No Room

No Room 

I’ve lived with the same man

for over forty years

I don’t use poppers or party and play

so I’m not gay enough for the room

<>

I did hiv home care 

buried friends 

stepped away from the front lines

so I’m not queer enough for the room

<>

I sleep around

sometime have unprotected sex

so I’m not a good example

for anyone in the room

<>

I don’t like Celine Dion or Babs

which is enough to get my

gay card denied

so I don’t have the credentials for the room

<>

I’m over several hills

hills only survivors 

know how daunting they can be

such as shame for not being young enough

to be in the room 

<>

the web sells us

face lifts work out routines 

websites for grandpa devotees

to keep them away from the room

<>

being acceptable in heteronormative 

assimilationist terms

was too conditional

I was amused 

abused

by the need

for the conformity

to be gay enough to be in the room

<>

I’m not sure 

if I ever was in that room

if I was

I wasn’t long for the room

I was tempted to call this No Room At The Inn but the religious connotations were inappropriate. The piece is clearly about assimilationist attitudes that try to rule the queer community. Attitudes that said it was fine for trans men & woman to fight for our rights but then tried to hide them so as not to cast a bad light on all those good, unassuming queers who didn’t want to scare the horses.

I’m not that I am preoccupied with the ways I may or may not fit into various categories I can’t ignore the ways my ‘not fit’ is made clear to me by others, directly or indirectly. PRIDE is clearly focused on a very specific ‘market’ defined by age, appearance, substance of choice, & body type. The one marked improvement in PRIDE over the years has been its greater awareness of race/nationality inclusivity – but honey if you don’t look good in heels, or leather chaps, or jeans you really aren’t that welcome regardless of race, gender or sexuality.

Many years ago I was invited to be part of a PRIDE reading by those of us over a certain age. Cool, I thought, we’re given some recognition. The event was unpaid, we were to be so grateful to be included we would perform for free (a standard PRIDE stance for many performers), the location was as far from the Church street core as possible – I was surprised they didn’t stick us down in Fort York. Only us performers & our friends could find the room.

One of the fallacies of inclusivity is that everyone has equal  footing – there is nearly always someone deciding who is the best example of what is to be included. The decision gauge is often unpredictable even when that someone deigns to use it on you. You could be let into the room but please stay in that corner there. 

Time to clean my room 🙂


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Picture Perfect 73

Picture Perfect 73

A car pulled into the park lot. On the roof was an illuminated taxi sign that had been repainted with a crude rending of a donairs on one side and Dumphy’s on the other.

He paid for it, tipped generously, as it was Quintex money anyway. He sat at one of the picnic tables outside the breakfast diner and ate the meal. It tasted better when he didn’t have to see it. 

Cameron came out of the dark. “I’ll have to speak to Baxter about this place. Those cabins are rough. I don’t what it is about them but I can’t stand being in one for more than an hour before I’m ready to climb the walls.”

“Ditto.”

“Funny what people will do to get in the credits for a TV show.”

“How so?”

“Locations swung a deal with places. In return for discount, or in this case free, they get mentioned in the credits for the show.’

“Like catering by so and so.”

“Exactly but no catering service is stupid enough to give food away for credits that they know full well no one reads. Owners here didn’t know that. Baxter convinced them it would be good for the tourist trade. We have to shoot an interview here in return.

Dan laughed. “You should be filming me now eating out here. I can move so the sign is over my shoulder.”

“Don’t have a night vision camera.”

“One think to be thankful for or we’d be skulking around at night with Jennifer Devereaux looking for the emanations of the departed.”

“Keep that one to yourself or we’ll end up doing just that.” Cameron gave a little laugh. “Seriously, can I ask you something?”

“Uncut. Versatile?” Dan said.

“What!” Cameron laughed. “No. Never mix work with play. What do you think happened to those children? You always ask that question so I was wondering what you think?”

“I think they are dead.”

“Yes but I mean what happened to their bodies? One never being found I can understand but not this many.”

“Bones have been found in the strangest of places decades centuries after the fact.”

“So you think they are in some cave somewhere? Or in a freezer in someone’s basement?”

