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



They say the ghost of Claude Monet haunted Joan Mitchell’s

Paris garden   Her paintings  abstractions of Giverny   Watery

purples + glistening pinks   Lover of Jean-Paul Riopelle   Hard

colours  +squares   And penile   They say in the notes to the show

(AGO to May 6)  that they met in Paris  fell in love  + enjoyed a

wild  social life    The subtext: wilder than yours


My own gardens have been haunted  mainly by Jewish poets  Your

ghosts find you   Monet far too angelic  +peaceful  for an angsty red

headed Jew with an un-wild social life for at least a decade   Oh  and 1

Jewish photographer  a suicide   Daughter of ritzy clothiers   Arbus

Angsty as they come   Then there is Mandelstam  persecuted  + gulaged


On Tuesday as I departed a Jewish retirement residence  a woman touched

my hand: Mumala do you speak Yiddish?  I understood:  Peace  God  Luck

But it was when she switched to English that a punch administered to gut   I

last saw my mother at 15   There was a knock at the door   I knew what was

coming   Your interlopers find you:  survivors   kidnapped +burned children


In the camp there was something  someone  always pushing at my back  Do

you know who?   I thought of everything in life   I was a business woman  But

I never thought of this    She gestured around the lobby   I stumbled out into the

frigid night  Leftover cheesecake bouncing against arthritic knee  Would I trade

my aging psyche  for a younger body?   MRI’s now writ large in my wild social life


While I would have said no  a mere week ago  the drill in my rotator cuff  is creating

nostalgia for my un-formed 20’s   The unlimited possibilities  +the ghost of Lennon

finding me   Years before survivors of wars + tortured children   Light of heart  Angst

free  (mostly)   Once  a wise + jovial aunt  who spent many years incapacitated  said:

We live our lives backward    This at a wine+cheese  on the eve of my 1st engagement



Life strikes a deal with the coming night….

2 Joan Mitchells



Spring  2018  ..



Everyone knows an escapee  or with puffed chest: tells

you they will soon be one   tells you to stop being yellow

bellied   The teller’s uncle  just bashed his head open  in

buttfuck  Mexico   Moving him by plane would kill him  they

said   Leaving him in place would take 6-10 days   Either way

what difference does it make?


Also see the obituary for Alexander Sevastian  41    Accordion

virtuoso   He too died in Mexico   February 16th  a town called

Ahijic !  Ever heard of it?   Didn’t think so  The ex-pat community

of 363  spend days photographing donkeys  +nights hiding from

the Cartels   Last week  3 Italian boys were sold into slavery  for $53


If it were so easy  cities would be emptied  and they are not   One must

go through epiphanic catastrophe  be in cancer recovery   as was the teller’s

uncle    Now dead   Today there is a 50 mile/hr wind whipping up  my

spine  yet the sun shines  seducing the marionettes   Wooden body parts

will come alive !  in May


And then for 180 days  you will forget the horrors of February  the Ides of

March   You will come to believe  that bolting  of one’s own free will  is wholly

unnecessary   You will sit back and wait for the undertaker  +rotten children

to throw your dentures in the incinerator    Make hay    Make hay





Spring  2018  11 days



..listening for the sound of (stars)  hope  is like trying to hear

the flap of a hummingbird’s wing from inside a hurricane..

(Dr. Peter Kurczynski  National Science Foundation on the

sound of stars  + AAC on the sound of hope)


Have you heard of the Schwanger Kommado?  The  pregnant unit

at Dachau  Between December 8, 1944 + February 28, 1945  the final

7 Jewish babies were born in captivity  just before the liberation  During

pregnancy the mothers to be worked in the laundry de-lousing clothes

One new mother  Miriam Rosenthal said: I gave birth in Dachau  so how

could I not believe in God?  


Miriam gave birth into a pail  without anaesthetics   Jewish newborns were

frequently bayoneted after birth  thrown into the air  +caught   One can see

how she came to believe  in God   Her son  now 73  wrote her obituary  Miriam

died at 95   7 days ago   Perhaps it was her faith  sustaining her on the long

walk home   She later met her husband !  as she carried their baby through town


Many more lost faith  which perhaps is akin to will?  Inner Godhead powering

the circuitry of a frail human self   But only if you BELIEVE   Old man  white beard

This God   tested Abraham  + Job    frogs  locusts  blood of first born  crucifixion   

Secular version:  BELIEVE in  Cosmic Circuitry    Our first stars   discovered

yesterday   Made of  the same stuff we are    Dr. Judd Brown  Arizona State U:

We are made of the stars  so we are glimpsing our origins!


This is hopeful poem  And while it is true that man is debauched beyond recognition

It is also true  that given the  right  number of child deaths by assault rifle  a tipping

point has been reached   Even in the yellowheart of the free world’s dictator  there is

dawning a belief   that if he bans the bumpstock  +calls for mental health checks   his

15 minutes will grow  EXPONENTIALLY   As he said to a 14 yr. old full of shrapnel:  

hear you’re a huge fan of mine!    She denied this vehemently


Soon in  MiddleHeaven  there will be a march   All fallen comrades  some by bayonet

others by bullet   All under the age of 18    They gather as I write  numbers growing

into the millions  if we count the sacrifice of virgins   So on March 24th   the first stars

13.6 billion years old  will mingle with  carnage  + courage     Anne Frank    Miriam   +

the SandyHook 26   some on the shoulders of the Parkland kids  will HOPE    All at

once   for an instant



*Stand by  as on March 25th  the star particles raining down into the hearts of ordinary

men+women will shatter the grip of the dark imp   And our eyes   will gaze up at their

eyes   gazing down at our eyes



Spring in 20 days

(..those aren’t stars  they’re eyes.. just as u always suspected..)   







Have you heard the new-ish expression  woke ?  Nattered on

by those who consider themselves to be  woke   Gloria Steinem

recently to fabulously wealthy high school girls  in Toronto : You

are WOKE   Go forth and multiply!   When it seems highly likely

that they are not   Though the survivors in Parkland FLA  appear

to be  after 17 dead comrades  flung bloodied  into a cortege of

ambulances last Tuesday


She scurried ahead of me on faux cobblestones  Yorkvile  TO   She

sobbed into her phone: I’m heading to the hospital  My mother died

On+on she cried    Also Woke    As I scuttered along in too red  pointy

boots  pin size heels sticking in every crack   Un-woke?   Hyper-woke?

(aka  hyper-vigilant: a hallmark of PTSD)  Of late  known to contemplate

the  immortality chip


Constellated in all acts of  fellatio  creation   That  out of time  out of space

feeling    An altered state   i.e.,  It doesn’t present as pain  said the oncologist

On the surface you are listening to a song  reading words  looking at a canvas

or a painted cave   within seconds dopamine pricks  +your ego has the little death

(hallmark of great sex  sometimes even mediocre  depends how desperate you are)

And in the very act of creation  the artist/creator  drops out of time-space too


Unless the process is torturous  like the writing of this poem  waiting to be pounced

upon by brother’s friend  who frequents this cafe  +professes wonder at everything

I say   Really!  You eat lunch!   It devolves from here    On this gorgeous spring-like

day  when you sell your soul a la Goethe’s Faust  minute by minute  for  MORE    But

not the sobbing girl  now at St. Mikes    Mother’s head to one side  tongue lolling

She continues to cry


So why  did Goethe make wishing for more time  a sin?  The one where

Mephistopheles disguised as a black poodle  grins  + as punishment you are

yoked to the same day  over+over again   An apt description  of life as we know it

Perhaps all manner of epiphany sets you apart from the herd   Breaks the yoke   No

longer enslaved to the nuclear family   you may think yourself  FREE    But who would

people our Wallmarts?   Our Costcos?   Our gun shows?


You’re part of the animal kingdom after all   Magnificent + Mammalian    The only

hope of un-hitching the yoke  is to acknowledge  without surprise  that you are as frail

as you think you are   But so are they  who seethe with  BRAVE    And  if there are no

abnormalities in your 2nd scan in 8 weeks   RUN with it  on that putrifying knee  find

a cave  +huddle there  Spring is a mere 21 days away




Winter  2018  can kiss my..









1 brother out of 3 is Schopenhauerian  even perhaps a

touch Machiavellian   Casting aspersions upon my dream:

To retire in Guatemala by 63   You’ll have a vinyl couch

salamanders in every corner  grimy tile floors +a musty

smell     Smell that smell


He is otherwise cheerful +quite happy  though a little bitter

over a painter I sent him 16 yrs. ago   Me rolling my eyes:  I

didn’t give birth to him    It is also true that I have begun to

wax poetic on the 363 shades of green in the Guatemalan canopy

And I have lost my bearings in travelblog descriptions of: the light

No doubt my ennui grows unbearable to those closest to me


Imagine what it feels like on the inside

the light is mystical pasty poet

the light will seep into your desiccated veins

the light will rejuvenate the heinous parts of you

you who made jaded your life’s work


This is quite a bit like believing in heaven  in the resurrection

And you  yes you  rise up on nearly new patent Dr. Martens  in

which you will break your neck on the quaint cobblestones   And

in your mind’s eye all of the detritus:  furniture  broken kitchen

gadgets  + the mouseshit  you have carted   IMPLODE


Suddenly compressed vertebrae release  +like a 1950’s housewife bored

silly  growing more unhinged daily  you toss your prescriptions: Diazepam

Lorazepam  Ativan  et al  +dive headfirst into the freedom abyss   Likely

just as terrifying as the captivity noose    Poor little naked Ape  walking

upright   Vestigal wings clipped at scapula  Rotator cuff agony  from flailing

against every self-made cage you’ve ever lived in


Time to grab hold of your cahones  +jump    Just be careful not to scream

shiiiiiiiiit on the way down   There is an ancient Guatemalan myth  in which

you become what you intone in your moments of greatest fear   Or to put it

another way:  should you not become conscious of what you fear  fate will

take you kicking and screaming there






Winter  2018







Joseph’s star of David glinting on grey H+M sweater

Cruising West Queen West  high noon  Sashaying under

faint February sun   Jewessflowerchild   Ash Wednesday

Substitute 6 points for ashy cross   Did you notice the one

on forehead of shrieking mother at Florida massacre?


Google Earth zooms in on Jewgirl  still prancing   When a

shot rings out  +the boys who just jostled me begin to run

In my fantasy I bleed out on the world’s 2nd coolest street

In reality I  yellow bellied +afraid  hide my Zaida’s star under

my scarf


Not the bold resistance fighter in the woods outside of Warsaw

Big talker   But let us revisit this stroll in 2019   Bravery seeping

in through hardening arteries   Preparing for the death of the last



When you will be called upon to place a yellow star on your foreheads

+walk through neo-Nazi streets   Daring the world to repeat its brazen

atrocities   Heads held high   No more an invisible minority



1969 Bathurst Manor Toronto  Jewish Ghetto

My bro + friend (whose parents were resistance fighters

Warsaw Ghetto) walk home from school  A car pulls up

+one of the 2 teenaged young men calls out:

Hey  you Jews?  

Why  don’t you like Jews?

Ya I like them  

I like them better dead






Winter 2018

Star of Joseph Marlieb   1891-1973   RIP



I grabbed the bull by the horns  as hipster arriviste was

cruising the same cane seat  at Balzac’s   I tapped the

faux-lumberjack guy on the shoulder  You Leaving?   Ya   

Seat was warm    So warm that I broke into a sweat

+wondered if I was overcome by a  lovehotseatsickness


Heart jumping out of chest  mostly because another hipster had

just tapped my breast?   Hand slipped  apparently   In any case he

wanted the seat next to me   MAC: sadistic vixen  lipstick  against

pointy incisors  frightened him away   Now I sit  +contemplate love

a day after Valentine’s     Likely wearing one skull too many



Tru Love..



Winter 2018





New neurologist said this should have resolved itself by

now   Well so should a lot of things   She wore mushroom

coloured Blundstones  exact shade of her boiled wool suit

Lips dry as a bone  a wasting purple lipstick  likely  MAC

Purple Nurple    Yet she asks me !  How many bottles of

water do you drink?  As I sit there cool as a moist cucumber

Even after waiting 1 hr    The patient before me was late


This after a 2 yr. wait to genuflect at her Blunnied feet   Poor

little poet on a stormy February day  when the white tunnel

does not stop at Wonderland  a la Alice  but at cabin fever  +a

whitebrite claustrophobia  boring into your brain


Wherever you look  white stuff   some yellowed   some browned

And Torontonians crawling upon bellies due to a world shortage

of salt  +sanity   In an Ayn Rand world  (think Atlas Shrugged  

+ We The Living)  mediocrity + incivility went unrewarded

(are  you listening Justin?)  And the late patient would have waited

until the other 26 were seen  but not so in squeaky  PC clean  2018


I grabbed my silver lamé jacket shrieking  Viva la Revolución!  Head

pounding  stomach squeamish  +made a bee line for Reposado  where

the Anjeo is served by  lush Zøe   And the Mezcal is full of succulent worms

for munching    Viva civility!      Viva Dr. Agave!





