Recap November 2021

Over the past month by TOpoet.ca following blog grew to ! The WP map does show my hits have come from  countries around the world. That India remains near the top of the list is interesting but that Ecuador & Finland are in the top 10 is a surprise. Most popular posts were I Got You Covered (https://topoet.ca/2021/11/16/i-got-you-covered/), Toys Curbed (https://topoet.ca/2021/11/14/toys-curbed/). The Kafka Hotel (https://topoet.ca/2021/11/23/the-kafka-hotel/) is a personal favorite.

Picture Perfect is inching to an end with 94 sections posted so far, about 136,000 words with approx 55,000 left to be edited then posted. I love the editing & also the creating of new images every week.

I reread Lush Life by David Hajdu – an amazing biography of composer/arranger Billy Strayhorn. Strayhorn worked closely with Duke Ellington & wrote, amongst others, Take the ‘A’ Train & Lush Life. Never heard of him? Well, unless you are a big band jazz fan I’m not surprised. He was often uncredited for his work & thanks to Ellington’s homophobic PR man his name was frequently removed from articles about the band.

Strayhorn was out to those who knew him, but because of the times kept a somewhat low profile. Reading about his life is both sad & inspiring. He knew his race & sexuality would hold him back from real fame but he persisted in doing what he did best. I read the book when it was first published in 1996 & was happy to read it again. As a result I dowloaded a some lps of his work & it is prime big band jazz that leans into modern classical – a suite for piano & french horn anyone? It’s time for a biopic or at least an American Masters profile.

Came to the end of Melissa Scott’s Astreiant series (https://mescott.livejournal.com/43451.html)  I was hooked after reading the first in the series, thanks to the amazing world-building & engaging characters. Each novel took us into a different aspect of this world as seen through the exploits of our hero & his lover. Spells cast by flower arraignments, the travails of dog racing, the murky underworld of the docks. Each is a murder mystery as well. All can be found on Amazon. Sadly there is no hint of a new adventure 😦

Watched Tom Jones (1963). The criterion edition includes two versions of the film – Director’s Cut & theatrical release plus some excellent extras. The cinematography is amazing & stands up to anything now being done with cgi & green screen. John Addison’s music is a delight – I’ve had the soundtrack for decades & it was nice to see/hear it in context. Energetic performances carry the story. Hugh Griffith steals every scene he is in as the permanently drunken land owner.  

Also watched the hilariously bad southern gothic Walk On The Wild Side – it has excellent opening & closing credits by Saul Bass plus an amazing soundtrack by Elmer Bernstein. A must see if you like over-heated brothel romances with Barbra Stanwyck riding a a lesbian subtext into the sunset.

Wounds of the Saints

Gentle Reader let me tell you that, Dolly Dinty, your friendly reporter has certainly had quite a week-end to share with you. As you may remember in my column on Friday, I said I would be checking out the Family Fun Fair at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral. I did this and also found time to go to the pet show at The Pig Driver’s Arena by Buttontown Airport and the Bridal Show at Pester’s Mall. 

Yes, a very busy Saturday. Sunday was as bad, what with the opening of the new font at St. Sufferer’s, a baby shower for the latest in the McGinch clan and finally a fund raising dinner in Crab Apple Corners for the Maple Valley Fire Department.

So, where to begin? If I hadn’t had my trusty map with me I surely would have gotten lost at the very start. St. Sufferer’s Cathedral is one of the largest churches in Pumpkin County but also the most difficult to find. It’s spires can be seen for miles in all directions but every turn of the road seemed to put it at my back and not in front of me.

I hope the next function they hold is to find funds to put up more accurate signage. The Fun Fair was fun for the entire family. Bobbing for pears, a banana tossing contest and even some feet painting for the children. It was a carefree time that made all feel closer to their Creator’s pain. I was deeply touched by the drawings of the Sunday School classes that depicted the various wounds of the Saints.

I was reluctant to leave there for the Pet Show. Fortunately finding The Pig Driver’s Arena is much easier.

