Sunday, December 30, 2012

Karma

LOVE POEM

He saw the teardrop on the rose
And again, he saw the teardrop on a rose
And he knew he could never melt the teardrop
And he knew this was already the end

So he kissed the face of the evening wife
As he had kissed it before, in all its varying forms
And again said hello to a precipice of silence
A precipice of silence
For his eighteen months of loving

The Queen of Swords is crossed over
And all the king's horses and all the king's men
Are trying to get her together again
like me
To no avail.

Gigolo and Gigolet
This side of the lake of mutilation
Strike a match
And the hotel burns

There is only
this path of silence
As we dump our gods
And become like them

--Ivan Prokopchuk

Friday, December 28, 2012

Ego
By Ivan Prokopchuk

Through the labyrinth of soul
I crawl
U p through the maze
Down to the dregs
And sideways, left, right
But always returning to centre.
Ego centre.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

ACT I, Scene 3 THE FIRE IN BRADFORD,
A TV Script by Ivan Prokopchuk

INT.
GREY GOAT ENGLISH PUB AGAIN. THE PLACE IS NOISY AND RAUCOUS. THE MAIN
ATTRACTION IS THE BUSY BAR WITH ITS FULLBREASTED, SATIN-BLOUSED BARMAIDS.
THERE ARE TWO OF THEM , A BLONDE AND A BRUNETTE SERVING. THE PLACE IS
INTERNATIONAL, THOUGH LARGELY SCOTS. SOME OF THE MEN ARE INDEED IN
KILTS.

LYING DOWN ON THE GREEN BAIZE POOL TABLE, ONE FOOT STILL ON THE FLOOR AS PER RULES, A SCOTSMAN LOOKS SLIGHTLY RIDICULOUS, KILT HIKED WAY UP, BUTTOCKS SHOWING, AS HE ATTEMPTS A TIGHT CORNER SHOT FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE TABLE.
ONE OF THE OPPOSING PARTNERS TAKES HIS CUE AND WORKS IT UP THE KILT OF THE SUPINE SCOTSMAN.

SCOTS POOL PLAYER.

Will ye just fuck- off, Mate?

HE GETS OFF THE TABLE AND RAISES A CUE TO THE CHEST OF THE OPPOSING PLAYER'S PARTNER.

THERE IS A MELLEE. AS OTHER CUES ARE RAISED AS IF IN EN GARDE POSITION.

VOICE OF MANAGER, WHO IS BEHIND THE BAR WITH THE MAIDS. HE HAS A MICROPHONE.

You guys start fighting, you're all cut off for life.

THE POOL PLAYERS SETTLE DOWN.

THERE IS SMOKE IN THE AIR IN THE PUB, AND A COMFORTABLE WHISKEY SMELL.. HUM OF THE CROWD.

THE PROFESSOR AND HIS BOOK EDITOR ARE IN A BOOTH AT STAGE LEFT OF THE BAR. THEY ARE DRIKING TOBY BEER.

EDITOR (WHO IS DARK, BEARDED AND WEARING GLASSES)

What kind of a place did you take me to? I thought you said it was a swell British pub.

THE PROFESSOR.

It is. But all these Scotsmen, mostly just off the boat, have all taken over. Most of them out of
Glasgow, looking for a new life. I guess old habits die hard. They come here looking for a
woman or a fight. They'll take either one.

THE EDITOR
So what did you ask me out for? Sounds like something's very much on your mind. It's so
smoky in here. (WIPES FOREHEAD)

THE PROFESSOR:
It's smoky in my head, John. Right among the pillars.

There is this woman....

THE EDITOR
Oh yeah. Always "this woman." Most men, when they get divorced, find another woman. With you, it's one after another. You're right off the scale.

THE PROFESSOR
No. This one is different. Way different situation.(HE RAISES HIS GLASS AND TAKES A
LONG DRAUGHT.)
Got this problem. I was more thoroughly loved last night than I'd ever been before. Yet somehow, I didn't finish.
She came to me without reservation. Yet I did not complete the act. I feel somehow that I had
not been a full man. I had not achieved completion.

THE EDITOR
David, David, David. You know that old bit out of Johnny Carson. Where this guy brings in this motorized
unicycle, which he calls a "Wheelie"?
Some days you just can't get your wheelie to work.

THE PROFESSOR
No, it wasn't anything like that. Seems she poured sand into my wheelie. Fucked me up.

THE EDITOR TAKES HIS OWN DRINK OUT OF THE TOBY GLASS.

BEAT

THE EDITOR
...New one on me. It's usually you who is playing musical broads.

THE PROFESSOR.
It's different this time. She is married, her husband looks like a voyeur, probably a poof, and I'll
bet she's getting her real sex out of third guy if I know some women. I think she is just using
me for entertainment and a sounding board. ...I think she's on drugs.

THE EDITOR
Wow. You really pick 'em. Sounds like a story. Maybe you should write about it.

THE PROFESSOR
Jeezus, John. I really don't want to be in this play.
But I've got her smell. She seems right inside me. Ever been so horny your brain seems awash
with alligator sperm?

THE EDITOR.
Or so horny you could faint? LIke James Joyce, jacked off by a woman in a theatre and
following that woman around for most of his days?

THE PROFESSOR
You got the scenario. I guess that's why you're the editor and me the writer. Yep. Looks like it's
Professor and the Blue Angel. Poor old Professor Rath. Horny and confused as a mink on a sandbar. And crowing like a rooster while Marlene does everybody in town.

THE EDITOR (TAKES ANOTHER DRINK. HE SWATS AT A FLY)

This sound a bit different from Prof. Rath's situation. More bizzarre.
Can I say something?

THE PROFESSOR

Shoot.

THE EDITOR

Sounds like you've just stumbled on a houseful of pimps.

So what happened?

THE PROFESSOR

One day she walked into my creative writing class....

THE PROFESSOR IS INTERRUPED BY A WAITRESS WHO BTINGS MORE DRINKS. SHE IS BOSOMY AND THE PROFESSOR NOTICES.

"SHE FINISHES SETTING UP, THEY HAVE FRESH DRINKS, THE PROFESSOR IS ABOUT TO PAY, BUT SHE IS DISINCLINED TO TAKE THE MONEY AT FIRST.

WAITRESS:
Are you Professor Lohan?

PROFESSOR.
Why, yes.

WAITRESS
Therere's a phone call for you. At the bar. Do you want to take it?

PROFESSOR (LOOKS FIRST AT THE WAITRESS AND THEN AT THE EDITOR).

Oh, I guess I'd better...How did anyone know I was here?

THE PROFESSOR STANDS UP AND TURNS AROUND TO WALK OVER TO THE BAR. A LONE WOMAN IS
SITTING AT THE FAR CORNER, NEXT TO THE TELEPHONE. SHE IS PERCHED ON A VERY HIGH STOOL,
WHICH IS ABOUT TWO FEET AWAY FROM THE BRASSY, OAKY BAR. THE PROFESSOR WONDERS HOW
SHE CAN REACH HER DRINK, AND SHE IN FACT IS HAVING SOME TROUBLE WITH THIS.

THE PROFESSHOR HAS TO GET PAST THE FUMBLNG WOMAN TO GET AT THE PHONE. HE HUNCHES DOWN A BIT TO GET AT IT.
SUDDENLY THE WOMAN, WHO IS DRESSED IN A BLACK SKIRT AND HIGH HEELS, AND NOW SOMEHOW IMMEDIATEL"Y BEHIND HIM, WINDS HER LEGS AROUND HIM. FROM BEHIND. HE CAN"T GET AT THE PHONE. HE TURNS ROUND TO DISCOVER PANTIES.

