The Letter P


The uncomfortable mattress. The wet bed. P is for the peas my father refused to eat any more after my mother died. P is for pear orchards in the old country P is for pear in the palm of your hand.

is for penis worn to left or to the right. P is for prick of the needle seaming pants.


is for poetry,  a voiding fiction.

is for prayer, thought activated universal server. 

Psychoanalysis:         Fire the alcohol on the wound.
                                           Sliding into home. Hold the poem.

Pyre:                           Died, owes bed. 


P is for POSER

Poser is most certainly ONE accurate description of me we. If we contain multitudes, we must be posers sometimes, we and me.I am ashamed of some of my poses and harm done. I trusted my good friend who was living with me in my parents’ house so we could walk to university.  He kept my secret embarrassing run away to Toronto, St Claire & Young, to himself when I fled with my typewriter, my money for university, and my horn for fame and fortune.  My first major pose as a dumbass. I was so naïve I still can’t believe I got dates.

I was a drunken choir director when I got back, having prepared for the part by playing Simon Stimson in “Our Town” in high school. 

I was called on my rock n roll pose, two real long hair hippie freaks knocked on my door in residence and gave me a rough time about my druggie pose, which went as far as writing the names of drugs like heroin and LSD on a sweatshirt parading around our Christian school.  I never wore it again after their informative visit. Though I tried LSD once before Grade Nine, even then butterfingers dropping one windowpane tab on the driveway.

 I tagged along with my brother, 8 years older than me and every once in a rare while he’d let me tag along to the Manitoban student newspaper where I would pose as an “agent for social change,” and journalist for nearly a decade. Once brother took me to the “commune house” heavy with weed smoke playing Santana loud enough to blow the cover grill off the big speakers they used in the living room. I went to hear Santana again just a few months ago and the 74-year-old brat had the nerve to complain that it looked/felt like he was playing for a room of old people.

My best badass pose as a young man was JIMMY BANG, a declined Mennonite punk. Channeling his nasty energy and whisky into poems that were fodder for my writing workshop with Robert Kroetsch and my first (chap)book called Jimmy Bang Poems from “Pretty Vacant,” by the Sex Pistols, Mad Shadows by Marie-Claire Blais, and the Energy of Slaves by Leonard Cohen. Influences, for sure.  He keeps popping up. I am writing Jimmy Bang Blues Project Poems. 

Somewhere there is a real man who married three designers and had three kids, with his second wife, enjoying being a sober dad. Me We was successful as an arts administrator which most friends and enemies (if begrudgingly) agreed was my strength. When my body began to fall apart, my third marriage did too.

Credulity is often the toughest test for a disabled person. The idea me we would fake disability seems patently ridiculous because its costs, usually loaded with pain and inability, are overwhelming. I tell the story in more detail elsewhere in the Look Show but neither my parents or my GP believed my hip could possibility hurt so much I really couldn’t walk, sometimes falling to my knees and crawling in tears. (Sounds like a purple pose, not?)  

This, apparently, to my parents and jovial GP, was just an attention getting act, a pose, because I was having “adjustment problems,” adapting to my new school and our move to the city. The bitterness of not being believed by those close to me has been a wound that is easily re-opened in similar situations. I was in hospital for two weeks, as they straightened my leg with 10 lbs of traction and then three four-inch screws to keep my hip joints heal in proper places. Just this summer I was considered an addict instead of managing my pain with the minimum dose of opioids. They nearly killed me and wee. 

IN 2018 Me we couldn’t fake my amputation.  I earned the “advantages” of being visibly disabled, though waited too long to apply and earn a disability pension. Being sober seems no longer a pose

After my third divorce I was driving to see my brother in the International Peace Gardens when my van broke down. In the tow truck drive on the way to Brandon the driver looked at me after a bit of talk and said, “you look as if you feel really beat down.” I was checking singles dating sites but had little luck, because as one woman responded, “you are so broke and broken, Victor!” So yeah not a beat poet, just plain painfully beat down. 

I switched to the Disability Dating sites with more luck, chatting with people who were more like me. Michelle Hewitt took a chance on me. She has Multiple Sclerosis we joke when she has pain well at least “it’s just MS.” My heavyweight arthritis gives me more pain than most people can or at least want to imagine. Well at least “it’s just arthritis,”  and osteoarthritis not even rheumatoid.

Grading pain. It’s garbage man, really. The problem persists, that is “how much does it hurt….”8 out of 10” oh c’mon how can it?, it’s just degenerative disc disease. Have you tried cortisone shots. My pain right now before my pain meds and meditation is 4, and will recede to 3 in an hour. Being in pain every day is not a pose. I woke one morning and realised I was not ever going to have another day without pain. 

I carry my diagnoses and x-ray results in my backpack on my wheelchair to prove it. I’m not a self-i-d-r. But why do I feel the need to prove how much it hurts. Thanks to Canada Council; for the opportunity to show you in LOOK at my story, mostly a story of my pain, interpreted by a dozen great Winnipeg artists, Misguided Angel is stuck trying to escape the pain in this room. Jimmy Bang gets another send off, in the incredible triptych The Ascension of Jimmy Bang by my collaborator Murray Toews.

Art captures poses. Making art allows me to create something that did not exist before I thought of it. I need to create to stay alive.

POSTURE Posted January 23, 2023

I am sitting with good posture. My feet bare flat on the grownup.
I notice a blister or a boil developing on my ass, a distraction.
Sit up and the food will go down, swallowing is observed
Tools for eating will not catch a fish but can  turn it to mush.

I am seriously depressed, but only for part of the day. Hilariously depressed
would look like nobody I know. Robin Williams. Do suicides count. Last doremember being saved by Michelle calling 911 in time before I aspirate my supper. Still no psychiatrist. What do I have to do to be a patient with you.

The ceiling is white even when you hear the stretcher bed pound along
under me there is no sound I can imagine Dylan singing “There must be
some way out of here.” All joker, me all teeth. I’m sucking my breath
the vacuum cleaner broke the canary’s neck, now I shit every time I cough.

  • I’m told to cover my mouth. Turns out I was I am dying on that turn
    but the worst that can happen is I can make somebody else sick
    behaving, being good for the doctor is as important as it ever was
    do not present your dark side, dude, sit on the sunny side of life.


From the Manifestos

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 content to benefit Manitoba 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 blank face a with Blistexed smile
  • see willingness to take chances as courage
  • see high expectations
  • see leading as bullying
  • see a lack of humility, unseemly in a defectiv

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 being a rude dude, 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.
  • don’t believe my pain requires opiods to turn a niner
    to under fiver, to gain “fair control” of how much it hurts, because
  • I am not worthy, and nothing will be lost if I don’t write another word.

I project doctors:
are unbelievers, writing their own stories from my body
they see second hand in lab tests and digital images
many times I have had to push, prepare research papers
with bibliography for them to look again to look and listen more closely to touch me.
don’t want to see how opioids reduce my pain to a level in from a niner to a fiver, with 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 pound

I 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.





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