Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Daffodils














Daffodils

When I think of all the good times that I’ve wasted
having good times is a rock lyric written by Eric
Burdon. It’s also the happenstance truth of
my twenties and thirties. Being no more than
a serf to a beer bottle is no way to save on
human suffering or the virtues of marriage.
I love the movie Big Fish. Ewan Macgregor
standing in a field of yellow daffodils which
is something I long to do for whatever scent
they give off is sure to rid me of any wish
to be understood. Notice I didn’t mention
Wordsworth who was a great lover of daffodils 
turning into the canon? Quit all this nonsense
and buy the Early Bird Special says the diner’s
billboard. My highlight reel keeps me up all
night. Yesterday banishes me. The past either
tucks you in at bed-time, or beats you in the woods
with a phone book. Loss is more than bruises.
A handful of syllables. Our prophets auto-tune
insipid pop songs as we enter this next round
of extinction. I rent my memoirs by the hour,
but tomorrow is still a work in progress. Even
when there are no words, I mumble a few ifs
to keep me going until the next sea-change.
Already the little black box of consciousness
is readying itself for some crash landing. Wait
for the heart to uncross itself. I believed in
immortality until the sky gaslighted me with
arguments of rain. When shall we meet again?
I’ll be inventorying olive trees and butterflies,
standing in a field of daffodils waiting for you.
I’ll be here until beauty changes the locks.
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By Chris Banks



Sunday, December 2, 2018

Gallows


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Gallows

You sign up for eight years of university,
but not this torture on simmer. Changing
light bulbs. Going to the mall. Strangers
wanting to sell you things at your front
door. Grey skies in November. Parasites
growing in garbage. Fruit-flies orbiting
a bowl of bananas.Try the sparkling water!
A hint of citrus goes well with dress-down
Fridays. The seesaw of aspirations versus
obligations. Get a massage. Read the days
inside out. Make it new. Write your own
secret chapter. A few words to compliment
your sale-rack nerves. Your pay-it-forward
sadness. Touch wood for forests are on fire.
Narcissism and climate change fist-fight over
parking spaces at outlet stores. Say your name
and try not to think of every sad hamster
running circles in small plastic cages in
elementary schools. May your happiness
be made of 100% Egyptian cotton, and
metaphors. Not lottery tickets or sleeping pills.
The gallows was abolished so take the rope
from around your neck. Stop climbing
the stairs. It is impolite to stare at your
executioner. When the trapdoor opens,
grow wings. That is the only way to disperse
a crowd. To know you are really alive.

By Chris Banks


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Reverse


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Reverse

Conquistadors sail back to Spain
leaving the Amazon untouched.
An old man regains his memories,
a child her innocence. The giant oak
overhanging the street is merely
an acorn with mighty ideas. The street
a forest. The town a settlement. The marriage
never happens because I love yous
slip backwards into the lover’s mouths.
How goes the stream? Strange to think
time running opposite. Hindsight
in front of you like a coxswain telling
you to pick up the pace as you row
towards old tragedies and delights.
Maybe you will handle things differently 
this time. The dead dog is a puppy 
in your arms. Your deceased friend 
smiles. The cancer cells gone. Despite 
the creams, you are getting younger 
and younger looking. Where does it end? 
With no surprises. Tomorrow is already
yesterday. Perhaps it is best time runs on
ahead of us, the past a guide, not a bully
waiting up the path, taking off his rings
one by one, saying this is going to hurt.
I guess I will take the future even if it means
our lives unravel unknown like red carpets
at a debutante ball where fate is only a minor
player at the party in a tuxedo handing out
pickled or d'oeuvres, while the rest of us
look for dance partners, or maybe leave early,
because lost as we are, at least we are
moving the way sharks do not stop moving,
the days, the hours, the minutes,
wild, unfamiliar, free.

By Chris Banks


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Memorandum


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Memorandam

The moon is moving measurably
away from the earth every year.
In space, you do not cry because
there is no gravity to make tears flow.
Not sure this has anything to do
with 1,800 thunderstorms sprawling
over oceans and continents at any
given time. I learned most lipstick
contains fish scales. To testify,
derives from a Roman practice of
making men swear on their testicles.
Coca-cola was originally green 
a detail sparking neurons in my brain 
to fire 200 times per second,
when really all I wanted was to say
something nice about flowers,   
like how tulips were once a form
of currency, or how their bulbs
can be substituted for onions,
which are stray facts sitting in
a surgical tray until I place them
here for safekeeping. So what?   
The truth is most facts will never
give me a night’s satisfaction, no
matter what I say about Leonardo
Da Vinci inventing scissors,
roller coasters being first designed
to help people avoid sin, Buzz
Aldrin urinating on the lunar
surface. No wonder the moon
is moving away from us! Think of
this as a memorandum of understanding
between me and Voyager I spinning
its golden record way out past
our solar system, Mozart playing
in the vacuum of space, as if
in its data stream, its little sighs
of ones and zeros, there was
an official important message 
and not just a random assortment 
of facts calling collect to the stars
that have no answering machines.

By Chris Banks