The first thing I was confronted with though, was the Hijil’s Farm elephants. Not the sort of thing one expects at a pet show and who amongst us can judge them? They did do some rather charming tricks – rolling over to play dead and fetching the tree – but I think a more simple approach would be better. The prize ribbon went, as it has the last several years, to the McCracken’s of Daw Hill with their trained herding sparrows.

So, I was pretty tuckered by the time I got to the Bridal Show. I did get there & walked down that aisle longing for the time I would have time to actually walk down the aisle of St. Sufferer’s for my sacred wedding sacrifice. Bea Petratica’s Bridalle Shoppe had a new shipment of fine pearl crushed velvet lace that would make any bride look like a dark queen.

One of these days Hank Grebly, one of these days. You – me & the aisle.

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Parker and Pals

I suppose I am a Graham Parker fan. I have as mp3s or stand-alones: Howlin’ Wind(1976), Heat Treatment (1976), Stick to Me (1977), Squeezing Out Sparks (1979), Up Escalator (1980), Mona Lisa’s Sister (1980), Steady Nerves (1985), Live! Alone in America (1989) Human Soul (1989), Live 02/91, Your Country (2004). I had some, at one time, as vinyl or cassette & replaced them with the versions I now have.

I was totally into his British r’n’b, soul rock mix. His band was hot & the horn section was excellent. He was one in a wave of British musicians along with Joe Jackson & Elvis Costello who energized the music scene with dynamic, fun work. I was instantly a fan of his British  r’n’b soul sound.

His lyrics were sexy with a film-noir sensibility  ‘Hotel Chamber Maid’ ‘Got A Lady Doctor’ if a bit sexist & very heteronormative. Clever, political & sardonic about love. I love those first couple of lps. The Up Escalator tried to give him more of a Costello sound which didn’t work. He stepped away from his horn sound to something more stripped down. In fact ‘Alive! Alone in America’ is him & his guitar. He’s still around & even more of a curmudgeon.

Also on the mp3 collection is Them: Best Of (1966-67) – Parker owes a lot to Them – solid Irish pub rock band that introduced the classic Gloria. Them influenced hundred of bands besides establishing Van Morrison. 

Out of the USA is Television: Marquee Moon (1977) (expanded) includes, Little Johnny Jewel – part of the CBGBs sound, this was a stunning, moody guitar based lp that inspired the many shoe-gazer bands that followed. Iron City Houserockers: Love’s So Tough (1979) – a fun Springsteen tough-guy rock.

Back to Britain with a fun lp by Wreckless Eric: Donovan of Trash (1991). Eric was a part of the Costello/Jackson wave but his sound was more music-hall with more humour as well. More about Eric when I get to ‘w’. Another gem are 

A friend of mine had an lp by The Housemartins that he had picked up on a visit to London & I love it. It was a year or so before it was released in NorthAmerica. I made a cassette dupe of it but eventually replaced it with mp3s of London 0 Hull4 (1986) (expanded), The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death (1987); – radio friendly, sweet, solid pop with surreal lyrics & great vocals – well worth discovering them if you are unfamiliar. 

The ever changing Peter Gabriel relaunched his career with So (1986) thanks to smart production & dynamic videos that dominated MTV for the rest of the decade. Security remains my fave but this is a great set too. Finally – another band that dominated MTV for decades is Culture Club: 2005 Singles & Remixes. I remember hearing a track of theirs – White Boys – at the Rivoli before they hit big & loving it. Who knew they would ride the wave of image, queers & great music for decades. 

