In Memoriam ...

T_paul From a notice in Commercial Drive Live, I read that local poet and poetry leader T. Paul Ste Marie has died, perhaps from a stroke.  That's a sad loss for his friends and for the friends of poetry in the city.

T. Paul was a really alive guy -- energetic, enthusiastic.  I knew him best eight to ten years ago when I was performing regularly at Bukowskis and he was running another poetry outlet on Main. He had suffered a brain aneurysm a year or so ago, but I thought he had recovered.

He was a guaranteed original and he will be missed.

June 4, 2007 in Current Affairs, Poetry, Vancouver | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

International Women's Day

On My Way To Work on International Women’s Day, 2001

my true love,
my fino naked amontillado woman
waving goodbye with a promise on her face

At the bus stop seven women
three young
one old
four Oriental
wearing early morning faces

On the bus, a score or more
all different
pale blue anorak, red button earrings
long flowing flowering skirt
green duffel coat with a brown and cream scarf
grey baggy jeans

a Japanese girl,
matte black hair, matte black jacket, matte black jeans and shoes,
china white face

no hats

In rainsplashed grey, the homeless beggar girl
curled coldly in the bank entrance mouths
her need
her face pierced and tattooed
she’ll be easy to spot when the vigilantes ride

On the train it is too early
in the day to see the women
bowed down
dragged down
by bunches of plastic-bagged groceries
but there are plenty of
the occasional briefcase

One woman works through the newspaper crossword
One woman reads a soft cover novel with a lurid colour scheme
One woman intently studies a thick textbook in an unknown subject

Black stockings
grey stockings
flesh-coloured stockings
black shoes (mainly) but also
a white-rimmed runner
a blue suede shoe
and a dark brown number with tall wooden heels

no hats

and at the next bus stop there is Karen,
my special friend
calls me “sweet man”
the special needs transit pass her necklace which she wears as proudly as a duchess wears a diamond
we share my umbrella, discuss her work

I sleep on the bus
surrounded by women I wouldn’t get to sleep with in any other circumstances

March 8, 2005 in Poetry | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Remembrance Day

Visions of Cendrars’ “profonde aujourd’hui” in A Photograph of Soldiers At The Front, 1915


You were young men in the Guards
treading water in wretched trenches
swinging kitbags and rifles and broad silly grins

so young
that two billion volumes single-spaced wouldn’t be enough
to list all of life’s treasures
you haven’t experienced yet
and still you would die
right then
right there
doing right
or so you thought
as you lay where
no-one could tell where
mud ended and blood began

three and four generations removed,
we lay wreathes for your wraiths
on a hollow day in November
while the parades and the poppies
an annual landscape of memory

profound today, gone tomorrow

and for three or four days the flowers fade
and the greenery browns at your memorials
and then the work crews come

young men and women with guarded futures
treading water at minimum wage
swinging brooms and shovels and black plastic bags

and when the work trucks leave
your memory has turned once again
to cold undecorated stone
and nothing can ever change
the fact
that you died before you started living.

November 11, 2004 in History, Poetry | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dylan Thomas

Today would have been Dylan Marlais Thomas's birthday. Instead he has been dead these many long years.

In my youth he was without equal as my favourite poet, and his thickly descriptive prose and plays influenced my writing for decades. For a season or two in my late teens, I played in theatrical readings of "Under Milk Wood" and "A Child's Christmas In Wales" to some local success.

He seems less than well-known or well-regarded these days. That is a shame and a waste of some glorious work.

October 27, 2004 in Literature, Poetry, Thomas, Dylan | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


The plush vermillion drapes
were pushed aside momentarily --
a passing shoulder, perhaps,
or a microphone cord --
and a brindle shadow fell
across the hushed room.
He looked up from the false ivory,
looked out through the frosted glass,
and one tiny corridor
of his labyrinthine mind
wandered at the sudden, shrill, iridescent glow
of life outside.
Moments passed,
and this moment passed;
the drapes fell back,
and his full deliberation returned
to the quickest kind of death
he could inflict
on his opponent's queen.

October 21, 2004 in Poetry | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


     her home after dinner.
     They dawdled for a moment on the porch until the wind
     them inside where, after drinks,
     their mutual passion
     them to seek the comforts of the bedroom, and where
     her exuberant energy
     him mad with desire, and where
     his knifeblade deep into
     her heart

     He was
     they said, seeking to excuse
     his excess,
     his access to those parts of
     her body which even this exhorbitantly open society doesn't allow.
     he was
     they said by television violence and devil music and commercial
     radio and the
     he was forced to eat at as a child by
     his working mother.
     His vanished other parent
     he learned to drink by
     his inabilty to access the excess promised to all by the features
     he sat through at the
     His mother and father coincidentally killed in
     he read about two continents and two decades apart.

     they said by these circumstances to commit
     his act
     her death
     they killed
     him by
     his last of a long line of needles deep into
     his arm. And then, in an unmarked car,
     his body to
     his last home, just as
     he had
     her to the first and last home
     they would ever share.

October 10, 2004 in Poetry | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

In Honour Of The Art of Winifred Lee

2001_calla_lilywatercolour on silk:
pale greens and light blue washes,
delicate yet sharp arcs
of black line;
soft yellows and vivid reds;
sleeping birds on willow
twigs draped in shadow
hanging across small rivers;
so real, the leaves seem
to wave in the
air-conditioned currents.

August 23, 2004 in Poetry | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Losing a lover is like
losing a limb
or a necessary organ:
take whatever drugs you want
to ease the pain,
it still hurts like hell
in the morning

Taking a new lover is like
yet another transplant:
the dose of anti-rejection drugs you need
just grows and grows.
And as the skin thickens
it takes a harder push
each time
for the needle’s point to pierce your cover;
and each drop of blood seems redder
and more precious
than the last
until you decide
at last
that the payoff is not worth the pain
and you consign that part
of you
to an oblivion
that is not complete
to a decision that is not whole-hearted
to a diagnosis that hurts
like a lover leaving.

August 6, 2004 in Poetry | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Prairie Dusk In Winter

the last stubborn light of day
crawled from the distant hills
across the grassy plains and weed-filled fields
surrounding the cabin,
draped itself across the
fresh-washed clothes
weighed down with evening frost,
insinuated its grayness into the broken bundles
of winter firewood,
and sought to deny the night its moment in the sun.

June 24, 2004 in Poetry | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Memories Are Made Of This

filters of memory
crimp images from forgotten

tread carefully

down these pathways of the past,
canyon-like corridors,
chasm-sided walls
tiled with jagged notches
of previous wants.

tread carefully.

June 19, 2004 in Poetry | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack