Archives for category: Let’s talk

This was posted on twitter recently: “I’ve got a question for my compatriots in the #LGBT community: What’s the most difficult challenge you’ve faced in life so far?”

Over the years I have dealt with coming out, getting clean & sober, falling in & out love, and far too many HIV deaths. But the most difficult challenge hasn’t been so dramatic. It’s the wrestle with body image. Yeah that sounds pretty mundane.

driedup dried up and useless old plants

But in a culture where youth is the coin of opportunity, where an undercurrent of conformity closes way too many opportunities.

One area that exemplifies this is ageism. Sometime I glance at Craig’s list, I am on a couple of cruising sites too. All too often I see posting by men over 50 that say – only ages between 25-35 need apply. Funny for a time when I was in that target group the idea of sex with a man over 50 seemed unattractive but I quickly got over that.

crack are you hung enough to fill my crack

The reverse is also pretty blatant – guys under 40 who say, in effect, ‘no one old enough to be my dad, unless you’re super hung.’ So now sizeism enters the picture.

oldshoes useless old shoes

Being a gay guy over 50, average dick size, who is clean and sober is a constant challenge to one’s sense of attractiveness – which I see as a body image issue. I’m pretty happy with my self, mind you, but every now & then someone comes along, on line, when I decline their invite (mainly becuase I’m not inot what they are into), with something like – ‘at your age you should be grateful, anyone wants you, granddad.’

I hope they realize they too will get older.

soon02April 21, Monday – featuring – Lizzie Violet’s Poetry Open Mic at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club – 7:30 – doors and open mic sign up, 8:00 – start – 54 The Esplanade, Toronto https://www.facebook.com/events/1379693865637955/

amflyerjpg copy

April 27, Sunday – attending – Julie Czerndea Workshop http://chiseries.ticketleap.com/chiseriesworkshop-julie-czerneda/

judy Julie Czerndea

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

bw

June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

samples

Taking it Personal

 

I try not to take the personals personally

what they want

is a little sliver of perfection to control

to hold in an unalterable limbo

where the moment

there is a disagreement over anything

out you go

betrayal takes hold   bitterness sets in

so they become

more precise in what they want

those parameters get smaller

the pool of possibility gets shallower

and they aren’t looking for anyone shallow

you must be complex

have a sense of humour a job

go to a gym

or at least have a big dick

even the most sincere let that magic wand

wave away the deeply needed

personal attributes they are seeking

I know when they are talking long term

they mean only as long

as you are obedient

as long as you fulfill certain

fantasy requirements

until someone with more $

or a bigger dick comes along

 

I try not to take the personals personally

often they don’t want to take you personally

they just want some attention

when I meet someone

and they are none of the things they are looking for

I wonder if they read the ad they wrote

wonder if they know what they want

because even when I am

exactly what they are looking for

I’m not

 

I try not to take the personals personally

and so far have succeeded

never met the wrong guy that way

not looking for perfection

certainly opens the field

though I don’t waste my time

with those looking for perfection

I know they are only seeking

the safety of the impossible

with a big dick

carte time for a change a la carte

Here’s the piece I wrote when misunderstanding one of the Viral prompts, which I had assumed was about packing, where as it as really about travel. There is travel element in this mind you but not strong enough to count.

I do move from Cape Breton to Toronto in it and my thoughts do move through my the history of my growing up queer to a willingness to let go of the tangible remains of those memories.

tear ragged bottom

This is how I like to deal with those coming out years, with more nostalgia than anger. In fact I’m glad that I was never offered much adult guidance – too often gay teens where forced into aversion therapy, shock treatment or prayed for under the healing hands of their church till Satan was driven out. I suppose that would make for a more dramatic poem.

cherry cherry chair

There are elements of truth in this piece – moving here, the feelings about my dad’s disappointment, making yogurt, even having an unopened box but that box was of cup and saucers packed away when we moved to this house & stuck on a basement shelf. It was finally opened & donated to Goodwill.

