Sunday, January 30, 2011

"If, just before completion, the little fox dips his tail into the water--nothing will further."

He saw in his own eye yesterday's confusion, the leaving of his wife for an exotic lover, and he found the truth, lay, as always, in the commonplace.

Chinese symbol for cigarette.


Chinese symbol for death

He had hit the Yang line.

He could not find a symbol for a higher plane.

Perhaps there was none.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gasp! No Poet Laureate for Detroit?

Every major city in Canada today has not only a Mayor, but--wait for it-- a poet laureate!
The second-last one in Toronto was Giorgio Di Cicco and the man worked hard for it. Published novelist, published journalist, and world -class poet.

Sample of Pier Giorgio Di Cicco's poems (If you excuse my crummy typing):

These are the most extraordinary women in the world,
they do not go to bed at 11 p.m.
when they dance, they dance with you,
when they sing, it is the motherhood of half the world,
when they go walking, they have an affair with sunlight;
these are the women who hold men's faces in the palm of
their hands, these are the women men go back to, because
they do not come easy and they do not come hard. These women
are poetry. They arrange for their sons and daughters the
minute they see the sun, because the sun is a beautiful thing
to sit under. To love the air is to want to fill it with lovers.

These women do not understand words like
would, likely, depending --
those are english words
that have no place in the mouths of people,
hose are words made up for the language of thought,
that have forgotten to serve the language of lovers.
Those words are in a manual at the bottom of the ocean,
where strange fish gnaw upon them,
uncomprehending fish that mouth the strange words
like relationship, perhaps, except, attachment.
The most extraordinary women in the world,
above, are sunning on beaches; when they sigh,
trees far off are heard breathing in
the loveliest towns in the world.

(Online text copyright © 2009, Ian Lancashire (the Department of English) and the University of Toronto).

...Not bad. Perhaps Giorgio Di Cicco may yet make Toronto's half-standing eggshells of a City Hall the core of one of the lovelists towns in the world...But it's not, Oh Lord it's not.
Skyscrapter and towering condos, obscuring the beautiful waterfront. The city seems more like Shanghai now with the almost Arabic monstrous towers reminiscent of Dubai or Beijing.
But in a TV speech Mr. DiCicco insists that Toronto stands astride the future and it may yet be the most beautiful city in the world.
But that's impossible. We in Canada know that Vancover is, and will be the most beautiful city in the world!

Well, let us now move to George Bowring, until recently, Poet Laureate of Canada.


The great local poem begins
when someone pulls

out the last spike.

We declare the hole that is left
the centre of everything.

from Blonds on Bikes, Vancouver, Talonbooks, 1997

Well, maybe, metaphorically, that's what Toronto might have to do to become beautiful. Blockbust and start anew?...Impossible, but it's an intriguing idea.

I think now of Detroit.

Just think what might happen if Mark, the Walking Man were to become poet laureate of Detroit!

Sample of Mark Durfee's recent poem:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In the calm found in the afterglow
of nighttime passions cooled,
when dark gives way to day
where noise levels slowly rise
I am lifted to sleep
from the waking dreams of yester morn.

I have found all I want
and nothing more need I to acquire
for I have found knowledge of you and you I.
In that finding I can sleep comforted forever
knowing we have done all there was to do.
We together alone made a fine bier bed to lie in.

Passionate youth
escape me now.
I let you go
comforted in our having left
all doors unlocked
as we passed through them.

© M Durfee

Not bad.
Yes, yes, over here, it's Toronto the Good, but I am convinced that Mark The Walking Man can inspire Detroit to be less bad. Even beautiful!

Mark Durfee for Poet Laureate Detroit!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

"I know that you love me baby, but you don't know how to show it."

Driving around the loop in Chicago looking for a lost friend who I fear had fallen prey to a cult farther South, why else the strange letters and then silence. He said he was getting married. And that was all. Maried to whom? Where?..."Someone from among my friends," he had telegraphed. And then no more contact, either with me or his family.
He was a sensitive guy, very creative. Photographer.
But he'd had this thing about lady photographers. He'd been stung once or twice by artistic, domineering chicks who could outshoot and outsell him and that gave them a certain power. Arty women, even painters could be quite a handful for Alex, who wasn't sure if he were all that far past his f-stop when it came to photography. Yet I don't recall him ever being thrown out of bed. Maybe it was his way with creative women.
But yet he was missing all the same.

I pulled by the docks not far from the Chicago Tribune, went to park near a truck stop. Truckers knew everything. They been everywhere. Doesn't matter how smart you are when you try to find a needle in a haystack. You have to start somewhere.
My friend had been a photographer. I had been something of a musician.
But there are musicians and there are musicians.
Right there on a wharf, I heard the amplified blue notes of guitar. A tall old black guy was playing to nobody in particular, his amp plugged into a service outlet and his Fender in his hand.
I had never heard the blues he was playing before:

"I know that you love me baby
...But you don't know how to show it"

And then a riff like the devil. No honky could copy it, except maybe Keith Richards, though he does use computer notation, even for riffs.

"I know that you love me baby
But you don't know how to show it."

I parked the car and walked over to the old Chicago blues man. Threw ten dollars into his hat. He just nodded and kept playing.

"I know that you love me baby, but you don't know how to show it."

I nad the sense, somehow that I would find my friend.

But because of those blues, I knew the news would not be good.

This was Chicago.

My friend was in Illinois now.
They got some hungry women there.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A New Year's galavant from the past

Happy belated New Year to all of you.

