Category Archives: Writing Collections

a library in process holding collection of my writing projects including expository essays, articles for counter-culture magazine, sudden fiction and freeverse poetry – organized by form or collection

Poetry Reading: Muriel’s Journey “Fire in the Heart” book + round-up

Gist: I read a poem at Word Vancouver online event with a splendid group of poets! Thanks to Isabella Mori and Muriel’s Journey folks for including me, and hat-tip to Kyle Hawke for editing.

me and my “set” ready to go (since the book is called “Fire from the Heart” i set up in front of woodstove with fire painting by Timothy Wilson-Hoey and some candles + my cup mug o’ joe) looking sleepy :)

Tip: buy the “Fire from the Heart: Winners of the 2022 Muriel’s Journey Poetry Prize” chapbook and read these poems. Powerful medicine!

Score directly from Amazon Japan for ¥964 {Also available from other country specific Amazon of course}

“Fire from the Heart: Winners of the 2022 Muriel’s Journey Poetry Prize”

Event: On Sept 17 (Sept 18 in Japan), i read at a unique & enchanting poetry event: The “Muriel‘s Journey“ poetry prize reading as part of “WORD Vancouver” (prev announced). I read my poem “Alchemists Confer with Hypnotists” (in a slightly different iteration) as awarded the “random prize” (hooray!)

here’s the whole event, stick-handled by Adam, i’m around the 28 min mark

Rehearsal: Because of a typhoon rolling into our area, I recorded a rehearsal video in my beloved barn studio “just in case” and for my own enjoyment and possibly yours.

me in kura studio doing a take about Alchemists and Hypnotists

Poem: i’ll go into it more than another time if curious, but in brief: the poem is about coming to grips with the onset chronic and complex disease and the conundrum of being in lovely/spectacular places – from Jamaica to Suez – but being plagued by pain, anxiety, ghosts and confusion and misunderstanding of friends who didn’t understand… and just wanting someone to help me sleep after being so frustrated after seeing seemingly every kind of doctor possible (and having to make a big long list of everything for various paperwork) so I laughed to myself, “the only type of doctor I hadn’t seen was alchemists and hypnotists.”

Book: Fire from the Heart: Winners of the 2022 Muriel’s Journey Poetry Prize (amzn)” featuring: Janet Kvammen, Brad Akeroyd, Jacquie Pearce, Kamila Rina, Dave Olson, Natasha Sanders-Kay.

Buy via Azn for only $8 CAD or better, ask you local bookstore (Iron Dog Books for example) to order from Ingram. If you have a fave bookstore who can hook this up, please drop a comment.

Fire from the Heart with some wonderful poets, and me in a hat transiting the Suez Canal

Special for you: if you order a book from Muriel’s Journey, let me know and i’ll send you a postcard to say “thanks” and you can use as a bookplate or bookmark (or put on fridge). For expedited service, please use my Postal Club form and mention “Muriel’s Journey” in the notes.

Continue reading Poetry Reading: Muriel’s Journey “Fire in the Heart” book + round-up

“Vanessa of the B Line” (lyrics, alt 2)

Not the B-Line (but that’s not the point)

V.1

I’ve heard that pretty girls

don’t rides buses

but here you are

in Fluevogs and glasses

V.2

You seem to notice that

i’m already schemeing

about English Bay fireworks

and Kitsilano dreaming

Note, I carry a monthly pass (well at the time of this writing) so I didn’t really need a token but you know, doesn’t really matter after all does it?

C.1

Already i call you

sweet Vanessa of B-line

Before my stop on Cambie

I’m gonna ring the bell

and ask your real name

B.1

You and me it’s agreed

already have a history

set in fast-forward speed

i’m already collecting

our future unspoken

just give in quickly

before i need a new token

V.3

I’ll write my Twitter

on the back of the Buzzer

cause i wanna follow you

in all sorts of ways

V.4

You’re looking so smart

but I’m too shy to stare

tugging your ponytail

and reading Baudelaire

V.5

On the back of my ticket

I’ll pass you a note

get off at the Seabus

run away to Deep cove

Refrain

Vanessa act quick now

we’re almost passed the street

i’ll too nervous to tell you

that i think you are

sweet Vanessa of the the b-line …

This is also not the B-Line bus but still beside the point

Senryu / assorted, (rather silly, some not)

Senryu are meant to be (the more formal, serene and seasonal)Haiku’s sillier cousin and in fact pre-date haiku as a form.

Imagine Japanese folks, centuries ago, I’m getting themselves around the heart with short humorous anecdote and having a good laugh.

photo has nothing to do with the poems but put here because it will make it look more Japanese

Either way, here’s a wee cycle i uncovered in a forgotten shoebox, shared here for your possible bewilderment and amusement.