Winter  2018



Ice inches thick   Recently a friend said:  The snow is so

beautiful   But he hails from a North Atlantic town called

Souris   The yiddish word for  suffering   A Pollyanna Canadian

not unlike husband #3   who often quotes the Inuit   They have

261 words for snow  the ultimate collaboration with the inevitable

I would rather collaborate with the devil  sell my frigid soul for a

one way ticket to the Mayan Riviera  where American retirees drink

frozen Margaritas  +make new friends of Canadians in ill health


Many more of us than you think suffer these whiteskydays  with glazed

eyes  nausea  +turgid heads   One hip young woman  contemplating bangs

(big mistake in February)  said to me   just before I swooned  at  Schmaltz 

Dundas+Ossington: I feel not quite myself   I feel the colourless sky an

inducement to over indulgence in chicken schmaltz in particular   Divine

elixir of the shetl Jew  meant to put hair on chest  +inches on various body

parts    Eaten or slathered


One of these white February days  wearing perhaps one too many wool layers

I shall wrench that honkey groundhog  from his Wairton grave  to perform once

more for our amusement  (recently crushed in a thresher)  Or better still employ

the Ratus Honkus  Furry oracle of the snow  who likely knows more about being

white than most   O bitter little poet with chilblains  on arthritic knees   Take heart!

Only 9 more weeks until the first spec of green


*honkey – perpetual liar



Winter  2018









Admonishes a Kia Super Bowl ad  worshipping : youth  audacity  +

reckless abandon  Infact predicting their “coming”  As if old people are

not audacious  leaving this place in droves!   Steve Tyler  Leper-messiah

Drives a Kia around a track  Morphing into rock divinity   Now 20  plump

of lip  Hard of glute + thigh   Am I really writing about a Super Bowl ad?

Watched my first  in its entirety  last night   Cherry pop  +tequila chasers

Pretty-boy Brady  all mine


Saw grown men reach out to touch the silver Lombardi   Like the relic of

a saint   Saint Hubris?   How do grown men of the Abrahamic religions do

this?  Idolatry  by any other name   Better to touch the bark of a healing tree  or

the head of a baby   Transform  2 point conversions into humility   Hail Marys

into dignity   Isn’t that what Roger (the Dodger) Staubach meant when he said:

I like having sex   I just like having it with my wife


These same warriors cried  as the trophy-god went by   Some sobbing openly  for

crippled future bodies    And minds concussed into states of un-glory   Men  paid

more money than the GDP of certain countries    The Kia commercial  tells the

old man  to: Feel Something Again!    Hubris of another kind   Do the youthful

jingoists think the old have stopped feeling?     This is quite likely


Well just the opposite is true   For beginning at 59  there is a sharpening of the

sense of smell  as the other senses  dwindle   Who needs a sharpness of  taste

touch  or sight  when that chair by a sunny window beckons?   And the scent of

the hellhounds propels you to summon the courage you never had    It wasn’t

courage  propelling you to marry 3x  or to have 7 babes   It was unconsciousness

letting you think you chose!


Steve Tyler’s old face  now craggy + hanging off of chiselled bones  The steely

hooded eyes   Speak volumes   A worn cavern of experience    The totality of:

Boy  Man  Senex    The acceptance of the road’s end   Now walking backward to

his beginning   As my old mother has pointed out time+again:  No more gurus  

No lovers   No teachers    In the end  time is simultaneous    Embrace it


And yes  zillion dollar Kia commercial  unless one is comatose  he or she will feel the

shutting down of circuitry   Cell by cell   And smell your youth festering   Just as you

the scent of agey-mouldering    One doesn’t become less    One becomes more !

Hey  there had be some prize for hauling your ass  compass-less  toward the non –

weight bearing shower     Just go quietly   +savour the four handed rub down





Winter  2018 memory of Lee Atkins..the Plunging 1st football hero..

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