From “The Abundance of Less Lessons in Simple Living from Rural Japan by Andy Couturier

From “The Abundance of Less Lessons in Simple Living from Rural Japan" by Andy Couturier

Pages 264-265

“Sooo..” I begin to ask him, a bit apprehensive, not wanting to be insulting, “Gufu-san, why write all this stuff down?”

Unperturbed, he replies simply, “To make a record. If you don’t record things, you start to lose your sense of the place. It’s also interesting when you talk to other people, or when I want to look up something later. But it’s mostly just to make a record, even if I don’t use the information.”

“Yes, but how do you decide which things to write down?”

“Whatever is possible to write down, I write. How much the bus cost. How much the movie was, or how much the hotel was.”

“But why?” I ask.

“I didn’t have any purpose in doing it.”

No purpose? Perhaps I’ve been too attached to all my own actions being done for a reason. Utilitarianism is so deep in my culture I don’t even notice it. Listening to Gufu it occurs to me that it may not be so good to be always reaching ahead in time. Sitting here with my friend in a farmhouse in the mountains of Japan, I find my way of seeing the world start to deepen and change. All these little, unlooked-at details create the fabric of memory. By writing them down, we are refusing to let the experiences of our lives get subsumed in the tsunami of time, the onrush of the next, and the next, and the next. I think of so many travelers (myself included) zipping from one location to the next, taking photos of scenery or a building. Have I been missing the beautiful in the obvious?

Gufu is showing me--not that he’s trying to show me anything--that the whole world can come alive with these tiny details, ephemera, you might call them. But not just a generalized “world,” but a specific world, an India of a particular time, and, as it happens, an India that is disappearing every day.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

This and That- Wednesday January 19, 2022

 I got up and the sun was shining. It felt as if it might be possible to leave the house and visit dad. But I didn't do it. I did my squats (4 repeats of 12 squats). I walked around the kitchen table with Mary Oliver. And then I biked. So at least I moved and used my body. 

I am now looking at the 1981 book. I have some financial work to do before I enter the past and then it will be all about committing these poems to the electronic document.  It's always best to have some of this stuff on the cloud.

But first the SiT 63 form for transferring money. It is best to do this first as my brain wears out.

2. Registered Account and TFSA Transfer From Another Financial Institution Request Form
SiT63 | pdf : 146 KB


It's always best to not have to transfer stuff from Scotia Bank to Scotia Itrades but we were so conservative that we just had money in GICs. 

Now we do more but it's still a struggle.

Let me go fill in the form now.

I finished the form and I have to drop it off tomorrow at Scotia Bank at Magrath. I could do it now but I am not willing to leave the house.

I got a phone call from Dynalife  about blood work that has been ordered for dad for tomorrow. Looks like Dr. Dhunno has ordered it. Dad seems less energetic these days. 

I will work a bit on the poems. I have put the fish for supper in the fridge to defrost. I have the potatoes to make into French fries.  I will boil cauliflower for the vegetables.  We will go and pick up our groceries after supper.

When it all seems like the world is useless I put it all into a poem and encapsulate what is. This the glass weight I put on everything. 

you must make your way as best you can
understanding that nothing lasts
that what is stable now will vanish
in the coming disasters 

you must make your way as best you can
hoping for cessation of desire
and replacement of failures
what comes can be faced

you must make your way as best you can
for what other choice is there?
we are all rowing in a canoe of hours
and the cliff we fall off is unknown 

you must make your way as best you can
even the people who populate time are vanishing 
as you travel       and so understand fragility
and  your inability to save them       or even yourself

you must make your way as best you can
and if all you have left is a raft of poems 
to take you to the cliff that is coming
who is to say that this won't save you?

you must make your way as best you can
for impermanence is the graveyard's reminder
and the sunlight burning through the window
is perhaps the only constant

With Our Trouble

Sep 26, 2015
330 subscribers
Provided to YouTube by The state51 Conspiracy With Our Trouble · Gabrielle Papillon The Tempest of Old ℗ 2015 Gabrielle Papillon under exclusive license to Birdsong Released on: 2015-09-25 Mixer: Daniel Ledwell Producer: Daniel Ledwell Music Publisher: Copyright Control Composer: Gabrielle Papillon Lyricist: Gabrielle Papillon Auto-generated by YouTube.


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

make it weary let it rust

write a poem out of dust
make it weary    let it rust
hope it staggers on the street
let it fall    where strangers meet 

correspondence of the art 
is made of pairings of the heart
once you strip the skin away
the interior reveals the way

far from honest    replicate
past occurrence   in figurative state
what is seen might horrify
and the mind mortify

but continue each creation 
seeking out transformation
what is spindly and distraught 
might one day be finely wrought

slowly edge out to the border 
where you find calm and order
there in the plastic pot you plant
the broken shards of your chant 

1981 journal

 I've started my project which is recording all my poems; I began just now with the poems I wrote in 1981. It's good to find that they aren't all trash. 
I will do this and go through all my poems and decide to make a book that I will self publish. It's a good goal and will satisfy me.

As I write the poems out from the past I will continue to make new poems.

It seems correct to do this sort of exploration as I am divesting myself of the stuff I collected. Once the stuff I collected is gone there will be even more room to do the writing and reading. 

What's magical about going back to the past is to find some writing that was clumsy but still functional.

I get some sense of rightness in some pieces I am reading in a book and when I get this sense - this tingling it makes me want to find myself in this place of rightness by writing evocative pieces.

But where do I go for evocativeness?
My grandparents were strangers to me and I to them. In their old age, what time or energy did they have for a teenager inflicted upon them by my parents? I don't know why I was sent to them but perhaps it was because school just cost too much and it was cheaper to send me to school where my grandparents lived. In any case, this did not work out well as there was a major war and I was sent back to my parents as the nation convulsed in blood letting. This sort of traumatic event isn't a positive for me although I don't feel any aspect of that time was positive.

When I look at the time I was in Harry Ainlay High school and then in Strathcona high I was obviously totally lost and out of it. I had no fashion sense, we were poor and struggling and no clique offered to take me in. Strathcona High school was better than Harry Ainlay in that they left me alone and I read in the library. I think the only constant was the library. I would go to school libraries and hide out. I would go to the downtown Edmonton Public Library and  hide out. I was basically reformatted in libraries in Edmonton since I had no friends and those I made acquaintances with were also outsiders-- the lost ones I think. I worked at the A and W on Whyte Avenue and got an education in how very difficult it is to be poor and I am glad I am lucky enough not to be working there after this time in my life. It's very hard.

And now here is the downward dog part of my life and the stories don't make it out of my poems written in 1981. It is as if I distilled Shelley and Tenneyson and made an alternate universe that was all about giving advice to my younger self to continue with poems.

There is no hard luck in these poems except exclusion and it's bearable because I was surrounded by an intact family and one friend who was useful during the time I knew her as a shield against total loneliness. But we didn't keep up after university and she married and moved away and all I remember is she asked for her books back and I don't know where they were and so that was that.

You don't know how mundane it is until you go through the past poems and realize that at this time you were doing summer jobs at the Provincial Government because at this particular time they had money to hire students and you were one of the lucky ones who went through university and did it with very little debt- so little debt that you paid it all off after you got your final degree at the University of Alberta as a medical laboratory technologist. You wanted to work and pay off the debt and you didn't want to go to graduate school until later when you found work to be just day after day scanning of petri dishes and how were you to have same every day? So then it was grad school and the rest of your life.

But these poems aren't about later. They are about when you were smaller than you are now. 

these endings haven't happened yet

 I look through the notebooks
and note the people who are no longer present
I tell myself    to continue
and write down the days that they were here
and I didn't realize
that they would disappear
innocent of the coming erasures
I wrote about the weather
and the hiking
I thought that we would be here forever
but the record shows
that my mother died first
though Rebecca could have gone
any time that she was in hospital
and when Sue got sick with cancer
the doctors told us fantasies
of being cured
which we believed
instead of going to the Mayo Clinic
we stayed behind
and she died of metastatic breast cancer

these endings haven't happened yet 
in the notebooks that I will go through
they only occurred after I was finished
with the innocent days
where all I wrote was about  was presence
I didn't understand
that these were the good days
when we were all alive
I just wrote as if life was permanent
but this vanished         and I realize now
that I was simply writing what was before
and now it's after
and it's different
Sue has left her stories in her own journals
and I haven't opened them yet
I don't want to remember absence
and when I play the song I tell myself
there is really no one I can save
because this ship is breaking up
the sailors are all sickly
and the storm is approaching    and we can't get well

With Our Trouble

Sep 26, 2015
330 subscribers
Provided to YouTube by The state51 Conspiracy With Our Trouble · Gabrielle Papillon The Tempest of Old ℗ 2015 Gabrielle Papillon under exclusive license to Birdsong Released on: 2015-09-25 Mixer: Daniel Ledwell Producer: Daniel Ledwell Music Publisher: Copyright Control Composer: Gabrielle Papillon Lyricist: Gabrielle Papillon Auto-generated by YouTube.

This and That- January 18, 2022

 One day I will be able to make a book. I will put the book together as if I knew what I was doing. One day I will. One day I will travel. Once the pandemic is over.

One day I will be fit. I will be able to hike in Jasper and in Banff.  One day I will have the energy to recapitulate my youth. One day.

I did my squats, the biking and a bit of walking. Everything in the exercise area begins with small steps.

I got the ham done. Made two types of potato salad. Now to make sauce.

The ham wasn't very tasty but it was eaten. I will hope for better luck using it for sandwiches tomorrow.
When it is the end of the day you are grateful for small mercies like a bit of ham eaten.

Tomorrow is another day.

One day my mother hoped to make her kitchen brand new. Her dream of a new kitchen wasn't realized. We did replace the lino and paint the room but it wasn't a ripped out brand  new kitchen while she was alive to use.

If you have dreams you should realize them. Or this is what I tell myself.

In the dark times people get sick and die. Or they get murdered in wars. Sometimes they become money machines. You don't know how people disappear. 

when you arrive here
you must try to do what you say
the door opens soon     and what are you to do?
surely you must make a book?
here is the day that you have spent
what was the result of the hours?
surely you made a poem?
what is the way out?
your father brittles and 
your sister hurls herself into silence
when the night comes
make a poem as a shield
so that you might continue
when you arrive here
understand that no one survives their lives
not really   we're going to the great silence
and so   if you really want to make a book
what is stopping you?

Gabrielle Papillon | With Our Trouble | First Play Live

Nov 19, 2017
239K subscribers
Gabrielle Papillon performs 'With Our Trouble' for CBC Music's First Play Live! Her new album 'Keep The Fire' is out now!

I guess what's stopping me is that there is so much poetry I have written and it's everywhere that I can't make a coherent statement of the bolus of words.

When you have so many binders full of poems what you have to do is to start somewhere and put it all in order. I will start on journals that haven't yet been transcribed.