Hope it was as fun as mine, thought as usual, my gallivanting at New Year's leads to strange and baroque company, and oddly, a whole lot of God thrown in.

The God part came when I went to see Baba to find she had slightly recovered from (poor old girl) falling on her head and breaking her pelvis as a bonus. Maybe it was the pain-killers, but she greeted me warmly and assured me she was still in there pitching. I rode out in a wave of relief only to find that I'd somehow lost all my cigarettes on the bus along with some serious coin....Right thee on the sidewalk in front of Townsview Health centre lay a fresh pack of Players and five dollars. I was on my way.

Luck holding, I went to sister Mary's who prepared a really good Ukrainian scoff and I was sent merrily to seek New Year's eve adventures.

My intention had been to see Salad, Sands and the entire cast of Mama Mia at Nathan Phillips Square, but then again, God had other plans. I got screwed up on the TTC and somehow ended up on the Burlington Train Meet for Toronto.

Here, suddenly, I had companions who kept me merry all the way to Oakville, where I was suddenly in the company of a gorgeous black girl who was SO lost that I don't believe she had a brain left. She thought Front Street was in Oakville and in any event she had no more ticket to get to TO.

Enter the encyclopedic yodelling brakeman.

All the way to Oakville, I heard the brakeman and the conductor carrying on this incredible conversation about Chess Records, and even a time before when all the blues greats of the Twenties, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Big Bill Broonzy, T-Bone Walker, Son House--and probably even Blind, Lame and Crippled Horribly, for all I know were laying the ground work for Cream, The Rolling Stones and parts of Bob Dylan. The brakeman and the conductor had enough encyclopedic material on all popular music since about l9l9 to the present day to fill and entire disc website. There was even a part, perhaps apocryphal, about Chuck Berry smashing Keith Richands full in the mouth for making computer copies of all his riffs and passing them off as his own.

This incredible conversation is going on while the black girl with me is catching up on the stunning cultural contributions blacks have made to America and the world.

But still, she was lost.

No matter The ball Drop for the new year came and all four of us, brakeman, conductor, Black Girl Where Did You Sleep at Night (Robert Johnstone?)--shook hands hugged profusely and brought the New Year in right. Who cares who was lost or found. This was the football drop at the GO BOWL.

Everybody got to where she or he was going and I was again sent merrily upon my way from Finch to Newmarket. Is there intelligent life north of Steeles Avenue in Toronto?

Every good time has an asshole at the ending and we picked one up at about Oak Ridges and he began to harangue and belittle everybody until the bus driver asked him to get off the next stop. Thank God. He looked like a serial killer.

In other words, I had a pretty good time.

Christ, I'm still high.


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

"To know me is to love me?"

It was one of those Mac Davis mornings.

It's the new year, the bills are coming in, you haven't really sold any stories for ten years (you'd been writing for free), the billl are coming in, MasterCharge is overdrawn, you haven't had sex for what certainly feels like years --and it looks like you're not even going to get laid in the future.
You need an antidote for the old man depression.

So you sing what mischievous singer Mac Davis did:

Oh Lord it's hard to be humble
when you're perfect in every way.
I can't wait to look in the mirror
cause I get better loking each day.
To know me is to love me
I must be a hell of a man.
Oh Lord it's hard to be humble
but I'm doing the best that I can.

I used to have a girlfriend
but she just couldn't compete
with all of these love starved women
who keep clamoring at my feet.

A one- time tomcat. Just like the Mac Davis guy.

Now checking out strip joints, looking for a job as eunuch...."Don't hurt the girls." Heh. What. With this?

You've become like a critic of literature. You know how it's done, you've seen it done, but lately, you can't do it yourself.

How easy it had been in the past. You had enough professional and artistic power, it seemed to you, to make women swoon-- hardly any need for performance. At the height of your success,you found starfuckers out there. Who cares if you were any good in bed. You were a star. On your own merits, on your own art. Sort of like that line out of Marlon Brando. You were a contenda! Fastest writer in town...Heh. Probably the only writer in a small town. But you made the Toronto Sun, the Globe, the Star, and seemed to go halfway around the very moon...and you shoemakered a novel in there between the newspages. Sneaked it in as Star Weekly fiction. And something of a lothario. There were emoluments!

But nowadays, when somebody asks if you're getting any, you say, "Sleep? Oh yeah. I'm getting lots."

Like in that old camping song, my font of passion has turned into my waterspout.

And still, somehow at this advanced age, there is still something of the banty rooster cockiness of youth.
You got the Mac Davis CD on, probably as an antidote not only for his depression at the time, but now yours.

Well I prob'ly could find me another
but I guess they're all in awe of me.
Who cares, I never get lonesome
cause I treasure my own company.

Treasuring my own company.

Gad, everybody is getting it on.

Even the homosexual is a high- profile figure.
People fall in love with room mates, zoo animals, chickens.
They can evern marry them.
I have recently joined group of subversives.

Maybe I can get me a Rhode Island Red.

Oh, little Miss Riding Hood
You sure is lookin' good

But it's all in my hat.

I guess you could say I'm a loner,
a cowboy outlaw tough and proud.
I could have lots of friends if I want to
but then I wouldn't stand out from the crowd

Somethin's got to change.

Seems just a matter of time till I stand in front of the Art Gallery of Ontario and expose myself to art.

I don't think I'll threaten anybody.

Make the girls giggle. "You call that a ....?" Lol.

Saturday, January 01, 2011