What god-damn day is it? What god-damn day???

The Subway pulled away in the empty passageway, the conductor peeking out and looking both ways in case anyone was struggling between the automatic doors. His head like a lone sentry perched on the top-edge of a submarine rolling in the lonely ocean, collapsing backwards (in advance of the tunnel) like a shutter pulled-in-and-fastened during a storm.

This is not from it. I’m writing something large and I think I’m learning about writing. I think you learn most about writing when you write large things. Last night I fell asleep at an early hour and continued to be asleep, I was sick and I missed my chance– other times I’ve woken at earlier (later) hours to get my words in, and this time I did miss it, in the morning when I woke up. As if a great pressure on my head had not been relieved. The cream had been left on top– the separated milk was abandoned for another day to roll, rock, and spoil.

The epiphany yesterday was this: school is a warm breast I need to cling-to and curl. Why certain, daily, work-like things were jumped into and triumphed over study of the holy word, I do not know. My strategy now, (our strategy, I think?) is to spend the next few years digging ourselves into a pit of unmanageable debt, building hiding-holes and outposts crammed high with books along the way. I need to think in a way that’s not, I need to understand things in a place where I’m not screamed out by a whirring screen. My back burns, and my right arm raises like that of an undeveloped child. Work is peasant-work robbed of the noble toil. There is little mind in this, and few opportunities to waste ourselves in pursuit of the holy fruit.


Oprah stands in front of a mirror. Her face is fresh and done up, looking like a just-waxed plastic mask. Her cheeks are tear-stained, the saline running down to reveal old, wrinkled skin.


You are Oprah, god-damnit. Don’t you know what that means?


You are Oprah! You don’t mess around.


Get out of this funk, girl! You’re a queen, you’re a god.

Oprah raises her hand to slap her face once more, and then pauses.

Okay. That is fine. I’m relaxed.

She snaps and two attendants scurry over with make-up cases to repair the work she did on her face.

You didn’t lose any time. You just needed to calm down. The show will be better than ever, I predict. This episode of Oprah, my show, is going to be better than the rest. This episode of Oprah is going to better than anything else.

She rustles through some papers.

Who do we have on?

No one responds.


An adjutant trips in from somewhere behind her, in the dark. He is carrying two sheets of paper which he places on her lap. He whispers into her ear.

Good. Good, she is good. This show will be good. This episode of Oprah is going to be great.

The attendants finish with the makeup and step back after dusting her off. A little boy in a carefully knotted tie walks in from stage left and removes the make-up drape wrapped around her neck. Oprah pats him on the head.

Good boy.

Oprah steps away from the chair and walks to the very back of the room. She claps her hands.


The walls slide away and the room is covered with reflective surfaces. Oprah takes a moment to compose herself. She coughs. She stretches her arms. Finally she looks forward, intense. The silence in the room is palpable. No one breathes. No one speaks.

Oprah raises her arms and begins shaking them wildly. She runs down to the front of the room, whooping, her face contorting in a thousand happy directions.

I. am. OPE-ER-AHHHH!!!!

She stops at the bottom of the room. She adopts a casual attitude. She turns to her nearest attendant.

How was that, was that good? You think that was good?

There is a muffled reply.

I don’t know, I feel pretty good about it. Yeah, I think that went okay. What do you think, do you think we should try it with cameras? Let’s get the cameras out. Cameras! Cam-er-ahhs!!!


