Friday, November 23, 2007

hidden fires...

"What is it?
The particularly poetic way of envisioning and crafting life has to do with firing
the world through carefully maintained inner flames, with witnessing in image,
memory, and language to the luminosity, the hidden fires in things.
-eileen gregory (summoning the familiar)

Monday, November 12, 2007

chocolate and coffee...

Drag your wagon and your plow
Over the bones of the dead
Out among the roses and the weeds
You can never go back
And the answer is no
And wishing for it only
Makes it bleed

When l was a kid, grade 4 l think, living in Port Hardy and running through the bush
playing "Gunsmoke" l had a toy deringer and wanted to be Marshall Matt Dillon.
One day me and the neighbor girls tried smoking a piece of straw. It was
hot but not great. My dad use to smoke sportsman plain, l loved the yellow package
and they always came with a little card inside, fishing flys or something.

I smoked cigarettes for years. They were great for meeting people on the street,
offer a cigarette and l was in. Alot of guys spend all day looking for cigarettes,
collecting butts off the streets and out of ashtrays, putting them in little dirty baggies
and re-rolling the tobacco. They taste awful.

Then l started rolling my smokes, bought drum tobacco because "tailor-mades"
seemed so deceitful. And when l worked at the homeless shelter, everyone wanted
a smoke, "got a smoke, got a smoke", well Drum tobacco could last longer.

now if your mama saw you smokin why she'd kick your ass
put it out you little juvenile and put it out fast

I went to a pipe ten years ago, l loved the wood, the feel of digging into a leather
bag for a pinch of tobacco, it felt so good. And of course the smell, no not the
smelly fragrant kind, but Erinmore from Ireland, smelling of chocolate and coffee.

I have decided to give it up, well gave it up Nov 1st. It is sort of hard,
the pipe was like a friend and foolish as l may sound, it felt like a power of sorts.
If l think about it, l can imagine it very clearly, filling the pipe and drawing
in the smoke. It is still very clear and probably will be for a long time.
I will do it...but l feel sad about it.

You'll soon forget the
Tune that you play
For that is the part
You throw away
Ah, that is the part
You throw away

Friday, November 02, 2007

the moon is down...

What's he building in there?
What the hell is he building in there?

He has subscriptions to those magazines.
He never waves when he goes by.
He's hiding something from the rest of us.
He's all to himself. I think I know why.



...well, from that blog post a couple of columns down, one week, a pile of rusty metal
and here it is, my little sailor boy.

ps. ...if your in Parksville, go see the "Assemblage" show at the parksville arts council

Sunday, October 28, 2007

a cat in the woods...

the moon is full here every night
and I can bathe here in his light
the leaves will bury every year
and no one knows I'm gone

...the tents are gone from the gully, there is no one sleeping under the stars anymore
all that is left is some clothes, old tarp, a black shoe, empty mouthwash bottles - the
generic kind. And then there is this stuffed kitty, pinkish with a long monkey like tail,
someone's stuffed animal. I imagine it gave them comfort, laying in the tent in the gully,
black with rain pouring down, monster steps creeping by, no sleep,
just hold the kitty, cry...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

scrap pile...

He has no friends. But he gets a lot of mail.
I'll bet he spent a little time in jail.
I heard he was up on the roof last night, signalling with a flashlight.
And what's that tune he's always whistling?

What's he building in there?
What's he building in there?
We have a right to know.


...give me a week,
and this will be something.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

homemade pie...

If you go down to the woods today, You're sure of a big surprise
If you go down to the woods today, You'd better go in disguise.

I take the boy for a walk every morning 6;45am to the gully.
A stream carries the water down from the mountains and runs through the
gully. It also carries bears, l see their blackberry filled scat, like a big
homemade pie. People go to the gully to drink, and smoke, l see their
empty cans, and their empty soiled pants. People sleep in
the gully, there are now two tents, trying hard to hide behind bushes but
standing out like safety pins. There is also a couple of people sleeping
under the stars, sleeping under the clouds, a blanket thrown over them
like their dead. I go by every morning and wave and say "good morning".
He raises his sleepy arm, his heavy drowsy head and
waves back, "good morning".

For ev'ry bear that ever there was, Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Friday, September 07, 2007

breathing heavy...

The seasons can turn on a dime,
Somehow I forget every time;
These things you've given me
They always will stay
They're broken... but I'll never throw them away

...these are Sunshine's goats. beautiful animals, they seem so clever, almost tricky

...this one reminds me of coming home from school and watching
"The Flying Nun" everyday.

Martha had goats too...
I use to visit Martha, she lived on many acres in Bowser and
she had many goats. She was in her eighties, out digging in her vast garden,
herding her goats, tending her chickens, chopping her wood. I can't describe her
place, nor her, but it was so complete, "quality without a name".
Her beautiful old sheds and outbuildings, turned silver with age, dancing like.,
her knarly old fruit trees breathing heavy, the soil in her garden
you could smell the richness from the highway. And Martha, silver too, like
the wood, her eyes still bright and filled with want.
I heard from Sunshine that Martha is in a home now.
It seems so wrong, so sad, Martha should be on her land, she should
have died there on her land,in her garden, with her goats.

