DNA Traces

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks. Who knew the simple life could be so complex. This another of the 92 pācittiyas.

DNA Traces

did he live here

there

he tended gardens

the cadaver dogs

are nosing the rose bushes

the lilacs

he planted here

there

 

each was his place

refuge or hideaway

haven or grave

the men who know

will only talk

if their bones are found

traces of their dna

say

we were here

there

 

we now live in a digital world

symbols

of the discarded

the disappeared

never to be reported

not missed until

their remains were found

men with hidden sexuality

now with hidden bones

senses of self

some homeless 

before they were lifeless 

 

cadaver dogs are on the trail

while some families still deny

their complicity

while a culture

denies its complicity

shaming sexuality into hiding 

long before those bones

were stripped of flesh

before being hidden 

perhaps

never to be found here

there

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Our Song

Our Song

It was a mistake 

to look at his music collection

I just prayed 

that none of it would be used

as background music 

tastes I don’t share

don’t care to share 

his love of musicians

of song writers

I can not take seriously

safe banal tepid stuff

so middle-of-the-road

I’d want to hit the next telephone pole

rather than listen to this music

 

it came as a bit of a surprise

as we were compatible 

in so many other ways 

he asked me what I thought

was there something I’d like to hear

this is his favourite

am I familiar with it

and I said yes but let’s not bother

we don’t need distractions

which he agreed was a wise choice

 

I didn’t offer any opinion

didn’t denigrate his taste

or rather the lack thereof

I wasn’t there for music appreciation 

I didn’t intend to let anything

disturb

distract

from the momentum of the opportunity

Anyone who follows my blog knows my love of music. Check out my Monday posts where I’ve been discussing my music collection – pop, classical, jazz & beyond. I like so much music one might conclude I have no discernment. As this piece reveals I do have preferences that can affect my emotional response to people, places & opportunity.

 

This piece is based on actual experiences. More than once I have glanced as someone’s wall of cds & lost my interest in them – you know industrial grind is good for 3 minutes, thank you. Ditto death metal. Though I was as surprised to meet gay men into those genres, I wasn’t about to invite that as mood music for making out. When I tell someone I like jazz and they offer me Kenny G I know it’s time to move on.

 

 

I have not pursued some non-sexual friendships based on music taste as well. I believe that music reflects something about the person & what some music reflects to me a red flag. If I’m not into it I’m not going to subject myself to it just to get along.

 

 

But I’m not a music taste educator either, if you want education read about what I enjoy my Monday blogs. My primary purpose in most situations in to be present & if it is sexual, to participate & if the music is too loud, or distracting I’ll opt for silence. I have walked in & out of restaurants if the music isn’t what I want to listen to while I’m eating. If the music isn’t something I want to listen to while being eaten I’ll ask for it to be changed without saying turn off that fucking awful music. 

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Coal Dusters – Chapter IV

Chapter IV

Lillian McTavish Makes Breakfast

Even though the chill of spring was over Lillian shivered under the heavy woollen cover. It wasn’t even a blanket as far as she was concerned. It kept the heat in but she was cold. The sheet between her and the wool wasn’t thick enough to keep the coarse fibre from chafing her feet.  The cover was the same as everything in her uncle’s house. Coarse. Homemade. She tried to picture the parishioner who had made this and brought it as gift to her uncle. It was meant to be a rug. Under it she tugged her mother’s shawl tighter around her shoulders. The shawl smelled of comfort, of the life she had left behind to come here to this clumsy backwater coal mining town.

Lillian pushed the stiff cover off her and swung her feet to the floor. They recoiled from the cold. She should have left the rug where it was but pulling it over her in the night was the only way she could think of to keep warm. Her uncle had offered one of the quilts but she had refused. The tattered rag-patterned comforters looked even more homemade than the rug.

Lillian put on her slippers and wrapped her dressing gown around her. The dark blue silk was embroidered with small pink flowers along the hem with larger ones on the pockets and lapels. It was one of the few things her uncle had let her keep when she arrived. He believed her Boston clothes were too good, too impractical for someone living his house. He didn’t want anything to be a distraction for his parishioners.

“Such gaudy goods are a sign of a lack of faith. The Lord wants us plain when we stand before him not gussied up as peacocks.” He had said this as he went through her trunk shoving all her pretty clothes aside and picking the ones he deemed suitable. “The trunk be in the attic till you are fit to leave us. Your father thinks he’s made a man of himself but he never knew the meaning of decorum. I’m not surprised you arrived so ill-prepared.”

Her tears made him impatient with her. Now here she was dressing in rough, colourless, shapeless pinafores, coarse linen shifts that gave her no shape. She wondered if he was more concerned with her being a temptation to him than a lure of Satan to his parishioners.

Her room didn’t have a mirror. She hadn’t seen her face clearly since she arrived three months ago. There were no mirrors in the priest’s house and certainly none in the small church.

She splashed cold water on her face. Her hands were red and chafed from the housework she was now responsible for. Learning things here that her uncle said her father and mother had failed to teach her. How to be a woman who could serve others, not a wonton who only served her own pleasures.

She sat at her dressing table to brush her hair. More than her clothes, she missed the lotions and creams she could use to keep her hands, soft, to keep her hair radiant. All she had been allowed some Castile rose soap. She stared at the space on the wall where a mirror had once been. She knew that by the discoloured, and water-mottled rose wallpaper around a clean rectangle of red roses.

She tugged the brush through her hair trying to be gentle with the knots that always crept into it overnight. She resisted the temptation to pull harder, not wanting to break it off in clumps. She longed for a long, hot bath but that wasn’t possible in this house. Too much work to heat enough water for a bath. 

One snag pulled painfully at her scalp. She began to cry. This was unbearable. All she had wanted to do was get married. At twenty-two it was time for her to get married yet her father was always on the guard for young men who wanted his money, wanted her for his money. At the same time her mother was wary of men who might not respect her as a woman. Men who would corrupt her with their unwholesome demands.

When she had met David Henderson two summers ago, she hoped she had found someone to please them both. Older than her by five years, David came from an equally prosperous family. He was modest. The two of them had signed temperance cards. They had never been together unchaperoned expect when they walked to church together.

Yet when he asked her father for her hand in marriage her father had said no. He forbade her to ever see that ‘Henderson man’ again. When she pressed him for an explanation her father told her she was only to obey. At church the next week she was told that David had been sent to England by his family. His family also claimed this would be an unwise match. She later learned the the problem was that David’s mother was Jewish. 

That was when James Dunham came into her life. A dashing and very rich man in his thirties who charmed both her mother and father. James had no family in Boston and was there to establish himself in banking. A man her parents trusted and whom she was allowed to be alone with to go to the theatre.

Only he didn’t take her to the theatre every time. He would make a great show of it to her parents and then whisk her back to his rooms at the Lennox Hotel. There they would dine in private. He was eager to show her what ‘unwholesome demands’ meant on two occasions. On the second her father arrived at the door unannounced. The hotel manager thought it wise to alert her father as to what was happening.

Cape Breton was where she had come to from the bright promise of Boston. Her father was about to become a senator and here she was exiled in shame is this dirty coal-mining slag heap of a village. At least she didn’t end up in a home for wayward girls. Even though she had miscarried she was deemed unfit to be seen as member of the family in Boston society.

Her father’s brother, Uncle Pat, whom she was now to refer to as Father Patrick, had agreed to take her in. He needed a housekeep, as his letter proposed. Housekeep! All she had here was an occasional kitchen helper. She was sorry she hadn’t died when she lost the baby.

“Lillian. Lillian are you about.”

“Yes Uncle Pat. I will be down momentarily.” She gave up with her hair. Without a mirror or the proper pomades there was no point in trying maintain it. 

She shrugged her smock on over her head and tied a dark blue rag around her hair to keep it off her face.

In the kitchen she was relieved to see that her uncle had cut wood for her. Most mornings he left that work to her. He had even started a fire in the stove. He sat at the small pine table in the one chair in the room.

“Thank you Father Pat for getting the fire going.” She had learned quickly that her uncle expected gratitude for every thing he did around the house.

“It is my pleasure to be of service.”

She pumped water into the kettle and set it on the stove. 

“Tea will be ready shortly.” she told him. “Would you prefer the Ceylon or the English?”

“The Ceylon I think. Yes, it’s definitely a morning for the Ceylon.”

Lillian put the iron skillet on the stove and greased it lightly. It was quickly hot enough for the one egg and one piece of bacon that her uncle ate every morning with one thick piece of bread. She was to prepare his before she could eat anything. She wasn’t allow the bacon. 

Her uncle had come to Cape Breton several years ago after two years in a monastery. There he enjoyed an austere life of silence free of concern about, what he now called, objects. Yet he found the solitude taxing and decided that he was more suited to being of service with humanity in a more direct way.

The kettle whistled and she poured the water into the tea pot. She was allowed to have a cup of tea with him but was to remain stranding. He claimed eating in the morning together would be unseemly. Too similar to what properly married Catholics would do.

Lillian crossed herself at the time as he did before he said grace.

“Lord for the food we are about receive I humbly thank you. We also thank you for keeping Pope Pius in good health. Amen.”

Lillian said the amen with him. She served him his breakfast.

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glueleg vs Gnarls

glueleg is a Canadian band you might not expect me to enjoy as much as I do. I have as stand-alones: Heroic Doses, Clodhopper. A now defunct Toronto band they had a hard-edged progressive, art-rock sound – think punk Blood Sweat & Tears! That’s right or even Chicago thanks to a section of sax, trumpet along with their distinctive grunge sound. Reminiscent of Kind Crimson – they even do a cover version of Red.

 

I saw a video on MuchMusic – remember when that as a video channel? The horn sound held my attention – the rhythm  was a bit clunky in a funky boozy jazz way. The lyrics were a bit surreal but romantic in the hetero angsty way. A rare Canadian art-rock band that worked well without feeling contrived or bored with it all. 

 

Next is Gnarls Barkley. I have St. Elsewhere, the odd couple as stand-alones. Yes there is a sprinkle of ‘modern’ pop in the my collection 🙂 These guys produced great summer hits that are an updated Marvin Gaye – r’n’b, urban trip-hop that is not overly challenging. I’d say it is perfect radio music but who listens to the radio anymore? I guess it’s perfect Spotify music (I don’t have Spotify).

 

Not as overtly sexual as say LMFAO but with the same pop smarts. Beautifully engineered the band is a delight to hear on headphones. Danceable, romanic, humorous, hetero music that is safe for the whole family. It’s good to know that there is urban music that isn’t all anger & angst. Crazy, eh?

Thought 

The phone hadn’t rang all night. Dave kept hearing it though, over the sound of the dishwasher, while he vacuumed but it didn’t ring. Not once.

If his sister thought he was going to be a hotel at a moment’s notice she had another thing coming. This place was barely large enough for him, let alone her and Sally.

The phone didn’t ring. He picked it up several times times to call her but stopped. Calling would  only alert her mistake, as she called Matt, the guy she had married.

He could still see that wedding photo taken at the reception. She and Matt by a painting. He figured they weren’t aware of that painting. But he couldn’t miss the fact that it was a sailing ship going down in a storm with the face of Christ in the clouds offering salvation. An omen.

Only he was no salvation for anyone. No, she’d have to make other arraignments. Besides that letter was postmarked almost a week ago. If they were going to arrive they would have been there by now. 

The phone hadn’t rung. A good omen.

He wasn’t going to lose sleep over this. Couldn’t. Too much to do at the denim mine tomorrow. New shipments to sort. Make more sales. His real life. The life that give him purpose, accomplishment.

The vacuuming done he put the Hoover in its corner of the front closet. Closets in apartments were just too small. No storage space for much of anything. If he bought anything new he had to get rid of something else to make space for it. Kept life simple and compact.

Yes that was good. No room for anything more. 

No room for dolls, sister’s suitcases. She would bring the dog too. Was he allowed a dog in this building? Yes he’d seen some on the elevator. Stoop and scoop. Oh no, not him. Something to teach Sally to do.

It was nearing midnight. Everything was in order once again. Ready for the wave of his morning departure to scatter things here and there so that when he returned from work he had something to do, something to look forward to. Yes it felt good to make things neat and tidy. Kept them in their place.

The phone didn’t ring all night.

Dave drifted off to sleep quickly. Another dreamless night

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Saying Too Many Names

At the end of 2017 there was no proof of a Toronto serial killer – the lgbtq community was merely being theatrical – it was just a bunch of swishy, disgruntled attention seekers who didn’t feel getting the right to marriage was enough to keep their fucking mouths shut. They weren’t professionals whose duty it was to protect the public. 

