Archives for category: reviews

Noir’s spring show was a veritable shower of talent that was barely contained by the Central stage – in fact at points it wasn’t. Feature Regina Dentata, did three teasing burlesque routines at 3 different points during the evening – making sure the audience temperature stayed high. The first two were in her modern dance style – sinuous and expansive – pulling us in with opened-eyed teasing, exiting through the audience on the first. The second had black ribbons magically appear to add a hint of bondage. Her finale was a traditional reveal – cape, stunning gold gown, a laced up corset that had to be unlaced to be removed. The traditional reveal could have gone a little longer for my liking.

bag punching bag out cold

Next was Jezebel Beelzebub Bells, a persona piece by Adam Abbas. Bells is the archetypical beat poet with sunglasses, beret & mock black turtle next, all that was missing was someone on bongos. Adam captures the pretentiousness & arrogance of a self-satisfied poet who knows how to dis better than he can write. Though Adam is too good a poet to write verse as bad as he thinks Bells would write. It was a fun Andy Kauffmanesque performance piece.

looted Unlooted mitten

Last up was Nelson Sobral aka Melting Pot. I’ve seen & reviewed him many time before. A member of too many bands to list, he always gives an emotionally appealing performance. In fact he didn’t wait – singing & playing off stage during the breaks. A true spot-light slut he a sweet stage presence. His crisp quitar playing is deceptively simple and his vocals are strong, direct while never over-singing to sell a song. Loved his cover of Little Feat’s Roll’em Easy.

barrel snow crystal ball

There was a stellar set of open stagers through out the show. Great sound assistance from the Central staff. Next month’s Noir features Nik Beat, Giraffe & Vicki Laufer. Photos of the show: fb.me/38Tg3Q1eu

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/

room bed of dreams at Loyalist

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

samples

from the Make Spoken Word Go Viral prompt -  ‘a favourite quote.’

‘the brawl of the kiss’

Dylan Thomas

I can’t say what I mean

because if I say what I mean

 you might not understand it

because said and understood

are two different things

I might say

I want to see you

you might hear

I want to own you

or I think of you sometimes

means

why don’t you think me all the time

our language is at odds with our intents

I want to talk you

into telling me what I want to hear

in a way that is totally clear

unalterable and fulfilling

so when we are together

I can’t say what I mean

because all I want

is the brawl of the kiss

to end this fight of the mind

which it always does

I let my fears surrender

to the delight of the body

out bodies

as they struggle to reach through

the fight of the mind

to embrace each other

we wrestle each other

in the cauldron of his bed

where we understand exactly

what each other means needs wants

out of this brawl of the kiss

river02 Belleville reflections

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

 

 

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

Next up on the pop shelf comes a pair of Allman Brothers CD’s – Beginnings – a double Lp I transferred to cd. At some point Atlantic started to move their back catalogue by offering special deals on 2 lps by some bands. I bought the original vinyl at Sam’s. The other CD is The Best of ….

mirror Alice is that you?

In my drinking days on the east coast I drank with guys who were big fans of the Allman’s so I heard this stuff a lot. Some of the cuts carry some of that memory. Every Hungry Woman, Whipping Post were jam faves of musicians in the group. I also dimly recall that the band I did lights & sometimes percussion for, tackled Midnight Rider.

tunnel vision of a tunnel

The music is blues infused with rock, a touch of jazz and driving relentless guitars, that in some tracks they work themselves into a monumental torrent – Whipping Post. Check out Duane Allman’s playing on Herbie Mann’s Push Push – sublime.

I didn’t follow them. Even now I can’t say they are amongst my faves but, thanks to high-speed, I did download their discography, for a good price, a couple of years ago. As I’ve gotten older I enjoy the blues more.

scarf Pashmina come home

Another, somewhat more recent memory, if the mid-90’s is recent, is having some guy I brought home for the night, looking through my Lp collection and pulling out that double set and saying ‘You can’t be queer, honey, listening to stuff like this.’ I said, if one of them was butch enough for Cher they were alright by me.

