Saturday, August 29, 2009

the time is what lasts longer than anything else.
And at once, it escapes us at a winning speed. 
Since we were children, we sought to save it
and escape it and hold it
We cannot quantify the immense weight.
the eyes tell the truth
It is youth, that feels lied to and cheated
history never was defeated
by those who fell in line
or who went to bed on time
it is time to shine
time to go all the way with this
Its domestic bliss and a new consciousness. 
Get out the way!
Get out the way!

nanaimo feb.96

It was 1996. We were staying on the Sun Dog, in the Nanaimo harbor. It was late February, we were getting the boat ready for the upcoming halibut season. Painting, scrubbing, organizing, etc. This was a special time for a number of reasons. It was a time of great creativity, when I solidified a certified future interest in playing guitar. There were nights of excess that involved LSD, the zodiac, the Terminal hotel, Sean Harris, the wharfinger, sea otters that had learned to make a slide out of ice and snow on the dock. 
One night, Hugh Hamilton was on the boat, we were drinking beer and preparing for a night out on the town. We left the boat and walked down the dock. The car keys were somehow flung into the air and landed in the water with a small splash. We all looked at each other in horror. John went back to the boat to retrieve a magnet on a string that had the specific purpose of retrieving lost tools or other objects that had been dropped in the bilge of the boat.
He came back, unfurled the string from the magnet and aimed the magnet with precision and let go. It plopped into the water and descended to the bottom of the harbor. There must have been everything from anchors to shopping carts down there.
After the magnet settled on the bottom, John pulled it slowly to the surface. 
He reeled in to the dock and at the same time we all saw that the keys had been caught in one cast. We literally exploded in excitement. We simply could not believe it. 
It was one of those moments that made you think about God. and love.
A few days after that, John and me experienced what we thought was a near death experience. We had an oxy-acetylene torch burning, to weld some rings together that we were using for halibut gear.
Suddenly, a weld opened up in the acetylene tank and the flame jumped from the nozzle to the leak and a huge flame began to burn out of control.
Black smoke began to fill the wheelhouse and the flame burned hot. In a split second, John and me looked at each other and ran from the boat as fast as we could. We ran down the dock and sought cover from the expected explosion.
It never came. We looked at each other. We looked at the fuel dock that the boat was tied up uncomfortably close to. John looked at me and without saying anything, I knew he was saying that we should run back to the boat and try to put out the fire. He ran toward the boat. In a split second, I realized I could not bear the thought of him dying in this final heroic act, while I stood by and watched from afar. So I ran after him, in hopes of extinguishing the fire or dying trying. We unleashed the fire extinguisher and the fire was smothered. A cloud of yellow chemical fell over the entire scene.
We sat on the dock, smoked cigarettes, and then eventually took the rest of the day off and rowed the zodiac over to Newcastle Island.
I guess these are the times that remind you of your mortal essence. 
I know that on that day, we felt as though we had come close.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Good things/ the way we are

It makes us all sad when we see them suffer
Tried and tested but not true
Stuck in the cycle of upward mobility
and the economic downturn
seems there is a new name for it
every time it happens
to come flashing across the tv
it is always the same
but today it is news
The emotional scale is tipping
between greed and panic
despair for some
They have everything invested
they trusted, they tested
they wasted, much time
they traded, their minds
For nickels and dimes
It's the deaf, leading the blind

Thursday, August 27, 2009

multi-tasking makes us stupid

Sometimes, when I think with my mind, it hurts and feels as if I am trying to see through a glare. A flare. Life is so complex, with our daily barrage of thoughts and images fighting for your time. The Sun and Moon are the only constant, all else is negotiable. 
And the greater the scale of importance is the scale upon which most things are compared and measured against. And then, everything shall have it's place.
The most sought after in life becomes fleeting summer sunsets or a talk with a friend. 
And that from a guy who has no children yet.
The music you find becomes the soundtrack for all that you do.
But you are shut off from the World.
To tune in, or turn off...
The masses can be overwhelming at times,
And you may want to unplug from them
with all their talk of fashion and fighting.
Nowadays, you find yourself hiding
And deciding, what its gonna take to hold on to your dreams.
This isn't what it seems, its better than that
Its the truth and your lost youth
that you always wanted back
Countless days in the Sun and on the streets
leaves us hungry and recovering
and loving the way we are living


