Monday, 19 October 2015


There are fairies inside your mouth.
I know they're in there
because you keep your lips pressed together so they cannot escape.
I hear them beat their tiny fists against the backs of your teeth.
I see them try to squirm out the corners of your mouth,
which sometimes looks like you're just smiling at me a little,
but I know better.

There are fairies inside your mouth.
They each want to tell me something
but they can't find a way past your lips,
so they jump on your tongue like a trampoline
and bang their little heads on your hard palate.

There are fairies inside your mouth.
You sigh them out with little huffs of breath;
send them tumbling down your arms,
but they disappear into your hands before they can deliver their message.

I wish you would stick your tongue way out,
let them march down to the very tip
so they could leap softly into my ear.

For the fairies that are inside your mouth
are the ones that I want to hear.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

White Stone Walls

Once, while wandering through a forest far from home,
I came across a palace amidst the trees.

Its walls were made of smooth white marble
and its ivy covered gates were tall, at least three stories
high. I had never seen such a beautiful palace before
so I approached its great doors, only to find them bolted shut-
locked tightly against the wind and rain I supposed.

Each day I returned to that spot in the woods
and tried the hardest I could to open the gates.
I stroked their great stone, fiddled with their locks
but still I remained outside, alone.
Weeks passed and I began to wonder more and more
at what lay beyond those walls.
It soon became the focus of my every day
as I tried hard to find a way to steal inside.

Until one evening, as the sun waned over the trees,
I looked up to watch the breeze
flutter the great flags atop the milky walls;
The marble was white
and yet it blushed, a living, breathing pink in the light.
I was so struck by what I saw before me that that without any warning
I spoke to the great gates themselves:

You are the most beautiful palace I have ever seen,
I said to the walls.
Your turrets are tipped in silver,
your ramparts spiral high,
and yet each day when I come to meet you,
it seems there's even more there than what meets the eye.

And with a creak and a shudder the doors suddenly opened wide.

Just inside there was a garden, filled with purple aster and sunflowers galore.
A bright light filtered down through the trees finding fairies flitting from one plant to the next.
Each singing sprite seemed to have something important to say
and so I sat and listened to the secrets of the white stone palace.
I heard stories of the cracks in the walls
and the princes who once roamed its halls
and I remained in the light with the fairies through the night
and all the way until the next day came.

Each afternoon I returned to the palace and it gently opened its doors
so I could enter its lovely, warm garden.
As far as I could tell I was the only one allowed past the great gates and walls
and quite quickly I began to fall in love
with the light and the fairies and the flowers.
Each day I swept all the towers that had grown dusty and cold,
pulling weeds, raking leaves and polishing the smooth white marble.

All the time I spent in the garden made me believe in magic again
and so I couldn't quite tell you just exactly when
it happened, but one day I realized I hadn't been home in weeks.

My cheeks were rosy and my heart was full
but I knew that if I left my house alone for too long
its paint would chip, its wood would rot
and the grass in my own little garden would grow wild.
I suddenly felt like I'd left a child all alone
and I knew right then that I had to return home.

Don't go! the magic garden begged, I need you to stay.
It's not often that anyone comes through the forest this way
and I've begun to rely so much on your company each day-
won't you please stay just a little while longer?

I can't, I said sadly, I must take care of my home
it wasn't fair of me to leave it for weeks, all alone.

The garden was quiet and in that moment I felt that something very small had changed.

But I made a promise to her that I'd return very soon
and with with tears in my eyes I bid the garden goodbye
as I began to trudge back home through the woods.

When I finally reached my house I found the floors a mess, dishes in the sink,
and the plants in my garden looking like they could use, well, a drink.
So for a whole seven days I watered the grass, I cleaned and I dusted,
even oiling the rusted hinges of my little blue front door.

It did made me happy to be back in my home but
I missed being inside the palace's walls
so without the slightest hesitation at all
the next day I set out again into the woods.

It took me a while to find my way back
and when I finally arrived at the tall stone gates
I noticed that they did not swing open.
I told them they'd been missed,
even dared to plant a kiss on the white marble walls
but still they remained tightly shut.

The forest was quiet, though the trees seemed to sigh.
And the gates remained closed as many hours passed me by.

Sad and alone,
I circled the palace walls,
when suddenly I noticed a tiny piece missing from one of the stones.
The hole was quite small but gave a clear view inside
and so I pressed up my eye against the wall and looked.

There was the garden.
All filled with flowers and a lovely warm light
that danced across fairies who flitted from sight
and the air was still touched with magic.

I could just faintly hear the sound of the fairies' sweet songs
and I stood there at the wall for a very long time indeed.

Just, listening.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

If You Can Only Hold Your Breath.

I wish I could fly.
Like Peter Pan soaring off to Neverland with a trail of pixie dust and a girl in a blue dress not far behind.

I wish I could slow down my mind.

Shhhh it to sleep with a lullaby sung by a chorus of whales that spout bubbles made of ambien.

I wish I could express myself fully.

Complete my final sentence and burst into flames, rising as a phoenix from the remnants of my former unexpressive self, using the pages of my yellow legal pad for wings.

I wish I could travel back in time.

Warn my past-self that the love of my life was about to douse my heart with gasoline and toss a match to it, so perhaps I should stock up on buckets and buckets and buckets of water to prevent her from burning a hole through my chest.

But I can wish and wish for a million things and none of them will come true...

For it is Fear, not Wishing, that is the most powerful of all summoning forces.
If I fear something happening, inevitably it will.
If I fear my girlfriend cheating on me, she will.
If I fear my family falling apart, it will.
If I fear that my art is not good enough and that it will fail me when I need it most, it will.

Fear runs rampant through my life, a headless horseman wrecking everything in its path, hooves black with the mud of my insecurities.

It takes that which is joyful and good and taints it with curly wisps of smoky what-if’s.
These what-if’s are quiet, barely noticeable alone.
But together-what if he's lying what if she doesn't really love you what if you aren't as strong as you think you are what if you're not good enough-the venom of a thousand copperhead snakes has nothing on the poison of these questions.

So who then will be my David and slay this giant Fear, that appears only when it is most unwelcome?

No one will be.
No one can.
Indeed, no one person can save me from something that comes from within myself.
Instead, the answer appears in the form of my own tiny light.
Admittedly, it is a very small light, but even the tiniest of twinkles can penetrate the deepest darkness.
And once this Hope has presented itself, glowing like a little firefly flashing in the nighttime of my breast; even when I can’t see it, I know that it is there.

And it is stronger than Wishing, because a wish is an impossibility before it has even left my mouth.

I wish I could fly.
I wish I were Peter Pan.

I know these wishes will not come true even before I have reached into my pocket to feel for the quarter that will sink to the bottom of the fountain.

But Hope...Hope is a certainty that outmatches even fear.

It is a certainty because it is based on the logic of what has passed.
Things will get better.
I will improve.
Doors can open.

I know these things to be true because they have happened once before and will happen again.
The proof lies in the knowledge that there is always air just above the surface of the water.
And if you can only hold your breath long enough, you will eventually get there.

Fear, for all the droves of barristers it has arguing its case constantly in my head, is not based in what has happened.

It is predicated solely on the notion that I can predict the future.
And I am no prophet, though my imagination tends to disagree.
Fear has no flesh and blood supporters; it has no human advocate in this world fighting for its cause.
But the existence of Hope is championed by everyone that I love and that is a magic that’s easy to believe in.

So I arm myself with a dagger made of past triumphs, and pixie dust from those who love me most.

And Captain Hook doesn’t stand a chance

Monday, 21 July 2014

"Packing", and other such Expletives.

“Packing” is a dirty, dirty word.

I have long since suspected as much.

This word encapsulates many horrible unmentionables, which I shall mention for you now. 

One of these involves something called “Stripping the Bed," which loosely translates as “an action that removes any possible feeling of homeliness from your room."

One is called “Emptying Drawers," which often goes hand in hand with a rising feeling of nausea and dread.

Another involves placing suitcases around willy-nilly, and staring at them mournfully.

Many people play up-tempo music while Packing in an attempt to disguise its true nature. This never works, and often results in a lasting hatred for the music itself.

I have also noticed this word used in tandem with another equally dirty phrase, that being “Saying Goodbye."

Saying Goodbye is an action very similar to leaping off a very tall diving board into a pool, if that pool was actually a 3inch thick sheet of ice and not a pool at all.

