Tuesday, December 26, 2006

making promises...

I am leaving now, l am going to make some promises, some promises of love...

spitting off the bridge to see how far it is...

Thank you C.C.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

when l am a man...

When l am a man, then l shall be a hunter
When l am a man, then l shall be a harpooner
When l am a man, then l shall be a canoe-builder
When l am a man, then l shall be a carpenter
When l am a man, then l shall be a artisan
Oh father! ya ha ha ha
-Kwakiutl Indian (from The Family of Man)

...sometimes l remember that there is magic and mystery to this world.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

canadian tire revisited...

well you're high on top
of your mountain of woe
come on up to the house
well you know you should surrender
but you can't let go
you gotta come on up to the house


...in case you've forgotten to lick the stamps.
my canadian tire monies art-trade

every saturday night...

I let the dog out
But he didn't come back
Stood on the corner until
My feet got wet

This is Huey.
I've known him since 1993, use to chop his firewood back then.
and sometimes he would get me to fix something at Muriels.
Muriel is his girlfriend and he calls her "girl".
Huey has the most patience l have ever seen, Muriel doesn't.
I remember driving them both to Calgary one year.
Took us all day and all night and Muriel got very tired.

I have done three paintings of huey.
He is a beautiful man.

and he gave me a ring
that was worn by his mother
and he takes me out dancin
every saturday night.


Monday, December 04, 2006

this moment...

This moment is all there is

Friday, December 01, 2006


Mike. Doesn't work for me anymore.
I'm too old now.
I get to wonder about tomorrow, will it ever come?

Ken. Why do you say that?

Mike. Inconsistency of living. Do you ever think of that? Inconsistency?
I came here thirty years ago.
My brother told me l'm lucky to have a place like this or something like that.
Thiry years.
I've got little or nothing to show for it.
I just dig out some damned old junk from the refrigerator,
whatever the hell l can find to eat.
And then l go to bed.
Eat and sleep.
Sleep is my narcotic.
To forget the past. Forget the future.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


And when i'm buried and in my grave
tell me then so i will know
your tears may fall to make love grow
the briar and the rose

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sharing Thursa...

Oh it's time time time, and it's time time time
And it's time time time that you love
And it's time time time
-tom waits

I took a two day workshop last week, "non violent physical crisis intervention". It didn't give me any new moves to try on Amy but it did remind me of my brother and wrestling. Growing up with him, we fought, almost everyday, wrestling actually. We would jump on each other, sit on each other and pound away at arms and legs until they become numb. Sometimes we would get very mad at each other. We also shared our cousin Thursa, whenever they visited one of us would go off in the woods to kiss Thrusa. One time l took her down to the beach to kiss and my brother followed and said it was his turn. It seemed fair so l said okay. Our very last fight was when we each threw a fist, he hit me in the face, l hit him in the face. We just sort of stared at each other and that was the last time we ever fought. I worked with him a while ago, somedays l would get very mad at his gruffness and it would make me sad. I love my brother, l have come to appreciate him in the last couple of years, l appreciate his gruffness, l can see the love in his heart, l can see the twinkle of life in his eyes. It makes me cry...l want him to know he is loved...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

broken cigarettes...

All i need's my railroad boots,
And my leather jacket,
As i say goodbye to ruby's arms,
Although my heart is breaking,
-tom waits

...the hood is out of jail, eight months in, now tougher, bigger, and dropping by to see if l have any work. I don't really care about the hood. but Clayton came by and l do care about clayton. He hasn't been by in quite awhile. Came by last night, anxious and with the sky falling sat and smoke a couple broken cigarettes. Laid off from the fish plant, cops looking for him, seems he assaulted someone, says he is looking for all of the people that owe him money. Tiffany won't let him see his daughter. Tears came to his eyes, "they should have put me in the hospital for a couple of days." Clayton just needs to be cared for, just a couple of days, someone to care for him...

Friday, September 29, 2006


"The purpose of art is not a rarified, intellectual distillate.
-It is life, intensified, brilliant life."
-alain arias

Saturday, September 23, 2006


-john and claire at the queens

"...when the story of the hero's wound is made part of the story of desire,
when the weaving activity of the soul, the work of memory and
imagination, the weaving of one's story, is informed
and suffused with hero's violent spiritual flame."

