While in a cabin in Jamaica, i recorded a sort of spoken word song made from loops, samples and layered tracks of sorta-singing and spieling about the changes in my city and the importance and interestingness of observation. Available in poetry only version as well.
Free haiku and paintings on variety of paper. Made in Tottori, Japan, 1993/4. Read publicly at my older brother’s wedding in Okizaki, Japan.
I’d recently rambled Europe and feasted on Van Gogh and Mattisse and combining their bold lines and bright colours with the efficiency and conciseness of Japanese aesthetic, these emerged.
Produced into a very limited run series (maybe 30?) of chapbooks printed on hemp + cereal straw paper and sewn (top binding) with hemp thread in Guam in 1995/6 and mailed to friends. I don’t have one of these bound copies, only the delicate originals in a file.
Room close dark
white noise and windchimes
From my perch, survey the still life before me – a didgeridoo leaning against a worm wood bookcase, 4 thick shelves made from free form curly maple looking like slabs of bacon, books stacked horizontally for easy reading of titles on spines; Ulysses, Siddhartha, Tolstoy, Salinger, Dr. Seuss, a stack about Everest, old Edmund Hillary grinning under shaggy beard and leather edged goggles. BhagavadGita, with dead, bald smiling, reincarnated onto the dust leaf resting, leaning next to Don Quixote, heavy in four volumes with hand-cut pages, raised ink, tissue protects the engravings. A collection (complete) of TinTin the intrepid reporter (Belgian I think), his dog Snowy and ornery ole Cap’n Haddock. More adventure than John McPhee, him traipsing from Alaska to Bangladesh – lonely freighter pulling out of dark harbors, a thousand iron feet long tended by six – maybe eight scattered souls. A Russian Matryoshka doll endless stream of smaller beings, a lighter from Belikin – the state brewery of Belize, a metal Sierra Club cup, engraved with highest peak in Nevada and a date so long ago that I look at a photo to remember me, head in clouds, wearing a sweater I forgot I ever wore. Picture is snowy, the tin cup stained with heat, left holding coins from here and there, a yo-yo, and buttons fallen off of trousers.
Room collecting stories
To tell you
Some other time
on muddled windows muddled thoughts
Saskatoon, snow drifts over wheat fields, kids skating in toques, playing shiny hockey until mom calls them to eat St. Jacob’s soup and thick heels of sourdough bread. “I got this yeast starter when your pa and I married,” she says to no child in particular.
Driving home, the road straight in snow chasm, walls pushed high by plows. Wipers scrapping, Am radio crackles minor league hockey scores, exclaiming local boys traveling by bus all night to play in Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Fort St. William, John, Albert or James, Moosejaw, 100 Mile House or Moncton, New Brunswick for the Memorial Cup. Acclaimed for dedication, perseverance, valor; intangibles – heart, character – playing in rinks named for politicians, soldiers and towns.
O’er muddled roads
Crunching towards remembrance
I mumble in my sleep
Fever – coming on stronger now. Gaining now for three days, delirious fits and sleepless tossing, frantic at random hours. Mind you, body never shivers, mind flashes burning pictures of moments. Some I remember might be called a dream but for the anguish. Too real for a nightmare, the pain, the fever, the malaise gains vigor with each grating snapshot. The unfamiliar seeps with fear, I don’t know how it will end. Each episode so far ends with me waking called waking only in that my eyes crack enough to register light or dark.
I twist, fall back into the soaked feather bed drifting, one moment racing a wooden car down bumpy hill, children holler in cub scout knickers, proud with badges, another moment running hard, leaping onto pillars fleeing a unknown enemy or maybe moving towards one, leaping higher columns tumble into oblivion, my feet slip, slide falling, falling next floating in a long abandoned warlord’s damp stronghold dungeon, somewhere atop Teutonic hill slope, the moon shows the shackles through window slits.
Warm and next a campfire warming feet and drinking from a flask as I mumble fading eyes see nothing but white robes walking by from time to time.
