Monday, December 28, 2009

here we go

stuffed garbage bags and empty boxes,
memories tossed curbside,
ribbons and receipts,
socks and books,
gifts from loved ones,
an old year dying quietly,
but yet,
what is this vapid emptiness that lurks behind every happy moment?
what is this sinister shadow that creeps behind every new hope?
things have not changed,
the same fear,
the same dread,
stirring my anxious bowels,
the chemicals shift quickly in my brain,
like strange voices echoing in a dream,
tossing and turning,
medicating, escaping, running...
but yet,
where's my true will?
an empty resolution?
a pep talk?
a happy thought?

...more a resolve,
an anger,
an energy,
beyond ego,
a meta-physical strength this,
to know things,
then to let them go,
awareness remains steady,
with the body shaking,
I jump into the unknown.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Santa was a grillman

Before the house at the pole, and the marriage to Mrs. Clause, Santa was grillman at this diner; "The Nickel 524" off Linden and Church street, Brooklyn, New York. He would serve an all day breakfast to local riff raff and down n' outers. The odd business folk would come in and they would ask if "King" was working the grill. Eddie King, that was Santa's real name before he left the trade and got a job as a more diplomatic figure, some might even say, the Christ-archetype. Bringing good fortune and blessings to those who "were good" and withholding blessings from those who had "been bad." A Messianic figure no doubt, with his portly stature, beard and omnipotent knowledge. For many, he was and is the only "God" they will ever know. Santa became the official symbol of the eye-in-the-sky sailing through the wintery night pulled by the will of his creatures, bestowing good fortune on the innocent sheep, and their children, below. His symbol is everywhere, people hang his picture and wear his official clothes. They write songs about him and teach young ones about his moral observance. We make penance to him with every Christmas card, donation to a food bank and cheerful Christmas handshake. But "Santa" as we know him, was a Christ-figure long before he became Santa. Long before the FBI told him that he was going to be taking a new position and would be working in tandem with roving units of Santa teams. Yah, back when he was Eddie King at the 524, that's when he did good. True good. When he fried up some eggs for a shivering crack head, when he would help Mrs. Miller push her grocery cart through the door for a hot cup of coffee, when he would sit and listen to Tuck Harbour, a local lonely old drunk, tell him about the daughter he never had. King would sit and listen, puffing away on a Newport light, an upper arm tattoo of two naked women kissing, lightly visible beneath a sweaty t-shirt and greasy apron. Eventually, old Tuck would fall asleep in the diner chair, with a half-bottle of Bud and partially eaten burger and fries in front of him. King would would sweep up, cover old snoring Tuck with a blanket, and sit down at the bar and read the paper. Outside it was cold and the streets were peppered with punks and winos. The moon sat high above the clouds. He could feel something calling to him. It was his mission to help the broken and the vermin. Before he took a job rewarding "the good."

Sunday, November 08, 2009

dans un instant

The old man shakes his cane at the dirty mouth of youth,
while the rag-tag love of modernity
fades even
deeper into the fumes of panic,
paycheque to paycheque,
commuters "confront the daily setbacks,"
I breathe in deep,
with graveled breath,
and my winding thoughts,
to placate the ache of the past night,
school boys clown and ladies scold,
drive throughs buzz and click,
this corroding body,
this bruised city,
like the empty kiss of some effervescent serpentine,
like the pull of some cold dark water rushing,
spare your pontification,

your eager suggestion,
to accept your position,
so that I may be miserable like you,

...for I am but a layman,
I see things for what they are,
and I will carry my own bags.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The real Ghost Dog?

I was in Toronto a few weeks ago, in the heart of the Kensington hood: Rooftop view from cousin's funhouse:

After drinking copiously into the wee hours with a variety of townies, folksies, roughnecks and playas, there was but a few of us blazing herb on the rooftop. I heard some footsteps on the ledge behind and above me.
I look up and snapped this quick pic of some dude who apparently lives on the roof top. Police don't bother this guy according to the locals. He wears a hoody year round and carries a briefcase. They say he lives in a small attic-type shack and keeps pigeons as pets. He came about this far but said nothing. We asked him if he wanted to hit the spliff but he just kept silent and then walked away.

