Stainless Steel Alcoves


Cutting table ridges on
Metallic razorback chairs;
Concrete poplars on
Concrete foundations on
Concrete window stanchions on
Plastic degrees.

Lonely arbor with the reassuring breeze,
Soggy green bean overtures,
Bribing the Filipino clerk for more rice,
Swearing at the ATM,
Slamming down the falling star of my youth,
With one slug of Coke Zero.
Inside white-hot concussed hopelessness,
dreaming instead for the anonymity of White Horses
And Royal Mountain shade.
So I can see those pretty dark-haired Québécois girls
Tongue the Yukon River’s frothy caps,
Instead of writing cover letters in the colourless prairie fishbowl.

Steinbeck said it was debt that made him depressed,
For Bukowski: running out of wine,
For Me — the same; Or
Lunch Breaks
Vacant architectural curios;
I mean,

— tphillers


When We Met



When we met we only had
Bare bulbed dreams snowbanked by
Heavy petting on the couch and
Fleur de lis cabinetry;
Living room pillow talk with
Languid prairie jumping
Airline goodbyes.

When we met you were scared
Of midnight in the city,

And only came when
You were on top;

When we met you never
Touched whiskey,
Road your bike on the road,
Kissed with your tongue,
Or spoke Cree.

But, when we died you never
Asked me if I was ok,
Said you would love me forever.

— tphillers

I Never Read Wuthering Heights



Life’s too short to read Victorian novels,
To talk shop in dive bars on Princess,
Or Cass, Electric Ave, Bloor, and Broadway.
Complaining about young students,
who can’t explain
Foucault, Heidegger, Arendt,
Or poems about cock rings.

Skinny cardigans,
Xanax nightmares in debt-ventilated apartments,
Amazon book orders for twenty dollar paperbacks,
Stacked higher than Tenured ambitions.

But I never read Wuthering Heights,
Even though Hemingway told me to,
You did,
Because you liked getting straight As.
Being told you were right,
So those cats in the campus bar would retweet you,
Like you,
Want to fuck you.

 — tphillers

Buffalo, NY



Renaissance window gulch
Warbling brass Elmwood jazz
And we fucked in that paper house,
with the door slightly open.
Your bloodied, gnawed fingertips on the head
Of my heart, trembling hotel sheets,
where you whispered relax before you crawled
inside my boxer-briefs.

Snowflake sidewalks along the Erie Port,
“Down by the Water,”
Jukebox full of James Brown,
French kissing in Allentown,
Greasy spoon, moulting brick,
Rust belt causeway.

I liked the blonde fuzz of her arms,
On my ribs as she reached down for me,
Or her chestnut strands that fell over
soft pink nipples.
And she asked me to fuck,
In the bunked bed hostel,
And she asked me to make love,
In a city who belonged to someone else.

But Buffalo, New York
Belongs to nobody,
Outside the perfumed sheets of my memory,
And in the past,
In the East,
Where I left them all.

— tphillers

I Wasn’t Lying When I Told You I’d Marry You In Niagara Falls


I wasn’t lying
When I told you I’d
Marry you in Niagara Falls.
Underneath Coca-Cola billboards,
And the weight of our anxieties.
An Elvis to serve as JP,
Hollowed out kisses,
And vows that quote the RAA.

I wasn’t lying
When I told you I’d
Have to cut you out at the root.
Sweat you away over
Blood orange Grandfathers.
Drop the rocks of my heart in the Georgian Bay,
Cedar pulled back from the stem of my aching spirit.

I wasn’t lying
When I told you I’d
Never understand my life without you in it.
Look twice
when I think I see you
walk into my empty pub;
Desolate prairie winter soul.

I wasn’t lying
when I told you I’d
marry you in Niagara Falls.
Because I never thought
you’d stop loving me.
I was wrong–
But I’ve been wrong before,
Like about being a shooting star,
Or Vancouver.

I want you on my skin,
staining me seven layers deep,
I want to see you on my arm,
In the mirror looking through me,
In our songs singing me back,
to that mattress on the floor
where I told you,
I’d marry you in Niagara Falls.

If you let me.

— tphillers