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The Adventures of Danger Girl

Unlike most of the people, in the Toronto, spoken word scene, I don’t love poetry. I especially, don’t love poetry written post 70’s, with the very rare exception of maybe a handful of poets. Duncan Armstrong aka TOpoet is one of them.

It doesn’t take long, maybe just a line or two to realize that this is someone who really invests in everything he experiences. Whether he is writing about the roles we are cast in by others, ex lovers, the state/lack of civilization, or a father wearing shoes that once belonged to his dead son, like he does in “Breaking In Grief” from his new chapbook, “After The Falling”, you are not just reading a series of beautifully strung words, you are feeling what it is like to be there, and remembering the feel of shoes that didn’t belong on your own feet.

He is also incredibly funny. It’s…

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Colloquium 2017

This year’s SpecFic spread its tentacles in a new location – 918 Bathurst Street. As long as it is within walking distance of both a subway station & a Starbucks I’m happy.

In her opening remarks for this years SpecFic Sandra Kasturi mentioned that the one complaint the consistently she gets is that there are too many ideas to deal with let alone process. Truer words are rarely spoken as the day’s presenters flooded 918 Bathurst with endless visions of the future & ideas about the present.

First presenter was Julie Czerneda: “It’s a Wrap, Folks” a talk about the writing process itself. How to end a story. She talked about some the traps: i.e. the wrap-up-every-thread ending. Some things can force an ending like word count, submission deadlines. A resolution is not necessarily the ending. Ending shouldn’t be a new plot point unless it is leading to a sequel. If you are having ending issue – ramp up the tension to force one.

She was followed by Robert Boyczuk: “Why You (Still) Can’t Teach Writing” a talk on the usefulness or uselessness of creative writing courses & workshops. One can learn structure & how to have a sharper critical eye but not how to be more creative. He feels sometimes writers spend more time in, looking for, or talking about workshops than they spend writing. My personal experience is often writers judge work by who you’ve studied with than the actual quality of the writing itself. The presentation turned into a discussion about editors & copy writers (maybe something for next year).

The morning sessions wrapped with Jason Taniguchi: “Long Ago and Far, Far Away: Falling Hard for Fictional Worlds” a talk about the lure of alien worlds. This was a great talk about what it takes to do successful world building – something that all writers need to know not just specfic writers. His list of elements included things like ‘it is spilling over with unique specific details’ ‘it has a sense of its own history.’ The importance of representation in world building is becoming more important – what races, genders are in your world? He felt things like Harry Potter or Hunger Games were markedly white & heterosexual.

Unfortunately the day was too damp cold & gloomy for patio lunching. Was glad to get some fresh air with a quick walk to the nearest Starbucks to reap the rewards of my bonus stars – stars it seems one earns merely by walking past a Starbucks – by the time I got back my microwaved sandwich was cool enough to eat.

After the lunch break Sandra read Madeline Ashby: “Abandon All Hope, Eh?: Lessons Learned from the Company Town Tour” – it raised questions such as ‘how can you impose borders on stolen land? utopian for who? the world you are happiest in may ‘not be the best possible world’ What is the future? M feels that to transform Canada we need to move away from resource based economy. We have a skewed sense of what progress really means – is it faster internet connection or being able to live without the internet? Madeline fell ill & couldn’t even Skype – now that’s ill.

This was followed by Vicki Clough: “Alternate Realities in Art” a look at how fine arts are creating a space for epic story telling. I say fine arts – i.e. painting, sculpture as opposed to illustrated novels. She used the work of Kent Monkman & Saya Woolfalk to explore how this is done. Kent reinterprets classic paintings by interjecting his alter ego Miss Chief Eagle Testickle into them; Saya tells the story of a species that switches between animal & plant. Kent’s inventiveness made me wonder if writers might be able to do the same thing – could I rewrite say David Copperfield & find a way to insert my p.o.v to add a layer of observational commentary: it was the best of TOpoet.ca and the worse of TOpoet.ca?
17554424_10210246166523198_864376003505417264_n

The day wrapped with keynote speaker Cory Doctorow “I Can’t Let You Do That Dave” a, for me, overly tech talk about the dangers of DRM coding that allows makers to control how their devices get used but which also comprises personal privacy & safety. Devices can be hijacked to attack their owners – car computers, thanks to DRM (I think) are vulnerable to 3rd party steering. He spoke directly & passionately about our right to control our data. Check out OpenMedia.ca for how to get involved in protecting our rights.

By the end of the day I was exhausted from sitting, listening & at times, even thinking. 918 was a good venue for the colloquium even though it didn’t appear to be at all accessible. Didn’t spot a wheelchair ramp, washrooms were down flights of stairs. Looking forward next years.

ps: in my loot bag: Playground of Lost Toys: ed Anderson/Pflug; Year’s Best Weird Fiction: ed Barron/Kelly; Buffalo Soldier: Broaddus; The Society of Experience: Cahill; Winter Tide: Emrys; Quaternity: Hoover; Proof of Concept: Jones; Those Who Make Us: ed Morris/Trembly; Dead Americans: Peek; Broken Baloons: Prussky; Lifeblood: Showalter; Dead Girls Don’t: Story; Blood & Water: Trenholm 🙂

Past Colloquium posts:

2014: Colloquium in the Round http://wp.me/p1RtxU-EW

2015: Up SpecFic Alleys: http://wp.me/p1RtxU-173

2016: Ghost in the Twitter Feed http://wp.me/p1RtxU-1F6

rough draft sample

Spoilers

boy gets girl

dog lives

monster vanquished

boy buys right girl

man repents

eviler spirits arise

escape succeeds

money isn’t enough

love conquers all

she feels complete in marriage

success isn’t everything

family is reunited

all is forgiven

things are never the same again

she knows better

he finds a purpose in self sacrifice

boy gets boy

dog learns a lesson

man rescued from loneliness by child

greed is punished

being pretty isn’t fulfilling

he didn’t really want her

the lame horse wins a race

he dies saving others

the truth remains hidden

it was all a dream

the boy was once a girl

there is no escaping

they were ghosts

drugs were a bad choice

bad guy repents

she was a princess all along

the villain was his father

the castle blows up

the space ship blows up

the race is won

marriage means more than career

he is a genius

the plants were evil

Satan is foiled

he walks again

she forgives her rapist

he sees the errors of his ways

his heart is ten times bigger

everyone is dead

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

meandchap

kiss314257567_1162384753819933_3271661288579707843_oon going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes

April season 3 FINALS – Friday April 15th Buddies in Bad Times – early show – 7pm start – Featuring Queen Sheba. Slam winner gets trip to Capturing Fire & maybe coffee with me in DC.games

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

June 9-10-11: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 – flight & hotel booked already

https://capfireslam.org

check out these poets from  Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016

August 31-Sept.3 – I have my ticket already

fec17-header

https://www.facebook.com/events/526940540845331/

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winner

http://nanowrimo.org/

money

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

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Lazarus Kiss.04

Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.

May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others

and a love within recall that alters you.

kiss

Lazarus Kiss.04

“I don’t know. That was so weird, you know. She’d look at me as if she had never met me before. After awhile I got the message.”

“Yeah sure you got the message but you weren’t actually listening either. You raved about her as if it was the first time you got laid in years. I could never figure it out. Laura was okay looking but still pretty much run of the mill too.”

“To you, not to me.” His downed his cocktail. “I gotta get out of here. Some of us work for a living.”

As Harris left Story he relived that night with Laura. Meeting her and how taken he was by her very presence. That first kiss. No woman had made him feel that way since.

“ ‘Scuse me.” It was the busboy. “ This’ll sound totally off th’wall but …. ya see I have a girl an’ all  but there’s sometin’ about ya. Ya know never thought I might be bi but ….”

Harris stepped back. “Ah … well … thanks but …. I’m not really interested. No offense.” A flash of heartburn made it hard for him to breathe.

“Yeah, but dis is so fucked, like I said, I saw ya sit down and couldn’t take my eyes off ya, ya know. I’m Alex Tzorvas. My number.” He held a napkin out to Harris.

Alex had the body of one of those Ultimate Fighter goons, sounded as stupid as one too. Harris took the napkin and stuffed it into his back pocket.

Harris was stunned when Alex kissed him. Tongue and all. Another man’s tongue in his mouth! He wanted Alex to go to his knees and suck his cock. He could feel his hands on those buldging shoulders. He pushed Alex away.

