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

Archive for the month “June, 2016”



the city was a treasure -box full of ivory, spices, ebony,

indigo, slaves, apes, shining domes, and Jews. (The World

of Venice. Jan Morris)


Did you know that the word ghetto was coined in Venice?

In 1516  one of the first forcible segregations for religious

differences  (build that wall!)    The area was originally an

old foundry  geto    Then a place of surveillance +crowding

5,000 Jews by the 17th century  450 remain    Assimilation

+persecution  finishing the  work  Hitler started   (Warsaw

Ghetto held 400,000 Jews    300,000 exterminated)


So many dispersions  so many Jewish refugees   places like Canada

said:  None is too many    Now Europe is in the clutches of xenophobes

+a new racism   With veiled movements like  Brexit  there have been

more than 100 hate incidents since the country voted to LEAVE    Playing

into the hands of ISIS  no?   While chaos reigns +race hatred grows  young

men who do not need a state to exist  behead at will  +slouch toward the EU

to be born


What matters to IS and will allow it to persist, is the shared mindset of large

numbers of people around the world – from hundreds of thousands to millions

who have lost confidence in their existing political, religious, and socio-economic

institutions.  (Globe+Mail  June 28, 2016)


Like I said to the doorman the other night

Some moon, huh

You should have seen it before the war Miss

We must not get used to this   


(RIP: C.D. Wright  American poet)




Summer  2016




Are you guys Jews?

Why, don’t you like Jews?

I like them better dead.


We were reminiscing after shopping plaza closed

in old hood just recently   My brother’s memory of

when he +friend  whose parents had just escaped the

Warsaw Ghetto  were walking to the plaza  in search of

candy  +burgers juicy at the Red Ruby   They were 10


You couldn’t eat just 1

Server: You ate your burger so fast!

Brother: No! You never brought it.


Server mystified   Brother’s favourite expression: I’ll gladly

pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!    Plaza taught us

to  want   +later to order liquor on pads  with small pencils fixed

to a string  The emphasis was on the C  as in: controlled substance

LCBO men  Rod Serling lookalikes in white shirtsleeves  gave us

stern sidelong glances


But early years filled with characters  before substances and OD’s

Like Marky   Boy with shopping cart  wore antennae  +parents would

later pay for whatever he shoplifted   And Jerry  in his orange Javelin driving

around endlessly   He sucker punched me in stomach  on a day with no breeze

Now in Forensic unit for stabbing his mother  fatally  *(see poem: Jerry Can

You Hear Me   AAC   June 2012)


Ugly Jewish ghetto  low buildings  suburban grey   Some nouveau riche with

swimming pools   Hey  a girl can dream    One father  a Jaguar XKE  low slung

like buildings   Metallic blue   His daughter went through a windshield just out

of high school


Gas station at one end of plaza  run by a churlish man   He never did believe

someone syphoned gas from me   Brother a.k.a. Wimpy  shared the Dodge with

me   Needle regularly on  empty  pre the long drive to U of  T   Where they taught

me about Boris Pasternak  +later at The Faculty  how to reclaim souls from the

trash heap: Therapist  you can hit me with the biggest stick   + I won’t feel it


It was raining one day in 1963  sidewalks slick  doughnuts in the plaza lot   Terrance

the  dumbest  boy in school  pastey white  but oh so sweet  sat beside the teacher   +

sometimes under her desk?   Fell from brother’s car  crushed instantly    Not the last

death either   Teller shot in head at bank  (Beatle Bandit incident)  where mother

sent me regularly


Teller: We can’t hand over cash to a child M’am. What does she look like?

Mother: She is beautiful!


Smile spread across teller’s yet blood splattered face  while I cringed in blue trench

coat  + as boy of my dreams called them  piss yellow  boots   He grew up to be an

Elvis impersonator  + would be charlatan  (see poem: You’re So Fine You Blow My

Mind   /Song&Dancegirl   AAC  2013)  


Does this sound like your neighbourhood?   Did you wake up to see curtains of visible

ultra-violet light +super sized aurorae   +listen nightly to the cacophony of crickets

+new survivors screams    Too many friend’s parents transported after bedtime  on

trains  to the outskirts of Polish towns   To round-ups   +camps with names like




Bath. Manor Life

Bathurst Manor Plaza

Bath. Man. plaza




Summer 2016


























He thought I was talking about the Stevie song

so he serenaded me with  very superstitious   +

then went into a rousing  isn’t she lovely    Stevie

was the furthest thing from my mind


I had said  putting too fine a point on the word  decaf:

jittery enough  can’t walk under trees  when ginger-

bearded barista morphed into Stevie   Slightly endearing

mostly not  but I went along   No energy to decline his



Saturday  30 yr. old Pierre  removed by 6 degrees from my

family  was killed by an Oak afflicted with  summer drop   a.k.a.

