69 sent messages

for Dave Carpenter

Part 1

My Soul, Bathed In Gasoline or I Take The Form Of Ice or You Too, Fuckhead or It's Sun From The Clouds or The Fat Of The Land


Yo, you ever see XXXX? If you do, you tell him I am going to beat the mortal shit our of him with big saps until he bleeds black blood. The little fuck.

I am coming home in a week or two.


* * *

My God man, the things people ask of me...

Now: as for these things, meetings. I have, just this evening returned to Saskatoon, directly in and through the terror twilight like a man escaping a facility of some sort. A facility designed, if ill-equipped to house him against his will. Which leads me to explain, for no real reason, that I believe firmly if quietly that there is not a jail in this country that could hold me. (Prison you say? That is another matter altogether.) You are thinking: will he address the meeting or wont he? Will we be ever-gouging at and out our thumb-nails in anticipation?

Here is your answer, bub: It is my firm, and soon-to-be- elocuted plan to read all the stories you left for me tomorrow afternoon. Read them through twice fast. I should think I will call you tomorrow. Or Wednesday. As for the next 9 days? I can tell you that I am going to read the rest of XXXX tonight. And I can tell you that I am going to shoot 200 jump-shots tomorrow afternoon. That's about it.

I'll call you before too long mi amigo.

Fear not,

* * *

          All I said was: there you see, it is broken.
           - William Carlos Williams


I'm like that right now, broken but strong in those places like Hemingway suggests. I am so busy writing I can't think of anything else. Two nights ago I woke up with the phrase "aggressive hesitation" in my head and I have been thinking about ever since, that's why I write poorly, with too much aggressive hesitation. Anyway.

I have written about 10000 words in the last week. Writing this much is an unnatural act for me now. I am going to posit this to you: editing and writing are opposite activities. It makes sense to me that the best editors were not the best writers (Perkins, Shawn, etc.). It is too hard to do both well at once. No?


* * *

Will call tomorrow. Montreal is beat like the rest of this sad and massive country. Not unrelatedly, I'm Gatsby, all weekend: pretender. And, drunk off my ass; more women in and out of this apartment than the green room at a Guess Who concert. Not to make sweet amour fou with me. No, that would be too fucking great. To tell me: that I am an insensitive fucker. And then there is the one or two that got away; chased away by some temporary boyfriend or the nudging elbows of a large room. I can hear them, you know. A gathering of whispers as I approach and take her elbow and say softly but surely, "I swear we have met before." Because we have. See what I mean? There is one here right now. Asking me "who are you writing to that is so important?" I am not going to tell her man. Cause why it is important is between me and you. Not everything is everyone else's business. Maybe that is it. Maybe it is about figuring out exactly how much to tell each one. How can it make so little sense?

Also: I am thinking very seriously of switching to more more formal attire like my man XXXX did. It befits those of our stripe. I want ever so much to be taken seriously by the establishment.

Ever yours,

* * *

I miss you.


* * *

It's like this. I am still a little more than rough around the edges but the cravings are less and less.

But. You can't even look straight at Vancouver anymore. There are too many people, too many buses and subdivisions, and buses to subdivisions. There is almost no city here anymore, just malls and plazas. In the paper yesterday they say the city will clean up Carrall street, which connects Gastown to Downtown, and serves as the main thoroughfare for the Heroin trade. There is a place on Carrall, called Pigeon Park, dead-centre (literally) of the Heroin trade. It is here where the dead come to walk around, and the police to jail them: Vancouver's great open sore, the red-headed step child no one wants you to talk about. They're going to fix up Pigeon Park, they say, make Real Estate out of it. I'm not sure what they will do with the addicts and their pets. Metallica & Jonathan Swift would say they should Kill 'Em All. A modest proposal. Yeah. Give it to the various and sundry business schools, I say, so when Vancouver drops into the sea, nothing that matters will be affected.

It's not bad though, not really. My head is clear as a bell. It is almost disconcerting. I have played basketball about three hours a day in the last week. It's amazing cause now after I play I am not doubled over and forced to expel green liquid from my gut. Which I kind of thought was part of the game.

I asked my Dr. what stopping a drug as strong as nicotine altogether would do to someone like me, and he said: you tell me. I had the feeling he thought i would be much more difficult to deal with than I was. But I was on my Very Best Behavior with him. Because, there is this lingering feeling that the slightest provocation could send me hurtling at some unspecified angle towards some unnecessary violence, but that is no more a feeling than the feeling I sometimes get that if I tried hard enough, I could fly. I kind of hope neither goes away soon. I like them. You know?

Okay, that is pretty much all from here for now. Other than this: I knew that smoking dulled the sense of smell, that was pretty obvious. But I didn't know it dulled all the other senses too. My senses of touch, sight, and especially taste have come back with a vengeance. This has made courtship and amorous activity more varied and occasionally more difficult. But I am looking forward to the changes that come with reasserting myself over the things I have lashed into myself for the past ten years or so.

It's great when you're straight.


* * *

You ever hear TV On The Radio's first album called "Ok Calculator"? It's pretty much an answer to "Ok Computer" and is genuinely strange and beautiful. They gave it away free and slipped it into copies of "Ok Computer". It's is very hard to find but I downloaded a copy last night. I know, you probably got that weeks ago. As an import.

How about XXXX's album XXXX under the name XXXX you ever hear that? It's so lovely I fall asleep to it almost every night.

What say you, anything new or original?


* * *

I was a tourist in Washington, D.C., not a traveller. I arranged myself near the seat of power and tried to remember everyone I met who made me feel better. I arranged them in order of how well I had treated them and decided, right at that moment, that my New Year's resolution would be to make amends; and to be quiet, which had previously been decided.

I never really left the 13-19 century wing (West) of the National Gallery; but in the gift shop I tripped and fell into a XXXX print. The first print, the first anything, I ever purchased at an art gallery. It seemed to me that I needed to have it just then. I bought some XXXX cards to send out for New Year's to XXXX, but that didn't do it for me. I knew I needed to take his work home with me and stare at it for a very long time: its yellows tumbling into its blues, its rectangles mis-stacked and oblong, making new squares. I couldn't look at anything else and I felt so stoned by the art of the experience I knew I needed to get outside. I found the door closest to me; and made for the Capitol.

The United States Capitol and the Washington Monument are located at opposite ends of a long green mall, made famous in the March on Washington. It was a bright and perfect day for walking and, I confess, I never thought of the current government, or any government's gestures toward leadership. I thought of history and time and the way life can run away from you for a year, or two or three or four or more, if you do not have the will to stop it. I was deciding: you kind of have to get out in front of it and push with both hands. This way life can be held for a moment, re-directed, and let go of again. The letting go is inevitable. You should be used to it by now, I decided. I thought of a line I like very much, "If I have to remember that's a fine memory." And, like always, it assured me of something ineffable, and I kept walking like somebody who just alighted from a very long trip.

I never made it to the Monument but I was not alone in storming the capitol. There were at least 200 people arranged in front of the capitol dome on Christmas Eve. They weren't alone either. Their cameras and phone whizzed and froze time for them as a way of evidence, I supposed. Not for the first time I was proud that I didn't need a camera to capture a scene, or relate it to anyone. Not for the first time I wondered how much a photo could actually show on a day like this. Not for the first time I thought I should sit down and call my best friend and see if he could tell me something I hadn't thought of.

It was a bright and perfect Christmas Eve when I was a tourist in Washington D.C. The second I flipped the phone closed, I banked back away from the Capitol. I made a straight line for the front steps of the National Gallery, found three-fourths of my family in an alcove, waiting for me; and we all left together.

Okay? Okay.

* * *

Shouldn't you be in front of a class unexplaining XXXX and other books that zoom over your bobby-pinned head? Shouldn't you leave the dropping of bombs to those of us with the better site(s)? And then shouldn't you, once the bomb is dropped, just kind of stand back and appreciate it: blast radius and all? C'mon man. I expect more from you, somehow.


