13 Elevators to Fifty Foot War

The next five pop music posts will cover a set of mp3 compilations that I put together of old music that was, for the most part, new to me. Many are garage band, one-hit wonders, others are psychedelic bands whose lps that never made it to the east coast. Several are ‘oddities’ I came across. Obscure for the most part but all fun fun fun. You can find wiki info of most of them.

13th Floor Elevators (Austin, Texas): Psychedelic Sounds of (mostly live) (1966) includes You Really Got Me; Easter Everywhere (1967) – includes  Postures (Leave Your Body Behind). This band claims the first use of the word “psychedelic” in reference to the music so I had to have them, right? Goofy love songs, anti-war rants with heavy reverb, wha-wha, distorted vocals & slithery guitar work. Perfection.

Fireballet: Bald Mountain (1975) – we can thank Emerson, Lake & Palmer for the flourishing of 70’s Symphonic Prog. This British band, produced by Ian McDonald (King Crimson), is a mild version of ELP, The bass sound is a bit ‘thin’ but they work hard, churning out pretentious fun including their 20 minute take on Night of Bald Mountain. 

Archie Bell & The Drells (Huston Texas): Tighten Up (1968) includes Midnight Hour, Knock on Wood. This is the retro odd-one-out. Sweet, soulful, funky & refreshing. Like so many groups of the time, regardless of genre, they did covers of the new standards i.e. Midnight Hour. 

Another legendary band is Fifty Foot Hose (San Francisco): Cauldron (1968) plus Rare tracks. They are remarkable for featuring a variety of homemade synths. This is truly trippy music with speaker-dancing engineering, echo, mystic lyrics, fine singing & spacey instrumental passages. It reminded me of how I thought how music should sound when you’re stoned.

Finally on this compilation is Eric Burdon declares “War” (Long Beach) (1970) includes Tobacco Road, Spill The Wine. Eric Burdon re-invented himself several times, always with fascinating sonic results. This time with War for a couple of great albums full of experimental, almost prog-rock work but always with a blues, r’n’b underpinning. This lp gave him, Spill The Wine, one of his few top ten songs after he disbanded the Animals. Smooth, funky fun. The follow up, Black Man’s Burdon – which I have in another compilation is less funky but still great.

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Chrysanthemum Summer

Chrysanthemum 

<>

1

<>

the sword

as sunrise

highlights

the water

flash cuts of red

<>

2

<>

a silver bird

a black curve

at vision’s edge

cautiously circles

hedges preflight bets

against a perfect landing

<>

a black curve

of the slowly formed oval

figures into connections

liniar sensibility

practices the new motion

the cutting motion

of ends realized

<>

3

<>

I’ve caged

with sun & steel

the silver birds 

I hope

to dissect their eyes

to find what they see

beyond my sight

<>

I know they see more

they feed from other hands

I will not rest

till I’ve emptied

their hollow bones

of soaring fluids

I must know more

than the aching birth of flight

I must feel more

than the caress of turbulence 

I must have their sight

<>

4

<>

a feathered rhapsody

in a shimmer celebration 

of a perfect landing 

on an endless spiral

of consecrated breath

breath held

as long as possible

the released 

to form a lined cloud

<>

5

<>

I’ve released

the silver birds

they soar & shimmer

beyond all edges

black round flickers

their eyes intact 

they see black curves

they fly spirals

the black curves are death

a vision I leave to them 

till my own bones

are so hollow

all that remains

is the silver

<>

6

<>

from behind the cloud

a silver bird

wings on straw bones

a floating airfoil song

a crescendo of invention

in a shuddered moment

a moment of escape

a curve of celebration 

for this perfect landing

<>

7

<>

the vision

as heartbeat

reflects

the edge

fresh curves of black

<>

June13/77

This poem reflects my adoration of Yukio Mishima. His life, writing & death were inspirations to me. Over the years I have read nearly everything of his translated into English, as well as biographies & critical studies of his work. Through the piece are mentions of his works – Sun & Steel is his book about samurai culture & ritual. He saw suicide as an artist expression. He was also queer.

The opening & closing are like Japanese water colours with a few simple brushstrokes creating a vivid image in blank space. The in-between verses are like chrysanthemum – multi-petaled with repeated words, images, analogies that reflect, then vary as they move like a kaleidoscope to form then reform new pictures.