“That’s a question you should ask Jennifer. When I was in the Force I never dealt with a cold case of this type. Here we’re trying to make connections as we sift though data, not bones.”

“Baxter would crap his pants if we found remains somewhere though wouldn’t he? In some farmer’s field.”

“There are no unplowed fields in this area, trust me.”

‘Yeah, but you know what I mean.”

“Yes I know. Don’t give him any ideas though or some unidentified remains are likely to show up. There enough drama going on now.”

“Unidentified Remains – sound like a great show title.” Cameron got up from the table. “See you in the morning.”

<>

Winston Chamberlain was waiting for them in the Circus Museum parking lot.

“We’re closed on Monday’s” he said. “But Baxter was so insistent I said I’d talk with you today just to shut him up. We’ll go in the side way. Fewer locks to deal with.”

Inside he gave Cameron a quick tour of the various exit halls and the rides.

“Choice stuff. Let’s sit you two here.” Cameron said. “I can get that merry-go-round frmm one side of you, the Hippo Dog stand from the other.”

“This is to be an interview?” Winston asked. “I thought you just want to check this out for locations.”

“It shouldn’t take too long.” Cameron said.”We never know when we’ll get something we can use.”

“Don’t I have to sign some sort of release.” Winston brushed his hair flat. “How do I look.”

“I have release forms here in my equipment bag.” Cameron rummaged in it and pulled out some forms.

Winston read them over.

“Its really standard stuff.” Cameron explained. “We can’t use this in any other context except the show. If you divulge anything relating to illegal activities we have to inform the authorities.”

“Okay.” He signed where Cameron indicated. 

“Your family owned the Happy Hippo Carnivals?” Dan began.

“Yes.” Winston’s expression changed as the camera started. His irritated smile quickly became garrulous & inviting.

“This museum is a way of preserving them.”

“That’s right Dan. All of the exhibits come from my Father’s need to accumulate. He was a sort of circus hoarder. He couldn’t throw anything away.”

“You worked in the carnival as a boy?”

“Yes. I spent a few summers with the tours. I learned all about the Hippo from the ground up because my dad wanted me to take it over eventually. But, well, it went bankrupt before that could happen.”

“Did you enjoying working the midway?”

“Oh, yeah. I loved the games, the rides. The way the rides worked fascinated me. The gears and mechanics.”

“I’m surprised you didn’t become a mechanical engineer.”

“I did consider it but once the circus folded I didn’t see myself wanting to join any of the other carnivals. You know, move to Toronto to work at the CNE.”

“Does this bring back any memories for you?” Dan handed him a copy of the photo of him and Theresa.

“That’s me! Where did you get this! Man I look so young there.”

“You were young. Around fourteen.”

“I must have really dug that girl.”

“You don’t remember her? Stoney.”

He looked up from the picture. “Jesus. That’s right I used to call myself Stoney so no one would know I was the owner’s son.”

“Used to tell them you were nineteen as well.”

“I might have. Easier to get laid when you tell them you are nineteen.”

“There were rumours about you.”

“Such as?”

“You had a … hankering for younger girls. I mean younger than the one in this picture.”

“Fuck where did you dig that up.” 

“I didn’t dig it up. I wasn’t even looking for it when, there it was.”

“What was I thirteen or fourteen year old kid. I might have looked up the skirts of girls my age on the ferris wheel when I was checking their straps. Who didn’t do that. They weren’t that much younger than me.”

“Right.” 

Dan was amused to see how completely Winston’s camera personality disappeared as he become defensive.

“Are you trying to implicate me in this case?” Winston snapped.

“Not at all. Did you hear anything about them at the time?”

“Only that they had happened.” He took a deep breath. “That was after the fact too I might add. Didn’t know there that many either.”

“Apparently only one person did.”

“Who?” Winston asked.

“The abductor.” He looked to Cameron. “I think we’ve got enough here.” He glanced at his cell. “We have to get to the Moncton Municipal Hospital for the O’Connor interview.”

Cameron slung his shoulder mounted camera off and stored it in the equipment bag.

“Sorry I put you on the spot there Winston.”

