Fortress of Louisbourg Redux

Another set of photos from my Cape Breton Trip in August 2019.  

my summer look

the bloody shepherd in the Military Chapel

dog of the bloody shepherd

wound of the bloody shepherd

toy soldiers

social distancing

live chickens – not animatronics

cannon balls

Does anyone know the story behind the wounded shepherd?

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North Sydney, Cape Breton

 

pre motherboard keyboards

state of the art teletype

red glass

candle sconce

Cape Breton Condos Complex

Affordable Cape Breton Single Family Condo

Fort Petrie Directional Aid

distances estimated not exact

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Kensington Poetry Market

There’s nothing like performing for a full house – in particular a full house for a poetry reading – in an art gallery not a bar – on a bright Sunday afternoon. Who knew people still enjoyed poetry without libations 🙂 This was The Secret Handshake Gallery, Poetry Reading Series with bill bissett sitting at the top of stairs warmly greeting the poetry fans.

I was on the bill with three other poets – none of whom I was familiar with so I didn’t know what to expect & they each gave us the unexpected. First up was Carol Malyon who opened her set with a charming children story about grandmothers. She also read some unexpected east end Toronto poems. One named checked street car stop  how we often ‘think short turns are metaphors for our lives.’ ‘compound words in cupboards – pork & beans’ ‘each day she feels herself slide a littler closer’ ‘at dawn they move apart.’

She was followed by Naomi Faufer who did a set of angel/cosmic imagistic poems. ‘air hold the invisible buoyant’ ‘music temper by insistent whispers’ ‘we can dance eon silver spoons’ ‘darkness wore her invisible cloak’. She finished her set with and unexpected interpretive dance to, I think, Kate Bush song.

Next up was David McCue with some times funny pieces that rattled the foundations of corporate greed, conformity & indifference. ‘free thought can be contagious’ ‘parched deprivation of the spirit’ ‘an inflated sense of self worth that could fill party balloons’ ‘oppressive toxicity of avarice’ ‘life preserver of convention’ ‘relentless bully of life’

I closed the show with with set that I sensed connected with the audiences in unexpected ways. First I corrected my misnaming on the poster – how hard is it to get people to understand TOpoet.ca is the name I’ve been writing, blogging, publishing & performing as for the last several years – at least I don’t have to worry about pronouns too. My set went well from the first piece, then the Terra Cotta pieces shook people – saying the names of the victims is always a challenge but stumbling over them make the piece resonate even more. The 227 Rules pieces were fun, funny. Ending with Jesus on toast was the right decision.

You Never Know Where He’ll Pop Up Next

you saw the face of Christ

in a piece of toast

you don’t own a toaster

 

why was it only the face

was the slice of bread

too small 

to hold His entire body

was the holy toaster

limited to specific body parts 

 

was it the result of

ancient aliens

who after they built the pyramids 

designed a toaster

specifically to replicate

the face of Christ in toast

a face that seems rather caucasian

for an ancient alien

 

beside you aren’t the first 

to have seen the face of Christ

where it doesn’t belong

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March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Secret Set Building 

Early this year I got the flyer for this month’s Secret Handshake Poetry Reading Series – even though, once again, I was incorrectly named, I decided to go ahead & altered the flyer with correct billing – which is why I’m in the pink 🙂 Things like this make the issue of misgendering very real to me.

It’s been some years since I’ve done a feature (& at the last I had similar name issues.) One host told me TOpoet.ca was too self-promoting! I’ve never seen this list of performers: readings by X, X, X etc. All readings are self-promotion, so fuck right off you sanctimonious dick head. If I sound like a diva, don’t act surprised 🙂

Now that the diva’s out of the way – I’ve started set building for the show. I’ve gone through the last couple of months of pieces prompted by the Rules For Monks. So there will be several very fresh pieces in the set. Some of these were also influenced by my stay in Sydney – my ho town, I mean, home town in Cape Breton. In particular the nature of the culturally instilled masculinity/femininity that children never question but struggle with fulfilling. Pieces that haven’t seen been featured on the blog yet.

 

Part of the set will be out of the 2008 archives that I’ve been shifting through to include in my Monday posts. The archaeological dig of the massive pile of piece that has been getting deeper & bigger & left to ferment. As I don’t write as often as I once did it was time to actually look at what I forgotten – once I get through the typos it I have to scour my memory to figure out ‘what the hell was I getting at.’ It is rewarding. Once 2008 is done I may go back to 1998 🙂

As usual the most demanding decision will be what to wear 🙂

this may show up in the set:

What To Wear

does this fit

does it look good on me

do I look sane in it

does it turn you on

do I look educated in this

does it suit the occasion

will it get me laid

can it open doors for me

will it need to be ironed

can I wear it in public

will it turn heads

does it make me look old

look desperate

does it come in other colours

maybe a size larger

does it make up for my lack of style

do I have the guts to wear it

does it wear me

will it last longer than a glance

is it why you want me

am I anything without it

can it be replaced

can it replace me

excuse me 

while I slip into something 

more comfortable

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

January
Thursday January 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – featuring ‘Yes The Poet’ https://www.facebook.com/events/577900226377507/ 