* * *

I would like to know what you think. I promise I am trying desperately to avoid being clever. I can see now that it is a matter of pulling back and coaxing out rather than showing off. But, you know, I have a lifetime of showing off in my back, and you know what they say about old habits and dying hard. I am really excited about this idea of study though. Think I might turn into Borges, move into the library at the XXXX; take no visitors; and go blind from reading sanskrit with bad light in November.

No, no. I am just kidding. No pausing in academia for me. It's just the pursuit of knowledge, really, to make me a better editor. My favorite Borges quote of all time is relevant here: "The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges." Which is poetic and shows what parallel structure is good at, but sad in a way that overwhelms its art or poignancy. He should have laced his head with something other than words and got heavy into publishing magazines. Make your heart jump up ten feet when you do them right.

Okay and yours,

* * *

I read it as I walked into class before I realized who it was from. I had never seen your perfect handwriting before. Anyway, I had to compose myself before I could engage in the class. It was some awkward moment—but one I wouldn't change, and am happy for; like this, right now, with you.

Thanks again, your card made more than just my day. Orange is my favourite colour. Did I tell you that? Did you just know? You don't need to answer.

Anyway, I hope, when you read this (and after) that you are happy, feeling okay & protected against the cold.


* * *

See what you are talking about and what I am talking about are now two different things. Probably we were talking about the same thing at the time, but not now. Which means this is no longer an argument but a discussion. To wit,

Stealthy is still not a word.

Here is what I mean: "Stealthy" might be a word, but it is an empty and lazy one, void of real meaning. A lazy word. If something is "stealthy" it is not explained. I, as the editor/reader, have to do all the work: "I know what stealth means, so I guess I know what the author means" See? Not good enough.

So it isn't a word to me, dig? Still. No matter if XXXX says it is. And I get to make those decisions. I knew you would look it up, and I knew it wouldn't matter to me. And, again, I am not trying to be a provocateur here; read this more like a statement of editorial intention: an act of thinking out loud.

Words like: hoped , involved and stealthy are the same kind of lame; and, worse, dot the work of almost every other writer I see. Writers employ them in lieu of real writing. They are lean-tos, writers use to avoid the heavy building of real narrative and description.

Stealthy shouldn't be a word to you either, is my point.


* * *

I'm not going to pretend I'm not drunk.


* * *

Now, to your boy, not XXXX, you understand, whom I would like to discuss but, sigh, XXXX.

All you ever tell me is how great XXXX is. Do you honestly think I don't respect him? Doing what I do? Cause i do,and a lot, and I have since long before you knew his name. And: What do I have to be jealous of? I am not a writer. You should remember that. I wouldn't want to be him, or anyone but me really. Right? That's the way it is supposed to be. It makes me want to yell at you: Stop trying to provoke me and tell me something real. I could fucking care less about books sometimes, you know?

It's just that he is not THAT great. I think he is talented and blessed with endless energy but he is not the greatest writer alive or anything close to that. Just look at XXXX man. Read XXXX and tell me XXXX compares. And, see, he doesn't and that's okay, it doesn't make him a shitty writer, just way closer to average than you are proposing. Maybe ten years from now he will, and yeah I read the review of his new book in the XXXX and it sounds compelling. But, this year I read Thomas King's Green Grass Running Water about 5 times, which is so much better than any fiction XXXX ever wrote (excluding the new one which i haven't read but will), and given that, I find your hyperbolic evangelical support of him sort of, well, silly.

By the way, you are putting a lot of stock in literary prizes. Quick, can you name one of the authors who won the Pulitzer last year? I bet you can't because who gives a fuck who wins awards?

You love me right? Especially after I write you like this. I am a little drunk and haggard at the moment. It's been a full day of defending myself. Not here, you dig, but out there, where it is unsafe. Hi to XXXX and XXXX for me. You too fuckhead. I am saying hi to you.

Now, okay, let me have it.


* * *

If you are still in Texas and it is hot as balls remember: those fuckers have to live there.


* * *

I am heading to BC on Friday and not too early. I quit smoking and moved in the same week—the new place is great and I can't wait to have you guys over.

Not now though, cause, well, I am no goddamn prince right now. Not at all.

