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.
Beginning with a static-y 1996 AM radio interview during a power outage on the island of Guam Micronesia, then checking in from a goat farm in Japan decades later, then again from tiny isle in Indonesia, Uncle Weed weaves hempen stories and personal anecdotes about life on this remote USA “territory” including: selling hemp bags at Jeff’s Pirate Cove, advocating for legalization of cannabis in all forms, weird jobs (and quitting same), and current situation as Grassroots activists seek to fulfil will of voters for medical and recreational uses.
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.