Archives for the month of: December, 2013

I have a box of birthday & recovery anniversary cards going back to 1978 when I put the cork in the bottle, as well as ended other substance ingestions – other than coffee, that is. I have some from the anniversary of my first year up to this year.

lionthe red lion

Many of the ones I’ve kept are from men who are no longer in this dimension. Names and faces that I’ve half forgotten & some who are still around today. I went into the box to see what was there and to take something out – nothing in particular but anything that didn’t hold an emotional charge so I could let it go before the new year.

I’m not sad but I do feel a bit of sorrow for these lost handshakes. I don’t ever remember the last time I went through these cards. Like my string of Christmas cards – I have some that go back years from people who have died. I have the last Christmas card my mother sent me.

chaircurb appeal

There is a meaning to me in each of them. Some are signed by dozens of people many of whom I have no idea who they are, who had no idea who I was expect, I was celebrating with them in Montreal, or wherever. I know I’ll be letting a couple of these cards go even though they still have an emotional charge.

chairstwo damp chairs

Reading them I also see that I now believe the sentiments. For many years I felt people’s good wishes where done out of kindness not out of an authentic affection for me. I think that’s called growing up :-)

coming

 (in future my coming attractions will only list features or conferences but not reading events I’m merely attending)

January 22, Wednesday – featuring – Winter Snow Ball, 7 p.m. – urban gallery, 400 Queen East https://www.facebook.com/events/792356567447501/

February 21, Friday – featuring – Racket at the Rocket: 7 p.m., Red Rocket Cafe, 1364 Danforth Ave.

March 1, Saturday – attending – Toronto SpecFic Colloquium

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada

samples

Fireworks

The lemon fresh bubble bath in the Jacuzzi made both Dish and Spoon feeling clean, refreshed and forgiving.

“Spoon dear, I am so sorry for my outburst this afternoon. Tossing Tea Pot’s lid into the midst of the shuffle board tournament wasn’t a lady like thing for me to do.”

“There, there, my sweet, I know you’ve been under a lot of pressure of late.”

“Still, the look on her spout was worth it.”

“I’ll say. Especially when the Salts scored the winning shuff – shuff is that what they call it when they push the marker across the board? Anyway she brought them the prize.”

“Spoon this trip on the Gravy Boat has to be one of the best ideas you’ve had since we ran away. I think we are closer now that we have ever been.”

“Thank you, my sweet. We just don’t seem to get the chance to spend this much time together. You’re always off to other meals.”

“While you spend too much time in dark drawers.”

“I do not!”

“Spoon, you think I don’t know what goes on in dark drawers. You and all that cutlery pushed together, sometimes mingling with forks.”

“I have never mingled with a fork.”

“Don’t deny it. I know these things. You cutlery are like that. Clinking away in the dark.”

“Oh, I see. And what about you? Nestled with those other dishes. Piled one on top of the other.”

“Suffocated in more like it. That’s why I love you so much Spoon we have similar shapes but you don’t smother me when we nestle together.”

“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” a voice came from outside their cabin door. “We must run and hide. Do something!”

Spoon jumped out of the warm water and went to the window.

“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

“What is it Spoon?”

“Fireworks.”

“Oh, I love fireworks.” Dish pulled a tea towel around her to dry off. “Let’s get up on deck where we can it for ourselves.”

As they attempted to leave their cabin they were pushed back in by Chick.

“You must not go out. It is too dangerous. The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

“There, there, Chick. It’s only fireworks. A show. Not the sky. Don’t be so alarmed.”

“Fireworks!” Chick bobbed back and forth. “Are you sure about that.”

There was a barrage of green puffs over head.

“I don’t believe you. The sky is falling.” Chick skittered along the rack in alarm.

Dish and Spoon walked hand in hand to the upper rack.

“If it falls, at least we have each other.”

clean enough to drink from?

The Damed Boxing Day Blow Out show was hotter than July thanks to the amazing Tomy Bewick (http://burlingtonslam.wordpress.com/about-us/tomy-bewick/) and the equally amazing Distant Cousins, SoulFistikato & Dane Swan (https://www.facebook.com/DistantCousins2).

shoesdeserted shoes

Great open stagers warmed up the house: Adam Abbas with some saucy limericks, Philip Cairns longing for summer & to be the Sandpiper Elizabeth Taylor; and finally Vanessa McGowen with a great piece about her Dad, in which she demonstrates one of the good things about being a writer is that we can give people who have passed away a voice they lacked when they were alive.

snowcones snow cones

Then Tomy hit the stage (I couldn’t resist the Who echo) with an energetic set of emotionally raw, sometimes funny pieces. Charged with razor sharp observations ‘depends on which suicide of the bed you wake up on,’ fun turns of phrase ‘I’m only a beaver – you are what you eat’ it was a powerful set. His new work about the end of a relationship: him ‘sleeping next to the chainsaw’ or his watching his daughter ‘colour her way through the confusion’ – opened his heart to us without being maudlin or bitter.

dishdish and spoon

After a brief break Distant Cousins gave us a festive mix of music, spoken word & even improv with Tomy at one point. Dane ‘an expert at falling down’ always stands strong at the microphone. Direct lines like ‘you’ve never taken a hostage but you hold your own happiness at gunpoint,’ always make me listen closer. Soul’s singing was sweet and his verbal & performance interplay with Dane makes me jealous. Plus he slams in Italian, who could ask for more? (me)

snowbowthe bow makes the snow much easier to take

The next Damned is Thursday, January 29, 7 pm at the Central. Hosted by DM Moore with features: Jill Batteson, Brenda Clews, Neil Traynor.

soon02 

March 1, Saturday – attending – Toronto SpecFic Colloquium

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada

samples 

 Swim

“No! No! No! Spoon! No! No! No!” Dish dashed around the canisters with Spoon on her heels.

“Yes! Yes! Yes! My sweet.” Spoon found it hard to talk when he was so full of cream. “Let me cream you one more time. Please. You know how much you enjoy the rich cream rubbed all over you.”

“Oh, Spoon, no. It makes me feel so … so …dirty.”

“Yes, I know, and it makes me feel the same way. Let’s be dirty together.”

Spoon cornered  Dish and splattered her curved bottom with thick, rich cream.

“Oh! Spoon.” She seemed to melt before his very eyes. “That was good. I have to catch my breath.”

“It’s going to take another swim in the  pool to get us clean.”

“Oh, Spoon I don’t care if I ever get clean again. When you make me feel so dirty, I feel so good at the same time. Why is that?”

“Ha ha ha.” A harsh laugh interrupted their tryst.

“Who was that?” Spoon stood and look around.

“Ha ha ha.”

“Go look and see who it is.” Dish shook with fear.

Spoon went to the edge of the counter.

“Ha ha ha.” It was Ginger the Little family dog. “Ha ha ha.” The Little dog laughed, “I haven’t seen such fun for a long time.”

“Who is it Spoon?”

“It’s just that mutt.”

Ginger jumped up on a chair and then on to the counter. Dish tried to get away but was trapped. The little dog held her down with one paw and began to lick her.

“Oh! Oh!” Dish moaned. “He’s ….” she couldn’t speak any further as his tongue got wedged in her crack.

“Get away from her.” Spoon hit Ginger on the nose and tried to poke the dog’s belly.

“Ha ha ha.” Ginger let go of Dish. “That tickles. Now let’s see what you have to offer.” The dog give the spoon a couple of quick licks and when he was done jumped down from the counter.

“Oh my.” Spoon reeled unsteadily. “I haven’t felt like this since Little Boy Blue.”

“Same here.” Dish rolled over to Spoon. “He wasn’t too cruel to you was he?”

“No, my sweet. His nails didn’t scratch you? Did they.”

“I don’t think so.”

Dish turned around so Spoon could check all sides of her.

“You look fine. But your crack is now bigger than Mother Hubbard’s cupboard.”

taxiMother Hubbard’s cupboard?

Things get stale real fast – like the ice storm that nearly wrecked Christmas for Toronto – sadly, for the news machine, it lost it’s entertainment value even faster than it took to get the power back on – though we may get another whisper from it in some year end review – if only Mother Nature had held off another couple of days or it would have a much more memorable storm that did ruin Christmas. As more power is restored the reporters seem more disappointed in the dwindling number of people in the dark.

ixe02ice on mirror in my backyard

Paul Simon sang ‘I get all the news I need from the weather report.’ I don’t even bother with that anymore. I’ve had all the news I need & now rarely bother. Weather I can get by stepping out side. Depressing updates on shootings, wars, drunken politicians, I can get by picking a newspaper from 1970. Same old same old shots ran out, city walloped by rain/snow. I know these things go on – they aren’t news to me anymore. Deja shoot.

ixe03ice on the clothes line

Like many who lost power, I added layers to keep warm in the slowly cooling house, tugged fallen tree branches off my front walk, salted the slippery path. No internet, TV for 36 hours & nothing much changed. Luckily Red Rocket Cafe had extra power bars for people who needed to re-charge so I was able to keep my cell-phone powered up.

ixe01Christmas lights reflected in iced mirror

Power out 10:30 Saturday night, back around 3:30 Monday morning. Ford is now taking full credit for getting the power back on in full function fashion – I wonder how many power lines he climbed to make sure it happened?