Monday, August 24, 2009

get outta my dreams, and into my car...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

see, oh, el, bee, why

She sleeps
animals mean so much to her
most people don't know her
She is strong
soft on the inside
a boiled egg
ocean mammals
family matters
and friends
world traveller
fashionable, beautiful
open minded
not easily distracted
logical, feeling

Didn't you get the memo?

Love is easy to find, if you let it in.
Friends are everywhere, even in the faces of strangers.
Dreams are reality, when you dare to look
thoughts are a catalyst for change
it is, indeed, where it all starts
like a fire, it must start somewhere
you need fuel and oxygen and time
and the wherewithal to engage in it
Like trends, it can seem to disappear so rapidly
like friends, we can fear their veracity
When we would like to hear their tragedy.
We all want to be flawless
in a world devoid of perfection,
which direction do we go?
We'll never know, it must be up.
If I can matter to you
then we can go together...

sunday driver

Dear illustrious bicycle riders of Vancouver...
We rode our bikes along the seawall today. It was one of those days that makes you feel so alive, with all the surrounding beauty that this city has to offer, if you pull your head out of your ass long enough to enjoy it. There are far too many cyclists in this great city that have turned cycling into a war against pedestrians, or cars, or other cyclists who don't ride as fast as they do. Seriously, people, it is a sunny sunday, there are like a million people on the seawall, eating fucking ice cream cones and ho-dogs and all of you ride along, with that dour look of contempt. 
Are we in a bike race? Are we rushing to the hospital with a ruptured spleen? Are we so self involved that we fail to see that other people in the world are not as fit, young, hot, sexy, narcissistic as we are? 
I can feel your beady little eyes drilling into the back of my head, I can hear your dinging little fucking bell, I can see you shake your head from side to side as you deem me unfit to ride on YOUR path. 
It is no wonder everyone thinks cyclists are assholes, because they are. At least you are. If you want to ride your bike fast and act cool and basically just act like an asshole, then go somewhere you know half the population of this city won't be. ie; any of the lesser populated areas, like richmond, north Van, or ride back and forth in your coveted bike lane on the Burrard street bridge that you incessantly whined about for like 10 years.
I have ridden my bike approximately 30,000 km. in the last 15 years, so I have a bit of experience with bikes. Probably more than you, Kitsilano, Yaletown, self righteous "one less bike" sticker, poseur, douchebags. 
The next one of you that yells, "bike lane" as I am pulled over to take a drink or to drink in the beauty of the surroundings, is gonna need to get a "one less rider" sticker for their bikes. 
You are lame and you are embarrassing yourself. Please take off your blinders and join the rest of the world. It will be fun and you may learn something. I know your therapist tells you so, but it isn't all about you. Okay? Smarten up.  

Friday, August 14, 2009

The day I decided to forgive america...

It was a combination of things, I guess. I was just tired of having this whole country beneath ours and for political reasons, namely the project for a new america, I had not visited it in ten years. I was pissed right off and didn't want anything to do with a country that had voted twice for a boorish fool from connecticut that wore a 10 gallon hat and lived in Texas. 
I saw the xenophobia become acceptable within a few days after 911. Suddenly it was alright to express a little racism and the racial profiling became institutionalized. 
And the lack of reaction to New Orleans, the Iraq invasion and subsequent bloody civil war, that they called an insurgency, the economic meltdown that was caused by wall street greed and spread around the globe, the trashing of people all over the world. 
america had enough of this bull shit and spoke so loud that they could not be drowned out. 
The fact that the douche bag "drill, drill, drill...",from Alaska got as far as she did was absolutely terrifying.  
Luckily, they voted for the black man in such numbers, there was no rigging it this time. That night, I wanted to forgive america so badly. I thought that things would surely change if they made a man president who had experienced inequality directly. A man who gave all his spare time to poor people.
Since then, I guess it seems like not much has changed, but knowing that there isn't a psychobilly in the white house anymore makes me think that america has regained some of its lost innocence. It has gained some credibility on the World stage for more than having the most nukes, although that still is, and will continue to be, a deciding factor. The guy with the most nukes wins. Sorry kids, it's just physics. 
In the meantime, I may be taking more trips south of the border, where people fight the fight, even if they don't understand the nature of the fight. There's a revolutionary spirit in that, no matter how wrong headed. And you have to respect that.  

