(left to right: RD, Glen Kirkland, Dean McKenzie–all of us senior high school teachers who started reading poetry together beginning in the late 1980s)
My dear dead friends in Spiritus, a glorious performance poetry trio of the 1990s. We often read in December; it’s always a magical time of the year. I remember Dean reading at Timothy’s, a defunct café where the DQ is now at Whyte & Calgary Trail. It was a bitterly cold Friday evening and after Dean had read several poems to a near-empty house, a drunk wandered in and took exception to Dean’s free verse as ‘real poetry’, which then led to a shouting match with the drunk reciting Robert Service verse against Dean’s own poetic rebuttals. As I recall, Dean ‘won’ and the drunk wandered off into the frozen North.
Another time, rehearsing my long Glenn Gould poem based on his Idea of North documentary, one weekend evening in the Strathcona School caretaker’s lunchroom, the rest of the school deserted. Yeah, those times were and still are priceless. The picture above shows us at Dean’s house one December day. Christmas always evokes memories of those closest to us who are no longer here.