Wednesday, January 31, 2007

back at the little blue bird
we go on like before
needles and wheedles
of smiles from the smiley
and the not so much

i take on julio as a project
a kid of normal intelligence
just hyperactive, tourettes
a kid that in Canada
might be in a special class
maybe some ritalin
basically living a normal life

(what is a normal life?)

so we play
i stole a giant exercise ball
and bounced it all around
(we visitors get away with murder)
then we played our truck game
setting up blocks
knocking them down
its loud and they look at us
but i am a guest
getting away with murder
he is my helper
mi ayundante

he carries my tripod
sits in on my shoots
it seems to make him happy
he gets the lions share of my attention
though we can´t speak to each other well
but his mood turns on a dime
after a day all day
he sulks away
i say goodbye and get nothing
´ís that what i get?´
i ask aloud
lindsey says yes
welcome to social worker love

maybe it´s because i´m leaving

andrea does a workshop with the staff
they seem disappointed
that chinese medical school
takes more than three hours
andrea struggles
with the concept of ¨real¨

i interviewed the doctor
there were conditions
no asking about sex
as in - do the kids have it
which they do
which means no asking about AIDS
and do the kids have it
which they might
tests cost money
and health care isn´t free
since 1990
when the US subverted democracy
with their war
HIV tests cost almost 17 dollars each
they can´t afford it
we are looking to raise money
to see that they can

I interview adriana
i have a new joke question to end with

do you think it´s fair
as an american citizen
that i ask you answer for your country?




no its not

i know

but why not?

Monday, January 29, 2007

There is a place close to jania´s heart
though it is a three day drive from houston
it is the rural town of Jinocao
where she has been pilgrimaging
for ten years now

the highway after Leon gets much worse
and it wasn´t good to begin with
our speed is so reduced
that kids chase the cars
and keep up

cows walk in front of us once, twice
three times a lady
with kids, hands out
one spit at the car when we went by
without contributing

the town itself is much prettier then i imagined
the family, Jania´s family, her other family
(another family? there´s so many)
are so charming
we start with a cirlce of speeches
Angel translates
I say mine in my broken Spanish
like JFK
I am a Hamburger

we play games with the kids
i am whacky
and win many ten year old friends
we introduce what we think is duck duck goose
but later realize it´s duck duck rooster
due to the deficiencies of Jania´s goose impression
the principles are the same

we drive a rocky road
to treat an old lady
she cannot walk
there is one lightbulb in her house
the rooms are made up of back plastic
still they vote conservative

she cries when she speaks of her pain
Andrea can tell she has had a stroke
she has heart problems too
she should be on medication
seeing a doctor every two weeks
like our old people do
Andrea is maybe her third doctor ever

she says that God has blessed her
sent us to her
its tearful and touching
we all feel great
then we leave
and feel guilty
Andrea wonders
is this good feeling
simply something i paid for
am i doing this
instead of Paris
or mountainclimbing
are we just help-tourists?


the old lady has some relief
lasting three days to three months
depending on her faith levels
which seem high
in the morning her daughter stands up at church
says her mother felt better
didn´t want to bathe
in case she washed the goodness off

when we got back the tire was flat
we drove over some barbed wire
which is everywhere

in the morning
we went to the river
we hear there might be parasites
that swim up your urethra
sounds like a weird thing to risk
but we did

it was so fun

driving back from fixing the tire
which took Angel five hours
we ran over a nail
and got another flat
in a different tire
we are one of three cars in this community
so they don´t keep much track

we stopped in leon
to pick up the painting
lindsey bought another one
he was in better spirits
our painting is now in our hotel room
i´d like to hang it
but jania worried about the terrible walls and their awful paint
oh well
it sits up pretty
i love it

today i took the morning off from the clinic
the videographer is not essential staff
i have work at home that needs my typing
arlen is going to LA now
(who isn´t? i´m not.)
3...2...1 and faithless
i almost forgot how i make up stuff for a living
for a life

i almost thought i just swam in rivers

Thursday, January 25, 2007

the drop in the bucket

parahito azul
means the little blue bird
and its true
each of these kids lacks
any nest but this
and not all of them received
their deserved wingspan

blogging is harder
when you work for a living
when the clinic is 8 hours a day
plus meetings
and you shoot it all
and how to describe all the sadness and hope
even with the vaguery
of my poetic licence

all we can do is try

cerebral palsy
is a motor control issue
mohhamed ali
is still muhhamed ali in there
he just can´t punch you
there are secret energy points within
to stimulate the brain
to help regain control of arms and legs
epilepsy has points too
at the back of the head
near the nape of the neck
it is hard to treat epilepsy
when there is autism too
they don´t understand
and rip the medicine from their heads

helen is our door keeper
she opens it and closes it
she does wonderful needlework
on pillowcases and sheets
she makes some personal money at this
and is throwing a birthday party next friday
we´re all invited
her birthday is in march
the centre throws one birthday party each month
for all the kids celebrating within that thirty days
this year helen gets two

hector is 13, but is the size of a one year old
his bones are so fragile
that he forgets how much
he breaks his legs playing
his arms
shaking someone´s hand
his mind is sharp
his tongue fast and funny
he goes back to the dorms shouting
ít´s okay! ´
it is good medicine!
it doesn´t hurt so much!
he calms the kids with his confidence
i interview him at 3
he doesn´t know it
but he is the new star of my movie

antonio loves superheroes
i draw wolverine for him
i draw the hulk
his art teacher says
draw more slowly
so he can learn how you do it
i draw more slowly
he watches so closely
during his treatment
he talks of superman
batman and the flach
flach? they ask
is he a wrestler?
i try not to talk from behind the camera
but this is too much
the flash i say
he means the flash
my bad spanish
un hombre muy rapido?
si, he says, smiling si
the FLACH!
a few seconds later
he falls asleep during his treatment
in mid sentence
it is a good sign
that the medicine is working

carla morena
has a boyfriend
they are getting married today
but the minister didn´t show up
then she tires of that
and is going on a trip
she is losing weight too fast
they don´t know why
in the last six months three girls have died this way
losing weight quickly
and slipping away
not carla
not her


she is in love

andrea says
she can fix this and that
but she can´t cure cp
she can´t make parents appear
i tell her
what jania told me

to do this work
you must beleive in the drop in the bucket
that the drop in the bucket is worth dropping
thought the bucket is not filled by it

we must beleive in the drop in the bucket

and then demand of our powerful ones
to make it rain

Sunday, January 21, 2007

the markets of Managua

there are bootlegged movies cartoon to porn, rum, cigars, art, hammocks, wood working, T shirts, uniforms, haircuts, the jaw bone of a cow, fresh fish, coffee, corn, rice in huge bags weighed out, coke comes in a plastic bag tied in a knot with the straw sticking out, meat sitting there on blocks of ice, concrete gutters down the centre of the floor where a trickle of whatever flowing into it, kids grab your arms as you walk by, people ask you what you want because you´re white and can afford anything they have whenever you want they think and they´re right, girls grab my arm, boys grab jania´s, young men look at Jania hungrily and i look at them warningly and nobody says anything, we want rum, i want movies sometimes they´re in spanish and i don´t know until its too late, i found whitecoats which ron and mark are in and i bought it for them and i just ruined the surprise but they never read this anyway,and cigars and every kind of cigar is there, except fonsecas, sorry joey, is there another kind you want? rocky I II III IV V VI, more IV´s than in the hospital where I do not want to go, bed sheets, sculptures of fat women squatting and thin women with no heads who hug their own legs and leather wallets and pouches, baseball hats from american sports and never anything with anything nica on it never, painting and my favorites are by a guy named niger and its pronounced nigger and me and jania did not want to say his name out loud ever even though we are fans, you want it they got it and it´s cheaper than cheap but adds up on a playwrights salary and we simply must stop, must stop, can´t stop, must stop.

also, it´s the bus stop.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

the stories we heard

the stories we heard
sad has too few letters
tragic is used up on kids in wells
jania cried in the interview
and a lot more later
war is hell
but the demons are people
what happens to the people
to make them demons in the hell of war?

deep breath

back in managua
the dirty-gorgeous capital city
that would rather blow a whistle than sleep
tommorrow night the other people come
lindsey and andrea and lynda
to start the clinic
a ball room is coming from Mexico
Andrea´s dad is sending it
also 100 toothbrushes
socks and underwear
casual wealth shrugging its shoulders
giving away what falls off

jania felt sick last night
but i didn´t
something that she ate
which i didn´t
it´s hard to beleive that we will be here
another whole month
that this thing is just starting
all that preceded was just preamble
like when there´s a lot of trailers
before the movie
and you´re tired when the titles roll

we all have to shake our heads sometimes
stiffen our sinews and smile at the new day
more is called for
and more is on the way