Proof

some people demand

this solid confirmation

a set irrefutable facts data

that prove conclusively 

there either is or isn’t

something to believe in

they want incontestable truth

of the unseeable

of the unmeasurable

when that isn’t presented

to their satisfaction 

you are delusion 

intellectually weak

they want a tidy formula

that makes sense 

of what they don’t understand

of what they see as unfair 

cruel pointless merciless

that if there is a God 

an entity

a creative impulse 

behind our being

it may be responsible for 

the flowers and the torture

but human will 

isn’t part of the equation

unless it become robotic obedience 

to what can’t be defined 

confined refined controlled

why bother 

with the whole unqualifiable mess

better to be stoic 

self-sufficient

defense

or even self-destructive blundered

aimless enslaved to creature comfort

where indifference 

is all the proof we need

and damn the consequences

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Full of It

Full of It

he tells me

I’m full of it

does than mean

full of shit

full of bullshit

full of blessings

full to the brim

spilling over

dripping down the sides

with a puddle of self

all around me

a puddle that keeps getting bigger

<>

if I’m so full of it

that I feel nothing else

why do I feel empty 

unfulfilled

is there no room

for anything else

am I so full of it

I can’t change

learn

share

<>

I get that

this accusation of being full of it

is an attempt to shame me

but I’m so full of it

there’s no room 

for your judgements

I’m not adding your shame

to the ‘it’

I already carry

at least I carry it well

no thanks to you

who aren’t full of anything

is all I hear is the hollow echo

of your empty envy

This is a variation on a list poem – a compilation of some of things one might full of besides shit. The two usual ‘full of’ are shit or yourself. Though it can also refer to a sense of unquestioned entitlement. Usually the ‘full of’ person is unaware of it & someone feels resentful enough to point that out, for the ‘full of’s betterment. I’m not sure which is worse though to be full of self or to be full of judgement? Then again we are all full of judgement.

In the recovery community, & probably outside of it too, there’s a saying ‘what you think of me is none of my business.’ It’s a reminder to not take other people’s opinions of oneself too seriously. This isn’r as easy as it sounds though – we live in a confusing culture in which self-confidence can be seen as arrogance – where saying someone is arrogant becomes you being overly sensitive & a hater. We’ve become very adept at turning critical remarks on to the other person. Critics of politicians are accused of being unpatriotic, not to like a female singer is sexist. You can get unfriended by someone who doesn’t like your friend’s opinions.

It seems no one wants to be contradicted or made uncomfortable. We’re in the midst of a language change in which gendered words are to be removed (very 1984). Some of the zoom meetings I go to have people who, when reading aloud, assiduously replace all pronouns with they or them – if you don’t do that when it is your turn you can get called out for being insensitive. I chose not read out loud rather than spend so much time fixing pronouns I miss the gist of what is being read. 

When I wrote this a few years ago I wasn’t thinking of things like gender neutrality – but over those years our culture has changed as we come to acknowledge the need for diversity, the need to included in more than a nodding way. I recently watched Fame (1980)  with its amazingly diverse cast that actually included a sympathetic gay male character. When the movie became a TV show he was cured & heterosexual. Often what we’re full of is fear & the need to compromise to worship the all mighty needs of commerce. That’s a list for Santa Clause.


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Picture Perfect 94

Picture Perfect 94

“There was so much going on I’m not sure. The officer was in the second car. On his own. Constables Evans and Fredericks where in the first car to arrive.” 

“All three spoke to each other.” Cameron said. “I … was recording the fire and turned to catch their cars as they pulled up.”

“Hmm. I’ll have to check into this. What did these texts say?”

“I can show you.” Dan stopped his camera and found the pictures from the night before. “I took shots of them to make sure they would be time and date stamped.”

“You always do that when you get texts?” Coster asked.

“Only when I may want more than the cell copy. These called for that.”

“One says ‘wrong people’?” Coster asked. “Who had you been talking to?”

“We’d interviewed David Morrison that afternoon.”

“Oh! His kids are also why I’m here. Security. ‘Chick Frick parking lot at 10.’ That has to be someone who knows the area.”

“Maybe but I found it easily on Google.” Brenda said. “So maybe they did too.”

“We got there late, too. I didn’t get the message until it was almost 10 already.” Dan explained. We didn’t get there until nearly …”

“10:30.” Cameron said.

When they got out of Coster’s car one of the fire department waved him over to the ruins of his cabin.

