Monday, December 28, 2009

“Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.”

I had a conversation with your ghost today. You were laying, elbow up, on the couch and we were talking about the strangest things. I liked how you had just shown up and started talking, asking me things.
It was good to see you again.
You looked so light-filled and beautiful.
That winter when you had your paintings on show at the Sugarbowl, the snow was heavy and thank fucking god I lived across the street. I used to run beers to Azif, the owner. Or rather part owner. But man, his mother made the best cinnamon buns and his father gave me the Bagavad Gita and that is an interesting book.
After your show I chatted-you-up and, I must have been maybe 20, I convinced you to come and drink with me in my room across the street. You stayed that night and we dated for a while after. You lived South of Edmonton, near Nisku or somewhere, was it Bear’s Paw?
I used to drive you home in a two-tone brown 1973 Duster, stock.
That was my first car and we made out in it all the time. That time when you took milk home and we made out in the front seat and the carton of milk exploded under my back as you sat astride and insane, well the smell of milk never came out.
I met your mother a few times and she was always happy that it was early. Your parents were so easy to please. Your father even decided to meet me once. He bothered to meet me, rather.
I guess I never told you how I felt about that. But I guess I never got the chance.
It was good to tell you the truth tonight.
When I heard that your new boots were left neatly in the fresh snow on the pedestrian walk-way of the High Level bridge that night and that you had jumped and broken your neck and fucking died well then I just went home.
I never saw your mother again, you know.
You killed a few people that night.
After all this time, though, I am still a little fucked up about it.
Thanks for the chat tonight.
It was good to see you.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

B-24 Liberator.

I don’t have many favorites when it comes to airports; things, I mean.

I love the embraces, greetings and the begrudging farewells.

I love the smoking sections, for those airports that have them.

I love the barrier between loves, thrust suddenly and before everyone. Within seconds you are scouting over a sea of in-line-leavers to spot your love; and she waves one last time before moving out of frame and life.

I love it when my bag comes first and I can collect it and move the fuck out of there.

Mostly, though, I love stepping out the automatic door into the new environment.

At times that door has led me to a small boy named Miguel who would carry my bag to the taxi, 3 metres away, and demand a hefty tip.

At times that door has led me into the heart of the jungle.

At times that door has brought me home to the prairies, vast, wind-swept and cold.

At times that door has led me into the Texas summer.

At times that door has led me into cars with you and we couldn’t wait to get to the hotel on Rue de Medics, and fuck.

At times that door has led me into the rainy night, alone and heavy-hearted, friends behind and an empty apartment ahead.

At times.

That door.

At times that door has led me into deeper sleeps and rougher nights than that door is supposed to have led me into but it did and I had to figure it all out and without you and man, never, let’s never do that again.

I love driving away and into it with blurred eyes and wet cheeks, you gone.

I guess the airport scares me, too, a little.

But I want to pick you up when you land.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

An afternoon with the kids.

(Open with Neil Young’s, “Campaigner”)

It’s a soft, sunny, August day. Not a cloud in the sky, just the chirps of the city, some birds and the buzz of the odd mosquito. We see a typical suburban neighbourhood, cookie-cutter houses, and all similar cars. We begin to focus on one house as a clean pick-up truck pulls in and up to it, parking crooked and assuming.
Sid rolls up the windows, gets out of the truck and straightens his self. Sid wipes his hands on his jeans, gathers some things and locks up; walks to the front door.
He knocks.

(The conversation is inaudible under the Neil Young song.)

Sid: Hi. I made it!

They exchange a brief hug.

Lacy: Hey there. We were worried about you. C’mon in!

We follow Sid and Lacy as they walk through the tidy, beautiful house towards the back and out the patio doors. Jim is manning the BBQ,, drinking beer and smiling warmly. We see their two boys, Josh and Stephen, playing, running around the huge maple tree in the centre of the yard.

Sid sits at the gestured request of Jim and opens a bottle of beer. Sid drinks long off of it and thanks Lacy and Jim with a nod and a tip of the bottle. They sit in content, appreciative silence. Jim has the local radio news on and the 14-day weather report is for sun and warmth.
We look away from the smiling, drinking trio and focus in on Josh and Stephen.

Josh: I’m going to get some juice.

Stephen: Me, too.

They race to the patio, equal. Josh is 1 year older than Stephen but Stephen, at 12, is bigger and looks older. They both see Sid and rush to greet him.

Sid: Hey guys…

Stephen: Sid, you’re back…

Josh: Sid!!! You were in a war?

Stephen: Afganesten(sic), dad told you not to ask about it.

Sid looks and smiles at Jim. Jim shrugs without looking up from the BBQ. Sid looks back over his shoulder and Lacy smiles, nods.

Sid: Yeah I went to Afghanistan. It’s war, that’s right.

Josh: You have a gun?

Sid: I had one, yes.

Stephen: Did you kill anyone?

Josh elbows Stephen in remind and Stephen blushes and gets a plate and dishes out some salad, turning from Sid.

(Neil Young’s #10, Time Fades Away)

(In Afghanistan) Sid remembers bunkers, playing sports, cleaning his rifle, checking his field gear, the green and black patch on his Kevlar, thick with the embroidered magnet and the pile of shit. Sid Hart, the shit magnet. In some barracks we see that patch being sewn on by giggling soldiers in their t-shirts and boxers. We see Sid getting shot at in various circumstances dozens of times, from an old Afghan woman’s hut to inspecting donkeys. Lastly, we see Sid shooting into an Afghan house, a woman crying and bloody stumbles out and falls to the ground. It’s silent.

Sid: I think I did kill someone, but it was an accident and I can’t sleep because of it. Were you guys playing war over there?

Josh: Oh. Was it a bad guy you killed?

Sid: No. No, I made a mistake…

Lacy interrupts with beverages and some hastily cut cheese.

Lacy: Have a snack, everyone!

Jim: Dinner’s nearly done, guys.

Josh and Stephen look at each other, then back to Sid.

Josh: We weren’t playing war, we were playing ‘sing-tag’. It’s like tag and if you get hit you have to sing a song.

Stephen: Yeah and it has to be loud, and a popular song we know. Dad sings old stuff and it sucks.

Sid: Is that right, Jim?

Jim: Yeah, the boys don’t like Neil Young…

Lacy: Maybe they would like it if you didn’t sing it.

Sid chuckles and puts down his beer. He stands up and addresses the boys, Josh and Stephen.

Sid: Let’s play this game, guys.

