August 2018 Sneak Peek

A quick look back to July to tell you that my WordPress following has finally passed 260 & some of the new followers aren’t ‘let me show you how to promote’ sites, or heterosexual porn. I get enough hetero porn trying to follow me on Tumblr (thank God for block there). Some new Twitter followers as well, but they tend to be self-promoting authors looking for followers. I rarely follow back & if I do I can mute them anyway. 

Theatre outings include at Stratford: Julius Caesar; The Tempest. At the Shaw festival we’ll be seeing  The Hound of the Baskervilles – a new adaptation, though I don’t see why they don’t use one the Victorian scripts. I’m hoping they will use period theatrical staging & not overwhelm it with modern projection, scrims as they did with Dracula.

Started a new series of blog posts on Fridays about my literary influences. I’m going to stick to literature: prose, poetry, drama, non-fiction. I made a first list without looking on the shelf: Mishima, Arenas, Oates, Fowler, Elliot, Ginsberg, Barton, Little, King, Dickens, Dickinson, Nowlan, Pinter, Ludlam, Thomas, Lorca, plus slam poets/performers.

My Disability After Dark responses will shift to weekend postings & will probably come closer to the actual podcasts which are on Friday morning. I’ll no longer be a week behind. 

Monday pics will see transportation morph into circus rides as a nod to both Taste of the Danforth & The CNE. Wednesday will be shades of blue. Thursday will be random. Friday and the doors to summer will continue to open. I’ve been neglecting my Tumblr posts this summer – only posting light reflections on Thursday. 

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http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday

October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up

https://www.facebook.com/TorontoGratitudeRoundup/

September or October but to be confirmed – feature – The Art Bar, Free Times Cafe

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

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

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Strong and Safe

I live close enough to the Danforth mass shooting that I had phone texts & emails checking to make sure I was okay. The Danforth/Logan intersection is about a 20 minute walk from my house. I pass it at least three times a week on my morning walks. Walking the Danforth is like a trip to the United Nations with restaurants & stores representing the world – Mexican ceramics, Nigerian batik, lamps from Nepal, food from assorted provinces of Greece, Italy, desserts from France. From Broadview to about Jones it is primarily Greek & Italian; Jones to Greenwood is Islamic; Greenwood to Rhodes has become Ethiopian; from Coxwell to Main – anything goes.

I once tried to count the number of places to eat between Greenwood and Broadview and lost count at over 400 before I even got to Broadview. Not for dieters, though there a few vegan spots in the mix. No I haven’t tried them all 🙂

I didn’t hear about the shootings until Monday morning when I saw that someone I knew had posted they were safe on the Facebook ‘I’m Safe’ page. I read what they were safe from & was, I want to say shocked, but it was more like dismayed. I changed my Monday route to the opposite direction – I didn’t want to deal with gawkers, police investigators & the like. 

Plus the media whose right to the news overrides anyone’s right to privacy. I didn’t want to be getting a doughnut & being asked ‘how do I feel.’ I’m very cynical about the ‘compassion’ of the media. To reply ‘I feel like getting a doughnut’ isn’t what they want.

I went through the area on Tuesday, as I ordinarily would have anyway. Took photos, as I ordinarily do, only this time there were the memorials & walls of graffiti to photograph. I took pictures until my own grief made me put my camera away. #DanforthStrong #GreektownStrong were on the walls. 

I’m not sure what they mean – usually to be strong in the face of death mean not to show your emotions – be strong, don’t let anyone see you crying. The Greeks and the Italians are wailers – there were people weeping as I walked through. Were they not being #strong? 

I walked through again on Thursday, also a regular walk for me, took more pictures as the memorials & graffiti increased. I felt the sense of community grief & loss. I was not #strong & stopped taking pictures when I became tearful. Reporters on TV keep asking people – ‘do you feel safe?’ Putting words into the mouths of the people they’re interviewing. It seems, to the media, that feeling safe & strong is more important than feeling grief.

 

The Danforth http://topoet.tumblr.com/post/176234936423/the-danforth-delayed-my-usual-walk-to-broadview

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Buffy Season 4 – Nearly Dustless

 Recently finished watching Season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There is so much sex in this season – everyone, including Giles, is getting laid I now think of this as season fornicate. This is also the season when I gave up on it when it was first broadcast. Buffy’s emotionally vulnerability was, to me, forced & distracting. There was hardly any vampires slain either. Lots of demons though. I  didn’t buy into the military complex plot line – government conspiracy is so X-Files, it was tepid at best.

