Sunday, June 25, 2017

Pottery













Pottery

Your choices go unremedied. If only
we could repair the cracks in one’s life
using gold. Scintillas of precious metal
celebrating the struggle. The Japanese
do this with pottery. It feels sometimes
like we are suffering an epidemic of
indifference. Despite our little screens,
it is possible to see one another. I am
the one standing beside sunflowers,
or in the ad for unyielding desire. I am
drinking beer on a rooftop in Old
Montreal with friends while at a loft
party below someone gets famously
drunk, takes off her dress. The past
is what we remember, but also what is
diminishing in other rooms. The salt
in our blood seasons our aches. My
needs are infinite. I wish I could tell
you I am the only one in this poem,
but I have taken your pulse so stop
pretending you are not there. The
universe keeps racing in all directions
like nostalgia. Love’s velocity. Light
years of trial and error. Already these
lines are exposing the cracks between
a boy on a rooftop in the middle of
winter, and a man who treats his hours
like a waiting room. But what lovely
streaks of gold! The vessel is not words
but our lives. The sum of our worth.      

By Chris Banks

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Mid-life Action Figures















Mid-life Action Figures

My body feels made by Mattel.
There is no lifetime achievement
award for surviving emotional
trauma. Van Gogh cut off an ear,
went about his day. I don’t mean
to make light of suffering. My alma
mater tells me by phone they could
be doing better. Can I coat-check
this malaise? Talking to neighbours
feels like treading water. Similes
are passé. I need an electrician to
rewire my mood. Going to parties
when you don’t drink is open heart
surgery without local anesthetic.
I’ve completed all seven seasons 
but my knees are arthritic, and
my chakra is in shambles. I love
how business thinks innovation
is dreamt up in hotel bars and
conference rooms. Being forced
to take the arts package is what kills
creative embryos. My depression
is pure Suzuki method. I’m going
to open a Montessori school for
recovering addicts. Ever seen
a masterpiece wrapped in cellophane?
Go to your local record store,
dig around in the stacks. Maybe
the letter does not arrive on time
so you drink poison, or decide
to take up pole dancing. Either way,
someone’s parents end up crying.
Pull the string protruding from my back.
Listen to what I'm about to tell you.
There is not much time.

By Chris Banks
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Friday, June 9, 2017

Big Questions












Big Questions

Every child will tell you the big questions
are what is your favorite colour or how
old are you? Poetry still an amuse bouche
and not a tommy gun firing into the dark.
Break false totems. Remember wisdom
sprang from the head of a god. Questions
change with the decades, like how many
blackbirds flew out of that pie? Do ghosts
sleep? Why is there no thirteenth floor?
Will I get the credit, the job, the apartment,
yes or no? What is your sign? Briggs-Myers
type? Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers? Lou
Reed or David Bowie? How many attended
the wedding? The divorce?  To tweet or
not to tweet? Should I jiggle beauty’s lock
using only a paper clip? Does this skirt go
with my ennui? This tie with my exhaustion?
Should I be worried I no longer get ID’d
at restaurants? Twenty years on, why keep
making art? Swag or sparks? Is this puppy
show-quality or rescue? How do I love thee?
Does a honeycomb of doubts or assertions
produce a sweeter honey? A vale of soul-
making or a glen of happy sleep-walkers?
Who jinxed me? cries last year’s prom-queen
storming from the gymnasium. Air or water?
ponders the amphibian its whole entire life.
The big questions expand like black holes
and we hovering on their event horizon
rush towards them at the speed of light.

By Chris Banks

Friday, June 2, 2017

Merry Go Round













Merry Go Round


The decline of Western Civilization
is an after-taste easily washed away
with a sip of diet soda. The world’s
seeds stored in an Arctic stronghold
are ruined due to the permafrost
melting. I still love humanity, I do,
despite its addiction to money
and methamphetamines. When did
we stop building labyrinths and
rocket-shaped cars?  I’m broken
and still expected to make a speech
at the staff picnic. Clouds baptize
cattle with rain which is why people
eat them. Troy is forever burning
yet we all shop online. The search
and rescue party ran out of champagne.
Let’s toast to our disengagement!
So what if seabirds’ bellies are full of
plastic, they can fly to the lost isles.
My analyst thinks I’m perforated
with losses, my heart a sieve, but
I tell him I enjoy a good mash-up
as much as anyone. Joan Jett and
The Beatles. Guitar-solos are no match
for clean living. My fortune cookie
says go back to dangerous playgrounds,
steel merry-go-rounds, that feeling
of spinning and spinning and suddenly
flying off the face of the earth.

By Chris Banks