When I wrote this many years ago my computer was a 286. Some of this graduate thesis went missing and this is my feeble attempt at a reconstruction.

Barbed Lines – 1994 

By Reggie Hart  


Table of Contents  




Plastic Memories....................................2




Crow Gossip.........................................4




Blink and Miss It...................................7


Post-Birthday Blues.................................8


The Bridge.........................................11


A Mounted Image....................................12


Civil Ears.........................................13







     This Week: Wormwood...........................16


     2. Twin Trumpets..............................17


     Remember The Porter...........................18


     4. An Empty Chair.............................20


     Tissue Preserved -- The Pure Mind.............21


     Papa C. ......................................22







Fresh Snow.........................................25


Books On Gardening.................................26




Picking Rocks......................................28


Quitting The Campus................................29


Elevator Etiquette.................................33


On A Section In Alberta............................34


Cold Seed For The Season...........................35




















Work In Progress...................................45


Barbed Lines.......................................46


Kilos Of Burgers...................................47


Snowbird Mother....................................48




The Red Fox At Polar Park..........................50




NOTES.........................................53 - 62






     Is Poetry................................66 - 70





Barbed Lines – 1994 thesis excerpts




"Tell me where all past years are."    
                           John Donne






snowing tonight

and she's looking through

the plastic remembering

the hairdryer

awkward in his hand                                 5

as he shrunk

plastic over the window

muttering about dinner

pretending she wasn't there



growing to love                                    10

this prairie land

where supper's dinner

dinner's  lunch  

brunch and coffee

rival tea                                          15

time for breakfast?

none tonight

have to work --

   write the real



watching over my shoulder                          20

the ghosts    not content

with barbed lines or crow gossip

seizing the pain

the sting of breaking words

her conviction                                     25

and mine

the storm windows in place

and snow failing

as it contests for the light



they would be content                              30

to live the pain

to feel the sting of chilblain caught

skating on the slough

shoveling the drive    

chasing scoops of snow at stray dogs               35






never write

of hutterite

women less than men

turn to look

with empty eyes                                     5

penned cattle




they steal    he said

they're bad    she said

they're crows    we said                           10

caw caw

caw caw



she said

she felt it                                        15

more than we


her carnal contact

with outsiders

a covert fondness

for the perfume we gave her                        20

voraciously reading

views unchecked



a checked scarf

bobbing on

a black dress                                      25

full of cancer

ruminating like


full of promise

unique                                             30

as freda






             i freed a crow once

             penned in a wooden box

             i give my word

             i don't know what

             something made me                      5

             stop and look        over the edge 

             afraid of the unknown

             of course suspecting that it was

             domesticated crow


      some town kids scattered crumbs              10

   placed a frozen moon pie box

   tied a kite string to a branch

   propped it underneath an edge


   the flaps were waving welcomes

   and the wind their only guest                   15

   playing out the string they

   shushed and hissed

   and lay down in the grass


   and waiting is forever when

   you're only ten years old                       20

   when they tired of the box trick

   they'd get rod to whitebait gulls


   summer after summer went

   and came and went and

   came and went while they never                  25

      caught a crow with home-made buns

   or lucky spoon


   sparrows    magpies

   gulls galore

   so many miles                                   30

   from sea and shore

      and then

   they grew away from ground


      they left the crow

   the birds aghast                                35

   all attempts to loving keep

   or insane leers and pointed sticks

      to a younger science passed                       




So    when the pie was opened    you sang?

A: fc /n /rime                                     40

check the time?  

A: mode fast

A: /n echo off                                     

echo off?  [Yes] [No] 

A: rem looping                                     45


             i remember this crow

             dignity stripped    squawk muffled

             dull black dress and empty eyes      

             penned for love or cruel art


       i hear crows are squawking loners           50

       even in a rookery

       lost in the midst of the muddle            


       or displayed in moon pie crates 

       quiet                                       55



       but    my expertise at matters

       that concern the wary crow

       comes from hearsay

       and childhood/                              60

       cruelty white with age

       hey    i don't even own a boat




through the open flap a

folded useless door                                65

the baking sun

swallowed by the eyes like they were glass               glinting off

the motionless black

                          there are times when     70

                          i think about crows

                          those times when crows

                          flap around my door


                  i hear crows talk

                  about friendly townspeople      75

                   -- they tell one other


   they ditched the box

      outside of town

   the crow was gone









had prairie

at the edge

proud and showing

old beloved                                         5



a wild red


running rose

all bubbled up

and filmy white                                    10



memory scratches

healthy surface

once red painful

brush  against



a grizzled red                                     15

some falling off

the lines you feel

like highway tar







driving west

starting to turn

               green trash bag in ditch

               round soggy bail 

               hugging the prairie                

               and notice no end-

               gate in the truck

               dried white clay

               the gophers are out                

               there's one on that mound

               starting to turn

lime-green greens

the golfers are out

there's one on that mound                         

driving west







         a seagull blanket

         cleaning yesterdays

    that's me    over the portable city         
 the one above



         a/lone hawk circling                       5

         above the crowd

         above the mud



ten dollar straw bales

the mud fights   the rain



where mudballs hang                                10

canadian flags                                    


draped out of the mud

soaring fifty feet high

sewing landscape and sky

the red narrow edge                                15



to cover the pasture

they bedded some wood                           



the snow fence that could

some broke up pallets



squatters invading                                  20

to blanket their claim



communal domain                                   

itinerant city                                     



the second gate searches

where some were barred                             25



everything hard

security confiscates                              



cattle prods lacking

this sets them apart

security's art                                     30

the wound-up to round-up



herded through gates                              

like domesticate beasts


securities breached

some testes were fondled                           35



timothy trampled

by leather clad foot                               

its origin moot

like genuine cowhide



some portable toilets                              40

that lineups had found



but finding the ground                            

the brazen ignored them



feasting on cowpies

before we appeared                                 45

some chased them with beer

the flies had to scatter                          



a beer cup of plastic

soars over the crowd

no bottles allowed                                 50

the prairie  protected



chocolate stick ice cream                          

a stand in the muck

the manicured mud

sticking to rev 'lers                              55



chicago clad salesman

with two dollar cups                              

waves ice-cola syrup

dressed up like a bull



a portable turret                                  60

looks over the ground

for mixing the sound                              

a tower erected



the headliners helped                             

by a heavy light crew                              65

the biggest named lou

i noticed his nametag


they each had a spotlight


to augment the rays                               

all trained on the stage                           70


mechanically driven



upstaging def leppard

was ugly kid joe

postponing the show                                

they started a mudfight                            75



openers rockhead

to warm april wine


a king for a time

the best was tom cochrane                         



pieces of plastic                                  80

and burlap grain sacks

a nylon back-pack

a/lone hawk kept circling


with claws retracted                              

not tempted to dive                                85


from smoking the hive

the living prey buzzing



         wrapped up in a blanket

         affixed    to the stage                    

         it's canada day                           90

         it's raining    it's pouring             





there is a bridge

on iron creek

they call the bridge    the bridge

just the bridge

it's been a site of many crossings

a site of sights    the bridge                     



his mother had to

sew and wash

and iron at the neon wheel

just the wheel

his daddy drank and played at bridge                   

with creaky hand

and iron appeal 



now the only thing a young man knows

is what he has for thoughts                        

just the bridge

he drove out to the iron bridge

so drunk he couldn't stop



come with me now to wavy lake

and circle marbled ground

just the wheel

a frosty name    another bridge                   

an epitaph unwound





the mystique of mounties    includes opera

              dudley do right's impression

              of nelson eddy

              calling you

              america's sweetie

              jeanette macdonald

              upstaged in edmonton

              by rocky


              at bullwinkle's restaurant






abandoned house

boasting    NO

refuge from

the marking season



venture through                                     5

a useless door

spine hairs up

pointed invasion



a haphazard bed

with filthy linen                                  10



old news



spine up

marking                                            15

reader's spot



urine stinging

heavy cloud

makeshift toilet

rise to meld                                       20

ancestral odours

once full beer

bottle shattered

civil ears






"Take it and eat; it will

               be bitter to your stomach,

               but sweet as honey in your mouth."

                              Revelation, 10:9



     "The smoker you drink

     the player you get."

                Joe Walsh



               "I had thought to have let

               in some of all professions

               that go the primrose way to

               th' everlasting bonfire."

               Macbeth: Act 2, Scene 3: 18-19





when  lambing march

meets april's fool 

and drowsy roots

are cruelly primed

when the lazy rain                                  5

drips pussy willows

shaking leaves

from winter sleep

then papa geof 

would go on tour                                   10


he took me out

carousing beers

said  "listen johnny

      you got ears"


regulars spend money                               15

regulars pay the bills  

set your watch --

watch your pocketbooks


         "watch your tongue"                           20

                        "mind your manners"

   "he holes  upstairs" 

