Adam's Beanstalk

A daily adventure-bag of insights and old bones from an unknown poet in Manitoba's south. Caveat: Not everything is to be taken literally. Things are often shaded with poetic crayons; be the owl. Also, not all these bones are collected from different fields. Find themes that run througout each post and the journal as a whole; the most insignificant event may be part of an ear.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Upon the Bed of Fresh Salad

Well, this is the last of you, fat January. You have been a good father this year, and shall get more than coal when the real father returns. It is a good day to give out keys, to allow new friends into old places. Welcome, new. You are my Assistant Editor and we shall work well together. Yesterday a woman came to me in this same room, locked out of the study hall beside. Went to the bathroom and locked her coat, her purse, her test. She told me her whole story; I could have asked her anything, but yesterday I did not have a key. For you there is a key, but of course there is also a twenty-five dollar deposit.

The Daily Bread Cafe. Saw Rob from creative writing and sat down to chat. Ordered the chicken fingers on garden salad. The chef wanted to know who had done my surgery. An odd thing to ask when preparing a salad. He said he had been in a car crash and had to have major facial reconstructive surgery and he knew this surgeon, great guy. Chicken fingers were moist, and the dill dip was great, like a dog in heat. Salad was a little dry.

Back in the St. John’s faculty lounge, we are treated to a class with Meira Cook, another fabulous Winnipeg poet. We each have prepared a presentation on metaphors and draw forth the distinction of the dead and the extended, and some talk about metonymy. And Erin brings up incarnation. And Meira’s sweet, South African/British voice reading the words of Robert Kroetsch:

A dark as dark as a dark.
A moon as moon as a moon.
My lust doth rage in this
of mine old body.

And there is time for one, and there are times for two, but in these times there is no metaphor; there is only flesh.

Below the Great Toad

Rather than..
eke out a living as the head architect of God
I sit in gentle bars on Monday night
wondering how long the Toad has been sucking
Fort Garry dark
from a bong-like tap
on a schoolmaster’s chalkboard.
Or how a Black Mam[b]a
could fail to notice
the KISS-like changeling
stroking her hair.
This is philosophy.
We talk of breakfast at night
and France-French
and something funny is said about

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Death & Subsequent Resurrection of Simon Peter

You are an owl in that tree--don’t tell, don’t tell me what to do! Stupid owl, humans have shotguns. But owls make better listeners than wall-mounts. Okay, I’ll tell you what happened on the weekend in owl-language, so that only you may understand. We humans can pick up meaning here or there, but have little idea of what is really going on in owl language. Perhaps with diligence and a well-experienced ear we will learn to pick up on these things; we will learn to judge what is true and what is fancy. But tell you a story I said I would! Ergo:

Ern Friday Nacht--Children, the wild children, running around. Wrestle? Yes. Blood? A bit. Our people call them yooth. I hear a story of a man who said ‘I’ a thousand times and choked on his own words. Non. A better story, which I hadn’t heard. 2 ducks, 1 frog. Pond dries. ‘Hang onto the stick little froggy, yup, with your froggy gums, while we lift you to safety!’ Farmer sees 2 ducks flying by with stick and frog, says ‘Who came’er up widdis bootiful idear?’, whereas the froog replies ‘I!’
And one child is sad, for his friend Simon Peter has fallen from the sky.

Ohh Der Saturdas--Vurld is a nice place, and safe. I wrack brain making b/s for college & career. I find a story of the fierce lion and a stream from ‘The Silver Chair’ and talk about this (even wear my tiger shirt accidentally). Criers during the black plague, criers and the healers, called ‘those who take a risk’. Go to Lindsay’s and play pool--show the world how to ‘bank heist‘. But the most striking is the story of Legion. Legion lived in the tombs and could not be shackled by any man. A miserable, rotting, ferocious ogre. Not a lion, but strong as well. But the Man comes and makes his demons flea into the nearby hillside of pigs.

Inn Eats und Soundae--And I do this in church. Nick comes up to me and asks me to make nine tapes of her funeral. She died last Wednesday. We don’t know why. There was a bit of blood. The blue ink was filling her mind. She stood up in church the week before and said she was going to meet the priest. On Thursday. Our kind doesn't talk to priests. We think that we are priests (demons begone!). There were others, others whose patience was wearing thin. What were the shackles? She gave the boy a Bible and asked if he was from Hong Kong. No. Canada. Hearing about the God again brings back memories of the dead. The boy writes a letter, ‘To Simon Peter, From Your Lover.’ As if the pain could only be expressed in the form of a man longing for an estranged woman. Is it only some cruel arrow shot by the Trickster’s bow that passes through a dozen hearts? Is S.P. only the juice of a mind that is free to roam where it wants, picking up images from Galilee to Health class? How far could one really go to plan a funeral for an imaginary friend?

The boy gets another letter. ‘Simon Peter has returned from L.A.’

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Twelve meet in a small room (with the Russian critics)

And what did I do today? Did I not start off the morning with a bowl of lovely corn square cereal while reading the Farmer's Almanac in the most comfy chair in the world? Yes, the one you were sitting in the other day. And O, what fantastic research than sprang forth on New Criticism and Structuralism and even Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin. (Yes, yes, you are good friends with him, I know). Were you there when I played guitar this afternoon? My fingernails are getting long which means one hand plays guitar better while the other plays worse. I played a game of chess. Russians like chess, no? I realised that sometimes I do not take the time I should to plan my moves. Objectives! I forget to set smaller goals, and then I lose. I should be fed to the big dogs! We had house church in the evening. You may have been there. What an incredible atmosphere of a dozen people singing in a small room! Last year it would have seemed inconceivable. The pasta was amazing-the food always is. Why did I have so much coffee? Tell me, Rabelais! I will be up all night, and then I will hear them--the ghosts in the other rooms, who wail in the deepest hole of night. I see them-a poets mind is too quick, you know. Imagination for him is like the dog unleashed with meat in all directions. Maybe I am no different-maybe we all can hear, maybe we can all imagine.

Two rats on the banks of the Thames

Perfect Pitch Paul came up to the office eagerly expecting a fresh batch of Rachel’s chocolates. He visibly fluttered in anticipation. Rachel’s erudite expression, like that of a great statue of Xerxes, did not waver as she related the news to the bursting chrysalis at the door: the order wasn’t made yet. The wings stopped as Paul alighted on the leaf of reality. But Rachel had a solution--imported chocolate from California. 5 Spices! Paul took a bite and started naming them: ginger, parsley, cinnamon... Could his mouth break down such substances into their simplest elements? What-How? Of which enzymes?! I stood in the kitchen, with the roommate out for supper. Do...cha, cha...I hear...cha,cha...a festival?...Mexican? I fried up the last of the empanadas, just right, in a bed of fresh rice, and washed it down with a sultry vegetable cocktail. Voila! But why should you care what I eat? I tell you why... cooking is a river that has run for a thousand years. Would you not care if I sent you a postcard from the banks of the Thames? The act of cooking connects one to an art as old as mankind has had an appetite-yet still there are new variations to be found! James Beard, an American chef said “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” And I believe that all timeless and universal activities allow us to draw closer to a timeless creator. And all the people say “God is at the bottom of the frying pan”. Goodnight.

Of hay & way

“Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way”

The words come through tinny on the small speakers, but Dylan Thomas’ voice is unmistakable. His deep lazy growl is a tiger after a meal, warming his belly in the sun. I heard a short winter story of his on the CBC on Christmas Eve, while I, still in my stockings, was waking up from a long winter’s nap. Dylan Thomas was a troublemaker. Travis and I were grocery shopping today. You should see the Spartan apples; the honey ham! At the checkout an elderly woman, a hired help, asked us if we needed assistance carrying the bags. We politely declined, saying (in a somewhat more tactful way) that we should be the one carrying her bags. This was followed by Travis looking over his receipts and noticing that he hadn’t signed for his credit card payment. He informed the cashier of this, to which she inwardly rejoiced with the blowing of heart trumpets. The elderly woman said “It’s nice to see that there are such respectable gentlemen nowadays.” And for a short time we were all brought back to the nativity scene, where, though the cattle lowed in the background, the glory of the child burned brightly in the manger full of hay.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Green Lights in the Cafe at the End of the Dock

Rabelais! Rabelais! Come, I've saved the best chair for you. Would you take tea? With milk! You are a queer fellow. Let me tell you of things of yesterday. It got off to a right slow start. I fed the chickens and milked the cow-yes!-and I gave a flower to the girl by the mill! Did I tell you I was living in the city now? Oh, yes, of course--you are sitting in my house! Heavens, the mind slips some times. Do you know that after this I read a few chapters of Johnson's "Rasselas"? Fantastic times--while eating soup and cheese crackers, you know. Yet I am a slow reader. Dear me. In the afternoon I processed some pictures of a rustic well that bubbled green water. We found it during the winter break, while we were down in South Dakota. The water was warm, but I was afraid of crayfish when picking small rocks. Crayfish! And then I got rassled up with chess, though it was time to go to an Arts council meeting, and I had to look at the variations of the Ruy Lopez opening, but this made me late for the opening of the meeting! And because I had a class shortly thereafter, I had to leave after but two presentations/pleas for funding. And because I didn't rudely leave in the middle of the last presentation I was late for my one and only class of the day, with a guest lecturer/poet Dennis Cooley (check out his work online)! So late I arrive and take a seat in the cozy St. John's faculty lounge. I say it is even more comfortable than the chair you are in. More milk? One second.
So we chatted and wrote on the topic of metaphor, quite good, all in all. Let me share some of my potential moon metaphors (which I will phrase in similie form for easy reading).
The moon is...
...a castonet
...a horse on a carosel
...hole #14
...a lost ring
...a forgotten word
...a water mill's wheel
...a footbag
...a ballet dancer
There you go, take a few of those and add them to your tea! Well, after the class was over, Cooley and three of us went out to Boston Pizza where I ordered the Smokey Mountain Spaghetti (or something like that). It was the biggest plate of spaghetti I have ever seen. So we talked on about poetry and sometimes hockey, and here and there the results of Monday's election, while the green night slowly enveloped us, and we were back in our beds, asleep.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Waygo, Waygo, Waygo to the Beango

In a new bubble underneath a world of cloud life is born. In the days before a small green thorn tumbled through space, gathering a coat of flames as it entered the atmosphere of this old Gravity. In time less the tearing of an eye the smouldering seed reached the heart of this bleak world where it found the One bubble. Was this bubble the source of the gravity? Was it the all-attracting force? The thorn dove into the bubble's film; now a writhing salamander within a crystal cocoon.
--A sprout takes form within the circle that lifts and shakes and eventually pokes its beak through. A beanstalk from a bubble in a world of cloud--what heights will it reach?