“Sorry! You fucking accused me of being a child molester. If anyone ever sees that I’ll fucking sue you and Qunitex for everything you’ve got. Now march you asses out of here.” His shouts echoed in the hall. “In fact, if anything about the Hippos is mentioned in your fucking TV show I’ll shut you down so hard you’ll wish you’d never met me.”

<>

In the car Cameron shook his hand. “That was one of the best reveals I have ever witnessed.”

“Reveals?”

“He was so cooperative while the camera was on but the minute he thought it was off he went off.”

“Thought? You mean you got all that?”

“Oh yeah.” He took off his baseball hat. There was a wire from the front and circling the inner brim. “That Qunitex logo isn’t just for looks. The lens remote feeds directly into this baby.” He indicated his equipment bag.

“You’re as bad as me.” Dan turned up the collar of his interview sports coat to show the remote for his camera. 

“That’s not Q issue is it? Where’s the lens.” 

“No, it’s not and the lens is a trade secret. There’s something going on there though. And someone tinkered with my rental car the last time I was here. He wasn’t with me every minute I was here that time.”

“He certainly has something to hide.” Cameron said. “You might want to talk with that Theresa again. She had more to say. I could tell that when we left her at the park.”

“Yeah I’d like to talk with her again too. Now, back to Waterside then on to hospital.”

“Cut or uncut?” Cameron asked. “Winston I mean.”

“Winston? I’d say uncut. Why? Are you interested.” 

“I didn’t get such a good look at that picture of him before. You sure he didn’t have a career in porn.”

“That’s something I never thought to check.”

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  sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Pride Slugfest

One of the sure signs of summer has become the appearance of rainbow flags in corporate settings. How long before McD’s markets the Inclusive Burger to compete with the Gay Uncle Burger? Ooh look multicoloured sprinkles on the unicorn donut! I feel so seen. Where are the transvegan breakfast wraps? So many new markets to cater to.

So many rainbows to choose from – the classic, the trans flag, the combo, the maple leaf between rainbows, the blm, the (fill in your niche) flag. Clearly if you don’t have them all in your store window you aren’t an ally. If you don’t recognize the latest variation you are phobic. If you stick to the classic you are hiding your head in the glitter. With so many splinter groups clamouring for recognition if you support the wrong ones you are suspect. 

I was recently invited to contribute some pro-Pride remarks to a company as part of their lgbtqia+ inclusively week. If I am queer positive I’ll help them show their support as they sell more garments to increase their market share. If I don’t do it, for free, I’m clearly homophobic, if I expect $ I’m just an entitled slug. I declined. I’ve had enough exposure thank you. I’m not interested in another slugfest 🙂

Here in Ontario people are lamenting the pandemic restrictions that, like last year, have curtailed Pride public celebrations. Personally I’m indifferent. The parade has become a march of commercial sponsors interspersed grass-root splinter groups staking claim to their few minutes is the spotlight. 

(photos of an east end Toronto sidewalk)

The Days of the Week

control 

out of control

so hard to choose

which will give the better result

too hard to let go of

those expectations 

drives 

dreams 

goals

result of out of control

such a freedom

can someone with control issues

get out of control

with the need to control

hold on too tight

or drop everything too suddenly

relax into a puddle

even a puddle is controlled by gravity

free fall isn’t free

free form still has form

is the goal to be shapeless 

is uncontainable anarchy

aimless directionless

still has points of reference

that pull to the norm

can the norm be out of control

who can impose that structure

who gets to be the responsible one

while the rest

are wild and free 

is there actual energy in being out of control

doing nothing takes no energy

relax float down stream

the stream has control

the surrender is to another’s control

ven when out of control

someone is deciding

what out is

what control is

who the object is of these definitions

light need dark to exist

no one controls the days

just gives them names

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee
sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Not All Rainbows Are On Flags

Rainbows are showing up all around east end Toronto. These are pictures from the area bounded by Broadview, O’Connor, Main & Dundas E.

proud tree in Browning/Logan area
tight knit?