-eileen gregory (summoning the familiar)

14 years...

 "Sing, sweetness, to the last palpitation of the evening and the breeze."
-st.john perse


...my cat died a week ago.
I had my cat since she was a kitten, and we lived on a acerage for her first ten years. She was a great hunter, would bring me daily mice. I remember the first year she caught a bunny, l tried to save it, put it in a box with grass and left it on the porch overnight. The bunny never lived. My cat would kill and eat bunnies, would eat the whole thing, skull, bones and would only leave the stomach. Once she played with a bunny for hours it seemed until finally l had to kill the poor little rabbit. I think my cat was delighted with this, licked my hand as if l had finally learned what l had to do to eat. I never took my cat to a vet, saved the one time to get her fixed. The one time she got really sick l just put her on my bed for a week feeding her with dishes of milk and soft stuff.
I never named my cat, l couldn't think of a name that didn't sound stupid...so l just called her beauty sometimes, fathead when l was mad at her. She always slept with me, under my arm against my chest, didn't matter when l slept, she just would come and join me.
She stopped killing things after l returned from prince albert. I had left her with a friend of a friend for a year while l was away. She was so sickly when l got her back but the first night back, it was as if we had never been apart.
She was very sick the last two or three weeks before she died. She stopped purring. She stopped eating. it makes me cry. Amy and Mike helped me look after her, they loved her while l was away. She loved them.
My cat was so beautiful.

Friday, September 15, 2006

my cat...

l've had my cat for around fourteen years now, she is beautiful. I am trying to make her feel comfortable and l am hoping she is peaceful, she is dying.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

huey and muriel...

"My head is spinning round, my heart is in my shoes, yeah
I went and set the Thames on fire, oh, now l must come back down
She's laughing in her sleeve boys, I can feel it in my bones
Oh, but anywhere l'm gonna lay my head, l'm gonna call my home"

Huey and Muriel

Friday, July 28, 2006


In a land there's a town
And in that town there's
A house
And in that house
There's a woman
And in that woman
There's a heart I love

And shall not loveliness be loved forever.


sticks and stones will break my bones,
but i always will be true, and when
your mama is dead and gone,
i'll sing this lullabye just for you,
and what becomes of all the little boys,
who never comb their hair

I am going through years of photos, years of stories, trying to put them together someway.
Many many years ago l started photographing on the street, just quick and hurried, like something that would be taken away from me if l wasn't fast enough. Then l met wally, he was the first that l spent time with, that l got to know.
Walter Skulsky died a very lonely man on a mattress in a rooming house. My first encounter with wally was at a corner store. Exchange of small talk and cigarettes. I asked him if l could come over to where he lived and photograph him. Next day l arrived greeted at the door by wally in his well worn long johns. "Hi, remember me, can l come in. I have some cigarettes,"
I set up this big 4x5 camera and shot very quickly as l was sure he would kick me out. We then sat at a small table, it was just a room, a bare mattress, a empty fridge and the bathroom down the hall.
Wally was always quiet never initiating a conversation, however he answered most of the questions l posed to him. I took prints of wally to him and hung them on his wall, l must have seemed very unusual to him. One time he was nude. I took my place across the table as l normally did. I didn't take any pictures.
"fukin, fukin buttons, where am l going to put all these fukin buttons, on my fukin ass." This was wally's reply to my question as to why he didn't wear any of the buttons l had brought him. I always brought him weird stuff, chocolate bar, a old radio.
I went away for the summer, travelled across canada by train. I came to see him, his rooming house was empty, the neighbor next door said they buried him last week, her husband had found him dead.
It struck that wally had died without love, without knowing someone out there loved him.
He died of loneliness...

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Let's put a new coat of paint on this lonesome old town
Set 'em up, we'll be knockin' em down.
You wear a dress, baby, and I'll wear a tie.
We'll laugh at that old bloodshot moon in that burgundy sky

I've just finished giving a five day bricolage workshop, go to artdriftersand see their wonderful work.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Thursday, June 22, 2006

a 12 year old's diary...

"i'll get a dollar from my mamas purse
and buy that skull and crossbones ring
and you can wear it around your neck
on an old piece of string"

Clayton doesn't bring me canadian tire money anymore. ...don't you remember, scroll down and find it, my steal of a deal. Have you forgotten what it feels like to lick a envelope, to send someone something real.

