The Definite Ending of Phillip Harris

Flames are falling onto the city across the river from where Phillip Harris stands. He stares, mouth agape, as buildings crash to the ground and the screams of Detroit citizens echo off of the calm, black water. Harris’ tiny dog sits quietly at his side. Not knowing what to do in this particular situation, he fumbles with his phone and dials 9-1-1. The line is busy.

He turns quickly in the direction of town, to see if there is any movement or danger on his side of the river. Only then does he notice lights on in windows and parents standing on their lawns with pajama-clad children in arm. Some cars speed past the pier, where Harris is pondering what to do next.

Harris isn’t an excitable man. He meanders through life and, until tonight, he believed he would live out the rest of his days exactly how he had been living them for years. Now, he is disappointed to learn that his plans have been drastically altered; because now he has to run, from certain death, with his terrier, Sammy, in one arm as the other flails helplessly at his side.

The flab that has built up on his chest, where muscle used to be, bounces up and down under a button up shirt and a wool vest with some drab sort of pattern on it. It is not a pretty sight, watching Phillip Harris run. Luckily, for him, no one seems to be paying attention to his running. They are all caught up in their own certain deaths and have now started to do the exact opposite of what they were taught to do in an emergency – panic.

Police sirens sound from the main road, of which there is only one in Rocky Point, a small southern Canadian town. Harris is comforted by them for exactly 4.6 seconds. After the 4.6 seconds passes a very large and very hot ball, presumably made of some sort of stone, explodes in the middle of town. At this point Harris, and everybody else, has only one goal in mind, and that is to get out of the way of the large, fiery rocks.

It is surprising to Harris how well his legs work. He has been running for a few minutes now without stopping and, for him, it may as well have been hours. Sammy’s head bobs up and down and side to side as Harris manoeuvres between people and falling buildings. The screams of his neighbours and loud crashes from the flaming boulders propel him forward, through a waist-height corn field, until he arrives at the edge of a small forest. The forest is quiet and dark, a satisfactory place to hide from the apocalypse.

Here he is able to catch his breath and release Sammy from the tomb of his sweaty arm-pit. Harris considers that the danger appears to remain within the limit of town, where most buildings were now dilapidated and burning. The screams have, presumably, been put out by the fire.

He sits on a damp stump to rest his legs and pats the top of Sammy’s head. From here they are able to watch their world dismantle from a safe distance. Many questions plague Harris’ mind: Is the world ending? Should he have purchased the survival kit he saw on TV? Was it his house that has just exploded?

Unfairly, he has had almost no time to process all of this and is now noticing something peculiar; a rustling in the corn field. Something (or things) is running in his direction, directly at him, in fact.

In a jolt of terror Harris’ instinct is to jump up and throw his fists into the air – knowing full-well his fists are inferior forms of protection.

When the rustling stops everything falls silent. A beam of moonlight reflects from a pair of eyes, a few feet from where Harris is standing, his fists still in the air. Another set of eyes has appeared, and another. Now Harris is surrounded by all sorts of eyes that belong to all sorts of animals; a family of cotton tail rabbits, one very large buck, the Jackson’s golden retriever, a young coyote, the mangy tabby cat he sometimes feeds, and, from above, a barn owl.

Harris makes an assumption that the animals are running towards the forest for sanctuary, much like he has – but, before he can sigh in relief or even blink an eye, a bolt of lightening has struck him in the heart. Phillip Harris has died.

His body, rigid and on the ground, points towards the asteroid-lit sky where the rest of him is dispersing.

Whatever is left of him now knows things living Harris would have never consciously known. The clusters of particles that are quickly escaping from his body thinks, “we are all one.” They are learning, or relearning, upon exiting that they are a part of an intricate web of life. One particle thinks, “we have been horrible to the others.” Another learns, “our time here is done.”

A whole bunch of them watch the animals, who can see Harris’ life-force, and know that they know they are free. The reign of the white apes with tools, that have plagued the planet with toxic chemicals and cruel, thoughtless murder, is over.

The last parts of Harris lingers with these revelations, then falls in unison with millions of other human particles. All too late are they regretful. All too late do they mourn the lives they have sacrificed for their own.

Sammy, still confined to his harness, wriggles free and gives one final lick to his dearly departed human. A few hours later he will be eaten by a coyote. And the world will be reborn.

Antithesis

do you still

love

as hard as

when you loved

me?

