Looking for Look Shrapnel in sight

Coming Soon

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Looking for Look

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A POEM FOR SUNDAY

LEAVING BOISSEVAIN

I like how I smell when I wear cool blue deodorant
lying in bed listening to  girls with guitars rocking
this way rocking that way where was she last night
counting the tips at the end of her shift she was
listening to girls with guitars dishing the blues
Because there may be no tomorrow, or so my mother,
Susann with two ns, would say until the very day
I lay beside her and listened to her die she might have listened
to Patsy Cline when her man wasn’t at home but she would
never be out walking after midnight or writing letters
to old boyfriends  who died in uniform which her man Frank
conscientiously refused to wear; preaching love
in Lena and Boissevain,  taking prescription
amphetamines to keep awake driving home in the dark.

Published by Grain, Summer 2021.

 

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WHAT’S SUNDAY TO YOU

One  reason my mother married my dad. He was hot, but never on a Sunday!

Most families I knew in southern Manitoba growing up knew Sunday was a day of rest, for prayer & church, or a day to play. Things were different for preacher’s kids. When we were young there was very little money in the ministry, if any at all.  My father was a “Liebesprediger” which had several meanings depending  on who you talked to.

One was it that ministers preached for the love of the Lord, or the love of the job, but to preachers kids from last century it was because they were called by the Lord, or conned by the community to do it for free. To kids it usually meant less time with our fathers (That’s how it was, not how it should of been), and more work at home for the mothers, or if they wanted to do good volunteer for the church in several different ways to improve their husband’s chances for promotion.

My mother stood her ground and my father accepted a compromise which was to be a “Reiseprediger,” travelling minister, which meant travelling to every church in your district and occasionally others, because of their extra education,  ability with homilies, or a willingness to consider the Lord’s work more important than spending time with your family. Let’s not start with degrees of suffering from 1 to ten, Missionary kids had it way worse a 10, for many.

W-A-Y worse with parents putting their children in harms way to do the work of their Lord. I have no Lord, but I took all my kids to Sunday school for the basic stories and and yes, values or prejudices of other kids like them. One of my sons played in the worship band. I will spare you the story of “mental Health Sunday,” and my only appearance in a really prominent Winnipeg church pulpit.

Back to my mother. She was excommunicated from her Summerfelder church for marrying my father in the first place. She had acquiesced to farm with my father, which resulted, as as he expected,  in pain, having two children, and hardship, no earnings. They left farming my father always said because he wasn’t smart enough to be a farmer so he became a teacher instead.

My sibs who are 8 and ten years older than me had it the worst as our parents  returned to teaching, which was incredibly poorly paid. I came out of the chute in 1955 and my mother was asked to return to teaching in 1958 as the boomer kids began to need more teachers. Salaries went up, but not all that quickly. My father was worried the community would think he couldn’t support his wife. My mother told him they could fuck right off with a carefully folded snot rag. 

Two salaries still weren’t enough and in Gretna we had cows, chickens always a horse for us boys to learn responsibility;  dad loved to ride when he could cram a ride in-between preparing g a sermon, teaching, and raising food for us all. There was enough extra eggs and milk to earn another $2,000 or a bit more, pretty close to schoolteachers’ salaries. Sunday’s were hard for Dad because he had to prepare for school, and for preaching on Sunday sometimes hours away.

What my mother liked about this “Reiseprediger”  arrangement especially when we moved to Winnipeg in  1968-69, was having Sunday mornings, and sometime all day to herself.  This was when she read Margaret Laurence novels and wrote handwritten letters. She made this time for herself by cleaning the house from top to bottom, on Saturday,  conscripting whichever kid might not be teaching or taking piano lessons to help, baking bread, especially her “butter horn rolls” now known as crescent rolls, Platz, Plautie Pie before her weekly appointment held for her in a neighbouring suburb’s beauty salon to have her hair done. 

I have no hair or God that needed tending to. My father had both. You should read my story about his hair somewhere else in these pages. Sunday morning is nearly over. Here’s a poem about my father on his way home from serving the Lord in southwestern Manitoba. I’ll put it up front in another post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MY PENIS

My P***s Take 2 

Read More »

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P IS FOR PISSING and PROCRASTINATION

KYVIV PEEING STATUES 

from Wikimedia commons

from Piecers of my Mind/My Body in parts

MY PENIS take 2

for Andy Suknaski, my first encounter with a writer-in-residence at the University of Manitoba. 

I went to pee outside, in a trough leading to a hole in the wood portion of our fenced pasture, happy to pee standing up. We didn’t have indoor plumbing yet anyway.  I hear Andy Suknaski insist men piss, they  don’t pee, especially not in a barn. Andy, I was five years old. Still, he says. Ok.  Andy I went to the fence to piss like a man, happy to stand.  I realised, a second too late, that I didn’t tuck well enough, after I shook less than three times. In the twinkling of an eye

I caught my foreskin in the zipper, having exuberantly pulled to close. I screamed, and not knowing what to do, ran inside and found my mum
(Andy: ” You did what?!!!) I found my mum who assessed the situation, pinched the offending foreskin, then gave the zipper a quick and hard yank down. Relief was immediate, my sobs subsided. Mum tried hard not to laugh, turned her back, found a cookie, took a breath and handed it to me. “I’m sure you’ll be more careful next time.” Oh, yeah!

