Monday, January 29, 2018



I thought about eternity until God turned up dead
in a textbook. Capitalism wears its tuxedo over
a blood-stained t-shirt. I like genius al dente.
Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings. His sneakers
scuffing the canvas. I wander this intermission
between Ted Talks and the Apocalypse. I’m 
obligated to tell you my sadness is a private desert.
Optimism pirates broadband from a small oasis.
Halo or aura? My migraines are real. The world
is a chrysalis full of oil spills and hiccups and missing
children, and yet, something is materializing…..
All new monuments come in primary colours.
My voice is bronzed. Being brain-washed sounds
like a nice vacation, but how I would miss out
on all this not knowing anything! Anger
can be turned into a hammer if held too long.
A memory is a precious stone. Try not to hit
one with the other. The emitting sound
emanates through decades. Hurts your children.
Your children’s children. The play is over.
You sift the narrative. Someone was in love,
then wasn’t. Someone gained some valuable
knowledge, then died. The actors stand around
waiting for you to leave the building. If given
a choice, I suppose I would take a waterfall
over Xanax. Beauty demands fealty. Sometimes
you have to close your eyes and fire all flares.  

By Chris Banks

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (a found poem)

for Inspirobot

Before inspiration comes the slaughter.
Try to tell yourself you are not horrible.
Ensure that a stranger feels ashamed.
Profit on your idols. Basing everyday
on science creates loneliness. If you
want to get somewhere in life, you
have to try to be dead. Never stop
being weird. If you need to create friends,
you must become a thief. Recreational
drugs are there to strangle your full
potential. Lie to yourself. Don’t just
act naturally. Imagine that you are
obviously watched. The fact that you
are desperate doesn’t necessarily mean
you’re not self-deceptive. Having
an affair with your yoga instructor
can be fun if you cut your hair. All
you need to end world hunger is some
kind of bomb and an accident. Shut up,
follow your dream and reinvent the wheel.
Villain is just another word for misunderstood.
I like you is just another way of saying
take off your clothes. Passion is boring
to elitists. There is absolutely no reason
not to be erotic. How would the world
look if every human being found a way
To help ghosts? If you need inner peace,
don’t forget to close your eyes. Hate
love. Work more. Be honest. Or don't. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Lady of the Lake

Lady of the Lake

Last summer, I sat by 
a lake in the Muskokas
at a friend’s cottage.
The Lady of the Lake
handed me a sword
for safe-keeping. 
pawned it for six
sadness-free months.
I stare at the sword
in the store’s windows
imagining me leading
an army to victory
against oppressors.
I ride a white horse
named Samson across
a field of dead soldiers.
The sword costs six
months of sadness
which I cannot afford
but already strangers
in the streets stop to 
pledge their allegiance 
to me. “I’m a tyrant,”
I caution. “We know,”
they say. “But at least
you're our tyrant."

By Chris Banks

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Voodoo Doll

Voodoo Doll

The cannibals are out of work. A ruffian tries to 
mug a poem. He comes away with sealed records
unveiling his shadow’s secret files. Don’t go poking
the bear, the rest of us tell him, if you can’t handle
a few symbolic gestures. Pandemonium is a sleep
cathedral. A den of nightmares. Every time I see
a nun, I feel a slap against my palms. A phantom
strap that never cuts, only stings. Oh Sister Claire,
shaking an eight year old boy so hard you would
swear he was a marionette, where are you now?
This is a terrible children’s book. Get ready for
a fireworks display. Isn’t that better? Watch out
for debris. Self-talk is worse than a voodoo doll. 
Exit off the warpath. My biographers want me to
hack the zeitgeist. A geiger counter keeps clicking,
although there are only law firms for miles around.
My hazmat suit is invisible. I begin to worry people
will recognize me as patient zero. Take me to some
underground lab run by faceless operatives who will
conduct experiments on me. You’re not that special,
say the cannibals, who loll in the summer heat, stuffed
with questions which are my particular super-power
but even they sadly, slowly, grow more civilized.

By Chris Banks

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

New River Rock Press Broadsides


I have two new broadsides for sale. They were designed by Jon Johnston of Bearface Design and printed on 12x16 80 lb Royal Linen Natural text stock. 

The first poem is called “Finders Keepers” and the second one“The Cloud Versus Grand Unification Theory” is also the name of my new collection coming out with ECW press in the Fall of 2017. 

I love broadsides and these are suitable for framing. I am selling both for $15 in a limited edition of 50 signed copies. 

Please send inquiries to

You can read the full text of the poems below:

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Falling In Love With Poetry

The Wild Writers festival sponsored by The New Quarterly is happening this weekend November 4-6 2016 in Waterloo, ON, and I have been lucky enough to have been asked to participate in a panel discussion about poetry. The other panelists are Isabel Huggan, Michael Crummey and Kerry-Lee Powell. The event will be moderated by Kim Jernigan who also edited the lovely anthology Falling in Love With Poetry which draws essays from Canada’s finest poets, including yours truly.  

The event takes place at 3:10 pm-4:00 pm at the Balsillie School of InternationalAffairs. I plan on talking a little about my essay “Falling In Love WithPoetry: A Bird’s eye view” which discusses the idea of voice and otherness in poetry, as well as read a favorite poem or two.  It is sure to be a wonderful time so please come out and say hello.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

All Night Animated

My friend Dave Okum animated this little video of my poem "All Night Arcade" which will be the title of my next book. Hope you enjoy it!