“Oh, ohhhhh! Come here and give your gran’ma a kiss! …My you have grown! You have grown! What are you feeding him, eh? How did he get so big? Did you replace him? Is this a different André? … What’s that! Eh? You’re hungry? Well, that is no good is it? It is not good to be hungry. No no no no no! Ah, well, come in, come in– take off your shoes, eh, don’t want to get the carpet dirty. I just cleaned it, you know, and Jeff, he likes a clean carpet. Isn’t that right, Jeff? … I said “You like a clean carpet, don’t you Jeff?” … The carpets, the carpets, Jeff. …Well. You can take my word for it, anyway. He likes a clean carpet, you know, because he doesn’t like dirty toes. No, he doesn’t like them, he says. That’s it, for him, he says. No more dirty toes! (laughs) What about you, eh? Do you like dirty toes? … No, I told myself– I did not think so. What do you like, hm? … Ice cream! Well, we will see if your gran’mama has any of that! Me, you know I can’t eat it, but Jeff, he is different. He likes it… eh? Hm? You know that? He really likes his ice cream, he says!”


Adnan’s older brother let it fall and it exploded. It killed him and their father on the spot. Adnan took a piece of shrapnel in the neck.

“I remember exactly what happened and I knew exactly what I had to do,” he said.” I was waiting to see what will happen and then I see the blood, I was like, ‘OK, this is it, I have to hold it and wait for help.”

It was then he began to fear for his life.

“A little bit,” he said. “I knew it was an artery and the way the blood was going, I didn’t want to think about it. I knew I was in pretty bad shape, at that point I said it was up to them.”

The pressure placed on his neck to contain the bleeding was so painful, he complained that he couldn’t breathe.

“I was cut before in my face and I didn’t even feel it. This time, it was kind of like a stab, I felt like somebody stabbed me,” he said. “After it wasn’t the pain, it was more what was going to happen.

“I kind of got a bit weaker and then I don’t remember much but I remember I was talking to my sister and a doctor was putting so much pressure on my neck I couldn’t breathe…”

Adnan’s sister had to go back to the site to pick up the things the family had left amid the confusion. She stepped on more cluster munition and was killed instantly.

It’s funny that I made this blog. It’s funny what I wrote yesterday, and weighing the sum of what I’ve written. Thirteen posts. Two expressing some vague desire. Eleven strung together with cloying, half-written sentimentalities. I guess. I wouldn’t say the whole thing. I’m just going back and generalising.

And now this, number fourteen. Well. We’re getting somewhere, anyway.

I write about what I write, I write about what I don’t write– for me it’s a constant theme. I’ve noticed. You must be in the agony I (seem to) be.

Do you think this blog needs an overhaul? It does, of course, but maybe it’s partly about responding to colour-space themes. How can I write what I’ve expressed my desire to write when it’s subverted by this sterile blog theme?

haha, I know, I know, I know, I know: I laugh! It’s just a theory.

Sometimes instead of ordered and re-arranged garbage I want this blog to shout and scream in different colours and fonts, creating forms that are lyrical and sound sensical but really make no sense at all.

Would you call that a tantrum or art?

It’s an excuse mostly — the idea, because I have nothing in my head even approaching that kind of inspiration– at least right now– something I think I might need. Or perhaps the idea is just sound off and start, and let what happens be. I’ve read words to that effect before, written by someone who I consider a master of the form. That’s not what I want to do, not exactly, but the effect is the same.

I want to create a thick sine-wave of white noise, peppered with hot-moments which read easy and digest away. That sounds about as unreadable as it probably is. I want to mirror my head in the middle of one of my daily click-arounds. I’m writing something longer which I think is approaching that, in a very roundabout way. It’s not hard edges and jagged daggers of text, aimed at your heart. But maybe it transmits the basic experience, to one who knows well, or the confusion and head-fugue that unfalteringly arises to one who does not. It seems like an idea which balances over the dark-pit of text-failure. But I think most good ideas do. Done well, it could be a revelation. Half-done, you’d wish that I had never done it at all.

It’s funny because I’ve found it’s important to think about this stuff in the periods of not-write, like a captain descending below deck to prepare his next day’s charts– but that it is absolutely imperative that I leave them in the hands of the navigator when I sit down and start. Because otherwise all you get is tepid, too-meaningful prose. That makes me want to vomit.