               "maintains the tavern"

tasting wares








open  doors                                        25

packed as hell  

scented wood

friday  smell


fender speakers                                    30

move the air

 over the ten

two stepping pairs


a song -- highschool

  cigarette                                        35

bar-stool     footrail

    "yup you bet"


then filmy white

the  glasses chink

they tap the time                                  40

fresh out of sink


the regulars   

the marionettes

drinkers    dancers    cigarettes






they plant their feet                              45

on musty floors

where white clay sticks

rub foul sores


the cast iron table leg

lofty thought                                      50

a gentlemen's argument

leading nowhere


one bumps his dregs

on the musty carpet

one mixes red-eye                                  55

the blood of a dead man


zak repeats

what others say

grinning zeke

nods and nods and/                                 60

waves for service



two and a juice

the bartender reads it








eighty years

         liquor  years                             65





clothes of pride

pocket stitch

matching cap                                       70

         lift and itch



haggard face

rails maintained

lukewarm draught

         lift and drain                            75



                 "seven   o'clock

                     set your watch"





throat vibration                                   80

weighing words

balancing nations   



thin lips      

barely move

itchy hair                                         85

         lift and soothe



countless patrons


his memories 

coagulate                                          90

the railroad stock

                  "he 'll   liquidate!"

         "it's bullshit"

              "please elaborate"   






"well"  (zombie)                                   95

"rails"         (highball)

"the west"  (scotch) 

"empty pockets"   (wine)





    "What year was she?" said Geoffrey. After

    this I looked at an open door, seven          100

    mounted heads, and ten powder horns. A

    hodgepodge hungry with western themes:

    bucksaws, flintlocks, double t's. Pioneer

    tools and disco days. Mirrors of beer.       

    A neon haze.                                  105





some cowboy posters

two-piece girls

a horseshoe nailed

to the bathroom door



"the crowded train" (the seven heads)             110

"the rails maintained"  (in wired bliss)



no power poles to measure snow

no crow or blackfoot







trapper likes the pickled eggs                    115

he salts them well

to stimulate

his appetite

for rum and coke

neat and  pressed                                 120

a dirty joke


his famous tricks

a bowl poured out

a burning ash                                     125

a match  burns twice


he calms the scorched

with a "goddam joke"



the barman evicting                               130

an old woman babbling

restfully babbling

to saints and martyrs

in an empty chair

his untamed tongue                                135

is a sharp two-edged sword

her scarlet hat

bobs a dark smear

above her penciled brow


gold foil earrings                                140

and loops of plastic

pearls and dark glass

jewels reflecting

a purple dress

an empty bottle                                   145

molson gold

in her marbled hand



"don't worry about babe" papa says  to the man

"women are cities

the passion of man"                               150



"she'll get more from trapper than she ever gave

mix her a double

whatever she craves"





his head

and hair                                          155

were white as white wool

five      two      breezy blue

his nose  round

a misshaped hardball

a thousand eyes front and back                    160

penetrating craters

with a wild red glow



no photo available

in his highschool yearbook 

--a regular favourite                             165

draught beer 



the  locals' treatment



(no one sits with bill)                           170

the lonely crib-board  

a permanent fixture

on his table 



on the wall above 

(the barman condones it)                          175

a yellowed cellophane sign 


beside posters of girls

bathing suits

drinking beer                                     180






a pilsner beer 

as cold as snow

licking the edge

of hand-rolled smokes

emerging from                                     185

a pouch of gold


he spoke familiar

hockey   weather

hard times 

a depression family                               190

a large family

on relief

the father in jail

avoiding argument

voraciously reading                               195

always in agreement


"yup    yur right

on that one boy

yup    yup    yup

i believe ya"                                     200


if drunk enough

he'd bark some service

a wired rambling

from there to mcGee

his arm outstretched                              205

like a bronze orator

a round of applause

and three  free "pils"

a rousing toast to sinclair ross

one story building                                210

then another

the crowd seeking

a way   away


in his last months

he quit carousing                                 215

and started spooning

bowls full of the wrath of god    

wild stubble

and a white face

cloth burned white hot                            220

wrapped around his cold frame

his hour of trial

had come like a thief

no service

no poetry                                         225


weak worms

open doors


trumpet sounds

open doors


knock   knock   knock!                            230

opens doors


an empty chair

is an open door


the pure mind

opens doors                                       235


a papa c.        

opens doors






      "The seed of truth lies hidden deep within."








