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O is for oxygen


I find it hard to breathe (I tell you)
I find it hard to breathe
I find it hard to breathe (Lord lord)
why is it so hard to breathe

The words come heavy
My words come hard say say
My words come heavy
with what little breath I breathe

I find it hard to tell you
don’tcha look at me
I’m sucking I tell you
I find it hard to breathe

My wife and my children
My brother and my sister
You are the finest family
you love me you true me

my friends, my family
I should listen to you
you all bring me  oxygen
one more time, singing

a-singing our sweet oxygen
oxygen blues singing we all sing
we all sing the sweet oxygen blues.

spoken: What do you mean nothing rhymes with oranges?
Hah! There you go.    










My Secret Life

luddle luddle luddle my Saturday goes
closing my eyes holding my nose
luddle luddle ludle my Saturday goes.


the more I stand the taller I am
backyard neighbours growing weed
the more I stand the more I see/d


hallucinations our topic for today
never quite certain I fall to my knees
my shoulders hurt of that I am sure
the wheels I turn r/evolve/r around me


piece of toast crust that’s left
ignored cat snores back to me
invent how he sounds
now imagine again
what our hearing aids


Kat Kai snores his back to me
his collar loaded with GPS
he is old and comfortable
not much lost he figures
there’s snow

” There’s actually a web page saying that ruminations are bad for you, providing a list of distractions to make sure you don’t slip into depression.




“I am abject, that is mortal and speaking”

Powers of Horror,  An essay on Abjection,  Julia Kristeva, Columbia University Press, New York, 198

“I am abject, that is mortal and speaking”[1]
 I actually met Julia Kristeva in Toronto the day the Blue Jays won the world series. Her texts, translated in to English, (I know no French), provide the basis for most of my thinking and writing about language and desire, abjection and depression. Here let me show you.

Lights dim

  SCREEN ABJECT A (Short Cut) The first 2 minutes I thought


         Ah. Open wide. Aha. Ada. Da.

 Abasement:  For her gaze, for her touch, I will do anything.
She treats me like shit. She loves me. She loves me not.
My mouth is full of it, hard as it is
to get my tongue around it.


            is for amulet, is for ankle, a is for amputation

            Cast off cast off, donated for a prosection, (see also percentages under P)

I call the new surgeon to replace my ankle with a titanium joint, reach only an answering machine, Wait is the answer; six to nine months, wait for ever – a lesson my father left me in his dying. He read his Bible.  I read Beckett. We reached the same conclusion though I’m not finished yet. See also V .

I could be dead tomorrow my mother used to say to invite a visit, but and there I was next to her as she lay dying. I wrote The Dead Mother, after Barthelme’s The Dead Father, in the fall’s Labour Day Three Day Novel Writing Classic years ago. The Dead Mother was buried first. I was unprepared for the weight of the casket and stumbled, straightening up hearing her say from inside the casket “straighten up!” [2]
My depression lifted after her coffin was laid in her concrete vault. I was the only person at graveside to catch the typo on the lid of the vault being lowered into place by the backhoe. ENNF not ENNS.  I joke when asked to spell my last name that it is spelled E double N S,  but the E is silent.

The  poem “The Walnut Cupboard” about my mother’s passing (one poem in the sequence, ‘Further on up the Road,” nails it.).  “My Father’s Garden” about his dying and death was also included in the book “Lucky Man,” published in 2005. My father died in 2006. 


is for Annihilation


To begin again with a clean white
sheet no skid-marks, no siree!

The cleaner and his moustache are steam cleaning
the floor in the hallway, clean clean I tell you.

God is in his closet with his vacuum suction
a blow hard, in reverse. Bye by canary.

My eye-sight is hindered by scratches on my glasses
witch em up for a singled focus to eyeball my computer

brilliantly flashing shrapnel of my last Freudian visit
hoorah hoorah for psychotherapy for day to day it will do

Psychoanalysis, like God and my mother, have been laid
to rest in the riverbank, or is that too easy, what if

the score of y/our life was written on musical staves
with repeats (divorces say) codas, solos and encores
                                                                 make my throat sore

Too full for emptying my thinking lets loose a scream
not heard in nature, weeding out the bad words
                                                                   right to the first ever

turd on the run[1]

Anal ysis
Well GeeZ, there is no Jesus;

shot out of a canon[2]

high lilly hi low.







[1] What a banal finish


[2] Here we are again, one n or two?



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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.