Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Big Reveal

Hey, so April A-to-Z is coming along real soon and writing pals have been asking, Gosh Fwig, what will you do?

My answer has been that I will be an A-Z rebel and work on my outstanding A-to-Z’s from 2016 and 2017 which I never finished but have always intended to.

Yeah, not going to happen.

...Just yet.

The Ponderer, who declares that she can write a poem on any topic under the sun (and I believe her) has asked for help proving it by inviting me to summon a list of 26 A-Z topics for her to tackle over the next month. I did so and included a few topics I thought would be of interest to her, many that are of interest to me, and a couple of fairly wacky concepts just to give her a hard time.

I then realized I ought to take the same challenge and so invited her to send me a list. I think she followed pretty much the same formula.

I hope you’ll tune in starting April 1st for my poem of the day. I hope you find some of them entertaining and some insightful and some hopefully both!

And be sure to check out The Ponderer on H day where she’s been given the title: Hamburger Phone!


Sunday, March 25, 2018

No one that we'll ever meet...

Neo’s likebook account was deactivated which froze our messenger conversation (which he has not been contributing to). This was done once before for a month or few, preceded by his instructing me to use email for communication. This occasion came without any instructions and my email inquiry has not been answered so far. I’m okay with all of this, though I certainly wonder what he’s going through.

Perhaps I am among those he wants space from. Perhaps it is mainly me. Or perhaps he’ll turn up again soon. I understand he’s going through a particularly tough time while he’s attempting to break an addiction and company is largely undesired.

I don’t need to know unless he chooses to tell me.

Academically I’m forced to interpret his behaviour as troubling but it’s not my job to interfere uninvited. Regardless what many conflicting perspectives he cycles through with regards to our friendship and all the problems he perceives (imagines in my opinion), my perspective has reached some stability. From my point of view I remain his friend and remain available regardless what he’s thinking at any given time and whether he’s currently reachable or not.

I accept his limitations. I know not to count on him when I feel the need to talk to a friend who understands me. Sometimes he might be available. Other times I will either find someone else who will have to do - or else go without. So be it.

Academically I recognize that there is a somewhat tragic waste of opportunity happening but oh well. Who knows what the future may bring.

I’m not really sure how much of my relaxed attitude is a result of wisdom and presence as opposed to simply reaching a point of emotional exhaustion and simply losing the stamina to keep on caring so ardently. Either way the peace feels very real. I will continue to care about him and to trust that he will keep himself alive long enough that I will hear from him again.

Coming home from a family nephew babysitting gig Friday night, I took a route home which happens to run - not on the same street - but within sight of - the most recent known home of my former best friend of sixteen years, once known here as Porn King (rather inappropriately). Several times a year I happen to pass this way and always tend to look and spot familiar vehicles in the driveway.

On this occasion there were no such vehicles - or any at all. There was a dumpster in the driveway and a sign on the lawn. Overcome by curiosity I took a brief detour and read the sign and can pretty confidently deduce that they have moved.

I think about the various reasons that people move.

Some of those explanations would make me wonder about certain change of life events and make me wonder if he might be in need of a friend these days. He has always kept friendships to a minimum. He was once extremely special to me. For my part, that fondness will never go away, though for him - he lost interest in me. I can imagine many reasons why, and the truth probably lies somewhere in between them all. I was a much different person then, and not with robust integrity at times.

I just pray he always knows he’s always welcome to look me up. There are no problems. No worries. It’s all cool. And it would always be wonderful to see him again. It’s been years.

Yesterday I went to the hospital with Sick Boy and The Healer to visit with The Liaison who has been battling cancer and who is fairly clearly not winning.

I was struck by the haunted look in his eyes as he frequently stared right into mine. Now and then he summoned the energy to receive what we were saying and to hoarsely, briefly, respond.

I wonder is he contemplating the end. Is he wondering about our own agenda. Is he wondering, do we know something he doesn’t?

I am now finally learning that he may not really have any local friends beyond us writers. And if our casual relationship is thus elevated in his experience?

Am I fucking up yet again with regards to the terminally ill - if that is what he is - and my capacity to be useful? I am such a drastic underachiever in this arena.

This was one of the first songs I ever wrote. It is partly an ode to dear Mr. Harrison. It is on youtube in a rudimentary form.