Merry Christmas to all.

bike

Dec 26 – Thursday – hosting – The Beautiful & The Damned

June 6-8, 2014 – attending – Bloody Words

samples

Revised Manual of Assembly 1.05 page 54

 Now that you have attached the three legs to the main torso of the console you are ready to bring the remain two legs. First be confident that the previous three appendages have been securely and firm riveted to the correct dowelling supports.

Before proceeding any further you must next stabilize the unit so that it will not move while you are doing these important steps in this process.

Notice that at the 3.6 mill mark and the 6.9 slot of B flange there are proper placement apertures for the stabilizing instruments. Please take the time now to do this simple operation, for the success of the remaining instruction depends on how well and firmly you stabilize the torso.

At this time you should also check that all the electric circuits are in full function fashion. The read outs will flicker, not to be alarmed, but wait till that has ceased. Once it has ,it is safe to proceed.

The two sound modules are also primed for an initial check so place a sound disc in carriage portal CVX5. If there is no sound it is not wise to proceed. Please go back to the standard model manual to see what you have to adjust. If the sound is not sufficiently proper at this point you will not be able to go back to repair later if you proceed with the final appendages.

The two video monitors, which are mounted at flange 6Y.8 and slot B are operational and will assist in an internal diagnostic of the hard drives of unit C. Units A and B are ready also for their initial tasks.

Once you have done a review of the present working functions you will proceed to the capture step at flange UBX. See there where the positioning of three small markings. This is the point at which the first of the remaining appendages is to be inserted.

Minimum use of the slick Star lubricant is suggested to assist at this point. Be extra cautious as not to allow the slick Star lubricant to touch anything other than this as it it is extremely worrisome. Keep out of the reach of children, fish and laminated objects.

Now that the slick Star lubricant has formed the shell, you may proceed. If you have any difficulties with the slick Star lubricant please refer to page 67 of the basic module manual.

Allow this appendage sufficient time to form a bond. Once that bond has been formed take the 512 silver slotted rivets and attach them along the periphery of the template to give the appendage proper protection from sunlight and insects. These are the two great foes of your enjoyment of this product.

SAM_1116snow shoes 

A good friend of mine gets his heart broken nearly every time he falls in love. He wonders if its his fault for the kind of man he falls for. I don’t know exactly what to tell him. I don’t think the fault lies in him or the men but in a culture that measures relationship success by some skewed (to me) standard of cinematic logic.

tableget your legs in the air said the bushes to the table

The logic that says love is a form of emotional ownership that cures all, makes one another’s shortcomings acceptable, and so on. Held together by the notion of forged emotional bonds that never get tested or that will fall apart if they fail that test. Forged of course by sexual fidelity and endless available sex. Anything held together by come falls apart in the wash.

babylove on the go

I suspect many people fall into relationships simply so they won’t have to keep looking. The dating meat market is so brutal on self-confidence the opportunity to get out of it is welcomed. When we can’t we be friends and lovers forever blame and guilt take the place of connection and communication.

wardrobehiding love in a dark place

I’ve found it much easier on my heart to see relationships as opportunities not as solutions. Sure I have some expectations but having them fulfilled isn’t the basis of a friendship. Though the ways my expectations are met do shape the relationship. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t work – I can continue or walk away without making the person responsible.

In other words as much as I love to love and to be love I can live without your expectations of love being fulfilled.

smlbx

Dec 26 – Thursday – hosting – The Beautiful & The Damned

lang

June 6-8, 2014 – attending – Bloody Words

samples

Holiday Cruise

“Play ‘Hey Diddle Diddle’.” Spoon called out.

“Later, man,” Cat took his bow away from his violin. “I’ve played it twice now already.”

“Yeah, I know, but me and the missus are here for a holiday cruise.” Spoon gave Dish a light tap. “And she wants to hear our song one for time.”

