Sunday, August 28, 2011

Eschered by M.C. Escher

Abundaman en todos costados ventanas viejos y abas el derribar debuhan adelante una cella o pozo.

--Jorge Luis Borges.

(It abounded on windows on all sides, with stairs leading down to a cell or pit).

It's probably my immigrant family backround, but every so often, I get the feeling that Canadian society leads you to a trap, or a series of traps.

--Or maybe I mean just Canadian women.

Whatever the case, I am today already down the stairs and in that cell or pit. I have been Eschered,all perspective gone...Like W. Somerset Maugham's take on what science and biology will eventually reveal to confound us with us: River is jungle and jungle is river.

But it's probably more commonplace.

Somebody is f*cking with my head.

There was a time when I was Harry the Rat with women, when it was me who was serving the drinks and let the wenches beware.

Now in a relationship after ten years of drought,I walk on eggshells, dare not leave a woman scorned or even alone, for I know the back-blow, bullshit and even need for therapy that can result.

And yet I know that I must walk.

Fats Domino:

I got my suitcase in my hand

Now ain't that a shame?

New Orleans is my home

That's the reason that I'm goin'

This time I'm walkin' to New Orleans.

I got no time for talkin'

I gotta keep on walkin'...

I think I'm going to have to take a walk to Hamilton. It is eighty mile away, and that should be far enough.

My family lives there, but I am informed that all problems start with the family...and end with the family--and that is somehow jarring. Euripides: All problems start with the family... And end with the family?

It seems that I am partially responsible for alienating my immediate family...I dare not do more damage. But my sisters, for whatever reason, tell me that all the women in my family are castrators. I did chose a wife not of my own tribe, she was magical, a doll, but lately, and there, I get that "One-hung low" feeling.

It is especially strong now, with me just back from the hospital with blood pressure problems, and hell, say it on: I can't seem to get my shift-lever mechanism to work.

(I had a student in my creative writing class with the same problem. Myself successful, virile and on top of the world at the time I displayed an amazing insight of worldliness, saying to the student that it will all pass. It is in the bounty of the woman).

Now I wish I could find that student. How're ya doin' now after thirty years?

Well, I did find out he was now unemployed and that hardly leads to feelings of bibilousness. Hell, even gassiness...Maybe I had become something of an old fart and that's why the disconnect between the old student and me.

I sincerely hope it's just the post-hospital
state. You feel not quite up to things after a spell with IV's, needles and sleeping pills.

Why this feeling of being Eschered, as in a push-me-pull-you lllustration.

And the dank feeling of being in a cell or pit.

Over seventy and veering between old Eros and Thanatos?

Uplifting, no?


Mona said...

Someone is sure f* with your head & it could be that horrible elf named depression!

and nowadays they say that even men are menopausal...which sure can be, since they also say that king Lear was a victim of his daughter's Patriarchy !

Charles Gramlich said...

I watched a movie you might like, "The Cry of the Owl." It's a Canadian movie about a guy who gets it good from two different women in his life. They fuck with his head to no end. said...


King Lear here all right.

Crown askew. Cowshit and leaves on my gown, wandering aimlessly and babbling.

Such is the thing called self-expression? :) said...


Sounds right on.

Somebody did recommend that book to me once...I now plan to read it.

ivan said...

Hi folks,

Fun stuff this week:

1) Just found out that Drive-by Saviours will be re-launched as an e-book in Spring 2012!

2) Quill & Quire Magazine, a national literary arts journal, made a nice advanced mention of my new book, Eco-Innovators. I'm with some pretty great company on this one. See it at

3) I did a backyard reading in north-end Halifax last week and they made a podcast of all the readings. Pretty cool. I read from Drive-by and also my new, yet to be published novel, currently called Diamond Boy Blues. Listen at

4) BookClubBuddy kindly included me in its 'Getting to Know You' feature - very short Q&A that goes beyond books at

Thanks for reading/listening and happy weekend.


Chris Benjamin is a freelance journalist and fiction writer. His critically acclaimed first novel, Drive-by Saviours, was just longlisted for a 2011 ReLit Award. It was also longlisted for Canada Reads 2011. His first book of nonfiction, Eco-Innovators, will be published by Nimbus in Fall 2011. He is the Sustainable City Columnist for The Coast ( In 2006/2007 he worked as a journalist in Ghana. He was a finalist for the 2010 Fusion Go Sustainability Award and shared an honourable mention in the 2009 National Magazine Awards. Chris has written opinion, fiction and features for The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Chronicle Herald, VoicePrint Canada, This Magazine, Now Magazine, Canadian Dimension, Descant, Arts East, East Coast Kitchen Party, Third Person Press, Nashwaak Review, Pottersfield Press, Rattling Books, The Society, University of Waterloo Press, Z Magazine, Briarpatch Magazine, Coastlands, Progress Magazine, Rural Delivery and many others.

ivan said...



That shoud open with "Chris says."

the walking man said...

Uhh Ivan if your laundry is getting done then call it all a wash. said...


Yep. Doing my psychic laundry.
A friend says, "Don't write when you're depressed," says a friend.

I guess I probably shouldn't have. :)

eric1313 said...

If we didn't write when we were depressed, would we still live?

Just sayin'... of course my gears are all jacked up too. But that's a different story.

However, I have been there. I found a long time ago that women who made my blood pressure spike were destined to either 'double click the mouse' or go elsewhere.

Either one is fine with me. Now that I have so much more to my life, i can honestly look back and know that every broken heart or every missed direction of the loins, every dalliance destroyed or flirtation that was flipped, or every fuck that was busted up was a favor done to me either by me (subconsciously we won't let our selves do much that we know deep down won't work or will come to naught and will speed that process up) or a favor done for me by another. At one time that was rhetoric to salve a hurt, but I know it's true now.

After all, I'm alive. Nothing may be perfect and never will be, but acceptance of that fact has made all the difference for me. Nothing is perfect. The slate has been wiped clean time and again for a reason, and now it's more full than ever before.

Not that I need to give you advice; you're the tiger, I'm simply the catbird as has been noted humorously;)

Take it easy and do what you know to do best. Stress only makes the blood pressure worse.

Mona said...

Hey ivan. Hope you are well!

Chris Benjamin said...

psychic coin wash, dollar a load.
don't blow it all in one place
give it time give it time, life is
long and one day you'll be unemployed
with time and fantasies and words
stimulating mind and body said...


I am already unemployed.

I guess this is good? :)

ivan said...


Veering between the James Taylor song "Fire and Rain" and an old TV Episode of The Avengers, I am somehow imposing pain upon myself to get out of a labyrinth.

Frequently a habitue of Latin America, I am familiar with Octavio Pas as well as that great denizen of labyrinths, Jorge Luis Borges, who seems to offer, "Pray to God and he will place the maker of your labyrinth in one that is straight in line-- the cruellest labyrinth of all.

It does seem lately, that emotionally I am into a "cello" or "pozo". A cell or pit.

My companion seemed especially intrigued, animated by this subject when I quoted some Borges to her over the breakfast table. said...


I had been improving in my health until another shoe dropped: A personal financial depression right atop one that seemed clinical.
Dylan, or Hendrix:

"There must be some way out of here
Said the joker to the thief..."

Perhaps I should learn to steal. I am already, I think, a pretty good clown. :-)

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