poetry, Prose

Instead of killing yourself


By Louise Anne Buchler




Instead of killing yourself
You could make a cup of coffee, peel an orange, play a song you loved when you were thirteen, gangly, and coming undone.

You could paint your nails turquoise, lie in the sun, master Russian, watch Hitchcock films, read a classic novel, meditate on Kafka, and re-think existentialism, your life, your hair.
Watch trains, wave as they pass, stand on the bridge, feel small, feel big, take up space, walk, count every step, run, run faster, catch your breath, hold it, breathe out, let go, the universe as small as the palm of your hand, dispersed dandelion wishes, let go, let go and in letting go hold on
Say I love you, say I hate you, write a letter to your teenage bully, write a letter to someone you once loved, write a letter with all you wish to say and do not send it.

Lie on the grass, lie on the sand, plant something, keep it alive, feel the mulch under your nails, smell the wet breath of soil, pull out the weeds that choke and mar, make space for spring in your heart.

Tell a secret. Keep one. Fold an origami crane, unfold, fold an origami you, unfold. Listen to an aria, listen to Bach, listen to the symphony of voices in small spaces, pick out words, write them down. Observe everything.

Instead of killing yourself
Get a cat. Get 12 cats. Get one more. Feed yourself small spoons of kindness. Swallow. Repeat. Laugh at one thing, let the laughter engage your whole body; laugh at the madness, stupidity and beauty around you – your inner cynic may vomit (that’s ok). Remember your first race, remember the finish line. Remember yourself at 5,6,7 – remember yourself with love, the pictures you drew, the smell of sugar paper and oil crayons, Defend the scabby kneed, jewel of you, cast a line all the way back, champion that heart through the decades, wrap it in tissue paper, keep it safe in a cardboard box, champion all the incarnations of you. Remember how it felt when you understood that we will all die.

Try not to worry. Try to stay. Focus on sitting still. Focus on moving forward. Focus on the scudding clouds, the clarity of blue, September. Do not let the whim of others alter who you are. People come. They also go, they drown in puddles, they sail us over oceans of self-doubt. Sometimes they love us. Sometimes they understand. Sometimes they release us with a hook-wound back into the sea. Bid them well. Tread water, float, swim. Don’t stop swimming.

Brave explorer, I know you have climbed a hundred metaphorical mountains before breakfast – every damn one an Everest expedition, I know something of world weariness, the longing to be still and Novocain numb, here, where everything ceases to matter, that unbearable anaesthesia; it’s a quiet death and there is never a guarantee on the prescription pamphlet that you will thaw from this freeze – like a celebration roast on your birthday, or that change will come, running down the street with the laboured tinkling of a nostalgic ice cream truck or that you will wake a different person, who sucks positivity like a boiled sweet, a mantra of live! Live! LIVE, in your ears. I hear you, I see you, I send my love to you in droves of doves, a deep pelican beak abundant with fish, a handmade kite on a windy day, “a bright red sloop in the harbour” the suicide poets dancing mid air, their words like seagulls declaring their truth – statements are enough in broken climates. We are adorned in these miseries, the heart’s last vestige, it is a poor fit, we are all runway models with broken limbs, birds who forget their wings, we are stuttering like vintage cars, we are negotiating with our ancestors. We are not broken in need of repair, we never ignore the elephant in the room – instead we festoon it with marigolds, offer up a cup of tea. We know the impermanence of life; we consult with graves every day, toes dipping the surface, surveying the depth. We write our eulogies on the body, the staccato tattoo throbs the ending, we are anxious all the time.

I find a forced conclusion – writing it down I imagine we meet on an autumn day, the first leaves scatter like old news – our hands are cold. We sit in silence, the air perfumed with chimney smoke and the taste of green. We are held in the moment, a devastating despair, we face it together, we sound out sadness, mouthfuls of vowels swelling in gutfuls , escaping the gape, they flap and glide – our glossy winged birds, squawking and calling, diving like bombers, circling like vultures, spinning with sorrow. Perhaps we cry, perhaps we feed them bread crumbs and worms, perhaps we load slingshots with tiny stones and shoot into the void, perhaps we build an ornate birdcage, perhaps we become scarecrows, perhaps we release them, perhaps they return. “I am not ok” we say, “I don’t know if I ever will be” – for a moment the sky clears, we are a strange tragic chorus, we are a sad repetition. The birds abandon their squawking. We nod in recognition.


