Janis Ian

I have a fairly extensive Janis Ian collection as mp3’s one includes the early work: Society’s Child; A Song For All the Seasons of Your Mind; The Secret Life of J. Eddy Fink; Who Really Cares? The other includes her later works: Stars; Between The Lines; Aftertones; Night Rains. After her initial hit ‘Society’s Child’ written when she was 14! She disappeared to resurface decades later with the stunning Stars. 

Why did she fade so abruptly? Part of the answer comes from Wikipedia: “At the age of 16, Ian met comedian Bill Cosby backstage at a Smothers Brothers show where she was promoting Society’s Child. Since she was underage, she was accompanied by a chaperone while touring. After her set, Ian had been sleeping with her head on her chaperone’s lap (an older female family friend). According to Ian in a 2015 interview, she was told by her then manager that Cosby had interpreted their interaction as “lesbian” and as a result “had made it his business” to warn other television shows that Ian wasn’t “suitable family entertainment” and “shouldn’t be on television” because of her sexuality, thus attempting to blacklist her.” 

Re-read that & let it sink in. This story sums up the plight of many female singer/songwriters who did not roll over and play fem.

Her early work is at times folksy, at times jazzy but she never stepped into the traditional pop female mold. Her writing covered social issues, romantic ups & downs & self-discovery. J. Eddy Fink is an amazing album with expansive jazz arrangements & tender romantic observations. It didn’t fit the commercial categories like Laura Nyro; nor the hippy category like Joni Mitchell.


She changed labels for her return with Stars. These later albums are more deeply emotional, some social commentary & sweet unfulfilled romantic longing. They music is more what I call chamber pop – elegant with jazz & semi-classical touches. Sweet harmonies & understated performances. In fact some of it is a little depressing. On Night Rains she works with, of all people, Giorgio Moroder! 

Ian is a survivor who came out, got married, started her own record label for full creative control. She may have been slowed down by that ‘blacklist’ but remains an amazing writer. If you are unfamiliar I’d recommend The Secret Life of J. Eddy Fink as good starting point. Aftertones is emotionally discomforting – though any of these are excellent lps.

The Wings Of St. Martinia

Last night Hank Grebly did me the great honour & pleasure of taking me to the Maple Valley Rialto Cinema – it is a shame that this fine building is now only opened on weekends for our film going pleasures.

I can remember a time when it would be busy seven days a week, offering us the finest in Hollywood films and fresh roasted peaches or tasty caramel bark corn.

Every time I enter the Rialto I am taken back to a distant era – the mirror balls in the ceiling reflect the many spot lights around the floor. The zig-zag carpeting & lame seat coverings make me long for simpler times.

The film Hank took me to was “The Wings Of St. Martinia.” Many of you are familiar with the local tales of St. Martinia & the font at St. Sufferer’s. Those are her blood spattered wings holding the baptismal tub in the centre of the nave. Not her actual wings, but representations. Not many angels would have had five sets of wings.

Like the Rialto this film is also a relic of another time. Recently discovered in the vaults at College of Arts and Reconstructionist Designers, we were first treated to a lecture by Rudgar Quartz, the Professor of Cinema Studies there, who gave the history of both the film, St, Martinia and the Rialto itself. A very educational evening, leavened by the delightful film itself.

The story is a simple one of suffering and repentance through suffering. Martinia, born out of wed-lock to the daughter of silver smith and troupe of travelling carnival workers, had to face the disgrace of her family and neighbours all through her life.

She saved her fellow orphans from the rain of comets in 1879 by waking each and every child, and leading them to safety. Sadly she wasn’t able to get back to rescue any of her teachers. She comforted the children, as they heard the screams of the staff, who had been trapped in locked rooms in the upper quarters of the orphanage.

In leading the children through the swamps to safety she also rescued Button, a Labrador retriever and her recent litter of puppies. This is why the suckling Labrador retriever has become the representation for St Martinia. When they say, she of the many teats, they are referring to Button and not to St Martinia.

A fact that I was not aware of either.

The movie follows her travails in the garment trade, being abducted by pirates and finally her mission to Mongolia where she single handedly brought the word of good to those unhappy and dirty mountain people. Her attempts to show them the joys of washing brought tears of joy to my eyes.