As for papers in my old desk – some that has been tossed but I still have notebooks of poetry, even novels, I wrote in high-school, college and before my move to Toronto.

shovel chair tossed

I revisit some of it every four or five years just to remind myself what handwriting looks like. It’s aways a bit of shock to see my drunken scrawl as I struggle to write myself out the truth I was trapped by. That handwriting is better than aversion therapy for keeping me honest to who I am.

coming

April 21, Monday – featuring – Lizzie Violet’s Poetry Open Mic at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club – 7:30 – doors and open mic sign up, 8:00 – start – 54 The Esplanade, Toronto https://www.facebook.com/events/1379693865637955/

amflyerjpg copy

April 27, Sunday – attending – Julie Czerndea Workshop http://chiseries.ticketleap.com/chiseriesworkshop-julie-czerneda/ 

judy Julie Czerndea

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

bw

June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

samples

Basement Boxx

 

I came across this cardboard box

sitting on a basement shelf

my handwriting on the side

‘desk papers’

the box had been there for so long

I don’t remember putting it there

when we moved into the house

over thirty years ago

I wiped the collected dust off the top

‘what desk’ I wondered

the box had once held a yogurt maker

I recognized the illustration of it

on the side of the box

I’d gotten rid of that maker twenty years ago

it had been a gift from my dad

when I moved from the family home

to my first apartment

man I felt like my life was in motion then

my first place

a place where I could drink

without being observed by my parents

where I could entertain whenever I wanted

 

the booze helped me pack away

the stuff in my life

I didn’t know how to deal with

and at the same time

give me the courage to unpack it

to drop my pants

to hide my fear & uncertainty

the frustration of never being the son

I thought I was supposed to

a son who make the basketball team

not yogurt

a time when no parent

wanted their eldest

to become a queer

frustrations that lead me

to leave that Cape Breton town

for the bigger one of Toronto

this was one of those boxes

from that move

now I know what desk

 

I give it a little shake

I hear papers

loose paperclips, pens

I start to put it back

then decide to toss it

unopened

to recycle

finding it has unpacked

enough of my past

for one day

SAM_1218 brokeback snow bank

 

Next on the pop shelf is another of of my mp3 collections – 102 songs in 6 hr 6 min of the Animals (8 lps) with a dash of Joe Cocker (Little Help) and pinch of Grand Funk (Inside Looking Out). Most early lps: The Animals, The Animals on Tour (US), Animal Tracks (UK), Animalism (UK), Animalization, Eric is Here, The Animals With Sonny Boy Williamson and one later career: Every One Of Us.

bread casting bread on the bushes

The Animals are one of those British bands that never garnered the reputation of groups like The Kinks or Pink Floyd. Sure they had some monumental early hits, Rising Sun, Misunderstood, Away From This Place – but never seemed to transcend being more than a better than average bar band. Eric Burdon has a great bluesy voice but their material too often fell in good blues, r’n’b & rock.

soul sole under ice

Alan Price is a fine keyboard player, and never forget that their bass player Chas Chandler created the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The Animals had a fascinating personal & direction change when Eric did LSD (more about those lp’s soon). Everyone One of Us is one those post-LSD recordings with White Houses & Year of The Guru leading them back to their blues roots.

Cocker’s Little Help From My Friends was a smash hit. His gravel voice was irresistible, the arraignments tight and the band even tighter. More blues than pop – Cocker did travel into pop in later years.

dogs the dogs of winter

byw Eric Burdon is still alive, performing & recording & released a fine cd last year ’Til Your River Runs Dry. The voice is intact. Listening to it was like meeting a old friend you haven’t seen in decades.

drunkpants

April 21, Monday – featuring – Lizzie Violet’s Poetry Open Mic at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club – 7:30 – doors and open mic sign up, 8:00 – start – 54 The Esplanade, Toronto https://www.facebook.com/events/1379693865637955/

amflyerjpg copy

April 27, Sunday – attending – Julie Czerndea Workshop http://chiseries.ticketleap.com/chiseriesworkshop-julie-czerneda/ 

judy Julie Czerndea

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

bw

June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/

nomarching Loyalist control issues

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

samples

New New New

 