Sunday –  January 26 – 1:30 – feature: The Secret Handshake Gallery, 170A Baldwin (Kensington Market) – 1:30https://www.facebook.com/events/498405247456842/

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Rotary Park 

I have fond memories of Rotary Park  when growing up in Sydney. It was just far enough to make it a trek but not so far one couldn’t get there by bike. It was the city reservoir & locals would picnic out there & swim. Needless to say it has become more urban wild than woodsy wild – with actual gravel trails – we only had beaten paths in the olde days 🙂

Entrance – Greenlink refers to trails

spray pledged forever love

shale & aspen

Greenlink map – note no Tim Horton’s !

the lake/pond?

water over the dam

teens hanging out at the top of the dam

wild blueberries – yes I ate some –

we would come here as kids to fill buckets with them

more water over the dam

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Bye Bye 2019

Over the past year my TOpoet.ca following blog grew from 298 to 363! That’s 65 new followers without me going out of my way beyond blogging regularly. The only stat WP doesn’t give is where the followers are located but WP map does show my hits have come from 91 countries around the world. That India tops the list is interest but that Bangladesh & Kenya are in the top 10 is a surprise. Kazakhstan! Kuwait!

My Tumblr is at 255. I no longer post there as regularly after the ‘porn’ crack down that had my pictures of random toys, or lost shoes, red flagged as being possibly against community standards. I didn’t have the energy keep asking for a review of the flag. Twitter 217 followers. Yes – my account was un-suspended after my appeal. Seems my hashtags were inappropriate for some reason. #Whatever.

2019 has been a pretty good year for me. Health has been good. Finances have been stable. Finished the edit & blogging of Coal Dusters. I hate to bring it to an end as I really loved these characters – but their stories had been told. Response was good for the novel. There’ll probably be another revision if I get back to again. Next up is Picture Perfect.

The other highlight of the year was my visit to Cape Breton where I had a great time with my sister – she loves to drive – with some old friends & also just on my own. Revisited old schools, churches of my past, took lots of photos & lost weight!! I also took my favorite photo of 2019 while at Fort Petrie.

Saw great shows at the Stratford Festival (my fav Nathan The Wise) & disappointing show at the Shaw (Mae West’s Sex was given a frenetic but poorly performed production.) Already have some shows booked for the 2020 Stratford season.

The big event for 2020 will be the 10th Anniversary of Capturing Fire in Washington DC. I do hope to get there, if I can afford it & before the Trump implosion closes the borders to the unemployed sneaking in to steal jobs. paypal.me/TOpoet I’ll be booking my trip once the dates are confirmed. 

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January
Thursday 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – featuring ‘Yes The Poet’ https://www.facebook.com/events/577900226377507/ 

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

The King Kinks and the KLF

The Kinks were part of the first great British invasion that followed on the heels of the Beatles. Tight, punchy pop songs like You Really Got Me established them as a cut above many of the other invaders but they never achieved the popularity of more commercial groups like the Dave Clarke Five. I have their first lp (with bonus tracks) tucked away in an mp3 collection. 

The lp I owned when I lived in Cape Breton was Face to Face. This remains my favourite. The production  was influenced by Sgt. Pepper. The songs have sound effects & other studio tricks, all of which work. Like all their material they are sardonically romanic, socially sharp & flower power trippy. Chipper with touches of English Music hall. My favourite track ‘Rainy Day In June.’

I never did become a fan though. I did love ‘Lola’as one of the first pop songs that was about sexual diversity. I had the cassette of ‘Lola Verses Powerman’ but the sound quality was iffy – the song cycle is about the music industry & has sharp comments, that remains are today. I finally upgraded it to a stand-alone CD & guess what the iffy sound quality remains 😦 I guess it was engineered that way.

I also have 2cd set Kinks Kronikles which is a sort of hits compilation which satisfied my need for their later work. I enjoy the Kinks when they come up in my play rotation. The Face to Face cd has a slew of bonus tracks. 

On the shelf near the Kinks is movie soundtrack of The King & I. This was one of my mother’s favourites & remains one of mine too. Brenner does his own singing, Marnie Nixon dubbed Kerr. I love all of these songs. This cd has the re-constructed Uncle Tom ballet which was not on the lp. Sweet.

Finally on this bit of the shelf is The KLF: Justified & Ancient featuring Miss Tammy Wynette – an ep of different versions. I love this when it hit the discos & takes me back to the early 90’s in a good way. One of the most surreal mash-ups of country & dance music ever & it works.

Killer Joy

Devon squinted his eyes, dropped his voice to a growl. 

“Not, Hey Mark do you want to be killed, strangled, mutilated and left butt naked in the back seat of a ’58 Plymouth.”

“Nothing like that.” 