Stephen: Oh. You can’t play, Sid.

Josh: Yeah, sorry.

Sid: What? Why not?

Josh: Because you have killed.

Stephen: Yes, you do not respect the fleeting beauty that is life.

Sid: What?

Josh: You see yourself apart, separate from everything. This is why you shall live this life again, repeating mistakes until you learn that the defining moment is but yours to define.

Sid stares wide-eyed and drops his beer, it breaks in silence as Josh and Stephen slowly pose and morph into Siddhartha and Govinda; their clothes remain the same. Josh is Govinda, standing with his right arm up, bent at the elbow, tucked tight and only his index and middle finger, palm forward, extending from his closed fist.
Stephen is Siddhartha and is sitting cross-legged, silent, looking at Sid and smiling. Sid keeps staring, wide-eyed and motionless but for the tears streaming down his face.
Our focus shifts to Jim and Lacy, who hug and kiss in the foreground and hold the embrace.

Lacy: Do you think that Sid would be a good father?

Jim: Yes. I think he already is.

Lacy: I think so, too.

Jim: I love you.

Lacy: Good. I love you.

We pull back and reveal the entire back-yard. Everyone is laughing.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Grace Kelly's Lips.

Sid A. Heart
Signal Fire Lane,

Dearest Karoline.
Right now I am smoking and drinking and listening to your flute; the recording you sent me. It is so fucking good. Really.
It’s all I can write to, with. But I think it’s the thought of your breathy lips, pursed like that, which make it so fucking good. I bet you’d be really shocked and turn red and get mad if I were to watch you play and record but instead I just leaned in and kissed you for about thirty seconds with my hand gently on the back of your neck, your hair through my fingers and down into my heart.
Anyhow, that’s what I thought about your music; I hope that helps.

And unabashedly,
Sid A. Heart.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Chris Hartley Stories.

So it began, with litte more than three fingers worth of gin and blindingly, drunk ambition. Due to something simply referred to as 'liquor laws', that would have to do.

He mumbled or stammered, a difficult yet definitive difference existed between the two. As he was oft culpable of doing the mental tangent initiated by his uncertain call to arms was often followed closely by an exhubirant verbal molestation of any passerbys.

"Liquour laws. PFFFFT! A liquor law is what is made after you roll box cars!!"

"But this!!!!" Raising his arms above his head in a sweeping motion, almost taking out the glasses of a busness casually dressed man hustling by with a kiss from the bottom of the gin bottle.

"But this...." He muttered (and it was most certaintly a mutter) as the scorn of the morning crowds gaze began to bite through his wavering gin shield.

The gin bottled creeped to his mouth and the cognizent intrusion of waning self confidence washed slowly out of his stomach.

"Back to the bowels where you belong." He muttered before turning his eyes back to the crowd.

"But this!!!!" Letting a green mixture of residual gin and cigarrette tar fly at the glass window of the presently closed liquor store.

"This most assuredly should be known as an ANTI LIQUOR LAW!!! AND A SMALL SOCIALLY INEPT MANISH ONE AT THAT....or maybe a hen of old jezabels!!"

The gin bottle snapped once again to attention (conducted more for effect than purpose). A poetically misguided tingle of pride trickled down his spine and for awhile he just stood there. Feet firmly planted and hunched shoulders with what was left of the gin balanced against the lip of his belt.

"Jesus fuck..." he mumbled, while feigning an imbalanced kick at the door. He quickly recovered his footing and with what he presumed appreciable enough dignity resumed his objective. Heels squarely matched, shoulders broad, straight neck with nary a shred of his former demonstrated postural apathay apparent he spun around and purposefully met the conglomerated gaze of the crowd lingering near the transit stop.

"Fucking breakfast cereal eaters!" He chuckled, holding his taut posture.

He bellowed to the crowd "I know what you're thinking and could not be bothered one fucking bit to care!"

He spun the gin bottle like it was a gunslingers mighty iron. Whirling it round and round as he stared them down. The projection of graven focus and his unwavering, dark confidence was more than a match for the lot and an unstable wave crashed over the crowd. Eyes dropped nervously through the crowd while others were "looking at him without really looking at him".

He revelled in their pathetic cowardly retreat away from their moral high ground for but a moment, then locked his wrist halting the spinning motion of the bottle. As it began stalling upright he let the bottle slip down and in one fluid motion had secured his hand around then neck and spun the top off with his thumb. The cap shot off straight towards the transit stop. He couldn't help but allow a small grin to escape his lips.

-Fucking perfect-

He pulled his gaze back from the momentary self admiration and was pleased to see that they were indeed more uncomfortable, so he began again.

"As I was saying, I know what you're thinking and as an aside couldn't be fucked by it. You're all pretty damn pleased that you're not as bad off as I...I." He shook his head and chuckled.

"I swear swear to all the gods; false or otherwise, that the feeling is god damn-well mutual. As sure as half of you either have or are going to go pay at least 5 bucks more than you ought to for a damn cup of coffee, I would not for a minute go back to being one of you COCKSUCKING BREAKFAST CEREAL EATERS!!!!". The slouched posture had returned.

"The pay may sometimes be the shit, but the hours, I assure you are most excellent. I'm still sorting out the pros and cons of the other related benefits" He mused.

His eyes narrowed and he cast a gaze over his shoulder, while muttering
"Anit liquor laws aside, retirement has been doing me well."

With one last volley of phlegm in the stores direction he quickly sauntered into an alleyway mumbling something about "It being too sunny a day to waste debating philosophy with officer Luders or one of his blue monkeyed cronies." and with that he was gone.

With this, the assembled mass of the morning crowd regained their composure. A few crooked ball cap wearing younger men reinflated and hollered their battle cries, others began rounding the pity wagons, some began discussing who was going to fire up their cell and so on....All collectively rescaling the summit of mount superior, and many slurping on their disposable, logo-covered morning beverages.

What was compeletly missed were the eyes and the quiet demeanour of an estranged few. They merely peered at the mouth of the alley, eyes aflame like faerie creatures perched amongst a thick canopy. While it undoubtedly vairied even amongst them, there most certainly existed at least an unconcious second where the impulse to drop their cell phones and other belongings and simply follow this obviously flawed pied piper down into the gutter had taken hold. Instead, they simply maintained their compusre while exhauling the remaining vapours of a madness induced stranger's freedom.

-Chris Hartley

Friday, December 04, 2009

"I have, indeed, no abhorrence of danger, except in its absolute effect - in terror."