I don’t know how this happened

honestly

but at some point

certain things lost their

importance

their purpose in the scheme of life

in the daily need

to get through what was to be gotten through

so there would be another day

and in that grind

some things

lost their importance

what can I say

I’m certainly not going to apologize

for that fact

but there it is it

I’m proud to say

this shirt has lasted several years

soon to been on the antiques road show

along with my shoes

the overcoat is years old

not looking to bad for wear

not the same buttons

it would be nice

if the buttons matched

but there you are

I found one of them on the street

‘find a button and never come undone’

was one of my mother’s mottos

so I’m always looking buttons

found a lamp tossed it out

looks like new   works

so why look a gift horse in the mouth

unless you want to clean its teeth

right

 

I was once like so many

eager for the new sofa

for the new spring line

anxious for the smell of new clothes

now there are more important things

things that make me feel

I’m not part of that use  waste set

not that I wouldn’t like to be

that if i won that big jack pot

if I’d be right back there

buying  adding

new new new

upgrading my stove

new hard drive

I admit it might be nice

not to go through the thrift shop

but at the same time

there’s nothing like finding

what you need

at a price you can’t believe

that never happens at Holt’s now does it

so no

I think

if those ships came in

I wouldn’t change my wardrobe that much

no new watches or expensive shoes

those things

only those who can also afford them

would recognize the price of

nearly said the value of

but they end up

worth the same

when you throw them out

when they lose that glimmer

that glisten

that satisfaction

when I find them at Goodwill

they get a new life

I imagine

it must come as a bit of a shock

for you

to see me wearing

those things you cast off

almost like

finding out I was really your son

and worse yet

I’ll be happy with them for years

while they only lasted a few months

till you were ready to move on

and thanks

 

yeah that takes on a new importance for me

gratitude

for what I have

for making things last

for really getting the most out of them

not just a few appearances

then into a closet because

everyone has seen them

if you get tired of seeing me

in the same old things

tough  get used to it

or start emptying more closets

there must be scads of stuff

you bought & never got around to wearing

sales items you couldn’t resist

that t-shirt you bought on vacation

but can’t bare to look at now

what were you thinking

 

so spring is about sprung

empty your closet

throw out the old

so the new new new can flow in

100_2919 Loyalist willow not weeping for me

 

 

April, besides being the cruelest month, is also International Poetry month, even though the USA likes to call it National Poetry Month – implying that only Americans write poetry. Make Spoken Word Go Viral on FB has been posting a daily prompt and I have managed to get at some of them. April is the busiest month.

bear cold care bear

The problem with the prompts for me is that sometimes I miss the actual post & read some the pieces posted inspired by the prompt. Then I assume what the prompt is from the poems. Cathy’s poem about packing & unpacking led me to conclude the prompt had been about packing suitcases, in fact it was, I think, about travel. I ended up with one about unpacking a box that has sat on my basement shelf unopened for the thirty years since I put it there.

dino ice age dinosaur

But, & I hesitate to say, it’s all good. The piece below I think is sprung, I hope, from the actual prompt – ‘for a chat window friend.’ Because I’ve only maintained one of those it was easy to respond to. Not that I don’t engage in i.m. at times via yahoo & FB but I’ve never really gotten into it.

buried cold comfort

Like a lot of my recent shorter pieces this is also caught up in the man (living in Toronto) from Caracas that I’m caught up in and pretty much captures, for me, the frustrations and pleasures of such a tangle while using chat to keep connected when timing keeps people apart.

soon02

April 21, Monday – featuring – Lizzie Violet’s Poetry Open Mic at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club – 7:30 – doors and open mic sign up, 8:00 – start – 54 The Esplanade, Toronto https://www.facebook.com/events/1379693865637955/

amflyerjpg copy April 27, Sunday – attending – Julie Czerndea Workshop http://chiseries.ticketleap.com/chiseriesworkshop-julie-czerneda/

judy Julie Czerndea

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

bw

June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

samples

For a chat window friend.

we see each other every morning

for a few minutes

you on your mobile

texting on your way home from work

dragging your tired self to bed

me just waking up

looking to the day ahead

both of us happy for connection

for this brief contact

to take us into and out of our solitude

a reminder that there is more

I learn un poco de español

you learn a bit of me

we share affection for each other

that I trust gives you happiness

as it makes me happy to to hear back from you

 

we see each other in the flesh

for a couple of hours

when your days off roll around

and we can roll around on the big bed

framed by your tiny apartment

roll around lost for words

now that we can put actions

to our teasingly short chats

our fingers enter messages

directly on each other

  my keyboard is frozen

This is serious business, don’t you know, building a set that flows but isn’t so smooth it slips by without a ripple, without a sense of scope. Too many queer pieces & you’re too out there, not enough & you are holding back; no gay stuff & people are confused.

