and another one for you 

an old girlfriend  

well, i mean 

she isn’t old  

she is younger than me 

older than she was though 

let’s just say, an old 

young girlfriend  

yes, an old 

young acquaintance of mine  

made a post online  

with a picture of her face  

about how she 

welcomes the ‘muse’ 

with things like  



and trying to not force things 

into a marketable box 

she asked others to  

comment with how they  

also welcome the ‘muse’ 

so i thought that 

i would give it a try 

first i wake up and attempt  

a bowel movement or 

take a piss and try to shake  

well enough so that urine doesn’t  

drip down my leg 

(which seems to be happening a lot) 

then ill watch hockey highlights  

which usually include connor mcdavid or any oilers postgame interviews 

then ill put pants on and walk downstairs for coffee 

or maybe somewhere a bit further  

if the weather is nice 

then ill try to read a book 

but mostly i will just scroll through 

instagram or facebook 

and then read blogs on oilersnation 

then i will waft through  

some notes on my phone  

and find things like 

‘the school bus driver is drunk’ 


‘the avocado went bad’ 


‘i love the way your back sweats’ 

and then i will put my phone away  

and walk to the canada place  

food court and eat a donair 

and then i will walk home 

and wonder why i chose  

to consume a donair 

and then i’ll wonder 

why i chose to do everything 

that i have done 


why i’ve chosen a craft  

where one can 

dance and play 

and post photos  

of their face online  

to conjure up some mystical  

songwriting spirit  

that will guide them to some  

principled body of work 

and by the time i enter  

the third floor of my  

apartment building  

i’ll have written three songs 

one for the school bus driver 

one for the avocado 

and another one for you 

happy birthday connor 

without mcdavid 

the oilers would be mess 

i mean they still are a mess 

but without hockey’s prince of peace they would be 

an even bigger mess 

a bunch of tires on fire 

today is the messiah’s birthday 

i celebrate by laying in bed wearing two pairs of pants drinking coffee while watching esa tikkanen highlights on youtube 

nothing really out of the ordinary 

aside from the tickling emotional sensation that one feels 

on the birth of a good shepherd 

sent to relieve oilers fans of the managerial sins of 


when down such a rabbit hole of jubilant observation 

i often forget to feed myself 

maybe i’ll slip on 

a third pair of pants 

and walk to get a donair 

i have an important 

floor hockey game tonight 

and i must be well stocked on 


in order to optimize my talents 

as a generational centreperson 

for the top team in the recreational co-ed division of the edmonton sport and social club 

once i was warming up 

with stick and ball 

when a young child 

of an opponent came up to me 

and asked, ‘are you connor?’ 

to which i responded, ‘no’ 

and then he scurried away 

and i continued to make poetry 

with shaft and blade 

he then came back 

and said, ‘i just have to make sure, 

are you sure you’re not connor?’ 

and i said, ‘yes, i am sure’ 

he scurried away again 

and left me wondering if it was my body composition that peaked the young child’s interest 

or if it was my skills that reminded 

him of our hockey hero 

and now as i reflect today 

i give thanks to the 

rink boards and flavors 

of our connor 

who hallowed be thy game 

of mysticism and ice 

somehow brought two souls together at the boyle street plaza 

months and months ago 

happy birthday connor 

may you forever fly within our hearts 

and may you stay forever handsome

dear god 

while walking to my car 

i crossed a man 

who was stopped 

on the sidewalk 

he had his bags on the ground 

and he stood for a rest 

his smile was wider than a mile 

‘jesus loves you’ 

was embroidered on his ball cap 

seeing my guitar in hand 

he said 

‘do you play?’ 

‘yes’ i said 



‘do you sing as well?’ 


‘i am so proud of you!’ 