I want to write a sentence that vividly and accurately recreates banging two metal pot lids just outside your ear. Until my sentences can do that, I would like to submit my position that the entire English language is a failure, and that words are not careful enough in their efforts to transmit experience. If you know of anyone whose sentences do achieve such a resounding feat of synaesthesia, please let me know so I can learn.


Sometimes I want to post blog entries out of spite: because it’s been so long or for other, pettier reasons. Well, that’s how you know it’s an ugly day to be on the internet. That’s how you know that wading through the acres of old e-mails, blog entries and news-posts disagreed with your spleen.

When you get the urge to pour out the bile into a comment form or an e-mail written in haste close your eyes, and breath. Lean back. Rub your pinched shoulders.

Recently, I’ve

At points like these, I would have

I would have refrained from anything, altogether

To stem whatever flow

That putrid word-stink! and attempt to cut it off at the bud.

I’ve been too hard on myself, I’ve tried to become the perfect person. At times, my self-standards were too high. I’m relaxing now, and that’s fine. That’s nice. You don’t have to be monastic to know “why”, you don’t have to forget comfort or self to know what’s “right”. You do have to be vigilant, but that’s okay. Keep a head-list of approved action and actions, and second guess some things that seem too hot. Be honest with your motives, and with other people. Love on your sleeve. Ignore thinking what other people think. Don’t confuse bitterness or brooding with the not-right-thing, with terminal unhappiness, with a need-change-of-scene. Because, lord: sometimes you just lose perspective. And you need to step out to see.


No speculating, please, from the Globe and Mail:

Rogers, who at first glance seemed even frailer than Wilson, was positively comedic, cracking one-liners – though some of them might not have been entirely amusing to those who send Uncle Ted a cheque every month to pay for their various communications needs.

“There will be some tickets priced under $100 [Canadian] for the game,” Rogers’s lieutenant Lind said.

“Two of them,” Rogers interjected.

Some of the field-level tickets in the new Yankee Stadium in New York will be selling for $2,400 (U.S.) a piece, Wilson marvelled.

“I like it,” Rogers chimed in.

And that stadium with his name on in which the news conference was held, in which the Bills will play? “It cost other people [those would be the citizens of Ontario] $600-million to build it … and we salute them today. We paid $25-million for it.”

All that was missing was a knee-slapper about reverse billing.

Ted! Don’t you get it? You might be one of the richest men in Canada, but you aren’t looked on as an old, benevolent one. The citizens of this country have got your number, man; they understand your sick money-love. You’re like a pleased, spoiled child on Christmas morning. Parading your trinkets in front of the adults as examples of your worth, and digging heavily into the sweets.

This morning was a different day, and I took the bus to the subway alone. The first car I saw left without anyone getting on. I squeezed onto the second and swayed to Moby Dick. In which Ishmael joins the Pequod, Queequeg has his Ramadan, and Captain Ahab is introduced as a restless spirit, a shadow in words, who drives his fiery lance into creatures much fiercer than those found in the deep. Laid up for three days in fever after the loss of his leg. A ‘good, swearing man’; who will one day return from his distemper, no doubt, and regain his place as triumphant king of the sea.

Later, as I’m splashing through inches-thick puddles on the street, I reflect on what a book it is. It’s a book you read to your children. It’s a book you take with you on a long trip, as an excuse to read it hundreds of times. It’s a book you use to divine the night sky.

We shuttle from car to car, packed in shoulder-to-shoulder. At Dundas the escalator is full, and we rise as fast as those taking the stairs. Moving in synch. Was it fluke or design that had the escalator calibrated to the exact same speed?

At the stairs leading up to the street, there’s a long splash and a spray of water, which rains down on the people just ahead. It looks like the end of the world, or a ship tipping in frothy seas. Those behind wait and watch. Eventually the storm clears, or a red light hits, and the ones behind us who didn’t see rush in front of us anyway, so we put on our hats, tuck in our books, and mount the steps quickly and cautiously.