days escape [untitled]

days escape

people teardrop onto the street, life throbs
conversation cigarettes from hand to mouth to laugh
mountains circle the town like an old stain
monument and mass watches me like a
steady shadow it clings to my conscience
with words you lost and a girl i remember

between breaths
riding waves of wine and ripples of your smile
our stares coagulate
our souls drunk on their own geometry

your eyes are full of music
a song flows into my bones
you lean into me
i tell you my name
we hug and you bury your breasts
into the tide of my smile

your speech is thick
a young river trying to find itself
the night is old…you are still young
wine weighs on your words

i want you to get home to your bed
but you are still sketched in my head
a warm hand pours into me
your eyes tell me you will be back

words stir
our hands separate





there is a story [untitled]

there is a story behind the
shape of your skin
the husk of your smile
guitar contours lace
the rhythm of your stare

“there’s a circle, that
can’t be broken…”
curses – stir through the
smoke of your cigarette

denim and man
forged into veins of your beard

a tin can
rattles in a song you
sang above the poised audience
begging for air



Original draft




Canadian nuances, Rantings, Uncategorized

Canadian nuances – Part 6: Wading through sludge

I spent my New Year’s Eve in an empty house. The warm kiss of sherry coating my lungs, and the gentle sigh of a dog narrating my thoughts. It was lonely, but perfect. Quiet moments give us time to reflect. On everything, really.

I babbled to a few people on Facebook, my thumbs thundering against the glass face of my phone. I checked the time 23:34…shit, time to leave. I threw on my headphones, slung my bottle of sherry back into my bag, began my ascent through the ice and sludge. The succulent anger of Slipknot thundering threw me.

I approach the SkyTrain. Reach for my wallet. Seconds after my hand collides with its porous body, my eyes dart to the sticker adjacent to the turnstiles Free Ride on New Year’s Eve. 8 P.M. until 5 A.M. A smile creeps over me. “Thank you Canada,” I mutter to myself.

I get off at my station. A few of my heavy metal anthems are now slithering across my playlist. I start headbanging and beating drums like invisible ghosts in the air. Somehow this doesn’t seem like enough. I kick up a bit of snow and do an Irish jig in the middle of the street. (It’s like a version of Riverdance you should never watch. Trust me.) A thought came to me this morning as I began etching out the events of last night. I think I’ve fallen in love with this country. Or perhaps it’s fallen in love with me? I don’t care which way you slice it.

During the summer of 2016 I had a romance with a beautiful Japanese girl. I see an interesting parallel between loving a person and loving an environment. There’s the initial awe of something new coupled with anxiety of being able juggle the complexity of it all. Maybe one has an angry parent buzzing in their head saying “You’re in a new country / relationship now. Don’t fuck it up!”

Initially being in Canada felt like wading through sludge. There’s so many details, -isms, directions, slang and faces thrown your way, all that’s left to do is slowly wade through it. The sludge. Now that I’m two and a bit years into being “settled”, there’s less sludge. I can still see parts of it, others haven’t found me yet.

Where am I going with all this? Well, you remember the earlier analogy about the lover? A tipping point comes in any relationship. It is when you let your guard down. You express yourself, and run with it. It feels like flying. It tastes like freedom. That was exactly how I felt a few hours ago, churning up snow and dancing like dyslexic spaghetti.

Yeah…I may have looked like a fool, but I’m cool with that. Man must frolic, and so should you!

Junk, Song

That song that makes you chuckle

This morning while on my normal day off, scrounging inside the guts of my computer, and swapping hard drives I had my iPod on. I’m a metalhead 90% of the day. Now that I got that off my chest, I confess I love to hear a sultry voice while I do dirty work. Today while I fiddled and faded Norah Jones filled in the blanks for me.

I had to chuckle when I heard the first few words of the song. Instead of ruining it for you, see the lyrics and/or video below.

