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pieces of string too small to use

     "Be prepared. Be very prepared."

     ~ Scout's Motto

     Like snowflakes, no two trips alike.

     No roadmap. Be careful what you wish for, the only thing to fear is fear itself just shut the fuck up. Whatever you do, do not, repeat do not, think of a white horse. Or Wittgenstein's platitudinal platofuckaduck. Or what about a hippo?

     A white rabbit beckons, was fine as i got rolling.

     J'aime beaucoup les blagues bilingue.

     So many fave words! A short list: feign; motility; votive; missive; glum; gloaming; dash (as per: salt; 50-metre; dots; memo; gotta, etc); spot; changeable; suds (dishes; bath-time; beer, etc); celestial; loam; being; chaos; ligature; phonetics; neo-; biometrics; weir; grimoire; flâneur; avant (-garde; memoire; toute, etc); nothingness; x; and so on and so forth. The Loblaws in Montréal a massive historic retrofitted train-repair warehouse/terminus. Everything sounds different walking the aisles, background whine of suspended flourescent shafts of sunlight, half-domed halogen hum, dust-lined girders far overhead. In line for cigarettes, the guy ahead of me returns an unopened club-size pack of pepper (oh, peck); when finally imma up.

     Me: "La pauvre poivre!"  


     The lightning stood all about like tree trunks.

     We took off rings and watches, any jeweled adornment lest all be lost. The face of annihilation. Fried by a tree trunk bolt of light, a young family of four adrift mid-Atlantic in a forest of blue, the smell I would never forget, electric, blue and gunpowdery, our two young kids part of the homeschooled mid-Atlantic, drifting; what subject category would taking one’s jewelry off fall under? Day as dark as night, tree trunks stand all about us, as far as the eye can see, before Morse Code got dropped, dashes dots high beam, etiquette (i realized) a bit like this: a human yearning, code connection, communication reduced to non-reductables. A strobing streetlight, a truck's flickering headlamp in my Objects Closer Than They Appear mirror.

     That is when, with a start, I realized that the apartment was haunted.


     It was after my encounter with the burning bush. 

     I ended up being a little dab will do you kinda solo daytripper, a couple times on shift at my “place of employment” (not sure why I did that, they already fired me wtf that was a while ago now, but still), on the fence re whether macro-dot helped or hindered shift hours duration-wise, they still went on forfuckingever, shifting on my feet at the main doors, playing sentry, shiftless, personning the door, an irrepressible smile to greet newcomers and old club members alike, buzz them in (hahha so to speak 😉), offer directions if they were new to The Club.

     Fun times.


     Kinda always had a thing for stash boxes.

     Spose I still do! What’s not to like? Hollow books, hidden places, stashed housekeys under flower pots, that kind of thing. You know, secret spots, verbs that chameleon into nouns, words that blur and linger where others simply drop away, dry husks that are forgotten. My favourite by far the best ones the ones that blend in to the point of forgetting where they are. Completely losing track. Imprinted like the ugly duckling i taught myself, I was modelled from nothing, parroted the universe, intuited the art of self-camouflage.

     Paws off my stash, fuck you very much.


     I used to like the word dominion.

     I might have been all of seven when i found that five dollar bill torn in half under the empty hot dog stand at the Civic Centre, the smell of Ottawa popcorn indelible. Was during some intermission, just laying there under an empty hot dog concession stand as people milled about, a living river teeming, might have been to see the 67s play, or maybe that time we went to see the Harlem Globetrotters. It had been ripped in half, just laying there a mystery imbued with blue when money held sway, when currency was paper thick, a picture of the E.B. Eddy mill and massive log pile across the river birdseye view from parliament’s round library as the crow flies. 

     A long slow circle bird’s eye view.

five dollars
five dollars

     Day two to New Mexico, the A/C up and gives up the ghost.

     Overnight greyhound, a two-and-a-half day immersive haul to Albuquerque, via Chicago, Kalamazoo, Joplin and one late-night layover in Amarillo. With 40 minutes to kill, a few of us spot some still open random bar beckoning, an opalescent neon mirage, hovering in the middle distance ’cross desiccated empty parking lot. It feels downhill away from the bus and people we’ve been cooped up with, endearing underbelly of America on ten wheels. There were hummingbirds in the quiet, lush courtyard I couldn't afford, sound of a drip fountain gentle in dappled shade, scent of New Mexico spring in the enclosed air. Over three thousand flutes play in unison, a deeply layered, lofted jungle of sound, a cacophony of flutes, redolent, primal somehow. A sound like nectar, a congregation of flutes, flute sounds from the four directions, a flute choir, a jewel of hummingbirds, summer suspended, proclaiming summer, demarcating desert. Turns out it’s the only gay bar for miles. Downing a couple quick beers for the next greyhound leg (the paws that refreshes!), we head back into the cool Texas night, acres of dimly lit parking lot telescope between us and where we think the bus station still is, hoping the bus is still on the platform.

     You never know after what happened in Joplin.


     The lake has no bottom.