“We found your suitcase pretty much intact.”

“Right! I had left it in the bathroom so I could take a quick shower.” Dan rooted in his shoulder bag and pulled out the key to the suitcase. “Here.” He handed it to the Fire Marshall. “Nothing in there but a couple of changes of clothes.”

The Fire Marshall opened the suitcase and felt through the layers. 

“My vital stuff was on the desk. You know those charred lumps that once were my lap top and cameras. And of course all my recharger cables.”

“Not all!” Cameron said. “I’m pretty sure you left your equipment bag in the remote truck.”

“You sure?” Dan said. “Can we check?”

“Yes. It’s been cleared already.” The Assistant Fire Marshall said. “You can take it off the property in fact.” 

“And you can have your clothes as well.” The Fire Marshall shut the suitcase. 

“Baxter will be happy. Maybe we can do that last interview.” Cameron man said. “I’ll call and let them know the rest of the cars will be released by afternoon. That’ll save renting replacements.”

Dan quickly checked his equipment bag. All the cables he’d need were there along with his personal tablet.

“Excuse me?” a female voice came from behind him.

He turned around. There was woman with a camera man beside her.

“Stacy Molefski.” She reached out to shake his hand. “CBC. Halifax affiliate. I understand you are Daniel James?”

“That’s right.”

“We’re covering this story.” She said. “Could we talk with you?”

“Do I really have a choice?”

“Only of your lighting.” Cameron guy said. “We’ll look better over here. Less glare.”

“And you are?” Stacy asked.

“Cameron Davis. Chief camera person for Cold Canada.” Cameron guy introduced himself.

“I see.” she said. “You both witnessed this terrorist act?”

“Oh yes.” Cameron said.” I had my camera running when the big blast scared the crap out of everyone.”

“Oh!”

“It’s not for sale. Least ways not by me. Property of Quintex you see.” Cameron shrugged.

“Terrorists?” Dan asked. “You know something we don’t know?”

“We got a call claiming responsibility for this from a middle east group.”

“Isis blew up this obscure little motel in Cape Breton as a part of their plan to dominate the world?” Dan laughed.

“I didn’t say it was Isis.” Stacy said. “You think there was another reason.”

“No. No. That’s as good a theory as any.” Cameron said.

“When did you get this tip?” Dan asked.

“Last night just after the explosion.” Stacy said.

“Does the RCMP also think this might be a terrorist attack?”

“They are looking into it. They are investigating the call and where it came from.”

“So that’s the story? Terrorists attack sleepy costal village!”

“Mr. James.” Constable Evans came around the remote truck.

Dan recognized him as the one who had taken his phone. “Yes! You impounded my phone?”

“That’s right.” Evans replied. “If you’ll come with me.” He placed his hand on Dan’s bicep.

“Of course.” Dan was relived to get away from the CBC reporter. As he accompanied Evans, he  overheard her.

“Our interview with Mr. James has been curtailed by the investigating authorities. I have Cameron Hall head of this Quintex remote photography unit ….” Dan felt both the CBC and Cameron’s cameras were focused on him as he walked away.

“What’s going on?” He glanced at Evans colour bar. He hadn’t noticed them the night before as the uniform was stock RCMP issue. The colours designated him as a member of the Intelligence Service. “Was Stacy right about this being a terrorist attack.”

“I’m sorry Mr. James I’m not authorized to tell you anything.”

Dan saw that several of the cabin were untouched by the blast. Evans stopped outside the furthest of them

“Before we continue you’ll have to turn off any and all recording devices you may have on your person.” Dan shut off his Lifend and put it into his shoulder bag.

“Thank you, sir. Do you mind if I make certain you are clean?” 

“If you must.” 

He took a small, round sensor out of his coat pocket and quickly scanned Dan front and back. 

“Thank you again sir. I took your phone and gave it to Inspector Phillips.”

They stopped at cabin 3. I S knocked on the door sharply. It opened a crack. “Mr. James, sir.”

