true people true people

Category: The Early Years (page 1 of 2)

Poetry from the early days with an unknown DOB

Heat of a Winter Street

Linger: a finger-tip supposes
a thought tap-tap-tapping…

while hollow echoes
in the collapse of light;
a streetcorner
with no direction
plays party to the motion.

A nebulous vacuum swells its way
into every nook and cranny, nostril and alveoli,
depositing and dissolving air-borne
particles of elements and minerals
into bloodstreams and sewers.

While the cold settles making nothing unfamiliar,
what little warmth left is nursed out of thin air
as fingers entwine:
givers receiving
their bounty.

collab. w/ Chris Clarke

Year in Review – Printemps d’érable

Raid police have entered our campus. Marches have retaliated, cleared stomping grounds for tents and free food, sometimes shouting angry, sometimes naked, and always with a hint of rouge. A generation of squares has passed into leadership, an Ominous X, and now knitted squares arise, trying to cut out a history for the people, for the Generation Why.

“But this is not my place. I am not from here. I do not speak the language here, nor do I understand its history. This simple business transaction between myself and the University must not be sidetracked by local politics.”
Look around you, what does your bubble consist of if not the people of the City? Where are you free to go? Only where you have been before? Alas, the present fantasy..

As a generation of students, we are tech-dependent: our ventricles palpitate from the technological tentacles of various life-enhancing machines:

Streamfeeds, surfing on Chrome like a cosmic superhero, StumblingUpon Operas, or into Safaris. Webcrawling through an alert hive-mind, arguing, discussing, laughing, learning, making connections, breaking barriers, reshaping and rethinking, and always, always editing. Even in our sleep, we map pathways in our minds to make the stars align, or to redefine the symbols and signs of our times. We no longer rest, tired and rewired, yet still feeling blessed.

But, the power of this generation, this embryo cannot be harnessed until the foetus accepts that it is no longer in vitro, but fully grown. An amniotic sea change is required, when the egg will hatch, and a new age will be born. And this era shall be marked not by differences of age or experience, or of generation, or of race, colour, creed! No! Those are the scars of the annals of history, bygone pages of ragged civility, that must not be reopened, for we can access a power far beyond ourselves, if we would only merge our minds, without the limitations of ego.

Humanity has fled the trees of knowledge from which we evolved to the sprawling space-like dimension of the synapse structure and we are carried by the shoulders of giants through it, already gingerly dipping our toe into the Red Planet. Scanning it. Planning escape from the possible destruction of our race.

Indeed, these are ill times and I have seen far too many students walking in the eye of the storm, and complaining about the inferior quality of their manufactured shoelaces, because they were worried about the risk of an unexpected stumble, of a scraped knee, while the foundation of our species, and of our societies, is picked apart by the wind. Literally.

The planet is fermenting, like rot, and releasing waves upon waves of heat: pure chaotic energy. Humanity’s strict requirement for rigidity and structure has untethered the tides of the Earth.

An imbalanced geostasis, all for roads to nowhere, symbolic infrastructure, and destructive technology, and now the wheel of entropy spins out of control.

And regression occurs in times of tension, and fundamentalism emerges as a threat, a sociological, psychological terror that preys upon our doubts and upon our fears. And the stories just get stranger and stranger. The inconsistencies of 9/11 and the subsequent “War on Terror”, Project MKUltra, the use of scopolamine in the Colorado shooting (the Devil’s Breath), the LIBOR scandal, the ever-silent media oligarchy, the BP oil spill, Plan Nord, Goldman Sachs immunity. These all affect YOU. We are citizens of the World now, and it’s time we recognize that.

Over the year, some have seen and participated in the buzz-buzz-buzz of the hornet’s nest, others have listened to their friends and planned ahead, and still others have sheltered themselves from the throbbing vein of politics and power that steadily injects adrenaline and ill-begotten vitamins into the City and into the University. But all have felt the need for change, the tender vibrations of our species suffering, quelled beneath the tools that would give us freedom, if we only looked at the horror of our times with honesty.

