crisis of sentrepreation

“Something powerful remains hidden in things beyond the candy-store names with which we have painted the world…as Dan Rose has said, ‘all knowledge conceals itself'”
………………………………..- Clay

You think I don’t see the animals, staring in wonder, envious of my humanly abilities to abstract, to describe, to portray the world in signs? If they only knew, suspected at the pages of dross, of pseudo-science (sociology) I have to wade through this week…why they’d rightly imagine this civilizing process comes at too great a cost. If they had the temporal lobes. If they weren’t connected by underground wires. If they were autonomous wax practicing maxillary back-tax fractional analysis.

But I digress.

What about pointing? Is that representation? Can’t I show someone a glass and say, “This.” Is that representation? Don’t we (everyday) express meaning through action, without saying a thing? None of this seems covered by the semioticians. Don’t even get me started on sex.

I said, “don’t.”


a compelling morass

Lee Harvey & the little girl America

i thought i saw Lee Harvey Oswald
at the corner
holding the hand of a little girl
waiting for the light to change

and i thought
“that little girl
is America
and Lee Harvey
is going to teach her to smoke”

but then i thought
already knows how to smoke.”

and then,
“that little girl is America
and Lee Harvey Oswald
is going to teach her
to shoot a gun”

but then,
already knows
how to use a gun
America pretty much is a gun!”

then i thought,
Lee is going
to teach
little girl America
how to be betrayed
by people you think you
should be able to trust.

because this is a lesson
America still hasn’t really learned yet.”

and then the light changed
and i passed by the two of them
real close
and as they went on
i thought,

“oh. That’s not
Lee Harvey Oswald
at all.
That’s only my neighbour,
Mr. Kaczynski.”

– Clay McCann

a moral compass

10 Core Competencies valued across all employment sectors:

1. Personal management
Personal management means that you understand yourself and are conscious of the implications of your
interactions with others.
2. Communication
Communication means that you’re comfortable using a broad range of communication styles and you choose appropriate,
effective ways to communicate to different audiences in diverse situations.
3. Managing information
Managing information means that you are able to think critically and gather, sort, store and use information to turn data into
4. Research and analysis
Research and analysis means that you use information from a variety of sources—including personal experience and your own
observations—to identify options and solve problems.
5. Project and task management
Project and task management means that you plan, implement, manage and measure projects and tasks in a timely and directed
6. Teamwork
Teamwork means that you work cooperatively and collaboratively with others to achieve collective goals.
7. Commitment to quality
Commitment to quality means that you take pride in your work and strive for excellence to achieve the best possible results.
8. Professional behaviour
Professional behaviour means you use sound judgment to meet or exceed your guidelines, standards and expectations.
9. Social responsibility
Social responsibility means that you recognize how your beliefs, ethics and actions fit within the context of a greater community.
10. Continuous learning
Continuous learning means that you pursue and apply new knowledge and skills in all of your experiences.

spreading peanut butter with a peach (wave like a beauty queen)

up on Waldecott when New Year’s
you broke the bigger of the bottles of
i had been saving since
and you creeped me
Your talk of the “responsibility of the living”

(to the ceaseless parade of the)
Field Trip to Meet Miss Alberta
the children need to come equipped with appropriate
in case it is muddy or
if your child normally has
or motion sickness

looking up into holiday
tiki living room tinsel dance party
i realize I never……you

were just a sad
and I didn’t know any women like that


– Clay McCann

Lady Macbeth: (reading label) rinse, repeat.

night in tunisia

you were dreaming, you were dreaming, we were dreaming,
your arm hung down between the bed and the wall,
pinched down there, hanged in darkness,
you were dreaming about a civil war in Canada

(which seems impossible
—we love this place for that,
that no-one would throw on a grey sweater and run out into the night,
screaming for the blood of René Levesque—
but dreams don’t care about those things, they just happen)

Patti Smith was in your dream,
hovered over north america like an angel of the pre-dawn,
the tawny angel of 1946,
and while you played with a rebel band of plastic toy hockey players,
preparing an ambush at the 2nd Battle of Flin-Flon,
Patti floated overhead like a new weather pattern,
blessing you, blessing us both with her prayer,
“Tropicán, Tropicán, we are all

her enormous t-shirt was the night sky,
and you knew her breasts, her beautiful Patti Smith breasts
were under there somewhere in the clouds,
so you asked her a question, any question,
just so she’d look down on you, she’d favour you,
maybe tear off that shirt celestial
and reveal the night sky of moonstarsblack and Patti’s breasts,
holygod what a night that would be,
so you said, “where does this pain come from, this pain,
this pain in my arm?”

but she looked down
on your pile of plastic toys spread out on the faded,
vast plain of a geography-class globe,
hedged between the lumpy hills of northern ontario
and the heaving spires of the rockies,
and she scowled, coming out of her trance, her state of grace,
looked at you,
at the tired, worn globe,
at the plastic hockey sticks pointed up to where her breasts should be
and as the clouds parted it was only a night, it is night,
“we are all Tropicán,” she said again,
her mouth,
you saw it then,
was full of extra rows of teeth
you knew what she meant, i think,
because i heard you ask in the dream “which tropic is that, Patti?”
her mouth opened and the teeth fell out,
white, crooked stars and black, bloody teeth,
“Tropic of Fucker,” she whispered,
troubling the ‘f’ sound with her toothless lips
as the blood and bits fell to the cheap, cardboard surface of the globe,
“Tropic of Shit.”

and just when you tried to plead with her,
to apologise and come to some sort of pleading absolve
—your arm hanging there in the darkness between the bed and the wall—
unknown to you,
your arm was a menace in its fitful dream,
terrorizing a spider and her family,
and when the arm got too close, too close to her web
–a farm field of sorts—
the spider bit the giant
and killed the dream.