Plastic refuse all the way from Japan. There is an island of plastic in the Pacific the size of Texas. I wonder why these items didn't get swallowed up? These are like free souvenirs from the trip. Who needs a gift shop?
Dolphin, anyone?

the 'idol' goes to cape scott...john's carving

Cape Scott-august 09

It is a place that seems more like an emotion, when you think about it, you know how it felt, rather than how it looked, so long ago.  The forest, dense and forbidden, will swallow you up whole. The beaches are cold and empty, offering a chance of hope to the world weary. Like a place in time, not much changes, save for the driftwood and the kelp. 
To rest and eat by fire is like a dream. The sand beneath your toes is cool and soft and dry.
The flames lick and hiss at the pyre, dancing into the sky and disappearing forever.
My thoughts will make their way upward, the natural place for them. With the heat they rise and fall depending on which way the wind blows.
I never like to leave this place. 
We need each other.

Monday, August 10, 2009

stop referring to the environment as an existential object. It is the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water, the weather. Future generations are going to hate us. They will wonder why we spent decades denying what we know to be true: Infinite growth cannot occur when you have finite resources. It's not fucking rocket surgery.

this city has been democratized

All these cities, with their eyes of tears
Their streets of negotiation, fear
Rubble and blood stained sidewalks
The growth is in numbers, the color in shades
Except in the colors in the sky
In my mind and the mind of you
Yes you, are the one who walks and goes here
Soon there will be no more room
Exhaust, is the cost, of living
We are all left shivering
and wishing, that things had been handled
Definitely defiant, we were not
too much time watching and not enough doing
These cities never rest
even when you want them to
Thoughts of the future, the past

the Way in which the state breaks Us all

Unnerving, disturbing, but calming and convalescent
our vote is the same as the truth
meaning little or nothing
Except in the aisles of the super market
or within the walls of the garden of eden
It was the sweeping and weeping
That left us clear and pure and sad
If we talk about it, we care about it
If we run from it, we never get away
Like school and youth
It will always remain for someone
No longer me and I am glad for that
youth can only be introductory once
then it loses the thing that kept it afloat, innocence
And we all lose that, sooner or later
This system becomes distressed
And the nest, is past it's life
This is the time when flowers and children matter
the rain and the Sun contain the same
as what yesterday was
An appreciation, above all else. 
Especially for the SUN

Girl Talk 2

The thoughts of the ones we love are what keeps us alive
Our family, our friends, burn like fires
The differences, the similarities, the rarities
Like time, lightning, peace, and clarity
Of vision, when all can be seen
The women know when this is
It is always, it was then, it is now
We follow no thing but our hearts
We have known from the start
It is closeness that matters
And all else is is the business
of someone...
We will know that
and speak of it
We will go about our business...

Pens and pencils are weapons of choice
for some
Reality of races, chases and the disgrace
of one who has made off with everything
My friends, you are the ones
your big brother warned you about
I am tuned out, like a television set
I am going to get, what I want
From you
Through and through
Over and over
We discover those that are lying
And now we are left trying,
to define the crime
That is theft of life and time.
All that seems real, is not
like a movie, or life,
it ends
the mistakes I have made
Upon which I may gauge
The level of my own purity
It's a stage, that we dance upon
And some of us sing
Our expectations, the enemy
We are all masters of destiny

