Thirteenth Superstition


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

Thirteenth Superstition

although it was never spoken

our village was ruled by superstition

(1) one couldn’t walk across the street

without making the sign

of the moose for protection

(2) to leave the house

without a pinch of ground smelt bones

was unthinkable

and when I came to the big city

I was stunned by the lack of spirituality

as people rushed from place to place

without thought or a care

some of the village rituals I didn’t miss

it was sweet not to have to worry about

(3) the caking of moose blood in my hair

to show my willingness to suffer before God

not having to scrub that congealed mass

out of my hair

was a great relief

but (4) I still found myself rubbing the robin’s breast

(5) by my front door every time I left my condo

so that I could fly safely through the day

there was no place in the big city

to keep a supply of (6) ground moose

or (7) smelt bones

and the recent laws against hazardous waste

has made it impossible for my family to keep shipping it to me

(8) I do miss the nightly visits

to the (9) darkened strip bars

where we would be forced

to accept our blindness in the face of pleasure

and waking up in the morning

without hearing the faint trilling of the choir

leaves me nostalgic

for my days at the cathedral (10) singing scales

while (11) scaling the 10001 stairs up and down

to get to choir practice

after (12) touching the wounded moose

standing guard over

the figure of (13) our wounded redeemer

I can sing those songs

in my own private shower

but they don’t sound as full

echoing around the steamy bathroom24blue03

I don’t have much nostalgia for Caper Breton. On my visits I’ve taken pictures of house our family lived in, met old friends. dined at those restaurants that remain but I didn’t feel a sense of wistfulness about any of it. I don’t tear up when I hear down east fiddle music.24blue02In this piece I indulge in some of sentimentality. The nature of superstition & how it shapes & haunts us fascinates me. Myth permeates and goes unquestioned by the subconscious. I echo some of those automatic actions – I still see people cross themselves when they pass a catholic church or are about to do something that calls on inner reserves – like going on stage to slam. A simple hand gesture they may even be unaware of. 24blue01The sign of the moose – I have no real idea of what that might be but it is similar in some way to the sign of the cross. The ashes, the Hindu spot, become the smearing of moose blood. The Jewish Mezuzah becomes the robin’s breast – flying safely through he day is sweet & almost rational.24blue04

I never did sing in a choir, auditioned once but was unable to understand the note. Music, though, holds strong memories for me. There are still songs that can bring back moments of my east coast life. Baby Love by the Supreme’s puts me right back to listening the radio in my room trying to do homework; Santana’s Abraxas lp always gives me a sweet LSD shiver.

But nothing makes me long for those days, not the way my hero does.soon

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

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


October  6 – Thursday Toronto, 8 pm, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St.


November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo


December – Thursday Dec 1st – Toronto, 8 pm, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St.divine


April season 3 FINALS – Friday April 15th Buddies in Bad Times – early show – 7pm startgames

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?

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