Sasha Semenoff

Sasha Semenoff

Hopeless hedonist. Semi-retired psychonaut. Over qualified underachiever. Half-Doukhobor in denial. Sasha Semenoff has been known to be many things. An ambiguous byproduct of suburban alienation coupled with the data junkie impulses typical of the information generation, he is as restless, unpredictable and existentially unstable as anyone else these days. Only one thing is certain; that he is a wordmonger. A self-described purveyor of psychic impossibilities, his writing runs the gamut from the macrocosmic to the utterly comic, and everything in betwixt. A native Nelsonite, he now resides in Calgary where he wanders the streets, works odd jobs and looks for love. He is currently in the midst of his
quarter life crisis, occasionally finding the time to work on his first play.



Oh Monterey, with your scenic subtle bay; it's a beautiful day...

A peanut butter sandwich. Peanut butter & raspberry jam. In one hand, and a mango
flavored fruit log in the other. I'm sitting back in a beach chair, feet in the warm sand
of Lover's Point. The view, it's ideal, the two o'clock sun, just right. Seals & otters
are playing in the kelp beds; children are playing on the shore. As my eyes are
wandering the sky, I'm pondering the passing time, breathing in the salty windblown
air of the pacific.

All is peace.

I take a bite from my sandwich, and it's the greatest peanut butter and raspberry jam
spread twixt bread & bread that I've ever brought my mouth to. Chewing it alone,
an act of sensual sacrament. Melting in my mouth, euphoric equanimity. I close my
eyes in a state of bliss, and as I bring it to my mouth once more, bracing myself for
that second bite


SWOOSH: Of moving white and grey, swarm of gulls from nowhere over takes me,
flapping, screeching demons. Minions hissing hysterically here on this all too quickly
awful beach, my paridiso, turned inferno. And then suddenly they're pecking all at
once, the pecking and the pain, and my sandwich flies across the sand, torn from
my very fingers. My fruit log lands not far from it. The dirty birds swarm my once
great meal; ambushed and robbed and they're still gnawing at my chagrined bloody
fingers, while my sandwich disappears.

Grimy little incisors tear through my skin, like scissors to paper, my blood smeared
on their frantic beaks, as they tear and tear. Ravenous hungry maniacal gulls!
Ten, twenty, hell there could have been hundreds of them! An instant, an eternity!


I rise halfway from my seat and the birds scatter 'round my aching bleeding mess. I

look about myself: Children are crying and beachgoers look on horrified, mortified by
my assault.

Hand held to my face: the blood comes in many places, massacred, slaughtered.
My innocent carnal flesh has been torn, and the gulls look up at me as I stumble
towards the shore. Right up at me with their beady little eyes of death, of no regret.
They have tasted me and now they have a bloodlust to requite. I kick sand in their


The children are still wailing as I scream and cuss. Mothers cover their babies' ears.
The otters dart beneath the water as the seals wail sorrowfully. Beneath my feet the
Earth seems to shudder; ants run as quickly as they can, through the sand, towards
the hills. I limp onto the shore, kicking sand in all directions, and I plunge my hand
into the ocean.

But it's barely a relief, and as my blood mixes with the water, the ocean quivers,
ripples of agony dispelling calm across the horizon. My cuts sting sharp in the saline
sea, burning in the briny, brackish bite of the cove.


But as I tear my hand out from the water, unnerving serenity descends upon the
scene. Everyone, and everything is silenced, the sun is still. & then the otters return
to their play, as do the children. I march back up the beach, head throbbing, bobbing
mad. Even the laughter and the joy, they are restored, as if nothing ever happened…
but it's not the same.

Anger burns on, hot inside of me. I have a bloodlust to requite now, a bloodlust
for the flesh of gulls.
I want to tear them apart, feather by fucking feather. Bash
them into jagged ocean stones, drown them in hot sand, and break every single
one of their dirty hollow bones. I want to feed them to one another, hear their sickly
screams of pain and animalistic delight.

I sit back down, an angry lowly human creature. I see myself, unenlightened angry
wretched sufferer, no less bound by nature's awful hungry violence than any other.

I'm a bloodied homo sapiens, amongst hungry little ghosts.
-I am a hungry little ghost, tormented by life's pleasures & its pains.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, where are you? Where have you gone?
Were you ever here? Here I am on the California coast, awaiting your apparition.

Bloodied and hurting and beat.

You were never here though, were you?
You failed them, you failed us, and you flew away, retired to your selfish planes of
pretentious elevation, pretend to be so far away from this, but you can't escape this
physicality, for you can't escape this degradation.

Fuck the gulls, I say.
Fuck the gulls.
& FUCK YOU Jonathan Livingston Seagull!
Nowhere to be found, you are but a myth;
Not yet realized in our time, for we're still fucked up hungry hollow gulls, eating up
the planet, eating up each other, eating everything we can.

Eating all your mythopoetic bullshit, when all I ever wanted to eat was my


You're an angelic illusion, and I'd rather be nothing less than disillusioned right about
now. But I'm a sorry wretched mess, a screaming, swearing mammal in distress.
Spinning, reeling.

Quivering, heart broken, so far removed from esoteric reverie.
Brought back down to this gritty Earthly reality by the idiomatic idiot angels.

& Maybe this right here, nowhere else, is beauty, and across from me, very well
could be, Ferlinghetti Seagull staring back with his white bearded head, bringer of
wisdom and awful truths, destroyer of illusions.

Thank you, say.
I thank you.

Birds © 2012 Calgary Spoken Word Society