If you have a chance to, get in to see this delightful movie. Tell them Dolly sent you, and you may get an extra dash of moose mustard on your red hots. 

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returning every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Too Sensitive

This past week there has been a considerable noise about Tumblr’s new ‘adult content’ guidelines. Now, if the site was one that members paid for the use of I might have more sympathy for this outcry, but it is free – like Facebook – harvesting our posting data to share with advertisers is what keeps it going. But I guess not enough of their advertisers are porn sites 🙂

Users do have the ability to control whose posts they see in their feed so it is pretty simple to have feed that is entirely cute animals falling down or a feed that is entirely cute humans falling down to show you their private parts. Users have that power. You can even control who can follow you.

One of the issues is the random nature in which things get labelled ‘adult’ or ‘sensitive’ content. Even a set of my pics – dishes – was flagged! Because I read that certain # & phrases alert filters: i.e. ‘lgbtq’, ‘queer’, ‘adult content’, I’ve stopped using them when tagging my posts. Frankly I’ve never found #queer attracted more people to my posts anyway. I only use my tumblr for my daily pic posts. 

But I do follow many sites that are ‘adult content’ – lots of pics of naked men – not just any nudes mind you but I was able to curate a feed that appealed to my specific interests: Asian, black, latino, uncut adult men. I like to look at the world of men. In fact I started a second tumblr for the explicit content so I could reblog those without my ‘safe’ tumbler followers having to see what I reblogged.

I follow other fun scifi sites, art, retro fashion, music. These are safe sites mind you. Many of the now ‘sensative’ sites offered information & links for youth looking for support, sites that had political focus, sex workers. Part of the use has to do with free speech, which I do support – but if a store doesn’t want your flyer in its window move on & find one that does.

As I said Tumblr offers its site to users at no direct cost. If I were paying to post, as I do for my WordPress site, then I’d feel a little more strongly. There’s a call to ‘blackout’ Tumblr on December 17 when the guidelines go into full force so I’ll shut down for those 24 hours. I’ve also removed the automatic linking of my blog to tumblr – I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a WP hits from that link anyway.

If Tumblr ended, such is life. It’s impossible to stifle free speech on the WWW. People will always find away to get their message out there. I’ll miss the endless source of dick pics but I certainly won’t miss having to block the endless hetero porn site bots that try to follow me.

Spoilers

boy gets girl

dog lives

monster vanquished

boy buys right girl

man repents

eviler spirits arise

escape succeeds

money isn’t enough

love conquers all

she feels compete in marriage

success isn’t everything

family is reunited

all is forgiven

things are never the same again

she knows better

he finds a purpose in self sacrifice

boy gets boy

dog learns a lesson

man rescued from loneliness by child

greed is punished

being pretty isn’t fulfilling

he didn’t really want her

the lame horse wins a race

he dies saving others

the truth remains hidden

it was all a dream

the boy was once a girl

there is no escaping

they were ghosts

drugs were a bad choice

bad guy repents

she was a princess all along

the villain was his father

the castle blows up

the space ship blows up

the race is won

marriage means more than career

he is a genius

the plants were evil

Satan is foiled

he walks again

she forgives her rapist

he sees the errors of his ways

his heart is ten times bigger

everyone is dead

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

http://www.queerslam.com

returning every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton 

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Stocking

My seasonal decorating trunk is a box of memories – which is what most people’s Christmas trunk is filled with – not all of mine are treasured object from the distant past though. Most are ‘recent,’ that is, from the last twenty years or less. I do have a few from my Cape Breton home though. 

One is this fun stocking with my name printed on it by my father. I recognize his writing. I can’t say that this isn’t even from before we moved to Cape Breton – it could be from when I was growing in Winnipeg because I have no actually memory of it. My sister found it in my mother’s accumulation and sent to me a few years ago.

I was stunned to get it & even was more shocked to have no real memory of when it was first hung anywhere. It’s felt with glued on appliqués; the sides are glued together. It might have hung by a chimney as there is some sooty finger prints on it. Or my hands just might have been dirty 🙂 The corn sticker is my own childhood add on, it does have a tiny resonance in my memory. I love having it & hanging it every year in my living room. I love the train engine.

The card is the last one my mother sent me before she passed away. I don’t have one from father as he had died unexpectedly the previous year early in December. When he was alive I got a card signed by both of them. It joins my Christmas cards every year. We spoke on the phone frequently so her written message was brief.

So, as you can tell I do take after my mother a little – being a bit of a memory pack rat.

Mitten

Mitten

do you remember the day 

we jumped from second-story windows

into heavy piles of snow 

banks barely dented by our bodies

you, the favorite cousin

you didn’t want to jump

I teased you

‘Kitten Kitten I got your mitten’

you jumped just to shut me up

 

it was a week of so much snow

that  streets were so covered

cars were white humps

schools were happily closed

 

on the old toboggan

we pulled pushed slid soared

flew down hill to the pond

the danger of suddenly cracked ice

Meg was downed there last year

you said it was haunted

we crept quickly past it

I said I could hear Meg calling

‘Kitten Kitten I got your mitten’

you pushed me back toward her

 

the snow was softer there

we sank deep into 

heavy thick white foam

it rushed up our legs

held us pulled us trapped us

we bobbed like a pair of

dog heads on springs 

in the back window of a car

 

you had to pee

I helped you pull down 

your ice encrusted zipper

and saw your little red cock

the stream of yellow 

dazzle dizzy 

as it hit the snow

‘Be careful’ I yelled as I pulled away

‘Your turn’ you dared me

‘Or do you need a mitten to keep it warm’

 

so I did it too

the cold rush 

around the moist warmth

that my pants had held

I made crosses 

out of your yellow splotches

neither of us had enough to

write a name a note a memento

we stood a moment there

our dinks dangled in the cold

looking at them and then each other

smiling wide and wondering

 

it began to snow again

So much of this happened to me – I do remember winters in Cape Breton where I jumped out of a second-story window – actual it was more like a dangled out then spurred away with my feet to land on my back – inot the snow. The windows in our house weren’t large enough to really jump out of head-first.

At least once a winter Toronto gets enough snow to turn cars into snow humps but never has gotten to the point where one is walking shown the sidewalk between mounds of now so high to can’t see over them. That would never happen as snow removal favours cars & sidewalks would be made impassable. Toronto’s war isn’t on cars but on pedestrians. But I digress.

I did have a toboggan that flew down hill, there was a pond where some little girl had fallen through the ice & drowned but it wasn’t that close to where we lived. I did get stuck walking through a snow bank. I did piss in the snow more than once rather than wet my snowsuit.

The piece is one of several in which I allow early age same-sex attraction happen with innocence. I’ve read enough hetero poetry about this sort experience – most of the queer stuff involves trauma not innocence. Before I knew what it was I need feel a real curiosity about boys at an early age – I did a bit of peeking but that was all. When I found a name for it replaced innocence with shame. I love the last line ‘it began to snow again.’

Also, I hate to break it to you, but there was no cousin. Our family had no relatives in Cape Breton.

Winter Whisky – Part One

Winter Whisky

Part One

“Dave, wanna get together for a good drink?” I asked on recognizing his voice on the phone. Neither of us had said hello. “With Scott and me?”

“Love to, Donnie.”

We were three guys who drank together. Bottle buddies. Booze hounds. All in our mid-twenties, we had lapped up the hooch together since high school. At least I think that’s where I met Donnie. Scott was a friend of his.

Donnie had a girlfriend, who, now that she was pregnant, he would marry soon. It was all her goddamn fault, too. He drank to punish her.

Scott’s last girlfriend ditched him for some mainland loser with a big car, and besides most women were bitches. He drank to stop feeling so fucked up all the time.

I didn’t have a girlfriend these days. Not since Cindy. Wasn’t interested in replacing her. I drank to stay numb in the closet.

Of course Donnie and Scott would never drink with some fairy, so I had my own moans about how hard it was to meet a bitch you could trust. That sort of thing.

We would get together every month or so for a good drink. That’s how it would start. Donnie would call to say, “Let’s get together with Scott for a good drink.” If he didn’t, Scott would call to say, “Hey, Donnie’s here for a good drink. Come on over.”

It had been over a month since I’d heard from either of them and I longed for a real good drink myself, but I was always shy to start the ball rolling. I was happy having that good drink by myself. Alone it was easier to wallow in my own morass of “woe is queer me stuck in the sticks and terrified someone will find out.”