"Now the street's turning blue, the dogs are barking and the night has come
And there's tears that are falling from your blue eyes now"

...sitting in a victoria cementary the other day smoking my pipe l realized if you were homeless how the cementary would be a good place to sleep at night, there is a cold water tap, and the odd cement shelter, very quiet. It also dawned on me how difficult it must be to find a washroom, no one wants to let you use the washroom in the city. Goddamn l even find it difficult so if you can imagine being perhaps a little scruffy or perhaps not looking like the ideal upstanding type of person, damn.

It's the cool of the evening the sun's goin' down,
i want to hold you in my arms i want to push you around,
i want to break your bottle and spill out all your charms,
come on baby we'll set off all the burglar alarms,
goin' downtown down downtown."

I also had another thought in the cementary. Every year or so l use to think "boy was l stupid" but...l would then realized what l had learned in the year, l would feel that l was wiser. The last couple of years l didn't get that feeling, yes the stupid one maybe but not the wiser one, until this year...

You see these flower pictures, taken with my cheapdigitalcamera and they are blurry because it is stuck on macro and l can't figure out how to turn that off. The flower pics, like what a 12 year old would put on the front of their diary and it would be so easy to turn this blog into something like what a 12 year old would write in their diary.

Down the shore everything's alright,
you're with your baby on a saturday night,
don't you know that all my dreams come true,
when i'm walkin' down the street with you,
sing sha la la la la la sha la la la.

My friends ronanddonna, their life, their love, it makes me thrive for that great love.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Le Que Sabe...

"...found an old dog and he seems to like me."

"Sprung from the loins of Aunt Daisy"
This is a painting l did many years ago of Sid Barron. Sid was a painter and for many years a cartoonist for the victoria times and toronto star. Sid was pretty incredible, bright, funny, and always a joy to be around. He told me the story of his aunt when l was photographing him, told me that her name was Daisy and that she was wonderful, full of laughter and always so good to Sid. It was many years later that he found out that aunt Daisy was really his mother.
I ran into Sid's wife "Jesi" last week and she told me that Sid had died last april.
Le Que Sabe

Saturday, June 10, 2006


...when journeying one must never halt until
wood and shelter are obtained.

Friday, June 02, 2006

rolling a drum...

Hush a wild violet, hush a band of gold
Hush you're in a story I heard somebody told
Tear the promise from my heart, tear my heart today
You have found another, oh baby I must go away
So hang down your head for sorrow, hang down your head for me

This is george. I met george at the homeless shelter in prince albert. He lived there for about five months, was ever so queit and gentle and slowly we became acquainted.
He fell in love with a girl in PA and for a couple of months was so blissful, so in love, a smile that you could walk on. Then he had to go to manitoba for the summer, do some guiding, make some money. He showed up at the shelter a couple months later back from guiding, eager to see his love.
...but his love had found another, in his absence her heart had not grown fonder, her heart had wandered and found someone else.
George was devastated, he mourned this love for many weeks, he drowned himself in whatever liquor he could find, he started coming into the shelter drunk, but because he was still the gentle and quiet george l would let him in and he would quietly and sadly go to sleep.
My last few days at the shelter l remember sitting with george in the lobby just quietly and with few words visiting. I remeamber rolling a drum cigarette for him. Now yes l know how horrible cigarettes are but if there was anything good in them it was this, it was rolling george a drum, an act so personal and almost intimate. He shook my hand and said goodbye, he shook my hand with warmth and friendship. I hope George is back guiding in manitoba, l hope George is in love.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

avon lady brings love...

"In art, intentions are not sufficient and as we say in spanish,
Love must be proved by facts and not by reasons.
What one does is what counts and not what one
had the intention of doing."
-picasso, 1923

Oh ken! My mother's new boyfriend is a real ass-hole...Don't you wanna come over here and marry her for me?
(Claire, from a 1996 postcard)
The painting above is of sean and claire one night in a empty old house, they played dress-up, they played house.

Clayton continues to come by almost everyday. The hood and his girl do not. The hood is in jail again and the girl has a new hood, saw them pulling a trailer and old boat by hand up the alley one early morning. The price of metal is up. Clayton has a new girlfriend and one night of garbage can cruising he found a old ring, a old avon ring. He gave the new girlfriend the ring and she wears it. He seems pretty happy and told me that he even went to one of the respectful relationship meetings he is suppose to attend. They talked about abuse, all kinds of abuse.