Words were carefully picked for sonics & meaning & poetic vibrancy. ‘feathered rhapsody’  ‘crescendo of invention’ are Dylan Thomas candy. I had some brightly coloured Java Temple finches at one time so I’m sure they were inspiration for all the bird imagery. I must have seen a documentary on bird feathers & bones & that relates to their ability to fly but it is possible I made that stuff up too.

T

hey learn to fly by being pushed out of the nest – it’s either spread your wings or die trying, discover their perfect landing or become part of the black curves. Poems have to pushed out the nest to fly into the lives people that the poet often never meets. We writers never know where our words will land once we set them free.  The vision one has of oneself as a poet, as person, also has to leave a nest, though unlike birds we have more options to try as we learn to negotiate life & often never find that perfect landing.

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Welcome To The F Files

https://topoet.ca/2021/06/26/welcome-to-the-f-files/

Picture Perfect 77

Picture Perfect 77

“What do you think happened to those children?” Dan asked.

“Dan, that’s a hard question to answer. At the time there was an expectation that they would show up again.” Meade said. “Or that we’d find their bodies on different beaches. I know what predators do to children but somehow I don’t think this is what happened here. It was too … clean. After a year, when there was nothing, I knew we’d never see any of them again. Alive.”

“Here you are Mr. Meade.” Delores handed him the green file folder. He took a newspaper clipping from it and handed it to Dan.

“Priests Charged” was the headline. Under it was a photograph of three priests.

“That’s Father McKillop!” Dan said. He skimmed the article. Then checked the date. “This is from last year. He’s still alive.”

“Yes.” Meade said. “Pleading not guilty, I might add. Goes to trial in the new year. This was why he was ‘moved’ to new parish.”

“Embezzlement isn’t such a big thing.” Jennifer said. 

“You were hoping for something more …. salacious?” Meade laughed. “I’m sure embezzlement covers a multitude of sins.”

“Such as where did the money go?” Dan said.

“Right, though maybe it was his personal organ fund.” Meade laughed loudly. “He was known to be fond of ladies. Had at least two mistresses while he was still here on the east coast.” 

“Says here he needed the money to pay off gambling debts.” Dan put the article on the table. “Would you know, off hand, if he’s related Staff Sergeant McKillop.” Dan asked.

“I could find out easily.” Meade said. “Cousins for sure.”

“So you covered the disappearance cases at the time?” Dan asked. 

“Only one of them. We reported on two of the others. But no connections between were made. When nothing really developed it stopped being newsworthy.” Meade shook his head. “When I moved here several years ago I decided to do a purge of my old personal files & came across the one for the Forestier’s.”

“And the others?” Jennifer asked.

“I pulled the Forestier & put it to one side. Found the others & did the same & saw the pattern. All were in different counties so even then I didn’t see connections. Running the Sentinel didn’t leave me time to make connections. When I retired I had time to ruminate.”

Jennifer flipped through the other clippings, notes & photographs in Meade’s folder. “Did you uncover anything since you contacted Unsolved Cold?”

Dan reached over & took a colour photo from the papers. It was a panoramic shot of a banquet with several round tables, each with groups people around them smiling at the camera. He pulled out his electronic loupe to study the faces.

“That’s my Dad!” He said. “That’s Father McKillop at another of the tables.”

“Good eye.” Meade said. “That was …”

“The Atlantic News awards in 1984. March, right? Mom was pissed she couldn’t go because I had a cold. Why was the good father there?”

“It was a fairly open guest list.” Meade said. “I think our press celebrity that year was Pierre Burton. All the winners got signed copies of The Promised Land. His latest book.”

“Fuck! This is the Chamberlains. I recognize them from their photos at the Circus museum. Oh wow! Is that a real snake around her shoulders.”

“Yes.” Meade said. “She was a woman of interesting interests.”

“There’s Mrs. O’Connor, too. She’s one of servers!”

Dan turned on his tablet & pulled up the file of interview photos to compare it with one of the younger Mrs. O’Connor. “Yes. Definitely her.”

“What does that tell us?” Jennifer asked. “It was a fairly public event.”

“My inquiries told me the O’Connor woman was one of McKillop’s uh … conquests.” 

“Mrs. Chamberlain, too?” Jennifer asked. “No I don’t feel that here.”

“Yes. Yes. I’m sure.” Meade fell silent. 

