Sunday, September 28, 2008


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The picture with this story in the Dec 30, 1987 of the Cobourg Daily Star, displays the poetic slogan in a state of considerable deterioration. The graffiti had been aerosoled.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008


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Many thanks to Ted Amsden, for documenting, in an effective and evocative manner, some splendid graffiti that recently appeared on the east pier facing in towards Cobourg harbour.

Ted Amsden is one of the members with poetry in Anthology II by the Cobourg Poetry Workshop, a chapbook edition of poetry from 15 poets in North Slumberland, east of the Centre of the Unit Verse. There is fine stuff in that collection.

I know the individual who did the graffiti. He is young. He loves Cobourg. He loves fun. He loves poetry and he loves courage.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008


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Friday, September 19, 2008


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Rhyme Scheme Instigators from the Creative Intelligence Anarchy erected a SONNET BY CHANCE on the former site of the cenotaph in Cobourg, Canada. The Poetburo of the imagine nation of the Peoples Republic of Poetry approved it's erection in a unanimous vote, Sept18, 2008, declaring that the sonnet, configured in the Shakespearian rhyme scheme, fully complied with the policy of Poetry Proliferation and Proselytization. "This manifestation of the imagine nation of Poetry, takes poetry off the dusty shelves of school libraries, and out of the nooks and crannies of backroom bars, and placing poetry front and centre in daily lives. Eloquence should always prevail over pulp friction," said Wally Keeler, who was visiting his home town, Cobourg for the week.


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While the citizens of Cobourg were focussing their attention down the street in front of Cobourg's famed Victoria Hall, watching the filming of the Murdoch Murders, units of verse of the uniVerse were busy enhancing the gates to the former Victoria Park. In a ceremony of unbridled impudence, the Minister With Poetfolio, declared Poetry Park open for the enjoyment of poets, postasters, poetry lovers, poetry sluts, and everyone who loves and appreciates being textually assaulted. This is the place where poets can indulge in unsafe textual intercourse.


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Shakespearian Sonnet by Chance: this sonnet has been approved by Rhyme Scheme Investigators of the Creative Intelligence Anarchy of the imagine nation of the Peoples Republic of Poetry and installed in Victoria Park.

CHILD'S PLAY: Gateway to Victoria Park

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Council defends redesigned park name Wed. Sep 10, 2008, NORTHUMBERLAND NEWS

COBOURG - Council was asked to consider what’s in a name after a letter from Cobourg resident Wally Keeler criticized the name of the Rotary Waterfront Park.

“What a weary, dreary, uninspiring name for a park,” Mr. Keeler stated in a letter presented at the Sept. 8 council meeting. “It reflects one thing — that Cobourg council is in the pocket of the local Rotary Club.”... Full Story

By contrast the Cobourg Daily Star drops the ball. On Friday morning, Sept 5, reporter Valerie MacDonald leave a voice mail: "Hello Mr Keeler, Valerie MacDonald from the Cobourg Daily Star. I'm just reading your letter that is going to our Councillors on Monday night. I just wanted your comments."

So I call her back that morning and leave a message, I do it again that afternoon, that evening, the next day and the next. Nothing. It was normal business practice for professional to have the ability to call back to their office to be in touch with incoming business, bot not in this instance.

So Monday morning, 8am, Valerie MacDonald leaves me a voice mail: "Hi, this is a message for Wally Keeler. It's Valerie McDonald calling.

I received your series of messages. I'm sorry that I missed you. I was out of the office and no I don't check over the holidays and especially when I'm up to my ears on an election call.

So, uh, just to let you know that the story I had written was for Monday's newspaper, so that's come and gone already.

I was wondering your connection with Cobourg and that's why I was calling you. I have since found out that you are a former resident. That is all I was looking for and I appreciate your calling back. Bye Bye now."

Of course, Valerie MacDonald and the Cobourg Daily Star have a competency and credibility problem. Contrary to Ms MacDonald's assertion, there was no story in Monday's paper, nor in the Tuesday paper.

In her first call she said she wanted my comments, but in her second call, all she wanted was my connection to Cobourg. This is a floundering reporter who doesn't appear to know what she is doing. Sigh!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


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Teen with rainbow hair faces 'punishment'
September 4, 2008 by Rhiannon Meyers / Galveston County Daily News
GALVESTON, Texas — Stifled by a standardized dress code, April Barton said she chose to express herself by coloring her hair pink, green, blue, purple and yellow.

