Tuesday 29 May 2012

Moyie-Regina, Notes

All day the wind blows right to left.
Most highways curve to the town from above rather than behind.
The notion that one more tank will get me home is more than a hit song.
After #3, #1 seems lean with fewer curves, long ones, no summits or climbs or descents, no constantly slowing to 80 or 60 or 40. #1 is a handier highway for doing other things.
For a man breaking every hour and a half, the 116 km from one side of the pass to the other on #3 is enough.
#1 has the four-lane. They've both got critters.
I suppose the magnificent sky need not be mentioned.
After the last of the roadsigns, the landscape inside the border from Alberta better (than #3's coniferous green) presents the illusion of appearing for the first time.
I'd take a pic if I didn't already know what it looks like and could find my camera.
Re poem as photo and photo as poem: how much detail? how much to leave outside the frame?
For gas I'll take Walsh over that sleazy ESSO at the Maple Creek junction.
Here we have proper ditches supervised by culverts at every crossing. Here we have the rhythm of telephone pole and wire.
What a smart yellow stripe the highway wears.
A manager at a gas station says to a customer emerging from the men's can: How did you find it? (as in Is it clean enough?) The guy says I followed the sign.
Project I'm giving to Stan Still: rest stop poems/photos.
By morning it was the sunlight on Fernie--mountains and rivers all directions, it seemed, and #3 at its best, sweeping down from Cranbrook. By late afternoon it's the coteau laying out for #1.
A Bluebird bus parked in the ditch at the Webb junction says  CLAIRBORN 4H CLUB.
In Herbert I pretended I hadn't been born there. Bought a Diet Coke, getting rid of some change.
Plenty of character in the right-hand lane (eastbound) near Valjean.
Series: individual poles in late-afternoon light, where they connect to the ground.
Series: close-ups of locally made billboards before towns.
Now it's time for game two, Jays and Orioles, on AM 1190 Weyburn.

Monday 28 May 2012

B & B

I recommend the Mountain Time Inn in Moyie, B.C. (pronounced, the local history book tells me, Mo-yeah). Leaving Tom's place in Vancouver at 6:30, by the time I got to Hope I'd decided to take #3 all the way to Medicine Hat, skipping the Rogers Pass/Calgary route this time. I hadn't driven #3 in years. I tell you, it was no picnic. Up and down, around corners the whole time--where did all these summits come from? But beer 'n burger at the Moyie pub, a 6-0 Blue Jay lead in the early going against Baltimore, and a sunny view of Moyie Lake, and yes a shower--all these things have me in good nick at the moment, my second glass of beer resting on the Cleopatra issue of National Geographic, July 2011.
Yesterday Tom and I nipped down to Seattle to see Ichiro and Albert, I mean Mariners and Angels. Albert barely got the ball out of the infield. Ichiro made three graceful plays in rightfield but did zero with the bat.
Away a month, I'm ready to get home. First, though, a spell on the Mountain Time deck.

Sunday 27 May 2012

TWUC Cabaret

This is me thanking Betsy Warland and crew who organized the TWUC conference and agm in Vancouver. For the Spoken Word Cabaret in particular. I can't believe it hadn't happened sooner. But cut the bios, which are available elsewhere, and stick to 10 minutes x 6--be strict about time, I mean--and most of all, open the bar before the show, and turn down the house lights. A correction: most of all, keep the life and variety of voices (at 10 minutes).
The six "voices":
- melange of hiphop spoken word lyric confessional
- critique of Colonialism, not freshly rendered
-the ten-minute Peeping Tom opera performed  by operatic soprano mezzo tenor bass
- the sound poet with the loop machine
- the stand-up monologue sketch comic
- the performance poet delivering stock tips from his iphone

(all lables approximate)

Sunday 20 May 2012

Airing Out

Did the dishes in the studio, gathered things, wrote in the guest book. Other than that, more of this ravining--looking out south, just up and over the hump from Bow Falls, seeing what might be in it for me--and breakfast and out the highway west to Kelowna. What I don't like about this leaving is that I don't like it. I'm tired, a little emotional. Well you just get yourself un-tired, mister, I can hear my three sisters say. Be a train and get here.
I did finish my Hillsdale book, which I've referred to numerous times in these blog entries the last four years. For a while I thought maybe I was writing the book as blog entries.
Other things, unfinished. See "emotional". See "tired". If I have to write everything to put it in a place I can handle, that's seems a burden.
Good think I've got a little red car, westbound.
So long (from) Banff.
love, Gerry

