Recap March 2021

Over the past year by TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 487! The only stat WP doesn’t give is where the followers are located but WP map does show my hits have come from 30 countries around the world. That USA tops the list is no surprise but that India & Bangladesh are in the top 4 is interesting. Ireland, Japan in the top 10!  Most popular post for March was Attention Span (https://topoet.ca/2021/03/28/attention-span/). My Tumblr is at 311. It would be higher but this past month I‘ve blocking a flood of banal anime sex sites. Twitter 231 followers.

Picture Perfect is moving along with 61 sections, nearly 90,000 words, posted so far, with 95,000 words approx to be edited, then posted. Yes finally at the half-way point & know there are major cuts yet to be made. That the joy of writing without worry I know I can chase a subplot knowing if it doesn’t pan out it can be chopped.

I continued working through the archived files of short-stories, poetry, even plays. Some date back to the mid-seventies. My typing & handwriting haven’t improved much over the decades. I’m enjoying the array of paper, scrap paper, that I used. It helps to date some of the work, as does the typewriter used, the colour of ink, & of course dot-matrix printouts – some of which hadn’t been separated.

I watched lots of great movies this past month including two wildly different movies about witches. The first is a version of Susperia – based on the original Dario Argenta movie but not a remake. I love the original despite the distracting loud soundtrack. Both are set in a dance school. I enjoyed this fresh take in which dance took a major role. The music & choreography & even the theory of dance were spot on. The music was moody, never intrusive. Performances were great – Tilda Swinton was fine. The bloodbath scene was gory but then …. sadly they added an endless, pointless coda that turned an A movie into a C.

The other witch move was ‘The Juniper Tree’ from 1990. It could have been a lost Bergman film with its stark Iceland setting, shot in stunning black & white. Mystical, poetic & magical without any special effects & solid compelling performances. Ethereal music & a realistic ending. Well worth searching out. 

As break from the macabre I watched, for at least the 3rd time, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. This was the fully restored print with stunning colour & a pristine soundtrack. This is a masterpiece of film making. The set decor is breathtaking, stunning & a feast for the eyes. The cast is good, Deneuve is stunning too. The men are tasty Gallic eye candy. The music is lush & the singing is perfect. All the voices are dubbed – so this is a live-action animated feature 🙂 They sing like ordinary people – I’m so used to the over-singing of songs in which every one has to have a heart-rending emotional climax. 

Another truly amazing film was Diamonds In The Night – Czech black & white – follows two young men, escapees from transport to concentration camp during WWII. A touch surreal, intense, compelling & rewarding. 

We’re finally watching The Crown, season 2. The Aberfan episode is one of the most amazing chapters of a serial I’ve ever seen, right up there with The Queen episode of Castle Rock. An emotional tour de force that left me tearful. Heart-rending without being cloying or over-the-top.

from the archives – sometime 1985

‘let’s swim to the moon’

Jim Morrison

last night I dreamed of the dead

they weren’t looking very well

the endlessness of the past

was worrying them

as there was more past every day

their worries were constantly growing

at this point as expected

things got a little confusing

the cafe of experience

was flooded by Symbolists

our meals became metaphors

which left us hungering for reality

an allusion of symbiotics

were looking for a new quantifier

they wanted pride

by lions had already cornered that one

they asked to join us for coffee

but no one had a measuring spoon

mystic sixties retro music on the juke box

left us even more unsatisfied

reminding us of old frustrations

we had matured out of long long ago

we were speechless with despair 

none willing to swim anymore

there was no room for miles

the stars repeated their menu

soup song of sorrows in the heartbreak hotel

pulling up to the gas pump

in an early model Chevrolet 

revved up the effortless drive of love

to fuel the furnace of art

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The Kenton Experience

There is a genre of classical music in which pop music is turned into ‘serious’ music. There are lps of the Beatles done as Bach. The Vitamin Quartet has made a career of interpreting the likes of Coldplay, Lady Gaga, even Led Zeppelin as string quartets. All of which I have tucked away in my collection. Of these cross-covers one of my favourites is The Kennedy Experience. 

Led by violin virtuoso Nigel Kennedy this Experience tackles – you guessed it – The Jimi Hendrix Experience. But instead of turning Hendrix into classical music it stretches into an exploration of wider musical horizons. Some meditative, Third Stone From The Sun; some rock out, Fire. All are fantastic & resonant. Music to treasure.

