Headless (2 poems)


You’re a razor blade beneath a peak
a fatal-blow bad habit
You’re a good-looking guillotine
an advocate for contravene

You’re a nosebleed in the lower seats
a slow-acting affliction
You’re a sunset at a morning mass
a backstage party without a pass

Your upper hand is my rock bottom
I’m the one but you see double
the Greek countdown to your Roman numeral

But we all pay attention at a funeral



I’ll ride your mind
because you know better
than I
fill your head with
whatever gets you off
at night

wear you out
like a second skin

wondering if you’re wondering
if I’m still sitting
if I could ever
you out

You’re a figurine
that there’s no breaking

an inbetween

So I’m rethinking
I allowed this
to take up the better side
of my mind

I’m preoccupied

but you know this
so I suppose it’s
only right to
control it
to avoid casualty
if that’s what
you need

if only the
remains in
the sheets

So I guess what I mean is

I will try
to accept your
but inside both our heads
when we retire
to bed

I can promise
If ever you decide
that that’s what
you want




It’s diurnal darkness
a silage left trailing the night
It’s a touch hard to part with
its traces sunburned by the light

It’s shadows enlightened
rays judging the sweat on our skin
It’s buttons up, tightened
Cover up so we don’t let it in

It’s conscience collected
discarded, abandoned before
It’s the day resurrected
and the twilight that promises more

The Fucked and the Fallen (3 poems)


All I can hear is my heart beating in my chest
and the tapping of fingers on keys
The perpetual state of my mind not at rest
in the chasm it won’t let me leave

It’s digging a hole and it it’ll never come back
but it’s fine because I’m not alone
Amongst the lost and the damned, the sinners, and shunned,
I have fallen to take my new throne.

As I rise to the top in the depths of the dirt,
as I bask in the glow of the rot,
I know that down here I will be loved and revered
and they’ll all eat whatever I’ve got

I am Queen of the fucked up, disturbed, and insane
and I know this is where I fit in
I will float in the blood, in the booze, and semen,
and I’ll sacrifice myself to sin

American Pyscho oooh gif.gif


Your head’s still on your shoulders
but only just for now
’cause soon we’ll wipe it clean
right off
and you won’t remember how

Your mind is on my matter
and your nose is on the line
You won’t regret a thing tomorrow
What’s mine is yours is yours is mine

Your heart left with my demon
yet your pulse is in your pants
So come on now, let’s take a bow
This is our great performance

anita pallenberg performance boob gif


Tonight we’re gathered
with the dead
so take if off
remove your head

Check your coat
and check your mind
Let it away
Leave it behind

Shed off your skin
Tear off your flesh
Cut it away
’til there’s none left

There’s not one sin
we won’t accept
Listen to us
We know you best

We took your name
We’ve no plus-ones
So kill your ties
and come alone

Sell us your soul
Strip to your bones
’cause something wicked
this way comes

american psycho sorbet head gif

I don’t have a name for these.


Your heart on my heart
and they’re killing time
Your beat parallels death’s
and it’s matching mine
We pull and
we hang
like we’re intertwined
Guilty like the
Gallows’ sparrows



You know you need your demon
and you know how he tastes
It’s bitter yet sweet,
you let none go to waste

As it dries on your lips
and it slides down your throat
you know you need your demon
just to keep you afloat

He grabs at your mind and
you think he might steal it
but you let it tear off
because at least
you can feel it

You know you need your demon
set behind your dead eyes
need the glint and the fire
but he won’t empathize

He knows that you need him
and he waits in the glass
He might be at the bottom
but he left you for last

You know you need your demon
and he can’t be erased
he stole all of your words
and wrote them on your face


Shaking hands and
earthquake eyes
they close and slip
as pills collide
The blue ones
the blue ones
The white and
the red
These will make you better
all better, they said

They hand me
for whatever I ask
It’s been four weeks
and four weeks
When did we see you last?

