Wednesday, November 21, 2012

the party

I sent out the invites without a plan and waited. all afternoon, just me and nervousnes and a lot of chairs sitting in the sunshine.

some former students came. there was a pleasant burble of conversations. people took chairs and put them in rows and waited. one grey streaked hair woman in a sari wrote in a rainbow irridescent marker as she sang the urdu. a small circle listened as another group sat apart and waited for someone they recognized to start the main event in the community centre. her voice raised and fel and swayed. she sang a changing incantation.

i realized i provided no food but there was a 50s diner across the parking lot. a lady in a confidential tone heard my thought and read my gaze and looked at me and from face to face and said, what percentage of the room is below the poverty line? 40% 70%

i got out flour and started gathering ingredients to make a huge pizza and set the dough to rise.

someone was missing. i said i'd give her a ride. i went to the parking lot. besides the open air lot was a metal building with orange garage doors. a man in a spiffy business suit with a military gait left it. a passerby said to another with a chin jut nod, that land was appropriated by embassy row. the diplomats get the parking for free. they already have all those homes and get more for free.

in a moment i was returning along the late afternoon highway with M. and as we approached the community centre the hillside was covered as well as he open parking lot in a mass of people. the movie had arrived. i had acquired a fragment of an 80s star trek movie that was filmed in Ottawa. the scene on screen was exttras walking into a conveniencestore with the camera in the shelf focused on the kitchissipi beer. there was a xdingle of the bells of the door on the screen. i went in and looked at my pizza dough. i'll need a loaves and fishes miracle i thought.

but no, i thought, they all can take care of themselves. they aren't all here for me but for the opportunity of the movie. it's grown past me and past my responsibility to feed them all.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Heritage Day Events

In a staging area where the corridor widened there was a performance called poetry that had the spirit of Kozachok except people leapt several heights in the air and landed in a cross legged position. K & B were at the front doing it. Along the corridor were registration tables and food tables. I was looking at those and a crowd gathered. W was backing up towards me until he was between hover and lean. I could feel his heat and he hummed a tune and I echoed the song back then he leaned out and merged with the crowd. I picked up what I thought was a can of sardines and went down the hall towards where the wall on the left wasn't matched by the atrium on the right. There's was a man-made stream/pond. I looked at the artfully placed fallen logs, ferns, lily pads and saw a leopard fog. I opened my tin and saw I picked up a can of snakes by accident. On the top were two green snake heads, eyes still bright yellow. I picked then off and flicked them towards the pond. One was eaten in a gulp by a frog that leapt for it. The other hit a rock and sank out of sight. I woke examining my can of green snake lengths in brine wondering if I wanted the rest.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Inside the Forest

I can see what brain did there. Scavenging and mashing up elements to combine to what it needs.

It took the cherry-picker a few streets over cutting down a tree a few days ago. The 81st birthday of Shatner calling up Star Trek. My cousin saying the ground had no frost and his tractor sinking and needing to be towed out. In Val-de-Monts the ministry cutting down a 300 eyar old tree while protesters weren't around. A friend talking about the hour of his birth, my inner reflections on how my dad nearly wiped out driving too fast in the freezing rain, nearly died on the way to the hospital to hold me for the first time. He nearly went into the pond, car and all again. He almost died there once after he ricocheted off the side of a freight train. He eventually died of congestive lung.

By sleep I was in a forest. A lumbering scene. Near a swamp. A lot of strangers milled around in their work. A piece of caterpillar yellow machinery slipped a greasy bank. It made a tremendous sound. Some went to investigate, some didn't. Someone noticed a coat down there, called out that there's a man stuck in the gear down there. People tried to yank the machine back from the muck. Someone dove in try to get him out. Someone sidled up to me with a quiet word that it looked bad and the man was my father. I looked down. I could see him in the water. They brought him up finally but he'd been down too long. I looked at his face, waxy and calm, tried pressing water from his lungs. I tried to force water from his chest. Someone quiet walked over to the foreman near my side and asked if they should call 911. I thought, that occurs now? No one has before now? He walked over to the concession where there was a phone. 'There's nothing you could do.' the foreman said to me, quietly. Dad's eyes flickered open but he looked angry at not being left alone. Did I imagine they even opened. I kept pressed rhythms to his chest. 'There's nothing anyone could have done' the foreman said.

I woke with a kind of peace of benediction. My self is trying to forgive me.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The trip

The brown shag carpet in the path from door past the two double beds was worn thinner straight to the bathroom as if the car to toilet trip was more common than anything.

It was the kind of dingy room decorated last in the late 50s, early 60s with updates including screwing the lamp and phone to the courtesy writing desk, which had no pens that wrote and no stationary left.

My unconscious dragged that motel room from the shores of Georgian Bay to the mid-west U.S.

We three were in a room, with a fourth present by phone. K was sprawled on the bed with the cell phone to his ear but her voice was still spilling out, the pitch and intonations, even if not the words but his chuckles gave some tone and content away.

T was seated on the other bed, the furthest corner, wetting the end of a pen with chew marks as he composed and wrote. He periodically inspected the ceiling with a squint. It was quiet. The room was surprisingly soundproof. Even the traffic hum was smaller.

I noticed dust filtering down. Is there a window in here? I followed the beam and saw a small clerestory that I hadn't noticed coming in. Odd, for the type of ranch-style drive in place.

There was a burst of motion like a chicken flurrying away from a fox as K headed for a quick shower. A psssshhh of shower starting.

Time lapsed and there was a tremendous thud. T and I exchanged winced looks. We listened. T gave an expansive shrug and hunched to turn back over his pad of paper.

- But he might be hurt. You should check, I said.
- I'm not going in there, T said. He's all naked.
- But he might be hurt, I repeated
- He's a big boy. He can look after himself, T said

I listened. He scribbled the way people who aren't really writing anything scribble words at a page.

- It doesn't matter. It's medical, I said and headed to the door.

Looking in K was lying, still stunned, towel around his waist.
-Y'ok? I asked.

He scrambled up with some wince, and said yep. He faced me. I eyed the low rail of the shower stall. Was that blood? I moved towards him and he went to the left keeping his back away from me. In the fogged mirror I saw a red patch on his back. I narrowed my eyes.
-I'm fine, he repeated in a go away tone.
I tried to turn him but he resisted. I tried to look around him and he backed closer to the wall. I back up and opened the door a crack. Fog started to come off the mirror.
- I'm fine, he repeated, in a more shrugging tone and he stepped towards me. I saw lines of blood running down his back. I left the room without a word and came back in with a roll of saran wrap that I started wrapping around him and his protests.

I pulled him out of the bathroom on the lead of the saran wrap and presented him to T. T didn't look up. I cleared my throat and turned K. The blood was making a large blood blister collecting on his back. T gasped and with an ohmygawd, leapt up and out the door, slammed back in and grabbed car keys and left.

Dream lapse. T returns with a huge pharmacy bag and starts pulling out cotton balls and gauze and tape and bandaids. He seems unsure of what now. He opens a box of bandaids and starts applying cartoon sea turtle bandaids in cross patterns all over the saran wrap.

-What's in your other hand?, K asked
Self-consciously T pulls from behind his back what looks like a long-nozzled oil can made of glass and marked vodka.
- Is that for you or me? K asked
T looks unsure, extends his arm in the manner of people who know they should give but don't want to give this, then, stops the hesitation and with a sure thrust hands it to K. Still the little shy hesitation, something about the confusion of it, and the sudden generosity is so childlike and charming that I laugh and wake up even as K's hand reaches for the bottle.