‘the inner narrative of a vase’

The September 19 edition of the Art Bar hosted by Mike Lipsius went around the world in approximately 80 minutes. Barbara Pelman, visiting in Victoria BC – took us to Sweden, Italy & BC; Klara du Plessis, a South African expat, visiting from Montreal took us to her roots; while I visiting from who know where took the audience to Cape Breton, Japan & Queerville.


Barbara Pelman read a series of poems about bridges filled with evocative memory, colour & taste – Matisse rich with a tinge of Munch realism. ‘there is nothing you can take home in your melting hands’ ‘everything the same & not the same’ ‘blackberries summer in her mouth’ ‘unfolds the hours without lists’ ‘the blue doors still asleep’ ‘the morning opens slowly’ ‘reds browning blues blackening’ ‘if only you believed this was enough’ ‘or jump.’

Klara du Plessis started several short pieces with words locked like with stones & carefully placed for the right effect: Serrault precision with a hint of Monet. ‘to welcome the warm’ ‘like saying the skeleton is sexing the bone’ tangible but illegible’ ‘cling to acts of a future self’ ‘rain  redefining the meaning of rain’ ‘the guilt of imperfection weighs me down’ ‘a female five o’clock shadow’ ‘the inner narrative of a vase.’ Her long piece Waxing Lyrical was an unexpected foreshadowing of my set.

I started my Lichtenstein pop art set with Don’t Touch (My Hair), finished it with Arrg Godzilla. The ‘topical’ social commentary pieces didn’t go over as well as my nostalgic Waiting For The Boats (http://wp.me/p1RtxU-2rt) or the fun & funny Socks but I’m determined to be heard as more than just another funny gay guy with a great shirt. I sold a couple of chap books too, which is always nice.

It was also great to see several of the Renaissance Conspirators in the audience – fellow writers who have heard & seen me grow & change over the years.  The Free Times is a great spot for any series. Good sound quality, a cozy room & of course a great kitchen. I last appeared at the Art Bar in 2009 so get ready for my return there in 2025.


where did you get those socks

my mother had a pair of

argyle socks in her left hand

these aren’t yours

they certainly

don’t belong to your father


I didn’t want to tell her

I got them from a girl

in my class at school

we had swapped socks at recess

I had loved the way

these argyle socks looked

in her brightly polished penny loafers

she liked my ordinary red socks

that matched her tartan skirt

so we swapped


I saw them as socks

not as girls’ clothes

yet at that moment

I was afraid


to tell my mother

that I owned that pair of girls’ socks


I found them in your drawer

she said

looking for the mate to this one

she held up a crusty black sock

going through my drawers

was something she often did

to make sure I hadn’t

just stuck my dirty undies or socks

in there

not to have them

all over the floor


I found them

I finally blurted out

found them!

she exclaimed

you brought a dirty pair of socks

into my house

how did you know they didn’t have fleas

or something worse?


I washed them before I brought them home

I said


washed them where!


at school.


then you can take them back

to where you found them

and don’t let me ever catch you

bringing home dirty clothes

you find in the street



they’re nice socks I said


what do think

people will think

that we can’t afford to buy socks

I nodded

I guess you’re right


she was lucky

I didn’t bring the skirt home too

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Circles Within Circles

The past week I engaged in a couple of the social sides of Toronto’s poetry world. Monday I attended a TSP workshop lead by Ebony Stewart. Tuesday I was one of three features at the Art Bar show. Two very different groups of writers & performers. Although I felt quite comfortable in both it was also clear that I was an anomaly. I only have a place at these tables because I make myself take a place at these tables.

At one time I was the only out queer male in the poetry room – thankfully that has changed but the issues of gender, race & age haven’t really changed that much. One of the exercises at the workshop was circles within circles, with self in the middle circle, then each circle out one put names of people starting with the friend(s) one would go to for support in crisis, then working out.

