is this contentment

Just wanted to state that Jeff is a peerless housemate and my good fortune in this last decade plus of cohabitation CANNOT be overstated. He knows why I’m posting this now, but it need not be the business of the world.

The Echo is in at the krankenhaus, Paul is all wanting to drive again, and I’m going to tell him the same thing I did last time; Don’t. Unless your doctor okays it, no. The CT happened and we’ll know more when the film’s read. Keith picked us up after we dropped the car off. Keith is being such a dear one these days.

Then I got a return call from Tammy and we had a lovely phone call, chugging through the ever changing panoply of tasks and concerns. I am very happy she called.

Suzanne is here and the rugs are in to be washed.

I carried Kevin (the vacuum) downstairs. He is a very substantial minion and awkward. I wanted to be reminded.

I think it is possible that I am gestating a poem. Could be gas. Could be the samosa. Could be that Magpie (twitterfren’) was talking about how a poem ambushed them with a philosophical demand that (as they currently construe themselves) was antithetical to their wellbeing.

This means that my friend has identified something interesting to me, of which I was not previously aware, in my poetry.

If you read David Dowker’s poems, and you should if you enjoy being bewildered in a very high-toned way, only to be poleaxed by a phrase which welds itself to your sensorium, you will not come across a single one that would require the modern day ‘scourge of both literature and the flow of ideas in virtual spaces’ by which I mean (and for the one person reading this who’ll enjoy it) the TRIGGER WARNING.

A content or trigger warning is the signed, finger-signed, audible or readable advisory that potentially painful, objectionable, psychologically harmful due to pre-existing conditions, or just plain offensive to contemporary acceptance of decency wat dat content is imminently inbound.

I think the poet has to consider the audience. If you want your poetry widely accessible, that means actually taking accessibility into consideration. Oh, one possibly probably almost certainly says, such a small part of the market.

fiendish grin

I am not marketable. Oh my offense is rank, it smells to heaven – that I have RSD and CAN’T FUCKING BEAR TO BE EDITED or even gently remonstrated with regarding usage. Of course if it’s dead wrong I don’t have a problem, but anything with wiggle room and a slice of daylight a photon wide and … I be the spiny puffer fish stuck in the throat of my own self-improvement. So I’ll never be a commercial author. I won’t improve as a poet. My best songwriting days are behind me anyway and I’m fine with that. When I have a back catalogue like what I’m sitting on… ?  just staying on top of my own top 40 compositions in terms of performance readiness is all I fucking need to do. Everyone who likes my tunes already has the sheet music or a recording and nobody else matters. When Tom Lehrer, one of the greatest song writers of the 20th C, PUBLICLY POSTED HIS ENTIRE CATALOGUE, I thought I don’t even need to say anything, I’ve been vindicated with the kind of vindication that counts, one artist heart sending up a flare to another while putting the audience first. WHO ELSE could respect his audience that much? Who is unbossed enough to do it? Of course he’s not a perfect human but it’s the single most amazing piece of direct cultural action by a white guy I’ve seen in fucking years, it’s amazing!

I used to think I’d have to die first, to be a successful author, but everything about modern publishing culture is done thanks to climate change; the industry is too busy doing an HR Giger style cannibalizing fetishistic blowjob on itself and offering its youngest workers to Moloch to have it sussed yet. Publishing is yet one more of the many things that won’t survive climate change. Books that haven’t already been digitized will disappear, burned for heat, burned in fascist and religious purges or repurposed as tp or recycled as paper for other purposes. Everything that survives will either be expensive or pirated, sometimes both depending on local bullies’ attitudes toward the arts. So yeah, I’m going to keep my dignity and not wade out into that swamp. Am I making a virtue of necessity? It’s neither virtue nor necessity. I just don’t want to get any on me when it’s a swamp I can’t win.

Having given ‘the market’ all the fcking consideration that it currently deserves, and probably to all of your minds much more than it deserved even before I wilfully dragged it out of its niche in the columbarium of western thought (barf gag), I return to the issue of the consideration of the audience. I will in future be providing content warnings for my poems. On the page, the CW will state “CW is at the bottom of the poem.” People can then choose to skip ahead or read the poem. CW are often for sexual abuse, self-harm, violence, eating disorders but since I hardly ever write poetry about that, it won’t be necessary. But sometimes I mention things like death and going to the hospital, and yes it would be good to either make the title the content warning or give sensitive people a heads up. I wrote a poem about a dying man called Tom in Hospital. So easy to do. I could have called it something else. But anyone walking up to the poem who just had a relative or friend die will know: I rilly don’t need to read this right now. Or I must read this right now. But at least they know!

I identified an artistic problem with the help of a friend. I identified a number of ways to solve it. I will take the rest of my musings on the subject off line, partly because I need to pee but also because I rilly want another samosa and a smoothie to go with.

Happy new year

The Darkling Thrush
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be
The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

New poem – how to be conscious

Life powers consciousness and unmakes it.

Here I am, sleeping again, but I don’t know that. An entire world crawls into my skull and spectates, and somehow that world is me. Unconscious for whatever registers dreams, I sleep with a heaviness that obliterates care and hangs a sheet over an ugly view. The drowned city dreamscapes of my childhood have given way to a glacial blue crevasse into which I fall each night; Del Toro and such? – these terrors cannot find me.

My griefs and wounds depart. I waken in a world where my eyes are so dry I’m momentarily disoriented, then I enact Warren Zevon’s plan and start to cry. My griefs and wounds settle back in my flesh. Break time is over.

How does it happen? To travel galaxies in flight and perspective, and never move; to be snoring for most of it.

The cat is sleeping on the couch. Ears flick, paws twitch. Someone’s in there, dreaming.

Here I am, on the phone with my mother. She is sad with the normal sets of woes plus the indignity of current ‘lurgy. My job is to cheer her up without making her laugh. She’s coughing as a new career. Laughter turns into a long stretch of wheezing irritated pain and a claim that this has gone on for too long. To maintain this conversation I am picturing my mother in her den, surrounded by books and papers; I am leaning my mind against hers through our voices. I was a dream she once had. She built a programmatic nest for me, with twigs from Pa, and now I am talking to the woman who taught me how to be conscious.

New poem – in the subtitles

In the subtitles

do sirens do anything but wail
I’d love it if one time
maybe I’d have to be really high
but it would be great if the screen read
‘(sirens yelling)’
since kids these days sound just like sirens

Let’s hear it for ‘(eerie crunching sounds)’;
‘(bones splintering)’ let’s pare down English
into eyesized chunks
and glue it on a soundscape

New poem: pentimento and palimpsest

Pentimento & palimpsest

Need alters how I see things
To smother dullness under the hot metal
of discovery
To give it an edge! Ken this
and the hard slap of wave and sail –
the pause before the engagement

I am the old woman who sings
flushed but calm enough

To force the flatness of a bygone age
up and up in brilliant knotted folds
an origami statue, now
perhaps an ornithopter or an owl

The lines reform

The poem is a queue

It is a brief piece of logic tilted against
the pressing and persistent is of essence

The red of the horse harness
the gold of the headdress
all will be re-sown, re-shown, cut
carefully and edited, my ancestors’ bones
are reclaimed
tamped back into the ground

to grow fruit trees and grandchildren

Seas die and flint is born

Flint is knapped and trees are felled

Islands die and people take to boats

Boats sink and brave souls raid the wreck

It all is written over in the end
Earth, sky and water queue for the last word

Nothing done about the tree

No progress on writing. FINALLY got my package to m&d into the mail to them; includes Alex’s art and the Guest 23 mag I have a poem in, thanks to Dave.

Ball lightning: shown in the video is either ball lightning or a transformer dying, although there was no ‘bang’. … there are family stories about ball lightning that EERILY mimic a story from 1963 recounted in this article. (pOp saw ball lightning move down the centre of the fuselage of the Argus he was flying in). Also, Grandma Susie Hinde saw a troika of ball lightning moving above the frozen surface of a river, as she told me sometime in the 1980s about an event from her girlhood in SK.

Drove Paul around to run errands and get him out of his apartment yesterday. He was in much better shape than on previous days and we had something approaching fun. Keith was about to go for a walk with a friend and Suzanne was there cleaning when I arrived.

Ukrainians who are Orthodox are switching up when they celebrate Christmas to distinguish themselves from a version of Russian Orthodoxy whose Patriarch Cyrill the Biggass Hypocrite has announced that any Russians killed in the UK campaign go straight to heaven. VOOP! YUP  up we go! Local parishes have a choice now about the 25 December or 7 January date for celebrations..

Shlep this morning. I already bought milk at Walmart in Lougheed Mall yesterday. Also came home with about 20 bucks of Purdy’s chocolate TIS THE SEASON.

Justin Trudeau is ‘standing up to China’ which basically means whining and not putting more federal money into chasing down Chinese nationals openly laundering money in this town, the single biggest reason nothing is being done about it.

I HAVE COFFEE, the world is ok.

arrival / New Poem – You are given 3 choices

Jeff is safely arrived; I am taking the talking bricks from my imagination and making sentences elsewhere, this morning, but took a break to say that.

I practiced guitar this morning and that inspired me to start writing. 8962 words already!

In the meantime, a squib.

You are given 3 choices

  1. I want nothing to do with you, white woman
  2. Please, if you can, demonstrate how you would ‘Scream for Jesus.’
  3. Debate with me the context and applicability of this art.


I know nobody else will enjoy this poem but I so enjoyed composing it that I felt obliged to share. “One art, please.” Ah, Zoidberg, I love you so much you borscht-belt Decapodion!

