Monday, October 17, 2016

Bury Me With My Files

Bury me with my files,
a half-empty bottle of Crown Royal
and my car keys.
Bury me with my Blackberry,
my university diploma,
and my last federal tax return.
Bury me with the TV remote control I held so close,
my guitar tuner and the novel
I was reading but could never finish.
Bury me with some cash, it meant so much.
Bury me wearing the shirt I wore too often
and refused to throw away,
and the pants you said
made me look fat.
Bury me with my glasses.
Bury me in expensive socks.
Bury me with a shovel and pail
because I didn't have a green thumb
and a hammer and some nails
because I was all thumbs.
Bury me with a Donnie Iris LP
because sometimes I had an itch that only he could scratch.
Bury me with an 8-track tape of Crime of The Century
and the Letters to the Editor I wrote
and my favourite hat that said 
"The Future Is Now".
Bury me with whatever you can unearth
from my past.
Bury me with my passwords.
Bury me with my files.
Bury me with lies.

Bob Dylan Nobel Laureate

But is it Literature? And does it matter?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Pigeon

for Dimitri Nasrallah

A pigeon is dying in my backyard
Watching it is very hard
Her wings are broken, feathers torn
I've never seen one so forlorn
And in my heart the helplessness
Feels too close I must confess
I want to scream, It's undeserved
For a creature harmless and reserved
To suffer this predicament
Is unjustified I lament
If there’s a God possessing mercy
He’d relieve her of her misery
And then as if my prayer is heard
A cat arrives and devours the bird.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Leonard Cohen the Myth, The Man


Wherein I recently participated in a panel discussion on Between The Pages.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Three Day Event by Barbara Kay

Barbara Kay knows a thing or two about good writing. As one Canada’s most widely read columnists in the National Post, she’s expressed herself forcefully and cogently for years, never mincing her words, garnering the applause of readers and sometimes their ire. Anyone approaching her debut fiction may understandably ask themselves, is Kay as compelling at crafting narrative as she is at opinionating? The answer is an emphatic yes. Many of the strengths evident in her editorials also feature robustly in her fiction. A Three Day Event is, at first glance, a crime novel set at an equestrian center in rural Quebec. The reader is steeped in the high stakes (and elitist) culture and politics of equestrian recreation and sport. But it’s the manner in which Kay employs the backdrop of heightened political, linguistic, and cultural tensions that provides this novel with added dimensions. The action pivots on the murder of a widely loathed groom, a crime complicated by anti-Semitic vandalism and the bizarre mutilation of a prized stallion. The equestrian center is owned by a Jew married to a Quebecoise. It is immediately apparent that Kay is set on exploring much more than the evil deeds perpetrated by a lowly disgruntled bigot. The insular, monied world of horse sport frames an intricate tapestry of relationships weaving together hidden agendas, professional ambitions, resentments, grudges, secrets and love affairs. The protagonist is Polo Poisson, who, although born in a stereotypical Quebecois family on the wrong side of the tracks, has been intriguingly, raised by upper-crust Jews to become a champion horseman. Polo is an unprecedented ethnic creation in Canadian fiction, a melding of immigrant Jewish and pure laine Quebecois; a tortiere pie baked in a poppy seed bagel crust. It’s a wonder that Kay can pull off such a character successfully, which she does, and the story of how Polo arrived on the steps of his adopted family is as touchingly believable as it is unusual. It’s up to Polo to solve the murder, and it’s his mixed background that provides him with the intellectual and emotional tools required to tease out the convolutions of the crime. If there is a flaw to the novel it’s one of ambition. Kay’s reach sometimes exceeds her grasp and there is a lot to digest with so many characters operating at cross purposes including the equestrian center staff and members of the ownership family, a champion rider, a veterinarian, the horse owning clients, and committee members from the equestrian federation. Some characters get short shrift, like Toronto journalist Sue Parker who shows up investigating illegal practices in the international sale of sport horses. But this is ultimately Polo’s story and Kay wants us to consider the way his fractured personal history has affected his present and future. It is apparent that Polo is emblematic of our multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic, multi-faceted nation. He embodies multiple influences and loyalties that cannot easily be reconciled. In creating Polo, Kay has a point to make and she does is with nuance and grace: The key to personal reconciliation is found in family responsibility.                 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Junk Email

Junk Email 

It arrives whether you want it or not,
slips in through an unseen slot,
like so much else in life,
and you've learned how to set-up a filter that strains
the unexpected and unwanted
from the desirable,
identifies and files it in a separate folder
for eventual deletion. 
Junk email reminds you of the forces at work behind the scenes -
that there are no real boundaries in this world.
Junk email tells you that ultimately there is nothing you can do
to stem the flow, 
no power exists to make you impervious
to the tap, tap, tap of certain leaks; 
the girls named Charlene and Celina who want to meet, 
the offers of discount Viagra and Cialis, 
the secrets of penis enlargement,
and how to earn $500/week in your spare time. 
Junk email teaches you to read between lines, 
and that, more than anything, what you really want, 
is to believe, because there is a hole in the center
of the universe, oh and your hotmail account 
needs updating. Junk email is a fortune cookie,
open it at your peril.
Junk email reminds you you're an addict.






Saturday, November 7, 2015

A prayer for the new PM

A prayer for the new PM

Lord, may we enjoy this honeymoon.
Lord, give us some time 
To find pleasure in our new PM,
His charm, his wit, his family,
His energy, his hair, his all-around handsomeness.
May we enjoy his smile that betrays
His youthful optimism, his lack of cynicism.  
Give us some time to bask in the radiance
Of his hopefulness, his sincerity 
In believing that in ethnic diversity 
There is strength, in gender equality
There is principle, in giving refuge to those in need 
There is justice, and in acknowledging the traditions
Of our indigenous forbearers there is necessity.
Let us enjoy this moment, without doubt or questioning 
Because, as he said quizzically, it’s 2015.
So let us enjoy Lord
Until the next session of Parliament, at least.