Norah Jones – Man of the Hour

It’s him or me
That’s what he said
But I can’t choose
Between a vegan and a pot head
So I chose you, because you’re sweet
And you give me lots of lovin’ and you eat meat
And that’s how you became
My only man of the hour

You never lie
And you don’t cheat
And you don’t have any baggage tied to your forefeet
Do I deserve, to be the one, who will feed you breakfast, lunch,
And dinner and take you to the park at dawn
Will you really be
My only man of the hour

I know you’ll never bring me flowers
Flowers they will only die
And though you’ll never take a shower together
I know you’ll never make me cry
You never argue
You don’t even talk
And I like the way you let me lead you
When we go outside and walk
Will you really be
My only man of the hour?
My only man of the hour.
My only man of the hour.




Those living on the fringe

If you know me well, you may be aware that I listen to a hefty amount of heavy metal. Despite the sensitive poet I can be at times, if you were to catch a glimpse of me in the early morning. You may notice me prancing around the house like a hairy Barbarian.

Most people battle to understand the genre at all, and simply label it as evil. The reason I’m drawn to it, is it attracts that seemingly small group of people living on the fringe of society. I love that. I’m fascinated by extremes that are around us and the “freaks” it gives birth to. I’m the type of person that lives in my head, I can sit for hours on end sometimes watching a couple or a group of kids interact. The novelist in me, will then try and build up a storyline based solely on their appearance.

So my history with heavy metal is a fairly short and succinct one. I once remarked to a friend, “The only reason I like this music, is I wanted to piss off my parents as a teenager. A started listening to this music, and then it started growing on me.” Despite my wry comment, there’s more to it than just projecting your anger on to others.

In my short time with the genre. Metalheads:

  • feel the need to be different.
  • love the arts.
  • are highly creative.
  • have the tendency to be heavy drinkers and/or drug users.
  • are misunderstood.
  • are highly talented musicians, or close friends with them.
  • piss off the general public (although once you get to know them they’re probably more loyal to you than your own dog.)

All the above is true for a number of reasons. I’ll leave you to do the thinking, instead let me debunk a few misguided opinions.

Why all the screaming? What’s the point of listening to music if you can’t hear all the words?

If you listen to music only for the words then you don’t really understand music. I think the reason most people point out the fact that the words aren’t recognizable, is because it’s one the first thing that jars a first-time listener. When your favorite song comes on the radio, you sing along to the chorus (i.e. the most catchy part of the song). The actual meaning behind the words, or the storyline isn’t apparent to you (unless you’ve really done your homework).

What makes metalheads unique is the fact that most of us study the lyrics. We spend hours reading them, and often when we go to gigs we’ll be singing along to the lyrics while they are performed. If you fail to believe me…go ask any seasoned metalhead about songs like Iron Maiden – Number of the Beast, Slayer – Raining Blood, Metallica – Master of Puppets. They might not know the entire song, but they’ll belch out a damn fine chorus.

That music is Satanic. Anyone that uses a pentagram worships the Devil.

Let’s face it, most of us metalheads listen to it for an outward reaction, initially. If you were to do some research, and pool all us headbangers together…only about 3% of us (if that) are “worshipping Lucifer” in our free time. Those who are really serious about it, won’t let you know either. My father spent some time counseling hardcore Satanists as a school teacher…and his remark was that the plain clothes people are the serious concerns to society.

If you’ve ever worn your favorite soccer shirt on the eve of a big game, that same feeling is what metalheads promote. I was in a queue in MacDonald’s the other day (dressed in work uniform), and the metalhead who was served after me saw my pentagram ring and said to me “I see we’re part of the same tribe.”

If I start listening to metal, I’ll end up dirty, badly-dressed, an alcoholic and a drug user.

The media is never a great guide when following popular culture. Journalists thrive on bad news, simply because fear sells papers better than warm feelings. It’s a sad truth. There are those who choose to ‘loose themselves’ in chemicals, but perhaps they need to start journeying into themselves, and learning the patterns in their own psyche?

Calling all metalheads alcoholics, is the same as saying that every guitarist will end up like Kurt Cobain. It’s that fair? I highly doubt it.

Metalheads are angry and pissed off with life. What’s the matter with being happy?

Pissed off and angry is one way of looking at it. We’re honest about the dark side. Most people are afraid to journey there. If I didn’t have metal with me, while I was a depressed teenager perhaps I would’ve committed suicide. If anything a large part of the culture has a never-say-die attitude about it. There’s a freedom to persevere and continue on.

