how cheap

is too cheap

cheap is the wrong word

it implies shoddy

lacking in quality

how inexpensive 

is too inexpensive

before something becomes worthless

before self-worth not seen

as egotism


you look at me

as if the price of my chapbook

is too much to ask

after all

the paper itself isn’t that valuable

the cost of printing it

isn’t much greater either

so why should you be expected

to pay more than the paper is worth

the words are worthless 


expecting to cover more than costs

is egoism as its worst



you’d rather buy a beer

to numb the pain

of not getting my chapbook

for free

Based on a true life experience, or should I say, experiences. Experiences I have had & ones that I’ve seen other poets go through. Over the years I’ve produced several chapbooks mainly so I had merch – so I had the physical proof of my writing. I do almost all the work – layout, page layout, cover design & prepare a copy to deliver to a printer. At one time I was doing my own stapling as well. Now I leave part to the printer, but I usually do my own folding. Flat product is easier to store. Plus I write the contents.


I price chapbooks to make giving change easy but not so inexpensive as to be giving them away. As printing cost went up my cover price went up. But because I am asking for more than the cost of materials there is often this reaction that I am being unreasonable expecting to be paid anything. I should be grateful they even looked at the chapbook. I have done trade-offs at times. Freebies go to hosts & co-features but that’s it.

More than once I’ve had people attempt to guild me into reducing the price because they too are ‘starving’ artists & to be supportive of them I should be considerate. I fell for this a few times but stopped when I saw them enjoying a glass or two of wine at the bar. Clearly the bar deserves their support more than the artists. Though I know many poetry events count on bar sales to access the space – if they don’t bring enough they are no longer welcome at that bar. That’s one reason I pretty much stopped doing open stages or features for a share of the passed hat.

There’s also this expectation that because something in ‘homemade’ it should be less expensive than ‘manufactured’ or something with a ‘brand’ such as Atwood of DeVinci. I know painters, musicians etc who aren’t brandnames who hit this same reluctance when selling their work. Undervaluing myself in order to sell is a bad bargain & is not going to happen. I am not worthless regardless of what someone may decide. paypal.me/TOpoet 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & to eat at Capturing Fire this June in Washington DC – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Art Bar Set Building

I was a bit surprised to be asked to feature at the Art Bar, more that they willing to let me decline the initial August date offered. Surprised because I stepped back from the reading circuit some time ago – mainly because I was tired of the pressure to sell drinks on behalf of a restaurant/bar that wasn’t even paying me to be there. Being a non-drinker I wasn’t bringing enough to the table to merit being there.

I have featured at the a previous incarnation of the Art Bar in 2009 when it was at Clinton’s but not since. I may still have my set list from that show. It was the one where @soulfistikato collaborated with me on a couple of pieces. Man that was such fun. If you read this @soulfistikato – let’s do it again. https://souljahrasproductions.bandcamp.com/album/the-head-nod

I usually have my set ready a few weeks in advance of a show but this time I have nothing much planned yet, other than Arrgh Godzilla – which the universe told me to do with the death of Haruo Nakajima, the actor who occupied that suit for the first few Godzilla movies. The sort of sign I can’t deny. It’s a piece I love to perform so I may do another couple of pieces I love to perform.

But I want to focus on recent work, in particular the ones that have sprung from the 227 Rules for Monks that I have been using for prompts. Like the 48 Laws these have pushed me into thinking & writing about different things or looking at the same old things in a fresh way.


Some of the new ones might be those that I’ve posted here & have gotten good feedback about (if I received truly negative feedback I’d be even more inclined to perform them.) If anyone has any requests of pieces of mine they’d like to hear – let me know asap. So the set will probably be a mix of the very old, the more recent & some so fresh out of the oven they may be half-baked. Plus I have an amazing new shirt to debut.