Near by on the shelf is Stan Kenton: 100+ Classic Greats: includes West Side Story. This high quality easy listening jazz. Instrumental music falls into so many categories – some of Kenton’s work falls under exotica, some nightclub, some late night cafe stuff, all good stuff though. This is a jumbled assemblage of a dozen or so lps dumped into a collection. I’ve arranged some of the tracks back into their original release lps, some I left randomized. The Latin tracks were easy to sort, a set of blues, one of show tunes, one of jazz standards.

Kenton is not a challenging band leader but is never boring either. You want challenging try Coltrane 🙂 You want boring try Kenny G. My partner had Kenton’s West Side Story as lp & I enjoyed it enough to replace it with mp3 version & when I checked it out on iTunes up popped this massive collection of 100+ Kenton, for under $10.00. So I bought it. Well worth it.

Another similar massive collection was ‘Songs You Know & Love.’ Songs I knew from movies, some my parents favourites & some from the radio. Performed mostly by original artists. Things like McGuire Sisters: Cuddle Up A Little Closer; Dean Martin: When Your Smiling; Eddie Cantor: Ma, She’s Making Eyes at Me. Another great public-domain jumble from iTunes for under $10.00. 

As I listen to these I wonder how long it’ll be before there are similar mp3 jumbles of today’s stars?

Anticipation 3

Another day Martin would never forget was the day he finally believed the prophecy. As a child he didn’t question the truth of what his parents had told him. At about fourteen he began to doubt, within himself, this weird reality that his parents had forced on him.

The doubt crystallized during a school seminar on ‘The Future.’ Because it had been set out for him ‘to heal the world’ he had never given his future much thought. He had no concept of what he wanted to be when he grew up. The Book made no career references, no hints as to whether he should become a doctor or a garbage man. What profession would suit the healer of the world the most?

His listened to other kids talk about how they had discussed their futures with their parents. Futures that included colleges, marriages; futures that had real plans. All he discussed with his folks was how was school today. He realized how abnormal his parents were. Maybe even a little crazy. The Book, The healing of the world! What a crock! They didn’t even go to church.

He carried those doubts for the next few years. Those years of believing his parents were insane were the worst. He spent days plotting to have them legally committed. He never spoke to his parents about his fears of their sanity. After all, there was food on the table. Rarely any shouting or fighting. A very normal family in all ways but this one little wrinkle – The Book. He pulled away from them & their crazy notions.

His best days were those on which he forgot the prophecy. Sometimes he even had weeks of that blissful forgetting, in which he was just a man plodding through his life as best as anyone else.

The worse days were the ones when he felt painfully trapped by a fate he couldn’t alter. A fate he didn’t particularly care for & which he had tried to escape any way he could.

“What if I die in an accident?” He once asked his mother. “Then what happens to the world? Huh?”

“You won’t Martin. You won’t die.” She admonished him gently.

So he became a daredevil. Drinking hard, playing even harder, fast cars, high mountains. Seeking to escape but always being faced with what couldn’t be changed.

Though his twenties he couldn’t make decisions. He turned his will & his life over to any escape he could find. Alcohol, heroin, women, men. It didn’t matter. His life was charmed & cursed both at the same time.

One fateful night he had a car accident. A little stoned he hit an icy patch, swerved into another car, & rolled his own. He lived. He needed steel pins to put his leg together. Three people died in the other car. He was unconscious for two days.

His mother was there beside his bed. The Book on her lap. As he opened his eyes, she read, with a calm flatness, “Even as a vegetable Martin will fulfill the prophecy. The decision is his.”

“Hell. Hell. Hell.” he muttered painfully. “Why doesn’t it tell me more. I want to know what to do till then.”