Futurama Zoidberg GIF - Futurama Zoidberg One Art Please GIFs

New poem – the sieve

This is not a suicide note:
I’d bang on my brother’s door and waken him
rather than leave him my corpse ***on purpose***
ew, I mean, ew

my consciousness wrote the suicide note to you
but the smelly part is still here

I know that my procession
through these eroded markers
was foretold
but the weeping was tiresome
and I had no patience with the acidic streams
for – did you know – your tears become more basic
over the course of the day, and it’s 2 am here

I pull a stray hair out of my mouth and continue
in the present tense
<<< fly back and forth
destroyers of narrative >>>
I cry as if I could be cleansed
rather than imprisoned
behind bars of vapour

quit potchkying around and write this damned thing

it is my salute to those I love who live still
and everything they taught me, all of which
I will take with me to my niche
in the columbarium
for everything I’ve learned is nothing
compared to what is coming
it’s the brutal and the lucky
who will live
another sieve for humanity

I passed through one, today
Most days I don’t know
how close I came

but I do today

New Poem Little Seed

You are a little seed. There are millions like you.
You were made to sprout in a mind
unthinking being sprouted; that’s
For other minds to bend. Upwards where upwards
Is defined by gravity, that mundane unknown.

I can hear people laughing in my basement.

I want that to be in the scrapings of trace nutrients
I give you, that you are so loved, and all around me
Are ancestors who can still laugh, and will never cease
Weeping this river of love. Salt water kills plants they say
But there are those that grow in brackish water.
There’s no guarantee
That you will be one of those, little seed.
I too was once a little seed, and I commit you to this world.

New Poem – the Terrible Game

I am angry at you, Waffle
I flense your mother
I plunge my hand into the chest of your father
I cause rocks to be dropped on your siblings by rocs
I dismember your shop tools as if they were your children and eat them
Well know that I am displeased, Waffle

For your dictionary is foul, and your sloth is benthic

How is it, Waffle? that your dictionary looks like this
Ordinary words
Little, ordinary words in English
Escape your notice
‘Yep’ is not allowed.
‘Zoot’, as in zoot suit, is not allowed
I can understand that words with ‘s’ and ‘er’ and ‘ed’
Might be passed by, but then YOU ARE NOT CONSISTENT
About how the rules are applied
And I hate you
With that festering hatred that consumes cognition like oxygen
With a scary pH
Like a tailing pond, and I boil you in my mind in that very pond.


I refer to this game.

This poem is dedicated to my Onty Mary.

Time to do some shopping

I’m in a decent mood, finally, after all the damned EMOTIONS I’ve been having had forced themselves into poetry. I’m not saying it makes the poem better, but I sure wept hard writing it. Absolutely tip top night of sleep though!

I think I asked Jeff if we could shop today and if that’s going to happen I need to get up, take my pills and get dressed, because we usually leave for that about now.

New Poem – The Sad Enterprise

I was wanting to talk to you about the sad enterprise
of writing poetry.

How downcast one is, seeing all the parts for it
enlimpened by advertising
et all the new Malaprops. one toes English
hoping it staggers to its feet once more
as with the pugilists of old, one drunken wager from renown
one butterfly from glory
one stolen kiss in a library doorway closer
to a skald’s dearest wish

A bard gets tired, in a world eating new words
faster than it can understand the effects
of the old ones
neogollyism newspikke and an endless
scrolling déluge of porn, puppies and punditry
it only seems so bad because there’s so much of it
but indeed, it is bad, because there is so much of it

I do not need to search for topics. The particular
presents itself, most insistently sometimes
disrespectfully, I have the attention span of a house fly
and a variable crock of enthusiasms and illnesses
But I ain’t writin’ a poem about that.

I am scraping blueberry pie filling from the counter
and that’s quite enough
i do prefer love over sinks
and the enthralment of learning and insight and connection
over the technic that gets us all here
in the company of our peers
being the being that watches our species crash into an asteroid

I am saying this way is an old way, and it works for me
those beings who relent and strike the rock that is my forehead
then hoot with laughter as i bleed and swear
they are old beings and they do not have names
they don’t care about pretty moments
sing for your people, they yell, they babble and yell
trying to make themselves heard above my tinnitus

another field of verse – this body will lose this form
i remember holding you and thinking that these bones
inside these bones will be gone some day
you didn’t feel like a skeleton
no poem could contain my situation
and I was forced by my own breath into song

Other pens hover over those long bouts
of helpless, isolated weeping. it’s grim
and effortful and being uncomforted
is the whole point of it

I write poems about death because my friend died
there’s nothing complicated about that
it would be uncanny if I didn’t
poems are not edifices
they are tattoos
I’ve left a space here (pats chest)
for you, for when the word comes back