S. Heart


1797 Walnut St.

Uberstracht, FC.

Dear Pan; companion of the Nymphs, God of shepherds and flocks, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music.

I went into your woods today and returned home bereft of a sudden sense of terror. I apologize for being so blunt and to the point, but I know you have much to do.

That said, I would like to explain the antecedent to my letter, here.

You see, sir, I have always been delighted by terror; the primal terror that is in all of us the same. It makes me feel alive and I love it. One of my favorite memories of your services was when I went camping in June of 1998, when I tried to find my way back to camp after going to the toilet. Although I could see our camp and everyone talking, the raging fire, I felt a sudden and primal terror.

I ran, too scared to even yell or cry. I was pale and everyone thought I had seen a bear; after I told them I saw a bear.

But I lied.

It wasn’t a sight nor a sound, Pan, that alerted me, it was just base mammalian instinct. It was you.

Today, though, I must complain. Today I went into your woods alone and never once did I feel even concerned, much less terrified. I went into your woods, good sir, and I left there with no more sense of life and what I should do than before I ever worked up the courage to venture into those dark woods in the first place.

Rather a waste of my time, wouldn’t you say, Pan?

Befitting the recourse of a mere individual consumer of sheer terror, such as myself, I hereby require an apology from you and at least double, no, triple the terror when next I enter your woods.


Sid Heart.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Deadstick landing (fragment)

to take the yoke and make

the bargain we've been trained for
nose down against base instinct
trading altitude for airspeed

Friday, November 20, 2009

"To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images."

"What do you mean? Why don't you obey?

Why don't I jump when you moan?

Am I detached?
You seem to think I am some monster, devoid.
Cold, you say?
No. When you turn down the thermostat you engage the cold, it has nothing to do with me; except that I grow cold, too.

I can be made hot, too, you know.

I rode to a girl's place once, on a mountain bike.
I fell and broke my wrist on my way to see her.
When I arrived I pleaded for help and bandaged my wrist and drank beer and smoked pot and even visited her friend.

When we returned, though, we made love in her bed. I held myself up with my right arm and cradled my left.

Dignity? Fuck, who cares about dignity, who cares about broken bones, who cares about broken-fucking-sex-bones-while-in-pain-but-love-is-just-too-powerful sex?

We do.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

"I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new."

Thank you, man.
My step is gait, like that.
No canter, no trot, just gait.

I still hit the track and hard.

Thank you, man.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats; For I am armed so strong in honesty That they pass by me as the idle wind”.

How does it happen like that?
Staying put?
Never sacrificing the most unsacrificable?
Day in and out, little adventures, maybe, but never grand movement.
I feel so alone and apart from it all,
as though I had peered too long into the abyss.
And it finally peered back.
I am always feeling gone again.


Thursday, November 05, 2009

9:30 a.m., November 5, 2009

This kind of fall day
So much like the early spring
So goddamned distant

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pissing off the deck, 10-30-09

Out on the highway
a rig double-honks;
I imagine it's for me

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Happy Birthday."

I hid, tonight.
When I came back from the bar, I hid behind the garage.
I didn't want you to see me like that.
I didn't want to stink and be drunk and to have you think that I am as much of a loveless waste; the way I see myself.
I hid the way I hide from everything, afraid to take account; afraid to take responsibility.

My younger brother, I dream good things for you.
Learn from my mistakes; tragedies.

I wish I wasn't a broken man for your birthday, Bruno, but I am.

But you'll be better stronger and faster.
You'll be a billion-times the man I am.

You already are.

Happy Birthday, young brother.
Happy 12th Birthday, Bruno.


"A plainful story from a sist'ring vale..."

Oh Alberta
With your big sky
And let-down eyes.
You killed me today.
Thank you for reminding me that I am
a fool.
I ought to be more careful with my love.
I ought to be a man, again, and alone.
Oh, Alberta, with your sky and the way you make me


Sunday, October 18, 2009

“It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.”

When I caught that cross-wind and the mizzen mast was spun, well, that's when I knew that I was in love with you.
Sails filled, weak willed, we put it down for the night, stern-strong.
we finished that sail for the day and fuck the begging.
Time for beans and coffee.
And catch that free-rig, you fool.
Free-rigs, man.
Where would that take us?


"Let me but bear your love, I'll bear you cares."

We slept through most of it, the storm, you and I. Oh, Thomas, you good cat, and all you wanted was a sip of milk and a touch of tuna; we have similar diets, oh cat.
I signed all of my letters with love, but some of them were made uncomfortable by that.
Some people will never accept love, you know, as they are afraid of their own.
Oh, Thomas, you gray sweet fucker, tell them.
Tell them what I can not, any longer.
Reign o'er me.
Oh love.
Oh gray cat, or forever, oh everything under the eyes of Buddha and even beyond that.
Oh nothing.

Oh, Sid.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Well, even if you do
Or don't.

I am out like that.

Wanted/not wanted.

I do want you, though.

I'll fit when you hit me, take the chalked place.

I really hate these 2x4s.

-Sid Hart

Sunday, October 11, 2009

7x My Size

Another song...

They say I've got to fight it
Say that's what I've got to do
Say I can dream up my own weapons
Say, "We believe in you!"
They say I've proved myself against many lesser guys
But this is seven times my size

They say I need the prize
But must not think about the purse
Say I must believe I'm good
Or I'll only end up worse
Say I've got no chains on me but those I forge myself
Architect of my own cell

Sister, will you arm me?
I dreamed my knives away
Sister, will you fight for me?
I'll gladly pay

And now it sits on me and I haven't got the strength
And now it jumps away and I haven't got the length
And now it blinds me, but I don't need my eyes
To know it's seven times my size

Do not believe her, when she says that you are strong
It's all deceit, sir, when she tells you you are long
It's always there, sir, from the cellar to the skies
And it's seven times your size

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Siddhartha learned something new on every step of his path, for the world was transformed and he was enthralled."

As I flew over the roof-tops to you, your Northern nest, I noticed things.
It was a tough flight but I did it and I had the image of you in my mind's eye the entire time.
I noticed that the trees upon which I used to rest and sun my wings were cold and leafless.
But it mattered not, as I flew on and into your heart.

The flat lines of the prairie gave me lift and I caught those thermals and rose up and out of it all, and again, into your heart.

I noticed that the places I used to land were bare, but it was good to know it, as I found other places to settle from the night's bitter wind and chill.

I puffed my feathers and shook my head to soften the frost that had settled. I found an open place, free of ice, and drank. And then I flew again.

It was so strange to think of you far from me like that. I felt alone but I flew onward. Does that make sense?

So, when I do land and rest, will you warm my wings and let me stretch my legs?
Will you know a Bluebird when he lands and calls for you?

Will you take me once again into your nest and tell me of other birds and how I out-flew them for your softness?

I will tell you of an Albatross I met and how he can never rest.
I will show you the fanning and span of my winged love, I will chase away the cats and mend your little heart.

If only you would have me.


In your Northern nest, my lover.

-Love Bluebird

Friday, October 09, 2009

"O comfortable friar! Where is my lord? I do remember well where I should be, and there I am. Where is my Romeo?"

I am right here.
As I have always been; no balcony.

While you wept on the gates, dear lover, I have been cleaning the lines of this engine and replacing all the weak seals. I tightened the alternator belt and changed filters and oil.

The hoses and clamps were tight, and we were off.

Oh, Juliette, what will they say when I run them over in a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado?
When they chase us by horse?
When they try to hunt us in the night but I am doing 98 MPH with your head on my shoulder and Chubby Checker on the radio, it's a joke, Juliette.

And zoom into it all you scared girl. Juliette, let go and fall in. I have a leather interior with custom bucket-seats from a Mustang and a dual-intake on the Carburetor. Two belts on the fan and a quick kiss and the wrench comes out and things need tightening.

Also, let's put the top down and make-out under the stars, Juliette.


"And behold this day I am going the way of all the earth."

I saw a dead body under a sheet under the wheels of a bus today. Everything was frozen in place and taped-off. I don't know if it was a man or a woman. But it was a dead body and it seemed to resonate like that. With me and with the crowd that had gathered, murmuring.

I crossed the street and wondered about my own death.

Would it come like that? Heavy and unannounced? Will I be under a sheet, under the wheels of a bus someday?

Fuck that. I want to die of a broken heart. I want to die from lack of love, or maybe too much love. I can never decide. Both can kill a man, you know.
But I want to die with love on my lips and want in my heart.
I want to croak your name with my last breath and reach into a dream.

My possessions scattered and none.
My legacy but a wave. In and out. Not the water at all.

I am drinking to you and also to me. With this small glass.

I love you, and if you want to kill me, please don't use a bus.
Under the wheels? Under a sheet?
Already we are sheeted, under the meat-wheels of conception.

Make it at least, and also, original.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Mea culpa.

I needed it. At the time, I needed it.
And ought not to be mocked for it, because need defines reality.
And I needed it. Then.

And there it was.
A single star.

Home and dry.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

After it all, and then some. You couldn't even buy me a fucking beer. You may not have ever known it, or cared, but you left me a battered man, a wounded child.
Please, stop taking it out on me.
And please stop breaking my little heart.
Stop killing me, like that.

Sid (junior) Heart.

Sid Heart will love you better, baby...

"Whence comest thou, shady lane? and why and how?"

Whence comest thou?

Later when the lights go down and I makest thee cometh?
When I kiss your neck and lower it all to a new place? A better country?
Hell, yes I would fight for that.
Hell, yes. I would kiss it all for that. I would fucking die in my sick drunken sleep for that.
I would do everything and also, everything else.
Because it's love, and that is the final place;
the best seat under the shade, on the lotus.
The best.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The sun is just so fucking bright.

On the patio, this is the view from the bar on my block. When I drink and get crazy, this is my muse. I fall asleep to the sound of waves breaking.

Friends, lovers, please.

Come and fucking visit me.

I am only 4800 km's closer to you, now.

That's close.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dans un autre pays.

The rudder wouldn't move at all in the shoals. The keel skipped over them and I knew them by name. I would have gone aloft to see them out but I didn't want to tip her, even though she was keel stepped. Instead I leaned off the anchor pocket and put weight sea-side, and as she swung about, I caught the rigging and shook out the reefed sail. The wind blew into it and we were free.

I hated docking not because my skill was poor, not just because my skill was poor, but I hated docking because I left her there; with only the tides to play on.

The walk from the dock to the house was lonely until I opened the door and there was Thomas. Thomas the gray. A fine cat. Thomas and I would read the mail together, me with my whiskey and he with my heart-beat, as he lay on my chest while I opened the envelopes and read aloud, by lantern: "Dear Mr. Sid Hart, ...".
I had found old Tom one day while walking the streets, I bought him a can of tuna and we became fast friends. Thomas was a good and fine gray cat. When the wind blew hard and the rain made it so that you couldn't see outside Thomas would hide in the nook between me and the sofa.
Once I got a letter from you and after all these years I couldn't bear to open it. I knew what it said already. I could tell from the way the stamp was affixed, sloppy and crooked. Like you.

I am a man of the mast, now. I am sheltered in the lee, unfettered by the misdeeds of others.
My ship has no room for that cargo, even the lazarette is full.

These days, it's me, Thomas the gray, the house at the shore and the ship at the sea.
That is all I am, all I ever want to be: a sailor with a gray cat to whom I can read aloud after docking my ketch and leaving her deck with heavy heart.

"The Nellie, she was a cruising yawl..".

How do I tell you that I love you?
How the fuck do I do it?

I have held you close and whispered sweet things, and how do I tell you
I love you.
I love everything about you.

I have dreamed of a woman like you, but I failed.
I have wept for a woman like you, and I wailed.
But, and yes, you are everything I have ever wanted in a woman who sighs, aloud.
I love you, make me a man, again.
Light my sails and heed my calls to stern, we are the same and good god you are the most beautiful ship I have ever seen in my life; you angel.
I will wait until you share a drink with me.
Oh Nellie, with your mizzen mast to the sky.
My heart of darkness.
Let's sail.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A comatose person cannot be awakened, fails to respond normally to pain or light, does not have sleep-wake cycles, and does not take voluntary actions

I think I have been sleeping. Maybe for a long time, even. I have no recollection as to how I came to be asleep, but I have awoken from this foggy prison, once for certain. Other than that time, though, it seems like twice, maybe more, I don't know.

But once for certain.

The light hit me first and the mountains levelled. My vision was lucid and I felt everything.

The flat-land felt good. I was waking up.

When she first touched my face, that nurse, that line-angel, she brought me to.

She bade me wash the sleep from my eyes and see. The river was cold and I just smoked.

And that's when I knew I was awake that one time. Once.

She spoke to me of lines and showed me love.

A line. The line.

