Friday, 19 July 2013


there's a marker in a grave yard
a ghost - haunting me

G. J. (Jim) LaMarche
1925 - 2002

it's a flat stone in a back corner where other lost souls rest in peace
in Woodslee Ontario, where dad lived in his last five years on this earth
it's about the size of an internet banner ad that flashes
flash shit on the screen - pulling you in, and yet
leaving you feeling - empty after

a few seconds - in a life 
still here

let's just say that there's a whole new level

of appreciation going on here

this is a story about my dad
who i miss and still appreciate - on a primal level
he's what i had to work with - and i made the best of it

because - that's just what you do 
he was a fragmented father figure and i loved him
still do


i found his ashes in 2005, after some soul searching, going there
asking questions - his previous landlord whom he had left his modest nest-egg to
i hadn't seen him in years - but just before mom died in 2004 - she told us to find him
and so - i did (better late than never)

the dust settling on a hot July afternoon there in 2005, exercising discomfort
finding him 6 feet under - nothing but a photo-album
most of the pictures missing - pulled out
but a few remaining

g h o s t


 G.J. (Jim) LaMarche

i had visited him there, first in Belle River, then Windsor
and then in Woodslee, where he lived in a tiny apartment
in an older building on the main intersection
of a town where tumbleweeds roll

where there was always
an underfed dog just
hanging around

in a swarm
of flys

i was always really uncomfortable there

like we were supposed to interact a certain way
in some sort of scenerio
devised by division

in doggy-doo 

circumcised by

choreographed in derision

slow torture


mom finally left dad in 1966 in Woodstock and took us 
(my younger brother David and I) with her
it was a brutal relationship
he was absent

and when he was around
he was miserable

she got really sick (almost died then - cancer/surgery) 

and he took us and moved us away from her - way south
with a woman we didn't know - an old girlfriend in a bad marriage

an "affair" he had previously
years earlier - whatever

"Ag (Agnes) is your new mom now"
what??  no way!  ok ... wow
getting a say in that

we were stripped of any contact with mom, who found us
bringing us back - abandoning him/her 6 years later

dad's story - we had no choice

i mean - there was a time after leaving Woodstock
when we didn't even know if she was alive or not
all part of the plan 

years pass 

Agnes is history
dumped her into the garbage just after we left
used and abused - all too

years pass

Woodslee Ontario is one of those places 

where those who don't know where to go - go
because it's on the map and has a convenience store within walking distance
all the essentials - a gas station which is also a tavern and local watering hole


it's a mutt-dive but multi-tasking as a "muff-dive"
ok a "re-fill" station on a number of levels
attracting regulars at the crack of noon 
the same handful of guys every day

arriving at the same vacuous time
like clockwork - for a couple
of beers and a story
about something
gone wrong

no real pleasure and yet no pain either
that's - the deal-maker - the perfect get-away
(and all very affordable) 

it's all in the plan

there's even a church, town ID signs 
and a grave yard, just on the outskirts of town
a 5 minute walk away
all about 5km south of Belle River - his previous romp
drifting there in default - even further away
no phone, no mailbox even

remote recording


this is an open letter to you dad

years later - what i've realized now that i didn't get then
because i was pre-occupied and distracted

just like you were

you loved the water
it was in your blood and carried forward
raised in a poor religious home in Woodstock Ontario
growing up in the great depression and leaving early
because your father beat you

"belt strappings - buckle in"  
as you constantly reminded us as kids - scared of our own shadows

needing to get out

joining the army because it was the thing to do
making a place for yourself in a world of warnings and woe
returning home with a new-found sense of independence
only it wasn't yours - it was borrowed - stolen

not yours to take

now with 2 really sad, alienated kids
who have no idea what the fuck

is going on

when we arrived in Stoney Point

you had lost all direction in life - having depended on a woman
who you abused emotionally after marrying her - because you had no idea
what was going on - other than the fact that you were alive
and following your nose to the next sweet'n sour smell
and then the next

collecting store sale flyers

and driving from store to store for the best deal
to save a buck

dragging your sons along because you needed them as collateral
a way to dignify your recalcitrant deportation 

it was something we lived inside for years - still do
without you

g h o s t

 finding inspiration in a fish we caught on Lake St Clair
in early spring - on a line we left out overnight
tied to a pole on the dock - all stuff we found
beach-combing - maybe a worm dug
out of the ground for bait

that carp giving a good fight
pulling it in with no rod, just line out
beaching the sucker

before killing it

then there were the rituals
all for show - following

the formula 


you sent us to sunday-school - why

religion was a curse - but marketable nonetheless
you hated it but played with it

because it was the right thing to do - only you didn't identify
never coming with us to church - all part of the plan to impress the courts
shared rides with neighbours and the perfect photo-op picture that you
took to impress the system - those who can sway a custody decision your way
and put that bitch away - for good

didn't work daddy

we got hurt - really hurt
you sir, are a trickster

a ghost

earlier on

your friends playing the game just like you did
in the early 60's when you were on a roll 

gratuitous golf touraments on a business tab
that fake fishing trip - with those who identified
with your pretend purpose - hanging on to something
that still means something - married and shit
all the baggage that qualified your existence as a 

normal man


finding her - marrying a woman
you didn't understand - but she's pretty
and she likes to fish - good cook and overall pretty good lay

knocking her up first - a no brainer
abortion not an option then
in 1956 - Sudbury

ok, mom's a spitfire

unlike most women at the time
because she expressed herself
especially if she didn't like something
coming with some self-realization
a consciousness

it's not something you planned on but surfacing over time  

just wishing she would roll over and shut up, late at night in bed
asking questions and not wanting
to answer them

always distractions


constant comparisons to what looks better
the suit you wear, the car you drive
how your woman behaves 

shit like that

"you can always tell a man by the car he drives"

an important lesson that i learned early on
back when i was still innocent
and not questioning

what he said
because - he's your dad
and he knows everything

success measured in the money you have

and how you present yourself
nothing else really matters

or does it



"it's all about snagging the snatch and grab"

it's like being in a bad Hollywood caper B movie
only the heist taking place in the present

the perfect package - a combination of corrections
incubated in an insular set of ideas
that have nothing to do
with what's real

always out to catch the big fish

and then show it off
to everyone

it's an ego thing

ok, strong egos "define" positive change - a sense of purpose 

it's a benevolence towards humanity - whereas
BIG egos seek power without thinking of others  

in mischievous malevolence

guess you missed that chapter in the book of life
didn't really need to read that one because
of it's irrelevance (don't need to know that)

ah northern ontario
my home


ok,  it's NOT really necessary to KNOW certain things

i mean - ok

you can get by - by skimming the surface 
fudging the facts - tripping the light - buffing the bishop
making the right impression - cracking the code

  creating a facade and all without having to do any of the real work

that my friend ... is how it's done

just wake up and smell the roses

i read it in a magazine advertisement
on a train to no-where when i was sleeping peacefully

in total denial

success - is just an illusion
and happiness is all about how you look 
in a world that is willfully ignorant
of what's really important

you can live in a shack
but being IN the loop
is showing up in a Cadillac


it's crazy


regardless of what has happened
i surrender - something i wish you could have done
let go of all the shit that entangles us
confusion … chaos

it's almost incestuous
like it's something that get's passed on without our knowing it
like it's something we're supposed to carry forward
because it's our "duty" to

g h o s t

 i can't do this anymore

i love you and i am clicking
the "unsubscribe button"

all said and done, i'm thinking
thinking that maybe - just maybe
it could have all been all

so different

real art is seeing/hearing
something new every time you
take it in 

something you never got
to appreciate because

no one showed it
to you

goodbye daddy


Saturday, 13 July 2013

moon river

there's a smell of urine - mixed with exhaust fumes

it was dad's favourite song

dead ahead, wafting through the chilly air
in downtown Toronto in November 1985, reaching for my Minolta
sensing magic but getting tragic instead

dime a dozen

(play the music clip bottom whilst reading)



shit, this guy is shivering, soaked in the freezing rain
desperately blowing what's left of his remaining warm expiration date
into a rusty old harmonica - sounding a lost and lonely SOS

in the form of a broken melody

through his crusty

m o o n   r i v e r

drifting into his chosen disturbia

the brain is rusty and 
i'm not sure if i'll
 ever get up

knees and feet are totally shot
but i'm lucid - translucent

it's a difficult translation in a torn ticket
that promises no return and no quarter
lost hopes and dreams that didn't make it
past a bittersweet remembrance

on the water long ago

when life was better - when love flourished

when family actually "mattered"

having grown up in northern ontario, working the railroad
dodging a WW2 draft after picking up loose coal on the tracks in Kapuskasing
during the great depression - moving to Timmins later on
working the tracks for CPR in the 50 below - winter wind

long before wireless/digital and the internet 
when dreaming was watching Grace Kelly on TV in black and white

and then going to the bar after/late to find one
that looked like her - pick and choose 
there - the lonely one at the end of the bar
perfect - missing daddy

dime a dozen
yep - believe it or not
i actually fucked a girl 
that looked just like her - yeah Grace

ok, i had my moment
my fifteen minutes 
of fame

"a union job that ended abruptly
after sucker punching my foreman 
in the face


but that was so long ago 
i really don't remember much
it was late and we were really drunk
at the time"


broken, moving on out of necessity

"so yeah, the drink infestation early on 

an absent abscess inbred inheritance
getting married too early, having a son - who i never see anymore
because he's far away now

a distant memory
hates me

gone forever

my childhood is an edited/censored
cheery chapter in deranged derailment
tucked away in a photo-album

 you see - ah ok

not my story, but his

dad beating mom
fuckin' bitch

all liquored up and on yet another rampage 

he smacked her around at home a lot
way up there in Moosonee as kids
the disease passed on to me

and my younger sister
marrying a man-child
who smacked her

it comes with the territory
you just adapt

she wants the trailer

take the fucking trailer

i'm separating from the first wife
finding another - at the Empire Hotel in Timmins  

in January 1974 at 1am - her shirt off
dancing on a table - cheering her on
those amazing 'tits' - wow
both inebriated and participating 

in a turn of events that transformed us
into a day-glow abortion

with yet more collateral damage"


"leaving the second wife after having 3 more kids
all girls - all having forgotten who their father was/is
finding me in this reincarnation, they call their abusive husbands now

i drifted south - into the city

needing to get out 
so much bullshit

something around "CNR is hiring there"  
but didn't pan out - just a false rumour
ok, maybe (just maybe) there was an interview 
where i showed up ...



finding some sense of peace
on these heated urban transit grates 

there's food around 
it's amazing how many people 
throw half-eaten BK "whoppers"
into the trash 

living on the streets in Toronto since - 10 years pass
wondering what went wrong - why this - why me"



the loose change pays for a big can 
of max ice at the beer store

lost but NOT forgotten
i'm still playing a family favourite here
in what's left
of this


m o o n   r i v e r

it's all in a languid lullaby to help you sleep
and there's even a

happy huckleberry ending 

sweet dreams my friend