Saying Goodbye is something I try to do as infrequently as possible. Though for some reason, it keeps happening to me.

Saying Goodbye and Packing both fall under an extremely slippery category called “Change."

Change is apparently extremely necessary for “Growth” and is even considered good for you in some cultures. 

I find Growth to be overrated, and think that Change tastes like dirty pennies, which is ironic, don’t you think?

After all, it’s because of Growth that I no longer fit into the clothes at "Please Mum Inc." which is very inconvenient for me and also very sad.

However, all of these stupid, smelly words seem to be necessary if you want to do things like “Have a Career” and “Someday Support a Family” and my personal favorite, “Do What You Love."

And if you never Say Goodbye, you never get to have adventures.

And if you don’t Pack before you Say Goodbye, then you won’t be fully prepared for all your adventures and you might forget things like your hat with flowers on it or your toothbrush or your Winnie the Pooh blanket. 

These are all important things.

And if I’d never Said Goodbye because I was afraid of Change and didn’t like Growth, then I’d be a very short, boring person who’d never even seen what New York City looks like. 

And I never would have met you, which would be very sad indeed.
So I guess, I’ll just have to keep using all of these words. 

Friday, 11 October 2013

I won't grow up

I won’t grow up, don’t make me
I don’t want to say goodbye to people I love and get on a plane that takes me far, far away

I won’t grow up, don’t make me
I don’t want to have to make the brave choice or the right choice or whatever fucking choice it is that makes my heart hurt.

I won’t grow up, don’t make me
I don’t want to get up early or pound the pavement or go the extra mile to make it in a cruel and unforgiving world

I won’t grow up, don’t make me
I don’t want to pay bills and work part-time jobs that involve carrying trays or handing drinks to lifeless people in dresses that leave nothing to the imagination in places that blare music too loud

I won’t grow up, don’t make me
I don’t want to feel guilty or responsible or any feeling that does not come from having books read to me on a sunny couch in a house far away

But I will grow up, and no one will make me
because I made the decision to get on that plane and will make it time and time again

But I will grow up, and no one will make me
because I’m smart enough to know that what feels good right now won’t always feel good in the long run

But I will grow up, and no one will make me
because this is what I love to do and the only things worth pursuing are those things that challenge every fibre of your being

But I will grow up, and no one will make me
because I will not be a parasite and I will accept those jobs as a toll to be paid on the road to success or I will be innovative and find others

But I will grow up and no one will make me because
I am strong and smart and resilient and determined and I have already been given all the tools that I need to overcome the challenges in my life

I have grown up
But sometimes I will dress up as Peter Pan and pretend I never will

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Adventures in Personal Hygiene

Upon returning home two summers past, I made a startling revelation.
My sisters go to the spa a lot.

Now I mean no disrespect to my beautiful sisters, nor do I aim to embarrass them in any way. It is a simple and plain fact that women must attend the spa with a certain regularity in order to maintain their polished appearance (or so I understand). I suppose in past visits, I had never really noticed that that they popped out of the house so frequently, returning with skin aglow or eyebrows finely sculpted. Indeed, whenever conversation tended towards Latin American countries and their waxing practices, I had quietly excused myself from the room, preferring instead to remain blissfully ignorant. However, for whatever reason, this visit was different and I became increasingly aware that the spa (and I italicize here in order to properly convey the gravitas associated with this sacred institution), was the place to be.

In the days following, I started to question my sisters with some intensity, as to whether a visit to the spa could be appropriate for male clientele as well. Now before I continue, I should probably provide those of you who do not know me on a deeply personal level with some background information.

I happen to be a fairly hirsute man. My dear father passed down many complimentary genes to his son, though the one that compels patches of hair to grow on my back at will, I probably could have done without. Now we're not talking a Steve Carrell in "the 40 Year Old Virgin" level of hair coverage, but I do boast my fair share of raven-black manly trappings.

All things considered, I decided it perhaps wouldn't be such a bad thing if I did away with some of the more unsightly weeds running down my spine. Two weeks previous to this, the little girl to whom I was teaching swimming lessons had asked me why I was so hairy, with such astonishment in her eyes that according to her mother, I visibly blushed. It was time to take some drastic action. And so I found myself on a sunny Vancouver day bouncing off to the spa with great trepidation and tremors of excitement in my belly, mother in tow. (You didn't think I'd go by myself did you?)

