Friday, March 8, 2019

High-Five











High-Five

When the world makes you cry uncle,
try high-fiving random strangers,
or building ice sculptures to look
like poets who died too young.
Run a marathon. Take an Italian
cooking class. Start bird-watching.
Yes, things are bad, but at least
most of us will never have to perform
a high-wire act or walk on hot coals.
Try thinking about a Scandinavian spa,
the first person you ever French-kissed.
The taste of strawberries. It is easy to forget
the good cop’s soothing voice in the corner
when the bad cop starts slapping you.
I guess what I am saying is we can be both
optimistic and scared, still gawk at sparrows
murmuring while waiting for the flood
to arrive. Two roads diverged in a __
blah, blah, blah. When the drummer quits,
maybe you have to stamp your feet.
The glass is half-empty, sure, but it is also filled
with Wi-Fi, Maine Coon kittens, a night sky
filled with constellations. That some stars
are dead and have been for millennia
is no matter. That they still shine reminds me
I am in good shape, despite my being
a shape everything else isn’t.

By Chris Banks

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Replicants





















Replicants

Diet Coke is more famous than Coleridge
which is sad when I think of Romantic poets
choking down Splenda or aspartame. 
My imagination tells me I am five years old.
Thirty-five years old. Maybe fifty years old. I want back
a world where a stack of National Geographics
sits in every living room. I thought adulthood
would have more quicksand and secret passageways.
Somewhere in the Bureau of Missing Persons,
a detective is looking over your file.
There are old yearbook pictures, a prom date.
One with you holding a large fish.
I don’t have the heart to tell him the culprit
is time passing. This is not a prayer.
Stop catechizing disappointments and sorrows.
Throw out the boomerang of hope. The parachute fits.
The falling airplane is invisible. Secrets multiply
in church basements every day of the week.
I want the secret beyond the secret. How to live,
how to die with dignity. Without bending a knee
or kowtowing to religion. The rhododendrens
are drunk on colours! They love themselves
with a feverish abandon so why can’t I? I would say
enough is enough but it wouldn’t be true. If only
wild apprehension would declare a cease-fire
long enough for me to enjoy another sci-fi movie
or cover band. I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe,
says Roy Batty in Blade Runner before dying in the rain.
It only took me this long in life to believe him.
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By Chris Banks

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Deep Fake Serenade
















Deep Fake Serenade

Children’s laughter is like a spray of confetti
without the sweep of the broom afterwards.
Bodies are wiring. Love is the circuit. Houses
are constructed without balconies lessening
the risk of serenades and therefore early deaths.  
Inside everyone of us is a deep fake. A holy ghost.
Folk tales led me to believe people find gold
then lose it all the time. Each new kiss is fourteen carat.
How did I become exiled in a land of golden arches,
guys holding signs across from liquor stores?
To push desire beyond the outwardness of roses
is to feel thorns. I am sorry to be serenading you
like this in a courtyard. Not a courtyard
but at night. Maybe not night either,
although it is true we just met. Forgive me,
I killed your cousin and your parents hate mine.
Don’t think I wasn’t shocked to discover
after climbing this wall of air between us
our elopement is a no-go. Turns out
our stars are not crossed so much as shining
in separate hemispheres. Well, here is to
serenading exquisite strangers anyways!
Thank-you for sealing my fate. Now let us go
before the guards make their final round.
Sadly, we all die in the final act.

By Chris Banks