in transit - appears in Existere

January 2018

it's not something you talk loudly about on the bus


the first smell of panic

as the bus is more condensed than i'm prepared for,

more human than i need 



just empty seats, grey metal, rain under the wheels 

the events to come 

are chained to my neck

i’m the bird that eventually drowns 

strangled by plastic waste


but it's not something you talk loudly about on the bus


i know this beginning;

the first punch from the relentless bully 

whose fist buries into my stomach

and is now my inertia


i need distraction; 

i listen to the woman wearing shorts

with a faded day-of-the-dead tattoo,

telling someone she only kissed that bitch once

she looks comfortable lying;

she smirks at me like a used needle on the street


but this isn’t something you speak loudly about on this bus


eyes that stare at me 

my shrinking face 

then quickly retreat  


and i wonder if it’s still raining 


and then ... 

i see the red inside my eyelids … 

my hands reach for the muddy floor … 

i tear skin from my knees 


i am in everyone’s uncomfortable peripheral vision, 

just like the man in the back talking to god and preaching.


no one can look at us 

at our small tragedies 

on this bus


i want to reach out 

to touch a leg, just to feel a pulse 

i want to hold a knife in my palm,

open a bloodless vein, just for the distraction

i can scream but why

no one notices 

my eyes aren’t violent:


this isn't something you can talk about on the bus


i shudder trying focus: 

still waiting for an end;

the bus feels like a stampede

a panicked buffalo herd;

falling over a cliff: 

with each lurch forward

i wish for a lobotomy


the crowded air squeezes itself

i can't breath in or out, 

everybody stares away from me


i know how they think:

i’ve written these stories;

as narrator, 

as protagonist, 

as antagonist:

i’ve already come to their inevitable conclusion


i’ m drunk, psychotic, stoned, dangerous

i’m where i shouldn't be 

no one reacts, no one blinks,

i know how nothing feels


i’m trying to map an escape route 

guided by fluorescent lights 

from the bus ceiling

that burn the back of my neck, 


but this isn’t something you talk loudly about on a bus; 

at 5:20 wednesday afternoon


down on the steaming bus floor,

i break my knees in a bloody prayer 

hoping for a fire or a phoenix to save me

people, lights, phones swarm me

there is no escape route


my stop, i hear the bell

the careless announcement

‘granville and davie’ is a promised land

i wait as the aisle clears 

i move like a mole off the bus 

into rain and headlights 


now i sit on the sidewalk 

unnoticed except for the police officer

who glances at me

and walks away 

the subject - (appears in Spadina Literary Review)

January 2018

doctors are performing

a living autopsy on my brain;

they need insight,

they want to restore me somehow,

reboot me to original factory settings


i have become the subject:

the person contained in

three thick folders

of notes and observations,

prescriptions and medications


that’s what i am;

i am an experiment:

testing theories foreign to me


all around are the white coats

the doctors, the experts, the specialists;

each prodding me with their own questions

trying to de-code my answers,

they keep trying, writing more notes


i don’t want to care anymore what they think,

but i do:

they think what i know or feel isn’t quite real,

i’m not comfortable with their position 

they talk soothingly about psychosis

in the clinical kind and remote terms 

doctors use to avoid emotion:


vacant voices from the outside

asking asking asking for answers

i don’t have

2019 Please Be Better

where have i been 
out of my brain
on the 2018

on a train
of thought
suddenly derailed
when the world shifted
perceptions of reality

what i already
knew i didn't

it's times like these
learn to love again
learn to live once more
renew vows 
to yourself

leave history unwritten
let the future fall
as it may
remember each second

breathe as your first

 Terry. Who Writes Things.

Fractured Writing, Fractured Times