story time


Out of my element tonight. Without my usual brand but with a mix of coloured bottles. Start with a Henry Weinhard’s Blue Boar Pale Ale. 

the boys were rolling off mt king edward
down schofield creek sliding over gumbo
raspberry devils club and birch trees
flying by the cockpit windows.

there was little george, rip and taylormade
swift was driving the 75 plymouth
gran fury station wagon.

green with brown vinyl wood paneling
chrome details hanging off
hub caps missing hood tied down
with a rope.

the perfect hunting vehicle
the carpet was torn out
with a blood stain in the back
from deer hunts gone past
little george said it was from
deflowering virgins.

The Pale Ale was pretty damn good, not a lot of skunk that usually defines these high end brews. To damn bad I only have one. Now I’m moving onto the Henry Weinhard’s Classic Dark Premium Lager. I’m sure this one will not be as accessible.

they hadn’t seen any deer
but shot their rifles anyway
they had been drinking beer
since morning and now it was
getting dark.

the old 75’s headlights were the shits
little george was pissed out of his head
and went to lay down in the back
bumping around with the spare
slurring and farting his way to dreamland.

the fury was all over the road
then a thump and bang
taylormade yelled we hit somethin
rip said it was a man swift hit the brakes
little george lurched in the back seat
started to snore
they were thirty miles from town.

three empty beer tins fell out when swift opened the door
they could see nothing it was fully dark
swift jumped back in backed up and shone the
shitty headlights into the ditch.

i see him
yelled rip
they scrambled tripping down the bank
the man turned out to be a big beige cougar
deader than a door nail.

a big bastard they wrestled the cat up the bank
and loaded him in beside little george
the cougars tongue was out
little george snored.

it was a relief they hadn’t killed anyone
swift was going to have him stuffed
they all cracked a fresh beer
and headed towards town.

The Classic Dark is gone. Tasted like burnt toast covered in molasses. But not bad. The stuff was made in Hood River, Oregon. Much more accessible than I thought it would be. I was told my poetry was the shits by a guy who introduced himself as a writer. Yes I said. He said proudly that it just ain’t accessible to everybody. Well, fuck him, I’m going to speed the drinking thing up and switch to whiskey.

they hit the outskirts
stopped at uncle ronnie’s roadhouse
where even squares can have a ball
parked out front little george was still snoring
taylormade thought he heard him growling.

they headed in drank 3 jugs
swift hit on the waitress to no effect
they wobbled back out to the plymouth
little george was still sleeping
but one problem
the cougar wasn’t dead anymore
it had shredded the seats
bits of foam were everywhere
the cat was wide eyed pacing
scratching at the virgin blood.

The whiskey tastes good and there’s no fear I’ll run out before this story is finished.

little george was snoring
foam moved around his nose on exhale
the cat was low ears back
and moved up on the drunken little george
it’s nuts hung on the side of his face
he was a big bastard.

i hope george doesn’t wake up said rip
in a fit of bravery swift swung the
gate and the cougar lept into the night
crossed the road from uncle ronnie’s neon
and disappeared into the bush.

it was a relief
the boys kept looking
into the darkened ditch
little george woke up
grabbed a rifle from the front seat
and shot a hole in the ceiling of
the 75 gran fury station wagon
swift, rip and taylormade hit the dirt
little george had foam in his hair
said he had a shit dream then
slurred what the fuck happened to
my upoholstery.

swift said we were going
to ask you the same
that last virgin must have been a real wildcat
a cougar even.

they piled in
swift drove
heading straight
towards town.

Victoria Day Weekend

RCE_9876smYear old mule deer.

May 24th weekend was always when we took our first swim in the lake. It seemed like it was always hot.

Maddy, Hunter and Bree came out for the weekend. It was wonderful to see them.

Now that our children are getting a ‘leg up’ they are able to come home more often, which pleases Lisa and I. Sometimes they talk about leaving the city and moving back to the valley. They cherish their upbringing and want to give the same to their children.

But it’s not that easy. There are no jobs here. The ones that are available pay minimum wage and last only a season.

Lisa and I have continued to live here by working lots of different jobs and plenty of hours. We have done just about everything to keep our heads above water.

The tourists arrived in force this weekend. We tried to stay close to home. Sirens went off all weekend. The roads get clogged and speed up. I was lucky to learn to drive when the roads were not as busy.

Willow’s hair is loosening. Soon she can be hand stripped.

RCE_9867Eying up the garden.

Some kids that have moved away call this the ghetto. I guess, because there is nothing here for them. And because it can be brutal. But, also beautiful.