Written, 2003-4, Olympia, WA (likely)

“Spam – ku”
40 million dollars
again and again
offered from Nigeria

But she told me she’d meet me
At the Thai restaurant
downtown!

I already told you
I love you ~
Can I hang up now?

The dog and I
Shared a dinner
Of tortilla chips and beer

Thinking of Amsterdam,
I slip
on rainy cobblestones

Driving the old, old highway
through Central park
Avoiding all the birds

Riff: blueprint for a creative process / Vancouver Stories (prezo plan)

The “origin document“ of Forgotten Vancouver Stories talk

Projects of all kinds, a talk/presentation in this case, usually start with some kind of plan… (seems obvious so i’ll explain further).

In this instance, this is the *origin document* of what turned into a talk for Pecha Kucha night Vancouver “All-Star edition” at Vogue Theatre in the 20 slides for 20 seconds each format. e

Later, the “slides” became part of a longer form version at “Poets, Punks and Revolutions: Forgotten Vancouver Stories,” Northern Voice in a three-dimensional mixed media environment (campfire on stage, easels, record players, a comfortable chair and so on.

The idea started at a sort-of-secret-hideout with single malt, in conversation with a (now-former) mayor of Vancouver, his chief of staff, and the CEO of a significant company. Realizing the mayor didn’t really know a lot of renegade Vancouver stories, especially around counter-culture, I riffed off a few and later thought might be useful, amusing/educational/entertaining, or whatever for a wider audience.

Continue reading Riff: blueprint for a creative process / Vancouver Stories (prezo plan)

Memo: why i do the archiving, scrapbooking etc

In reply to a tender correspondent:

Thanks for the sweet note. Sometimes I wonder what I do all the archiving for but a lot of the reason is because when the illness started ( #MECFS) In 2013, my “brain broke” and I sort of had to relearn how to do everything from writing into painting whatever so found that making scrapbooks, postcards and later “sort-ganizing” helped rebuild the neural pathways.

Scrapbook: in process, a pleasant way to pass the time, sitting in bed, with scissors, tape, glue and ephemera

When I went to India to the Ayurveda clinic, I can still remember the day the brain started sparking again and then I tried starting to write and paint. Was a little clumsy so I filed everything under “old man punk rock“ :) and made some drawings of the neighborhood and unforgiving oil pastels which quickly attracted a throng of fellas around me who I snapped with a Lomo camera (note: evidenced somewhere here in this archive).

I spend a lot of time in bed still so it’s kind of like playing a video game or puzzle or something for me… finding the right context for all the miscellanea. Imagining about containers in the bath and filling them with stories in all sorts of mediums, both in and out of my fog.

As for the handmade scrapbooks, comes from our mutual love of notebooks etc. – which I don’t keep near as orderly as you do – but now they’ve all sort of come full circle back to me, I’m enjoying transcribing the scribbles, putting checkmarks on the pages that are finished, and organizing on a semi-climate-controlled shelf. All shapes and sizes and formats, eras, all intertwined. Mostly (vaguely at least) inventoried.

Making whole buncha scrapbooks

My own handmade scrap journals are so much fun to make as it gives me that mixed media/interdisciplinary thrill of playing with tools and sharp objects and paper and the finished result is something that very few people understand the endless possibilities.

A page from Nagano to see the wizard

Anyhow, thanks for your kind words, honestly it’s been a really tough summer so far for me, I just can’t seem to bounce up so it’s nice to just be “seen”.

Pages from a journal for no particular trip or reason, just feeling with things that cheered me up

One of these days, I’ll hook you up with a scrap journal of your own if you would like. I know you’re very partial to your own specifications so I might go a little bit off script if that’s all right.

Collection: Scrapbooks, Journals and Notebooks (view 2)

Do you keep travel ephemera and other clippings, oddities, coasters, matchbox, ticket stubs etc.? What do you do with them all?

Scrapbook: assembly / stack of books (binding detail)

[i’ll about pasting of reply]

Attenuated Telepathy (aerogramme) – Items: Forgotten in Drawers (vol. 8, Resistor)

Attenuated Telepathogram (aerogramme) – Items: Forgotten in Drawers (vol. 8, resistor)

“Alchemists” poetry accolade from Muriel’s Journey

Poetry Accolade of sorts: Pleased to be on the prize list for a very interesting poetry initiative with roots in Vancouver’s downtown eastside.

I was selected as the “random” prize which i suppose isn’t flowered with prestige but that’s not the reason i write and share poetry anyhow. Thanks to Muriel’s Journey 2021 And Beyond (FB) for including me.