It was Donnie who called this time. Once we got where the good drink would happen settled he continued. “So, Dave. How’s it hanging?”

“Same old, same old. How’s Trish?”

“Bigger than your house.”

“Set a date?”

“Not ‘til after the kid. Not enough taffeta to cover her now. She’s been off to see her folks for a few days now.”

“You mean she needs a break from cleaning up after you?”

“Yeah. Whatever. Listen, I’m catching Scott at Stoners. Why don’t I pick you up? Seems like ages since we’ve had a good drink.”

Stoners, a tavern near where Scott worked, was the Stone Workers Hall from when there was once a quarry outside of town. Now it was full of stoners of other sorts. Some nights there would be live music. Scott had a little band, Pals Of Mine, that played there sometimes.

I knew that meant we’d hang at my place for a while to give us time to have a few good drinks before we went out for more good drinks. We’d probably come back here for more, once Scott’s gig was done. I had enough to hold us for a few hours. A full bottle of Johnny Walker. A forty pounder. I hefted it and the weight of good times made me feel complete. Good friends. Good times.

I was in the kitchen for clean glasses when the doorbell rang. I had the glasses in my hand when I answered the door. “That didn’t . . . Oh, Cindy?”

“Expecting company?” She handed me a gift as she scuffed her boots on the welcome mat.

“Sort of.” I could tell by the look in her eyes she knew exactly who I was expecting.

“The guys on their way over?” She said.

“We’re . . . ”

“Having a few before heading down to Stoners. Some things never change.”

“If you came here for the same old argument you might as well leave.”

“Dave,” she shook her coat and hung it on one of the hooks by the door. “When are you going to give up on them?”

The smell of her perfume brought back such good memories, I realized how much I missed the time we spent together. I put the glasses on the coffee table. “Cindy, we’ve been through this. How long has been now, almost a year?” I had last seen her during the summer.

“I was hoping you might have changed.”

“I haven’t.” I poured myself an inch of Scotch. “There’s some red wine in the kitchen.” 

“Not for me. Thanks”

Things with Cindy might have gone on indefinitely, but she wanted more and more of what I knew wasn’t in me to give. Marriage. Children. None of that wasn’t for me. The second time she had a pregnancy scare I brought things to an end. I didn’t actually think she was sleeping with anyone else, but that was as good as any excuse to end things. Then how could I really trust anyone else, right? The perfect out. I never let her know how much I missed her as a friend, but that would never have worked. A clean break was best.

“I don’t need a ‘good’ drink?”

“For me it’s more like ‘enjoying’ one.” I swirled my drink around the the glass. I loved the smell of it.

She never understood my need for a good drink, but I also knew that a part of what attracted her to me was thinking she could change me, that there was something I needed her to fix. What she never suspected was that what needed fixing was something deeper than my love of a good drink.

“The same way you enjoy those jerks.”

“Cindy, you can’t blame them for what didn’t work out between us.” It was easier to let her think that than tell her the truth. 

“They’re just an excuse to feel better than someone, hanging out with such losers lets you feel superior to them. It boosts your ego.”

“If this is what you came over for, Oprah, you might as well leave. Before those losers arrive.” There was some truth to what she said, but the guys never challenged me on anything the way she did. Plus they envied me my house, my education, my job, and I enjoyed that drunken envy. “I know you hate to see a man enjoy a drink.”

“It’s never a drink but a Goddamn drunken spree. You just get drunk. Falling-down stupid drunk. Is there such a thing as a bad drink?”

I had no answer for her. Once again she became a threat to my comfort, whereas a good drink let me stay numb to what I was afraid of admitting to anyone.

“Season’s greetings to you, too.” I finished my Scotch and poured another.

“I’m sorry, Dave. I can’t help it, I guess. I thought there was a real connection between us.”

“So did I until …”

“Look I didn’t come back here to go over the past. I wanted to drop by and see how you were doing. It’s frustrating to see you still doing this to yourself.”

“Not much else to do in this one-horse town, right.” I poured myself another drink. A smaller one this time. It allowed me to look away from her eyes.

“You’re looking good, though. I like this.” She reached to the moustache I had let develop the past few months.

“Yeah, makes me look a little older, don’t you think?” With her hand so near I wanted to hold her. Could she handle a truth that I didn’t even know how to deal with myself?

“How’s your Dad?”

