Thinking about “going home in October” or even more, going far away from home via freeverse poetry, read directly from scribbled travel scrapbooks and backed by trains from Moncton to Sri Lanka and tuk tuks from Kerala and Thailand, by a weary fella in an olden barn in provincial Japan. Fondly home.
A heart-wrenching poem about an abducted boy called Simon – who lived nearby, was my age and sorta looked like me – in Surrey, BC 1982 – by the “Beast of BC” Clifford Robert Olson (NO relation). Recorded and contributed to Dark Poutine Canadian True Crime podcast – shared here for posterity etc.
Along his namesake trail on banks of Lynn Creek comes story of Group of 7 bohemian painter Frederick Varley’s 10 wild years in Vancouver teaching and founding art schools, developing new aesthetics and shacking up in an $8 mountain home with mistress.
Love in (most) all forms – from self to romance to heartbreak – explored through poems including: mis-quote from (probably not) Jack Kerouac, Khalil Gibran advising his son, Mary Oliver reminding to trust, (Angela) Anaïs (Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira) Nin’s recklessness, Leonard Cohen recalling flowers to a shy lover, Katie Buemann picking up a sword – plus a variety of relevant freeverse and haiku by myself – while Jerry Garcia describes a Wonderful World and Tanya Donnelly pines for the Atlantic.
Full of mis-spoken words, forgotten names and other sloppiness comes annotated thoughts (squished through time and space) for shut-ins, drifters and sufferers amidst erstwhile festive melancholy times of disruption and tumult, including poems – read alongside mosquito and rooster sounds – by:
riffs about John Lennon and Ono Yoko and Marshall McLuhan
musical riffs by Chet Baker Quartet with Russ Freeman
Plus name checks for Neal Cassady, Jello Biafra, Dave Madden, Allen Ginsberg’s holy cock, dine and dash, Ken Kesey, Gary Snyder, Alan Watts, Beat Museum, City Lights, Grateful Dead, Beat Museum, City Lights Bookstore, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jim Robson and more… (note to self: add links).
Upon turning 70 years old, Dave’s dear sensei (since a teenage Utah community college stint), Larry Harper (among various monikers) curated 70 items of advice (at request of Annie Dandelion).
As such, between licks by Grateful Dead and master potter Marty Kendall, he riffs the list – ranging from practical to mystical to almost comical, many including nudity and space. Oh, also includes his ethereal autoharp songs (rescued from a ca. 1991 Zzyxz Rd cassette).
Float to Istanbul, Muscat and elsewhere, and check in with Cleopatra, Shakespeare, Francis Drake, Shah of Persia, Adam, Cain, Abel, Lawrence, Ataturk, Czars Nicholas and Alexander, Matt Harding, Russia oligarchs, well-fed stray cats, unidentified shortwave broadcasts, Abraham, Norman, Matt Harding, rowers, drummers, a blonde dog and you and me… finding the edges of the globe.
Disappearing, invisibility, loneliness, depression, anxiety, being lost, trying to not be found, trying to find white space to invigorate… Sometimes these weave together, other times (perhaps) each remain exclusive.
Gord Downie, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski and me all try to figure out the nuance in different ways atop Turkish street music, trains from Kerala and Moncton, and various ephemeral music snippets.
In hospital with sedated Grandpa, Dave reads complete “Letters from Russia” epistolary literature project with frequent interruptions from visitors, nurses and medical apparatus. The letters address issues of class, revolutions, monarchy, war, trade, and love in the context of Napoleon’s foray into Russia in 1812 through letters from a cobbler to his fiancé in Paris. Then finishes with Walt Whitman heading on the open road (which ole Gramps was so fond of doing himself).
Featured music: Mark Olson (music, guitar, vocals) and Dave Olson (lyrics, drums) “Little Flame” – recorded to 4 track cassette, circa 1996.