Maybe when our story's over
We'll go where it's always spring
The band is playing our song again
And all the world is green

involuntary stay...

...dreamt that Paula sent me a note telling me that she had
bad pneumonia and then went on to tell me that love
wasn't about loving the other person lots
but about loving yourself lots.
( journal-sept2000)

Clayton just got out of a involuntary stay in the psych ward. He looks
hollow, sunken, his skin sits on his face like a rubber mask.
I've seen Clayton frequently over the last few months. He gets
angry sometimes, paranoid thinking that everyone is staring at him
He came by one night, angry, angry at his ex girlfriend for not letting
him get his stuff, angry at people who owed him money. I'm patient
with Clayton but his anger made me angry. "Don't bring your
anger here", l said. He followed me into the house, gave me a hug
and started crying.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

shinning through...

And it's you, and it's you,
and it's you, and it's you, and it's you
And it's you, and it's you, shoo-be-doo, ba-da-da.

whe the soul of a man
is born in the country
there are nets flung at
it to hold back it's light.
You talk to me of nationality,
language, religion.
I shall try to fly by those nets.


...l use to think that you could see the soul,
where the skin stretches tight over the protruding hip bone,
that is where the soul is shining through.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Behold, l do not give lectures
or a little clarity.
When l give, l give myself.

-walt whitman

artdrifters is drifting...
I've given a number of courses this summer, dolls on Denman island, bricolage near
Barkerville, and lately a five day course at Red Deer college.
My students have made me think, making me ponder. It all seems so simple
yet l can't find the words.
"The least strained and most natural movements of the soul are the most beautiful"

This quote seems to sum up what l am trying to teach. It's a way of life,
a way of being. A way of connecting to whatever your doing.
I tell them to stop thinking, anyone can learn to draw and paste papers
on a board in a pleasant manner, but show us that you care, show us
what is important to you. Show us your passion.
But...what l'm pondering is how do you teach this.
l have had wonderful students, who do beautiful things.
And l thank them.
cause l'm getting better, l'm getting closer, but l can never get right
there. It's impossible, it's a contradiction of what l'm trying to teach.
It's like a whisper...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

cats and rats...

Blow wind blow - blow me away here
blow wind blow

This old barn sat behind the house l lived in for all of the nineties. It was in Coombs on
five acres. An oasis of beauty. I learned to plant flowers there, planted things every year,
it became a full time job just to water everyday. And l built things out of rocks l collected,
flower beds that looked like grave tombs, and a set of steps that took me two years to build.
The steps were so natural that you expected salmon to be swimming up them.

I had chickens and roosters, never collected the eggs just let them wander around pecking
things and then they'd sleep in the big cedar tree. I remember when the chicks were learning
to fly up into the tree at night. On of them was a slow learner so l put up a step ladder
to help him. I remember having to shoot a deer that had been hit on the highway,
"right behind the ear" the lady told me. I remember the cop having to shoot another
deer another time and she didn't shoot it right behind the ear, it bled to death.

My cat loved it there, she killed and ate something everyday, mostly mice but
bunnies when they were in season. Occasionally l had rats, in my basement
and in my studio. I set up a trap in the basement and learnt that you had to
use peanut butter and you had to tape it down with electrical tape and then l
also tied the trap to a post. I heard the snap of the trap one night and went
running down. The rat was trapped- his front legs and his head and he was
squirming around like a rat. I picked up the nearest spear like object and hurled
it at him. It was a poor shot and he wiggled out and got away.

The barn, the barn was beautiful. The first couple of years it was filled with
wild cats. After the cats died off it was filled with rats and then they died off.
Then it was mine, l pulled so many old boards out of that barn l'm surprised
it stood.
It was so hard to move away from that home. l tried for years. I thought l
was too comfortable, l thought that l was spoiled. I tried wandering away
from it at times but like smoking it didn't work. So l moved away
for a year to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to work in a homeless shelter.
I don't miss it anymore, rarely think of it, but
l have a spot inside me that glows from being there.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

sound of feet...

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain - and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
-robert frost

color of summer...

So close your eyes
Open you heart
To one who's dreaming of you
You can never hold back spring
-tw's colors in the early morning, seeping up out of the ground after a hot summer's night.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

a small fire...

Well I don't need anybody, because I learned, I learned to be alone
Well I said anywhere, anywhere, anywhere I lay my head, boys
Well I gonna call my home

...l could smell the smoke ten minutes before l found him
I was taking the boy for a walk, to the gully around 6:30 am.
We crossed the stream and saw him, a man sitting, squatting crossed legged in front of a small fire.
Little round logs burning slowly with smoke, he had collected some rocks to put around the fire
and there was a blacken pot next to it. He put his hand up against his head when l approached
kept it there like a shield, didn't say too much, neither of us did, just some light words.
He must be from out of town, else he would have hidden himself further north in the gully
and l think he wanted to hide.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Close your eyes and count to ten
I will got and hid but then
Be sure to find me.I want you to find me
And we'll play all over
We will play all over again


When l was 6 or 7 we moved to Rumble Beach (now Port Alice). A small townhouse kindof
town with a small wading pool just up the street from us. It was round and green and
about a foot deep. I wandered in that pool, sat down in it, and finally layed on my stomach
with my arms stretched out and my face down holding my breath.
I was swimming. I held my breath and l was swimming.
I was so excited that l ran home and told my mom to come and see me swim.