This is bill and thelma. It took me ten years before l finally got a good photograph of them. Bill reminds me of tom waits with his thick wavey hair and gravely voice and sometimes even the words he speaks. The night l took these photographs bill spoke about turning sixty five next year and how depressed he was of this. "If l had a gun ken...l would kill myself." he said. but he had been drinking and l knew and he knew that it was loud talk. Bill was full of tender emotion that night, telling me what a good person l was, what a good friend. Even thelma joined in, wanting to smother my cheeks with kisses, wet dog eared kisses. "Oh stop it thelma" bill would say. "Leave him alone for god's sake." They were both tender. Not long after that night thelma had a bad stroke, ended up on the mainland in a long term care hospital.

"Someone told me there's a girl out there
with love in her eyes
and flowers in her hair."

Monday, May 22, 2006


...izzy, l did this painting a few years ago. And now l am preparing a show, a series of paintings of love. So this other photograph of isabelle l will paint. ...because what l remember is, through her sea of pain izzy has this incredible love for humanity.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

3. final story of mickey

"...no one gets to see exactly what we see." (amyrubin)

..."Let's go Mickey...remember today...we're going for a drive." I had even marked it on his calendar, a big X, Sept.27th. Hauling Mickey's clothes out of the closet he asked for his dungees. "You mean your jeans Mickey?" A plain white shirt, and his brown sweater. "Can you shave me Kenny?" Well we got out his old plugged up electric razor and l proceeded to shave him. His face was like a hot water bottle, warm and rubbery. "Don't forget the moustache." "Watch the sideburns...feel it." he said. Save for the aftershave lotion Mickey shuffles to the bathroom to comb his hair. A young boy getting ready for sunday school.
 The first 15 minutes were held in silence as we drove around calgary with both of us filling the car with a heavy fog of smoke, Export A plain. My question breaks the silence. "Get out much Mickey?" "Naw, don't get out much...the guys in the park..like flys...get a bottle, get a bottle."
 Lived in New York, Mickey did, until they kicked him out for an expired work visa. He used to frequent High Park and listen to political rallys until 4 or 5 am. Drinking red wine and fcking snake on the canals in Montreal. Five years in a prison war camp in europe and escaping three times, once under potatoe peels. His boxing days, winning the bantam weight division in Saint John in 1936. From coast to coast Mickey has worked and played only to pass out in calgary and wind up in the Colonel Belcher Veteran's Hospital.
 Two weeks later l stop in to see Mickey again. He remembers our car ride. I change his calendar again.
Mickey's friend "Jello"

Saturday, May 06, 2006

smiling and shaking...

...one of my first adventures with mixed media- black and white photographs, tissue paper, a little paint, early 90's l believe. The photograph l took in calgary, was walking down ninth ave and came upon this friendly sort, "Come on, were going to sit...do some drinkin." he said. I followed him to this open tin shack, three walls and a roof, all of tin, a old couch and some upturned buckets. Three of them, all friendly with one of them silent and shaking. They proceeded to puncture a can of lysol and drain it into a gallon wine jug of water. A swig every fifteen minutes seemed to be the routine and when passed to me l politely declined.
Years later while working at a homeless shelter in Prince Albert l noticed that the lysol has been replaced with mouthwash, lysterine.

This is dave, he came into the shelter late one night, dropped off by social services. He was seventy, he was scared, he was shaking. I smiled at him and told him not to worry, l told him things would be okay. I gave him a empty room and wished him a good sleep. A couple of months later dave gave me this poem he had wrote.
"I wandered Lonely as a cloud
That floats on high over hill and dale
When all at once l saw a host
A host of golden daffodils
Beside the trees Below the lake
There l saw myself a fluttering in the breeze."

Dave ended up in a private resthome of sorts way out in the country. I don't think he liked it, couldn't get to town easily and sometimes he needed to get a drink or to talk with other people.

"So what becomes of all the little boys, who run away from home, well the
world just keeps gettin' bigger, once you get out on your own, so here's to
all the little boys, the sandman takes you where, you'll be sleepin' with a
pillowman, on the nickel over there.
-tom waits