The phone rang. I grimaced to her as I answered. It was Donnie.

“Listen Dave, why don’t you drop by here. Less driving for me.”

“Sure, Donnie. Give me say half-an-hour to change my socks.” I laughed and hung up the phone.

This happened pretty often. It meant Donnie had started in already. He didn’t like to drive with only a couple of drinks under his belt. After a few good ones, he’d drive anywhere but the first few made him paranoid.

“I hate to bring this to an end but . . .” I helped her into her coat.

“Your duty calls. Can I give you a lift?” 

“Thanks, but no thanks. I’ve been in the house all day. The walk’ll do me good. Thanks for the gift.”

Once she was gone I changed out the jeans and sweatshirt I’d been wearing all day. My socks and boxers would do for a night of drinking. I hesitated at the bathroom but figured my face was clean enough to waste time on it. Same with my teeth. A beer would settle my breath easy enough.

I pulled on my parka, laced up my boots, tucked a mickey of bourbon in the inside pocket and headed out. The mickey was one I had bought for my Dad as a Christmas gift, but there was another couple of weeks before then so I’d have time to buy him another. Last year, it took me three trips to finally get him the pint that he got. Always pays to have something portable on hand.

The wind from earlier in the day had died down, and the snow had stopped.  Cloudless and clear. The Christmas lights looked like the bulbs had been freshly washed. The street wasn’t too slippery. Some people were out shovelling their walks. Mine could wait for morning.

I was tempted to stop at one of the corner stores to grab some mix, but figured Donnie’d have something in the fridge we could use. If he didn’t, his folks would.

As I walked up the driveway to the back of Donnie’s house, I tapped the basement window with the toe of my boot to let him know I was there. He lived in the basement of his parents’ house. He had a separate entrance so it wasn’t really like living at home.

The warm apartment smelled of fried onions and hot dogs. That was Donnie’s specialty. If you were good, he’d throw in some sliced tomato.

“Got the place to yourself?” I pushed my boots off at the door and dropped my coat on the floor by the couch.

“Yep. Trish’s gone up to her folks for a few days. Baby’s not due for a while. But man! What a pain she can be about stuff. You know?”

“I’ll take your word for it.” I put the bourbon on the table beside his half empty bottle of beer. His face lit up.

“Ahh a real drink for a change.”

“Got something to go with it?” I could hear footsteps overhead. “Is that Ma and Pa Cattle practicing their two-step?”

“Yeah. Can’t wait till I can get moved out of here. They’re off to bingo soon enough anyhow.”

Once they were out, we could turn up the record player. Until then, noise was to be kept at a minimum.

I stood in the doorway of the tiny kitchen while Donnie rinsed a couple of coffee mugs for us. The sink was filled with dishes. There wasn’t much counter space. Even the stove had dirty dinner plates on it.

“How long has Trish been at her folks?”

“A couple of days.”

“Looks like a couple of months.” I nodded at the pile of dirty clothes by the washer.

“Yeah, well. Takes me a little longer to get things done when I’m on me own. You know.”

“Yeah, right.” I took the mugs and dried them off with the tail of my shirt rather than use the crusty towel on the floor.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice-cream in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Gismonti Glaspar

A pair of opposites sit side-by-side on my jazz shelf – first is Egberto Gismonti – I have a cassette of  Works; stand alone cds: In Montreal; Infancia. Plus he appears on many many EMC records as a sideman. He is a sublime, imaginative Latin jazz acoustic guitarist – similar to Ralph Towner but with a more emotional style.

Works is a sampling of his other ECM recordings; on Live in Montreal he plays with bassist Charlie Haden. Tasty but never dull duets that push each player to greater creativity. Infancia is a group recording with synthesizers & cello in the mix. Experimental without being jarring, meditative without being boring. Superb music.
Beside him is Robert Glaspar: with his Trio: Canvas; with others is Double Booked; and his Miles Davis repurposed (as MP3) is Everything’s Beautiful. This is cutting edge jazz piano. Propulsive, sometimes dissonant & always inventive. The cds are mostly originals with some fun covers: i.e. Herbie Hancock’s Butterfly.

 

Everything’s Beautiful is a mix of re-mixing, sampling, a dash of hip-hop, rap in his reimagining of Miles Davis; Davis was so experimental & still remains modern, that it at first seemed pointless to update him, as it were. I enjoy what Glaspar does but I find him too deconstructive as opposed to revelatory. Davis may have inspired some of these pieces but the samples & inspiration become lost in the mix. Check it out on youtube before you splurge 🙂

Arts und Krafts

Kind readers one thing that I neglected to mention in my wee report yesterday was the Arts und Krafts display at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral’s Fun Fair. Like many of you I have seen my share of knitted booties for rifle stocks and candle holders made out of moose dung but there were some very fine pieces from the near by College of Arts and Reconstructionist Designers of Palmixalitato County.

I am well aware of the rivalry that has been going on between the students in that county and our own but remember we did trounce them the last three years in the Provincial Open Court Peach Pit Curling Play Off. So we can afford to allow them to excel at something and excel they did at the Fun Fair.

There were many charming crystallized bones pieces from the Anatomy of Design classes there. I was particularly taken by the crystallized moose bone reproductions of the Departments of the Cross that one Leslie Ann Marie Betty McDellon had created.

I can’t imagine what sort of skill it takes to do such fine work but I can certainty respect the work that it took.

Also many were charmed by the spiderwood furniture Gregh O’Treple has wrought there. A sturdy eight legged rocking chair with a fine webbed seat and back was very comfortable to sit in for long periods of time. He hopes to follow in the family footsteps and may be opening his own furniture and restraints shoppe right here in Crab Apple Corners. He will surely be missed in Palmixalitato County. But their misery is always our gain.

Another feature of the Fun Fair that cannot be neglected was the food pavilion. Over 20,000 were seated at one time for a fine feeding of Trish Creamly’s delicious sprung bark toffee pie. Trish you have out done yourself this year. Just save that recipe for my wedding reception. I know if you keep your hands on the crust you’ll keep them off my man – just kidding folks.

The children at the Fun Fair were also treated to a production by the local Armature Theatre Guild. They performed tragic scenes from various plays. The beheading of John the Baptist brought the crowd to their feet and kudos must go to Hank Grebly who did a fine job in the title role of that piece.

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

http://www.queerslam.com

returning every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Sneak Peek December 2018

A quick look back before the peak – my TOpoet.ca following jumped to 290, a number I hoped to hit by the end of 2018 – maybe I’ll get to 300 bay the end of 2019. Lots of new followers from India. WordPress stats give one lots of breakdowns but they can’t tell me what countries my followers are from 😦 Twitter is up to 205 thanks to some book cover designers following me 🙂 & Tumblr has increased to 214 – it would be much more but I block any hetero-porn sites that follow me.

For December I’ll be changing my blog routine with Monday’s to include a Dolly Dinty piece; Tuesday’s will feature the rewrite of an old piece: Winter Whisky; Wednesday’s I’ll be talking about past seasonal poetry; Thursday’s I’ll be talking about Christmas decorations that have personal memories for me; Friday’s as ever will be what ever 🙂 Speaking of Coal Dusters 65500 words have been posted with another 57000 to go. I’ll be getting back to it in the new year.

Other than Christmas Day entertaining I have no big plans for December. No shows or poetry readings – I say no shows but there will be some shopping to deal with plus the joyful noise of people in transit. As it gets colder & with night falling sooner & sooner I’m less inclined than ever to go out evenings. If it takes me longer to get dressed & get somewhere than I’m going to spend there I’d rather stay home. Plus most venues aren’t designed for that much outer wear, who wants to put their shoulder bag into a puddle on a snow-lake barroom floor.

Wounds of the Saints

 Gentle Reader let me tell you that your friendly reporter has certainly had quite a week-end to share with you. As you may remember in my column on Friday, I said I would be checking out the Family Fun Fair at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral. I did this and also found time to go to the pet show at The Pig Driver’s Arena by Buttontown Airport and the Bridal Show at Pester’s Mall.

Yes, a very busy Saturday. Sunday was as bad, what with the opening of the new font at St. Sufferer’s, a baby shower for the latest in the McGinch clan and finally a fund raising dinner in Crab Apple Corners for the Maple Valley Fire Department.

So, where to begin? If I hadn’t had my trusty map with me I surely would have gotten lost at the very start. St. Sufferer’s Cathedral is one of the largest churches in Pumpkin County but also the most difficult to find. It’s spires can be seen for miles in all directions but every turn of the road seemed to put it at my back and not in front of me.