Delores stepped to his side.

“I’m afraid it’s time for Mr. Meade to rest. He usually doesn’t have so many visitors.” She shook his shoulder gently. “Time for your afternoon siesta Mr. Meade.”

“Yes. Yes. Thank you Delores.” He stood unsteady. “I hope I’ve been helpful. You can have the files. I have to keep purging my past. There’s more in there than we discussed.”

Delores began to lead him away.

“Please get in touch if you want to ask any questions.” He shrugged Delores’ hand from his shoulder. “Perhaps, if I may, would you mind walking me back to my room Mr. James?”

“Certainly.” Dan stood.

Cameron moved to follow them.

“No cameras beyond the the visiting area.” Delores said.

“Oh.” Cameron looked to Dan.

“It’s alright.”

<>

Dan’s eyes blinked as they left the brightly lit visiting area & went into a dimly lit hallway. Even the smell of the building changed as they walked. The fresh pine of the other room was replaced by a stuffy medicinal dustiness. 

“There’s a flight of stairs around the corner.” Meade said. “My unit is on the first floor so I take the stairs whenever I can. Helps keep me in shape.”

The corridor on the first floor was brighter. The smell of disinfectant was stronger. 

“Here we are.” Meade pushed the buttons on the electronic lock & the door swung open. 

The room was cluttered with a couple of file cabinets, a desk littered with folders, a recent model computer & a bed. 

“Utilitarian but home.” Meade said. “Sit for a moment.”

“You sure Dolores will allow it?” Dan sat on the edge of the bed.

“Yeah. Look did you know about the conflict between your Dad & McKillop?”

“McKillop? No. Dad was none to fond of the Catholic school boards for blocking him from doing their class photos. But he never mentioned anyone in particular.”

“That someone was McKillop. He & your Dad were … I can’t call them friends but they were more than acquaintances too. Not quite business partners either but …”

“What?” Dan was trying to make some connection between his Dad & the priest.

“Members of the same club.”

“Masons?”

“No some camera club.”

“My God! You mean the Kodak Fun Club?”

“Exactly. I’d forgot what it was called. They took photos of an artistic nature.”

“Yeah. I’ve seen some of them. Girly pics. You were a member of the club too?”

“I had a newspaper to run & well, I had access to enough of that sort of smut anyway. Anyway the club voted McKillop out after he’d been a member for a couple of month.”

“Having a priest in the room sort of dampened their innocent pleasures.” Dan gave a little laugh.

“No, he wanted their photographic experiments to go a little further. McKillop was …”

“He liked to be punished for being a bad, bad priest!”

“Good guess.”

“How do you know this if you weren’t a member of the club?”

“My sources must remain confidential. You understand that.”

“You knew Peggy Brooks?”

Meade stared intently at him for a minute. “Never heard of her.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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Loyalist Memories 3

A follower asked what did we do a Loyalist for five days – as if there so little to writing one only needed a day or less to get the fundamentals. The structure was the same each year – morning lecture about an aspect of plotting, world building – & discussion of those aspects. Newbies were most curious about getting published & how sell a million copies of their book.

The more experienced where most interested in polishing their writing & the workshop critiques in the afternoon were where the real learning happened. It was after the first session of this that if someone as going to drop out they would drop. Some signed without fully realizing the amount of time reading & commenting on one another’s work would take. I know the first year I expected to have time to write new chapters for my current project – ha! I barely had time to blog – lol.

I was one of the few in the class that actually stayed on campus – the others lived in the area, had friends who live din the area, or preferred the full comforts of a nearby motel. I roughed in one of residence units. I brought breakfasts, snacks, & suppers for the stay. Without a car eating off campus wasn’t going to happen & what fast food there was closed at 4. I wasn’t rushing to hit Tim’s before they closed just to get a bagel.

Over the years I attended I brought chapters from my various nanowrimo novels Lazarus Kiss, Coal Dusters & Picture Perfect. Feed back was productive & when I got to doing edits of those novels I incorporated many of the suggestions. Asking for feedback on sections that appeared at say, the 100 page mark, in a novel did present the challenge of context – some fellow work-shoppers realized what wasn’t explained was probably already explained – other floundered not being able to make that leap. I did include a very brief recap one year.