Musicians who have committed suicide, want the easy way out. Living life and surviving, is far more difficult than ending it all. If you’re taking the easy road, you’re not learning anything. Like I mentioned earlier, the image and anger is just an exterior…once you know us we’re your friend for life!


Image List:










Everyday Normal Guy

This song I’ve listened to countless times and always end up laughing by the end of it.


Source: http://www.jonlajoie.com/chordsandlyrics.html

Jon Lajoie – Everyday Normal Guy

I’m just a regular,everyday,normal guy,
Nothing special about me motherfucker,
I’m just a regular,everyday,normal guy,
When I go to clubs I wait in line motherfucker,
I’m just a regular,everyday,normal guy,
I got $600 dollars in the bank motherfucker,
I’m just a regular,everyday,normal guy,
And my sexual performance is an average

Verse 1
I work in customer services for a phone company,
I make 12 bucks an hour and thats all I need,
I live in a small apartment on a quiet street,
I don’t go out that much,I like to watch TV,
I can’t afford a car,I use public transportation,
I don’t mind I read until I reach my destination,
Sometimes a newspaper,sometimes a book,
The amount of money I save,this shit is off the hook,
And I’m not very good with the women, I’m a pretty sharp and I’m average looking,the last time I had sex was 2003 and I’m ashamed to admit it wasn’t free.
Chorus 2
I’m just a regular,everyday,normal guy,
I get nervous in social situations mother fucker,
I’m just a regular,everyday,normal guy,
I get constipated once a month motherfucker,
I’m just a regular,everyday,normal guy,
And I make pretty good spagetti sauces motherfucker,
I’m just a regular,everyday,normal guy,
And I get scared when I go see the dentist,

Verse 2
I’m the polysure of everyday life,
I’m easily forgetable and I’m not very light,
I am according to gym personality,
As entertaining as a fucking STD,
If you wanna mess with me,then you probably can,because
I’m not confident and I’m weak for a man,
I’ll just roll up in a bar when you kick me in the back and honestly I won’t fight back,and I don’t have many friend that’ll back me up,but my friend steve will but he’s not very tough,
(Steve)”You want some of this bitch,”
If you rarely get laid put your hands up,
If you’re not well paid put your hands up,
If you’ve got a pet cat put your hands up,
If you’ve got a bad back put your hands up,
“I hurt my back two summers ago moving a fridge,ever since then it’s just not the same you know it gets…
it gets pretty sore.”

Chorus 3
I’m just a regular,everyday,normal guy,
My parents are real nice people motherfucker,
I’m just a regular,everyday,normal guy,
I’m somewhat afraid of heights…motherfucker,
I’m just a regular,everyday,normal guy,
I like to grace and anime motherfucker,
I’m just a regular,everyday,normal guy,
And I’m pretty good at making paper planes,


poetry, Thoughts


tonight while i cook
i look into
hannah’s faded face
with her flaking fingers
she clings onto that
microphone full of grit
and glamour
– so the crits say

she’s getting old now
the flowery spotlight
drowns the echoes of
female essence floating

through her clothes
she’s a singer now
my dad told me once that
yesterday’s heroes only
eat the bread that
certain slivers
of society bake
in their unconscious oven

i wash the dishes and
my hands graze hannah’s
supply neck and muffle
her laminated lips

perhaps it’s time i buy
a new radio with
a round volume dial
that can cloak the chime
of adolescent deejays

and allow me to sleep
for a few more minutes



the can-man (revised)

Harry was a can man
‘the best in town’
built bridges on tears
that fell
down to the

Harry had a must
bent and bothered
The rest of us
He drew with him a fair
but he could not hear the

Harry was a grand spick-an-span
man. He saw no evil
or heavy regret that
rusted in our throats.
He made the world find a laugh,
because he could not hear the music.

Harry was today’s fan, he babbled
away that he had a plan, to solve the
waste the draped the day.
That only happened in hairy tales
it told toddlers playtime was up,
a toy was about to break.

Harry lost the fans, the can
and his plan. They all fell away
like folding cards, buckled behind
bigger fears.

He cried in his stone-cloned room,
he lost the nerve to pick up
his drooping head.
Harry could whisper, a small
‘if only’ that fell onto his drawing
of the best can man in town. a
Giant who spoke resounding thoughts
(and most probably)
could hear the music.