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first cut-up of my own books*

Media can’t keep up with all the killing
car doors swing open on Portage Avenue
I do not find this reassuring though there are
days filled with ants and rot the wild geese are gone.
Inclined to the sky the Cockshut wheel reels in the blue
heaven by the kitchen window, I am on my way.

Watch the wind wave we’ve come at this
all wrong two children on foot scooters
notice I am short a foot my body says scream
taking my pain to bed, Oh Linda I see the machine
hidden fury behind pillars of love I want the highest
resolution the beam so hard to remove.




* I have a cut-up poetry manuscript in progress. Three sections. This one is from cut-ups of all my own books, my words in phrases, in a box dipped into randomly. The other sections include the first with War & Peace, Peace shall destroy many, Sexus, Naked Lunch. The middle one is to be announced later.

There is really nothing wrong with you. When can I see you next?

Yesterday I met two wonderful mental health professionals. The first was a female psychiatrist, my first woman psych and I believe there is more to know ab0ut being, Alive.She was very clear, “I don’t do psychotherapy depending what you mean. . I described the difference between two of my psychs in Winnipeg and was fine with what people now like to call talk therapy. That was possible she said, but  not psychoanalysis. Well I’ve been fortunate to have had something akin (selected as just a cool word.) to analysis in my life, but recently – say the last 20 years  have had talk therapy. It has been an important element of my mental heal practise (honest slip, really, word to be health) since 1985 along with medication, meditation (both daily) reading, listening to music and writing for and about my life. So we’d start in a month with a half hour by Zoom to see if it could work. I prefer in-person but it involves my power wheelchair, handicapped van, a carer to drive, so Zoom is easier, especially to introduce my wife, just at first  just.  to say hello.

I am writing to distract myself from the reality of our dog’s death. So this is a a scene and an example of my frustration with my doctors. I present well, though I talk too much. Not really a problem with talk therapy. But the medication issues  for pain management have been all centralized under addiction, and the second doctor is an addictionist, one different than a previous one that nearly killed me. A long story for some where else. My mental chemical balance, doesn’t. Finding the right meds since the last fail is harder now after spending a week intubated, and off all my meds, and another week in hospital. The two weeks in KGH has affected a good deal of how I think and how I an, but the meds are nearly sorted.. Ok this is the story


My carer takes me into the addiction centre (not visibly labelled as such) to the proper entrance to see my second doctor aboput pain management. We also have an appointment to put down our dog in our neighborhood at 4:30. This appointment runs from 3:20 to 3:50 downtown so just barely manageable as it is. The timing of my meds, and the stress of a second appointment both about the state of my brain was stressful. I presented well. “Honestly, I didn’t notice any stuttering or memory loss or forgetfulness” Because I can write about what actually happened with a writers’ touch, there is “nothing wrong with me”

Well you/I  are not to get more than  30 minutes of a doctors time. Especially on a Tuesday, when 5 Kelowna residents have ODed on the previous weekend. My brain makes stories, jokes, puns and is getting judgmental which is freaking me out a bit) but mostly I don’t stop talking, and often that applies to my writing (a digression like this happens always), but I left at 4 and he took me out the clinical space by the exit and away I went! Yeah, can you see the problem?

Exits are often not in the same space, visual space, from entrances. Especially mental health spaces. Some notion of privacy I think, and office traffic flow  planning maybe. I could not find my carer and walked around a bit and decided time was tight she was probably at the van already. Took the elevator and I could not find the van when I reach out doors (there’s a great Fran Liebowitz joke\” The great-doors?” The great out of doors is what I pass through between the hotel door and the cab.”)  This is where I try to explain my brain’s issue with being in the world. I never really know where I am in the world. So I exit the building, can’t find either van or carer. I take out my phone and start sending messages. They are ALL Not delivered. This I find out later has something to do with “AirPlane Mode” and our new carrier. So I sit beside the van, and yes the carer “turnips” and we are both glad. She hadn’t and couldn’t see me leave and so she stayed and waited until the meter was run out. And there we are, in a happy reunion. And after a quick cell phone lesson, homewards! So end of story. But I was disoriented, and lost in space, without meds (plan to be home by then etc) being able to tell anyone that asked.”Yes I am in Kelowna.” The street sign says what it has to say and disregards the rest. How can I possibly demonstrate my situation and distress to a doctor. It has happened before, and I’m getting better at waiting until I’m found.

Unfortunately to late to take our deer Deefer to the vet,  and a handicapped van is needed for my wife’s power chair…..but then our supper carer has come and found someway to get everybody back home to the Vet, including Deefer in a 4 door hatchback. I include a picture of DEEFER and  me in my powered chair and Deefer earlier this year.

I’ve just had my 4th vaccination “jab” today in a main floor refrigerator-white pharmacy. Same wonderful carer and no complications. The good news is I am learning how to successfully drive my powered wheelchair in and out of the handicapped van, which will take two powered chairs. We’ve done it, and are planning it again for a Guy Few concert with an R.M.Schaefer composition being featured. So to close this circle, I am writing twelve ghazals based on Schaefer’s 12 string quartets.And there will be some pictures as some work gets shown, presented and taped for later use in our Canada Council supported LOOK show, that has been postponed because o0f “the incident” as I now refer to my near death experience. Though Dr. John did point out that “life is a near death experience” is his later album about the disaster of Katrina and 9/11. I am writing this as a good deal of the southern coastal United DStated is being ripped apart by a hurricane. STOP. ALL ASSOCIATIONS AND DIS/ASSOCIATIONS. PLEASE!!! STOP!!! ok how about some poems then?


When I am nowhere
dissociating in a crowd
next to you is safest
relocated again.





December 24, 2021

The first 12 books that I remembered in the order I remembered them, revised.

The first 12 books that I remembered in the order I remembered them, revised.

The Bible – though I believe and say shit like “I’m such an atheist, I’m not an atheist,” and “God is dead, but sometimes I miss him,” the Book is the mythology I cut my teeth on lies under my writing like a buried bone
Little Lord Fauntleroy Gotta get out of this place! (Gretna) “Maybe I’m adopted and my real parents are English nobility.”
Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man (James Joyce), reinforced by the inspired reading of the opening passage by Joan Baez on her Baptism recording.
The Energy of Slaves – (Leonard Cohen), stripped down, whether laconic or angry, right on the money. It’s the only book I ever tried to shoplift. Tried, the keyword. Poor U of M Bookstore security lady felt so sorry for my 18-year old ass trying to steal a book of poetry,
she held it until I had the money to come back and buy it.
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (Michael Ondaatje)
The Diviners (Margaret Laurence) mostly because it was a damn fine novel about places I knew in my own country, but also because it was one of my mother’s favourite books that I saw her readings some Sunday mornings when she could have been in church. Also because she thought if Margaret Laurence “could use words like that,” I could too, when my Dad discovered Jimmy Bang Poems.
Field Notes (Robert Kroetsch)Still have a first edition of Seed Catalogue, but am particularly found of The Sad Phoenician, and The Poets Mother, the poem envoi (to begin with) the seed for the new envoi literary foundation or ELF (stayed tuned)
The Edible Woman, What’s not to like? I was in university, what it lacked in subtlety was mostly lost on me because of its clarity, and for god’s sake it was FUNNY. Insert Canadian Iron Man Contest joke here.
Under the Volcano (Malcolm Lowry), best description of leaving the garden for the abyss ever written. I’ve stopped reading it every October, my favourite reading of course on an October Ferry to Gabriola in 1979.
Ada Or Ardor: A Family Chronicle (Nabokov), I may have read Lolita first, but this is definitely my favourite Nabakov, introducing me to my lifelong fascination with “the family romance,” and a novel way of story writing.
Mad Shadows by Marie Claire Blais. Cohen and Blais introduced me to new writing and new ways of writing by Canadians.
The Waves by Virginia Woolf tied in to a rhythm of language that I love, pushed harder by Cohen and Blais who came after, but could be much angrier than Woolf, which also appealed to me in the seventies.

THE BOOKS ON THE LIST ABOVE fueled my desire as a writer from grade school to University. Especially University. I still opwn all these books many now 50 years later wh9ch I mention because I couldn’t attend the 50th Reunion  of my Grade 12 MCI Graduating class, with one or two exceptions I spent more time with any of these books than my classmates. To be fair, I have been back in touch with some with a hearty LOOKIE HERE! listing the books that I’ve written and have been published. The deadine was at a bad time I was busy NOT DYING for two weeks. The black white and red cover is from the 1940s but not quite a first edition. I have a poem. 2 actually.

Losing Malcolm

I’m sorry, Malcolm. I left you
 in the dim light of a Winnipeg bar

looking for the beauty
you said I would see if I drink

as you do, and I do
Malcom, see your beauty

Under the Volcano, towering above
he shabby Dollartown pier. I don’t remember

where I left you, or how much I tipped the waitress
who never ran after me, leaving your book

on the counter with my anti-depressant
slipped inside.  


Finding Malcolm

So I stop at the smoke shop to buy a cigar underground
after my conversation with George laying down my hardbound

Sourland. Joyce Carol Oates a guilty pleasure, part of my secret
ife like my conversations with George or with women

telling them they are beautiful, and they are, but unlikely
my dear wife would understand. She knows

there is not an unfaithful bone in my body. She does not know
I lost Malcolm in what I thought was the bar. So I can not

tell her that the clerk, noticing my book asked if I liked to read.
“ Why yes,” I said “I read a lot.”  He rummages under the cash register

and drops my 1947 Reynalds Hitchock Under The Volcano on Sourland,
and asks “You know this book?” “Yes,” I say, “it’s mine.”

He and Malcolm waiting me to make a counter offer. I accept, leaving
 an extra ten bucks for this year’s Day of the Dead, holding on

tight to the escalator railing, steel tongued steps
moving me and Malcolm to the light.








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I listen to music, read, write poetry and prose, and make videocasts, usually in collaboration with visual and media artist Murray Toews. I am a writer with disabilities, or a disabled writer, or a neurodivergent crip writer. You choose the point of entry for your reading;  there are no border guards.  The welcome mat is out. Stomp your feet and leave your shoes on. 

Love & Surgery (Radiant 2019) is my most recent collection of words about love and loss, including my below-the-left- knee amputation, my most visible disability. "Lousy cartilage genetics,"  the surgeon's note. Lucky for me no phantom leg pain. Disappearing cartilage makes for severe osteoarthritis. Real pain is now an everyday companion, but usually held back enough with meds and meditation, to allow for making poems, stories, jokes, aphorisms all true enough, remembering narrators are unreliable and writers make shit up. 

Afghanistan Confessions, poems in the voice of Canadian soldiers, was published in 2014, boy in 2012. Lucky Man (2005) was nominated for the McNally Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year award.