Colby Days 2

Our Cottage Road house, between Park St & Whitney Ave by a laneway, was a compact two-story home belonging to Miss Kelly who lived in the house next door. Her house was huge. She had boarders on the second & third floors & she lived alone on the first floor. Her house was the model for the boarding house in my novel Coal Dusters. She deserves a post of her own, so this is all I’ll say about her now 🙂

This was a more upperclass neighbourhood. Larger houses, doctors & lawyers & sport celebrities abounded. Larger houses too – many 3 story, single family dwellings. Colby remained within walking distance & I would trudge Cottage Rd. in the morning, home for lunch, back for the afternoon. I’d walk home along central with the guys.

I was at Colby for grades IV & V. I have a class photos of me in Grade VI at Ashby school. I don’t recall if that was another summer move though. I do remember some of my Colby teachers though. The principle Miss Greenwood, Mrs. Butterworth & Mrs. McLeod. There were others but even seeing the list of teachers on the Colby School page didn’t ring any lunch bells.

I do remember the hand bell that rang to get us into the school. I was a middling student even then. I had attention issues 🙂 I was also aware that I didn’t have the same feelings about girls as the boys claimed to have. I was, in fact, a sissy who preferred hopscotch to baseball. I don’t recall having any real pals or playmates of either sex.

I did get into a couple of fist fights though & lost. It was hard to keep punching when everyone around you was encouraging the other guy to teach me a lesson. I became a coward because proving my masculinity with violence was beyond me. Shame & fear were the biggest lessons I learned at Colby School.

It was here that I had to spend a summer writing out  words from a speller. I did page after page of writing each word out twenty times. Then had to retake the spelling exam at the start of the new term before I could go on. I did pass but again, the real lesson learned was shame, not how to spell.

The other thing I remember from then was the birth of my brother. Now that my Dad was settled in Sydney, his job was going well, may parents felt secure enough to raise a family. I felt I was a disappointment & now they wanted to get it right this time. My brother was about a year old when my mother was pregnant again, & we moved again, this time to the Ashby area.

Fully Human

I’m not enjoying this

so it must be good for me

the less I like it

the better what I am getting

the more I suffer

the more fully human I am

what I enjoy is to be avoid

it is merely a diversion 

from suffering

because life is suffering


any attempt to diminish suffering

diminishes all life

we a cannot afford pleasure

to admit to liking something 


is to admit to weakness

is to admit to being 

a shallow fun-loving 

corrupter of basic human dignity

dignity requires suffering 

and sacrifice


those who aren’t willing to suffer

aren’t worth the breath 

they take to live

they should be face 

the error of their ways 

or be shunned


if you are having a good time

do it in another room


we don’t want reality 

sullied by gasps 

of sexual indulgences

we don’t want to hear laugher 

behind our backs

take to another room

another city if possible


here we are on the righteous trail

suffering to fulfill our real 

authenticity as humans

as a parade of weeping assholes

(poem prompted by one of Montaigne’s essays)

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? 


The Seven Mercies came up on the TVO series Baroque when discussing Caravaggio’s painting The Seven Works of Mercy. I love lists of things like this. The Seven Fold Path, the Seven Deadly Sins. I also love obscure writing prompts of connected things such as the seven mercies. I had no idea what they were and did my research.

danger: blue sky blue water
danger: blue sky blue water

In the past I’ve written pieces based on the titles of Montaigne essays, on each canto of Dante’s Inferno & Purgatory – his heaven was too dull to inspire me. So I was excited to tackle yet a new list. Better yet there was two lists – Corporal and Spiritual.

nature's fountain
nature’s fountain

Usually the way I write is in an intense ten to twenty minute burst that is littered with typos as I fling everything out. The faster I write the less my inner editor gets in the way. Sometimes I repeat a phrase to re-stir the pot and keep things going if I run out of steam.

clean enough to drink from?
clean enough to drink from?

New Wives’ Tale is from the second of the corporal mercies: ‘To give drink to the thirsty.’ This was also my second run at that mercy. The first was okay but  the writer in me got too in the way. I let it simmer more overnight and gave it another go. This version is relatively unedited – fixed the typos and smoothed things out a bit but it is still a very rough draft.

A recent overheard conversation played into it – someone was going on about how buying bottle water condoned and further encourage the privatization of water. The playground bit comes from a visit to Stratford and walking though the playground to get to the washroom and to find out that there was a covering of thick rubber over the entire area – under the swings, the slide etc. I was tempted to go on a bit about how dangerous soil is – full of bacteria – so we better cover all of it to protect our innocent, fragile children from contamination – but I’ll save that for another day.

my coming attractions
my coming attractions

September 8 – Sunday – attending – Cabaret Noir


September 18 – Wednesday – attending – Guys and Dolls

inner space flight
inner space flight

September 20 – Friday – attending – Racket at the Rocket

September 25 – Wednesday – attending – Measure For Measure


September 26 – Thursday – hosting – The Beautiful and The Damned


October 11-13 – attending Gratitude Roundup


June 6-8, 2014 – attending – Bloody Words

writing sample
writing sample

New Wives’ Tales

my mother says

I can’t come here to play

with with your kids anymore

because you always give us water from the tap

only someone who doesn’t care

for the safety of their children would do that

you know

she says only bottled water

expresses a mother’s love

that if you cared for your children

you would never ever use tap water

who knows where that water has been

the pipes are full of germs

you know

mouse poop gets in there

and you let children drink that

and my mother says you should be ashamed

for not buying bottled water

to make sure

we kids are protected from diseases and such

you know

and another thing

your hardwood floors

are child endangerment

she says until your house is carpeted

there’s no way

even she is going to set foot in here

in case someone falls

you know

that’s why I’m not allowed

in the playground anymore

because the ground is too hard

and they better get padding under the swings

if they don’t want to get sued

and so

even though I am thirsty

I have to say no

to that glass of water from the tap

and go to my house

where I can get a bottle

of clear germ free water

bottled by coke-a-cola

a company that really cares about children

unlike you

your heartless bitch

who thinks tap water is good enough

well if it’s good enough for your kids

then your kids aren’t good enough

to be my friends

so I’m out of here.

fine porcelain?
fine porcelain?