runran signature

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The signatures are from the 1970′s, in a large notebook where I wrote poems and lyrics, called ‘ravenznest’

I also have a notebook from that time where I noted my days with blurbs and poems. It was given to me by my ex-wife Karen and is from her workplace ( A RECORDS book, Federal Supply Service, 7530-00-222-3525 – will this get me spidered by the folks at NSA?).

Back then and for several years afterward I signed written work with a small r followed by a period (dot). My friend John Hayes got to calling me ‘rdot’, a form of endearment. Decades later: the above piece of asemic writing is dedicated to John.

write something you understand
it’s all you ever asked of me
enough of dense abstractions
no packed metaphors in view

I learned very early on
that this road skirts failure
that nothing is ever finished
we are mixed with the rest

a multiplication of bones
in less than a handshake
memory pressed on a grater
a mound of shredded tales

our calm and windy years past
remember the Czech artist
with hourglass and blackboard
his chalk marks lasted longer

In the documentary about poets
I notice the pillow on your lap

I know pillows from my affliction
the comfort of something soft

We share that pillow of comfort
across this vast distance

My pillowcase is also the colour red
the colour of blood exposed to air

We share a compromised atmosphere
it circles round our torn world

for Hala Mohammad

raise your hand
read a poem, WTF?

normally this happens
you’re not alone

possible Notice: sorry
an elaborate hoax

flummoxed by language
pissed off, tuned

things glance back
convinced you’re crazy

meaning on a plate
that sudden instant

“Aha, I get it!”
expect strange things

fascinated deep inside
cravings construct meaning

meaning is wonder
it gets weirder: tilt

unresolved thoughts, absurd
slippery identities available

meaning happens to be on hand
this makes me think, abandon

shapeshifts thrill me
poetry is perverse

meaning exists so words
can enjoy themselves

join in the festivities
quickly as possible

in the end, biologically
language is caloric content

skillfully prepared textures
for lovers of poetry

pleasures open up
silkiness, chewiness

words you’ve never heard before
ingredients dense and rich

consumed in small bits
addictive, another comfort

fresh and inventive
language is capable

A small man, grey hair like wire, red baseball cap, is wheeled into the hospital room. He is dressed by half in bedclothes, as if ready for a lazy day of sports television. He is lifted into the bed next to mine. A nurse attempts a proper intake.
So, what brought you here, she asks.
You. He pauses, then: Where’s my steak?
Still attached to the cow, she answers.
Huh, he says. Did you say go fuck a cow?
Do you like to be called Robert or Bob?
What is your name?
Where do you live, Dan.
The hospital.

Baba's Box

Baba’s Box: cloth-lined drawer from my grandmother’s travel trunk, rope, beeswax, rusted metal, burnt linen, manipulated/etched photographic print, tassles from iconostasis, cloth flowers gathered from cemeteries, cut-tin angel, star made from sardine tin, portion of a Christmas calendar, small granite rock, Christ medallion, red ribbon, spring.

Boat in a Box

Boat in a Box: wooden box donated by my neighbour Bruce Nielsen, model wooden ship, beach stones, washed glass, candles, boat deck paint, water, beach debris.

Lizard Memory Box

Lizard Memory Box:. wooden box donated by my neighbour Bruce Nielsen, cast iron lizard fashioned by my partner, JoAnn Adams. Click here to open box. Found objects listed at Lizard Memory Box – inside.

Lizard Memory Box - open

Lizard Memory Box: [ open ] wooden box donated by my neighbour Bruce Nielsen, cast iron lizard fashioned by my partner, JoAnn Adams. Found objects listed at Lizard Memory Box – inside.

Lizard Memory Box - inside

Lizard Memory Box: [ inside ] wooden box donated by my neighbour Bruce Nielsen, dried flowers and Japanese Lanterns, block of wood [ burnt ], cut aluminum flower, dryer lint, cobwebs, torn beehive, portion of vintage garage calendar, cloth flowers gathered from cemteries.

Mary in a Box

Mary in a Box:. wooden box donated by my neighbour Bruce Nielsen, plaster Marion figure, lid from brass teapot, seaweed, algae and jellyfish, nylon screen, portion of silver tea service, candles [ copper holders fashioned by my partner JoAnn Adams ], beaver fur.

Marriage in a Box

Marriage in a Box: handmade mahogany box, portions of vintage garage calendar, cut photographic prints, cloth flowers from cemeteries, cracked mirror.

Cow Memory

Cow Memory: plyboard, frame of metal cross [ Orthodox ], cloth flowers from cemeteries, charcoal, beeswax, cow bones, newspaper, cow hide, teeth, and bones.

Beaver Memory

Beaver Memory: plyboard, metal parts from combine, vinyl tablecloth, ‘drab’ wallpaper, wooden grave marker, beaver pelt, cut tin flower.

Lone Rock, Cut Knife, Unity, towns with signposts

abandoned houses, settlements, churches, places with no sign

my memorybank sidetracks down blue highways, gravel roads, dirt trails

i remember hallowed grounds back-filled with a generation’s best and broken dreams

i am a merchant who every fall follows the old prairie routes –

as rootless as these farmers are rooted – curious, not satisfied for long

i resemble a certain great-grandfather, a Métis horse trader

despite the lure of comfort, my best dream is of a warm tailwind

shadows fade into the grey landscape, a hint of light hangs over the far horizon

blood smeared across the highway reminds me to watch for wildlife

I submit these few words because my present research is complete, though I am not entirely certain when this decision was made? It may have been when reading the headline: Spanish Boy Compensated For Being Born? Or maybe it was the article about Pinochet’s Caravan of Death? Lord only knows. Other headlines declared that Truth Is Optional and Doubts Linger Over Brutality. Imagine that. On a lighter note, I read Police Sweep City and tried to visualize that instead. Ha. Now I remember! It was the headline Destroying The Land For Amusement that did it. What a romantic, eh?