Four months later we have an alleged serial killer with, so far, eight murder charges against him. Apparently these guys start young so the case has been extended back to the 70’s! The disgruntled, attention seeking police are now even more disgruntled at being denied the opportunity to march in the Pride Parade. So this is how we show our gratitude for all they do for the community. I just hope evidence doesn’t end up ‘compromised’ as the case advances. That sort of mishandling never happens

As I see the photos and information about these men, who are all dead (& that is incontestable) I am sadden to see that some of them had never been reported missing in the first place. Such as Kanagaratnam who was probably murdered in 2015. Did families figure ‘oh he’s gone to work in Calgary & will get in touch when he is successful enough?’ Were the families so fearful of the police thanks to their experiences in their troubled home countries? Or where they like Dean Lisowick, men no one really cared what happened to? 

 

These are the identified victims (so far) Selim Esen, 44,; Abdulbasir Faizi, 44; Majeed Kayhan, 58; Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37;  Andrew Kinsman, 49; Dean Lisowick, 47; Soroush Mahmudi, 50; Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40. I’ll repeat their names. His will probably never be forgotten so there’s no need for me to mention it.

La Mer

What I miss most about the sea

is the sound of waves

                              Not

The waves themselves

With their deeply melodic cold

Or their careless foam caps

But their thunder

as they blast the kelpy rocks

   Lightning in a hail of night

 

What I miss most about the night

is the black of waves

                             Not

The dark itself

With its ungiving distance

Or its depth of stars

But its moon

As it unfurls unwilling waves

   Flags in triumphant passage

 

What I miss most about the passage

Is the motion of waves

                                Not

The heave itself

With its unbreathing breath

Or its reflections of the moon

But its tongue

As it rolls pebbles into sand

   Raindrops calming the sea with kisses

 

What I miss most about kisses

Is the waves of sleep

                             Not

The sleep itself

With its endless silver bed

Or its too soon morning yawn

But its caress

As it nudges my fathomless ache

Sirenes tugging me to the sea of you

What I miss most about the sea

Is you

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Isolation

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks. Who knew the simple life could be so complex. This another of the 92 pācittiyas.

Isolation

we’re doing this

for your own good

think of this cell

as your special place

a safe haven

from everyone around you

where no one is around you

no one to judge

mock

manipulate you

 

a place where you can be

yourself

regardless of how difficult

others will find that self

they won’t have to learn

how to get along with you

nor will you have to compromise

in any way to fit in

 

isolation

will make everyone happy

comfortable

because being comfortable

is better than accepting change

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Hip To Be Them

 

Hip To Be Them

because of my entitlement

pronouns are irrelevant

but to some 

every he his him

in a text is an attack

on their identity

they feel discounted distanced

 

I could think

don’t be such sensitive

cry babies

who feel every thing in life

that doesn’t kowtow to your comfort

is an attack on your sense of self

but I accept this sense

of being made invisible

being treated as a non-person

not included 

not seeing yourself represented

in a meaningful respectful way

 

I grew up as a queer boy

who never saw otherness of any kind

represented except in a sneering way

that equated gay with feminine

setting the standard

that anything not masculine 

was not valued

 

if it wasn’t represented 

it didn’t exist

or merely wasn’t worth representing

I began to realize

that mens’ fragile masculinity

wouldn’t allow anything

to reflect on that fragile masculinity

so buddy movies always had the

culturally acceptable romance subplot

so no one could sense any homoerotic 

shenanigans were possible

between the men

 

pronouns have become relevant

definition creates awareness & possibly change

but because it’s irrelevant to me 

what pronouns anyone chooses

that doesn’t keep me from respecting

its relevance to you

I sometimes forget who has opted to be a them. I find it awkward to do a review of a poetry reading when there are assorted pronouns to deal with which them is them referring to? I try to stick to names as much possible particularly when it isn’t clear who is a they from the outset. At the Playground Conference people were given stickers to chose from – he, she, they, or ask me. I chose the ask me, but no one did. At my age one is no longer considered sexually viable & are rendered invisible – so pronouns are my irrelevant.

 

Gendered neutral language is still so tentative that using it is a political statement. I wonder if sometimes people are looking to be argumentative rather than self-defining – a sense that use of pronouns covers the itch to get into a intellectual slap fight. If one chooses to use the pronoun that goes with their cisgender, regardless of how supportive they are, they become the enemy for not shedding culturally imposed grammar.

I like the way that gender roles are being challenged by something as simple as specifying a pronoun. The reactions to this have mainly been cisgendered heterosexual men who are intrenched in their right to decide just how you are to demonstrate your gender – i.e. all gay men are limp wristed feminine punch lines to jokes. Any challenge to their entitlement turns them into self-righteous victims of the very people they want to victimize.

Fragile masculinity forces these men to say things like ‘no homo’ rather than express some sort of affection towards another men. They respect a bully and elect proudly womanizing presidents. Imagine if that president wanted to be called they – I half expect him to start using the royal we. Personally I have chosen “it” or “that” for use in my bio, or, when given the opportunity, at conferences or readings.

   

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Coal Dusters Chapter III

Chapter III

Birk Teaches Clancy Sinclair A Lesson

When he was back in his spot Birk chopped faster, sent larger chunks of coal down to Clancy. He didn’t worry about making them smaller as he had for the first load. Let Clancy break ‘em. Call him a monkey would he. Time to show that soft arse how hard mine work was.

When he knew there was enough for another load he scrabbled back to Clancy. 

“Gettin ‘re done b’y.” He peered at the scree. “Not bad.”

He pounded hard with the head of his pick to reduce the larger chunks. The smaller the pieces the more the cart hold. The more they shipped up the more they would get paid.

After the third load Birk got his lunch pail from the niche by one of the support staving. He hunched with his back against the wall and opened it up. Clancy leaned gingerly against the wall, his legs stretched out as far as he could in the space they had. He rubbed at his back.

“Being big’s not always good, eh?” Birk said. “Some never gets to stand up straight after a a few months down here. You’ll see’em hunched wherever they go in or out of the mine.” He took a swallow of his tea. Didn’t taste right without a bit of sugar. He rinsed his mouth with it and spat it out. Cleaning his mouth of coal dust as best as he could before biting into his lunch. Bread with some grease drippings spread on it. Today he had a thin piece of the wedding cake. His sisters had already picked the icing off it. The bit of sweetness left almost cut through the taste of the coal in his mouth. The cake was as tasteless as the bread. He wondered if he could dissolve it his tea to sweeten that some.

“Done?” he shut his pail.

“Yep.”

“Back to it then b’y.”

“Yep.”

“That all ya got ta say?”

“Not much of a talker.”

“Couldn’t shut Manny. Talk the head off a rat given the chance.”

“Yeh, well, its bad enough t’work with one let alone wanna to talk to one while I’m eatin’.”

Birk twisted around. 

“I’m a rat, eh? Monkey ‘s bad enough, ya snotty main lander.” He swung at Clancy and slipped on the uneven ground at the same time.

Clancy was on top of him, batting at Birk’s ribs then ears. 

“You half-size rat giving me orders all day. Think l’m going to put wid that.”

Birk got one knee into Clancy’s stomach and pushed him off. The tunnel wasn’t high or wide enough for either of them to stand and take punches. They wrestled each other to his knees. Head butting when possible.

Birk could taste blood in his mouth.

“Yer a tough guy for a rat you know.” Clancy had his forearm under Birk’s chin. “Smell worse than one, too.”

Gasping, Birk hit Clancy as hard as he could in the side.

“Christ, breakin m’ribs.” he rolled off.

“Ya stay there for now laddie.” Birk leaned against the wall. “I got work to do. This way yer not underfoot.”

Birk went back the face he was working on. Each blow of his pick axe was a blow into the grinning face of Clancy. No one pushed him around. At eighteen he’d been in the mine for five years now. He knew what he was doing and how not to take anything from anyone. If you took it yer were on the losing side. 

He could hear Clancy raking away the scree. The need to prove he was the top man here was as important as making sure they got enough coal loaded.

They worked the rest of the shift without speaking. Eating their supper in separate nooks in the shaft.

It was night when they came to the surface with the rest of their level’s day shift. Birk headed straight to the wash up room after he hung his work clothes on their hook and pulled them up to the ceiling.

This was when he moved as fast as he could. The first in got the cleanest water. He wasn’t sure where the blood in the wash bowl was from, then he recalled the dust up with Clancy. Showed him this little guy can’t be dealt with that way. 

He took a straight razor out of his lunch pail, lathered his face as best he could and began to shave under his chin. He glanced up at Clancy who was opposite him splashing water onto himself. He was trying to wash the grime out of his red hair.

“Yer hair will be black fer’ver m’son.” He stopped shaving a moment.

“Only those don’t know how to wash proper have that problem.” Clancy replied.

Birk finished his shave, rinsed his face off. The skin was always fresh to the touch when he’d done that. He ran his hand long to make sure he got most of his whiskers. Without a mirror he did as best he could. At least he missed a different spot each time.