My poem “Alchemists Confer with Hypnotists” (below) comes from my fcked up #MECFS medical journey of conundrums and unintended reinvention which took me around the world seeking ways to re-create neural pathways and myself as an existing sentient creature. The poem will be included in a chapbook and reading at some juncture.

Anyhow, congratulations to those acknowledged, those who write, submit, deal with illness and also to the memory of namesake Muriel and the organizers of the campaign, especially Isabella J Mori.

{The prize booty is stashed in a Canadian bank account for Ichiro for when the opportunity comes for him to visit his ancestral homeland of sorts.}

Poetry is everything, distilled.

A note about Muriel:

“Muriel was a social justice activist, poet, and spoken word artist of Indigenous heritage from the Gitxsan nation’s Owl Clan who spent a lot of time in the Downtown Eastside. In her work, she always explored new ways of expressing herself, always talked and wrote about what’s urgent and important. Her energy was like fireworks, and her hugs legendary.”

bizen yaki kiln, forging clay into treasure
Alchemists Confer with Hypnotists

Varying days
of bliss and malaise
I'm busy these days
chasing dubbies away

When the ache nears 
the break comes and 
light becomes a haze
your soul is so faded,
no hiding, so worn

The alchemists confer 
and deny the hypnotists’
clinical opinions. 
Retorting,
“He simply needs
more magnesium
injected directly into his bones”

The past-life regression
of painters and pirates 
offered no evidence 
only barroom stories when
posted up envisioning
a distant yourself

Generate kinetic watts 
from my broken soul,
frantic heart and coiled brain
anxiety - I've plenty to power
all of Iowa - roller rinks and  all

Please won't you deplete me
save me from me and help me
tell me, to sleep? And you’ll
insist on my compliance, 
fading into ease.

note: dubbies is a Jamaican word for ghosts

Update from Muriel’s Journey selection committee:

Thanks for posting this. The randomness is important. Judging poetry (or anything literature) has an element of personal taste and is, therefore, biased. When we first receive poems, Kyle Hawke and I pre”judge” them so that our judges don’t have to Wade through too many poems. Then we present the three judges with about 30 poems. This year the judges were Heidi Greco , WJ Kehewin , and Gilles Cyrenne . All the poems are judged blind – nobody knows the names of the authors. By introducing a random price we give the chance to someone who might have otherwise fallen through the cracks. So far, by chance, all the random prizes went to poets who were already in the preselection.

Riff: A bunch of stories to finish, eventually (maybe)

[Audio transcript from an updated/location undisclosed recording / Pasted, uncorrected]

Completely unrelated snapshot

Some of the projects I want to make over the next little while:

I want to write a collection of short stories that is just all wacky times, immediately leading up to or following quitting jobs.

Specifically, there is leaving Star Sand Beach Club very quickly and going to Palau and Yap, going directly to the airport and disappearing rather than going to the beach club (in retrospect, seems like the best job ever but for reasons, it just wasn’t.

There is the ATG drug testing, going to Belize incident.

There is the SS Neptune, leaving-to-be-a-schoolteacher-and-getting-karmically-bitten-in-the ass idea.

There is the leaving Kinko’s with a fax at six in the morning and going off to make a film story. That is a pretty good one.

There is the Wirthlin Group phone survey job that was such a nightmare and getting fired from that for not asking personal enough questions, then crashing the office party two days later and mooning the boss in front of everyone and pulling out while the cops pulled in the other way. That was a really good one.

There is Sharpey’s, but I didn’t quit that one, Well I quit but you know with noticing on good terms planning to go back to university of Utah which in retrospect was a colossal mistake. That one was a nice job. The stories aren’t as funny but they’re nice. Although, there was that good incident of getting my car crashed into and taking the insurance claim – this station is called Joyce Collinwood now – taking the insurance settlement money and parting with it and pulling out the dent with a coat hanger.

There is also the Pizza Beast and Pizza Feast incident, that one is a little harder of a story to tell.

There is also the real estate weekly route that me and brothers and I have, where all the papers went into the side yard to make a giant paper of file of pulpy wetness and that was pretty good.

There was also Bob’s story working for that jackass in White Rock that sits by the sea, going in there and me having to play some bodyguard for him. All we wanted was try to get his paycheck. That one wasn’t too bad although not great either, I suppose.

Then there was the job of delivering fliers for the travel company around the campuses in Utah. That one is not bad.

While at University of Utah, geez, I had three jobs there for awhile. “Cinema in your face”, that was a good one, where I delivered the newspapers and fliers to every bar in Salt Lake City – bars, bookshops, coffee shops, etc.

Then I worked for Bing Christensen Land Surveyor. We’d drive up in the hills in a jeep and stand out there in the middle of nowhere until he radios me and tells me that he got the shot and then I stumble down somewhere else.