My cell phone rang and rang.

“Aren’t you going to answer it.”

“It can go to voice mail.’

“You are really afraid.” Devon sort of laughed.

“You aren’t taking this seriously are you. Or do you know more than you are letting on. You do, don’t you, you fucking asshole.”

Devon’s smile got bigger as he back away from me. 

“No! No! Honest. It’s weird to see you sort of panic like this. You are usually so calm.”

“If this is some set up I’ll never speak to you again. This isn’t funny.”

Devon tried to keep a straight face.

I checked my voice mail. 

“It’s Dave. He wants to know what’s keeping us.” I called Dave back.

“Hey Dave we’re on our way … A little delay getting the car parked.  Yeah Devon is with me. we should be there in about five minutes.” I shut the cell phone.

“Was it him?” Devon asked.

“Him what?”

“That called you. Did the voice sound like Dave’s?”

Devon’s cell rang. He answered it. He dropped it the ground.

“What!” I asked.

“He said – Mark wants to kill you.”

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

January

Thursday 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Coal Dusters – Chapter LXX Birk’s Rude Awakening

Coal Dusters: Book 1 is now available as as PDF – this covers the first 35 chapters – 65540 words – send $1.99 to  paypal.me/TOpoet

Coal Dusters – Chapter LXX

Birk’s

Rude

Awakening

#Toronto #Wordpress #coalmine #amwriting #gayromance #lgbtq #nanowrimo #CapeBreton #novel #Ontario

Birk could hear his mother downstairs in the kitchen. Singing “Bringing in the sheaves” as she clanged the stove top covers. He could still feel Clancy’s hands on him, feel the slide of their tongues  in each others mouths as they kissed. They had started out in the front bedroom Clancy was to use but ended up back in Birk’s room in the bed that was familiar to them.

He rolled onto his back and stretched his arms and legs as far as he could on either side. The bed was cool where he expected to feel the heat of Clancy. There was no one there with him.

“Clancy?” He sat up. He pulled on his pants and went to Clancy’s bedroom. It was empty. The drawers were open and empty. There was nothing in the closet either. On the pillow was a note. 

“Birk

I’ve got too much to do with my life. It wouldn’t be fair to you let my feelings keep me where I don’t want to be. When I can I’ll be back. If I can’t come back I’ll never forget you, you hairy monkey.

Clancy”

#Toronto #Wordpress #coalmine #amwriting #gayromance #lgbtq #nanowrimo #CapeBreton #novel #Ontario

Birk could hear his mother downstairs in the kitchen. Singing “Bringing in the sheaves” as she clanged the stove top covers. He could still feel Clancy’s hands on him, feel the slide of their tongues  in each others mouths as they kissed. They had started out in the front bedroom Clancy was to use but ended up back in Birk’s room in the bed that was familiar to them.

He rolled onto his back and stretched his arms and legs as far as he could on either side. The bed was cool where he expected to feel the heat of Clancy. There was no one there with him.

“Clancy?” He sat up. He pulled on his pants and went to Clancy’s bedroom. It was empty. The drawers were open and empty. There was nothing in the closet either. On the pillow was a note. 

“Birk

I’ve got too much to do with my life. It wouldn’t be fair to you let my feelings keep me where I don’t want to be. When I can I’ll be back. If I can’t come back I’ll never forget you, you hairy monkey.

Clancy”

– the end –

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 sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Dominion Beach Party

On my August Cape Breton visit I spent an hour or so on Dominion Beach. I can’t remember the last time I actually stood in the Atlantic Ocean 🙂 

Dominion Beach before the crowds

view of the Lingan Power Plant from the beach

‘the beach has changed once again’

public shower

horizon

TOpoet.ca under the horizon

feet in the sand

clouds over Dominion

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Chapter LXIX: Lillian Catches The Train

Coal Dusters: Book 1 is now available as as PDF – this covers the first 35 chapters – 65540 words – send $1.99 to  paypal.me/TOpoet

Coal Dusters – Chapter LXIX

Lillian

Catches 

The Train

Lillian arrived at the station with five minutes to spare. Her trunk had already been taken aboard. She went to her seat and sat back.

She checked her purse once again to make sure her bank draft was there. Next she made sure her transfer ticket to Montreal was there so she could change trains when she got to Truro.

The departure call was made. To her relief there was no sign of David Henderson. The train started to pull out. She smiled to herself at the image of him standing on the platform as the train pulled away.

Behind her she heard the conductor at the doorway talking to someone.

“Come on come on.” The conductor was saying. “Reach up and I can pull on if yer fast enough.” He grunted. “Ouf. There you go. Next time be here on time.”

“Didn’t know till now that I was going anywhere.” A man said.

The train picked up speed. 

Not that way.” The conductor said. “That’s for first class. Yer family ticket gets you caboose. T’other way.” 

As the train sped up Lillian let the scenery blur grateful that this was now her past not her future.

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

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees 

 sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet