"It's about words, and words are all I have…"




I read this week that a woman in Schenectady had

migraines so piercing  she called 911 regularly  Turns

out she has Lyme’s disease  undetected for 6 yrs.

Muscle spasms in the major muscle groups sent her

to the doctor who found Lyme antibodies


Recently a neurologist prescribed anticonvulsants +

botox injections in head: Your eye may droop  but we

give these to all the artists  (yes she really said this..)

In the 10 minutes  Dr. Cavalier spent with me  she spoke

slowly  perhaps to give the impression of a longish interview

The tactic failed miserably  The botox needles will cost $831.00

every 2 mths.


  • screeching migraines
  • infected ticks (likely from white field mice not deers)
  • heart-lung machines causing brain damage in quadruple bypass
  • 67 stitches for mastectomy


Late life perpetual sadness will soon fade  opening up virgin horizons

Where untrammelled snow + unscreamed screams will melt into rivers

running through arteries  To the sea of HOPE  at base of spine

Kundalini Goddam!  Yesterday a pristine 22 yr. old niece said: Swallows

are birds who always return home  That should be your tattoo   But I

don’t think so


Perhaps a vulture in full regalia  with a crown +more  An inyourfacefuckyou

to the carrion eaters who no longer frighten you   Nor do the pics of

Linda Blair  ie., exorcistporn  a forlorn brother sends regularly   And while

you used to have special readers for his e-mails  now they seem child’s

play   Compared to reality  of which art is not even a reasonable facsimile


This is a good place to get to  The putrefacto of the alchemists   On the

other side of which is a kickass pulled brisket   +bliss     Yes bliss   A place

where the Karma police will never find you


  • invincible
  • unbowed
  • +fresh as a daisy




Summer Solstice  2018




He was 4ft.8   A rotund Milton scholar   He used fuck

as if he’d discovered it in an illuminated manuscript

Who the fuck knows what it means!  It’s a prose poem

It’s enigmatic  re: Cormac Mcarthy’s  Blood Meridian


C’mon head of English Dept. U of T   I want meaning

with my exegesis or what is it good for?  Absolutely

nothing   All of your Milton illusions  +biblical delusions

are not worth a mote in the eye of the Lord:  And God said to

Job  I’m fucking God!  That’s why I can torture you!  

(yes  head of English  said this)


If you cannot grapple with the deeper meaning of McCarthy

the greatest living writer of the 20th century  you are not worth

your substantial weight in salt or your 150K salary   Even my

brother  a legal scholar  at that  had an allusion to John Milton’s

Paradise Lost   It puts your pithy fucks to shame:  (from Animal

House  spoken by Donald Sutherland: * plse.see below)


Back in the day  1978  U of T  my English professors were elegant

men   Musty with bushy eyebrows   I fell hard for one of them   He

spake Chaucer with his golden tongue: Whan that Aprille with his

shoures soote, the droughte of March hath pierced to the roote..   

And yes  he tempted me to his rooms where   But I digress


Now to McCarthy’s text:

Men’s memories are uncertain and the past that was differs little from

the past that was not  (or as my 94 yr. old mother says: what was was)

Cormac adds a new twist to Hassidic wisdom  Not only is the past a was

no matter how hard you try  you cannot unlive your life


And no matter what you do  you will live out the same story  (Mother:

Man makes plans  God laughs)  ie., I’m Fucking God!   Do you really

believe in the sanctity +veracity of what happened 40 yrs. ago?  When

the Boss released Darkness  +you lived with a 24 yr. old husband  What’s

the difference anyway?   Now you live with another husband  64


And in the night your medical marijuana plays tricks   All husbands become

one   Cormac: Did you post witnesses? For where is yesterday?  Numerous

of my witnesses have fled   Some are dead   Those who remain grow foggy

And soon  their mittens will be affixed  with strings



Hear me man, he said. There is room on stage for one beast and one alone.

All others are destined for a night that is eternal and without name. One by

one they will step down into the darkness. Bears that dance, bears that don’t.

