they live outside. And you can’t help but notice the raw exhuberance in how they all speak.
There is a part of me – it might be the best part – that wants to be one of those sidewalk prophets. Not a messiah. That would be overshooting. Unless it was like in Life of Bryan, one of those instances of unchecked humanity out there prosteletizing their idiosyncratic concerns to passerby. Even better, the relatively captive.
The video also reminded me of an article where a prominent leftist is admiring an anti-poverty activist for speaking to homeless people as if they were . . . I can’t remember what the word was. Middle classed? Important? Human? There really is no good way to end that sentence.
But it speaks to something. People (obviously) want to be the Russell Brand version of empassioned vision, not the one whose rants don’t resonate, whose poetry grates or goes unheard.
Really I can’t be either, lacking the bravery or whatever it is that overcomes fear, maybe it’s always just love. Whatever it is that lets you throw caution to any hostile wind that might to pick you up and spit you out or actually spit on you, as happens and worse, when you lack four walls made of something stronger than cardboard.
So for now I just keep it lyrical, grateful for the safety four walls afford.
We think of words as immaterial, not solid like pixel points or pillars of sedimented time or beaches breaking waves of migrants and tree rings.  
We are migrants and tree rings, our circles laughing in and out and in and out, pooling in cities, forever headed seawards.   
Notice how the grain grows both ways, how tensive plasma bands every colour, every nation into rythms of the same thing: this bubbling brood Creation           
We are the multitude, a seething, shifting lot of slaves and kings, huddled together in agonistic harmony, reigning down upon each other, wading through infernity.
Here, in this land where divine and earthly cities meet, the one shimmering in the other’s skin, our jangling nerves and rustling signs, small endings. All the perfect sum of myriad infections, our half lies.
In the beginning as in the end as it is now, practice tests truth and destiny’s manifest is a cross-hatch of chalk lines through carbon. Silkworm fragile, we are caught in its hairs. 
And it is a hard hot light, this beaming, beaconing human. 
posted by Aleks