There was a time this summer fortunately photo and video free;  of a confrontation in the Kelowna General Hospital. That’s tomorrow, with the epilogue on Friday. Stay Tuned.

 

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P is for Pear from The Abject Alphabet

A is for abjection in my Abject Alphabet project by me, the mad phonetician. “A Poem of Pears” is a homage to Robert Kroetsch and his “Sketches of a Lemon” and his book The Sad Phonetician , which I was privileged to hear him read alive. There are a lot of alphabet poems recently the most stunning from my own reading is is A is for Acholi by OTONIYA J. OKOT BITEK.The email link is actually right to the Wolsack and Wynn bookstore. 

I despair ever writing the waves quickly enough to avoid being called an old codger, which rhymes with fuddy Duddy. Hopefully the Abject Alphabet, Always Breathe, Lookshowbook, and Listen Here! (Yup, that is four manuscripts, all in various provinces of composition), will slay me or the myth that I have passed my best before date,  to rest!

BUT YAY FOR TODAY! I am still working on the list of people to thank and details on various platforms will follow.

I am pleased to release another short film in the alphabet series called Eat a Pear available with or without ASL.

The poem below explains why I have Murray Toews images of me as St. Augustine. And how pears were cast off by one unruly saint before he was sanctified. Abjection means “the state of being cast off.” Which h I have learned by way of Julia Kristeva, Enjoy the poem, enjoy the 2.33 minute short film!

by Murray Toews

P is for Pears

Thank cast-away pears
for the Confessions of St. Augustine.

 One glorious summer night he was out
with a rowdy bunch of teen-aged Manicheans [1]   

who spotted a tree full
of the ripe and luscious fruit

They stole all the pears, eating none carting them away in a barrow 

down the hill to a pig pen nearby
they cast the pears before swine.

Augustine took his pleasure young, delighted
in theft and bad company, not in the pear

itself, but later, in confessing
it would appear.

[1] [ (Man-ic-ke-ans)] I like the stress on Manic; but forgot that ke ans is read as two syllables. 

Posted in Abject Alphabet (Fits and starts), ARCHIVES, Blog, Pain Room, Poems, Reading Canadian Poems, Uncategorized, What Men Do | Leave a comment

from Pieces of my Mind/Parts of my Body


MY SKIN

(dictated, mildly edited by me, this is an introductory post to the letter P)

You’d think I think this could be interfesting interesting. I have so much of it everywhere over me, scars every which way the one closing my stump the most sensational. The right foot and ankle I have left, screwed together some clearly visible on its outside, small screws lashing a tin plate to my whatever bone fewmur maybe but way down at the bottom now the site of an ugly lesion in the middle of a loonie circle perfect psoriasis blemishing my perfect record of having no open sores, but how can I complain like a personal care resident I know with bedsores and psoriasis covering his entire back and butt he tries not to scratch. My wife, disability activist Michelle Hewitt in her research discovered that In 2018 Chrissy Dunnington, with spina bifida was a Long Term Care resident, essentially covered by bedsores, but one a fist sized hole on her back exposing bone, admitted to hospital where she died from being mistreated while in LTC.   I buy Gold Bond lotion, sometime Lubriderm. Do I understand the smallness of my discomfort in comparison, Yes, damn it I do. As the saying go “I can’t complain, but I do.”

I use a lot of extra strength Voltaren, and twice a day I smear in copious amounts of Diclofenac 10% for joint pain,  prescription strength topical. My sister says they use more topicals in the EU, and if they work like this does no wonder. She smears in clonidine on her legs flashing with electrics polyneuropathy we share, but mine is still nascent in the leg I have left, and I can tolerate Gabapentin though I wonder if it isn’t one of the reasons for stupid head I get more of now and I do have skin all over my head, though not a lot of hair. Acne no longer an issue if it ever was. If it ever was. My skin rumples on my back as the cartilage crumbles, it’s hubris debris I say making a joke. The amount of skin is not a joke when I need to grease my creases to avoid rashes or jock itch or yeast infections. I use Clotrimazole when I have too, embarrassed it’s only on the women’s health shelf in my town, also a zinc salve like the Zincofax we used on ou children’s bum rashes when they were babies. First defense is good old Vaseline.  I caught my foreskin in my zipper when I was five. It hurt.

This is an introduction to the letter P, in the Abject Alphabet which has a lot of words to read already. But tonight I treat you to a short film about Pears. Coming up next. 

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FILED UNDER P IN THE ABJECT ALPHABET (A.A.)

POSTURE 

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. Most to
remember is being saved by Michelle calling 911 in time before I aspiratemy 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.

 

P

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From the Letter P in the Abject Alphabet

P is for POSER

Poser is most certainly ONE accurate description of me we. Starting with me/we.  we contain multitudes, we must be posers sometimes, we and me.
I played at rock and roll, subscribing to Rolling Stone and signing up to the Columbia Record club. My first wife looked like Marc Bolan and rocked to erase some of my negative energy. We saw T.Rex twice in Winnipeg. Trees kill rock sars and public intellectuals in cars. Albert Camus was an unlucky Passenger, Bolan was drunk, like I often was, but Bolan piled into a tree. I wasn’t in either luxury car. 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. He took this picture, I’m pretty sure.  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.  

 

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 it’s 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.

 

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!”

 

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 osteo-arthritis 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. I carry my diagnoses and x-ray results in my backpack to prove it. I’m not a self-i-d-r. But why do I 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.

 

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