To wit, I spent two hours arguing with everything XXXX said at my house today (poor guy) and almost killed a guy playing basketball tonight (lucky guy), so I think I will have to see you when I get back. I am not fit for human company at the moment but I am still able to use the phone. It's been about 7 days now, and I am pretty sure I am a non-smoker now, but fuck if my body doesn't want nicotine still, and fuck if I can't think of a way to deal with that and be nice at the same time.

Maybe I will call you tomorrow, or before I leave.
It's getting better.

Anyway, how's that for an update my man?

Soon and always.


* * *

Dude, I am not sure what to say about your pop. My memory of him is clear and vivid, and I hope you are able to see a way to handle what is happening to him. I am at XXXX's house in XXXX still. His daughter is so beautiful I want to hold her and kiss her and make the world perfect and gentle and soft for her. I quit smoking. My senses are so alive it makes the sheer agony of it worthwhile. My head sounds like a bell when I have an idea.

More later,

* * *

Okay, if that is what it will take, I will show you something. I wrote these for my friend XXXX's band when I was young. I never ever said I was a writer either you know - other people did, you did. But I want you to be bold, you know? So, see, it is not about whether it is perfect. What is perfect anyway? I believe in you. Try. You are so much better than this, can't you see that? If I could write like you—not like this—I wouldn't do anything else.


You Could Say Maybe

If singing is almost everything
then no New Deal doubting
admitting prolonging the examining
with this mariner of parking lots
where courage has me talking lots
about the virtue of everything.

You could question—food for one thing—
that this is embarrassing
amplified by the tradition
where virtue is still a sure thing
and to nurture is not to save a thing
but screaming is everything.

It’s Sunday and ignoring
you don’t have to say yes
(You could say maybe)
to the noises from Greek awakenings
means virtue isn’t everything.

If in dreaming of changing
a unique positioning
(You could say maybe)
by screaming at anything
(You don’t have to say yes)
you could say maybe
to noting the virtue in everything


The 5 or 6 Jennifers

I was standing beside him listening to Blue Rodeo, 5 Days in July I think
It was a Rodney Crowell song that reminded that & why I hate Canada.

Sometimes in the night I have to move away from him because he smells so
bad of cigarette smoke I’ll get sick. I go outside & read & try to figure
out how to get rid of him

Once I moved all my stuff to Halifax at night & let people below me think I
was gone forever so when he asked where I was & they said, “she’s gone
forever” he’d believe it & go away

I’m afraid that when he barks into me with an anger that is not about me,
not me at all, It will knock me over knock me down & It will do me harm &
and It will knock me around

He can’t even stop talking about himself long enough to ask me what my name
is & he calls me Jenny even though my name is clearly not that


Texas Highway Killer (or Mao III)    
for Valerie Frith

You see a man behind the wheel of
A Medium Dodge

I have been waiting for Mao
Scared to leave.
Blood haunted by old books
And a left hand elegy

You see a man behind the wheel of
A Medium Dodge

I left blistered and invisible
Like the cracks in The Great Wall
The great wall
There are cracks in The Great Wall

You see a man behind the wheel of
A Medium Dodge

Now I’m hanging out a Shotgun window
Now I’m scraping the sky with an ice-sky scraper

You see a man behind the wheel of
A Medium Dodge

Now I’m firing at all the road signs
Now I’m firing at all the plot lines
Now I’m firing at your insides

You see a man behind the wheel of
A Medium Dodge

It shows the man behind the wheel of the medium dodge.


Sky Train Poem #515

Subject matters.
A Canadian girl on the Sky Train
bites her thin lip dreaming.
She does not look up.

Context matters.

She lets backpacks hit her in the arm
Rustle the news she is reading.
That which affects trade.


I hope you don't hate them.


* * *

Thanks for everything. I just had a fantastic time. You're the coolest person I know.


* * *

Also: somebody, maybe you, should be looking into what they are going to do with the repent sinner lady when all those assholes move into the Woodwards building.

It was good to see you.

I'm working on attacking the good folks at BlackBerry based solely and completely on this quote from Song of Myself:

         And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
         And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery

Fuck those money pigs.


