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January 3, 2018

The word “proem” means a preamble to a book or speech. I have “re-appropriated” it and created a new genre, the “ProemCard.”  I have been writing ProemCards for a number of years. I write them whenever I am travelling or am somewhere other than home.

            A ProemCard is a poem that combines prose and poetry and the spirit of the postcard. “ProemCard from Montreal” was meant to be my last birthday gift to Montreal on its 375th birthday but it took a bit longer, (in Montreal construction is never completed on...

December 22, 2017

Letter to A.M. Klein

Dear Abraham

It is late, but for us, it is the right time to be awake, steal time from sleep and pensate upon the fate and faith involved in living in this place.

I, too, am an immigrant and, like you, know what it is to be inside outside.

Much, yet no much, has changed since you, as child, held your father’s hand on the way to and from shul every Sabbath, as a young man, held your sweetheart’s hand on the way to and from a summer evening stroll on the Mountain, as father, held your children’s ha...

October 18, 2017

The Whistle Blowers

Part Five

Hungary Something is Eating you.

Evening October 23, 2016

We were in the kitchen eating Z’s delicious homemade goulash and watching Duna TV, the state-controlled station. We watched clips of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s short speech at the celebration. According to the magazine 168 Óra, a magazine that defines itself as a critical civic-intellectual weekly, Orban wanted the event, his speech included, to grab the young. He had ordered his event planners to make it “fancyk, trendik and s...

July 24, 2017

The CCF (Cooperative Commonwealth Federation) forerunner of the NDP was founded in 1932 by, (among others) Montreal poet F.R. Scott. Here is its platform from a postwar election campaign. (Date is not stated)

April 5, 2017

"To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone—to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone:

From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink—greetings."

George Orwell

From 1984

In honour of 1984, in 1984 The Muses’ Company, (a publishing house that I ran) published POETRY AGENDA POESIE 1984, containing the poems of 52 poets.

In honour of this year’s (2017) rememb...

January 20, 2017

Part Four

October 23, 2016

Bucket list

3. Witness the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the ’56 uprising.

A was worried. She didn’t want Z and me to go to the celebration. She expected trouble. My 91-year-old mother who survived the Holocaust and who risked her life to escape from Hungary told me before I left to keep my mouth shut and stay away from crowds. Silence didn’t do her any good during the Holocaust. Keeping away from crowds and mobs I could understand.  

Z and I decided to go. A decided to come along....

January 19, 2017

Part Three

October 22, 2016

I had a Hungarian bucket list for this visit.

1. Turkish Bath

I wanted to go to a genuine Turkish bath. I was hoping that the shwitz would help me with my cold. I also wanted to cleanse myself and be pure for the celebration.

Z and I went to the Király Thermal Baths on Fö utza (MainSt.) just on the Buda side of the Danube. It was 500 hundred years old. And looked it. It was not where the tourist went. The tourists tended to go to the more modern, posh ones near Geller Mountain. This was whe...

January 16, 2017

Part One

October 20, 2016

Even though I have flown many times, I cannot be but awed and scared each time by this most unhuman act. Birds do it, bees do it, mosquitoes do it, even microbes do it; it’s in their nature. But it’s not in ours. We do it because of our consciousness, curiosity, imagination, desire, will to go where we have never gone before.

We defy our limitations and we overcome what seems impossible. Four hundred and sixteen of us, not counting captain and crew and tons of luggage are stuffed into a met...

December 14, 2016

  

Friday--

C got up early to go to work. She tuned in CBC Daybreak to get the news, traffic, weather and bitch about the decline of the CBC.

I slept. I woke. She told me that they were talking about a tango festival in Montreal. CBC was giving away tickets to a free class and a show on Saturday night. She called and got the tickets.

“Why?” I asked.

“It would be fun,” she said. “You have to pick up the tickets between 9:30 and 4:00.

“Why me?”

“Because I work.”

She left and I went back to sleep.

I got there and the ti...

October 9, 2016

Went to the A.M. Klein plaque unveiling at St. Jax (???) Montréal (formerly the Church of St. James the Apostle). Both are strange: the unveiling and the change of the Church's name. (Who is St. Jax?)

I don’t know if this symbolic image (the shroud-wrapped plaque) was intentional. It’s the ritual performed a year after a Jewish burial.  A headstone is erected. A white cloth, apron-like, is tied around the stone and then before the stone with name, dates and quote is unveiled a prayer is recited. Probably not,...

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