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April 26 - May 2, 2004
April 30, 2004
Howling in the Wasteland

Got quoted in the Edmonton Journal yesterday in an article beautifully entitled 'Edmonton poets still howl in the wasteland'. It was written by the handsome and talented Todd Babiak, and it's on the front page of the Culture section. For those who missed it, or can't be bothered: it went something like this:

Started out with some good shit about Leonard Cohen declaring he would become rich and famous by writing poetry in the '60s. People laughed at him. Like they would laugh at me if I said the same thing. Which I haven't. Though I have certainly insinuated it. In the body of the article, I ranted on about making poetry more relevant, using the publicity machine and the dream of travelling across the country in a (expletive) ice cream truck. I think I sounded slightly more rational than I typically do in print. But I could be wrong.

There was also mention of other poets. There was an interesting crew I have heard of in passing, the Raving Poets, at the Backroom Vodka bar on Tuesday nights. I will have to check them out. Apparently, they smoke and drink madly, and howl at the conclusion of their favourite readers. We may make loving bedfellows. Another group, the Olive poets, read quietly and intellectually. I will have to check them out too, though they may drive me from their haven with pointed sticks. Of course, that won't matter if I'm drunk enough, cause I get immune to pain. And humiliation.

The article ended out pretty freaking rad. I said that Canadians should be willing to murder for poetry, or worse, in order to give poetry its voice back. And then I was compared to the Captain of the Enterprise, which was highly flattering. The article doesn't mention whether I'm Picard or Kirk, but I like to think I cover both. Picard was a obsessive monomaniac, and I've certainly got that down. Kirk, on the other hand, would drill anything that moved, and Lord knows, I've eaten my share of green pussy AND I got that Starfleet kick down to a motherfucking science.

So Dammit Bones, give me the Brandy!

April 29, 2004
City Core By Night

Tento on my mind, haiku on the brain. A certain nervousness these days, women hovering on the periphery. Sleep is at a premium, eyes getting ever darker.

Took a walk downtown, approaching midnight. As I couldn't sleep. And took photographs with words, as Tento some times said.

City Core I

downtown core at night
those who walk with purpose - and those
with nowhere to be

City Core II

Chinese taxi driver
scratching his head patiently
always waiting

City Core III

poor artist studios
full of late night hopefuls
immune to failure

City Core IV

homeless drunk waving
his partner - cradling the bottle
nods good evening

City Core V

late salsa lessons
two women dance in a club
absent of men

City Core VI

two lovers argue
caught at a red light - under
the towering crane

City Core VII

smell of fish sticks
and coffee - the evening shift
is taking lunch

City Core VIII

walking off malaise
on darkened streets - but still
nausea lingers

April 28, 2004
Melting Sun

Received an interesting offer from the people at Zygote today. They are starting to think of their follow-up to Nunt, if it doesn't bankrupt them.

For a long time, they have been interested in publishing the work of a poet who wrote exclusively in haiku & haibun. In fact, I probably only got published first because I was still alive. Tento Yuriko was a Canadian with some Japanese blood in him, and he lived a pretty nomadic life after he left home at about sixteen. He worked in the bush most of his life; as a ranch-hand, fisherman, oil guy, as an outfitter with some aboriginals up north. He would return to the city when he had to, but he didn't seem to get along with people there all that well. It's tough to know what really happened, but that may have had something to do with his death.

The police found him frozen solid three years ago in the snow of the river valley, with a six inch blade buried in his gut. His arms were cut, but the police said it was uncertain whether he had been attacked or whether the wounds were self-inflicted. In either case, it appeared that he had walked down into the valley under his own power, trailing blood and powdery footprints. There were no witnesses to his last walk, and there were no suspects to question. Nor was it clear, even after an autopsy, whether or not he had driven that blade into his own stomach. What is clear though, is that he died alone on a snowbank close to the river's edge, staring up at the northern lights, his eyes wide open.

I knew Tento a little bit, through the publishers and a small group of writers and poets in this city. I've always been interested in haiku, and I've worked a few jobs in the bush myself, so we got along ok. He didn't share his work much, but the first material that filtered down through other people was always quite pure, reminiscent of old masters. It progressed over the years that I knew him, engaging a wider field of human experience and delving further into zen, zazen and satori. He was one of those people that I found fascinating from the first time we met, and I would like to have known him better, if he wasn't always out in the middle of the goddamn forest. He was inspiring, with his razor-clean approach to his craft, and his clarity, his purity of form. As it was, we met a few times at small gatherings and had a couple of long & interesting conversations about haiku and nature. And people. He introduced me to some lesser known masters, talked about Jack Kerouac, and lamented the lack of true adepts in the city. And then he died.

After the funeral, the idea was raised that Tento's work should be collected and released. Tento had never pursued publication in any capacity, which was a shame, but it had simply never mattered to him. He wrote haiku, as he said "to condense experience, to focus on the nothingness of every day, on the greatness of small things". His parents were approached about the idea, but were uninterested. Or rather, as it seems, the mother was reluctant to release her son's writings at the time. Over the years, though, the father read through his son's notebooks as a way to try to relieve his grief. In doing so, he found something he thought should be shared.