The biggest thing I learned was that, to me, the writing is more important that publishing – one attender was dismayed they had to sacrifice their dream project after good a start because they couldn’t find a market for it – clearly the dream was the market not the project. Others discovered that once published they spent so much time on promo that they had no time write anything new. 

I hope the follower who asked what we did isn’t disappointed to find out there were no blood offerings to the moon.

The Reparation Room

<>

he acted as if I owed him something

for the way he was treated as a child

by someone I didn’t know

in a city I’ve never been in

because I was old white guy

I was the one to blame

I was the one who had to dig down

to make it up to him 

money wasn’t going to cut it

he wanted to see me hurt

as much as he had been hurt

there was no way to defuse this anger

to step back from the situation

no way was I capable of making him feel whole

<>

was the trade off

the memory of his pain

in return for the memory 

of the pain he might inflict upon me

how many times 

would he have to seek this opportunity

how many times would he have to strike out

before he realized causing pain

never removes the pain one feels

making me hurt as much as he hurts

won’t change his hurt

might numb him to it for a moment

then he’ll have to live with what he’s done

what he feels compelled to keep on doing

making me hurt as much as he hurts

won’t change his hurt

might numb him to it for a moment

then he’ll have to live with what he’s done

what he feels compelled to keep on doing

hitting out spitting out taking it out 

till it would finally consume him

<>

I don’t know how to lead him out of this cage

can’t tell him he’s a slave 

to a problem I didn’t cause

I refuse to be held responsible for it 

yet cannot deny his right 

to seek some sort of reparation

for his past

I’m not the one to apologize

not the one to pull out my wallet to pay him off

I have to witness his struggle

acknowledge it

know that I can’t undo

what has been done

try not to add to it in any way

but it seems no matter what I do

I add to it

just being present brings it all back to him

not being present 

seems to him like I’m hiding out of guilt

<>

neither of us can leave the room

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Kensington Market July 2021

Took a stroll through Kensington Market this past week. The last I was there was early last March to do a feature at the Secret Handshake Gallery. Then the pandemic shutdown took over. I was dismayed at the number fo closures but many of these merchants were already being squeezed out before covid. It’s becoming a hive of pot dispensaries.

On Augusta at Wales
more of above – more work by this artist across the street
sidewalk Kensington near St. Andrew
head of above – sidewalk Kensington near St. Andrew
sidewalk Kensington near St. Andrew
fallen angels? sidewalk Kensington near St. Andrew
Nassau/Spadina ready for redevelopment
Spadina/Nassau – cursed be those who redevelop
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Still – Sor

Fernando Sor (1778 -1839) – thanks to Andre Segovia grew to enjoy Sor, though it was some time before I ‘knew’ him by name. I have pieces by him scattered through recordings by Boyd, Bream etc. Also 2 stand alones of his complete Guitar Music. Crisp, emotional & adventurous he is worth adding to any classical collection.

I read about William Grant Still (1895 – 1978) known as “Dean of AfroAmerican Composers” a few years ago during Black Heritage month. I am always eager to expand my musical appreciation beyond the accepted European tradition. When I think of modern American classical of composers not many names come to mind – Copeland, Gershwin. Is Scott Joplin classical? 

Wiki says that Still composed almost 200 works, including nine operas,five symphonies,four ballets,plus art songs, chamber music, and works for solo instruments.He composed more than thirty choral works.Many of his works are believed to be lost. Modern classical is such a rarefied niche I’m not surprised if you’ve never heard of him.

On an mp3 collection I have his Chamber Music performed by Videmus Ensemble: Suite for Violin & Piano, Songs of Separation; Piano Music: Visions, Traceries, A Deserted Plantation; Africa, Symphony No 1 Afro-America Symphony. More or less a sampling of his various forms. The music is modern conservative as opposed to modern experimental – melodic, lyrical & sometimes Romantic. Enjoyable – sort of an American Vaughn-Williams.

To round out the Sills cd I hadded: Jewish Tone Poems by Avshalomov; Silver; Meyerowitz – impassioned at points. Music for Two Guitars: Los Indios Tabajaras, Santos/Caceres – lovely cafe classical music. Stamitz/Reinnecke: Works for Flute: more lovely cafe classics. Finally The Wild West: The Essential Western Themes – this is wow collection where you can hear the influences of Copeland, Beethoven, Gershwin on film soundtracks that result is some of the iconically USA symphonic music.