The garden is in, tomatoes and all. Willow barks at everything unfamiliar, which is more on a long weekend. Our children hug us when they say goodbye. One day we will be a burden. They will take turns coming home to help out and see how we are doing. I hope, like my Mother and Father did, we can give them something in exchange.

As I get older, I see things change, but don’t think much about it because I hold onto my old ways. Before long it becomes undeniable. The world has changed but I haven’t.

It sounds like something not to be proud of, ’till you realize it’s what makes bullets bounce off your chest.

Tomorrow we will be a day behind.


late march


At loose ends these days. Took to the creek in the evening. Thought it would be good to be under the trees. Up the road someone had cut a big live fir. It landed across the road. They had taken the bulk of it and left the rest that had fallen to the other side. Too much work to tramp through the three feet of snow, probably.

You can tell a lot about people’s tracks. These were lazy people. They didn’t need the wood or they wouldn’t have cut a live tree. It will be a year before it can be burned. With all the dead wood it seems a shame to cut a live tree.


Why should I care. The province allows clearcutting of entire forests. Places I used to wander beside the Palliser look as if they have been scorched by fire. Even the thin stuff up Windermere Creek is fair game. Slash piles and oil cans, the only thing left over. Sure it will grow over. The abuse the trees and creeks and land puts up with and still survive is a miracle in itself.

Lisa likes to call me the ‘tree police’. Suggesting I take things too seriously. She loves a grove of trees in an area we frequent. She finds peace and healing there. The trees rise above all others and reach their spiny fingers into the sky. Darkened grey or white, green and blue they are a sight that never fails to uplift.


One of the trees is leaning. It has woodpecker holes up it’s trunk. Limbs are breaking and not being replaced. It lives, but is dying. We have been watching for several years, wondering when it will fall towards the creek.

I tell Lisa some day we may come around the corner and the trees will be cut down. She doesn’t agree, the trees are of a variety that are not normally harvested. There would be no reason to cut them down, but to watch them fall. She has more confidence in humans than I.


A town politician/developer in the village at the headwaters of the Columbia River talked about, ‘a God given right, that if you pay a bunch of money’ for a second home, a person should be able to do what they will with the lake shoreline to launch their motorboats.

God given rights, sure as shit, have fucked things up in the past. It’s what allows pollution to flow downhill. Everything and anything below us is on their own. It’s why we look at mountains, trees, rivers and creeks as dead, as something only to be conquered.


It’s been grey for awhile now. Typical for March. Wind and spit. Mud and melt. The buds are appearing on the low brush, when I squint my eyes I can see them on the high branches also.

storytime again


the fires keep burning. the smoke is thick. we haven’t seen the mountains for some time. the bush is closed. today we had wind from the south and then it turned and came from the north. the smoke has cleared somewhat. it was the north wind that did it. a few rain drops as well. the first since the end of june. i felt like aiming my face directly at them.

jody had to go to the hospital this morning. chest pains. they ruled out problems with her heart. her lungs are congested with smoke. the doctor said it has been a common occurrence this season.

it’s been a summer of red suns, sun up and sun down. with the moon red all night long.

the doctor who saw jody was young. she looked tired too. i read the charts on the wall. don’t give men on viagra nitrates. don’t give cocaine users beta blockers.

jody is better now, after a mask of ventolin. she has asthma and now must take her inhaler every four hours. she is back to working too hard. drying tomatoes, worrying, trying to get it all done. if only i could instil some of my laziness in her.

hospitals are awful places. impersonal. they have to be. that’s how they save us.

the bush is closed. the trees and creeks cut off. the backroads barricaded. where am i supposed to go? what am i to do with this lump of anger?

tomorrow is a young teachers funeral. i am going to try and go. cancer took her. she was nice to me when i was mostly invisible sweeping floors and emptying garbage. she kept small magnetic words on the blackboard. i’d arrange them into poems and jokes. the kids would always add to them. i’d add more the next day. those words and what they said always made me smile.

she smiled too, laughing as well, talking gardening or stars or whatever she was teaching.

the last time we saw each other we hugged and talked about the school yard.

jody looked beautiful putting on her gown. her breasts and bare back without conscience. my eyes still stuck even now after all. she turned and asked me to tie her up. i tied the blue ribbons in a bow, while her chest laboured.

it is days like this when smoke looks like a snowstorm. when the sky is low. when i can’t figure if it’s hot or cold. when the best is to hunker down and wait it out. maybe pour a drink. splash the whiskey with scant rain.

instead i can’t keep still. there is a snake crawling towards me. the sun is coming through the bullet holes and it doesn’t look promising.

keep calm the voice says. but anger’s never failed me.