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/

room My iBook is gone but the beds are still the same at Loyalist

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

samples

Promotion

getting head

I’m getting ahead

moving up

soon to be top of the heap

for that breathtaking view

forever

I can see forever

I can see my next condo from here

the view

the expanse

the cold bracing air

the first and second

the one and only

yes

I made it finally

not quite king of the world

too much responsibility

but here I am am

at the peak of my form

top of my game

no further to go

made it

reached it

dreamed it

imagined it and made it

manifested

all the little bitty details

into the crowning moment

the crown of creation

yes that’s me

the bright boy

the blazing pinnacle

of everything I’ve learned

& breathed for

everything my parents prayed for

all the pieces falling into place

if they didn’t

I made sure they did

carved banged cut sliced

dispatched tromped punched forced

made each moment count

climbed up by my boot straps

over anything that was in my way

took every opportunity

to better myself

to look better than anyone else

out shone all the others

cast them in a bad light

made sure

all the mistakes were their’s

never mine

I never made a mistake

not me

didn’t need to learn that way

learned from the mistakes of others

profited from the mistakes of others

took no credit for their work

no not me

did it all on my own

made my mark

made every minute count

made all the right moves

took the steps

that brought me to here

didn’t rely on anyone

but my self

my own sweat blood and tears

well not so many tears

it was easier than I expected

in fact it was a piece of cake

a walk in the a park

simple as pie

easy as putting on a shoe

and here I am

the tops

the gleaming summation

of all that has gone on before me

now life stops

oh you didn’t know that

now that I’ve achieved perfection

there’s nowhere

for life to go

why bother

no need to experience

the great experience is over

and it was my success

a stunning success

I am the proof of the pudding

the taste of excellent

the one true leader

there’s no need

for life to continue now

is there?

I am the one  the only

and all that ever needs to be

so just pack up all your expectations

surrender

give up   give in

there’s nothing to fight

nothing to prove

nothing left at all

expect perhaps to thank me

I’ve saved you

all of  you

from ever having to do anything ever again

from the whipping post of more futile gestures

no need to pretend to any sort

of creative vision  of spiritual purity

none of those are needed

so climb down from moral superiority

there isn’t anyone more moral

ethical  kind   considerate

so just relax

take one last breath

the dream is over

don’t wake  don’t sleep

just enjoy the vision

of this ultimate climax

this endless moment of true

fulfilling perfection

you can let go

let go of everything

because I am shining

I have made the grade

made the most of everything you offered

avoided all the pitfalls

that kept you from success

that kept you mired

in your human frailties

in your mind numbing emotional morass

in the fetid pit of sexuality

in the endless striving

to get out of what you couldn’t escape

but you did give me traction

you did give me the final toe hold

boost up and over

that brought me here

to the pure vista of forever

I am all that I am thanks you

you

now go away

so I can enjoy

the clean air

the superior view

the fruits of my hard work

let me put my feet up

take my own deep breath

and see

what there is to conquer next

there is always more

or is there

stairs2 you spot it you got it

Racket’s March show kicked winter in the butt with a fine set of features & open-stagers. Sandra Cardinal, back in the hosting spotlight, put together another great line up of spoken performers. Starting with playwright Nina Kaye, who mixed some of her poetry in with some strong, well-performed monologues. Teen-age girls who relish the fact that ‘cab drivers will do anything if your flash them your tits’; a male hustler who admits that ‘it just feels good to know someone wants you.’ Her piece about teen-age infatuation perfectly captured that cloying adolescent idealism ‘seeing his face was like seeing the sun after a long winter.’

moon moon at noon

Next up was Rob Ellis with a fun set of poems of political bite and rhyme – ‘Welcome to the Hotel North Korea’ ‘I asked Obama how can this be/he said, we haven’t a conflict since 1953.’ Of work life he says, ‘now employees are associates,’ ‘when things go bad as always it’s the staff that pays.’

dresser get into my loose drawers

After the break Norm Cristofoli delivered a well-structured. polished set of spiritually grounded, at the same time sensually seeking, poems. Of religions he say, ‘the greatest mistake mankind made/ was to turn the messengers into the message.’ His homage to film noir offered us ‘a liquid jewel to help me forget’ ‘sixes in his eyes, sevens on his tongue.’ Of love ‘you move me like a dream’s first kiss.’ A great set that was over too soon.

chairget out from under my legs

Too many open-stagers to name but new-to-the-scene Matthew Carmichael is gaining in confidence. Susan Helwig did a brief monolgue about visiting an artist’s studio that brought the house down -‘Why are all the men in your paintings asleep?’

As always The Red Rocket Cafe is a great spot for an intimate night of spoken-word. Good coffee, great desserts and a staff that enjoys the artists as much as they enjoy the tips. In some spots it seems the staff only puts up with ‘art’ as long as they are getting tips.

