The Soft Slip of Hot-Sauced Flesh

It was with anticipation & gratitude that I went to the Supermarket Grill to co-feature at the March – World Poetry Day edition of Hot-Sauced Words. I arrived at the grill with time to have a meal – excellent mango salad & a great burger. I glanced over my set – made some mental edits – with the Kindle it’s impossible to make actual edits. I was ready.

After greeting the warm, receptive audience host James Dewar set the poetry challenge for the night – a poem about the weather from the weatherman’s point of view. The show started with several strong open-stagers. Here’s a smattering of lines: silence as passing, the silence of keeping your mouth shut for once, text message silence, sounds like gunshots under the ground, bundled like ghosts, a wafer of desire dissolves, attention subway passengers there is a delay at Royal York – the operator has forgotten how to drive a subway, of the strangers one or two may be insane, an odourless glass office sits in it’s place, pale blue coat, pretty girls are often seen but seldom found. (this line gave me chills), I am the things thrown away, I’ll cover you with death, I’ll drain you when I’m good & ready, I’ve killed enough for one night, contented murmur of Friday evening diners, standing all the home with heavy bags, Hank who stank, murdered the piano musically to pieces, shivering from sun poisoning.

After a break, in which I sold enough chapbooks to cover the cost of supper – I was first up. I like starting with Almost Dead – it gives me a real emotional text to get my performance juice flowing, hits the audience with, what I hope is, a sharp social punch. Each piece worked well, for me, I could feel reactions to my endings. Chalk & Hard On got the expected laughs. Breaking in Grief is a bitter sweet emotional tone to end a set on – emotive in a way none of the other pieces try to be. I did what I call my ‘stand and deliver set’ – little talk about the pieces with just a dash of ‘in your pants raunch.’

After another break Brenda Crews took the stage. She is a dance & deliver performer – costume changes, wigs, a Martha Grahamesque piece – she was the opposite of me. The audience sure gots its money’s worth. Some lines: blanket of black feathers, she held the tide line in her hands, crazy old woman at the edge of time, she who turns life into art with her gaze, sunset spilling out of her eyes, seeking a freedom that is terrifying, the way we enslave ourselves, serpents of protection or do I hallucinate, the soft slip of flesh etched in stone, written in the night blindly.

This was followed by the weather writing challenge: who can say where the tornado’s toe will touch down, what was I thinking – I was think about the money, dark ruminations until spring, it was very cloudy outside the day we started to over throw the government, today we are in for a real shit storm. The winner was Zak with the amazing stach.

It was a great night. Heather Babcock and I created a glamour zone at our table. Brenda Clews was kind enough to video my set, which is probably on Facebook by now. It’s always good to have real proof one actually performed. Chap books were sold, even some paypal orders the next day. My next performance: if the prevailing pattern continues it’ll be another 3 years before any series will come knocking.

the video: http://wp.me/p1RtxU-2hm

Breaking In Grief

he talks of wearing

his dead son’s sneakers

bought a month before the son’s

step off into oblivion

new shoes a sign of hope

of a future planned for

not of a life too soon to be ended

they found the sneakers

still in their box

in the cupboard

worn once to try them on

designer expensive

too nice to toss or donate

so he’ll wear them

it gives me the creeps

practicality in the face of catastrophe

 

I visited home

the summer after my dad died

his death was sudden

it was the body that gave out

he didn’t go out of his way

to find that oblivion

I go through his clothes

to help my sister winnow out

throw out donate

to share some memories

I end up keeping a couple of jackets

that actually fit me

 

the shirt and pants

were easy to part with

most of the shoes too

my Dad was all business

when it came to shoes

his idea of comfort wear was

hard onyx red oxfords

there was a new onyx pair

only worn to try them on

they sort of fit me

very stiff and inflexible

never being broken in

expensive

I take them

 

I wear them a few times

then drop them in a clothing box

they don’t fit

right size but wrong shape

maybe that’s why my Dad never

wore them either

 

the life my Dad hoped I would fit into

was also the right size

but the wrong shape

I was unwilling to do the work

that would break me in

so it would be a comfortable fit

 

I meet my friend one day

he’s sporting wildly neon runners

these were his son’s

a year after the suicide

he wears them

knowing he’ll never leave that grief behind

but ready

to walk forward with it

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

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