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by chris banks


Say Moon. Say Starlight. Say Imago. The last stage an insect

goes through in metamorphosis. Say The Pixies’ Doolittle.

Say This Monkey’s Gone To Heaven. The world may be in

lockdown, but don’t quarantine the imagination. My anxiety

is working pro-bono. I’ll fight for anyone’s right to stay home.

Call 1- 800 - WAKE - UP. Operators are standing by. Do you

feel trapped inside this mine shaft? What we call the soul

stays hidden, but its walk-in music is part angelic choir, part

Hell’s Bells. My fight card is full. My record is five love affairs.

Two mental breakdowns. I’m a good person, I’m a good person,

says the record player inside of me. If this were true, I would

be doing more to end hunger. Or word-hunger. Say Cat’s

Cradle. Say dynamite. Say apotheosis. Past and future are different

frequencies playing classic oldies, and tomorrow’s pet deaths.

Call me old-fashioned, but let’s place the Romantics

and the Surrealists in a blender. Apollinaire and Wordsworth.

Dean Young and Shelley. I wandered lonely as a nail-gun in

search of a cloud. Look on my mighty koi pond and despair!

See, I’m scared to say anything too plainly. Language

is a crash cart reviving lifeless things. Say doll-house. Say profit

margins. Say Jupiter’s rings. I speak fluent fight or flight.

I may be lost, but I love the meander. The path more than

the destination. The word truth more than its hollow echo.

If you put your faith in me, I promise to deliver a morning sky

strung out on Valium. A stockpile of flowers. Carnations,

not cancer. Azaleas, not Auschwitz. This is my nursery of ideas,

so please quietly rock each one gently against your chest.

Let’s make a pact. You be you, and I will be me, and the planet

can ignore us both. Say sweetheart.

Chris Banks is a Canadian poet and author of five collections of poems, most recently Midlife Action Figure by ECW Press 2019. His first full-length collection, Bonfires, was awarded the Jack Chalmers Award for poetry by the Canadian Authors' Association in 2004.

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