water rot in giant branches  leads to a POP  + a crash    Pregnant

wife pushed out of the way


Note found at make-shift shrine:  You don’t know me but i held

your hand while you died   Arborists weighing in as city lawyers up

Tree drop a gruesome exit    Wonder has gone missing from the park

Citydwellers discomfort in outdoor spaces increased exponentially

See how close they sit    Aloneness on grass a worse fate


This  while the Summer blockbuster  Zero K  asks:  what’s the point of

living if we don’t die at the end?    The holy grail of life is not death    It

is living as though you won’t succumb to:  summer drop or a warm gun

face radiant with resurrection  which is still free



*There exists in Scottsdale Arizona a facility called: Alcor Life Extension

Foundation, where fees range from $100,000 for just your brain

(neurocryopreservation)  to $200,000 for whole body preservation.

The baseball player Ted Williams is there.  Life everlasting belongs to those 

of breathtaking wealth.  (Don DeLillo  Zero K  2016)


**There’s green money, and oil in drums.  Our faulty eyes, our telltale heat,

Our hearts ticking through our shirts.  Of course life is ours.  If it’s anyone’s

it’s ours.   (Tracey K. Smith  Pulitzer Prize  2011  & AAC addition of word: life)



First Day of Summer 2016  




Every time I open the screen doors up here on the 4th

floor of urban townhouse  painted a now dirty putty

the noise level is extreme: drilling jack hammers beeps

of backing up trucks +the occasional ice-cream man

singing   These  neighbour Bob  daily tries to sabotage:


They keep the goddamned motor running day + night  

I don’t care where the children of artists get their fucking

Hagen Dås


Think besmirched Tuscan villa where decadent hipsters

slouch in Indica clouds   Weed dispensaries in grey area

since Mayor Tory od’d: man the THC levels are off the

map in nouveau mary-jean   The streets of our city have

reached  a new level of mean


The microcosm in the macrocosm   A platitude used by my

clinical supervisor 20 years ago today (add Israeli accent for



So when the aliens come all green-skinned + midget   we will

not welcome them with open arms as was thought mid 20th C

We will instead eye them suspiciously  + wonder what diseases

they bring


Later freeze drying them  after experimenting on their unborn

foetus’ (alien stem cell research)  But in the end it will all be okay

For unlike the naked ape  they do not love  nor worship a God

created in the image  of an AK-15



*the film Psycho proved Hitchcock’s biggest, though the studio

refused to underwrite it. Critics remained divided when the low

budget film had its debut. But audiences immediately responded

to a level of sex and violence previously unseen in North American






Spring 2016  a time of bacchanal +bloodlust




It is still a crime to be gay in more than 75 countries  +a capital

offense in at least 13  Nazis hunted gays relentlessly  See how far

we have not come   Huge swath of humanity still on the run   Hate

crimes provoked by sexual orientation remain as high as ever  Should

you think that everything is better  look more closely


See the savage backlash for same sex marriage   See the savage shooting

spree: Pulse nightclub  Orlando USA  America’s latest killing field   Perp

also scouted Disney    An equal opportunity hater?     Let’s look deeper

The shooter claimed he was inspired by ISIS  who fling homosexuals from

tall buildings   Yet Omar Mateen was frequently seen at Pulse    He was

known there


Perhaps his rage was against his own impulses  against his confusion  +self-hate

Perhaps 50 men+women died for his shame?   As I write the Angels are screaming:

BUILD THAT WALL!  to finally protect heaven from earthdwellers   Angels do not

differentiate based on labels i.e.  race  gender  sexual orientation  religion   therefore

many more of us will now sign up for that one way flight to Mars   Yes   Heaven was a

wonderful idea   in theory



Some like to imagine a cosmic Mother watching through a spray of stars

Mouthing yes  yes  as we toddle toward the light  Longing to sweep us to her

breast  she hopes for the best   (Tracy K. Smith  Life On Mars  Pulitzer Prize)


** A 2012 study: Journal of Personality & Social Psychology showed the 

most hostile respondents toward gay people were more likely to have

repressed same sex desires. Feelings of shame can lead to self-hatred

and lashing out sadistically, at those in whom we see our most hated

selves reflected.




