Ruminations on the brunch industry, etc.

The Hoof Cafe is right around the corner and it took a while for me to get there, although it has now been open for a few months. Lawyer is the expert on this sort of thing, and by that I mean food of the refined variety, so I thought to invite him out to Friday brunch but he was being a silly at work. I suggested he work hard later and come for brunch with me at 11, but no dice. He wanted to sit inefficiently at work all day, perhaps getting something done between spurts of his true passion, internet conversation.

Fancy was kind enough to join me instead (after he had already provided me with a morning's camera lesson, what a guy!).

The Hoof (as I like to call it as of now) has a menu thrown up on a blackboard daily, depending upon what's on hand. Fancy chose the ever popular toast and jam option, which given the establishment featured goat butter (made with the milk of really smart goats), some fresh blueberry party jam and toast that I assume was harvested from the surfaces of asteroids as they ripped into the earth's atmosphere and burst into flame. Quality place.

Fancy has been on a bit of a blueberry kick of late, so the jam was very appropriate.

I on the other hand thought it time to be a big deal, so I threw down for the the rabbit and buckwheat pancakes. That would be buckwheat pancakes, topped with feta, tiny bacons, blueberries, syrup and of course rabbit.
(I stole this picture)

There was also some unidentified green sweet things on the plate. Delicious unidentified green sweet things.

The following is me reviewing food:
(something that I would be better at if I had asked the undoubtedly knowledgeable server some questions such as, "Hey, those green sweet things in the corner of the plate, what are those things?", and possessed a wider food vocabulary in terms of both preparation and presentation.)

My brunch was pretty good. And by that I mean, I don't eat a lot of buckwheat pancakes, let alone pancakes of any kind supported by the aforementioned accoutrements, so it was delicious! Lot's of tiny flavours to swirl around my plate, mixing and matching, picking and choosing different combinations. This is the best way to eat because each bite becomes something of a distinct and unique puzzle. There are no correct solutions to said puzzles, just a whack of experimentation.

The one problem with the dish (and really, it's not a problem considering where I was eating) was the amount of food. As Lawyer said - when I talked to him, still online after I got back from brunch (see, he could have come with me if he'd wanted to) - it's not the place you go looking for giant portions. Although he wasn't explicit, I'm pretty sure Lawyer was really offended that I had besmirched the Black Hoof's good name with such a boorish suggestion, that portion sizes were too small. He didn't say it, but definitely vibed that I was dirt and deserved to have my eye spat into. Or maybe he just meant it literally when he wrote "There's a Grand Slam at Denny's for that," (contemptuously).

Whatever the case, the pancakes were about yay wide (yay = 5 inches) and there were three of them. I was wondering why they couldn't make the pancakes larger, because I figured the cost of extra buckwheat couldn't be that much more (and I guess I was sorta hungry). But then I realized, it isn't about the pancakes at all. You grow the pancakes and the proportions and aesthetics of the plate are all off. You'd need more rabbit, cheese, etc. and therein lies the cost of the dish. Bacons that small and thinly sliced don't come cheap!

Next time I go I will either buy another dish (at $14 for what I ate, not likely until I'm awesome rich) or just make sure I eat beforehand. A banana for instance.
(one of these)

I've always been more of a delicious and filling meal sort of fellow. Maybe someday I'll stop worrying about filling and move delicious toward scrumptious on the gradient of meal descriptors, but I have a strange feeling that all this may be tied to income somehow.

And to extend the post a bit more and add some context for both my hunger and desire to eat out I will take it back to before the beginning; I was up at 9 after sleeping at 3. I was in bed before then, exhausted, but couldn't sleep due to life buzzing. You know that stuff? In my case it was a result of Bad Dog Theatre, or more specifically Mouthmoney, and more importantly The Jam!

The Jam! is a chance to get up on stage and do improv things in front of real live people who are not in your class. And it was GREAT! I was nervy beforehand, but while on stage I heard a few laughs in response to things I did and really what more can you hope for? Big Ben and DuffMart (the latter nickname is already on the docket for a change) from my class were there and they were fantastic as well.

We chatted about our victories and failures in a lonely Tim Horton's on the Danforth late into the night, hence home late and remaining in an amped state. (I'd tell you more about my day because I also went to preloved's sample sale and bought an atlas, but that smells like a wholly different post.)


the things I do

The idea was simple: volunteer a few hours at the Daily Bread Food Bank. Christmas is the time they receive the most donations so they have Public Food Sorts to help clear the backlog.

Food sorting on this scale is one of those activities that on the surface seems like it might be a bit dull, but once you're doing it, is actually fun. Tearing into donation bags, boxes, etc., categorizing the contents, packing a box and putting it on a trolley. Once the trolley is full all the boxes get barcodes and digitally scanned before being taken back to the warehouse. It's satisfying like Tetris is satisfying. And Tetris is satisfying.