sofa cold comfort sofa

For my two last features I did entirely different sets & while I am tempted to do the same for the one on Easter Monday – at the same time I want to record some of the pieces I really enjoyed reading at those two features while tossing in some new stuff, well sort of new.

shoecold case

I’ve been writing a fair amount too & might add some of that. A lot of the recent stuff has been about mi tesoro – the sweet Latino man I’ve been seeing – so it tends to be much more romantic than I usually write. Unlike some poets I write well when I’m at least infatuated.
It’s almost as if what social commentary I may make isn’t relevant with the news spinning things out of shape so fast I’m not sure what to say anyway. Clearly Flight 370 is part of the elitist conspiracy to keep Rob Ford out of the international news.

sneakercold runnings

So getting the set recorded for sound, at least, means I’m going to be more ‘dramatic.’ I plan to start the set with a high energy piece that gets my blood flowing, as opposed the the rather gentle starts I’ve been using.

coming

April 21, Monday – featuring – Lizzie Violet’s Poetry Open Mic at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club – 7:30 – doors and open mic sign up, 8:00 – start – 54 The Esplanade, Toronto https://www.facebook.com/events/1379693865637955/

amflyerjpg copy

April 27, Sunday – attending – Julie Czerndea Workshop http://chiseries.ticketleap.com/chiseriesworkshop-julie-czerneda/

judy Julie Czerndea

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

tombstone
June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/

campI’m already registered
August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

samples

Mi Admisión

I don’t want to admit
that I think of you all the time
my day is made when you call
when you say
it’s so good to hear your voice
I want to kiss you over the phone
maybe we should take
kiss pics
our lips puckered
so that when we talk
we can see each other
so ready willing needing
to kiss the other
is that romantic
or pathetically over-the-top
not that I care
because that’s how I feel
but please no pictures
of what I can’t have at the moment
it’s frustrating enough
to only hear you
when I want so to hold you
I know you know
how I feel
because I hold so little back
except I don’t to admit
that I think about you all the time

wall living wall at Loyalist

An Emotional Fish is one of those Irish bands that got washed away by the tide of U2, even though they even opened for U2 and were under that corporate umbrella. They made no real North American break through. Another Irish band that got washed away was Hothouse Flowers (more about them when I get to the H’s).

shatter01 shattered & scattered

Released in 1990, I picked up this cd in May 1993 – mainly because of the band’s name so it must have been cheap enough that I was willing to take a gamble.

silver breaking the ice

The music is solid rock, sometimes pretty & always propulsive. I really liked a couple of the tracks: Grey Matter, Lace Virginia & can conjure them up in my head without having to put the cd on.

shatter02 shattered close up

Strong vocals, excellent production values and Irish without being overtly Celtic or too mystic a la Van Morrison (more about my Morrison collection when we get to the M’s). I did pick up another CD of their years later but nothing on it grabbed me enough to keep it.

coming

April 21, Monday – featuring – Lizzie Violet’s Poetry Open Mic at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club – 7:30 – doors and open mic sign up, 8:00 – start – 54 The Esplanade, Toronto https://www.facebook.com/events/1379693865637955/

amflyerjpg copy

April 27, Sunday – attending – Julie Czerndea Workshop http://chiseries.ticketleap.com/chiseriesworkshop-julie-czerneda/

judy Julie Czerndea

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

tombstone

June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/

mural plot points at Loyalist

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

samples

Goodbye

neither of us could say it  mean it

or could somehow make it stick

though we both knew it was in the air

we didn’t want to face the full implication

the only way

it could be come real

was for one of us to die

to move away

to vanish

 

the moment the word

might stray into the air between us

we knew that it would

never be uttered with conviction

with willingness

or with an intention

that it become a fact

 

it became an unspoken threat

if you don’t do x

then it’s goodbye

but when x wasn’t done

nothing much changed

some flicker of spite

then on to the next development

 

another word

is removed from the vocabulary

to be replace with the nod

the I’ll-be-seeing-you eyebrow

the till-tomorrow squeeze

the I-can’t-wait-till-you-call email

the tender animated gif

 

this the way of separation

the never dearly departed

the closeness one wishes for

that may never occur

hasn’t been enough

to make your goodbye take

 

