Slimverse for Earth Day

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What Can I Say

to leave no

footprint we

must fly but

never land.

 

On Hearing that Justin Trudeau had approved the Kinder Morgan Pipeline

there are 3

certainties

death, taxes,

corrosion.

 

The Stack (remix)

And what a

beautiful

plume we have

here, Nigel,

 

a plume with

time on its

hands, look at

it loping

 

across the

sky like a

giant Chinese

dragon, let’s

 

hail a cab

to find the

plume’s end, where

the last wisps

 

of vapor

drift upwards

and a blue

mist hangs, yes,

 

there it is

in the sky

to the west

stalking the

 

cars in the

parking lot

outside the

big box mall

 

while the sun

bawls and the

sky gets all

indignant.

 ***

Holy Scripture

April foregoes Cruelty for a Day/ The Lad Poetry Project Revival Part 1

 

The Lad Poetry Project Revival Part 1

The April meeting of the Poets’ Circle was a dry affair in more ways than one. The Serious Poet, at the invitation of The Accomplished Poet, read his 40 verse poem about the Canadian Constitution and afterwards spoke for an hour about the making of the poem and his creative process. The Serious Poet wore, as always, a Mountain Equipment Co-Op black fleece vest, a pale blue button down shirt, a pair of Khaki pants with more pockets than any normal human being could use, and a pair of Merrill hiking shoes. His creative process?  He apparently decided at the outset on a six line verse with an ABABCC rhyming scheme and added the restriction that he would only use rhymes that had never been used before in an English language poem; a daunting task, as you can imagine. However, being a professor of literature at a local university, he had his resources and with the help of a few grants, he had a group of his students devise a computer program that would check all his rhymes for originality. This involved compiling a data bank of all the rhymes in English Literature, a process that took ten years and an ever changing band of students. In the end meaning and clarity had to take a back seat and the resulting poem turned out to be a real head scratcher, a masterpiece of obfuscation delivered in a dry monotone. To make matters worse, there was no alcohol at the event; April, the cruellest month, being a dry month for some of the poets in the circle who try to prove once a year that they are not cravenly dependent on alcohol for enjoyment and invariably prove the opposite.

Slim and I got out of there as fast as we could and headed for The Post-Coital Beetle…..to be continued.

Cherry Blossoms Bloom (3 haiku)

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Cherry Blossoms Bloom

I

cherry blossoms bloom

well-dressed ladies from Beijing

pose with hand on hip

II

cherry blossoms bloom

the air is sticky with greed

houses, for sale, sold.

III

cherry blossoms bloom

the wrecking ball’s lazy swing

petals, debris, spring.

These 3 poems appeared separately in Spring of last year, I thought they worth assembling together. They are probably the only poems ever written about cherry blossoms and the Vancouver Real Estate Market.

Cherry Blossoms Bloom (3 haiku)

IMG_1054 (2)

Cherry Blossoms Bloom

I

cherry blossoms bloom

well-dressed ladies from Beijing

pose with hand on hip

II

cherry blossoms bloom

the air is sticky with greed

houses, for sale, sold.

III

cherry blossoms bloom

the wrecking ball’s lazy swing

petals, debris, spring.

 

These 3 poems appeared separately in Spring of last year, I thought they worth assembling together.

A Poem and a Prose Piece up at Rat’s Ass Review

I have a poem (American Carnage) and a prose piece (Agent Orange has a Dark Moment) up at Rat’s Ass Review as part of a collection of poems under the title Such and Ugly Time, related to Trump’s first 100 days. Take a look, I’m the fifth poet as you scroll down – lots of good poetry in the collection.

Also check out the rest of the Review, the submission guidelines alone are worth a visit.

Both pieces appeared previously on this blog.

 

 

A Surfeit of Slim (“Bob Dylan’s Worst Line Ever” and “The Most Over-Rated Album of All Time” together for the first time).