Written by cold hands
and eyes that pass through
they hand you their scribbles
just to get rid of you
You’re a number
and you number
count the whites and
the reds
But the doses move slowly
when it’s all in your head

The white shirts
prescribed you
looking up not at all
but when they come ringing
you will answer
their call

So you can’t sleep?
No I can’t sleep
We’ve got something for that
Take one every day
and be sure to
come back

You return under harsh lights
and it’s always the same
checking over your file
to remember your name
So you take pills
then you take pills
’til you’ve filled
every gap
These are great pills
Increase the mills

When did we see you last?


Last night I drank my eyes away
They sank to the bottom of my glass
Before I saw you, I heard you say
“You don’t need to see, you just need to feel”
So I left them there that way

You knew enough for both of us
I think I made you up that day
And as sunset turned to darkness
you asked me to press play
The record spun and nothing moved
Except the liquor through our veins
Still I could not see
but I could touch and taste
and you asked me if I’d stay

So I spent the night and I asked the price
You said there is no fee to pay
And you re-introduced me to every sense
as the sun came up where we lay

I left you there, not sleeping
but in my head you know you’ll stay
in the space once reserved for seeing,
the night I drank my eyes away

Artistic liberty, or something like that (6 poems)


You don’t know what you’re feeling,
not most of the time
unless you loosen the hinges,
start drowning in wine
As you plead and you gasp,
try to shut it back in,
as you bargain for air and your lungs are

That’s when he’ll find you
and he’ll offer his hand
You’ll thank your kind saviour
as you head to dry land

Coerced, young, and foolish,
you believe what you’re told
As he tightens his grip you think
you’re the one in control
But tell me my child,
can you remember your name?
At some point you’ve forgotten
Now you’re part of his game

The setting grows colder
It’s fading to black
And now you’re still drowning
with fresh marks in your back


You came here because
you wanted to feel something
More than you wanted love
you wanted to know
that you were capable of it
And you are…
or you were
But now it’s just another
emotional notch in your bedpost
Another hole in your belt
As you grow fatter with
experience you grow
less and less satisfied

Your waistline shrinks
and your cheek bones emerge
and you know the more you feel
the more you need to feel

You’re a sensational bulimic

Couches and dead flowers
and arguments and cleaning
the bathroom
This is your life now
You’re a modern day housewife
parading around in cloaked
coining a front of charisma
so convincing,
for a second even you
thought it could be real
Your senses are numb
but for the scent of bleach
and boredom

As you rest your head
on his chest
his heartbeat reminds you
of your own mortality
You are ageing and
you’re dying
and the longer you wait
the faster it eats away

At least in the cold
you were preserved
on ice
You kept your heart
on the rocks for two decades
and now exposed it quivers
and threatens to crack

Yet you’re sure you can live
without it

So you seek solace in the flesh
of others
digging your nails in and
feeding off their emotions
and reactions
You draw blood as quickly
as you draw a crowd
You timed this,
you planned this
like clockwork
And you pretend you’re unsure
but immorality has always
had a special place in your bones

You’re a psychological vampire

And as you emerge
with fresh claw marks
down your back
you know neither is this “it”
There has to be something more
you can feel

There has to be something more
I can feel 


Your eyes
unlike oceans
show the shallow depths
of swamps
and in their muddy waters
I see not blues but browns

There are teeth
that let go at no cost
There are claws
that tear
until you are raw

you take and abhor
until you need another
and swim back into shore


You’re like a full bladder
an empty bottle of wine
everything you say doesn’t matter
and you take up too much of my time

You talk and you push
and I wish you’d just leave
I’ll drink ’til you drown
and I’ll plan to deceive

You’ll wake up tomorrow
to clean up my mess
and that’s why I keep you:
my tired conscience 


If it isn’t catastrophic
If it isn’t cataclysmic
then I don’t want anything to do with it

If it doesn’t clutch at my throat
and splinter my bones
then I don’t want anything to do with it

I don’t want half-ways
or “some day”s
I don’t want forever
or always
I don’t want anything to do with it

If it doesn’t inspire
and it isn’t this instant
then I don’t want anything to do with it

If it doesn’t gratify my wants
and set fire to my needs
then I don’t want anything to do with it

