little squib of a post

Katie and Alex were here sleeping in the basement but they’re gone now. She’s got flu, picked it up from Rikes by the sound of things. She woke up and grabbed Alex on the way to pick up Ryker and she’s headed home to her own bed. Jeff and I are glad to have helped and are equally glad to get the basement back.

I’ve revised “Set of Steps” and once I’ve finished tinkering I’ll post it again.
don’ worry that’s just a note to myself for later, four new characters just stepped up in a whole new world.

set of steps – new poem / song

YES I WROTE A SONG IN G#/Ab and I’m working on Uke chords…. I tightened the bottom string half a tone:::: and VOILA no more stretching my pinky like Elastoman’s dick stuck in a door.

An algorithm is a series set of steps
A set series of steps
Designed to get you to a certain place
what do I call how I got this way
I point and mimic and then I say
a set of steps in process
have not reached my the objective
It’s just as near and far
As the products of a star
I’m just a set of processes in tandem
Reaching for something
That looks like an objective.

And I said hold up, wait, wait a minute, stop
hold up, wait, wait a minute, stop
I said, hold up, wait, wait a minute

Just getting here? my line
Went from being mats of slime!
To sitting on cardboard with a dog
begging for a dime!
The weight of my brain
On my neck
Is driving me insane
But I’m a set of steps
Flying in close formation
All my trials and tribulations
Are a set of steps

The algorithm looks a bit like plot
But it’s really not
And everything you grab on the way by
Is fleeting as the mood of the sky
I didn’t make the rules that I’m I am forced to live by
But something happened a long way back
You don’t always defend Don’t always play defence
Sometimes you can roll attack
Attack all the things that are holding you back
get a new (x3)
set of steps

You can’t erase
Or sponge off wipe out the old ones
They remain, they make themselves plain
They go through the same shit (steps, if you can’t swear) again and again
(They bleed through our whole lives again and again alternate line)
You don’t have free will and you can’t abstain
From the old set of steps

You don’t have free will
but something cunning and false
You can’t be mistaken for anyone else
The gametes roll/ed like invisible dice
And this part (snare slap) is almost automatic

(here follows a 2 minute percussive guitar solo, often omitted

to represent


the mating dance)

You can’t escape the way you were made
Nor will folks in the future I’m very much afraid
If we fuck with the steps they will fuck right back
(If we mess with the steps they will mess right back)
And we aren’t prepared to take steps like that

New poem – Someone must sell tickets

Imagine this : 107 beats per minute.
We’re used to hearing stuff synced
up to clocks so this is an almost
indivisible number for regular counted
time, the time of sports and records and
estimates and comparisons.

If you can’t hear, the part of your brain
that handles math and/or got rerouted
from where it would go if you could hear, that will do the job.

The brass instruments that are playing
in this tempo are lazy, barely registering,
with that unnatural dampening only the best can perform.
The percussion is robotic, uninspired,
trying very hard to be a clock
and yet not able to be there. There’s always an urge to speed up,

never to slow down.
The high hat and the snare
have the same unfortunate conversation,
the same eight bars, over and over again.
The brass is having trouble breathing,
each instrument breaks slowly free
of the ensemble of soft, tight harmonies, a
pinball bounce against the constraints of melody.

The flugelhorn, the trombones and the tubas
pause in horror as the piercing notes of the cornet
and the blaring agitated french horn crash into each other.

They perfect an oscillation which mimics the collision
of two great stellar masses. No one in the audience
cares about that, most of them want their money back.

The lone and level sands (new poem)

The lone and level sands

I know what’s going on
but these are social beings too
and my grief must crack
to allow them safe passage

so one doesn’t speak of it
as much as one thinks it
tries to derive grace from nature
a trick, a trick, a trick

because nature’s not full o’ grace
it’s a slow-to-react and messy drunk
and we can’t leave the room
for a couple of hundred years
unless we go to space
which needs more tech
and money than I suspect
we can sustain for long

No one knows how but here and there
people survive
the nature
that I worship now
the only nature

First meal at the seniors residence with Paul

It was very pleasant. Paul learned where his mailbox is, I picked up some items for his new apartment (something to boil water in, cutlery). Saw Anne from church. She literally bolted when she saw us-  (got up from reading her newspaper and fled) – I have no idea why.

Returned him to his home and Dax and Justin were working on Dax’s car which is not drivable at the time and they needed to do a parts run. I am not getting in the middle of that, so I said Paul’s right here, ask him to borrow his car, and Dax and Paul did a parts run out to PoCo. I may need to help with that continuing repair job tomorrow so I’m holding myself in readiness to provide transpo this morning. (By staying sober, I told Paul I’d never drive high and of course I don’t drink anymore, unless you’re counting that mouthful of beer I drank yesterday just so I could remember what a Sleeman Honey Brown Ale tasted like and get a little taste flashback to when I was happy and drinking with my pals at the Golf Course.)

So I may be picking Justin up (I drove him home last night, he lives across Royal Oak from Deer Lake park the lucky young dude) this morning but he’s probably going to be able to borrow his mother’s car, and so I’m going to putter in the kitchen and do laundry and try to stop crying from writing the first part to a song.