“Look Alex. I’ll drop by in a few days and if you still feel the same way we’ll talk.” His breathing became easier.

If what his Dad told him was true, the guy wouldn’t remember him at all. An ideal test case, plus he wouldn’t have to worry now who was going to hit on him for the rest of the night. He threw the napkin into a subway trash bin.

On his way home from the subway he noticed posters on the street light poles.

R E W A R D

Missing – Frances Green – age 23  

5’4” – red hair – green eyes 

wearing a dark blue sweater and Guess jeans 

carrying a large blue leather purse

last seen on Saturday night

exiting the Greendale subway station

on her way to Saint Anne’s Community Hall

anyone with any information is asked to contact either the police or call 

And there were numbers to call –

He studied the photo. The image was slightly fuzzy. The face didn’t register except as pretty. Who had he talked to about St. Anne’s recently? It wasn’t too far from there he knew.  He was tempted to call to give the posterer a few tips on cleaning up the image.

*5*

Alex was flirting with a couple of hot looking babes in the front patio when he saw the fat guy arrive. He thought guys with ponytails were losers, especially when they were wearing baggy shorts, grubby hoodie and a childish tee-shirt. Who the heck was Morbius? The fat guy joked with his sister Cally.

“Hey you taking our order or what?” one of the cute girls touched his calf.

“Ah … got distracted.” he mumbled.

He’d been working at Story for a month and was still on probation. Not that his sister would fire him but he needed to make a good impression. He was sore that he had to start at the bottom there. After all he had three years at MacBrick. The fact that he’d kept his temper in check there was a miracle. Other than that time when the gay soccer league showed up. Well, not that he always kept in check but the fact that he got away with it that long.

So here he was busing tables, cleaning washrooms, mopping up vomit and occasionally flirting with hot babes. Hot babes made a difference after the rough and tumble MacBrick regulars. Story attracted a younger, hipper crowd that wasn’t out merely to get drunk and pick fights.

He didn’t mind the Story uniform – male staff in dark cranberry red shirts with the Story logo over the left pocket. Female staff in similar shirts only in a more plum shade. He couldn’t tell the difference between cranberry and plum. Black aprons with the same Story logo on the bottom right corner had pockets for a table rag, tips, change and order pad. Story supplied and cleaned the shirts and aprons. Staff supplied their own pants, shoes and attitude.

Alex was glad that the shirt was stretched across arms and biceps. He dug his body and liked to have it noticed by hot babes.

“I’ll send sommun out to take your order. I’m a table rag t’night.” He gave them a playful frown and ran his towel over the table. “Clean ‘nough t’be eaten out on.”

He went back in. His eyes kept going to table were the fat guy and his pal had sat. They looked like good friends. Must be nice. Alex had never gotten along with other guys. Women yes. He knew what pleased them and how to have them please him. Men were competition inside and outside the ring.

The fat guy certainly enjoyed his food. Alex avoided fatty fried stuff. Had to to stay trim and hard. He watched as the guy ate the sweet-potato fries. Dipping them and pushing them into his mouth then licking his fingers. Alex could feel the guy licking his own fingers with the same pleasure as they went into his mouth. He could see the guy’s eager expression as Alex forced his head under the apron to eat his hot sweaty waiter ….. What the fuck. Where’d that thought come from? Alex shook his head as he went to clear another couple of tables.

“Can you take this to those guys?” Cally nodded to the order of double burgers that were for the fat guy’s table.

“Sure.” He took the food and while he was there cleared off empty plates and bottles. “Anyt’in else gents?”

He stood at the fat guy’s shoulder. Eye contact was made. His dick strained for more than eye contact. For once he was grateful that the apron covered his package.

“No, we’re fine for now.” the Afro haired guy said.

When he saw that they had finished their burgers he went back to the table.

“Excuse me.” He took the empties and wiped down the table. “ Anyt’in else?”

“Time for onion rings.” Harris leaned back and the busboy took his empty plate. “Forget ’em?”

He brought the onions rings and went back to bussing duties. He kept his eye on the guys. A quick glance at Cally’s running tab for the table told him that the heavy guy’s name was Harris Stevens.

