Monthly Archives: November 2018

When i sat down at the easel and tried to play the uke

it’s not when i sit down to play the piano
or argue with the microphone man.
neither can be done well when it’s already been perfected by a genius

it’s more sitting down at the easel
with a cigar and trying to paint the goldfish pool
thinking of this british bulldog needing to get away from the carriage and the streets.

it’s sitting down – laying in the ocean
and asking if i’m alone in this world
then hearing the sounds of mother isle
knowing it’s just a way to say hello to myself

it’s not about the production
or the perfection
nor the stage or the performance


it’s about the painting within myself
the chords wanting to speak
sloppily but true

and knowing

there is something more out there
or within me
that wants that peace of mind
to stay…..

* When I sat down to play the piano: famous poem by Canadian poet Al Purdy
* The Microphone man: famous rant and act performed by Canadian musician Gord
* The goldfish pool: The goldfish pool at Chartwell is a painting by British
Prime Minister Winston(Bulldog) Churchill who after each blitzkrieg would take
to the London streets in horse and carriage to rally his countrymen.
* Alone in this world: title of album by famous Hawaiian uke musician Brother IZ


Upon leaving North Bay for the outer limits 0f 1000 lakes

driving 5 hours back down the hill
over tree tops growing up from the ground
200 feet below
standing as a champion would over a beaten boxer
with snow holding everything down for a snooze.

In the darkness twisting
around the hills
through the hills
high beams flashing on rivers and lakes
where a car could roll down and begin to kayak
if it didn’t sink first.

all these trails carved through granite or water
named after the natives who wished they still lived and hunted….

and in the early darkness you pop up onto old stomping grounds
tell wife to put away the GPS paper’d map
just as Robin Hood – you know you are 12 miles from home
and could find your back door blindfolded.

In the short visit you stay only long enough to be re-forgotten.
sit ’round amongst cousins who somehow are your 1st and 2nd all at once.
you realize you won’t be missed when you turn to leave – except by two members
who brought you into the world and hate to see you leave theirs
– travel back up the hill into the ancient Ontario forest.

Driving through Algonquin to Huntsville
passing through Dwight and searching for a diner
you realize the trees here are grandparents of the lil’ cedars growing
in your parents backyard.
ghosts of themselves planting history and stories
the way our own lives do – the way we all must
before shedding off this mortal coil and asking God
‘what next’.

Up the hill – down the hill
old into the young and vice versa.
inside it all – is a song.
sometimes it plays on the car radio
other times it plays from living room vinyl
– it leaves you wondering about it all……

this ancient province so young in the world
separating everyone from everyone they love
even when they think they’re trying to escape

in the end you don’t

you simply leave behind great stories
and you hear lost stories of other loved ones who went elsewhere before you
and did the same thing
or stayed here and lived the way we all need to….

searching for something that reconnects us all to the original hello
instead of so many goodbyes…..

Oh the Girls


Understanding the Never Understanding

I had/have an Uncle
great or old….

Alf. I always thought Elf.

me – crawling around on my grandparents green carpet
looking up at a cane and a face that laughed.
laughed – cried silently.

down the hall was a closet
letters and pictures – chronicle of an uncertain time
stories of students in a class room who disappeared on either side of the middle
never to return.

Down Main street the march would begin in the cold rain
down-to-under a covered bridge.

I was older – not much older
when Alf passed.
i can remember an accent
i remember something about a fighting kilt
accent/s Scottish – Irish….

My first trip into Toronto
a rainy day – cold as a main street November.
the outskirts of a cemetery lined with cars and cars…

Legion uniforms – as my young eyes knew them.
old adults with shiny medals and shiny walker/canes
berets tilted to the side and walking over to a resting man who always smiled
and hopefully no longer cries.

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