I JUST WANT TO ESCAPE When the morning starts with a crisis, I turn to my social network. I’m caught in a series of Kodak moments and it makes me feel so lucky. I tear up when colour swells into my recombinating diary. My lungs hurt during the moment of silence. The odds favour me leaving by Sunday. I remember each matte finish with a border. Theatres bolt their seats to the floor. I reason out connections. The place I want to live is labeled and documented. I chase sprinklers in the sun. I get hopeful when the day ends. I subtract everyone from the street. In the future, maybe you will love me in a real way.   I WANT TO FEEL FREE I want to feel free love, but also need to get control. Our deepest kiss happened on the night of Harper’s first election victory. My GPS keeps me on the right track. Je suis un American. If tonight was the last night of my life, would I suffer because I’m white and middle class? If I jump rails, will I hurt myself? If I favour any welfare, will it throw a match and brick me in? Honestly, I’ll try acting with you. I’ll watch you push the paper ballot in. I won’t obsess over the way you breathe air. I’ll smoke cigarettes to fix the city’s shifting demographics. We make all this.   CUTIE MARXISM Recall that our words slowly trickle from the rich eighteenth century. Who hurt us in the past? Who turned mute and liberal? Who tipped our cabling hearts into an overgunned friendship? What raw parking lots sprung up in the mirrors of our aviators, beating back a truncheon law? Growth is no raw cursor. Growth is an emptied surface properly stamped. But how cute can it be? How fundamental? How defensive? How kind? How many rights? How much luck? How calmed? That your talent is brand and mine is attitude makes for a powerful friendship. Growth is the only sequence. We sink in for a moment to become someone else in the enchantments of recalled cribs or lead paint. We separated our records and stood still for hours. I tipped my shades up and you pushed me over myself. I made a career of the clown class and you made lingerie of tabloid firings. Which arrows poison us? Which imperfect patent will be all we have? Which wallpaper will make a fair compromise between us? How might I plead for eligibility as you plead for help? How will the next set of scenes play out? We chose to whitewash puberty. We erased the compromises of our development and went feral. I got emotional and remembered things. I remembered the blocks around my apartment. I took it apart. I bought it and took it apart. I made it bigger and the same. I was in bed with it. I began to horrify it. If only we could make out in our visions of the raw Victorian era on a covered bed of plush automatons. You might have your secretary place a call. I might employ a nurse and companion. It will make us closer. We beat each other with batons and keep the baby because of it. It became the grave error of friendship. It became the grave error of shocking evidence. I was shocked by it. It made my heart beat again with yours.   from Fortified Castles, with permission from the author and Talon Books. ryan fitzpatrick is a poet and critic living in Vancouver. He is the author of Fake Math (Snare Books, 2007) and the just released Fortified Castles (Talonbooks, 2014). While living in Calgary, he was an editor of filling Station and an organizer of the Flywheel Reading Series. With Jonathan Ball, he is a co-editor of Why Poetry Sucks: An Anthology of Humorous Experimental Canadian Poetry in English (Insomniac Press, 2014). With Deanna Fong and Janey Dodd, he is currently working on the second incarnation of the Fred Wah Digital Archive. He is pursuing a PhD at Simon Fraser University, where he works on contemporary poetics and the social production of space.