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The Thrill is Gone

The Thrill is Gone

he was bored

& looking for sex

as if sex was a solution

so far

nothing had lived up

to his expectations

his profile listed

his interests

it was like the index

to a gay sex manual

<>

at nineteen

he wanted to try them all

while he was still young enough

to enjoy them all

before he was bored

by them all

<>

what I hadn’t tried

of his endless index

had never appealed to me 

at any age

many I had tried a few times

had no interest in exploring them again

even though

he wanted an older guide

who was opened-minded

<>

we chatted a awhile

because he liked my dick pic

when it became clear

I had boundaries

my disinterest in

repeating what bored me

made him bitter

judgemental

the less defensive I became

the more defensive he became

but at least

he was no longer bored

crushing boredom

This is based on real life events & in some ways is why I bother with any online gay cruising sites – I find things like this amusing & sometime a little puzzling. These sites are also a way of passing the time when I have ten minutes with little to do. Like this guy here I was bored, but not really looking for sex just a reminder that sex was possible 🙂

I saw his shopping list of sexual delights & thought, well there’s a few things I enjoy here but the rest isn’t on my menu plan. I wasn’t even curious enough to look at his pics but he contacted me via the site’s chat line. More info was exchanged & the more that was exchanged the less interested I was. I even asked him if he had actually read my profile – if he had he would have known what he was asking about me.

One of the ‘code’ words I watch for in profiles is ‘open-minded’ – which boils down to kink: diapers, chastity cages, that sort of thing. If one isn’t interested you become close-minded. Similar to saying ‘no’ to a drink, to say ‘no’ to kink can make some guys defensive – as if that ‘no’ is a judgment on their choices. 

Over the years I’ve learned that many men on line are looking for attention not contact. His laundry list was extensive enough that there was something for everyone there. It struck me as indecisive, which seemed natural at his age, too. My other caveat pops up here, the one that says: men lie on line. There is no way for me to verify his age, his profile pics, or his shopping list. The twenty or so minutes we chatted was enough role playing for me.

clutching at straws

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Picture Perfect 61

Picture Perfect 61

“It wasn’t something I thought much about, especially after the Mounties stopped coming around. We never understood why they stopped. Or why they never came back when there were others.”

“Have you remembered much?”

“More and more since your show contacted me. Silly stuff. Like what I was wearing. Those cowboy costumes you and Timmy loved to play in. Mama had to sew them back together nearly every other day. We couldn’t make you kids understand they weren’t really clothes. They were as real as the toy guns. You would be climbing trees, jumping off porches in them. Timmy would sometimes sleep in his chaps. He said that how real cowboys slept. I told him real cowboys didn’t hang around with their bare butts where coyotes could get at them in their sleep. He wanted to get a job as a sharp shooter at that circus. The Hippo something.”

“You mean the Happy Hippo?”

“What a crappy circus that was. It used to be so … exciting when I was your age but as I got older, it stayed the same. All that brought me and your sister to it was to see the freaks and the fellas that ran the rides. They wanted us to call them carnies but they weren’t much older than us and working for the summer and planning to go into the army or back to university. I always kept an eye and ear out for those college boys. Here …” She took the photos from him and sorted through to a couple of them. “These are of me and Stoney. He was already studying some sort of engineering at Dalhousie. He kept the rides in good repair. He was a better catch than just the guy who sold you tickets or turned the switch on. Not that he didn’t do those things too but he also knew stuff.”

Dan stopped walking to look closely at the picture.

“Yeah, that’s me he’s got his arm draped around. I looks so cute in that halter-top.”

The young shirtless man in the picture was leaning against a fence, legs crossed at the ankles, one arm around Teresa. She was looking up at him with her hand on his bare stomach. He was gawking at her cleavage. He was enjoying the view as he had an obvious erection barely contained in his faded jeans. The face was familiar to Dan.

“It can’t be.” he said.

“Real? Yeah, he was, as they say, hung like horse.”

“Not that but I think I know him.”

“Stoney?” Teresa asked?

“Or maybe it’s his son.” He did the math in his head. “If this is who I think it is he was probably only about fourteen when this was taken.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me. Turns out he diddled lots of the younger ones too. Wait fourteen! Then all stuff about Dalhousie was a load of bs?” She gabbed the picture back from him. “Nah, he was twenty. That’s what he told us anyways. Who do you think he is?”

“I’d rather not say anything until I know more for sure. Did you tell the RCMP about his diddling young girls?”

“No. Never occurred to me. He couldn’t have anything to do with those kids disappearing. Timmy was a boy. Stoney was sure weren’t no fairy.”

“Who?” Cameron angled in for a close up of the picture.

“I’d rather not say.” Dan said covering the photo with his hand. “No need to implicate someone rashly. Baxter’s Bits doesn’t want to face a defamation law suit.”