“Thank you Evans. Come in Dan.” Phillips opened the door wider.

Dan went in. Jacks followed him in. Coster was already in the room. He looked from one to the other.

“What is going on?” Dan asked.

“Whom ever sent these texts messages was using a very sophisticated anonymizing program.” Phillips said. “It was that first message that set off monitoring sensors.”

“Meaning?” Dan asked.

“The sending party’s origin point changed with each message so that they appeared to come from different countries and sources. The first text “I know where those children are.” Came from a source of … threat alert.”

“Okay? I’m not sure what all this adds up to. Was the call to the CBC legit?”

“Tracing that was easy. Some bored teens in Halifax picked up the fire department alert. They threw in the terrorist stuff for fun. But we aren’t telling the CBC that, yet.”

“Anything else Evans?” Phillips asked.

“No, sir.” He took Dan’s cell out of a briefcase on the desk. “We are finished with this Mr. James. We kept all the contents intact but did remove the … troubling texts. There was no trojans tagged on them.”

“Thanks.” 

“It’ll need recharging though. Sorry about that.”

“I’m happy to get it back. I felt naked without it.”

‘Someone named Peter will be glad to hear that.” Phillips dropped his stuffy demeanour for a moment.

“Thanks.” Dan’s face reddened. 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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Mushrooms

Various mushrooms, fungi I’ve spotted around east end Toronto over the past year of so. Some ahi popped up overnight & were gone by the end of the week. I have no idea which are edible or poisonous – I get my mushrooms from a grocery store. I don’t even know the difference between a mushroom & a toadstool – who does?

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OP-ting In

As I posted about Oasis, some groups were impossible to ignore at the time. One of those was Outkast. I have the double cd Speakerboxx/ The Love Below (2003) (separate cds for each member of the group). The catch phrase ‘shake like a polaroid’ was showing up as a punch line in conversations on & off TV & on line. The double set is fun, if a bit over-produced, too many comic asides, almost as if they didn’t trust the material to carry itself. Songs about heterosex love, sex, pot, politics & race. A mix of r’n’b, crooning & hiphop. I gave a listen to a couple their other cds & this pair was enough for me.

Florent Pagny: Bienvenue chez moi (1995) a hits collection that includes “N’importe quoi” & “Caruso.” I heard ‘Caruso’ in the background of some movie & I loved the emotional momentum of the song so picked up this hits collection. I almost understand it 🙂 The songs range from rock to adult pop & verge, at times, on easy listening. Florent has a nice full voice that sounds invested in the emotion.

Now for something completely different. Queercore power pop with a punk edge by Pansy Division. I have as stand-alone: Deflowered (1994), Wish I’d Taken Pictures (1996); as mp3  – More Lovin’ From Our Oven (1996), Total Entertainment! (2003). Their sound is rock pop energetic – fully of hooky guitar work & anthemic choruses. I love this band. Reminds me of early Elvis Costello, when he still had a sense of humour. Their openly queer lyrics have probably kept them from a mainstream break through. James Bondage anyone?

Expectations Fulfilled

you make it sound like 

it’s my fault

sure I said I’d be there

and sure I forgot all about it

but it’s not as if 

you didn’t get the job done

someone else stepped up

did what needed to be done

so I’m unreliable

life is like that sometimes

right

<>

it’s not as if 

I have to live up to your expectations

that I have to do what I say 

every time I say I’ll do it

yes I know you counted on me

but you can’t count on people

we’re only human

we’ll let you down every time

<>

besides 

it’s not as if

I haven’t got better things to do

than give you a hand

every time you ask for someone to be there

I know I can count you

but I wouldn’t be so upset

if you let me down sometimes

it would be par for the course

right

<>

I can’t even promise 

it’ll never happen again

so you don’t think 

you can rely on me anymore

because I let you down once

yeah well

I know it wasn’t first time 

or even the second

but these things happen

I’ll try to change

okay

<>

how does that sound

you can really count on me

from now on

give me another chance

oh that’s what I said the last time

and the time before that

then why do you 

keep building these expectations

unless it’s the disappointment

is that what you are looking for

<>

you like to be let down

to feel the victim

to feel you are the only person

who has no one they can count on

alone and helpless 

in this big remorseless world

well then 

you’ve come

to the right person

(2008)

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The Kafka Hotel

The Kafka Hotel

Nothing was the right size. G stood in the centre of the hotel room. The windows were too high to look out of & were too large for the room. On tip-toe G could barely get a brief glimpse of the high-rise across the street.

