Wednesday, October 28, 2009
There's a nice--if brief--discussion about jwcurry and Curved H&Z by Greg Betts in a piece about McMaster University's small press archive. This collection is particularly exciting, being that it is Hamilton, where I live, and gathers many fantastic pieces of writing and publishing by jwcurry.
Joyland which is a really excellent online fiction periodical features three short-short stories by me on their Toronto part of their site, edited by Emily Schultz
The Hamilton Film Festival runs from Nov 4-8 at the Staircase Theatre in Hamilton. On Thursday, Nov 5th at 9pm, the two films (Opus One and Opus Two) that Bob Ezergailis created with my music, are on the SHORTS PROGRAM 4, EXPERIMENTAL / ANIMATION / WTF? program. We'll be there for a Q & A which will hopefully be more than "WTF?" My music is a stew of source material derived from musics from around the world, highway traffic sounds, cars starting up in rhythm, Hebrew Cantillation, and electronic sounds.
Posted by gary barwin at 8:22 PM
Monday, October 26, 2009
I wake and switch on the bedside light
there’s a glacier in my bed
it turns and presses its cold mouth on mine
ice, it says
snow, it says
the frigid slurry and recession
the mile-thick compression
the scraping out of lakes and the flattening of mountains
I have been waiting for you, it says
Posted by gary barwin at 5:57 PM
Saturday, October 24, 2009
for Craig Conley
The three sad eyes of the ellipses. Something is lost...Three islands. Small songs in a sea that prefers to forget the land...The mouth opens and begins to speak; there is nothing that can be said...One world followed by another and then another. Tiny black specks at the end of the galaxy...A three frame animation where nothing appears to happen, though perhaps down on the minuscule surface, there are different kinds of silences, memories, things forgotten or left. The trailing off, the continuing on...Small black stones in the river of speech...Three tunnels waiting for the three trains of past, present, and somewhere in between...Dots lost and drifting from i’s, j’s, or umlauts, floating between words in the cloudbound grammar above the teleological cities of the sentence...Notes from a song with neither pitch nor rhythm. The dark matter music between things...Three brother molecules in a subatomic folktale, though it is unclear which is the youngest, most foolish, most likely to wed the princess...An echo of the full stop at the end of the sentence. Things end, but their ripples mark the page with their tiny fingerprints. Here I am, though what I was is forgotten, disappeared, or unclear. I grip the cliff of the page, holding on until you get here ready to imagine what I might have been.
Posted by gary barwin at 10:20 PM
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I throw night
for a dog to catch.
I give a little dog
everything it needs.
It runs away.
The horizon is shaped like a bone.
O dog, I say
On the other side of the horizon
I watch the sun set.
On the other side of the horizon is me.
The horizon is shaped like a bone.
Posted by gary barwin at 8:05 PM
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Several months ago, Ferno House and Emergency Response Unit Press posted a call for works based on "Dinosaur Porn." What twisted muse, what inverted poetry caused me to rise to this occasion, I don't exactly know, though the notion seemed intriguing and amusing. Here is my little submission. The idea of 'dinosaur porn' seems like it has become one of those viral Internet things. In the summer when I was brave enough to search for "dinosaur porn" on Google, there were few listings. Now, there are many. Dinosaur porn an idea whose time is come? Or vice versa.
PEARLS OF AN ANCIENT CONSTELLATION:
Stegasaurus on Tyrannosaurus on Brontosaurus
Brontosaurus on Allosaurus on Pterodactyl
Brachyosaurus on Astrodon with Velociraptor behind
what do you call a one-eyed dinosaur?
what do you call a blind dinosaur?
which dinosaur cracks the earth when it walks?
congress of the fossil hunter
fern-faced horn head
mezzanine of the Natural History museum
what dinosaur rides in the rodeo?
what dinosaur never gives up?
which dinosaur doesn't like to be remembered?
the dinosaur arrives at the door with flowers in its strangely shrunken arms
if I could speak for myself, the dinosaur says
if I could speak, it says
Triceratops: I am a plumber.
Tyrannosaurus: Fix my plumbing.
Triceratops: I will fix your plumbing
Tyrannosaurus: You are so big.
Triceratops: I get hot when I fix your plumbing.
Tyrannosaurus: You are hot, hot as the late Cretaceous.
Ankylosaurus on Archaeopteryx on Spinosaurus
Spinosaurus under Rhamphorhynchus straddling Apatosaurus
Apatosaurus with Pentaceratops over Styracocaurus
sharp-point, terrible handed, two-ridged
thick-nosed, large-crested, five-horned, star tooth
leaping foot, heavy lizard, egg thief, good mother lizard
Tyrannosaurus: Take off your bony protective plates.
Triceratops: I am taking off my bony protective plates.
Tyrannosaurus: You make me wet when you are unprotected.
Triceratops: I could go extinct now.
Tyrannosaurus: It feels like a comet across the dark sky.
Triceratops: I am going extinct. You are my king.
Tyrannosaurus: Take my crown. Take it all.