A Thousand Loves

So fragile, so weak
The heart's a miracle in every beat
In every house on every street
In every corner the cancers creep

If you go to George and ask
He'll tell you everything must pass

Our days are few and each one fleet
A thousand loves are ours to seek
Yet no one that we'll ever meet
May we claim our own somehow to keep

If you go to George and ask
He'll tell you everything must pass

If you go to George and ask
He'll say there's no damn way to last

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Planets Minerva: Episode 3: The Walled Town of Sealedge

The ranger Catherine and her Half-orc companions Armigus and Gu’ro’Baen have left the encampment of the brothers and sisters of Osiris, gratefully equipped by them with water skins, a few coins, clothing, footwear and such; and with belts which, in the absence of sheathes or scabbards, managed to contain their bared compact swords, though awkwardly, and at least allowed their hands free. They have followed a well-beaten track through the strange hot savannah, their hoods a shelter from the large red sun.

At the tall brown stone wall of the town of Sealedge the windowless gates stand closed. Before it some merchant and his guards and horses wait patiently with their loaded covered cart as town guards patrol high above. The merchant assures the party that these outer gates will open soon while the inner gates close instead, and that this will leave the outer ring quarters of Sealedge at their disposal.

“And what sort of little hate-goblin is this?” asks Catherine, gesturing toward the tall grass where a mousey, almost doggish face glares at them. She slowly approaches the short creature who scurries backward and upright away from the ranger.

When the sturdy gates groan and swing ponderously outward, the merchant shows papers to the guards within; there are many of them in sight, all garbed in charcoal-coloured capes and red helmets, and the merchant and his men are waved on. The party, with no papers, are redirected toward one of the four large buildings which abut the inner and outer walls on either side of each gate, leaving a single well-trod road bisecting the dense outer “ring” community.

There are banners posted on their left and right hand sides of this intersection; one with a westward arrow hailing the Horse’s Ass Ale House and the other plugging the Thirsty Bastard Ale House to the east. The former bears a crude drawing of a horse looking back over his shoulder while the latter depicts a gentle-eyed bearded man staring placidly at the viewer. Catherine is startled at the image. Her hand goes to the hilt of her sword where the saint’s name is inscribed. “Look familiar?” she says. The others follow her gaze.

“It’s the same image Brother Leotho showed us,” says Gu’ro’Baen.”

“Saint Montreal,” says Armigus. Saint of the abandoned, they each recall. “We must pay this place a visit.”

“Guard,” says Catherine, “I must report a matter of possible concern.”

“Go on.” She tells him of the presence of a little ‘hate goblin’ hiding in the grass outside the gate. The guard thanks her and vows to have this investigated.

They are then ushered through a door below a sign reading Intake wherein guards relieve them of their weapons with the promise of their return before leaving Outer Sealedge, whether inward or outward as their fate yet avails.

Guro, as his orcish friend calls him, is separated from the others and interviewed well along the narrow room, within their sight but out of earshot.

The interrogator demands his name and those of his companions. Guro complies and that much goes well. “And where have you come from?”

“From the encampment down the road. We were guests of the pilgrims of Osiris.”

“Since when? Did you enter the Verge with them?”


“Where is home then? Not Orikland.”


“You are part Orik though.”

“I… yes.”

“From where originally?”

“We’re… wanderers currently.”

“Perchance you were born somewhere?” The man seemed irked.

“Of course. The city of Renown.”

The guard shook his head. “I’ve not heard of this city before. To what land does it belong?”

“It’s a long way from here.”

“Clearly. But what land please?”

“I know not how to answer that. It’s an independent city, with it’s own rulers and army.”

The guard stares at him unpleasantly. “How can you not know in which land it lies?

“It is it’s own land.”

“Are you enfeebled then? Or a lunatic?”

“No sir!”

Eventually the guard loses patience and Guro is taken and detained while Armigus and Catherine are each interviewed. They respond cleverly with geographical references gleaned from the clerics and are permitted access to outer Sealedge for the time being, but with the burden of sponsoring the suspicious Gu’ro’Baen and unburdened of their weapons. They are each assigned permanent unique visitor numbers which index their entry records. They are told when to return to this barracks where they might be approved for entry or else bedded for the night.

“Have you ever seen such a tight-guarded town?” says Armigus upon their release. “What are they so protective of, I wonder.”

“Unspoiled water?” says Catherine. ‘It is rare apparently, in this land at least.” They are outside staring again at the Thirsty Bastard Ale House banner.

“Saint Montreal,” says Guro, echoing the others’ thoughts.

“Whoever left those swords for us...” Catherine muses.

“Do they mean to direct us there?” says Armigus, “Where they perchance await?”

“Let’s find out,” says Guro.

“And hope they’re friendly,” says Catherine. “We’ve no weapons now.”

“Something tells me that guards will be present,” says Guro as he looks around.”

“They do seem everywhere,” says Armigus.

“I suspect we’re being observed,” says Guro. “Tested as it were.”

Hmmm. I’m a little concerned about this exercise. It was meant to serve as a concise record of game play but it has taken a turn for the prosaic. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Perhaps it is a symptom of the stage of the story. It is still very much in introduction mode and a lot of subtleties are significant. Perhaps as this world gains familiarity the narration will gain some speed and concision.   

Sunday, March 18, 2018

I need a plastic bag or else comped for a pair of socks, please.

The socks were new after all..

Sick Boy and I were having a little write-in at one of sixty-something Scooterville Tim Horton’s locations; one recently renovated and, at this time, barely attended. I vanished from the table - briefly I expected - in order to drop off a couple wee kids at the pool.

I did so, and then discovered that the T.P. dispenser was ill equipped to dispense anything. It was as vacant as a North American politician’s heart or brain.

So I sat there, waiting for someone else to come in so that I could ask them to fetch help from the staff.

And I sat there.

I flushed… and sat there some more.

And some more.

Apparently males do not use bathrooms in this neck of the woods.

And I sat there… wondering how long before Sick Boy became concerned enough to maybe check on me or something.

And finally the lights turned off, presumably due to motion sensor inactivity.

And I sat there in the pitch dark…

And sat there.

Finally, in the dark, I kicked off a shoe…

Later I would have to find it in the dark.

Later still, I approached the young cashier at the counter and said: “You’re out of toilet paper AND soap in the men’s room.”

“Okay. Thank you.”

“And therefore I need a plastic bag or else comped for a pair of socks, please.”

Deer in headlights.

“I beg your pardon?”

“I therefore need a plastic bag in which to transport home a wet pair of socks OR ELSE I need compensation for throwing them away.”

“Um. Oh.”

“They were brand new socks,” I said, nodding, wide-eyed, as if to say, yes, you understand correctly.

“Let me talk to my manager.”

“By all means. And can I get a large hot chocolate please?”

Maybe I’ll get the drink free, I thought. I didn’t.

It’s actually a nice bag but I don’t think I’ll re-use it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Reflections: Fear

Roast beef with gravy AND horseradish! At the same time! Mashed potatoes, cooked corn and carrots, coffee and mint-chocolate chip ice cream!

Not bad for a free meal, eh? Well, I dropped a fiver in the collection box which I do most of the time. Otherwise, when times are tough, I wash a few giant pots and pans as a contribution.

The topic at this circles dinner celebration is fears, and how we have conquered them.

Some extolled the comforting virtues of their Saviour. Others had more earthly entities to praise. One excellent dad talked about the actual nightmares from the early days of parenting: in which terrible dangers loomed over his offspring who were always just out of his reach, and how he had to finally trust in the benevolence of higher powers, and relinquish absolute custody in his mind; something that bears relevance to my own mind and the troubles it so recently suffered, but which I truly seem to have finally found legitimate peace with.

I spoke of the fears which still haunted me at the age of thirty-one; fears so common they were not perceived as fears at the time, but which I suffered for nevertheless, unequipped to figure the accounting:

The fear of being poor; of being disrespected; of being unpopular; of being wrong; of getting caught in a lie; or losing my job; my car; my house; the love-relationship which seemed to garner popular admiration for its longevity, and for how darn cute we were in public.

While being monsters at home.

And I spoke of the unexpected solution: getting dumped from that relationship after twelve years-and-change, and then just days later, getting laid off from the occupation I had coveted for an equal duration: How I seemed to have lost everything, including the house.

But that I discovered how the groove I thought my life had been in, was really a rut.

How that blessed period of material freedom (via generous severance package and home equity) and this new freedom from societal investments in the mind of a person with mature perspectives on the world - compared to the usual free-minded of our society; the youths who conversely lack experience to draw upon, presented a very rare and golden opportunity, and a rare salvation.

The soul searching, the decision to write, the blank page, the questions and the search for truth. The courage and self-accusation, the discovery of illusion in the gap between consciousness and instinct, the immense ubiquity of it, but finally the mastery of context and the break-through to the wisest, universal perspectives… and the resulting freedom from the great majority of fears that nearly everyone inherits without knowing they have. Ninety-nine per cent of fears are the product of illusions, and simply evaporate once you see clearly.

Not everyone can have the privilege of losing everything around age thirty. That is a shame.

But most can find more time for solitude and creativity, which is where the process starts. It doesn’t require talent to win the best prizes that art offers. It’s all in the experience; not the product.  

Monday, March 12, 2018

Front Page News

Top headlines from Monday’s Scooterville Speculator:
(These are the accurate front page headlines from today’s paper with genuine copy below, but severely abridged and with generous poetic license...)

Christine Elliott concedes leadership to Ford
“I’m worried about Kathleen Wynne, not Christine right now,” Ford told reporters. “We’re going to defeat Kathleen Wynne and bring extra special elite prosperity “back” to extra special elite master citizens of Ontario at the lethal expense of the planet and the human race, and do it with just a teeny tiny bit more transparency then the way those extra-sneaky wolf-in-granny’s-clothing Liberals do it! Because it’s funnier and more insulting that way! Ha ha ha ha ha!”

“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaa…!”


Auto body shop scams doubled repair costs
TORONTO -- Workers at auto body shops deliberately damaged cars, installed used parts but billed for new ones, invoiced for phantom repairs etc., according to an investigation by a Canadian insurer that is calling on government to help curb the problem.

Says every garage owner and mechanic everywhere: “Hey! I don’t scam customers any more than every other garage scams everybody. Why pick on me all of a sudden? That’s not fair. You’re just like all these damn women who let their husbands batter them for years and then all of a sudden complain! What the hell? If you’re going to get the everliving shit beat out of you for years and years then you have sort of given permission, haven’t you? And why should the government help you? They invented the racket of cheating everyone everyday in order to get stupidly rich!”

Hamilton ‘angel’ set to donate kidney to stranger
Christi Nolan of Hamilton is rather modest about giving a kidney to Toronto woman Jennen Johnson. Rather than draw sarcastic parallels to Hamilton’s reputation for taking care of most of the GTA’s migratory needy in terms of social services for decades, let’s just say… Christi, you’re awesome, and one hell of a legitimate human being within a culture of greed and fakery!

For the Love of Locke
Deanna Edmondson hands out hot chocolate from Goodness Me during Love Locke Day Saturday, as neighbours gathered in support of the street’s businesses following last weekend’s vandalism spree. Says landlords and tax-hungry local government officials: Unfortunately we don’t recognize Love Locke Day. Over-regulation and quadruple rent rates shall remain in place, thank you very much! We need to drive up property values and prices and bolster the coffers that are needed for corporate subsidies! And don’t worry. There are no victims from this system. The perpetrators were not victims, just random scary vandal monsters with no reason to be angry. That’s right. No victims here. Move along people. Go show a little love to the big box stores!”

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Easy to learn and safe to ride!

Back when I was a teenager and generally didn’t know shit about anything I did at least absorb a fair hunk of TV viewing and radio listening and I figured out fairly quickly the prime rules of advertising… which are: Brag about the best qualities of your product and try to ignore the nasty qualities… with one vital exception: Take the number one nastiest thing and brag about it most of all!

Just reverse it. Say the opposite about it.

I guess their thinking is… people are so stupid you can distract them from your biggest problem by making them assume it’s the biggest advantage; that people are so stupid they will assume the thing you brag about the most has got to be true or you wouldn’t be bragging about it.

I don’t absorb nearly as much advertising any more. It has waned and waned throughout my life (typical, I think?) but on the rare occasions I am subjected to it I still see the above phenomenon again and again.

Let’s take a quick peak at this little number: the hoverboard. Which is “easy to learn and safe to ride” apparently! Let’s be generous and overlook the matter of whether it hovers or not. Let’s see if we can glean any insight into how easy and safe it is:

Okay then.

Friday, March 02, 2018

The big man

He leaned down, his face too close to mine and hissed, “I don’t like people who play head games.” It seemed like a threat.