MYSTERIOUS WOMAN
You've been doing some hard work, haven't you? I can smell the work and stress.

THE PROFESSOR (UNTANGLING HIMSELF, ONE KNEE AT A TIME. HE DOES THIS AS NATURALLY AS HE CAN, PUTIING AN ARM AROUND THE WOMAN'S RIGHT SHOULDER):

I think you're lovely. It's just that I have some business to attend to right now.

THE PROFESSOR KEEPS AN ARM AROUND THE WOMAN"S SHOULDER. HE REACHES FOR THE TELEPHONE WITH HIS RIGHT HAND.

THERE IS A DIAL TONE.
THE CALLER, PROBABLY TIRED OF WAITING, HAD HUNG UP. THE PROFESSOR TAKES HIS LEFT ARM OFF THE MYSTERIOUS WOMANJ, GIVES HER A HUG AND GOES TO MAKE FOR THE BOOTH WHERE THE EDITOR STILL SITS WITING FOR HIM. HE REJOINS THE EDITOR.

PROFESSOR
The woods are full of funny people.

THE EDITOR (NOW A LITTLE AFFECTED BY THE BEER THAT HE HAS ALMOST
FINIISHED:

Ummm. Wha..?

PROFESSOR
I don't know how to tell you this. It really reminds me of a joke, the one about the musician, playing badly all night, complaining over the actions of a disgruntled pervert who kept masturbating in the second row.

EDITOR
I don't want to know!

PROFESSOR

Lady at the bar. Almost attacked me.

THE EDITOR
You got confidence. That's what it is.

THE PROFESSOR SHRUGS.

PROFESSOR 9TAKES A DRAUGHT OF HIS UNFINISHED BEER)

Did you ever read a book by Frederic Exley, "A Fan's Notes"?

THE EDITOR
Of course. What of it?

PROFESSOR
It seems that Mr. Exley is disgusted over being a fan all his life, of loving the great football guy, The Gipper, of loving great authors.

But it was always somebody else that was great, never him."

There is another guy in this Celia's life. I can sense it. It's never going to be me.

THE EDITOR
Yep. You're like your archetype, I guess. Prof. Rath. Crowing like a rooster.

THE PROFSSOR TAKES A DEEP DRAUGHT. HE STANDS UP FROM THE TABLE, CAUSING
A GROAN OF CHAIRS. SUDDENLY HE CRIES OUT, AS IF COMPELLED BY SOMETHING
ALIEN IN HIM ABOUT TO GIVER BIRTH IN HIS VERY BODY....

Cuckarukakoo!

THIS CAUSES A STIR AMONG THE OTHER TABLES.

THE EDITOR (A LITTLE EMBARRASSED):
You sir, are a fucking nut. You seem possessed.

Get out of that situation. Walk away from it.

Walk! That's what you do.
You walk
.....end ACT I,, Scene 3 THE FIRE IN BRADFORD,

.............................................INTERMISSION.....................................................................
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Saturday, December 08, 2012

A try at a gothic novel, with local colour

Heh. Quite the opposite.

Here is my impression of a house in Riverdrive Park, back in the "Eyes Wide Shut" eighties. It is, uh, fiction.

THE MASTER

An exurban gothic novel
by Ivan Prokopchuk

The countryside was hilly and in bloom. It was spring in Riverdrive Park where a neat white cottage was almost hiddent behind a screen of Australian pines. The house number, in its brass calligraphy, read 410. Same as a shotgun.
The Australian pines almost obscured a huge Williamsburg picture window, but you could not see inside, some kind of tinting through which you could see out, but outsiders could not see in.

Inside, a beautiful woman was preparing breakfast for somebody, certainly not her husband. She was especially beautiful because she had made herself up for the stranger. She was very fair, roundfaced, lots of blue on her eyelids, the look of a woman who wanted out, who was attracting somebody, anybody who would rescue her out of her trap.
Trapped indeed she had been, with her Dracula of a husband, lab worker, in fact, who had a penchant for making her drink her own tears and his bestiality in what may be called bed. Then too, there was the complicated accommodation she had to make to arouse the Master's sleeping and complicated sexuality. But to trace the convoluted links of the Master's passion, to also involve his male lover, took some doing, and frankly, she was exasperated by it all, though in her own involved way, she loved the Master all the same.

There was this supreme power he had over her.
The Master had some modern twists. There was that business with the VCR, where afterwards they had watched their romp, and at one point in the replay there was no image of the Master at all, merely some sort of electric
outline as if from some monster out of a vintage B movie like Forbidden Planet. She'd had the first horrid intimation that the Master may not be from this world at all.
It was not the first time she had felt this way.
Kara had been married to Frank for fourteen years. Fourteen years it took her to realize that the world was not at all the way she was compelled to see it through Frank's eyes. Oh yes. Those eyes. Dark. Hypnotic. One night, when the curtains blew, she had had the hollowest, emptiest feeling that she was totally artificial, a total creation of Frank, that she was Frank's novel, Frank's VCR project.
She recalled playing the tapes on her day off, with Frank away at the laboratory. She was examining Frank from all angles. Yes, yes, he was extremely tall, much taller than she. He had a soft voice and a gentle manner. Handsome, a Simon Cowell if Simon Cowell could be made up to be handsome, the same black tee shirts, the confident manner. Quite a catch it had been for her, herself so fine, the envy of the campus.
Until you realized what Frank did for a living. Torturing animals in a laboratory where they ran tests for smear-proof mascara, day after day, the rabbits, the white rats, the monkeys with their eyes red a bleeding.
Come to think of it, she was having trouble with her own eyes lately--she had always had trouble with here eyes, and now tith this thing building up between her and the newfound "friend", her eyes were irritated all the more.

"You can't get everything from one person." Where had she heard this before? Why from Frank, of course. Frank with the dark sensitive eyes who would bring his gay friends to bed with them, here in this neat white cottage, this White Hotel, from out of a book she was reading, this white hotel where everybody was welcome, especially stray men with no obvious family connections, where nobody was selfish "in bed" and where a paradox of life was revealed: That which can be truly possessed was that which was to be shared.

That which you share. How did I ever get these atttitudes? Good God. I am a book keeper and an accountant. I have a regular job like everybody else in my set. Frank works in the laboratory. We are the ideal exurban couple. We are the young professionals, the house the mortgage, my car, Frank's SUV. How did I involve myself in this style of life with Frank, the mammoth parties, the drugs and satanism--all these "friends."

She thought of a couple of the "Friends", their questionable sexuality, their elegance, sometimes one of them disappearing. And that Hungarian gardener Frank had hired. Always trimming the edge of the lawn with what must certainly have been an axe.
The drug den downstairs.

The friend in the kitchen, for whom she was making a very labored and time-consuming breakfast (opening the oven door, sensing that the eggs benedict wer still lukewarm, the toaster seeming to not work at all)--was becoming a little restless and she caught him out of the corner of her irritated eye twiddling with the FM radio on the kitchen table.

...CHARGED WITH KEEPING A COMMON BAWDY HOUSE WAS FRANK...Did she hear that right? Must have been her imagination.
The friend, a touch silver-haired, a very open man, something of a poet, kept twirling the knob until a song came on, an older one by the Eagles, out of California.

She's got a lot of pretty boys

that she calls her friends.

