Winter’s No Ball

Philip Cairns put together an eclectic group of wild-card performers for the poetry salon at the urban gallery, as part of Brenda Clews’ exhibition. As hard as it was to compete with the amazing art on the walls, the line up did the best it could. Luckily we had a packed house to egg us on.


Philip kicked things off with Bed Bug Blues: ‘I’ve fallen into a Cronenburg movie.’ Next up was Brock Hessel with a fun, ironic set of sharply-honed queer social context pieces. Following him David Bateman, read from his Palindrome chapbook. I too like tanned men in white bathing suits. Then Lizzie Violet with Thirteen Nails In The Coffin – ‘Tomorrow is the day I die.’ The first set concluded with a compelling modern dance by wheel-chair dancer Frank Hull – he is more agile and emotional than many of us without wheels. With his effortlessly, evocotive movement his wheelchair was an extension of his body not merely a way to move.


Second set opened with DM Moore, her deeply emotional pieces reached us all: ‘Drunk myself to sleep, or something like it.’  She was followed by me,, with a set of all new pieces that ranged from the paradox of identity to in-your-pants raunch that got laughs & also touched a few. Next up was Alec Butler with hot sex in a snowbank with Pussy Boy. Then Vanessa McGowan with a set of her raw and emotionally complex pieces ‘it took us thirty-five years to learn forgiveness.’ The evening wrapped with Allen Shugar with sweet song of yearning ‘take the sky, fly away, there’s nothing to hold me here.’


We were all grateful for Brenda for the salon opportunity and to perform against backdrop of her eye-catching & pleasing poem paintings. The exhibit is up till March 1 – so get down to the urban gallery, 400 Queen E., Toronto to enjoy it.


here’s one of the new pieces I did at the Snow Ball


you aren’t you

she shouted pointing at me

I don’t know who you are 

you aren’t you

he’s you

she went on

pointing to a heavy set black man

who smiled and waved at me


great, I thought,

I’ll finally know what it feels

like to have a thick black cock


how long did you think 

you could get away with it

she stepped closer

pretending to be yourself

some one you clearly are not


thanks, I finally got a word in edge wise,

now that I can stop being me

I can be who I really am


that’s not how it works

she glared at me

you can’t just become anyone else

because you aren’t you


what about me

the black guy came over

to shake my hand

pleased to meet me


he’s not you

she pushed us apart

neither of you are each other either

you are both not

who you are

can’t you get it through your heads

she was nearly screaming


but I’ve always wanted to a white dude

the black guy said

if I’m him

I’m not this big black guy anymore


no no no the woman was scornful

it’s not that simple

stop thinking you are who you think you are

because you aren’t you

he’s you

identity is in the eye of the beholder

don’t you get it 

she was exasperated

as if we were children

how can I make it any simpler

you can’t change what you are


well, I tried to calm her,

I’m not you, for starters

are you you


of course I am she snapped

but trust me I know you aren’t you

he is you

and don’t you forget it


okay okay I get the picture

I tried to calm her down

it felt good not to be me

to let go of all that identity crap

I was finally free

I looked at the self

I was just introduced to

let’s get out of here

I said

it’s time I learned how to 

play with myself

meurbanon stage for winter snow ball

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