Sydney Academy 3

When I was in Sydney recently my sister asked what did I do to ‘hang out’? At the Academy I was fairly active in some of the ‘clubs.’ One was the Junior Red Cross that devoted its energy to raising money – I guess the money went to the Red Cross. One year we sold ballpoint pens with, I think, Sydney Academy & the school logo printed on them. I remember this because I the group bought them from a company my father’s business used for similar office stuff.

If the order was large enough the company threw in an extra bonus: a coffee percolator one year, a wrist watch the next. We also sold raffle tickets for those bonus items. One year there was regional Jr. Red Cross conference held at Riverview (I think). There was a dinner& dance. 

I also joined the Chess Club, even though I wasn’t all that good at it. I barely remember anyone in it. The same for a short-lived ‘Record Club’ where we brought our favourite lps & played a couple of tracks & talked about why we liked them. My selection ‘The King & I’ wasn’t deemed serious enough. The teacher behind the group wanted to hear serious music not pop, show tunes or jazz. The club didn’t last.

My biggest involvement was badminton. We had the gym every Saturday & played round-robin. Singles, mens doubles, girls doubles & mixed doubles. I was a fairly accomplished player & did win a few trophies. There was also competition with other schools.

The best part of this became music! We were allowed to play records, usually 45s, while the play was going on. I quickly gravitated to this & became a sort of dj as mt pop music interest increased. Popular stuff was the Lovin’ Spoonful, The Beatles, Dave Clarke 5. I recall playing The Gates of Eden, which was the flip side of Like A Rolling Stone & being asked to play less serious stuff. When the Monkee’s I’m Not Your Stepping Stone was first played everyone went nuts for it & we had to play it over & over again.

I was pretty serious about badminton though. A bunch of us also played at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, (now home of HAT) which had a couple of courts in its semi-basement auditorium. The space was also used by the Rotary Club for rehearsals & set building. It was great as we got to practice without the rest of the school around us. I was quite taken by one of the other guys who played. He was hairy & sometimes sported a beard until someone at the school would tell him it was time to shave.

The one non-school organization I became involved with was DeMolay, but that’s another post 🙂

The Whitney Pier Museum

 

is dedicated to the industry of the area

steel workers miners

displays about the various ethic groups

that created the community

Jewish Black Ukrainian

old high-school year books

pictures of teams hockey basketballs

rows of mothers knitting for the war

soldiers returning 

those lost

churches that have come gone

business that survived then faded

as economies rose and dipped

the first black owned store in the city

 

families in fields picnics outings

Christmas parties in church auditoriums

faces turned to cameras

leaden in front of raging blast furnaces

or smeared with cold dust at a mine entrance

men in groups workers comrades

sometimes everyone named

who’s your father 

takes on a tree of discovery

 

I sift through these

wonder about the real lives of these men

wonder where is my queer history

I’m assume each of them

had a wife and kids somewhere

they sweated and worked for that classic dream

a house a garden 

 

no way to find out if any of them

sought out something in each other

no mention that 

this is Jack and John 

who lived happily together 

in this house on Lingan Road

everyone knew but no one cared

 

I’m happy to know the lives

of famed homos of the past

Radcliff Hall Alan Ginsburg

the list gets longer 

as we allow history to reveal

what some historians once thought 

too sordid to bring to light

the sex lives of heteros are fine fodder mind you

 

I look at these photos and wonder

what truths are hidden 

unrecognized

no display of the same-sex inclined

it is as if only the famed were queers in history

no ordinary folks

in these little local museums 

of the closeted

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

October

Stratford Festival – The Crucible

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Jones and King

I loved Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings old-school soul sound from the first moments of the first track on Naturally. I read a rave review of her somewhere & for once wasn’t disappointed. The same is true of 100 Days & I Learned The Hard Way. Great songs, great band, fine Dap Kings horn section & Sharon’s voice – it all seems so effortless – like stepping into a time machine into a 1968 r’n’b review. If you’ve never her you are missing something.

