Breathing we all learned in choir, and when I was taking trumpet lessons, I was told how to stand properly and draw my breath from my balls. He was a Canadian Forces band leader. Our Mennonite choir director had more acceptable words for the always co-ed choirs. But breathe. I do.

Me floatingI nearly died July 19th, 2022.  My dosage for a major prescription change was bungled. My wife noticed I was barely breathing, yes at 4:00 in the morning,  and couldn’t wake me. She phoned 911 and I was rescued. I was intubated and my wife was told it was unlikely I was going to make it, did I have my DNR. No.

The team was frustrated but went back to work and saved my life. As to my DNR I would have said “it will turn-up.” As it was I spent six days in ICU in a medically induced coma, and another week on the ward. I left only when I could breath sufficiently (oxygen at 92) and swallow again with my throat.

There. Take a deep breath.That’s better. A character in a Christopher Durang play is asked What’s the Secret of Life? Always breathe, is the wise answer. I do the Jon Kabat-Zinn Body Scan Mindfulness meditation every day. He says that as long as you are breathing there is more right with you than wrong with you.  I give you the secret of life. Always breathe.

Not so original, but oh so necessary before we follow with desire and suffering, persistance and love.


There will always be someone who suffers more deeply, more righteously, more rigorously, more appropriately with higher levels of pain, with higher levels of accomplishment achievement than me; like the amputee running a super marathon across the Sahara desert. Good for you. Good for God!

Me how do I tell you about my puny sorrows, and even those have been commandeered by someone suffering more successfully than me and even yet from jahnt siede. Believe me, believe my pain, No matter. I agree Somebody has it worse. Sure. But believe you me when I tell you how much it hurts!

You share the story about the boy who used an axe to chop up the radiator hose his dad beat him with.  Pat commented on his father’s fury grown by his church and  by extension, then at least, his God as he wielded the strap.

I may have been strapped half dozen times, a practise that stopped when I was 13 and we moved to Winnipeg. Only twice did my father strap me black and blue. Both before I was sexually assaulted.

After we moved to Winnipeg in September of 1968 my parents would not believe my pain which had started earlier in the summer, they accepted our rotund and jolly GP’s word that nothing was wrong.

Maybe I  was having trouble adjusting to the move, the new school, was the missed diagnosis. No need for a specialist or a psychiatrist either, for sure.

Then one simple test 2 months later, and the GP knew what was wrong, I could not touch my left heel to my left buttock! later confirmed by  an X-ray, he had been wrong,


As the pain stopped in my hip it grew in my heart and in my mind.
My parents and I were through.

My parents are dead now. I have artificial hips now. (Pause). There is no saviour or science you need to believe that will help me with my pain, believe you me.

Believe I have tried every single remedy you want to offer;  life-style choice; resistance training, ice or ozone therapy, hormone therapy, pain medication,  psych meds, micro dosing psychedelics, eating kale, giiving up milk, magnetization, meditation, masturbation, (they say it increases your good endorphins)!

Always people want to help, you don’t want to feel helpless when you look at me. Fellow humans! Don’t even lift a finger. Believe! That’s is all. Please look me in the eye, please  Believe me! Look, I show you my pain. My hero Leonard sang “Please Don’t Pass me by,” I want you to look me in the eye, see and believe my pain.1

1 Of course you suffer too! Go write your own damn book, or read the first paragraph. I show you my suffering, you look That is all.


My desire drives me to work everyday, and it ain’t in no cadillac. I want
to say something. I want to write something. I want to read something. I want to make something. The Need for Wanting Always is the name Gertrude Story gave to a short story collection. Her desire was returned by the way of a muser who dictated the stories, well most of Gertrude’s stories. I can’t remember the dictator’s name.

It’s not the wanting that’s so much the problem, I’ve heard.  It’s becoming attached so you can’t let go. Makes sense to me like this…I want…I write a poem…as good as I can…then I let it go.  Desire is not the same as attachment, said the man with three ex-wives.

I advised an artist to give up on despair, not on making.  Get back to riding desire night to creation. You are god, the creator, the maker, you’ll never find a better job. Imagine, you make something using everything your desire gives you, to create. You put into the world something that didn’t exist before your wanting then thinking then making. Without desire your imagination withers. Argue if you like but I believe desire beats all.

Herbert Marcuse says somewhere in Eros and Civilzation, that making civilization is Eros sublimated, Thanatos thwarted. Otherwise like the Kills sing in Black Rooster:
“You just want to fuck and fight (down in the basement).” Argue if you like, but I think making is the ticket to civilization.

Without desire I will die, or want to die. I know while I am making, writing especially something new that didn’t exist just minutes before, I am most alive  in the sway of my free-ranging senses making, creating something new.

“If that last thing left you can do is to keep creating, creation will sustain you…. creation is life-sustaining.” I get this, put succinctly by Tom Allen on CBC speaking about Mahler at the end of his life. I hope my family and friends do too. 


There is a rumour I am a force of nature. Emphasis on the word force. I was introduced at a conference, by someone who felt I was relentless in my pursuit of more is more to benefit writers. A force of nature, she said; “Like hurricanes, tsunami, volcanos, earthquakes, prairie blizzards, tornados. You get the picture.”

Psychiatrists figure my persistence is a symptom of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), that once I have an idea I won’t let it go. I am compelled to complete whatever it is I turn my mind to. My mind gives me a lot to choose from, and there are many false starts. Unless people know me well others doubt my disability.


                                 I project people:
see high functioning
see achievements
see a blank face  with Blistexed smile

see willingness to take chances as courage
see high expectations
see both as bullying

                               see a lack of humility, unseemly in a defective

And so, others decide I must be well and malingering to get the benefits of disability. And so, others decide I must be well and malingering to benefit from my disability, like parking at the casino. They should walk a mile in my legs, braces, and shoes.

                                 I project:
People don’t see how broke and broken I am until they cross the street, not to be seen with such an old defective, stumbling behind my walker.
Doctors neither, many times I have had to push, prepare research papers with bibliography to get a test to reveal how broken I really am.


 People, including doctors don’t want to see how opioids reduce my pain to a level in which I can still function and contribute to my community. Opioids allow me “fair control” to work and to love.

I crawl from this wreckage, get up and stand again. I persist, pound for poundI am a heavyweight who tries to turn anger into energy. I don’t get mad. (Bullshit, says the poet.) (Don’t show it says the patient, says the writer.)
I don’t even get even. I persist to get what I want, because my wanting is desire. And desire creates all.  


I am not God, Jesus, or the Holy Ghost. So, love is the last of these manifestos.

I thought perhaps “be kind” would be enough, but  then I looked at my one word list of manifestos and I wanted, you know, an action word, one word, a verb no less and settled on love, all be it with Be Kind as a subtitle.

Lyle Lovett pretty much sums it up for me when he sings,
“I love everybody but most of all you!” Yes you, reader too,

As you make this book your book, as every reader does with every book. There is pleasure in the text says Barthes, and who am I to disagree. Let me make love to you with words, desire  begets all creation.

I love everybody including old girlfriends and ex-wives, all still living, and rumour has it,  happy without me. At last I’ve done something right. My sister is ten years older than me, riddled with arthritis. She has a room with a view of the sea, and she reads. Great bookclub meeting she told me today on the phone.

She has a fading husband, who has recovered well from a lobectomy. They agree his pain is way less than hers, but he is shakier and harder of hearing, they are kind to each other. My sister says “I can’t do much, but I can be kind.”

Now that Covid has let up and they are each three times vaccinated  they’ve started going out. She had a massage this morning and is scheduled for a CT scan of her spine, which will likely show degeneration, possibly greater than my own. We love each other, as I do my wife, my brother, my kids and grandkids. 

My story of new love begins on a disability dating site. Three emails in I asked if her clitoris worked. “..yyess, usually,” she replied hesitantly. I said; “I thought I might be too old for you, (I’m 65) but if your clitoris works, I think I might have a chance.

When may I visit?” What surprise is it that a writer would find desire with his tongue. We are big people with disabilities and love each other and enjoy sex. It happens.  Sex is not love, it is one route for desire, and desire begets all.

“Only connect,” said E.M. Forester. Reading, writing, making, ways in and out of this world with desire. Reader let me make love to you. And breathe.



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