Some episodes suffered from too many characters & the writers never found a balance between them. At times it felt like they were given dialogue that kept them on screen as opposed to adding to the plot. At least they dropped the one trope I hated – you know the one in which no one believes there are vampire etc. This season everyone in Sunnyvale acknowledges there are evil forces at work.

The season has some of the worse episodes (so far) of the series. “Beer Bad” being one, the other, for me, was “Pangs” the Thanksgiving episode that is so embarrassing I was ready to give up again on season 4. But I’m glad I stuck with it because there were also some of the best written & performed eps as well.

The departure of Oz was emotionally resonant but (spoiler alert) he returns before the end of the season for another great episode. In fact some of the best episodes involved returning characters. Ethan Raine does things to Giles in “A New Man” that were thrilling to see. Danny Strong shines in “Superstar” a brilliant episode. Faith surfaces again in a well plotted & emotionally satisfying two-parter. 

Adam as a villain never felt like a threat. The shenanigans of  The Initiative – the military complex were predictable & left me feeling ‘who cares’ though Lindsay Crouse as the evil doctor was always a joy to watch. I was sorry to see her dispatched without a real face off with Buffy.

It took the writers ten episodes or more to get their footing after the departure of Angel & Cordelia. Spike was to be the smart mouth but seemed totally wasted in every episode. Anya was the best addition to the gang & it was clear the writers loved writing for her. 

There were some great stand alone episodes. “Hush” with the floating Gentlemen was creepy & fantastic; the abused children spirits, is “Where The Wild Things Are” seeking revenge was chilling as was the actress playing their ‘keeper.’ I’m hoping there a another episode in future seasons that deals with her.

The season did expand some of the Slayer mythos, as well giving us more a glimpse into the Watchers that I hope is explored more in future seasons. Willow became more of character, as opposed to a side-kick, as her magic powers & confidence grows. At times it felt more like the Witch Willow show than Buffy. Oh yes, Willow gets Tara – as a love interest. I still think it would have been more revolutionary if Zander got a boyfriend though say in the form of Forrest – as Forrest is clearly resents Riley switch of affection to a girl, namely Buffy.

Speaking of Forrest it was great to see a black character on Buffy in a recurring role. Though he was not a good guy he certainly made Riley seem almost interesting with the powerful gay subtext he was playing in all their scenes. Even in the final fight between them his motivation was more ‘how could you choose her over me’ than ‘I’m helping Adam conquer the world.’

By the end of the season I was glad I stuck with it even if there are some episode I wish I could un-watch. I was also missing the lack of vampire dustings. Come on she’s a vampire slayer – not a demon hunter. On to Season 5.

The Cell

a man weeps on the subway

well-dressed   mid-thirties

turns his face from us

with no corner to hide his tears

rubs a cell phone in his left hand

squeezing it as something to hold on to

glances at the screen

bumps his head on the window

harder and harder

should someone stop him

he lurches up

gets off at the next station

stares immobile as the train pulls out

 

was that even his stop

was he ashamed of strangers 

seeing his sorrow

our eyes wanting more than they could see

was our pity   curiosity   inaction

too much more to bare

on top of what he wept about

 

his cell phone still where he sat

I pick it up look around

no one acknowledges what I have done

what should I do with it

try the numbers on it

track him down

did he abandon it   leave his sorrow behind

I get off at my stop

take the cell with me

 

at home I press the right buttons

nothing lights up dead

my recharge cable doesn’t fit

I’m at a loss about what to do

suddenly it lights up   rings

hello

all I hear are 

 

painful gut-wrenching sobs

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every Tuesday

October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up

https://www.facebook.com/TorontoGratitudeRoundup/

September or October but to be confirmed – feature – The Art Bar, Free Times Cafe

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

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

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Sneak Peek July 2018

July brings heat, small celebrations, plays, musicals & a bonus Hot Damn! So you can look forward to reviews of Coriolanus; The King and I – both of which I’m looking forward to seeing.

Later in the month Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam is doing a showcase feature at Bricks and Glitter – part of an alternative Pride celebration at Unit2 in the west end. Oddly the inclusivity of Toronto Pride has become more divisive than inclusive with it’s corporate focus. 

The small celebration is my 40th year of being sober & clean & in recovery. Something that happened with my cooperation as opposed to something I did as desperation-driven megalomaniac. The continuing process of recovery has pushed me into a sort of counterculture view of the North American world I live in. For July some Fridays will a look at that process.

Photos for July will be similar to June as I continue with Transportation of Mondays; red on Wednesdays; miscellaneous of Thursday; doors on Fridays. Wednesdays I’ll be continuing my look at Village Stories a longish series of poems I wrote mythologizing my childhood & eventually leaving Cape Breton. 

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday

September or October but to be confirmed – feature – The Art Bar, Free Times Cafe

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

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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I Fly

As much as I miss the comfort of my little bed in Toronto leaving DC is always a little sad. I’m not sure why, as I haven’t made any real human connections there outside of the Capturing Fire clan & even those I only see during the Fire – they have busy lives & often are so into the friends they already have there’s no opening for someone they may never see again.

Final morning was my DC routine, breakfast in the room, Dupont club at 9:30. Excellent Bagel from Bagel … Etc. I’ll keep them in mind for next year. Ate that checking email. Check out at 12, but wifi off at 11 for some reason. Got packed in record time without the wifi distraction.

Taxi to the airport was ‘interesting’ thanks to construction detours & the Capitol’s Stanley Cup victory parade. I particularly enjoyed President Trump thanking the people for congratulating him on scoring the winning goal. No one would call him a sore winner. I take taxi, as opposed to shuttle, because it is faster & cheaper. Last time I ordered a shuttle it arrived an hour late by which time I was already at the airport.

As I said everything went smoothly. Check in was longish, but such is life. The Reagan is a pretty airport. I had my annual Dunkin’ Donuts. Asked for old fashioned glazed twice & when I sat to enjoy it found that I had been given something else. The banal coffee has caffeine in it. Found my gate – it was in another part of the terminal. so had to take a shuttle there, got checked in once again & assigned a seat -18A. Jumped into another shuttle to the plane. Five minute delay there as the flight was awaiting stewardess. 

Boarded & like my flight there it was a three seat wide plane, Two on one side of the aisle, one on the other. 18A was the final seat, a single & right by the washroom – which gave me the opportunity for a sky-high washroom selfie. Flight was just over an hour. Smooth skies. Arrival was trouble free except we were at farthest of the Person terminal. the exiting the plane, walking to customs & finally exiting to arrivals took nearly as long as the flight itself 🙂 As much a love flying I hate lugging shoulder bag, carry on (with all my vital cables for recharging phone, cameras, airmac – as well as upload cables for those cameras. A day at a time I can’t wait for next year.

Gong

Gong is one of those influential prog-rock groups one hears about but few rarely hear them 🙂 They influenced Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Genesis, ELO, ELP, Soft Machine & well you get the sound picture. I was one of those who knew them by reputation & in my compulsion to reclaim a history I never had I tracked down their Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy: The Flying Teapot, Angel’s Egg, 1974 – You.

The plot of the trilogy is as comprehensible as A Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. or the Russian film Solaris. Pretentious artsy rock with jazz, electronica & psychedelic favouring, a sense of humour too. Wild time signatures, fun sax & space guitar – these lps are fascinating if a bit twee. I think their sense of humour kept them from breaking into the US market. Definitely worth listening to if you are King Crimson fans. 

Also in this mp3 collection is Marvin Gaye: M.P.G – I had this as an lp that I picked up at some yard sale – early years work but polished. Which lead me to include The Temptations: Puzzle People. This I also once had as lp & it is a nice compliment to Gong with the Motown psychedelic sound creeping in. Where else would one hear Little Green Apples & Message From A Blackman on the same lp? Who thinks of Motown as the home of American prog-rock? 

So it made sense to also include Jimi Hendrix: Cry of Love. The mix is a little muddy but the songs are great. His voice is always better than I recall & his guitar work is more subtle but still brilliant. It seemed only natural to include E. Grizzly: The NAH Mixtape – densely sampled, often aggressive rhythmically with poetical rap on top off everything. E. Grizzly is Gong taken to the extreme. 

 

Finally a fun Mexican group: Banda Zarape: Es la primera vez. Someone posted a couple of their videos on Tumblr & they were strange, to say the least. The music is energetic but not know Spanish I can tell if the lyrics are that radical but the music itself is fairly straight forward. 

School Days 1

The three girls, Jane, Jenny and Laurie stood at the corner of the front steps. The school yard was full of students. Morning classes would soon begin. They stood and looked at the other girls. Sometimes smiling snidely to each other as certain ones went by.

‘Who she fooling with that?’

‘Get those zits. Pizzass Face.’

‘What you looking at?’

Mean giggles and elbows to anyone who stopped too long or blocked their view.

‘There she is. Judy.’

Judy was no one. Just another of the girls but the one they had zeroed in.

‘Hey scab what did we tell you about coming up these steps when we was here.’