Not next on the shelf but close enough is Carol King’s Tapestry plus an mp3 collection that includes her Music; Rhymes & Reasons; Fantasy. Tapestry was one of those unavoidable albums – everyone I knew in Sydney had a copy of it, except for me. Not that I didn’t like it but I found some of it too limpid – I was a Led Zeppelin fan 🙂 Too peaceful, as is nearly all her music.

In the mp3 collection I also have Françoise Hardy’s Le Premier Bonheur du Jour – I had an lp copy of this I bought in Montreal sometime in the 90’s. It is her 2nd release & is full of sweet girl pop. She was the French version of Marianne Faithful – gentle rock/folk innocence.  

Also Lotte Lenya Sings Berlin Theatre Songs – mainly Brecht (gasp!). I had a cassette transfer of this given to me by a friend & I replaced that with mp3 download. I love her voice, her phrasing & the songs, all in German, are classics. Never a big US star, like Detrich, Lenya is a treasure.

More French, this time PQ with Monique Leyrac: Les Grands Succes, Chant Leclerc. An international music icon who could rival Celine Dion, Monique ever courted the US market & as a result never achieved the same celebrity status as Celine. I love her versions of Pendant Que & Mon Pays both included in Grands. An amazing voice 

Beatrice Lillie: The Very Best of – Canada’s own darling 🙂 great comic timing, excellent songs that straddle English musical hall & Broadway. Very funny.

Free Your Mind

‘Peaches … readers … congratulations … filling … piecrust … rodents … ski … slope … car … carpet … time … clocks … grass … lawn.’ Jeff shouted each word as loudly as he could. ‘Green … tickle … piano … anger … cage … French … carpet.’

‘You already said carpet.’ Paul muttered.

‘Thanks … regrets … simplicity … theatre … teachers … dy-no-mite … carbonated … selections … execution.’ He stopped for a breath.

‘Are we getting close to the end of this?’ Paul yawned.

‘Conclusion … finality … death … roadwork … cantaloupe … comic … trigger … shovel … lawn.’

‘You’ve already said lawn.’

‘Repetition … suspicion … furtive … creep … birthday … cardigan.’ Jeff glanced at his watch. Another minute to go. ‘Devious … bible … wedding … swimming  … sand … teeth … filling … candy … spoon.’ He stopped.

‘Is that it?’ Paul began to stand up. 

‘Yep. For now. You should try it.’

‘It sounds pointless to me.’

‘Frees the mind. If anyone needed to free their mind, it’s you.’

‘Thank you. But I’ll stay stuck, rather than sound like a street person off his meds.’

‘Go on try. Say the first thing that comes to mind. Let the words spring up without trying to make sense of them.’

‘No I’d rather stick to cohesive links.’

‘As if that produces anything. You need to learn how to free your mind.’ Jeff grabbed Paul in a head lock and rubbed his head with his knuckles. ‘Come on let it out … let it out.’

‘Get the fuck away from me.’ Paul shoved Jeff aside. ‘Idiot  … asshole … fuck head … prick face. How’s that?’

‘Not random enough. Too much thinking and purpose behind each of them. You need to liberate the editor and let the subconscious well up and flow out. It really clears out the mind and sets you up for what you really want to say.’

‘Look, I know what I really want to say, and that is, that you are an idiot.’

‘That’s merely what you think you want to say to hide what you subconscious is thinking.’

‘I see, so this ‘shout it out’ process also makes you psychic?’

‘Doesn’t take esp to see how uptight you are. Come on just let it loose. The words will set you free. Try it.’

‘Boxer uh midget uh delicate uh…’

‘Louder and don’t select. The right word is the one that appears. Go on you can do it.’

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

October

Stratford Festival – The Crucible

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Cape Breton Reflections

My visit to Cape Breton had me living in many worlds – my memories, my sister’s memories, the present day & the fictional worlds of Emile Zola’s amazing Au Bonheur des Dames, & Aliette de Bodard’s Servant of the Underworld, set in the fifteenth-century Aztec Empire (which I was reading alternate chapters from on my Kindle.) Both of which I’d highly recommend.