“I’m not sure about that.” Cameron laughed. “It would go well with stories of his recent brush with death.”

“This other one.” Teresa brought the attention back to her. “Is of your sister with that Kevin guy your parents was so steamed up about. O’Neill. Kevin O’Neill. I only know because he took me out a few times.”

“The one she blamed for us moving.”

“Huh?”

“For years she said that was why we moved. To break them up.” He took the picture. “That’s my sister but that isn’t Kevin. I met him a few times when she was supposed to be minding me. He was a red head. This guy is certainly not a red head.”

“Redhead? You sure? I don’t recall any redheaded fellas in our gang that year.”

They arrived at the park.

She lit another cigarette as they sat on a bench.

“What do you think happened to Timmy?” He asked.

“Like I said we were sure he’d run off, again. Maybe to follow you guys to Ontario. When it turned more kids had gone missing no one knew what to think. Aliens?”

“Aliens?” Dan laughed.

“Look they were gone without a trace, you know. Like not even a shoe left behind. How is that possible? What do you think happened to them?”

Dan looked at Cameron. “You know, I’ve never really thought about that. We’re so focused on who and when. I doubt if any of them are alive now.”

Teresa began to cry. “I just hate thinking about what ever was done to these kids when they were … taken.”

“Teresa, I think we’ve got enough for one day.” Dan said. “What do you think Cameron.”

“Whatever you say. I know Steph will be happy with what we have.”

“You can always call me if you want to do more. I got lots of the super 8’s from then too. Not sure who took them.”

“I’ll take these pictures and go through them. We’ll get them back to you.” 

They left her at the park and went back to the rental car. Dan had Cameron drive so he could look through the pictures more carefully, separating the ones he was most interested in. He studied the one of Teresa and Stoney. It had to be Winston Chamberlain. Much younger but there was no mistaking him. It made some sense that the owner’s son would know about the rides and would want to keep his identity a secret.

“Who is it?” Cameron asked. “Your Dad?”

“No! But another suspect. If this is who I think it is, he was practically a child himself at the time.” That is if he was right about Winston’s age. 

“How does it feel being back here in Stellerton.”

“Odd. Same streets but different buildings.”

“You ever miss it.”

“Timmy was the only thing I missed. My Dad kept us so busy with his business because it was a good way to teach us values. I never had much of a chance to make friends. We moved around a lot in the summer. This was where we stayed the longest.”

“So what did he say when you moved like that?”

“Enough Cameron. Asking questions is my job. Or are you filming this too.”

“You know it. Baxter said not to waste a moment. That isn’t a GPS you know.” He pointed to the unit on the dash with his elbow. “Dashboard camera.”

“In all the cars?”

“When ever possible.”

“I guess it picked up my panic in the storm.”

“Oh, no. That had been Baxter’s car you were driving. He wasn’t interested in being filmed. We didn’t have a chance to make a switch out for the camera. Good thing too because we have his accident. Can’t fake footage like that.”

“Would it show someone tampering with the car?”

“Only if they were in the car. It wasn’t set to see outside the car. We got nothing that shows that.”

He parked the car. “Steph will send someone to pick me up. This one be your wheels for the rest of the shoot.”

“Where’s the real GPS?”

“It’s an app on your cellphone.”

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

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Attention Span

The smaller the font the faster your eyes will tire & the faster you’ll fall asleep, even if you don’t want to fall asleep. This is one of my Kindle lessons after dozing off & reading the same passage three times before I realized I was dozing off & reading the same passage again (did you just nod off reading this 🙂 )

I’ve found that over the years my attention span for certain things has changed. An hour of TV, at one time, is more than enough passive participation for me – I can manage that hour a few times scattered through the day. Sit down for longer than that to watch something & I’m up after first half-hour for a snack 🙂 Seeing theatric productions can be torture – trapped in the dark & I can’t even check my cell phone! Yikes.

Even household tasks are broken down into ‘bites.’ I could have cleared out my basement in three days of work – a few hours in the morning, another couple after a lunch break. But I opted to do it over a month or so, of a little over an hour sessions, a couple of mornings a week. Make that 90 minutes to include getting the vacuum out, etc. I did it piecemeal & got it done. I can’t imagine going to a day job, wether in an office or working at home, for six or seven hours at a stretch. 

When working on editing, or writing new material I find a focused hour, twice a day is all I can manage for the physical part, the mind never takes a break. Movies get watched in 50 minute bites. The only time I see a film from start to finish is with my Saturday movie guy – recently we’ve been watching the Tudors – two episodes at a time. 

The one thing I do for the longest stretch of uninterrupted time is sleep 🙂

Kentic (March 2008)

the faster I move

the less I weigh

the faster I talk

the more I get to say

squeezing out not taking in

the less I take in

the less there is to carry

the less I carry 

the faster I can move

<>

stay in motion

moving targets

get shot at more

but they get hit less

I avoid straight lines

darting back & forth

spinning out into controlled curves

tumbling when necessary

moving too fast

for moisture to stay 

for sweat to bead

drier than dry

<>

l becomes like a wake 

when I am not awake

I don’t move in my sleep

I am like death

so still 

not even my breath can be seen

sleep is for the weak

and I am weak

it is my frailty 

the need to keep moving is 

fuelled by the sleep of righteousness

<>

only the pure of art

can move as fast as I do

can slip the sling of gratification

to be like a sun beam 

faster than the speed of 

found you this time

no one finds me

no one holds me

<>

I’m not slippery 

just too fast to be caught

too nimble to be confined

free of all encumbrances 

except the envy of those 

who want to be free

who feel that to trap this flash

is the only way they can bottle 

their own timid energy 

their own fragile pleasures

the resolution of not catching me

isn’t enough to satisfy them

that’s all they’ll ever get

<>

words of understanding 

aren’t enough to slow me down

I don’t need to be understood to be free

I don’t need permission to disappear

before your very eyes

into a mist of mystery

who was that unasked man

I don’t need an invitation

don’t have to wait for opportunity

don’t make them for myself 

don’t stay long enough

<>

the flame flicker wind 

darting around me

singes then gone

out like a light

out the window

out out out

washed clean 

not a trace of me

not even in memory 

<>

the secret of my success

to be so fast I am not memorized

not recalled

not even a vague discomfort

beyond the spark of envy

for the moment of realization

the faster I move

the less you care 

let’s keep it that way


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Toys Without Land

Piles of castoff toys I’ve seen on my walks my east end neighbourhood over the past couple of years. I guess when children grow up it is simpler to dispose of them (the toys I mean)

bye bye dinosaur
disarmed


blue guitar in the rain
painted rocks thrown away
found under a stink cabbage leaf
bumpy yellow world
The Prince Who Was Turned Into A Seahorse
Holy Batmen! Batman
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Motherly Love


On the shelf by the Mothers of Invention I have: Freak Out 1966 MOFO Project includes original plus out takes etc; Absolutely Free 1967; Only For The Money 1968; Cruising With Ruben & The Jets 1968; Uncle Meat 1969; Weasels Ripped My Flesh 1970; Live at Fillmore East 1971; The Grand Wazoo 1972 – big band mostly instrumental; Bongo Fury 1975 w Captain Beefheart. We’ll get to Frank Zappa when I get to ‘z’ 🙂

The Mothers expanded my music consciousness with their humour, their sometimes complex engineering, their fearlessness & their musicality. I can still hear ‘Susie … Susie Creamcheese.’ The endless layers on ‘The Money’ is a headphone extravaganza. The lyrics are timeless – who are the brain police – what’s the ugliest part of your body – brown shoes don’t make it.

Musically they veer from doo-wop, to rock, blues, avant-guard, Motown – sometimes all in the same song 🙂  One of few really prog-rock bands that continued to grow & show their listeners radical political & musical theories. I have to admit those first three lps were my favourites & can still be challenging to listen to today. the MOFO reissue of Freak Out is excellent. It includes full tracks of the pieces that were edited down for the lp. 

Absolutely Free defines the anarchic hippy counterculture in a way no other band at the time does. It spared no one, including the hippies themselves. ‘Money’ from its all out cover attack on the Beatles is sonically stunning, lyrically merciless & musically stunning. Plus Eric Clapton on guitar, if you can find him in the mix.

Ruben is a tribute/parody lp of doo-wop & bubblegum pop that verges on being the real thing. I love it. Uncle Meat is a sprawling mixed bag highlighted by the King Kong variations with Jean Luc Ponty. The cover is wild, but not as visceral as the cover for Weasels Ripped My Flesh: mix of live & wild studio work. If you are unfamiliar with the Mothers start with Absolutely Free.

