Thursday, July 6, 2017

Grand Scale

Grand Scale

You have to leave Earth. Talk about Orion’s Belt
having the brightest stars. Like you spent a holiday
gazing at Betelgeuse. Mention Ancient Egyptians.
How they aligned the Great Sphinx and pyramids
at Giza with Orion’s Three Kings, or Three Sisters,
believing the god Osiris would return from there
one day. Zoom next into life’s minutiae. Confess
how you stole a book from a friend’s bathroom
at a party in your twenties. Then spent the whole
next day reading the book, shaking and sweating
the alcohol out, hating yourself, before calling
and giving it back. The poem of the grand scale
requires you mention echolocation. How sperm
whales and dolphins use sonar to stun their prey.
How this is somehow linked to the subconscious.
Dark stirrings at the bottom reaches of the mind.
Then the hot topic of your vasectomy comes up.
The fact you cannot have anymore children, even
though you have two wonderful kids with an ex
who talks to you, and anyways, the poem is not 
interested in more children. It just likes the idea
of birth. And strangeness. Enter a kind stranger
like the old Asian man in your neighbourhood in
the blue jumpsuit who does walking meditation
backwards every morning. It is seductive the poem
of the grand scale. The sense of walking backwards
through life, zooming through space, plumbing
depths of oceanic loss. It wants you to believe
everything is connected. That everything aligns
with the stars. That although the pantry is bare,
shelves are full, if only we took the time to look.

By Chris Banks
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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.
Hate your body. Not idiots. A bitch
loves everybody. Profit on your idols.
Fear a tiny person. Basing your 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