The weather was perfect – hot, sunny & not overly humid. The Travelodge was the right distance from the downtown – I could walk where I wanted in 40-50 minutes – which is my usual daily walking routine so I certainly got my steps in. I deliberately didn’t use my iPod so that I was present for the walks. Only listened to my airmac iTunes when I was writing & even then I enjoyed working in ‘silence’ most of the time.

I did a couple of my school walks but retracing those steps wasn’t the point of this trip. The same with meeting up with a few old friends – it was more about today than reflecting on the times we spent together. Though the past did provide a few highlights in my sister’s house, which is the one we grew up in. The old dictionary was sweet to leaf through, the silver set was similarly sweet to see & handle. The chest it was in was enough at first then we opened it up! The Singer 🙂

Visiting the Fortress of Louisbourg is always fun, taking pictures was even more fun. Seeing the wind turbine farm at Lingan was a totally new memory. Finding a bunch of original Whitman YA novels on my last full day was a treat too. I can’t wait to read them 🙂

The flight back to Toronto was trouble free, as it should be right? There was a team of young athletes from the Ontario Track & Field association heading back on the flight – wearing red, white jackets. I had opted to wear the red hoodie I’d bought so I did get some interesting reactions as they wondered why they hadn’t seen this guy at their events.

I didn’t get to do everything I set out to do, which is a good things – I’ll have stuff to do on my next visit.

The Colliery

The Colliery

while white sun simmers 

ocean’s edge 

we enter the colliery 

follow the guide 

metal basket jostles us down 

down 

smell coal seeping ocean 

light becomes dark then black 

 

thin beams from helmet lamps
graze without illuminating 

faces arms
fire fly flash of teeth tongue
the guide’s words roll out over echoless drips
a silence that stifles our breathing
the chilled walls absorb everything
wooden struts hold the earth from us
coal buffering the echo of our shuffle
as we crouch lower to fit

tiny lamp light glances off rock surfaces
jagged caroms of cold flashes
was that a face an arm
embedded between strata of earth
a zig-zag white trace
slipping in the endless squeeze 

from above below 

the passage narrowing even more
as we scrabble along hunched crabs
feel the ground 

hope for traction 

ache to stand but can’t
air thicker presses on all sides
can these wooden splints 

keep us safe 

 

a pressure in the lungs
the scatter of the fear 

is this the way I want to go
squished in a tremble of tectonic plates
hugged by the earth’s crust

 

we turn a corner catch our breath
the guide filling in gaps
stunned that so many men
spent their lives down here
ate slept shivered exited eventually
to return day after day
did they dare seek comfort 

in one another’s arms 

 

we shiver from black to dark to light
brought to the surface 

to life 

to summer 

where heavy clouds have formed
lightning races the horizon
rumble of thick thunder
blanket of rain falls
to wash us clean of the abyss
we never have to return to

 

This piece goes back to my visit to Cape Breton in 2012. One day we went to the Miner’s Museum in Glace Bay. I took that opportunity to visit a coal mine that was part of the facility. They gave us rubberized ponchos to wear and we waited in the change room for a while. from he high ceiling there were actual miner’s work clothes hanging as they would have when the mine was operational.

 

We wore modern helmets with small lamps on them & that was the main illumination for our tour. The beam was quite forced so, as the piece, says they only illuminated what you looked at. I half expected mine to fall on a face in a dark corner, or on a hand that was reaching out for me.

It was stressful to see the wooden stavings, that held up the ceiling & the walls knowing that that was all that held up the tons of earth over our heads. One clearly got the feeling what it was like down there & it made the sense of camaraderie the miners felt for each other very real.

The tour didn’t include us actually digging for coal though. We did get to sit the lunch area. We did get to steel the air, feel the floor, touch the walls, get dripped on by the sea. It was here that the idea for Coal Dusters was fully formed. Looking at the pictures of the men, some in early teens, who worked down here I wondered about their lives. We know all about their families but there was never a hint that their camaraderie might have been more than just that. 

