“What do we need?
to put words into context / to formulate a pretext worthy / of our cut-and -paste verbal / aching to be heard.”

In the kitchen, dinner was cooking, ground game meat, frozen corn, a can of soup. The elements smelt like hot metal and smoke. I was procrastinating, using time like hands around my throat. I had put off cooking until the last minute, so I would be a little late on purpose to the Poetry Slam. It didn’t help. When it came my turn to stand up to the mic, I still broke down. My voice fled down my throat and I was unable to catch it until halfway through. When it was done, my feet fell off the stage and I found myself in the arms of a stranger, a small blond woman who sobbed silently into my body as if she were about to shatter. I held her tight and was grateful.

“And some days they split atoms
And some days they kick stones

Today they find our voice”

edit: here is a link to T. Paul performing Invocation.

obit: abrupt but not unpredictable

I haven’t heard back from the prospective buyer yet. Which makes me think my business whiz hasn’t sent him the model yet. Which is bad.

At the bottom of their deepest hearts of hearts, at the level of instinct, people seem to carry a sticky expectation of spontaneous combustion, mothers who pluck cars off of their threatened children, visits from celestial beings, shapechangers, and animals who speak human languages. It’s in the blood, these vagaries of of human history, and while they are alarming, they feel appropriate. (Possibly not the bit with the car, but metaphorically I’m fairly certain I’m still on solid ground.) Death, however, we don’t seem to properly fathom death. It shocks us into denial, into a rejection of facts, on a level that is almost the antithesis of every day miracles. Nobody apparently expects death, even when seen approaching from far away. There just doesn’t seem to be a framework in place, so instead we gather in loose groups, wear culture appropriate colours that feel outdated and fail utterly to write the music we need to capture our fallen friends.

Part of me wishes to hide inside gaudy and glaring jokes about how T. Paul still owes me money or that now we’ll never move in together because I could never introduce my mother to a dead man, but they’re all the same – dishonest escapes shutting away what I will only have to deal with later. Really I already miss him in ways that will never noted in any obituary. Yes, people will benevolently talk about how wrenchingly he’s influenced Vancouver with his events, MC’ing, poetry and black-coffee solicitousness, his shining rhinestone humour, his unexpected grace with children, and the fun trapped in his Tom Waits paintings or even his retro trademark hair, (mentioned in the first piece of my writing ever properly published), but his cologne will go unacknowledged, the way it would scoff at showers, insisting on clinging for days, after even the briefest hug. It used to drive me crazy later, how I would turn and expect to see him, only to discover he was merely a rockabilly ghost fighting to haunt my clothing.

I caught myself wishing today that there was some way to publicily wear what I’m carrying in my heart, that we had an updated version of shaving off eyebrows, just to make this day different. Some way to mark the change in my life. My friend is dead, I want there to be a ripple, an outward effect that is more than his invisible absence. Otherwise it will only be like he has moved away, taken up residence in some other city, and that isn’t fair at all. He was a rarity, a revelation of whack-job positive influence, more Vegas than Vegas, baby. He deserves to be missed.

goodbye t. paul

goodbye t. paul
Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

A friend of ours has recently died – T. Paul St. Marie.


T. Paul passed away in his home in his home in the last 24 hrs. His good friend Ru found him this morning in his house on his couch. It looked like another anuerism or possibly a stroke. Not much is known at this time.

Arrangements are being made and you will all be informed about any services or gatherings held on his behalf.

It is a loss to the community and to all the people who knew him. Please spread the word to anyone not on this list. I know you will all do so. He knew so many people that it would be impossible for any one individual to contact all of them. Thank you.

– Bill Mc.”

It’s heart-breaking. People have been posting messages to his Facebook Profile like flowers left at the scene of a lethal car accident. I’m not sure I have words yet, as it hasn’t properly become real yet, his passing. He’s always just too angry at the world to die.

Word says his unofficial memorial will be at Cafe Du Soleix this Monday, usurping the usual 8 pm poetry slam. I hope to see many of you there.

I know this is a little late, but it’s where I wish I was, so here goes anyway:


Johnnny Frem & Dave Horswell have finished installing another roof in the James St. neighbourhood, so they’re putting on another rooftop circus, which includes a chimney headstand, (inspired by Steve Galloway’s book, “Ascension”), as well as a parade, some skits including very young talent, magic tricks, kid’s songs, clowning, fire-breathing and fire-spinning.

Where: 4505 James St. @ 29th Ave, The Jang residence, SouthWest corner of 29th Ave and James St. (2 blks West of Main St.)

When: 7:00 – 8:30 pm, Sun. Apr. 15
(Rain Date: move ahead one wk. to Sun. Apr. 22)

With: Johnny Frem, Musicians: Ross Barrett; Brian Siver; Dan Vie, Clowns: Naomi Steinberg; Jacques Lalonde; Dan, Celia and Ruby Vie; Matthew, David and Nancy Jang; Dave Horswell, Magician: Brandy, Fire-breathing & acting: T. Paul Ste Marie, and Fire-spinning: Josh