I say that

because the same has been true for me

I’ve been ready to utter

but not prepared for the follow through

for the consequences

the door is too easy open

and comfort too simple

not to be real

to be lasting

but

it does have room to spare

time to allow change

though the change

seems to consume you more than me

 

the other side of farewell

is too dark and bleak

to consider

we both know that what lies there

isn’t the unknown

but a return to what was there

before the first glance   first hello

that tumbled us to bed

heart first

lips locked

too locked to mumble anything deeper

than

yes oh yes

 

what I might miss

is the sound of you sleeping

beside me or in a room nearby

a room I can peak in to watch

the rise  fall

the wriggle of a bare foot

out of the cover

the slip off of a too warm blanket

to reveal the the true moon

 

the impending goodbye

is kept at a distance

gives you the room to make a move

to bring you other opportunities

chances to explore

fears you never had to face with me

the fears of meeting someone with whom

goodbye would mean goodbye

here your goodbye won’t stand

it’ll merely meant

let’s try this way for now

bdoor very blue door

Started the month with my annual CAHM brain rental for a study I’ve been in for 6 years now. I’m a healthy control subject in a couple of studies looking at memory, decision making & dexterity and aging.The study is spread over three days, first day was March 24, then April 1 & 2 to finish. It’s conducted, for the most part, at the CAHM Queen W. location. The first, unofficial, task is actually getting there in the morning. I’m a morning person but rarely a morning transit person. I’m so grateful for my iPod, Kindle & cell phone. Plus 1001 Queen W is the middle of a Starbucks vortex – five to ten minute walk in any direction for a Pikes.

doll dolly in the gutter

The study ‘tasks’ include pattern recognition, mazes, reciting back lists of numbers, plus tedious & sometime hypnotic computer works (guess where the red square is etc). I do pretty well on most of them but hate one that calls for me count backward by 7s starting at 119 or sorting into correct sequence a mix of numbers and letters.

For Tuesday I had to fast overnight, collect my urine in a massive container & transport that to Queen W – then blood work (so many tubes, they needed to use veins in both arms), eeg, ecg, then more pen & paper ‘tasks.’ Highlight of that day was the ecg technician remembering me from another study a few years ago in which the reading he got from my brain was so good he uses when teaching. I did not ask for royalties.

red festive body bag

Wednesday was more of the same, various on a theme as it were, in the morning. Then an MRI in the afternoon. Laying still for sometimes up two hour while that happens is draining – my shoulders & chest get so sore. Being inside the MRI machine is like being trapped under the stage at bad techno performance, whirrs, buzzes, clicks, knocks and shakes and the MRI scanners moves for back & forth to up & down. Think of being trapped in a laser pistol beep contest for up to two hours. This session was over an hour.

goggles google goggles

The research staff are friendly & eager to talk about the actual research without, of course, giving away the ‘secret’ behind some of the testing.

I wrote Bradbury at lunch on Wednesday. I escaped the vortex and hit The Swan a little from Shaw on queen. I’ve eaten in past years as a treat – excellent burger.

soon02

April 21, Monday – featuring – Lizzie Violet’s Poetry Open Mic at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club – 7:30 – doors and open mic sign up, 8:00 – start – 54 The Esplanade, Toronto https://www.facebook.com/events/1379693865637955/

amflyerjpg copy

April 27, Sunday – attending – Julie Czerndea Workshop http://chiseries.ticketleap.com/chiseriesworkshop-julie-czerneda/

judy Julie Czerndea

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

tombstone

June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

samples

This sprung from a poetry month prompt on Make Spoken Word Go Viral on Facebook

 

Bradbury

 

he held

the palm of my hand open

traced a line

with his untattooed index finger

his touch light

tickled

my fingers began to curl

as did my toes

the hair stood up on the back of neck

as if he had caressed me there

 

he pushed my fingers back

looked me in the eye

you have a wet life line

wet is good

you live in a world of rain

puedes verlo

he slipped into his native tongue

can you see it

 

his eyes held mine

they were the shadow brown

of a seaside sunset

he leaned closer

his lips brushing mine

he smelled of

a freshly sanded maple toy box

and New year’s Day

I like this wetness I witness

quieres saber más

do you want to know more

 

he leaned back

raised the palm of my hand

to his mouth  his lips

he bit the flesh below my thumb

then looked to me

what do you see

 

      I see rain

     I walk naked in its warmth

    the ground is rough

    the grass is green

 

yes yes he said

I want to be in you

in your wet

he folded my hand

and let rest on the table

you like your future

Le gusta su futuro

 

    seems to me

    you read your own future

    in the palm of my hand

 

he smiled wide

then showered me

with his happy laughter

doll01 another fallen dolly

 

Here I go again with another wild word association list poem. The prompt was ‘joke’ as if you couldn’t tell. It starts with a couple of slap-stick references that set, I hope, the reader up but then throw in the first glimpse of a narrative line to throw things off balance. This isn’t going to be about running gags after all. Then returns to other comic tropes.

socks knocked your socks off

Some come from stale punch lines, some from the back of comic books ads selling joke items. I think I once ordered something – a pack of gum with a sort spring on the piece you pulled out that would snap your finger.
Then the point of view shifts around to parents telling you stop clowning around, to people who accuse of taking nothing seriously, to how optimists get judged. With a reference to Chuckles- anyone who doesn’t YouTube: Chuckles the Clown.

balloon unblown blew

The focus shifts as the list pushes along with variations of why humour isn’t productive, mutates for a bit into a sort of stand-up comic’s rant and finally hits a punch line conclusion.

bottles jolly bottles

It probably needs to be chopped down some as it does go on and on. That sort of cutting happens when I prepare a piece for performance. I have to read out loud three of four times finding the rhythms, the spots where it slows down too much or loses too much focus.

coming

April 21, Monday – featuring – Lizzie Violet’s Poetry Open Mic at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club – 7:30 – doors and open mic sign up, 8:00 – start – 54 The Esplanade, Toronto https://www.facebook.com/events/1379693865637955/

amflyerjpg copy

April 27, Sunday – attending – Julie Czerndea Workshop http://chiseries.ticketleap.com/chiseriesworkshop-julie-czerneda/

judy Julie Czerndea

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

tombstone
June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/

 

 

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

samples

Joke

the banana peel
the pie
the you running off with another guy
the salesman’s daughter
or was it the farmer’s son
you where gone
here am I
dropping water bombs
fly in the ice cube
squirting rose
that pepper gum

knees first
face last
talk to the ass
‘cause even the hand ain’t listening
better than a hand job
but no better than the moment allows
trying to wriggle out
you never take anything serious
you’ll have to one day
my son
you’ll have to grow up
stop all this clowning around
there’s no future for you
if you don’t listen to reason
toe the line
walk the walk
we have to walk
so surrender what you can now
get it out of your system
sow those wild oats
those magic beans
‘cause
the only giant
you’ll ever have to face
is your own giant ego
if you don’t get it down to size
now

put down that flower pot
and not on the window ledge
watch where you’re walking
go though the door
not the door frame
look out
take your time
listen to what’s being said
don’t jump to conclusion or concussions
don’t jump period
that’s best for all concerned
just stay still a minute won’t you
stop giggling jiggling
this is serious
give it a break
be quiet
that’s all we ask
be quiet
wipe that smirk off your face
this is no laughing matter
no chuckles the clown here
don’t get smart with me
think you’re such a smart ass
we’ll just have see how far
you get in life
with that attitude young man
not everyone will find that amusing or admirable
think inside the box
safety first
sensible shoes
clean underwear

did you hear the one about
how things change
how things remain the same
the words we once mumbled
are now the names of smart shops
the titillation has gone
from those saucy secret moments
and we’re left with road kill
raw
no subtly no depth
coarse meat in your face
shock value meat
why dress it it up
though panties
on pork chops would get a laugh
or perhaps
sausages in jock straps
now that’s a good one
you think of that
or what
you are such a cut up
such a card
always ready to lighten up
how do you mange
this is a serious life
how can you laugh when there are
homeless cripples
runaway’s being raped
in dirty alley ways
limbs hacked off in Africa
brides burned in India
how could you
find something to laugh about
you have to be sick in the head
unbalanced
cold heartless callous
not to feel some of that
not to respect the suffering of others
by not laughing
don’t joke around
no more horsing around

dig up that garden
I just read
that flowers are the earth’s laugher
and the earth has nothing to laugh about

life is a death sentence
no amount of snickering will change
the fact
no one gets out of here alive
you can’t take it with you
you can hide from the reaper
laughing in his face
will make it worse for every one
so stop
right now
no more laughter
no more
you hear me
all of you
laughing at something
stop right now
repent

I’m the last of the stand ups
who couldn’t stand up to you

cake cake in the rain

At the Racket at the Rocket last I week I had great conversation with a writer who was hitting the stage for the very first time. More than anything she wanted to know about being nervous – how nervous do I get?

red01 red on white

I can still remember my first time on the open stage. It was in 2000 at the Renaissance Cafe. It was probably Valentino Assenza’s Cryptic Chatter. I’d been in a poetry work shop for about a year by then & wanted to push beyond workshopping. I lunched at the Ren at times & one the waiters mentioned Chatter and I showed up.

Yeah, I was nervous. Afraid even to have a ginger ale that would make me pee happy too soon. I remember that urge to pee all through my few pieces, the lights in my eyes and my voice, which I hated, and wondering if I was reading too fast, loud enough. In the house that night was Paisley Rae (she might been a feature) looking very hot & gave a great reading. Kevin Fortnam did an amazing piece too.

red02 red on grey

I think my biggest fear was being out. I don’t remember what pieces I read, I might be able to go through my archives & find out though. But I’m sure one had more than a queer subtext. There was no ‘get the fag’ vibe.
I was hooked & kept going back to Chatter – which give me my first feature, as well. Over the next year I must have done nearly 100 open stages which certainly cured me of my nerves.

red03 red under slush

So I told this newbie a bit of that story & added that I still get a bit of nerves, usual after I’ve started. I asked another poet who was with us, who has seen me perform & host more than a few times, if I ever seemed nervous on stage and he said not a bit. Nerves really go away but stop showing.

soon02

April 21, Monday – featuring – Lizzie Violet’s Poetry Open Mic at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club – 7:30 – doors and open mic sign up, 8:00 – start – 54 The Esplanade, Toronto https://www.facebook.com/events/1379693865637955/

amflyerjpg copy

April 27, Sunday – attending – Julie Czerndea Workshop http://chiseries.ticketleap.com/chiseriesworkshop-julie-czerneda/

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

tombstone
June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/
August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

samples

Spirit

before bed last night
I had the thought
to make this day
the new day
the sunny bright cold next day
a day of the spirit
where I could explore what ever that grace was
to express in limited words
the joy the grief of being one
who feels without sight the spirit

I get my connection through
my love
the gift of one to care for and be cared by
I’m not one of those who seeks only to love
but to also be open to the love of others
to experience both ends of that equation

he calls in little tears
the frustration of the job
the pressure of this life
that he seems to live some days
only to be near the one who loves him
I cannot reach through the phone line
to wipe away those tears
I can only tell him
it is a frustration
no one likes to deal with it
he’s just another one of the little cogs
in some big machine
that has to feel the pinch of futility
I ache for him
I utter a prayer and move on with my life

the phone hung up
but the echo of his pain
remains in my head
my heart
a pain that I cannot sooth
a pain that he must find
the inner strength to sooth
to allow it to be soothed
a pain
that running away will not change
that the right salary
the right lap
the right boss
the right productivity level
none of these things will assuage that pain
that small part of us
that remains human
that remains in need of spirit

which is where I step back
to allow spirit to come in
I can say my words of love
of calm of unconditional affection

my sweet little man
who fends against the unfeeling world
out there
in the midst of the wires
wiles complaints and dead ends
works his best and feels unappreciated
only feels he is fulfilled
when he is appreciated praised
now needs to dig within to find
that self strong enough to rise above those needs
that self
that needs only to be in contact with the spirit
the power beyond the flesh

