Autumn

The earth and leaves
leave an earthy scent
that sends me home,
refreshed from the homely,
weary ways in which the winds wave.

Crisp, October air bites
and comforts in the same breath.
Damp and dry,
Beauty and demise,
when life eclipses death.

The sun prepares her goodbyes
Her sorrow spectacularly lashes out
her tears splatter the sky.
She smoulders in a violet pout.
Her silver sister gleams in a stoic stride.

King Can

Kickin’ back with a King Can

of Black Ice.

Everything’s gon’ be alright.

Half a pack of Player’s Red
and the liquor store is open ’til ten.

You call me a feral man,
a leech to society.
But you don’t gotta put nothin’ in my outstretched hand,
so I prefer the word, “free”.

Who the Hell is “Daryl Lect”?
Who the Hell did we elect?
That would let us freeze without Tundra Ice?

Who the Hell asked for your advice?

“Get a job”?
Thanks. I haven’t thought of that!
I can instantly snap out of this,
all it takes to go from slob to snob,
in no time flat!

Winter Is Coming,
and I’m on the 5th season in Game of Loans.
I miss my daughter.
The girl needs her father.
But I’m just kickin’ back
with my King Can of Black
The King without a Queen or a Castle,
dying on his concrete throne.

You call me a bum,
a scourge, a disease.
You don’t put nothin’ in my outstretched hand.
You snarl, you bite, you fit me into God’s plan.

But I smile,
and say, “God Bless”.
You’ve walked an inch as I’ve walked a mile,
but you still win the race, delusional in determination, but I digress.

I may be a chaotic, wild mess.
I may not know the real me.
I still am a brother, a father- just forgotten and seen as less.
I am cold and I cry, but even eye contact is denied.
Let alone a helping hand, I close my outstretched hand.
But have not lost my way, I am not blind I still see
The turned backs of my fellow man deserve dignity.

 

Planes

As a boy, I would look up to the clear, blue skies
mesmerized
by the screaming white lines and triangle silhouettes.
Miniature and mysterious.
White and grey.

Crawling through the abyss
in slow motion
at blistering speeds
they march,
at altitudes as high as my ungrounded dreams.

 

My head in the clouds.
The pristine cerulean brilliance, once arrogant in its own awe
is now cyan. Tainted by envy.
I longed to pierce the heights, to damn Nature’s law.

 

My head in the clouds.
Someday I would be there.
I would be on one.

One turned to two.
Two became three.
Three.

And many more.

Daydreams of worldly travel died with long, sleepless nights and Oriental Mix.
An international hub of shysters, sore feet and dicks.
A bustling city of the dead. No one stops, no one lives. No one rests.
Creativity thrives amongst thieves and franchises,
demanding inconvenience as the price for the convenience.
Tired, hungry, and drained
forced to fight a war
versus an army of employees
who need to get laid.

BE THERE TWO HOURS EARLY!

They say,

To be two hours delayed.

 

Despite the delays,
the maze,
the twelve hour days
and the employees who need a lay.

Despite it all,
Tell the child in me that I made it,
that the beauty of the flight is worth endurance of the locusts.
I now look down at the billowing, majestic clouds.
Light as a feather,
moving anciently, as if woken from a millennia old slumber.
Flexing, lumbering, and blustering like the authority of the Earth that they are.

Respect is found in my heart,
my true size revealed in this wild tube ride.
Mesmerized
by the yawning white behemoths below,
and their black silhouettes.
Majestic and mysterious.
White and grey.

 

The Casino

A glorified bingo palace,
same indignant smell.
Saps sitting silently,
counting contently,
offering obediently.

Saps sitting silently,
planted in place.
Pacing in place- preparing for self-promised pipe dreams.

Tax dodgers, collections dodgers, draft dodgers, wife dodgers, and coffin dodgers alike
flock as moths to the warm glow of the pharaoh,
as disciples they listen
to the soothing reassurances from bets high and low,
that their grass may grow greener.
Reality goes on strike.

Down the dated carpet I walk,
I see the young and old fixed on cards and screens,
sarificing precious time and superficial dollars
to legal criminals, to cheats in blue collars.
The wolves who have ditched wool for Armani cackle,
friends of the fallen feed the fiends.

This is not meant to provide fame nor fortune, this vice.
How can these people be so gullible, so docile, as well trained pets?
So I shake my head, and I buy a beer.
I hum and I haw, I light a cigarette.
I take a drink,
I take a puff,
I curl my lips in contempt at the saps,
I sneer,

“What a waste of life.”

