Triple Point

As you draw closer to christmas, perhaps it’s good to post something that fits the time of year. Something depressing. The title is based on the notion of the triple point in physics, the first temperature at which water can exist in solid, liquid or gas.


there is a point
at which friends are neither
necessary, sufficient or useful;
let us call it the triple point
where one is woven in with the background,
stitched to the passage of time.

for example:
I still receive mail for Mr. Daniel Bertrand,
which I place to one side each day,
and which, each day,
the postman places back inside the box
with the gloomy regularity
of a pendulum
My ventures outside become anonymous;
I try not to recognize people or move suddenly
in case they recognize me;
inside, I dart and scurry in hallways lest I get trapped
by a neighbour or lost child.
I have become a rarely-sighted species,
hunting laundry by night and groceries on Wednesday afternoons
the laundry tiger

When one disappears like this
(I think of a chalky white pill dissolving
in a lukewarm glass of water)
it is a gradual process. First
one stops talking to those people who require
effort, those friends who are tiresome in one sense
or another.
Next come those who are far away,
then the unreliable
the circle constricts like the shrinking pill,
the shirts you could wear
when younger
which no longer fit right
you are simply a dot in the centre of an
expanding circle of whiteness
that eventually will average you out

Auden said ‘Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone’
Instead, I remove the battery from my Ikea clock,
accidentally dropping it down the side of the bed in the process;
my telephone cannot be cut off, only cancelled.
Too late, I will receive a large bill for my trouble.
And woven into the fibres of the paper,
so small that even microscopes holding microscopes
could only begin to make out the edges of letters,
are tiny words that reach out and pull me
into a womb of white noise.


Sestina #1

The shuttle is weaving a blanket of words,

It ducks and bobs and spins as I write,

The echoes of the pen flow in waves,

And the wreathed silence around will keep me dry

As I move from coast to coast, a nomad,

And always fall into this enveloping silence.


This warm moving humid hurtful silence

Is sometimes too much, I cocoon myself in words

While I bump from train to train, a nomad

Who just wanted to leave to make things right.

Now the AC is humming and sucking me dry,

The air, like paralysis, coming in waves.


All night, the stuck record, your hand waves,

Rippling the air crafting cool hollows in the silence

That make me think of the desert, cruising dry

And bleaching the sense and feeling from words

That crumble even as I write,

Myself, sleeping on the sandy ground, a nomad.


I rise wreathed in morning mist, a nomad

Seeking the tall grass that waves

Across the Pacific, where I used to write

In a cold spindly hand, etching silence

Ironically enough, into words

That,later, fat women hang out to dry.


My eyes have never been so dry

From the stinging sand, I run, a shellshocked nomad

And shelter under an outcrop of sandstone words

That arc and reach in bleak strata like waves

But still, hammering like blood, comes silence

On gold wings, hallmarked and utterly right


Again the still stifling evening, I write

In watery ink, hang the words to dry,

Plane the edges off, the shavings twist into silence

In which the crack of dust is a sandstorm, a nomad,

A sound spreading outwards in waves,

Stronger than the shock of icy water poured onto molten words.

There is always something not right with the nomad,

Something missing, sickening in dry waves,

Grinding down the words, the silence, the sestina.


Three Questions: part 1


after the third day, she starts to feel light-headed all the time. Her head is floating slightly above the rest of her world; still joined, but tenuously. She drinks small glasses of chilled water that burn her throat to keep her stomach full, but the light-headedness will not go away. Every couple of hours she checks her face in the bathroom mirror. The mirror is getting dirty and stained, she hasn’t cleaned the apartment in several weeks. Her skin looks dull, verging on unhealthy. Perhaps there is a tiny bit less fat around the cheeks than before? She checks her thighs, her stomach, the backs of her arms. Each maybe is a little smaller than yesterday. She will keep doing this. Perhaps just until she looks like the boys and girls in the bars downtown. Until someone beautiful stares at her and cannot pull away. That one boy. How romantic it will be when they are sitting over coffee together in some quiet café one day, and she tells him how she made herself beautiful for him.

on the fourth day she takes an antihistamine at a friend’s place and almost throws up. Blood flows into her head in a wide hot rush, making her dizzy. The edges of her vision start to turn purple like she’s blacking out and she staggers into her friend’s kitchen on legs that feel like thin strips of flexible steel, bending at random. Columns of numbers are pulsing through her head; calorie counts of all the different foods slowly mouldering in her fridge. If she picks right, perhaps she can eat one thing that will keep her alive without taking in too many calories. Cucumber, lettuce. Something that is food on the outside, water on the inside. This long line of thoughts follows her like a vapour trail all the way to the ground.

later that evening she rides downtown on her bike. It is almost pure white except for the stretched out French logo on the crossbar. The gears must be broken though, or maybe the tires are flat, because she can’t drag herself up the hill. Eventually she dismounts and pushes the bike up, her body angled against it so she is close to falling into the sidewalk. She can almost see the noise pushing through her, creating this sick feeling like a circular headache; the head that’s not even joined to her body any more.

that night, as a kind of torture of encouragement, she watches a documentary about chocolate. An expensive slideshow arrangement with close up shots of assortments and rich thick brown moving liquid fills the screen from edge to edge. Seeing the figures spooning chocolate into each other fills her with a horrible jolting nausea.

on the fifth morning, there is a sharp pain in her stomach, or maybe her kidneys, that will not go away. She tries stretching, but that makes it slightly worse. Even though her nails are short, one breaks off while she is cleaning the bathroom sink again. The apple that was left out on the counter five days ago has flies all over it, and there is a sick sweet smell from some food going bad somewhere else. She lies down on the kitchen floor and curls into a ball that stops the pain in her stomach for a little while.