I can trust
he will find that contact
before the busy cold world
tears him apart
renders him insensible bitter
frightened furious
lost unwilling
like so many
who take it upon themselves
to make the others fall into
the bleak lock step

I will call later
say my small encouragement soft words
offer the comfort of my arms
my body
the tenderness of a moment
that may carry us through that moment
that may work
I can only show that the spirit is there
I cannot force it into anyone
I hope he can find
his way to surrender and
to breathe easy

feb00

stairsravine stairs

Digging into my archives I found Linger, a piece from sometime in 2000. I pulled it up last week to include with my Music Monday blog as it seemed a good companion piece with the Allman Brothers. But the more I thought about it the more I realized wanted to say more about it. (more about those archives: http://topoet.ca/2013/12/13/resurrection/ )

shelf icy shelves

It sprung from the prompt Linger. Like many of my pieces it rattles off a series of images, these, in some bar. Fragments of conversations, of expectations, of the bar itself – so it is a list poem that has a thread of a story, a story that is told as the list unfolds.

menu icy specials

Some of it reflects my own boozing days – something I haven’t written much about as it holds little or no glamour for me. At readings if you want the crowd to be ‘with you’ sing the praises of booze or grass and you are sure to be a success. I haven’t written much about recovery either, mind you, mainly because nearly everything I’ve heard sounds belaboured.

dizzy I see upside down (get me another drink)

Linger manages not to be overly sour about things while not making the drinker’s life seem all that engaging or satisfying either. We all get caught up in something that seems productive but ends up being a distraction. Even sober people get caught in the chase for relationships as a way to avoid loneliness and never question if what they are chasing is the solution to what they fear.

soon02

April 21, Monday – featuring – Lizzie Violet’s Poetry Open Mic at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club – 7:30 – doors and open mic sign up, 8:00 – start – 54 The Esplanade, Toronto https://www.facebook.com/events/1379693865637955/

amflyerjpg copy

April 27, Sunday – attending – Julie Czerndea Workshop http://chiseries.ticketleap.com/chiseriesworkshop-julie-czerneda/

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

tombstone

June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/

the power of attaction

the power of attraction

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

samples

Linger

a bar room floor

unswept reflections

broken glass

discarded cigarette butts

casual meetings

momentary exchanges

the flutter of hearts

hopes ice cubes

shatter

glass fragments

shards embedded sparkling

the overhead light

candle wax drips

shoes scuffed gum stuck to the rail

the juke box

moans glows cackles in a corner

toilets nearly flush

eyes nearly meet

expectations almost lived up to

the next drink will do the trick

amber bubbly

glasses dingy from so many washings

expectations dimmed by so many opportunities

greetings

TV flickers

the slow revolve

as the body turns from the bar

towards a door

towards something   to someone

a smile

then nothing

not even silence

as the sizzle of sports

takes up the excess

slips between

so there are no awkward pauses

till the bartender

looks for last call

looks for tips to overflow

his shallow bowl

finds peanuts

crushed pretzels

heels rub sore calves

small rips in the upholstery

frequent faces

the linger of come hither

the laugh of ‘who you looking at’

the times we find

ourselves walk by

get drawn in   spit out

choke with the smoke

rock in the chair

find the bitter talk

just the thing

to rub the edge off life

rub the gleam off the moon

dull the stars

in the daylight

the windows are still dark

never

washed polished rubbed clear

the dust floats in the air

never settles

never moves just hovers

frames the idle hands

as they finger the empty pack

as they draw a heart in the sweat of the bottle

in the sweat of the moment

in the evaporation

of a pay check next month’s rent

in the twinkle of an eye

piss away that promise

forget who it was

where was who sitting with who

did someone promise

to be there

to met someone

to sleep with so and so

or with so and such

how could you do that

did you know

got an ounce of the best

the cheap asshole

how could he do that

how could he let him get away with that

broke his jaw ha ha he was just asking for it

he didn’t deserve him anyway

lost his job

lost his life

found dead in the alley

went back to the east coast

made a killing

went to jail

got lost on the way

found no way out but here

faces the morning

but couldn’t face the day

without seeing the face

my face any face

an unswept reflection

in the sawdust on this floor

medec13twitter @TorPoet

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