This was challenging because thanks to AA I have many people I might easily go to for emotional support but they aren’t necessarily that close to me. Who do I talk to that listens to me? My partner of over 30 years? My friends in recovery? In the writing world? I’ve found most people, even those who are closest to me, aren’t such good listeners. So my inner circle was pretty empty.

At the Art Bar there was many familiar faces from my Renaissance Conspiracy days. Yet I had more conversation with one of the co-features than I did with the familiar faces. In the break after each feature to performer had several people eager to chat with them. After my set it was as if people were more interested in avoiding me – really. I guess my set was pretty bad & lacked the poetic gravitas of the real poets who went before me. 🙂

This is more observation than complaint. You know I really don’t give a shit. I write because it is what I do. Over the years I’ve become more politic & less in your face sexual. I’m not looking for approval or gushy flattery. I may not have a place in this milieu but, honey, I’m taking one anyway.

‘By the Moose of Moses’ http://wp.me/p1RtxU-1gg

‘by the enflamed dick of the moose of Moses’

my Dad was shouting

we knew he was really really angry

the more words he used

when he stared to swear

the angrier he was

none of wanted to know why he was angry


my mother would bundle the clothes

and head down to the river

my sisters would go to their rooms

to start preparing for their shifts at the strip bars

my brothers

if they were around

would be suddenly very very busy

with the gutting of moose

helping one another bloody their hair


I was often the only one left

for him to vent his wrath upon

that wrath was always words

never directed at me

but someone had to bare witness to his anger

or it got worse and worse

till one of the neighbours would come over

eyes darting around fearfully

to see what the commotion was


‘by the scraped udders of mother moose’

my Dad kicked at the bench in his workshop

I peeped around the corner

‘come in here now you little smelt fornicator’

‘yes Dad.’

I would inch into the room

‘have you been in here?’

‘no Dad’


I hunched my shoulders to hide my guilt

because I had been there

enjoying the play of sunlight on his tools

that hung in neat rows on the wall

or playing with boys

in the bone dust on the floor



‘just take a look around’

I couldn’t see anything amiss

the skidoo he was rebuilding stood

where it had for years

except on the two days

when it was working properly

the outboard motor he had salvaged swung overhead


‘i … i don’t see anything’

‘then open your eyes boy’


night had fallen

it was now so dark

I could barely make out his eyes


‘when I find out who did

this there’ll be hell to pay’


he struck match

in that brief flare of light I was aghast

he had dared to break the prohibition

even a glimpse of light

after nightfall was punishable

I knew whatever this was it was serious


‘you sure you weren’t in here’


‘no dad. i swear it wasn’t me’

taking my first step

to becoming

a guilt ridden adult

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HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam


November 1-30

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No Power


Started a new set of prompts – I love lists of things – this one will prove to be endlessly productive for another couple of years – 227 Rules For Monks. Who knew the simple life could be so complex. These are from the 30 nissaggiyas. This is where  20 Not to exchange things. lead me.No Power

this was the power dynamic

my pleasure

was to be in getting him off

that’s it

nothing was exchanged

nothing was given in return

except the opportunity

to get him off

he felt that was enough

that it should be enough

it wasn’t enough

after the first few times

when I said no

he didn’t ask what could he do

to shift this power dynamic

so I told him

he wasn’t interested

so I wasn’t interested

which became my fault

wasn’t his cock nice enough

didn’t he thank me enough

my answer was yes yes

but I wanted more

in this exchange

where more that wasn’t forth coming

I had the power of no

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“art is life – not an imitation”


Breaking In Grief 

he wore

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’s wearing them now

it gives me the creeps

practicality in the face of catastrophe


I visited home

the summer after my father 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 went through his clothes

to help my sister winnow out

throw out donate

to share some memories

I end up keeping a a couple of jackets

that actually fit me

with enough style to suit 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 were

hard onyx red oxfords

there was box with a new pair

only worn to try them on

they sort of fit me

very stuff and inflexible

never being broken in


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 his son’s

wildly neon runners

it’s been a year after the death

he finally feels okay to to walk in grief

a grief he’ll never leave

but ready

to walk forward with it

This is a piece that wrote itself. A close friend of mine in recovery had recently had his son step off a balcony to his death. Helping his daughter-in-law in going through the son’s possession they found the running shoes. He did opt to keep them. These details are facts. The neon is my poetic liberty. It was the this reversal of the cliche that struck me – usually its the son filling his father’s shoes.

Which lead me to me filling my Dad’s shoes. Once again the facts are true – me helping my sister – this was back in 2002 (I think). I still havre those jackets & ear one of them frequently enough. The other is saved for special occasions. The only oxfords are real too though my father preferred more comfortable shoes for ordinary wear.

I did try them a couple of times before donating them. To fill tour father’s shoes also means to take on the life he lead, to fulfill those expectations of fitting into the normative culture – something I never did. I’m not even sure how hard I tried because it was clear I’d never do it – it would never fit.

My friend dealt with, is still dealing with, his tragedy. He spoke about his pain & struggle openly. I’ve performed this piece frequently & it has undergone a fair bit of tweaking to get the tenses right, the flow of information smooth. It is the last piece in my recent chapbook – though this edit is different yet again.

When I performed it at the chapbook launch earlier this year, I wore one of my Dad’s jackets. My friend came to hear me & he was wearing his son’s sneakers. Sometimes art is life – not an imitation.

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Lazarus Kiss.38

Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.

May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others

and a love within recall that alters you.



It was 9:50 when Alex arrived at Story. Enough time to put on his official wait staff shirt and apron.

“Replaced Linda that fast.” Cally smirked.

“Whaddya mean.” Did he smell any different after being with Harris? Box breath was one thing but man sweat was another.

“You have look in your eyes that you get when you’ve just fucked some girl’s brains out.”

“First off I don’t dig ‘girls’ I prefer women. Adult women, preferably with jobs. And second it’s none of your business and you can tell Linda that too.”

Saturday was one of the live music nights at Story. Tonight was a regular band – Plusher an Usher cover band. Slinky, but loud, soul which Alex found easier to take than Meatillica, a Metallica tribute band that was merely loud and distorted. Plusher brought in women whereas Meatillica brought in over-the-hill guys in their forties who thought they were still in their teens. The women smelled better, tipped better and the men didn’t annoy the female staff by trying to get lucky.

Loud music always meant lots of leaning closer than usual to tables to hear orders. Sweet smelling women were always more enjoyable than guys who hadn’t showered and hoped their aftershave would do the job.

His duties were to clear, pass orders on to wait staff and sometimes deliver them. He got his usual share of women flirting with him and at least two inappropriate touches. He’d learned never to shave before going to work on Plusher nights. The women couldn’t resist feeling his stubble. One went further and actually rode her hand under his apron to get a good feel of his equipment.

He stopped her. “Ma’am. The zipper is always up.”

She laughed. “That’s not what I heard. I’m a friend of Gemma. You know from last week. She recommends your special back alley service very highly.”

“Thank her for me.” he disengaged her hand. Her heavily jewelled bracelet sparked in the light. Is that what real diamonds look like? “Tonight is strictly table service.” He stepped away. Her musky rose perfume seemed to cling to his apron as he smoothed it down.

“Too bad.” the woman made a playful yet disappointed face. “Here, hot stuff, this’ll change your mind.”

She a handed him a twenty folded around a tin-foil twist. He knew it was coke.

“Thanks.” He took the twist out and pocketed the twenty.

“As you can see there is more than one of us tonight who have heard about the great service here.” She nodded to the two women who were with her.

In this light they all appeared to be in their late 20’s. Not the sort who’d have to resort to this, but what they wanted was control, the sense of power that came from buying what they wanted when they wanted. He understood that.

“There’s more where that came from especially if you can get him …” she eye-balled Dezum, one of the bartenders. “ … to join in. After work of course.”

“I’m flattered but I could lose my job.”