I don’t want 9-5’s
and staying barely alive
I don’t want insurance or security
I don’t want routine or mundanity

I don’t want truth
or sincerity
I don’t want confession
or honesty

I want worn flesh
and chapped lips
I want high winds,
an apocalypse

I want bruised thighs
and shattered lights
I want believed lies
and ruined lives

I want matted hair
and nails across skin
I want Christ cast out
and the Devil in

I don’t want hesitation,
or useless contemplation
I want here and now
instant gratification

I don’t want soft
I don’t want gentle
I want to come apart
watch as you dismantle

I don’t want conscience
I don’t want conviction
I want reveled sin
soaked in inhibition

I don’t want subtlety 
I can’t stand euphemism
I just want you and me
lost in hedonism


Looking up from the cracks
I see the dirt on your shoes
and it won’t break your back
to step over my view

The heat seeps from beneath,
The flames cased in cement
As to whether you’ll join me,
we are all in suspense

I clutch at the sediment
until my fingers turn black
I did not mean to leave you
I just fell through the cracks

Yes, the company’s fair
and the wine never stops
There are thousands down here
That Time and God forgot

But it’s lonely, you know
here at Lucifer’s side
That’s why if you look low
You might still see my eyes

Glinting up from their prison
looking up from the flames
I thought I was special
Down here we’re all the same

The next time you’re walking
take a peek down below
For the cracks that you trod on
might be someone you know

Take Two

As I’m writing this, exactly six months ago today was the worst day of my life. No, I didn’t lose my job or break up with my boyfriend. I didn’t miss tickets for my favourite band, get in a fight with my best friend or get a bad haircut. As part of a generation who exaggerates as readily as we breathe, I can without contemplation say that July 8, 2014 was actually the worst day of my life. It was the day my brother died.


Jordan, my brother.

It’s easy to go about your life not taking responsibility for the place you hold. It’s easy to blame other people or say, “good things come to those who wait.” Passivity is, let’s face it, the easy way, and we all do it at some point. But when my brother got into a car accident all I could do was wait and wonder, “why him? Why my brother?” and on that day I’d have done anything to have had an active choice.

Jordan was driving on his way home from work in the rain. It was the worst rain we had all summer. I spoke to a cab driver some months later who remembered this as the day his entire basement flooded—but I’ll always remember it as something more. While the reports are mixed, speed and the weather were most likely the factors that lead to my brother’s accident. After swerving into the opposing lane, he hit an oncoming van and veered into the ditch. The family in the other vehicle was fine, if a little banged up, but my brother was not. An ambulance was called and, according to a paramedic I later spoke to, it arrived on the scene within seven minutes. They pulled my brother from the car, and at this time he was unconscious and seizing for over five minutes. The paramedic said that in his experience, when he has seen an accident victim seizure for more than 30 seconds the person is, as he put it, a “goner.” He said he was sure that my brother wouldn’t make it. And according to my brother’s lawyer’s reports, he should have been right: Jordan died on that scene.

But he was revived.

All the while that my brother was fighting for his life I had no idea. I was at home. It was just like any other day and my brother should have been back in an hour or so. But when a knock came at the door it wasn’t one of his friends arriving to see him. It was a police officer. I had to assume Jordan or my mother had done something wrong. It didn’t even cross my mind that something genuinely horrible could have happened. I dialed my mother’s phone number since the officer wouldn’t tell me what the problem was. It wasn’t until I overheard their conversation that I knew something terrible had occured. My chest tightened up in a panic I’ve never felt before, but one that, since, would become very familiar to me. The police officer hung up the phone and told me that someone driving my brother’s car had been in an accident and was in the hospital.

I pictured the worst. Why couldn’t they recognize him? He must be unconscious and disfigured, I thought. But then I remembered that he left his wallet, as usual, on the kitchen table that morning. That gave me hope as far as disfigurement, but reasoning led me to believe he must still be unresponsive. How bad was it?