‘that makes one of us’ 

as i passed him 

he picked up his bags 

and sauntered on 

and i went to the airport 

and played harvest moon 

five times 

cuz i’m still in love with you 

just like jesus is 

god bless

friends and neighbours  

returned a rental 

to long and mcquade 

a small sound system  

to give the voice a boost 

so the audience can almost hear me when i mumble instead of not hearing me at all 

‘what did he say?’  

they’ll say 

that’s what they’ll say 

they’ll say 

‘did you get that?’ 


it’s humid in the guitar room 

like a sauna where you keep your clothes on 

there is a threat playing guitar in the corner 

he goes strum strum strum 

i go pluck pluck on a nylon 

he says 

‘do you play classical’ 

i say, ‘no’ 

he says, ‘I’ll be quiet so you can play’ 

i say, ‘no no’ 

he says, ‘i just mess around i’ve never had a lesson’ 

i say, ‘i can tell’  


‘what did he say?’  

that’s what they will say 

they will say 

‘did you get that?’ 


thanks for coming to the show

same old same old 

i found my wallet 

it was on the floor in some laundry  

i looked a million times  

is someone playing a trick  

i cancelled my credit card because of course the thief who had it was bound for a spree 

i got a new license  

and in order to do so i had to pay three parking infractions  




perhaps i moved a little quick  

but i was headed to pigeon lake and thought i needed a license in case i was pulled over 


i got my cash back  

i feel like an idiot 

nothing has changed 

can you pay for dinner? 

one debit card 

one credit card  

one license  

is that how you spell it? 

one hundred thousand receipts  

three sobriety chips  

a hundred and some dollars 

mostly in fives  

some other cards but i can’t recall what they were  

a business card of a singer probably  

i wonder where my wallet went  

i had it leaving the airport 


i was upset for a minute  

but really it’s no skin off my back  

and now it’ll be true when i tell my friends at dinner that i lost my wallet 

nobody likes a liar


today i will sweep the floor

pick up garbage

stack pizza boxes in the corner

wash the bed sheets

dry the bed sheets

talk to dad

talk to marlee

talk to glenn

walk downstairs for coffee 

read the brautigan book abby gave me

walk to the mall

buy hangers

go home and hang clothes 

wonder about what happens when we die

enjoy everything before

eat ice cream 

airport buskin' setlist 

gentle on my mind - john hartford

buckets of rain - bob dylan

christmas in paradise - mary gauthier

still so close - braden gates

casting fly - braden gates

pictures of us - braden gates

satisfied mind - joe hayes/jack rhodes

moon river - henry mancini/johnny mercer

planning my escape - braden gates

leap of faith - braden gates

these days - jackson browne

moderate speed - braden gates

when the fiddler leaves the band - braden gates

local barroom budlight balladeer - braden gates

roses at the end of time - eliza gilkyson

my sister fell in love - braden gates

my sister had a baby - braden gates

if i needed you - townes van zandt

the cape - guy clark

christmas in prison - john prine

mexican wrestler - braden gates

coffee shop - braden gates

takes on to know one - braden gates

goodbye - braden gates

bonnie's lounge - braden gates

corn nuts - braden gates

employee of the month - braden gates

song for the line cook - braden gates

one game short - braden gates

silent night - franz xaver gruber/joseph mohr

new song i'm workin' 

what's there to do when a loved one dies

what's there to say when your lover cries

guess i'll let my memories take me back

guess i'll let the silence fill the cracks


tonight it's dinner at the wonton house

noodles and a diet coke

these days it's hard to tell

between indigestion and a heart that's broke

sweet tooth 

about 504 hours ago 

i played a show in athabasca 

it was at the nancy appleby theatre 

at intermission they had lots of delicious treats being served 

so i snuck out to the front to collect my fair share 

i did my best to remain inconspicuous 

unfortunately someone recognized me from the first set 

how embarassing 

they said, 'hey braden' 

i said, 'hello sir' with a hand full of cookies 

'i heard you on ckua today' 

'oh that's good' 

'baba said that you are full of wit and charm and have good stories' 

'oh really?' 

'yea, and we're still waiting!' 


i can assure you that the second set was worse