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Which one is smaller

The bus to Esteli was a school bus
but i didn´t learn a thing
there were two guys behind us
they were like the puppets who sat in the balcony
disliking everything
it´s true what they say

what you don´t know can´t hurt you

we finished with spanish class
and then we interviewed the teachers for the doc
jania´s teacher was a girl during the revolution
all the other kids got to join the army
she was mad that she didn´t

in nicaragua the electricity is privatized
like it is in Alberta
the City can´t afford to light up the public square
it´s mostly dark
a social resource missing
in a town where bars are for the rich

they all agree that a fetus is a living being
they all agree the new abortion law punishes only the poor
i am glad not to have grown up in stife
but what thoughtful people a generation of strife creates

at the revolution musem
the curator lives in a room in the back
we showed up to shoot
and he was in the shower
he showed us a jail
where the government took prisoners
hung them upside down in water
electrified the water
pulled out their teeth
150 prisoners
in a space smaller
than the Varscona Men´s Dressing room

he took us to the roof
to show us where the army shot at unarmed students
the square is beautiful
with volancoes behind
Mobotumbo and Mombotombito

to show which one is smaller

then we went to Esteli
i ventured from the bus
into the crazy bus station market
i spoke Spanish
felt indpendent
bought three cheese biscuits
and a fried banana with cheese
it doesn´t sound like it would be good
but it so was

yesterday we interviewed
the leading primitivist painter
in Nicaragua
they had a rough Christmas this year
the kids were crying
while we were talking his wife went to buy us drinks
so poor
and yet so kind
during the interview i had mic problems
i had forgotten batteries
i almost cried
we have his words at least
his art
i hope i can salvage something
pay tribute to this amazing talent

the painter in his doorway

In Esteli we saw the Museo de Madres
set up by the Mothers of the men who died in the revolution
there are pctures of every single one
except when there are no pictures
then its a piece of clothing
the name pinned on top
pictures of yourself are a privledge

that´s why models are so rich

we shoot there at ten tommorrow
the director of the Museum said my work was important
that scared me

a lot

at dinner we met two airplane mechanics who are driving
from San Salvador to Panama City
on motorcycles
i talked politics with them
trying not to offend
i didn´t offend

who to offend and who not to
is an artistic choice
that i have always made bravely
why then

do i always avoid it face to face?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


spanish is hard
to misquote steve martin
ít´s like these spanish people have a different word for everything
but more
different grammar too
different rules
por and para
they both kind of mean for
but they mean a lot more than that
i always kind of doubted i could learn spanish in three two hour sessions
but now i am sure

today i am shooting at galleries
there´s a painter i am hoping to interview
he was in the group that painted the murals of the revolution
huge things on walls, blantantly political
you´ll see
if i ever show my doc to anyone
in Nicaragua people paint their politics on the walls
there are no mexican wrestler faces
no one writes listen
they write who they want to be president
which speaks for itself
we write that too
but this big

Nicaragua sweats politics
and it´s always hot

Monday, January 15, 2007

Leon has more than Furniture

in leon it is hot
not so in our hotel room
we splurged
and have air conditioning
it is so nice there
that we can shower without sandals

leon has a massive cathedral
i shot there today
then i sat and meditated
to make up for my disrespect
in latin american they do not fear a black jesus
or a white one
they are in the same place
like the united colors of benneton
they say a bishop switched the plans for leon´s cathedral
for a bigger one destined for Lima Peru
that´s a nice trick
that you couldn´t get away with any more
there´s an energy in there
places soak it up
if i were more religious
i´d call it God
but theatres have it too
and we´re such sinners
so i´ll call it energy
and continue enjoying premarital sex

this afternoon i start spanish tutoring
it will be the most expensive thing i´ve done here so far
unless you count buying the camera
i don´t
yo quiero mas de espanol
i´ll pay these guys
to pùt it in my head
me and Jania have different tutors
because she is so much better at habla-ing than me
she is also cuter
this is not disputed

our friend Angel had his cell phone stolen
he already lent his back up one to us
poor fellow
Jania wants a latin america cell phone
i already have a europe one
just sitting there
with an empty electronic stomache
waiting to be fed
if it were alive I´d feel bad
i don´t feel bad for machines yet
except for certain cars

like herbie
and kitt
and the ferrari in ferris bueller´s day off
poor cars
they only tried to do good
in a terrible world

iran´s president came to nicaragua
and signed a deal with them
i can´t say his name
or type it
america is freaking out
poor babies
maybe someone will trade with someone besides you
and your sanctions won´t cripple economies anymore
poor fat babies
fuck you

Jania reminds me not to see things in black and white
but it is hard for me
because my father was a dog

when he was younger

i try to make her
but try as I might
she just won´t hate people with me
on account of being a better person than me

we are in love
this is not disputed

Sunday, January 14, 2007

in the middle of the night
something large hit our floor
i thought it was a big cockaroach
but it was a bat

i thought i could handle it with towels
but Jania was worried about rabies
they carry rabies
like we carry loose change

so we got hotel worker with a broom
i hoped for a catch and release mission
but it was a death squad
when she put her foot on his little head
i ran out of the room
i am squeamish

in the morning
i wished i has filmed it
it was the middle of the night
but i should have thought of it

i must be better
i miss too much
i see weird things
that you never will

Saturday, January 13, 2007

there is a more narrative version
of these adventures
jania is a punchy little prose writer
and can type a hundred words a minute

if you want to see it, you should click this

Friday, January 12, 2007

fifty thousand people
is so many
that you have to type out the words of the numbers

i interviewed windows of the revolution
a captain of the guard
he explained his medals to me
an ice cream vendor who said
he is worried about the United States
others who are not
I am worried about the United States
Aren't you?

Venesuela is the largest producer of oil in Latin America
Chavez was there
they signed a deal
to build 200 000 houses
and 30 power plants
see what you can do with oil money
and desire to do something
besides fuck over everybody in the whole world

and now we are on a beach
las pinetas
the little rocks, it means
the waves are big
the birds are big
the portions are big
i can't eat this
i'm full

nicaraguans officially make the third best coffee in the world
a contest said so
i'd rank it higher
most people can't afford to drink it
their own coffee
this hotel serves it though
i feel guilty
but it's so fucking good

we might stay longer than we planned
the clinic starts in ten days
there a fundraiser in edmonton
you should go

Bill, i think of you often
i wish i had your skill
shooting well is hard
i am also the sound man
my arms are tired
from holding things out
what are holding out, right now?
put it down
i'm talking to you

my spanish seems woefully inadequate
the people here talk so much faster than jania did when she was teaching me
going easy on me
she always does
she is talking to the little boy who broke his arm surfing
two weeks and he can surf again
there are puppies
when Nicaragua relaxes it can be so cute
when it's angry, its so scary

like lions

like everything

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Here i am in Nicaragua
It is a loud country
and hot
but like Bill says
think how the polar bears feel

tommorrow is the inauguration
of president daniel ortega
i will go
with 50 thousand others
angel is surrounding me with friends
so my camera won´t be stolen

today we taped at the centre
a long hug
from a challenged resident

it was nice

i went to the giant sandino siholette
it stands above managua
to show the spirit of the revolution is immortal
he stands there
he stands everywhere in Nicaragua
there is a cable you can ride
down across the water
like in a fake boot camp
i did
taping and screaming
getting a low budget arial shot

i saw a pretty lady with a camera in the mall
i interviewed her
she is an anchor with telemundo
i just sandbagged
the wolf blitzer of costa rica

she says the people of nicaragua
expect change

don´t we all

tommorrow i tape at the ministry of health
the access i am getting
is blowing my mind
all because of Angel
nuesotro amigo Angel

Me and Angel are on a double date
with Jania and Jesse
Jesse is one of three ´
of Angels media-novias
that mean half girlfriend

i am having a great time
a great time

Saturday, January 06, 2007

holy shit
we are going to nicaragua in the morning
holy shit

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I am not as smart as Kevin

but we knew this
You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 6/8 correct!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


it might offend some
but the fact is
every independant film
i was ever involved in
was kind of bad

even when i was in charge
especially when i was in charge

so how do i know
that my documentary
won't be too?

truth be told
it makes me feel


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

new years eve
with Jania's family
boy they drink a lot
damn, those kids are loud
like birth control
for the spirit
happy new year
happy new year
auld lange's ein

or something

today i am in the condo in calgary
shooting the things we are packing
for jump cutting later
my doc will be fun to watch
or so annoying
we will see
in the future

the condo is nice
the house in canmore
even nicer
its true what they say
there's money in oil
a younger me would have resented it
so in love was I
with my blue collar roots
now i just like it
is it because my Dad got richer
and so did I?
dark wood
good wine
spacious rooms
i like it

does that make me a traitor?

is the key
to all things
especially a trapeze
which should be locked
it's so easy to steal
then where would the circus be?
in your heart?
i doubt it