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/

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

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

samplesGrief

 

when it was over

it was over

that part was pretty simple

fairly painless

the grief was in the waiting

looking for a right moment

to admit to one another

that over was over

that we didn’t need

to spend any more time

in trying to make things work

in looking for some

little thing to do or say

that would make things new

that would return us to

what we had at the start

even if we could

I was never sure

if either of us would

have set the way back machine

to reclaim those early months

of frisky free falling fun

even now

if we are clear headed

that free fall

wasn’t all peaches and cream

but it was good

wasn’t it?

 

it’s hard to learn

to avoid the rough patch

that comes before

it’s over

that patch

is what seems to cause the most pain

the ending is nearly always a relief

when we both admit

it’s time for a change

thanks for the memories

except that patch

why do we get so caught

in that patch

it sticks to the feet

slows us down

makes us both blind & super sensitive

at the same time

makes us both wander aimless

afraid of saying the wrong thing

or the right thing

that will bring the inevitable to light

to reveal to the other

that over has to be soon

that over is better than this

whatever this is

that hovers over our heads

the fear of being alone

the rest of our lives

isn’t as bad as being together

admitting that isn’t what love is all about

isn’t what we wanted

out of this relationship

 

why do we let it fester so long

so long there is no clear break

just more fester

and fester can’t hold a couple together

any better that come does

so what gain is there in that patch

because I’ve known people

who spend more time in the patch

than they did in loving one another

that patch

begins the moment one or the other says

we have to work on this relationship

if we expect it to work

work!

what sort of work

hammer and nails

I know enough not to give up

when the first hormone blush has faded

but I also know

that work isn’t the solution

making me or him change

isn’t going to lead to any real affection

that merely allows one another

to trot our little  power games

that please appease for a short time

but rarely improve

we end up improving one another

for the next relationship

for the better one

that hovers in a cloud

in a dream around the corner

the one we weren’t ready for when we met each other

but the one that will truly last

the one that will be a longer

free fall fondle

though the gates of paradise

up the stairs

of the local gym

to pack on or take off

to shape   reshape

to avoid and dangle

to take us into the next one

it gives us no respite

for no matter how happy

a couple seems

at any given moment

one of them is

looking for the one that will do

when over is over

gull uncaged

gull uncaged

 

‘The Witchdoctor’s Bones’ is the latest from Lisa de Nikolits. I’ve heard Lisa present sections of her novels at various reading nights over the past couple of years. She always manages to present tidy snippets of complex novels, that stand alone but invite us to want to read the whole novel.

blue lonely blue

Witchdoctor follows the well-establish structure of strangers on a journey revealing their lives, secrets and fears as they travel. ‘From Canterbury Tales’ to ‘Then There Were None’ this story telling framework gives writers a strong form to work with.

shrug day of the dead tree

In Witchdoctor we join a disparate group of travellers on a bus tour from Cape Town, South Africa to Fort Namutoni, Nambia. As they travel tempers and passions flair. Death follows them with increasing tension as the novels progresses.

Lisa handles a large cast well, each of the tourists has a clear personalty, motives become clear then vague as more layers of their lives are peeled back. She also conveys a real sense of place, the heat, the dust, the humor and the endlessness of the bus ride itself.

red didn’t make it to the lights

In conveying so much details about the tour the book verges on a travel guide but the information is parcelled out in digestible portions and never overwhelms the story as it unfolds. With so many characters I did get a bit lost and some didn’t really propel the story forward.

If romance, suspense and serial killers under the African sun are your cup of tea this book is for you.