As tea steam
Last one out
close the door
to my heart
The Janitor hums, sweeping the last of the hallway flotsam into a dust pan, tipping into the trash barrel with wheels, apparatus to hold spray bottles holding fading solutions, rags, extra trash bags and brooms. Checks the double glass doors leading outside to the courtyard where people eat lunch and flirt on sunny days. Dark now, crispy leaves skate along benches, colliding with ashtrays and disappearing in to stairwells. Beyond the wooded area, late delivery truck downshifts, aching the sigh of a man lonely for a hundred years. Shuffling the hall, turning off each light in turn, flickering while closing each door. Supplies into closet, change smock for jacket and scarf. Squinting into the tiny mirror attached to the towel rack, he smoothes hair and puts on a driving cap with half ear flaps folded up and walks outside. In the shadow, someone – somewhat familiar – waits for him.
Gracious in silhouette, leaning
Against grey primer fender
Years ago, the Humble Boys Club was a stalwart on this lost coast, now just the foundation remains.
NOTE: Hear Humble Boys Club as a spoken song
Humble Boys Club
Tucked in a south Westmoreland
a coastline bay
left to sequels of buccaneers
and earth core miners
The hard men & the Maroons
sequestered in the mountains
look long back behind, below
to forgotten sugar cane and ash
Rivers run past the opening
to the very middle of the soul
the water springs to pull you deeper
into the limestone and the very molten core
We are only Humble Boys
No poncies in our club
Overproof rum, bunks and porridge
at the end of the log flume runs
They left the coral
jagged rock to the hard men
and his schemes
the wise ones went foreign
made money and split
While the rest cemented in
tied a cabin to the very firma
which tears your feet and soul
Re-barred lashings to anchor
from impending storms
Buaxite, guano, timber cane.
And Human power.
You are a just a humble boy
toiled the sound, club burns down
Broken rubble is not your pillow
and the dust never blows away
We are just humble boys
toil the sandiness, bunkered
down huddled in, porridge with the other men
They’ll disappear into the green
disappear from everything
but remnants of life.
Simon was all of us #Surrey
“Simon” he exclaimed
in the Mac’s Convenience Store
I stopped after paper route
to buy a 7-up.
No i said.
He meant the stolen boy
from Senator Reid
The posters were unneeded
We all knew the fear.
Blonde mop, skinny boy
rosy freckled cheeks
They’ve gone away
Faded, scarred to haunt us.
He shared my family name
and was charming to most all involved
It’s not my shame, but the scars are
i walked the same road yet it wasn’t me.
Negotiating, capitalizing, scheming
Selling secrets, wrench the wound
the discovery reveals more pain
Until sometime a page 3 day this year.
He left. Cancer like my Dad i think.
72 as well, i think. I didn’t read close.
I didn’t need the fear again
he brought to 92nd and Scott.
Cedar Hills, Whalley Exchange,
Guildford Mews and King George Boulevard
These were ours, closest to a neighbourhood
Now faded into condo shopping schemes
Only we notice the changes
since we were all 12 years old.
The paper told us he was dead
the neighbours never knew
His wife flabbergasted
And i never cried so hard
as i did for Simon in 82.
Thick pineapple rain whipping
winds twisting leaves
and homeless blankets
wet while walking past
yellow in fleeting glances
holding breath for quarantine
peeking though humid windows
Hazy morning bound for familiar (once) inlets — Eld, Steamboat, Budd — passing tangled roads & eroded forests towards the smallest town I know to vanish for a spell.
“Do nothing Dave” — I’m not adept at this ‘nothing’ — my life is (I thought) defined by creating & giving.
Generativity is the word I was told by the lady who advised me to float until the current of the story can carry me along once more.
I’ll sew notebooks and walk the old tracks seeking to clear the fog which captured me — for a spell.
I am stronger if I can learn to stop trying so hard. My meditations are full of places I yearn to go by steamship, unforgotten pals due a visit, stories to actually type or say aloud. Projects & projections. This isn’t peace but this monk ain’t going to heaven — or Tibet for that matter.
This painting is: Gravelly Beach, Madrona circa 2005 9″x11″ oil paint and dirt on unstretched (cheap) canvas — feels like re-emerging somehow.
When my bones and bits of soul tell me I’m ready. One day do I wake up aware and brisk? Or does this Dave spend quiet labour editing and contextualizing previous Dave?
To survive, I adapt and surrender hard won vices & leisures.
Sorry, but I’m not sorry for all the decadence I do not share with you now. I’m not able. May we renew and replenish in the future despite I’ve always lived for each fresh dawn to create, share, love, hug, inspire. May I?
I’ll wear a hat so you’ll recognize me as I’ve shaken off erstwhile disguises.