Save The Economy


Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Economy Accelerator

the children had no clean clothes

they had no clean drinking water

they had no direction

as they walked and walked

and walked

around the economy accelerator


the accelerator cost millions

it needed clean water to keep cool

it had directional mobility

it had a film crew

that was trying to make a documentary

about the important work

about the progress of scientific materialism


these annoying

children in dirty clothes

were getting in the way

these selfish entitled children 

wanted the water

the economy needed

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it’s not that I can’t swim

I don’t trust the water

what lies underneath it

in the silt 

until my foot feels it

even in a swimming pool

I cringe at the thought 

of all those other bodies

of those pieces of broken glass

invisible in the reflected light


the water is safe

the lake is pure

the seaweed is harmless

the chlorine protects me

none of which adds to my comfort

the bathtub is deep enough for me

but people drown in tubs


I minimize my risks

yes I can swim

I don’t go the the beach

I don’t sit by the side of the pool

I won’t expose my skin

to the sun

for longer than necessary

and never for pleasure

I won’t even wade

with bottoms of my trousers rolled


it’s not that I can’t swim

I’m not in love

The key to this fun piece is “I minimize my risks.” I’ve buried that line in the middle so that what this starts out as – a sort of display of paranoia – becomes about well, actually, it is pretty much about paranoia. It’s also a list poem – running through variations of what the ‘dangers’ might be – some quite real, others on the silly side.

Some come from my own past – I hated silt in lakes, wouldn’t go in the ocean if there was too much sea weed. I did see someone cut their foot on broken glass on the beach. Lake Ontario water is often deemed unsanitary for swimming. Even if they say is is ‘safe’ today I wouldn’t risk it on any day.

This is also about the paranoias in general – I have a friend who won’t take the subway alone, just in case it stall between stations. Thanks to the corona virus I am being smothered on line by ads for face masks. Costco runs out of toilet paper & bottled water as people prepare for the end of time. I’m pricing disposable plastic gloves for wearing in transit.

‘my trousers rolled’ is a reference to T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ in which his narrator is walking along the beach, musing on the risks he has taken or avoided in his life. The nature of the risks we take today are often as banal as this. Skin cancer didn’t seem to excising when I was a boy frolicking in the sun – now I use a 110 sunscreen. 

The piece takes an even more sudden turn with that last line – drowning in a sea love.

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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?