I remember kissing her and now the fog begins to set and I just wanted to tell you once before it settles on my soul that I can't remember how long I have been asleep but I remember, oh god do I remember, that one time when I was certain that I was a-fucking-wake, certain that I had left the coma.

But it comes, the sleep. Again.

I'll dream of my lover, then, my nurse with the supreme line.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

For Darren. “People who don't drink are afraid of revealing themselves"

I hated that picture.
But they always brought it in.

"Is that you? You're Detective Polowski, right?"

"Nope. I'm a dick now, a P.I.; where the hell'd you get that clipping anyhow?

"The library, Detec..."

"Just call me mister, is that alright?"

"Yes. Mister Polowski. Say, are you Russian?"

"No. Parents were from Eastern Europe somewhere."

"Somewhere?", they'd say, "What kind of private dick can't even trace his own heritage?"

Yeah. What kind.

"The kind who don't work for free, now you've asked me a few questions already but I don't see no cash. If you want business lay it out."

Sometimes they would and usually they didn't.

The lease was up on the flop so I slept in the office that night and almost every night.
I had just killed the lights and taken off my hat when the door swung open and I grabbed the .38 from my hip.

"Hello", she said. "Hello? Detective Polowski?"

She walked in a few feet and I kicked the door shut behind her. I grabbed her left arm and brought it up behind while I pushed her forward toward the desk.

"Who are you and what do you want?!"

"Ow, you're hurting me..."

"Don't you know any better, you dumb dame, than to be pushing open doors in this part of town after 10?"

From the electric lights outside I saw her profile and she smelled like money.

"I... I... I heard that you were the best, Detective Pol..."

"Mr. Just call me Mr. Polowski. You got that?"

I let her go and put the .38 on the desk. The silver caught the street-lights and glinted, she eyed it for a second.

"Don't you even think about it, doll."

I hit the lamp and poured two drinks.
We spent an hour talking and she cried about her brother who had gone missing before starting his gig on a merchant marine ship to England.

"So, he went AWOL, what should I do about it? Tell the MP."

"No they already know, I shouldn't have bothered you... I just..."

She was crying again.

"My brother, Nicky Clarke. You gonna write this down?" she sobbed, "He was supposed to sign in on the SS Byron D. Benson one week ago. The ship sailed and the MPs came to me about it. That's how I knew. Now, Det... Mr. Polowski, now I am coming to you. Please, I know you were a brass, a top, and you knew all the officers...".

"Listen here, we all have to make do in this war. I can see that your eyeliner on your legs is running, you lost nylon, I lost a lot, too. But I ain't got the stomach to go gunning for some AWOL coward, too afraid..."

She slapped me clear on the face and it woke me up, some. She wasn't wearing a wedding ring. I knew that because my cheek just stung and there was no blood.

"Why you lousy... Get the hell out of here". I yelled.

She started crying again and I knew that I was being a heavy.

"Look now, Mrs. Clark, was it? Look, doll, I'm sorry about that. I seem to get a little sore about deserters. I ain't saying that your brother is one, mind you, but I just get sore at the idea. A man has got to give it in for his country these days and I just hate to see men play it out like that."

She turned away and sobbed harder. I grabbed her shoulders and spund her around to face me.

"Look here..."

But it was too late and she pushed those ruby lips against mine.
We kissed in the glow of the street-light through my 3rd floor office window and we knew it was wrong.

She put down $300 on my desk and turned as she walked away. "I've included expenses. I'm staying at the Astoria, tell me when you have found Nicky."

I was in love and out of whiskey. I had three Lucky Srikes left and my gun was unloaded.

"Goddamn broads".

I went down the block to Louie's Tavern and got a triple, no ice, no groceries.
This was gonna be rough but I knew that if I was on the level it would sort out.

"Merchant marines" I said. "Hell".

Buddhists say that, "Before you can walk the path to enlightenment, you need a great teacher." I say, you just need to know how to walk.

I couldn't figure it out at all.
There was a pole every 50 feet, but no wires connecting them. They just stood there, 150 feet tall.
The bus driver laughed and told me they were there to stop the planes going into Mexico and America beyond.
On the way down Highway #1 to Orange Walk, and beyond, I understood.
They had planted those poles to stop planes from landing on that highway.
It would have taken their wings right off.
I knew that the trip was going to be mad and insane and I loved it all and already.

Friday, July 24, 2009

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

I planted some seeds, one time.
And they grew into something that was more than me, more than I could handle.
But I knew how they struggled and I knew how they burst forth and I knew the soil.

We sat and watched them grow all summer and those flowers owned me and I loved them but they gave me peace like that.

I want to water you, too. I would soften your soil, dust your petals and even support your stalks.

I am Kannon-ed like that. I am Bosatsu-ed like that.

I am your man, solid and in love with love.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Crowley's Law

From and old Dispatch, here.

Fuck the fucking moonbase. There is nothing there for us, despite what the ridiculous ‘40s-vintage helium-mining fantasies they’re spinning say. Here is a complete list of the moon’s benefits to humanity: it looks nice.
I mean, it really, really looks nice. Hanging there, waning away, outshining the stars on a cloudless night. Its only competition is the orange glowing steamcloud cloud of the pulp mill on the horizon.
“Come on, dad! Just do it!”
I snap back from space. Tough-guy Jody’s being goaded by the apple of his pugilistic eye into flipping off the deck. He peers over the edge like it’s the lip of a canyon rather than a six-inch drop into five feet of snow. Sense and sobriety do battle with whisky and lifelong daredevil instinct across his nervous-smiling face until his wife (or whatever; I just got here, myself) puts in her $0.02:
“For fuck’s sake, Jody! You’ve got a good job; don’t break your fucking back!”
FLOOMP into the snowbank, a perfectly cushioned backflop. Sometimes all it takes is the concern of a good woman to remind a man of his party responsibilities ... and these people take their responsibilities seriously.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

“Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.”

Judge: Well, you have said that you wanted to postpone talking about this during the presence of attorneys, but now you are answering questions.

Saddam: No, this was regarding previous accusations. If you want to repeat them in the presence of attorneys, yes, I want to postpone them. But if you want me to sign then the attorneys, no, please, I wouldn’t do it. So my occupation of Kuwait, the seventh charge, unfortunately it is coming from an Iraqi. Is this just?

Judge: But this is law.

Saddam: Law? What law? Law that puts Saddam to trial because the Kuwaitis said that we would make out of every Iraqi woman a prostitute for ten dinars in the street. And I have defended the honor of Iraq and revived the historical rights of Iraqis against these dogs.