 

When I have performed this piece people have told me it gave them chills, made them feel that suffocating claustrophobia. For me it was profound & haunting experience I was happy to share.

 

previous Brown Betty posts:

Man With A Past 1 https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3B3

When I Was A Young Boy  https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3By

Home (not of the brave) https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3Cg

Nailed https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3D9

Unmasked https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3EE


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Chapter LVIX – Birk In Shackles

Coal Dusters: Book 1 is now available as as PDF – this covers the first 35 chapters – 65540 words – send $1.99 to  paypal.me/TOpoet

Coal Dusters – Chapter LVII

Birk

In

Shackles

Birk and Clancy came back to the Nelson’s with their fish. 

“What is it?” his mother asked. “I can tell by the look on yer faces that something happened.”

“That Miss Lillian caught me and Clancy horsing around. We was bare naked.” He blushed as he told her.

“Why did you do that with her there?” Maddy asked.

“We didn’t know she was there.” Clancy said.

“That stretch of Blue Lake empty most of the time. Even more so this time of the year.” Birk said. “It was warm enough and we wanted to cool down.”

“We had been in for a swim when she came up over the path and spotted us.” Clancy said.

“Started in screaming at us. Calling us Godless and then ran off as if she had seen something awful.”

“Guess a naked, hairy, thing such as yourself might scare a young Catholic gal.” Birk’s mother started to laugh. “She’s been through enough as it is without seeing you two.”

“She wasn’t scared.” Clancy said. “She was in a true rage about how about it wasn’t right for men to be together the way we was. Playing around as if we were kids in the sun.”

“We got dressed as quick as we could but she was gone before we could …”

“Could what?” his mother asked. 

“I don’t know.” Clancy said. “Explain.”

“She didn’t want to hear anything from us once she’d made her mind up. So, we come back here with the fish.” Birk put the fish into a wash basin.

“That’ll teach you.” His mother hit him with her wooden spoon. “You aren’t children anymore. Stop behaving that way.”

“Yes Ma.” Birk flinched.

“And you Clancy Sinclair. I figured you being a bit older would have enough sense. Neither of you are children anymore. You are men. Keep that in mind. It’s not as if the lake is the miner’s wash up room. Now is it?”

“Yes ma’am.” Clancy said.

 

Birk and Clancy were in the back orchard gathering dead wood when Maddy came out to them.

“There’s policemen at the house come looking for you two.”

“What!” Birk said wiping sweat of his brow.

“Ma says to come directly.”

“We’re coming.” He pulled on his shirt.

“What you think it is?” He asked Clancy.

“Fishing out of season? Maybe this is what that priest’s niece said she’d get us in trouble.”

Birk shook his head. “You think she’d do something that mean? I figured she’d go to her uncle, the way she went on about the scriptures.”

“Perhaps’n he got the the police after us then. I wouldn’t put that past him.”

When they got to the house there were three constables waiting for them.

“Birk Nelson? Clancy Sinclair?” The tallest of them asked sharply.

“Yes.” They each answered.

The other two constables stepped forward and grabbed them roughly by the arms.

“You will come with us. Peaceably.”

“What is this about?” Birk’s mother said.

“These bastards know well enough what they’ve done. Ma’am. I can’t want to speak of it in front of children.”

“Maddy you go up to your room.” She stood at the bottom of the stairs till Maddy was in her room. “Now shut your door.”

Birk and Clancy glanced at each other but kept still.

“We done nothing wrong, officers.” Clancy said. ‘Cept get caught by the female with our drawers off to take a swim.”

“That’s not how she tells it.” The tall officer spoke directly into Birk’s face. “Putting your disgusting hands on the good Catholic girl. You got your nerve.”

“We didn’t touch her.” Birk tried to pull away.

“You’ll regret what you did.” One policeman pushed Birk’s face to the wall and shackled his arms behind him.

Birk struggled to get free.

“Keep that up boy. Resisting will only take use more force to keep you in line.”

