The shocking, to many, blanket of snow that covered Toronto Thursday didn’t cool the enthusiasm of the audience for the Hot Dam show hosted by Robyn Sidhu at Buddies that night. The crowd was, as always, receptive & at times noisy in response to the performers.
random lines from the open stagers & slammers that started the show. banana marshmallows for The Man With X-Ray Eyes; the candy turned into glue bars; ran faster that nightmares; my mouth unbroken; why am I haunting him; I cycle through the motions; I miss you too much to do the dishes; queer as in – if I die in prison it was not a suicide, queer as in – everything is trying to erase me; my mother asks, why are doctors lying to her; don’t you think I was a good mom.
Feature Wes Ryan gave an amazing performance, at times it was like chatting over coffee with a good friend. The pieces were deeply personal, some dealt with trauma but without melodrama or self pity. The work of a survivor who accepts the cost of lessons. random lines: I watched those pigeons grow, they would run to the edge & stop, those times you made it through without intervention, memory lapses overlapping, I had addictions: powder cocaine, taking the blame; perverts protected by apathy; get nervous when I can’t see the eyes attached to the fingers, rest was a chore I did until I was ready to relapse.
As he performed he complained about the heat (such a porn trope – is it getting hot in here?) removing sports jacket, tie etc then for one of the final poems off with his outer garments to reveal a dress. “didn’t study dance but learned how to fall with accuracy, the thin line between fight & flight, crazy does not discriminate.”
After the break there was a fresh, fun, open stage of cold reads of random poems from random books of poetry on the stage. What a great way to expose the audience, & poets, to the work of other poets. From the final round: my mental health is a sitcom, only my anxiety & depression ever fucked me silly, he looks at me a little too long, my mind enters rooms well after my body does, my body is a magic trick like a disappearing home that should have been safe, love is the words to a song that has no translation.
Winners were declared, prizes given out & the show wrapped by 9:30. The next Toronto Hot Damn is January 23, 2020.
one of the scary pieces I read
The Haunting of Him
it is a parapsychological theory
I learned from ghost hunter shows
which says it is unfinished business
that keeps restless spirits on earth
but we had no unfinished business
so I don’t know why
I’m haunting him