After a morning of such excitement I could have taken the TTC home, but instead chose to walk. Daily Bread is on Islington and according to the internet it's a 10km walk home, but I inevitably meandered, doubled back a few times and made my stroll oh so much longer.

First step, walk away from the city!

Stupid? You ask. Nay! I say. How else am I going to get a good look at the GO/VIA rail yards?
That's the city, way over there.Fun fact: Canadian trains are multi-dimensional!
I didn't have any specific goals on my walk, just see some of the city I hadn't seen before, and walk along the waterfront for a time. Success on both fronts.

There's that city I live in.
I took a lot of skyline pictures. It's a view that takes in a lot at once, similar to my interest in birds-eye views or aerial photography, or maps even. Skyline shots that have a long, uninterrupted foreground (over water in this case) are like a sideways map or something.

There's one thing about photography (many things actually) that I haven't figured out. I see the city before me, humanity's hubris writ large, I see the sky and the water's changing tones, but I still don't know how to capture it. In my mind that's one of photography's unique abilities, to take an instant and hold it forever so that anyone who looks at the picture subsequently has at least an idea of what it might have been like. I get some of that in these, but not all that I want

I was really trying to treat the walk as one I would take in a foreign city, allowing myself amazement at every turn, paying attention to oddities and unique moments. But, I have to tell you, waiting for that water to splash into frame for the picture above damn near froze my fingers off.

After taking these pictures is when I found the goose head.
I don't know where the rest of him was, but the head looked fresh. I wandered off from here and walked a good 500m before thinking, HEY! I can use that goose head. After a brief internal debate I returned to hide it. I'll come back in June or July and hopefully my hastily constructed stone crypt will have done it's job. Keeping the goose's bones in one place, while allowing the buggy bugs to eat away all the flesh!

My taxidermically imagined creature is coming together, slowly but surely. I now have the turtle shell, two groundhog skulls (only one partial lower jaw) and hopefully soon this goose head and neck. That's a lot of heads so I'll need to think long and hard on how to use them. Two or three heads is always possible, but maybe some groundhog fangs in a goose's mouth would be fun. Geese have a wicked serrated edge along their beak, like so many little teeth, but no fangs. Vampires are big right now, so a fanged goose will probably be a hit with the kids.

When I doubled back for the goose it meant I had to recross a beach that was either reclaimed land or had been a dumping area for construction work or both. There were worn bricks strewn about and although I'd resisted the first time through, the second time... Well, I loaded up my backpack and regretted my decision for the rest of the walk.

You can hardly blame me though, they're pretty fun bricks.
Yet another example of what we lose when everything is made at a few big factories. No more small brick makers each with their distinct molds and palette drawn from the earth around them. Judging from the wear on some of these, quality standards might have varied a fair bit as well.

As you might expect, they are building condos along the waterfront. According to this picture, they provide the ultimate lifestyle for everyone!!! White and Nude!!! No wait, the ladies look like they're wearing bras or bikini tops. Still, this must be a swingers' community.

Just a piece of advice to any home buyer...consider the sun at different points of the day. Unless shadows mean nothing to you. In which case, just live in a hole.

I think there must have been some swimming pavilions or something here in decades past. I know some of the communities a bit further on (Mimico, etc.) originally were the summer getaways for Toronto's well to do. but judging by the cement pillars on the shoreline a lot of the space in between might have been taken up at some point.

That or there's an ancient civilization no one has been telling me about.

And one more thing condo developers. Just because you build a row of stupid buildings that all look stupid in their own unique way, doesn't mean you've created a diversity of style.
It still looks stupid.

Aesthetic opinions are great because there's no need to support them, or they are awful because you can't convince someone without a clue to change their mind.

Is anyone else really into that dead grass shade of brown you get when the temperature is below freezing but there's no snow on the ground? I think it's great (not all the time...maybe just when the sun's out).

Shortly after this the walking and the bricks and the not having eaten started to get to me and it became more one step after the other than glorying in the afternoon sun. By the time I stumbled my way through Parkdale and along Queen I was feeling a bit loopy. Fortunately we were having a communal potluck that night and delicious food was in abundance.

Feel free to send me suggestions for future walks and/or what I should do with my bricks. I left lots on the beach, so think big!


Nothing to say here

I just wanted to say a couple of things here.

Thing number one:

I mentioned this the other day, but I actually saw my blog on an RSS feed today and it looks like NOT GOOD!


Fancy pants formatting goes into each and every carefully crafted blog post. Your mother's text-photo-text-photo blog, with one stacked atop the other, this is not.