Soapbox Stories Presents: Sedley by Chelsea Coupal- A Book Review

“Sedley”
by Chelsea Coupal
Published by Chelsea Coupal
Review by Ben Charles
C$17.95
ISBN: 9781550509410

Sedley, written by Chelsea Coupal, is a delightful and insightful reflection of life in small-town Saskatchewan that had me smiling from the first page to the last. This collection of poems that Coupal has so masterfully penned is a wonderful commentary of the author’s life and experiences growing up in the town of Sedley, SK, a small village located forty kilometers South-East of Regina, SK.

When people think of life in small-town Saskatchewan they usually conjure images of tractors consuming the entire highway, dusty farmyards, abandoned movie-theaters, and the antics of the characters from Corner Gas. While some of these themes are present, Coupal also captures the magic, beauty, tragedy, and inexplicable weirdness that come with growing up in rural Saskatchewan. As I was born and raised in a small village in Saskatchewan myself, I could not help myself from feeling nostalgic and chuckling as I read such the poems as, “The Drive Home”, or “Party”. Coupal’s eerily accurate descriptions of remedies to teenage boredom reminded me of my own young misadventures getting in trouble at parties, driving aimlessly on the grid roads, talking smack about the kids from neighbouring towns, running from the RCMP, and of course smoking cigarettes and maybe having one too many Pilsners.

On the other hand, and unfortunately just as relatable, the poems “Ms. Williams” and “Jake” are poignant and riveting recollections of how unexpected tragedy can slice a village to the very core. Tragedy and unexpected deaths always bring people together in the tightly knitted communities that we have here at home- for better or for worse. “Ms. Williams” recounts a tragic accident that results in the untimely death of a teacher, and people rush to the scene to help in any way that they can, or simply gather to be there for the members of their communities. Coupal’s powerful yet subtle words on this matter left a great impression on me and with much inner thought. I could not help but think of the recent bus crash that tragically ended the lives of sixteen people within the Humboldt Broncos. Just like in Coupal’s poem the people of Saskatchewan, being the large rectangular small-town that it is, came together to help the families, strengthen the bond in our province, and celebrate life.            

In summary, Sedley is an absolute treat for poetry fans and for small-town Saskatchewan folks who want to feel right at home again. Chelsea Coupal is an immensely talented poet with an extraordinary ability to show the reader that the mundane is, in fact, extraordinary. Coupal’s breath-taking descriptions of Saskatchewan nature, commentary on the stress of the economic uncertainty of agriculture, and the trials and tribulations of growing up all fit together to create a brilliant slice Canadiana. It has left a lasting impression on me and I know that I will find myself picking it up again and again.  

THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE OR FROM WWW.SKBOOKS.COM   

Fishing

The water is calm and careless
as virgin glass
shimmering like countless diamonds.
Nothing is wrong,
emails and deadlines and phone calls are nowhere near to harass,
aluminum beer cans stashed in an aluminum diamond,

glistening in mounds.

Rocks are weathered, wise and smooth
from the constant caress of the shore.
My brother swears, can’t see the beauty
only sees a chore.
As he misses the forest for the trees,
I admit that they are impossible to miss.
An oaken, birch and pine army watches on,
Tall, dark, and legion.
A stoic reminder this world is not mine to do as I please.
Winds whisper news from the Arctic, they sway and they soothe.

With a flick and a plop
my line hits the water.
In this waiting game I pop a top,
light a cigarette, sit back and relax
to talk meaningless trivia and pop culture facts.
Did you know that the Biebs is engaged to Stephen Baldwin’s daughter?” 

Bended urgency cuts riveting conversation short!
An aquatic wrestler writhes and convulses
guilty of only following instinct and a yellow 5 spotted lure.
I cuss and swear, it is becoming a chore.
C’mon, you dirty fuckin’ whore!”
The line is up, my reel whirs, I cannot hear it over a rapid pulse
Flashes of silvers, emerald and a torpedo contour
I am aided by the closest helping hand, through netted support.

Stripped from the water, a rude awakening like birth.
The wrestler becomes a gymnast
bending, leaping, contorting to impossible angles
to escape the anglers, scorching in the sun, or drowning on the earth.
In the plastic box it goes. A live well, a death row cell.

Back to shore we clean, filet, cook, then celebrate.
Eat as we have been eaten by mosquitos and gnats.
Our hearts full of love, our heads full of joy, our bellies full of beer and fat.
Off to bed in bunks, ignoring sounds of buzzing intruders and death rattle snores.
The sun’s curious oranges peek over her celestial fence.
She is excited, too impatient and tense. She does not know her own strength
her radiance pours.

Steam from black coffee rises from porcelain and sand.
One more cast off the beach then I’ll go for breakfast, I tell myself.
As I cast off again and again.