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 Door

I shut you out

with a smile  a little joke  a judgment

about the small minor little trivial things

the way you sit

the way you clack the giant spoon

against the coffee cup

that small gesture

shakes the foundations

I shut you out

by deciding

this isn’t exactly perfect

in my dream

you aren’t so tall  so thin so willing

so ready wanting  needy  omnipresent

you are so right

in the dream

I have shut you out so effectively

you aren’t even present

so effectively that no one is present

the room is plain empty white

silent self illuminating

I shut you out

buy sneering at your taste

in music in friends

those dope smoker idiots

who never come around

unless you use the lure of diversion

whilst I am there

regardless

you don’t have to entertain me

I shut you out

by not giving you that chance

force you to just be

to just sit and not move

so I can look and enjoy the vision of you

silent  sullen  in a quiet room

no loud cranky aggressive music

only a faint echo

from across the street

a piano tinkle  a snore

I shut you out

by acting as if I don’t care

that you are so busy

that you have made a life

that allows you

to enjoy life without me

there

like an over eager parent

with milk and cookies

for you and your sleazy little

druggie buddies

oh oh there I’ve gone and done it again

like I always seem to do

brought in a judgement

that shuts you out

that lowers you

that raises me

how silly I can be sometimes

I can use that guilt to shut you out

I’m too judgmental for you

I don’t really care what you do

is the lie I use

to shut myself out

from myself

I don’t say a thing

that is the hardest slam

I know

the silent nudge

the ponderous heavy superiority

I don’t want to maintain

but want to blame it on

something

my upbringing

my righteous path to the glory of god

anything

to keep that smudge

away from my little clean corner of the world

I come back to you

because you are the human one

so sweet angry tender  hurt

looking for something

but not sure what

while I am here nose up turned

distrustful of your search

not allow it to just be

I have to judge it rate it

oh well

what’s a man to do

there is love in the air

when someone on the other side of the door

knocks to be let in

scratches at a window

plays in the sun

I know I have to let myself out

before I can let anyone in

and that means  open the door

come in  come out  move about

as I try not to shut you out

SAM_1020tip 1: toss what you don’t need

Hosting boosts the immune system – at least that’s my theory – so when I was asked to host the march Plasticine Poetry I was happy to accept to fight off a cold. I ended up co-hosting with the poised Susie Berg – it takes two to sub for usual host Cathy Petch. We split the duties with me looking after the first set of open-stagers.

yellow spring is just around the corner

Susie introduced first feature Suzanne Alyssa Andrew. She opened with a lyric ‘ever felt something look over your shoulder,’ ‘your fear fuels his power.’ The she read a well-chosen excerpt from her soon to be published novel ‘Circle of Stones.’ A scene set in bed of two lovers teasing and playing. Tarot cards come out ‘the cards smell like the inside of her dance bag – feet, sweaty tights and rosin.’ A real sense of the people was drawn with precise images and realistic dialogue.

As I had taken a UofT Master Poetry class with Niki Koulouris, I was happy to introduce her. She read from her recently-launched book ‘The sea with no one in it.’ Her pieces dealt in one way or the other with the sea & with painters: Philip Guston, Jasper Johns, Anselm Kiefer. The poems flow with strong images ‘rosewater that smells or sardines,’ ‘watching the rain is like watching a foreign movie’ ‘as many stars as there are targets.’

glory morning glory tells a story

Susie conducted the next parade of open stagers to start the second set. Then I introduced Sheila Stewart, who, in green, brought more than the flavour of St. Patrick’s Day to the stage. Her engaging poetry took us directly to the twisty roads of Ireland and then to High Park. A strong sense of place kept us from being lost even when we ‘emerged on a road you thought was elsewhere.’ Many of her vivid turns of phrase ‘word leapt from the body and never returned,’ ‘alone for the weekend I forgot to put my skin on’ resonated with me.

purple how much longer

Michael took a rare step on stage to introduce Molly Peacock. She easily lived up to his effusive words with a simple set with a couple of sections for her forthcoming book Alpabetique (sp?) – in which each letter has it’s own life. In P we appreciate the ‘the smell before rain,’ in B with feel the struggle to be B in the fractious world of fonts. Her poem ‘The Flaw’ reminded us that ‘though the flaw I am alive.’

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

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

and another homosexual

who would chose either

considering

the drawbacks

better to be nonsexual

to avoid all the pressures

of meeting mating so-called morality

working out

raising children

avoid stds

doesn’t seem

that either side

of the life style equation

really gets such good press

the sexual grilling of congressmen

the boredom of those who

never seem to stray

the envy for those who do

the energy wasted on judgment

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 find

some way 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

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

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

and was accepted as a part of evolution

we can’t draw a line

that keeps the races apart

when hearts are involved

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

city02street without snow!! 

 Next on the pop shelf a pair of Lily Allen cd’s ‘Alright, Still…’ & ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You.’ Radio friendly, slightly rap, not quite easily listening music. One of the many, nearly flash-in-the-pan, British performers that surface frequently. Helen Shapiro  or Jem anyone?

cat cat on the fence

The music is dance-friendly, full of well chosen samples, crisply produced and performed with energy. Lily has a strong voice, a great sense of humour & is a sharp lyricist who pulls no punches. Vulgar when needed, as opposed to when it would most shocking.

sole lone sole

Her work has a knowing innocence, as opposed to a knowing bitterness, about it that keeps it fresh and appealing. The humour doesn’t get taxing – I like The Streets but after a few listens one tires of the joke. A delightful accent helps keep the music appealing, to me, as well.

city01 street scene seen

She, in some ways, is a British version of Katy Perry, only with a real voice & a more developed personal point of view. Like many British hit-makers she disappeared for a few years, by choice, but she’ll be release a new cd in a couple of months. I picked these up, at different times, at HMV. Those were the days. Can’t remember the last I was in there.

