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A Dance For Auntie
Punk Got Stomped by Designer Boots
Brushes and Canvas
In The Sun
Up And Away

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poems & stories

Playing in the Asphalt Garden

By Phlip Arima

In my mind
are large black clouds
obscuring memories
from age ten on down
on down to when
I wasn't
walking down this street
seeing a child
who doesn't see me
in his haste
running as if late
for something I don't know
something important at that age
something I wonder if he'll remember
a moment later
it is beginning to rain
water washing down
masking all sound
of a once sunny summer day
and I think to myself
as the boy is long gone
that clouds will always
eventually rain.

A Dance For Auntie
By Phlip Arima

Rent the box, leave me nude,
lay me out with eyes stitched wide.
please comply with this request.

I am dancing on a boardwalk of rotting wood. the tide is in. a gale force storm watch has been announced. my fingernails need sanding. my jeans a new zipper. my teeth replacement.

Auntie use to say: rock 'n rollers who we believe o.d.ed are on extended tours managed by aliens from another galaxy. she also held that Elvis is dead. she fell off an eight storey roof after taking too much speed.

I am pirouetting around a post where the railing is broken. an imagistic waltz for the gulls to watch. my lover has no feet for me to clumsily step on. the wind creates white caps, bites at my face.

Let the sulphur burn away before you suck in the flame. let the cigarette dangle at the corner of your mouth, not stick straight out from your face. always inhale as much as you can. I'll know when your faking 'cause the smoke won't blow straight.

Auntie never taught me how to make rings.

Punk Got Stomped by Designer Boots
By Phlip Arima

The inside edge lit by mirror ball reflection
another ice-cube puddle on the floor

see me there—iron burns inside my wrists
blackening toes bound by silken threads

watch me bash my carved up skull
against the corner farthest from the door

starve the brain, the mind will follow
hump-grinding groin and violent movement

this is not a tease or precision flirt
I'll stretch my claws and follow through

tap dance, jive, jitterbug, waltz
disco, rock, rap and break

computer components and bionic beauty
for every new bomb a luxury is built

and above the land and beneath the ocean
we eat the lies with eyes wide open

kid or tripper or voyeuristic pedestrian
last last-call is not a finish line

each revolution is part of the evolution
no single movement holds the solution

and wearing plastic shades to shut out the light
will not keep the tears from my eyes.

Brushes and Canvas
By Phlip Arima

The heavy meditative energy of the painter's studio is disturbed by the persistent ticking of the clock almost imperceptibly speeding up, generating a crescendo of rhythm threatening to shriek into a continuous thread of nerve twisting pulses unseparated from one another by a silent space—a silent space where the mind can rest from the race of competing thoughts struggling to dominate the foremost aspects of consciousness, striving to dictate the action beyond the tip of the brush, render the image an expression, a taste of the essence driving the thought to excel, surpass all thought, become something more than chemical impulses leaping the silent spaces between synapses... the mind is abandoning the steady peeling off of layers, the quiet meditative practice, the search for a muzzle capable of gagging thought and the clock still tick, tick, tick, tocks.

I, the model in static repose nod off, slide from the context of objects into the subjective menagerie of mind in sleep. active mind recreating images without substance—a surrealistic narrative defying analytical deconstruction, rational comprehension, the grasp that yearns to render it a useful tool for sublimating emotion—mixed messages bleeding forms together to compose a senseless reality fantastically mimicking the scene the painter seeks to reflect with each smooth stroke and violent jab of brushes designed to transform the three dimensional to two dimensions.

The dream recurs: she is lying in the road; I am standing; the bike is burning; a wailing like that of a shrieking child slices through the smoke; no sirens arrive.

I remember when we met and the heavy august humidity descended to the ground, a fog thick with urban waste. when introduced we were distracted by a pigeon with only one eye awkwardly hopping between us on its left leg. it is always in the dream: still hopping between her and me, defiantly blocking my path, keeping me from saving her, pulling her from the flames.

The dream recurs: reminding me that my love is dead; that the pigeon now coos in my helmet; that the silent spaces are the inches of a thread persistently ticking past wanting to be cut.

And I wonder if the painter can sense my torment, intuitively know the realm my spirit roams, channel the energy I bring to the studio into his soul and onto the canvas where it will transform the study of a figure into a record revealing his skill, my pain, the meditative energy in which we nod.

In The Sun
By Phlip Arima

Twenty-one children in the sun playing with their guns.
Twenty-one children in the sun, I'm the tallest one.

Listen to the state when it tells me how to stand straight.
listen to the t.v. when it tells me how to wash my face.
the diet that i eat is sanctioned politically correct.
the drugs I abuse I purchase with a doctor's consent.

I don't wear leather. I don't wear fur.
I don't use products tested on laboratory pets.

Twenty-one children in the sun standing for the national anthem.
Twenty-one children in the sun, I'm the tallest one.

Salute the desert storm, salute the arms race.
salute exploration into outer space.
trust starwars implementation
will let us rule the peace.

I canvas for trees. I canvas for seals.
I canvas for the things I'm told are fashionable.

Twenty-one children in the sun marching to the media drum.
Twenty-one children in the sun, I'm the tallest one.

Nothing that I buy endorses pesticides.
nothing that I buy destroys the ozone layer.
I walk and I bicycle and I won't ride in cars
and given the choice I wouldn't move at all.

Twenty-one children in the sun playing with their guns.
Twenty-one children in the sun, I'm the best one.

Up And Away
By Phlip Arima

On the Bathrust bus, a fragmented man slouched across from me,
salt marked snowmobile suit, desperate featherless look,
looks down the aisle to a stranger's face,
tells it:

"The spaceport has to be between here and Windsor."
He looks another place: "Do you know where the spaceships land?"

No one speaks. He looks to me. In army surplus combat gear,
black knit hat, dark glasses hiding eyes,
I twitch acknowledgement.

He nods and pleads: "I need to find a spaceship. I need to leave.
This place is dead. I need to leave my brain, get away, live.
Do you know where the spaceships land?"

"I don't man," I say, "I don't know."

"It's here, somewhere in Ontario.
Maybe near Windsor, far far from Ottawa."

"Where do you want to go?" I ask.

"Up and to paradise. Up where it isn't
crowded. Up where there's joy
in life."

"Joy is wherever you are," I preach.

"Is it in Calgary?"

"If you're in Calgary."

"Is it crowded there?"

"Don't know, man. Never been."

A woman is staring at me, others talk,
the bus is stuck in traffic,
angry, honking traffic.

"How do you know it's not crowded up there?" I ask.

He empties his lungs, looks down at his hands,
visible shrinks and says: "I don't."

There is nothing more for us to say. We sit alone
on the tail-end of the morning rush bus
and I wish I had the answer
to help this man.

"Do you know where the spaceships land?"

A few minutes more and the bus pulls into the station
and people push for the door and I stand, take off
my dark glasses, look over at the still seated man
and when our eyes connect, I say:

"Good luck."

"Good luck man," he says, "Good luck."

By Phlip Arima

And the hacker cracks the system
and the lawyer cracks his lobster
and a bullet cracks a cranium

and another pipe of crack
cracks the addict

and we joke about his death
as if he is already dead

and he laughs right along with us
hoping the noise of his guffaws
will hide his desperate dog paddle
for the shore

and there is a sign in the sky
and a light on the ridge and a warning
on the underside of each wave

and some can see and some are blind
and some talk loud and some stay mute
and some think they care and some know they don't
and some will always listen to everything that is said

and I touch my last match to the wick of a candle
so I can light cigarette after cigarette
without having to move.

blackening toes bound by silken threads
All content © 2024 Phlip Arima