miss dark land

winter white

and picot blue

of just

white ice                                           5



just ice and white

white and stone



chthonic demons

insane leers

stone temple pilates                               10

mist the poetry

in a lispering land








our past is soil

under the fingernails

too close

too personal

to be scrutinized                                   5


when the earth invades a crevice

it's de-filed

A:s - dirt dirty shitty


entire libraries                                   10

venerate compost








black rot


soil from deaths

we don't recognize

the found feast                                     5

the dust eaten

and eaten and eaten

until  the soil

spits the dust to life

that moves the soil                                10

and eats dust from the soil

eating the black rot


soil from deaths







stone pile periods

rolled away

from seed starved soil

risen up

from winterheaves                                  

empty tomb


like teeth emerging

from swollen gums 






workers busy

loading truck


etc    truck        



     ground leaves                                  5

speckled reddish-brown

invaders cautious

unknown ground



sound on

headphones                                         10

bounce along

carry a parka   




foreign students



gold spades                                        15

whispering off

a poplar



painted door

open held

a prominent white                                  20

one story building

an armload

of deliveries

crown wrapped

in vinegar and                                     25

brown paper   



breeze on 

lawn sprinkles

metronomic pattern

(everyone glancing at it)                          30

scattering mist

darkening soil

and cold seed 




ants conquer

     bread crumbs         marching out of          35

     lunch bag            over  old newspaper 

     beside  empty        trashy barrel

     and shattered        brown bottle



spongy grass

a concrete hairpiece                               40

adjunct to a cobblestone

carpet of geometric siblings



slowly walking

two men in suits

a casual pace                                      45

facilitates words



our jackets alike

except for name bars 

none exceeding                                    

letters five                                       50



    a warm face tory

building emerging

through mountain

ash orange berries

boldly displayed                                   55

mind full of birds

shy    hiding birds

conversing in melodies

fed by

plump sentinels                                    60



    saying hi

    nodding too

    a/lone runners

team jackets

pseudonymous fate                                  65



    a cloud  resembling

  drifting        harmlessly

 through    breezy    blue





calling    a huddle

of students                                        70

haphazardly drilling

through double door

fumbling the past

through future zone



    a football                                     75

playfully tossed

between two

young men



busy hands

t-shirts                                           80

sweat pants

fans cheer



standing by

open books

standing by                                        85

hands red

faces live



a loper

jogging earnestly

toward my                                          90




    shouting nick nick

at a measured pace

shrugging shoulders and

stuttered stop like                                95

the sound had moved

in motion slow



hands mesmerized

a couple held

a perfect spot                                    100

in the face of other




a man dozing

dry lawn

out of sprinklers reach

his head rest                                     105

a canvas pack

a blue jays cap

pulled down



a beautiful tableau

an arm of bronze outstretched                     110

do you remember quitting?

and the smell of cigarettes





randy watches

the numbers

monotonous calculations

continually determining

his proximity                                       5

hearing the squeak and groan

of the cabled car

going down

admiring his leather shoes

his blinders up                                    10

he peeks through

and notices her

admiring the floor

he catches her

peeking back                                       15

b   bbblushing



we're all wary


trapped in a moving room

where were you when the lights went out?           20



lately i've become a menace

ignoring elevator rules



a stark second

before my floor



when the bell tolls                                25

for my numbered floor



i insist on conversation

breaking spells

of shoes and floors



"this car was built by maxwell house"              30

i dryly add

while stepping off   then

pause and turn

on closing door

grinning "good to the last drop"                   35







 the evanescent vision    landscapes living crowd

 stubble    on a white    face    cloth




    A portable sign beside a greenhouse had its letters blown by the wind. Driving by, I misread "closed for the season" as...







                     see      the sea

                cold      for the sea               5

                 old              sea

                 o   see

                 old seed

                 old seed for the seas

                cold              season           10

                cold      for the seas

                cold      for the season

                cold seed for the season

                 old                as

                     seed for the    son           15


                cold seed for the    son

                     see      the    son


                              the    son           20



                     seed for the sea

                          for the se

                cold              seas             25





                              the                  30

                   d  e d                 

                                  s   on








time to


time to ponder


time to ponder things


time to ponder things that                         


time to ponder things that don't


time to ponder things that don't have


time to ponder things that don't have to


time to ponder things that don't have to rely       


time to ponder things that don't have to rely on  










"For I am bound with fleshly bands,

          Joy, beauty, lie beyond my scope;

          I strain my heart, I stretch my hands,

                And catch at hope."