You lose context through an RSS aggregator.

I shudder to think what some of my triple set of photos look like. I'm thinking right now of my pseudo-toon post of a few weeks past, where the pursuit of an 80s model Buick was captured in the dimming light of a winter, Grey County sky. How does that look on RSS? I'm going to find out.

Be back soon...

Well, the pictures are still arrayed across the screen but they spread farther than they appear in my version. Also, the colours aren't there. The visual experience the blog provides is lost as both text and pictures float on a white background.

Finally you lose the text's specific formatting when not reading directly from the blog. The text interacts with the images, laid out in specific patterns or sometimes actually pointing at an image. My comment about Bhutan's king being handsome was accompanied by a row of arrows pointing at his enormous and obvious photo. In a reader, the arrows point at the row of text above, suggesting profanities or a loss for words? I'm not sure, but certainly nothing of the intended absurdity.

I'm not telling you how to surf the internet, just trying to make your online life better.

Thing number two:

People from the following countries read my blog:
United States
Great Britain
Okay, that makes sense I know people in all these places.

Sure! Someone has only come by once, but they stayed for 10 minutes or so. I hope they had fun.

I already knew that.
Hey, I've been there!
Saudi Arabia

I don't really know how the internet works and all the visits from that final clumping only occurred once and lasted exactly no time (that would be 0'00"), but this is pretty great. I'm hoping to get Angola and at least one of the 'Stans (fingers crossed for Uzbekistan) in the next week.

But really, if I could get someone from the British Indian Ocean Territory
I would be a very happy man.


post 100!!! (and Bhutan)

100 posts!

Fortunately the 100th post also holds exciting and mysterious news.

Reading the final poem of the 7 days series, I'm sure you all saw the final line in the second stanza and said, wuh?

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck is of course the King of Bhutan. Or more specifically, the Druk Gyalpo, the Dragon King of Bhutan.

He is this handsome. ^^^^^^^^^^(look up)^^^^^^^^^^

Nice one Dragon King!

He's your standard, almost 30 year old-educated in America and Britain-bringing democracy to his kingdom for the first time sort of king. And he's from the same kingdom that brought us the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH) as a measure of well-being.

Top notch stuff.

And he's single ladies.

When he went to Thailand to visit King Bhumibol Adulyadej he caused a sensation amongst his legion of female Thai admirers. There was even a mild scandal when a picture of 'Prince Charming' and a mysterious lady appeared online. Exciting stuff.

But, as per usual, there's a point to all this that I'm not discussing.

Lately I've been keeping track of where blog visitors are coming from. Yesterday, after posting the poem with the King's name BOOM! Someone from Bhutan just happened to stroll by. They were on my site for all of 0.00 seconds but they still registered as a visitor.

Here are the possibilities:

---The visitor was a person from Bhutan who accidentally found his way to the blog and scooted out quickly when he realized it wasn't what he was looking for.


---The visitor was a government computer/civil servant that searches for new references to "Bhutan", "Druk Gyalpo", "Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck", etc. Any terms to track the King and nation's reputation internationally. Likely, they disappeared so quickly because they were planting some sort of tracking device and as soon as I post this new thing they will be alerted and be able to read it.
I feel this is the beginning of something big.

Here is how I see the situation progressing:

I will blog more and more about the Kingdom of Bhutan, generating more interest about the country and (EVEN) more interest about the blog. Eventually, after an appropriate amount of time to build up tension and excitement in the reading public we will blow off the feud. Most likely this will take the form of the Kingdom of Bhutan providing me with an all-expenses-paid trip to their glorious mountain domain. I will stay there for a month (or more), seeing the country, tasting the food, smelling the smells and blogging the whole way.
I don't know what the equivalent coverage from this blogged one month trip would cost Bhutan in advertising dollars, but its A LOT.
In the end, we'll both be winners!
I'm very confident this is going to happen. Not only does the above just make good web marketing sense, but my friend Kristin was just in Bhutan and I am looking at a postcard she sent me. RIGHT NOW!

Now you are too. What a great mask!
The lady fist pumping and saying "YEES!" is not Bhutanese.

Here is a picture that accomplishes a great many things. There is map of Asia in the background showing where Bhutan is (in yellow). The picture also reveals the philatelic glory of the kingdom.

A Cessna 195 from 1949. Yes please!

Your picture (aka YOU!!! - or in this case Kristin) on a legal stamp? Too cool. (I added the shades, fyi)

In conclusion: Come on Bhutan, what do you say?


7 days - 7 poems - Day 7

If you're going to cheat, you might as well cheat right at the end.

That's what I've always been raised to believe.

Cheating at the end, when done properly, only happens when doing it guarantees a win. No sense in cheating and then losing.