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/

view view from my Loyalist room

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

samples

Ruse

was it a trick of the eye

or wistful thinking

I was never sure

as it turned out

I was never to be sure

what I saw was not what I saw

if you follow me

the trick was a tick of life

something set in motion

long before my eyes opened

something set to cool

in front of an open window

the smell of roses   pears

that brought a memory

yes, that’s it

it was trick of the mind

of my memory

once again telling me

that what I knew

wasn’t what I knew

wasn’t that the intention

to keep me trusting on faith

and not on the sure footedness of knowledge

there was a flicker shadow moment

when I knew for sure

the shadow was a wink of the eye

what I knew for sure

was that I would never know for sure

doubt was the permanent state

uncertainty was more reliable than knowledge

uncertainty allowed for change

knowledge allowed only for smugness

for safety

for comfort

comfort was the bait

the lure

the ruse used to get me to settle down

to accept

when I was comfortable

I didn’t care

I stopped

the worse thing one could do

it was that sleepy feeling

in the middle of a blizzard

where fatigue and cold lured one to sleep

to the comfortable sleep of death

I want to stay awake to the tick of life

to share that trick

a card trick with only two cards

what are the odds  the evens

the lure of comfort

the tidy solution was another of the tricks

once things were tidy

it was up to me to keep them that way

responsibility was another trick

it rarely resulted in anything but routine

sameness

comfort

I wasn’t comfortable with responsibility

because it would lead me to being comfortable

how to flick of the skin of comfort

knowing the skin is a trick too

one is never free

of all that thinking

plans

details

congratulations

nearing the end of the road

the end of the new ways

of getting more in less time

flash and flow of flowers

the relaxation of the mind

quieting of the the memory

allows the words to just blurt

flow  pile up  jumble

log-jam or lace perfection

but without the loss of control

neither could result

and what that result was

depended on

the trick of the eye

the power of uncertainly

the flutter of a shadow

coolcatcool cat 

Lizzie’s Cabaret Noir celebrated it’s one year in style – a packed house was treated to massive talent & wild raffle prizes. Doing the front-of-house I was glad to see many generous people dropping more than a fiver in the pwyc.

glove (g)love in the leaves

The show kicked off with a slate of dynamic usual faces starting with Nelson Sobral (soon to replace all of the Rolling Stones), Brenda Clews with a saucy piece, Cate & Dee with a great a cappella duet, Jeff Cottrill telling us why Halle Berry is better than you, me (because I did the first open stage a year ago). closing with Matt Gerber: aka Mr. Furious.

hockeydiscarded dreams

Feature Philip Cairns with Peter Lynch performed a short new play, What Ida Said, written by Philip with David Bateman A sharp comic piece that played with the slippery gender roles, aging, insest & conformity. ‘I don’t remember about sex? What is it?’ Peter was the perfect foil with his dry offhand delivery against Philip’s more emotionally sloppy character. After the short play Philip did a great job on Dory Previn’s Mr. Whisper, then Peter did a monologue as, I think, Tony of the Soprano’s mother. www.philipcairns.com

blanket bundle of dirt

After the break more things where raffled off – I restrained myself from buying tickets as I have enough ‘things’ already :-). Next feature was the sensational The Rando Bando. I manned the iPod for their music & managed to get my cues right. The songs were sharp, sexy, bawdy, funny lyrics to well known (at least to me) melodies. You Don’t Know Me – became the stalkers lament: ‘You don’t see me – I’m watching from the heating duct’  The set had great flow that took us from from saucy to flat out vulgar. Loved it.  www.floatingdeskinternational.com

pink2 pink parking

By the time they were done it was 10 pm, and time for me to head home (I like to be abed by 11 most nights) so I missed Arlene Paculan’s set – maybe another time Arlene. A great show & a great night. www.arlenepaculan.com

great Noir photo set:  https://www.facebook.com/anna.l.romeo.9/media_set?set=a.10151999723547129.1073741909.523022128&type=1