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Summer Murderer

typed on Royal – around 1976

“… As a Young Murderer”

<>

1

<>

I

want to kill

rip apart

with my bare hands

I

want blood

to taste

to smear

across my face

over my chin

between the fingers

of my bare hands
<>

2

<>

I

want to kill

instead

I get on a plane 

reading

in the airfoil gamble

I want to rip my book apart

strangle someone

then

then

slowly pick up the pieces
of my half-finished book

then

then

wash my hands

after reading

I often wash my hands

<>

my hands 

are ordinary

not thin tapers

with long artistic fingers
but squarish

with solid grasping fingers 

that create

yes I paint 

you’d never tell from my fingers

that I do anything

except linger

<>

you’re never tell from my hands

that my fingers

savour the skin of knuckles

brick wall ground

grazed as they pound a head

your head

the head that would never think

that of these hands

my hands

passive now

as they touch

the corners of your mouth

<>

3

<>

down the back stairs 

playing on the pipes

‘nineteenth’

playing at them with spoons

‘here it comes’

tapping at the airfoil

pumping on the surface

‘nineteenth’

playing on the pipes

echoing up the stairs

‘here it comes’

<>

4

<>

then I dream

of regrets

sorry sorry sorry

I’m suddenly

all so sorry

I didn’t stop to think

I rarely do

I think of myself

I only prime the repercussion

percussion

playing on the pipes 

lead pipes

“pieces of flesh

and some hair 

were found …”

<>

my hair

is always clean

I like the feel

of fingers

gripping at my hair

pulling it out

roots & all

looking for a hold

to keep me looking 

as they slip away 

as my eyes disbelieve

my act of turning a corner

without looking back

to see if I did

or if I glimpsed the doing

reflected by alley darkness

blind alley

that’s how they found me

dancing

‘here it comes’

my knuckles raw

the spoon of blood

in my mouth 

singing

‘nineteenth’

<>

5

<>

suddenly

my perception clears

a book on my lap

spoons tapping on the pipes

something in the air

a taste of spring lamb

I want to kill

but

am too tired to clean

<>

I

want to kill

instead 

I come back to my vision

a dream revelation

of the endless tease 

of energy

within my grasp

without my control

<>

This poem equates violence with masculinity in a very direct, in your face way propelled by a barely contained anger. I was compelled to write something that was aggressive, unflinching to get away from the emotional delicacy of the poetry I was force fed in high-school. There was lack of real physical interaction beyond the tenderness of a lover’s kiss. I wanted to write things that weren’t safe because my real life was confined by culturally imposed rules of gender behaviour.

I performed this piece a few times while I was still living in Sydney. ‘ taste of spring lamb’ was the name of a poetry reading I gave & I loved the dark energy of this piece. It was also a lesson to me that people see what you’ve written as you – that this was confessional as opposed to a character I was exploring. More than anything it revealed my desire to shock not to kill.

The language departs from my Dylan Thomas influence – no pretty pictures here but definitely some very clear & visceral descriptions.  The narrative voice moves from that rage, to an almost tender self-awareness of both the speaker & he reader – the reach out to ‘touch the corners of your mouth.’ There is the dream logic word association that goes from ‘pipes’ to ‘some hair’ to ‘my hair.’

The title is a reference to both James Joyce’s & Dylan Thomas’ ‘Portrait of the Artist as a .…’ ‘nineteenth’ comes from The Rolling Stones’ 19th Nervous Breakdown. Writing poems like this is probably what spared me from actually killing some (or myself) & from having a nervous breakdown. 

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Welcome To The F Files

https://topoet.ca/2021/06/26/welcome-to-the-f-files/

Picture Perfect 76

Picture Perfect 76

Dan pressed the remote to open the rental car door. Baxter stepped between him and the door.

“Dan why are you so resistant? John Kilpatrick was always eager to bring interesting viewpoints to the cases he reported on for us.”

“I’ve seen some of that crap. Interviews with the hairdresser of the woman who lived across the street from someone who saw what happened. And you wonder why your show lacks critical credibility.”

“It’s entertainment for fuck sake, not a documentary.”

“I get that but you’ve seen the interviews we’ve done so far. These are people who are still hurting, still looking for answers. They aren’t doing this to be entertaining. Nor am I.” Dan heard his voice echo in the parking lot. “Sorry I didn’t mean to shout.”

“We want those answers too. Don’t you think there’s something to how the original investigation just petered out so easily?”

“Something like one of that team was the abductor?”

“Whoa! That never occurred to me? Do you think that’s a possibility.” Baxter rubbed his hands excitedly.

“Look if you’re that unhappy with my …. lock of cooperation bring Kilpatrick in to do those hairdresser interviews.”

“We’re not unhappy it’s just that …”

“You want the credibility I bring. Right.”

“True but you haven’t been part of the team.”

“Is that why you followed me out here? To tell me I wasn’t a team player?” He nudged Baxter away from the car to open the door. “That may be true but I’ll get results not entertainment.”

“You know what your problem is Dan. You’re looking at this like a policeman. You want to make an arrest. It’s like you expect someone to give you a name that will lead to a suspect.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing but we’re telling the story of what happened. We aren’t looking for a solution to this mystery but clues to the solution. If we solve it fine but we don’t that’s fine too.”

“I get it! You want a season two.”

“Hahhaha.” Baxter could barely control his laughter. “No. Dan I just want to get this season wrapped, alive. After almost dying in a rigged car, you think I want to prolong this?”

Dan resisted saying the the rigged car was meant for him. He did realize Baxter was right though, he had been trying to solve the case with the hope of catching the abductor as he had done in the child porn case. 

“Right. I was envisioning one of busting down-the-door finales.”

<>

Over the next couple of weeks Dan interviewed classmates, cousins, neighbours who were directly connected to the original abductions. He looked more of his dad’s class photos, even some wedding pictures knowing there would be little new information in them. 

Footage of the interviews was being edited for broadcast, not knowing exactly what they were looking for forced them not to make conclusions. Dan spent two mornings recording various weekly introductions to the show that had him talking to the camera as he walked along the shoreline or looking through folders supposedly holding investigative reports. 

He found himself falling into the rhythm of the routine. Make-up, fresh shirts from wardrobe, on-camera conversations with Jennifer about their interviews. He looked forward to his video calls with Peter & keeping tabs on the stores. What he really looked forward to was his upcoming weekend out of the camera to his real life in Toronto. To make it more interesting he booked a flight to Montreal to investigate his father’s connection to Joviet J. Inc.

In the next morning Cameron & Jennifer Devereaux were waiting for him in the Wickham Arms lobby.

“Last day here Dan.” Cameron said.

“What’s on for today.”

“We’re to see Jackson Meade.” Cameron answered. “Former publisher of the Atlantic Sentinel.”

“This one will be fun.” Jennifer said. “Everyone loves Uncle Jack.”

“Uncle?” Dan asked as they got into the car.

“He’s everyones uncle. One winter he visited every school in the district with boxes full of mittens, gloves, toques and scarfs to make sure every child had enough warm clothes. Parkas if they needed them.” Jennifer explained.

“Generous.”

“Of course they all the Sentinel logo on them somewhere. So we kids became walking billboards for his newspaper. Smart man.”

“Sounds like Jeremy Moxham.” Dan said. “Shows up at charity events with a donation and gets his picture in the paper. Free advertising.”

“You know Jeremy Moxham!” Jennifer said.

“I guess you missed that vibe.” Dan laughed. “Tell me more about Uncle Jack.”

“He sold his papers to a mainland conglomerate. Not that he wanted to but he had to. They weren’t financial feasible anymore. Thanks to the Internet.” Jennifer said. “He retired. Travels a fair bit, especially for someone his age.”

“Age?”
“He must be going on ninety.”

“Baxter says it was Meade who contacted Qunitex last year with his theory about the missing children. Baxter flew down then to meet him because Meade wouldn’t let his ‘evidence’ out his sight.”

“Then why didn’t we start the interviewing with him.”

“Ask him when you see him. Here we are.” Cameron drove the gates of a long three story building in a faux Tudor style. A sign with an arrow pointed to the back of the building. The sign said “Parking for Calaidh Retirement Villa visitors this way.”

Jackson Meade greeted them as they came into the second floor sunroom. “We’ll have some tea. Delores has made us a fresh pot. There’ll be scones in a bit. How’s your mother Jennifer?”

“Good. Sends her regards and her regrets.”

‘Damn. She’ll say yes one of these times.”