He kept playing with the radio until he settled on some strain of elevator music, all the while lighting a cigarette, his third one since she had begun making breakfast. She had another look at him.
An elegant-appearing chap all right, from the way he held his cigarette, almost European-fashion, with the slim fingers extended, but there was a hint of strength in the hands, the leftovers of hard work, of mines and wars and of other people with hard hands. He came from the aristocracy of war and famine and that was a real aristocracy, Kara knew, perhaps the the only viable aristocracy in this crazy, sexy and druggy age. His eyes were green, and had the tendency to take on the shade of whatever dominant colour was around, and now they were reflecting a read-and-whie tablecloth, a bistro colour, which she had strangely selected this morning.
The tablecloth did not go at all with the danish blond and grey decor of the house with its white walls, its picture groupings of Cezanne and Monet prints, of all the yellow wood.

Yet it seemed somehow fitting for this man, this "Friend".

Through the large front window, Kara caugh a glimpse of the Hungarian with the axe. " I can not have this man murdered. I love him."
The "friend" seemed to have almost heard her.

The radio was now playing the soundtrack of an old movie called "The Collector".

"I have come to collect you, the friend's eyes seemed to say. "Frank sent you to 'collect' me.

"But I will 'collect' you.

"I will rescue you."

She finished making the coffee at last and picked up two cups, one for herself and the other for the Friend.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Fire in Bradford. Chapter Two

Warning.

The second chapter of my novel, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD may be rated 18+

But here goes anyway. THE FIRE IN BRADFORD, Chapter Two:


Chapter Two

On my frequency in spades, or was it the Rolling Stones?


Well I followed her to the station
With a suitcase in her hand


How long would I follow her over the next five years, with a suitcase in my own hand to be rebuffed, Rabelaised on.



Well I saw her at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she was gonna make her connection
In her glass there was a footloose man


This after a pretty stud popinjay tried to make her his novel. Maybe a popinjay like me. And would I later be a bleeding man in the bottom of her glass?


We danced. She seemed somehow stiff, not in tune with the natural grace of her perfect little body. She just seemed to want to sit near me, wanting to be very close. She rubbed a tentative thigh against me. I backed off a little. "What goes on between you and Lief?' I blurted. "You are a married woman after all."

She took a sip of her white wine. Damn. Her nice high forehead, flesh-coloured lipstick, blonde hair abob.

"Lief and I have an open marriage. He has male friends, he has female friends. I have female friends. I have male friends."

So here we were, dating and dancing, she and I. Male friend and female friend.

The night, as they say, rocked on, as it will with music by the Stones and the nice amber haze. Why is this beautiful, sexy mannequin so interested in me, mousy wallflower, dumb prof? And then she made that tentative move towards my genitals. Whaa...? I was lonely but not altogether stupid. "Lana, you are a married woman. Leif is just next door."

"Lief understands."

I leaned back and had a cigarette. Nice living room with its C-shaped chesterfield, wide enough to accommodate two small, slight people like ourselves. Top the left, a dining room with its millet and Cezanne prints, all grouped nicely, the wide picture window, the drapes not drawn, the two of us more than just silhouettes in the window. We kissed like brother and sister. I was growing to falling in love with her. And yet I could not make a move.


We would begin to have pub nights quite often, Lana soon affecting a wonderful floppy beret that graced her beautiful, symmetric face. "I am in a French Writers class," she would say and we'd trade bon mots and zippy Parisian phrases. Or, at least, my fractured French that I'd learned in Quebec, Haiti and Newfoundland. It's not hard to get a job at a community college. "What you call dat t'ing that bash his face against de tree?"

Very quickly, though, I felt a need for the wide open spaces.

Lana was sending up a wave of energy that welled right up against my lifeboat.
(to be continued)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fifty miles of bad road

It has become almost cliché  among sentient people to agree  with old T.S Eliot, with the startling realization that what you have been thinking for years has already been well explored by somebody else. But better.
"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." 

Afer fifty years of writing, performing, caurousing, whoring, I am something like a mole with a very tender nose. Seems nobody ever told me to go around! But one is mole-like, and it seems that there are certainly burrowing tendencies, probably the result of the last world war, where you had to dig, dig, dig, or be exploded.


When I wrote my European wartime novel, The Black Icon, I was blissfully unaware that the writing of that book was just the first step of a journey, easily, of ten thousand miles, with no real goal in sight, save that of one book, then another, then another probably to show how good I thought I was.

But I found over the years, possibly agreeing with old Willie Maughan, that there was only one book in me, and the second, third and fourth was just burrowing around.

After fifty years, I think I have come to he end of my tunnel. Like a Kafkaesque character drawn by my once-pen pal, Willie Elder in Mad Magazine, "YOU'VE DUG YOUR LAST HOLE, MOLE!

Seems today, I am right back where I first began with writing what my creative writing prof  had said was  one brilliant flash in the pan, THE BLACK ICON.

Jesus. Hundreds of thousands of wasted words, the babysitting with your toddler son tugging  at the paper in your typewriter, the years of surely masochistic starvation where you had quit  a perfectly good paying job the humiliation over what was probably deliberate failure just to experience what that was like.

The answer surely lies in humour, whereTV ole boy Jethro says to the rich artist, "You're supposed to suffer if you're an artist.

"Well, you're sure going to suffer when you find out some drunk backhoe operator loaded a ton of sand into your kidney-shaped swiming pool."

I've had the houses and I've had the pools, but there was this almost adolescent artist thing. "Have I, have I, have I made the grade?"

Too young to know I had made it, made it very early, and now like the nervous amateur thespian who only had two lines to say, "Hark! Cannon! I have ended up,at the end of my rope, like that nervous actor,  blurting out, "What the fuck was that?"

Goldurn it.

After fifty years, I am back where I started.

It is time to again republish my only decent work, THE BLACK ICON.

All the rest, it seems, was sturn und drang, storm and stress.

Fifty mile of bad road

It has become almost cliché  among sentient people to agree to agree with old T.S Eliot, with the startling realization that what you have been thinking for years has already been well explored by somebody else. But better.

"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." 

Afer fifty years of writing, performing, caurousing, whoring, I am something like a mole with a very tender nose. Seems nobody ever told me to go around! But one is mole-like, and it seems that there are certainly burrowing tendencies, probably the result of the last world war, where you had to dig, dig, dig, or be exploded.


When I wrote my European wartime novel, The Black Icon, I was blissfully unaware that the writing of that book was just the first step of a journey, easily, of ten thousand miles, with no real goal in sight, save that of one book, then another, then another probably to show how good I thought I was.

But I found over the years, possibly agreeing with old Willie Maughan, that there was only one book in me, and the second, third and fourth was just burrowing around.

After fifty years, I think I have come to he end of my tunnel. Like a Kafkaesque character drawn by my once-pen pal, Willie Elder in Mad Magazine, "YOU'VE DUG YOUR LAST HOLE, MOLE!

Seems today, I am right back where I first began with writing what my creative writing prof  had said was  one brilliant flash in the pan, THE BLACK ICON.

Jesus. Hundreds of thousands of wasted words, the babysitting with your toddler son tugging  at the paper in your typewriter, the years of surely masochistic starvation where you had quit  a perfectly good paying job the humiliation over what was probably deliberate failure just to experience what that was like.

The answer surely lies in humour, where
TV ole boy Jethro says to the rich artist, "You're supposed to suffer if you're an artist.

"Well, you're sure going to suffer when you find out some drunk backhoe operator loaded a ton of sand into your kidney-shaped swiming pool."

I've had the houses and I've had the pools, but there was this almost adolescent artist thing. "Have I, have I, have I made the grade?"

Too young to know I had made it, made it very early, and now like the nervous amateur thespian who only had two lines to say, "Hark! Cannon! I have ended up,at the end of my rope, like that nervous actor,  blurting out, "What the fuck was that?"

Goldurn it.

After fifty years, I am back where I started.

It is time to again republish my only decent work, THE BLACK ICON.

All the rest, it seems, was sturn und drang, storm and stress.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The two-way man


Literature and music seem in the same family.

I had decided last week to go the musical route.

 Tom Pearson  The  MC at the Anti-poverty rally I'd sung at,  insisted that I was a writer first, and a musician second. Actually, he had been quite complimentary, announcing to all and sundry that I was an "iconic writer." Heh I kind of twigged onto the word iconic.
"Who me? Iconic writer? I'm just trying to be as interesting-- and even biblical!--  about characters in  John Prine. songs. In "cowboy" music, John Prine is my hero. His writing seems more like Ecclesiastes  than  the late and nasal drones of ole  Ernest Tubb.

It is amazine when a cowboy song reaches damn near symphonic proportions.
Yet, I didn't write that song, though I love to perform it.

It takes me at least 70,OOO words to even approach the greatness of John Prine.



There is an  apparent similarity between writing and music, though sometime I fear I do both badly.

The nice thing about actually perfoming live-- and not in cold print-- is that the applause is often immediate, if not surprising.

You're not going quite the way of the writer, who might have the attitude, "I'll read my stuff and bring the house down."

Well, not always.

Better to go with the almost psalm-like music of John Prine, especially his "Angel for Montgomery."

An old woman in his song is asking for a message, any message that will ease here old age and loneliness:

"Make me an angel
that flies from Montgomery
Make me a poster of an old rodeo
Just give me one thing I can hold onto
To believe in this living
is a hard way to go.

For that woman in Prine's song it is endeed a hard way to go.

(Thank God I live in an apartment that contains seventy women and three batchelors, one of them apparently gay.)

Wonder if the gay guy is singing "Make me an angel."...To wrestle with?

There are different kinds of loneliness, I suppose.
But I'm partial to the loneliness of the old woman in the song,

Darn.

How come John Prine can write a masterpiec in a few stanzas while I go on  and on the keyboard
in hopes of creating a masterpiece in 700 words.

Ah, words and music.

I'm starting to like both.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Last Waltz?

I've been playing and singing for anti-poverty rallies of late.These are unpaid and after all the energy laid out--hm, one is still poor. In fact you throw a lot of thunder into being a kind of John Prine after Elvis.
 This afternoon, I collapsed after a routine workout.
To borrow a titles from the great Robbie Roberson, this might be the last waltz.

Seventy-four and trying to be an Elvis manque'. And John Prine. Come on.

But then, holy mackerel, I seem to have groupies a little younger than than old Methuselah here.
Rock till you're dead?

 Again, like a wine-stoned cowboy. Women on the phone. But ah is only 75 y'ars old!

Second childhood.

"My momma she done said
She don't like that rock and roll

"I said please, momma please
Momma you just don't know

I don't want
...hang up my rock'n'roll shoes
'Cause me feet start movin'
Every time I hear those blues."

And yet the collapse at the gym.

My doctor was amused when I told him death is nature's way of slowing you down.

Ah what the hell.

One has always been a performance artist.

Maybe, to stay with the season, I might come out as Rob Zombie.




Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The itch for the new novel.

But the little apochrypha, Ecclesiastes keeps warning: "Of the writing of books there is no end."

But the itch is still there. It is a little like falling in love, oh, say it on, it is falling in love. You meet the person of whom you've dreamed all through your youth, and finally, in your dotage now, echoes of dead Buddy Holly.
True love will never die?

..."We're so doggone happy
just hangin' round together
Man, you want to sit and cry."


I am 74 and she is 62, but look 42. Kathie Lee clone.
I have had enough sex for about three young guys in as many lifetimes.
And yet I have found an idyll.
Watch her on a riverbank making a beautiful carricature of of herself.

This new love will surely die.

But damn, I hope the novel lives.

Double damn. It is bigger than both of us.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Nain of Rouge

Nain Rouge. Whee. It's supposed to be a kind of mini Sas
quatch that has been haunting the Detroit area for about 200 years. Yes, it's said to have been stalking the pioneers! And now Nain Rouge magazine. Seems Liz and I made it into the magazine partly Because of our raddling of one JR Tomlinson, but he took it in good humour and produced a fine bit of writing for Nain Rouge. I did enjoy the poetry of some other contributors....But where the hell was Mark Durfee's poetry?...I guess its really good form for a poet who edits his own magazine not to swamp it with his own stuff---but as for me, hell, it's publish or perish, even if it's in your own magazine. I'm not proud. I must say I've had a dry spell with the publishing. Nain Rouged did give me quite a perk. It ain't Random House, but what the hell. Some have said that my writing was a bit random in the first place. Hell, it's baroque! And over here, I am quite often baroque, cerrtainly pocket linings hanging out empty. Why do we writers so often do the masochist tango, going the Christ route I suppose, giving it all away and then wondering about some of the teachings while inside an echoing dumpster. There is a passage in J.D. Salinger's excellent old story, "For Esmee From Love and Squalor." Esmee advises a new writer: "Write about squalor." Well, here I am just out of the dumpster, putting on my bib and tucker. Freelance trencherman on the take. Damn. Squalor got me published! I wouldn't recommend this method for any new writer)...There's got to be something in Christianity, but so few people actually try it. I still wouldn't recommend it...Too lecherous to be a Christian anyway....Seems one burns whether married or single. And I suspect that ole Saint Paul may have had a gay streak. Oh what the hell. A Canadian humourist, Don Herron once said, "If God had meant us to go metric, he would have given us ten apostles. Oh well. I'm going to end this screed with an apostle? Not an epistle? Keep a lookout for that hairy red thing haunting the 696 running through Detroit

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sam Hill over the hill. And his wonky computer too?

Ever have one of these days, especially when you're old and over the hill? My computer has one wonky...I can't even find my own published material in NAIN ROUGE, a division of White Cat publications. Trouble with my Adobe, same as a Navaho, I guess. My health has gone to rat crap. Cross addicted and high blood pressure. Damn, every so often spewing blood out of both ends. Healthy. Goodforya. Well, the docs have now patched me up. Bleeding duodenal ulcer. Will take three months to cure. What a drag...Precisely when at the hilariously young age of 74, I may have found true love...She's just a young chick of 62 and I an old crow. But my hard drive is fading, and my chassis is rocking. What a time to try to do a lothario. But she seems to understand. "I used to be a nurse." Hey! Anyway, I've gone back to the doc and am putting my computer into the shop. Hell, where we both go, nobody knows. -30-

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

I never get a break of any sort with the new Blogger

I am having a devil of a time creating paragraph and space breaks.  Hell, I write in paragaph and space breaks!...Come with forty years in the print business.

Okay, I just made a space break here. Does it show?

Carramba!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I drink, therefore I am.

Dodging coffins lately, and I should like to say I don't like it. F
our near-death experiences. Hosptalizatons.;one is using up his nine lives! Pesistent bleeding from the rectal area. Says the Newfie, "Rectum? Just about killed him." Doc says it's my drinking. Well, while I thought to drinking was to facilitate my mental health the doctor says it has wrecked my physical health. A longtime fan of Honore' de Balzac, I am now at least a character of that master's old novel about guys drinking themselves to death. This was not the plan. The plan was to use my life, my as a theme park, or at least a Marineland where I could offer people a sealbottom. Shee-it. You mean there is an end to the party? I have been a reader of Dylan Thomas for years. I refuse to go gently into that dark night. At least, not without a drink.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Portrait of the artist as an ill-advised Kamikaze

Thirty years ago, on a damp September night, I gave up writing. It seemed not a difficult decision. Rejection letters were now too many to even think of plastering the wall with them. Even my standby the Newmarket ERA now seemed unimpressed by any journalism I was doing. And at the college, where I was teaching creative writing, and there was talk of me losing my old clout, a student named Eleanor Gallagher said, out front, "Ivan, if you can't make it, the rest of us can't make it either. "So stop this "pretend" teaching and go out into the world as a writer, which is what you should have been doing all this time, instead of being a sort of poseur." Happily I had sold an important piece a week after this exchange, but Eleanor's comments did give me a double-take. Twenty years a writer. Ten years of teaching. The money was obviously in the teaching, even if my professional friends had said no...But they were selling like crazy in New York!...And I was barely on the map in Newmarket ON. It seemed time to surrender the vows, or, to take my students' advice, "give up this teaching pose and go for it." Well I did. But after four novels, a Gaugin existence in the tropics and a divorce, with all that that entails it suddenly dawned on me that you should never take the advice of one of your students. They were, after all, students, and you were supposed to be the adept. You had taken some pride in actually publishing and not perishing, though you had noticed that among your academic peers, one had gotten a teaching position on the strength of one published letter to the editor, and another a former librarian, obviously adept, but with no publishing credits. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Poseur? It has now been thirty-five years. The goods had been delivered. But I'm not sure every artist should take this kind of calculated (foolhardy?) risk. Oh the mad Olympian!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Comes to writing and music, is seventy not an age, but a dimension?

I am probably turning senile, but I'm beginning to think my advanced age is not an age, but a dimension. Take writing and music. In the same dimension? Well, maybe in the same family, for I seem a crashing bore, though enthusiastic, at both writing and music. Suddenly it seems, at 70+, that the music is taking me over. It became clear to me at the hysterically young age of seventy-three that I may have been wrong in killing myself at writing these past fifty years. (The financial reward was paltry while it seems at music, you not only get a sort of instant gratification, but more often than not, somebody at least will supply the beer); seems that with writing, you are to one buying the beer, for agents and prospective publishers. With music, more often than not, you'll get a beer sent to both you and your compnion if a performance was particularly good. It has struck me that I may have been losing at writing over half a century, while music seems easy, and somehow helps your soul to catch up with your body,heh, after all that sin and muddlement. That or it's just some death angel, possibly from Dixie--there is that Delta pull of you do blues, and though I try to be John Prine in my music, It is just an imitation of that musical tiger. So where is your own song, old Ivan? Hopefully, it's in my novels, but it seems lately that if you blow on the words, they just seem to fade away.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm a little yellow duck

I don't like thinking out loud on a webpage. It's got to do with the composition of a short story. I am stuck.

Anyway here are the salient facts of the short story I am somehow compelled to do:

I was sitting on a park bench, depressed over friggin' near everything, including my financial condition.

Suddenly, right at my feet was this little yellow duckling, with a young girl walking just behind.

The little yellow duck nibbled at my toes a bit, decided there was no duckweed on my Adidas, and then trundled off on a waddle, seeming to lead the young girl.

The girl appeared to be walking her duck today, and the duck had examined my toes with some interest.
The girl paused after the little yellow duck hesitated, not sure of whether to go up Timothy, a sidestreet, or keep waddling north on Main.

"Where did you get your duck?" I asked the little girl, whose father was not far behind. Duck, girl, father, all in a row.

I think she said Brooks Farms, though I am a klutz at facts. Facts confuse me.

Anyway, the image was so sweet. The little yellow duck leading the way, the cute little girl behind, and the father sort of looking out for girl and duck.
·

I'm a little yellow duck, waddling down Main Street


I don't like thinking out loud on a webpage. It's got to do with the composition of a short story. I am stuck.


Anyway here are the salient facts of the short story I am somehow compelled to do:


I was sitting on a park bench, depressed over friggin' near everything, including my financial condition.


Suddenly, right at my feet was this little yellow duckling, with a young girl walking just behind.

The little yellow duck nibbled at my toes a bit, decided there was no duckweed on my Adidas, and then trundled off on a waddle, seeming to lead the young girl.

The girl appeared to be walking her duck today, and the duck had examined my toes with some interest.
The girl paused after the little yellow duck hesitated, not sure of whether to go up Timothy, a sidestreet, or keep waddling north on Main.

"Where did you get your duck?" I asked the little girl, whose father was not far behind. Duck, girl, father, all in a row.

I think she said Brooks Farms, though I am a klutz at facts. Facts confuse me.

Anyway, the image was so sweet. The little yellow duck leading the way, the cute little girl behind, and the father sort of looking out for girl and duck.
·

Monday, June 25, 2012

The new blogger has floggered me.

I don't like the new free blogger protocol.
It doesn't seem to understand what I want to do, or even post stuff up  for me. I punch POST and it seems to say, yuck foo! and I am somehow reduced to DRAFT again. The whole new set up is like trying to read the philosopher Hegel.
Everything is everywhere connected, but it all seems a system of electronic nuts and bolts-- making this nut want to bolt.
If it weren't broke, why did Google decide to fix blogger?
I can not use white space in my paragraph breaks, Neither can I paragraph.
Like an old addled philosopher, I finally want to "offer a cock" to the god of Google

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ivan's new reggae: I wonder why nobody don't like me...Maybe it's the fact that I'm ugly...

Giving up writing, for a while, I decided to take up my other trade and play guitar downtown. And already, as in literature, where you can develop enemies more often than not, you get critics. Nobody likes the fastest mouth in town, that is to say,you. And so now, switching mediums, you discover that you have an enemy on the local music scene. It's not that you're all that fast on the fingerboard, you're just loud, and damn persitent. Nevertheless, on both performance circuits, I have an enemy in either field. Hm. Does the enemy know what sort of person he stalks? Is he blind, lazy, or just stupid? In music, you know you have an enemy when simple, routine things are suddenly very difficult to do, like finding a plug for your amp, or even finding a mike.... Or somebody from the audience gets backstage and stomps real hard on your guitar case (Quite often the case is more expensive than the guitar). Damn. Playing for your supper is a lot like old time local politics, where once or twice I tried to run for office. Wow. Talk about a blood sport. It is suddenly hard to get a job in the media. You think it's paranoia... but for sure, a man with a Fedora hat and a dated Lincoln rolls down his window and yells, "The sweetest sound I can hear, Ivan, is your GO bus leaving town Nevertheless the enemy is playing with my empowerment. Artistic power, of course, always bows to financial power, but then you think you have the penetrating truth on you side. Then with the truth pointed out (The town is gone!) --everyone suddenly hates you. You, of course, have your supporting army, your own Anthill Mob, old students, fellow writers and maybe a goodhearted hooker or two. Charlie still has a sheen. But I have an enemy. What did the enemy have for breakfast today? Where does he sleep? Is he a drinker like me? Does he have a master? For years, I strove to be a master, but at Trinity College, all I seemed to achieve was a C. "The Polish mark," says my friend Stashiu. And yet, there was some slight vanity in graduating....At least from the former Ryerson Pyromaniacal Institute. And achieving standing at that institution with all the trees a wasps. "Teacher-smeecher" goads the Portuguese guy wanting to argue. And yet I have an enemy. this time it's in entertainment. I had finished a set. There had been applause, especially from the blacks in the audience. I asked the owner for a beer. He must have been a music critic, because he said "you can't have another beer. You are unsteady on your feet, and, by the way, you are smoking." Darn. I knew I had an enemy.This guy is standing on my neck, or wants to. He seemed to ignore the black guys when they piped in, "Play that funky music White Boy." Taking a line from old Woody Allen, "Some people have the insight and sensitivity of the average tree trunk. " I ask again. "Is he blind, lazy, or just stupid? Nah. Just an enemy.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

That Old Master Painter From the Faraway Hills?

A difficult bit of editing/rewriting. Here is how the script came in. Both Detroit writer Mark Durfee and I agreed that it was inchoate, that is to say, really undeveloped writing:

 "Yesterday, on a day when she was particularly beautiful, a Montreal woman, the fervor of her spectacularly vivid eyes outlined in eyeliner by God, held me spellbound when she told me there was more to feminine beauty than a fabulous look. To me, reaching maturity in the world’s greatest newsroom, I thought I ought by now to be immune to explosions of great beauty. In the world of beautiful women one could see such women every day: at fashion press conferences, in the great hotels, in the magazines, on the Internet, possibly even across from you at breakfast. By now, I thought, beautiful women ought to be as natural to the male eye as sex. But then, to me, women are never just natural. They happen to be a phenomenon."
Here is how I rewrote the first paragraph, hoping to place powerfully felt emotions, at least the writer's emotions as I sensed them, on the printed page, trying for elegance and tact.

"Rebecca appears before you through the steam while you are rolling around in your old mahogany- supported porcelain bathtub, the kind with brass claws attached, filled almost to the top. A a feeling of warmth and fuzziness. Images of Rebecca. Rebecca, her 1920's Vogue face, the bobbed hair, a Drew Barrymore fallen into the rye one September day, swallowed, almost drowned like you in the warm comfort of your antique bathtub...(  Writer Alfred Warkertin: Don't take offence. Says old writer Norman Podhoretz that after executing good writing, you almost want to go off and masturbate. Says a pal, Yeah. It shows in some of Podhoretz' writing. Maybe it's showing in my attempt at editing. :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Stephen. You are leakey.

There has been a spate of documentaries on public television of late. Evolution, yes. And generations of Leakeys, "leakeypants" and maidens in middens. And the august Dr. Suzuki seems to think there were hobbits in Malaysia. This led me to research tirelessly until, with scrupulous scholarship, I came across this comment on one of the scientific papers. Speaking of evolution, why is it that girl's bums look like peaches? Is it for the same reason that bananas look like dicks? # posted by Jagd Kunst : Wednesday, March 08, 2006 The quest for truth. We flinch not, neither do we falter. If you don't know peaches, you don't know dick. And I don't know Llamas from lamas. But watching the behaviour of those cute lamas, I would surely address them as "your horniness."

Sunday, May 06, 2012

A DREAM

A DREAM He saw today, in his own eye Yesterday's reflection of the pyramid on whose west face there was a sliver of a shaft. In his own mind's eye he descended the shaft, which seemed just wide enough for a man to crawl or fall through. He had the sense of falling as he slid uncontrollably down this shaft. Along the shaft's wall were suddenly Egyptian hieroglyphics and images of the various gods. He kept descending, his downward hurtle occasionally braked for some moments by his loose clothing. down down down. Down towards the paintin of jackal-headed god Anubis, beneath which was a lower painting seemed more like the image of a minotaur . The minotaur had an embarrassed look as if he had been dead and now unceremoniously summoned, and like the dead of the past, he seemed embarrassed by the living. The minotaur turned away from the descending man, trying all the while, to cover the huge bull-like balls that he had. There seemed no need for a sword, but the man keps sliding lower and lower, down beneath the god images and he knew, even if he were to wake up, the images would stay with him forever.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Blogger has changed. I can't access the old Blogger, neither can I try the new. Fok it. I knew I should have stayed a shepherd.
In this age of the average nerd, I feel, that even here I'm losing. Almost every month there is an innovation, even in blog space. My philosophy prof used to chide, "No more gadgets! But I fear he to will end up an app. Blogger format has suddenly changed.Again. I don't know where this blog will end up. Perhaps in what they used to call File Thirteen in the old days, the wastepaper basket? ...But there is no basket today. You just delete. I am at the age and stage when common sense will again take over.
Seriously, I should be a shepherd.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

ivan has an enemy.


Suddenly, I realize through the ether of emails, bureacracy and government, that I have an enemy.

Does the enemy know what sort of person he stalks? Is he blind, lazy, or just stupid?

You know you have an enemy when simple, routine things are suddenly very difficult to do...It's like the feeling you have when you're separated.
Suddenly you get no mail. The government wants to know you social security number where you've had one for years, and can't the dweebs see it on you income tax return or past correspondence with you. Somebody has given you a problem withe paying your bills; there is no acknowledgement and you get final notices on bills you had paid months ago. It is suddenly hard to get a job in the media. You think it's paranoia... but for sure, a man with a Fedora hat and a dated Lincoln rolls down his window and yells, "The sweetest sound I can hear, Ivan, is your GO bus leaving town."

"Of course you have an enemy, Ivan. I have too," says the new girlfriend. "We have IQ's of a hundred and forty. We can make things out of wire and wood, quote entire passages and write some of our own. People hate us.

(Well, maybe she has a genius IQ, but mine is at about the leven of a mildly retarded high school teacher).

In any event, she, goes on, "People hate us because we can animate things, make them sing and dance....Like conjure artists, like performance artists."

Myself, I hate words like "creative" or "empowered," but I guess that's what she meant.

Nevertheless the enemy is playing with my empowerment. Artistic power, of course, always bows to financial power, but then you have the truth on your side, and everybody, all compromised long ago, seems to hate you.

You, of course, have your supporting army, your own Anthill Mob, old students, fellow writers and maybe a goodhearted hooker or two. Charlie still has a sheen.

But I have an enemy.

What did the enemy have for breakfast today? Where does he sleep? Is he a drinker like me? Does he have a master?
For years, I strove to be a master, but at Trinity College, all I seemed to achieve was a C. "The Polish mark," says my friend Stashiu.
And yet, there was some slight vanity in graduating....At least from the former Ryerson Pyromaniacal Institute. And achieving standing at that institution with all the trees a wasps. "Teacher-smeecher" goads the Portuguese guy wanting to argue.

And yet I have an enemy.
I imagine him in his 1940's hat and reptilian appearance. He keeps driving by and says, "When are you leaving town, Ivan?"

The Hat Man.

Maybe I've got a psychosis.

But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean he isn't out to get you.
But one is eccentric. A fool is a powerful figure on the board, because you don't know what he is going to do next.

Take that, Hat Man.
Knock your lid off.

Monday, April 09, 2012

The day Ivan took a job, any job, and found even his lovemaking mechanical




Life has a way of knocking you on your derriere when you come too close to the ring, and just as my website was succeeding into making me something of a local star, I ran out of money and was forced to take a job as a deliverer of auto parts.

The reception wasn't too bad. They all seemed to know me at Shanahan Ford around these parts, but after seeing me for the third time, head and feet sticking out from a load of mufflers and exhaust pipes, the thrill was gone. The same thing at 400 Auto Wreckers when I decided to take an asthma fit right outside the office because of leaks in my ancient delivery vehicle. Feeling Not so much like a gassed Kurd, but more like something of a turd, I soldiered on after the wreckers brought me to.