The officers did the same to Clancy.

They pushed Birk and Clancy along the street. There was another pair of constables waiting at the corner.

“They give you any trouble?” One them asked.

“Not enough. Sarg.” The one with Birk said.

“They fess up?”

“What do you think?”

“You two take the tall one to the ferry. While we have a word with this one.”

The two officers pushed Clancy onto the boat.

“Now. So its Blackie’s son is it?” Sarg said pushing his face close to Birk’s. “Your Da’s a mighty superior man.”

“How’s that?” Birk asked.

“Engineer, that’s how. Working when the other’s isn’t. He was too busy to teach you the difference between right and wrong though. I know what you did to that Boston gal. Filthy Christers like you aren’t above the law. Now you are going to find that out.”

“We didn’t do nothing to her.” Birk had barely finished when the Sarg punched him hard in the face.

“You saying that girl is a liar. Her with her uncle a priest.” He punched Birk again sending him staggering.

“She’s …”  Birk’s mouth was full of blood.

“She’s got us now to defend her honour now. So don’t think you can play innocent.”

Sarg shoved Birk toward the boat, kicking him in the hip. “Keep moving.”

Birk struggled to get his hands out of the handcuffs. 

“Keep still boyo.” Sarg whacked Birk across the ear with the palm of his hand. “Resisting arrest and tryin’ to escape is all we need. Keep that up and there’ll be no need for a trial.”

“The sight of him is making me sick.” Sarg said to the other two officers. “Take him over there out of my sight.”

The officers shoved Birk past Clancy to the other side of the ferry. In passing Birk saw that Clancy’s nose was busted and bleeding over the front of his torn shirt. He sat on a bench and glared out over the water.

The constables escorted Birk and Clancy to the police station in New Waterford and put them each in their own cell in the holding rooms and left them.

“What you think she’s gone and told them?” Clancy asked quietly.

“I don’t know. She didn’t come near enough for us to even talk to her. Maybe she saw more than we know.”

“Saw more? What more, us sporting in the water. She was too far away to see much o’that anyway.”

“She called us things I don’ understand half of what she said about us being unwholesome. Being forna – something?”

“She’s more educated than sensible, if you ask me Birk. I don’t know what she was trying to say except she didn’t much approve that we were having a good time while she was being unhappy about her husband dying like he did in the mines.”

“The constable said that we interfered with her. That means we … put our hands on her.” Birk reddened.

“That was what she meant. That we had forced our attentions on her, on her body.”

“What! She never even came that close to us. Why would she say that?”
“To get us here. She promised to make us as unhappy as she is.”

The door opened and Lillian came in followed by two of the policemen, Father Patrick and Clara O’Dowell.

Birk grabbed the bars of his cell. “Tell them Miss, that we didn’t interfere with you in anyway. Tell them!”

“Interfered?” Lillian asked.

“That’s right ma’am.” The constable that had bloodied Birk’s nose said. “These are the boys you said attempted to have their way with you when you was at the lake.”

“I see you’ve already taken into your hands to punish them.” Clara said. 

“No ma’am.” Another of the officers grinned. “They was tossed around by the waters as we brought them over.”

“I regret you have been mislead constables. I said nothing of that sort of anyone. They did my person no harm but what I saw will be forever burned into my memory.”

“But you said they were naked.” The constable said.

Birk backed away from the bars.

“You see.” She gloated. “He knows what they were doing.”

Clancy explained, again, about the pissing on his hands. Birk showed them his damaged palms and fingers. He kept his eyes on Lillian’s face hoping her looks would make more sense to him than her words. The words were angry with that undercurrent he’d heard in his sister’s voices when they found something that they didn’t approve of, like the time they came across a dead dog out back of their house.

His eyes went from face to face as they talked more to each other than to him and Clancy. They were trying to find out exactly what it was that got Lillian so distressed.

“Buggery?” Father Patrick glared at him then Clara. “Forgive me for saying such a thing in your presence, Miss O’Dowell.”

