For the summer I’m going back to the series of pieces mythologizing my growing up in Cape Breton. Check the Village Stories page for links previous pieces in this series posted in July/August 2014, July/August 2015


a famous inventor once lived in the hills

outside my village

his home was now a mausoleum to his memory

no one knew his name

not even my mother’s mother

who remembered nearly everything


once a year we would make a pilgrimage

to the inventor’s mausoleum

it took all day

and some years we couldn’t find it

my dad had no sense of direction

‘it must be around here somewhere’

but we kids didn’t mind

it was boring to see the old inventor’s creations

things that no one could operate


his most famous was the teleprompter

the first one was there for all to see

the words kept playing across it

for us to read aloud

‘thank you for looking at my invention’

the camera would be on us

as we stood there to see ourselves on TV

which was boring as hell


the other thing he was noted for

was a frying machine

that could make onions rings

with pancake dough

they tasted sort of sweet


but no one knew his name

or what he looked like

there used to be photos of him

and flock of geese he trained

to sing arias from William Tell

but those had long since been eaten

by ravaging moose

because no one cared enough

to lock up the mausoleum

to keep these relics of the past safe

mainly because no one really cared

about him anyway


we liked the pilgrimage

as a chance to get out of our little village

into the big world around us

the road was narrow and bumpy

our car would rattle at every turn

sometimes we would sing to pass the time

but mostly we kids would loll like

deflated balloons in the back of the van

till we came to a bridge

or a Dairy Queen

the Dairy Queen would get us a cold sugar fix

or maybe we would stop at a pie shop for a snack

while my Dad when into one of the local strip bars

for a ‘libation’ as he called it

children weren’t allowed

in the strip bars during the day

only at night

when there was no light

so we couldn’t see anything


each year we pestered Dad

till he agreed to take the pilgrimage

to the mausoleum

even when reminded us of how boring it was

we insisted

we realized he was right

we dreaded each turn

that brought us closer and closer

he would have to force us out

of the van when we got there

threatening us with his tried vengeance

as if the vengeance

of such a boring past wasn’t enough

as if not knowing the name

of the great inventor

wasn’t loss enough

to make us give up on caring about history

whatever what history was

there wasn’t enough

in the present to keep us happy


why bother

with this deadly

unchanging past



If you know anything about Cape Breton besides thd coal mining history it’s that Alexander Graham Bell lived there for decades. This piece is a direct homage to how his memory has become crucial to the tourist trade, to a need for the Island to be more than just a backwater financial drain – we have famous people here.27brick02I reverse the nature of fame somewhat – not knowing the name as opposed to knowing the name but not to know why they are famed. I have had to explain who Bell was more than once. Silver Dart – who ever heard of it? Even Ashely McIssac has been mostly forgotten.27brick03There is a museum in Baddeck – very 50’s 60’s in architecture – which as the piece says, our family would visit at least once a summer, more for the drive & the ice cream than for the learning about Bell potential. The exhibits weren’t nearly as wacky as the ones I’ve invented but were as banal, unless you were a real Bell buff. I mix real with silly – he did have flocks of geese.27brick04Of course I pull in some of the tropes of this mythology – the moose can’t get enough magic. I venture into the notion that the past isn’t enough to keep us from moving forward. Like many of these later pieces the push my hero feels to move on is underscored in different ways. Here it is the one that know this history isn’t enough to keep him happy in this present. soon

cover170x170-1on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Deliciously iTunes

September 1-4: attending FanExpo 2016 (I’ve already registered)


November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo



June 2-4: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 –


check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015:


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington – sweet,eh?

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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