He wrote his name and phone number on a napkin and watched for a chance to give it to Harris.

When he saw him alone in front he approached him.

“ ‘Scuse me. This’ll sound totally off th’wall but …. ya see I have a girl an’ all  but there’s sometin’ about ya. Ya know never thought I might be bi but ….”

Harris stepped back. “Ah … well … thanks but …. I’m not really interested. No offense.”

“Yeah, dis is so fucked, like I said, I saw ya sit down and couldn’t take my eyes off ya, ya know. I’m Alex Tzorvas. My number.”

Harris took and napkin and stuffed it into his back pocket.

Once he gave his number to Harris he leaned forward and kissed him. Pushed his tongue into the other man’s mouth. Beery fried food. He visualized Harris going to his knees, lifting the apron and licking the sweat off him the way he had licked the salt off his fingers when he was eating.

He pulled Harris’s tongue into his mouth. Only for a few seconds. A man’s tongue in his mouth! Tongue only. No other body parts.

 

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This work is licensed under a

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

#Representation

20-redmugs01One of the things Andrew Gurza discusses frequently on his Disability After Dark podcast is ‘representation’ – not only in media, sitcoms & the like, but across the board in all events. It’s only been in the past few years that disabled actors get cast as characters whose disability matches theirs. This is akin to casting Asians as characters that were originally Asian.

20-redfender04Stratford can get away with colour-blind casting but I doubt if we’ll ever see Tom Hanks star in the Louis Armstrong Story. If Mr. Moto or Fu Manchu ever get revived I’m sure actual Asians will be cast in the lead. But I digress :-). Andrew zeros in on the lack of diversity in main-stream gay porn: I say ‘main-stream’ as there are fetish niches that thrive thanks to the WWW.

I’ve blogged about this before – there were no openly queer men or women on TV when I was growing up. I found out much later about Raymond Burr, Tab Hunter, Troy Donahue. In literature homosexuality could only be used as a plot device not as character development – unless their queerness was relevant to the plot it was not to be mentioned; unlike hetero characters who could have girlfriends who weren’t relevant. There was no such thing as a causal gay character.

20-redtoys03This has changed a little. But it still seems every gay or bi or other sexuality character must have a back story explaining this – straight characters rarely require that much context.

The one TV show that dared to have a tres gay character was the now classic British sit-com: Are You Being Served? Mr Humphrey’s is the icon-o-classic mincer with the sharp line. Not exactly role model material.

It was up to reality TV to normalize gay men, in particular Project Runway – it never shied away from sexuality – the ‘private’ lives of all the designers were open books to the viewers. The same can be said of Top Chef. On both I’ve seen men (& sometimes women) who make great role models – a bit late for me mind you, but they are positive active and fun examples of what queer can be. Top Model has had trans, lesbian & gay male competitors too. The one thing reality TV does is actually reflect the diversity of reality, unlike most other show.

20-redme02I’ve watched some recent TV mini-series: Falling Water, Candle Cove: guess what – bad stuff only happens to straight people – these are worlds in which there are absolutely no queers. Much like The Martian: in which it appears only heterosexuals get sent to outer space or even work in the space program.

So the representation Andrew seeks is even scarcer. No #bearinachair in space. In fact I haven’t seen mobility challenged contestants on the reality shows I do watch. Don’t people with walkers ever cook for themselves? I’m sure the deaf can sew.

samp01

Spoilers

boy gets girl

dog lives

monster vanquished

boy buys right girl

man repents

eviler spirits arise

escape succeeds

money isn’t enough

love conquers all

she feels compete in marriage

success isn’t everything

he was a she

family is reunited

all is forgiven

things are never the same again

she knows better

he finds a purpose in self sacrifice

boy gets boy

dog learns a lesson

man rescued from loneliness by child

greed is punished

being pretty isn’t fulfilling

he didn’t really want her

the lame horse wins a race

he dies saving others

the truth remains hidden

it was all a dream

there is no escaping

they were ghosts

drugs were a bad choice

bad guy repents

she was a princess all along

the villain was his father

the castle blows up

the space ship blows up

the race is won

marriage means more than career

he is a genius

the plants were evil

Satan is foiled

he walks again

she forgives her rapist

he sees the errors of his ways

his heart is ten times bigger

everyone is dead

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr02redme02

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

Darondo and Prince

14-round02

Here we have a very recent addition with an mp3 collection of my favorite kinds of generational & style mixes. It’s filed under D for Darondo with Let My People Go & Listen to My Song. Modern throwback – one would swear this is 80’s Mayfield soul but it is recent. Sweet, sexy & warm. DNCE – Swaay – is current pop, apparently, radio friendly & innocuous.