Birk didn’t know what the priest was talking about. He felt even more lost as Father Patrick became red-faced as he began to quote scripture. 

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

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip this summer to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Cape Breton Day 11

For my final day I kept it simple. I’d seen enough scenery for one visit & it was time to send some postcards. But that was not so simple. The past few days I’d kept my eyes open for those revolving racks, hoping for iconic cards of pipers over-looking the Canso Causeway. But these racks have vanished 😦 People are sending so many selfies & Instagramming that the postcard industry has about vanished. But I did find some at CB Curiosities that were too tasteful but did the job.

I realized that some of the shops on Charlotte St had closed because they were family run businesses that didn’t have family to run them once the parents had retired or passed away.

I stopped in at Rita’s Tea Room, moved from Big Pond to Sydney, where I had a coffee & a couple of freshly baked oatcakes, while I filled in my postcards. I posted those & continued on my way. Stopped at Ed’s used book store & bought some Whitman books. These were YA of the early 60’s, many were authorized novels based on TV shows. These hold lots of memory – of the ones I bough I did have, at one time, the Tarzan, & The Rustlers Fort. 

I continued on my way up to my sister’s where she had lunch ready on the stove. She also had a couple of boxes so I could mail some things back to Toronto so lighten my luggage. One box was the books I just bought, which cost me more to mail than I had paid for them 🙂

After lunch we did a last hike through Rotary Park, which is now a nicely laid out set of trails. As kids, my pals & I would bike up to swim in the reservoir. Which it turns out still happens & even some of the original dam is there, complete with kids hanging out – though it didn’t look like they were there to swim. 

In the Park we also came across some wild blueberries, & even saw some people filling up bowls with them. I had a handful of the ripe ones. Not as good at Tim’s blueberry donut 🙂

Sydney Academy 2

 


I remember some of the teachers: Mr. Miller known as Jolly Miller behind his back who taught mathematics: algebra, trigonometry _ I excelled at the first & got lost with the second. Two English teachers stand out as well. Mr. Mould – an English gentleman whose accent we all tried to imitate. Rather staid & he always favoured the memorizers. Miss Laura Donaldson: perhaps my favourite English teacher who was sarcastic, challenging & stern. The English literature we were taught was never modern though. Dickens was as up to date as it got.

The other teacher I can’t forget is Mr. Mills who taught phys-ed at all grade levels. We had to have our gym shoes whitened properly for every class, we lined up for shoe & sock inspection, as well fingernails. Boys & girls got separate gym classes, to keep those raging hormones under control. We were never taught about how to control them expect avoidance. There was no sex ed that I recall.

I stumbled through basketball – never learned a lay up. Managed volley ball, hated gymnastics, found wrestling confusing – thanks to my raging hormones 🙂 After gym there were communal showers where I always washed as fast as possible, keeping my eyes on the floor to avoid slipping on soap suds. Our lockers were assigned so I changed next to the same boys each term. It was here I saw lots of different cocks, saw that some were darker skinned than the rest of the body, saw public hair, hairy chests, hairy legs.

There lots of taunting & bragging. Because I was crappy at every sport, except badminton, I was derided for not being good at basketball etc. There was no physical abuse though. In fact I experienced little of that but there was lots of verbal abuse in the halls.

My sense of style surfaced in high school. I had some paisley shirts, the first seen in the school. My hair was longish & Mr. Mills frequently suggested I get a haircut. I remember seeing a band on TV wearing shirts with cuffs & collars that matched so I had my mother cover the collar and cuffs of one my shirts with some polka dot fabric. I loved it. Another time I had her sew epaulettes on a shirt for me. The teasing increased & escalated to shoving. I didn’t back down.