Spring  2016

RIP 50 men+women massacred at Pulse  18-50 yrs. old

Edward Sotomayor Jr. 24  was shot in the back while protecting his boyfriend

with his body.  He loved Alice in Wonderland and was always smiling.  We aren’t

going to be scared vowed George Tuttle, his best friend. He would want us to

celebrate with pride. (Globe & Mail June 14, 2016)






She sits on the pavement W. Queen W.   half naked

vacant smile   Spitting image of an aunt   She is about

68   My father’s age when he died    Young?   Depends

which side of the great divide you inhabit   Today I read

that ageism is the new bigotry


And mandatory sensitivity classes have been ordered for

anyone under 30   Do not trust this demographic  especially

if they have called you cute  or said: Good for you!   It’s okay

to rebuke them   even a swift kick will do   Go ahead and try it


They expect you to be  docile  creaky-arthritic  +immune to

vigorous use of your limbs  as in:  dancing   taking slap-shots

sexual acrobatics   +flying too close to the sun  which used to be

a young man’s game   But now a mottled Icarus   with 1/4 left   the

sun is not so fearsome


It is the moon  +the 7 sisters   It is darkness that beckons    The

pineal gland (except in hagfish who don’t have them) is stimulated

by a moonbath   It is the gland regulating happiness  pleasure   mystical

ejaculations of the soul (google this)   So  lay nightly with satyrs+nymphs

And take pleasure in your acquired wisdom to know the difference between

your ass and a hole in the ground  which a lot of 30 somethings do not



*one of the by-products of ageism is acute bitterness  + hoarding euphoria

Next time someone says: Good for you!  vomit at their feet and plead for sex





Spring  2016





My lipstick was the colour of the Aurora Borealis  on

January 17th 2016   Photo tweeted from the International

Space Station   A gorgeous neon pink  Ditto the skull hanging

around my neck  (there are some really macabre skulls in Mexico

said my bro)  His travelling companion had cast aspersions on my



I could likely use a little less sanity at this stage of my development

Still semi-conventional on the outside  +hothouseflower on the inside

(Do Not Think: Stella! )   Back to the Aurora inspired lipstick on the eve

Scott Griffin  a Thurston Howell III lookalike  awarded $75,000 to a snotty

poet from a class I took at U of T: How Avant Garde Is Your Poetry?


She glared at the rest of us middlebrow plebes  +read out reams of plotless

albeit raw  +beautifully wounded poetry   I certainly applaud her turn of phrase:

when I was

out already

cunting in the fields for that fallow

had escaped me

(© L. Howard 2015)


She has given me the courage to one day use the C word   In fact my mother may

cut me slack  now that I have cited Liz as a pioneer in laying the vagina bare   On

the night of the readings last week I found to my dismay  while stalking Ondajte+

Toews  that drinks could only be had for cash   In a brilliant flash of necessity is the

mother of Tequila  I realized that across the street at Virginia’s Wolf   my credit was



The anejo purchased for $18 was burning a hole in my gullet  when a young man with

perfectly tipped hair asked how I was enjoying the:  dating event for 25-35’s  

You mean year olds?    Ya   


I downed the dregs noisily  +wildly searched for a bookmark  used to appease young

+old men alike  who decide they’d like to marry  or stalk me   I scurried back to poetry

central where the former Governor General’s husband proceeded to leer in a way that

made me feel for her   Once glorious in spangly shoes  now cankles in Clarks


Clearly the mean poet’s windfall has brought out my inner famewhore  who craves

recognition  better shoes   and more tequila







Spring 2016




The One That Got Away Fish Shoppe  the sign said  as I

sat on the 501 car  seriously spinning my wheels   Seasonal

slump   Weather changes  +winter haunt that smells of schnitzel

+ tears abandoned for parks where citizens stand too close to me

I want to scream:  Read my body language  rubes   extraverted slaves!


What I am doing is intimate  the consummate cliché    Poet in pink

lipstick (MAC/Pussy Heaven)  sits beside peonies  + writes ditties under

cobalt sky   Canada geese have shat on everything   Grasping at the one

word that will elevate me to Can Lit royalty:  Justin  moose  trees  hockey ?

But these are NOT my native words    I serve an obtuse alchemist


I have never seen a moose   I did not vote for Justin   I feel certain that trees

are full of bugs+ticks   I AM A FAILED CANADIAN    Did I mention that the

National game gives me hives  all the screaming + high fives   + the ball is so

small   I much prefer the American game  where giant men glistening with

sweat in skimpy outfits jump



Spring 2016     for LeBron

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