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Thursday, 31 March 2011

COMMANDER WEREWOLF: peacekeepers to headhunters? vote Harper


By Chris Faiers

Not naked and howling
like some id crazed poet
but battle equipped
for full moon missions

ninja hood hides your muzzle
cuffs, thick tape
weapons hang from your web belt
like tiny girls’ skulls

saline taste acquired in foreign lands
must now be slaked
you turn on those you’ve sworn
to serve and protect

the power lust of salt lick
lures you to the nightly hunt
neighbours are fair game now

you are our nightmare
Werewolf Commander
our new symbol incarnate
of a country becoming werewolf
following imperial orders
for Exxon, Shell, Rio, Uncle Sam

we turn on our own
under our dictator’s rule
Commander Werewolf
you serve Him well
your transformation mirrors
our pack’s regression
from peacekeepers
to cannibal headhunters

Werewolf Commander
you  mark our future
with piss yellow and red drip stains
on Vimy, Passchendaele,
Guernica, Cyprus and Sarajevo   

Chris Faiers received the inaugural Milton Acorn People’s Poetry Medal in 1987. This poem was written
to perpetuate Acorn’s anti-imperialist and progressive legacy. Faiers lives in Marmora, Ontario, on the northern boundary of Commander Werewolf’s hunting grounds. 

Sunday, 27 March 2011

"Eel Pie Dharma" quoted in 2 recent rock histories: "WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN" & "EEL PIE ISLAND"

Won't Get FOOLED AGAIN: The Who from Lifehouse to Quadrophenia
Richie Unterberger

Jawbone Press
2a Union Court
20-22 Union Road
London SW4 6JP

On Thursday I picked up a mysterious package at our village post office. The contents turned out to be Won't Get FOOLED AGAIN,  the latest book by rock historian Richie Unterberger. The 300 page story of  Pete Townshend of The Who was so appealingly packaged I finally had to wrest it away from our pretty village postmistress.

Unterberger knows his rock history, and he's done books on many other rock legends and movements, including a book on another of my favourite groups,The Velvet Underground. He does his research thoroughly, hence the inclusion of the piece from my 1990 memoir/haibun Eel Pie Dharma.

My sixties memoir and Pete Townshend's Eel Pie Studios are named after Eel Pie Island, a small islet in the middle of the River Thames across from Twickenham. From the summer of 1969 through the summer of 1971 I lived in a hippie commune, the largest in the United Kingdom, in the derelict Eel Pie Hotel. We were squatters, anarchists, runaways, drop-outs, wannabe and former musicians - I was a homeless Vietnam War draft dodger.

A bit sadly, our addled youthful activities were a major negative inspiration for Townshend's anthemic song  "Won't Get Fooled Again". Chapter 2, "The New Revolution", tells of visits between Townshend and members of the Eel Pie Commune. My comments on this relationship are on pages 73-75, and fellow communard Gavin Kilty is another source for this tale. Townshend himself described his eventual disenchantment with one commune member in Unterburger's book, "I just grabbed the nearest thing, which was a hammer, and I hit him on the head with it, and nearly killed the fucker." 


 Eel Pie Island
Dan van der Vat and Michele Whitby

Frances Lincoln Limited
4 Torriano Mews
Torriano Avenue
London NW5 2RZ

A time warp reading this. Although I lived in the Eel Pie Hotel for two years in its final hippie commune days, I knew little of the hotel's older history. Thanks to the hard slogging research of the two editors, reading this beautfully illustrated hardcover filled in most of this missing knowledge.

We did know much of the ballroom's incredible role in the Thames Valley music scene. The Stones had been regular performers in the ballroom, the Newcastle Brown had flowed, and in its last days I had sat high in the projection room while my buddy, Scotch Dougie, projected phantasmagoric shapes on acts like Atomic Rooster and The Edgar Broughton Band.

Pictures are the heart of this trip down psychedelia's memory lane. I'm proud that two of mine are included, a double-page one on pages 84-85, and a classic one on page 87 of a communard striding over the arched footbridge to the Never Never Land which was 'the island' to us.


As always, special thanks to Weed!
My webmaster and fellow Eel Pie communard who encouraged me to put Eel Pie Dharma online almost a decade ago.
Without Weed's patience and technical ability EPD would never have reached so many thousands of online readers.
An unanticipated result of putting EPD online has been its use as an ongoing resource for books, such as the two above, a BBC documentary, as well as Hari Kunzru's novel,  My Revolutions.

I've always believed the sixties were the first dramatic phase of a spiritual Renaissance. These books and websites document what has somehow slipped into 'the past'. But the best is yet to come ...
Canadian Chris/cricket/Chris Faiers


Monday, 21 March 2011

Snow Melt Meditation (haibun) first day of spring 2011

Snow Melt Meditation

This was forecast to be day two of a rainy patch. After brunch it remained overcast, but no rain, so I decided to chance the rain and go to ZenRiver Gardens and hang out. Chase and I got there early, at 11:30 am, and as usual he bolted for the neighbour's yard so he could sniff their dog's smells.

The rain was holding off, so I decided to collect more beer cans from the several embarrassing piles. If I'm going to take my friend Thay, the head monk from Zenforest, to visit ZenRiver, I decided I should at least clear off more of the hundreds of crushed beer cans.

beer cans, pop cans
paint cans
rest intermingled
It took half an hour to fill 2 cotton 'green bags' with 50 beer cans each. Embarrassing. The rain still hadn't arrived, so time to look for another project. The wet spring soil appeared perfect for transplanting, so Chase and I wandered off to steal some pine trees from the deep woods nearby. My goal is to plant evergreens along the boundaries of ZRG to provide privacy, shade and the sighing sound of pines in the wind, far more relaxing than artificial windchimes.

While planting the second pine, a friendly neighbouring property owner stopped to chat. Of course he wanted to know where I was getting the pines, and not being experienced at prevaricating, I said from behind Dan's. He was teasing me to amuse his son, who was recovering from the painful removal of two wisdom teeth, but I decided next time to answer the way his smartass cousin would, by saying, "from the ground", something stupid like that.

young pines at attention
firmly planted
for Zen guard duty
I had planned to work slowly, my intent being to plant just one pine for the day. But the distraction of my neighbour's visit, and the satisfaction the immediate visual effect the two new pines produced, encouraged me to continue planting. Another two trips to the woods, another two pines installed in their new home along ZRG's boundaries, and it was definitely time for a break.

The rain now started, which was good for watering in the four new residents. I was tempted to leave, and Chase ran to the car and sat underneath it. But I thought of my buddy Morley, and also my friend Thay, and decided to sit on my shack's porch and meditate during the rain.

I'm learning to just start meditating. To not slow down the process with rituals of any kind, and after giving Chase three well-deserved biscuits, I sat in the pine rocker and began.

I've been practicing meditation for 40 years, as long as I've been writing haiku poetry. Sometimes I've been a devout and regular meditator and haijin, but most often not. Meditating sometimes just lightens my 'monkey mind' thoughts, which is fine. Sometimes I compose poetry during inspired moments, and every now and again I get to sit with the Buddhas.

Every meditation session is different, as varied as a trip to a foreign country, yet as familiar as a visit to my ZRG retreat. Several times I have experienced what I'll call 'phenonena'. Today's session was unexpectedly deep. Once when I opened my eyes:

white snow melt
froth flowing
river free
A red curtain appreared behind my eyes, and I was positive the sun had come out. Again I opened my eyes, but the rain was as strong as ever, the sky dull. I shut my eyes, and the sun in my mind burned so brightly I again had to open them to check. Still raining, still overcast.

I am usually a good judge of time; friends can vouch for this. I was sure I had been meditating for 15 minutes, maximum. Once or twice before I have experienced a sense of the ground moving at ZRG as I come out of a session. This happened again today. I glanced at my watch, and the session had lasted half an hour! Chase jumped on the side table to escape the wet deck and to visit, and I realized the meditating was definitely over. I was disappointed, the meditation had been so deep, the light so bright, the phenomena so enjoyable, the river carrying the white lightness of the spring snowmelt so bubbly and fast-flowing.

Chris Faiers (2008)
Box 69
Marmora, Ontario, Canada

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Rants go mainstream/one month anniversary - thank you!

Riffs and ripples' rants go mainstream/one month anniversary – thank you!

Gentle Readers,
Thank you for your encouragement of ‘R&R from ZRG’  : ) Thank you for signing on as regular readers (all 6 of you), and esp. for adding your benign comments and helpful information to the postings. It was one month ago that R&R began flowing on the web, and the experience has been most gratifying and satisfying.

The two ‘politikal rants’ which I’ve posted so far have been picked up by the mainstream media. My plea for United Nations involvement in the ongoing genocide in Libya (posted Thursday, Feb. 24 – “Tripoli: Where are our blue helmet peacekeepers?”) was published in NOW MAGAZINE, March 7 – 10 issue, as a letter-to-the-editor. Some reactionary even followed thru on my plea with his disapproval of such humanitarian involvement in the next ish of NOW. This drama is playing out this very minute as I write this March 19, 2011.

The current issue of our area’s community paper, EMC, has published my recent rant on our burdensome and unequal tax system (Northeast Edition EMC, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011).

EMC has a circulation of 474,000, while NOW, Toronto’s main entertainment mag, boasts a circ of 352,000 readers. This means the two rants – which you read here first – have a potential readership of 826,000!

Rant power

I’ve been a ranter and a publisher of alternative newsletter ephemera for much of my life.
When I was a steelworker in Guelph, Ontario, in the early 1970s, I worked at a steel factory. I distributed “The Dayton Canadian” to offer opposition to our Amerikan-controlled Steelworkers Union. In my radical factory days, we didn’t achieve a Canadian-based union, but the rants in my mimeo newsletter obtained the best contract ever for our local, and perhaps as importantly, an article on how we ate our meals amid the grime and oil and filings on the shop floor eventually guilted management into building workers a lunchroom - finally we no longer ate like animals hunched amid the steel wheel skids.

In the late 60s I published and distributed “papers”, an anti-Vietnam War newsletter on my college campus and at local high schools in Miami, Florida. Of course this drew unwanted attention from my draft board (I was draft eligible as a “resident alien” Canadian), and when I received 3(!) draft notices in June 1969, that particular project disappeared … Did “papers” save other anti-war young people from participating in the imperialist disaster which was the Vietnam War? I’ll probably never know, but I’m proud that it may have …

When I worked for Toronto Public Library in the 80s I wrote a rant on how desk clerks, the entry-level frontline backbone of TPL staffers, were grossly underpaid. There was a constant turnover, and I challenged management to pay a living wage and thus stop the parents of our key staffers from having to ‘subsidize’ the largest library system in North America. The rant worked, and shortly after, TPL desk clerks received very substantial pay increases.

Did my rant on the necessity of UN involvement have any influence on the belated and last-effing-minute-possible resolution from the UN to support the freedom fighters in Libya? Again, who knows. Will my recent rant on the glaring inequalities in our tax system play any role in inciting overdue major changes? Doubtful … but I have the satisfaction of knowing the steelworkers at a certain Guelph factory now eat like human beings, and that TPL frontliners are now paid a decent living wage. The bigger issues?  I can only hope. But in my experience, voicing an opinion in our increasingly undemocratic societies is worth doing … the potential of a million readers for the first two Riffs and Ripples politikal rants gives some justification for this belief.

As long as blood and ink and alcohol flow thru my veins, I promise to continue ranting in Riffs and Ripples with my perception of "THE TRUTH".

Peace & poetry power!
Chris Faiers/cricket

Marmora and ZenRiver Gardens


Wednesday, 16 March 2011

IRELAND ... Happy St. Patty's Day 2011

EEL PIE DHARMA - a memoir / haibun -  © 1990 Chris Faiers

Chapter 25 - Ireland

Driving back to London in a borrowed mini, wearing only light cotton shirts with the breeze whipping by, gave me a bad dose of flu.  Somehow Scotch John and I ended up living with a bunch of students in a commune / residence / crash pad in Kingston.  The flu was so bad I was knocked out for several days, and even had mild hallucinations.  One day I woke up feeling better, and as I hadn't eaten for several days I wandered out into the streets of Kingston.  I bought a carton of milk and wolfed it down.