I’d never worked with this burly, awkward security guard before. He paced a lot. He would stand, slightly hunched, staring ahead, his jaw working and working at some invisible prey.

I finally summoned the courage to ask him how he was doing, regretting it before the words were fully out of my mouth. The answer was a long growling litany of not good. It seemed like this ogre perceived that everyone was against him. I started to wonder how anything I said would not be perceived as a head game by someone so apparently paranoid. The entire night was unpleasant, seeming rife with jeopardy.

The next day I received an emergency email from the dispatcher: Could I please return for another shift that night?

And possibly stave off starvation and financial ruin a tad longer? Why of course!

She then confirmed the shift, and oddly, as this was not general practice, she mentioned who I would be working with: the ogre again.

Starvation suddenly seemed preferable.

I am not remotely comfortable ratting out employees to employers. It is a serious privilege to affect someone’s capacity for income. This needed much though but I had no time. So I quickly sent this email:


I realize that likely nothing can be done immediately and I am obligated to work tonight with [Big man], but I need you to know that I am dreading this, and going forward I will probably have to refuse to work with him. I believe the fellow has significant mental problems which I am not sure how to deal with. He is full of anger which so far has been limited to verbal venting and creepy behaviour which feels threatening to me. There has been no sign of physical violence whatsoever but nevertheless I am extremely uncomfortable around him. 

I'm very sorry to throw this at you and I am regretful I didn't speak up earlier but it's tricky to know the right thing to do. I don't wish to damage this man's career but I am also concerned about my own safety and well-being.

I am copying Mr. [H. R. Guy] as I am unsure who should best receive this concern.


By the next morning I had worked another shift with the fellow and discovered the potential tyranny in first impressions. I started to perceive that the “threat” I had endured was nothing more than one man, low on companions, whispering; confiding in a potential one. At the risk of looking like a bit of an idiot, I was obliged to contact my supports at the office again:

[Big man] and I were often together last night and I must confess I had no problems with him. In fact I would say that he was very polite and helpful. Though I still feel nervous around him currently, I would consider that perhaps this is something that is my responsibility to deal with, personally, as a matter of respecting diversity.

I would like to assume that on the previous shift where I met him for the first time, that he was just having an unusually bad day and that perhaps I interpreted things in the most unfortunate way. First impressions can be tricky. I regret my previous communication. Last night’s assignment was very short-notice and I felt cornered and rushed to choose a course of action.

I'm aware that [Big man] has some struggles currently but I'm now inclined toward empathy and I hope not to see his employment opportunities diminished. From what I saw last night I believe he conducted himself admirably and kept his problems to himself. I must also confess that given his superior mobility, he was the greater resource last night; especially toward the end.


Thursday, March 01, 2018

Dinner with the Potter

No others were available for our gaming group night but we two gathered anyway. I suppose I looked forward to it even more so than the previous occasion when we five played Tokaido. For I would have the potter to myself and surely gain some insight into the living experience of this significant poet; this capable witness to the universe.

The home-made bread was joyfully sustaining; the pulled pork superbly spiced. The competent Californian red was overly chilled and delayed while we divvied a magnum of white.

Dear Doctor Lock; his brother and my excellent old pal, had generously prepared us, each with praise for the other, and so we fell quickly into comfortable openness.

I garnered a valuable pointer or three with regards to the craft of writing both poetic and prosaic. There were books, films and at least one album demanding purposeful reflection. We bared ourselves much; confessed unashamedly. We had to speak of parents passed on, of course, and I shed brief tears for the departed father person of mine, for the first time since the event, when I abandoned him to pass away in no presence of love from me; one of my great sins for which I still owe the universe (what price I don’t yet know).

He praised me too much and he trusted me very much - as one is always safe to do. As such, I offer no particulars here, for this blog evolved before I did, beginning not quite as anonymously as I should have preferred.

But he allowed me to an inner place where the building blocks of his life took shape but with holes of course; one in particular which he can not abide. I understand his wish; his plight. There are commonalities in the way we fiercely love. He is looking far away at the possibility of harmony. I looked that way too once, for reasons less informed or pertinent, but it is one of many parallels.

We hugged warmly and parted with the promise to reconnect and where I vowed to properly share my own great struggle. I know that his counsel will be wise and so I am already comforted!

We had crossed paths before of course; twice at his own lofty abode. And so the next day his message, as with any proper poet, was precise: It was great to meet you, man.