Is this the real Ghost Dog?

Lake Michigan

was down for a wedding,
Evanston, Illinois,
hanging from the north collar of Chicago,
a college town,
for serious grey matter,
and serious coin,
young students,
studying, bonding, growing,
nice cars, coffee shops and lap tops...
I was in a hotel with fancy soaps, white porcelain and soft towels,
witnessed loving words being exchanged over expensive dishes of food,
bottles of expensive wine,
fancy suits and talk of prestigious goals and notable
I've been to many ceremonies,
receptions, after parties
and collections of eager people on the cusp of their new life
my old dance moves, beer buzz and sweat soaked
lovers hold each other drunkenly,
swaying unsteadily to The Beatles,
outside the cold wind grabs my blazer,
as I walk past the rosy cheeked sophomores,
discussing the media of politics,
the politics of the media,
I remember that freshness...
the jog between classes,
hot coffee and quiet libraries,
soon to grow into frustrated suburbanites,
angry about the weather, taxes and bad backs,

standing on the pier,
I take large swallows from the Michelob
in my coat pocket,
it occurs to me,
my desire for marriage dies more
with every wedding I attend,
but my drunken thoughts end as quickly as they begin,
like the path of a paper cup,
thrown by the wind,
floating on the froth,
of Lake Michigan.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The devil was once an angel

Gonna move to a mountain top,
gonna build a cabin in the woods,
gonna turn the soil and grow a garden,
lost among the trees,
open to the stars,
away from the masses,
get my water from the streams,
fall asleep in silence,
in a homemade bed,
next to a pot stove,
embers glowing red,
yet I'll awaken to disappointment,
and the nausea of the day,
amidst the hustle of the city,
and the bustle of the players,
fluid identities,
and the sharp dressed religious saying prayers,
on the bench across the street,
bad luck and a quivering hand,
bad decisions and clothes full of sand,
bloodshot eyes,
coins in a can,
in but a moment,
one can see,
I could be you,
you could be me.

"It is a good viewpoint to see the world as a dream. When you have something like a nightmare, you will wake up and tell yourself that it was only a dream. It is said that the world we live in is not a bit different from this."

---The Hagakure: Book of the Samurai

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Poem is a City

This one goes out to all my fellow bloggers.

Photo: Dan Neutel, Poem: Charles Bukowski

a poem is a city filled with streets and sewers
filled with saints, heroes, beggars, madmen,
filled with banality and booze,
filled with rain and thunder and periods of
drought, a poem is a city at war,
a poem is a city asking a clock why,
a poem is a city burning,
a poem is a city under guns
its barbershops filled with cynical drunks,
a poem is a city where God rides naked
through the streets like Lady Godiva,
where dogs bark at night, and chase away
the flag; a poem is a city of poets,
most of them quite similar
and envious and bitter...
a poem is this city now,
50 miles from nowhere,
9:09 in the morning,
the taste of liquor and cigarettes,
no police, no lovers, walking the streets,
this poem, this city, closing its doors,
barricaded, almost empty,
mournful without tears, aging without pity,
the hardrock mountains,
the ocean like a lavender flame,
a moon destitute of greatness,
a small music from broken windows...

a poem is a city, a poem is a nation,
a poem is the world...

and now I stick this under glass
for the mad editor's scrutiny,
the night is elsewhere
and faint gray ladies stand in line,
dog follows dog to estuary,
the trumpets bring on gallows
as small men rant at things
they cannot do.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


I don't have answers. I try to not preach. So don't come to my door selling eschatologies. I'll make you think before you talk. I keep my head down. I read books. I limit TV. I drink too much. I've had my ass kicked. There's never more than $40 dollars in my wallet unless I'm at the peelers. I put way too much horseradish on my roast beef. I like loose fitting jeans. I have bad sleeping patterns. I should get out more. I often think about getting a pet. Then I slip on pet urine in the elevator and cancel the idea. Around 2pm everyday I feel like I'm gonna go nuts. A friend of mine says Japan is the answer to everything. I could work at being a better person. I have to work at not getting erections. Sometimes I dream about a lighthouse with a burnt out bulb. I find political jargon fatiguing. I play right field on my softball team. The bat cracks and the ball seems to hang up there for days. I tap my hat back and try to get under it. Sometimes I just can't get under it.