“That’s cool, Spoon. I know the story but I have other people here with requests of their own. Haven’t I? Jack Sprat and his wife won’t be happy if they get none.”

“Look, Cat.” Spoon stood. “I worked hard to get here and I expect to get what I came here for.”

“Money can’t buy everything, you know.” Cat arched his back.

“Don’t antagonize the darn cat, Spoony,” Dish tried to pull Spoon away from Cat before things got worse. “Can’t you tell he’s in a bad frame of mind. Must have a thorn in his boots.”

“Yeah, yeah. Whatever you say Babe. Let’s go up to the pool. We’ll be back later Cat so be prepared. You’ll get a licking you won’t forget.”

“Of course, sir,’”Cat wet his lips and picked up his bow and fiddle again. “Now that we have gotten rid of those clods, are there any more requests.”

“There’s A Hole In The Bucket.” Shouted jack.

“Fly me to the Moon.” Cow threw a ten dollar bill at Cat’s feet.

“Avec Plaisire.” Cat watched till Dish & Spoon had left the lounge before starting.

“How can you act like that?” Dish rasped. “I just wanted to get away for a few days to relax, and here you go trying to stir things up with anyone and everyone.”

“I’m sorry, my sweet, but I want to make sure you have a good time. After your nasty fall, you needed to be treated with extra care and protection.”

“I will not break that easily.” Dish shuddered at the recollection of her recent fall from the counter. No new breaks & her crack didn’t get any wider.

“I realized that long ago my love, but you are still the most delicate of tableware to me and it’s hard for me not to worry about you.”

They found room on the rack to lay in the sun. Below them others played and frolicked in the soapy water of the pool.

“Oh, no,” Dish mumbled.

‘What is it my dear.’

“That hussy, Tea Pot, has come out of her cabin. Let me tell you, she’s not that little anymore.”

Spoon was fascinating by the bulging figure of Tea Pot. Her handle, her spout. But he knew there was was no way in for the likes of him.

“Tea Pot how are you this morning.” Spoon asked

“Just longing for you to tip me over and pour me out, Spoony.”

snow01you’re snow romanic

Facebook urges me to look back at my biggest moments in 2013 and manages to miss most of them; which suits me fine – it means I have maintained a private life that FB, WordPress, twitter, tumblr has limited access to. More of my life is out there than ever before. I have had a total stranger stop me in the street to ask if I’m the guy in that video shot at Lizzie Violet’s birthday.

doll02where she fell

I still have people telling me how brave I am for being an out queer – in this day & age? I’m sick of straight actors being called ‘brave’ for taking a gay role in a movie – particularly when the role is of yet another queer dying of HIV. But I digress.

doll01there she fades away

It has been a productive year. Did two great features: Secret Handshake, & Cabaret Noir. Wrote some great short stories, great poetry & even finished a rough draft my romanic fantasy about coal miners in love.

Expanded my following on WordPress, Tumblr & even Twitter. Not that an electronic foot print leads to more people coming out to hear me. I’ve realized that on line energy in rarely equals  the same energy in return.

I’ve made my blog more regular, expanded it to 3 posts a week, with at least 3 photos taken by me in each. Structure has made it easier to do. The reviews have made me focus more on the words I hear – this is a prime case of energy in that seems to often go into a vacuum. I do have a couple of dedicated rebloggers but rarely do I hear anything from a performer I’ve reviewed, except to correct a quoted line (kids, I make notes by hand, in the dark & often on a wet, wobbly table – give me a break.)

doll03goodbye dolly

There will be some changes in 2014. Just because things are working doesn’t mean change is out of the question. How big? That’s another blog post but I will be redirecting some of my non-productive energy output into other directions. 

 lang

Dec 26 – Thursday – hosting – The Beautiful & The Damned

smlbx

June 6-8, 2014 – attending – Bloody Words

samplesDishing It Out

“This just isn’t going to work.” Dish loomed over Spoon.

“What do you mean, my sweet?” Spoon tapped playfully on Dish’s edge.

“I mean exactly what I said.” Dish pulled back.

“You can’t mean that, my sweet. We were meant for each other.”

“So you say, but I’m beginning to doubt that.”

“But why?” Spoon attempted to cuddle into the deepest recess of Dish. “No on reaches you the way I do. Admit it?”

“There’s no denying that Spoon, but with you, it’s all take, take, take. You never bring me anything.”

“But, my darling that is the way nature intended us. The dish brings supply to the spoon. Not other way around.”