My youngest sister had booked the appointment and I was all set for my waxing experience. I entered the glass doors to the oasis of hair removal and was immediately greeted with the gloriously peaceful sound of cascading fountains, the perfumed air gently welcoming me.  A stunningly gorgeous receptionist sat at the marble covered desk and though she appeared not to acknowledge my existence, I was entranced nonetheless. This was a magical place.

My mother checked me in and after various urgent whispers between several more (?!) beautiful women in white, I was ushered into a tiny room about the dimensions of a queen sized bed. A slightly frumpy, broad shouldered aesthetician entered moments afterwards. I was simultaneously relieved and disappointed that I would not be having my back waxed by any of the celestial beings that had graced the lobby.

She introduced herself by name and title (see previous paragraph), busying about with opaque liquids of strange consistencies and what appeared to be a jar of tongue depressors. Calming my palpitating heart, I thought on the encouraging words of the females of my family, who had assured me that although the experience would hurt, I was unlikely to actually pass out from the pain. However, instead of instructing me to remove my garments and lay prone, my stocky friend instead asked me to sit down. I can only describe the expression on her face as one of pity.

"I wanted to have a quick talk with you before we start," she began, a queer little half-smile on her lips. "Have you ever done this before?"

"No," I replied.

"Ok, well the area we're going to be working with is rather sensitive, so I just wanted to be sure you were fully comfortable."

Up until this point, I had been under the impression that the back is one of the least sensitive parts of the body, and I felt panic beginning to rise in my chest.

"Ummm, sure. I'm comfortable..."

"Alright, well, Sofia at the front desk has informed me that you've requested a male bikini wax, so before I begin-"

I nearly leaped off the table in alarm.

"Hold on, I didn't request a BIKINI WAX!" I shrieked.

"You didn't?" she said,  her left eyebrow rising like a stupid, perfectly manicured caterpillar. "But you brought your mom with you for moral support and the ladies at the desk-"

"The ladies at the desk are WRONG. I do not want a male bikini wax. I only want my back waxed."

"Please." I added, my face probably the shade of an heirloom tomato at this point.

"Well, whoever called definitely requested a male bikini!" she said cheerfully, "But no worries. I'd be happy to just do your back today!"

Needless to say the actual hair removal process was nowhere near as painful as the pointed look the receptionist gave me as I walked out those glorious front doors.

"How'd it go?" she asked me, perfectly tanned skin gleaming.

"Fine, thank you." I replied through gritted teeth, trudging off with my mother into the parking lot, making a mental note never to ask my sister to book anything for me again.

I enjoyed the smooth-skinned fruit of this traumatic experience for a grand total of two weeks, before breaking out into a wonderful constellation of red spots that lasted for several months. When asked by curious bystanders at the pool what had attacked my back I would decline to answer, swimming away hurriedly and vowing silently never again to return to the spa. After all, there are worse things in life then a little bit of body hair.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A Man of Two Hearts.

I sit overlooking the quiet of a misty street. It’s rain-soaked trees call to me, calming me.

You’re safe, you’re happy.

They whisper to me slowly, softly. They speak of a life I once had and the promise of one I may have again.

Don’t ever leave this place.

Salty breezes nip through the window lapping at my face. The wind kisses me and my heart soars.

Come back to us.

The ever burning fire of family warms me, glows first in my stomach, spreading to my hands, cheeks, scalp, chest.

Why do you always leave?

Outside, I gulp at the fresh air, frantically dispelling those thoughts that come fast and sharp. They beg me to change course, to raise a different flag.

Stay here forever.

My heart palpitates, then splits in two. I see my roads clear as day in front of me.

Think of what you leave behind.

I tell the birds, the leaves and the purpley seas that I will return soon. Perhaps one day for good.


I am a man of two hearts, I say. I am equally bound to both.


It is not the time for me to stay. Adventure and the thrill of challenge call me east.


I do not know why, but I know that their call is strong and true.

So you will leave us again?


But you will be back?

Of course.

Do you promise?

My love for you is too strong never to return.


And the voices floated away on the breeze, and I was calm.