From the moment we learn to speak we are always using other people's words. the real made up improvises on this simple idea of imitation; mimicry becomes a kind of cadence for an interweaving of transcribed speech, ironic song, jarring randomization, post-colonial irony, and blatant theft. An incessant imitative dialogue shapes our neural and cultural networks; imitation is a source of power for any subculture, and the primary means of a colonizing process that should be seen as violent. But imitation is not a simple act of copying; at its best, imitation is accompanied by play, performance, and re-enactment. Imitation is a crucial human faculty - a talent at the heart of social being. The primal emotions of love, hate, desire, and anger find their expression in speech and action that are by nature imitative. the real made up is itself made up of real and imaginary interviews with people off the street, of poems by others and poems from others (including much imitated members of the Can Lit canon like Al Purdy, Irving Layton and Erin Mouré). Every poem in the real made up is an attempt to revel in or escape from - an impossible task - the imitative traces of everyone else.
Mobsters, murder, betrayal, and revenge are the raw components of this candid look into the day-to-day life of a modern-day marijuana smuggler. Told from the viewpoint of an impressionable young entrepreneur named Jay Carter Brown, the book quickly draws the reader into the gritty underbelly of the international drug trade.
The story begins with minor-league smuggling scams between Canada and the Caribbean that soon escalate to multi-ton shipments of grass and hash from the Caribbean and the Middle East. All goes well for a time, but as the stakes grow higher, the inevitable setbacks occur.
When Jay teams up with a crusty old bank robber named Irving, he also inherits a host of other felons who come out of jail to visit his new partner, ex-cons such as: Randy the hit man who liked to practise his fast draw in front of a mirror; Simon, the drug-running pilot; and Chico Perry, who smoked reefer in his pipe while robbing banks and shooting it out with the cops.
Drug-runners, police, jealous friends, and rival gangs all contribute to this extraordinary story told by a young man who became involved at the highest levels of the drug trade, and lived to tell about it. Smuggler's Blues is a rare opportunity to experience life in another world - a world where survival relies on brains, brawn, and a generous measure of good luck.