Whilst these thoughts whirled about my mind I brushed my teeth, changed my shirt, tied my hair up. I think I was in shock. When your brother might be in the hospital dying, the colour of your shirt ought to be the last thing on your mind, but my mind hadn’t fully grasped the situation. Led by the now heightening panic I had felt initially, I ran to the hospital. During that run, I’ve never felt more afraid or weaker. In that moment my legs were too slow and my lungs were too tight and my body seemed to barely move while my mind went a mile a minute. I got to the hospital and asked a janitor where car accident patients would be. He answered in a nonchalant way, not realizing that saying the words out loud to him was the hardest thing I had ever had to do up until that moment. Saying it out loud made it real. And as I moved in the direction appointed, hearing my mother crying made it realer still.

In a room with lighting and wallpaper as bleak as the immediate prospects of any person forced to sit there, hospital attendants briefly explained what happened. I barely listened. The only thing I wanted to see or hear was my brother. They lead us down the hall into a private room, and there I got my wish. My brother was lying on a stretcher in the middle of the space. His face was fully intact. He looked like he was asleep, except for the seizing and the machines that were hooked up to his body. It was the most surreal moment of my life. That man laying on the hospital bed unconscious was the same one who came home every day from work, the same one who played with our dog and cooked us steaks and made us laugh harder than anyone else could. But it is easy for the mind to compartmentalize and disassociate. From the moment I looked down at my brother in that hospital bed I separated him from the memories of everyday life. There was Jordan before the accident, and now there was this new person whose outcome was as of yet unclear. To allow my mind to fully grasp what was happening was too much.


Jordan and me at our cottage, May 24 weekend, 2014

I realized that my father still had no idea. I called him, and when he answered I could barely speak.
Whether it was my dad’s bad hearing, my muddled speech, or the inability to comprehend such a life altering statement, my father asked me to repeat myself.
“Jordan is in the hospital. Just come here.”

I hung up.

I don’t know how long it took my father to get there. I don’t know where he was driving from but it can’t have been far. When he arrived he looked confused and worried, but perhaps that is an understatement. As he walked into the room and saw his son’s unresponsive body, all colour left his face. At some point we were informed that Jordan was next in line for the helicopter that would take him to get the treatment that could save his life; it was between him and one other patient, and the patient whose situation was direr would go first. My brother was chosen to go first.

I don’t remember much of the scene that followed. I think we can’t have waited more than an hour but it felt like years. Looking down at my brother I felt constantly dizzy and fought my body’s instinct to pass out. My mind had decided that the situation was too much for my body to handle but I fought it. Throughout the wait, I called two of Jordan’s best friends and my father called my cousin. Hearing my father say the words out loud hurt more than saying them myself. Anyone I spoke to sounded like they didn’t believe me when I told them what happened. But when the time came to drive to Hamilton to meet my brother at the ICU, there they all were. I only called two people, two of his best friends, but when I walked out of the hospital three or four were there waiting. When we got to the Hamilton Hospital, there were at least ten. And by the end of the night as we all waited to hear whether my brother would live or die, there were at least twenty of his closest friends and family there waiting.

It’s possible that amongst all the pressure, my narrative and timeline might differ from that of the other two-dozen people who were present. But what I remember the most as we waited for the best or worst news we would ever hear is that the only thing that got me through it were friends and family. Any time it got to be too much, which was a phenomenon that occurred more often than not, there was always a shoulder to cry on, for any of us. By the end of the night we were told that it looked like Jordan would live. But there was swelling and bleeding in his brain and the next 72 hours would tell if he would need surgery. That night we all went home, emotionally and physically exhausted, except for my father. Knowing that my dad was still there in case any thing took a turn for the worse was as big of a relief as we could have asked for at that moment.


We took a photograph of just some of the people who were still there the first night and everyone signed it for Jordan over the weeks to come.

The next day, or maybe it was the day after that, we were told that Jordan would need a bi-frontal bone flap removal of his frontal skull. They would remove two pieces of bone from his head on either side in order to relieve the now growing pressure of his ever-swelling brain. The surgery was done routinely, and my brother’s life was saved once again—but just how much of a life that would be, no one knew.