Dementia song

I open my mouth to reply
can’t remember why
I know that the sky is blue
and then it’s grey
and then I think of you
I was talking – I remember my own voice
but it sounds different now
choked somehow
And I try to swallow and I can’t and I’m sputtering
And I try to stand but I can’t my feet are stuttering
and I freeze in place
in space
and what I’m looking at is gone
I thought that you were here and now you’re gone
and I thought I remembered your name but you’re gone
and then I remember you were mean to me that time
and I tried to get out of the car is that a crime
and I tried to get back where I was is that a crime
and I think that maybe I should nap

well wow

ParticularSummer6019 on reddit ran ‘the opposite of the star spangled banner’ through chat AI and this is what happened. It’s doggerel, BUT WHAT DOGGEREL

Oh, the shadows we cast in twilight gloom
At the land that divides us, our hearts find no room
The stripes of discord, the fields of disdain
We March to the dissonance, a fractured refrain.

With no gleaming stars, just darkness above,
No unity we find, no binding love.
Where freedom falters, and justice bends,
In this shattered land, our hope descends.

The flag of division, we unfurl high,
A symbol of discord, where truth and trust die.
No land of the free, no home of the brave,
Only chains of discord, a nation enslaved.

Happy 4th July

New Poem It Is a Source of Constant Surprise

When I think of the way I used to think about you, it’s a rebuke 

to the mundane way I think of you now. 

In those days you were an apparition

fantastical goat god and that brief relief from diapers 

and the portable midden of culture that is this holy shit quotidian. 

Our ancestors, ringed ‘round us like eyes in firelight

are amazed at our carts and our flying machines

the little man in the phone

and the big man on the ceiling

who can put carriages in the firmament that carry messages here and there.

They in their silence convey stupefaction nor can they believe our dailyness

feeding our carts with an elixir of monsters from the centre of the earth

so they can go fast in careful rows 

They don’t suss the wonder of combustion while understanding very well

the long footrest makes it go. 

My contemporaries on this earth have worn through novelty 

come out on the side where all the natural dirt is;

all the glacial rocks flensed from the hide of our mother

ground down into grit are beautiful

mostly because they don’t have any fucking plastic in them. 

And yes, I am still thinking of you; you are an overhead projection in my life

I’ll look up and there’s a different quote, since you are that quotable

projected on the ceiling. The next time I look it will be different, as you will be.

Back then you were always the same, and that just isn’t true any more.

morning haiku set

grating on your skin
you tense; relaxing you think
it was just sugar

pour out your coffee
onto the firestorm of news
and remark, ‘no change’

the moon, thank goodness
is no longer a pale green
I guess that’s something

Yesterday the moon was green when I got up. I went to look at ‘the Strawberry Moon’ and got a sickly looking moon, scary as hell. If it’s truly an omen for the strawberry moon – the month upcoming – I’m holding myself in braced posture for a lousy time.

The summer will be hot and dry, and that means full of fire and smoke. I just had a vision of Vancouver on fire. Under exceptionally bad conditions we could have urban fires in Vancouver (remember 25 percent of Burnaby is parkland and open space…) and I just had a vision of standing on the back deck and hearing the cops on bullhorns trying to get people out of their houses…. I need to do something else. Sigh.

Russia has repelled a Ukrainian counterattack.

Absolutely none of my Ukrainian and western correspondents are saying this. How easy it is to successfully repel a counterattack that never happened!

However I’m DEFINITELY hearing desperate and very concerning rumblings about a planned ‘event’ by the Russians at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant TO COINCIDE with a Ukrainian counterattack, to get everyone in the west so upset they –I don’t know —  start dancing with the lizard people in their tightie whities while saying nasty things about Zelenskyy, mebbe??  who the hell knows with the Russian strategists right now, they have a century long playbook of assorted misinformation, genocide plus deeply personally vicious tyrannical AND casually banal state actions to pull plays from.

Russia’s ‘many arms in many sleeves’ tactic for its mis/dis campaigns is now extending to SOLICITING SCHOOL CHILDREN to go on podcasts, video streaming and TV platforms to ‘report’ on the ‘military operation’ ie be the next generation of propagandists. These poor kids and their parents are going to be dog meat when the war’s over. I’d like to warn them but no one can.

Jeff and I continue to rewatch Elementary and Stargate Atlantis, are into S2 of LawnOrder, S4 of Medium, and are dipping into Archer, Disenchantment (Eric André voicing Luci and Nat Faxon voicing Elfo are always standouts), Time Team and a couple of other shows.

full free and frank

Keith’s coming over for lunch today. I plan tacos (meat and veggie options) and shirazi salad. He offered to cook but I thought I’d do it. We’ll be talking housing plans.

Buster is wandering in and out of my room like he is hearing rats in the walls. Burnaby is having a HELLA BIG YEAR for rats, and big rats too. C’mon down coyotes.

Loooook! what someone did to the lawn in Bath. For the Coronation you know. I am planning on live-blogging King Chuckles’ Magic Grease Anointment Do. I have no idea why, probably because I didn’t get to see the most recent Coronation and because I’m hoping –– like I rarely hope for anything –– that this is the last one that ever happens. The idea that Camilla, one of the cruellest, most grasping and graceless women to ever wear a racist pin to meet her new daughter in law in, (yup, she wore a family heirloom Negrohead pin to meet Meghan, if you can credit it) will be (deep nauseated breath) ‘my queen’ is EVEN WORSE than Carolus Wrecks being (deep nauseated breath) ‘my king’.


I wrote this for him this morning:

Famous for lying ’bout love and sex
Carolus Wrecks, Carolus Wrecks
Less famous than his gorgeous ex
Carolus Wrecks, Carolus Wrecks
They hand him his pen, they hand him his specs
Carolus Wrecks, Carolus Wrecks
The laughing stock of his ‘subjects’
Carolus Wrecks, Carolus Wrecks

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.