Triceratops: I take it, O Rex, your comet fills my sky with the future
double-beamed short-footed thunder lizard
dawn thief rainbox serpent
triple-toothed winged finger
O beautiful lizard!
The dinosaur at the door again:
a fragment only
let’s go on a date
a date from a very long time ago
it’s what’s not there that counts
Styracocaurus on Triceratops fluting Utahraptor
Utahraptor on Albertasaurus with Brontosaurus entering Brontosaurus
Compsognathus 69ing Plesiosaurus feathering a naked Teradon
I have a brain in my pelvis
it is a walnut
I geyser my ancient sea.over the upper Jurassic
in two hundred million years you find it
warm and teeming
O yes, recreate me, land dweller
spangle your new fangled mind
Posted by gary barwin at 2:43 AM
Friday, October 09, 2009
THE BIG HAIR
There are big hairs in this world. They are big. They are long. They are in the mountains where the sun sinks; on the shore where the waves throw themselves with a relieved sigh; wrapped around sofas in front rooms and around babies; in the dark green underbelly of growing things; stretched over the vacant deserts and in bathroom sinks. Big hairs seek the sky. They reach beyond clouds. They hope for what is past stars. They murmur.
There was a big hair outside of town. Everyone knew it. You could see it in the eyes of the old people, the sheep, and the children. At night, it cast long shadows and the insects left. The townspeople went to their places of prayer, and prayed. They hid in their insect beds and tried to remember. They played cards and thought about what to do. They went into the street and brushed smooth their smallest hairs.
“What does the big hair want?”
“What does it ask of us?”
They sent a barber to speak to the hair. “What should I say?” the barber said. “What if I love the big hair?”
“Don’t bring scissors,” the philosopher said.
I was the big hair. I was big and long and I sought the sky. Once, during a time I can hardly remember, I was a healthy head of hair. I was some fur, an eyebrow, the hackles of something wild, a dentist. I was surprised by myself. Was I not a bristle, a curl, a forelock? Was my shadow not a minor darkness, a crooked finger pointing toward night? Without eyes I could not weep. Without fingers I could not point. My mind was a shadow, a mirrored darkness, a crooked finger longing for space. I wished to go beyond clouds. I wished to rest in the soft sky, to touch with my fingerless hands, the sinkholes of stars.
Out in the meadow where the sheep gather, the barber spoke to me.
“To be honest,” he said, “I’m scared.”
I twisted myself then into a swart turban, a top hat vortex, a meridian on a Moebius planet, a hirsute tornado. I became his hair and I rested like a dark crown upon his head. When it rained, the splatters lashed me with their damp tongues. When the blank crows of blizzard swirled, their frigid wingtips jackfrosted me. The sun was a cigarette burn upon me, but the barber was safe beneath the shelf of my Pompadour.
“When I am with you,” the barber said, “thought and feeling are a dark beam rising, night’s trunk ascending toward the quintessence.
We did not know where to go but the insects guided us, a swarming alphabet of changing tongues and we walked the fields beyond town. We followed their green glow toward that iridescent place where the insect king holds court.
There beneath a carapace of shadow and lustre, shone the throne of the king. The king himself was a hundred thousand insects swarming in the shape of a single insect, a dark and flickering shadow, a king in a net of eyes. We approached.
“Barber with your crown of shadow, we understand you,” the king said. “From your pink head emerges a giant antennae as if all the knowledge and experience of insects were contained in a single living encyclopaedia, but yet your human body which is a solitary and unprotected thing, is a mystery to us.”
The insects sat us down in the king’s chair. “We have been waiting for you,” they said and gave the barber scissors sharp as the scimitar of moon. Then in a Morse code of dots only, the insects crept the length of him, crawling toward the silver blades so with a single susurration, the barber could slice the antennae from the jot of their heads, remove all touch and sight and hearing. But still the insects crept, climbing now toward the sky along the black stalk of my body, unfurled, slick and dark like the surface of a road. I sought the sky and the world above, but now, the night teemed with insects, searching for stars like sugar. The sky crawled with them, the stars surrounded, then finally, extinguished by their number. It was as if the written letters of a story kept breeding until the page was consumed and all was darkness.
O Barber, the rains may fall, the winds may X-Acto-knife our shoulders, we may become old and soft and indistinct as paper crumpled and uncrumpled a thousand times, yet I shall protect you though all that remains are murmurs and the shadows of shadows trying to find a place to fall.
