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.