For the next while, I went to the hospital wearing Jordan’s plaid shirt every day. It made me feel closer to him in a time when, even though I was right beside him, he had never felt further away. I made it to two weeks straight before my mother said it would have to be washed, and she was probably right. Throughout the next few weeks Jordan’s vitals remained relatively stable but his blood pressure was high. High blood pressure meant the swelling in his brain could not go down, and it was this that would cause permanent damage. I sat next to his bed quietly, holding his hand and watching the numbers on the machines. I memorized every medication being fed into his body— Fentanyl, Ciprofloxacin, Propofol, Midazolam—and I listed them over and over in my head to keep from crying. The nurses said he could hear us crying, and I knew this to be true from watching the numbers. Anytime some one would get audibly upset in Jordan’s vicinity, his blood pressure would rise. So I sat there in silence and waited.

One day, during what I think was still the first week post-accident, we were called into a private room for a meeting with a neurologist. Immediate family only was requested, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s who came. My mother, father, and cousin came in the room, but so did three or four of his best friends. When the doctor asked each person his relationship to Jordan, each friend said, “I’m his brother.” The doctor didn’t question it, even though one of the friends was visibly of a completely different ethnicity. For this I’m glad, because in this moment, we all needed to be there—for Jordan, for ourselves, and for each other. It was in this meeting that we learned that the areas of the brain responsible for personality and memory were, though damaged, relatively the least affected. But the motor function areas had been hit the worst. It was called a “shearing” head injury, and one nurse said it was the worst possible brain injury one can acquire, before stopping to correct and compose herself. A few days later we were told that the damage was irreversible.

These days were the hardest thing I have ever experienced. When I was with my friends and family I was distracted. They brought a solidarity and necessary humour into a situation that was otherwise dismal. They wouldn’t for a second—at least not out loud—let anyone believe that Jordan wasn’t going to get one hundred percent better. And sometimes, I believed them. When I was alone, it was harder. When I wasn’t depending on Xanax for temporary mental relief, I felt genuinely crazy. I wondered if my brother would survive, and if he did, would he have a life worth surviving for? I knew that if he came out of his coma without being able to function, that he would have rather died. I feared this the most. I wondered what I would do if Jordan didn’t live, if I would even want to remain living, but knowing that Jordan would need me when he woke up kept me strong.

And he did. Jordan woke up from his coma about two weeks after the accident. This was both a blessing and a huge shock. We still had been holding onto the flimsy hope that when Jordan woke from the coma he would be himself. But he wasn’t. His eyes were open but they couldn’t register. He couldn’t see us and we weren’t sure if he could hear us anymore. But I talked to him and told him stories. I told him about what had gone on since the accident and tried to sound as hopeful as possible. There were a few nurses who said Jordan would stay in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. I couldn’t let myself believe this because any moment where I did was the darkest I’ve ever had. But not long after waking, within the third week, Jordan started proving those nurses wrong—and from there, he hasn’t stopped since.

The first indication that Jordan was still responsive came in the form of a simple hand gesture. We asked him to squeeze our hand if he could hear us, and he did, but it was hard to be sure that it wasn’t his brain misfiring. Then one day, my father asked Jordan to give him a thumbs up, and he did. My dad told the doctors, and they confirmed it to be true and ran and got more doctors. They were all impressed. Jordan was acting against all odds and medical precedent. From there progress was small but steady and significant. Jordan’s eyes began to focus more, he responded to more gesture commands, and he was sat up in a wheel chair with support. Still, despite all progress, even after moving back to the hospital in our hometown with secure vitals, it was unclear whether Jordan himself was still there.

Amongst the hardest days of my life was also one of the best. One of Jordan’s friends, my father, and myself were sitting beside him. I was playing his favourite songs, which he had been responding to by tapping his feet and looking to see where the sound was coming from. Roy, the friend, was making fun of Jordan light-heartedly, and I suggested that Jordan should “kick Roy.” Jordan lifted his leg, and booted Roy in the chest. I don’t think Roy has ever been so happy to be assaulted. As if that wasn’t enough, my dad made a joke, which I won’t repeat here, and Jordan laughed. Seeing him smile and laugh for the first time since the accident was one of the greatest things I’ve ever experienced. I left the hospital that day feeling genuinely hopeful not because I had to be, but because for the first time, I really felt I could be.