"I've got all my life to live
I've got all my love to give
and I'll survive
I will survive"
---Gloria Gaynor

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Heart of a Man (Part 1)

mosquito bites,
porch lights,
bending taps for late night fights,
hungry for something,
like a friend once said,
lay awake all night in my broken bed,
empty office buildings,
cracks in the wall,
I wonder how far down I might fall,
can't grasp the essence,
only feel the resistance,
can't feel the love,
only feel the distance,
a house in the country,
a house in the city,
fat wallets, trophy titty,
getting old, feelin' shitty,
don't know what it means,
a diamond ring or just a block of cheese,
old newspapers and a set of keys,
midnight rainstorm,
and a pain in my knees,
dark clouds and a full moon,
homeless drunk below,
shadow boxing the breeze.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

sirens of the morning

golden evening sun behind cigarette smoke veils,
dry cleaner blows rings beneath his flickering neon sign,
humid box house, hustle pants, shirts, table cloths, dresses,
shouting orders, loud, stop-start languages,
the push-out, the pull-in,
elastics and pins,
fluids and steam,
cash machine drawer hammers
take a penny, leave a penny,
bad teeth behind a forced smile,
starched collars, cuffs and dreams,
tough go at $1.50 a shirt,
microwave noodles and a smoke for lunch,
cousin deep in steam, uncle covers the counter,
hauling, pressing, folding, bending,
flattening, de-greasing, un-staining,
lifting, piles and piles of hangers,
throw it up on the rack under paper and plastic,
slap on a ticket,
quick call to the wife at home with the baby,
sweat beads in shop heat,
swinging door bell dings,
next customer in from the street,
10 years from home,
everyday struggle,
but the baby has a doctor and some medicine,
clean clothes and possibilities...
twist the sign, lock the door
beer and late-night TV,
sink into a hard sleep,
until the sirens of the morning.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

war beauties

chopper growl and pigeon shit,
a lover's quarrel in the springtime,
purple skies pour rain and winter vampires rise,
and reach for a drink from the sun,
scotch bottle clinks spiritually,
to a background melody of ravines,
rocketing dirty water through our valley,
and into our homes,
our minds,
our dreams.
In the night I wake crying,
"oh lord, don't make me shoot the
war beauties!"

"Sit there. Let it bleed."
---Deniro's character Neil McCauley (Heat)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hats off to old Hickory McCracken

My old pal Hickory McCracken (pictured here) was a one of kind fella. He was only 5' 4" but he was taller than most men in ego and emotional stature. The guy lost some teeth in bar fight at only 11 years old when some drunken brawler grabbed his pops (a gentle old baker) and ol' Hick stepped in and turned the drunk's nutsack into a play-dough accordion. At the ripe age of 14, while spending the summer at military camp, he wrote a bunch of poems that covered the gammit of his heartbreak over his lost cat, quantum physics, the politics of international security and the music of Wagner. The poems were published in the New Yorker less than a year later. By the age of 16 (while studying for his LSATS, specially prepared for the pre-university gifted) Hick swung a summer job as a doorman at The Blacksmith Inn, his Uncle's tavern, and when drunken college types made fun of his shortness, golf hat or fisherman's pipe, I got all the more thrill watching him coax them into the back alley so he could beat them until they lay toothless, bloodied and crying in a steaming heap of their own defecate. By 18 he won the North American finals in one of the first televised Krav Maga (Isreali Military Survival Fighting) and Brazilian Jujitsu competitions. Amazingly, he still found the time to develop a solar-powered lawnmower and a musical instrument, a hybrid between a Gibson Les Paul guitar and a mouth-harp. By 20, Hick had scholarship offers from everywhere from Harvard to Le Sorbonne but instead decided against the brain-washing of formal education and went to live with one of his girlfriends somewhere in the Polynesian Islands where he could finish his watercolour paintings and get some peace and quiet. Hick was a poet, Hick was fighter, he used to light his pipe with a rusty old butane lighter; his mother was a seamstress and his father was baker, before exams he'd snort gunpowder he stored in salt shaker. A truck ran over his cat named Razor and his brother was later killed by a cop's tazer; sometimes he'd talk and joke, sometimes he'd sit deep and toke, but always with a vacant look in his eyes; like he was staring into a world that he loved but at the same time despised; I'd lend him books and he'd show me some punches; we'd sit down by the tracks and smoke during our school lunches; he'd tell about his Dad's drinkin' and I'd tell him about my Dad's mistress; once we hopped a train to Detroit at Christmas; the last day I ever saw Hick we'd have our last chat; he said "Life's a bitch, sometimes you gotta slap it like that." I'd thank him for the advice and he'd just tip his hat.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

