Friday, January 29, 2010

Ninetendo Wii

A parody of the Beatles' Norwegian Wood

I dated a nerd. He was well paid, I got him laid.
He showed me his room: big screen TV, Nintendo Wii.

He asked me to play Super Mario two-player mode.
He played as Mario, I was stuck playing as Toad.

We watched the intro, played through world one, it was good fun.
He beat Bowser’s kid, and then he cooed: “Time for world two.”

The game got too tricky, I couldn’t continue to play.
He laughed at my failure and callously sent me away.

He played through the night, ignored me all week. I dumped the geek.
But first, I robbed him blind. Got it for free, Nintendo Wii.

This parody is dedicated to Andrew, my nerd love (who is so sweet, he doesn't tease me too much for sucking hard at Super Mario, even though I really do).

This doesn't particularly relate to the poem; it's just cool/nerdy.

        What's the most vengeful thing you've ever done?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My stubborn heart

By guest poet Carissa of

Moving Mountains with my mind,
Shifting rivers with my soul,
Watching movies while I’m blind,
Turning plastic into gold,
I feel like all this inspiration
Is getting a bit old.

I’m trying I’m trying.
I’m crying I’m crying.
I love you, but I don’t want to.
I’ve tried to no avail,
To stop my waterfall of feelings
With this sand castle pail.

My heart, a ticking time-bomb
That I’m trying to diffuse.
I said “heart don’t tick for him”
But the stubborn heart refused.
I’m losing all hope.
I pull myself to the side.
Tried to freeze these emotions
That are bubbling up inside.

No matter how you try,
You can’t fight a love.
It’s like building dams of paper
Trying to stop a flood.
Take that a lesson learned.
You can’t control a stubborn heart
With a mind of it’s own.

Thanks to our final guest poet this week, a fellow Laid contributor: Carissa! Show your love by leaving a comment below and checking out more of her writing on her newly launched blog,

        Have you ever had feelings for someone and wished those feelings would just go away (aw, sure you have -- everyone has)? How did you deal with them?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

growing up

By guest poet Alexis

sorry i've been so distant
growing up is getting rough
the future is coming up too close to touch
my moods are quickly changing as fast as night & day
i apologize if one of my bad moods has crossed your merry way
there are many things you want to experience; to touch, to feel, to try
wanting to absorb it all before life seems so dry
i wanted to be your shield, to protect you from harm's way
you've always been the good one, most likely to share your straw
ive always been the mean one, an example of murphy's law
i saw you as a timeless classic, a flawless work of art
i was damaged goods who liked to curse and fart
the year we both turned 20 reality soon clicked in
mona lisa added a wink to her infamous grin
questioning why things change, looking near & far
the conclusion that i came to was that human is what you are
a pedestal is where i'll always hold you
and our friendship which is a bond everlasting & true

Alexis is a frequent commenter on Adelaide West, so I'm happy to have some of her own work posted here.

Photo by patries71

        How have the friendships in your life evolved since childhood? What do you miss about childhood friendships? What do you appreciate about adult ones?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

On the Way to the Store

(Tribute to Billy Collins)
By guest poet Jerry White of The Passenger's View

As I made my way down the country road
in the wooded outskirts of my neighborhood,
I switched on my poetic radar

with hopes of capturing a moment of truth.
There wasn’t much to see that cloudy morning,
just the portentous overtones of rainy weather,

murky drops landing upon my windshield,
at once fulfilling the forecaster’s prophecy
while liquefying the white-purplish splotches

sprinkled about the car’s neglected exterior.
The other drivers going the opposite way
moved steadily towards their daily callings,

unmoved by the towering pines that swayed
an inch in the wind, half-excited for drink,
half in protest of Thor’s Mjöllnir.

And to be absolutely honest with you,
I should have been inspired by thirsty trees
and hovering mother ship storm clouds

with their synchronized photograph flashes,
sending messages from heaven and beyond.
But for now, I will have to be content with

this small goat farm at the four-way stop,
with a black and white border collie
on duty, running, tail-chasing.

Thanks to Jerry White, a fellow participant at Read Write Poem. Please welcome him to Adelaide West by leaving him a comment, and check out more of his work on his blog: The Passenger's View.

        What is the most memorable experience you have had with rain or stormy weather? Whether pleasant, terrifying or depressing, tell your tale.

Monday, January 25, 2010

On this dreary day

By guest poet Mona of Streaming Through Consciousness

Even the yellow leaves on my office plant give up
And plunge to their untimely death on my carpet,
Making me look like a careless murderer.

The Toronto hydro generator hums its last breath
And shuts off power to the entire business city block,
Whispering it’s last fuck you to the elite for making it work so hard.