Jordan and some of our friends in our hometown hospital. Still kicking Roy.

From that day on Jordan continued to progress at a remarkable—even miraculous—rate. He went from a man who was predicted to be catatonic for the rest of his life to being fully responsive. The first time we heard him speak was one of the best sounds we’ve ever heard. Steadily from there, Jordan got his voice back and started physical therapy. He went from moving his arms and legs to sitting up and eventually to standing and shuffling. After being moved to a physical rehab centre, Jordan began walking. Each day he walked further than he had the day before. It was a surgery that saved his life, but Jordan’s motivation and will are what got him as far as he has come—that, and according to him, the support of all of his friends and family. A few months after the accident occurred, Jordan finally got to come home.


Jordan finding out the expected day he could finally go home from physical rehab.

Now, my brother is walking almost entirely unassisted. He no longer needs a wheelchair and he’s doing more and more things on his own. He has been walking on a treadmill and swimming. But most importantly, he is completely himself. His personality hasn’t changed at all. He still has the exact same humour, the exact same stubborn streak that we love because it was that stubbornness that made him survive. It’s hard not to repeat the fact that this has been the most difficult thing that any of us—especially Jordan—have ever done. Even writing this was a huge challenge. The entire experience is one that I will never get over because from the moment I saw my brother’s comatose body, some part of me had no choice but to start grieving his loss. Emotionally, we all lost something that day we may never get back. But today, exactly six months after the accident, Jordan got his final surgery to place the pieces of his skull back inside his head. Now, both symbolically and physically, Jordan can only get better from here.

On the day of the accident, when we first arrived outside of the hospital as Jordan’s helicopter touched down, there were two rainbows casting their mark in the sky. Though I’m a notoriously unspiritual person, I chose to interpret this to be a sign that Jordan was going to be okay. I took a photograph of it and decided I would show it to him when he woke up. Now, six months later, the shadow of that fateful day has finally retreated, and I think we are all better people for having gone through it. Jordan is alive and well and I couldn’t possibly be more relieved and thankful to know that today…

I have my big brother back.


July 8, 2014


I don’t know how to be
completely happy in any situation
That’s why I keep running
from one life to the next,
picking them apart as I go
Blinded by nostalgia and
some distorted version of hope,
I am destined to be forever
half present in every life I live
Mentally, my bags are always open,
ready to be packed
at the first sign of uncertainty

Maybe I haven’t found the right “fit”, so to speak,
as though it’s as simple as a well-tailored suit
Or maybe I have
and my destructive internal monologue
can’t fathom the possibility

Maybe happiness is stagnant
and I have a fear of standing still

A few more poems

I’m like a depressing Doctor Seuss.


An image of
a helping hand,
admired and revered
Upon which you are all
diluted and adhered

It holds you up
and weakens you
Your strength, unneeded, lacks
So when the hand closes
its fist
I’ll hear as your bones crack

Man Over God

“Praise Jesus”
they say
“Thank God”
they all gasp
but the man
who loses self
to God
is the man
who will come

Take action,
I plead
Go forward,
I urge
For the man
who’s ruled
by none but self
is the man
who will
come first


It grabs ahold of your neck
and digs its thumb into
your throat
It pulls the colour from your hair
and your eyes begin
to float
Your chest caves in,
and canyons bed beneath
your eyes
And you try to breathe
and try to scream
but your airways
are all tied

Some call it stress,
anxiety, depression,
grief, or strife
But the term that I am partial to,
I think I’ll call it


We wait until the fever breaks
I keep quiet for both our sakes
Your face is swollen
It’s hard to take
Choke back tears
It’s hard to fake
Propofol, Midazolam
I’m holding on the best I can
Fentanyl, Ciprofloxacin
These are just names, just medicine

But they keep you here
so I’ll stay with you
Until you wake,
I wish I could sleep too