“Get a move on,” one of the waiting miners shouted. “Some of us got dust to wash outta our arse hair too, you know.”

The miners laughed.

Birk dried himself quickly and got back into into his overalls and shirt. He could smell the clean of the shirt. His body ached for that big bed. Ah, yes, that almost made the day bearable now that he had that all to himself. Something to look forward too. No snoring Geo to deal with ever again.

“Same time tomorrow, soft arse.” Birk gave Clancy one last shove. “Keep pissin’ on them hands too or ya won’t last the week.”

Jake was at the exit gate waiting for him. Birk couldn’t wait to to tell him about the new guy he was breaking in. 

“Main landers always think they know it all.” Jake said.

“Thanks to the union we have ‘ta let ‘em work then act as if we’re the ones doing them a favour.”

When he got home he tugged off his work boots and socks. The cool air was always good on his bare feet. He tossed the socks and his face rag into a bucket and poured water over them. He’d scrub them out in the backyard later.

Blackie was home sitting at the kitchen table.

“Gotta another new guy. Why do I always get’ em. A big mouth main lander. Manny got that sweet job in the train yard. When’s the union gonna do something for me beside taking dues. I shoudda had that spot, you know. That Red Mac never considered me much.”

“My fault b’y.” Blackie nodded his head. “Should a been a mick. Not yer fault he takes his direction from the priest. Manny ‘s the priest’s pet. You know that. Probably told Red Mac the devil would get him if he didn’t do right by Manny.”

“What about right by me. I’s been there longer ‘n him, too. But I showed that new guy his place fast enough.”

“Whose his father?” Blackie asked.

“He’s outta Stellarton.”

“His Da’s probably a train man then. Wonder why he ended here and not the trains. Good money in that.”

His mother came in from the backyard with some carrots from their garden.

“Jus look at these.” She held up a some stunted roots. “Soil here’s so bad nothing grows. I tries every year and it’s the same.”

Maddy followed her in with some daisies.

“Thank you little miss.” Birk reached for them.

“They’s for Geo.” she hid them behind her back.

“I should a guessed. How long for we eat?”
“When they get here. Sheila bringing a fish stew she made to thank me for the cake I baked.” His mother wiped at the table.

“I’ll be above.” Birk went to the stairs. “How’s Sal?”
“Same. Sat up for a spell to look out the window. Weather’ll be fine soon to take her outside for awhile. Sunshine’ll fix her up fast.”

Birk went up to his room. Before he went in he looked in on Sal. She was propped up with a couple of pillows stroking the hair of a rag doll his mother had made for her.

“How’s my sweet sister today.” He said gently as he sat on the end of the bed.

“Don’t” Sal flushed in alarm. “Don’t get that dirt on dolly.”

“I … ” Birk stood and walked out of the room. “T’ think I shaved special for you. That’s all the thanks I get, eh?”

He flopped on the bed and stared at the ceiling. At least his room didn’t want to be rid of him the way his sisters did, or his new workmate did. It was a change to not have to put up with Geo hounding about the smell of his feet, as if Geo’s feet smelled of roses. Good luck to Sheila getting Geo to clean up better.

He drifted off to sleep to be wakened by loud laugher from below. His brother had arrived with his new wife. Same old Sheila but new all the same. He went down to the kitchen. 

Someone with his back to Birk was talking to Blackie. The someone turned around. It was Clancy.

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Jolivet Chinese

Andre Jolivet is an amazing mid-20th-century genius whose music is at time as challenging as free jazz to get into (Heptade for trumpet and 6 percussionists), soothingly accessible (Incantations for solo flute) or out of this world (Concerto for Ondes Martenot). It was my love of sci/fi that brought Jolivet into my collection. The Ondes Martenot is the now cliche electronic warble used 50’s sci/fi movies. 

I was an avid Musical Heritage Society (MHS) member before I moved to Toronto. They offered a collection of Ondes Martenot that included Jolivet’s concerto. I loved it & bought from them another couple of lps. Fast forward to the more recent past when I felt it was time to up grade my lps to cd of his music to mp3. Low & behold iTunes offered a sweet box set that included more than I ever wanted but which I was delighted to have.

It includes his many concertos: Cello, harp, trumpet, flute, His music for flute is sublime, as his is writing for harp. He bridges romantic, dissonant, jazz textures and modern with work that is accessible even when it is sonically challenging it is always rewarding. 