April Barton, said Ball High [School] administrators told her to lose her colorful hairstyle or face punishment. Her friend, Vanessa Sliter, has dyed her hair to get rid of the fuchsia streaks.
But administrators at Ball High School in Galveston think her rainbow-striped hair is too distracting and therefore a nuisance, Barton said.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Forty years ago, it was a "terrible" thing.
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The Sentinel-Star asked the question: “What should society do about pot?”

Mrs Viola Cooke, 390 Division Street stated, “I wouldn’t know what to do. It is a terrible thing and something should be done.”

Mrs Ken Beardsley, 880 D’Arcy Street: “I don’t know the answer. It is terrible and the young people will be sorry for the harm they do to themselves and to others. I don’t know what the answer is.”

Mrs Robert Davis, 18 Spencer Street West, “It should be illegal and abolished.”

Ray Gallagher, 22 Swayne Street: “By publishing stories on it, people become aware of it. It should definitely be abolished.”

Mrs J. Downs, 437 William: “We should stop it by all means. It’s terrible, but what can we do about it? It has a good start here in our own little town and in the schools. I don’t know what should be done but I would like to do lots.”

Bob Young, 6321 Ruth Street: “It’s very bad. It has been abolished by law.”

Mrs L. S. Usher, 186 Albert Street: “I don’t know what the answer is but I’m just disgusted with it. It is dreadful when people are sick and dying and then someone who doesn’t need it deliberately takes it. It is a dreadful sin but how can we control it. I wish I had a thought on that.”

“Smart young people should have better brains. I don’t understand what prompts it. I don’t think they have enough to do. They are bored to death. If they would get interested in outdoor sports they would be different people.”

“When we were young we had to work harder for less but we were no worse off. Our money bought three times more then, than it does now.”

“Times have changed . . . “

Mrs Harvey Gordon, 651 Hayden Crescent: “We are definitely against it, however, we haven’t really given it much thought as our children are younger. I believe the control of the child and the love and understanding in the home has a great bearing on the matter. It is for escape or to be one of the crowd. It is definitely bad.”

J. J. Burns, 82 James Street West: “There’s not a lot people can do about it. It is all done on the quiet. There should be some plain clothes detectives around to investigate.”

Mrs G. Moon, 154 James Street East: I am against anything that will downgrade the young people. It is destructive but can we avoid it? Some authorities know more about it and should do something.”

Eleven Cobourg citizens had no comment. They did not wish to be involved.


The foghorn moans like a taken virgin

I'm here, sitting on a bench, facing Rochester
wondering where that old man is I saw here last year
the one with ragged pockets containing tales like lint and dust

Serpently the fog steals up the beach -- a threat between its teeth

The cacophony of kids tumbling into each other
bounce off blue-bell waves into trees
like a happy plague of bees

. . . . Hey Bobby: Bobby!

. . . . Mom! Mom! Billy just...

. . . . Mom! Mom!
. . . . Look at me mom!
. . . . MOM!! LOOK!!

The fog was as harmless as Sandburg made it
I should have remembered

From the waterworks to the coal-coated piers,
like beads on a necklace, lovers stroll the shoreline
murmuring private psalms,
eyes happy as laughter from children on swings

The foghorn moans like a taken virgin

Then there are the hippies, stoned, scattered
like autumn leaves on the green-wave hills.

The wind is perched
waiting in the trees
to ambush unaware children

The lighthouse
a messiah draped in a toga of white-washed metal
stands gathering waves around its concrete knees
The gulls are parables

Along the shore waves curl around splinters of sun
casting them before the feet of passing lovers

The foghorn moans like a taken virgin

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


It was July, 1960; Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins had just released ‘Summertime’ on the same day the Woolsworth counter in Greensboro, North Carolina became the site of a sit-in that sparked the civil rights movement in the USA. The Sixties were on. Meanwhile, on a quiet summer day, the Peterborough Examiner, on their dedicated Lakeshore News page, carried a human interest story about some good ole Cobourg boys.
Way back then, long before men walked on the moon, the concept of re-cycling meant getting back up on your bike after an elbow-bleeding spill. Environmentalism was an undeveloped theology. The motive was money, tax-free income. Everyone understood the rules.

So let’s do some math. The boys earned $8.80. Returning an empty pop bottle netted $0.02 each. That comes to 440 empty bottles. That works out to 110 bottles per boy. That meant 110 bottles per bike -- no indication of a wagon being pulled. Quite a feat with only paper bags. I’ll wager you’re beginning to suspect something.

I know some of you pre-pensioners are thinking to yourselves; well, what about the nickel-worth jumbo bottles? In terms of bulk these bottles would replace two of the regular size. The nickelers were less likely than regular bottles to survive the toss from a moving car. The nickelers fail to undermine the story.

How many bottles would fit in a large grocery bag? 10? 15?. Hmmmm. That would be several bags per bike. Would all those paper bags fit on a bike, even if the bike has a newspaper-sized jumbo front basket? Can’t hang paper bags from the handle bars. So how was this feat accomplished? Are you beginning to smell, as N.A.S.A. puts it, the post-nutritive disposal substance?

The reporter failed to dig deeply, and ran with the story. I was just a kid, more like The Beaver than Eddie Haskel. The story had intrinsic uplift. Four good boys use their energies to clean up drive-by trash to make money. That is a sunshine moment, and the men and women of our good community should be aware of what our lads are doing. Perhaps other boys looking for fast cash, will cover the Baltimore to Cobourg route, or the Grafton to Cobourg route. The power of suggestion and fine example.

The following day, the other three boys were telling me about their parental interrogations, mostly pertaining around the issues of “What did you do with the money?” “Why didn’t you tell us?” “I didn’t know you would do a fool thing as to go to Port Hope and back, all on a dangerous stretch of highway. You coulda got yourself killed.

Yep, I did a lotta splainin' that day. I did quite well, I thought to myself, for my first fiction performance. So, this is my coming out. 48 years later. I dread telling this now to the local news media; mostly because of the poetential for hammy headlines: LOCAL POET FESSES TO FICTION. I recall the exhilaration when I saw my lies published in rock solid print.

The first and foremost Law of Lies is: Remember Everything! No problem, here is the newspaper clipping attesting to all the details of the incident – exhibit #123. It’s quite the peculiar power that media have, to turn fiction to fact by mere publication. Their worthy credibility fuelled the power of authentification.

And there I was, starting off my uber-career as a media liar at the very time I entered the world as a full-blown hormone under restraining orders set down by the theological totalitarianism of the day. Elvis made a public spectacle of displaying his hormones, so the trickle down theory only served to agitate an already raging storm, and the screaming response of girls was well-noted. How do you tell your parents that it’s like holding back a herd of wild stallions with harness made of dental floss?

So, just to make a turbulent situation worse, I plunge into white water rapids – I meet a girl on my Peterborough Examiner paper delivery route. I was Norman Rockwelled. I was skinny-girled. I had just turned 13; she was a whole year older. She was just as my mother described her -- "a sweet young thing".

She was the first house on my paper route, and every day she opened the door in full bloom, pollen clutter and all. It took an hour to deliver that one newspaper, delivery done when dad called her to dinner, then I went on to late-delivery everyone on my route. I only noticed that I was riding on the softest tires of silk, wondering when it would be okay to ask her over to my place to see my model car collection -- and what girl wouldn‘t want to see that?

A few weeks later I was called to carpet by the newspaper boss. Irate subscribers were complaining about late delivery. It was ‘suggested’ that I do my delivery route in reverse, and make the house of the girl the last visited. I kept to this for a few weeks.

The courtship continued. It’s difficult to be a hero when one is not qualified. So when Monday’s delivery brought me to her doorstep, she asks, “So what did you do on your weekend?” It was easy to answer that toss-away. Fiction. “Oh me and the boys biked to Port Hope and back collecting bottles and made a lot of loot. Want some licorice?”

I could see the story dazzled her. Not only was I brave for going the distance on a dangerous stretch of highway, but demonstrated the get-er-done gumption to bring his sweetheart a bouquet of licorice sticks. Of course girls know that boys lie. And I know this also. I’m a boy. I lie. Girls collaborate with enticements. Girls are the enticing on the cake.

The next day I tell my story at the Peterborough Examiner office. Yep, they responded well to it. The next day, a reporter asks me some questions about the story. I give him details, pulled $8.80 right out of a hat. And with that, fiction became fact, and the next day I brought it to my girl as substantiation of my lie.

I quickly learned that the employment opportunities for liars is quite restricted. Free lance liars seem to have unpleasant visitations once in a while. Men lie to women, but sometimes this has the unfortunate consequence of acquiring a sentence to marriage, followed with perpetual parole conditions.

But under cover of poet, I could lie through my dentures to my heart’s content. One did not need a certificate in advanced bs to be a poet. Besides, I got the goil. So lying to the news media had a lifetime effect on me. I saw that there was a future in this for me.