Judge: Do not insult anybody, this is a legal session.

Saddam: Yes this is a legal session, and I am taking responsibility for what I say.

Judge: Any impolite statement is not acceptable.

Is that right?

Well, then, I guess a good and solid "Fuck you" is out of the question?

You dumb cunts.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

" Every man has the right to risk his own life in order to preserve it. "

The day will come, you know, when I am no longer around again.
And it did.
And here it is.

I left quietly in the morning. I remembered which boards creaked and to lift the door of the fridge so that the hinge didn't squeak.
I didn't make any coffee or even smoke any cigarettes. I wanted it raw, I wanted the morning to be raw and I refused to dull that with phony little pleasures or postulations.

The bedroom door was open and I looked in again but, and only, for the last time. She was still sleeping and dreaming about the fair I promised to take her to on Tuesday. She loved the roller-coaster and the thrills like that. She was on her side and facing the wall away from me. I cried to not see her face because I knew if did she would have seemed an angel and I would have made coffee and taken off those well-worn boots and put my keys back on the table and woke her up with a kiss and breakfast and the promise of a new day.

But she slept and was turned away in her dreams. And I wept solid like a man whose heart has broke again and for the last time.

By noon I was 360 km away from that bed. By dinner I was 1038 km away from a cold meal waiting at an empty seat at that table.

I made that table one fall. We had gone for a country drive and in a state of love I had ripped off the side of an abandoned barn-door. The planks were cedar and had already lasted one hundred years or more. After a date with my belt-sander and several layers of Tung Oil I pressed those planks together tight and left the clamps on for a week. Those barn-door-planks became our table on which we ate and fought and even several times fucked.

I knew that by this time, at 11:00 p.m., my dinner was still there. It was accompanied by a tear-smeared note telling me what a selfish prick I was, etc.

Sometimes, though, life needs medicine.

Sometimes, one needs to leave it all and everything and just go.

Sometimes, through tears and wails and fears and taboos, you have just got to get fucking going. Somewhere. Away and alone.

I changed my diet the most, though, in early February.
The Olancho Mountains were brutal in the winter and the rain nearly drowned me.
But I managed to build a place out of mountain pines.
Honduras was good to me and I had made friends in Catacamas.

I would hunt when I could and sell what I didn't eat or smoke.

Life was new and good and as time went on I forgot things.

I came across an old shepherd's hut one time, though, and took the door from the hinges.
I strapped it to my back and walked back up the mountain to my pine home.
I used bark with sap on it and spread it around evenly. I heated the pine bark on an open flame until the sap became liquid, then sprinkled sand over it ind doused it in cold water from the stream below. I used the crude sandpaper and smoothed the door from the shepherd's hut. I didn't even build a frame for that table top and had no finishing oil. It lay bare on my floor.

There was never a cold meal waiting on that table nor was there a tear-smeared note telling me that I was such a selfish dick.

I liked it in Olancho.

“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.”

Hey, thanks, man.

I feel great

and so much better now.

You have made America great again and I will do everything in my humble power to aid you, to make sure that the good wins.

Thank you for the chance to be worthy of something.

Thank you for digging my stupidity and and thank you, for getting it right.

And thank you for the bumper-stickers. How else could I let my neighbours know that I am a fool?

And how else may I obey and comply and even deride my friends and family?

And thank you for a decade of fear.

And thank you for never giving me the courage to question your shit and if someone did well thank you for killing their voice before it made a difference.

Thank you very much.

I feel much better, now, master.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"Hwy. 2, Nanton to High River"

grain bin

nice cloud


Monday, July 06, 2009

Beyond "Asteroids": Four upcoming videogame films

The other day, I was feeling really positive about the world. Maybe it was because I'd had a nice meal and my blood-sugar had risen above its usual level of what you'd expect in a shipwreck victim stranded with nothing but a crate of saltines and a drum of instant coffee, but for a while there it seemed like everything was going to be OK. Global depression, terminal ecological collapse, solar flares, invasion of the Moon Men... these things, if they came at all, would pass and we would survive. And not only would we survive, but we deserved to survive. Humanity was a bright, beautiful species with lots of good to offer the cosmos!

And then, this from The Hollywood Reporter:

Universal has won a four-studio bidding war to pick up the film rights to the classic Atari video game "Asteroids."

Oh, right. We're that species, too. Bummer. My first thought wasn't actually a despairing mental wail over how the main stream of our culture is a shit-eating Ouroboros with its mouth grafted to its own asshole, but this: why a four-way bidding war over a "property" the title of which is a common noun and which carries with it no characters or narrative? If they wanted to film 90 minutes of CGI space rocks getting blown all to hell -- "Armageddon grossed half a billion dollars, Chief, and they had only one lousy asteroid. Imagine Armageddon times, like, a zillion!" -- they could have optioned my ninth-grade Social Studies binder for a box of Hochtaler and a set of winter tires.

My third thought, after I'd wracked my brain to come with the nearest accessible structure from which a fall would certainly kill me, was that if they're filming fucking Asteroids it's open season for videogame adaptations. The old world is dead. All rules of sense, taste and cultural necessity, however slight they may have been, are struck down. And thus:

QIX: The Movie (dir. Alex Proyas)

Tagline: "Infinite vectors. One victor."

The game: A big hit in 1981, QIX called on players to draw geometric zones on-screen while avoiding, and ultimately containing, a deadly Apple ][ screensaver.

Synopsis: In the year 2025, cyber-hacker Damien "Ghost" Gost (Chris O'Donnell) finds himself fighting for the survival of reality itself as he races against time to prevent a "techno-demon" dubbed QIX ("Quasi-Interfaced eXomorph") from corrupting and conquering the world's datashpere. Meanwhile, in the "meatspace" of the real world, the shadowy Corporation responsible for summoning QIX is closing in on Ghost's fiancee (Anna Paquin), a brilliant DARPA statistician who just might hold the key to humanity's survival.

Amidar (dir. Russel Mulchahy)

Tagline: "Who or what is Amidar?"

The game: Fill-the-zones games were a big deal in '80s arcades, and Amidar stood out by offering two bizarre alternating scenarios for its path-following gameplay. In one, players controlled an ape running from cartoon jungle cannibals; the other featured a paint roller pursued by angry pigs.

Synopsis: Unwilling to leave Fox's QIX alone to cash in on the fill-the-zones market space, Dreamworks rushed Amidar into production. Bob Balaban (Close Encounters of the Third Kind) stars as struggling poet Michael Amidar, whose life takes a turn for the weird after he discovers a strange map in the lavatory of an antiquarian bookstore. Following the path laid out in the map leads to surreal shifts of reality and identity as Amidar comes every closer to the greatest mystery of all: himself. Co-star Genvieve Bujold is unrecognizable under award-nominated prosthetics as Balaban's otherworldly porcine love interest, Squee Cochonne.

M. Night Shyamalan's Math Fun (dir. Alan Smithee)

Tagline: "Dying is easy. Math is hard."

The game: In 1980, kids played the "education card", holding up Math Fun to convince their stepdads that an Intellivision console would be something other than a mind-rotting gateway to delinquency. Basically, you had to answer arithmetic questions correctly or your gorilla got dunked in the river.

Synopsis: On the banks of a river with no name... surrounded by creatures of fantasy and nightmare... one child must race against time to decipher the equations at the heart of reality. Dexter's Preston Bailey stars. Noteworthy as the late Rutger Hauer's last credited screen appearance, in the role of the Malicious Mister Minus.

Wonder Boy (dir. Rob Cohen)

Tagline: "The Eighth Wonder of the World... is first in line for action!"

The game: Also known in its NES incarnation as Adventure Island, Wonder Boy featured a kind of kewpie-doll caveman in a grass diaper who had to throw stone axes at slow-moving animals, and sometimes jump a skateboard over campfires, in order to rescue a princess, or something.

Synopsis: Superstar rapper by day, secret agent by night, Simon "Wonder Boy" Wilson (Common) and the bicoastal crew of "hip-hoperatives" known as the Tomahawks face their greatest challenge yet when terrorist group S.N.A.I.L. threatens to foreclose on the mortgages of every orphanage in America. Features the voice of LL Cool J, who postponed an announced retirement to play the role of "Papa Choppy", Wilson's acerbic robot helicopter. Decried by Wonder Boy purists ("Wondies") as a betrayal of everything Wonder Boy stood for, this urban-action-spy-comedy nevertheless had boffo box office with the fifth-best St. Patrick's Day weekend opening of all time.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

"Castle Orgies"

On the walk home, after buying my ticket back to Canada, I was met with only smiles and winks. Now, as in the last moments of anything, like Joni Mitchell says, “…you don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone…”, on death-bed, on prayer, I see it all. It was all me, always. Japan, you are happy being Japan. That’s cool. When, oh heart, did I become such a judge? Why do I compare? What is it that made me do it?
It was me, all along. The attitude, the hard feelings, the disposition from hell.

Japan, it was never you, baby. We all have problems, me especially.
Sweetheart, now that I am leaving you, and the sun is out and the skirts are short, I just want you to know I never meant to hurt you. I am so sorry I spoke of you poorly. I am sorry I hurt your feelings, baby. It was/is/was me; the whole time I slagged, whined, bitched about things - it was always my choice to take it the way I did.

Today, under your sun, I cried a little, on the train. I smiled at your sons and daughters, your mothers and fathers. We had fun, seeing the joy in each other’s face.
You’re a beautiful country, Japan, with beautiful people and a fantastic culture.
Please forgive this old man, he has been lost in his head, forgotten his heart.
You looked so good today, I am sorry we are breaking-up, Japan.

I know you will find another man, soon. Maybe he will be better to you than I was, it wouldn’t be hard to do.

Just so you know, when you lay your head on my chest, one last time, and I feel the sting from your sweet, true tears, I have always loved you, Japan. If I didn’t, I would have never bothered to criticize you, as I would not have cared enough to do so.

Sleep well, doll, have a good Saturday. Thank you for the best times of my life, I will remember you always, with a tender heart.


-Sid Fucking Heart

Friday, July 03, 2009

"The call to adventure signifies that destiny has summoned the hero and transferred his spritual center of gravity..."

"...from within the pale of this society to a zone unknown. The fateful region of both treasure and danger may be variously represented: as a distant land, a forest, a kingdom underground, beneath the waves or above the sky, a secret island, lofty mountaintop, or profound dream state; but it is always a place of strangely fluid and polymorphous beings, unimaginable torments, superhuman deeds, and impossible delights."

"Yes, yes please", they would chirp in Japanese from doorways as we stumbled past, "Mr. Foreigner, please come and enjoy our company".
I never did.
Well, sometimes I did.
Sometimes I couldn't resist the sirens. The kimono straight and the lure of of being fawned over was too much. Those angels would light our cigarettes and pour our drinks and ask us to take them out for ramen when their shift was done.
I never did.
Well, I sometimes did.

"Ah, so, you are a school staff. English, ne?"
"Yes. English. Can I have another whiskey?"
They would shout to the bar-mama and the drink was brought over swiftly; held out for me in two soft hands and a bow.
Usually I would buy a bottle and drink it with the girls, those sweet fucking gorgeous girls.
I always went home with a broken heart.
I always did.
Well, sometimes I didn't.

At 11:00 p.m. I would catch the train into Sapporo, while it rocked and swayed and I would drink beer and chat-up local girls and meet up later in Sapporo with some other friends. Friends who knew that deal better than I could ever hope to.
Two of them were from Australia and one was from New Zealand.
Those boys saved me from certain death, and love, many nights and I'll never forget that. I can't repay that.

One summer night, during the Sapporo Beer Festival, where the entire centre of the city is turned into a giant fuck-off beer garden I met my boys and we got drunk and insane. One of our waitresses was an old high school student of mine.
It was at a high school in Shin Sapporo; an all girls school. I was hired on a 6 month contract to teach conversation and communication there.

Megumi. That was her name.
I remember thinking she was cute when I was teaching her but she refused to speak English.
One time in school, during our conversation class she spoke in fluid, unbroken English and she invited me to come and watch her sing jazz at a local Hilton Hotel.
She had a beautiful voice and sang Billie Holiday.
She was in a sleek black dress that night standing against the piano and was suddenly a woman and when she saw me after the show and spoke to me I know that I blushed; she knew, too.

We had her meet us later, after she had finished work.

When Megumi showed up she had a car with three other girls in it. She told us that she was taking us to Dream Beach, on the coast between Otaru and Sapporo.
Megumi said that there was a giant rave there that night and they would love our company.
"We just want to dance, Cloutier sensi."; it was a purr I swear to god it was a purr.
And we crumbled.
The seven of us, squished and drunk and heady went into adventure's lap.

Those soft, unspeaking lips.
I knew I had to kiss her. That goddamn Megumi.
That sweet Yukata.

