Clint’s Letter/Our Responses

Here is Clint’s letter; below it are the responses some participants created. We’ll continue posting them as they arrive. You are also invited to respond!

Clint’s letter came as an email:

Letter from East Van to East Van


Dear Thursdays writers:


I am excited to be working with you, and to see the writing that you do. I’ve done a lot of teaching (poetry) in the community over the past fifteen years, including with the Humanities 101 group and a storefront at Alibi pizza (!) when we were also making the neighbourhood mosaics. So, a mosaic, you cut things up and make something new. Sometimes with a design. Sometimes not. I like collage, cutting up old poems – or other things – to make a new one. When I teach writing I also get students to cut up (or “appropriate”) stuff from social media, from facebook or twitter. it’s all good. the first cut is the deepest. a cutting remark. ouch!





Attached as two documents were these two poems:


North by Pacific Northwest


(right after Jeff Derksen)


Clark Dewdney crosses a hotel lobby, receives a text from a 778 exchange.


Anonymous, but this doesn’t bother him, he has his fans.


Wakes up hungover in a courtroom (former art gallery).


Can’t we talk about the rentier and euthanasia, he declaims from the visitor’s gallery. A major new architectural feature: 2 inch thick raw concrete, with a finish as smooth as a dowager’s dewlap. Wrap some cashmere around that crêpe.


Meanwhile, Zagreb in Vancouver: snowboarders board buses, carrying 2-4s of Lucky and smoking blunts as thick as a curling broom. The panhandlers eat Hamburger Helper in the alleys, posing neath two-pole power lines like flaneurs in flannel.


The more rush Ross Giotti gets from his custom tear-aways (how aughts!) – or at least I heard it on the DL from CL Smooth on his new “mix-tape” – leads to Clark on the skytrain, like it’s the first time he took the El to a waterfront hotel.


But wrong waterfront – New West – with bike stores and shoe stores and Muggs and Juggs for feeling a copycat crime book at either the Sally Ann or the Army and Navy. You grab a brick of cheese, hop on the sky train, and next thing you know you’re in the Ivanhoe, peddling boosted cheddar for more than the cost of a jug of Bud. Look northward, arthritic angel, the archive is online, free, and utterly uninterested, but turned off after 10 p.m. to protect it from Russian hackers (how 80s! – as he found out from Iron Man 3)



crossing the strait of Georgia



grey shower cap black capstan

metalwork paint thick

as on plywood cupboards

alberta 1970s PMQs


Bach’s fugue by a 37 yr old

string quartet, faintly

from an ipad in a tweed bag


black grey streaked

mercury water


mercury’d slaughter

aluminum, D said

the day before


as we hiked

over a beach

round a point

up the road

& down

to the port wash dock


a long time


the solar word


solar panels on

empty boats rigging


up the road

down the stairs

and a run off

engineered to stop

at an old door mat

and two generations’

green’d cind’r block


(earlier, a beaver’s

chewed tree

still standing

like a Warner Bros

cartoon pencil)


(salal slapping

my durangos

wettish in


punch line)


a brass band

a brass bell

rope from clapper


a dump truck

cover pulled back like

a black window blind


yellow pipes

strip of paint


tears of rust

streak the white


orange yellow brown


three small white chocks

ziggurats like an ikea Aztec

shoved in a bracket

an orange one,

my foot’s again’


crenellated crit

icky surf

ant aircase

ten year wit


 Responses from Thursdays

James McLean read this at our first Lettering: Postal Code Reading at SFU with Madeleine Thien but because James and Clint shared a few cracks about it, we’re publishing it here in Clint’s section:

Visiting Universities

Was it Harvard, Berkeley, memory fails, me like the jails I’ve been in 35 – last count, what else, with no diploma on my C.V. other than getting that sort of education. Like the visits to the universities. One was a questionable as the other. On with the visits. Along comes this gent with university attire – leather patches on a Harris tweed jacket no pipe. He was a thinker – smoking is not healthy it affects ones’ bank balance – enquiring of me, is that a bus? Not looking for a punch I courteously replied, yes, it’s a bus. The left side of my brain, the think part, slowly responded yes, it’s a bus. The leather patch gent vehemently replied, no it’s not a bus, it’s particles of matter confusing your brain it’s a bus, if you have a brain. My jail time education was helpful, slowly responding with great cruelty, well, leather patches, just you lay down in front of my bus then you will know it’s a bus along with solid matter with particles. Also with all this chatter about particles of matter, does it really matter does, it really matter. It’s our bus. He was nonplussed. It was all the latin I knew, ipso facto, nil desperandum. He was a professor of some sort, I could see would it be philosophizing a moot point. Leather patches went on the bus, I didn’t, he waved, I didn’t. Now I’ve missed my bus. Nonplussed again I have to walk ambulo, ambulat I walk nonplussed again.

Leslie Darnell

Dear Mayor Gregorson, the Local Area Plan team and all of the Property and Community Developers working on the takeover of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.


You have finally accomplished your dream of pushing through the approval of the DTES Local Area Plan at all cost.


After inviting 160 residents of our community to speak at the Mount Olympus of Vancouver City Hall, after reviewing the collection of 6,000 signatures representing 6,000 voices in our neighborhood of the DTES and Chinatown, some who have lived here for 50-plus years and more, you have managed to allow the rabble rousers to rattle their sabres briefly before approving the inevitable displacement of the lower income individuals and families from their homes and supportive community over the next five to ten years.


You all talked a good speech of a pie-in-the-sky future for us all.


How you can sleep at night, knowing the repercussions of your actions is beyond me.


Such is politics these days in this Brave New World of talking heads.


You’ve cut things up to make something new; your yuppie, gentrified restaurant-riddled, consumer religion; deconstructed me, activist, anarchist, protecting my basic human rights promised to me, which  were fought over and died over, now betrayed by you.


John Mark



“Btfsplk’s” rain clouds hover

above me.


have me wandering?!

Ow long it take

to get me down here?!

sitting here next to my best friend

my bottle of beer.


Edifried?! Stupefied?!

I just don’t know…

Which way did I go

Can’t say : I never tried

So? I think

I’ll just sit here

next to my best friend

my bottle of beer.


Crabs in the toilet bowl

Bugs in the bed  and head

Heading down Pilgrim Highway 33

down to the patch


up with Joe, I’ll

Give him back his cloud

Maybe? Butt!…..for now?

I’ll blow

another one or two

against the wind

while?                        I  just sit here

next to my best friend

my bottle of beer.


Just sitting here thinking

of another bottle of beer

I’m just sittin here

hanging with my best friend

listening to “Btfsplk’s” blues?!


Molly Ancel

When Time is Circular

Dearest Granddaughter,

I feel as if I have been walking for a long time. The front line lingers in obscure darkness – our troop will never see it in its gloriously deteriorating state.

As this war has much to do with God, I think if there be a God he is a trickster or primarily vengeful. Escape as I might, escape first generation-five and dime-working class summers spent behind the counter at Papa’s, it seems I cannot.

My blood sings as we liberate the camps. It pounds against my veins, surging away from my body as if it knows it should be in this ground along with the others. We are not God’s chosen people, my dear. God is cruel and scared. He fears his creations. He fears us because our potential for destruction is greater than his.

We walk, we walk, we march. Death permeates every inch of the European soil under our feet. It grabs at my ankles, desperate to have me.

When my mother said she would never come back here, I know why. Why my father did not cry at the violation of our last name at Ellis Island, I know why. We will live granddaughter. We will live because there is nothing else left to do.

All my love,





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