When Jonathan talks to you he formulates a plan of attack. He generates rules for a game and the game provides the structure for a conversation. Jonathan does this because he likes boundaries and the sense of control they provide. The structure is not obtrusive though, and often puts all parties at ease whether they recognize the rules or not. For example:

the interview is a very simple form for a conversation to take. As you would imagine it involves Jonathan asking questions, with the answers he receives leading to the next question. Alternatively, questions needn't connect one to the next, instead being asked from a preconceived pool; what do you do for a living? do you have hobbies? etc. This conversation format is well paired with:

tell me more which ensures a conversation has linearity in its evolution. This conversation can also be called and then. Most simple for this format would be Jonathan prompting a day-in-the-life talk where waking leads to breakfast leads to ping pong leads to emails leads to some sort of macaroni lunch, and so on. Helpfully, if a tell me more conversation should move to an unsustainable tangent, returning to the main narrative is simple and avoids most awkward pauses. Tell me more and interview are both about extracting information rather than providing and will at times appear very similar, but:

all about me is the exact opposite. As the name suggests Jonathan uses this technique to talk about himself and his accomplishments, real or fictitious. He uses it in two distinct but related situations; meek, when trying to impress those whose accomplishments and bearing intimidate him; strong, when trying to impress those who he feels superior to in some way. Meek is employed with the other parties in mind, an attempt to prove to them Jonathan's right to be at the table. What other people say is vital to which anecdote or comment Jonathan says next. Strong, however, is dismissive of the other parties and is often delivered via an overwhelming staccato incorporating what the other person says only so far as it lets Jonathan tell another story from his life. In the most extreme situations strong becomes little more than a glorified stand-up routine. From one extreme to another:

the passive conversation needs minimal or no input from Jonathan. He need only be in proximity to others having a conversation so he can appear to be participating, even if he never speaks. Although this conversation seems simple it cannot be executed with complete strangers or Jonathan appears to be a weird creep. The too stoned variation facilitates a passive conversation where Jonathan wants to provide explanation for his silent observation. In this case Jonathan simply informs the people he's very high and content to just listen, relieving them of any obligation to incorporate him and providing the social credibility of drug use in the process.

Go with the flow is not one of Jonathan's conversation types. He finds its free-form nature terrifying and doomed to failure. While trying to maintain an unstructured conversation Jonathan tries to anticipate pitfalls, distracting himself from what's at hand and eventually generating too much self-fulfilling white noise to continue.


eyes closed

As a child, usually on the way home from school, Dennis would walk for as long as possible with his eyes closed. It was a self imposed terror where each step meant one fewer until he tripped, hit a tree or stumbled into traffic. As he walked the tension from counting down to an unknown endpoint would ratchet ever higher, his leg muscles would tighten and each step pulled itself closer than the one before. When his nerve failed, usually within twenty paces from starting, he would open his eyes disappointed, still distant from any danger. Dennis' favourite subjects at school were art and recess, but a bodily understanding of probability and calculus was evident.

As an adult Dennis found himself blocks away from his last memory, looking up from his phone's screen, his thumb numb from the cold task of texting. His eyes had been open the whole time, just not looking or remembering past his hand while he'd navigated tracks of darkened sidewalks, avoiding people and poles, to get where he was. After a brief nap, beer, weed, vodka and Ritalin his steps were fluid and careless. For the time-being Dennis was unworried moving forward, whether he looked where he was going or not. He knew the thrum of dread that normally sat gently on his life could easily be resumed tomorrow, from whatever point he'd left off.


7 poems - 7 days - Day 7 REDUX

Remember when I wrote poems? That was fun.

Well my pal Meghan H. (a published poet I'll have you know) was kind enough to go over a few of my bon mots and give me some feedback. She did this a long time ago and I am finally getting to it now. I feel the tying of loose ends is part of my growing up process that today also included finding a dentist!

BUT enough of me being smug about my teeth. Here's a second attempt with a new title. Original here. No promises on when others might get another look.


Growing up not Catholic
is the biggest tragedy of my life
I'm not Jewish either
another damnable attack
Lacking the benefits of a Classical education
all I had was a periodic United Church
bereft of pageantry and
rife with white bread sandwiches
There were stories there
and they trace back the same
but I forget, if I ever listened.

So now I write poetry and can't find the archetype
the creation myth
or patchwork of wonder
No raven or turtle to guide me
No shorthand for history
King David's just some king
so are Henry and George and Louis and
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

Science can't help
with its stories told from a lab
book of hard truths and fact
A space clean, fluoresced and sharp
whose lights shine too self
confident and important
Words that might be explaining the universe
but fucked if I understand.

So I stare at the brightly lit and obvious
An opiate's stories
chanting electric prayer into the living
Burn and hide to dim the light
and the obvious becomes less and more
an archetype.
What I have is pro wrestling
and last I checked
the Pope's not holding the belt.


projects of others

Here are some things friends have done/are doing.

The After School Club series has its first episode up. Get on the train now while it's still in the station.

Equally exciting Do Whatever! has its first three episodes up. That link takes you to episode one, but make sure you watch all three, especially the third one. It's my favourite.

And finally, if you're reading this today...March 3rd! you should come out to the Feint Of Hart show tonight. Penultimate! (that means second to last).

10pm in Hart House and it's free. But things start to fill up around 9 so get there early and often.