Saturday, March 15, 2008


map of edmonton (birthday)
for myself, naturally

the deal is this
normal arc

under the frozen
— Fred Wah, Articulations

a crossword our bodies
push into

of highways

a lie or a line

asks, how old are you now

a question
or statement

, reflection of birds
like an echo

is teamwork, no legs

a dream
to get nowhere


a capture of dark
creeping up

these long years

never feel so, a maul
out of stone

& shopping

of birds

& belgravia, hearts
in a deadlock

, stone maul


a slight, & a hope
out of sight

year is

is here

water, a genesis
of words

go speak ripe

am a portion of fish
winding trees

the accident is what
we had

in common


where would I talk
that I still not get lost

in looking back

a life
of long creases, sides

in creasing long

edmonton downs
& thus capital

cross across

neglected love
& a bairn

a dream of this place
in a caretakers grid


does the day
earn the scope

of the pattern
, a thickness

of ages

I know not

when proved

to contradict

Today is my thirty-eighth birthday (as of 8:15am). It is always interesting (to me, at least) to stop and look around, take stock, and see where I am (I feel as though I make time for it so rarely). The past few years have been pretty intense, working novels, essays (that I launch in Ottawa and Edmonton next month), the travel book (that we launch in Ottawa this afternoon), publishing house(s), all my projects on Andrew Suknaski, and everything else I feel the need to somehow be doing (American poet/publisher Jessica Smith recently told me, via facebook, that the reason I don’t get as much mail as I send out, is “because you are 5,000x more productive than any other human being. not sure how you do it, but no one else could dream of keeping up pace.”). Hell, the last few weeks have been just as overloaded, feeling I'm pushing 150% for, what, two months or so?

Thursday night, the flight from Edmonton to Ottawa, and Friday morning, needing to be in Ottawa's A Channel studio at 6:30am for a 6:51am spot on Breakfast Television (if you missed it, Pearl Pirie's husband Brian posted the damn thing on YouTube...), to promote Ottawa: The Unknown City (Arsenal Pulp Press) that I launch later on today. Between the jet-lag, the fact that I'm up usually four hours later than 6am, the time change and daylight savings, I'm amazed I even made it at all, although I did notice, once in the cab there, that my glasses were still sitting beside my bed (I couldn't see a thing, luckily). At least (according to an email from Amanda Earl, one of about half a dozen who have already emailed about witnessing it live), I was charming, and perhaps even charmed the host, despite my messy uselessness. Who the hell plans anything for pre-7am? Back to Edmonton on Monday, the Factory (West) on Tuesday, and then a reading in Red Deer a day later...

A year ago, but a month into the idea of Alberta; unbelieving the whole business. Where will I be in a year’s time? (Pushing, not just leaning, on forty.) I’ve posted nearly 150 interviews since I arrived west, working chapbooks and a couple of (still secret) projects, some Edmonton-based, some that should see fruition by June, September, Christmas… I’ve written forty or fifty letters to my lovely daughter that she never responds to (I saw her at Christmas at least, where she claimed she did appreciate the letters and books I’ve been sending, and then complained about my poor grammar and “rambly” letter-writing style…), but that’s okay.

I’ve been pushing myself pretty hard out here, in this Edmonton place. All the grief and the stress of the past fifteen years, almost unable to take too much of a break, to float along… I’ve been attempting the opportunity, instead, as a springboard, to push ahead further considerations into poetry, fiction, non-fiction, publishing and various other schemes.

Ah, but by the end of May I will be home again (paying but one rent instead of two), and broke and cranky again, and everything will have gone back to normal (but I would love to another writer-in-residence gig; what else is available?); still, where do I go out from here?

listening to the new Kathleen Edwards cd; it's everything I hoped it would be.

related notes: what I was on about last year; another photo of rob in West Edmonton Mall (same day as this one); review of Wah's Articulations;

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