Sunday, October 31, 2004

Poor Elvis (more sensational news)

Since this blog is going down the tubes artistically anyway, here's a story that should catch your attention. I'm considering contacting the authorities in Florida to tell them I think I know who did it, though I might hold off a bit to let her turn herself in.

The accolades keep coming

Another award for Joni. The girl's on a roll.

Hmmm.... this blog has become a pop entertainment magazine of late. Oh well. I'm sure I'll start thinking Great Thoughts again soon.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

It's about time

Overshadowed by the incredible World Series victory by the Boston Red Sox last night was an event that, while perhaps not so momentous in the Great Scheme of Things--though I suppose it depends on your perspective--was also long overdue. McGill University, my alma mater, conferred an honorary Doctor of Music on a truly Great Canadian (I wonder where SHE placed in the voting): Joni Mitchell. To my mind, few other artists have ever blended such emotionally striking texts (i.e., poetry) with music that is both complex and highly original--not even Bob Dylan. Joni has it all, a Renaissance woman. She's a fine writer, a unique composer, a wonderful singer, an accomplished musician, a painter--AND, she managed to stay in control of her career and choose her own path. Among Canadian musical figures, her genius is up there with Oscar Peterson's and Glenn Gould's.

Joni and I have one thing in common (besides combining poetry and music--assuming one would call my humble attempts at playing the trombone while reading poetry as such): we have both read poetry at the Yellow Door Coffeehouse . But I doubt I'll be getting an honourary doctorate...

Here's a link to one of my favourite Mitchell songs: A Case of You

lunar eclipse
over Boston, the Sox win
the Bambino winks

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Interesting lives

Funny how blogging connects people. I came across a cool blog this evening. Many people lead interesting lives, but few have the knack of making them SOUND intersting. This girl's writing reminds me of Bill Bryson.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Saturday night...

... and I'm not so tired, but too lazy and too busy writing a Spanish composition and preparing to stare at the computer screen watching the Gameday broadcast of the ball game (no cable for me, alas, though I only miss it at times like these) to write anything intelligent (one need just look at the previous sentence for concrete proof of this). Anyway, I came across a found poem by my dear friend Aisha (not her real name either... shh...).

Passing flashy orange
sycamores along a silky autumn
sea, a poem came and went
for want of paper.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Friday night...

...and I'm too tired to think, let alone write. But my good friend Eliot Prufrock (not his real name) just posted a pretty cool poem on his blog called "Cossacks of Love." Killer first line. Check it out. Hope you don't mind the link, Eliot.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


"Every high C accurately struck demolishes the theory that we are the irresponsible puppets of fate or chance."
          W H Auden, Notes on Music and Opera.

We discuss quantum mechanics, the idea
that given a computer powerful enough
every vibration in the universe--
minute or momentous--is predictable.

But what computer, what entity large
or small, could ever predict this mote
quivering around its shell, to settle
gently in my ear this joyous day?

Monday, October 18, 2004

The Craziest?

If you have a high-speed connection and are a lover of scrabble, click here, and don't say you haven't been warned.

The Greatest?

I have to say I'm ambivalent about these "The Greatest [fill in nationality]" shows that are the Next Great Thing after the "[fill in nationality] Idol" craze. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, look here, here or here). Sure, they might be fun and democratic (or as democratic as the Idol shows were at any rate), but the winners... Ugh! Actually, I don't much have trouble with the actual winners. It's the top 10 lists and the relative placements, especially where artists are concerned. You might say, "yes, but it's arbitrary, you can't dictate taste". And I would reply, "perhaps, but when on the top ten list of greatest Britons, Princess Diana places third ahead of Will Shakespeare's fifth, well, my faith in humanity takes a swandive into the outhouse pit." Sure, Diana was cool, but a greater Briton than the Bard? Puhleese! The winner was Churchill. OK, no problems with that. But he got over four times as many votes as Shakespeare, and even Diana got twice as many. We're talking about the guy who single-handedly created half the idioms in the English language. I'm shaking my head. (Incidentally, John Lennon was eighth, while Sir Paul didn't make the top ten. Bet that just bugs the hell out of him.)

The Greatest German was even worse. Can you believe that Bach, BACH, only rated 6th? Even worse, Guttenberg, originator of arguably the most important invention of the millennium, fared worse than J.S., placing 7th. And Einstein, the man who irrevokably and radically changed the way we think about the universe? He only just cracked the top 10. Well, at least Hitler wasn't on that list, though I'd be curious to see how many votes he got.

The greatest Canadian should be a funny one. The top ten list of nominees (voting hasn't started yet) is maybe not quite as silly, with one exception: Don Cherry (and if you've never heard of him, considerself lucky and forget I even mentioned him). If he places anywhere but 10th, I'll hang my head in shame. But like the other lists, there are some notable exceptions, especially among the artists. Where is Glenn Gould (he finished 55th in the preliminary voting)? What about Oscar Peterson? Love her or hate her, Margaret Atwood? Marshal McLuhan? Emily Carr? In fact, there wasn't a single artist of any kind on the list. In any case, the winner is a foregone conclusion before the thing even starts. If Wayne Gretzky doesn't win, I'll eat my laptop.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Owls Head

The terror of birds at the ungreen saps
warmth from the air, palpable as the stone
taken from this mountain, now damp
in your hand, stealing heat from your body.

You walk beneath a flock of grackles staging
their getaway--nervous, rusty-hinge clucks
erupt into a chorus of screeches as they shudder
upwards, dark cloud on grey wheeling above the flames.

Higher up, lost in the low cloud ceiling, geese
circle for hours, honking themselves hoarse
in their fervor to flee the lurid scene.

At the top, you hear a gang of adolescent crows
mob an owl. They're drunk on red and orange
wine and will need all winter to get sober.

To Rebecca

Don't be sad on Thor's account.
Though the humble smith will dream
at times of orfèverie, he knows
his best is forged with hammer and tongs.

Constant heat and pounding remove
impurities from iron ingots and leave
a gleam that only fools call golden--
that time and weather burn to rust.

But a thing of joy is for ever beautiful--
in the smithy, the mortal god strives
content to fashion ferrous charms
that will endure a human touch.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Estamos hablando en español y francès
mais on ne s'écoute pas, ni un ni l'autre:
     in our common language, we can't say "love"

Las palabras no tienen significado,
on se serve des gestes pour tout
     but miss the words for which there are none

Friday, October 08, 2004

Just in time for the weekend

Nice to see the new Mindfire issue up and running. Way to go Aish and Gary and the rest of those involved. I've got a translation in this issue (for my three readers) of Émile Nelligan's "Les corbeaux".

Going away for the Thanksgiving long weekend. The colours should be at their peak. It's going to be stunning, though perhaps not quite as spectacular as an exploding volcano. No webcam for me this weekend. Maybe she's been waiting for me to avert my eyes. I wonder if I'll be able to write with pen and paper. It's been a while. I should get some ink for my fountain pen--much better than those new-fangled ball points, which give one no feel for the page at all. But even with a fountain pen, there's all the scratching out and re-writing, so messy. On the other hand, you don't lose anything if your hard disk crashes, which mine did a few weeks back. Maybe I should try not writing anything at all for a few days...

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Nocturne, take II

Vocanoes are creatures of the night
creeping through the dark unafraid
wearing lurid I-dare-you-to-touch-me colours.
She knows the men will flock to her side
only to glimpse the face that will launch
a thousand tons of hot ejaculate into the air--
voyeurs getting off on Gaia's lap dance.
If she blows at night, they'll see bright lava
flows creeping across the screen, hellish
halloween colours illuminating clouds
from below, twenty-four-year-old trees engulfed
in a molten Styx. A bubbling cauldron
no witch would ever stir. But give me this dark
spectacle over drab daytime TV: grey snow
transforming her dress into an Ansel Adams
landscape. Volcanoes are creatures of the night.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


As a Canadian, my interest in tonight's debate between Cheney and Edwards was minimal at best, and I didn't watch it. But after reading this quote by Cheney--"If we want to win the war on terror it's pretty clear the choice is George Bush."--I'm wondering how much he and Bush talk to each other. Didn't Bush say a few weeks ago that he didn't think the war on terror could be won? These guys need to exchange e-mail addies...

Whatever... Back to poetry.

Monday, October 04, 2004


Though at 8 pm, the Mt. St. Helen's webcam is dark
snow, the urge to load the site every five minutes
overwhelms me. If she blows at night, will we see
bright lava flows creeping across the screen,
hellish halloween colours illuminating clouds
from below, twenty-four-year-old trees engulfed
in a molten Styx? Will we see orange-on-black
vomiting into superheated air, a red bubbling
cauldron that no witch would ever stir?
Give me this dark spectacle over the drab daytime:
grey snow transforming all into an Ansel Adams
landscape. Volcanoes are creatures of the night.

Mount St. Helen's webcam