I hope the next function they hold is to find funds to put up more accurate signage. The Fun Fair was fun for the entire family. Bobbing for pears, a banana tossing contest and even some feet painting for the children. It was a carefree time that made all feel closer to their Creator’s pain. I was deeply touched by the drawings of the Sunday School classes that depicted the various wounds of the Saints.

I was reluctant to leave there for the Pet Show. Fortunately finding The Pig Driver’s Arena is much easier.

The first thing I was confronted with though, was the Hijil’s Farm elephants. Not the sort of thing one expects at a pet show and who amongst us can judge them? They did do some rather charming tricks – rolling over to play dead and fetching the tree – but I think a more simple approach would be better. The prize ribbon went, as it has the last several years, to the McCracken’s of Daw Hill with their trained herding sparrows.

So, I was pretty tuckered by the time I got to the Bridal Show. I did get there & walked down that aisle longing for the time I would have time to actually walk down the aisle of St. Sufferer’s for my sacred wedding sacrifice. Bea Petratica’s Bridalle Shoppe had a new shipment of fine pearl crushed velvet lace that would make any bride look like a dark queen.

One of these days Hank Grebly, one of these days. You – me & the aisle.

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NaNoWriMo.05 2018

Wrapping NaNoWriMo with a whopping validated 66,025 words, not too shabby considering the distractions of Coal Dusters. I did include the extra work on Coal Dusters in my NaNo count for this year – after it started as a NaNo several years ago.

I’ve really liked the work I put in on Blludstun as I allowed it to morph from my original intent into a more complex paranormal mystery. As I’ve said as I wrote the nature of the plot – the events of the plot became clearer – so I do have a really sound set of notes, characters & a general sense of where it is going so I can, perhaps, jump back into it int e new years, all depending on my Coal Dusters progress. 

Of course once Dusters has been blogged I have Picture Perfect edits to tackle next. That one will be a major job as I have some 250000 words there to deal with. My brain’s filing system is pretty amazing as I can already sense what work needs to be done on Perfect while I’m slogging away at Dusters & sowing the seeds of Blludstun. Not to mention working on pieces for an upcoming feature & for performing at Capturing Fire. Yes, I still remember to put my shoes on 🙂

 

I did a few things different this year – it’s always good the change things up. I usually put tougher some extensive playlists of new-to-me music. This year I reached into my overly-extensive archive & pulled out lots of Chopin, various jazz & even some pop – all at a move-your-fingers beat. With six years of non-stop music to dip into I thought it was time to dip into it. 

one final glimpse into the story:

“Once again I have digressed from my original intent in writing this letter to you. This is one of the facets of the creative scientific mind. I have no told anyone of the night my dear husband died. I feel I can trust a stranger, that I can be open with someone I don’t know or whom I may never meet so that what ever judgements you may have I will never experience. I will ask one favour.”

“What is that?” Matt said aloud.

“What is what?” Gabe asked.

“My God!” Matt shook his head. “I was talking to Thomasina as if she was really here!”

“Must be a compelling letter.” Gabe sat on the couch beside Matt.

“I wasn’t here at all. I was sitting in an English tea shoppe sipping Assam orange pekoe tea with her. We were eating petite fours.”

“While you were reading that letter?”

“Yeah. I didn’t even realize that until you … until I answered her. I know she wasn’t here but how did I get to there without even knowing it? I mean not even knowing I was there until just now?”

“Sounds like … I was going to say astral projection but the person travelling does it with their own awareness of doing it.”

“It’s all so vivid. I can feel the warmth of the tea cup in my hand. Thin bone china with a zigzag pattern around the edge. A sort of Egyptian sun burst in the bottom of the cup that was reveal as I drank the tea.”

“What else do you recall. What did she look like?”

“I don’t know. I was listening to her but not seeing here. Everything around me is a sort of void. There’s just me, the cup of tea, the little cake and her voice.”

“Are you sitting on a chair?”

“Yes.”

“Was there a table cloth? Anything else on the table?”

“I didn’t even see a table. Just the tea cup, it’s a dark blue bone china with an art deco zigzag pattern along the inside rim. But I told you that already, didn’t I.”