I still haven't sorted out sleep and after waking then errands it was already the middle of the afternoon. Instead of coming home to write I instead spent a chunk of what afternoon remained talking with LAWYER and one of his lawyer friends on the bench outside Ella's. I tried briefly to write a poem about the experience but quickly gave up. The first line was 2 lawyers sit on a bench and the rest was going to be puns and insinuations about terms like motion, bench, brief, firm, etc.

In fact now that I've revealed all that I'm sure you can all sort out the poem for yourself.

I even tried to incorporate the game of streetcar tag in, but...too groggy. Stupid sleeping patterns.

Last night I was at Bad Dog Theatre for a show and decided walking home (they're on the Danforth) was a good idea. It was. It took about 2 hours with all my detours, but it was a great walk. I found an exposed subway tunnel just east of Castle Frank station that arcs gracefully across one of the Don's offshoot valleys. I'm sure lots of others have noticed it over the years but it was my first time. Fantastic! I hope no one thought my leaning over the bridge, inspecting it, was a sign of darker plans.

I suppose if I had just gone straight to bed after getting home things might have worked out better today. But they didn't okay!!! So instead of a brand new poem, written today, you get the last poem I wrote before the week that was began. That's the thing about poets, even when the rules are self-imposed we just need our freedom and individuality.

So I am breaking the rules of my own...thing.

Are you excited? The following was written as a result of reading a lot of Leonard Cohen's stuff in a short amount of time.

Story (title subject to change)

Growing up not Catholic
is the biggest tragedy of my life
I'm not Jewish either
another of fate's damnable attacks
Lacking the benefits of a Classical education
all I have is a periodic United Church
bereft of pageantry
and razzle dazzle
There were stories there
and they trace back the same, I'm sure
but I forget, if I ever listened.

So now I write poetry and can't find the archetype
the creation myth
or patchwork of wonder
No raven or turtle to guide me
or build upon
No shorthand of history
King David's just some king
so are Henry and George and Louis and
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

Drab truths of science don't make poems
of universal truth
Their lights shine too self; confident and important
A lab is clean, fluoresced and sharp
and its stories likewise
shifting edges to bend and hug
close when cold without meaning.

Hide the world behind incense
chanting drugs or prayer and
find the truth because
it's all you'll remember
The broad strokes
A story on the edge of shadows
behind swirling light, in smoky space.
All I have is pro wrestling
and last I checked
the Pope's not holding the belt.

So there. Thanks for reading, and keep reading...I might post my short story Fire Drill on here in the near future. I had submitted it to this but received a nice form letter earlier today explaining that I hadn't made the cut. Probably better that I fail (for the time being), but I still wish I had known about the extension before rushing to submit on New Year's Eve.

Alas, alas it's in the past.

See I'm a poet.


7 days - 7 poems - Day 6

I should start off by welcoming my readers from around the world!

Guten Tag my dear German reader.

привет to my friend in Russia.

Anyong to my 4 (yes 4!) Republic of Korea Koreans. (I would have used your alphabet but don't have the font package, friends.)

Hey to the 5 Americans.

The 2 of you who reside in other, &*ndjher*!!!!

Bonjour to Canadians. I'm not numbering you because I think a lot of you might be me.

"But Camel Attack!, you're not the United Nations. What's up?" you might be saying.

Explanation: when I finish a post, I use a link shortener before pasting the shortened URL in Facebook and Twitter messages. The link shortener gives me statistics on who has clicked on said link, and what geographic area they (or at least their servers) are located in. The past week I have had a steady increase in the number of people clicking on the link, but mostly from Canada and the US. Until yesterday, when the 'cousins' arrived.

I investigated and found another Twitter account, with 2500 plus followers had tweeted my post, mentioning the blog name and a random line from the post, rather than a straight-up retweet. Based on the account's posts I don't think it's a bot, but who knows. I'll just be grateful for the extra (periodic) readers rather than wondering too much.

Also, I am now an international sensation. Hey South America, Australia and Africa, who's going to be the last populated continent to get with the hottest thing going (ie me)?

Preamble over. It's poetry from here on out and today a villanelle.

Like a sonnet, the villanelle has all sorts of fun structures to consider.

A'aA'' abA' abA'' abA' abA'' abA'A''

That means the same rhyme is used a lot, and where the letters are upper case it means the exact line is repeated verbatim.

Here's a nifty little Dylan Thomas number to give you an idea.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And now you've read that bit of lovely, it's time to be disappointed! Like with the sonnet I feel my content really suffers because of the structure. Instead of writing a poem by looking for the right words I find myself writing to fit the structure. The structure gives me a sense that finishing itself is an accomplishment regardless of the lameness of imagery that is used. Now, I assume if I stuck with it I might improve, and writing a really good villanelle or sonnet would undoubtedly leave me with satisfaction oozing from my ears so I'm sure I'll come back to them at some point.