There's a baby swimming in Amy's tummy right now and when it's born, when
he or she comes running to me, arms flapping, dripping wet and telling me to come
see them swim, l will.

just draw it...

There is nothing ugly in art except that which
is without character, that is to say that which
offers no outer or inner truth.


Whenever l give a workshop l always tell my students..."anyone can draw"
And l believe it, you pay enough and you could get a monkey to draw.

Now l know that a well executed drawing can be very lovely and beautiful
but look at your fridge, the only pictures that make it up there are drawn by a
two year old. Why - well they are drawn from the heart, drawn with emotion.

You can always recognize those well executed drawings copied from photographs,
stiff and without life. The sad thing is were all afraid to draw, to create,
its taken from us in grade seven. If you see something, feel something,
remember something, just draw it, draw it in all its stumbleness, draw it
awkardly, draw it blindfolded, just draw it from the heart.

Monday, May 21, 2007

deep patterns...

To work our way toward a shared and living
language once again, we must first
learn how to discover patterns which
are deep and capable of generating life.

-timeless way of building

It's been awhile since clayton has come by. Everynow and then
l see him riding down the alley on his bike.
Slung over his sholders, a black platic bag stretched tight with bottles.
It's alot of work collecting bottles, and for very little money.
l see people dumping off there truck load of beer cases at the depot
why not just leave them in the alley and put a smile on
someone's face.

What some men will do here for diamonds
What some men will do here for gold
They're wounded but they just keep on climbing
And sleep by the side of the road

There's a hole in the ladder, a fence we can climb
Mad as a hatter, you're thin as a dime
Go out to the meadow, the hills are a-green
Sing me a rainbow, steal me a dream


Sunday, May 20, 2007

mystery of birth...


We can never be born enough.
We are human beings; for whom birth is a
supremely welcome mystery,
the mystery of growing:
the mystery which happens only and whenever
we are faithful to ourselves.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007


With all beings and all things
we shall be as relatives.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

the orange chair...

art is a burning bush that both shelters
and makes visible our profounder longings.

...the orange chair has been with me for a decade and some.
It is a dear old friend because of the memories buried deep in its grain, in the layers of paint.
mike labrie had it first...back in 1995

after mike died l received the chair, well the orange chair and his sewing machine.
the chair still stands, the sewing machine still sews

...years later while wandering around the streets of victoria l heard some shouting
crossing the street l find Alister sitting cross legged on the sidewalk
I asked him what he was shouting about...

I did a painting of Alister ("alister starbuck and his book of revelations")
Near the bottom left l put a color print of the orange chair.
I ran into alister a year or so later and he asked me why l put a picture of a chair in the painting.
"...a place for you to sit" l told him

the chair sits in our kitchen now, every now and then l am reminded of its power.

"Places which are comfortable are comfortable because
they have no inner contradictions,
because there is no little restlessness
disturbing them."

(timeless way of building)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

bone of winter...

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel
the bone structure in the landscape
-the loneliness of it -
the dead feeling of winter.
Something waits beneath it -
the whole story doesn't show.

-andrew wyeth

Sunday, March 18, 2007

dying with love...

"In uncertainty l am certain that underneath their topmost layers of fraility
men want ot be good and want to be loved. Indeed most of their vices
are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, no matter
what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life
must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror. It seems to me
that if you or l must choose between two courses of thought or action,
we should remember our dying and try to live that our death
brings no pleasure to the world."

-john steinbeck (east of eden)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

dancing and smoking...

we were dancin' in the slaughterhouse
If you swing along the beltway
then you skid along the all day
cause I went a little crazy
and I sat upon a high chair
And I'm smokin like a diesel
way out here
Blow wind blow...

My tobacco smells like chocolate.
Every 12 hours l sit outside and smoke my pipe. At night l hear the
dogs bark and in the morning l hear the crows caw.
These pages are so constrained, so tight, l want to just
scribble and stratch like a kid, tear a hole in these pages.
Maybe it's because l went to a dance tonight,
dancers from the east coast, made me feel glorious.
Made amy dance in the house, she looked so beautiful...

Monday, February 19, 2007

baseball cards...

...more about my baseball cards later.

Monday, February 05, 2007

love and a rusty axe...

I wanna believe
In the mercy of the world again
Make it rain
Make it rain

I have been repairing, rebuilding my fence...
old wood, all wet, some rotten, using logs amy and l pulled from the beach,
some too long so had to take a rusty axe and chop them in half.
There is something wonderful about all of this, building,
adding layer on layer, like art, like life, like love...

Black Beach...

...and then l asked him with my eyes to ask again yes
and then he asked me would l yes...
and first l put my arms around him yes
and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes
and his heart was going like mad
and yes l said yes l will yes.