“Didn’t seem to bother you and Gemma, did it?”

He cleared their table and went over to Dezum, gave him the twist. “A tip from the gals at 12. They asked for your black ass in partic’lar.”

Dex looked over and women waved to him.

“Tempting.” Dezum chuckled.

“Fend for yourself.”

Alex took a tray of drinks to another table. He saw Dezum go over to thank the ladies personally and could hear his deep laugh as he joked with him.

Normally this was an offer he’d accept but tonight it was more amusing than appealing.

The head of his cock twitched as he recalled it sliding along Harris stomach. The seemingly endless smoothness of it. Like a pussy without lips but friction. To fuck that flesh without a safe. To know he could shoot off and not have to worry if it was too soon or if some broad had an orgasm herself. Not to have to prove his manliness by pleasing her. To shoot off and not worry about getting her knocked up.

Then there was the feel of Harris’s legs clamped around his. Strong muscular legs that Alex wasn’t afraid of bruising or breaking as he humped harder than he’d humped before. Without needing to be delicate here, hard there. One solid endless thrust.

If that was gay sex then he dug it. Sex without penetration. How fucked was that. He was glad his apron covered the boner he had developed.

The night went quickly. Twice he gently but firmly declined the party and play offer from the women who had made the generous offer. At the end of the night he assured them they be well pleased with Dezum and Hassler the two barman who had agreed to ‘see them home safely.’

Riding his bike home he replayed his tumble with Harris. Harris never surrendered but didn’t resist all that much either. The pulse of his coming was clear in his mind. The thrill of it building, his rearing up to give it room to explode, the feel of Harris’s cock as it bumped against his balls. The panic when he felt it touching his butt threatening to go up his ass. No way that was in the picture. No way.

His cock up Harris’s big round ass, maybe, but never the other way around.

Yet that panic, the fear of the pain of being fucked in the ass give his orgasm an endless thrust that he had shot off twice. Twice! Who knew men could have multiple orgasms.

He was hard when he stored his bike between the houses.

As vivid as his memory of his orgasm was and how clear the feel of his cock against Harris’s stomach was, he couldn’t recall what Harris’s cock looked like. Had he seen it? Sure he had played with it through the barrier of clothing but he hadn’t handled it. The accidental brush of it against his asshole didn’t count as touching.

If he hadn’t touched a cock, or had his handled by a man, he couldn’t be queer. He was another oversexed guy who didn’t care how he got off. Right?


The last time his mother called to say she had a surprise it was that his folks were going to Florida for the winter.

“What would Sunday brunch be without a surprise of my own.” He gave her a selection of the face cream samples that SofSknX had sent to dE.tail. They had sent enough for a staff of twenty.

“Thank you Harris.”

“Morning Dad.” He and his Dad exchanged quick shoulder hugs. “I’ve read the Tobias pages a few times. He fell under the spell but never knew it.”

“I know. I know. But we do have a surprise for you.”

“I’m all ears.”

“It’s upstairs. In your room.” His Dad grinned.

They followed him as he went up the stairs.

“You mean you’ve finally remodelled it? About time.”

He opened the door and crossed legged on the floor was a young man reading one of Harris comic books, with dozens of them strewn all around him. Harris felt he had stepped through a time warp and walked in on himself twenty years ago.

“Hi. Cool collection.” The young man stood quickly, careful not to step on any of the comic books. “You must be Harris. I’m Marshall Caldwell.”

They looked one another up and down. Harris was wishing he had worn less comfortable clothes. Their eyes met.

“You are my father!”
“Oh yeah. I’m your father Luke.” He laughed. Without seeing paternity results Harris knew in his bones that this was his son. Son! He sat on the bed.

“We’ll leave you two to get acquainted. Come on Tom you can help in the kitchen. If you promise to stay out of the way.” His mother pushed his Dad out of the room and shut the door.

“How long … when did you find … cripes I don’t know what to say or where to begin. There are loads of questions in my head. Like how old are you? I’m trying to do the math here.”

“Thirty-three. You’re …”

“Nineteen in a month. which made you ….

“Almost fourteen.” Harris shrugged. How much did Marshall know about the curse?

“Wow. You were hitting it pretty young.”

“I guess. Not that I have much memory of it.” He began to put the Black Boxer Boys set back into their protective plastic sleeves.

“You too? Must run in the family.” He handed Harris the Slap Shott he had been reading.

Harris flipped through it. He loved the big double finish of it where Shott hit the mind eraser into the open mouth-like spaceship bay of the aliens who had sent it to Earth while saying ‘Return to sender.’ On the next page was the aliens’ space craft blowing up.

“What do you mean?”

“My mother calls it acting out. I’d been caught with my pants down more than few times at school. Incorrigible is what the teachers called it. But I never could remember what I had done. What’s up with that? She sent me to a shrink.”

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Take The Ferry

I have a fair bit of Bryan Ferry in my collection. On a mp3 cd I have These Foolish Things; Boys and Girls; Bete Noire. Tucked away on another couple mo3 collections are Another Time; Dylanesque; Ultimate Collection. Not to mention Roxy Must (but that’ll wait until I get to R) So I guess I am a fan.

His non-Roxy work was an opportunity for him to explore a less progressive sound. There was always that longer lizard singer quality to his voice which he clearly relishes and make sure of in the many cover songs that are scattered over these lps. In fact Dylanesque is all, as you might expect, Bob Dylan material.

Sometimes the covers work: It’s My Party is fun; Walk a Mile in My Shoes sounds like Holiday Inn bar singer. He clearly enjoyed breaking free from the creative demands of Roxy Music. If you aren’t familiar with his non-Roxy work any of these is a good starter.

On the mp3 collection I also added – Cabaret Voltaire: Micro-Phonies. I have a cassette dupe of this lp given to me by a friend. It was my introduction to the group which I loved. More artsy rock with goth underpinnings. Also Ultravox’s Quartet – a band more in the Bowie fold – with sweeping emotionality & art rock leanings. I had this as a cassette before upgrading to a Deluxe release of this lps & love having it.


‘For the purposes of this orientation session we will divide into groups of seven.’ The dean smiled as he looked from face to face. ‘This way you will have smaller groups to meet. Each group will have fifty minutes for exchange of whatever they choose to exchange. Then new groups will be formed, of seven different people. Any questions?’

‘What if there is an odd man or woman out. Like there may not be an exact multiple of seven?’ I didn’t want to ask any questions but this one was so glaring I knew someone had to ask it.

‘Sycorax? Is that your name? The group will be rounded off to the seventh by one or two of the seniors. To make this easier each of you has been assigned a number which the Randomizer will flash. When your number is up go to the senior holding that number.’

This certainly wasn’t as simple as it sounded. The confusion that resulted took more time to sort out that it seemed to be worth to me. But at last my first group congregated by the Midwich Clock Tower. We sat on the steps.  Lear was the leader.

‘Okay,’ Lear cracked his knuckles. Small sparks flew in the air. ‘Oops. A bad habit of mine. Now this is the acquainting no one ever enjoys, so I’m going to make it as hard as possible. I want you each to tell something about yourself that no one here probably knows. We’ll start with you …. Griffin?’

‘Why me.‘ Griffin pushed the bangs of his oversized Afro away from his ritually scarred face. ‘Well. I’m …. I’m …. black.’

We all laughed.

‘Seriously though. I suppose whatcha all might not know about me is that when I was twelve I killed two men. I didn’t mean to but …’

‘That’s enough for now. Justification is a later stage.’


chapbooks for sale http://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam


Tuesday – September 19 – feature – Art Bar Poetry series – 8 p.m., Free Times Cafe, #20 College At., Toronto – $5.00http://It’s No Accident


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

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Me and My Lamp Post

The Shaw Festival production of Me and My Girl: Directed by Ashlie Corcoran was a sheer delight. Well-paced, effectively staged it held my attention from beginning to end – even through the repeated curtain calls. Great songs helped – though only a few of them are that well-known: The Lambeth Walk & Leaning on a Lamp Post – thanks to my English heritage they had some resonance.

A cracker-jack ensemble dances, sings, moves sets with clockwork precision. Lead Michael Therriault as Bill Snibson brings a great sense of fun plus a Tommy Steele glint to his role of the commoner who gets turned into a Lord. As Sally, his girl friend  Kristi Frank is fresh, fun & believable. Élodie Gillett’s Jacquie Carstone is sexy, predatory & sweet at the same time. Jay Turvey’s Parchester with his very Gilbert & Sullivan-esque theme song “The Family Solicitor” managed to steal the scene every time it was used.

Parker Esse’s choreography was also scene-stealing thanks to an amazing ensemble who shifted from energetic Broadway hoofing to tap with ease. I loved the Lamp Post dream ballet. It was clear that everyone was enjoying the show. They loved to dance, to sing, to entertain & the audience was drawn in to the show & kept captivated to final bow. Highly recommended.


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Flash Porn

On a recent Disability After Dark Andrew Gurza (aka Flash Wellington) talks about his longing to do porn. Part of that longing comes from his push for representation – there are no visibly disabled porn ‘stars’ that he knows of. He also discusses the logistics of his performing in porn: personal care assistants, physical limitations etc. Very logical thinking. Would I watch such gay porn? Probably but mainly because I follow Andrew’s podcast.

It would also depend on the main drawing power of porn, for most men, which is the size of the dick. As for representation anything outside of the hairless white twink is considered fetish or niche – wait, it has now become – the hairless, but tattooed, white twink, with a sizeable dick. It seems that though the camera adds pounds, it does not add inches.

Without boring anyone with my own personal preferences I will admit that I have over the years explored porn options. Of course what is now available thanks to the Internet was often unheard of when I was first seeking any sort of gay stimulation. Most of it was illegal in Canada in the day & those rules changed from province to province as well. At one time what was legal in Quebec could get you jailed in Ontario. Friends smuggled porn in spare tires when they returned from trips to the USA. The Internet changed that. In the days of limited access, representation wasn’t an issue.

Andrew already has his porn actor name ‘Flash Wellington.’ A good start on his career 🙂 I’d certainly throw some $ into a patreon call for support to get him into porn. But he’s in for a somewhat rude awakening as to his fantasy of the camaraderie. The social context is as workplace as technical as a hospital & sometimes as clinical.

Nordstrom http://wp.me/p1RtxU-1fO 

one of the great feast days in our village

was Founders Day

when we would be forced to recite

the saga of Mikke Nordstrom

the first human to set foot on this land

from where he had come remains unknown

all we have is the birch bark

on which he wrote in moose blood

‘I Mikke Nordstrom do hereby establish

a village on this spot’

he built the first trading post strip joint

from that quickly sprouted

what we know as our village today


to celebrate there would be reenactments

of his writing the proclamation

every one of the villagers

had to write it out a hundred times

then bring it to the bishop for certification

we couldn’t start the celebration

till this had been done

after that

would be the cleansing of the pudding

followed by the washing

of the 10,001 steps of the cathedral

this washing had to be done in silence

the only sound was the brush of moose hide

as the steps were polished by the village virgins


once they reached the top

the combined choir would sing

‘our moose in thee we are strong’

‘smelts be praise to God’

my mother always cried at this point

as she stood up to survey the streets

filled with proud citizens


after the silence was broken by our jubilant songs

there would be green apple pies to be eaten

cats to be annoyed

boys would be sent to the Whistling Woods

to lead the lost men

back to the village square

to be washed and have their wounds tended

sometimes these reclaimed men

would return to their families

some would slink back to the Woods

preferring the cold shelter of moose bones

to being a part of society


in the evening the fathers would gather

to tell us of the great wars

of how our village

had helped change the course of reality

once night was fully upon us

we would fumble through the dark streets

to the strip joints to relax

as the women danced on the unlit stage


in the morning there would be gifts

tokens of our village’s proud heritage

usually small aluminum amulets

with the face of Mikke Nordstrom

embossed on one side

and the village motto

colpejar als pobres ‘beat up the poor’

inscribed on the other

chapbooks for sale http://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam


Tuesday – September 19 – feature – Art Bar Poetry series – 8 p.m., Free Times Cafe, #20 College At., Toronto – $5.00http://It’s No Accident


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

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Poor Me


Started a new set of prompts – I love lists of things – this one will prove to be endlessly productive for another couple of years – 227 Rules For Monks. Who knew the simple life could be so complex. These are from the 30 nissaggiyas. This is where  19 Not to use money  took me.

Poor Me

his look

calculated my worth

the cost of my shoes

was the measure

of his interest

his respect would be gauged

by the tailoring of my shirt

by the cut of my jeans

how professionally distressed they were

by what he could see

and what he saw

wasn’t up to his standards

which were clearly

the only standards that mattered

not that he was superficial

by any stretch of the imagination

he could discuss Hegel

he knew the Chinese poets

but would discuss them

with those whose status

was equal to his

my shoes just weren’t up to it

even though they were new shoes

even though my clothes

were recent    fresh

they just didn’t have

the right thread count

to support my point of view

as far as he was concerned


once again

being poor pays off

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Cost of Free

Cost of Free

saying no

to what I don’t need

hasn’t gotten easier

not that I’m not tempted

by things I want

when the price is right


even if there is no point

in having them

it is harder to say no


there is no such thing as enough

of having too much

as much as the next fellow

I long to have too much

but I have no place to put it

I can’t afford the cost of free

it piles up and up

so when I get what I need

I don’t have room for it


I’ve been filled to the brim

with what I was taught to want

by this culture of more is better than enough

especially when the price is right

when the price is

you have always pay a little every day

not all at once

take your time

but keep on paying

because if you don’t need it now

you will eventually

down the road you’ll be glad

to be suffocating in the free for all

It is said there is no such thing as a free lunch – nothing comes without some sort of cost, even that is an emotional cost. I even feel a twinge of guilt in throwing out those ‘free’ chards & not pads that come from charities begging for money. I wonder how much of my charity $, if I sent them any, goes to the printers of these calendars as opposed to going the cause they are raising $ for?

Free often comes with the condition than you are now on their email list, or that you will enjoy the first taste enough to keep on buying more & more. We have to keep the wheels of commerce going, don’t you know, so that when the economy fails it is our fault for not spending enough. Add though that when the economy fails its the ones with the least already that suffer the most. Sears gives big bonuses to the execs who declared bankrupt while the worked get sent packing without barely a thank you & their pension funds vanished. There’ll be no government bail out for me.

Anyway I digress. This piece isn’t all that subtle in its look at those hidden strings & costs to the free. ‘Dinner is on me, but you better come across.’ ‘I’ll treat but you’ll have to listen to every detail about my latest trip to Glace Bay’ Everything comes with some expectation.

Also part of this commercial culture is disposability. The auto industry was built on the need to replace as opposed to sustain. A new car every year. How many pairs of shoes does one need anyway? I am as guilty of the need for more as the next guy. But I have made a pact with myself that when new comes in something old goes out.

One of the hidden costs of having a house is this need to fill it with stuff, to fill storage space with old stuff to make room for the new. I have magazines from the 60’s that I can’t discard. Guests are always stunned to see the quantity stuff here – dads books cds. It’s a good thing they never see what is out of sight. One feel sorry for the man with one pair of socks. I met a guy once who only had two plates, two knives, forks etc. Less to wash. I wish I could make my life that simple.


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

Tuesday – September 19 – feature – Art Bar Poetry series – 8 p.m., Free Times Cafe, #20 College At., Toronto – $5.00http://It’s No Accident


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