(Cormac Mcarthy  Blood Meridian 1985)


(I don’t dance for the honky amusements  Bob Dylan  1965)




SPRING  2018  

..if I could take one moment into my hands..

Bruce Springsteen   The Promised Land  1978




Woke up to another hanging  Anthony Bourdain  61  Joie de

vivre extraordinaire   Won’t see another Spring   Contradicting

statements from shattered friends: He was never happier! Never

in a better place   He was in darkness for days    Anthony drank

gallons of wine to keep heroin at bay   11 yr. old daughter now in

the highest risk group for: addictions  mental health issues  +suicide


  1. all the light
  2. the pollen
  3. the social pressure i.e., all the sexy patios
  4. all the beautiful people barely dressed + insanely happy
  5. fragrance of rotting lilacs
  6. the fecundity vs. your moribundity
  7. apocalyptic certainty  (Globe+Mail  June 8, 2018)


Later in the day  attracted beautiful strangers  on the Bloor subway   An

Amazonian  too beautiful for Bloor + Dufferin    She sang uninhibitedly

Exuding Nina    When our fingers touched


Suicide Goddam




Cruel giants, mermaids, captivating spells,

a hunger for such things seemed to want to

play itself out within the desert springtime  and

its ambushes, its perfumes. (Denis Johnson Jesus’ Son)


SPRING  2018   RIP Anthony Bourdain

..who by fire  who by water..

..who by his own hand..




Storm clouds gathering  though not in the forecast   I

believe in the weatherman  +watch the weather for clues

It is the closest one can get to the Divine in a secular time

I stare penetratingly at the 7 day  +never fail to look at Paris

+ Rome


Left 1 husband in Paris   another in Rome   Overdosed on

limpid beauty  tainted-love  +lumpen strawberry risotto  Things

were much simpler weatherwise  circa 1965   in the backyard  The

weathergods were friends with your parents  who insisted you leave

the vinyl pool on steamy afternoons    Sky rumbling raucously


Frogs  pre blunt force trauma  family too  ( hey  we had to stun them

or they’d end up on driveway  frogs splayed under father’s Audi )  This

a sadness youngest bro could not tolerate  To this day he aches for the

children in Charlie Brown  They have no parents!  his refrain


Ours were quick  too quick to order us out of the pool  Always on the

lookout for lightening  +Huntington’s Korea  a famous childhood disease

back in the day   Our mother had St. Vitas Dance  +checked us for:

fascinendem tremendems regularly   Those slight tremors  the first sign

of shtetl witchery


Yet we had no fear  +played with the sparks nearing vinyl+metal   And to

this day we remain fearless  though the tragic news of Kate Spade’s death

wears on us   Reportedly from anxiety  Anxiety more dangerous than lightening

Her 13 year old daughter at school


Fearlessness ragged around the edges   No cure for fear of death by hanging  This

fate also that of a gentle boy with pinned ears  I liked   We often walked home from

school together   In Grade 11 he became a lifeguard at our camp  where  on a steamy

summer’s day  he climbed high up into the rafters of the main building





Summer 2018  RIP Kate Spade 55 +Jeffery G. 17  one of the smartest boys at school



Dierdre sat in the narrow yard of the semi in her highly

flammable acetate bathrobe  Chainsmoking   It was 7:30 a.m.

At about noon her father arrived  +ushered her in   She was

40    Months prior  Diego had left her for her best friend  there

most nights  drinking wine  with her forked tongue darting out



A few months later Pacey moved in   Beetred all year ’round   A

private eye  with a red light on the roof of his car   Her father  a

Bell Canada lifer offered to get her a job   Our lights would flicker

when Pacey came   Later she went back to work at the neighbourhood

restaurant   It’s all I know   And with blank Bell Canada eyes  she

drank wine  +chainsmoked for another decade



*Diego’s sister continued to visit from Italy  +her 10 yr old son could

often be heard  well into his teens  calling to her from the yard:  ma

maaaaaaaaaa  ma maaaaaaa    Every once in a while   apropos of

nothing  either my 2nd husband  or I  will take up that plaintive call


While in my mind’s eye I see another husband  circa 1979  calling:

Ommmelettttte   Ommmmelettttte  in a faux Brooklyn accent  this the

name of the neighbour’s dog  who on a hot summer’s night went missing



Summer  2018   .. Ode to the sounds of Summer




To all of the bad listeners who think they’ve figured

out the game of life    Who no doubt ascribe to the

wisdom jackhammered into King St. at Brant: Rain is

nature’s drum solo   (cost to city $36,000 roughly)


You can all take your pensions  +your grey haired wives

Your superfoods  +your MTV  (wasn’t life so much better

in the early days of MTV?)   We’d sit indoors  even in Boca

Raton  and watch our stars careen around in pointy white

boots  No phoney Beatlemania for Joe Jackson   I recently

bought these boots at auction  they smell musty  like stale

British sex


You can take your pat answers  +your cliches: if not now when?

followyourfuckingbliss  et. al.   +face the fact that your soul  she’s

gone AWOL  just like everyone elses by 57   The last man standing

will be bullet ridden with suffering  NOT young at heart   Dick  Dignity

in hand     (no wankers allowed in heaven)  




Even if you had an imagination, would you ever imagine this

miraculous world the Toaists call The Ten Thousand Things?

And if the darkness just got darker? And then you were dead?

What would you care? How would you even know the difference?

(Denis Johnson  Jesus’ Son  1992   RIP May 24, 2017  67  liver cancer)





Summer 2018    Live damn it !   George Costanza

AAC in her Joe Jacksons




In 1965 up north on Purdon Drive an angel approached

my mother + I    White pillowcase for a dress  Red hair  +

flaming lip   Mother asleep on the couch  after Passover

dinner for 12   This ain’t no old man Elijah   Terror filling

heart  +creeping into little girl psyche


Up to that point apparitions had been:  flying hogs  +fathers

with straight+narrow jobs   My own  a trainer of racehorses

who engaged in pilgrimages to the tracks of North America:

Fort Erie  Montreal  New Orleans  Kentucky    Boy  would he

have dug this angel !


Our home  more carnival  than Cleaver   Thankfully   Because

the trouble with normal is it always gets worse   (grrrroan)

It’s also boring    Carny life was ever intense   Hence  this

vixen on the balcony  from which a lousy squirrel would jump

to his death: Dad where’s the squirrel?   At the Riverdale Zoo



As it turns out  our vixenangel  couldn’t save us from what

was coming   But then you don’t believe in saviours  do you?

Comethefuckon!  No  our vixenangel was full of pity for this

little human family  going through our tribulations  from the

cradle to the grave


But  in-between the good byes  +hospital stays  the 67 plus

stitches from stem to stern  the sky would open periodically

And shine a light so bright  we glowed with mercy   Rebuilt  +

Rose   Again  +again    Even refusing the ladder proffered for

escape       (SUCKERS!!)


Much foolhardy propping each other up   Slaves to love +honour

And this precise future sewn into threadbare couches   Always there

Waiting   Until white leather made an appearance in our prosperous

living room   Made us believe we’d been given a reprieve  The way

certain long coveted riches do    Until they don’t    Because if you

believe in reprieves + saviours  I have a piece of land in Florida ..



My father is a cross between Captain Ahab + Willy Loman.

Family family family , Newark Newark Newark, Jew Jew Jew ..

(Philip Roth  RIP  1933 – May 22, 2018)




Summer 2018   ..for Philip Roth +  Lee Atkins: Ahab+Willie Loman.. of my dreams



Huge star hangs in sky  like the last anchor

What happens when you lose your last anchor?

I ask him   Are you talking nautical  psychological



All of the above


Well then you’re free!  he says


Or a bag person


He laughs   But just sort of






Summer 2018



I am a car salesman magnet   Chrysler not Mercedes

That’s just how I roll   2 fell hard in recent memory

I’m a principal   he said   to overcome his shortcomings

His blue-collar beginnings   His tacky metaphor  Baskin

+Robbins non-Beckettian brilliance   I like tasting   A little

taste of this  a little taste of that   Banal bliss?


I was unimpressed   Ditto the failed thigh grab with meaty

thumbs   As well with the odd lilt of a Macedonian dialect

though he was 32  +born in the bowels of Mimico   Olive skinned

Belushi dead ringer   Made me yearn for Gnarls  Barkley  Seriously

A solid sawed off shotgun  who’d be wicked in backless chaps



Not if you understand my family   Grew up with wolves  hardened

men’s men   Who do not shy away from debauchery   I actually stole

the backless chaps line from one bro who waxed depraved  re: Rihannon

Giddons  as we watched her cavort on stage   And I agree wholeheartedly

Though Rhiannon is almost too much woman for a man


Take my father  a local legend  who seemed to have morphed into a neon

orange bird  on our last visit to his grave   A Hooded Oriole  never ever found

this far north  calling us  as we listened to Jazz  +swatted flies   But as the bird

began to bomb dive the car  we realized it was he   Had he died after our mother

he would likely be in New Orleans  where the track always beckoned  +longlegged

bayou queens crooned his name  Leeeeeeeeeeee  Leeeeeeeeee


Later that day  after being shut out at the cemetery  we visited another local

legend  struggling with late stage disease   A wastrel like Lee  after his quadruple

by-pass surgery   He offered me an elegant hand  with a gentleness unusual to

hulking men   And in a grave voice  he spoke his love of cars   Glimmers of muscles

rippling   the Boss blaring   Teenaged girls too scared to approach the court   of

this Manor king


Moral of this story: STOP PRETENDING TO BE ASLEEP!   The wastrel days they

stalk you   Jump into your car!   Head down to Buffalo for chrissakes  Esacpe the

little bunky where you sleep   Tail between legs  licking your sores (ankle chains are

clunky)  Go On!  Escape that bunky where you fight your wife for the TV  night after

soulless night


Was I sleeping while the others suffered? Am I sleeping now? Tomorrow, when I

wake, or think I do, what shall I say of to-day? That with Estragon my friend, at this

place, until the fall of night, I waited for Godot?…..But habit is a great deadener. At

me too someone is looking, of me too someone is saying, He is sleeping, he knows

nothing, let him sleep on. ( Waiting For Godot  Samuel Bekett  1954)





SPRING 2018   May 21, 1921 – August 16, 1989   RIP   LEE ATKINS



In a great Hold Steady song the name of which I

cannot remember  a girl sports a tattoo: Damn Right

I Will Rise Again  The Boss too sings of  The Rising

And then there’s Jesus   But not John Lennon  unless

he is resurrected every time you refuse to believe in

Zimmerman  or Tarot  or Jesus fer Chrissakes   But I

doubt it    John is likely in Yoko’s sock drawer


And as I look around the park where I write  the girl beside

me licks her cone hungrily   Incisors glinting   A Rising in the

offing?  Tight medium pink  ribbed sweater   Bra impossibly

pointy    Trumpets blaring


Risings   I’ve had a few  ( I’m hearing Sinatra )  They take so

much energy  +there’s self-immolation involved too   All of

which at a certain stage go the way of your velvet skin  +high

tight cheeks


Ice cream now done  our licker sidles over: I’m working   The licking

ceremony no doubt used to lure un-ressurectable poets into fuckery

Now she straddles me  ( No  not reverse cowgirl )  Leans in on lean legs

+rocks my soul in the bosom of Abraham  No!  She begins to spit up bits

of ice cream   Her eyes roll back  + I call 911    The Rising  my ass


I don’t believe in magic
I don’t believe in I-Ching
I don’t believe in Bible
I don’t believe in tarot
I don’t believe in Hitler
I don’t believe in Jesus
I don’t believe in Kennedy
I don’t believe in Buddha
I don’t believe in mantra
I don’t believe in Gita
I don’t believe in yoga
I don’t believe in kings
I don’t believe in Elvis
I don’t believe in Zimmerman
I don’t believe in Beatles
I just believe in me

(John Lennon  GOD  1970)


Spring 2018

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