"Time Machine," "The Gospel According to Tree," and "O Canada"

Time Machine

The time machine is not
a spectacle of cogs and crystals,
kicksey-whimsey, spouting steam,
bending light. It is a phone-app,
the Epoch Uber. Swipe left for
Ghangis Kahh, swipe right for
Jesus Christ.
The bourgeoisie are gentrifying
time, the Last Supper served
at a gastro-pub. “Take this,
all of you and eat. It is Artisan
toast, served with bottomless
mimosas.” But the price
of crucifixion has gone too high,
Golgotha is filled with AirBnB.
The hipster thing to do
is to kill baby Hitler.
I killed baby Hitler before
it was cool. Swipe back
to the first time man
created fire. It’s a seven
day festival, filled with drum
circles and hoola-hoops.
I’m pretty sure I saw Janis
Joplin there. She was smoking
an e-cigarette, wearing
nothing but mud.


The Gospel According to Tree

I stood in one place for so long,
One hundred and seventy seven years
I never dreamed I'd see Golgotha,
That or any hill.
One day the axe came, and threw my limbs akimbo
Spralling the home of a thousand ants
Seven squirrels and one fat bird.
They sawed me then, do you know what it's like
Being sawed? It’s slow, like a glacier,
Ripping and splitting, leaving me naked without
My fruit. I was whacked back together, into a hideous shape,
not a tree but a T. They burnt all the rest of me. For the first time, I was carried.
Carried by a carpenter,
Someone who carved all my cousins into chairs.
His shoulders strained under my dead weight,
sweat spilled and pimples popped up along his back. He fell, and he carried.
He fell and he carried.
The nails came, squelching through him and pounding into me, each one a comet
destroying a planet, each one exploding
like sperm on an egg. People watched,
becoming christians, becoming saints,
there weren't really saints before, saint Mary,
saint Mary, the thief beside us became a saint.
It was my turn to carry, feeling his blood run,
I wore it like paint. I carried him as the sun
set in the salmon sky, as Dandylion berries
floated in white wisps and set
on his thorny hat.


Oh Canada

Oh Canada, oh
Mom and Dad,
when we talk on the phone
can you hear me smoking?
Can you smell the smoke
from New Orleans?


White Canada, paper
country. The whiskey
tastes like horse.
The river froze so fast
the ducks stuck.


frogs on the menu,
mudbugs, a dress
like a stained glass
window, a dress like
a disco ball.


I dropped my groceries,
cheese on the sidewalk,
ghost peppers, an upset dog.
Voicemail, a pile that has
no weight. “Xander, would
you call me back? Xander,
would you do this favor
for me? Xander, how
come you do not pay
your bills?” Next time leave
me a message I can dance to.


Smoky Louisiana, red
as a cigarette, lucky
and upside down. Tadpoles
grow into menu items,
black and green. It still
gets cold but there are
citrus trees.


Canada, America’s hat,
Louisiana, America’s shoe,
these jeans have a hole
in the crotch. If you
squint your eyes,
Canada looks like
an elephant eating
a turnip.
It has an aura of Indigo.
It has an aura of gold.



Xander Bilyk

Xander Bilyk received degrees in sound arts and creative writing in Minneapolis, and now lives in New Orleans. He is a writer, musician, stand up comedian, and currently makes his living working with spaghetti and various other forms of noodle. Photo by JD Western.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 10:34