Zappa’s musical influence is reflected in there work of Plastic People Of The Universe Czech rock band from Prague 1968–1989: Apokalyptikej Ptak (Live), Co znamená vésti koně (1981). A video of their’s turned up in my Tumblr feed so I tracked them down. This is an amazing, radical band that I dig. Check them out of YouTube.

Anticipation 2

Even today, just thirty-one years after that first reading of The Book Martin could still taste that vomit. He rinsed his mouth out with hot water & spit it out. ‘Oh God, why me?’ he thought. Inhaling ‘Thank You’ held in, breathed out ‘God.’ After nine breaths reversed the sequence.

Towelling down he recalled that by the day of his tenth birthday he had forgotten all about The Book. He had his first bicycle to look forward to. A fire-engine red two-wheeler. The Martin Flyer he had named it weeks before even asking for it. He ran alway home from school in anticipation of that bike. Sure enough it was there on the front veranda. A big red bow tied to the parcel carrier. In the house there was a cake on the dining-room table.

“Did’ja get ice cream, Ma?” He asked. “Let me go to the store & get some. I’ll ride the Martin Flyer & be back in a jiffy.”

“We have plenty.” She laughed. “But …”

“Yeah, Ma, what?”

“It’s not important.”

“What Ma?”

“Well, I thought maybe you should meet Dad down at the bus stop. He may have something for you to carry home.”

Martin was out of the house by the time she said bus. Much to his disappointment his Dad was at the front gate already.

“I was just coming down to meet you!” Martin exclaimed.

“Well, don’t let me stop you.” His Dad laughed, “I could still be there waiting for you, too.”

“Ah, Dad.” Martin half-laughed.

“You’re home early dear.” His mother came to the door & kissed his father.

“Well, I wanted to be here when …” He stopped & nodded at Martin.

Martin suddenly remember The Book. His stomach began to ache.

“I don’t want to know,” he said louder than he intended. “I need to know what any weird book says about me.”

Now looking at himself in the mirror he still didn’t want to know. Strangely he really didn’t know anymore about it all than he did then. Except that he would finally know today, at 1 p.m. All would be revealed.

It was several days after that birthday he finally rode his Martin Flyer. The ache in his stomach turned out to be his appendix. An ache that was not in The Book. At first his parents thought he was reacting to what had been written for him in The Book.

He, Martin, would heal the world. The phrase ‘heal the world’ made him dizzy for many years. No mention of how. Just the bare fact of when – ‘In his 41st year on February 14, 1 p.m.’ That ‘when’ was finally here. Or would be in a couple of hours.


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Down The Blame Drain

Down The Blame Drain

what I lead you to believe

isn’t necessarily true

you let yourself be lead on

now don’t get defensive

but it was your willingness 

to fill in the blanks 

with your own expectations

that resulted in this

misunderstanding

<>

I could have pointed that

but you were so sure of yourself

contradicting you

seemed pointless

you can’t blame me

for you making it so easy

to lead you on

<>

once I started

you made no pause for me to stop

you took the wrong hint

dashed on with it

before I could stop you

and when I did

you were dumbfounded

you thought I was joking

now you know I wasn’t

<>

so blame me

even if it wasn’t my fault

This is a variation on one of my frequent notions – how we use language to evade responsibility. ‘What did she expect, I’m a man.’ ‘There were unexpected casualties.’ ‘He was black – young – in drag – so I shot him.’ The sad thing about these evasions is how acceptable they are to many people. 

I once read about a drunk driver, whose out-of-control car killed people on the sidewalk at around 11 p.m. – he said ‘they shouldn’t have been walking that late at night’ – he got off with a fine because the dead weren’t wearing bright enough clothes & had to bare some of the responsibility. All too often it seems that confessing replaces facing consequences, or facing consequences is seen as unfair & that a lack of forgiveness is spiteful. 

This poem is about shifting responsibility in such a way one isn’t sure who is responsible. There is an undercurrent of a much used romcom trope of a mistaken identity that is allowed to go on until one of parties feels betrayed. ‘you only loved me because you thought I was rich’ – a mistake that could have cleared up with a simple statement like – I’m not who you think I am – but no it is allowed to go on & on. Or poor twin killing the rich one to assume that identity. 