They'll be there when I want to challenge myself, searching for a magical collusion of meaning, words, rhyme and structure.


Hold the creative maelstrom close,
Beneath an ever-aching pride,
To guard from providential blows.

Don't walk where everyone else goes,
Stand fast against strange pipers pied,
Hold the creative Maelstrom close.

Better to take advice from crows,
Or when the world seems trued and tried
To guard from providential blows.

Just another one amongst Joes?
A speck to be chopped up and fried?
Hold the creative maelstrom close.

Don't, though, miss your own show of shows.
Creative's a peach, ten miles wide
To guard from providential blows.

No one knows a thing, even those
voted to office must elide.
Hold the creative maelstrom close
To guard from providential blows.

Immediate comparisons: Thomas does a way better job of making each stanza a unit, as opposed to my choppy, three sentence structure. Working towards larger, cohesive thoughts is definitely a goal. Also, apparently the meter is not a big deal as long as it's consistent so maybe I will experiment with a few once I have learned what they are exactly.

Heh, and finding words that rhyme - rather than trying to shoehorn in close, pretending it's cloze - might be a good idea too.

One more to go! I've had a game of streetcar tag on my mind all week but it hasn't yet made an appearance. Maybe tomorrow's the day?

And finally, if you're reading this in some RSS feed make sure you go over to the blog proper. My poems read better in orange on grey.


7 days - 7 poems - Day 5

First things first people. Fancy done good! The man took a poetry course last term and after some concerted rummaging was able to extract Poetic Designs (more here) from wherever it was hiding in his room.

And those cookies? Those are some cookies I baked. Peanut butter for those not allergic.

I'm sure some of you are thinking That's a mighty purdy photo you have there. I agree and if you want to print off the photo, blow it up poster size perhaps, you'll be happy to know clicking on the photo will reveal its true proportions. With a file size that large there'll be no stopping your graphic pursuits. Also, I think Fascinator (new roomy has a nickname now - it's a hat thing) was more than pleased to witness this photo shoot. It's always good to see a true professional at work.

Bah, poetry. I'm not totally convinced by yesterday's sonnet. Like I said, it might be an okay first try but I feel like a lot of it was a might choppy. I'm hoping the lent book will lay some solid meter on me. Let me know what the deal is.

Also, there's a reason people like to write sonnets about big notions like love. If you're writing a structured poem, having a topic that can draw from all sorts of places within the language can only make said poem easier. Discussing the business of essay writing on university campuses, however, leaves the vocabulary at hand a bit more limiting. Then to try explain a business scam wherein individual wealth is achieved while minimal labour is expended and all this is further tied to contemporary notions of capitalism and investment that both pervade and possibly cripple our economy and society...well, writing that sonnet can be tough.

Today was meant to be a villanelle. I did not, however write a villanelle. That might come tomorrow.

One of the reasons I wanted to do this poetry exercise was to add some structure to my life. Given my current employment situation I wanted to make sure I wasn't losing days to mindless pursuits. So far, on the structure front, it's a great big failure. Sure I'm doing a poem everyday, but I'm also lying in bed, awake until 4 in the morning. I'm not lying there writing poetry, I'm just lying there letting my brain spin down and that takes a while.

Last night I eventually decided to turn on some TV instead of waiting for sleep and watched some infomercials. That's where today's work comes from! Sometimes if you just open your ears, the world writes poems for you. Sort of, I mean it's from more than one commercial.

Waking Dreams

I can't hear you John. My obliques are screaming too loud
is a strange thing to shout in a room full of people.

I'm not pregnant folks, I'm juicing!
should clear up all that confusion.

That's the great thing about the Flavorwave Mr. T
is a closing line no matter where it falls in the conversation.

My digital emulsification system uses
centrifugal friction to heat foods naturally.

easy payments of is the new morpheme
4 and $29.95 nothing but a couple of affixes.

x ePo y = x x y ∴ ePo = x
and we all know the x stands for multiplication.

If I decimate these chunks of solid concrete
does the unprecedented 100 year warranty still apply?

Jack Lallane is threatening to divulge celebrity juicing tips
and has a lifetime motor guarantee we need to take seriously.

It sounds like a miracle, but it's science.

Self commentary: I like this one.


7 days - 7 poems - Day 4

Before I even begin, how about that blue? The one on the left. Has it changed recently? I dunno. It's been so long since I've bought 2% (and I didn't buy this, just found it in the fridge) but when I saw it the blue felt darker and richer than I remember it. I need to get some 1% and homo milk. I'm pretty sure 1% is stripy and homo is a nice red. Oh! And maybe some chocolate brown too. I need to get them, not to drink or anything, just for a photo shoot.