It strained G’s neck to keep looking outside. The suitcase took up half the bed. The bed would clearly be too small for anyone to stretch out on. The desk was more like ledge. There wasn’t enough room under it for legs. Not enough room on it for a laptop to open properly. The chair back came half-way up G’s spine and offered no support to lean back on.

The wall-to-wall carpet wasn’t quite wall-to-wall. In one corner there was an bare angle of raw concrete floor that hadn’t been covered. The sink in the bathroom was so low G had to stoop to get hands under the taps to splash lukewarm water on the face. There was no cold or hot just lukewarm. The shower stall door didn’t close properly so water rained all over the floor when the shower was on.

Nothing was the right size except for the price.

I’ve never stayed in a hotel room this bad but some have come close. I remember one where the ‘closet’ was just big enough to hang a shirt. More than one had desks with minimal leg room underneath. I did have one with a shower door that didn’t close properly. I suspect every hotel, no matter how good, has crappy ‘discount rooms’ that they give when people book with points or though some online agency.

The first draft of the piece had only ‘G’ as a name so I kept that. I pruned away gender designations to make G as anonymous as the room itself. I was tempted to not mention body parts – hands, face to further dehumanize G but then it felt too much like a parody of Metamorphosis. 

I’ve read Kafka’s novels & short stories a few times. I enjoy his sense of things happening for no discernible reason. Characters who hit that blank wall that refuses to explain, apologize or help. In fact they are made to feel at fault or shamed for even asking for ‘clean towels.’ Life is out of our control – which isn’t fiction as we’ve learned in these covid19 days.

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Picture Perfect 93

Picture Perfect 93

Dan and Cameron walked along the dirt shoulder of the highway.

“How does it feel to be a target?” Cameron asked.

“Target?”

“I’m the one who asks. I’m in frame?” Dan joked.

“Oh yes. The gyro stabilizes things pretty good. I don’t even have to be looking at you or through the camera lens.”

“Cameron stop! You know who you’re talking to?”

“Oh right I kept forgetting you’re the major camera man in Canada.”

“Let’s just say I do know the equipment end of things”

“You also know how to evade a simple question.”

“Which was?”

“How does it feel to be a target?”

“I don’t really feel like a target.”

“If two attempts had been made on my life in the last week I’d be worried.”

“Speculation isn’t productive. Any of us could be …”

“Bull. You know that’s bull.”

“The car was a fluke.”

“The way I see it is if you had got back to the Amethyst on time you would have been in your cabin when the bomb went off.”

“What! The prank call was to get me out so they could plant an incendiary that would go off when I returned after realizing I had been pranked? That kind of timing is … pretty neigh impossible.”

“Yeah. But it’s pretty coincidental all the same. The way I look at you’ve been targeted at four time since this production started.”

“Four!”

“First when Back-to-you John Kilpatrick went for you. Man he was some pissed at being passed over this season of Cold Canada. Second when you got raided in Moncton and nearly got sent up river. Those guys in that division were none to pleased with you. Even less pleased when your bud Warszawa showed up to kick their sloppy asses.”

“I don’t think that quite how it went down when Warszawa showed up.”

“Surely you must have sensed some … tension.”

“Right but they had every reason …”

“Right, you’ve been on their side of the story. Isn’t that how you ended up leaving the forces – targeted by some homophobic asshole?”

“That has nothing to do with this situation!”