There is also a sense that the costume we wear is often mistaken for who we are, for what class we belong in. Dressing the part of say, a doctor, when one isn’t a doctor. Wear a white lab coat in any hospital & people will assume you are staff. Walk around a store with a clipboard & you can get away with merchandise. Look like you know what you are doing & people will assume you know what you are doing & that you have the right to do it 🙂


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Picture Perfect 60

Picture Perfect 60

“Figures.” Dan gave a little laugh. “What about the RCMP?”

“Oh them. They did what they could. Asked us lots & lots of questions. Made it seem like Pops might have had something to do with it. You must know all about that, Dan, being one yourself. Is that why you joined them? To make victims sweat?”

“Nope. They recruited me.”

“That all they do? That Sergeant, or whatever he was, Davis, I think, certainly wanted to recruit me too. He came to the house more times than I care to remember to ask one more thing. I thought he was trying to get me to rat out on Pops but he was like every guy I’ve ever met. Found out he was talking to your sister right after he’d been to see me. Wonder if he got the information he wanted out of her.”

Dan flied that away for later. His sister never mentioned being questions by the RCMP.

“What do you think happened to Timmy?”

“Oh my God! No one has ever asked me that. I used to think he just ran away. Never to look back. Maybe went to the States and got into the airforce. After he was gone I’d imagine him in a pilot’s uniform. Flying the President around the world. I don’t like to think of him in the hands of some … sicko … or that he’s …” she teared up. “that he’s dead.” She began to weep noisily. “He was just a kid, you know. A good kid. That’s all we were, kids. Those RCMP fellas trying to make out that we were more than that. That everyone was hiding information, being cunning and sly. It wasn’t like that. We just didn’t know what happened.”

Barbra came over with handful of paper napkins.

“Thanks Heather.”

“Another one?” Barbra picked up the empty beer bottles.

“Nope I have had enough. For the afternoon that is.” she smiled. “Sorry, Dan, I didn’t mean to get all mushy like that. We never knew about all them others either until the show. We knew about some of them but not that there were so many. So many.” She began to tear up again. “When I think of those poor children. Now that I have a couple of my own I feel it all even more. I realize what my folks had gone through. It wasn’t a loss, it was like, having your heart ripped out and then some asshole in a uniform acting as if you ripped it out yourself to spite them.

They had no sympathy. That’s what got to me anyway. How did you feel when they talked to you?” she asked Dan.

“They didn’t.”

“But you and Timmy’s was great pals.”

“I didn’t know he’d been abducted until I saw it on Cold Case a few months ago.”

“Go on! They talked to your Dad and Linda. Not you?”

“Yeah. I even wrote Timmy a few times after we moved to Toronto but when he never answered I figured he wasn’t going to.”

“You don’t look much like your Dad. Like, I can, for a bit, see the boy I knew when I look at you. You sound just like him though. When you say some words it’s as if your Dad was speaking to me.”

“I may not of inherited his looks but I did inherit his eye and his voice.”

“Your looks are good. Your Dad was handsome. Charming. My mother said that he was charming. I’d never thought of a man like that until my mother said it. We girls were always trying to get him to take our pictures too. Provoke him as if we were woman enough to … tempt him. We wanted so badly to grow up. Trouble was what we’d lose when we grew up.” She was silent.

“Our researcher said you had some photographs from around that time?” Dan said. 

“Oh yes. I forgot all about them. They’re in my purse here.” She reached for it on the chair next to her. It wasn’t there. “Where the fuck .. sorry, or can you edit things out?” she asked Cameron.

“Edit is easy.”

She looked under her chair, inside her jacket. “Did I have it when we went for a smoke?”

“Don’t think so.” Cameron said.

“Did I take it to the bathroom with me? I’ll be right back.”

The waitress came over and cleared their table.

“Anything else?” she asked.

“Not for me. You?” Dan asked Cameron.

“I’m fine.”

“You want us out of here?” Dan asked the waitress.

“Oh no. Your prediction manager made sure you could take all the time you wanted here. Owners did put their foot down about not letting in our regulars though. How was the food?”

“Let’s just say be glad we’re not restaurant reviewers?” Cameron answered her.

Teresa retuned to the table with her purse clutched under her arm. She had hastily reapplied her make up.

“Would it be okay if we got out of here?” she asked.

“I don’t see why not?” Dan glanced at Cameron.

“I may have to mike you for out of doors.” He looked into his equipment bag for microphones. “I usually have a couple with me.”

“I hate to be a bother but I just gotta … I get restless sitting around talking like this.”

Cameron clipped mikes onto each of them. “These ought to work.”

They went outside.

“Which way?” Dan asked her.

“Let’s go to Allan Park. Not too far from here. You remember it?”

“Sort of. Timmy and I used to play around the train yards a lot. Then the Maple Woods.”

“Woods is gone now.” she said. “Sounding okay, camera guy?”

He gave them a thumbs up.

“Funny I thought it’d be … weird with a camera like this but he sort of stops being there.”

“That’s the idea. Was there anything going on the week before things happened?”

“What do you mean?”

“Like a  big festival. Was it Stellarton’s Homecoming Week or a Celtic Music Show.”

“Oh, no. Not here. Hippo was the most exciting thing that usually happened around here. Even that was pretty small potatoes. It was always something if they brought in a new ride. No, if we wanted something to do we would go to Truro. Guess that’s part of why even your Dad stopping by for awhile was an event. Never understood why he picked here. Like New Glasgow or even Truro would have been better.”

“Sounds like you thought any place was better.”

“Yeah. I guess I sound like all those soured bitches who drag themselves back to their roots. I’ve been to bigger places and they were no better or worse than here. Lots more of the crappy stuff but the same amount of the good stuff.”

“So there was nothing special that week.”

“Not that I recall.” She unzipped her purse. “Here and those pictures I was talking about. Mama had a drawer full of them. Most of them still in their envelopes. Putting them in albums was something she was going to get around to some day. But after Timmy she didn’t want to look at them. That’s where I found the one of you two on the steps. The one they used on that show.”

“You remember much about that day?” Dan asked as he sorted through the pictures. 

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Past of the Future

In my pandemic purging I came across unused paper for dot-matrix printers. Also in my writing archives were pieces I semi-dated because they were in dot-matrix print. In telling more than one friend about this I was a little surprised to find out they had no idea of what dot-matrix was! They had never seen anything printed in it, nor had they seen that printer paper. I showed it to them & one asked me, seriously, if it had any collector value!

If you are one of those to whom dot-matrix is a mystery – it was the computer printer method before ink-jet became the standard. Wiki says: “A dot matrix printer is an impact printer that prints using a fixed number of pins or wires. The pins strike an ink-coated ribbon and contact between the the paper, so that each pin makes a small dot on the paper. The combination of these dots forms a dot matrix image.”

At that time many publishers refused submissions that were printed in dot-matrix as the print itself can be a challenge to read after a couple of pages. The ribbon ink wasn’t that consistent. I have some things that have pretty much faded, some where the ink has matured to blue, some where it looks as good as the day I printed it out. Much like typewriter ribbons it would wear out but quicker. We got rid of our printed when we moved up to ink jet. Ink jet is faster & not as noisy:-)

When someone doesn’t know who a classic rock group, such as Procol Harum, is, I’m not that surprised but these days there people who don’t even know what a desktop computer is, thanks to their cell-phones. Guys I know with iPads or such don’t even have printers anymore. I show them my flip phone & they are like ‘wow! that’s so retro.’ I wish I had a rotary dial phone to scare them with 🙂

speaking of retro – here’s a poem from the archives – 

August 1962 (Broad Cove, Cape Breton)

even though it had rained all night

I didn’t stop to think

just how quickly

I’d be soaked by still dripping fir

as I clambered unsteadily

through the campgrounds’ pine thicket

juggling binoculars in one hand

my life in the other

<>

I was out to hunt spies

to search the ocean for pirates

from my evergreen look out

inconspicuous in a yellow rain-slicker

I exploded stealthily

through the trees

suddenly falling

head-over-heels

ten feet down in terror

of the deadly rocks beneath

that turned out to be

a new york family

spreading their towels

on the beach

<>

their peach-fuzzed son

a few months older than me

was quick to show off

the benefits

of his American education

He’d always felt sorry for King Kong

<>

the very next day

between furtive cigarettes

and timid first wrestling

I tried my best to be monstrous

growling & leaping about

<>

his mother found me a show-off

his father found us fondling

they left that night

<>

at fourteen

he was too old for me

anyhow

September 1973

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