Shroove Smelt http://wp.me/p1RtxU-QI

in the weeks leading up to Shroove

we village children would dress as smelt

and run through the streets

squeaking and calling for the adults

to come out to confess their sins

because it was due to those sins

that the smelt stocks were depleted

it was due to their disrespect for the scared pole

that the moose were in decline

the adult men would follow us children

moaning and beating their foreheads till they bled

we would lead them to the strip bars

to make the first of their confessions

where they wailed so loud

the loose saxes couldn’t be heard

as the women danced in the dark


on the final day of Shrove

we children would swarm up and down

the 10001 steps of the cathedral

forming dioramas from the Biblia Coochineal

to instruct the men in the ways of righteousness

the bishop would smash

a florescent lightbulb

once each diorama was complete

then we would quickly form the next one

till the story of the moose was told

till the men were longing to escape

the searing glare of our child eyes

they knew they were to blame

we boys dreaded becoming guilt ridden adults

we hoped to avoid the responsibilities

the village would assign us

when we were old enough

to shoulder the shame of being human


after the dioramas

we children would swarm the Whistling Woods

in random groups of four or five

to chase out the hungry hidden men

there was no avoiding the smart of guilt

we would find them

we would hound them

till they came barefooted

hair caked with moose blood

to the cathedral to present themselves to the bishop

to listen the choir

sing hymns of renunciation and accusation

‘vile adults in the eyes of the creator’

‘the moose has spoken’


the days after Shroove were ones of rest

we were all exhausted from the running

our smelt costumes were repaired

then stored carefully in airtight rubber bins

till next years

when the cycle of fertility and recrimination

would begin all over again


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


HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam


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


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

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Baycrest Brain Rental

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve participated an interesting brain/auditory/memory study at Baycrest, Rotman Research Institute. The official, & very catchy name of the project is: “Individual differences in working memory processing in young and older adults indicated by neuromagnetic oscillations” It was spread over three sessions and proved to be one of the more intriguing studies I’ve done.

It was one that called on more of my brain. Usually the ‘memory’ studies I do involve remembering lists of words, numbers, replicating images. This is one of few that also involved hearing. One portion involved recording my brain signals with a magnetoencephalograph (MEG) while I was doing the task. While doing the task I had ear buds that were playing a variety of tones, pitches & different loudness levels.

The other portion involved hearing tests and testing understanding of speech in noise. I was to repeat a phrase (a different one each time) said against background of people talking. Sometime I get to practice at poetry readings where people not interested in the performance see fit to talk as loud as they can to drown out the performer (this happens more often than you’d expect.)

Doing this studies is a way for me give something back via research. Even when I was doing the pharmaceutical research I was aware that my tiny participation could save lives. I also felt it was important that, even though this information isn’t germane to the study, there be gay males included in the pool. And sometimes the money was decent. I’ve had more MRI’s cat scans, eegs, & MEGs than the average person too.

The most challenging part of the study was getting to Baycrest in the morning 🙂 I general transit to Lawrence Station & walk the rest of the way. I know where the Starbucks are. For this study I opted to go one stop further to York Mills & walk from there along Wilson. Turns out this route is faster. I like the opportunity to see other parts of the city & sample Starbucks. Plus I’m always eager for photo ops. If you’re interesting be a part of such research gave Baycrest a call. http://www.baycrest.org/participate/participate-in-research/

More North York pics: http://topoet.tumblr.com/post/160819331013/

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr


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

The Soft Slip of Hot-Sauced Flesh

It was with anticipation & gratitude that I went to the Supermarket Grill to co-feature at the March – World Poetry Day edition of Hot-Sauced Words. I arrived at the grill with time to have a meal – excellent mango salad & a great burger. I glanced over my set – made some mental edits – with the Kindle it’s impossible to make actual edits. I was ready.

After greeting the warm, receptive audience host James Dewar set the poetry challenge for the night – a poem about the weather from the weatherman’s point of view. The show started with several strong open-stagers. Here’s a smattering of lines: silence as passing, the silence of keeping your mouth shut for once, text message silence, sounds like gunshots under the ground, bundled like ghosts, a wafer of desire dissolves, attention subway passengers there is a delay at Royal York – the operator has forgotten how to drive a subway, of the strangers one or two may be insane, an odourless glass office sits in it’s place, pale blue coat, pretty girls are often seen but seldom found. (this line gave me chills), I am the things thrown away, I’ll cover you with death, I’ll drain you when I’m good & ready, I’ve killed enough for one night, contented murmur of Friday evening diners, standing all the home with heavy bags, Hank who stank, murdered the piano musically to pieces, shivering from sun poisoning.