Friday, August 7, 2009

circa now

the simplicity of it all is staggering
see pain and light ahead
that death is what we make
making it up as we go
like a show, with no end
My friend
What makes a person tick?
Only you know the time
And when you have had enough of it
It was in your nature
Rationale for recklessness and restlessness
Magnetic like the poles
Inspiring, attractive and distractive, reactive
the fire, the smoke, in your eyes
No disguise, without trying to hide
what was right there in front of us
It was up to you to decide
We walk down the aisles
looking for something 
We will never find 

John Henry and Tim McLeod

John and Tim at the karaoke bar. Reminds me of the time we were there and John snuck up and put my name on the list to sing "Rocky Racoon" When my name came up, I had to get up there or I would have looked like a pussy. Hey Tim, what was the Tragically Hip song John always sang when he was there? 

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

letter to john henry, part 2

john's list (continued)
acoustic guitars, lists, handwritten, typed, numerically written sections and subsections, asterisks to denote level of importance and crossed off religiously upon completion, swiss army knives, the backpack with twelve pockets and the thing you were looking for was always in the last one, Neil Young, San Blas, La Paz, newspapers, ashtrays, 2.99 breakfasts, Karaoke, Science and math, David Suzuki, freaks, Terrace, Doc Creek, the Grumman Goose, Passion, rage, laughter, the silver bike, labor day lake, no friends left behind, Bush, Iraq, Cheney, Sept. 11th, conspiracy, truth, the West end, pizza by the slice, Bob Dylan, rage against the machine, the Backpack Chair, boxes of carefully labeled video tapes, and all kinds of tapes, Tim Hortons, Lund, ebaum's world, hitch hiking, arguing with strangers, Maps, Scott cove, Holberg, detox, 4 tracks, 8 tracks, bongos, the blue shirt from Guatamala, travel stories, the cops, writing, the Big Lebowski, "Duel with boats", Entropy, boiled Toad, Walter house, the sinking Subaru, Villa Eve, Acid, So Weird, Stargate, Much Music Movie, Talkin NY blues, schematic diagrams with circles and arrows, Detailed explanations, expecting the best but planning for the worst, Extended family, Diver's rock, kayaks, Beck Mutations, Hi-8, Sublime, Thursdays pub, James Bay, Sean Harris, the sinking of the edmund fitzgerald, Invisible Man, On the Road, Bukowski, Herb's paintings, Coffee tables piled high with papers, ashtrays, cds, picks, books, tools, brushes and empties.
Friendship, Discovery, forgiveness, loyalty, resistance, honesty, tenacity, respect, understanding, empathy.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

