Amongst Nepal’s western Himalaya mountains comes poems about donkey trains hauling supplies, buffalos giving milk, porters hauling excess for misguided dreamers, monks with timeless chants, sunrise over mighty peaks, prayer wheels alongside trails to evoke the feeling of clambering along ancient stone paths shared with goats and farmers growing rice, lentils and children taking cold morning baths and reincarnation in the Buddhas we all might become.
Life in hotels, wandering alone and often blue and then the death of friends all converge in a series of poems including a song by Mikael Lewis about waiting for love in a Victorian hotel. Then, from the streets of Rome with a cappuccino comes a series about departed Rod H. Ash, including “Time Traveller” plus poetic riffs name-checking Charles Bukowski, Audrey Hepburn, Pete Best, the Fitzgeralds, Vatican’s Swiss guard and the post office by the Sistine Chapel and desert campfires.
When I was growing up, Dad often spoke of his Chevy Malibu SS – his favourite car.So, while on his death bed, I asked him to tell the story. He speaks about acquiring the vehicle, the budget, the deal, the financing terms and oh, also about the car and how he enjoyed having a reliable and cool vehicle as a young married man creating a life, after growing up poor in Regina, Saskatchewan, then heading off to BYU in Utah. The story is interrupted by a nurse bringing lunch and news. He died 10 days later.
In tumultuous and confusing times, optimism and activism are the powerful antidotes for cynicism and fear. Two Bills share songs to assist in making this point.
First B/William Lenker plays a spontaneous Squatters in Zion from his Steamboat Island woodshop, then Dave spiels about courageous – and sadly deceased Olympian – Rachel Corrie, followed by Billy Bragg vehemently spieling on stage before a rollicking snippet of his Great Leap Forward from Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre.
From an olden church and (otherwise vacant) cenotaph at Fort Cochin, Kerala, India, Dave O – acknowledging an extended medical and death related hiatus – discusses the local history of colonization by Portuguese explorers, Dutch traders, then British Raj in the context of the colonization leading to exploitation, conscription and war with no meaning to local populace. Plus the meaning of reparations and the conflict of peaceful resistance – evidenced my Mahatma Gandhi beach a stone’s throw away – contrasted with continued wars throughout the world, shadowed by disposable tourism, economic and racial caste systems.
Recorded Nov. 11, 2016, Released 11:11 Nov. 11, 2017
Also of note: Vasco da Gama’s bones, black knee-high socks, French generational losses, siege of Leningrad, Churchill’s mishaps, lost human potential of engineers, poets and lovers, MacArthur’s folly, Australia’s vulnerability, the emergence of regions over nation-states, Brexit for British Columbia + Cascadia, Catalonia and Scottish successions, work of raising a child, trappings of hubris, death by disease and guns, aggressive use of intelligence, forethought and diplomacy, and unfiltered view of sacrifice and life.
Cover art photo: By Dave Olson at Fort Cochin, taken by Lomo Sardine can camera with expired B&W film.
Poet Randall Maggs discusses his book “Night Work” about the troubled soul of legendary hockey goalie Terry Sawchuk plus the nuances of story-telling, conversations with goaltenders, Sawchuk’s Ukrainian heritage and convergence of history and hockey with host Dave Thorvald Olson at the Robson Square covered outdoor rink in Vancouver following a poetry reading promoted by publisher Brick Books.
On Remembrance Day in sunny, brisk Vancouver, Ian Bell (fresh from a CBC appearance “On The Coast“) joins Dave to read from Grandpa Mark’s diaries written in the trenches in WW1 as a young Canadian. From the library steps with a flask of scotch, they reflect on the costs and motivations of war, importance of friendship and the ethereal experience of going “over the top” and facing the terror on the other side, plus anecdotes about capturing Germans soldiers and discourse on the importance of personal documentation to pass forward to generations.
From a forested pathway along the open Pacific between Tofino and Ucluelet, DaveO reads poetry from Gary Snyder’s Myths + Texts and Rip Rap plus essays about Wobblies, timber-jacks, logging camp culture, and giant trees from Beloved of the Sky then the words Siddhartha the Buddha spoke upon achieving enlightenment.
Dave O spiels forth about the exploration of rivers and lakes, the impetus for ventures and motivations for trade ~ augmented by autoharp songs by Larry Harper dreaming of floating the Colorado River down Glen Canyon ~ then freeverse – mostly from stumbling around Europa in 1992 – thinking about connectedness, lifespans of mysteries and reasons for peeking into the unknown with Trauben and Funboy providing guitar stylings whilst camping alongside Owl Creek in the British Columbia highlands.
By a campfire on Owl Creek, Dave reads an instructional guide to hitch-hiking about a November trip from South Carolina to Rhode Island with a series of tips including smiling, signs, watches, and going with the flow while Dan Funboy noodles on guitar.