Friday, 8 March 2013


when I am lost in heart ache
shudder, shatter
the pale you
my one and only 

true love

it's like discovering hidden treasure
in that box in grandma's attic
late when they're asleep
discovering magic

this single candle
in the midnight hour

A l i c e

ah ok, let's just pretend we're at this uncomfortable party
and we're like ... shooting the shit

maintaining appearances

"so ya, i remember the first time i did acid" 
that kind of shit

"na, i was never into hard drugs 
having done coke a few times
speed/bennybabies a few times  
too much recouperation required thank you
in my 20's mostly - now in my 50's
no needles 

magic mushrooms - a handful of times
acid 3 times.  each time quite wonderful

summer 1979 - wishful thinking

the first time in Shediac New Brunswick 
when i was a musician/singer in Major Hooples

traveling gypsies we were
in a rock band - far away

on the ocean - lights at night
came on after dark

family - a concept that reflected remorse
i think i'm supposed to be sad
about something 

aunt allie passed away
when i was thousands of miles away
standing in water
holding a cold florescent fish
waiting for something 
to happen

absent father - absent nephew

i went out to the farm two summers (for several weeks)
from 1963 to 1965 (ages 7-9)

let's not go there
ok, not good

I helped Uncle Ken (Mom's brother) with the chores
hay/oats - milking the cows
August usually - hot but a cool evening wind
a harvest abundance incoming

fresh corn, veggies and fruit from allie's garden
yummy suppers - no margarine here mom
only fresh butter

drank my first cold beer
after chores w/my Uncle Ken
i was 8 - ah thank you VERY much, Uncle
can I have another?
these Molson's Canadians
have a unique way of quenching
my thirst

"there's nottin' like a cool one after chores"
only one cool one turns into 6 by midnight
six years later - absinthe - heroin?


ok, nothing's perfect
one step forward - two steps back

it is what it is

Eastwood Ontario - RR#5 Woodstock
mosquitos, stepping in cow dung/horseflies
dog needs to be tied up cause it's killin' the chickins'

and yet - wow - stepping back
taking a deep breath

i love this song because it reminds me of what life used to be like
out on the farm, with aunt allie
in the summer of '64
swinging in the hammock

no cares in the world

while she cooks supper 
"hummingbird back"

my announcement from the porch
through a squeaky screen door
crickets singing even in
late afternoon 

"you just leave it be"
having tried to catch it earlier

allie's frail vocabulary
sounding from a fragile formation
flesh and blood - skin and bone - carved in brick and stone
in mind and spirit - heritage heretic
alice is alive in this moment

but not for long

reverberating from the back kitchen
that familiar ambience
in decay and forgiveness - the rattling
of a days end - pots and pans 
her tired words
as the hummingbird disappears

dropping carved potatoes
into a worn, wet aluminum pot
Gershwin on the radio
"nice for a change" - she thinks 
in a rare, confident moment

getting up and going in
the squeaky door 
slamming shut
(letting a dozen flys in)

"geez, what did I tell you about that damn door! "
never cursing officially

no - ah "were you dancin' there?"

"just shush"
I could never be afraid of allie - kind soul
approaching her - smells amazing
wrapping my arms around her waist
and that brief moment of surrender/reciprocation
in her mess - in my missing her
tears often - dismissed - i'm thinkin' 

"rice pudding w/raisins for dessert tonight"

"now that's over - the hug part"
pushing me away only because there's work to do
"ok, ornery is in my general orbit at the moment Jimmy"

Allie looks stressed?  but really isn't
"needs more raisins - get me some out of the pantry
  - and they need to be soaked first - geez" 

she secretly loved having me around
no kids of her own - no man

an inner world

yes, light out there - I see it 

this feels timeless
farm fresh cream in the bottom of my rice pudding bowl

bam - all gone

"chores after supper
barn stalls need to be cleaned tonight"
she snips

"Ken's gone - you need to do it"
My Uncle Ken - ok, drinking binges
Mom's brother - Allie's nephew
bad news combination
they co-existed together out on the farm

"aw geez" shit - hating the smell of manure
but loving the smell of everything else
looking out a dirty window
and into another the fading sun

part of me hated being here - part of me loved it
only because it was so quiet, peaceful - clean 

gazing out, into the magic
in this moment
it's a life i needed - more than 

but i get it


sleeping next to her arm in arm on her lumpy bed
after several games of chinese checkers/warm milk
cookies - quiet and dark - candle's out - time for bed
windows open, warm breeze - crickets chirping - full moon

i was Allie's connection to the world back then
her nephew/son, her husband/father (even phantom lover) - all in one package
awakening before the dawn - going outside
looking up into the light

one last time 

cold wind

morning glory

goodbye dear

it's in the light that's always on
showing those lost souls
in dangerous water
where home is 

it was the smell more than anything else
earth/air, sky - life - redemption

A l i c e

Allie passed away a few years later
after returning home to Woodstock Ontario
on tour with my band when she passed - bummer

baptised and buried in my bereavement
she was 77 years old, tired
gone - just outside
of town

i was just a kid
she had long whiskers
on her chin
her food dripped from it
at dinner and then supper
when i stayed out there
on the family farm
summer months
white hair

dry (overcooked) roast beef, boiled potatoes
fresh horseradish and parsnips from the garden
cracked wheat bread - dipped in molasses
mopping up what's left on our plate
local radio news - through a
crackling mono-phonic
non fidelity speaker  

dogs, cats - birds and insects
all in abundant supply 

sleeping with her in her lumpy bed
wanting to be close to her

i loved her

sweet soul - kind - my only real aunt
my only other connection
to the outside world

there can be a quality to aloneness
this i have learned - fear takes on a
new meaning, when you lose someone close

time to listen

worrying is praying for something you don't want

or as allie once said to me (stirring lumps out of the gravy)
"why spend all your time frettin' and fussin -
because none of that's gonna matter in the end anyway"

Aunt Allie is a memory and a spirit
that lives on in me

(dedicated to Alice McFarland) 

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