Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Phantom Word Pain

I came across an old notebook of mine full of interesting things that I'd forgotten about.

My wife had a client who was a lightbulb stealer. He only stole the one lightbulb. This on a page where I was brainstorming ideas for a children's story about shadows. "When night comes, we have to stand together to make dark."

I wrote of a performance/conceptual art project for graffiti artists where they would roam the city creating shadows for things, spraying the ground with paint marking their imagined shadows.

I ended up writing a story about "Aha, the Lightbulb Stealer," though it didn't really work. I would like to one day return to the ideas behind the story and rewrite it.

I also discovered the term I was looking for for years. Jenny Haniver. More on that later, though the image above is of a Jenny Haniver.

Elsewhere, I wrote about phantom word pain. Perhaps all of this is phantom story pain, where one has the sensation of having a story -- it feels real, it nags at one the way a real story does -- but it isn't actually there.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Rubber Necker

We beheld the great room. The empty labyrinth where one is lost.


Illustration for article "James Tenney and the Theory of Everything," just published in Musicworks #99, though the illustration wasn't ultimately used.

Text: from the collaborative Kafka franzlations with Hugh Thomas. The original is:

In amazement, we beheld the great horse. It broke through the roof of our room. The cloudy sky was drifting faintly along its mighty outline, and its mane flew, rustling, in the wind.

Hugh's wonderful version is:

In amazement, we beheld the great room. It broke through the roof of our sky. The wind drifted faintly beyond its mighty outline, carrying the sound of vanished horses.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007


Hugh Thomas and I have been trading versions of rewrites of short pieces and parables by Kafka. Kafka's originals have a haunting intensity and resonance that is captivating. We're not necessary trying to recreate this, but rather to write some pieces in the spirit of Kafka and/or exploring his structures. I don't think that we know what we're going to do with these, but I find the exploration of new tones and structures absorbing.


Everyone carries a room about inside him. This fact can even be proved by means of the sense of hearing. If someone walks fast and one pricks up one’s ears and listens, say in the night, when everything around is quiet, one hears, for instance, the rattling of a mirror not quite firmly fastened to the wall.


Everyone carries an inside inside of them. Sometimes when one has business to attend to, one leaves this inside, small and whimpering behind the front door. It upsets the hatstand, worries the shoes. It grows wispy and sad like outside.


Everyone carries a car full of clowns inside them. If one listens, say in winter, when everything around is quiet, one hears the small toes of the clowns curling in their big shoes, and the weak toot of the car’s horn, inside one’s self not quite firmly fastened to the ground but floating, floating up into the funny sky.


Everyone carries a heart about inside them. When they see a broken child, a small telephone, or something happy, they begin to use it. Sometimes, say at night, when everything around is quiet, the heart begins to work on its own, like a mirror with no one in front of it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Eyes are the mouths

the eyes are the mouths of the head but the mouth is another eye

the ears are the hands of the tongue but the tongue listens as the hand speaks

the breath is the body of the alphabet but the grammar of the mind breathes

the pen is the mightier word spoken by the book

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Empyreal: a boy puts a pencil up his nose

During math, a boy puts a pencil up his nose. Another boy whacks the pencil further in, a slim spelunker entering the inaccessible dark of the first boy’s head, a small and secret Lascaux at the back of the class. Blurry images of the boy’s life. A video game in the long grass, a bus trip along a snowy highway, Twizzlers, and a man waving frantically on the lawn.

The pencil is a yellow joystick. Images are a flurry on the concave whiteboard of the boy’s skull, a bony Empyrean limit to the starry dark of the boy’s mind.

The second boy begins to write with the pencil, interior cranial graffiti like a whisper in a shouting crowd, an iridescent hork into a midnight sea. It is his name, his joke, his story.

Blood on the knees of the boys and the classroom floor. A teacher flailing. Dark matter. An expanding universe of friendship and loss. Hands held to the face. A diary.

Monday, November 05, 2007


when I pee
in the forest
I choose
a small tree


Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Door and some Dub


A boy’s mother is shot through the front door. The bullet leaves a hole. The hole is a single star in the dark night of the door. The hole is the door’s silent throat. The boy puts one of his eyes to the hole and looks out at the world, looks out at the long road leading away. What should we do? the boy asks his father. Buy a new door, the father replies.


Here is a listing of a conference and a performance that I'm doing soon. Me? a dub poet? The Festival (in Hamilton!) looks like it is going to be amazing -- many fantastic dub and dub-related poets and lecturers. Klyde Broox has organized what looks to be a fabulous event.

Kerry Schooley (AKA Slim Volumes), my son Ryan, and I are performing with our text/music group Bump Head. I'm also participating as part of a panel.

Here are some details.

2007 International Dub Poets Festival, Hamilton, Ontario, November 8-11
Literary Coup! Erasing the Oral/Scribal Divide

Discourse: Afternoon Panel
McMaster University Main Campus: Location TBA
Time Friday, Nov. 9, 3:00 – 5:00 pm
Panellists: Prof. Mervyn Morris, Prof. Susan Gingell, Prof. Hyacinth Simpson,
Dr. Gary Barwin
Moderator: Klyde Broox

Evening Reading/Performance

Late-Night Dubsoirée
DIGITAL DUBSCAPES: Multi-Arts Installation/Event
Hamilton Artists Inc., 3 Colbourne St. (corner of James St. N. & Colbourne)
Time: Friday, Nov. 9, 8:30 pm – 12:00 midnight
Gary Barwin, Ryan Barwin, Slim Volumes, Jack Street, Ritallin, Clayton Lynch, Klyde Broox, Peculiar I, Ras Mo, Nabbi Natural, D-Lishus, Hayche with Kwanza and Beny on drums.
Special Guest: Alexis O’Hara and Multimedia Artists
Narrator: Klyde Broox; Producer: Morpheal; Music: Gauks and Gauks

Co-produced by Dub Poets Collective, Hamilton Artist Inc., Morpheal Productions and McMaster Multimedia Department