– Clay McCann

loss is a game i’ve failed to win

Death is young,


Jacob may have wrestled the angel,
the angel may have been overcome,
but the angel was old
–angels are older than Milton
fer Chrissakes—
while Death is young.

Death is young,
young, dumb, full of cum:
the new guy at the office,
just THERE one day
–your desk,
your workstation,
with your password
is Death.

Death takes your size,
picks up your clothes from the cleaners,
fetches your groceries,
that brilliant 40% b.f. cheese.
Death bought you a new suit,
blue pin stripes,
“but i never wear suits.”
“You’d be surprised.”

Death is in the family,
agéd before your eyes,
increments of Easter, Christmas,
(your uncle’s bald spot given over to
full chemotherapy flower)
suddenly casketed,
a private ritual.
you had so much more to say
but maybe, maybe it’s better this way.
it was he who had nothing left to say
except maybe
and what have you to say
to pain?

Death might be my new young girl friend
who beckons, “Come to bed.”
I’m worn and spent,
up at 4am writing this.
Death’s opinion: the process of letters
on paper
is seclusive,
but, of course it is, baby.
music notes of permanence,
requiring no orchestra, no singers,
flying beyond Death,
beyond the unholy trinity
“Just come to bed,
for now.”

Death is the child
i cannot understand
cannot hear
be anymore.

Death is young
at midnight in some flaming town,
wants to rage
black infernus
in my ears ‘til dawn,
drinking the dregs
of distraction
only to fall to sleeping
without writing any of it down.

Death doesn’t want the poem
i scrawled across plastic bag (trash)
because plastic bag (trash) is forever.
but Death is fond of “recycled poem”
Sharpie’d on cardboard,
immediately slipped
into the blue container:
something else

Death is this new young girlfriend,
vital water drawn from my heart
with leg-tremble’d orgasm,
out-of-body (do i sound that ridiculous?)
Death wants to know, “Did you cum good?”
i can’t breathe.
she wants a little more of me.
i am empty.
pink flashbulbs fill my eyes
where she is sinking.
Death wants me to rise
and go look at the stars,
“Everything’s made of stardust,
even you, old man.”

no matter that Death came for every generation,
i am in denial.
they went quickly,
as though, had they remained,
they might have let something slip,
some choice words regarding the immense
from blue, pursed lips.
they went away quietly,
they, the uproarious,
the loud rebellious ones
–some ignorant, some unpolished, brilliant ones.
my old gone family,
all Orillia’s sons.
off they went, virtuous fools,
like schoolchildren.
i am in denial.

Death must be generous:
free cigarettes for Charlie Smith
(grandfather gone to throat cancer),
quaaludes not rescue for James Smith
(father, drowned in vomit),
boozeblood for Lee Clayton
(uncle, brown corpse balloon),
simple blue tongue of mercy for Steve Robertson
(cousin and suicidal hangman).
they were led
out of my denial.

Death is young and ON me,
coming home exhausted,
ON me
when I want to write,
ON me
when I try to paint,
ON me
should I wish to construct
some red ENORMITY
on the lawn
with the neighbour’s patio furniture,
the landlord’s sideboards,
my own last towel.
ON ME so I can’t think,
am afraid.
have only blue paint.
blank inside with vodka,
always ending.

Death draws near,
“Come to bed,
I want you,
come to bed,
there’s always morning,
come to bed,
your pulse is racing,

it’s true.
And it’s true.
I watch myself fall
to those seminal sheets
(you can’t go back, you can’t take one step back).
her breath is hot on my cheek,
“I thought of you

aw, Death means well,
clearing way for newborns,
building towns of careful,
grassy plots,
busy with wars,
burning history up to our backdoors,

Death works harder than any of us,
harder than a single mother.
she, who would only bring
one light into the room,
one, ten times,
while Death will paint the black
beyond the understanding
of black,
Death will empty the room
ending the light,
always ending.

ah, Death moves well.
her long white fingers
like antlers
caress my side.
i’ll be naked as with birth
until they sew me,
powder me,
lipstick (all this, if i’m lucky).
the blue pin stripes
from the dark closet queue
(moon rays).

i’d like to go quickly,
but have made grievous errors
in judgement.

i can’t help it,
Death wants to wash me
in shameful forget
before i go.

i can’t help it,

Death wants my life
to fade to pills,
endless night corridors
lit with exit signs.
the night desk
before i go

it’s senseless.
a doctor grieves the patient’s visit
(oh tell him, tell the pain, exquisite).

i can’t help it,
Death wants this tribute,
wants the child
to cry out
for a dead mother.

i can’t help it,
it’s senseless,
these endings
–the dust-resistant bed-springs.

– Clay McCann

rock the cash-bar

i saw the falling century
broken culture
(the vandals took the handles)

blurry-eyed old men
who mumbled insensate
when asked, “what is it? what’s the matter?”
in pyjamas
and three days’ beard

i know this late hour
from black and white movies
about the distant future
when not just Earth
but greed stood still

as the garbage can gods
staggered awkward
from their saucers

in the silence you can hear the dance-hall
–not even a fucken a-bomb
can stop the kids (a’ight?)–

and somewhere
jello biafra is born
without a trace of irony

we invoke wrestlers, witch-doctors:
anything to get
ronald reagan
to stop pointing his gun at us

tomorrow night
i go to Maple Leaf Gardens
to watch the Clash

i only know
that for a few more days
i will live forever

– Clay McCann