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 the Vancouver question, that is my birthplace and, though I haven’t lived there in a long while, I still think of it as home. The Canucks are my team. Over the years I have travelled back to the city often to visit my relatives and family. My grandparents lived in South Burnaby off Kingsway pretty much all their adult lives, my grandfather being a millwright and playing an important role in building many of the lumber mills in and around the city. A couple of summers ago my mother and I were having lunch on a terrace on Granville Island and my mother pointed out the remnants of one of my grandfather’s mills. Even after his retirement he’d be called back in to solve a problem that university-trained engineers couldn’t handle. He’d give mill officials fits, scrambling up long ladders long past the age of 80. I attended grade school in South Burnaby, I think Strathmillan School. After her years of following my Air Force father back and forth across the country, my mother went home to live in Surrey and White Rock where she lives at present. My son has been living out there as much as in Newfoundland for most of the past dozen years, having done an MA in Piano Performance with Jane Coop at UBC and working on his PhD in the Arts and Sustainability with John Robinson at UBC.”
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.
While summertime camping alongside Owl Creek and charging the recorder with the rays of the sun, Dave reads a short story written while on the road with ole dead Grandpa called So the Legends Go (.pdf) – a portrait of life one morning in Navajo Nation in 1987 – accompanied by adolescent observations and musings. Accompanied by Dan Funboy on guitar and solar-powered vaporizer.
From Halfmoon Bay on Clayoquot Sound, Vancouver Island, Dave gives it up for zen poet hero Gary Snyder and recounts beat history from The Old Ways and logging culture from Myths and Texts plus poems about hitchhiking, girls, baths, clear-cuts and the Buddha – then finishes with original freeverse poetry about the transient experience called “Railyards Passing By.”
Alongside raging Lynn Creek, Dave remarks about boulders which are indeed interesting as the sign pointed out, then reads a haibun about books and statues on a curly maple shelf, and poems about buying hardware and fruit in Bucerias, mysterious curves and clouds, and solace for weary delirious travelers, while Wm. Lenker sings the traditional folksong Moonshiner (Rye Whiskey).
From a skunk-scented perch along Mosquito Creek, Dave spiels about feverish dreams in a Mexican clinic, personal archeology, mirages about the Wonder Hotel, and reads verse about late trains, dammed rivers, watching ships, and men in white coats walking past.