Line Poem 6

















I wrote this on a day when market forces want me to say “Happy Mothers Day.”  Being a contrary such and such, let me be the first to wish you a Happy Choosing-not-to-be-a-mother-if-motherhood-wasn’t-what-I-wanted Day. If you need to mother someone, it helps if you start with yourself.

Who owns us?

Way back in the wayback, I started this blog by talking about Cory Doctorow.  He really is a smart person, and in this guest blog for indie author legend Brian Sanderson he brings his ethics and intellect to bear on how Amazon is ripping everyone off.

The problem with Audible is not that it makes a wide catalog of audiobooks available through a convenient app. The problem is that Audible uses technology, accounting fraud, and market power to steal vast fortunes from creative workers and the audiences who love their books.

Disclosure: I’m an author who uses Amazon as a sales platform, but in this insular space I feel safe in expressing my deep concern that we have let a single corporation insert itself into so much of our daily lives. I’ll let Doctorow himself speak to that.


I don’t have any audiobooks for sale. Authorship and publishing take so much attention that I haven’t had any to spare for yet another aspect of it, so I can’t add much commentary.  But Doctorow has nothing to gain by refusing to list his audiobooks on Amazon. In fact: 

my agent tells me that it cost me a fully paid-off mortgage and a fully funded college savings account for my daughter.


If more big-name authors were prepared to starve Audible of their content, would Amazon cave to pressure and make the deal fair for everyone?  Or is it going to take another few election cycles before President Warren (don’t laugh) demands the break-up of this predatory company? 

Until then, I’ll keep listing my books on every platform I can.  There is another way.  We can and must find it.  For everyone’s sake.

the violence

I heard they have a plan in America

to replace all the human beings

with self-driving cars with neflix subscriptions

in a landscape of drive-thrus stretching from

sea to sea

the most efficient system ever

to eat their own people alive

“thank god for the river or those people from down south would overrun us”

she said, watching them pull three point turns

in the parking lot of homeland security

that night after we’d blown the rainbow bridge

cruelty has purpose

the violence just is

a live grenade in a hospital lobby

a ship on fire

all hands on deck

“I don’t understand why you’re so unhappy”

he said when I showed him where the swimming pool tiles had cut my face

like I was meant to thank him

that was the day we lost Bruce

what did you expect

a guy like him

getting lost in his own neighbourhood

though all the houses do kind of look the same

a wall of tanks

shedding sparks on the way to put out a fire that isn’t burning


No flash photography

Banksy is one of the greatest living artists.   Because we don’t know if anything he’s ever told us is true. 

Even when he says he’s telling the truth.  Particularly when he says he is, as in his film Exit Through the Gift Shop.  Tracing Banksy’s often reluctant involvement in the abrupt rise and fall of another street artist, the film is either a shocking record of true life, or a sublime fake.

We don’t know.

That’s the art. 

Not the spray paint, not the ruined theme parks, but the very inscrutability of the artist’s existence. The art is in the fact that we will carve out of our very walls a rock he is said to have touched and hang the rock on an art gallery wall then charge other people money to view it.  The art is the news story about the painting which shredded itself the moment it was sold. 

He is invisible, criminal, liminal.  We might never see his face.  That is his art, and our psychology is his canvas. 

photos by Lewis Roberts / Robin Wersich / Cole Patrick on Unsplash / treatment by The Fixer

The chipped stone wall of an insurance firm’s downtown office, the alley which never sees sun, the corner of the underground parking garage where a drift of dead leaves has gathered: this is the mental state of so many of us.  Waiting for the unknown to express itself upon us. 

A vivid red balloon, a bunch of flowers, a rat with a felt-tipped pen scrawling a name, any name.

Making something from nothing. 

Making us into art.