quinn esq's picture

    Life In Avalon. With Camus, The Kennedys, Emily Carr & Brumus Redux.


    This is my village. My farm. My woods. My beach.

    My world... from ages 1-18.

    Down there, there are dyke lands and corn fields and perfect apple orchards, there are gigantic high tides and Newfoundland dogs and men grown to heights trees used to reach, there are doors in the ocean and mad Baptist preachers and the ruin of a thousand perfectly good lives, there are recovering bald eagles and sandpiper mass mind and blue herons breaking all of our laws, there are cuckolded astronomers hiding out in observatories and bootleggers in cars seen on the Dukes, heck, there's even a Cape for a great Indian hero and the footprints of the first creatures on land. 

    It's the kind of place you go to live forever. 

    The English called it Avalon.

    The French, Arcadia.

    Seems as though every race that ever entered this place felt it was a dream come true - Micmac, Norse, French, New Englanders, even the Scots.

    I returned home, to this place, when I was 28. I'd been on the road for ten years. I'd learned a lot. Experienced a lot.

    And I was tired.

    Donno what drove me to it, but upon returning, I started writing poems.

    They're a beginner's poems, sure.

    And they barely even scratch the surface of life in this... Avalon.

    I know they certainly don't scratch the depths.

    So let's just call this...3 bites at the apple.



    Avonport Not Hyannis Port


    John F. Kennedy, yep,

     that's his name -

     "Just like the President."

     Truck-driver with two kids -

     Gerald and Ginny.


    Living on the top floor

     of the old abandoned


     Busted stairs, no chairs,

     bare bulbs and rusted wire,

     with a hole in the wall

     as big as the colour console T.V.

     (with remote control).


    Piss-soaked mattresses slump

     on the floor of woodchips

     and chickenshit -

     while pale eggs

     of drooling incest



     in nests of straw-coloured hair.


    Our Kennedy clan,

     with two small assassinations

     of its very own.



    Camus The Canuck 

          I found a dead boy on the beach today.

          One eye open, thin blond hair, about thirteen years old.

         He was naked, smooth-skinned, with a bluish-pink colour.

          There were bags of ice under his eyes,

        where he'd cried himself to sleep in the cold.

          And even though you could see the small hairs

         around his pubic region,

          he was unshy.


         In fact, he was frozen so solid

         that when I hit him with a piece of driftwood

         he broke open like a clam.

    Cracked right in two.

         I found an amethyst in his hip socket,

         very pink next to his liver,

         I think it was.

         He was a non-drinker.


         He must have wandered outdoors, sleepwalking,

         or maybe he needed to take a pee.

         It was only 50 feet or so, across his snowy lawn,

         and then just a quick tumble down the icy bank.

         To die, from his head on a log, or from exposure, maybe.


    His little pink pecker sure looked funny I thought.

     Erect like that.

     Like maybe if I left him out there, some animal would come along

     and chew it off.


    If that boy was here to see it, I bet he'd laugh something fierce,

     knowing that the animal was doing

                                                                            a dirty thing.






    All our dogs are dead

     and it's November,



    Old age, a busted spleen and porcupine quills

     left pairs of barncat eyes

     to flash their message

                                                            of indifference,



    Harrows, ploughs and the old Cockshutt combine

     lie in damp indentations,

     collecting rust,

     the way they once

     collected poverty.


    Three brothers, three families, three dogs -


    raised 21 doctors,



     and mothers -

    while seven times

             seven times


                                                                      seasons were memorised.


    and I went out walking through the back orchard that night the hurricane hit and when

    it would gust up you could hear the apples falling off the trees and the sound of them

    dropping onto the wet grass was like every picker in the Valley emptying their canvas

    bags at the same time and all those millions of ripe apples whomping onto the bottom of

    one big bin;


    and my Newfoundland dog Babe being put to sleep because he got into a porcupine

    he never thought anything could ever hurt him he was so big and I tried to tell him but

    he just kept acting like a bear not a dog and when we tried to pull the quills out his

    nose just came to pieces but he still never bit,  and only one of the men had the heart

    to take him back to the pond and shoot him and that was Dad;


    and out on the dike building the hayload seven tiers straight up while the 6'7" men lifted

    whole bales on the end of their forks easy, with their baler twine belts that we laughed at

    and it must've been 200 degrees out I wished I'd been driving the tractor instead because

    it's cooler but I couldn't work the clutch;


    and us boys out at Midnight in the woods trying to round up those stray Holstein calves

    that must've got spooked and busted down the fence,  and you're running wide open

    through the trees trying to head them back with your arms up in front of you like karate

    to keep the branches from whipping your face but the briars were ripping our pyjama bottoms

    like nothing and you can't see anything in the moonlight but you can sure hear those calves



    and the pole barn burning you could even see the cattle's metal watering bowl melt and

    after a while all that was left of the steers was just big black lumps in one corner and we

    all knew which kids started it with matches and they both knew they were going to get a

    beating,  and we all saw Dad standing in the yard and crying.


    This farm flows

    through our blood,

     an immunisation

     against the urban.


    Its earth clings to our soles

     as we walk the shopping malls

                        of this great land.


    I remember...

                                      what the world will never know again.

                                                                    Let that be said.


           And the barncats of November


            because all our dogs are dead.


    P.S. These days, I live over here, at Posterous.


    Not sure if the pics will show up for anyone, but when I click the blog title in the left column, they seem to show up. Otherwise, not so much.

    Sorry, best I could do.

    I have found I can see missing pictures by right clicking on them and selecting open in new tab.

    Chrome is my browser.


    Awesome as usual (and I don't use that word often).  It's quiet this morning and I read it over twice before I backed out slowly in order to savor it.  (Is the painting a Joe Wood?)

    This spoke to me as much as any other line, but more, I think, because it tells me why we fight so hard in battles it becomes increasingly clear we're likely not to win:

    I remember...

                                      what the world will never know again.

                                                                    Let that be said.

    The painting is an Emily Carr, the great original artist of Canada's West Coast. Travelled up and down the BC coast, and focussed her painting and writing on the forests - and the native peoples - of that area. Her most famous stuff was done late in life, she really geared up in her mid-50's. If you don't know her stuff, I suspect you'd love her. Some great links at Wiki. Thanks again, Ramona.

    P.S:  The link to your Posterous blog doesn't work.


    Tnx. Fxd! 

    I always feel a bit reluctant to remark on another person's art. I will leave professional critique to the professionals. Meanwhile, who am I to second guess word choices and phrasings from one who is so closely attuned to their muse as you?

    But dammit, quinn. I sure love reading your work. You tell stories as you drive. I see them. And I always enjoy finding my head cocked just a little bit sideways, first this way and then that, as I go along with you for the ride. Thanks for these. I love it! 

    All of them made my forearms quiver a bit, along with other visceral reactions.  The story of your dogs was even better to read today somehow. 

    Sure would love to kknow the story behind Camus the Canuck.

    Your writing does shut of a person's internal dialogue; we get to listen to your versions and visions.  Pretty amazing, Q.

    Well, I wanted to see how some of them looked as a group, ones that slightly hang together, especially if given a bit of context. To date, they've only ever gone out as one-offs, stand-alones. Feels a bit different this way. 

    By the way, can you see all 5 pics/paintings? I can't seem to get this batch right. Aggro.

    Thanks though, for dropping by! 

    On my IE, three are Xed out, and I see the beach and the tree painting.  On Firefox, only the two seem to be there with no indication anything's missing.  Odd.

    How did you try to import them?  From your own flickr or Photobucket?  The painting I assume was on wiki, so that should have been easier, and must have been.

    Oh--and they hang together really well, IMO.  And your presentation of them is so elegant, too.

    through our vessels

    a vaccine against forgetting

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