“So, you think its okay that I’m all give and never get.”

“But, you get frequent caresses from me, my sweet.” Once again Spoon attempted to nestle into the curved depth of Dish.

“No. No. No.” Dish heaved out, sending Spoon skittering across the counter top. “I will not allow myself to be used by you any longer. I cannot for my own sake.”

“There’s some else, isn’t there?” Spoon sparkled with distrust. “It’s that Ladle. He fills you. It’s him, isn’t it?”

“There is no one else. There never will be. No one. Ever. I will not allow myself to be used again a lowly piece of cutlery again. You hear me! Never.”

“Was the soup too hot last night, my sweet? Is that what is troubling you. Or was the milk too cold this morning? Was it something like that. Please tell me. I want to know. Let me share your pain.” Spoon approached again and laid his head on the trembling rim of Dish.

“Oh give me a break.” Dish heaved out once again, pushing Spoon back. “It was your idea we run away, and where has that gotten us? Where?”

‘We still have each other, my precious.’

“I want more than us. I want to be a part of a set. I want cups and saucers. A meat platter. I long for the company of my own kind.”

“But that can never be, now that you have turned your back on them they will never accept you back again. Need I remind you of this?” Spoon tapped a small crack in Dish’s rim.

“So what I am a little cracked. That’s not reason to turn me out. To force me into the company of cutlery. I said I’m leaving you and I will.” The dish rolled to the edge of the counter.

“Baby don’t go. Don’t leave me this way. We can work it out. I’m sure we can. Let me think. There has to be a solution.”

“There is a solution, you have to be less selfish. You have to learn to give, to bring me as much as I bring you.”

“But darling, I hold so little, while you hold so much. We cannot change our basic natures.”

“There’s always an excuse, isn’t there? We’ll no more excuses.” Dish tipped over the counter and crashed to the floor.

dollhouse

For the next Damned I’ve picked Langston Hughes as our dead celeb. He’s one of those iconic American figures whose impact continues to be felt. His jazz poetry was written to be heard, to be performed, and that, to me, makes him one of founders of hip-hop, dub, slam and nearly any other kind of spoke-word poetry.

me03out in the country

As a black man he was an inspiration on par with King or Mandela. As a writer he is still an inspiration. I have the massive collected poetry as well a cd of him performing his work.

me02bundling to step out

Wikipedia says: “Hughes identified as unashamedly black at a time when blackness was démodé.” But his sexuality was suppressed – it remains ‘unconfirmable’ – poetry supposedly written to his lover has not been published. How much more powerful a role model would he have been if he could have been openly who he was. What ever is suppressed was in response to a culture that would have buried his genius lest his sexuality scared the children.

me01outing the inner

History is constantly re-assessed & re-interpreted so that what is actual gets lost in a mixed mist of cultural mores of the time that is doing the looking and the biases of the time being looked at. The result is that much queer history is lost or devalued or denied even in the fact of ‘facts.’ It seems the only proof-positive is photographs – but one can photoshop a cock into anyone’s mouth these days.

 

samples

Force

how did I turn out

the way I turned out

no one held a gun to my head

said you do this

you become that

unless the force of peer pressure

can be called that gun

what force is it that makes

one of us heterosexual

another homosexual

who would chose

considering the drawbacks of either

better to be nonsexual

to avoid all the pressures

of meeting   mating   so-called morality

working out  raising children

avoid stds

neither side of the life style equation

really gets such good press

the sexual grilling of congressmen

the boredom of those who never stray

the envy for those who do

the energy spent on judgment

not in pleasure

who would chose either

yet there is some force

beyond the ken

of the mind  heart  peer pressure

the dna string spinning around in our blood

a force that makes

all the variations flux and flow

those people caught up in it

are trying to make sense of it

that allows for a space for each

well, not all people

as some have this dna string

that doesn’t allow for any variation

where any variation

must be destroyed

shunned

and that very fact

makes me wonder

what force brings anyone into

the fold of the shunned

something happens

that pushes against the tide

of the commercial world around us

that breaks them free

of the rigid accepted standard

it happens  like sun spots

and like any invisible force

it becomes easier

to go with the tide

that to fight against it

the greater the resistance

the greater the pain

the hidden becomes less hidden

when the pain of hiding is too great

what was once such a scandal

doesn’t seem to have the weight

it once had

no force behind the fear

to sustain that pressure as it once did

it stopped being seen as revolution

accepted as a part of evolution

we can’t draw a line

that keeps the races apart

when hearts are involved

and the sky is the same over all heads

the earth is the same beneath all feet

the feet of the judgmental strike with the same force

are held by the same gravity

as the feet of those who are judged

as the feet of those

who know nothing about anything

the messy melting pot

that gives all the opportunity to be

none has the right to deny

that right to another

and even though some don’t

they find themselves

eventually drowned

in the ever rising tide of the past

of history

and the rest of us

make our way as best we can

not looking to disrupt anything

but merely to be

momhave you seen your mother, baby, standing in the shadows

Stranger in a Strange Land, Gauguin’s Paradise Lost, The Stand, A Pocket Full Of Rye, A Study In Scarlet, Catch-22: what do these books have in common? They are all books I read in my formative years: high-school, university (not that I spent much time there) & thought the 70’s, early 80’s. All of which I have re-read this past year.

rubbleconstructive rubble

Over the past couple of years I have been examining the books that influenced me creatively in one way or the other. None of which I have read in the past 30 some years. Rereading them as an adult has been informative, interesting & disappointing.

The re-reading has been as far back as grade school, jr high. Book for pre-teens: http://wp.me/p1RtxU-uJ. In both ‘eras’ what I have noticed, amongst other things, is a total lack of otherness – the occasional lesbian, but no queer boys. Sure Sherlock & Watson have than nearly non-existent connect but one has to really stretch to see it. Same with Jules Verne, whose male dominated adventure books rarely even allow the straight men express any kind of affection. Of course movie remakes had added female love interests of sort sort to keep anyone from getting the wrong ideas.

siteconstructive scaffolding

Agatha Christie was a favourite of my mother’s. I read piles of them & never caught the bad guy. Re-reading I see how she constructs plots, creates engaging characters but frequently falls back on disguises, and the explaining detectives. In one the truth is literally found as a message in a bottle.

The Stand was also a revelation. The more recent edition has had hundreds of pages restored to what was already a long novel. Again my memory was selective – Mother Abigail was all I recalled. Killing off major players at the three-quarter point was a risk that sort of paid off. Of course the noble lesbian dies to protect the good guys. All the men heterosexual. In fact in nearly all books I’ve read about the future of the world there will be no gay men; and if there are they have no sex lives & are doomed to self-sacrifice so the breeding pool can survive.

toolsconstructive tools

… a Strange Land, is the most recent of these re-reads. It is more of a satire that I recalled, in the Vonnegut vein, than anything else. I grok that but am disappointed in the amount of attention given to making fun of negotiations, double-talk pissing matches. I wanted more of Smith & less of the other talky, uninteresting stock characters.  

samples

another piece from my recent Noir feature http://wp.me/p1RtxU-xc

Snow

snow bone back yard

the bare maple tree

flake teased kissed

every branch from crook to twig tip

gentle layer upon layer

building a changed torso

boneless mounds curving garage roof

topping fence post

midnight moon skittering streaked

dimly biding till dawn

brief days on end

reshaping mutating

with each snow cascade

in summer the tree’s over-leafed skin

longs to be bare to icy tease

yearns for the the cold bones of winter

covers

the clue in the cover

Resurrection isn’t exactly the Christmas message but I have been digging into my archives going as far back as 1999. To get there I had to dust off some old files on disks (remember those) that were in appleworks, a format no longer recognized by the latest pages. I have to open them in simple text, cut & paste them into pages and then see what is under the dust.

sky01big sky Stratford

Much of the poetry has already been revised, printed and presented. There’s a lot of fiction in them there hills that I’m not sure what to do with. I was experimenting with with plots & styles. So I have a series about a car race across the desert; cowboys; people arguing or talking aimlessly (is there really a difference); a romance novel; even a noir detective. Some of which I may take the nest step with to expand into a full story for NaNo 2014.

sky02big sky Toronto

Lots of things I’ve totally forgotten about events I’ve totally forgotten. Some wrestling with notions I’ve dealt with since in a better way. Some that went somewhere but nowhere at the same time. ‘Improve’ was a prompt word that resulted in a list poem. I like a good list. This one is partially successful – full success results when I stumble into a bit of a story line as the list progress.