Craven Rd. fence
across from pape subway station

inclusive in the Mortimore/Coxwell area

mural Danforth/Patricia area
close up of mural
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 


Psychedelic Sitar Teens

trippy

Nashville Teens’ Tobacco Road kicks off an mp3 collection of the finest, if a bit kitsch, psychedelic pop from. the sixties & seventies. The Teens were a bluesy more garage-band version of the Dave Clark 5. This is a compilation of their hits, singles & album tracks. Some originals plus lots of covers like All Along The Watchtower, How Deep Is The Ocean. Tobacco Road was their big hit. Members of the band ended up in Dantalion’s Chariot, The New Animals.

Reading a reference to Dantalion’s Chariot in a book about the Animals lead me to an iTunes search for some of their music. I find it hard to resist 60’s obscurity. It lead me to a completion called Psychedelic 60’s: Rare Tracks. The 80+ collection included a track by Chariot as well recordings by the like of Danny McCulloch, Keith Reif & the like. An excellent sampling of radio hits that bubbled under the top twenty & vanished. Many clearly inspired by Pink Floyd, Yardbirds & The Beatles.

Another Chariot track turned up on a compilation called Electric Psychedelic Sitar Headswirlers. Thanks to George Harrison the sitar became the ‘flavour’ of choice, much the wha-wha did for awhile, & every band had at least one track with a sitar solo. This batch includes Canada’s Ugly Duckings! The Lemon Pipers & Kuni Kawachi. I eventually download Kuni’s lp (not on this CD) & it is excellent.

A cover of 8 Miles High by The Folkwsingers lead me to their excellent, trippy lp Raga Rock. There has always a niche market for instrumental versions of pop music – try the Vitamin String Quartet’s Lady Gaga works. Though the sixties there were countless jazz takes – try Wes Montgomery’s astounding Day In The Life. Many of them were banal, some took fads & incorporated them – so you get lps of moog, fuzz guitar, surf versions of top ten. Sitar had its day too. The Folkswingers are better than average & worth hunting down. Groovy.

Someone needs to start a group called ‘Psychedelic Sitar Teens’

flash fiction from mid70’s

Drinker Up

“There are something I quite firmly refuse to believer in,” Josh said pouring himself another Scotch. “Mortality just happens to be one of them.” This drink was a bit thicker than the last, the next would be thicker again until he couldn’t see through the bottom of a bottle even if it was empty.

“I suppose,” I replied, “there is something to be said for making plans to break them for fun but …” I paused to match him, drink for drink, “One of these days you’ll find yourself actually living up to a promise. Just think of the precedent you’ll have set yourself. “

“Bullshit,” he swayed to his feet. “You know damned well there’s no hope of that.”

“Let’s talk about something else. We’ve drank our way through to the end of this morality, I mean, mort-totality, conversation before.”

“Ah, yes. Another dangerous precedent we set & will never approach again. They meet our death on the way to an icy top.”

“Lost in the clouds, as it were.”

We laugh that boozy guffaw that falls so frantically after an inane comment falls after another inane comment. The circular laugh of frustration. The caged lion’s snicker of hopelessness at seeing how afraid people are of him, yet he is powerless to inflict more than awe in their un-paw-able faces.

“You’re doing it again.” Josh snarled, pushing me gruffly. “Slipping into the logic of lines. Hopelessness is as hopelessness thinks it does. Drink up. The moon is full.”

“Cheers,” I raise my glass. “To motherhood.”

“To death,” Josh drank & dropped this glass to the floor. A carpeted thud. “Christ.”

“Yes, let’s bitch about Christ for awhile.”

“Let’s talk about fucking nothing for awhile” He replied with a foggy look that blocked response. “Give me a real drink. Then let’s go for a walk.”

“Let’s finish this off first.” I held up the last fluid ounces of the forty. “Can’t be much left here. Might as well go all the way.”

“Brute.”

“Savage.”

Pouring the remains evenly between the two glasses on the table, I looked up. A reflection in the window, a cat of reflected light slipping across the curtains up one wall then down the other. The slip was the stream, a suddenly dizzy reptile.

“I think I’m going blind.” I said.

“Well, that should resolve a lot of things for you. Oh yes. What a tragedy! The blind poet.”

“No. No. The blind pianist.”

“The blind penis?”