     Along the ridge kettle lakes pock the escarpment, new punk shorn look, buzzed skipping school (it’s sunny out) steps from the bluff. “Literally, no bottom?,”  someone says drying off, we must’ve swum over the bottomless forever. Rattlesnake Point a ways off through the woods close by we hoof it, July-hot that late May day, peering over the edge there's ice still there, on the yang side of the cliff-face [always forget, pretty sure yin the sunny side, etc. - ed.] “. . . uh-huh, and the lake is bottomless!,” we laugh sunning ourselves weirdly saline after swimming, tiny figures splashing so much flotsam on a skein perched vertiginous-high suspended over fathomless water undisturbed for eons. Never moving, aqua gestalt deep in basalt, treading water high I try not to think about it: what if each day a hundred million years would that make it more fair, there are drawings in France, did they speak, what did they speak seventy-six thousand years ago, when two-hundred and fifty thousand years ago they buried their dead back, deep in caves by torch light, down a perilous chute in a cathedral space deep below the earth’s surface what is that, I don’t think about these things heading for shore, I think about nothing in south africa, owls deep in caves, drawings, an owl peering over its shoulder, deep in caves that hands painted: australia new mexico lost andes. I am sun. pretty sure its the yang side there’s still some ice. An ancient cedar clinging to the rockface, tiny twisted old, over seventeen hundred years, little bonsai cedar tiny bonsai tiny snow falling on tiny ancient cedar. We're laughing now, columnic sun trees towel drying on forever rock.

     I sleep in a rail car that cold winter night almost too proud to return.


     Under the sliding tree, after snow had fallen, melted, frozen and fallen again. 

     Last oak leaves clinging outstretched limbs trunk a constant, growing from the pitch of pavement where we would line up, taking turns screaming or breath clenched silent, staying upright sliding on even on one foot, buckled galoshes only worked, slid properly, on extra cold the good days a dusting of snow worked best, my snub nose plastic faux-cowboy boots i wore practically to bed in grade 6 or 7 until i outgrew them worked best on the slidey hill under the homeroom windows reflecting whatever the weather happened to be, caspian white cloud against blue (the blue more azure in the windows), layers of the sounds of voices of the kids laughing playing reflected too off the windows and brick and slowly erasure trace outlines of chalk eraser rectangles slowly faded were reflected too, refracted by memory and jostling for to be next in line no cutting in!

     We had our own democracy.


     My sister discovers a magical log cabin in the woods.

     You can only get there by foot, sound of the fork in the river in my ears, smell of woodsmoke at dusk that first time. Hauling water, splitting cord wood, sloshing back up the steep embankment. My dad visits that one time, late in the 3- or 4-month stretch. We play chess. I win. I visit Lasquiti, begin to connect the dots.

     I never win.


     Endless vinyl. 

     “Don’t stack the records! Seriously, I don’t care how mom and dad do it, don’t stack the records or I’ll kill you next time.” I stand there alone downstairs forever before the call for dinner. Endless New York Dolls. Charlie Daniels Band, my green ZZ Top LP, the old Fleetwood Mac Rumors LP i got at the mall for $2.99.  i would smell inside of the cardboard, unfold and flatten the corners bent way out that time i swapped liner sleeves. 

     People can get touchy about their liner sleeves, sheesh!

The Flying Dutch Acid
The Flying Dutch Acid

     Standing invisible, tasking along the classroom wall. 

     Dangerous aching open classroom door smelling dusty, fluorescent lights: two flicker. I count the holes in the asbestos ceiling-tile. Smell of dust collecting overhead lights flickering and wood shavings tasking you've offered to sharpen the class pencils cleaning chalk brushes after everyone’s gone home they might not leave you alone. Cutting across the deserted schoolyard, an empty playground, they’re usually friendly. Maybe smoking, passing a cigarette if they're not chasing that girl. That time they lifted her shirt and there was a mole. “Did you see her mole?,” I overhear the grade-fiver say. Off school property. Peering up the hill eyes smarting nose pressed against chain link she's got a mole they say I like to sharpen pencils during class my arms pinioned hard behind me, M hits me hard in the nuts: “It’s an experiment; I meant to hit you in the stomach,” he explains, both of them laughing, black and blue for days, only my mom knows. I miss school, soon I am able to walk again. 

     I’m not sure what I think about. 


     A veil lifted, new and disorienting and familiar.

     Long awaited, this new light seeping to a valley of long shadows. A vale of wholeness opens before us.

     We love shadows, long and better than us. We crave expression and being intact.

     It’s been hard to let go of shadows, they are so defining, ponderous and deep, fathomless despair surely not the totality of who we are, what we have become, shaped by shadows, forever shifting in this psychic telepathic halflight, how to function in this new half light. Shadows receding, melting away hallucinatory fitments more alive than we are, melting away phantom limbs, the elm towers impossibly high, stolid sordid squalor safe tiny on the ground beneath me, clambering phantom limbs I ascend into the suspended slanting sunlight the evening light, stuck, the gates close at 8pm every shift in the earth on its slow ponderous axis, a new headstone-encrusted rise i crest, numinous cemetery light redoubling that self-same “Mother Father” twinned tombstone over a century old. I don't swim. In the shadow of her mausoleum, it now occurs to me, I never find the pond. So many ponds. Half-lives flashing before my eyes I escape the cemetery. I walk forever along the forever shoulder towards where I imagine my old house is. 

     Oncoming headlights, the smell of night.

oncoming headights, the smell of night
oncoming headlights, the smell of night
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