If I have any extra "milk" money (HAHAHAHA!) lying around, that's what I'll do.

But you are here for the poetry, right?

A thought on yesterday's haiku. Here's a brief one I wrote today:

Spring in the air,
on the ground my feet

It has something to do with nature! But I am still not clear on a lot of what's going on. By dropping the more strict 5-7-5 structure are there any really big defining characteristics that separate an English haiku from a three line bit of free verse about nature? I don't know. And I guess it doesn't really matter. If I want a structured haiku about nature that I want to call a haiku, I can do that. If I have a less structured poem about a plastic hat I found on a bus and I want to call it a haiku, well I guess I can do that too. Until poetocracy emerges as a form of government I should be reasonably safe.

On the bus of dis-
contented fury
the plastic hat screams.

Haiku! See...no one has touched me.

Okay. Today we have a sonnet.

The model I followed was the Shakespearean one, which has a rhyming structure that is meant to go: a-b-a-b c-d-c-d e-f-e-f g-g.

So far so good.

It is also, however, meant to include an iambic pentameter. Now, for the uninitiated, as I kinda was until yesterday, this is an unemphasized syllable followed by an emphasized one, then that unit is repeated five times per line. Ten syllables with an undulating cadence, one (me) might say.

I'm still not totally clear on what that means though. I read the example Shakespearean sonnet provided and when I listen intently for those emphases as I read, everything sounds kind of batty. And when I look for them in my poem, well then stuff really starts falling off walls. But I am fairly close to ten syllables per line, so I have that (to my understanding a little variance from ten isn't the end of the world).

One last thing before the big show; there is a reason people like free verse. It is soooooo much easier. Not that it is easy, mind you, but without structure to concern you it's basically all about the words.

Working on the haiku et al. yesterday was fun. Making lines work based on the light and easy structure of 5-7-5, or whatever, is basically a word puzzle. Once you get your meaning across in the allowable pattern you feel clever. Today's work, while having similar puzzling moments, added more difficultly through the increased complexity of rhyming and structure. And now that I am wondering whether or not my pentameter succeeded, the notion of sonnet writing (or being a sonneteer!) seems a much more daunting proposition.

Free verse is great and provides some fabulous poetry, but much props are to be given to the structured poets of yore (and today).

In the meantime, I won't be too hard on myself over iambic anything until someone who really knows their poetry can tell me what it's meant to look and sound like. Maybe (MAYBE!) I got it perfect on my first try?

The essay writing business

My dear tattered sheet of paper and tape
Cling fast upon your cold, grey campus pole.
Offer essays of ease, experts who shape
Words onto paper and then honour roll.

I'm not in school and don't need 'ssistance,
Instead there's a thought of skulduggerous work:
The assignment 'rrives, a thesis on France
I don't know Gaul, therefore search out some jerk.

Play person off person, shift papers 'round,
It's all 'bout shuffling the trail out of sight,
Write not a thing, while your bosses, astound!
And remember to pay less cash than you swipe.

A nice tidy plan to make some money.
Drops in the bucket, what's one more Ponzi?

Okay! I guess that's okay for a first try. The first quatrain is the best I feel. The example on Wikipedia also seems to have each quatrain as a more thorough whole without distinct sentences, so that might have helped make for a smoother read.

The need for dual rhyming in each quatrain makes the writing experience interesting. You write the first line constrained only by what overall message the poem is meant to have, then the second, third and fourth lines are a bit up in the air. You have to consider rhyming possibilities for all three lines simultaneously as well as the message arc. It's all about jotting and crossing out (at least it was for me).

Sonnet, out!


bonus poems!!!!!!!!

Here is another sedōka. Can you tell the word 'articulate' was obsessing me today? Also, I don't actually know anyone named Lori these days. And if some Lori I've forgotten or don't know is reading this, we need to hang out more.

Drop me a line!

I used to think that
it would be a real pleasure
to articulate Lori.
One day, though, the sun
whispered a reminder. She's
not articulatable.
And this is a poem/transcription of how I heard the dialogue between two ladies outside the beer store. One was getting into her car and the other likely did not have a car. Also, dialogue spelled like 'dialog' looks gross.

Guess which speaker owns the car

See no evil.
Hear no evil.
Speak no evil.
I'm just kidding, Happy New Year!

7 days - 7 poems - Day 3

So I figured why not get the haiku stuff out of the way today. I might have saved them for an emergency later in the week, but what's poetry about if not living on the edge?

Below I have some haiku and various forms of waka. Waka just means 'Japanese poetry'. I'll label the different forms and if anyone is interested the above links can give more details.