“Oh, fuck off. Here!” I slopped his drink in his direction. “I’m hallucinating cats.”

“Really? How odd.”

“Terrible, small cats. Miniature lions growling & prowling across motion pictures. You see?”

“Right. Right. I saw it last week. The Late Snow on Channel 5. The Cat People. Peter Lorre & …” snapping his fingers. “Oh shit! What’s her name with one eye & vamp walk.”

“This is hopeless.”

“I’m sorry. It’s just too early in the day for anything else. I know how important this seems to you but even importance fades with education.”

“Obsolete.”

“Something along those lines without those rocket thruster fins.”

“Snow what Josh.”

“Snow?”

“It’s starting,” gesturing to the window with my drink. “To snow cats.”

“How perceptive.”

“No. No. Pers-pity-ative.”

“Oh, very good.” Josh slurs over the end of his readily tilting glass. “I must remember that for the girls at the office. They like a good laugh every now & then.”

Giving him my ‘aren’t-you-enough’ look, I toss back the burning embers of my drink. “Any more of this fine foreword play?”

“Do eggs have heartbeats?”

The first laugh climax of the evening. One of those red-face-sputtering choking-on-a-swallow laughs.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees. Thanks paypal.me/TOpoet 



Safe From Me

Safe From Me

<>

somedays it isn’t safe

for me to be seen in public

not safe for others I mean

<>

the welfare of others 

has to be considered

when a glance from a male

can become triggering

send someone spinning

into painful childhood memories

my mere looking where I am going

can send people off 

<>

I never ask how are you doing

lest that appears to be disrespect

for their boundary issues

I won’t compliment your appearance 

never talk about my happy childhood

because it seems by doing so

I’m am diminishing 

what you experienced in yours

<>

I get tired of negotiating permission

to continue a conversation

is it okay if I talk about ….

negotiating to avoid making

others uncomfortable

<>

it isn’t wise to assume 

that just because they are a clerk

that they have to be of service

<>

I haven’t left my house

for years now

it’s the easiest way

of keeping the world safe

from me

There some real-life experiences in this piece. Once when dodging people on a busy street I stopped to let someone pass me & that someone said ‘What the fuck are you looking at!’ I shrugged & kept on my way. I’ve seen similar confrontations on the subway – people snapping ‘stop looking at me like that’ – this is why most people now stare at their cellphones – it’s less intrusive to bump into people because you aren’t looking where you’re going than it is to look where you are going.

A few years ago, on an open stage & read a poem about my Dad – about finding gifts he has hidden before he died, not knowing he was going to die. After the show I was accosted for not issuing a trigger warning before I had a poem about my father. The last time I read it I did it with a trigger warning & someone accosted me after for making fun of trigger warnings. You wonder why I shun open stages.

When someone says ‘I don’t want to talk about …’ I respect that but then am leery of what to say when they continue to talk about it. Is it my job to change the subject or say ‘You said we weren’t going to talk about that.’ As I’ve often said here people will talk about whatever they want even when they ask ‘how are you?’ They are preparing what they want to tell you about themselves. A good reason I never really start conversations about myself. One of the good things, to me. about social distancing is an end to negotiating permission for hugs. 

Unlike that last verse I leave my house regularly. I have no fear of being in pubic, in public places -one my morning walks I rarely see anyone anyway & the only negotiation is social distancing. In recovery I’ve learned the balance of conversation – I listen without the need to develop a response. 

When people ask me what I’ve been doing I resist going into details about my writing, my sex life. I fall back on generalities ‘pandemic purging’ being a good fall back – because it has been something I’ve been doing. One thing that I purged years ago is guilt for inadvertently triggering someone.


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Picture Perfect 72

Picture Perfect 72

Dan plugged in his laptop. No urgent emails. He flipped through the pictures he had uploaded to the cloud. He pulled down one of the s/m shots that showed the woman’s face clearly and one that gave a more than partial of her male victim’s face. He ran them though Face Finder, a face recognition site that searched for matches. The ‘time to do’ clock said ‘check back in ten minutes’ as it usually did for black and white pictures.

After brushing his teeth he went back to his laptop to check on Face Finder’s progress. The first one it found was one of the pictures he had selected. The one of her spread legged, facing the camera and holding the whip in her gloved right hand hand.

Had the program doubled back to his cloud? 

Before he clicked on the picture he entered a cloaking code that would hide him so he couldn’t be traced. He clicked on the picture and no, it hadn’t gone to his cloud, it had gone to an online site. 

“Golden Age of Glamour” topped the page with several black and white photos under it. All similar in content to his and one of them was in fact a duplicate of his.

“This site is devoted to the lost art of sexual tease. We offer an archive of photographs from the past decades of erotica going back as far as the late 1800’s.”

He clicked on his agreeing to being over 18 and being willing to see context of a sexually nature some of which would be explicit. 

The next menu offered eras, types, special tastes, gay, lesbian, straight, solo, couples, interracial. There was a pop invitation to join the members club at twenty percent off, where more features were offered including the opportunity to converse with other members. He clicked a tab for Store.

Various sets of reprints were offered for sale and in some cases originals. He clicked the set that included his father’s photographs. There were six in the set and they were all from the same shoot. He was hoping there would be information about the photographer. 

“This stunning set of six black and white photos features Canada’s answer to Betty Page – Peggy Brooks – in a saucy series of pictures taken by ace photographer Pierre LaBouche. Fans of the genre prize his limited output over that of many others.’

a set of six 8×10 – $60.00 – reproduced from the original negatives 

a set of six 8×10 – signed and numbered originals – $600.00.

Mr LaBouche died in 1990 and we have a limited quantity of these signed photographs.”

He clicked the Pierre LaBouche hyperlink and it took him to a page of thumbnails of forty similar photographs. Only members could see them full size. He looked at each of them. Some where the ones he’d already found in his father’s cache. Some he’d never seen. Those he looked at more closely. It was the same model in all of them. Her outfit changed a few times. He did screen capture of thumbnails. There were none of the photos of her drawing blood in the sets offered; none of her with a victim. Perhaps those were behind the paywall?

He went back to the first page for information about who Golden was. It was copyright by JovietJinc.com. He did a search for Joviet J. Inc which led him to a Montreal suite which he suspected, from his time on the force, was a post office box. He went back to his original scans of his father’s pictures and there on the back of one of them was the same post office box number written by his father. Interesting. A trip to Montreal was called for to investigate. He only had Sundays free for the next couple of weeks. He checked flights and it was possible to do a day trip to Montreal.

He googled a map of Montreal, typed in the postal code which put it in a warehouse district. He did a search of the area for businesses. One of them was J. Carter Magazine Publishers and Distributers. He checked through the scanned pages of his dad’s travel logs and sure enough there were notations for JC Mont in each year. Even after they had moved to Toronto. Was JC Carter Magazine?

He shut the laptop, got up and stretched. His head swam with the bits of information he had assembled. They weren’t adding up to something he didn’t already know. His Dad took and sold smutty pictures. Did Linda know about this? Who was Peggy Brooks. He didn’t know any Brooks growing up. But if his father had become Pierre LaBouche, Peggy was probably not a real name either.

His cell alarm went off. Time for his drops. Perfect. He put the comforter on the floor and made a pillow comfortable to support his neck, put the drops in, covered his eyes with a hand towel and let his body come to a stop on the floor. 

The comforter did little to protect him from the damp or cover the smell of the carpet. When was the last time it had been steam cleaned. The real colour would probably shock them and force them to repaint the rooms. At least it didn’t smell of cigarettes. That Theresa sure smoked like a chimney. That’s what his mother would have said. Did she smoke that much when he knew her. Did his sister smoke too. What was Linda hiding about that summer? That story about being pregnant and losing the child. That couldn’t be true, could it? There should be medical records somewhere. A doctor must have known if she was knocked up. A woman can’t miscarry and not seek medical attention. But they can have a baby without even knowing they are pregnant, so what she was told him was possible. Possible but probable? His mother surely would have known. Did Theresa know? He he could ask her.

His alarm went off and his thirty minutes was up. He removed the towel, got up slowly and went to the bathroom and rinsed his eyes. His stomach rumbled. He texted Dumphy’s Donaire for a repeat of his last order. He checked his email once again. Outside in the parking lot he waited for the food to arrive.

