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Matt Cardinal Feb 2015
Skipping rocks on quicksand
covering my empire of dominos
that only fell for girls
with a general knowledge of obscure trivia:
an empire where Latin is a phoenix
rising from Ash Wednesday
for a fourth-quarter comeback
reunion Tour de France,
where the truth costs less than
**** jokes in bulk at Costco.

All this while I wait for christ
who cringes through crazy eights
with cards collected by Captain Crunch
from birthdays past.

I'd stop skipping rocks and appointments
if being swallowed
scared me like shoehorns
being anyone's weapon of choice
or the doctor's orders
including an extra fork for sharing dessert
but mainly the obsolete
laser for fixing Everything
hidden somewhere in a lab
coat worn by a wicked *****.
Matt Cardinal Sep 2014
Where I'm from multicultural means multicultural and not just “lacking in white people”.

Where I'm from people say they're from Toronto even though they hate the Jays, Raptors and Leafs and hardly ever go into the city itself.

Where I'm from any day can be cynically mundane enough to read The Catcher In The Rye and mistake it for the Gospel according to Holden Caulfield.

Where I'm from everyone hates the mall, but everyone's a mall rat and if you ever go you see everyone, at least everyone you hate, and buy nothing.

Where I'm from there's signs that say “Flowertown” everywhere and an unremarkable amount of flowers. Unless there is a remarkable amount of flowers and where I'm from everyone's just spoiled.

Probably spoiled.

Where I'm from you could walk to Tim Horton's but you drive to Starbucks anyway.

Where I'm from everyone's considering a career in rap. Even the people who aren't considering a career in rap are considering a career in rap.

Where I'm from every teenager will tell you their Michael Cera encounter story.

Where I'm from is where he's from too, or he went to school there, or near there, or now his parents live near there. He's been there, multiple times, I'm sure.

Where I'm from there's an old quarry that everyone calls a lake now. Swimmers used to circulate the urban myth of a dead body at the bottom, until they found it. Now they just circulate the stale news story.

Where I'm from there used to be trees. Nature put some there until we cut them down to build. Then the  people put some there to accent the houses until Nature piled ice on them and cut them down again.

Where I'm from someone needs to have a good talk with this Nature fellow.

Where I'm from the brand new hospital screams, “good things come to those who wait, and wait and wait, unless you need to see a specialist. Then you're ******.”

Where I'm from there are streets that have so many young kids playing on them that ice cream trucks aren't allowed to go there. They go anyway.

Kids learn early that the law is optional where I'm from.

Where I'm from people don't pronounce the “gua” in “Chinguacousy Park”. Kids used to spend time there splashing around diluted *** in the kiddie pool in summer and tubing down the landfill mountain in winter. Now they just pass it by on the way to the mall.

Where I'm from car insurance costs more than cars because everyone's late, lost and angry, but none of them would call themselves a bad driver, just unlucky.

Where I'm from boys take pretty girls skating at Gage Park. I guess they take ugly girls there too, I just know the one I took was pretty.
Brampton, Ontario
Matt Cardinal Feb 2014
Like stray dogs in suburbia we wander.
We once knew a path in our distant dog-year past
one our owners walked us down,
dragging us nowhere fast.
It was catholic school teachers,
conformist preachers
and all the other tame creatures who took us on our way.
We walked on their time,
to the beat of a drum our paws weren't made to pound.
And we were dragged by a noose (otherwise known as a leash)
but their language is not our language
so while I called it what it is
they called it keeping me safe.

What the masters don't know
is that sometimes they leave the wrong door open
and a fence in the yard or a parental guilt trip
feels about as big as a crack in the sidewalk to jump over
when the street looks like a filthy paradise
where things like loud are louder,
fast is faster,
scary, scarier,
and reality, realer.

Now we're never in any rush
because anywhere and everywhere is home
so simply staying in doesn't feel so bad.
Routine is no longer in our vocabulary.
Vocabulary is no longer in our collection of words
and our collection of words is no longer so clean.

We wander because ideas described to us as garbage
taste better than the textbook kibbles-n-bits
and even though it's not served hot
or in a bowl with our names on it
the fact that we found it ourselves
feels better than having our tummies rubbed
or making the grade.

None of this is to say that the old house
will never be home again.
Doggy doors are always open
and winters are always cold.
So once I've had enough of life's streets
teaching me more important things
than rolling over or playing dead,
things like knowing tricks don't always come with treats,
we might just go back inside.

And returning won't be our loss
because we'll be walking back in with unclipped claws for the first time
and with all our baby teeth and naive fears gone,
we just might bite.
Matt Cardinal Aug 2013
We talk, often enough,
about not growing up
partially because we don't want to,
partially because we know we have to
and we're scared because we haven't.

We look at the kids
(if we can still call them kids)
a year, two years older than us
and say,

And all I ever say is "****", really,
because I haven't grown up
and that's not a bad thing
if you don't mind reading
poetry by a sailor.

We get jobs,
and say we earn a living
but movies the odd time
and fast food some days
isn't exactly a life.

Our parents still have to
pick us up from parties
when we're drunk
(because adults do it)
and we feel older
because we can almost
(almost) handle the taste of alcohol.

We're in this phase
(phase is the adult word, see, progress)
where we give a ****,
(I mean genuinely care)
about how adults look at us
but the important question is
why are they always looking at us?

Do they think they're looking in a mirror,
and all they can say is
And all they can say is “****”, really,
because they wish they didn't grow up,
and how it's a bad thing,
because they know bigger
(more sophisticated) words,
yet they still talk like sailors;
but it's not  too bad a thing
because they have this word,
and they know it's just one of those,
whatever the **** that means.
An 18 year-old's idea of trying to feel like an adult.

— The End —