Thursday, March 31, 2005


When the music's over
Turn out the lights

-Jim Morrison

Life is(in no particular order):

-Appreciating a sunrise or sunset.
-Savouring that first coffee of the day.
-Reading wonderful words.
-Cooking a flavourful meal.
-Enjoying said meal.
-Painting a picture.
-Laughing with my wife.
-Telling a terrible joke.
-Learning something new.
-Eating pizza in the park.
-Feeding the squirrels.
-Visiting with family.
-Drinking a beer (or ten).
-Composing a piece of music.
-Listening to another's music.
-Writing a poem.
-Napping on the couch with my cat.
-Helping a friend.
-Taking a road trip.
-Meeting new people.

When my ability to enjoy
These things is gone,
Please ensure that I am gone as well-
For without them
Life has already left.

Haiku for today.

Outside my window
A pair of geese wander-
Together forever.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

5 lines

a cake baked,
a car tire changed,
and a poem was writ―

Renaissance man.

Saturday, March 26, 2005


It's you, unlost. There's something about that ray of sunshine. The way it touches, lightly, my window glass, faltering before entering my home. Tentative and meek; I'd invite it in, but hesitate only for fear of thinking myself crazy.

Does sunshine feel loneliness? It travels ninety-three million miles across cold, barren space only to land on my arm, unnoticed at the best of times. Your words, not mine. I didn't have an answer for you then, but as I think about this patch of sunshine in my living room, it seems to glow warmer in appreciation. So now, nine years later, I answer: Yes, even sunshine feels loneliness.

I'm drinking coffee far too strong for a day like today. Is it too early to switch to bourbon? Thoughts of sunshine give way to memories of you: drinking Mint Juleps on the beach in summer, reading Eliot to one another in the cool shade of a cherry tree, walking down Cambie Street arguing about coffee in the warm afternoon. Each of those times, there was another there. Sunshine.

Does the sunshine bring with it, today, memories of you, or has it brought with it pieces of you? A vision of sunshine as an intangible embodiment of you fights with a vision of molecules riding waves of warm sunshine from you to me. Either way, it's you, unlost.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The brush-off

Even before you called, I knew I wasn't going to do it. I had already heard from BT, who had heard from KP, who had heard from LC that you were asking about me. When did I get back in town? What was I doing now? Was I seeing anybody? LC knew all the answers, but told you he didn't, telling you, instead, that maybe you should call me yourself. I’ll get him back for that. The phone rings. I answer, and you say:

If I didn’t know better, I'd say you were avoiding me. If you're here, why not call and let me know? If you're up to something, why not let me in on it? If you're truly seeing someone what would that do to your cynical edge? I’ve read your recent piece in OND and found it be as full of pessimism, bitterness, and insolence as ever before. How can it be true that you are in love, yet retain such tight control of these delightful qualities?

I know that if I don't interrupt you now, you will continue talking forever. I note, also, the sarcasm of your last sentence, and I say to you, simply: It is because I am in love that I have the luxury of remaining so fiery. Without love one is forever searching, and to search effectively one must not be pessimistic, but optimistic. Not bitter, but agreeable. Not insolent, but polite. And those three delightful qualities do not make for good writing. In the ensuing silence, I hear you noting the sarcasm of my last sentence and you finally ask me the unasked question:

Do you want to go for coffee sometime? There's a little coffee shop down by the river; they've got a roast there from Nigeria that is just to die for! I know how you love your coffee, and - oh, who am I kidding? You used to live here. Sometimes I forget. You're not around much anymore. Sure I hear about you now and then, or read about you here and there, but it'd be nice to catch up right?

Even before you called, I knew I wasn't going to do it. I had already heard from BT, who had heard from KP, who had heard from LM that you were asking about me. I knew what you were going to ask, and how, so I had one of those rare opportunities to have rehearsed the best possible line. I answer: No thanks. I gave up on coffee, and you, a long time ago.

How does coffee grow so cold?
My cup leaves a ring
Like a memory.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

But for the fish, solitude.

Let us step together
Into the sea.
We'll only stop
To rest our feet.
Ignore the pressure.
With us beneath these waves
The sun may set-
But we'll never know it.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Haiku for today.

I am now employed.
In this blog, I won't say where-
But it's a good thing.