14-round03Laura Mvula is yearning black vocalist – Sing To The Moon – refreshing to hear a female not in the Beyonce mold. Deep emotional, musically appealing & her voice is captivating. One of my DC poets turned me on to her. Of course to get history in on this I’ve added Price’s Purple Rain. When he died I went through my collection & discovered I no longer had a version of this so downloaded a fresh one. Still holds up though Doves Cry goes on & on.14-round01

 

14-round04

Another modern release is the latest by Pet Shop Boys – Super – recaptures their sound & reinvigorates it at the same time. Finally as a total outside this box is Arthur Russell’s Calling Out Of Context: British obscure art/punk rocker does an eerie sort of dance experimental exploration of his psyche – not quite as fractured at Syd Barrett but in the same ball park. 

sample

Fates

Ques paced the dusty yard outside his forge. It had been several days since it had rained. The black soil had become grey. He pushed through a pile of assorted pla’k for a piece large enough to complete the job on his bench. The pieces of pla’k he had all bore signs of repair work on them. It had been years since he had seen a fresh whole piece of anything.

He found a thin sheet that should do the job and tossed it through the open door. It landed with a soft thud on the floor. Where was that apprentice of his? Bres should have been back hours ago. If he hadn’t had to finish this job he would have gone to the Gates himself to collect provisions for the week.

‘Such was life,’ he sang. ‘Such was life, to put our fates in the hands at the Gate.’

In his work room he placed the pla’k along the crack in the vid he was working on. It was just the right length. The lasarc hummed. Not a good sign. He’d need real st’l to fix that if it broke down. He ran the tiny blue light along the edges of the pla’k  and sealed it to the vid.

‘That should hold you for another sun.’

The gate creaked open and Bres came into the yard.

‘Been waiting too long for this.’ He dumped his bag on the table and began to pull out the content. ‘Here’s bread, some jam and I finally got some of the burn salve. Not much of that mind you but enough for us.’

‘Good man. I was worried.’

‘You? Worried. About me or Slat.’

‘Slat? You heard something of Slat?’

‘The same stories. Seen here and there, here and there.’

‘I pray Saint V’ths is looking after that boy.’

‘So few children these days. What becomes of ‘em. Can’t all be taken up to the …’

‘Do not say. I …’

The vid Ques had repaired came on suddenly.

‘Ah fixed it have you.’

‘Thought so but the start relay needs adjustment. Another day for that another day. We have fresh bread to enjoy first.’

soon

14257567_1162384753819933_3271661288579707843_o
on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nano_odwv0rd0j91s3yvqto2_540

http://nanowrimo.org/

December – Thursday Dec 1st – Toronto, 8 pm, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St.

14976378_1263645170376130_4297695032579630041_ohttps://www.facebook.com/events/1156455914402108/

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

6DC0301

Early 2017:

my first local feature in over a year: location date TBA

it came in

April season 3 FINALS – Friday April 15th Buddies in Bad Times – early show – 7pm startgames

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

June 2-4: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 –

newcap

https://capfireslam.org

check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5KD1eDccdjdTdQ28kZRNg

money

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

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Siouxsie and NaNoWriMo 16.04

nano16pic

This sample is from November 3. I wanted to get into the Cold Canada interviews right away as I’ve found those to be the most productive in my work last year. Each is like a mini-novel as I develop back stories for the missing children and their families. 12-flag2

David Morrison lived a mile or so north of St. Peter’s in a wooded area. The dirt road to his house wound around a pond in such a way that the house was revealed, Dan didn’t think was accidental. If it had been a plain bungalow he might not have thought so. The house was a perfect pyramid with a deck along all four sides of the base. Each face of the pyramid had its own entrance way set inside a triangle that was also perfect. Each entrance was was roofed with solar panels. The top third of the house was glass. Around the house were random domed sheds. Some fully covered. Two larger ones that were clearly seen houses.

