Last September I took part in Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Undercity: Writing the Suburban World symposium, where I met the students behind Misfit Lit magazine, who, some months later, asked me for a submission and, upon accepting my poems, asked if I would read at their next launch. That launch was last Wednesday night at Cafe Deux Soleils on Commercial Drive.
For my reading I prepared a selection of work that fell into the categories of something old (a long poem I wrote in 1995, about a bar at 1st and Commercial), something new (poems from my latest manuscript, 9x11), something borrowed (a translation of Henri Michaux's "Poem 39") and something "blue" (the poems I submitted to Misfit Lit, written after reading Michaux's poem).
But there was, as it turned out, an even newer poem, one that I wrote at 4:30PM that day; a suite of four poems that presented themselves while entering a succession of forward slashes (/, then //, then ///, then ////) into Google's search engine.
Here it is:
/// summary c#
/// emoticon meaning
Like I said, the poem sequence was composed through successive entries of the forward slash into a search engine, with each entry "completing" itself in the form of a discrete poem. Why the poems end after four forward slashes is the result of a search engine that has exhausted its options. There was no longer anything to "complete".
After my reading the editors (Marlow Gunterman, Taryn Pearcy and Connor Doyle) presented me with a gift bag, inside of which were Misfit Lit stickers, a copy of the magazine, a book called 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die (2007) and a bottle of Finca's latest batch of Malbec.
The following day I rode my bike down to the Cultural Harmony Grove, a small park just east of the Burrard Street Bridge, to visit with the artist Arvo Leo, who has, for the past couple months, set himself up as a portrait painter for hire. The deal is this: you give him a bottle of wine (red), and he will paint your portrait, using some of that wine as the field behind you. Because I was just given wine for my services, I thought I would recirculate that wine through a similar economy.
Here is the wine:
Here is Arvo Leo:
And here is my portrait: