November 27, 2013
July 14, 2013
August 18, 2012
I have another sight on tumbler where you can have a look at most of my visual work. Its tasty.
June 2, 2012
This is a shot in the dark. I’ve been trying to find a particular painter’s work. I don’t know the painter’s name. I don’t know the names of any of his work. BUT. He painted in Toronto, Canada, in the 1950s or 1960s. He painted several versions of paintings in the lanes behind Galt Avenue. I saw the paintings several decades ago. If perchance (and I always use that word sparingly) you know the painters name or the name of his paintings could you let me know. Its a thought that’s been banging around in my head for decades. And its giving me a bloody headache.
December 6, 2011
Artists aren’t jocks. But that is the perception of educational institutions. Jocks or techies. In a slumping economy many are wondering about the existence of fine art programs at universities. We’re not talking about the training of sound engineers, cameramen, etc. Schools don’t create artists.
Some years ago Morley Callaghan was teaching a creative writing course at the University of Windsor. He asked the students how many wanted to be writers. About two thirds of the students put up their hands. “Well,” he said. “What are you doing here? Get out there and write.”
I think this holds true for all the arts. Writing, painting, sculpture, music, theatre. Even motion pictures. With the advent of cheap cameras, editing programs, and digital hard drives, making movies or at least short films can be very cheap. To get yourself a name. Even if you graduate from a film school you will have to go back to the street level to begin your career.
Of course there are the instructors. And in some cases this can be an advantage. But none of that has to happen in an educational institution. This should be happening in our cities. In our cafe life. In a studio life. In Toronto it is too expensive for students to rent studios or galleries. Then they should move. Leave Toronto to the bankers and accountants. In southern Ontario for example, Hamilton, only a few miles west of Toronto, provides an alternative environment. It isn’t afflicted with avarice. Open for new ideas. Affordable.
In my universe, young artists will abandon the schools of art, of higher learning and return to the streets. Talk to each other. Plan. Create your own theatre. Your own music. Your own galleries. But of course this demands a risk by artists. It is much easier to stay inside the walls of educational institutions. Easier when you’re comfortable. When you’re snug.
Change demands heroes. But does the generation that is nursed on apps, pads, and cell phones have the stomach for it?
November 12, 2011
Kenneth Clarke in his TV series CIVILIZATION emphasized that part of a civilized society was confidence. And I think that the west and especially America has lost its confidence. That loss of confidence has not been due to military losses but to lies. The mythology of America has been left wanting. And the long term memory loss has left most Americans with no idea about their own history. Their notion of America has come from music, television, and movies. And much of that has been uncritical. It has referred back to some golden age (the 1950s, post-war America) which was never golden. It is a mythology created by ad machines. By money. By greed. And it is empty.
THE MURDER OF A CANDIDATE FOR A POST DOCTORATE DEGREE
She’s gotten a job serving draft beer in a topless bar. She begged me not to show up at the place. I arrived one day. At noon drunk. She looked so good we did it in the back room where she changes. She told me that this could cost her the job. The staff is not supposed to fraternize with the customers.
I began to bring new friends home. I don’t remember their names except that 1 of the 3 used to be a chambermaid. I told her to serve us. Topless. At first she would not. I dragged her into the washroom where I wrapped my fist in toilet paper and beat her across the ribs.
She began to drink with us. Sometimes she was bottomless. Once I woke up from unconsciousness and found two of my friends going at her simultaneously. Did I dream this incident? I felt disgusted. What sort of depths had she fallen to.
I received a letter. The other day. The envelope was empty.
She’s decided to change her name. Her address. Her destiny. She’s had enough. She’s going to go to Hollywood and sign on as a terrorist in a stag film. I can’t come along. I would only drag her down. I’m sorry she said reaching across the kitchen table. From beneath the table a huge butcher knife appeared. No, she screamed. I chopped off her left hand and then the right. She help up the stumps. Fireworks exploded from each of their mouths. The two hands on the table began to move. I stared at them. Frozen in fright. The knife dropped to the floor. The two hands crawled up my right arm. They tip toed across my shoulders. Until they reached my neck. Where they wrapped themselves in murderous revenge.
I woke up with a start. She was kneeling over me. There was a cruel grin in her face. What are you doing, I cried. Just pretend that its a dream, she said. I stared at her hands. The fingers caressing the skin around my voice. Tightened.
October 30, 2011
This poem was written during the Watergate Investigations. My love affair with America was waning. The Kennedy and King assassinations had hurt. Now, I was repulsed. American confidence was turning into bluster. And bullying. But I was too hard on the generation of Nixon’s. (My parent’s generation). I think they were the most unselfish, hard working of people. They lived through a depression and two major wars. In Canada they brought in public medical care. In the U.S. they brought in civil rights legislation. In Europe and Japan they raisedthemselves from ashes. But they weren’t always well served by their leadership.
THE FLASHERS’ TESTIMONY (ALBUM AND POCKET SIZE)
teddy’s stick up marilyn monroe doctrine.
franklyn’s new dealership.
and now trick dicky thinks he’s the little dutch boy
sticking his thumb in his mouth
so there won’t be any leaks.
its obscene and absolutely poor verse.
here we have these bunglers leading their own shadows
while the silent majority extend their constituency
to the other side of the sod.
war generationed genes.
how can we understand them.
after the depression and the halocost
the lot of them took their lives
molded them into hammers
and spent the rest of their days banging away.
and their offspring
(to expand upon a metaphor)
refuse to move lest they be nail’d.
October 26, 2011
Ever heard of dark matter? Its supposed to make up 80% of the matter in the universe. Which means that all those bright dots of light that we see in the sky are 20% of what there is… there. A friend of mine, a science teacher, calls black matter… pretend matter. We know almost nothing about it. Perhaps it exists at an atomic level and so is invisible to us. We are the iceberg above water while ‘pretend matter’ is below the surface. It does however affect gravity. And apparently it has warped the Milky Way. Causing the edges to rise up like a LP that has been left of a warm stove. (Scientific American Vol. 305 #4)
What’s worse. They say that there may be a ‘dark galaxy’ moving through the Milky Way. Galaxies without suns. What does that mean? And what sort of life could/would exist there? Or would it be a desert. Void of anything. It may be that we will have to re-examine everything we know in science. Dark matter could be a real bug-a-boo.
Of course every child knows about dark matter. Its what goes bump in the night. Its what is waiting under your bed. To grab your foot if you let it dangle over the side.
October 15, 2011
I’ve always been afraid. Of being called a mysogynist. It has affected my work. The fear. Generally I would say that I am afraid of women. They hold the keys to my desire and thus my sense of what is possible. I have 2 daughters that I love. And a wonderful wife who puts up with me. And I want to return to a kind of work that I have done. Remaking women. Figures. And one of the images of women that I loathe is the one you find in fashion magazines. Not because it offers a view of feminism that I find silly. But because other women are drawn to it. But its more than that. I want to rediscover Ameria. I want to find the new woman. The new human being rising out of the ashes of the late 20th century. Women must be better than men. Its my only source of optimism.
October 12, 2011
the kids are bundled up against the cold.
Huddled around the pond
in the middle of the frozen gold.
Squeals and screams slash at the air
steel not quite bursting in ice
but in their dreams
they’re playing in the Gardens.
Toboggans are waxed
crisscrossing the slopes.
A hillarious scattering
of rifts from rafts
even the hillside looks chapped.
At the edge of the hill
an old dog signs his autograph inside of a cloud
while his partner
a frozen squirt in red
running from the nose
tries to uncover
what goes on behind the snow.