“Whatever you say. Then the car you we’re supposed to be driving, rolls killing two. Now your motel room blows up when you were expected to be in it.”

“Are you trying to make me more paranoid than I am already.”

“Sometimes the fly doesn’t know its in a web until its too late.”

“Thanks for pointing that out to me.” Targeted! Maybe there was something to that when he added Sanjay looking for something from him. Plus his sister wanting to get the business out from under him. Typical investigator thinking – everyone is a suspect.

An RCMP cruiser pulled up beside them.

“Hop in.” It was Sergeant Coster. “I’ve been called back to keep and ye on you. Don’t you know its illegal to walk on the Trans Canada.”

Dan got into the front seat. Cameron got into the back.

“Turn your camera off please.” she said. “I have my dashboard on & that’s enough camera for me.”

“We were heading for Amethyst  to see what progress was going on. No one here knows what’s up.” Dan said.

“A Fire Marshal is there as well some tech from the Arson Unit out of Division 23. It’ll take two days to process the scene. Then your people can get their stuff from the rooms.”

“The vehicles?” Cameron asked.

“Your remote unit is free to go. The explosions were started by the same substance. No trace of it was found in or on any of the vehicles, other than the two parked closest to the sites. That was residue but we have to make sure.”

“I guess that’s good news.” Cameron said.

She pulled into the Amethyst parking lot. The smell of smoke was still strong in the air. Dan put his Lifend around his neck and set it for every three seconds, continual.

He surveyed the damage in the room they had set up at a mini-war room. The ceiling was torn out, walls caved outward, charred papers were being scattered by the breeze. Outward meant the explosion was from inside the room.

He went down to his cabin. The damage wasn’t as severe. A photographer from the fire marshal’s department was taking pictures in the room. From the singe pattern Dan could tell that the fire had started at the head of his bed. Possibly something under the pillow. Whatever it was it wasn’t as powerful as what destroyed the other room.

“Who ever did this,” the photographer said, “wanted you to suffer.”

“Sounds like my ex.” Cameron said. “She never did things slowly that would hurt. She didn’t want the hurt to end until she had enjoyed it.”

“You think who ever did this was here when it ignited?” Dan asked.

“No comment.” Coster said. “‘It’s all very curious’ is my official statement. The convenient text messages make it clear that someone was keeping their eyes on you. You are the target for some reason.”

“That’s been pointed out to me already.” He caught Cameron’s eye. “Me and this investigation. This sure isn’t what I signed on for.”

“None of us signed on for this.” Cameron said. “I have good mind to put in for danger pay. I should speak to the union about that. The more dangerous a stunt the higher the pay rate.”

“This was no stunt.” Coster said. “This person meant business and I doubt if they’re going to give up.”

“What if we shut down the production? This is all just an attempt to do that. They aren’t out to get me, personally. They could have just as easily picked Baxter or my camera man?”

“Hey leave me out of this.”

“What’s this?” Fire department photographer waved a couple of the investigators into the room. They came out ten minutes later with a scorched carry on.

“Holy shit!” Dan said. “That’s my carry on!” He’d completely forgotten that was fire resistant. 

“You say this is yours?” The Fire Marshall asked.

“Yes. Daniel James.” He shook hands with the Fire Marshall. “This was my room. The fire was underway when we got back.”

“From where?”

“Chick Frick.”

“It was around 11?” The Fire Marshall asked.

“Yes.” Cameron man said. 

“The Chick Frick north of here?”

“About ten minutes.”

“They’re only open that late of Friday and Saturday. Most other days they close by 7.  Many a time I’ve cursed them when I couldn’t get there before closing. The wife likes her fried chicken.” The Marshall said.

“They were just locking up when we got there. I flashed a couple of twenties and they let me in.” Dan explained.

“They?”

“It was just a girl. Teenager I’d say. She was nice enough to sell us what chicken & fries was left.”

“Conveniently this happened while you were gone.” The Marshall said.

“We went there because of the text messages I got.” Dan said. “You know about that? One of the RCMP officers confiscated my phone last night to find out where they came from.”