I decided at that moment to hitchhike through Ireland, with fantasies of finding a croft cottage to use as a home base.  I hitchhiked to Liverpool, where I met a seedy character on a back street who wanted to trade his leather shoes for my runners.  I stumbled into the Liverpool ferry docks, and caught the all night ferry to Belfast.  There were some Irish nursing students on the trip, and I stayed up all night flirting with them. One of them gave me her school address, and told me to look her up.

We docked in Belfast in early dawn light, and I stumbled off groggy from lack of sleep into the war torn streets.  There were signs of the violence everywhere, although the shopkeeper in the little grocery where I bought some food was very friendly.

Belfast was no place for a longhaired pacifist, and quickly I hitched a ride with a respectable-looking young guy with short hair and a suit.  As we were pulling into the outskirts of Belfast, we got stuck in traffic behind a lorry load of British troops.  To torment us, they aimed their mounted machinegun at us.  Perhaps we looked like a mismatched couple of guys, but my feeling was that they were doing it for enjoyment rather than for their protection.

The young businessman was only going as far as Armagh, the notorious border county which had been the scene of many IRA and counter IRA bombings and shootings.  I was let out by a truck stop, and although it was early evening, I was exhausted from the ferry ride and the experiences of the war zone which is Belfast.

I crossed the road into the brush at the edge of the truck stop, and curled up to sleep about twenty feet from the road.  As I was dozing off, I noticed a sinister omen next to me, the skeleton of a bat hanging from a bush.  Despite the clinging bat skeleton, I fell into a sound sleep, only being awakened once when a truck motor started up.  Then in the dead of the night a screaming howl woke me up with the shivers!  It was like nothing I had ever heard.  It was longer and louder than a human scream, more painful and mournful and dangerous. All I could thinnk of was a Banshee!  I quivered in my sleeping bag, not daring to move, and not feeling secure hidden in the bushes with the hanging bat.  Thank God the scream didn't repeat, and I finally fell back asleep:

Bat skeleton
    hung on a shrub
        banshee scream!
The next day I got a lift to Sligo, which is on the west coast of Ireland.  My lift took me into a pub in the small town, and got me quite drunk on just a couple of pints of real Irish Guinness.  After saying goodbye to my benefactor, I wandered into the black night and fell asleep in a field.  Minutes later the Guiness curdled, and I puked my guts out.  I wasn't a pleasant sight to behold the next morning:

Rocky Irish field
    waking to the smell of
        vomit and Guinness
I began walking the narrow road - it was almost more of a cart trail - which was the main highway connecting Sligo with Galway.  Past hilly little graveyards and quaint cottages beside trout streams.  Mile after mile I walked for days, with only a car passing every couple of hours.  In my deteriorating state, I didn't look like much of an attraction for good conversation to the few motorists, and so I walked four or five hours a day, and then slept besides the Sligo road at night.

Finally a car stopped for me.  Two sexy Danish hitchhikers had insisted that the young Irish lad driving stop for me, and they drove me into Galway.  The girls and I headed for the nearest pub, and had a pint.  All the locals gathered round, and several of them performed their pub tricks.  One played the flute, another sang, and one even danced for us. They were disappointed that we didn't have any special talents to show them, and they seemed sad that their exotic looking visitors weren't really very entertaining.

The girls and I headed for the outskirts of town, and I thought a very exciting evening was shaping up.  Unfortunately every male hitchhiker for miles around had the same idea, and we all crowded into their little tent like good brothers and sisters of the road, and nobody got lucky.

The next morning we all started hitching.  I got a lift on the back of a motorbike for five or six miles, but it turned out to be my next to last lift in Ireland.  For days I walked the central road crossing back from Galway in the west to Dublin in the east.  At night I slept in ditches, except once outside a town halfway to Dublin I slept in a tent with some local schoolboys.