                              Christina Rossetti






brian thought

the narrator

might envision

friendly townspeople as

              poles connecting                      5

                           lines that communicate

from generation to

community members

distant as

clarke's belt                                      10

visible in heaven



a dam 

stretched over

the ditches wound                                  15

in ground beside

barbed wire

inhibiting stumbling

onto roads for gravelly

old homesteaders                                   20

or sons of mothers

children  to someday pave



distance in    derived horse

power          driving shafts 

direct from    distant steel                       25

               mills surrounding

cities of      immigrants

fed            white

meat from water 

stretched from horizon to horizon                  30



meat rivaling your north saskatchewan slough shark

trophy sized bass or

salmon coloured cousins

mythical pioneers

instinctively avoiding                             35

old brians

pike infested  frontier






if he could write

his self he would

fashion his paper brain                            40

knowing that

they thrive

alive    multiplied

like loaves

of wheat                                           45

bleached white



refined in part

by defining the whole

sparing no

expansive landscape                                50

redefined from horizon to horizon




while dad was an awkward youth

insulating foreign doors

against frozen  hordes

advancing like pikesmen                            55

clattering armour

over a paved yard

    exercising his right

to painlessly  live

his  glorious manhood                              60

to manifest

in me



and repeat           



a seed

sown in alberta                                    65




a name

cloned and kept

sprouted in saskatchewan



oblivious to mitchell                              70

fashioning paper

brians on the prairie

housed in

short green trousers

divining honing wind                               75

and a dead gopher

bleached white



oblivious to relief feeding mother's

fatherless family in alberta



oblivious to his father                            80

swallowing moose jaw soil

perverting history

moving east

for a green homestead

near ontario's mitchell                            85



feeling the wind

that blew

defenseless black

gophers forced

to dig in                                          90

dried white clay 

sticking to everything

left over

after the first/great

lesson of the century                              95

that spawned us




my son talks

       to him

on line

         too soon     buried                      100

with rotted poles and empty  cross shadows

that disappear under

trenched landscape



glossy blacks     whites     reds

neutrals all                                      105


lines surrounded

with plastic efforts 

at preservation


obsolesced by                                     110

stark fibre/

optic awareness

somewhat super/

seeded by seldom seen voices

sibilating the heavens                            115


microwaveable sense/

ability to come/







           "We give form to this land by running

            a series of posts and three strands

         of barbed wire around a quarter-section."

                                  Robert Kroetsch 




"Before I built a wall I'd ask to know

    What I was walling in or walling out."

                                        Robert Frost






"Something there is that doesn't love a wall."

                                Robert Frost 



there is no fence

to stop nature

there is snow fence

to humour nature



to humour nature                 

there is snow fence

to stop nature

there is no fence







a landscape traced

with dotted line

an interlined scribbler

priming beginners


the bar line posts                                  5

separate rhythm

scrambling words

breaking  measure

--*-----*--   ---*--

horizontal lines

support clinging vines                             10

and vertical twigs --

budding infants

springing green

from  no

till ground                                        15


a trinity of post and lintel

nailed with bale wire

the branches support the

matchless rambling

-- volunteer oats                                  20

and wild lentils

                    *   --*-----*--  --*-----*--

seeking meaning       

outside  the line     

wired natures

rambling heiroglyph                                25

*   *   *   *   *   *

a crayon dressed

in summer green

or autumn red

obscuring the line

with collage of colour                             30

-- natures rhyme



the obscure branches

changing lines --

a living page

fenced in meaning                                  35

-- leaves dropping

an altered page










      "God knows, too many fences fence us out."

                            Phyllis Webb



lines that tear trousers

barbed lines

support the sting of breaking rose

at a haven for wild oats

and volunteer rape                                 



a back road heaven

separating wheat and tears

wild seed and chaff




              ||                             ||

              ||                             ||


              ||                             ||

--*-----*-----||----*-----*-----*-----*-----*||-----*---               ||                             ||

-----*-----*--||-*-----*-----*-----*-----*---||--*-----*               ||                             ||








kilos of triple strand barb

strung three high

are food containers

keeping day

grazing domesticates                               

protected from self mutilation 

and auto traffic

sparse enough to condition

the hamburger in (colourized) infancy






 when she was young

she used to laugh

listening to leaves fall

she laughed                                        

   she didn't leave                                 



she never laughed last labour day            

she left      

   for florida   







viewed through

three layers of glass

dusty gravel

enhances the impression

a natural joshua                                    5

taking on remembering


flanking the barb

a snow fence built

to parallel

the zigzag hills                                   10


rough hewn spruce

one by eight

whitewash  lacking


vertical soldiers

touching shoulders                                 15

modeled after

the pioneer and

alberta pool


engineered in railroad towns

inherited from  garrisons                          20

on a dear frontier

fashioned from untold years

of flat cars 


fresh cut spruce

coming crisp                                       25

from the coast

with mountain air

some assembly required


pole shed remnants?

dugout protection?                                 30


closing in on the soldiers

imagining the knotty surface

of rough spruce

wooden divisions 

transform                                          35

to floppy eared stillness

a herd of muleys

in file formation

a parade floating

in stasis                                          40








     pace and  pace

pause and turn


     sometimes bred

fed white meat

                   dead to    eat                 




    dead    to eat

fed white meat

bred sometimes


    pause and turn

                 pace  and pace                





swaths line

a living page

grainy and knowing



when threshing

grains of poetry                                   

some useful

chaff remains




Is Poetry

Reggie Hart

Pound haunts me 


the aphoristic nature of a phrase


unnecessary or excessive?