jazz and being

More than most types and flavours of art, I find music, in the form of Jazz, to be the form that holds me tight to the present moment... accompanying me on my everyday journey to and from and from back to to. It would seem that rock n' roll, my very bloodsource, tends to fill me with raw energy and an undefinable ambition to just go out and DO! Do what? I dunno, go crazy I guess, drive fast, overturn newspaper boxes, drink hard, punch people in the face, etc. It's a great energy if you can harness it. Though, it doesn't throw me a newspaper and pour me a cup of hot coffee like Jazz does. Though I have used classical music to relax to... and even allowed Opera to tease and pull my heart strings, it still remains the musical form of Jazz that really seems to me to be the soundtrack of daily motion in, especially city, life. Country, folk and grass roots blues are the songs of the working man, the dusty boots, greasy jeans and the songs of the family, homemade jam and cotton sheets blowing in a summer wind. But it's different than Jazz. Jazz, everything ranging from Count Basie big band to the beat poet messiness of bass/drum/guitar trios right across to a lonely trumpeter squeezing out a muted trill on the top of a high rise rooftop in the hot August eve, is for me a more direct connection to the immediacy of being. The flow of being. The gentle wildness of Lionel Hampton's xylophone, the rainy afternoon piano of Bill Evans or the angry genius of Buddy Rich's drumming thump, Jazz is the poetry of sound. My current muses are the Dave Holland Sextet's new opus "Pass it On" and of course, the rable rousing Chet Baker's Verve collection. I switch often between a classic LP "Everybody Loves Bill Evans" and his Excellency Oscar Peterson's "Night Train." Oscar Peterson's trio once moved me to tears with a rendition of "requiem" during an NAC performance on his Night in Vienna tour. Fucking beautiful.

Jazz is the traffic, the rain, the sirens of panic and a little baby laughing. Jazz is the old men playing chess in the park on a Saturday afternoon. Jazz is a howling busker, Jazz is a cold beer. Jazz is a bicycle ride and a picnic in the valley. Jazz is a nap. Jazz is a bus ride. Jazz is a painting, Jazz is math. Jazz is a bubble bath. Jazz is building, Jazz is tearing down. Jazz is simultaneously loose and tight. Jazz is the long, lonely, weed smoked, beer drunk night.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Inner Thawing

Drab diatribes from fat-assed sycophants in greased up frilly suits. "TipTop" nip-tuck Starbucks babblers barfing through multi-coloured Blackberries. Encrypting crack dealers crunch down on caramelized jiffy pop buzzkills who buy bags of bullshit at full price. They can sell you a house. They can sell you a dead mouse. Stupid boys and girls slapping the cosmic salami and calling it spirituality. Sliding a slice of overpriced sugar pie under the door crack of junkified craziness. Salt stained and stinking of emotional hibernation disgraces but no one notices past the shades and nightclub faces of the party-life trying to fuck their way out of loneliness but finding themselves flagellating a dog-eared deck of cards, sitting in their underwear on a cot next to a ticking clock, a limp cock. Picked flowers ploughed into paper and presented by your dreams to you upon awakening. Stare into your mind you dumb parasite, you juiced-up chump, you sexy slut, you weak-kneed mutt, a glutton for punishment waiting by the phone for job interviews to houses to huge prostates to coffins. The gods must be crazy? No, the gods are fucking manic depressive.

That being said, it is spring, whether you like it or not and....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Empty Sky

I woke up this morning
I could barely breathe
Just an empty impression
In the bed where you used to be
I want a kiss from your lips
I want an eye for an eye
I woke up this morning to the empty sky

Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky

Blood on the streets
Yeah blood flowin' down
I hear the blood of my blood
Cryin' from the ground

Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky

On the plains of Jordan
I cut my bow from the wood
Of this tree of evil
Of this tree of good
I want a kiss from your lips
I want an eye for an eye
I woke up this morning to an empty sky

Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky.

(Pic - Dan; Lyrics - Springsteen)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

religion vs. human freedom

We all live in separate realities locked in our own bodies and mind, reason and imagination. Conceptions of God, religion and human spirituality or there lack of differ amongst each person. This inherent difference in the human condition will always create a barrier to true unity amongst peoples of different backgrounds, belief systems, ethnicities, religions and also because we exist as separate individuals, who for but the temporary illusion of community or relationship, will ultimately live our lives out in our own separate universes. Social groups, usually groups of people, who value at least some degree of conformity of idea and behaviour often create the illusion of “unity” when in fact it is a collective based in a commonality of idea and behaviour and not a true union.

Unity only occurs when if first there is an individual to come together with another individual, two separate beings entering into a state of inter-dependence. Dependence is the opposite state. Dependence is what is most commonly referred to as “unity” in our culture but is nothing other than an illusory state of “dependence.” Dependence is common in abusive relationships in which two people who are supposed to love one another take advantage of and hurt each other yet due to the fear of aloneness and the ensuing pain inherent in being independent, continue to rationalize the abuse and usually remain in a state of dependence.

In biblical mythology, Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden or Innocence, or Grace because they chose to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or self-awareness. This first choice was the basis of their “fall from grace” but paradoxically the stepping stone to their independence from God. This story is also analogous to the natural movement of a child from the womb of the mother and how that which was once dependent becomes independent from it’s creator. The road to independence is long and hard but it is only by creating this separation from the creator that we can truly know what in fact we are sacrificing for this unity with the other which we all long for so deeply.

There is no going back to the Garden. The Creator has shooed us out and sent us on our way without mittens or a lunch. With our fellow creatures we stumble down the dark paths of life and try to find a way to make a living. Some run back to the Garden in fear, pounding on the gate only to find an angel with “a flaming sword” acting as the disagreeable bouncer. Other creatures, claim they bear “gifts” from the Creator and if we only give them some of our spoils they will “show us the way to the Creator” and to a life of everlasting happiness. Others take what pride and courage they can and keep moving on in hopes of finding some kind of ultimate rest and peace but huddling together to keep warm helping one another if we have the strength.

Dear old God has been hard on his creation. Knowing full well of our shortcomings and fragilities he cast us out because he was angry that we did not heed complete and utter obedience to him. He doesn’t seem to be sure if his love is unconditional or not for, ironically, if we don’t pledge allegiance to him, we are damned to hell.

There is no going back to the Garden of innocence because the movement to independence is rooted in choosing beyond our Creator’s demands. The labour placed upon us (Genesis 3:17-19) was necessary for us to grow up. Now we pay our own bills and the drama of our emotionally tyrannical father is behind us. Now, creature must help creature, brother must help sister, lover must help lover and we can do it. We have earned the right to labour for our spoils and celebrate our harvest. We have shelter because we have built it and when we come home at night we can take the phone off the hook. If our Creator wants us, he can leave a message. The creature will get back to him when he has a free moment.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Stick and Move

tired faces, clutching briefcases,

greed leads, conformity chases,

subways rumble, buses grumble,

into the mouth of the superunkown,

merchants and vendors,

bail bonds and money lenders,

salt stained streets grow homeless people selling poems,

smoggy air and business suits, music gangsters makin' loot,

the tension of the fight,

the call of the dream,

the challenge of the vision,

distant hope gleams,

needs to wants, wants to needs,

buckets of blood, the tomato can bleeds,

waiting for the chance, the bell, the dance,

cheering and jeering, tunnel vision light,

aching through the silence of the night,

bruises and cuts,

a fighter's leg shakes,

backslapping promotions, board rooms and office cakes,

the emptiness resounds in your ears,

and you fall to the ground,

slowly and breathless,

the spit soaked blood mat nears,

get up young fighter, are you alive or dreaming?