I wrote all these in the laundromat just now and by the end all my thoughts were being divided into syllable compartments. That has now stopped.

Also, although I vaguely recalled nature needs some role in a proper haiku I assumed the 5-7-5 pattern was pretty standard and mandatory. It is not. Just like so much else in poetry there has been a lot of changes in the past few decades. Syllables, structure, etc. Read about it to your heart's content here.

I didn't realize that though, so I've followed the 5-7-5 form and whatever other structures seemed standard. Also, I've said whatever the heck I want below. Nature be damned!

Although...I might take advantage of that loophole, research haiku more closely and come back later in the week with some gang-buster, nature stuff.


I wanted to use
'articulated lorry'
in a haiku. Done!
Tanka ('short poem')

I could have gotten
away with one of these poems
for today, but that
seems to go against, if not
the letter, then the spirit.
Chōka ('long poem')

The danger with these
forms of poetry is that
the syllable game
takes precedence and I miss
for creative bull-kaka.
(Note the lack of swears here mum.)
Sedōka ('whirling head poem')

In space, no one can
hear you scream. In Hawaii,
the word aloha means both
hello and goodbye.
The former from a poster.
The latter from Inessa.
Katauta ('poem fragment')

You think this is half
a sedōka? Speak to the
Japanese man with the sword.
Bussokusekika (something to do with the silhouette of the Buddha's feet)

I want to find the
best five syllable first line,
secret it away,
then reveal its existence
once I am Prime Minister.
That'll surprise everyone.
And more haiku...

Hey you! Sean Chambers.
This is me declaring a
haiku war. Go time!

If a t-shirt makes
friends with jeans in the dryer
it stays wet longer.

(p.s. - I'm going to post two more poems in a bonus post, but I'm saying this here in case people only visit this page and don't go to the main blog)


7 days - 7 poems - Day 2

Do I need to preface these? This poem rhymes!

Preface complete.
Flying by Train

It's just another train ride
From point A to point B
People sit. Look straight ahead
'Til a child's glee
Breaks the staid and silent glide
And reworks space as she

Finds the conversation
'Tween mom and dad too dull
What with a pole of shiny silver
To draw attention from the crawl

It holds her nose and bright brown eyes
In its smooth, curved face
But as the train bursts from the tunnel
She senses another place

Light pouring through the sudden window
says, Struggle from your chair!
To see the girding black steel and rivets
That hold us in the air

Deep into the valley
She stares with amused intent
Considering the gap
Don River and train have rent

The squealing silver worm we ride
A dual-environment creature
Not just below but high above
The Flying Subway Show's main feature

Upon travelling Viaduct
From one end to another
Re-entering a dark soil hole
Ends the mood of hover

And with the ink the window stops
A mirror now instead
But from the cherub, now seen as two
Nary a sense of dread

Ignoring for the moment
The world's changed disguise
She chooses instead to smile
Into her own all-knowing eyes

Tell me your thoughts (I like all kinds). Also, feel free to throw out requests or suggestions. This can be a subject (tomorrow's ideas include a game of streetcar tag and...a three line cop out) or a style of poetry. Challenge me, but also make sure you explain the style's structure or point me towards something that can. Keen!

7 days - 7 poems - Day 1

This was a stupid idea. I'm tired and just want to go to bed. Blah.


I had this great idea the other day, or last night while lying in bed and contemplating my inability to wake up pre 10am (see, I miss work for some things). My great idea is to write a poem every day this week. I guess I'm starting right now.

I could push it back to tomorrow but that defeats the purpose of doing one every day. And although this will emerge after midnight on Sunday (ie it is now Monday) it still counts as Sunday's poem. And for those who like rules...I can't use something I started writing before today but any ideas or lines I have from today on are good for the week.

I hope and WANT any and all who read this to comment on it. This exercise is tripartite (it has three parts)
1 - get me writing
2 - get me publishing (to whatever degree) so I'm not so wishy washy about getting things perfect and precious before they appear
3 - improve my writing.

For the third part I need constructive criticism. So tell me what you think, in any venue you feel comfortable (comments email, phone, face etc.). And for those who feel they know nothing about poetry, me neither! Except I know I like some things and I think some other things are dumb. Focus on that and you can't go wrong.

This first poem is about what we see in this blurry, cell-phone taken, picture.
Looks like blood to me!

Dear Pigeon

Dear pigeon,
It's been cold the last few days
and left to your own devices
you flew indoors and underground
and down
and down
to tunnel town.
Good plan.
Poor execution.
Now you're just a smear.
You were a criminal,
from society less genteel than mine.
Convicted by a jury of his peers
he will fly west
into the east-
to Kennedy and deserved damnation.
Good execution, or
at least a success.
Now you're just a smear.
Dear pigeons,
How do you decide
which crimes
deserve a train's reward?
Which blurs of grey
are wiped away?
We pigeons convene here today
tasked with a sacred duty.
Capital punishment is tough.
Do you just let the cold decide
who lives and who died?



