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December 6th - 12th, 2004
December 10th, 2004
all yer getting for Xmas is Canadian fucking poetry

I may not have any morals, but I have principles, damn it.

So this year, as we celebrate the improbably birth of a demiGod somewhere in the occupied territories, everyone on my list is getting a book of Canadian poetry. Because if poets don't support poetry, then it'll never get anywhere in the cultural eye. And I have a plan to help change that.

Now, poets may not have much money, but I'm guessing that most of them have to buy a present for a dozen people every year. Such is the power of religion. And tradition. And guilt.

So, if every poet bought nothing but poetry for their X-mas list, and picked out a dozen books for their loved ones, we could:

a. Drive up sales of Canadian poetry.
b. Spread the names and works of Canadian poets.
c. Remove the fear that people have about reading poetry.

It's a pyramid scheme of sorts, but what else are poets to do? The scheme will work if the poets doing the buying take a bit of care in choosing their gift books. Chances are, the hockey player on your list will only get one book of poetry. So, if you do it properly, and get him the right book, he might just read it and enjoy it. And eventually, buy another book. The trick is to match up the proper book with the proper gift receiver. So, get the hockey player some Richard Harrison, get the prozac popper some JP Fiorentino and get your penitentiary bound uncle some Mingus Goddamn Tourette.

Come on, you poetic bastards. And the rest of you mooks stuck for gift ideas. This could work. It's like block voting. We use the money that we have earmarked for gifts and support our immolated art at the same time. Besides, it makes a perfect present. What's more personal than buying someone a book of poetry? It can say:

"I love you"
"I admire you"
"I support your interest in biology"
"Thank you for birthing me"
"We should get drunk next Tuesday"
"You are religiously conflicted, but you are not alone."
"Here is something about Billy the Kid, who I know you like"
"I would like to make love to you in a deserted Husky Station outside of Calgary"


"when I think of you, I want to go on a two year drunken rampage and attempt to destroy myself and everything associated with you."


"I, too, have pain. So do we all."

So this year, fuck the toasters, fuck the video games, fuck the crafts, the CDs, the boxed sets, the DVDs, the digital cameras and all that other impersonal fucking crap that everyone else gives without putting any fucking thought into it. Walk into an independent Canadian bookstore and stand in front of the poetry section until you have an armload of books ready to send winging into the hearts of a television opiated nation. Sort of like I did last night.


Give personal. Give unique. Give everyone you know some goddamn Canadian poetry this X-mas and maybe we can take that next step towards getting poets a little bit of respect. That's right.

Poetry. It's not just for obituaries anymore.™

December 9th, 2004
block heater

I have reached a point in my life where I count the limes in my gin and tonic as my daily vegetables.

I thought that my pink ambulance was going to start through the whole winter without needing to be plugged in once.

I was wrong.

It has been a long time since I wrote a love poem. I thought.

Or maybe I just flooded the thing. It's sitting in a parking lot unflooding. Or maybe I broke it properly.

I still haven't fixed the side door. It is held shut with bungee cords.

I started to write a love poem the other day, but I stopped.

I read that Americans shot Iraqi women and children and I was not angry.

I thought about reading something depressing the other night, but I stopped.

If I try to write a love poem, should I be thinking how it will sound out loud?

I wondered what the true meaning of christmas was last night. There was no answer.

The Americans will shoot whoever they want, and there is nothing we can do about it.

I would like to get drunk with my cousins and my brother again. That was my answer.

Why are all these love poems that I have scattered on my floor, why do they all have blood and the word fucking and sweat written into them. Is that a love poem? And if it isn't, what is?

I wonder what it would be like to play video games professionally.

But I think I would rather proofread new Russian translations. I have been saving Fyodor's The Possessed for my thirties.

And why are these love poems set in the rotting heat of summer, or under a thick blanket in the dark tomb of winter? Where is the love poem set in fall?

Why would anyone use the phrase 'dark tomb of winter'?

I often wonder what the next Timothy McVeigh is doing right now.

Why would anyone mock their own writing so incessantly?

Thinking about diesel fuel and fertilizer and highwaymen.

What does a poet do when he can't write love poems anymore?

December 8th, 2004
Goodnight, Tuesday

I just ate a whole can of peaches.

In other news, the final Raving Poets night ran yesterday. It was heartening to see fifty people in one room on a bitterly cold Tuesday evening, gathering to read and listen to poetry. There were close to thirty readers, and we must have been there till after midnight. Didn't seem that long, though.

Congrats to Nuntboard alumnus FrutigerBlack, who busted off one of the best poems of the night, as did mr. applebomb, who actually won the big prize of the evening. I tossed out a ripping version of Nunto Two, which went over like the proverbial led zepellin, but it had to be done. Go out guns blazing, or something. And I got my own prize when the Scottish bartender called me by name and cracked a joke at me for wearing my parka hood in his bar. It's nice when the bartender knows your name. And bullshits with you. Especially when he's the kind of cool motherfucker who doesn't even acknowledge applause. Just nods and smokes.

So, a final hats off to Mike Gravel and the rest of the Raving Poets. We hope you come back when you're ready. You've built a community, which is a precious thing for neurotic poets. After seeing dozens of poetry scenes across the country, I can say with complete honesty that what was going down at the Backroom was exceedingly well run, completely unique, and very fucking cool. So thanks for letting me in to help you sweep up the ghosts of Tuesday night.

December 7th, 2004
Write The Television: Special Offer

Thanks, folks.

Onwards, I suppose.

Easy enough, really. Just spit out some straight promotional facts about the tour hitting the television tonight. Finish up with ridiculous promotional bluster. Go well over the top and don't come back.


Tonight, HELP!tv will be running a CultureQuest story on "Mingus Tourette and the Army of Poets". HELP!tv, for those who don't know, runs in Alberta on ACCESS, and runs nationally on CLT. The show runs at 6 pm MT, and reruns at 11 pm MT. It also runs on Wednesday at 12:00pm MT. For those with short attention spans, the Write The Nation story is slated to run at approximately 6.30 pm MT. It is only two or three minutes in length, and is based on a series of interviews I did in October, with the primary interview at the official book launch.

So, if you weren't at the book launch and you were on the tour, you will probably only see yourself in flashes. But there are some good flashes. And I've been told that I scream the words 'This is Punk Fucking Rock!'. And I believe that the rather depressing moment when I slapshotted a book into Lake Ontario will also make the cut. Mythic!

That ought to brighten everyone's day.

So. Watch the television at the right time and place. And then flood the phone bank requesting autographed copies of Nunt.


In a desperate attempt to cash in on this exciting story, the publisher and I have decided to introduce a very exciting Christmas offer, valid only until December 25th.

Nunt. Same low price. No Sales Tax. No shipping or handling fee!

That's right baby. To your door delivery. FREE SHIPPING, anywhere in the continent. And, if you live in this city, Mingus will deliver your books IN THE AMBULANCE. And if you leave him a plate of milk and cookies near the fireplace, he will also make love to your wife, or perform a similar chore! With no shipping and handling!!!

To help celebrate the season, we commissioned this festive card! Mail it to everyone you know! Help us ruin the birth of Jesus!

That's right. This year, give the gift they'll never forget. Give Nunt!!! And if you want to buy from a bookstore, try Greenwoods, volume ii, Audrey's or the U of A. Or McNally Robinson in Calgary. And many other stores around the country. Or ask for it by name!


Don't believe it's any good? Read the reviews!!! Shit, I didn't even make them up!

Stay on. Keep on.

December 6th, 2004

There are some days when this whole thing seems so fucking ridiculous. The book. The ambulance. This site.

I fully intended to finish off the hundred billion dollar conversation, detailing the Iron Man suit division, the Platinum Pornography Club (shot and projected with the IMAX format), and the marching band that played the Darth Vader theme song every time I stood up.

And then, I was going to turn it into a contest. Entrants would cook up a thousand word answer to the hundred billion dollar question. And I would post worthy entries, and when the day came, I would throw it to a jury, and decide who would win the prize. The prize, of course, would have to be spectacular to top the last one. Which we finally mailed off the other day. On the customs form, I wrote 'marital aid' instead of 'twelve-inch double headed dildo'. It was somewhat amusing.

But now, it all just seems so fucking retarded.

Cause even after a good weekend drunk and lots of fun with entertaining people, I'm not laughing all that hard these days. Cause now, when I think about what I would do with a hundred billion dollars, I think I would have to spend most of it on cancer research. Cause everything else just seems plain stupid in the face of that.

Yes. Ma's got a golf ball full of malignant cells in her left tit. And very quickly, everything is serious and ugly again.

She probably wouldn't want me mentioning it, cause she is tough and wouldn't want people put out by a little sickness on her part, and I don't want to talk about it either, but at this point, there isn't anything else I can write about. And sometimes, I get tired of lying. And smiling. And pretending that everything is fine, that the tour was a fantastic experience, which it was, but wow. What a ripping financial disaster. And I am still tired from it, but it seems so insignificant, cause something's in there, eating at her. And cause I know that, it's going to be eating at me. And Pa. And K.

We done this before, when Pa had the cancer. But he beat it pretty soundly, and to me, though it was naive, I never doubted he would beat it. But his was, I think, a much less dangerous variant.

So now we're facing this down, not really knowing what to do.

Reminds me of a poet I met on the tour who wrote a beautiful series of poems entitled 'Velocity'. She wrote them after her friend was in a brutal car accident. And she wrote them because she didn't know what else to do. What else to write. Ties in, I suppose, to the greater question, of why one writes at all. To be understood. To attempt to understand one's self. To exorcise. To educate. To make a mark of on the cave wall. Immortality. And of course, out of a fear of death.

There's got to be some changes.


Stendahl's hypocrisy
and my own
how I love to read Scarlet and Black with hard liquor in reach
like Cervantes and red wine

but it's the oddity of
living life as though it mattered
when all day, every day
violent, horrible, sad, tragic death

in all its variations

my own, parents, brother, lover

moving when moving doesn't matter

all the sunshine
vaguely obscured

by the obsidian wall

- from Nunt, obviously.

But What Happened Last Week? By God, Find Out Here!