One of Jolivet’s influences is clearly Chinese music so I opened this mp3 collection with Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra that does work like Nessun Dorma as well traditional fare like My Heart Is As Vast as the Sea. I close with with Shanghai Virtuosi & Xiaogu Zhu: China Beautiful Lady Hanfei – it sticks to traditional pieces such as the tile work & Flower Drum Dance of Fengyang. It’s always a delight to widen my musical world view. Try it you might like the view beyond Beethoven.

Sister

David stepped off the elevator. The hall to his apartment seemed endless, like a carpeted tunnel, a tube that he slid along to his door. 

He switched the letters he carried to his door opening hand. Letters! He rarely got real mail and was desperate to read the one from his sister but the elevator was full. 

Of the several things one didn’t do in crowded elevators opening mail was near the top.

He sat on his sofa and tore the envelope open.

‘Hi Dave:

It has been some time since I dropped you a line. I wish I had better news for you but I don’t. If Greg doesn’t smarten up I’ll be leaving him. I know Sal will be unhappy but we can’t stay here & live like this any longer.’

David laid the letter down. He could write the rest of it without reading it. The letter was dated nearly two weeks before the post mark so the situation wasn’t as dire as Nancy claimed. Plus she would have phoned.

He was hoping for news of his niece Sally. He scanned the rest but Sally’s name didn’t appear, only, in big letters, asshole several times. Such was married life. He was glad, in a way, that she had made that chose as it kept him from making the same one himself. She was duplicating their parents marriage.

TV didn’t look promising.  News was the same. Game shows changed people, clothes, lives and perceptions of reality. Ha! If only they could. Comedy that didn’t make him laugh, news was the same only with more cameras, news was the same, was the same.

Fortified by a real ski slope tragedy he went back to the letter but couldn’t take more than another sentence or two. He went to the last of it.

‘So if you could see it clear to let me us stay with you for a week or so I know I could pull things together.

Your sister Nancy.’

Stay here! With me! It would be a change but where would I put them. On the couch? When?

He read through the whole letter. This last paragraph looked like an add on, different ink.

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every Tuesday

June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked)
 capfireslam.org 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice cream in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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Pretty Pictures

On a recent Disability After Dark host Andrew Gurza has a conversation with Kayla Whaley about body image, disability & swallowing. Amongst the many things they talk about is how each has used their appearance as protection or as a way of hiding from opportunity – deciding that people will reject you because of your looks so you do it on their behalf by not giving them the chance.

Lookism runs rampant through our culture & regardless of how one tries to transcend it is inescapable. A friend of mine recently had a make-over to do some TV appearances and posted photos of it – wow! – people flooded the pics with super flattering comments about ‘prettiness’ ‘hotness’ that left me wondering – what did they think of my friend before? 

I don’t deny that I know the power of a good shirt thanks to What Not To Wear. I’ve never known how ‘flattered’ I should be when someone who has heard me perform meets me months  later & all they remember is my shirt. They don’t even remember my name. They don’t even wonder about my body image – would I want them to?

On the podcast Andrew & Kayla discuss the power of body image – how they strive to accept themselves with all their physicality in the face of what is considered cute, handsome or even presentable. They come from a history in which a disabled family member could be restricted to a single room in the house & would never appear in public. Things have changed but I know how the struggle for not only recognition but acceptance continues. There are some who say that they wish queers were back in the closet & out of public sight.

 

I like to imagine how they will feel when they see Andrew making out with some guy? Now, that’s a pretty picture.

Bed Songs

Light

I am the light that plays

across you at night

as you turn to drift into a deeper sleep

to dream of kisses so gentle

they won’t wake the dark

Intimacy

when I visit friends, strangers

I like to see where they sleep

an intimacy of knowledge

living rooms and kitchens only hint at

that bathrooms are mere prelude to

Fortune Teller

I read beds

like a fortune teller reads palms

mounds folds life lines

the placement of pillows

reveals more than revels to be

Pin

are the corners tight 

to pin dreams to sleepers

or untucked all the way round

to free the sleeper to dream

Snug

is the bed in the middle of the room

under a window 

or snug in a corner

as far from light as possible

Warm

is it still warm from you

 

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http://www.queerslam.com

April 03 – every Tuesday

June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked)
 capfireslam.org 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice cream in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet