throw the captain overboard!      by Mia Rose BrooksThrow The Captain Overboard

spoken & written words by MIA ROSE BROOKS

introduction by KAIE KELLOUGH

music by STEFAN CHRISTOFF, ANNI LAWRENCE & PETER BURTON

isbn 0-9683529-8-7

 

includes Wired On Words CD

listen to Johnny's Fire (track 2).mp3

Mia Rose Brooks was born in the okanagan between two pine trees and her mother's legs. she is the dry grass, the sage brush, the slow lapping water of the lake and the sharp howls of the coyotes in the hills. she is a small town girl living in pointe-saint-charles, listening to the red train passing.

noisemaker 2003

Back in Ontario, old hometown farms role away -- hay fields yellow into the setting sun -- here mamma walks along the old creek bed, damp with rain in the cold months --- a dusty clay hollow in the summer that separated her farm from her cousins.

She walks along the side of the big ol' brick house -- where she was born, where her brother and sister were born before her -- where her mother was crippled. half paralyzed for life from birthing the wide working shoulders of her first born son -- her half body tired from dragging her left leg as she walked. died walking ——— falling down stairs.

Mamma stands on the path between the sunrise kitchen and the woodshed, where nanna grew prize-winning gladiolias -- peach and white -- to match her panties hung on the line.

Mamma looks out over the cornfields where her youngest daughter lost herself playing hide-and-seek -- when mamma called Carly Jane didn't answer -- didn’t call back -- she sat silent -- eyes giggling -- always lost somewhere —— in suburban malls under coat racks —— giggling while the lights turned down -- hiding -- she laughed as mamma did at 14 -- her skirt rolled high over her knees, walking deep into the cornfields with a smirk on her face and a cigarette in her back pocket. she lays down on her side, hand behind her head watching dusk fall on the sky. she reaches for the cigarette in her back pocket -- but doesn't find it.

She moves quick along the corn paths, the fading green leaves brush -- rough like her mother's hand-sewn skirts... she looks up at a floral housedress -- her mother standing there tapping her shoe on the dirt -- is this what you're lookin' for Kay? The white cigarette dangling from her fingers -- a nervous plea -- a disapproving shake of the head and a sigh --

left in the cornfields.

The sun sank behind the oaks and shadows fell. mamma's silhouette climbs up on the barn -- now 50 years old she leans back on the roof -- looks out over the small farm where she was born with cousins on every side -- at the fields half ploughed by her father, the other half dying with her nephew in a suburban hospital bed --

Mamma blows smoke into the autumn air, into the red warm wind. her memories follow the landscape -- ghost child walking from chicken shed at night ghost child spying on her father on a hot muggy afternoon ghost child skipping, disappearing into thin air

(She calls me late the farm is lost)

And the memories are lost as the bank sells the family farm to a big farmer -- the ol' brick home is torn down and a new plastic siding house is built -- over nanna's gladiolias -- and the barns where mamma once played are replaced with industrial-size pig barns -- four stories high -- and the creek -- that once separated mamma's farm from her cousins' is paved over for the big trucks that my mother only dreamed of when she played with their small wooden models along the bank. no one gets lost in the corn fields anymore -- got ten feet of fencin' round 'em and poison sinkin' deep in the ground.

" Brooks' voice lulls childlike and eerily ancient by turn, drawing images like dreams from a well, or snapshots from hometowns eternally eslewhere. From low slow ache to ascent, these words and sounds move on every level, the musical score both ghostly and visceral at once. here are stories to inhabit, recalling landscapes with care to the arteries of every leaf and the lines on every face. Stories of familiar strangers come vivid and vanishing, luring the heart to a lakeshore and catcdhing it easily just in time. Hear this woman speak." -- CATHERINE KIDD

 

 

"In the glow of a fire, along the shores of a lake, Mia Rose Brooks leads us through the darkness into a storyland far from home, a place alive with small town spirits, mountain legends and cornfield memories. Evocative, haunting and spellbinding, this first collection of written and spoken word -- set to music -- establishes Mia as an unforgettable and welcome new voice on the Canadian poetry scene. The anarchist in her takes the everyday political and renders it poetical." -- NORMAN NAWROCKI

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