Posted by gary barwin at 2:30 PM
Thursday, October 08, 2009
View Larger Map
A dark wave slides past my house smearing the realistic sunny day as if it were oil paint. I scroll around the view looking for myself, my wife, and our children. I look to see evidence of what day it is, before what or after when we moved the bags of dirt, cut back the weed trees, parked which car where. I look for neighbours, blue boxes, readable license plates, or signs of delivered mail. The dog isn't at the window barking at satellites. I scroll toward the sky, look for clouds, for the sun, look to see a satellite looking back at me, taking pictures. No one is breaking into the house, the street is empty, my car is...perhaps I am at work? Perhaps my wife has the car and I'm in the back yard, oblivious. But that smear? Is the car moving? Are the paints of the world, the pixels of Hamilton washing away? A Google car has driven by my life when I wasn't there and taken pictures. There is evidence of its looking, of its moving, of its path through my city and our lives. Did the driver stop for coffee at the local coffee shop? Did he park his car just down the street, call his ex-wife's answering machine and hang up when he heard his children's message, then weep? Was he cranking CCR on the radio? Was the window open and he breathed my air? Where is he now, driving the grids of other cities, of other people's worlds? He hasn't made it to my parents' house, though he has been by my Irish childhood home. If he had a collision, would that be recorded? Is that the smear? A visual wail as he passed by my place sometime this summer when the helpful outside light of the world was on and all was quiet on Dufferin St.?
Posted by gary barwin at 8:31 PM
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
O delay he who delays the yodler who
wants only to sing his mountainous vowels
tie him like a bell to a cow
send him up to the high meadow
where he can commune for oh
maybe a week
with the pretty
and maybe as he's hanging there
under the cow
slurping and mooing
chewing its glacier-wet cud
he'll call out
'O he who would delay the yodler who
would delay he who would delay the yodler who
wants only to sing his mountainous vowels and who
would tie him to a cow
should beware and let him go without delay, i.e.
up the mountain'
(from Outside the Hat)
Posted by gary barwin at 10:23 PM
Monday, October 05, 2009
The Polish poemicstrip blog "a trip to the world of poemics" by Piotr Szreniawski (and someone else whose name I unable to glean due to my nonexistent Polish) is excellent and has inspired me to continue to play around with some of the conventions of the comic strip which, though it perhaps doesn't have the longevity of the haiku form, has, like the haiku tradition, many conventions (of narrative, of disjunction, of image, and of the means of representation) with which to explore fruitfully and creatively.
Posted by gary barwin at 8:44 PM
Sunday, October 04, 2009
A few sketches while waiting for my daughter's football game this morning drawn in a green sketchbook that I discovered in my closet. There is something about the tacility of the paper, the pen, and the particular notebook that makes writing so present. I sat on the bleachers while her team (The West Mountain Riders) warmed up and as the preceding Tyke game concluded. Many clouds & overcast. Occasional sun.
Posted by gary barwin at 2:08 PM
Thursday, October 01, 2009
There's only one time in my life, so far, that I've read to human beings living in trees. Five years ago, I was invited with three other performers (Dave Bidini, writer & late member of the Rheostatics; John Terpstra, Hamilton poet/writer; and Sarah Harmer, brilliant singer and Escarpment activitist) in the Red Hill Creek Literary Festival. We were to read to an audience which included one or two (I can't remember) people who were living in the trees in order to protest the building of an expressway through the middle of a beautiful natural area, and destroying a swathe of the Niagara Escarpment (a World Biosphere Reserve) in east Hamilton. The tree-sitters were living in trees that were in an area that was to be leveled. There was vociferous opposition to the expressway, mostly because of the tremendous enivironmental damage, and partially because there seemed to be much better places already existing to build it which would both be more cost effective and, more importantly, preserve more of the Escarpment. The entire Expressway project cost an extraordinary amount of money. We read in a woods overlooking a huge razed area created to build the expressway. Across the stone area was another wooded area where the tree-dwellers lived. We had an audience, but really we were there to cheer up those in the trees, to show solidarity, to provide some entertainment. The video is a recording of the event. We had to hike in to the area. The police were there and made us take a circuitious route, for some reason. I was hoping to be arrested for reading my work, but I had no such luck! I guess it's just not that dangerous. (Maybe they missed that totally scandalous enjambment in the second poem...)
It appears that some of my first story (about 7 1/2 minutes in, is missing.) John Terpstra read some poems about trees, one which I remember vividly was about how a tree is an expert about the place where it stands. Sarah Harmer performed some very striking songs. Standing next to a singer who is so expressive and such a brilliant perform was very inspiring. Though the expressway was built and is now filled with traffic, Sarah Harmer has devoted the last few years as an activist to trying to protect the Escarpment, particularly focussing on a quarry that is scheduled to be build on land near where she grew up. She has created a movie and a benefit concert including David Suzuki, Great Big Sea and Jeremy Fisher. Though Hamilton is renowned for its steel mills and steel industry which are now fading fast, it is really a remarkable natural area filled with waterfalls, conservation areas, and part of the Bruce Trail. Indeed there is a movement afoot to have it recognized as the 'Waterfall Capital of the World,' since there are over 120 waterfalls in the city. I told myself that I wasn't ever going to use the Expressway, but once, late at night, I accidently drove onto it by continuing on a highway that led directly into it. Since then, and since it is already built, I have used it. There seems little point now in avoiding it, though every time I do, I remember hiking along the creek and woods; I remember giving this extraordinary reading.
all this holiness and i'm asking for holiness
like the one tree over which it rains
when the forest flames
Posted by gary barwin at 1:24 PM