Suffocating

me face down flat on the floor

me: fifteen

the floor: high school gym

pine slats and the smell of socks

 

lift from the waist

me lifting sweating

I could do this much of the class

I felt safe in one spot

not facing anything   anyone

 

now roll over

this was a little worse

I could see the other guys in my class

but I’m still safe

in one spot on the floor

 

I dreaded it all so much

I’d arrive at school in my gym clothes 

to avoid the change room

okay on your feet boys

we groaned up

jumping jacks

 

I was still safe in one spot

I could keep up with this

it was basketball that did me in

where I could never remember left from right

never could manage a lay up

traveling with the ball – whatever that was

I would pass whenever I could

sometimes I’d fall to get out of the way

 

but that fear was merely prelude 

to what I dreaded the most

the showers

I’d yank my glasses off right away

soft focus everyone

into naked fuzzy forms

I would slink in as small as I could

rinse down

dart back to my locker

keep my eyes to the floor – to faces

but there was always someone too close

someone I couldn’t keep from focusing on

when I was trying not to look

at hair everywhere on some of them

asses backs around their balls

 

I would dress barely dried off 

rush up the stairs and outside

to breath

to keep from drowning 

in the damp desires

that were suffocating me

http://wp.me/p1RtxU-1dQ

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

October

Stratford Festival – The Crucible

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Cape Breton Day 10

Another day of driving through coastal town around Sydney. Our first real stop was Fort Petrie – a WW2 bunker that has an amazing view of the harbour – there is another similar Fort directly across the way. Mom too the bunkers are sealed off to the public – but someone forced a grate so I took a few inside pics but resisted crawling in – I’m no Romy Romany 🙂 a meters away was another bunker directly on the shore but access was too steep for me to attempt. Broken bones aren’t the souvenirs I’m after.

Continuing along we passed through New Victoria into New Waterford where we stopped Tim’s for coffee & delicious blueberry donuts. We stuck to the coast & had to stop for the wind turbines around the Lingan Generating Station. They reminded me of War of The Worlds – very unearthly, tall. Not quite silent but taking pictures was fun.

Next stop was Dominion Beach, where we did go a few times as kids but I have no real memory of being here. I didn’t have to roll my pant legs up to walk in the Atlantic though. I can’t recall the last time I actually waded in the Atlantic Ocean. I figure once every 40 years is often enough 🙂 Dried my feet. Drove through Glace Bay & finally back to civilization in Sydney 🙂 Stopped at the Gaslight Cafe for a fine chicken pot pie.

 

Tomorrow? Rotary Park maybe, then packing for sure.

 

Cape Breton Day 9

A fun day of driving & dining that started with a morning walk to a great recovery meeting. Did my first Tim Horton’s stop of the trip. The coffee is no longer stronger than than Toronto’s. I like morning meetings as a way to start a day. Familiar faces are comforting. All the meetings I went to turned out to be topic-suggested-by-members meetings. I suppose there are some that discuss the literature. All started with the serenity prayer 🙂 & all ended with the Lord’s Prayer :-(. No hand holding to deal with.

Walked up to my sister’s & took the Terrace St. hills I used to walk to Sydney Academy. They seemed much steeper then. My sister had dug out some old photo albums, one that included some toddler pics of me. After a few minutes of looking though them & taking pictures of pictures we headed out on the day’s real adventures.

 

My Dad was fond of taking us kids for country drives and my sister has the driving bug in her blood too. our first real stop was in Sydney Mines so I could get pictures of the Municipal Region Police Station that was once a Customs House. An impressive building that dates back to the early 1900’s. It certainly stands out amidst the endless aluminium sided boxes that abound everywhere. Why does progress mean lack of architectural character?

 

 

Next we went to North Sydney. I was hoping to find out information about the German U-Boat that surfaced in the harbour – the local citizens jumped dirtier boats to defend out shores. North Sydney was a major communications hub & thus targeted by the Nazis.

Blank faces were all I got from the staff. I did get lots of pics though included some of a 1918 fire engine. We had a decent lunch at The Black Spoon. I was hoping the name referred to some naval jargon or iron smelting but Black was the last name of the owner.

Tomorrow Fort Petrie.