I wandered on along the lonely highway.  Althought it was a major road, there wasn't a lot of traffic.  The few pounds I had started with had run out, and I hadn't eaten a full meal in weeks.  Just as evening fell, I met a nice middle-aged lady who took me to her house and fed me dinner.  I think it was some sort of retribution on her husband - I probably got to eat his dinner while he was in a pub.  Luckily for me he didn't materialize, or my bones would probably be in an Irish graveyard.

I thanked her for the very welcome meal, and ambled to the outskirts of town to find my usual resting place in a ditch.  I chose a spot several hundred yards from a deserted-looking house, and fell asleep with a full stomach.  Around midnight I was awakened by the noises of a loud party from the house.  For a moment I even thought of joining the wild goings-on, but I was so stuffed I fell back asleep.

When I next awoke it was dawn.  I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, and peered through the thinning mist at the house where the rowdy party had taken place all night.  It was deserted!  No cars, no drunken bodies strewn on the lawn, nothing.  The house was as deserted-looking as when I had first seen it the evening before.  God knows what had transpired all night in the old house, or had it all been my imagination, the result of indigestion caused by my first real meal in weeks?

Eel Pie Dharma is protected by international copyright laws. Individuals may print off a copy of this work for personal use only to facilitate easier reading.

Monday, 14 March 2011

blue Buddha/draped in white/mourning cloth

blue Buddha
draped in white
mourning cloth

now sits above the snow melt in my front yard,
Green Tara incense smudging hope
for the land of Basho ...

Thursday, 10 March 2011

The Buddhist Monastery

EEL PIE DHARMA - a memoir / haibun -  © 1990 Chris Faiers

Chapter 11 - The Buddhist Monastery

Mark Valiant at first seemed an unlikely person to have a deeply religious side.  He was an ex-cop, and the story goes that as he was becoming more and more sympathetic towards the youth rebellion, one day he took the plunge, and took it in a big way.  Mark took a strong dose of STP, a psychedelic even more hallucinatory than LSD.  He tripped for three days, and after that experience he was a changed man.  He quit the police, grew a beard and took to hanging around L'Auberge Cafe.

Mark was one of the regulars in Martha's crowd, sort of an older brother for Martha and a surrogate son for the Holmes.  He had been the unofficial "elder" who took charge when Martha's parents left on their holiday to Ibiza, the one I ruined with the flooding bathtub.

A couple of times Mark led Sunday expeditions to a Buddhist monastery several miles away.  It was always exciting to get up early for a change, and to watch London slowly coming to life from the top deck of a double-decker bus.

A path led down a lane to the monastery and the temple beside it.  The service consisted of all present sitting in meditation in the comfortable chapel for about a half hour or forty-five minutes.  It was very relaxing, and the meditations were led by a monk, who sat in front.  The layout of the chapel and pews wasn't that dissimilar from a Christian service - with the notable difference that no words were spoken, no hymns sung.  It was up to each of us to make our peace with the world.

One morning a cat found its way into the chapel, and halfway through meditation it let out a yowl, and decided it wanted to go elsewhere.  It was amusing to see the startled look on all our faces at this unexpected interruption, but the monk calmly got up and let the cat out to wander off, and we resumed meditating.

My impression of these mornings is of a tranquil blue atmosphere.  There was a subtle presence of blue energy always present after we had begun meditating, and my feeling was that the monk was pleased with the aura, which I'm sure he was very aware of.

After the meditation session we would gather in the vestibule of the chapel, and drink tea and discuss religion.  Everyone present was offered an equal chance to speak, either to pose or to answer questions offered by the others present.  Not surprisingly, after the relaxing effects of the meditation, most of us didn't have much to say, the words would have just come between us and the immediacy of the experience of sitting calmly in the blue atmosphere of the chapel.

One Sunday morning in early winter, when I was making one of my last visits to the chapel with a couple of other Eel Piers, it began to snow.  Many years later I still clearly remember the experience of walking down the narrow lane, crunching the white powder under my scuffed boots, when this haiku popped into my mind:

Walking to meditation
  through fresh snow


Sunday, 6 March 2011

A TAXING TIME (revolting rants)

On Friday I had a local accountant do my income taxes. This is the first time I’ve had a professional help me find my way through the Byzantine maze of our tax system. The rich have always done this and benefited from the loopholes. Our banana republic even had a Prime Minister who registered his fleet offshore to avoid Canadian taxes – talk about fair play for rich and poor – wait until those poor souls in Libya fighting for their lives and some misguided ideal of democracy discover what a sham our ‘democracies’ really are.

In my experience the poor and lower income among us pay a hugely disproportionate amount in taxes. Not being able to afford expensive lawyers and accountants puts us at an unfair disadvantage in a convoluted system. We’re taxed by three levels of government
(federal, provincial, municipal) and then get hit up every time we pay for something as fundamental as heating and hydro for our hovels and gas for our vehicles (if we can afford either after being taxed and regulated to death). WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE  PEOPLE OF ONTARIO THAT WE CONTINUE TO RE-ELECT A LIBERAL GOVERNMENT WHICH HAS DONE THIS TO US? – they promised no new taxes, AND THEN IMPLEMENTED FIRST THE REGRESSIVE HEALTH TAX, AND NOW THE IMPOVERISHING HST.   Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I have a friend who now bakes and cooks only on weekends – she can’t afford to pay the higher hydro rates during the week. This is crazy stuff – what we’d expect someone living in Russia to have to do to survive.

Last year I had to pay income taxes on the monumental income of just over $15K. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO PAY INCOME TAXES ON UNDER $25 OR $30 K A YEAR. Try living on under $1K a month, which is what $15K a year really means after several thousand a year is paid in property taxes, and over $1K in house and car insurances, and when 10% if taken off the top before the money even reaches your bank account.

Anyway, the accountant was efficient (and friendly), and after having paid taxes on my writing income for years (Public Lending Right and Access/photocopy), but not claiming writing expenses, my new friend led me through the guidelines for claiming self-employment. If any other writers have been as remiss as I’ve been in claiming their just due, it’s probably worth the drive to Marmora to get your taxes done  : )

An expensive scrap of land

Just over five years ago I purchased a scrap of land on a shallow tributary of the Moira River. Overgrown with weeds and dog strangler vines, I paid $13,500 for this piece of prime real estate and fancifully named the orphan ZenRiver Gardens. Sooner than later MPAC decided the scrap was worth $18,700, even though I had just bought the land after it had sat unwanted in real estate ads for years. Then MPAC upped the value to over $40K. I appealed, and last week I received notice that MPAC has adjusted its value back to just over $20K. A small battle, possibly not over, and at some waste of my time and energy and that of various bureaucrats far more valuable clockings.\

Busted Baby Boomers

I was viciously fired at age 58 in a whisper and witch hunt campaign. Not that unusual here in rural Ontario – I’ve witnessed many others. I received wrongful dismissal payments and then unemployment insurance for 1 ½ years. There was no prospect of finding another job in my field – my reputation was pretty well destroyed and my heart along with it.

Somehow I’ve had to support myself from age 58 to age 65 when old age security, guaranteed income and various health benefits will kick in. At age 60 I began collecting very minimal Canada Pension Plan benefits, but my primary source of income has been through cashing modest amounts from RRSPs. Every time I cash some meager amount from the RSPs, the government withholds 10% (so long as I cash $5K or less – 25% would be deducted if I cash more).

So many other baby boomers must also be finding themselves in similar situations – I had wanted to work, enjoyed working (apart from the hassles of being constantly rednecked) – and here we are, taxed up the yinyang while trying to eke out a survivalist living. A sadder thing is, I know of other boomers who are surviving on even less income than I am after a lifetime of contributing to society.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

"The Unacknowledged Acorn" by Terry Barker (review)

The Unacknowledged Acorn

"Beyond Bethune:
People's Poetry and Milton Acorn's Metaphor for the Canadian Fate"
by Terry Barker

review by Chris Faiers

Milton Acorn received Canada's highest literary honour, the Governor General's Award for Poetry, in 1975. A few years earlier a motley congregation of fellow writers, including Margaret Atwood and Al Purdy, had laid the foundation for Acorn's overdue recognition by presenting him with the unique "People's Poet Award" at a disreputable bar on Spadina Avenue.

Terry Barker is an academic who was a longtime friend of Acorn and other practitioners of "people's poetry". Barker, too, is deserving of special recognition for his ongoing contributions to analyzing Canadian poetics - in a time when poets and their art are completely marginalized and ignored.

The essays in Barker's book add up to a full-bodied historical forum on the philosophy, poetics and practice of people's poetry in Canada. Unfortunately, his book is likely too academic, too unhip and obscure to register on more than the most sensitive of antennae.

But the messages Acorn thundered from the ether of the northern lights, the power of the spirit of the true north, strong and free, will be read and intuitively understood by those crucial few vibrating antennae. Barker knows poets are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine, the unacknowledged legislators of our age. Terry Barker takes poets and their messages very seriously. In these final years of the American empire, the necessity of an awakened Canadian spirit with a backbone as strong as the Shield are a requirement for our northern survival. Acorn preached this, and every Canadian worth their salt should learn more about Milton Acorn, Canada's People's Poet.

Barker's book will stretch you philosophically, socially, politically, poetically and spiritually. Terry, Uncle Milty the raven shaman, is cawing his thanks!

Beyond Bethune is published by Synaxis Press
37323 Hawkins-Pickle Road
Dewdney, BC
Canada V0M 1H0
174 pages; paperback. $30

Review "The Unacknowledged Acorn" is copyright by Chris Faiers.

Reviewer Chris Faiers received the inaugural  "Milton Acorn People's Poet Medal" in 1987. His poetry has been widely published, anthologized and broadcast. Faiers spent a decade as the head librarian in the village of Stirling, Ontario.

After Visiting the Teaching Rocks (poem by Simon C. De Abreu)

After Visiting the Teaching Rocks

After visiting the Teaching Rocks
life in the city grabbed me by the throat
Enough is enough was my response.
The city with all its pavement
Fast moving digital water, and metal bison
Away with them

After visiting the Teaching Rocks
They won't get me all up in arms
In their small backyards
Let the city hall chieftains threaten war

Upon returning from Kinomagewapkong
I have not lost my "petroglyphic perspective."
I have not forgotten to read the stars
before I go to sleep.

The Great Rabbit, Nenabozhoo
a.k.a. Nanabush, walks
confidently in my, wide awake,
sleepy heart
and mind.
I sleep soundly.

After visiting the Teaching Rocks
I thank you Great Porcupine, and Big Skunk,
Thank you Poet Chris from the hamlet of Malone,
You brought me to the park and out I came ...

After visiting the Teaching Rocks ...
The city and all those frantic people
will not be allowed to nest in my mind.

The city and its fast pace living
will one day soon overwhelm me,
I am sure

Memories of the Teaching Rocks
will only
revive me
lovingly embrace me

After visiting the Teaching Rocks
They kindly call to me
Their songs asking me to keep going
until I can return to speak with them
in the flesh
Warm and cold
Living and dying
Under the stars surrounded
by the owls, turtles, snakes,
coyotes, wolves, crickets
turkeys, bears, mosquitoes
and frogs.

After visiting the Teaching Rocks ...

Simon De Abreu
The Pearl Company Gallery and Theatre
Hamilton, Ontario

note: Last summer, in the week of camping at ZenRiver Gardens leading up to PurdyFest #4, one afternoon we crammed four of us (Simon, Melanie, Katherine, me)  into my testosteroned Subaru and motored 50 minutes to Petroglyphs Provincial Park. As Simon beautifully recounts here in poetry, the spiritual power of this ancient First Nations site was overwhelmingly transformative. Afterwards, we continued on to the village of Buckhorn, where we sat in an open-air cafe by the locks and ate veggie burgers and sipped imported beer, sharing the powerful spell the Petroglyphs had most willingly cast on  all of us.