Time Waits for No Mask

Sept 2020 Recap

Time flies when you are having a good time, but it also flies in a time of turmoil. Recently a friend wondered where the summer went, he couldn’t really recall spring either. He was one of the lucky ones those job allowed for work from home so he isn’t fully idle during the lockdown as it becomes less a lockdown & more a social distance challenge.

I told him that as one gets older time seems to move quicker plus in a time of crisis it moves even faster. One of things I learned when I was involved in palliative care in the early days of HIV is that one loses awareness of the ‘stress’ – I think the same thing is true of the covid19 crisis. The stress becomes normalized but the threat hasn’t gone away. With both the fluctuations of numbers, restrictions & the civil war news from the USA one loses track of the passage of time. Thus time moves faster.

At the start of the lockdown I joking told a couple of friends ‘see you in September’ – they thought I was being overly pessimistic, little did we realize then that I should been saying ‘see you in September 2021.’ We have learned more about covid & its transmission since the first of the year but the threat still exists. 

September has been a month of living in this new reality. Masks are fashion accessories. Social distancing is an acceptable excuse for avoid people you don’t want to see anyway 🙂 Masks as seen as infringements of personal rights by the same people who berated gay men for not wearing condoms. I use both but masks are much easier to get on & off 🙂

Blogging less has been productive as I have been writing more. October will see some of that new work with a fresh set of spooky poems to show up on Fridays. I’m still working through the annotated Distant Music. One of the books I read in September was Allen Ginsburg’s look back at Howl in which he discusses inspirations, explains his intent, names & context – which is pretty much what I’ve doing with Distant Music.

Time for stats 🙂 Over the month my TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 385! The WP map show my hits have come from 31 countries around the world. That India still tops the list is interest but Portugal & China are now in the top 10. Venezuela! America Samoa! 

My Tumblr is at 292 – it would be higher but I block buxom babes & guys who slam drugs, not poetry. Twitter is at 226 followers it would be higher but I block buxom babes, editorial services & mavens eager to show me how to make big bucks on the internet. Picture Perfect: 37 sections, about 58,000 words posted so far with 130,000  approx to be edited then posted.

Fog Tarantella

<>

for too many years 

I was in a tree top

shouting out for love

I didn’t care where it came from

the louder I shouted the less I heard

the higher I climbed

the further I got away from it

yet I didn’t think of climbing down

I wanted the love that was in the air

not the common stuff of the earth

not knowing then

that was where love grew from

<>

one morning during a snow storm

the first after a long hot autumn

of yelling myself hoarse

give me love  I want love

blood flecks dappling the leaves 

the snow at first a few darting specks

then a steady scrim hush

to cool my eyes

flakes on my fevered tongue 

letting the sky satisfy 

as best it could 

but the sky doesn’t love back

except with echoes

<>

while the snow cloaked me

my own limbs mantled like branches

a peacock

clumsily descended

a bird that at a distance has stunning beauty

but this close it was motley 

squawking as it settled by me 

our eyes met

his tail opened

the breathtaking fan of feathers

stopped my shouting

I reached out to touch 

fell

earth bound by beauty

at the foot of the tree

<>

a mist arose around me

through the winter fog 

came men dancing

their arms around wisps of white

the imagined bodies of lovers

caressing the backs

touching the hair

making it as real as they could

kissing empty haze

could I join them

should I

was this all I could expect on earth

or would I be bold enough 

to allow one of these dancing men

to dance with me

before I climbed a tree

lost in the fog

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Upstairs with Satan and Archie

Moving to the upstairs in my house we come to these on the walls of the upper hall. First this wonderful paint-by-number that I bought, framed, at a Goodwill on Queen E decades ago. Luckily it was light enough to carry home. I knew this painting from my childhood, though not this specific one, as part of a set that my mother had painted. She did several of such sets & finding it brought back sweet memories.

On the opposite wall is this portrait of me as rendered by Dan Parent who was, at that time, one of the illustrators & writers for Archie comics. I had it done at Fan Expo. I went that year specifically to commission it. He took my photo, I roamed the ‘market’ buying dvd’s, tee shirts, searching for old school horror [Karloff vs Kruger] & come back an hour later & it was ready.

The same holds true for the other portrait that I had done the following year. for an extra five dollars I had  more torso 🙂 As you can tell I haven’t aged since these were done but neither of these are my Dorian Gray – that is in a secret spot away from prying thighs.

The ‘demonic force’ was a Christmas gift from a friend at the end of the 1990’s. He enlarged a panel from a Chick Publication & hand-tinted it for me. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chick_tract#Chick_Publications) I still see this little tracts around, sometimes left on a bus, or rumple dup on the street. Cute propaganda.

Not propaganda is this self-portrait a friend did & gave me as a birthday gift. He was experimenting with colour for that Warhol effect. The last was a gift from David Bateman he gave me during the run of the poetry cabaret The Beautiful & Damned. It is a fun amalgam of Keith Harding & Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime images. It goes up in value every year 🙂

Modern Safety

Kevlar sweats

modern day chainmail

designer duds armour plated

for style lightness and protection

don’t want to look bad 

when someone shoots at me

or tries to stab me in the mall

because I looked at them the wrong way

because I was the wrong color

wearing the wrong colors

in the wrong neighbourhood

<>

how to be safe enough

and still look good

don’t want private guards

they’re not the accessories 

I had in mind to complete this outfit

to be safe enough 

to go to Starbucks for a latte

<>

the fast walk and the scowl

now becomes a challenge

they’ll take me down a notch or two

kick the crap out me to liberate 

my limited edition nike’s and iPhone

which they don’t realize

now features global positioning hardware 

<>

I hesitate to answer

because I only listen 

through an ear piece

that picks up everything you say

funnels it though lie detection software

that tells me I can trust what you say

I stick to the simplest of responses

double double

no don’t super size that

<>

unless those fries 

are a bullet resistant shield

I can hold in front of me

as I struggle to get home

without a scratch

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Romantic Love

out of the archives

TOpoet

“I would die without your love.” “You’re nobody until somebody loves you.” “I want to know what love is.” You getting the picture? These are old love songs – the newer versions aren’t much different, perhaps a bit more cynical but the subtext remains the same – only romantic love is genuine & worth striving for. To knock that fantasy is to be jaded, hard, compassionless & designed for a life of futility and emptiness.

mirror

refection of love

I can’t count the number of men & women I’ve known who have drowned in the despair of love disappointment, who as a result of their investment in that fantasy have ended up in a morass of futility, the same morass they are ready to cast those who don’t buy into the fantasy. So drowned, they attempted suicide, prefer death to disappointment, death to the feeling of betrayed.

shaftoflight

love shaft of light

View original post 402 more words

Emptied Toy Boxes

I always wonder about these boxes of toys – out-grown? tossed as punishment? left behind by previous tenants? bedbugs?

blue or green? which suits you
bad day for knights
u-haul these out of here
the blue car
after the tea party
the sun don’t shine anymore
the baby isn’t mine
pink Cthulhu
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July 2020 ReCap Pro

Over the month my TOpoet.ca following grew to 381! The July WP map shows that my hits have come from around the world. That India still tops the list is interesting  but that Romania has jumped to 4th spot is a surprise (Bună ziua cititorilor mei români). One day alone I got 60 hits from there. But Kenya has dropped out of sight 😦 My Tumblr (topoet) is at 287. Twitter (@TorPoet) up to 227 followers.

I’ve posted 29 chapters of Picture Perfect so far, nearly 45,000 words, with 143,000 words yet to be edited. I’ve been enjoying the challenge of writing about my Distant Music pieces. Sifting though that archive has let me see how much & how little my philosophy of writing has changed. I also sense how trapped I felt by cultural sexual norms. With so many pieces about hanging I’m surprised I survived.

Other July news: bought a new airmac Pro. My present airmac heats considerably after 30 minutes or so of certain use – zoom for one thing. It’s several years old & the drive can no longer be upgraded – I guess it has been archived. It was cheaper to buy the latest than get it repaired. 

There will a change in the frequency of my blog starting in August. I find I am putting so much energy into generating new posts that I am, in fact, writing less! I have an idea for a new novel – based on the flash fiction series I’ve been posting on Fridays with the music blog. But where’s the time? So the new routine will be Sunday – photos; Monday: – whatever; Tuesday – Picture Perfect; Wednesday – poetry talk – currently working through Distant Music; Thursday – my music collection. No posts on Friday & Saturday. 

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Transcendence

The Toni Morrison bio-documentary/interview A Life In Pieces is amazing. One reviewer was quoted as saying something like ‘she has transcended race in this latest book’ – the implication being that this is a good thing that makes her an even better writer. You know I’ve never read a review of novel/books by authors such as Joyce Carol Oates or Stephen King that says that they transcended race, or gender.

