Category Archives: blog

ENTANGLED THREADS: A Canadian and an American chart videopoetry throughout their lives

 It’s been a wild ride! Presentation by Kurt Heintz and Heather Haley at the videpoetry symposium as part Tom Konyves’ Poets with a Video Camera exhibit at the Surrey Art Gallery, available to view until Dec 11, 1022.

1973-10 (October) – Kurt
It’s the homecoming game at my high school. I’m lucky enough to have access to a computer. My teacher runs statistics on the teams. I’m there because the computer is open. I wrote a program that is supposed to generate poetry. It does. It sucks. But it works.

1978-08 (August) – Kurt
I get my first computer, an Apple II. I write a paint program for it that ultimately digitizes video. I share the program with my college teacher. She shares it with her boyfriend, who then publishes a top-selling paint program for the Apple II. I question my teacher. She says my work is academic, and therefore outside copyright. Thus begins my adversarial relationship with the academy. The “video output” on my Apple II points me to television production, which I study and love.

1980-01 (January) – Heather
I was a singer/songwriter and front person of one of Vancouver’s first all-female punk bands, the Zellots, when I abandoned everything and moved to Los Angeles with absolutely no doubt of rock stardom. Ah, the hubris of youth.

1980-12 (December) Kurt
My final project in advanced television features a suite of performance art pieces. (albeit, undergraduate caliber) It’s titled “463: a television experiment,” the high point of my college years. The premiere party ends in depression, however, as news breaks during the show that John Lennon was murdered.

1980-1992 – Heather
Along with writing songs and fronting a band, I fully engaged in LA’s diverse and vibrant art and coffee house scenes while working for the LA Weekly and the Woman’s Building, a feminist gallery and mecca. An autodidact, I learned by doing about performing, writing, poetry, publishing, video, installation art, spoken word, performance art and collaboration, inspired by the city’s rampant pollination between genres and disciplines, exposed to and influenced by the likes of Judy Chicago, Jeff Isaak, Branda Miller, Johanna Went, Rachel Rosenthal, the Guerilla Girls, Gronk, Daniel J Martinez and Judy Baca.

1982 and later – Kurt
I’m a bench tech for Western Electric in the Chicago suburbs, but I join the Center for New Television, Chicago, where I attend workshops and video art screenings. I meet video artists such as Steina and Woody Vasulka, and Bill Viola. This is way better than art school. Cheaper, too. Video art is real. But any such video art with a voice resembling poetry is simply called “narrative.”

1982-1987 – Heather
With Peter Haskell, I edited and published the innovative and experimental poetry journal, Rattler, my first attempt at fusing text with image. It featured a parade of LA luminaries such as Linda Giurbino, Georganne Deen, Rocky Schenck, Jonathon Rosen, Kathi Norklun, Mark Mothersbaugh, Henry Rollins, Lydia Lunch, Exene Cervenka and Perry Farrell.

1984 – Heather
I met Doug Knott-Poet and Beyond Baroque/Lhasa Club impresario who would later produce videopoems and a cable show called POETRY TV. (4-DougKnott.png, unless there might be something more appropriate?) Also, the Olympic Arts Festival engendered an explosion of artistic expression. I believe its fallout had a direct impact on the city’s culture along with me and my fellow artists.

1986-01 (January) – Kurt
I discover Butchie’s Get Me High Lounge, Chicago, home to Marc Smith’s first weekly poetry open mic. At the time, we all call this “performance poetry.” Performance first, is our credo. When this gig moves to the Green Mill, I witness the creation of slam poetry and I receive a wild, bar-side education on creative writing. No video and few books, but lots of voice.

1987 – Heather
I bought my first computer, a Macintosh SE to run the office of the Ethical Pool, our recording studio in Silverlake.
What took you so long?-Kurt
I’m not a geek. Neither am I rich. 😉  -Heather

1990-12 (December) – Kurt 
I bought an S-VHS tape editing system the previous year. So I create video and perform poetry for On Division at Wholesome Roc Gallery. It’s about the dark side of gentrification and the rise of HIV. Susen James, a poet and a licensed nurse, draws a sample of my blood, which the audience sees in close-up over multiple monitors. I press the sealed, warm test tube against the cheeks of front-row guests and whisper in their ears, “What do you feel through the glass?”

1991 – Heather
I attended Telepoetry events at the Electronic Café, founded by-Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz-in Santa Monica, witnessed videophone linkups with Boston, New York, Phoenix and Paris.  I met poet and facilitator Merilene Murphy.

1991-06 (June) – Kurt
I am part of the Loofah Method, an ensemble that includes poet cin salach – one of Marc Smith’s circle – and musicians and filmmakers. I add the video component to salach’s live performance poetry. Patricia Smith and I are both fans of the Loofah Method. When we reminisce about them, we sing, “I’m your TV…”

1991-08 (August) – Kurt
I work with Quraysh Ali Lansana and Larry Winfield at the Guild Complex in Chicago to present the Guild’s first Poetry Video Festival. We show videos to an audience at a nightclub called The Hothouse. The audience loves it. Larry made his video with his Radio Shack TRS-80 computer. We’re definitely not “bi-coastal.”

1992-93 – Heather
I was introduced to the Internet, or, the World Wide Web, by friends and associates and learned HTML.

1992-09 (September) – Kurt
The Guild’s Poetry Video Festival features Bob Holman, who has also become part of Marc Smith’s circle (then). This is a lot more curated. Open calls bring us jewels and crap for submissions. Filtering them is a bitch.
Jean Howard, a poetry colleague of Marc Smith, brings me news of the Electronic Café International and Merilene Murphy. For next year’s Festival, we team with the Center for New Television and Merilene hosts a poetry workshop for us by videophone, from Los Angeles.

1992-12 (December) – Kurt
I connect with the San Francisco Poetry Film Festival, and discover a (then) 17-year history of poetry and cinema there. I hold my own, scoring prizes for two of my videos.

1993-94 – Heather (Edgewise ElectroLit Centre)
The Art of Connecting People. Awarded an Explorations grant by the Canada Council for the Arts, I founded the Edgewise ElectroLit Centre in Vancouver with a mandate of employing technology, (the Internet and ‘new media’ to) advance the work of poets and artists.
We procured Netscape, set up a web site and having been raised with television/moving images, working with video came naturally, as I employed a camera to document events, produce Telepoetics linkups and videopoems.
Video’s history of experimentation is a fundamental aspect of the medium and its populist nature appeals to me. Accessibility and affordability are important considerations as well and as Robert Graves said, “There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either.”
Some participants included: Robert Bringhurst, Evelyn Lau, Sheri-D Wilson, Gregory Scofield, Larissa Lai, Roger Blenman, Adeena Karasick, Lillian Allen, Kate Braid, Wayde Compton, bill bissett, Terrie Hamazaki, Jen Lam, Bud Osborne, Phinder Dulai, Marilyn Dumont, Billeh Nickerson, Patricia Smith and Henry Mah.

1993-01 (January) – Kurt
I make more poetry videos with Lisa Buscani, a member of the Neo-Futurists, and again with cin salach. The Loofah Method performances with salach are now in Live Bait Theater, not some soundstage but a real theater with a real reputation. Theater critic Hedy Weiss refuses to review us, however, since our poetry, “has no conflict and therefore no drama.” Baloney.

1993-08 (August) – Kurt (Merilene Murphy)
The American Film Institute, L.A., awards me a prize for a poetry video that I had to enter in AFI’s music video category for Sony/Visions of US. AFI didn’t recognize poetry video, so music video was the next best category. Merilene Murphy attends the reception. Wow! After so many voice and video calls, I finally meet her in person. By the way, I came in second place to a group of LA rappers dressed as cowboys. They really did music. The late Bob Saget gave out the awards.

1994-08 (August) – Heather (L.A. Times article on Telepoetics)
First Edgewise ElectroLit Centre event; Telepoetics link up with Los Angeles at the Western Front in Vancouver. The EEC spawned three major programs: the Edgewise Café, one of Canada’s first online multimedia magazines, Telepoetics and the Vancouver Videopoem Festival, which evolved into Visible Verse at Pacific Cinematheque.

1995-02 (Feb)– Heather (Cocteau’s Blood of a Poet)
I saw Jean Cocteau’s Blood of a Poet, considered to be a “visual poem.” Made in 1932 I think of Cocteau as the first poet with a camera, at least that I’m aware of. Surely, he melded word and image like no other. Intrigued, I researched and became aware of the works of Maya Deren, George Aquilar, Jill Battson, Herman Berlandt and others.

1995-04 (Apr) – Heather
Verse volley with Kurt Heintz and Chicago’s U-Lab, a crucial facilitator and partner in the Telepoetics network which included far flung sites in Toronto, Calgary, San Francisco, Montreal, San Antonio, Alert Bay and New York. Kurt and I collaborated in virtuality for six or seven years before meeting in person.

1996-09 (September) – Kurt (Quraysh Ali Lansana’s poetry video Passage)
WTTW/Chicago (PBS) gives me the Bob Award, usually reserved for video art, but in my case for a poetry video with Quraysh Ali Lansana, Passage. Poetry video is real at last, in Chicago.

1997-04 (April) – Kurt (Anaïs Nin in Bells of Atlantis)
I attend a conference at SUNY/Buffalo and hear William Wees (McGill Univ.) speak about poetry video. He presents a reel with some ancient clips, one by Anaïs Nin called Bells of Atlantis, which is older than I am. I’m impressed. Jill Battson and I dish this, and I travel back to Toronto with her.

1999-02 (February) – Kurt
In a video link-up from the Neo-Futurarium, I join Heather for “Love and Lust in North America,” on a Valentine’s tangent. Totally breaking the fourth wall, a Vancouver poet flirts with one of the Chicago audience members.

1999-05 (May) – Kurt
I join Heather in a videophone link-up between Vancouver and Chicago poetry students: high school students. My kids are with Young Chicago Authors.
This is in the aftermath of the Columbine School shooting. Chicago kids complain about not being allowed to talk about Columbine in class, and of metal detectors as they enter their school. This leaves the Vancouver kids dumbfounded. Never has the difference between Americans and Canadians been so sharp for me.
(Sadly, the differences appear to be blurring.”-Heather)

1999-11 (November) – Heather  (Vancouver Videopoem Festival, 1999)
See Or Be Seen-launched the Vancouver Videopoem Festival, the first festival of its kind in Canada. From the program: “This hybrid genre has received scant attention despite being a creative field of growing interest for Canadian poets and artists since the 70s. Vancouver’s Edgewise ElectroLit Centre is hosting this inaugural event wherein the most innovative treatments are explored and presented. Work from Canada and beyond will give local audiences a survey of the accomplishments in videopoetry for the past 20 years.”
(Vancouver Videopoem Festival, 2000)
When asked repeatedly to define videopoetry I answered, “A wedding of word and image.” The bottom line is language. We’re language artists and the emphasis in a videopoem is language, not personality. Language in all its guises, including text, voice, image and sound, their integration the greatest challenge. And this is the year I met Tom Konyves, of the Vehicule poets, an innovator who characterized the hybrid genre as “videopoetry.”

2000-03 (March) – Kurt (Radio Free Monterey, Betts, Jess)
I link from Chicago to Barbara Steinberg at Radio Free Monterey (California). Our video contributes to their RealVideo livestream. Chat lines handle Q&A traffic between Monterey and my home, where Tara Betts and Tyehimba Jess are the featured poets. If only we’d patented this. Our network design postulates what has since been used in distance learning. Barbara and I publish our “experiment” in Mantis 1: poetry and community, by Stanford University. (BTW: Jess wins a Pulitzer for poetry, for Olio, in 2017.) As humble as our live stream was, we can say now that our videopoetry has touched the stars.

2001-2012 – Heather (scenes from videopoems by Heather Haley)
Produced a series of videopoems, official selections at dozens of international film festivals. They may be found under mediapoet at VIMEO: https://vimeo.com/mediapoet
2002-2015 – Heather

See The Voice. Curated and hosted Visible Verse at Pacific Cinematheque in Vancouver, at one point the longest running videopoetry festival in North America. (Yes, it’s safe to say I have invested significantly in this genre.)

FYI, both the Rattler and Edgewise ElectroLit Centre archives are housed at Simon Fraser Library’s Special Collection in Burnaby and open to the public. (EECArchve@SFULibrary.jpg)

History of a Genre

Whew! Life is a whirlwind. I mean, more than usual. I’m working against a deadline of Nov 5 where I will be presenting a talk with Kurt Heintz on videopoetry at a symposium organized by Tom Konyves, author of Videopoetry: A Manifesto. The three of us have been working in this compelling hybrid genre for many years, individually and collectively. As part of my research, I came across this list of Edgewise ElectroLit Centre events which serves as a time capsule.

The Edgewise ElectroLit Centre: A Chronology of Live Events:
• October 4, 1994: First link with Los Angeles.
• April 9, 1995: Verse volley with Chicago’s U-Lab.
• June 4, 1995: Telepoetics Salon with Camden, New Jersey, Los Angeles and Chicago.
• July 29,1995: Launch Party for the Edgewise OnLine and Telepoetics link with Calgary.
• August 15, 1995: Telepoetics reading live from the Glass Slipper with Toronto.
• September 24, 1995: Chicago and Vancouver journalists read poetry, live from their respective Press Clubs.
• October 22, 1995: Telepoetics from the Grind and Gallery help Toronto celebrate their annual Spoken Word Festival.
• November 19, 1995: Telepoetics from Bowen Island with San Francisco. Robert Bringhurst read.
• May 17, 1996: CU SeeMe link up with Brisbane, Australia from Edgewise Salon in Vancouver.
• June15-22, 1996: Telepoetics link with Los Angeles and Chicago from the Gastown Theatre.
• August 29, 1996: Telepoetics link with San Francisco, at the Edgewise Salon.
• February 16, 1997: Telepoetics Web Cafe’ Link Site: Los Angeles Features: Mercedes, Baines David Campbell, Kedrick James, Evelyn Lau.
• March 16, 1997: Telepoetics The Web Cafe’, Link Site: Calgary. Features: Sheri-D Wilson, Gregory Scofield, Cass King, Rick Keating
• April 20, 1997: Telepoetics Web Cafe’ Netcast: Over World Wide Web via The Web Cafe’. Features: Larissa Lai, Roger Blenman, J McLaughlin, Hilary Peach, Adeena Karasick, Mohammed Ahmed.
• May 24, 1997: Telepoetics The Western Front, Electronic Cabaret, (Part of the Body Electric Electronic Arts Festival at The Western Front Link Site: Chicago. Features: James P McAuliffe, Andrea Thompson.
• May 11-25, 1997: Telepoetics at The Web Cafe’. Link Site: Chicago
• July 29, 1997: Telepoetics @ The Web Cafe’ Link Site: Auburn, Washington. Features: Kate Braid, Wayde Compton, Kimberly Klaas, Jamie Reid, Justin McGrail.
• October 17, 1997: Edgewise Poetics Virgin Megastore Unplugged. (Part of Bravo Vancouver! The Vancouver Cultural Alliance’s celebration of the arts. Features: SR Duncan, James P. McAuliffe, MC Exu, J McLaughlin, Rob McGreggor, Cassandra Onyejikwe.
• October 26, 1997: Telepoetics @ The Web Cafe’, (Part of The Vancouver International Writer’s Festival’s 10th Anniversary) Link Site: Chicago. Features: bill bissett, Sheri-D Wilson, Jill Battson, Kazuko Shiraishi, Adeena Karasick.
• December 15, 1997: Telepoetics: She Words The Vancouver Press Club Link Site: San Francisco, Features: Abby Wenner, Terrie Hamazaki, Jen Lam, Hilary Peach, Christine Taylor.
• July 13, 1998: E-zine launch Vancouver Press Club, Features: Bud Osborne, Miranda Pearson, Jamie Reid, Phinder Dulai, Loranne Brown.
• January 30, 1999: First Nations Telepoetics from the Liliget Feasthouse. Link Site: Alert Bay. Features: Mahara Allbrett, Marilyn Dumont, Marie Annharte Baker, David Campbell.
• February 11, 1999: Love and Lust Telepoetics Style. Link site: Chicago. Features: Leanne Averbach, Billeh Nickerson, Mahara Allbrett.
• May 17, 18, 22, 29, 1999: Telepoetics from Video In. Link site: Chicago Features: Ana Bella,
Host Anna Wagner, Poet, Justin McMillan, Vanessa Engle. Tech: Vanessa Larouchelle, Dickson Chow.
• September 6, 1999: Labor Day Picnic & Lone Star Linkup. Link site: San Antonio, Texas. Live from Spanish Banks in Vancouver featuring Carmen Rodriquez, Susan Mullen and Verbomotorhead.
• October 2, 1999: EEC Web Site and Virtual Workshop Launch featuring readings by the Seven Sisters Writing Collective and our revamped site/zine.
• November 7, 1999: The Vancouver Videopoem Festival featuring works by Adeena Karasick, Tom Konyves, Zaffi Gousopolous, Jason da Silva, Jannie Edwards, Bob Sherrin, Jill Battson, Alyson Vishnovska and Annabelle Chvostek, Bud Osborn, bill bisset, Jason LeHeup, Kurt Heintz, Patricia Smith and others.
• January 19, 2000: Bravo Arts Channel and Book Television Linkup with e-poets.net Director Kurt Heintz from Atlanta, Georgia, and EEC Executive Director, Heather Haley.
• May 7, 2000: Telepoetics with Chicago Authors, hosted by Vanessa Larouchelle. Participants included Glen Sutherland, Mohammad_reza Mohseni, Katrina Lim, Gabrielle Martin, and Hayley Crittenden.
• Saturday, May 27, 2000: “TWO MOMENTS” Interactive Event as part of Asian Heritage Month: featuring Kyle Hawke, Jen Lam, and Henry Mah in Vancouver and Tetsuro Shigematsu in Montreal.
•Vancouver Videopoem Festival @ 1999-Video In
•VVF 2000 @ Pacific Cinematheque
• VVF 2001
• VVF2002

GARAGE CRITICISM by Peter Babiak

Ah, life in the 21st century; still distracted, certainly, and seeking focus. Peter Babiak’s book came up in conversation and Keir pointed out a reference to me and my work in a section on Vancouver Poetry: “Poems are like discourses in that, like philosophy, they contain knowledge but their focus isn’t just on delivering some knowledge but also on how we get to that knowledge in that word engine. Even when they’re about Vancouver, all poems are really about doing things with language. Like when Heather Haley, who has the sexiest voice in all of poetry, puts a contemporary spin on that historical desire to make a culture out of Nature in her poem “Habitat”: ‘We plan like architects to bring the outdoors/in.’ It’s the sheer simplicity of the lines, perforated with that little line break, that produces the thought.” Indeed there is much insight to be gained from poetry. I find it sad that so many people are poetry phobic.

Peter adds: “The enticingly-voiced poet Heather Haley, whose earthy lines nudge and edge themselves into your mind, posted this reference I made to her work years ago.  Not only does she have the sexiest voice in poetry, but her work proves that few forms of expression are as suited to shifting our thinking as poetry.”

Agreed. If only the haters could get over themselves and take a little time to read some poetry.  Also, such an acknowledgement of voice provides a boost and helps me feel a little less like I’m writing in a void. 

FOR RANDY

Photo: Bev Davies

For me, bandmates are family. For life. Forever. Current and former. And Randy changed my life, such as it is. Was. Along with Brad, whom I suspect was inspired to create his own version of the Avengers after returning to Vancouver.

Thus the 45s were born. As with many ideas, the band crashed and burned within less than a year but we wrote singular songs and played memorable gigs along the way before foolishly breaking up on the eve of opening for PIL, at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, which I chalk up to youthful hubris and folly. Another dashed dream. C’est la vie.

In any case, it was always a privilege and a pleasure knowing a rara avis such as Randy and not surprisingly, he popped up in one of my recent poems.

FLYING DREAMS

Not much to do in a small town.

We’d skip school, drive to Richmond,

hang out in the airport lounge,

swig Heinekens and watch

jumbo jets land and depart,

rarely carded in those days,

no one surprised if you drank alcohol

at age fourteen. It was expected,

like shedding one’s virginity.

 

My mother never flew in her life,

terrified the first time I took off

in a 10-seat Otter north to Gilford Island

for a summer job of tree-planting,

hapless recruits seated on the floor,

engine cacophony so loud I nearly puked.

I would have been mortified.

Too young to be a hippie,

I lasted four days,

relieved to escape the stench

of fried tofu and patchouli.

 

My next flight was south,

to Los Angeles to join

punk rock stars Randy, Brad and Karla,

we, the newly formed 45s,

to share a bill with PIL

at the Olympic Auditorium,

going so resoundingly

I didn’t return for twelve years,

pummeled but resigned

to my tantalizingly

close to-the-brass ring

but never-was status.

 

Surveying the girl

with the Please Kitty backpack,

fevered skin crazed with crimson,

I knew this flight was to be

my last excursion

for a while,

for as long as it takes

for everyone to recover

our dreams.

My Baby Boy’s Brilliant Blue Peepers

One instance when a picture prompts a poem. Doesn’t usually do it for me. And more reflections on the cruel, inexorable nature of time. This little guy is now 27 years old! *sigh*

 

JUNIOR

In the receding gloam
I ponder a stratum of blue

within the photograph of my son,
hone in on his baby blue peepers,

cobalt against a periwinkle blanket.
His radiant bare head emerges

from beneath a navy cap.
Bundled in a fleece jacket,

wrapped within a sheepskin throw,
pensive, his immense hands grip nothing

He’d quit bawling by then
and we pleasantly romped in the park.

PINK BOAS & FLYING SOLO

There’s a lot of love in this poem but some people can’t see it. Or rather, feel it.

Finally getting back to writing-and this blog-after being sidetracked for months. And today all I could manage was a bit of editing. Feeling uninspired and it’s sad when poems from six months ago are no longer relevant. Oh well, I will persist. I always find salvation in action.

As a side note, T Rex and David Bowie saved my sanity in high school.

IT TAKES TWO

We engage in a dance
called Together Then Apart.

Intervals between vary according
to the latest news or mutations.

With enough lovers to fill a ballroom
we’ve moved past the Tango,

past clinging, demands, urgency,
and sexual intrigue be damned.

My time alone runs concurrently
with the time I have left,

prizes both,
however long they may last.

I’m ready at last
to honour my body,

its ability to function,
to serve, to move.

I marvel at the ease
with which he inhabits his,

watch it long and lithe
break free of the stove

to pretend with the Pretenders,
neon fuchsia boa flowing

over sinewy chest,
pink feather clamped

between teeth ala Flamenco,
muscle-grooved arms,

a flurry of fists, raven hair,
flying solo in the moment.

THE TIME TO FLY IS NIGH

Wing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After years of pandemic isolation, my son and I are flying off  to Winnipeg in a few weeks as part of my book launch tour and to visit friends and family. It should be interesting to see what air travel has come to. I inherited a love of aviation from my step-father, a former member of the RCAF. Forthwith one of my numerous flight-themed poems.

FLYING DREAMS

Not much to do in a small town.
We’d skip school, drive to Richmond,
hang out in the airport lounge,
swig Heinekens and watch
jumbo jets land and depart,
rarely carded in those days,
no one surprised if you drank alcohol
at age fourteen. It was expected,
like shedding one’s virginity.

My mother never flew in her life,
terrified the first time I took off
in a 10-seat Otter north to Gilford Island
for a summer job of tree-planting,
hapless recruits seated on the floor,
engine cacophony so loud I nearly puked.
I would have been mortified.
Too young to be a hippie,
I lasted four days,
relieved to escape the stench
of fried tofu and patchouli.

My next flight was south,
to Los Angeles to join fellow aspiring
rock stars Randy, Brad and Karla,
share a bill with PIL
at the Olympic Auditorium,
going so resoundingly
I didn’t return for twelve years,
pummeled but resigned
to my tantalizingly close
to-the-brass ring but never-was status.

Surveying the girl
with the Please Kitty backpack,
fevered skin crazed with crimson,
I knew it was to be my last excursion
for a while, for as long as it takes
for everyone to recover
our dreams.

The Land is a Mother that Never Dies…

Photo: Jon Wrasse

 

Photo of moi in Joshua Tree National Monument many moons ago and enclosed, a work-in-progress. Needed to make a long overdue blog entry. It’s been taken over by bots and persistent spammers like Eric who know how to attract visitors.  So busy of late! But c’est la vie. It is also good and more social as we slowly emerge from two years of you-know-what. Every visit or event is a reunion! Going downtown this evening after rehearsal to see dear friend Soressa Gardener in performance at an outdoor concert at the Vancouver Art Gallery.  Rock on and remain well my pretties!

 

 

 

CAMOUFLAGE

The land is a mother that never dies.
Who said that? Victor would know.
Victor’s mother videotaped her will,
farewells and tenderness immortalized.
A good son, the sort of son I would be fortunate
to conceive one day, a fine young man
who shared everything, especially his apparitions.

Blackbird red against a sky wall of dust,
paper doll shrivelling in firewater,
glass-eyed deer head in earthquake debris,
an angel face in the snow. Yours!
Gray whale shadow on the incoming tide.
Gila monsters, boulders and yucca trees.

He took me to the sleeping giant desert,
to hear with my own ears thrumming
deep within bells of pale blooms,
sprouted in the fossils of mammoths,
sloths and giant bears.
Look down. Beneath our feet. Treasure!

Look up, past your head. Condors bend boughs,
the light a diaphanous linen sheet.
Beats! From within, from without.
Bequests. People being people must conjure up gods
though red army ants conquer these hills each day.
He took me because I forgot to leave.

The city. See, it’s painless. Let’s live here,
in that cloud-cloaked cottage of stone,
kit foxes for neighbours. Look at the way she moves
through the chaparral! Loping, then bounding,
coat the colour of sand, invisible to golden eagles.
Cloak me Victor. Please. Provide camouflage.
You’re the only soul who can.

 

PRINTEMPS- a poem for the glorious season

PHOTO: Gabor Gasztonyi

And a suggestive-of-spring image by my dear friend and favourite photographer Gabor Gasztonyi.

PRINTEMPS
Yet another ode

Immortal springtime is a tease
though not hedonistic.

The pleasure spring brings
is a fluke, for spring

is a cog in the cycle,
we, mere fallout.

Let’s not speak of winter’s bluster
or those who are dead to us.

Today spring is large
and in charge of the decks,

arriving at last in a verdurous tide
to reanimate petrified desire,

to banish the soggy interminable
from this paradise of cedar

sweetened ocean side rainforest,
to spur us on to breed, breed, breed!

Gambol trails awash
with plashing streams, silver vernal pools.

To restore wanderlust.
To hear the splendid racket,

the shrill trill of red birds deep in a tangle
of cherry tree limbs & pink blossoms.

Such a showy in-your-face transition
after a long dawdle,

the most raucous season,
the glorious season.

WOMEN IN PUNK Panel @ Polygon Gallery

Photo: Bev Davies

I recently participated in a Women In Punk panel as part of Dina Goldstein’s exceptional OG Punk photo exhibit at the Polygon Gallery. In esteemed company, I was  thrilled to engage in lively discussion with Jade Blade of the Dishrags, Vanessa Richards of Bolero Lava and Sook-Yin Lee of Bob’s Your Uncle. That was then. Naturally these remarkable women have gone on to much greater heights. I’m grateful for the experience; it’s provided a ray of light during a dark time.

 

Here are the links, enjoy:

Women In Punk Panel Discussion

CBC’s Early Edition with Sook-Yin Lee and host Michael Quinn