“Cell phone?” Coster asked. “First I’ve heard of that. Who did you give it to?”

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Standing On Guard

Most of these are ornamental statues that are meant to be more than decorative. All are meant to either attract good luck or repel bad luck. I see various sizes of the Chinese lions more often than the others. The courtier is a one-of-a-kind outside a hotel in Stratford, Ontario.

Chinese lions – Fu Foo Dogs
Fu Foo Dog close up
guarding serenity
meditation
griffins on O’Connor
happy to threaten you
Stratford courtier with cookies
or is that a hamburger
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Telemann for Dinner

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681 – 1767) is a German Baroque composer & is one of the most prolific composers in history, as a result of his productivity his music was often seen as second-rate & not up to Bach’s standards. I have as stand-alones: Oboe sonatas 1 2; Recorder sonatas 1 2; Water Music; Paris Quartets 1 2; Darmstadt Overtures 2 cd; Twelve Fantasies for traverse flute; Concertos/Tafelmusick (lp to cd transfer); Partitas (lp to cd transfer); Twelve Fantasies for Flute/Sonatas (lp to cd transfer).

Telemann did not write for the concert hall but for relatively small ensembles for private court musicians. It was meant, for the most part, to be background music: Tafelmusick was for dining to not for dwelling on the mysteries of a spiritual life. He rarely wrote to express emotions or to create pastoral images.

In some ways we’ve done some periods of classical music a disservice by reducing to concert halls or radio broadcasts where we feel trapped or compelled to listen to it without distractions, without being able to do anything but listen. It was meant to be interacted with not worshipped.

Telemann was a journeyman composer who could write an elegant march for your walk down the aisle, or background for the the opening of your water fountain display. In the salons off the day people would walk around, chit-chat whiles the music was being played or danced to – it was meant to create an ambiance not pull focus to itself.

His work is soothing, elegant & sometimes sublime. My favourite are his Twelve Fantasies for Flute – I have two different recordings, one on transverse flute & the other on recorder. Both are a delight & perfect dinner music 🙂

All Is Well

it’s not me it’s them

it’s a war zone out there

no safe haven 

to stop and breathe in

who wants to breathe 

the air out there

stand in what sort of shit

no place to rest 

to put down the gun 

for even a minute

random bullets materialize in the air

when you are down the street

to look for a burger joint

for a corner to piss in

and bang

if the bullets don’t get you

the burgers will

<>

you’re all out to get me

people everywhere cough sneeze

wipe damp hands 

on door handles I have to touch

grimace at me

at my gun

over their newspapers

crank up their mp3 players

so I can’t hear mine

daring me to shoot 

as they light up a cigarette

as they push ahead of me 

to get their death burger faster

fast food being too slow for them

tear off price tags

rip books to shreds

push their way 

down crowded stairs ways

jump at me with atomizers

when I enter a department store

try this sir

what’s your favourite blood 

I like the smell of 

cosmetic salespersons blood

do you have anything like that

or something that smells 

like fast food counter help

that empty fried fresh aroma

that tingles the taste buds

something that makes people hungry 

when they smell me

<>

it’s not me it’s them

I set out peaceful almost serene

avoid the unscooped spots on the sidewalk

even manage a smile at the barista

who would smile back

if she weren’t afraid it’d slow her down

the swish my coffee enough

to make sure the lumps of milk 

and sweetener have dissolved

I’m happy for the first sip

until the lid pops off 

and I have to watch 

the slick scum cling 

to the sides of my cup

as I sip sip sip to the last drop

<>

I am now ready for anything and everything 

that is out to get me

I won’t fight back too much today

I want to be a power of calm

in all this mindless 

that staggers 

stumbles

hurrys me

to step out of the way

resist have a nice day

resist fuck you too

resist kicking cars 

that stop in the crosswalk

as if they owned the damn streets

<>

it’s not me

I know that even if this a war zone

all is well with the world 

(2008)

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