Teaching WordPerfect classes while sleeping in my van. Well, not simultaneously. During that period, I lived in my van and I also taught the occasional WordPerfect 4.2 or 5.1 or something for DOS classes. But those jobs sort of faded away more than exploded.

Then of course the other really big one I should tell is the story of the job in Japan with the mushroom farm and leaving that day on Mike’s bike and that I have taken up in the trunk of the K car and running away from that horrible job up in the hills with the old ladies.

So if I could bust out ten stories of a thousand or two thousand words each, where it’s really just talking about quitting a job and going someplace rapidly, I think that would be beauty.

Continue reading Riff: A bunch of stories to finish, eventually (maybe)

Exhibit: contributions to “Cannabis Japonica” at Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, Barcelona

Opening "Cannabis Japonica"
I’ve got this (almost) exact same outfit!

The Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum in Barcelona (also in Amsterdam) is featuring an exhibit called “Cannabis Japonica – A fashionable journey through Japan’s cultural ties with the cannabis plant” on display until 26/02/2023

I was invited by curator Ferenz Jacobs to contribute some stories and items from my extensive archive and numerous essays to which i readily agreed (though my work/research is not currently active/ambitious though i have a few lines of investigation for *some other time*).

Blurb: The highlight of the Barcelona Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum’s 10th anniversary celebrations will be the exhibition “Cannabis Japonica”. On view from May 12, 2022 to February 26, 2023, the presentation leads visitors on a fashionable and fascinating journey through Japan’s cultural ties with the cannabis plant.

Excerpt: 

A well-known Japanese children’s adventure story tells of a technique used by ninjas to improve their jumping skills. The student ninja plants a batch of hemp when he begins training and endeavours to leap over it every day. At first, this is no challenge, but every day the hemp grows quickly – and so must the ninja’s jumping ability. By the end of the growing season, the warrior can clear the 3 to 4-metre high hemp.

Continue reading Exhibit: contributions to “Cannabis Japonica” at Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, Barcelona

Healing Ramble: Tips for airports & traveling whilst chronically ill

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble Introduction” video for context on this series.

With respect and understanding that not everyone can do *this* – i have another riff about “why” to seek medical care or healing treatment elsewhere (not in US/Canada in this case). For now, use it if you need it, if not just pass along.

Tactics:

* Request wheelchair service well in advance and use it proudly – Besides getting you around the airport, you fast track through security and immigration lines / You are usually be first on and last off the plane, be patient

* Fly Tuesdays and Wednesdays mid-day, the airports are most mellow at this time (also tickets usually cheapest)

* Dark glasses and earplugs/noise canceling headphones for when you’re in the airport

* I use an aisle seat so easier to go to the back galley area and stretch if needed + restroom breaks without hassle when a sleeping passenger next to you

* Lavender oil, compression socks, eye mask and your most comfortable sweater for the flight, dress respectable to increase chance of upgrades (and because you are sharp like that)

* When flying far – for me anything longer than three or four hours – book a hotel in (or close by) the airport at the other end, in some cases you can get wheelchair ride to the hotel to crash out and recover. Bonus points to get one with a bathtub

* Check your bag, only take a small carry-on with comfort items, don’t try to be that “efficient business traveler” and / or save money with just a carry-on

* Turmeric tea/tincture & aspirin and water water water & coconut water & NO booze – Did I mention noise canceling headphones?

* Put on an audiobook or chill music… Keep the sensory stimulation low by not watching movies especially on the crappy seat back for the videos. For me, the fuzzy screens spin me out plus you see all the other anxiousness and activity going on

* Get a credit card which gives you access to airport lounges… go to the airport early, find a quiet corner and hydrate and snack with protein rich foods so when you’re on the plane, you’re not eating the crap or being interrupted… Plus when using wheelchair service, best to go well in advance as some airports have a limited staff performing this service

* When you board (using wheelchair you’ll probably be first on) introduce yourself to the flight attendants and mentioned that you may need extra water and make sure you are close to bathroom if you need a little sensory de-stimulation

Tip: Oh one more thing, seriously don’t try to do a lot of stuff when you travel, for me I go places to find bookstores and quiet coffee shops and simply be somewhere else.  Just because you are a “somewhere else” doesn’t mean you suddenly have a bunch of energy to go out and about and meet lots of people. Avoid restaurants at busy times as well (i.e. hit lunch after 1:30 get a table in a quiet corner) … for me this reduces sensory overload.

Note: Not all of these tips are applicable to everyone obviously but for me dealing with ME/Fibro find them to be critically handy. All for now, curious to hear your tips or any thoughts about the above.

Also this archive is laden with other riffs about healing elsewhere and taking baths in the Healing Ramble series.