“Uncle Jack if every woman you proposed to said yes you’d be in big trouble.”

“That sort of trouble is good for a man my age. And this is …” he looked to Cameron.

“Cameron …” Dan said by way of introduction.

“Now there’s a good Scottish name. Can’t remember the last I heard that name.”

“Cameron Andersen.”

“Hmm … ‘e’ or ‘o’.”

“E.”

“And you must be Daniel James. You look a lot like your Dad. Not the face but the stance, the carriage. You made something of yourself. That child porn business you helped with. Brilliant work. Your Dad would have been proud.”

A young woman pushed a food cart over to them.

“Delores will play mother for us. Sit Sit.”

They sat around a large round table with a view of the grounds. Dan noted the discreet Celtic flourishes accented the room. Tartan swags on the curtains, matching napkins at their place settings.

“You looking for the swords and shields? Not in this room. Mostly in the old folks dining hall. This lounge is for the younger generation here.”

While Delores poured tera for them Meade asked “Jennifer what is your sense of the children. Are any of them still alive? Run-aways somewhere with new lives, new identities.”

“No. Not that that isn’t possible. But I don’t get a sense of them. They are still here.’

“Still here?” Dan asked.

“Yes. Their remains are here. I’ve have a feeling of  them safe and protected. Snug but not living.”

“Underground you mean?” Meade asked.

“No!” Jennifer replied.

“Now, Mr. James I know you haven’t spoken with all the families yet but …”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Meade, I thought we were here to interview you?” Dan said.

“We’ll get to that. Be patient. You’re almost as bad as that Mr. Baxter. He’ll never make a good newspaper man. That’s why,” his voice dropped, “he was told not to come here with you today.”

“I see.” Dan said.

“This case has been on my mind all these years. I saw the connections then but I couldn’t get anyone to concur. They saw it as a press attack on their integrity. The Mounties I mean. They walked away from unanswered questions, from opportunities. But I could never find more than suspicions. Rumours. Not evidence.”

“Possibly they came to that conclusion too?” Dan said.

“I realized that over the years. They have limits, legal limits set out by the law. But they didn’t even have suspects. You do. So you are doing better than them already.”

“Do we?” Jennifer asked Dan.

“I don’t know about suspects but we do have, as they say, persons of interest. Winston Chamberlain  for one. That Father McKillop for another.”

“Father McKillop!” Jackson put his scone down.

“One of the visiting Fathers.” Dan said.

“I know who he is.” Meade beckoned Delores to the table. “Delores go to my room and bring me the green file folder on my desk. And see about more scones.”

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Loyalist Memories Part 2

strolling the grounds 2010

I recently posted a collection of photos from various years of Rosemary Aubert’s writing worksop at the Loyalist College’s Summer Arts. I think I attended 5 years of them until she retired & Loyalist opted not to continue with writing workshops of any sort. Such is life. In fact each year the college was less inviting to the workshop. Starting with the reduction of lunch dining options until lunch was reduced to a Tim’s in the basement.

the air cadets were very obedient – I loved being saluted

Besides the other summer arts workshops for the first two years we shared the campus with air cadets who were billeted there while they went to Trenton airbase. It was fun to watch them lining up in uniform to catch their bus there. Also they added to the after class scenery shooting hoops, lining up for the pay phones. I guess to cut costs the cadets were eventually billeted in Trenton.

dining hall mural – eventually painted over 😦

Rosemary’s class had a core following of crime writers (who went on to form The Mesdames of Mayhem). Some were published already. There were always some newbies. Over the summers I developed friendships with a couple of the Mayhem. Each year there was a different approach to the writing process. Some years the participants were invited to do presentations. I did one on ‘how to give a reading’ as many writers have no idea of how to present their work to a live audience.

In the workshop critiques I learned how to listen to what was said about my work & not to defend my submissions. I was the only out queer male there so I did bring my unique voice to matters of gender & stereotyping. Some were good at copy editing – I would always get one of my submission back with every punctation or typo correction in red ink.

When Rosemary decided to retire from teaching Loyalist opted not to continue with the writers’ workshop module of their summer arts. They did offer one the following year but didn’t get enough registrants so run it. So that was that. Maybe we writers weren’t in the right age demographic for them to pursue 🙂

hands around the Tim’s table our last year there 2016 – some of the hands belong to people in the photo from 2010

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