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Last week there was a Simon Pegg retrospective at our local cinema and Slim invited me back to his one bedroom apartment after we watched an early showing of “Shawn of the Dead”. Slim had prepared dinner and by that I mean he had peeled back the tin foil edge of a take-out carton of butter chicken, removed the cardboard lid, and handed me a plastic fork and a can of Old Style lager. He then lapsed into one of his silences.

I found myself noticing the beads of condensation on the clear plastic lid of the steamed rice container. The rice was long past fluffy. The evening stretched before me like a Sunday in Ottawa. My only recourse was to ask Slim an irritating question.

“So, Slim”, I said, “who do you think is the better poet, Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen?”

Slim’s  face wrinkled in disgust. “Bob Dylan’s not a poet”, he snapped,“ he’s a poetic songwriter”.

“And Leonard Cohen is…..?”

“Leonard Cohen is a poet who writes songs”.

“Ok then, what’s your favorite Bob Dylan line, verse, whatever”

“I can only think of the bad ones”

“So what’s the worst Bob Dylan line ever?”

Slim blinked once like he was accessing a folder in his brain with an internal mouse.

“John Wesley Harding, ‘As I walked out One Morning’, third verse:

‘Depart from me this moment

I told her with my voice’.

It’s like saying ‘there’s going to be a jailbreak somewhere in this town”

“But that’s “Thin Lizzy”.

Slim looked like he had taken a sip of battery acid.

“My point is they are expressing the obvious just for the sake of a rhyme. It’s obvious that the jailbreak will be at the f….ing jail and how else will he tell her except with his voice, they’re in a field, for f… sake!”

“Oh”, I said, reaching for a poppadum.

After Slim’s brief outburst, he lapsed into silence again and did his impression of a lizard sitting on a rock. The not unpleasant smell from the Indian take-out mercifully masked the usual faint odour of sour sweat emanating from Slim’s bedroom. His bedroom door was closed, a yellow light leaked through the gap between bottom of the door and the threadbare carpet. The room  pulsed  in a vaguely sinister way.

I began to panic; he could pull out his blueprints of the Star Ship Enterprise at any minute. I was about to ask him why so much depends on a red wheelbarrow, but thought better of it. I reached for my phone.

“Slim”, I said, “I was looking at Rolling Stone’s list of the top 500 albums of all time, the other day, do you want to see it?”

“Not really”, he replied.

“Ok”, I tried, “what do you think is the most over-rated album of all time?”

“All right”, he sighed, ”show me the top 10 albums.”

I passed him my phone and he studied the list for a few minutes, then pounced.

“Number 7, ‘Exile on Main Street’, by the Stones”

“Really, why?”

“Because, it’s awful. It’s recycled 12 bar, refried boogie, Jagger sounds like a cat being neutered. It’s not even the seventh best Stones’ album. Creedence and The Band did this kind of thing a few years before and a lot better. This is the sound of the Stones throwing in their creative hand and saying, ‘enough, we’re tired’. It’s the artistic equivalent of taking a package holiday to Majorca. Look, it’s listed higher than ‘The White Album’ and ‘Kinda Blue’. Absolute bollocks!”

“Kind of…”

“What?”

“It’s ‘Kind of Blue’ not ‘Kinda Blue’

Slim looked at me like he was wondering why he bothered to speak to the rest of the human race at all.

“Well”, I said,”why do you think Rolling Stone rates it so high?”

“Because, it’s a Keef album and, to rock critics, Keef embodies the rock and roll spirit, the dead romantic hero, except he’s not dead. He’s the guy who would never have hung out with them at school. Plus, there’s this legend of the Stones hunkered down in a house in France recording the album, escaping from the tax man where in fact, Mick, Charlie and Bill never stayed at the house probably because they didn’t want to be around Keef’s junkie friends. Anyway, Mick didn’t think much of the album at all”.

“Really?”

“Look it up”.

So I did.