“Wow!” Dan had never seen a house like it before.

“Amazing.”

“Not quite what I thought when I first saw it.”

Stephanie parked the car by a domed shed to the left of the house. “I thought how much weed is that man smokin’.”

The remote truck was already there. A tall thin man came out of the back of the truck to greet him.

“You must be Dan James.” he shook Dan’s hand.

“David Morrison. You guys are certainly well equipped. State of the art two years ago. Get Q to invest in the s image processors.”

“Uh … I’ll do that.” Stephanie said.

Dan knew from the bio information Morrison was nearing 80 but he looked like he was in his 50’s.

“I’ve been reading your Cabot Trail book” Dan said.

“Thanks son. I had to do something to keep up with my sons.”

“This is some house.” Dan said as they walked up the steps to the porch.

“Thanks. I’d say I designed it myself but I think the Egyptian influences are hard to miss.” He laughed. “It didn’t start out this large when I moved here in 66. Followed some draft-dodger pals of mine who wanted to get back to the land.”

“That was a big thing then wasn’t it.” Dan said.

“Oh yeah. We were dreamers who woke up hard. I stayed. They went back when their folks cut off their credit cards. I had no folks to speak of so I stayed.”

He lead them around to what Dan supposed was the back of the house. The entrance here lead to a kitchen. The crew was set there for interview.

“When did you expand to this?” Dan asked.

“Started it while Rose was pregnant with Paula. Was doing a lot of the carpentry myself. I came with a real construction background, unlike my buddies who came with dreams. Since then I’ve become a master carpenter, electrician.”

“And published writer.” Stephanie added.

“You aren’t here to talk about me.”

“No” Dan said. “Though this house deserves a show of its own.”

“It has in fact. H&G Canada were here two years ago. I wasn’t so keen myself but anything that brings people to Cape Breton is a good thing. That host, what’s his name …. nope escapes me now … was more interested in his camera time.”

“You ready to start?” Stephanie asked.

“Sure.” Dan took a deep breath to relax while his face was made right for the camera. He still wasn’t used to being fussed over in this way.

“We’ll start in here.” Steph walked into the living room. “We can make the most of this amazing light.”

The light from the glass roof was almost spectral thanks to the fog that hadn’t dissipated yet.

“We’ll start the camera looking directly up to the peak while you three are talking. [work in Jen, the Psychic more]. Is that enough light for you Phil?”

“It’ll be fine.” Phil muttered.

“I’m here in Cape Breton.” Dan began. “On Cape Breton Island with David Morrison. Father of the missing child Paula Morrison. Thank you for taking the time to meet with us.”

“I can’t say that it’s my pleasure, Dan, but I am happy to see that someone is taking an interest in this case.”

“I’d like to start by asking you if you remember anything about that day.” Dan knew the key to getting the details they needed was a good start.

“First I’d like you to tell me what you see in these pictures. I have never shown them to anyone. Not even my sons.”

He put four photos on the coffee table between them.

“Polaroids.” Dan said immediately. “We’ll need gloves to handle them though. As they age the surface gets more delicate, subject to cracking.”

One of the crew handed him and Jen pairs of thin rubber gloves. While he was putting them on the camera man moved behind him and over his shoulder to allow the viewers his point of view.

Dan leaned over the pictures without touching them.

“They are all of the same girl. This is Paula.” he moved one into a better light. “I recognize her from the police file photos.” The four picture were progressively closer to her, with changes in angle. “She was showing off this outfit I’d say, or maybe it was the haircut.”

“Both.” David said.

“She doesn’t seem too thrilled by one of them.”

“Or perhaps by how someone was reacting to them?” Jen said.

“Bingo.” David said.

“These were taken shortly before she went missing.” Jen said.

“Right again!”

“She seems a bit young to be a fan of Siouxsie and the Banshees.” Dan said.

“You have done your homework.” David sat back. “I don’t think I told the investigators that at the time. How …”

“Eye shadow, haircut very early Goth look. Siouxsie was one of the first Goth bands to make it big.” Dan said. “Hair and makeup do not go with what she’s wearing though. Suggests conflict.”

“Rose didn’t approve at all. Thought it was too morbid for a girl that age.”

“And you?” Jen asked.

“Personally I was happy she didn’t go the Madonna route. These were taken the day before she was abducted.” He said abducted with conviction.

“There’s some doubt about that?” Dan asked.

“At first no one was willing to connect her with the others. Though even we didn’t realize there had been as many as you’ve brought to light.”

“Willing?” Dan asked.

“Paula had a history of … I don’t to call it running away … but when she got upset she’d take off to her cousin’s in Whycocomagh.”

12-flag

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Emotional Accessibility

On a recent podcast Cripples in da Club, Andrew Gurza talks about physical & emotional accessibility issues that he hits, repeatedly, when planning to go to any of the queer dance spots. His being directed the a sketchy laneway entrance as the accessibility portal, rather than easy front door entrance, made me think of the decades in which most gay men preferred the secrecy the dark laneway entrance offered.28-greencouch-02

There were some gay bars in TO that could only be entered through the back door (I’m not going to make jokes about gay men & rear entrances). At this time of year (Halloween) it was the only way to get to some bars without your costume being egged or harassed by offended guardians of public morals. Now Church street is blocked off to allow for fun fun fun when in heels & wigs for Halloween.

I recall those squeezed tight nights at the Barn – circulation around the dance floor was impossible once the place was packed. Rubbing against guys wasn’t unpleasant but there was alway someone who told you to get the fuck out of their face. Washrooms? Forget it. The floors were too slippery to risk. I dread the notion of trying get around with any mobility device. 28-greencouch-01

 

On top of which there was, at one time, license issues in bars with more than one story – drinks bought one level couldn’t legally be taken to another as the stairs weren’t included in the license.

Those stairs were often so narrow, or crowded your shoulder pads would be in the way. I was always grateful not be a drunk trying to get up or down those stairs. There was usually no place to put your drink down if you wanted to dance. Luckily everyone adored getting beer slopped on them or picking up their drink, if they had a spot to put it down, to find cigarettes put out in it (laws have changed that).

I’ve never found a club emotional inviting – staff was attentive if you had the right drugs or good tips. Guys drunk, stoned or looking to be drunk, stoned are never emotionally accessible & often not even sexually available until they are too blasted to enjoy it anyway. 28-greentank-03

The only time I’ve been told to leave a club was when I wasn’t drinking enough – I had a soft drink I was sipping & when it wasn’t gone after an hour the waiter asked if I was ready for another & when I said no; he said, if you don’t order I’ll have to ask you leave. I left. He walked me to the coat check to make sure this unwanted, sober guy left their fine establishment. At another club I was informed that if I didn’t order alcohol (as opposed to a soft drink) I’d have to pay a $20 cover charge. I left.

I gave up on clubs as a way to socialize, to meet guys (hot or otherwise) – these are money making enterprises & the bottom line is their prime concern. Pay the rent comes first, even before pay the staff 😉 I did go out to dance not to get lucky. Even that lost its appeal to me. I didn’t like getting home late at night, smelling of booze & cigarette smoke.28-greenwall-04I empathize with Andrew’s gripes with the club scene & I suspect this is true around the world. Thanks to www meeting guys has become easier – the same ones who were jerks in bars are still jerks on line – but at least on line they aren’t going to slop beer on me.

 

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Support Hoes

just because I’m not with you

doesn’t mean I against you

I’m not taking sides

I’m not standing in your way

my indifference

can’t be built on

don’t let that deter you

you can build

you can move forward

you don’t need my permission or support

I’m not a viper in your breast

 

that’s me on the sidewalk

the white entitled cismale

who doesn’t even have to count

on those factors

as long as others take them

into consideration

I don’t have to do anything to re-enforce

those inherent historic qualities

they are merely there

 

don’t allow your judgements

of what is merely there

keep you from anything

I’m not you

not with you

not against you

no one needs my acknowledgement

my sympathy

any actions of direct support

to make changes

that need to be made

I don’t have the power

the strength

the moral commitment

to either cause or resist

 

I’ll stand back

keep out of your way

and when you are done

I’ll buy a coffee

soon02

 

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

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

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http://nanowrimo.org/

December – Thursday Dec 1st – Toronto, 8 pm, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St.divine

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

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Early 2017:

my first local feature in over a year: location date TBA

it came in

April season 3 FINALS – Friday April 15th Buddies in Bad Times – early show – 7pm startgames

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

June 2-4: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 –

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https://capfireslam.org

check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5KD1eDccdjdTdQ28kZRNg

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#JuryDuty Calls 2

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The introductory video to jury duty on day one represented this as a profound learning experience participating in the judicial system – by day 4 it was more a profound reading experience – that’s right reading & some listening. Thank God for my Kindle & iPod – time doesn’t exactly fly but it passes quickly enough. With Nanowrimo approaching I had hoped to do some work on that but the only writing I felt inspired to do was blogs about jury duty 🙂

By day four I’d developed a holding pattern: recovery talk & then mediation music from transit. Always changed at St. George but got off at a different south station each day for some walking & ‘fresh’ scenery, a different Starbucks each morning too. The same variables. Arrived at the juror lounge around 9 a.m. Sit int he same spot, next to the same fellow waiter – exchange pleasantries then disappear into my book & music.20jury02

I don’t read & listen non-stop though. I give my ears & eyes breaks as I take a walk around, hit the washroom, fill my travel mug with water, snack on an energy bar. I make sure I move around every hour. If we don’t get called for jury selection we are dismissed around 1 p.m. each day. I guess no new jury needed trials start after lunch.

20jury03Much like airport waiting I’m struck by how plugged in nearly everyone is – I doubt if anyone there didn’t have a cell phone. People checking phones, playing smart phone games, tablets, eBooks, laptops. Though there were some who actually conversed face-to-face, taking pauses to check their cell phones. I must admit I did text a couple of guys to distract myself with the anticipation of their replies.20jury04On day four my favourite eye-candy was a no show 😦 Such was my bitterness with the judicial process. A bitterness that was tempered when we were excused for the day by 11:45 & at the same time told that our obligation had been fulfilled & there was no need to return Friday. Next call to serve will be in three years. I can wait.

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Jury Duty Calls

Me up at 5 a.m. & not leaving the country! Q: What could be more alarming? A: Me, deciding the innocence or degree of guilt of the accused – that’s right I was summoned for jury duty. The original summons was for June but I was in DC so I had it deferred to October.18jury01

The day 1 call was for 8:30 – not trusting TTC I left home by 7:30 & arrived in time at the lounge/holding tank. Prospective jurors are sorted into colours: blue, green, red, purple – I was the green group so there’ll be no colour purple jokes. Each group was at least 100 people. It reminded of the pharmaceutical drug research I used to do – bag search on entry, sitting & waiting to be called – at least here there would be no blood draws to deal with.

The chairs were comfy, mens room large & clean, an onsite cafe (for morning coffee) & it was reasonably priced. There was an abundance of eye candy to rest my vision when I tired of reading. There is nothing more relaxing than a well tailored blue shirt snuggly fitted over a man’s pecs & biceps. The prospective jurors were a true cross-section of Toronto – all ages, genders, physiques, races, nationalities.18jury02

After a video explanation & then more details by the head clerk (titles were rarely given ?) those who wanted deferral were dealt with – that eliminated a 100 or more of the pool. More waiting. I had lot son my Kindle to read & 7 days of non-stop music, should I need it. I had my laptop as well but opted to do this without internet access.

The Green group was called up for a trial – the counsels would select from our pool. Our juror #s were picked at random. The judge spoke to each individually, some were excused with cause. The prospective juror looked the accused in the eye. Then the attorney’s either accepted or challenged the prospect. No reasons for either were given. My # wasn’t even close to being called – just like lotto max. Those excused or challenge at the trial were returned to the juror pool – they are still eligible for another trial & still have to do the 5 days.18jury03

Lunch break & took some photos. Back the holding tank for more sitting. We were released for the day by 4:15.

Day 2 we didn’t have to return until 9:30. Transit was hell sauna on wheels. I needed another shower by the time I got off at St. George. Walked down from Queen’s Park Station to get some fresh air. Another morning of waiting. Two other of the groups called call up. Then at 1:15 we were released for the day – juries were needed but we were due back the next day.18jury04

 

As a civic duty this isn’t too taxing, merely boring. I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to deal with employers, new borns or health issues to be there.

 

 

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