They stepped down toward her. She shrank back.

‘That’s right. Just fuck off now like a good piece of crap.’

‘And don’t worry about being late. Death is worse and we’ll kill you cold next time we see you.’

The girl looked around for someone, anyone to shield her. It was as if she was invisible.

‘Come on Jane we better get in. Mr. Sniff-finger’s waiting for us.’

The three shouldered their backpacks and strode in to the school.

Students crowed the halls.

‘Outta our way.’

‘Who you pushing.’ a guy sneered back.

‘Not you asshole.’ Foot on his heel followed by elbow sent him stumbling into the lockers.

‘Good one, Jenny.’

The three slapped hands over head.

‘Teach them fools to mess with us. Right Laurie.’

‘Right.’

‘You get your homework done?’

‘What you think?’

‘I think … what me think. You gotta be kidding me Jenny.’

‘No time for thinking here. Why waste it? Eh. Oh ee look now, he’s all right.’

They stood to stare as a tall boy walked by.

‘Hi.’

‘Hi.’

The three girls blushed and looked away.

‘Oh god. I didn’t think he’d answer.’

‘Guess he wants something.’

‘Yeah and I’m the one to give it to him.’

‘Any time soon.’

‘Soon enough.’

‘Go follow.’

‘No you follow Laurie.”

The three started shoving each other a bit.

‘Scared?’

‘Yeah what you think. He got no time for likes of us.’

‘He said ‘Hi’.’

‘True. Nice butt too. Why don’t you follow Jane?’

‘Nah he had eyes on you Jenny. All over you.’

‘Nah.’

‘Yeah. Go on or I’ll follow him. What’s his name.’

‘I’ll find out. Okay?’

‘Why you?’

‘Cause I’m the one who know how to find out things.’

Laurie stepped away from the others. He had stopped at the bulletin board.

‘Hi.’ she stood beside him.

‘Hi.’

The other two moved down the hall but kept their eyes on him.

‘What are they saying?’

He laughed.

‘Must be something funny.’

He glanced down at them. The two looked away fast.

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http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday

June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked)
 capfireslam.org 

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

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Isolation

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks. Who knew the simple life could be so complex. This another of the 92 pācittiyas.

Isolation

we’re doing this

for your own good

think of this cell

as your special place

a safe haven

from everyone around you

where no one is around you

no one to judge

mock

manipulate you

 

a place where you can be

yourself

regardless of how difficult

others will find that self

they won’t have to learn

how to get along with you

nor will you have to compromise

in any way to fit in

 

isolation

will make everyone happy

comfortable

because being comfortable

is better than accepting change

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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April 2018 Sneak Peek

April starts with a shower of events. April 3 I launch the serialization of Coal Dusters. Editing it has been pleasure, not work, & was sad to come to the end of the manuscript as I really enjoyed living with characters. April 6 is the finale for Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Season 4. The winner gets to attend Capturing Fire in June – travel & accommodations paid :-).

The month hopefully becomes routine after those events. Edits for Coal Dusters will continue as each segment is made ready for its debut. There are rumours of some Stratford day trips to catch a preview or two. There will be time for gardening, if the weather cooperates. Of course work will continue on the 227 Rules as I work though them – writing new ones, editing the old ones & being surprised at where those prompts take me.

Photos here will be green on Monday; books on Wednesday; various on Thursday; cars will continue to rule Fridays. I let my Tumblr posts slip in March to devote time to Dusters & I also had a head cold that was distracting but I hope to get back at that in April.

#Toronto #photography #amwriting #spokenword #April #dating #lgbtq #poetry #Ontario

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April 6, Friday – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Slam Season 4 finals: 8 pm Buddies In Bad Times Theatre


HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

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April 03 – every Tuesday

June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked) capfireslam.org 


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We Need to Have Another Chat, Publishing: Why the 2017 Recs List is Late

Michael Matheson | A Dark and Terrible Beauty

I’ve been trying to put together my 2017 Recommended Reading List since early to mid-February when I finished reading for it. I’d originally intended to use it to help people find fiction to look at for the Nebulas and the Hugos, as I do. Then just the Hugos. I will not be making that latter deadline either.

The blog post sits, unfinished, in my Drafts folder. I open it occasionally, when I have time, and sit down to finish discussing the magazines I looked at (57 this time round, with 40 I’m talking about in brief, because I wanted to cover only free online mags and projects from 2017 — it’s an experiment, go with it), and talk about the state of the online field of speculative fiction publishing.

Every single time I sit down to work on that state of the field section I am incensed. This because I…

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