Frankie Slider

These hours passed long and slow. I had clocked in just after midnight when this roaring monster departed from Calgary. Now I felt my eyes growing weary from the lullaby echo of train tracks click-clacking repeatedly. It would go on like this until sunrise when the waitresses would wake and tea service would resume. For now though it was just this steaming engine and me, and a passenger car full of sleeping strangers headed into the twilight of the alpine glow.

I heard the desperate cry of a coyote, then the waiting of a lingering forest. The treeline pounced forward for a moment and then disappeared entirely. Like the flash of a Boers’ grenade I was stunned briefly, but I had been trained for this. The weight of the world fell upon me and I sounded my own choo-chooing signal in a cry of defiance, leaping for the throttle to put it in high gear. The clickety clack of the tracks grew louder quickly until it was overtaken entirely – overtaken by something else all together. It was the alpine glow, now humming loudly and fierce, without warning or mourning, unleashing a vengeance pent up since the dawn of the industrial revolution. Windows rumbled and China mugs rattled.

I had heard these shale foundations weren’t the strongest, but never had a thought crossed my mind that it could crumble without a moments notice.

One dislodged rock, I suppose that was all it took, and now here was 100 million tonnes worth of rubble rushing towards me like a grey sea tsunami. At 100km/hour it was fast, but my own roaring monster clocked in at 120k and we parted the silver seas with ease as I caught my breathe. I just hoped the midnight miners had been as lucky.

*This piece is inspired by the story of the Frank Slide at Crowsnest Pass which occurred on April 29, 1903, at 4:10am. Killing nearly 100 people (almost 1/5th of the town), it was Canada’s deadliest ever rockslide. I can only imagine the fear of the train conductor who passed through it just as it began

Stardust Gone Wild

Through seven chakra’d guts

the bass thunders

Buhm buhm

buhm buhm

it goes it my belly as a drizzle of electrons flows 

upon my spine 

to the cerebral storm a’swirlin 

readying 

 

the stage strobes flash fushcia 

to magenta 

to teal and back again

in this cosmic fury

made of 50,000 sorcerers from across this now-scattered Pangeia

speaking a dozen different tongues 

from a hundred different lands, where the elected representatives of our well-defined jurisdictions wage wars and negotiate ceasefires

 

Now standing upon common ground

basking in foggy strobes

beneath the CN tower flailing purple and red into the sky where the stars once stood

moved by the amps powered by the liquified fossils of our ancestors

let there be light

 

Buhm Buhm

Buhm Buhm

 

We, the people

The product of a prank 

Played by some blessed beam

Sending sheets of white hot electron force 

72,000 degrees worth to be exact

Leaping with almighty strength through the stratosphere 

At 300 million metres per second

Down upon Pangeia’s meteor-mashed beauty 

Made of just the right amount of C02 and Sulfur 

Just the perfect distance from the sun’s erratic sol flares

To pull magic from lifeless rocks

Pure energy

enough that it could kill us in a heartbeat 

But instead this first time it brought it all to life

 

Buhm Buhm

Buhm Buhm

 

You are as I am. 

I am as you were.

 

each of the 23,000 individual genes moving in erratic unison through my body

revealing the elements of Einstein and Osama Bin Laden and 

the homeless man across the street that make up

    this fluorescent pulsating mess 

        drifting higher and higher, wrestling for new beginnings, 

twerking and jerking towards some magnificent crescendo 

        When we may allow ourselves to spontaneously succumb to 

            free fall

        A sound static ecstasy

 

mud on feet

rain in hair

bass in belly

stardust gone wild. 

Las Fronteras (Borders)

I ride in the open air cab of a run-down pickup truck
bouncing side to side
the ends of my hairs awakened
to the rush of the cloud-forest’s fog
our Quechua-speaking driver winds his way around overgrown mountains
deep within there is a fiery force

It warms the water I waddle on
floating in misty hot springs
stuck in a foggy dream
a steel drum beat simmering from the poolside pub
a common cast of characters with beers in hand
beneath giant ferns fanning us from cliffs overhead
they come from Francia and Estados Unidos and Argentina
bouncing around this rock we call home
it was possible I had met one of them before
in caves out West or maybe in Italy’s natural pools

moments blur
we trade names, then tales
revelling in our freedom, sharing an observation, or a tip
for how to get here to there and what it should cost
if you don’t get blindsided
speaking the dialect of a diaspora that knows no borders
soon we’ll be home

Workers whistle
smirks on faces, sledgehammers in hand
as our pickup truck weaves its way through traffic
made of feral dogs
and six year old kids walking themselves home from school
through a pueblo full of peeling paints of political propaganda
lined with stoic old women carrying bags and baskets
and heaps
on their heads
full of hand woven dresses
of more colours then I knew before
the workers whistles echo in my head

How had it come to be?
That foreign place where dogs are walked upon tightly kept schedules and routes
and kids are dropped door to door for soccer practice and piano lessons
prevented from leaving their houses without close supervision
and old women spend their final days watching soap operas on repeat

While they pay their life savings for coyote smugglers
to pack them into unmarked cube vans
to jump fences
to trek through desserts
to run from border guards
to hopefully work minimum-wage jobs in rednecked Texas
to likely be deported a few weeks later

While my country steals their gold, silver, and bronze without a moment’s remorse
as if this weren’t part of a centuries long pillage
aided by the IMF, World Bank, and international alphabet soup,
helping fund my next vacation
to see more of the land than many locals ever will

I would give them my passport if I could
but that would not be accepted by Border Patrol
not even should they want to go for a brief vacation
I though will be here as I wish
not a question asked
floating in a foggy dream