Distant Dances.02

Dances of Apocalypse 2

Hornpipe

one more morning

is all I need

to fill my sails

to sooth my lost feelings

with Neptune sensations 

ripped from the quaking mound

of the Virgin’s first child

Hornpipe because this is a short piece with sea references & Biblical allusions. Jesus filled the sail of the fishermen’s boat when needed to sooth their fears. Was I wondering what would rip me feeling from me? Melodrama mistaken for depth:-)

Cakewalk

Japanese pagoda

growing in Rome 

or was it Venice?

all jade fragile

amid marble columns

awaked by murky waters

steaming morning haze

when we roll off our pallets,

to silky cool

onto the the polished mosaic floor;

looking to the chiming clock,

listening to the pigeons fly.

open for daylight

onto freshly fallen snow

mingling white with the Pines,

or were they Spruce?

high in Smokey Ridge

deep in Twin Rock Valley

Cakewalk – not sure why this one ended up with this title. A piece about displacements, paradoxical dreamlike images that travel from Japan to Rome & end up in Twin Rock Valley – which is in Cape Breton. I had friends, draft-dodgers, who had bought a farm in the hippy get-back-to-the-land phase. The waking up to fresh snow is a real moment  Maybe the title refers to the fact that back-to-the-land was no Cakewalk for them.

Minuet

fame and fortune are not goals

merely drugs to opiate the system

to deaden the feelings of futility

of creating in the face of destruction

<>

let the pygmies of Paris eat me alive;

make them scourge the meat off my bones;

let the sniper with his random pulse

find me accidentally in his sights;

put the final, fleeting, flash blow

into someone else’s hands,

take the responsibility from me,

I handle these things so badly,

even when I remember what to do.

<>

the moment of truth (never now)

comes slow, to disturb the calm

to strengthen the desperate feeling

that destruction charges with energy.

Minuet – polite little dance – much like the dance of expectations, no wait, expectations are rarely polite. I grew up in the shadow of nuclear destruction, war in Vietnam, war protests & racial strife in the USA. Kennedy shot by a sniper. The randomness of violence was pretty far removed from me in Cape Breton but it was felt. Why create when we can annihilate the world in a moment?

Quadrille

impatience is the problem;

the waiting should be over

yet it persists in hiding,

making me lust in secret wanting;

words merely fall,

not for insight

but only to pass the time

before the curtain finally goes up.

Quadrille – this word makes me think of cotillions for some reason. The piece, as I see it now, is wanting to be an adult, ‘lust in secret’ is the itch to be out & making conversation to hide that fact. Like waiting for the plane to land – you want the flight to over.

The Last Waltz

bed-ridden, guilty-disappearer

alludes carpets backwards

into ember sparkling through cozy air,

crackling crystal cut perspectives

reflections held too closely eye-ward

making a pyramid of ink blotches

stretch out

turn in

till there is no border to be fought

only a multiplicity of images to sort.

<>

Nov. ‘73

The Last Waltz – the final piece in this sequence is both an invitation to look back before you go on then a warning that there’ll be even denser imagery to deal with in what follows. In looking at these I see a foreshadowing of of images to come with references to Africa, Japan, Egypt, Canadiana, water, music. When I first wrote these I was not conscious of these patterns. I also see various influences of pop lyrics, as opposed to ‘serious’ literary ones. 

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

paypal.me/TOpoet 

Distant Dance.01

#Toronto #chapbook #Fiddlehead #CapeBreton #WordPress #DistantMusic #photography #UNB #archives #angst #NovaScotia #lgbtq #closeted #review #amwriting #spokenword #inspiration #poetry #Ontario

Dances of Apocalypse

Capypso Calypso

water running freely

I am your river bed,

set sail upon my body;

let me rain upon you

while a day dry spot remains.

<>

if there is mystery

hire a detective

perhaps he can follow

deep into the forests

twisting, turning, rising

up mountain, down valley

finding oceans between.