There's not much going on, so there's not much to write about.

The new roomy has arrived for the month of January whilst D-Hammer and Annie are in Hawaii. She (Katie) seems to be settling in, or at least hasn't complained yet.

Last night I made my first giant batch of curry (red lentil coconut variety from Simply in Season) of the season and had a some peeps over for noshing. I hadn't had the most productive day, trapped reading too many too long articles from Vanity Fair and Harper's...oh shit. I just opened a bunch more articles. Heh. Unemployment!

Err, where was I. Oh yes. Because I had spent too much time reading interesting articles I hadn't gone to the grocery store for the ingredients to what I had intended to be some personal curry, which in turn meant I wasn't going to be able to make The Hurt Locker showing at 4:15. You can see what kinds of dilemmas I find myself in. Anyway, in a bit of a grump I decided to skip the film and on my way to groceries I realized I like people, so I sent out a casual word to a few (sorry if you weren't one of them) inviting them to dinner. After scurrying to the store and back, and cook-cook-cooking up a storm everything was ready for people to arrive. Which they did, a few minutes later than anticipated.

Perfect? They yeahs have it.

Long story short, lots of curry (enjoyed by all and sundry) with lots left over for later dates and times.

So I did have a few things to say.

What else? (I like to pretend this is a blog blog blog, where there are strangers reading it. People who I don't talk to on a regular basis who actually need all the minutiae of my life lest they feel lost.)

I'm working on some stuff. A short story has been submitted to Broken Pencil's Indie Writers' Deathmatch. Unfortunately, after frantically typing and editing New Year's Eve to get it in before the deadline the sons of guns extended said deadline for more than a week. Maybe that means there aren't many entrants and I'll win for sure! It's happened before.

Hopefully more to follow on that front.

And I'm writing some other stuff. The poem I'm working on now partly inspired by all the L. Cohen I'm reading.

Here's another bit of his genius. Believe it or not this post was only going to be this poem but then it grew and grew.

Believe it!

The Flood

The flood it is gathering
Soon it will move
Across every valley
Against every roof
The body will drown
And the soul will break loose
I write all this down
But I don't have the proof

As true now as when it was written, apparently in the Sinai in 1973. I really wish I'd spent more time writing poetry when I was travelling. Oh well, next time!


road trip (an interpretation of Toon)

Ugh, so nice to get out of the city once in a while. Rolling north with JL.
I sometimes forget how lovely it is to go country driving. Pretty!
Christmas in Owen Sound. Everyone likes that stuff and I was just grateful I didn't have to take the bus. Door to door delivery and witty banter the whole way. What a treat!

This guy was following us. Not pleased.
Do you get it?
In this picture I'm looking to the left. And in the other one, the right. I call it acting.

Look how far we've come, and yet there is so far still to go. Still, hills are pretty great. You can see farther than normal when you're at the top. FYI.
Oh man, what a great life. This guy really loves Grey County.
As he should. And why not? What with wind farms!!!!!!!!
So windy up in those parts. Highest elevation in Southern Ontario don't cha know? Oh, you didn't? Well it is. Somewhere around there, I'm not sure of the exact spot. The exact spot, wherever it is, apparently has an elevation of 541 meters. Boy howdee! And that's why there's so much wind.

Here's a car we followed for a while.
Good times.

I don't normally write this kind of blog post. It's really hard. I guess I should have taken more pictures of my face? Maybe not.

Driving home was nice too.

It's always a pleasure when the light is playing tricks. We had some great weather, driving through some nice little flurries, then having the sun peak out from beneath the cloud's edge.

Nothing like big sky country (or Ontario's attempt at said country).

The Skyview Motel sure did pick the right name. And they have wakeup calls!!!

Honeymoon suite? If not, room 14 will do just fine and I'll fart in the bath. Nothing's too good for my lady!

But seriously folks. Aren't wind farms great? I haven't lived beside one, so I can't speak to noise pollution or bird deaths, but look at them.
Walking across the fields like mythical giants. Spinning, green-energy producing, mythical giants.So tasty.
I'm just happy they were all looking the other way.

Yeah. So Happy New Year! Or in the words of Daydream. "Happy New Year. [period]"

I hope you all had a blast. I know I did. I hope everyone felt good today. I know I did. I hope everyone watched Wall-E (finally). I know I did. I should stop. I know I did.

On an unrelated note I was handling a bag of frozen crab from my freezer and now my fingers smell funny.

But where's the bird Leonard? Where is the bird?