Friday, September 30, 2005


A wedge of lemon on my plate.
Part of a stamped word, SUNK.
It's Sunkist. What a beautiful
word from childhood oranges.
The idea of a hot sun giving
a wet kiss. In a Starbucks
a woman takes my card and says,
Do you need room?

Is this true

Life is easier than we think.

On the Beach at Oak Bay

Am in Victoria. Found a trail down to the sea.
Hazelnuts falling hard on the wet lawns.
Saw a rabbit. Small ears. Read an essay by
Ben Marcus in Harpers. He mentions the Silver
Jews and John Hawkes, and I thought it must
be the first time those two have ever appeared
in print together. I had been
listening to the Silver Jews just before
leaving Toronto, and a friend, at four
in the morning on Tuesday, wrote in my
notebook this quote from John Hawkes:
Old fireworks: some expend themselves without
energy and some fire high into the night,
the breath of a long-haired animal on its
My friend was very drunk, and he was losing
badly on a pool table on Queen Street. We
were with another man who had climbed a
fence carrying a bottle of wine, with a woman,
into a swimming pool, skinny dipping, and
they didnt have sex.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Me and you and everyone

It's so good to be watching a movie
where nothing that happens can be
predicted. And that scene where
Miranda July and John Hawkes are
walking down the street. The street
becomes their life, how they riff
on a thought, these strangers who
understand they could be living together,
that enfolded life and the possibilities
that string out for all of us, that
poem that asks God to give me strength
to live a double life, or to be cut
in two, what a powerful moment and thought
that is, and how it puts all other movies
and poems and novels that have researched
information to dish out, how much those
things are weighed down in cement, and
how easy it is to have my feet sunk in

Saturday, September 24, 2005

On our roof seven red tomatoes

There are two tomato plants on the roof.
In clay pots. They didnt enjoy my leaving
them for ten days. There's a pot of basil
too. And yesterday we ate caribou prime rib
with a tomato and basil salad. A homemade

Friday, September 23, 2005

Leaving Deer Lake

We pack the butchered caribou
in three boxes lined with styrofoam
and tinfoil. In one we've buried the
antlers. If they find the antlers
they may charge us $250. That's the
antler fee at Deer Lake airport.
It's an airport where you have to
wait while they x-ray your checked
luggage. We watch the big antler
box full of frozen meat get x-rayed.
No trouble. I've had to find in
Corner Brook an export permit to
bring the meat. But no one at the
airport wants to look at it, so
I mail it to a friend. I like
writing letters in airports. I
carry envelopes and stamps. I usually
have a glue stick as well, in case
I need to stick something on a
postcard. I like collages in the mail.
All flights out of Deer Lake seem
to land in Halifax, that's progress
for you. And we wait, drinking coffee
from Brisket, a miserable chain of
airport restaurants if ever there was.
I'm still using my Starbucks card
that I received a year ago from
some literary festival. But airport
Starbucks won't accept the card.
We end up waiting at Pearson for
another plane to leave our Gate.
Such is the state of Air Canada
these days. And all this to say,
twelve hours after that frozen
caribou left my parents' chest freezer,
we pile its still-frozen cuts into
our Toronto chest freezer. The antlers
are intact.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

By the light of six funnel lamps and then by the dark

We cleaned all the funnel lamps
and filled them with lamp oil.
A load of wood and the wood stove
in the corner. The calm lake.
Three loons land, one after the
other, on the lake. First their
landing gear skims and then the
white belly. You can hear their
skid landing. Sounds like peeling saran
wrap. There's a dark brown rabbit
walking across the front yard. Hardly
a hop in him. I'm reading the books
that have been at the cabin for thirty years.
Books on how to build a canoe,
how to tan beaver hide, books with
photos of men in short jackets
using crooked knives to make a
living off the land. There's a
short fiction anthology with a John
Cheever story, Goodbye Brother.
Quiet. And in the middle of the
night I stand naked outside
on the cement step, utter darkness
now, and stare up at the milky
way, the faraway gargle of loons.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Forgive me if I ramble about this stag

We'd been four days in the woods, and
had seen seven caribou, but all from
too far away. There was a glorious
white stag with tall antlers, he was
collecting a harem of does. But just
out of range. Okay, he was two hundred
yards. But we waited. We waited on
the Red Bog which is off the woodsroad
called Wigwam Brook Road in western
Newfoundland. We got up at 4:30 am,
fried some eggs, made a cup of coffee
and drove out the highway to the woods
road and then walked in along a trail
to the marsh they call the Red Bog.
And waited. And saw him punch his way
out onto the bog and look north, where
the fresh wind was coming with the
beginnings of Ophelia and the loss
of Rex Goudie. He looked north and
we were fifty yards south of him.
And now we've gutted him, quartered him,
sawed out his 18 point rack, carried
him out, hung him, skinned him and
driven him over to Summerside where
the Patey family will let him hang
in the cooler with all the moose
until Wednesday, when he will be turned
into steak and roast and ground meat
and long ribs and soup bones.

Friday, September 16, 2005

at ten minutes past eight a caribou

He's now hanging
in the shed
I am off to bed

Sunday, September 11, 2005

seal and saw

Yesterday I made a seal flipper pie.
Today I woke up and there was a saw in the fridge.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Type the letters above thingy

My blog keeper-upper tells me that
the blog is getting spam, and to prevent
it, comments must get past that
hallucinogenic typing quiz. Sorry
all you chiefs.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A songline to clean the dishes by

I am a hippopotamus.
I use every pot in the house.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Once again I forget my passport

We're hurtling towards Albuquerque
after five days in a tent. All of our
clothes smell of smoke. The rivers,
which had been dry and full of small
bushes, were swollen now with rain.
It was five in the morning, we had
to get the rented car back to its
stall and then an 8 am flight to
Chicago. We were thirty miles outside
of Santa Fe, halfway to Albuquerque,
following the silver shining rectangle
of an 18 wheeler's backside, when the shape
of my passport appeared inside my
forehead. Passport. Where was it.
We had the tent drying in the back
seat (hail the day before through
the partly open windows). I thought
about my leather St. John's satchel,
the black knapsack, my clothes suitcase.
I couldnt imagine the passport in
any of those compartments. The last
time I saw it, she said, was in
the hotel safe.
Five days ago, that was. And she
was right.
We pull over to a Giant gas station.
And rifle through the bags. Do you
have a number for the El Rey.
I run to a payphone. It's five-thirty
in the morning. A man answers. If we
have it, he says, it'll be in the
safe box, and I dont have access to
I tell him about our flight and he
says hold on.
I wait three minutes.
Mr Winter we have your articles
here at the front desk.
And so we return to the highway
and I jam the gas to 95 miles
an hour into the dark north
towards the shining basket of
gold that is Santa Fe. Directions
to Cerillos St. And we pick up
the manila envelope that contains
the passport. Light now. I keep
driving back to Albuquerque, hitting
a 107 miles an hour. Until a police
cruiser joins us from an on-ramp.
And we settle back down to 75.
At the rental agency, we leave
wet clothes, old magazines, a cedar
shingle from the roof of a barn near Georgia
O'Keefe's old house (I found it in
the grass while Charlotte Rampling
and a friend stopped and asked us to
take their picture). The rental guy
drives us to the airport. He is a
solid guy to accept the car in that
state. Does it matter? We miss our
flight. We end up eating and reading
all day in Albuquerque airport, which
has no mailboxes, and then Chicago's
airport, which does.