The air was cool, the sky was clear. A light wind rusted leaves of the trees that lined the side of the motel. He could hear cars on the highway. Would he trade his Toronto life for a life like this if he had the opportunity? Probably not.

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  sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Unlockdown

 

Survived Toronto’s first released-from-lockdown weekend patio pandemonium 🙂 The flood surge of eager patrons started at 8 a.m. or perhaps earlier, as there were folks already sipping coffees on patios when I out for my early Saturday morning walk. Or maybe they were on their way home after a night of dining under the stars. 

To be honest I was never a big patio fan: usually they aren’t shady enough for me, plus duelling with wasps puts me off, nor am I one for dining out anyway, but it’s nice to have the choice not to. The pandemic did encourage us to order in a bit more frequently – from some of the neighbourhood spots – ones that we’d probably never dine in at anyway. A rotation between pizza or gyros or General Tso or ribs – Thursdays every other week. We order for two but they all deliver enough for for four. Some of them don’t quite get it when you say no condiments or no cutlery.

People in the zoom meetings I get to are eager for things to get back to normal. It strikes me that full impact of the pandemic hasn’t fully sunk in for many. Many places: i.e. churches, community centres where recovery meeting usual took place can’t afford the the high quality air-circulating systems – hell some of them couldn’t even afford to repair broken windows. 

I suspect masks will always be with us on public transit, when shopping, going to concerts etc. Stratford is struggling to launch a season but with indoor #s strictly reduced I can’t see them doing a big production for an audience of under 100 people, even masked. Streaming doesn’t replace live. After decades of designing theatres to maximize seating they have make changes to allow for air circulation. Just think seating for people with legs 🙂

With non-essential stores finally open, I can buy some new shoes – one of few things I’m unwilling to buy online. I’m not rushing out even though I long to to refresh my browsing skills – one thing I have missed is the the opportunity to stroll through a store looking – I’ve felt obliged to get what I want & get out of there. No impulse shopping for me 😦

Of course if the covid #s soar up like they did the last time the lockdown loosened up we’ll be back to getting coffee in the mail.

Normal Life

I walk down the street

for a cup of coffee

travel mug in hand

to help save the planet

by not using the disposable cup

I wonder 

if my washing the mug when I get home

counter balances

that ecological saving

maybe if I washed it less

<>

we are such a clean culture 

it’s no wonder

that we need so much protection 

from the sun 

when we wash 

all those oils out of our skin

at every opportunity

putting on moisturizers 

to give us a glow

that doesn’t look like we’re wearing anything 

<>

walk from here to there

so as not to add to the wasteful car pollution

avoid the subway 

too dirty

all those hands feet asses

rub and smear the seats

hand rails

floors sticky with split coffee

I hope that’s all it is

need a hazmat suit 

to get out of the house for a walk

nod to others in their suits

actually never nod to others 

avoid any sort of eye contact

you never know

who will take what the wrong way

scurry past as fast as you can

<>

one has to walk in the gutter 

just to get by that bitch

with a baby carriage

stopped to stoop & talk

to her pals over a coffee

they gets pissy 

when you try to walk by 

push the carriage our of the way

or risk getting hit by a car

to get by

is the cafe owner liable 

for creating this hazard

where pedestrians can’t get by 

thanks to a fucking patio

<>

finally I get my coffee

two sips and I‘m fine

my what a sweet child

a cry like that is sure sign 

of a future in opera

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee & donuts – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Summer in The Bush Bush

Welcome to a mp3 collection of dance bliss starting with Musique’s 1978 lp – Keep on Jumpin’ is the music of my first summer in Toronto. The lp itself is a disco masterpiece – a suite of songs that flow effortless into each other with amazing production values. Push Push with its cheeky engineering with ‘suck me fuck me’ almost buried in the mix. The radio release edited the naughty bits out. I have the  re-release which includes the radio edit version plus other versions of the tracks. This was one original lp that didn’t have filler.