After a break, in which I sold enough chapbooks to cover the cost of supper – I was first up. I like starting with Almost Dead – it gives me a real emotional text to get my performance juice flowing, hits the audience with, what I hope is, a sharp social punch. Each piece worked well, for me, I could feel reactions to my endings. Chalk & Hard On got the expected laughs. Breaking in Grief is a bitter sweet emotional tone to end a set on – emotive in a way none of the other pieces try to be. I did what I call my ‘stand and deliver set’ – little talk about the pieces with just a dash of ‘in your pants raunch.’

After another break Brenda Crews took the stage. She is a dance & deliver performer – costume changes, wigs, a Martha Grahamesque piece – she was the opposite of me. The audience sure gots its money’s worth. Some lines: blanket of black feathers, she held the tide line in her hands, crazy old woman at the edge of time, she who turns life into art with her gaze, sunset spilling out of her eyes, seeking a freedom that is terrifying, the way we enslave ourselves, serpents of protection or do I hallucinate, the soft slip of flesh etched in stone, written in the night blindly.

This was followed by the weather writing challenge: who can say where the tornado’s toe will touch down, what was I thinking – I was think about the money, dark ruminations until spring, it was very cloudy outside the day we started to over throw the government, today we are in for a real shit storm. The winner was Zak with the amazing stach.

It was a great night. Heather Babcock and I created a glamour zone at our table. Brenda Clews was kind enough to video my set, which is probably on Facebook by now. It’s always good to have real proof one actually performed. Chap books were sold, even some paypal orders the next day. My next performance: if the prevailing pattern continues it’ll be another 3 years before any series will come knocking.

the video: http://wp.me/p1RtxU-2hm

Breaking In Grief

he talks of wearing

his dead son’s sneakers

bought a month before the son’s

step off into oblivion

new shoes a sign of hope

of a future planned for

not of a life too soon to be ended

they found the sneakers

still in their box

in the cupboard

worn once to try them on

designer expensive

too nice to toss or donate

so he’ll wear them

it gives me the creeps

practicality in the face of catastrophe


I visited home

the summer after my dad died

his death was sudden

it was the body that gave out

he didn’t go out of his way

to find that oblivion

I go through his clothes

to help my sister winnow out

throw out donate

to share some memories

I end up keeping a couple of jackets

that actually fit me


the shirt and pants

were easy to part with

most of the shoes too

my Dad was all business

when it came to shoes

his idea of comfort wear was

hard onyx red oxfords

there was a new onyx pair

only worn to try them on

they sort of fit me

very stiff and inflexible

never being broken in


I take them


I wear them a few times

then drop them in a clothing box

they don’t fit

right size but wrong shape

maybe that’s why my Dad never

wore them either


the life my Dad hoped I would fit into

was also the right size

but the wrong shape

I was unwilling to do the work

that would break me in

so it would be a comfortable fit


I meet my friend one day

he’s sporting wildly neon runners

these were his son’s

a year after the suicide

he wears them

knowing he’ll never leave that grief behind

but ready

to walk forward with it

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr


I Get Sauced

Hot-Sauced Words that is. Thank to Facebook’s ‘on this day’ feature I’ve been clearing out old posts – who goes into the past on anyone’s Facebook page? Except deranged ex’s? So I delete things over a year old – old Word Press posts, pics – things that I already have on line & backed up at either Word Press of Tumblr. I like to keep things sort of simple. But I have been keeping video evidence of past performances.

By past I mean in the last decade. I’m lucky enough now these days if I get someone taking blurry cell-phone pics of me on stage, let alone actual performance footage. So I repost them when they come up just to reassure my followers that I actually do perform given the opportunity.

One these was me at Hot-Sauced. I’m not sure if was from a feature or just hitting the open stage back in the day when I was hitting that, & other open stages regularly. A habit I eventually broke when I realized it was costing me more $ to be there than it worth being there. But I digress.

