Sunday, April 16, 2017

Crusade












Crusade


No one wants the good china. Meet me
at the safe house. Pry up a few floorboards
and you are sure to find an old beer bottle.
Who wants my head on a platter? Pencil in
time for friends and enemies. The billet-doux
was lost in the move. Life is not packed in 
styrofoam. I’ll take a riot over the ho-hum.
Devastation over racquetball. I will sign
your petition if you will sign mine. Change
should not require forms. My resentments
come in triplicate. Joys in hot pink neon.
Do you want the egg-salad or the gospel?
Own up to your hurts. My style is foreign
so the heart suffers. Obligations possess me
until I feel like an old rolled-up tube of glue.
How did I get stuck in this meat locker?
At least, I have Dante and Beyoncé to keep
me company. Careers are scams. I am waiting
for the next great crusade. Let it be sharing
our inner lives. Tapestries of secrets. The
past de-classified, and still parts omitted.
Who needs to be a prisoner of blue skies?
Ante up on hope, and I will double-down
on happiness. Fly your banners. I give you
my assurance of a promised march over lands
full of pay-day loans, corporate retreats. Let me
put my armour on. This takes several years.

By Chris Banks 
--> -->

Friday, April 14, 2017

Simulator













Simulator


Beauty rewrites its own code. The authentic
is another souvenir most people throw away.
I have lived over seventeen thousand days
and all I got was this lousy t-shirt. I keep
waiting for this latest round of beta-tests
to be over. I want the gold edition. Here
let me hug you. Maybe push the hair out
of your face. Let’s hold hands even only
for an instant. There is no better model
of human connection. I desperately want
the real, but there is a subscription charge
if you want to message. The evening rain
has stopped. There is another possibility
I am lying to you. Swipe right anyways.
Every time you breath out words, they
die at the moment of their hearing. Says
who? We need a back-up plan. I remember
something, and a little Xerox copy of me
appears mowing a lawn, meets up with friends,
takes back a neighbourhood street from
a rival group of kids. Some people believe
we are living in a computer simulation.
No wonder it feels like I am going nowhere
half the time. Are we only digital puppets?
Evolution and my own heart-burn says no.
If yes, the turkey vultures circling the edges
of the suburbs are a nice effect. Already
I feel less lonely and isolated knowing
we are part of the same program. Let’s
share secrets, fall in love, blow big shining
bubbles in the artificial sunshine before
some God sitting at a desk propped up
by a couple of milk cartons, a wizened face
searching a screen, hits alt-shift-delete.

-->

By Chris Banks

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Notices













Notices


The rain is past due. No one need go to court
if you answer the summons. All the people
you hurt while growing into a man are seeking
damages. Next time, bury the bodies a little
deeper. Someone vandalized a lyric poem.
They found your fingerprints and a hippopotamus
at the scene of the crime. Jury duty sounds
slightly more fun than three days of DTs.
Stay away from the woman smoking french
cigarettes. She will try to bribe you with similes,
spiritual illuminations. The hydro company  
is threatening to cut power to the orphanage.
All those children wasting away in the dark.
You have been accepted to a fake seminary,
offered admissions to warring poetic schools,
been drafted into an army. Sign the contract
or you’ll never understand a river at twilight.
The disclaimer reads: the rewards are real, but
the contest is rigged. The zoning office says
neighbours are planning on expanding a yard.
They built a trebuchet and have the proper permits.
A few final items. Doctors warn tests revealed
a malignancy. You will die slowly over the course
of a natural life-span. It is a bag of spun gold, or
your first born by month’s end, writes someone
at the collection agency. This is the last notice.
Make arrangements. Your credit score rates
lower than your mental health index. Write off
the difference. The bank will give you an extension 
on your next midlife crisis. Bills must be paid. 
No, you cannot use dark matter or stonehenge
as collateral. Your reserve funds will last you
two weeks. I'll write you a bad check.

By Chris Banks  
-->

Romance














Romance

I never understood it. The candy and chocolates.
The rose petal path leading to a boudoir or hot
bath. Not that I am an ungrateful lover but a circle
pendant meant to symbolize love or union loses
meaning over time. Know only I hold myself out
to you the way a young black cat holds a snake
in its jaws, alive and wriggling, the feline purring
as it offers its gift proudly to a squeamish owner
at a back screen door. Know I would cut through
a barb-wired border to make my escape with you.
Save you from a witch’s oven in a house made of
gingerbread, the chimney forged of red licorice.
Know I would break radio-contact, orbit around
the dark side of the moon, if it would be the only
way to bring me back to you. Heights make me
dizzy but I would stand at the mountain’s summit
just to hold your hand. Throw my transparent net
around the trees near midnight if only to attempt
to capture your unseen inexplicable pain darkening
their branches. I would stoke a wood-stove, pull
the quilt of our shared years up to your chin. Wrest
hope from shadows, sit in the sidecar of an Italian
motorcycle if you were the one driving. Oppose
despots if they took you as a political prisoner.
Light a votive candle, and pray to the saint of us.
Know the tape recorder is on, and I fully testify
although I do not yet know your name, my cold
devotion is only to you. My passport to where?
Not a place, never a place, but a flush of feeling,
our breathing carving our initials into the air.

By Chris Banks