<>

I am blind alley lost

if that’s how you find me,

tossing off whatever lines

crawling baited with words;

let me pull you to land,

let my star-hook catch you

as your revelations

become Apocalypse

for this poor fisherman.

<>

Square Set

gorilla sunshine

Sunday promenade

my African lady

prayful ravager

graces without virtue

the hungry textures

of her orchid flesh

<>

freeze the scene 

mute clean forever

mood maiden’s gestation

crying zebra infant

born upon straw

as aphrodesiac

<>

crossword writer

heralds by cannon

newly confused issues

of fragments strewn

humble jumble

sequential sparkling

against the rhythm

beating in suspicion

that I am fear

<>

lackadasical stairs

leading expertly

to doorless walls;

how do I get in?

why do I want out

of walls with no doors?

stairs with no wells?

illnesses with no cures

<>

Fox Trot

the meaning 

of spirals

escapes me

just now,

eyes closed

doodling 

fireside circles

<>

burn the expression clean

turn the precious key

in my head or somewhere

found huddling between

taking myself back in

  or

giving myself all out

<>

walking tall

and straight

isn’t really

important

when

in the end

you’re lucky

to walk

at all

<>

Tarantellas

entertain only collapsible thoughts

before the unattainable is revealed

before you cannot see beyond frustration;

marginal mirrors, crafty devices,

reflect only the background so clearly;

you, the foreground, become so indistinct

that all I can see are your misted eyes

peering out from the vivid evergreens

showing me the path beyond the seasons:

destroy the constant bordering distance

so the final sun rises and sets on me

being everything without horizon.

<>

turkey-face readies for waltzes in the straw

while I search out her magnetic north poles,

spread-legged in the marble arch of change

baring my timid flesh to trumpet scorn

sugary jazz swayed up through the ceiling

into a vision of sexual vagrants

trotting, hastily candid, all night, naked

except for clothing their apple-bruised eyes.

<>

Hong Kong recognition for the humbler

peace by piece constructing a gilded loom

foaming with potentially sleepy songs

to the intently triangular sobs

of mystics clinging to the morning post;

I’m another one, I know all to well,

who can barely repeat, but fabricates

so much that this ash-peace in purity

falls short when autumn tress blaze brightly

without any hints of skin searing heat

rolling huge Douglas-pine-legged day-dreams

across an ultra-submarine-filled notion.

The books starts with a suite of short poems each named after a dance style. One reviewer remarked on the subtle way each reflects its title. But that reflection was coincidental & the titles came after the pieces had been written at various time & without attempt to make them relate to one another or to dance either. The title Calypso was suggested by the sea & water imagery in the piece. Square Set & Fox Trot were suggested by the short lines & clearly Tarantellas by the wordy lines. 

I’ve left the typos in this first piece & marked them but have removed, corrected them without indication where they showed up in the other poems. I was tempted to include them in brackets but that disrupted the flow too much. Maybe I’ll do an addendum for the typos only.

Calypso open the book with an invitation to set sail into this world of my imagery, warning about blind alleys that can be dead ends or escape routes to other mazes. Calypso lured men into her caves. The readers understandings can be so different from the writer’s intent that the writer’s intent is humbled. 

Square Set is full of alliteration, surreal imagery, with a slightly sexual undertow. The influence of Dylan Thomas is so clear to me with phrases like ‘gorilla sunshine’ ‘orchid flesh’ – warm moist images that jump into ‘freeze’ – a humble jumble of words & sensations that don’t really lead to a way to get in & ends up boxing itself shut.

Fox Trot is a dance where the couples moves in small circles, the lines in the piece are short & the in the end it wraps around itself 🙂 I sense that I was looking for a way to unlock the future, to open myself up & possibly open the closet I was trapped in. 

Tarantellas has lines that sprawl, with images about searching mirrors for clarity, looking for direction, a path – an echo of uncertain that runs through the the previous pieces. I find traces of poets I hadn’t even read i.e. Ginsburg in ‘sugary jazz swayed.’ I was a Bob Dylan fan & Ginsburg was a clear influence on him with thusly influenced me. There’s also a nod to Canadiana with Douglas pine & barn dance straw. 