We drove, passing a bottle of plum wine around, until we arrived at the beach.

The "heavies" let me and the boys in for free because were exotic, foreign.
The girls paid $50 each.
They made about $1000 a night so I didn't feel bad at all.

We danced and drank and kept going until it began to get light, there, on the coast of the Sea of Japan.

I feel asleep in a lifeguard's chair with Megumi in my arms, looking out to Russia, the world beyond. As my mind grew dim and my heart melted away into love for a night and I knew it was love then and there; but leaving was the only way.

But it was a dream, and I never did things like that.

Well, sometimes I did.

Monday, June 29, 2009

RIP Robot Michael Jackson, 23:43 6/27/09 -- 00:03 6/28/09


That unmistakable hoot-howl, at once lilting and tormented -- I'm reminded of Werner Herzog's line on the Amazon jungle: "the birds do not sing; they shriek in pain" -- comes forth when you drop a credit into a Moonwalker cabinet. It used to be the loudest sound in the arcade, louder even than the theme music from the TRON game; you always knew when some poor sucker, his curiosity having got the better of him, was about to enter Michael Jackson's vitrual futuristic dance-battle adventure. Sometimes you'd get a savvy repeat customer, or a multiplayer group of them, who knew what a merciless quarter-sucker the game was, stocking up on continues right off the bat, as I'm doing right now:

WHOO-hoo! WHOO-hoo! WHOO-hoo! WHOO-hoo! WHOO-hoo! WHOO-hoo!

I'm not really standing in an arcade, and I'm not really feeding a week's worth of allowance into a real Moonwalker machine. This is all virtual, emulation. That's the beauty of digital media; it may exist, pristine, forever. We'll never see Nijinsky dancing with Les Ballets Russes, or John Barrymore's Hamlet, but long after the last physical Moonwalker cabinet is broken down and shipped to a Ghanian recycling centre to have the precious gold acid-leached out of its circuit boards, we'll still be able to play the game itself, on our laptops and iPhones, on any electronic device that can be coaxed or hacked into running an emulator, in perfect fidelity. As I am doing now. In memoriam.

Comix-style panels fly across the screen, setting up the scenario. An evil-grinning unsavoury type known as "MR. BIG The Boss" -- I know he's known as this because he seems to be wearing a sign to that effect -- is kidnapping children for some reason. It can't be a good reason; at best it could be a morally ambiguous reason. Perhaps MR. BIG The Boss is kidnapping children in order to save them from terrible circumstances, to give them a chance at a better life? MR. BIG The Boss might be to Child Protective Services what Batman is to the cops, a vigilante working outside the system to get the job done. Whatever, Michael Jackson's not having any of it. Besides, as MJ himself said, it doesn't matter who's wrong or right. He is going to show them how funky and strong is his fight. He is going to Just Beat It.

A little picture of the King of Pop comes on the screen -- this is 1990, and it's weird; at this point MJ's epic self-mutation is already as legendary and rubberneck-fascinating as his musical and choreographic accomplishments, but I'm looking at that picture going "Michael, you look fantastic! You can stop there!" -- and registers his displeasure in a two-frame animation. One defiant "HOOO!" later, and it is on, motherfuckers. On the streets.

Michael Jackson's not too keen on guns or knives or swords, or sword-guns, or any other videogame armaments. His weapon is Dance itself, augmented by glowing blue-white lightning bolts of pure will that he shoots out of his hands like a taser. He can also drop a funky Dance Bomb on the whole place; accidentally, fumbling around the keyboard trying to figure out the controls, this is the first move I trigger. A spotlight comes out of nowhere -- or maybe Michael has a fleet of choppers providing airborne pyrotechnic and lighting support? -- and the move is righteously busted, its power such that MR. BIG The Boss's henchmen, a weird mix of fat gangsters from the Twenties and sci-fi jumpsuit types, are compelled to helplessly dance along until it kills them.

Or does it? At the end there, Michael does this thing where he flings his hat and it flies around the screen trailing magical sparks before returning to him, boomerang-style. Maybe it's the hat that does the killing; maybe Michael borrowed the hat from Oddjob, or bought it at an auction to add to his Cabinet of Curiosities, knowing it would come in handy when MR. BIG The Boss made his play for the innocent children of Michaeljacksonville or whatever this weird city is supposed to be. Either way, I busted the righteous move too early; there were only two bad guys on the screen. A waste of precious righteousness, but at least I made an entrance, gave those henchpeople something to think about. I rescue a little girl trapped by magic rings like the ones Marlon Brando used to keep General Zod in the prisoner's box when the Kryptonian Science Council sentenced him to the Phantom Zone. She gives me a first-aid box in gratitude -- the parents and guardians of Michaeljacksonville are really into preparedness; all their kids are packing either EMS-grade trauma kits or Dance Bombs -- and runs off.

Dance, dance, dance; yaargh, yaargh, yaargh. These thugs go down pretty easy, but there sure are a lot of them. Are they really mercenaries, I wonder, or did MR. BIG The Boss just send out an open casting call and recruit every up-and-coming backup dancer in the state? A paycheck's a paycheck when you're struggling to the top, and some of these guys -- even the droids! -- display some pretty sick moves before the Dance Bomb (or maybe the hat) kills them for not being Bad enough. Hey, is that a chimpanzee in overalls and a longshoreman's jersey? It's Bubbles! Bubbles, over here! Whaddya got for me, little buddy? Maybe some more Dance Bombs, or... oh. Oh, OK. You turn Michael Jackson into a robot. I totally get it.

Michael Jackson's not too keen on guns, no. But Robot Michael Jackson? He fucking loves guns, laser guns especially. He loves laser guns so much that instead of hands he's got laser guns. Now he's just walking with his laser-gun arms outstretched like a mummy or a zombie, just lasering the living shit out of everything. BYOO-BYOO-BYOO-BYOO! It's kind of hard to aim, but who cares? Robot Michael Jackson's got lasers enough for everybody, but all the little kids trapped in those magic rings (note to self: MR. BIG The Boss a Kryptonian?? Investigate further) aren't even scared or anything. They just say a cheerful thank-you -- very polite, these Michaeljacksonian sprouts -- and hand over their first-aid kits, happy to help Robot Michael Jackson hand-laser his way to the end-level miniboss, which is a couple of Tilt-A-Whirl carriages with flamethrowers where the seats ought to be. Yeah!

Haters, step right off; Michael Jackson was fucking awesome. WHOO-hoo!