Thursday, March 17, 2005


Lost in fiction. Too much time spent reading means too much time spent away from reality. Can one read too much? Yes. Certainly. Just as one can play too much chess, playing until the tiled floor at the pub becomes a chess board, and the patrons, the pawns and pieces, so too can one read too much fiction, reading until the others around you become unwitting participants in an unintentional drama of fanciful design.

This week, a break from reading, a break from writing, a break from fiction. I look for employment so that I can preserve my sanity. Too much time spent around the house is driving my cat up the wall. Even he wishes I would leave.

Sunday, March 13, 2005


Sitting on the platform waiting for you to arrive. Only thirty minutes to go until you get here. Every five minutes or so a train goes by, and I think - no, I hope - that you're on it. There's nothing sadder than waiting for a train, and I'd prefer to get this over with as soon as possible.

Directly across from me is a giant poster of a mayoral candidate. I know my face displays displeasure, but he just grins back at me with too many bright white teeth, plastic hair, and a suit too perfectly fitting. I wonder: Has he ever woken up hungover in a park with the Sunday morning sun warming his face? Has he ever lost an argument with his girlfriend on a crowded street corner? Has he ever driven his car across the country just because?

My attention is dragged away by the sight of a rat scurrying across the tracks. Another train rumbles to a stop, and people with empty faces walk off - but you're not one of them. I look at my watch - twenty-five minutes to go. The politician smirks at me from the poster. Has he ever waited for a train in a grimy subway tunnel for an old friend? Has he ever let time intervene and subsequently not known what to expect? Has he ever even really lived?

I hear the roar of another train coming through the tunnel. As it stops, its doors slide open and passengers swarm out onto the platform. My watch tells me I have to wait another twenty minutes. Instead, I stand up and mix with the crowd pushing towards the exit. Has he ever stood-up someone he cared about to protect her from cynicism and discouragement? It's too easy to convince myself of things. Swept away by the crowd, I slip off my watch and toss it in a trashcan. I just lost track of time, is all.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Notes to myself.

Evolution of text.

Thinking, again, about what we're doing here. A couple of months ago, I reluctantly came to accept the word blog. I'm not sure what was keeping me - perhaps the nagging feeling that this whole thing was transitory - just another tiny step in the evolution of text - or, perhaps, it was simply the ugliness of the word itself. Blog. Yes, I think that may be it. Either way, I accept it now, and have moved on to asking myself why I'm still participating.

Anonymity versus authority.

A self-perpetuating system of interconnecting texts, the blogosphere nears perfection in its authorlessness, empowering the reader by stepping beyond the familiarity of authority. I exist only so far as you can trust my words; of me, you know only what I’ve told you in this weblog. While reading these posts, you are disconnected from me, unable to reference my life or previous work, relying, instead, on referencing what you do know: yourself, your own life. If my job is done well, you find yourself in my words, and exist there while reading them.

Collective murmurings of the blogosphere.

Foucault issued a prediction at the end of his essay, The Author Function:
"As our society changes, at the very moment when it is in the process of changing, the author-function will disappear, and in such a manner that fiction and its polysemic texts will once again function according to another mode, but still with a system of constraint... All discourses, whatever their status, form, value, and whatever the treatment to which they will be subjected, would then develop in the anonymity of a murmur."

We are, all of us, in this together. The "author": millions of hands hitting keys twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, hammering out post after post. The "reader": millions of eyes absorbing words twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, taking in post after post. And it doesn't matter under which title you fall; both are equally important, and neither really exist anyway.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

330 words to say I know you still care

If I started walking across that bridge would you walk halfway out to meet me? We could stand there in the dark, overlooking the tracks, and wait for that 4:30 train to come rumbling beneath us. You don't even have to say anything - we'll just stand there in silence like we used to and wait for the sun to come up.

You needed me then. I'd answer the phone half asleep in the middle of the night to hear your voice on the other end of the line: Meet me on the bridge. You called, not because you needed someone to listen to you, or give you answers, but because you needed the feel of another human being beside you. And I could do that. I guess if there was one thing I was good at, it was existing.

So we'd stand like that for an hour, sometimes two, and when the sun came up you'd give me a hug and a kiss on the cheek and say thanks. I always blushed then, but in the halflight of the early morning there was no way for you to know. With lightened footsteps and a brain full of trains, bridges, and you, I'd make my way home and settle back into bed, wondering when would be the next time I'd see you.

