The stoned drummer plays with eyes closed. Shoes
off he can feel the kick drum
with sock feet. Every so often
he winces and smiles
like an orgasm. They’re figure skaters landing

every jump. The saxophonist picks at a seashell
and rolls it in his palm, figures out
what to do with it. Shakes shell
bells ringing
like a tambourine. Guh is more like a brain

trust. The drummer explodes
when he wants
to & the trumpeter raises his hand in

solidarity with the drummer
his explosions. At the table someone drunk
off two pints
muses How can I get the number
of this wiley waittress tapping
me on the shoulder?

Hey what were you
writing in that little book?


Recently I passed through the immediate aftermath of an explosion, or chemical fire, at the TTC Hillcrest Barns. Coming up Bathurst, rounding onto Davenport, a dull blue scarf of smoke waving over the sidewalk blocked my path. I was annoyed, because I thought it was car exhaust. To avoid the smoke I crossed the street, onto the north side of Davenport, but by the time I got there the plume of smoke had already dissipated. Where had it gone? Many places. My lungs.

About an hour later I walked back past that same intersection, heading south on Bathurst. Three firetrucks were parked at the Hillcrest Barn entrance, their red lights flashing silently. There may have been more firetrucks inside the compound.

So it wasn’t just my imagination.

How have we become foreign to each other?

I have seen recent pictures of you. Outwardly you haven’t changed. But you never matched well with your photographic representations. Even in my mind’s eye you were fleeting. I have that one memory of you that is like a photograph. You’re standing in your summer dress. We aren’t anywhere special. You stand up, blocking my path. You say my name. You’re smiling.

And that’s it.

There are other moments like that. But the last time I saw you, you looked into me with those dark eyes and you saw something you didn’t like. My inaction. The rest of that night is a blur. But I still carry your dark eyes with me.

Vancouver 2010

Before the Olympics, 258 medals were ready to be awarded. The best result is when the athletes get every one, and no one dies.

“Canadians should be happy
another three
athletes won medals because
their event
just ended.

“The party is just starting
for Canada. I can’t wait
until another event ends and another
three athletes
receive medals.”


The neighbours chart time by watching the slow rise of our bathroom curtain. Its loose ends catch themselves on toilet rolls, on faucet handles, on toothbrushes. We take down the curtain, take it in another half-inch, or inch, and put it up again. And when the neighbours return to their windows they see that more of the opposite side of the fabric has slipped down the blank white of their near side, and they look down to check their watches, with surprise, ┬ábecause the day has evaded them and the lowered curtain (the curtain’s lowering) means that it’s already dinner.

Lost in Pennsylvania

In the McDonalds winking on top of the hill like a church spire. The man in front of us, who must be three hundred pounds, orders two Big Mac Snack Wraps and what looks like 48 ounces of Coke. One, or two, members of the kitchen staff aren’t grotesquely overweight, only moderately overweight. The rest shuffle around the kitchen delicately, as if they’re wearing slippers, or have gone lame, arms hanging limp beside their raised asses. As I’m waiting, the cashier eyes me vacantly, as if I’m a building on the horizon, then looks forward again when I catch her. Her checks are covered with a raw, red, rash. The customers seated in the dining area are wearing old, out-of-fashion coats and heavy beards that invoke the region’s Dutch protestant roots. One woman, fat and squinting, squishes a hamburger between her teeth while her buoyant, curly mullet (it would look like a poodle’s haircut, if it wasn’t so dirty) wiggles back and forth.

A found poem

“I graduated.”
Watch Every Night
You Belong Here
don’t do drugs, stay in school
“This day is way too nice to be February.”

“In my dream I missed the second half of a favourite class because I fell in love. Nothing happened, except the slow realization that we didn’t want to spend time apart from each other, and so returning to class seemed like a gross misuse of energy.”


We don’t have the internet at home. More is coming.