     Or was he thinking etymology  < L. super, above  + fluere,  to flow: "Use no superfluous word...."



absolutely nevermore

intentionally use

exacerbated cacophony


     Words modulate between simple description and divine afflatus 


        reformed into something new. 


Examine the possibilities -- a clandestine meeting on a back road. 


a farmer introduced it

now it's everywhere

                         read in


Barbed Lines



there are many emotions combating for dominance; pain, lust, suffering, anger, resentment...


This is an attempt to capture.


Develop a taste for concrete deer with embedded antlers Then!  Moulting lasts a thousand years. 


The last two lines intermingle




          The last word forms the glue to bind the

     image. Sometimes


the fifth point on a compass

is the point where 

                 "In music. Crow is realist. But, then," 


word  unit


Move beyond the image. Imagine little condolement comes from the few


excessive                  above

or on the flow of a poetic line





That words have power, is of course evide nt However, contact here    is       ach ieved






Year after year rocksriseup; picked before

seed can be sown.



That the reader will associate these words in a like manner.



Some writers aspire to control words, a noble aspiration, but one which ultimately




The Difference Between Us and Them





r is x r is x r is x r is x r is x r is x r is x




yes    one might

read "us and them" as

 <M> <F> 

but this poem




     "R is x" is curiously mathematical. This heightens the irony, since neither "r" nor "x" have any irreducible meaning, except that empowered by the reader. Letters -- and subsequently words -- have no absolute meaning. But tone




           Consider the realm beyond the page. The     





rite of passage

married beard

son and father

buried here


Who was Jacob Hutter?


a chicken boss

or hay or straw

a businessman

biblical law


Who was Jacob Hutter?



     What will the reader think when confronted with

this particular combination? 





bp nichol





PS (8564 I16 L89 1974)


                               ; an acknowledgement that language is inadequate.





Any combination of letters at once becomes a structure. Poetry moves beyond. Forms like free verse or haiku. Inasmuch as all these hopefully.  That said, I'd like to add that this does not mean that one should.










Some Brerow Philosophy






 it begs for seed

The precarious balance of agreement


          As we read    and reread 

PO--- is   all/ways    altered 


 it could be argued


Mitchell forever fashioning paper Brians over and over again


        MS-DOS                    TRANSLATION 



fc /n test1.src test2.src    Scratch my fuckin' balls

    >test3.src               all three of you

fc \user\working\file.txt    Fuck you Sir and your job

   \user \backup\file.txt    You Serback, Up filet zit!



"In some

haunting way 

the Ben 

[is] part 

of it."


      Any discussion will

And here is the key word.



This leads to the unlikely conclusion that perhaps

         It is therefore desirable to



The shape of these words in a line on a page.





     in sane voice

change pain to glory

mumbling over wine and bread


     in sane others

watch wicked thought

cast down to hell


     infect others

with insane order

insane voice

with wild rambling



      St. Sufferingholdinglongingmergingmitchellpoundand



letters have tone

Pound knew




Barbed Lines - Footnotes



 2. Plastic Memories


watching over my shoulder

the ghosts    not content (l.20-1)


Cf. Wallace Stevens, "Large Red Man Reading:" "There were ghosts that returned to earth to hear his phrases" (320).



 3. Freda                                             




women less than men  (l. 3)


The Hutterian Brethren consider the male to be the head of the household. Cf. Ephesians, 5:22-4.



hope/chest  (l. 28)


Freda is unattached.



 4. Crow Gossip 


A: fc /n /rime (l. 40)




Here a dialogue occurs between the poet and his computer. He directs the computer to check the files for rhyming words. But because the poet has used the archaic spelling -- "rime" the computer offers its closest possibility to the word,

i. e. "time."


A: rem looping (l. 45) 



-- rem: "remarks." Also, R.E.M. (rapid eye movement) is associated with the dream state.



 8. Post-Birthday Blues


The outdoor rock concert described here  occurred July 1,1993 near Camrose, Alberta.



dressed up like a bull (l. 59)




-- the Chicago Bulls.





upstaging def leppard (l. 72)



Def Leppard headlined the concert. The other acts were Rockhead, Ugly Kid Joe, Tom Cochrane and April Wine.