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.
paypal.me/TOpoet 

Summer 2020

My TOpoet.ca following blog is at 360! The June WP map show my hits have come from countries around the world. Canada & US top the list with India & Bangladesh near the top. Monaco in the top 10 is a surprise. My Tumblr is at 280. Twitter is at 226 followers

You’ll be seeing some summer changes in the blog starting this week. Wednesday & Thursday will be looking at my Fiddlehead chapbook: Distant Music. In May I input the text & in June I started exploring those old pieces. Not that I remember what I was thinking at the time but I do recall information – what I was reading, where I was etc. 

To give me a break may stop the Saturday covid posts. Things haven’t change much on that front but I will slot covid updates on Mondays to alternate with the Artist’s Way posts. People have been enjoying my posts & pictures of things in my house so they’ll continue on Mondays as well. Coming to the end of the first section of Picture Perfect. It took three Nano’s in a row to do it so by section I mean the first November. In editing I found several places that needed more writing to account for later events. My nano word count included non-plot elements it is still mounting up to a decent count. 40,000 so farI’ve also loved creating the graphic for each week.

Fridays will continue the crawl through my music collection. It is large enough to take me into to the next decade. It has been good to look at what I have, what I like & what I’ll be letting go of. My need to be a music archive has left me 🙂 Boring is boring regardless of its historic importance. Purge is the word.

Speaking of purging – my covid cleaning frenzy though some of the major hoards have reduced them considerably. I still have the basement to contend with which will be nice with the summer heat already on us. The basement is cool & full of my partner’s old school files for starters. Plus a box or two of magazines I’ve had for too long. eBay here I come.

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

paypal.me/TOpoet 

Rainbow Pride EastEnd Toronto

More rainbow flags from around east end Toronto.

tree proud
bases covered
patriotic queers
more tree pride
porch proud
growing into pride
let it wave
pride is essential

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

paypal.me/TOpoet 

Madonna


In my modest Madonna collection I have, as mp3: Like A Virgin, The Immaculate Collection, Music & as a stand-alone Confessions From The Dance Floor. So it is clear I’m not a fan – fans have everything, fanatics have everything plus the remixes, the outtakes, the concerts, the artfully torn t-shirt & the aluminum Sex.

Is she musically creative? Does it matter when you have such great collaborators, producers, costume designers, stylists & video directors? She admits she is a product, package & a boss lady. To me she was more a provocateur than a visionary. Like Mae West she used sexuality to establish her self, unlike Mae Madonna didn’t rely on a single persona to keep her career moving.

I love some of her songs, hate some of them – Vogue was one I hated & would leave a club (when I went to clubs) when it was played – I just knew we would get the 45 minute remix. Same with Papa Don’t Preach. Some I couldn’t resist: Lucky Star, Like A Prayer.

She sampled, borrowed, adopted, adapted freely from most pop genres with varying degrees of success. Her electronica didn’t work for but her retro disco, Dancefloor, cd was great. The Immaculate Collection of her hits is probably enough nostalgia for anyone; Material Girl is solid pop & in its way, is a landmark album of promotion power. I did have her ‘Sex’ but lacked

the sexy spunk of Mae West. 

 

Gambit 

I heard later than two guys were arrested for the beating. Jim Donaldson and Victor Hanson. Both almost twenty, so not guys we knew at all. My father called them trouble makers and wasn’t surprised they were the ones behind this. Seems they heard Mr. Razov had money hidden his house and broke in to get it and when he caught them they beat the crap out of him and left him for dead in his own house. Some kids have no respect for anything these days. My dad liked to ride that one whenever he had a chance to remind me to watch my step and show proper respect.