letter to john henry

Dear John,
As I ride the ferry back to Vancouver, I am struck with the thought that you and I have been back and forth on this route countless times. Spending years between the trifecta of Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver, you could never decide which town to call home, preferring to live in whichever town suited you the most at any given time. And times change...
We met in 1993 in Port Hardy. The fish docks in Hardy Bay. I was shoveling ice out of a fish hold and you yelled to me from the wharf. You asked me if I knew of any fishermen who needed a deckhand. As it turned out, I did. I gave you the number of a skipper who I knew needed someone. I know you got the job because a few weeks later, your boat and mine crossed paths in the Queen Charlotte Islands and your skipper called me on the radio to thank me for sending such a good deckhand his way.
The following june, I ran into you again, this time in Maple Ridge. I was working for the father of the skipper you were working for. You arrived like a rock star, riding a motorcycle, carrying a guitar and stories of a recent trip to Australia. 
We had two weeks of work to do on the boats before we were to head North for the summer salmon season. During this time we became fast friends, realizing that we had a lot in common, both being from the North Island and not really fitting in with what life had to offer up there.
As our lives unfolded, we would come to form a nucleus of miscreants and misfits who still remain the core group of friends that are all still in touch today.
We had both already taken psychedelic drugs, travelled to foreign countries, discovered beat poetry, solitude and a healthy disdain for pick-up trucks, moustaches and America.
Years later, you would decide to forgive America and you rode your bicycle to the border, with a planned trip down the Oregon coast. The border guards turned you away for 'suspected vagrancy' and you probably muttered,"fuckin' hippies", as you rode away. I am not sure if you ever went there again after that.
In 1995, I moved to Nanaimo and decided I would take a stab at the collegiate life. I devised a plan to become a teacher but then soon realized I would never be able to conform to this life style, nor did I want to.
It was during this time that you taught me to play guitar. You lent me your guitar for the night and when I brought it back the next day, you said,"Did you feel cool carrying my guitar?
"Yes, I did."
"Well, you should get your own."
You were never someone to mince words. Even your best friends and family would have to withstand bombastic verbal assaults if you felt they deserved it. I think we all liked this because we could count on you for honesty, if nothing else.
You had the patience to teach me all the basics on guitar and now music is such a huge part of my life, I can't imagine my life without it. Thanks.
Eventually, we would rock Victoria with our bands. But that would come later. 
Listening to your songs and reading your words in those early days greatly inspired me to start living a creative life.
Our friendship was marked with fights and fallout but mostly, we each took from the other what we were lacking in ourselves. You, the extrovert, kicks-seeking, live dangerously, swashbuckler. 
And me, the introvert, more careful, peaceful thinker.
I liked that you could light a fire under my ass and you liked that I could calm your flames a bit. 
We both shared an affinity for philosophizing, doing drugs, politics, Arts and hating rednecks.
We shared more than most friends. I think we lived together at least a half a dozen times, went fishing on the same boats, worked in the cutblocks and logging camps, film schools.
When the requisite move to Vancouver came about, shortly after the completion of film school, we worked as production assistants on TV and movie sets.
We spent many long days and nights sharing stories, so I know more about all the people here than they might think I know...
Thanks for Heath, Melanie, Tim, Dan, Mike, Mike, Chris, Chris, Darren, Kevin O, Jay, Tom, Hans, Rob, Paula, Lisa, Herb, Cathy, your family. 
I would never have had the pleasure of meeting any of these people and countless others, if not for you.
I was constantly being introduced to the fringes of society by you. It was like,"Can we keep him?"
"Well, okay."
That sort of thing.
Your level of judgement toward people was so much lower than mine, you accepted people easily, shortcomings and all.
Which is why you may have accepted me as a friend, I guess?
But it was mutual. Things were hashed over until they were made right. You always made sure of that. Clarity was a strength. Along with stories, mixed tapes, smokes, beer, fire, brevity, laughter.
"John, let's go"
"Wait, wait, one more story"
"What time is it? We can't go yet!" 
You kept us all well informed of your life, told through aural history in bars, or at a fire.
So much passion, so little time.
Things were written and screamed into the night!
And dredged up to analyze and go over and again.
My friend. Goddamnit.
We were always listening 
And you were always telling
We rode our bikes around the province, without helmets, followed by a road trip to Edmonton in a smoking van. Then it was off to the Charlottes for a summer of salmon fishing on the Sun Dog with Heath.
There was some more fishing and when that got old, we went to work in the bush, doing silviculture.
This was not a good environment for you because it contained rednecks and beer.
After that, we went to film school to learn to make films.
Around this time, we all became very anti establishment. Who knew that hating everything could be so much fun?
As a group, we spent the next decade talking, learning, drinking and playing music together.
Float planes and zodiacs full of cheap beer and guitar cases. Carrying dog eared sheets of paper and exercise books full of rants and songs and lists of plans for the future.
The best laid plans were often laid out on a napkin at an all day breakfast place beside the highway.
There were road trips to Mexico, Manitoba, Port Alice, Seattle, Alberta, Quebec,the Charlottes, the Oregon Coast, Las Vegas, California and God knows where else...
We bought each other a lot of morning coffees and smokes.
Our sense of concern for the World turned to a sense of despair, a sense you felt keenly.
We made the trip to Seattle in 1999 to witness and take part in the protests against the corporate ruling class.
We witnessed a massive public outcry and a subsequent riot that lasted two days and seemed to change our lives forever.
Sometimes I feel like your whole life became a protest, lashing out at anyone who did not see things as you saw them.
Luckily, most of us saw it that way. 
As life wore on, some of us began to settle down and take on babies and mortgages, I know you hated that.
I also know that your friends made you intensely proud of them, always giving props to peoples' achievements in life.
And your family. Always speaking so highly of them. And how you worried that your actions would hurt them. 
So proud of Naomi and her work in her home and her community. So glowing about your parents' trips to South America and their property in Lund. All the trips up there. 
And there was a family reunion of sorts a couple of years ago, where you told me there was an impromptu jam amongst some family members. It made you so happy. You probably felt so normal. 
So hard to feel normal.
You couldn't stop the search for internal quiet. Your mind never shut off. Ever.
There were many mornings that you awoke, instantly got out of bed and in five seconds, you were halfway through a story already. You went from REM sleep to pacing around the apartment, raving about the government, or some new invention, smoking, smoking in less than a minute. Sometimes I think that sleep only got in the way of life for you. So you would get as little as possible. And if you weren't raving about the way of the World or the government, you were raving about your girlfriend. Your love and hate were expressed equally. Expectations of yourself were so high, how could anyone else ever live up to them? 
All some of us could do was run away to find peace. 
I know that bothered you because you wanted to dig your heels in and fight it out about whatever was on the agenda. Until it was solved. Or until someone conceded defeat. And that generally wasn't you. 
The expectations you put on yourself were crushing you. 
You were a musically gifted, artistic writer who was brilliant with logic, problem solving and critical thinking. You read or wrote when you should have been sleeping, compiling all sorts of data in that brain for God-knows-what. 
You have novels full of stories, books of songs, inventions, poems, letters, rants, paintings, musings.
I am glad you left us with so much to remember you by. You left us with volumes of information about your life and your struggle to make it through.
I understand your pain and could never blame you for what you have done. I have never had to walk a mile in your head and I only caught glimpses of what it must have been like. 
Much of the time, you were so deluged with your own chaotic thoughts, you didn't realize others were in trouble, too.
You are free of all this now and I hope you have found some semblance of peace. I wonder where you are now. There are signs everywhere I look, but I wonder if my mind is only trying to protect me from the horrible truth that I will never see you again. 
I want to say so much more and I will, but for now I leave you a list of all the things that remind me of you: 