* * *

Is the story you are getting nomination after nomination for the one that I, personally, passed on, only to realize a few days later what a horrible mistake that was?

Cause I rather hope it is. Stupid should be punished for being stupid more than just once. It is also the only time I can remember, ever, when I did the exact opposite of what my instincts told me to do. I shant be doing that again, brother.

Anyway, I hope you win all those fucking awards, including the one XXXX is nominated against you in (XXXX Awards). But those awards, as you must know, are given out by people who don't know enough to make the decision they are making, so I treat them like a joke.

Saskatoon is beautiful right now man. I'm staying for awhile. I am attending the XXXX in the fall. They have given me XXXX over two years to do an MA and write a thesis (or a PhD dissertation) about literary theory. Just signed an extension too at the journal. At least two more years here. It's crazy, I don't think anyone thinks they will stay.

Are you actually going to the XXXX Awards? I am being cajoled into going; my plan right now, if I have to go, is to bring at least one of my boys with me and get so drunk they ask us to leave. Tickets are $75, and that does not include a hand job (is it an hand job?). I asked.

But if you and some other people I like are there maybe I will pull back from the edge.

Yo yo,

* * *

Who can say for sure?

Send word,

* * *

I am in Vancouver at the moment, just picked up a XXXX with only XXXX on it. Going to drive it back to Sask. Tear through the mountains like a wolverine with a head full of acid, listen to XXXX and shout at the Rockies to get the fuck out of my way.


* * *

A Greeting is: My Man. My Man.

Apology goes: You are sorely missed here, and I recognise from the staggering ineptitude of my reply ratio, you may not know that at all.

Abject truth be: there is so much to choose from in the current in pile I am having a hard time deciding what goes where. Hopefully by tomorrow I'll have the list for the next issue: XXXX.

Also: I am pretty sure the XXXX is open only to Canadians which ices both XXXX and XXXX, so you'll need to claw through that stuff again.

An Important Aside: it's sun from the clouds all day today and the water now makes the sidewalks nearly impassable. This is because the water takes
the form of ice. Which I would do, if I could. Ice.

A Less Important Aside: Less than twelve hours ago I became less beloved and more departed from a current relationship with someone six feet tall. Which makes me sad for a number of reasons, not the least of which is there is absolutely no faking six feet tall. You either are or you are not. And she was. Is.

An Addendum: We are saddened that you will not be here for the Christmas party. I am saddened. By the lack of good things on television and my staggering inability to make a decision inre my future. At least one year at this point. Maybe two. But you know, it's all kind of conditional on the band staying together.

A Note on the Text that Will End Now: Okay, that's about enough for now. XXXX. and you are missed. You and XXXX. Fuck it, all four of you.

More soon.


* * *

The new Sonic Youth is their best album since Daydream Nation.

Bathe my soul in gasoline,

H. Nix.

* * *

The moment before I met you on the street I was thinking about you; and I was not the least surprised to see you coming toward me. I was on my way to see XXXX and XXXX, and thinking about XXXX and associated topics, and when I looked up I knew you would be there. It is the third time it has happened. Once, when I came out of the XXXX office needing to find you to discuss XXXX, you appeared out of the escalator that leads up from the food-court, literally right in front of me. Once, when XXXX and I were sitting in a bar on Hastings discussing you (or your work), you walked by and came in and had a drink with us. When you left, XXXX turned to me and said, "so, you planned that right." It's like I can conjure you... Coincidence? Problem? No to both, I think.


* * *

Can you hear me?


* * *

Seriously, those might not be buzzards, this might, in fact, be bat country.

Either way,



Kent Bruyneel has his fingers. In many pies.

Photo Credit: Mike Lecky.

Published On: February 14, 2007
Permanent Location: http://www.forgetmagazine.com/070214b.htm

Volume 4, Issue 01
February 14, 2007

by Forget Magazine

69 sent messages
pt. 1

by Kent Bruyneel

the business of the monk
by Miguel Strother

Feb 12, 2001 - Present

0 / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

PO Box 2778
Stn Main
Vancouver, BC
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(778) 835-2307


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