Midterm exams were coming up, so we all sort of forget about Mr Mr. Razov. He did recover from the beating but walked with a weird shy turn of the head whenever we guys saw him in the street. He never did come back to tutor the chess club. I don’t even know what happened to the guys who beat him up. 

Fifteen years later and I’m visiting my folks for a few weeks in the summer. University out of the way and I have a decent job in the movie biz. Lightning and that sort of thing. Pays well when it pays. I’d just broken off with Kevin. He was sweet but we both saw it wasn’t working out. So a few weeks out of all that was appealing to me.

Sitting at the table in the kitchen that had changed every time I saw it – new cupboards one year, new appliances another – it was not the repository of any childhood memories. My favorite cereal bowl wa along gone. This summer they were having the pluming redone to install a dish washer and so there’d be new counters et al. 

My Mom brought me a cup of tea. “I suppose you heard Mr. Mr. Razov finally passed away. Poor man. He was never the same after that time. You remember him?”

“When did he die?”

“Just last week. Service early next week. They’re waiting till his family could be here.”

I vaguely recalled that when he deflected he’d left behind some family. 

“Wife?” I asked.

“Nope. A son. It’s all in the newspapers out in the front porch.”

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

paypal.me/TOpoet 

Fuming

Fuming 

he was late 

again

the meeting had started

twenty minutes ago

he entered quietly

nodded apologetically

silently found a seat

after squeezing past

people already seated

took off his coat

put it on he back of his chair

sat & sighed apologetically

<>

then announced

how sorry he was to be late

to disrupt the meeting

to have all eyes on him

while we waited for him

to get settled

so the meeting could resume

<>

she fumed

he had

once again

sucked all the attention to him

he was an attention seeking sponge

always late

making a quiet entrance

acting as if he was sorry

when she knew

he was thriving on the attention

she deserved

but was unwilling 

to be as obvious as he was

in getting it



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unDigestable

Architectural un/Digest/able

The White House

architecturally speaking

holds no interest for me

big sprawling 

designed to impress 

not to live in

history was made there

apparently

but to me

it isn’t even a photo op

merely a symbol 

of promises unkept

of hopes betrayed

need ignored in favour of profit

not for progress

I’ve seen it from a distance

that’s close enough for me

I wrote this piece a few years ago, before the current US president turned their democracy into a media circus. I may have written it while in DC or shortly after coming from Capturing Fire that year. The city is a great mix of architectural styles with something surprising around the corner from something surprising. This would have been the week of Capturing Fire 2020 so it synchronistic this piece should come into the flow now. (Will I ever get to use my travel vouchers?)

So I have had visual contact with the building in question 🙂 I’ve watched a few TV documentaries on the history of the building, one about Secrets, another a look at Christmas Decorating. I’ve even checked out how one might tour the inside but applying to Canadian Embassy in DC is more trouble than I want to go to. I was hoping it would be like booking a guided tour of the Zoo. 

What I have learned that the interior of the house has undergone many extensive alterations that the outside is a shell, a facade, which seems mighty fitting symbol for politics anyway. I don’t say American politics but politics in general, as I don’t think the Canadian system is all that ‘transparent.’

Race riots have been happening for as long as I recall. Colonialist attitudes & actions have echoed throughout history. A few tweets around BLM that have really clarified things for me “Be grateful we want equality, not revenge.” “There are no caucasians in the Bible.” But race issues, like poverty, will be around as long as there is profit in it. The White House was built by colonizers.


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Compassion

Week 9 of the Artist’s Way was about compassion – examining the inner blocks of resentment & past discouragements that block our creativity today – so this is compassion for ourselves. I can remember being discouraged in my time at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design by the technical ability of most of my fellow students. Those who did the most realistic drawing got the most praise. I was not one of those.

The more abstract, non-representational work was judged on concepts I didn’t appreciate either – use of negative space, colour balance etc. There was a pre-set standard of commercial potential underlying all the classes so that creativity was a product not a talent.

One of the Ways tasks was to read your morning pages. One of the things I uncovered in my covid cleaning frenzy was a binder of my hand-written morning pages when I first went through the book in 1997. I’ve done them daily since then. We only had the one desktop in the house then & I didn’t always have access to it. Many of those were done on the old eMac & sad to say all of that stuff is now lost to upgrades. We had those 5.25 inch diskettes back in the day.

Pen to paper doesn’t rely on the latest operating system to be accessed. There are lots of names with faces lost to the mists of time. I was using nicknames, abbreviations that are now meaningless to me. At the time was artistic director For Bushwack & also managing the Lab on Britain Street. So there was lots of frustrating creative energy  flowing around me. One show of mine got a particularly scathing review but someone who didn’t get the names of the characters correct 🙂 I posted it in the lobby without comment.

Week 9 talks about dealing with reviews 🙂 That review didn’t hold me back. Compassion is to be proud of them. The exercises & tasks focus on setting goals & what actions one can take now, over the next month, over the next year etc. Part of the process is past resentments/fears one might have in connection with the project: others have done it better, not emotionally damaged enough to have an authentic insight, etc. Compassion tells me that authenticity is overrated.

Corner Store

why does a group of teens 

still scare me

I walk past a corner store

where they hang around

shoving each other

smoking toking vaping

swearing on cell phones

fuck you timber bone

<>

what the hell is timber bone

I’m so far from street talk

to know if that is even street talk

I try not to walk too fast

try not to look too long

my eyes flick quickly 

from hooded shrouded faces 

pants so baggy 

they need to be held up by hand

girls with pale lips arched eyebrows

look at the boys with that mix 

of love  distance  and boredom

<>

what makes me anxious 

is it the mix of blacks asians

am I fearful of violence

that one of them might feel

the flick of my eyes 

and confront me 

“what you lookin’ at faggot”

why fir trimmed parkas

on mild spring days

what are they hiding under those hoodies

a generation gap never to be crossed

I know the closer they get 

the unsafer I feel

by the time I get home

I’ve forgotten that moment of anxiety

I really didn’t expect anything to occur 

<>

I wish that corner store wasn’t so close

wish I didn’t get that ripple of worry

wish I could lose the memory

of me at that age

never one to have guys 

to hang around with

wish I could forget being

the brunt of their dumb shoves

of their sneering exclusion

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

paypal.me/TOpoet 

East End Rainbow Pride

Lots of personal rainbow flags scattered all over east end Toronto

on caged
branch office
between two ferns
rainbow privacy

almost real rainbow
maple leaves over the rainbow
anyway the wind blows
a la porch

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

paypal.me/TOpoet 

M. M. M.

Let’s step back to the 90’s with Britain’s M People. I have as stand-alone their elegant slumming & Bizarre Fruit & their Best of tucked away in an mp3 collection. I loved hearing & dancing to them in the disco. Their sound was soulful, propulsive, & romantic. I love Heather Small’s voice. When I hear some of these songs I get a sweet feeling of nostalgia but with no actual memory of person or place attached. Their cover of Itchycoo Park is a masterpiece of a masterpiece 🙂

Celso Machado is a Brazilian musician living in, of all places, British Columbia. I have his Varel as a stand-alone cd. Folky with touches of latin jazz this is a fine introduction to world music. Pleasant voice, great guitar sound. One track he shows off bird imitations on various instruments. Sexy music too.

For a time in the mid-90’s I vacationed in Montreal for a week or so in July thanks friends who moved her from there & went back to renew their accents. I developed a fondness for French pop, some of which was Québecois, some of which was out of France. My friends could tell the difference whereas I couldn’t, nor did it matter that much.

There was a separate PQ Much Music at the time, when Much actually played videos. I saw a track by Madam. I have their Eldorado, Weke & Ce Beau Pays.These are all fine pop/rock work. Great vocals, stinging guitar, some political commentary & in general fun. Part of the purpose was to improve my French, which never did happen, c’est la vie, but I enjoy have a nice slice of this music in my collection.