13. Civil Ears


heavy cloud (l. 18)



Adapted from Wallace Stevens: "Like Decorations in a Nigger Cemetery." "The cloud rose upward like a heavy stone" (103).





Every tavern I ever visited had one or more interesting characters. Some elusive, many friendly, these characters always fascinated me. Those appearing in this poem are composites based on real people; some still living. Papa Geoff combines Chaucer with the first angel in Revelation and authentic tavern patrons. Many of the events, such as Papa’s recitation of "The Cremation of Sam McGee" are based on actual occurrences. The dreamer shifts in and out of an imaginary tour of the pubs that Chaucer's troupe visited on their way to Canterbury, the heavenly scene depicted in Revelation, and Alberta taverns. He encounters a character who reminds him of the Porter in Macbeth, a biblical harlot, zeke and zak, trapper, and a host of patrons all demanding a voice.


15. Prologue





 modeled after the prologue to The Canterbury Tales.


are cruelly primed  (l. 4)




Cf. T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land: "April is the cruelest month" (63).



said "listen johnny

you got ears" (ll. 13-4)    

Cf. "I John am he who heard and saw these things."                                   (Revelation 22:8).





Alberta Liquor Control Board sign on the wall.


tasting wares (l. 24)


Cf. Simple Simon.



16. This Week: Wormwood


Cf. title:

     The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died of the water, because it was made bitter.                            (Revelation 8:11)


scented wood (l. 27) 


Cf. Revelation 18:11.



17. 2. Twin Trumpets


rub foul sores (l. 48)



So the first angel went and poured his bowl on the earth, and foul and evil sores came upon the men who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.

                     (Revelation 16:2)


the blood of a dead man (l. 56)



The second angel poured his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a dead man, and every living thing died that was in the sea.

                              (Revelation 16:3)



18. Remember The Porter 


-- title: "I pray you, remember the porter."                  (Macbeth Act 2 Scene 3: 21)


After this I looked at an open door... (l. 99-100)



"After this I looked, and lo, in heaven an open door..." (Revelation 4:1).




20. 4. An Empty Chair


a bowl poured out (l. 124)



"The fourth angel poured his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch men with fire" (Revelation 16:8).


an old woman babbling (l. 131) 



Cf. the harlot in Revelation:

     The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and bedecked with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; and on her forehead was written a name of mystery: `Babylon the great, mother of harlot's and earth's abominations.' And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.




"don't worry about babe..." (148)


Cf. Revelation 17:4-6 (see above note).



mix her a double (l. 152) 



Render to her as she herself has rendered, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double draught for her in the cup she mixed. (Revelation 18:6)



21. Tissue Preserved -- The Pure Mind  




-- the title is a line taken from Ezra Pound's  "`Sienna Mi Fe'; Disfecemi Maremma'" in Hugh Selwyn Mauberley. The poem features the  character M. Verog discussing poets who frequented the pubs in London.


his head 

and hair 

were white as white wool  (ll. 154-6)



"His head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire..."  (Revelation 1:14).


22. Papa C.


on relief  (l. 192)



During the depression many Alberta families were on welfare -- on relief.


from there to mcGee (l. 204)



Cf. Robert W. Service: "The Cremation of Sam McGee."


his arm outstretched

like a bronze orator  (ll. 205-6)



(Cf. "Quitting The Campus" n, ll. 109-10).


one story building  (l. 210)



(Cf. "Quitting The Campus," n, l. 18)


bowls full of the wrath of god (l. 217)



Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, `Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.' (Revelation 16:1)


had come like a thief (l. 223)



"...I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you" (Revelation 3:3).

-- cf. Luke 12:39, II Peter 3:10.


23. Epilogue


trumpet sounds  (l. 228)



Cf.     ...And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, `Come up hither, and I will show you what must take place after this.'

                            (Revelation 4:1)


knock    knock    knock!  (l. 230)



Spoken by the Porter in Macbeth, Act 2 Scene 3: (12-13).



25. Fresh Snow            


insane leers  (l. 9)


-- King Lear.


stone temple pilates (l. 10)



In the mystery plays, Pilate's words are bold and often exaggerated. The stones that peek through the snow are like Pilate's voice.Homonym: Stone Temple Pilots is a contemporary rock band.



26. Books on Gardening


a:s - dirt dirty shitty (l. 8)



-- a data search for the etymology of  dirt.



28. Picking Rocks


stone pile periods (l. 1)



-- Punctuation has become redundant; historians tend to compartmentalize the past into "periods."



29. Quitting The Campus


painted door (l. 18) 



Cf. Sinclair Ross: "The Painted Door." 


crown wrapped  (l. 24)



Crown-Zellerback is a paper manufacturer.



a warm face tory (l. 51) 



-- the Tory Building on the University of Alberta campus.


plump sentinels (l. 60) 



-- the berries, but also the warm faced tory.




fumbling the past

through future zone (ll. 73-4)



Adapted from Wallace Stevens, "Like Decorations in a Nigger Cemetery."  "If ever the search for a tranquil belief should end, / The future might stop emerging out of the past" (103).




a beautiful tableau 

an arm of bronze outstretched  (ll. 109-10)



-- Cf. Wallace Stevens, "The Dance of the Macabre Mice:"  "What a beautiful tableau tinted and towering /  The arm of bronze outstretched against all evil" (117).



33. Elevator Etiquette



where were you when the lights went out? (l. 20)



-- title of a Metro Goldwyn Mayer movie; based on the 1965 blackout in New York: starring Doris Day.



34. On A Section in Alberta



-- Cf. Ezra Pound, "In a Station of the Metro."



35. Cold Seed For The Season


for the se  (l. 24)


-- for these.



38. Origins


Brian thought (l. 1)



-- a character in W.O. Mitchell's Who Has Seen The Wind.



poles connecting (l. 5) 



     The swarming hum of telephone wires came to him, barely perceptible in the stillness, hardly a sound heard so much as a pulsing of power felt. He looked up at rime-white wires, following them from pole to pole to the prairie's rim. From each person stretched back a long line -- hundreds and hundreds of years -- each person stuck up. (Mitchell, 299)




clarke's belt (l. 11) 



-- the "C" band communication satellites  named for Arthur C. Clarke.


a dam  (l. 12)


-- Adam.



...north saskatchewan... (l. 31) 


-- the river, not the province.



...slough shark (l. 31)


-- slang for Northern Pike.



40. Propagation



...relief feeding mother's (l. 78)


(Cf. Papa C. n, l. 192)




ontario's mitchell (l. 85)


Mitchell is a town in Ontario.



first/great (l. 95)


-- WWI / The Great War.


42. Reunion



on line (l.99)


-- computer command.



44. Fencing

(see below note: "The Red Fox at Polar Park.")



45. Work in Progress


from no

till ground (ll. 14-5)



No-till farming is a technique presently being employed by some Alberta farmers.



46. Barbed Lines  


separating wheat and tears



Homonym: the Biblical "tares" -- an unwanted weed.



47. Kilos of Burgers


...(colourized)... (l. 9)



-- some grocery  stores colour the meat on display.


50. The Red Fox At Polar Park

Michael Ondaatje's reverse footage segments in The Collected Works of Billy The Kid  have used this same technique. However, my intention is not one of a camera but an imitation of the movement of the trapped fox. In "Fencing" the image reverses on itself but here the sense is one of heightened pathos. The snow fence becomes a "humour" on the body of nature.

51. Chaff


chaff remains (l. 7)



Cf. -- the Imagist principle "use no superfluous words." In any editorial task it is difficult to decide which words remain.


Various Snippets of Poems

Waiting For the Next Direction


  swollen remains      usher proven beat

save molten rhyme      a dying alone luxury



by Reggie Hart


calm down

for the sake of the children

change your nature

and lose the cruel rules for tomorrow


As We Caress Your Edges



we should

stroke you

like yesterday


and stay awake

dreaming of you


The Final Period


tow your duds

home to a frosty porch

hand-me-down toboggans

nicked pucks and wall street shin pads


fire your toque and mismatched mitts

score one on the rickety boot bin

knock the supper scraps

out of sparky's bowl


hear the tea-kettle pitching

let mom fill the tub


wiggle into starchy pyjamas

toast chokecherry syrup

and sugary hot chocolate


do anything you must

 to catch the final period.

by Reggie Hart


A Berth in the Minor Cup


bury it

bury it

bury it hard

find a hole

and shove it in


we gotta score

between the pipes

a sprawling mass of pads and gloves


ok      call it hooking

let's make them pay

don't blow it for nothing

going upstairs


dig dig

dig it out

we gotta steal one

tie her up


poke it in

ram it in

in the crease

drill one      nail one

hammer it home


shoot      shoot      shoot it now

he's in the box

they're beating themselves


kill it      kill it

take your time

pass it around

and run it down


he's crossing the line

a shot from the point

it's in/it's out

slip it in

slap her out




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