Chris Banks


And there are days when the monster chases
its creator north of the Arctic circle, then in class
no one puts up a hand to ask, almost shyly,
what monsters are chasing the monster
inside of its stitched-together skin? Pop quiz:
what lies inside the inarticulate darkness?
I, too, would pick up a torch, storm a castle
after dusk to see what terrors lurk in the tower
if it wasn’t so Nineteenth century. Once
monsters were as ubiquitous as prophets
and hyperbolic boy-gods. Now we contend
with climate change throwing up the odd
giant squid onto a beach. Super viruses
gone airborne. Marriages. Divorces.
We tell children not to fear open closets
in bedrooms after dark. Our cats roam
half-lit streets only afraid of a few stray coyotes
who skulk neighborhood parks. “Release
the Kraken!” is an ironic phrase full of
sexual connotations. Still, I imagine miscreations
with fangs and horns and fur lie awake
under bridges, ready to be summoned, knowing
good or bad, from darkness we are born
and to darkness we will inevitably return,
so we might as well roar and rend our way
to the end. To err is human. To grrr is monster.
Be careful. Everything we dig up in graveyards,
hit with several thousand volts of electricity,
chases us til death, then lacking the sustenance
of fear, over our bodies, begins to cry.

Chris Banks is a Canadian poet and author of five collections of poems, most recently Midlife Action Figure by ECW Press 2019. His first full-length collection, Bonfires, was awarded the Jack Chalmers Award for poetry by the Canadian Authors’ Association in 2004. He is an associate editor at The New Quarterly and Poetry Editor at The Miramichi Reader.

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