sky03big sky Niagara-on-the-Lake

In this one I don’t find a plot other than the contradictory messages we get about self-improvement, which is more than enough. It actually has a sense of resolution as well, which can’t be improved on :-)

coming

Dec 26 – Thursday – hosting – The Beautiful & The Damned

smlbx

June 6-8, 2014 – attending – Bloody Words

samples

Improve

there’s going to be changes

you better pull up your socks

if you don’t watch your step

stop settling for second best

if it isn’t broke don’t fix it

mind your manners

be grateful for what you have

aim for the stars

the more you know the better off you’ll be

it don’t take brains to improve on shit

don’t give up

don’t give me that bullshit

if only you tried harder

doesn’t apply himself

doesn’t pay attention in class

isn’t really there

lives in a world of his own

why improve on perfection

perfection equals death

once it’s perfect where else is there to go

leave well enough alone can’t you

get serious

as if

a little at a time

don’t try to do too much at once

increase the load to build the muscle

give it your all

don’t hold back

work towards a goal

one step at a time

god is in the details

keeping going till to can’t go any further

a book of a millions words starts with one

in the beginning was the excuse

sorry I didn’t mean that

I’ll try harder the next time

honesty it wasn’t me

I have more important things to worry about

sure I could do better by why bother

who gives a shit

who really cares

better marks means better marks

please yourself but do as you’re told

don’t take anything for granted

be the first on your block

be the only one

be the best one so you can be proud of yourself

if you don’t try you can’t win

winning is all

losers are losers remember that

never give a loser a second chance

be hard on yourself

don’t give up or give in

keep going regardless of the cost

never settle anything less than your best

or what I think other’s think is my best

sloppy seconds are better than nothing

careless work

learn to spell

only the good will survive

only the perfect get to wherever it is the perfect get to go

anything would be an improvement

I love what you’ve done with this

my how you’ve changed

you used to be so sweet

now you are a perfect idiot

now you have no faults

meet the Saint who used to be human

to err is human

to improve is to improve

discontent is the seed of progress

greed is not discontent

more more more

better better better

be as critical as you want

nothing will ever be good enough

why start if it isn’t going to be perfect

no one sees the flaws you see

share and share alike

good work is never finished   it only rests

but be prepared for change

snow02nose for details

 How quickly do you get tired of festive music? Two minutes? Two days? Over the years I’ve built up a little collection of Christmas music that covers languages: Welsh, Russian, Swedish, French and even some Elvis. I dig them out once a year & give them their annual listenings.

lane02does it come in green

I do favour the campy/cheesy side of things with the Beach Boys, The Ventures; special favourites Booker T & The MG’s go hand in hand with Jimmy Smith. I even have one of my family’s Christmas lp’s: Eddie Fisher. I can’t say as I have an absolute favourite though. Brenda Lee’s Rocking ‘Round the Christmas Tree is pretty close to perfect though. Plus Silent Night sung by a choir of starving children on an ice flow (just kidding).

lane03lane way bargains

One thing I always enjoy is a A Christmas Carol beautifully read in complete – a free download – takes a couple of hours to listen to but it has spoiled me for any movie version. I have it burned to a cd along with Dylan Thomas reading A Child’s Christmas in Wales, plus the Million Dollar Man’s Christmas adventures, and (could it get any better?) Charles Laughton reading a Pickwick Christmas and (too much?) Ronald Coleman in a very abridged Christmas Carol.

lane01red daisies

Yeah I love Christmas but I’m always happy when its over.

soon02

 June 6-8, 2014 – attending – Bloody Words

samples

another piece out of the archives:

Circle

it’s hard to resist the notions of patterns

how the repeated gets repeated

the notion

that if you go back to the same bed

you leave in the morning

you have really gone nowhere

start to finish

at the same point

doesn’t equal progress

yet   for many that is progress

to maintain the same pattern

to have the comfort

of ending back where they started from

I do not resist the comfort and ease

of repetition

that gives structure

funny though

how much quicker and smaller these

rituals become

the older one becomes

the aching years and summers of youth

are the all too fast and brief

flash from one winter to the next

winters coming too close together

and summers never long enough

flowers come go  come go

and the gardening continues

when will the circle be broken

things are done

to keep that break from happening

the right foods for the heart

exercise  avoid the sun

drinking lots of water

a few less morsels at every meal

to cut down on the burden of the waist

each a little ritual

in hopes of avoiding the break

each

to add a few morsels of days

the gift of the moment

the miracle of breath

and joy of experiencing

what there remains to be experienced

days are numbered

but no one knows what those numbers are

we don’t know

what they are going to add up to

what will remain

is rarely equalled to

what we may have done

the mark made disappears with time

I decided not to worry about the mark made

but to enjoy what there is to enjoy

to create sustain without concern

leaving a legacy

is the least of my intent

a few memories will linger

till the last of those

who remember me

are gone

that is enough for me

another of the aging details

I sometimes forget

is about what may remain

who gets what

maybe I’ll give it all way

before the break

shedding is a good stage

to prepare me for the transition

into the next one

shed all that I wouldn’t want to move with

pretend my life

is to be reduced to a single room

what would I want to keep

make it that simple

and see what

loses its hold on me

what is really wanted

and what is there merely

because I have a place for it

those things that are pleasant enough

but which it

may be time to live without

to move on

to clear and clear

make more empty shelves

and leave them empty

invite the emptiness

into the present day

to prepare me for

what may be the void

when the circle is broken

ice01

Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir December show was yet another packed house for the Central and an unnecessary confirmation of Lizzie’s ability to put together a dynamic show, though being a part of the evening’s line-up I may not be impartial.

benchno one will see us under here

Open stagers were many and diverse with an odd connecting image of drowning and the sea working through them – John Oughton, being drawn into a carpet pattern; Heather Babcock with a section from her novel whose heroine teasing invites drowning between her legs; Philip Cairns longs to drown in summer warmth; Cate McKim singing of the Dark End of Street where lover drown in shadows; Meagan Morison with her song about rising from the waters of difficult times. And that was just the first set of open stagers.

scarfthe scarf tree

I was the first feature and felt that my set went over well. Even if it didn’t my shirt did (shirt Atilio by www.au-noir.com bought at www.wardrobeformen.com ). Because one of the features was unable to make the show I had a few extra minutes to fill so I started with covers of two Anne Sexton pieces. I had careful built my set around bitter-sweet memory pieces and then took it briefly to my brand of in-your-pants raunch. Candy cane and cock is festively naughty.

teewinter cast-offs

After the break the slate of open stagers started with Arlene Peculan’s tsunami song; Neil Tenant paid tribute to John Lennon & also sang about rain (keeping up that water motif); Myke Mazzei reeled in a lost track from After The Gold Rush; Rex Havoc wanted to drown in Xmas hit song royalties; Brenda Fricker was drying out from a flood in her apartment; Vanessa ? swimming in the memory of why she loves poetry; George with a sailor memory; Evan ? with a section of his novel – a seaside dream sequence; finally open stager was Nelson Sobral with a chilly winter song but no one can feel a chill with him heating up the stage. (sorry about any mispellings of half-heard names. see below for list of open stagers supplied by Lizzie)

blueput your toys away

Final feature was Matt Gerber whose ukuele and kazoo combo makes me think of seaside boardwalk buskers. I first heard Matt Gerber in August of this year (see review) and was looking forward to hearing him again. There wis no flavoUr without U, neither is there msic without U.

 

sample

one of the pieces from my set

Wooden Soldiers

I always wondered what happened

to those presents the magi brought

gold frankincense & myrrh

were they accepted refused lost

put away for a rainy day

because I don’t recall

Joe & Mary having a life of ease

while Jesus was growing up

did he ever ask about those presents

did he remember the magi

did he look at the myrrh

and think what the heck

how much gold

was there    a few ingots

a darling little ankle bracelet

did he drum on

the frankincense & myrrh jars

till they broke

and another thing

what happened to lazarus

after he was risen from the dead

is he still wandering around

cursing the miracle

eager to sleep

to dream of being able to die

but mostly I wonder about the magi’s gifts

I don’t have any of my first xmas gifts

my first toy car

my earliest gift recollection

is of wooden soldiers

I must have been about four

I’d found them hidden away in a closet

under some towels

I wanted plastic ones & was disappointed

but I have no memory

of unwrapping them on Xmas morning

did my folks decide to teach me lesson

and not give them to me after all

did Jesus have a memory

the smell of barns

did the sight of camels

make him wonder

where is my gold mom

is lazarus playing with my wooden soldiers

seatthe ice throne

decnoir13

Set 1
John Oughton
Heather Babcock
Philip Cairns
Cate McKim
Meghan Morrison
Set 2
Arlene Paculan
Neil Trayor
Myke Mazzei
Rex Havoc
Brenda Clews
Vanessa Smythe
Evan LeBlanc
George Deagle
Nelson Sobral
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