From Animal Husbandry Today, published by ECW Press in 2012.
(Halfpenny Gate, 1920) A country priest lies in the middle of the road. He has lost something. The day passes unaware. It rained this morning: gemstones rest on cut wheat; the road’s a thousand lakes. Mud slowly claims the man’s frock and—half-dried— turns statuary. His resolve’s stiffened also; only eyes move, scanning inches ahead of him or beyond the horizon. (Avignon, 2007) White streamed off the canvas, hitting the woman in the stomach, seductive like rough foreplay. How many strokes of the painter’s hand had it taken? After placing a pink photocopy of her lips on the work she is tackled, in a less alluring fashion, by the museum’s aging security guard. Restoration of the painting is priced at $2000. (New Jersey, 1984) It was half-past ten and already I’d made 46 Reubens, 32 Po’ Boys, 19 Cheesesteaks, 12 Heros, 4 Tuna Melts, and a Dagwood. I was locked in this kitchen yesterday and would be again tomorrow. Who creates a world where fingers smell of mayonnaise and a living’s eked shilling animals on leavened bread? (Montreal, 1975) A funny joke, given the predicament: “Take everything. There’s no safe behind the mantel’s painting.” The last line delivered in faux-stutter. Despite being hogtied, the man exerts a measure of control by making the intruder look. The man’s wife shakes her gagged head. The burglar does her one better, by kicking the comic in the stomach. Everyone’s a critic. (New Jersey, 1984) “I want to create something evocative and pointless.” The journalist’s cassette recorder spins noisily, struggling to commit this to memory. “These images accumulate in my mind and I sweep them into the collective’s consciousness.” The journalist nods vigorously while contemplating what to get at the sandwich shop next door. (Paris, 1940) The city leaked its contents into the countryside; with most thoroughfares reduced to one lane, the pandemonium commenced at ten kilometres per hour. As a last line of defence, we stood awaiting what had toppled hundreds of thousands and bypassed our precious Maginot Line. We protected the people, surely, but also the symbol of Paris (which would shortly signify something else).