Do you still hate?

Do you still hate me

for loving you

so much that I hate you?

Do you still beg

beg for sex

beg for emotional assurance

beg

to change the channel?

do you still fuck

e v e r y t h i n g ?

Do you know how much more I love him?

Do you know what a good person feels like

next to you?

 

 

Do you still devour the good?

 

 

a Wolf’s Lamb

Mushy stands in front of a mirror
contemplating the dress she wears
its charcoal black collar
bites at her neck
perfect for a funeral
 
her heart flutters around
inside of her body
loose – free – exposed
she feels sick
she yearns for a remedy
 
to steady her trembling hands
she takes a long sip of whiskey
her Grandmother’s favourite
and smashes a cigarette into an empty can
 
before departing M wipes a single tear from her cheek
goodbye
she whispers
knowing this will be the last time
she can say it out loud
 
                             in a photograph next to the stiff remains of a once living human
 
a cracked smile masks
a woman’s flaked makeup
and brittle bones
 
brittle herself M can’t bear to look at either
finding solace in condolences and bad coffee
she tunes out
 
radio silence
for moments that seem like years
 
until a Jolt brings her
home
 
a face too close to M’s
familiar – estranged – ineffable
dashed with tears and creased eyebrows
that denote sympathy
yet can’t be trusted
 
weary like the prey of a wolf
M stiffs out a hidden motive
to strike when a Lamb is wounded
 
the Wolf’s finishing move
a hug
the warm embodiment of love
ignites memories of bathtubs
and sweet caramel hands
 
it works
the prey has been caught
 
perhaps this time she will be kept
not as a trophy
but as a pet
 
so she can enjoy tantalizing treats
and an epic distraction from the ache in her heart.

Placid Peaks

Heat flamed from a crimson coil
and stagnating water evolved
into steam.
the tomb that held it captive
burnt to a charcoal black
but the steam escaped.
much like the girl who ran
not to a place, but from
the darkness that entombed her
instead of seeking a safe sanctuary
she moved to uncover an ocean
that would gift her a palpable salt
and burn old tastes from her tongue
but her appetite – infinitely insatiable –
then discovered other orifices
in need of packing
chalk-full
of synthetic love
because anything real would have destroyed her.
Anything
except the placid peaks of mountains – East Coast
lovers of the space far above
solid ground.
she let waves of folk songs
                                             and stretches of tree-lined highways
                                                                                                                   sooth her whimsy
until a new fear
of clustered memories
birthing a snarling beast
haunted the trail she walked
                       so the girl ran deep
                       through the mud of an unbeaten path
                       and only stopped to sprawl in the healing light
                       of a half moon run
                                                                                     it was here that she heard a familiar voice hiss
                                                                                     “come home little lamb”
And to that she could only reply
“you have no idea what you have done to my soul”

Inky Water

Bubbles burst like foam in coffee
while her caramel hands melt by way of my body
black curls dissolve like chocolate
melting on the tip of my tongue
and breath
leaks
 
as slow as molasses
from the recesses of our lungs
 
two bewitched like bees to a hive.
 
here we are suspended for a time
in the land of milk and honey
suspended
in my memory – as untouched and
Extra-ordinary.
as though the pristine ‘us’ has been captured in a tomb of sticky amber
 
entombed but will eternally remain alive.
 
elsewhere time climbed
a tangled vine
its tendrils turned their hearts to the sun
and reached out for us lovers
lost,
spitting fire from our tongues
 
my pulse lingered unable to thrive.
 
vice ran deep for us both
from the ashes of our love grew a beast
I fought to escape its coal-crusted fingers
and the dirty grip it had on my heart
so soon after being enflamed by another
 
then it occurred to me that to fight a beast
you must make the choice
to win
you must raise your fists
or canter
 
so like a wild horse I rode the night wind and chose to survive.

The Elusive Tartlet

Scantly clad in the middle of the night the elusive tartlet takes flight. She binds her hands around a son’s, pursuing ill-willed determination – dancing in dark snow along the forested streets. Drenched in red, wine flows from mouth to mouth, inhaling sharply, dark lungs sing deep songs of love. Innocence lost on the edge of his humanity, giving all he has to unprocurable women. Staring intensely, searching for a purity unpalatable to the untrained tongue. “I’m a cactus tree.” Her thorns are sharp but survival is in her hollow and full essence. Beware of the elusive tartlet.