I seem to have acquired an irritating roommate out of nowhere. His name is Fly A. Every time I go into a room he seems to be there, buzzing (possibly like a fridge or a detuned radio). He even followed me to the bathroom the other day. He keeps inviting his friend Fly B (or it may be Geoffrey) around without asking me. At least I think it’s another fly, they all look the same to me (I hope that doesn’t sound racist). He also seems to have no inclination to pay his share of the utilities, even though he never turns the lights off or closes the fridge. I have a suspicion he’s thinking about taking up the tuba. Anyway, I have tried playing loud music, cooking Indian food, all the usual tricks to get rid of an unwanted house guest, but nothing seems to work. I even tried chasing him around the house with a blender (former roommates of mine will no doubt recall this habit) to no avail. So what I want to know is, are there any humane ways of trapping a fly such that I can then release it outside? I think its time to move on, and I’m sure I can catch up with him via his Flyspace page after the summer.

It has been a while…

It has been several months since I posted anything, particularly anything that I devised myself and didn’t simply hijack from someone else (although I realize that the first method is the currently accepted source of most online creativity). But I have been reading a rather wonderful book by Stewart Lee, possibly my favourite comedian. He has a page on his web site entitled ‘help me die‘, which I find fabulous. Anyway, it’s an excellent book, and has given me a new appreciation for the finesse and subtlety that can go into a standup performance. It has also got me thinking, as so many good books do, about everything around me and how it works. I shall try to expound some of these thoughts presently. We now return to our regularly scheduled programming. 




Is it possible for me?

To write about depression. I once wrote somewhere… and I’m paraphrasing myself… ‘The problem with writing a book about depression is that when you’re depressed, something like writing seems impossible’. This is as true for me now as it was then. Not that I’m writing a book any more. Remember that? Once upon a time I was able to work on my book. That seems far out of sight now. For me personally, I find that when I’m super depressed, I just lie there in bed looking at the ceiling, virtually unable to move. So I figured I’d write about the things that are preventing me from writing, possibly before that leaden depression closes in again and I’m unable to write anything.

1. Drugs – no not the fun ‘blue monkeys coming out of your nostrils’ kind. This is the psychiatric kind. I am now up to taking six pills a day. They are all white, which I find sort of pleasing on an aesthetic level. They are also different shapes, which is interesting. I’m not sure if they help me or not. I wish I could travel into a parallel world where I’m not on medication to find out if I’m more or less depressed. I may stop taking my meds in a month or so (after I get back from the UK). I do keep saying that and putting it off. i have been on at least some form of medication now for over a year. In fact it’s getting close to a year and a half. And I cannot face the idea of being someone who has to be medicated for their whole life. I would rather be dead. Much rather. Anyway, one of the side effects of the drugs is a sort of… general plateauing of mood. And this means that I can’t feel the emotions that I usually use to write. It really takes a lot to make me laugh or cry.

2. Depression – despite what I said earlier, I have had some of my most productive times when I was depressed. No it’s not a contradiction! Let me exasperate… extrapolate… explicate? Just non-depressed enough to write, but just sad enough to appreciate the dreadful poetry of the world. But recently my depression has been the even lower kind. The kind where you’re ‘too depressed to kill yourself’ as a friend of mine put it.

3. Inspiration – living in a new city is full of challenges. For me, meeting people has been the biggest challenge. I’ve now been here just over seven months, and haven’t made a single friend. I used to write a lot about observations of the world and situations that arose in my life. But my life right now is lacking experience. If my life were a colour, right now it would be a kind of grey. If my life were a food, it would be spam. If my life were a bird, it would be a grey grey pigeon. You get the idea.

So what has been depressing you so much, I hear you fail to ask? Well let me tell you. I hate my job. I don’t care if anyone I work with gets to read this. I hate it. It doesn’t challenge me, and yet there’s so much information to remember and my depressed brain keeps forgetting things, which makes me feel like I’m useless.

So why don’t you get a new job, you ask? Well I have been looking for a job on and off for two years, but I have yet to get a single job offer. Yes my qualifications are that impressive. I am overqualified to start at the bottom, and underqualified to start anywhere else. For the most part, I haven’t even got call backs. Nope, nobody even thinks highly enough to bother rejecting me!

To make matters worse, I recently got passed over for a promotion at work. This prompted the worst episode of depression I’ve had since the last time I went to the hospital, which was January 2012. They wanted to admit me to the psych ward this time, but there were no beds in the city available (thank god for health cuts). I have been sorely tempted to try and drink my troubles away, but so far I am resisting. I would make the worst alcoholic ever. I have two bottles of wine in my fridge. They call to me, so they do.