Hyundai, Flaming Lips, ephedrine, pacific, wildcat, Cornelius, Kubrick, Simon and Luthier, Dr. Rhythm, Peter Jacksons, Mercury Rev, Rocky Mountain Equipe, Mixed tapes, journals, dreams, coffee, drunken tirades, the Sun Dog, the Charlottes, Malaspina, 928 Scotia st., Love, Dischord, the Abducted, the Termie, El Camino, Port Hardy, Port Alice, the Tercel, Youtube, Rants and Raves, Craigslist, johnycat19, VMPS, Flin Flon, Whitecourt, XL1, Kevin-O, the Panasonic ghetto blaster, Big Bad John's, Steamers, the Cambie, street art, Miss Lisa Loucks, Martha and Brian, the 10 million candle power flashlight that went through batteries in ten minutes, wood carvings, the dremel box, high vis vest, boats, bicycles, the miele re-build, the firm belief that one man's trash is, indeed, another man's treasure,     

HOMEland Security

The illusion
the inequitable, consequential, inevitable equation
to a situation best left unsaid
It is the industrious answer
to the upward mobility of an advancing society,
this one who worships the Sun
Undoubtedly, outwardly estranged
It is the tame
who are wild and insane
Those who scream, it would seem,
are the ones who are heard
And those that are herded
with that good old fashioned restraint...

it's starting to rain in SOHO...

Rumors, lights, fashion
keeps fuel in my bones
this twist of fate is the new black
after all this time
I never wanted to go back
riding the wave of hope
and passion, as always
I get lost with a map
of exactly where I want to go
I am always in the know
about things that matter not
except in certain situations
like displays of affection
and the resurrection of old habits
like reactive, distractive acts
I'm like an old hat, a cheshire cat
where it's at, is here
with you near
I have no fear
but the unknown
and being alone