One of the things that Morrison said was that she decided not to explain issues in her characters lives but to merely present them because she felt her black readers would already understand & she felt no need to tell them the why of what they already knew. This resonated with me as I often felt need to give my queer characters backstories that explained their coming out – something I still find in movies & novels about the queer experience – explaining things for the heterosexual gaze. There is more to my life than my coming-out experience.

As my poetry became less concerned with explanations or making emotions universal I did get some negative feed back for being too insular – very similar to critical response to some of Morrison’s work that was too race oriented to be ‘quality’ literature. That is until she transcended race. Which I don’t think she really did, or had to do, it’s just that the culture around her became more educated & caught up to her.

I have a few of her novel on my shelf that I may reread. I did download her book of essays ‘The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations’ & have bumped it up to the front of the read next on my Kindle. I’m in the middle of two other books on it now & can’t start yet another one until one of them is finished. Emile Zola’s “La joie de vivre” & Koji Suzuki’s Edge – both amazing & highly recommended.

(from July 2007)

Racking Up Bonus Miles

more never leads to enough 

satisfaction is a sigh of defeat

too much stuff is a nice beginning

the constant scratch seeking struggle 

doesn’t matter if it fulfills a need

or even a want

it’s just stuff

lots and lots of stuff

fill every nook & cranny

empty is a sign of defeat

bare space isn’t spare simplicity

it is need poverty

only the rich can afford empty space

which they fill with their satisfaction

satisfaction is defeat

more is better than equality

<>

life is a pointless staring glazed at TVs

that aren’t big enough

too much empty space

between the neutrons 

making up picture 

it’s too easy to fall between the cracks

in the waiting glazed fumble

give me stuff or give me breath mints

<>

bursting at the seams is a start

time to look for bigger seams

to get more stuff in

stuff the up the cracks

stuff up your ass

stuff stuff stuff

<>

how good it feels

to bring home bags of unopened books

the smell of the paper

the space between letters

waiting to be filled

new cds flash in the sunset

as I peel plastic skin off them

new shoes not laced yet

new helicopters new tanks

to keep our boys safe in war

war that never gets enough

there is no such thing as enough death

no quenching that hunger

<>

that smokey smell

is life burning away the past 

to make space for the future

why learn lessons

there are new mistakes to be made

mistakes like forgetting 

that more never leads to enough

satisfaction is a sigh of defeat

too much is surrender

will that be cash or visa

you get more bonus miles with visa

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Stratford Protocol

Earlier this week we took a day trip to Stratford. This is the first summer in decades I haven’t seen show there, & the first time since the 50’s my partner hasn’t seen a show there. Neither have never been there when they wasn’t a show running. Unlike out usual visits there we didn’t have to pack as much in the way of snacks & fluids 🙂

With most of the province inching into phase 3 I was curious to see just what that meant outside of the golden horseshoe. We left later than usual, no rush to get there for 2 pm curtain. The weather was perfect. The traffic was the usual with slowdowns outside of Kitchener. Our first stop was the Tim’s at the edge of Cambridge. 

Masks on & in we went. No seating but washrooms were open, on request, one person at a time. Follow the arrows to the exit please. Staff masked & gloved. Coffee up to their standards. From there we took the New Dundee Road though New Dundee, Haysville & on to Shakespeare, This was the only major slowdown for highway work being done on the intersection there. 30 mins while road-plows plowed the road. It seems university guys aren’t doing construction this year to pay their tuition 😦

It was worth the wait for our next stop: the Pie Shop. There we bought chicken pot pies, lemon tarts & other nutritious snacks. On to Stratford for lunch at Features.

Yes Features was open for ‘take-out’ only. But they had patio tables set up & brought your order to your table. The town had more people than expected wandering in & out of the fudge stores. But the Festival theatres were all shut down even the gift shops. With so little tourist traffic the town opted not to do any gardening along sidewalks etc.

We did drive around to see the new Theatre. The rush for opening has allowed them to take their time with landscaping. The lots was fenced off so I didn’t get any real close up photos. People in paddle boats on the Avon was out matinee performance 🙂

Drive home was good. Road workers on lunch break as we passed through Shakespeare. One last stop at the Pork Shop for their excellent pulled pork. Home by 4:30. exhausted by all that sitting, taking photos & enjoying the scenery? Maybe we’ll hit Niagara-on-the-Lake for an August day trip. A big maybe because there isn’t even a favorite restaurant we miss there.