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

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/

100_0495 writing blocks broken at Loyalist

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

samples

Laid Plans

so things didn’t go as planned

no one took into account

the end of the world

getting in the way of important things

why did it have to come to an end

before our plans could come to fruition

all those hopes and dreams

dashed turned into a dusty waste of time

time that could have been spent relaxing

enjoying the flow of things

we squandered those precious moments

on worries constructing news ways

of controlling to suit our wants

now all for nothing

the world has come to an end

almost laughing in our faces

as the tremor shook us up from its core

rending the sky

while we were busy getting our way

making things safe secure perfect

if only we had at least time to get naked

enjoy one last fuck   one last embrace

but the end came sudden fast relentless remorseless

crushing without pleasure

leaving this desolation in its wake

where there was once a planet there is debris

debris without even a residue

of karmic happiness left in the air

because we were so busy

we didn’t have time to leave a warm glow behind

didn’t even have sense enough to enjoy

the end of the world

saxophone daydream saxophone daydream of trombone love

Moving back to jazz with another John Abercrombie cd ‘Animato.’ The case has a drill hole in one corner for ‘remaindered’ so I got it fairly cheap – maybe at Cheapie’s – remember that on Yonge Street? North of Church. It was a dangerous spot for me.

marching Loyalist campus life in 2005

Recorded in Oct 89 – that’s info many jazz recordings are keen to include – let you know when and where they were recorded. He’s playing with others of the EMC stable; Jon Christensen, Vince Mendoza. John & Vince both playing synthesizers so this is a moodier jazz piece.

room my Loyalist room 2005

The music tends to be suspenseful as opposed to edgy or even meditative. As with most ECM releases the playing is very controlled – I often want the players to let go, ala Coltrane or even McLaughin. Sometimes they seem to be working on layers of settling snowflake-cold stillness.

nomarching make up your Loyalist mind

The cuts are individual but if you asked me to name one I couldn’t. I can recognize ‘Satin Doll’ by almost anyone, & name it, but if I heard ‘For Hope of Hope’ I might know it was Abercrombie but wouldn’t be able to name it. At least the tracks have titles, as opposed to, as some jazz guys do, diagrams or names like shape 1, shape 2 etc.

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

supper pass the salt, Lizzie

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

Gate

by the garden gate

I saw a boy

no

a man with a sense of the boy

standing  looking  into the distant sky

the man by the gate

the garden behind him

ready to bloom

had bloomed

was a work in process

a garden with

a sense of the seed

in each mature flower

a promise to be fulfilled

a sense

that as complete as it all was

it still was not finished

that it would never be finished

that when that man no longer stood by the gate

another man would stand there

the garden would be tended

by the garden gate

I saw a man

who smiled at me

invited me in

or was it the other way around

I was the man by the gate

inviting him in

so that we now had

two gardens to tend

two lives to combine

for a time

for as long as the seasons

turned

to allow us the opportunity

to share our duties together

to share our gardens

by a gate

a garden gate

sturdy welcoming opened

the gate sprung open

we each passed through into

one another gardens

we now stand

one on either side of a gate

watching  opening

to those who chose

others

whose gates open to us

to share

the blossoms of their gardens

the flowers of their time

here

in the garden

the sun rises  sets

rains come  go

some plants take root

others last one brilliant season

or never seem to thrive at all

slowly we find the ones that work

find the ones that last

learn to enjoy

the ones that don’t last

but we never despair

that the garden is pointless

that it is hopeless

even on the darkest days

there is the knowledge

that the sun shines somewhere

that rain will come

that the clouds will part

they are inevitable

the moving of the planet

around the sun

the ebb and flow

of the ebb and flow

some days it seems a little humdrum

the patience needed

to watch for each little shoot

grow and grow

the tenderness needed

to allow the gate to open and close

the odd fear when

there is no one at the gate

we learn to rely

on the gate keeper

even if we are that gate keeper

we rely on that role

to give us a sense of where

we fit in this garden

a role that lets others

see where we fit in this garden

one day  years ago

I saw a man standing by a gate

a sunny day

I think it was

and he was happy

he was sad

his garden was growing as well as gardens grow

and

I was by my garden gate

feeling happy  feeling sad

and

gates opened

we became gate keepers

to each other

for a time

for as long  time allows

and our gardens flourished

perhaps

not as dazzlingly

as the dream

but as full as any other

as real as any other

as welcoming as most

as tended as most

though often

when didn’t even

know we were

working at the garden

while were experiencing it

and the experience

was the work

the opportunity to share

was sunshine for all around

and the gate remains

the man

who stood by that gate

still stands there

side by side

we have gift to share

and have been given

the chance to continue to do that

 mirrorthe dreamer awakes

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