This is Mick Jagger talking about ‘Exile’ in “According to The Rolling Stones” (Chronicle Books, San Francisco):

Exile on Main Street is not one of my favourite albums”.

“…when I listen to Exile it has some of the worst mixes I’ve ever heard. I’d love to remix the record, not just because of the vocals, but because generally I think it sounds lousy. At the time Jimmy Miller was not functioning properly. I had to finish the whole record myself, because otherwise there were just these drunks and junkies.”

Exile is really a mixture of bits and pieces left over from the previous album recorded at Olympic Studios…..These were mixed up with a few slightly more grungy things done in the South of France. It’s seen as one album all recorded there and it really wasn’t.”

“So there’s a good four songs off it, but when you play the other nineteen, you can’t, or they don’t work, or nobody likes them, and you think, ’Ok, we’ll play another one instead’. We have rehearsed a lot of the tunes off Exile, but there’s not much that’s playable.”

 

Photo of detail of a Botero painting in Museo de Botero, Bogota, Colombia

Agent Orange has a Dark Moment

 

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Agent Orange has a Dark Moment

Do you know who I miss? Jeb Bush. I miss Jeb Bush. He was my first. When I hit him with that low energy jibe and he fell apart and all the Bush family could not put Humpty together again, I knew I was on to something. Then Little Marco and Lyin’ Ted, I miss them too. But most of all, I miss Hillary, Crooked Hillary. Man, she was tough, had me on the ropes. It took Comey and Vlad, that pointy headed villain, to get me back on my feet. I was nearly out for the count, which might not have been a bad thing. Who needs this shit! I should give Vlad a call, I’m a bit worried -there’s no such thing as a free hack.

Reince Priebus – what kind of fucking name is that? It sounds like bad news from the doctor. “I’m sorry, Donald, you have a Reince Priebus on your rectum and it doesn’t look good”. Ha, I just made myself laugh. And Bannon, I’ve seen sofas on the side of the road in better shape than that rumpled fucker. Spice Box? Hardest job in the world – explaining the unexplainable. That Melissa Mc.Carthy  just slays me. How come all the cool people are on the other side? Who have I got? Ryan and Pence? Bland and Blander? Where did Pence come from anyway with his brush cut and his antediluvian politics? The best surgeons in the world couldn’t remove the poker from that guy’s ass. Antediluvian, you didn’t expect that did you?

Talking of cool, I should give Barack a call, ask him down to Florida for a game of golf; check his birth certificate again (Joking! How I miss those days). Man, I hate this fucking White House furniture, is it Friday yet?

Point of View/ The Arc of Agent Orange

 

The Arc of Agent Orange

          I

And so we

spin from one

spin to the

next;  things I

 

said, I did

not mean; things

I meant, I

did not say.

 

Stand by for Greatness

Stand by for Greatness

Stand by for Greatness

 

II

 

Success can

be measured,

 

The toys have

left the pram.

 

Stand by for Greatness

Stand by for Greatness

Stand by for Greatness

 

 

Colombian Palette / Hacienda Merida Re-Mix

 

Photos taken in Medellin, Cartagena, Guatape – Colombia.

Hacienda Merida

The rooster crows

before the break of dawn –

damn, preemptive cock.

He is joined

by the  gecko

behind the bed,

the village dogs,

birds,birds and more birds

and finally

Fiona the donkey

whose indignant heehaw announces

she is not ready for another day

tethered to a pole

in feckless shade.

 

 

2 Poems and a Song Lyric at The Basil O’Flaherty.

I have 2 poems (“Living Off the Grid”, “Railspur Alley Park”) and a song lyric (“Willie’s Oasis”) up at the tri-quarterly web magazine “The Basil O’Flaherty”.

Regular visitors to this blog will recognise the second poem as a triple slimverse. Only the second time this verse form has appeared outside this blog….is that momentum I feel?

I’m never totally sure about publishing song lyrics as they sometimes seem a bit thin on the page without melody and music, but I hope this one stands up! You can check out a sample of the recorded version here.

Patrick’s Irish Pub, Medellin, Colombia

bangers and mash

I have to admit that when I first moved to Canada from Ireland I used to dread St. Patrick’s day – the fake Irish accents, the green beer, the where’s-me-lucky-charms awfulness of it all. I have since learnt to embrace it.

I never felt quite like that about Irish pubs, I have always regarded them as oases of something approaching familiarity when I found myself in a foreign country. I once got quite sick from food poisoning in Nicaragua and when I was well enough to eat again, I had a longing for Irish stew which I found in an Irish pub run by an ex farmer from Limerick, but that’s another story.

I was recently in Medellin, Colombia, staying in the El Poblado district and I dropped in to Patrick’s Irish Pub to sample Ireland through a Colombian filter. The pub had the usual collection of Celtic bric-a -brac, Gaelic geegaws, Paddy paraphernalia, Shamrock gimcrackery. As is often the case in Colombian bars, one wall was half covered with television screens showing mostly football/futbol/soccer; though there was one screen devoted to UFC and another showing old MTV videos – Rob Zombie, Deborah Harry, Metallica , Eric Clapton singing “Cocaine”; oddly appropriate, Pablo Escobar once lived in this neighbourhood, his house is now a civil engineering office. Yes, this was the soundtrack of Patrick’s Irish Pub. Occasionally, the screen would go blank and they would play “The Rocky Road to Dublin” as a reminder.

The waitresses were young and wore short kilts, I found myself wondering what they thought of this strange universe they found themselves in every evening – a heavy metal Ireland full of tattooed bruisers. I ordered bangers and mash, which is technically more of an English dish, and it was spectacularly bad – two chorizo sausages on a soft bog of mash potatoes. Still, the beer was good -craft roja from BBC (The Bogota Beer Company).

Outside it was a beautiful warm evening and locals and tourists were pouring into the area to sample the restaurants and salsa bars – a mass of colour and pounding drum beats, the feeling that the party was getting started and would not stop until the early hours of the morning. Back in Ireland, the pub is a warm convivial place that people go to,  to get out of the weather ; here in Medellin , Colombia,  Patrick’s Irish Pub felt more than a little redundant.

 

The Chester Beatty Library

This was published a while back in The Galway Review .

The Chester Beatty Library                                   

 In the Chester Beatty Library

Four elderly ladies

Permed, perfumed and powdered

Stroll past the ancient texts

The papyrus and the parchment

Seemingly unimpressed

By the evidence before them

That ever since we could stand upright

We have tried to leave foot prints

In the wet cement of time.

What intrigues the ladies,

It appears,

Is how these fragile treasures

These artifacts and amulets

Were safely transported

From their exotic homelands

To the airless glass cases

In which they now reside.

They explore this theme together

In intertwining solos

Like a modern jazz quartet

Like mythical creatures

Compelled to talk forever

Because they believe

That to stop

Would be to die.

Open Mic at Words and Feathers

I am participating at the open mic at Words and Feathers with my poem “Auto”.

This is unusual for two reasons:

  1. It’s the first time my flat Dublin accent (filtered through a number of years in western Canada) has been heard in a recording. I apologise for any suffering this may cause.
  2. For those soccer/football fans out there (Mr. Zoolonaudio), it’s probably the only poem written that name checks a member of Manchester City’s porous defence.

Check it out plus the other good stuff at Words and Feathers.

Stilt Walker / Between (Song Without a Chorus)

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Between (Song Without a Chorus)

Between the caucus and the carcass

Between the chaos and the calm

Between the fracas and the ruckus

Between the righteous and the damned

 

Between the priest and the sermon

Between the sermon and the song

No one can determine

Why we all can’t get along.

 

Between the question and the answer

There is a lifetime of space

Between the dance and the dancer

There is beauty and there is grace.

 

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