Thursday 17 May 2012

Visible Cities

The ones right in front of you, for instance. City of trees cut down this year.  City of red cars. Cities roped off so the deer and elk won't eat them.
A day of snow and cloud becomes bright. Those low clouds, which by morning had sent all poets to love poems, now strayed. The hundred-footers wave to themselves. Not hot but it'll do.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Invisible Cities

To see what words have to do with cities, see Italo Calvino's "Cities & Signs 5" in Invisible Cities. It's the kind of thing I'd be tempted to raid for an epgraph.  Then I'd suppose it was too familiar. Sooner or later I'd quote the last sentence: Falsehood is never in words; it is in things while attempting to convey a dynamic of my Hillsdale book (as I call it) or of any writing any of us do.
I've dug this book before for the pleasures of its imagination, by which I mean leaps, bounds, unbounds, out-of-bounds joy at where you've found yourself, high limbs of some pine, craning your neck to see Bow Falls past the other pines. In Calvino it's so elegant, funny. (I was tempted again, this time to posit the existence of a particularly European orientation toward one's readers, but I doubt there is one.)
I've long found the notion of invisible cities useful. Right now, for instance--just got this idea--I could reveal the cities in the ravine, cities in view. No doubt the open-air 6th-floor lounge at Lloyd Hall (here at the Banff Centre) would fill the sky with cities.
I just drank from one.

Saturday 12 May 2012


Not to get holy but I'm blessed with fine light this afternoon.

Friday 4 May 2012

Fun With This Marten

I just saw my nasty little friend the marten making his rounds, evening, his coat a deeper brown-red than the one on his cousin, the cousin who took out the squirrel that had made a home inside the north wall of my studio. This was two years ago.

I'd had fun with this marten, whom I'll call Spit. I'd read up on him. I'd claimed to be him in a poem. By the time he ran across my window sill in front of me I'd come to count on his quicks. That's the thought I was entertaining when, about 15 seconds later, I heard the scuffle inside the wall.

It didn't last long. Spit enjoyed his dinner, and the wall was left without a squirrel. Banff Centre staff came out and covered the hole.

Anyway, the family's still around, with lots of newly cut-down spruce to hop through, that tail curve.

The title Surpreme Ravine Commander, however, goes to the giant crow.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

May I?

Already? Here it is, May. Which doesn't matter. Twice in the last 20  hours I've encountered Basho's "days and months are the travellers of eternity". Writing a traveller figure myself, I considered a nod to Basho.
(In the first place, Fred Wah turned us on to Basho in 1981-82 in Nelson, B.C. Basho as long poem. I took to the idea I read in Basho, thanks to Fred, of writing a poem and leaving it, on a stone or tree or edge of a stream--right now, in a studio at the Banff Centre, you might find the poem pinned to a spruce cut down within the last two weeks--and have often written one-offs and left them. One's floating in a scotch bottle (I'll think of the name in a minute) in Emma Lake, by now deep in the reeds. In Nelson I mimeographed poems by me or several of my mates and tacked them up around Nelson, and harvested them a week or two later--ripped, faded, run over, scratched out, kissed. (All of that applies to the poems, by the way, and not yet to me.) The Afters became more interesting than the Befores, a point driven home two years later, when the librarian at Selkirk College asked for my Hung Poems, as I'd called them, for the archive.)
This traveller I'm working on isn't as grown up as Basho.  He travels like cheap light, round and round in the same bulb.
I forgot to mention yesterday's encounter with Basho's words: as epigraph in a film screened by Alberto Becerril, the film-maker. In the film we see the cycle of corn near a town the size of Banff not far from Mexico City. We see water in the form of rain and drops and one thin cascade, all of these persistent but precarious at the same time.
And now, sorry but the sun looks as warm as it's been for days. I'm heading outside.