My co-workers huddle in my office, lacking any feelings of nostalgia over the unusual event. The only excitement they voice is for having pressed SAVE on their computers. I suggest we hold hands and sing Kumbaya but they lazily yawn and role their eyes at me. A silly girl dismissed.

My last phone call is wasted when Teo calls to complain about her ungrateful boss who is making her conduct banking during her lunch hour -- any sense of commonality is lost between us as the sound of her voice is drowned against a loud announcement: “The police have been called. Please leave the bank immediately.” An employee accidentally tripped over the alarm!

I stand tall on the furnace in my office in my high heeled boots
And look out at the city underneath me from the floor to ceiling glass windows.
I spread my arms and contemplate what it would feel like to fly before I hit the concrete.

I pause,
I smile and
I thank God.

Today is a dreary day,
but hey --
at least I’m not:

        Sad enough to let go of my claws dug firmly into life,
        Mad enough to quit just to screw them,
        Tainted enough to waste unique opportunities,
        Dumb enough to set off an alarm, or
        Dull enough not to contemplate ways to fly.

Special thanks to Mona, who kicks off this week's line of guest poets with a bang. Mona's currently on a journey of self-discovery in South America for several months. You can read a log of her experiences and more of her poems at her blog, Streaming Through Consciousness.

Photo by Christian Mehlführer

        Can you think of a time when something unexpected, like a power-out, shook you out of your daily routine and made you really experience the present?

Friday, January 22, 2010


Katie’s room is a Queen Street telephone pole, layered
in stickers, posters, photo booth shots, black marker excerpts.
The walls are purple underneath, I think.

Katie shows us her little black dress, her first-date dress,
her more-of-a-shirt dress, her too-fancy-to-wear-anywhere-dress.
Kneeling on a lumpy bedspread of laundry and paperbacks,
my mother and I watch as she tries on every dress in her
doorless closet, waiting to fling our own shirts off
when she declares items available for coveting.

I'm off to Cuba tomorrow, but the blog must go on! Next week on Adelaide West: GUEST POETS!

Photo by Slightlynorth

        What do you think your bedroom says about your personality?

Thursday, January 21, 2010


No drug ever got me as high
as being sixteen and having everyone
look at me.

It’s comforting
to have someone know you
and love you for who you are, inside,
but it’s painful to watch yourself become
too familiar, a song you used to worship
until it got so overplayed.

Some days I long to put aside
the cultivated convictions of my tasteful twenties,
paint my face in toxic colour,
waste time on my hair, vote
for consumerism with my dollars
and chase cheap thrills,
instant gratification. Pretend
the world is still as simple
as it was in high school.

As posted on LAID (with a little extra).

A teenage girl modeling her first "grown-up" outfit;
thank God we don't live in the 1800s.

        What do you miss about your sexuality or life as it was in high school? What do you appreciate about the way it’s evolved?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

War buddies

We were war buddies in a bad work environment;
a wellspring of strength and commonality, inadvertently born
of our boss’s love of all things cheap and pretty.
We held each others’ hands through the emptiness,
knitted a commune of sweet dreams
so we could sleep at night.

The war is over, but we remain
stubbornly flicking the thumbwheel
on each others’ aspirations, sharing faith
that someday soon we will ignite.

For all my "war buddies" at OKH, especially Mona, who's embarking shortly on a brave journey of self-discovery.

Photo by David J. Fred

        Have you ever been in a tough environment or circumstance that fostered a strong friendship?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The butterflies

This poem has been taken down for submission to a publication. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Photo by David R. Tribble (a.k.a. Loadmaster)

        Can you think of a time when you were able to witness something rare (be it beautiful or destructive) just by being the right place at the right time?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Transliteration of “Metrical Charm 8: For a Swarm of Bees”

Without your nimble words, afterward you’ll stand in increasing pain,
the pain in your hands spreading down to your feet, and fast:
For it’s afoot,          it waits to hit.
Hard, malignant              without glancing back.

and without ending      and without calculation
and without a motivation          men can understand.
And so putting forward great effort, you must greet the swarm and say:
Sit down, enough,          listen to my words!
Control your wildness      to come to resolution.

See we have history          shared gods,
we are born of the same magic      mates and friends.

This is a transliteration of a poem originally written in old English. In transliteration, the poet tries to "translate" a poem from a language she doesn't know, just by guessing what the words might mean based on how they sound (or on any knowledge of word structure she might have).

Here is the original version of Metrical Charm 8: For a Swarm of Bees (and here is an actual translation):

Wið ymbe nim eorþan, oferweorp mid þinre swiþran
handa under þinum swiþran fet, and cwet:
Fo ic under fot,        funde ic hit.
Hwæt, eorðe mæg          wið ealra wihta gehwilce

and wið andan        and wið æminde
and wið þa micelan        mannes tungan.
And wiððon forweorp ofer greot, þonne hi swirman, and cweð:
Sitte ge, sigewif,        sigað to eorþan!
Næfre ge wilde        to wuda fleogan.

Beo ge swa gemindige        mines godes,
swa bið manna gehwilc        metes and eþeles.

This poem was written in response to Poetry Prompt #110 on Read Write Poem.

Photo by Victor L. Lee

        Doing this prompt reminded me of my mom, who always confuses song lyrics. She used to sing Macy Gray's line "My world crumbles when you are not near" as "I blow bubbles when you are not near." What lyrics have you heard other people accidentally butcher?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Work v. Life

It’s not stimulating work, but it’s centering in a way;
it’s refreshing to focus. Typing names and contact numbers
like fingering rosary beads, repeating the company name
into the phone over and over like a mantra.

Work isn’t work; it’s a relationship: a friendship
or a marriage or a rivalry, and I can’t ever seem to get
past casual dating. Do I have commitment issues
or have I just never found something I could connect with
enough to devote more of myself than the “meager”
nine-to-five? Like any relationship, you get back
what you put in, and thus it seems impossible to find
work strong enough to wield my full weight
without forcing me to sign away my soul.

This job is the stool in the corner where society makes sit
all dissenters who won’t take their work as their life,
who won’t bare more than one marriage, to be punished
with minimum wage, or cheap job title, or just boredom.

This job is not me, except the white of my thumb nail,
except the scraps I can spare, but it’s not unpleasant.
This blind date is never going to stand at the altar with me,
but he laughs at my jokes and buys me a hot meal
and there are worse ways to spend an evening.

        What's your relationship with your job: a close or casual friendship, a happy or unhappy marriage, a stimulating or frustrating rivalry, a passionate or tragic love affair, or something else?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Makeshift hibernation

Having a student loan, a mortgage, a cell phone,
I can’t afford to cocoon myself in flannel sheets
and unconsciousness for six months, so I nest
in a swivel chair under dim pot lights and tend to
the hungry chirping of a glossy black phone
eight stories up a concrete tree; or I burrow
through tangled, tiled tunnels that smell of coffee
and expensive cologne, poking my head out
on unsuspecting streets where the buildings grow
so tall they keep the city in shade.

Photo by Thermos

        Which animal shares your philosophy about winter? Are you a south-bound bird, a hibernating squirrel or a cold-weather-loving wolf?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The storm passed too quickly to drench me, I complain

Wiping the froth of fear from my mouth’s corners,
I recognized my idleness and sundered from it,
retrieving my old journal to draw the brunt
of my dull terrors into simple words.

But I waited too long; having long shouldered
the pecking burden, like some cerebral Hercules,
I found I had forgotten all my fertile questions
and had only answers left.

This poem was written in response to Poetry Prompt #109 on Read Write Poem.

Hercules and the Hydra

        Have you ever kept a journal? How did you use it (ie. to record the activites of your day, to vent when you needed to, to pour out volatile emotions)?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The impermanence of being

How do I occupy myself? With all these scales, you see!
They are all arranged here on this table — yes, it’s a table,
though you can’t see an utter inch of it beneath this mess.
How do I occupy myself? With these little grains of sand
that sometimes grow into boulders, and these ball bearings
that tend to turn into feathers, and these pennies that become
quarters and these diamonds that burst into songs. Like people,
they can’t seem to maintain one form (or one weight!) for very long.
I run back and forth all day, adjusting one scale to sweet perfection
while five other scales shift mercilessly with the change of season,
the impermanence of being, the fluctuation of everyday objects.
Indeed, I am occupied! I fear when I look back
on my life, I shall see it was nothing less
than one great and impossible balancing act.

        I’m currently reading A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative by Roger von Oech. One of the exercises is to come up with a metaphor for life — I thought of a collection of scales with weights that are constantly changing, but other metaphors were simpler, like “Life is an elevator, full of ups and downs.” Can you think of a metaphor for life?

Monday, January 11, 2010


This poem has been taken down for submission to a publication. Apologies for the inconvenience.

January by Leandro Bassano

        If you haven't guessed, I'm a bit of a hypochondriac. What kinds of things do you tend to get paranoid about (ie. relationships, work, the government)?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Things I found while cleaning out my desk

  • Pocketsize notebook, filled half with office notes and half with drawings
  • Staple-remover with post-it note eyes
  • Three fake credit cards, salvaged from the junk mail pile
  • Photograph of my favourite coworker and I with Santa
  • Hole-punch that makes butterfly shapes
  • Sign reading “Elevator -->” stolen from 116 Spadina
  • Post it note reading “Vo est die badden-zimmer?” (phonetic German for “Where is the bathroom?” as translated by a coworker)
  • Leftover balloons and streamer from when we decorated our boss’s office for his birthday
  • Decorative rubber stamps I used to decorate personal letters
  • Small collection of cue cards, each bearing “Who am I?” typed on them in Courier font and a different thumbprint in black ink (the beginnings of an unfinished art project)
  • Four unanswered letters from friends
  • Thirty-one unpostmarked stamps, collected from incoming mail over the past fifteen months
  • Box of Spiderman Band-Aids; I intend to leave them behind as a gift for Joseph, the lawyer who rents space in our office, because he frequently comes to me with cut fingers.
  • Ornate gold button I bought months ago to sew onto the sweater of a coworker who no longer work here
  • Several coupons for a free latte and pastry at a nearby café, dropped off to be shared among the staff here; I’m taking them all with me
  • Small stack of business cards for my late boss (I have more than one boss here)
  • Photobooth pictures of my sister and I when she was still blond
  • Crude drawing of my favourite coworker’s vagina on a post-it note
  • Dried fruit I bought over six months ago; still tastes good
  • Postcard Joseph sent the office on his trip to Greece
  • Small ball of turquoise yarn I once used to teach a coworker how to knit during our lunch hour
  • Sewing kit I once used to mend a coworker’s split skirt

This is my last day at my current job, but oddly enough my new job is also located on Adelaide West, so the title of this blog will still be appropriate.

Credit where credit is due: this photo is a total rip-off of one that my friend Johnny and his sister posed for. Also, I am not as ugly as I look in this photo. Except maybe when I cry.

        Do you consider yourself a sentimental person? What objects do you keep around just to remind you of good times?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Letter of resignation

There has been no reprimand, only the aim
to prosper. Maybe I’m growing older;
I can curl within the obstinate black lines
of jargon text and find some merit now
-- if I use the knuckles of my brain, impinge
upon my love of simplicity’s clean lines,
hector my way down to the fundamental core
and find commonality. I want to accept that
the only real duress is the grip of my skull.
I want to codify all these tiny moments
into a life fulfilled.

This poem was written in response to Poetry Prompt #108 on Read Write Poem.

Photo by Travis S.

        I think starting a new job is kind of like meeting a new person: if you want to get along, you need to find some common ground. What aspects of your job mesh best with your personality traits?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sexual canvas

It’s supposed to be a portrait, and I suppose it is
if you look at it the right way. See the eyes?
They’re really the most striking part of the piece,
and the clearest; they never change. The features
are jumbled up Picasso-style, but he painted
one subject from many angles and this is
one subject from many years.

Green lips. Red throat. It’s the colours
that really throw you off -- portrait of a man
who has drunk a full glass of juiced rainbow
without adding water and now he's sweating dye.
It’s not pretty exactly, but just interesting.
I don’t know why the artist desired it to be so
and perhaps neither does she.

It’s plain work, really, made with the eye of one
who can recite colour theory and art history
like multiplication tables, made with a hand that holds
the brush wrong, clumsy as a first kiss. This is the artist’s
sole work -- sketchbook stain and masterpiece in one.
Look, if you study the corners, you can still see
the wavering strokes a young and shaking hand made
back before the artist learned not to lift her eyes
to compare her canvas to others’.

This poem was inspired by Carissa's poem My Canvas on LAID.

Nude Woman with a Necklace by Picasso

        What does your "sexual canvas" look like?

Monday, January 4, 2010

The anxious mind contemplates dualism

I remember reading Descartes and feeling comforted
because I too think and therefore I too am
and maybe this frightening, cryptic thing called a body
is just the masochistic figment of a fearful mind.

I remember reading an anxiety self-help book
that said you are not your mind, and I
just couldn't believe it because I am my mind,
because smart kids are inevitably attached to their minds
by the muscular straps of their egos.

I remember reading about epiphenomenalism and feeling terrified
that maybe there is no mind at all, that we are all just
machines, contraptions made of biological pumps and springs
and if I listen carefully I can hear my heart tick-ticking,
though it is a comfort, sometimes, to blame paranoid thoughts
on too much eating and too little sleep, excessive
holiday drinking and missed birth control pills,
temporary, superficial ails,
flat tires and rusty coils.

Portrait of René Descartes

        Do you believe the human mind is a purely biological construct, or is their also an intangible component to it (ie. a soul)?