Another killer lps of the era is the soundtrack from Thank God It’s Friday – a double lps (then) that stands up to the other killer soundtrack of the era Saturday Night Fever. The movie is essentially American Graffiti set in a disco. The soundtrack & the movie features Donna Summer, Cameo, The Commodores etc. It features the classic ‘Last Dance’ which won, of all things, the Oscar for best song. Like Fever this a movie set in a disco with zero gay presence on the dance floor.

Another inescapable dance floor hit at that time was Toni Basil’s Mickey: Word of Mouth. Toni is a living legend in the dance world with a career than continues today. She recorded two lps in her brief foray into pop music. Energetic & nicely produced but she was more focused on her career as a choreographer. I was happy to see her turn up both as a judge & a choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance. 

Austrian pop star Falco had a string of dance floor hits through the 80’s & 90’s starting with Rock Me Amadeus. Here I have his Greatest Hits. Wiki says he remains be best selling Austrian pop star of ‘all-time’ – though I think Mozart outsold him 🙂 Another career ended too early thanks to booze & drugs.

Finally rounding out this mp3 cd compilation is something more contemporary – LMFAO: Party Rock whose dance moves owe everything to Toni Basil, whose cheeky lyrics – I am not a whore – weren’t censored. Like Falco a smart mix of disco & rap – the Commodores funky, danceable with wild costumes. A band that merged old school with an edgy modern sensibility. Great fun.

Everybody ready for that summer love?

Voodoo Secrets 

2

I know, too, that I was ashamed to be such a cry-baby. My Dad encouraged me to stand my ground with them. I chose to avoid them as much as possible. I would spend hours in my room with the radio on to hear my favorite songs by the Dave Clarke Five, The Monkees. Listening to them while I read myself into another world where brothers fought spies.

The fateful day of the hex was near the end of summer, a few weeks before school started. It was one of those golden days you saw in commercials. Hazy with sun. I was in my bedroom after lunch & I wanted to go outside to do something in our yard when Donald & a couple of his gang raced across form his place & fell wrestling onto our lawn. I watched them from my window.

They where laughing & throwing each over. Horsing around in that rough & tumble way I never could seem to get used to. One them pulled out a pocket knife & they began to play the Knife Game. You & your opponent stood toe to toe, took turns tossing the knife into the ground to either side. One foot had to reach where the knife stuck. The first to fall lost.

Playing with knives, smoking, low-life no-goods, hoodlums. That’s what they were. They did things I might have liked to do but out of fear didn’t do. Fear makes many of us virtuous.

I tried to read my Tom Swift Jr. book but they made so much noise I couldn’t see the words on the page. By then I had learned just what a ‘fruit’ was but didn’t comprehend what it meant for me to be one. I began to cry. Why not? I was a cry-baby. I wanted to get through that hazy barrier of sun & be one of those rough boys.

When my dad came home I told on them.

“Donald & his gang were in our yard today.” I tattled edging my words with incriminations.

“What did you do?” He asked.

“They were playing with knives.” I went on. “They had smokes too. I saw them in their pockets.”

“And what did you do all day?” He asked. “Besides spy on them & sit around on your ass all day.”

“I …” At that instant I saw he would have preferred Donald to be his son, “At least I don’t smoke.” I had to deflect him, get him as angry with Donald as I was.

He looked at me expressionless & then went to change out of his work clothes.

That night I cast the spell. I had seen some Saturday afternoon movie in which the Three Stooges cast a spell by sticking pins into photos of each other. So I got this photo of Donald. Now I remember, it was one of a bunch my mother had taken of the kids in the neighbourhood. I got long pins from her sewing basket. I pushed them through his ears & eyes while muttering something like ‘Feel the black venom of my poisonous revenge you asshole.’

I hid the picture in the tin box I used to keep my one Boy Scout badge – for Efficiency. I hid the box between the mattresses on my bed.

Over the next week I watched Donald to see what would happen. Nothing ever happened. Because I cursed him I didn’t feel as afraid of him. He & his gang got tired of hounding me. I think they discovered girls were more fun.

So I’m looking at this pinned up photo & realize that my anger toward him then had gone within weeks. I survived my teens. I guess the secret of voodoo is that we survive.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees. Thanks paypal.me/TOpoet