“That pattern fits in the with the house I saw in my … vision. What were you asking?”

“Asking?”

“When I brought you out of your trance?”

“Right. She asking me a favour. I was asking her what it was.” Matt went back to the letter. “She wants me not to tell anyone what she’s just written me in the letter.”

“Which was?” 

“I … if I honour her request I can’t tell you.”

“Then let me read it.” Gabe reached for the letter. 

“No.” Matt put the letter behind his back so Gabe couldn’t get at it.

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November 1 -30

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every Tuesday


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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tea time

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Mary Teresa

Mary Teresa

Mary Teresa said

I can’t play with you anymore

her mother came out

get out of our yard

you aren’t welcome here

her brother Gerald

pushed me to the gate

you heard my mother

get lost

 

Why

 

Gerald shoved me again

punched me in the face

stop that his mother shouted

but Gerald hit me again

I could taste blood

 

you trouble maker

his mother pulled him away

you people are always trouble makers

now get going

don’t come back

don’t speak to Mary Teresa again

you hear me

she said

 

Mary Teresa glared at me

from the top of the back steps

stuck her tongue out at me

 

I didn’t know what I had done

Mary Teresa was a year older than me

so I guess she was eleven

her bother maybe thirteen

they lived a block over from us

but neither went to my school

they had their own

Saint something or the other

where the Catholic kids went

I wasn’t Catholic

 

we had lived in the neighbourhood

for about a year now

I knew the different schools 

there was taunting and chasing

that I avoided

 

I didn’t understand how their God 

gave them the right to bully

told them who was good

who was bad

years later I still don’t

understand

Catholic Protestant whatever

caught in a match

of who’s piss is closest to the good book

 

I never did speak to Mary Teresa again

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Fraud

Fraud

 

there are days

when I am more confused

days that start 

with me feeling pretty confident

in my worldview

in my opinions about things

often things that have nothing to do with me

things that don’t depend of me

except as a faceless person

 

I’m pretty comfortable in that milieu

having only the weight

of my own thinking to carry

then along comes

someone I know

who challenges this safety zone

 

I realize

I may not be as liberal & accepting 

as I think I am

apparently being supportive

means totally 

not merely 

as far as I’m willing to go

if I don’t go all the way

I’m a fraud

 

if I’m not intimidated

I must be interested

but if I’m not interested 

then I’m still trapped 

by cultural concepts of gender 

by heteronormative ideals of sexuality

 

this all came about

when a trans friend

was peeved that I didn’t find them

sexually attractive

to be frank I didn’t even find them

asexually attractive

but I did enjoy their articulate way

of dealing with struggles 

of their self discovery

I didn’t realize

my lack of sexual interest was unsettling

was a lack of acceptance of their struggle

so I was confused

I was suddenly like

every other cismale they’d ever met

 

because I didn’t know any better

I stepped away from that opportunity

to find a human beneath the struggle

one that is perhaps still

struggling to find itself

I stepped out of the way

I’m not one to hold back progress

while I find a space for myself

in a world where there 

is so much black and white thinking

there seems no middle ground

for compassion

 

There is truth in this but not all of it is my direct experience. I know a fair number of trans people – transitioned or -ing in either direction. I’m pretty comfortable with them as well. I also know androgynous, asexual people. So far none of them have hit on me, at least not f2f. I have some transmales contact me on dating sites though. After a few messages it was clear there really wasn’t enough interest on either side pursue things. Mainly because I’m too old.

 

But I have had a couple of trans who thought because I was friendly that I was interested. As I’ve told a few guys, just because I like what you are wearing doesn’t mean I want to get into your pants. It’s that delicate balance between people’s need for acceptance & their sense of self. I know that when I was a drunk a kind waiter meant he was clearly interested.

 

Some of this comes out of other people’s experiences around these issues of sexual attraction, gender & political correctness. It’s similar to the bear community bitching about body shaming while at the same time shaming people who are too thin for being politically ensnared by heteronormative standards of looks.

 

Confused? Then you feel a bit of what this piece talks about. If one is so radical what difference does it make what the body is – but then again if any body will do, you are clearly a slut. I have heard trans people say that if you really supported me you’d have no issue with sleeping with me; denying the other the right to have an acceptable opinion.

 

 

 

There seems to be no middle ground.

 

 

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