We are an international university, so what are your politics when they come knocking at the door? Or when they provide the ground beneath your floor? Are they mine, or theirs, or yours?

after winter comes spring

After Winter comes spring, when ghetto voices remember how to sing,
selling bling-bling, captured in a spiral of suffering,
I told ’em “nothing” when they asked if I was holding
got scolded by hot verse reserved for high kings
I woke up, spoke up then got my spokes choked up
drummed up and had to hitch home with my thumb up
a broken cup couldn’t hold water even if it were wine
A fierce mind falters if it doesn’t have a strong spine
Trading dollars for dimes and balancing on a fine line
Crying, “don’t take me back to court”, I said
drying dreads, four decades since I seen my own bed.
Snorting dried five-alives looking for street cred,
Now, scratch marks on my coffin to prove I was never dead.
Daddy said, “I can’t give you what you need,
so you better watch your mouth and you better watch your deeds
no stallions for steeds but there’s a battalion rallying in the words that you read.
Every single man has got to have a creed or a code ‘cuz hard lines are tough acts to follow,”
So, with classical largo, I spit slow to make it to tomorrow.
Calling out to Jim Crow, “I recognize, never fail to historize
and memorize all the times that you been terrorized.
There’s a lot of victims in a genocide and everything I know comes from just this one life of mine!
And when their souls sigh, they never leave a dry eye.”
So when it’s Do or Die, you’ll stand up for your rights,
the podium erodes in the absence of the people’s might.
‘Cause we carry the light! Every furnace is counted in candles –
Too hot to handle, we run deep like the mantle of the Earth.
The foundation of every birth – be it a blessing or a curse.
I’m confessing that a Mother can be smothered by the trial of giving birth.
Playing circles in her mind like seeing violence in reverse.
Spit a cycle of curt words to break the wings of her birds.
It doesn’t matter if you were born first or third,
‘cuz that Hate is bound to spread when it’s heard.
But now we’re here, so nevermind, smile alive and have some compassion
We could save ourselves a whole lot of queer-bashing,
if the spigot of bigotry had no symmetry,
if ignorance of experience was filled in by family,
Maybe even happily!
Then walk a mile in the Other’s shoe.
Didn’t you know Johnny Appleseed had rotten roots?
You can learn a lot from someone by the stains beneath their boots.

by Michael Cody Clarke
All Rights Reserved.

dear spvm

Dear Service de police de la ville de Montreal,
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Outlines my right to protest in any medium.
Free Speech and Peaceful Assembly, you will recall.

You see, the political will always be personal.
Ideas will never need protection,
But people always will. And an election
Or a G8 summit shouldn’t need crowd control.

Dear Service de Police de la Ville de Montreal,
Why did you arrest Anarchopanda?
This mascot had the admirable agenda
To criticize a controversial municipal by-Law.

Called P-6, which prohibits faces from being covered,
And the police must know where y’all are headed
and they’ve become draconian and now dreaded
after tourists were kettled and their freedom smothered.

Here, there`s a lot of anger towards the police,
Almost every year, the March against Police Brutality
Starts calm but erupts into a riotous finale
There’s graffiti in the city that shows without crease

Ian Lafrenière with a gunwound to the head.
But should a young Jennifer Pawluck serve time
For posting an image of that graffiti online?
It seems that Justice can be easily misled.

Lady Justice is blind so that she may remain objective.
Her sword and scales may support either side
The arc of the moral universe is long and she’s our guide
Towards a world working for the collective.

But, if the Commission Charbonneau
Teaches me anything about Justice
It’s that the execution of Augustus
Was quick while our blind Lady is slow.

And so the final place for free speech to exist
Is in the street and scrawled on bathroom stalls
when corruption slows due process to a crawl
and Intelligence insists that the gub’ment needs kill lists.

Like the U.S., where oligopolies
Suck up all the subsidies
Divide and conquer all the industries.
Haven’t you ever played Monopoly?

And if I am working for the Bottom Line
I’m going to buy me a politician,
Financially influence his decisions
Until his stock portfolio aligns with mine.

Corporations are Darwinian!
Their only purpose is profit
So they kill to control global markets
Look at the kids overdiagnosed on Ritalin

And all our fuel is ruled by The Seven Sisters
The “Consortium for Iran” oil cartel
BP, Exxon, Gulf, Chevron, SoCal, Esso, Shell
Who lobby to the greed of Ministers.

The epidemic is systemic, which is why it’s so scary.
When the Harper Government was ruled
to be in contempt of court, who were the fools
That ignored our tar sand’s canary?

Dear Service de police de la ville de Montreal,
I know that this is not all your fault,
But people are worried about unwarranted assault.
Who watches the watchmen when an empire falls?
Who watches the watchmen when an empire falls?

by Michael Cody Clarke
All Rights Reserved

let us clog these streets with democracy

Come, let us clog these streets with Democracy.
Let us grind the gears of our city to a halt,
with rust or sand or salt,
for the oily pitch of greed will set fire to our society.
Let us defend the last trees, in the last parks,
and peacefully organize:
bee-hive petition drives,
and ant-agonize those who would wield weapons for Liberticide,
with gasmasks plastered against our sweating skin and sea-wide eyes.
Bring mirrors and martyrs,
and songs and dance,
to remind the textbook-tweaking technocrats
and the plebeian police
that power burns to ash
quicker than a star’s collapse.
Sing the slogans of peace that provisionally linger,
like the harbingers of jailed journalists,
the ghetto echo behind the Great Firewall,
the whimpering of whispering whistleblowers,
the wi-fi televised riots,
the groans of our climactic climate,
the hockey-stick off-the-charts
and my heart, bless me, my heart.
It won’t stop beating so hard.
I care so much for people, it hurts to see them unequal
and set apart.
We are living in Orwell’s sequel,
but instead of a boot stamping on a human face, forever,
modern oppression mines our metadata until we surrender.
The devil is in the details and
I have read about a lot of demons.
I remember The MKUltra endeavour
willed by McGill’s own Dr. Cameron
to riddle and rattle students’ brains
with sensory deprivation and LSD,
to provide the CIA
with a manual
on how to scramble
rotten eggs.
Or do you remember when the bank HSBC
paid slap-on-the-wrist fees
to U.K.’s State attorneys,
so they could continue laundering the Sinaloa cartel’s
mockery of Mexican democracy?
Now, in the land of the Free,
dark money from Koch Industries
lines the pockets of the GOP,
who push fervently for the TPP
while calling it a harmless free trade treaty.
Truly, Empires have existed since the beginning of History.
Only now, they achieve victory through demands for “state secrecy”.
Some even employ economic hit men who sell fish-hook loans
so they can bankrupt and buy countries bearing the load
of land-filled landscapes
littered with warlords’ regrets
over ill-begotten toxic debts.
And if those fiscal fishers miss their markets,
jackals and juntas
or spies and spooks will disappear dissidents in the night.
O! What a tale to tell those marines
who fuel those machines of military might –
fighting the good fight.
So let us clog these streets with capital “D” democracy.
Let us sympathize with the pencil-pushing police
who must swallow pugilistic decrees
and smile the whole while
that we are all processed
like only so much meat.
when we, the public, reconvene on the street,
we may sleep,
knowing the inner belly
of our city
with all this
to eat.

By Michael Cody Clarke

youth do yearn

In their search for truth,
yearning youth drink life in like gin sinking in to vermouth.

And when the adrenaline from a Ritalin thrill kills their innocence – makes it die;
Or when they slip through the cracks because they were missed
by the catcher in the rye, or
when they learn what power lies in the smallest of lies,
necrotic narcotic nightmares will sail along neural creeks
to meet beneath synapses to speak about tantalizing sweets and nefarious deeds.

But out there in the wind and the cold, you realise
that you’re just a few bones covered in meat.
Sick and in secret, you’ll swallow
lessons whole through the soul-sucking
stinging from toes
gripping those well-worn holes
in the sneakers of a raggedy-ass beat,
either tweaking or limping or peaking or drinking,
Years and tears smeared together like weeping into blinking.

Now, I’ve conjured up this addict’s hopelessness with this haunted stream-of-consciousness
to hypothesize one of the lives I could have dreamed,
but at the time, I coughed up fits, and lungs, and even other people’s screams.
And, given that I’m not a fiend,
I sympathize with any dreamers and liars,
schemers with priors,
desperate or dire
for change of place or for hire,
sketching plans out on a wire
with their last lead, clear head, or copper,
So desperate even grace is improper.

Some days, I’ve been told, there’s nothing to do but cop, stop, and roll.
Doling out pipes, gripes, and holing up polite. Wholly unsatisfied with the height of your high.

But what the fuck do I know?
I come from a land of ice and snow
where trafficking blows because more often than not,
you’re panicking at the frostbite that’s collecting on your nose.
So cold, you already feel comatose.

And the proffered dose of cheap wine and thin toast
is staler than a tired TV trope
so no wonder kids turn to dope
to discover a way to cope with the pain of poverty,
or an outsider’s identity,
or even, their community’s incredulity when their family’s eulogies end unruly.

Truly, kids chase cerebral cosmos with weed, ecstasy, LSD, tempted by mere fantasy.
But, if it weren’t for World War D, bewildered children would need not fear the laws of our society.

And the irony is that a variety of pharmaceutical narcotics
contain the same toxic products
that are abused just like those yearning youth
who were only ever looking for some honest truth.

how do i know love?

I know many measurements of time,
I’ve witnessed the difference between frozen resin and bread leavening.
And I know melody and I know rhyme
by the contrast of music and a bird’s rhetoric,
And I know the feelings of sharp, pinch, and burn,
because I have experienced each, in their turn.
But how do I know that this feeling is love?

I’ve read fairy tales about doves whose tails were caught in crosswinds and tossed about by gales because they were too frail.

And I’ve sung ballads about roses whose petals were pallid so they hid their aromas behind a threshold of thorns.

And windtorn willow wisps predict wicked sorrows for those that are born from midnight trysts or from parents who fornicate like forlorn narcissists.

So I know that love exists but it does not seem to consist of only heavenly bliss.

I scorn every Resurrection Myth because my senses insist that this is all there is
Which makes these few brief moments with you sting like Romeo’s poisonous kiss.

And whether we face doom or destiny, gloom or ecstasy,
I’ll ponder the question that I keep asking myself endlessly:

How do I know that this feeling is love?
How do I even begin to describe…?

If my love for you were an old oak tree,
its roots would run under rivers,
score stones, and flesh out forests.

If I could snatch Orion’s belt out of the night-sky and knit you a celestial crown, I would fend off the attack of the remaining Zodiacs just to make you feel like the Queen of the town.

If I could build you a sand castle, I would smelt it into glass with the warmth of my hands, so that when the Ocean no longer breaks upon land with its aquatic song you will be able to shatter the Kingdom that I wrought for you with the ringing of a gong.

If I could take the place of Prometheus or defeat Theseus in a fight, I would hold the world in place so you would forever remain in light.

And if I could write you a love poem, I would.

by Michael Cody Clarke
All Rights Reserved

& Yet & yet

Standing still, speaking to you, poised in my posture, I spin slightly askew, upon an axis, grounded by gravity while circling the sun in a solar system that spins slightly askew, transfixed betwixt glutinous galaxies which twist amidst orbits of other planets, stars, and gases, and I think, What happens when I die?
Will my cells stop being friends?
Will my saliva become simply slime?
Will any single part of my body
even remember that it once was mine?

My poor simian brain bends until it breaks when I try to grasp the stakes of my existence. My pinprick millisecond. My firefly flicker. I know my life is shorter than a baby’s breath when compared to time’s true depth and yet, and yet, I cannot help but become upset or feel regret.

But if everything changes all the time then that must include my mind. If every cell in my body is replaced then some thoughts must die. So every so often I ask myself, Who am I?

I never would have thought that I could become a stranger to myself until the night I realized that I was alive while in my dreams.

The freedom of fantasy was silky and smooth beneath my feet and I felt,
for the first time in my life,
the absence of friction.
With my senses censored,
I fell. I fell, and I fell,
and I did not know if the ground was rising up to meet me, or whether the sky was falling upon my shoulders,
or whether I was slipping between the lines, to meet the space which lies within the space which lies within the space.

And when I woke, with my eyes darting wildly behind the curtains of my mind,
it was into yet another dream.

But this time, with borders and barriers, straight edges and hard-staring, downcast eyes, and all the birds were caught upon a wire, warped and barbed.
And I laughed. I laughed, and I laughed, and I thought to myself,
“I’ll never make it out alive.”
And when the sun finally shone upon my face,
and I felt the soreness in my limbs from having slept with a spun spine,
and I felt my bladder bulge within me, I turned upon my back, stared at the lampshade and wondered
whether my mind would liberate me with its dreams or ensnare me with its nightmares.

I left my life behind then to seek refuge in an old-growth forest.
Et un sapin triste m’a dit que la planète est fatiguée avec tout le monde.
And a snake eating its tale told me that the end times were near.
While a buried pinecone prayed for fire, I wept.

For indeed, the Sun had crashed into the horizon, setting the world ablaze. And to save me from the flames, the forest floor closed in upon itself and swallowed me into its womb.

There was no scream. No shock or protest with my sudden burial. This moment had been in the background of all my dreams so how could I be afraid?
I was absorbed into the soil and my exhalations were swallowed by the fires raging overhead.

And amidst the ashes of a crumbling ego
There was peace.
And there was silence.
And time stretched onward.
And as the molecules of my matter traded places with the surrounding space,
and as this trade took place with the space that surrounds the space surrounding the space, I dissolved.
I dispersed like a dying sun, traveling to distant galaxies where memory could no longer serve me.
And yet, and yet, I spoke as myself without having an entity.
And the Universe spread itself before me, until the end of eternity.


by Michael Cody Clarke
All Rights Reserved

I stack ‘lax graffiti tasks on streetbeat kids

Slip me some sugar but you’re missing the molasses
and these mogul fascists
deserve 10^10 lashes.
Brandish the sashes and the barcode Ids
Identification fees costing you your identity.
Like muddy boots mingled with the shingles in a miser’s loot.
Are you in cahoots with the root fruits that produce this rotten truth?
My trenchcoat moat reveals roles like haute culture
I was born in the future so my epitaph will be graphed in the past!
I stack ‘lax graffiti tasks on streetbeat kids who got a thread for Lamborghini skids.
Rid of them all so don’t you stall!
When their flag is in the clear,
you don’t fear to drop the ball.
‘Cuz their smokestack ceremonies and their alimonies
breed fires into electric wires until the
choirs rent a tents at the base of the spire.
Call me a liar and we might have a brouhaha
Too many brews will get you bruises and you’ll need a spa!
Flap your wings and rap sweet nothings
I soften the sting like a broke arm in a sling.
And my longtime standing friend is now demanding an end
to this stipend that’s coming outta my two hands.
I pretend to render a smile fender-bender like the Nile,
your style can’t contend! With the depth of my breath
so I leave you to the flock
Grieve not that you’re caught as the brine of the stock.
I’ll ladle you anyways, slurpslip a sip to the tip of my lips
It’s better than a kiss ‘cuz
Nothing is missed in this gastrointestinal slowflow parable
Lying underneath this table

Cut the cable or cradle umbilical cords
Can’t afford to get rabbinical on the Lord
Draw the sword, or the pen if that’s your aim
Just be sure to find some blame or ‘least leave a stain
In the wrong game, maybe I’ll still capitalize
Cannibalize “turned” spies quick like turnstiles
Memorize, the process to this next spit
With no control over flow, sometimes it can just quit
get lit up, need a friend like i need a spark
either way would work to burn away this lonesome dark
on the midnight oil that burns but doesn’t boil
black and pitch like soil, why witches find preference
‘least, lackeys of lore retain my deference
Clearly clever sense, when I leave you for the Self
Dusted up my health and wealth that I left up on your shelf
but I’m over it. No longer playing games
Can count on me to always change, that stayed the same.
Just don’t forget my name, I’ve had enough awkward parties
Getting carded in bathrooms and told that I’m the “shorty”.
I burn bars whenever I get delirious, or furious,
Truly Curious to feel young and impervious
To shirts and snuff and bashful bluffs
Came too close like sniveling prose out of your nose,
Took the wrong dose, now you’re rooted and can’t balk.
This is the final walk so guard your speech and Don’t talk
We’ll be having a rendez-vous, you and I
True or die lullaby make all the wincing widows cry
All the same, ends you in a fresh-dug grave
Jeepers Creepers, creeping crawlies know how they should behave
although Slaves, they still brave the Overmind
Direct orders with the “Thanks, you are too kind”
Nevermind, no longer blinded by your orders
I smuggled all of your daughters across the borderline
Wave goodbye like Sin
Try to find the blade to break this bind
I’m Alex of Macedonia showin’ ya the answer to his koan
And no drugged up Samoan can bluff me like the mirror showing
Fear and stale drinks, beer and alcoholic sinks gotta think
this one through, last three hours felt like two.

by Michael Cody Clarke
All Rights Reserved

I’m Cantankerous

I’m cantankerous,
a cattle-shaped tank with custom-made plates
so real they make your wheels look fake
preposterous, I know
but sometimes these rhymes glow like phosphorous
or flow like osmosis between cells that are porous.
So, It’s a chore for the chorus
that’s why we bleed away the stragglers and fondlers
strep throat, straight coat ponderers
and philosophical wanderers
they strip the tips of gold from ink fountains
so they can write shit and call it a brick mountain
and now I’m counting the steps to orgasm
but I’m spinning a dizzy spell and I fell into a chasm.
stopped, dropped and rolled when my destiny was foretold
by wine-soaked gypsies crippled by their history
their memories plagued by parodies of their families
so never once will i feel at ease
in the arms of my enemies
cuz I carry them like knives
scared stiff like submissive wives
singing still stuck on lullabies when no one here would ever even hear their cries
their friends frustrating and fraying at the ends
strung out like old schoolshoe strings
gym-worn, street torn and busted down to bend
by stylistic trends measured in karats and gems
and don’t pretend that I’ve got enough money for a benz
that’s my uncle’s junk and I have no problem being a punk
I know my shit stinks but this brink brings its own funk
I’m no creole monastic monk.
but funnily,
I have a grasp on my most recent collapse
the time when I relapsed into an egotistical addiction
but now! science fiction teaches me everything
how to wonder and ponder and even how to siiiiing
I’ve got these birds chirps changing my hymns
because their melodies remind of Him
who is most on High and although I know it’s the greatest lie
I have no trouble speaking about religious bubbles
pressured and then pricked to pop
where else would emotion derive its motion?
why else would the genius of Icarus
be grounded in his grand fall?
It’s these pall mall conversations
over caffeine and masturbation
that make me sick of the sentimental shit
always fettered with the bit
driven right between my teeth
I need some relief,
because these pyromaniacs they have me in their sights
so I get panic attacks whenever I see a light
even if it’s at the end of a tunnel.
and my funnel vision keeps me in remission
I tend to lose my ambition whenever I need
to plead for your permission
and these statisticians are witnessing hell’s kitchen
caught cooking up a nation of fear
and the ingredients are ill perception,
terrible sense and way too much beer!
there’s no right answers here
only questions
if we only had greater sense
but I can’t count the dollar and cents
‘cuz I need to pay my fucking rent
where’s our parachutes and safety nets?
They’re with the dice and the back alley bets.
we’re waiting on excrement to ferment
in the hopes that we can one day play Rome
take this diamond vehicle covered in dents
to finally find a place called Home.

by Michael Cody Clarke
All Rights Reserved