Six months ago, the father, Hiroki, contacted our publisher about the possibility of a collection. There was a series of extended conversations as they examined the material and discussed different approaches to it. Because Tento kept journals, as well as his notebooks, there are long tracts of journal entries to examine, as well as the haiku. In the end, they decided to find a creative editor and ask him to shape it. And for some fucking reason, they thought of me.

And so it is. Over the next few months, I'll be receiving roughly a dozen journals and maybe a dozen small notebooks. Some of his work had been roughly collected in tiny chapbooks for friends, but the rest is fairly untapped. And nobody really knows what's going to be in the journals, what he was thinking in the months leading up to his death. Except his old man. And soon enough, me. And I think that's what's really getting me on this. Tento was a bit odd, I always thought. And I always wondered if he put that knife there himself, or if it happened as these things happen. Maybe its in those journals. Maybe its not. Either way, its a fucking honour. Thanks, kids.

April 27, 2004
Ronnie's House of Love

Another entry for the Tournament of Evil. I'm not saying that it is the best ever, as I am supposed to be impartial, but I REALLY LIKE THE DIRECTION THIS IS GOING. I would encourage all of our other female readers to follow by example. Nudity is not required, but is certainly encouraged, and I would hasten a guess that it might be the edge that would push an entry from contender to odds-on favourite. But what do I know?

In other, national news, Maureen Dowd has written a crushing indictment of Bushworld. It is highly encouraged.

In local news, Ronnie took me out for breakfast on the weekend in order to pick my brain about his new business proposal. Since the last time we sat down for eggs and hashbrowns, he has stepped nicely into his role as 'part-time boyfriend' for a porn site, and he drills his 'girlfriend' for the webcams on a semi-regular basis. But apparently, it's not enough.

"Fucked up about Colette," he said, starting in smoothly.

"Thanks," I said.

"Good fuck then, eh?" he said. "That thing about the salty nipples was hot."

"Uh, thanks," I said.

"You gonna drill her again?" he said.

"I don't know yet," I said. "I guess we'll see how it goes. See if she gets any fiancee guilt. And yourself? How's your..."

"Halon? She's good. We're good. You know, it still sort of stranges me out when I got to trade up, but it's fun."

"I thought Halon was a kind of fire-extinguisher gas?"

"I don't think so," he said. "Say, do you remember when I told you about the try-out?"

I did. As a part of his application to become a journeyman web-porn star, Ronnie had been asked to put on a performance for the main boss and his girlfriend. Unfortunately, the woman who was supposed to be his audition partner failed to show up. The boss, wanting to see if Ronnie had the balls to do what he said he could do, took off for about ten minutes, and when he got back, came down the stairs with a motherfucking real doll slung over his shoulder. At first, Ronnie was a bit taken aback, but when he realized it was fuck the real doll or go home, he up-ended and chucked a solid one in her. And, he said, it was a pretty good lay. Strange, with the boss and his girlfriend watching, but nothing he wouldn't have done in the privacy of his own home.

"Yeah, I remember the try-out."

"And you remember the doll, right?"


"Well, this is what I was thinking. I wiped that thing down after I was done, and it wasn't a big deal. Looked fresh and clean. Just needed a new coat of lipstick. And I was thinking, fuck, I'd throw a few bucks at that, instead of having to pick some slut up at the bar, or cruising down 95th for a piece of ass. But it's like 6G American. And I thought, fuck, it's too bad you can't rent them. 'Cause I would be into that. And it sort of dawned on me, that maybe some other guys would, too. 'Cause it would all be legal."

"What would be legal?"

"You know, open up a place that has about four to six different dolls, and charge guys a couple hundred bucks to drill 'em for a couple of hours. It wouldn't be pimping, 'cause they're not real women, and I could advertise it, and everything. I mean, I wouldn't be able to afford four dolls off the top, but I'm making some good money now, I could invest in one, turn that into two girls, into four girls, and so on, and you know, just sort of set up a shop for guys."

"A real-doll brothel."

He nodded. I was amazed. It was brilliant. And I fully endorsed it. I mean, it might be morally reprehensible, but let's face it. Morals are for teenage virgins and Catholic priests. Fuck it, Ronnie. Open your real-doll brothel, get yourself a wide-brimmed fur hat, and start pimping the silicon. I mean, if I had the opportunity to trade Chloe straight across for one of those pieces of plastic ass, I wouldn't even hesitate.

Ronnie's house of love. Coming soon to fine establishment near you.

April 26, 2004
It's Reigning Men!

Drank enough on Saturday night to merit applying now for a new liver.

It's fantastic!

We have some hot new submissions to the contest. I highly suggest looking at them. If you start soon, then you will have formed an opinion by the time The Voting comes around. And you definitely want to have an opinion. Look at them!

Trust me.

Or, if you're tired of violent photos, tune in to the old guestbook. Some pinhead's been trying to denigrate my work, and has been served his own ass several times by some of our loyal readers. Thanks to all the hard-hitting drill bits who have jumped in. It feels nice to know there are people out there I can call on when I want to get rid of a body.

Just ate at McDonald's for the sixth time in two weeks. Rae-Anne was in, looking perky and sexy as ever. She just seems to bubble, like a pint of ether. I'd sure love to rip that McDonald's golf cap off her head, plant it on mine and ride her around the restaurant on the mop cart. Throw in a couple of cheeseburgers, and that's what I call a fucking happy meal.

Hangovers rock!

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