your mind is screaming scenes from your life,

your heart pounds in your chest,

a woman's eye, a baby's breath,

a liar's touch, a touch of death,

truth pumps through you like medicine,

friends become enemies, sometimes they become friends,

but everyday is a new day,

sun shoots through the blinds,

hearts can change, so can the mind,

limited time, to yourself you'll prove,

the win is defined by the lose,

listen to the corner man,

maintain your groove,

head up, bread basket tight,

don't forget to stick and move.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dance me to the end of Love

Celebrating celebrity (Canadian ones) at the GG performing arts awards. Though these pics are dated back awhile, the human tendency to "star fuck" is not. Don't feel bad, I do it too. Though that night, Al lead the charge.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Pressure of Time

I feel like time is slipping away sometimes. Like the days that I see old friends and family and then the time is gone and I'm into another day. The days bleed into weeks, weeks into months, months into years. The seasons change and people who were once close become strange. It seems the more we try to hold onto "the times," the harder it is when they go away. I think sometimes people have kids in order to try to somehow solidify time, in that you have these children who are part of you, starting life anew. Like somehow you can live again, refreshed, through someone else's brand new childhood. But make no mistake; it is not yours but theirs. To kiss the soft lips of youth again and feel the freshness of the day. As though time was mine. Just this week a couple friends, both bringing up children, told me that though the technical work day has ended, it is as though, the world at home feeding, bathing and putting these children to bed is a whole other world, a whole other work day. Both these friends told me that they dip into their very scarce well of time to take just a little for themselves at the very final end of the day, for if they didn't, they would not have any time at all. But they do capture it. It takes work to capture some time for yourself. I often lay awake wondering if I am wasting my time. I make vows to try to soak all the rest up. I get lost sometimes and have to make up time. I find myself just watching time. I find myself trying to salvage the remains of my time. I get confused about how I lost time. I try to manage my time but end up giving others my time. Even in my dreams I slipstream through time. I think we need a chance to just be ourselves, maybe with some friends, lovers, coworkers, but mostly alone. Then we can say we own time. That, we are time. We can just be the moment, fully there, without words.

Finding in your jacket a crumpled 20 and a dime. To the edge of your glass, add a slice of lime. Tomorrow and tomorrow goes the rhyme but if you are here in the moment, you'll have plenty of time.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

3am Diner

hot grease heat blows through the vents,
phones ring and waitresses shout the early bird orders,
cooks bark back in thick loud french,
cash registers beep and clack and change clinks
dropping into gnarled
warm plates stacked with eggs and meat are sent gliding across the
sombre and weathered patrons shovel in the toast and wash it down with
bottomless coffee,
other night owls burst through the frost paneled door and take refuge
from the cold in the vinyl cushioned booths,
insipid chatter and a loud TV blasts hockey announcer twang,
salt is peppered over the "Trucker Special,"
as the steaming grill is laced with oil,
an old man slowly works through a steak and onions and sips a cold 50'
he sings to himself, a dirty old Winnipeg Jets cap sits lightly tilted
on his head,
sitting with a cousin, he goes on to tell me about his frustrating work
and demanding girlfriend,
the conversation broken by the cook and a drunk laughing heartily,
the waitress smokes quickly outside the window,
shivering in her long coat,
a young mother and her baby girl eat peacefully in a corner booth,
the little girl happily tapping the tray covered with dry cheerios,
some fall on the floor as the baby laughs and yells,
"I'm alive...are you?" she is asking in baby language,
The old man at the bar smiles and nods and takes a large swallow of his