There is a line out of old Beverley Hillbillies that goes like: You're an artist, you have to suffer. Boy, are you going to suffer when you find out that the construction crew screwed up and dumped cement not at your poolside, but all over your new BMW.

Story of my life.

Just like MAD's version of "Prince Violent", I somehow always manage to "pick up bow, drop quiver, pick up quiver, drop chainmail pants."

John Cleese: For every success, there is a corresponding failure.

Hey, I'm not complaining.

Thanks partly to Jeff Mitchell's excellent writeup on me in the Era-Banner hereabouts, the name "Ivan Prokopchuk" shows up in a lot of GOOGLE places from here to New York City, where the new McLuhan, Douglas Rushkoff has reprinted a riff or two of mine.

Lots of stuff about old Ivan on other websites too. Again, Jeff Mitchell got me started, while an able son looked after the technical end.

Not bad for a scribbler who had hoped at one time to write some soft porn and get the Ukrainian vote too, though Ukies are really quite conservative. The title? Naked Came the Ukrainian. I still think it will sell....You publishers out there, will you take a used novel from this man?
And yet I still have to work for a living.

Having had too good a time in the Sixties, I am not too hot as an executive right now. Gaping psychedelic holes in my head; short attention span. At least I can deliver parts.
"You've got it all ass backwards," says my friend Jackie Playter as she watches me struggle with a stubborn GM Astro that had lost its tailpipe. Presumably, she means I should get back into writing or politics, where I belong.

Christ, have you ever tried politics, especially municipal politics. Some of the tree huggers and AIDS activists should try it when they're not so righteous about global warming and all that.
Municipal politics in Ontario? The Mafia will kick your ass and call you a ........cker
Which I probably why I am reduced to dropping off auto parts.

Yet there is something mildly grand about being a speedy mercurial figure, a Hermes or Mercury(sometimes indeed driving a Mercury) on winged Adidas feet, dropping parts all over the world, right hand extended to the heavens to display a NAPA symbol.

One day, at a NAPA party, I won a thirty-pound ham.

Knocked off my perch as a pro, yes, but was it ever nice to eat regular!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Zany Barrack room memories on a Good Friday.




I must apologize, I suppose, for having a military background. It gave me some rough edges and certainly irreverence by the time I finally smartened up and got into university as a mature student. But I miss some of he barrack room humour. A lot of it was sacriligious, and maybe that was the charm.

Sample.

A dialogue:



"Into the bushes!"

"But I'll scream.


"How loud can you scream?"

"eek."

"Into the bushes."

"But "I'm in the family way."

"You're in everbody's way. Into the bushes"

"But I'll tell the vicar."

"I am the vicar. Get into the bushes!"

"But I'm only thirteen."
"I'm not superstitious. Get into the bushes."

But it's good Friday."

"It's good any day. Get into the bushes!"


Hm. Well over seventy I worry about jejune humour.

But it seemed so funny then.

And, heh,have a Good Friday.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Hallucinating like Clark Kent with the flu.





"I feel drunk but I'm sober
I'm young and I'm underpaid
I'm tired but I'm working,
yeah

I care but I'm restless
I'm here but I'm really gone
I'm wrong and I'm sorry
baby
What it all comes down to
Is that everything's gonna be quite alright
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is flicking a cigarette"

--Alanis Morisette



Heaven forbid the talented lady should be playing with herself, but that's pretty well my mood on this full moon--got one hand in my pocket and the other is flicking a cigarette.

"Have you ever been crazy, Ms. Morrisette?" a Toronto reporter asks.

"Sure. Lots of times."

"And how do you deal with that?"

"You just walk through it."

Well, that was the wild and talented Alanis.



Well, over here its not just crazy, but one hell of a bout with the flu. I am, like a carricature of "Clark Bent" in vintage MAD Magazine, I am bent, old, coughing and hobbling from spittoon to garbage bag while seeming to obsessionally mutter, "Lois. Only you, Lois."

But like the lampooned Clark Bent, I too have some time ago been given a backhander from my own Lois Lane, with the explanation, "Get lost, creep!"

"But I'm sick with the flu."

"Die, Bastard."

Well, that's what happens when you cheat on Lois Lane, who even up till now, has no idea that you might be Superduperman. And would it make a difference? "Get lost, creep."

So, home alone. Sick and home alone.

Thankfully, there are still friends, but it's more like out of the Book of Job. I am figuratively sitting on my dung hill, more like "'bring-up mountain" as I leave flukers in the garbage.
Seems in my sick state, the next hill, might as well be Broke Back Mountain, since I've had no luck with women of late.

So, into the liquor cabinet for a rum and coke.


"I feel drunk but I'm sober
I'm young and I'm underpaid
I'm tired but I'm working,
yeah"

Well, certainly not young and underpaid. More like not paid at all. I haven't sold a story in years, and my creditors are getting restless...And now feeling kind of dead. The flu is starting to give me hallucinations. I am in Mexico. I am in Texas. I am in Copenhagen with some great Danes. Oh for the taste of that ten per cent FAXE beer...And you can't get it in Nemarket today because I swear somebody has run off with the imported beer truck. I tell the lady at the beers store, "The FAXE, just the FAXE, ma'am."

And she says there ain't none. Somebody has held up the shipment.

"You mean I now have to drink Molson's or some other Ontario tribute to the chemical industry?
"You could try CREST, from England."

"But that sounds like a toothpaste."

"It works for me, she says as she very deftly throws a beer case to a top shelf.

So I settle for the big bottle of Labatt's the 1.16 litre one.

Settled in between couch and spittoon I wait for the flu to pass.

But this one is especially virulent. I am visited by hallucinations, time travel, images out of Deepak Chopra. I am in several places at the same time.

Man, this can't be the flu. I am having too good a time.

"Who do you work for, John?
"For the Grand Maison?

And who is Grand Maison?

Labatts, Labatts,Labatt's.

There's got to be some kick in that Canadian beer.

With the hallucinations and the strong beer, I feel like a Chicago heroin addict.

"When dad horse kicks you..."

I swear somebody has tampered with that big bottle of beer.

But what the hell. What a kick.

I hope it kicks the crap out of the flu.

Magoo.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

elegiac poem



It's a San Miguel Sunday morning in central Ontario.
Smell of woodsmoke, lonely bells, and someone outside chopping at something in the yard. Chopping wood, having a spit at hands and back to working on the block. A sound of a McCulloch chain saw. And then silence.
You can smell the smoke, but it is not pungent like the brush and mesquite in Mexico.. It is hemlock and pine (Ontario cactus and Chaparral?)

But it might as well be San Miguel this smoky morning, ageless Mexican hill town, my town in Canada old too with telltale Indian trails and still-standing hemlock trading trees, where once Chippewas had come along the Holland river in canoes, some still wet, from the rapids, stripping down, slapping their breechclouts against the old maple that had served as the trading post for Indians on their way to the big mart in Toronto.
There is somehow a sense of of lost continuity. Your continuity. Divorced, and living on the edge of the Canadian shield. The soul trying to catch up with the body, Christ untouchable because He is in- between dimensions. Cagier this time, but still trans-dimensional, oxymoronic somehow, like the Devil in Dostoevsky, who was a time traveller too. And had offered his excuses. "When God struck down all the rebellious angels, I at first applauded.
"But now I'm shabby and bourgeois."
Christ never shabby or bourgeois.

Sunday morning in Ontario.
I hear bells, but no. It is a jarring sound. There is a fire drill in my apartment building. Everybody lines up.
Sleep still in their eyes.

There are no fire drills in San Miguel.
Only occasional Sunday morning gunshots.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Never having to say I'm sorry?




When a writer plagiarizes himself, he's in trouble. So I'll save myself trouble by plagiarizing somebody else.

Here is something tragicomic I stole last summer from a blog titled Sex, Drugs and Bacon Sandwiches.


I is very, berry sorreeeeeeee... Forgivz me?


I’ve been a bad girl. A very, very bad girl.

Dear Los Squangeles,
We met after some random texts and a long train journey. It wasn’t long before we’d shared some scarily crazy nights out, a bed, a hangover and a hatred for crappy lesbian porn. Our friendship was cemented.
The last time I came home I promised that we’d meet to dabble in some more of the above. After you arranged to take the day off work you checked with me a squillion times and a squillion times I said I’d be there…
However, when the day came I did what I do best - A disappearing act. I got completely caught up in whatever woman I was doing at the time and totally forgot about the woman I should’ve been meeting. I was a cunt.
You sacrificed a days holiday which I’m sure you would have appreciated taking on another day, you cancelled plans with your friends and to cement my cuntness I did this to you on your birthday weekend.
I nearly wrote a paragraph of excuses but I have none that suffice.
I’m sorry. A LOT.
Love,
Sex, Drugs and Bacon Sandwiches

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Because of a Bureacratic snafu, thanks to the Ontario Liberals influencing Revenue Canada, I am not entitled to get an early tax rebate cheque on rent


Because of a Bureacratic snafu, thanks to the Ontario Liberals influencing Revenue Canada, I am not entitled to get an early tax rebate cheque on rent taxes I have alread paid. They say wait. We know what is best for you.

Here is my letter to a good friend, who may be able to help:


Jackie,

I always have held the Liberals to be the natural ruling party of Canada...And who really doesn't like Bob Rae?

However, provincially, it's that carpetbagging McGuinty who lately opened a war against the poor. The poor (and pensioners) are not allowed now to get income tax rebates right away, this month, February on their rent. The nanny state of Queen's Park seems to think that if yo...u get your rent rebate early (as most of the poor try to do)--you will probably just fritter it away, or, (horrors!) just spend it on drugs.
So Queen's park has convinced Revenue Canada to spread the anticipated rent rebate over the entire year, in a series of monthly cheques....A new bureaucracy will have to be created for this. Talk about Parkinson's Law!

Every month now (but starting in July!) poor people will get ther rent rebate in tiny cheques of some $62.OO instead of a lump sum of about eight hundred dollars, which is usually a good perk for poor people at this time of year.
Queen's Park seems to say, "Whadaya, whadaya? You get your heating rebate, your HST (hates sales tax?) and combined GST...So stop your bellyaching about not being able to get your rent rebate right away, like the rich people who are, after all people!

So we unwashed are forbidden to claim income tax rebates on our rent, which is pretty high in the first place--like about the full extent of a pension cheque every month! As for those on Ontario Works, egad! Hopeless.
But don't you dare claim a tax rebate on your rent, you unwashed rabble!

It was not my idea to be a starving artist.
Through a divorce, my wife had a better lawyer than I did.

So I am now among the unwashed. Heh. Among the filthy, filthy too....And I can't get my rent rebate because Mr. McGuinty has decided on a nanny state, which knows better than us on how to spend our money. "Tough Luck, Henry muck. You can't get your rent rebate until July. You will then get a whole 62.00.

A two-tier tax system for rich and poor? A new bureaucracy to administer it? Yep.

......So much as I am a fan of the Federal Liberals, the Provincial Liberals remind me of canal water. Every so often there is suction. And we the poor get washed away in the tide.

....Sorry to sound so dour. I had intended to buy an old car with my rent rebate money. Now, thanks to Premier McGuinty, I will be driving "straight eights, or Hush Puppies for some time!
I eagerly await the sixty-six bucks, come July.

Hoo-Ha.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Robert Fulford, critic emeritus: Please attack me viciously in your next column


An open letter to Robert Fulford, culture critic emeritus, Toronto, Canada.

Dear Robert Fulford,

I am an obscure writer from Newmarket, Ontario. We have at different times crossed paths, but yours has always been the lucky and achieving way. I have watched your rise while at the Toronto Star, and certainly well before. And your recognition! Migod, you have more honorary degrees and published material than I today at my age have grey hairs.

Robert Fulford, I have asked favours of you before, but you were alsways sort of hard to light when it came to being a torch bearer for the likes of an upstart graduate of a technical university once jokingly called "Ryerson Pyromanical Institute", now a full blown institute of higher learning.
I do have a smugness about my alma mater. I at least earned my degree legitimately, but you got yours on sheer brilliance and writing ability, for which I, of course, hate you.

Robert Fulford, I would like to ask a favour of you.

In your next column of the National Post, will you attack me viciously as a bad writer, a fraud and a mountebank, hardly worth any ink at all?

I will certainly not sue.
An attack by an important critic is no small thing. Such attacks, say, in the New York Times, have, more often than not, led obscure writers like me to best-sellerdom.

Mr. Fulford, what have you got to lose?
Call me a pischer, call me a schmuck, but don't call me ignored.

Yours sincerely

Ivan Prokopchuk, B.A.A. (legitimately earned).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Commies are after our body fluids, Mandrake!



I fear that the older I get, the more I'm becoming like the body fluids man out of old Dr. Strangelove, "Body fluids, body fluids, Mandrake. There is a Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious
bodily fluids, Colonel.
"We must preserve out body fluids. I have to be like a Commie...Ever see a commie drink water, Mandrake?" That's because he's preserving his body fluids."

Well, you can immediately see that I am completely sane, like General Jack D. Ripper, who would not even add tap water to his vodka for mix. Gotta preserve our body fluids, Mandrake. Booga-booga!

Actually, it's more prosaic than that.

Even though retired, I sometimes take on projects way too big for me, like editing somebody's thousand- page novel, and then kidding myself, as to being able to could actally finish the job in a weekend.
So I've got to sort of hoard my energy like a miser. Heh. Can't lose those mental fluids.
Seriously though, I suddenly seem to have more work than I can handle--and I'm supposed to be retired....And I do most of it for a song (no wonder former wifey said I had no business head!)...It's just that I love torturing and arranging words. There is probably a diagnosis of the condition--enough that one is a word freak, that is to say a writer. And we are all freaks.
To reverse the condition all our influences would have to be taken apart, even our addiction, probably to that consistent bestseller, the Bible.... Like you'd have to apply some common sense -- Thirty-something Jeshua never sticks to his trade, doesn't marry Martha, wants to become a revolutionary from the building trades. He rattles the establishment. As in Palestine of old, he probably could not make it in America today. He might end up getting offed!

So not having any particular messianic tendencies (at least I think I don't), I gotta preserve at least, my mental body fluids.

So I'm taking a little time off.
Editing a thousand-page novel is a Herculean task, perhaps too herculean for my narrow shoulders, but hell, the blogger must monlight or starve.
Why does one ever become a professional writer, why, why, why?
...Because of too much success in your twenties.
You thought you could keep it up forever, you thought you could have eternal life as a writer.

Seriously, what did you expect. Eternal life?

Oh the cons of the ages. And we con ourselves into thinking we can make a conistent living as writers.
Would have been better of as evangelists, probably.

Turn on the TV late at night and you'd think Jesus is still alive as you and me.

And the preachers seem nuttier than Gen. Jack D. Ripper.

De Debbil is after out body fluids, Mandrake.

And I think I'm losing my mind as well. :)