I took a walk across that bridge the other night for the first time in at least a decade, maybe more. I stood there in the middle, a little drunk, staring down at the tracks - I was half hoping that you might come wandering toward me from the other side, but even I know not to ask that much of Moira. If I knew your number, perhaps I would have called and said, Meet me on the bridge, and I know you would have in a heartbeat.

Well, the 4:30 train didn't show up that morning - maybe it doesn't even exist without you. Hell, maybe I don't either.

Monday, March 7, 2005


There's a little slip of paper atop an antique wooden coffee table in the lobby of a hotel in downtown Toronto - it says, simply: It's all for you.

The note's author - a diminutive man in an outmoded suit - sits relaxed at home in an armchair 3,366 kilometers away in Vancouver. He's got a Martini in one hand and a television remote in the other. He's smiling but he's not watching anything funny. In fact, he's not watching anything at all because his eyes are closed.

The note's reader is a plump, worried woman in an unshapely floral print dress. She worries because she feels she isn't living up to her potential, she's plump because she eats when she's worried, and she's wearing an unshapely floral print dress because her unshapely striped dress is in the suitcase recently lost by the airline.

The woman reads the note and turns it over in her fleshy hand expecting to find more on the other side. But there is nothing.

Simultaneously, the author of said note drains the last of his Martini past his lips, then tips it up once more expecting to find one more drop of gin and vermouth. But there is nothing.

Both parties are perturbed, and think: Can that really be all there is?

Thursday, March 3, 2005

the win

What is it to win, to truly win? It is to prove your superiority over an opponent, to get inside his head, tear him down from the inside out, and make him know, in no uncertain terms, who his better is. That’s winning. And to effectively win a contest over another, you must hate, or at least successfully simulate hate, for the duration of the contest. Without this passion, you will not be the victor, but the loser. You won an argument the other day with your boyfriend. Remember?

There’s an old cliché, a platitude, a trite remark, if you will, that says: all is fair in love and war. I guess when it comes right down to it the two aren’t even really all that different. Two words meaning the same thing. Synonyms, almost. You love him, but he is your opponent. At times, you hate him, but are bound to him by that very hate in that instant; a bind easily as strong as love itself, and equally hard to break. The line between the two emotions becomes as blurry as the difference in water on one side of a pool and the other. You swim from love to hate and back again so fluidly, you hardly notice the change in your environment. Once submerged beneath the surface of these waters, you’re easily confused - but it matters, not. From The Illuminati, by Robert Shea and Robert Anton-Wilson: "You are attached to what you attack." Even in hate, in war, you are bound as closely as in love.

You won an argument the other day with your boyfriend. Remember? Your boyfriend, your lover, your challenger, competitor, rival – adversary. In the span of a single day, he can assume all of these roles and be none the wiser. And if you’re lucky, you’ll be as clueless, never knowing in which side of the pool you swim.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005



What if I’ve already said everything I have to say? A flash: this feeling of having sailed across a great, empty ocean only to find a strange, barren land far lonelier than the one I left so long ago. An author really only has a few themes in his or her repertoire. These few themes – when handled by a skilled writer – are repeated in each poem, story, and novel throughout the writer’s life. These themes never become exhausted, never become tired, and never fade. Kafka’s alienation and anxiety, Dostoevsky’s faith and corruption, Beckett’s loneliness and desperation: all as fresh at the end of the author’s lives as they were in the beginning.


I think about quitting. Everyday, I think about quitting. Tired of my own themes, feeling I had exhausted them long ago, I once turned my back on writing. I said, “It’s not you, it’s me,” and I left it behind; just like that, I walked away. We met a year from later in an unlikely place, time having given rise to thoughts of how things used to be. Meeting again, I got a taste of those days in my early twenties when I was all afire with purpose, wrapped up in my fervently enjoyed melancholy, and virtually unstoppable.


Having set sail once more on this great, empty ocean, I've come to realise that there is no destination. To write is to pitch for eternity on these waves of words, hoping never to reach land - for there happiness is not to be found, but only misery and want. Just as a sailor yearns for the sea when he is docked, so, too, does a writer yearn for words when he is not writing.