James Dewar saw the old video & figured it was time to have me back t Hot-Sauced again. Once a decade is clearly the limit for most spoken shows to consider having me perform a feature. Coming so soon after my Hot Damn! set it presented a good opportunity for me to sell more chap books & pull out some the pieces in it that I didn’t do at Damn! Tuesday, March 21: 7:30 p.m. Hot-Sauced Words –http://www.hotsaucedwords.ca/

Don’t worry it’ll be a fairly different set – some pieces reworked, sequence changed, new things added & some old faves added to buffer the raw political push of the Damn! set. Not that I care that audiences will find the political hard to take but frankly I get bored of doing it. This way you won’t get bored of hearing me.

Chapbooks available: http://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


Hot Damn! SubZero Heat

hotCharlie C Petch returned Hot Damn! to it’s Glad Day roots for the March edition of the series. Glad Day, now moved to Church St., has created a multi-functional space with a cafe, books store & performance space. Hot Damn! audience filled the space for a hot standing-room-only show. A space created by having books shelve son wheels & moving them when needed for performance. A great idea that however suffers from noise bleed – often the cafe chatter distracted from the poets on stage.

12cath01With sixteen on-going projects Charlie forgot their saw so we hummed the queer national anthem. The open-stagers & slammers covered material from body image, sexual insectonality, gender presentation, eating disorders, native rights – it went from angry, political to outright bodacious & even funny.

doll houseSome lines from the first open-stagers & first round of the slam: ‘pretty … existing only to titillate’ ‘I realized I wasn’t a girl two years before I came out’ ‘I am a customer service smile’ ‘feel like the wrong end of a firing squad’ ‘a broken bbq that plays Pantera’ ‘Dr. said I don’t look like I have a disorder’ ‘you’re counting sheep & I’m counting calories’ ‘we’re to look appetizing but have no appetite’ ‘I thank God for my queerness’ ‘we’re made in His image so my adoration of your body is adoration of Him’ ‘as if saying that validates you’ ‘I don’t give a fuck about being liked’ ‘labels are divisive’ ‘ptsd like a pistol pointed at the back of your head’ ‘I live a life my dealer has a solution for’ ‘when you need the money you learn to like the pain’ ‘cactus … their sharpness doesn’t keep them from blooming’ ‘she had big tits, a bad attitude – everything a girl like me looked up to’ ‘it was a good way to pissing my parents off & a good way to die’

meandchapI did my set. Now I can’t review myself but I can review the audience – which was receptive & appreciative. I did drop one piece – Reaping Victory – there had already been enough political stuff I didn’t feel like adding more plus my set was proving to be more serious than ever I wanted it to be. So the raunch, when it came, was a relief to most of the house. Hard On got consistent laughs starting with the title. I sold a good number of chapbooks but do have some left for those of you who want to buy one.

greyrubble.JPGAfter a break the second round was launched. ‘it doesn’t matter that I don’t remember – I keep getting back on but why’ ‘sharp line between my world & yours’ ‘how we failed to make you happy’ ‘it’s not that easy with you but I want you to stay’ ‘I’m running late but I’m not a coffee drinker’ ‘turn the attic into a dungeon’ ‘sure I have a flogger I can share’ ‘a social-cuddling-but-no-sex room, ‘I feared butch on butch as much as I desired it’ ‘I walk narrow’ ‘lips sucked back like curtains’ ‘when she tries to speak it comes out white-wash’ ‘native paid back by a credit on our taxes’ ‘cats aren’t aloof that just have low tolerance for assholes’ ‘tick-tock do you hear the sound of motherhood’ ‘I was never the son my father wanted but became the daughter he always wanted’ ‘can’t talk about my father outside the smilies I grew up with’ ‘if I hate my body does that make me alive’ ‘I have run out of swipes on Tinder’ ‘dating apps is one of the few places where I feel seen’

newcapThe evening’s winner was The Illiterate Poet. The season finale will be Saturday April 15 at Buddies in BadTimes with feature Queen Sheba. The winner of the season will be transported to Capturing Fire in June.


Hard On

just because

I have a hard on

doesn’t mean I’m horny

it’s not like

we’re in high school

& I can hide it behind my books

or tie a jacket around my waist

yes I do have a hard on

that is an erection

yes it is very hard

like a rock

like a rocket ship


you aren’t the landing pad

I’m not interested

I’m not even pretending I am

what more can I say

to convince you

I’m not interested

no I don’t find you repulsive

but it’s not you

that’s making me so hard

when you kiss me

when you pinch my nipples

anyone can do that

and I would get erect

so it has nothing to do with you

you can ignore my hard on

in fact

I wish you would

just take your hands off my balls

stop licking the head of my dick

I’m not interested

I didn’t take my clothes off

for you to give me a blow job

I didn’t

take your clothes off

for that reason either

it was just something to do


I didn’t come here to have sex with you

that was the last thing on my mind

I’m not having sex with you

to make you fall in love me

I don’t want to be in love

I don’t have the time for that

neither do you

we are adults

we can control ourselves

we can ignore these erections

and get on with our conversation

nice weather isn’t it

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Hot Damn! Sneak Peak


As I posted in Hot Damn! Set Building I’ll be doing something different with 03-redtuba01this feature – rather than themed pieces I’ll be doing a variety of things – sort of a sampler pack that should help keep me from being classified as a specific genre writer. Queer is enough of a label (or is that liability) for me.

I go through stages of getting a set ready, picking the pieces, reading them aloud a couple of times & editing the words for flow &, in some cases, ease of pronunciation. I end up taking some out of the set, changing the position of others. The key is what to start with & what to end with. As these are unrelated it was more difficult to make those choices.

03-redpoppy-02My opener is usually a high-energy, slightly comic piece so this time I’m doing the opposite with the no-holds-barred social commentary “Dead Already” – this explores the unwillingness to take responsibility for ones actions by victim blaming. High-energy & perhaps blackly comic. There is a previously blogged version that made a few people cry.

I follow with “Love Your Work” – a directly comic look at the foibles of a spokenword scene in which bartenders get more tips at a show that the performers earn by being there. I follow that with “Give Generously” – social commentary on the gap between the objects of charity & those getting the charity. Next is “Reaping Victory” – a more directly political piece that deals with memory, war and agriculture.

03-redselfie04“Chalk It Up To Experience*” is the one sweet memory piece in this set. People love these & I felt ti was time to share my memories of high-school mammaries. Next is “Faultless” another no-holds-barred exploration of the unwillingness to take responsibility for ones actions by victim blaming.

“Spoilers” is a list poem. “After The Falling” perhaps the most surreal of this set maybe about slipping on the ice or about falling in love.

For those waiting for the hot stuff here it comes, first with “Hard On” – we say other thing but our bodies say another but when you’re naked no one is listening. That is followed by “Man In The Moon” – an attempt to explore gay sex, race & permission. Finally “Breaking In Grief” – unlike anything else in the set though it does have some memory – the memory goes back about fifteen years, not fifty years :-). It’s looks at house grief is processed. Sounds like a downer way to end a set buy trust me it isn’t.

03-redcar03A PDF of my Hot Damn! will be available for $2.00. My chapbook is $10.00 (in the flesh if you want one via mail add $3 for postage). If you want a PDF copy of the chap book send $4.00 to my paypal below & I’ll email you a copy. The PDF will have additional Power pieces. All PayPal sales go to buying me (& other poets) coffee at Capturing Fire 🙂


another piece that didn’t make the final cut

Then Things Changed


that was me


those were my words


I believed what I said

things change

I change

stop trying to pour me of today

into the image of me



people tell me I’ve lost weight

when I was never aware

that they were aware

of what I weighed

that what I look liked mattered


I didn’t know or care

yet now that I’ve changed

physically in their eyes

they still see me

as the same person

but not so fat

they never said I was fat


mind you

but that I’ve lost weight since



I don’t say what I once said

my world view has changed

become broader

& more refined at the same time

my body gets narrow

my vision get clearer

in ways people notice

people I hadn’t set out

to be noticed by



now knowing

they’ve been looking

that they are capable of comparing

the old me


with the new me

I still don’t give a shit


thanks for noticing

on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes



June 8-9- Capturing Fire


check out these poets from  Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016



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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr



Chapbooks and Spatial Reasoning

I lack spatial reasoning – the ability to mentally re-arrange objects without physically touching them. I have to do mock ups & even then it’s frustrating. In this case it was the logic behind piecing together my chap book – page layout so that when it gets printed & collated everything is in the correct order for the reader. On the page the left side is one, but the right side is not two – but whatever your final page number is to be – a single sheet is actually 4 pages – chap books thus need to have pages counts divisible by 4 – confused? So you see my issue.book

oogieWith the help of a second set of hands this layout work got done. Hurrah! This’ll be longest chapbook I’ve self-published. All the pieces have been prompted by the 48 Laws of Power – but I resisted calling it Power Poetry & opted, as I always do, to title after one of the pieces – in this case “After The Falling.”

As I do with a feature I made sure the flow was one that invited readers, amusing them to start & then getting political, human, queer sexy & ending with something unlike anything else in the book. The pieces underwent rewrites so they are somewhat different from the versions I’ve already blogged here.toilet

I told someone I was pricing it at $10 & they felt that was too expensive for a chapbook. Considering that they would tip a bartender that much for a couple of good cocktails I said “I’ll keep that in mind.” Keeping in mind that they won’t be getting the complimentary copy they expect. But this is a gripe for another post.noirjuly13

It’ll stay at $10.00 for the hard copy. If you want a PDF copy send $4.00 to my paypal below & I’ll email you a copy. The PDF will have additional Power pieces. My Hot Damn! set will also have some non-Power pieces not in the book & a PDF of the actual set will be $2.00. All PayPal funds go to buying me (& other poets) coffee at Capturing Fire 🙂


a piece that didn’t make it to the final cut of the printed book or the Hot! set:

Answer My Texts

you never answer my texts

he texts me

why not

he wants to be a friend

to know what I’m up to

one day the texts came so fast

he didn’t know

which one I was replying to

when in fact

I didn’t want to reply to any

it was a waste of my time

plus I hate texting & walking

it was none of his business

what I was up to

at any given moment

he wanted to made sure

I wasn’t having sex

when I wasn’t even having sex with him

he wanted to be my friend

I wasn’t sure why

we had little in common

other than being male

we’d met twice face to face

which was enough for me

and he built on that

even as I made it clear I wasn’t interested

after the flurry of texts

to set up that first meeting

I knew I wasn’t interested

I am not suspicious by nature

but I value my privacy

there is nothing worth discovering

no trade secrets

no best-seller plots to pirate

he wants something

I’m not sure what it is

but I’ll never text fast enough

to find out


Brain Rental

Started the month with my annual CAHM brain rental for a study I’ve been in for 6 years now. I’m a healthy control subject in a couple of studies looking at memory, decision making & dexterity and aging.The study is spread over three days, first day was March 24, then April 1 & 2 to finish. It’s conducted, for the most part, at the CAHM Queen W. location. The first, unofficial, task is actually getting there in the morning. I’m a morning person but rarely a morning transit person. I’m so grateful for my iPod, Kindle & cell phone. Plus 1001 Queen W is the middle of a Starbucks vortex – five to ten minute walk in any direction for a Pikes.

doll dolly in the gutter

The study ‘tasks’ include pattern recognition, mazes, reciting back lists of numbers, plus tedious & sometime hypnotic computer works (guess where the red square is etc). I do pretty well on most of them but hate one that calls for me count backward by 7s starting at 119 or sorting into correct sequence a mix of numbers and letters.

For Tuesday I had to fast overnight, collect my urine in a massive container & transport that to Queen W – then blood work (so many tubes, they needed to use veins in both arms), eeg, ecg, then more pen & paper ‘tasks.’ Highlight of that day was the ecg technician remembering me from another study a few years ago in which the reading he got from my brain was so good he uses when teaching. I did not ask for royalties.

red festive body bag

Wednesday was more of the same, various on a theme as it were, in the morning. Then an MRI in the afternoon. Laying still for sometimes up two hour while that happens is draining – my shoulders & chest get so sore. Being inside the MRI machine is like being trapped under the stage at bad techno performance, whirrs, buzzes, clicks, knocks and shakes and the MRI scanners moves for back & forth to up & down. Think of being trapped in a laser pistol beep contest for up to two hours. This session was over an hour.

goggles google goggles

The research staff are friendly & eager to talk about the actual research without, of course, giving away the ‘secret’ behind some of the testing.

I wrote Bradbury at lunch on Wednesday. I escaped the vortex and hit The Swan a little from Shaw on queen. I’ve eaten in past years as a treat – excellent burger.







he held

the palm of my hand open

traced a line

with his untattooed index finger

his touch light


my fingers began to curl

as did my toes

the hair stood up on the back of neck

as if he had caressed me there


he pushed my fingers back

looked me in the eye

you have a wet life line

wet is good

you live in a world of rain

puedes verlo

he slipped into his native tongue

can you see it


his eyes held mine

they were the shadow brown

of a seaside sunset

he leaned closer

his lips brushing mine

he smelled of

a freshly sanded maple toy box

and New year’s Day

I like this wetness I witness

quieres saber más

do you want to know more


he leaned back

raised the palm of my hand

to his mouth  his lips

he bit the flesh below my thumb

then looked to me

what do you see


      I see rain

     I walk naked in its warmth

    the ground is rough

    the grass is green


yes yes he said

I want to be in you

in your wet

he folded my hand

and let rest on the table

you like your future

Le gusta su futuro


    seems to me

    you read your own future

    in the palm of my hand


he smiled wide

then showered me

with his happy laughter

doll01 another fallen dolly


‘I’ll enter your heart like a breeze’

Michael Fraser puts together great line-ups for Plasticine Poetry and once again there was wild variety. Even the open stagers ranged from first-timers, covers of Victor Hugo, Lou Reed and fresh funny dating advice. Hosted by David Bateman, the audience loved his wry ‘romantic’ and ‘warm’ family comments.

books03old snow face

First up was Dominique Russell – who opened her set with an ee cummings cover, followed that with a series of short, numbered pieces inspired by Sylvia Plath. Her pieces were full of strong images: ‘my landscape in a hand,’ ‘there’s no getting up to it with the words we know.’ Emotional without being overwrought the audience was drawn into her Toronto. https://www.facebook.com/dominique.russell

books01ya can’t give’m away

Next up was me – as usual my set was changed even as I read, pieces & lines cut for clairity. The full house responded the identity pieces, drinks were spit through noses as a few points as well – Born to Blown is this year’s signature piece. During the break I was told the set was dynamic and one never knew what would come next. I hope it was dynamic enough to get me a feature in April – I’ve never featured during poetry month.

books02after the party

After the break Allan Briesmaster started the second set with pieces from his recent book ‘Against The Flight Of Spring’ and some newer writing. Invoking his muse ‘Open, oh pen, open’ he presented a set of image strong nature poems: ‘who can hear a single note sung by a stone.’ Of trees lost in the ice storm ‘we thought they’d outlive us.’ He stepped a bit out of comfort zone with a sexy sports piece. http://www.quattrobooks.ca/books/against-the-flight-of-spring/

Final feature was Ann Shin, who read from her book ‘Family China.’ The text has hyper-text links to definitions that are in themselves poems. Emotionally compelling I was too intent listening to make notes, one good line was pushed aside by another, ‘our velocity defines our most precious commodity’ and perhaps one of the most romanic lines I’ve heard in some time ‘I’ll enter your heart like a breeze’ https://www.facebook.com/ann.shin


February 21, Friday – featuring – Racket at the Rocket: 7 p.m., Red Rocket Cafe, 1364 Danforth Ave. https://www.facebook.com/events/818441091515505/

smrkt March 1, Saturday – attending – Toronto SpecFic Colloquium


June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada


one of pieces I read:

what passes in silence

recently I mentioned to a guy

that I was going to a queer event

he was surprised

after knowing me for several months

he was unaware that I was queer

I’ve been out so long

I forgot what it feels like to come out

to someone like this

you can’t see who I am

just by looking at me

unless I go out of my way

to make you hear

it’s like a black passing for white

you don’t look Jewish at all

what there is most fundamental about me

passes in silence

and many want it to remain that way

tolerance of the silent is much easier

than acceptance of the real

the visual means of definition

aren’t close to who I am

because I could wear lipstick a wig perhaps

oh that guy’s a faggot for sure

or a leather harness to the beach

I could grab those clear cut symbolizers

tee-shirts that call for gay rights

rainbow tattoo on the back of my neck

a bear paw on the back of my hand

but I’m too lazy to make

what I think is obvious clearer

or maybe what I am

has become so irrelevant

in today’s world

it’s time I got over myself

and got on with life

bookslost poetry