torontosaurus wrecks

News item, February 2011:
Toronto the Good ditches longtime nicknames T.O., T.Dot and Hogtown; dubs itself ‘El Toro.’
Dear Toronto,
Please refer to Seinfeld episode #175: You cannot give yourself a nickname. It must be bestowed upon you by others. As George Costanza discovered, when you try to get people to call you ‘T-Bone’ you end up being called ‘Koko.’

Ironically (or was it a cry-for-attention cheeky collective nod to Seinfeld?), ‘T-Bone’ was runner-up in the Eye Weekly contest that unleashed ‘El Toro.’
Whatever. Nine months have passed since CBC television host Evan Solomon, one of the celebrity judges, proclaimed the winning moniker has ‘a delightfully multicultural tinge.’ Right. So … Is anyone actually referring to Toronto
as El Toro?

Didn’t think so.

two bruised peaches on the subway platform
samuel taylor coleridge on the TTC
two new moleskin notebooks
to match your bergundy chick-magnet blundstones
whispering around the henry moore
gourmet popcorn on the menu at starbucks
man on crutches to litterer: you dropped something.
litterer: thank you.
man on crutches: you dropped something.
litterer: you’re welcome.
man on crutches: so why don’t you pick it up?
litterer: fuck you.
man on crutches: aren’t you going to pick it up?
litterer: fuck you!
man on crutches: pick it up!
litterer: go fuck yourself!
you miss chagall at the AGO by one week
dark green centre

lochhead . riopelle . borduas
shamanic art ^^^ automatist painting ^^ ahhhhh ^
canadian landscape (NFB movie
featuring a.y. jackson, 1941
you know, the year your grandmother
killed herself)
‘can paradise ever be achieved?
A) damnshit right it can. got some of it right here ahhhh ahhhh ^^^^^ ahhhhh ^^
B) not without modern appliances
robert motherwell says art = an experience, not an object.
general idea says poodles = “the hairdresser’s little friend”
(which of course = code for “SO GAY!”) ^~^~^~^
it’s obvious you’ve been wondering:
what is it about the poet brain?
what sets those sad captains apart?
is it hope?
belief in miracles?
in true love in daffodils in forever?

you may not be ready to hear this but the truth is
when we myopic fools finish deep wrestling with a particularly obstreperous line
or recalcitrant couplet
we more frequently than we care to admit
wake up in a strange hotel room days later
lying next to stanzas smeared with blood and mascara
exclamation marks reeking the sweaty sour reek of vodka
hungover commas retching into the morning-after porcelain
(which act of punctuational thuggery
tore the bathroom door off its hinges this time?)
the fetid stench of onomatopoeia
hanging in the air
like stale pizza
oh look look at the clever hipster youngster
being wicked funny on queen street
‘donation? donation?’ he giggles, waving an empty coffee cup
under the noses of saturday night flaneurs and leafs fans.
the genius is wearing a $200 gap sweater and shiny italian shoes.
begging as a lark, it’s such a joke, will anyone toss a coin
into his blatantly un-needy cup?
(true homelessness has become just so banal …)
three blocks later another sharp dresser grabs your arm and asks for change.
no but i’ll give you five bucks for that leather jacket
— what? fuck. no. seriously, lady. i need it for food. i haven’t eaten in three days.
you start walking away so he accosts the person behind you
with even more hostility in his voice.
— for food! PLEASE!
then he leans against a brick wall and (blatantly, defiantly) lights up a joint.
someone yells:
geez, pal, if you can afford weed surely you can afford a cheeseburger


5-star review for White Shirt

Nice to know that, more than a year after its publication, new readers are still trying White Shirt on for size. Lovely review posted on a couple of weeks ago by Rob Jacques of Puget Sound; here are just a few snippets:

Poems about an implacable determination to experience joy
Laurie MacFayden’s poems are bright, colorful splashes of language with highlights of rhyme and meter that capture human angst about love, youth, and yearning — boisterous, roughhousing, tomboyish poems. But for all of their energy and muscle-flexing, they have a wonderful, carefully crafted artistry that contains and balances their zesty play on words, zany metaphors and sexual exuberance.

“The collection opens with a poem that’s going to be anthologized for the next couple of centuries: ‘My Date With Jackson Pollock.’ MacFayden probably spent a year working out the absolutely magnificent, colorful linguistic twists and curls that exactly duplicate a Jackson Pollock painting, the poet bursting with the same highly charged, only partially contained life-energy of the painter. The provocative socio-sexual interplay between the narrator and the painter is an intense thing of beauty in itself, and the poem rewards discerning re-reading with fresh connections between paint and language.

“Poetry and humanity both need her lusty, never-give-up, never-stay-down spirit wrapped in masterfully executed poems.”

You can read the whole blessed thing here.

a white shirt goes with everything

Greetings, poetry lovers. My book White Shirt (Frontenac House; $15.95) is hot off the press and now available for purchase.

White Shirt of the Week

“In this debut collection, best friends scream downhill
on their ten-speed bikes; a tree planter spells out her lover’s name in seedlings; and a mysterious entity
steps out of the mist in Stanley Park. The author
contemplates how best to seduce Joan of Arc
and goes on an abstract-expressionist date with Jackson Pollock.”

Like the white shirt in the title,
these poems are crisp, seductive
and a little bit sweaty.

White Shirt is one of 10 poetry titles selected by blind jury to be part of Dektet 2010, a celebration of Canadian poetry marking the 10th anniversary of Calgary’s Frontenac House publishers.

Please support your local independent bookseller (in Edmonton, Audreys Books, 10702 Jasper Ave; Greenwoods’ Bookshoppe, 7925 104 Street).

If you live further afield, White Shirt and the other Dektet titles may be ordered from the distributor, Alpine Book Peddlers.

Phone: 403-678-2280, (toll free) 866-478-2280
403-678-2840, (toll free) 866-978-2840

It’s also available online via Amazon.

the word on white shirt:

“This is the ‘classic’ hard-drinking, hard-living, gravelly poet’s voice – only it comes from a woman. It’s a bust-out-of-the-closet voice where occasional touchstone rhymes and furious lists score the page. The poems are stripped down, poignant, exact, and as heartily playful as any serious blues.
Here is Sappho crossed with the Supremes.”

— Jury, Dektet 2010


“Laurie MacFayden is one of my favourite poets. Her poems vibrate with a sensorial precision that never fails to capture … She does what all great writers do – that is, she shines her incredible, unique light on what it is to be human. MacFayden pushes at the darkness with her poetry – she titillates, teases, intrigues and entertains – and I hope she keeps doing it for a very, very long time.”

— thomas trofimuk, author of waiting for columbus

“when i first heard laurie macfayden read in edmonton, it was obvious she was a cut above the pack of poets waiting for their turn to be heard. she’s a drag queen in a pink limousine, journalist of whyte ave. & the two-lane world, an important lady in an important time.”

— c.r. avery, beatbox poet/spoken word artist