The Art of Tent Pitching

Racket at the Rocket wrapped it’s second year with another fine show. Sandra Cardinal’s series always presents a great assortment of writers poets, novelists and even crazy playwrights. This last show, till October, was no exception.

1960 Summer_19 happy campers?

After some solid open stagers the first feature Adam Abbas took the stage for all too short set of his word play and language explorations. He opened with some of limericks – always too short to really absorb on one listening: ‘excelled in the art of tent pitching.’ He read some piece from his up coming book – the pieces flow with rich, bouncing alliterations, rhymes, assonance and dream logical connections. ‘barred by guards for stealing lard’, ‘obsessed over histrionics.’  His found poem of quotes about writing resonated with everyone.

table iced table

He was followed by Chuck Crabbe who read two well-selected sections of his novel As A Thief in the Night. One involved the cleaning of a wine vat give us a clear sense of of thoughts disintegrating as a mind is effected by gasses plus the endlessless cycle of cleaning what can’t be cleaned. The other of his hero’s sexual coming of age, was tender and rich. They gave a satisfying sense of the novel without feeling we needed more information.

constructionbeside under construction

Final feature was Nicholas Power with some recent pieces and some from his latest book Melancholy Scientist. His poems have a strong sense of place: Toronto, Amsterdam, Halifax. Images are vivid: ‘a curving street that dares you with it’s blind corners,’ ‘ancient trees catch sunlight in their rough bark,’ ‘she didn’t have enough money to keep her clothes on.’

Racket will be missed over the summer and returns October 17.

boats loyalist

masts reflecting in Belleville


Angel Falls

this is the torrent

where for a set time

I throw things up against the wall

to see what sticks

to see what drips

what shapes form

as the threads fly & flail

fingers find a rapid pulse

to follow   to try

not make sense

to flicker

for little scrap of information

what do men want

love that goatee

why can’t things last

how long will we be trapped by our dreams

why do expectations keep us

from seeing what is actually there

when often

what is actually there

surpasses our limited objectives

our self-serving demands

for comfort on demand

for obedience   the willingness to think for oneself

how long how often

each time

the torrent starts

the same things come up

the same darting furtive


where something equals something

but what that something is

isn’t as clear as hoped

it leads to the realization

that despite the torrent

the water doesn’t change

the water will always be water

the river flows

we are all in it

not many outside that envelope

the human humdrumness

of thrashing around at times

floating serenely at others

slipping over the waterfall

with grace

going over screaming one’s tits off

in desperate fear

hoping somehow

to swallow the river whole

be safe dry

never ever to get that wet again

which of course isn’t the point of life

isn’t the way of the world

we never get out of the river alive

we each make our own way down it

the same rocks buffet us all

the worries about the future

what is around that bend


another waterfall

a calm lagoon

why so shallow here

abruptly so deep there

learning the strokes

the rhythm


that each turn is a turn for the better

that each opportunity

to go against some current

makes the stroke stronger

makes the journey a little longer

sharing a stretch

going it alone on others

taking to the weather like ducks

taking to the air like geese

never straying far from the water

from the river

from the oceans lakes pools ponds streams rios rills

life the river

the tried trite image

dipped in the river for purification

merging with the river

for eternity

wearing the river like a loose wet garment

feeling the flow between the toes

around the calves  balls chins

nose just above the water

letting go

letting flow

under the water

the reflection of a millions points of sun

darting  dancing

dangerous  eternal

unavoidable   joyful

take me to the river

lead me to the water

float my briar on the Ganges

dip my heels in the Nile

bring me reeds from the Gauja

link each tributary

back to my heart

where all it started to pump

the little endless blue lines

the river is my blood

the veins the threads

that get pulled apart

woven together

the thread of worries   comforts

the wondering of

what do men want from each other

why do people act this way

why can’t they all strip

to the bare essentials

jump back into the river


jump frolic forgive

jump in all at once

so the water overflows the banks

to wash the world clean

1959 Gillis Lake Falls 3 Gillis Lake Falls – Cape Breton

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