 

Elton John

 

From Your Song on his self-titled Elton I’ve been a fan of Elton John. At one time I was eager for each new release, but by Caribo I lost interest. He’d become a music machine as opposed to a musician. Such is life. But those first lps (which I had as lps) where played endlessly. I have the live 11-17-70; Tumbleweed Connection; Madman Across The Water; Honky Chateau; Good Bye Yellow Brick Road;  Blue Moves – as mp3s. 

 

Elton; Tumbleweed Connection; Madman Across The Water; Honky Chateau as stand-alones. All have songs that bring back powerful memories. Lyrics that spoke to me & also spoke about me. ‘Have you ever lived in a cave.’ It took me years to realize how good a singer he was, because he invested those lyrics with a sense that he wrote them himself – whereas he only wrote the music. 

 

To Be Continued … is a 3 cd best of that I inherited from my father’s cd collection when he passed a way. I was surprised to find he had it (along with Best of CCR). Don’t Shoot The Piano Player, Caribou & Capt Fantastic are on shelf as well. There are great songs on these but my favourites are on the earlier lps. Most recent addition is the soundtrack from Rocketman. A sort of hits collection that is excellent because Taron Egerton can actually sing 🙂

I did have Songs From The West Coast – which I won in a contest via TV Guide – that also included a trip to San Diego to hear Elton live in concert. The trip was more memorable than the songs.

Also mixed in with the mp3 cds are Howard Jones, Billy Joel (see last week for them). Plus John James’s Big Fat Soul, Mothers of Hope – James is a Toronto musical who made a bit of a mark thanks to MuchMusic with sweet danceable music with light hip-hop, & strong soul underpinnings. Dr. John: In The Right Place – great radio-friendly work that proved Dr. John had more than gris-gris chops. Finally the British blues band Taste’s self titled live lp full of raw blistering work. I had this as an lp on the east coast & love hearing it when it comes up in my listening rotation.

Flying

‘Pass me the flying pan.’

‘Flying pan?’

‘Sorry. Frying pan. Flying pan was what my Dad used to call it.’

‘Flying pan?’

‘Yeah, he was a bit of joker. When he was sober.’

‘Sounds like it.’ Jim handed Greg the pan. ‘Though I doubt he had something that reflected state of the art.’

The frying pan was stainless something, light and would have looked right on the console of the Star Trek Enterprise.

‘I suppose not. It was one of those heavy, cast iron things. My mother was always afraid to wash it. As if we would somehow wash the taste out of it.’

‘Taste?’

‘It was ‘seasoned.’ Something built up on the surface that was ….’

‘A layer of germs ready to kill.’

‘None of us ended up dead. The only way the frying pan would kill is if you hit someone over the head with it. Which was something my mother threatened to do to my Dad many a time. Booze beat the shit of him for her though.’

‘So you’ve told me many times.’ Jim got eggs from the fridge. ‘but we are much more civilized, aren’t we?’

‘What do you mean by that?’ Greg cracked the eggs open into a low glass dish.

‘I mean we don’t threaten with objects but with objections.’

‘Very funny.’ Greg chopped onions and mixed them in with the eggs. ‘Garlic?’

‘Sure.’

‘You sure? You …’

‘Don’t go there. Garlic will be fine. I’ll chop some.’

‘My goodness, I was merely offering to help.’

‘Stranger things have happened. Should I heat the flying pan?’ Jim put a spoon of butter in the the centre of the pan and swirled it around as it melted, to cover the entire surface.

‘He’d make us pancakes. Every other week, or so. He’d wake up around lunch time Sunday and say ‘get out the flying pan.’ We knew it meant pancakes.’

‘You’ve never made us pancakes.’

‘Please. His were crispy brown on one side and blacker than the pan on the other. He figured they weren’t really cooked unless they were part burned. And lumpy. We dreaded those Sundays but were always afraid not to be there. When I was old enough I started to help him, just a little.’ The whisk clicked rapidly on the bowl as Greg mixed and mixed the eggs. ‘Gotta make them light and fluffy.’

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every Tuesday 2019

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
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September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

October

Stratford Festival – The Crucible

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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