Stephane Grappelli Hall

I think the first lp I bought by Stephane Grappelli was the double set Satin Doll. I loved his playful, soulful tonality & the range of his music tastes. Never adventurous but never boring. He is a jazz master for sure. In my collection I have Stephanova, Live, 1971, Hommage a Django, Satin Doll, Duet with Menuhin 2 cds, Romouski 94. Some as stand alones, some at lp to cd transfers & some as mp3. All worth listening to.

The mp3 collection also includes some great tango work: Gotan Project: La Revacha Del Tango. Grand Salon Orchestra: Tango’s. Gotan is a more modern take on tango while Grand Salon is traditional. Both are fun. 

With them is Chile’s Los Jaivas: Alturas De Manchu Picchu; Aconcagua – this is latino progrock – a fine delightful mash up of folk, jazz, rock that is worth seeking out. Finally a pair of lps by Cacho Tirao: Guitarra, Imágenes – this is splendid latino guitar, a little experimental but beautiful & transporting.

Nearby on the jazz shelf is a stand-alone by guitarist Jim Hall: Concierto. A jazz standard is Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, a classical piece for guitar, that countless musicians from Miles Davis to Emerson Lake & Palmer, have reinterpreted. Hall’s take is sweet thanks to Don Sebesky’s arrangement. Joining him are legendary Chet Baker & Paul Desmond.

Empty

Mark stepped on something. A harsh crack and an echo.

‘What was that?’ he stooped to see what he had crushed. A small silver bead. Glass. ‘Wonder what it was?’

‘Christmas beads, you know those strings for around the tree. When I was unpacking it to repack it, it broke. Beads all over the place.’

‘Not hard to visualize this place as full. Table, chairs, bed.’ Mark walked over to where the bed had been. The floor was scratched in the four spots where the legs had rubbed back and forth. ‘There’ll be something off the damage deposit for this.’

‘Honourably earned after years of use. And I don’t mean single occupancy either.’

There were lighter spots along the wall, where the various paintings and pictures had been. Different sizes and shapes. Peeling wall paper along wall near the bottom of a door that the cat had taken a dislike to it.

‘What happened to the cat?’

‘New home. Ginger was the first thing out of here in fact. He’s adjusted. Takes a while.’

Mark sniffed. ‘Don’t smell much of the cat here now. Good thing. That always makes it harder to rent.’

‘I suppose. Here are the keys. You have my number if there’s anything.’

‘Yeah. You did an okay job clearing out.’

‘As best as I could bother doing. Not really my responsibility is it? I’m not sure what to do about the crap on the balcony though. Gardening stuff.’

‘He liked to garden. I’ll see if the other’s tenants may want some of it. Those big pots looks useful.’

‘I was wondering …’

‘What?’

‘If I could be here a few minutes. Alone. Now that it’s empty of everything I want to just be here. Bare walls & dust. The door’ll lock behind me when I leave.’

‘Okay.’ Mark left. Strange notion but after years of being super here he’d seen his share of strange notions. What did the guy expect to get in an empty room? A chill. No ghosts here.

New tenants were already lined up. The waiting list was long. It was a big bachelor, could be made into a one bedroom easily enough. Might think on that. Raise the rent too, without having to do much work. 

Shame though, the guy that lived here had been such a good old guy. One of the long term residents. But when death comes it makes room for the next tenant.

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

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton

August 8: Highland Arts Theatre: https://www.highlandartstheatre.com 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Out With The Bathwater

Out With The Bathwater

he wanted to drink

my bathwater

or so he said

I never did take him up on it

 

if he had said that

after a few dates

I might have found it

appealing  almost flattering

but to start with that

was a bit much

 

it was the sort of

coming on too strong

I called ‘a red flag’

similar to sending a phone number

as the first message

not even a call me

or I liked your profile

I’m not going to call that number

 

he wanted to drink

my bathwater

when I asked him why

he said that it was pretty obvious

the water

was something that had touched

every inch of my body

the way he wished he could

I was amused

intrigued

 

all his pics were blurry

closeups of his nipples

I think

no face pic

 

I asked for a face photo

never heard back from him

I was going to take a bath

anyway


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Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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When I Was A Young Boy

For the summer I’m looking at my Brown Betty chapbook. All the pieces dealt with growing up in Cape Breton. As usual WordPress imposes its own line breaks 😦

When I Was A Young Boy

when I was a young boy 

I kissed a girl 

when I was a young boy

about 11 

I kissed a girl 

she was about 11
it was at a birthday party
not hers 

she was wore a frilly rose-yellow dress 

I wore a white shirt and tie 

so maybe it wasn’t a birthday party 

maybe a wedding

 

there were about a dozen of us
kids from various families 

kids that sort of knew each other 

made to dress like little adults 

 

we watched adults kissing greeting 

and like little adults we kissed 

I don’t remember her name 

but I kissed her
she didn’t seem to mind 

then we chased each other 

sneaking kisses 

till we were caught 

someone’s mother
gave a little shocked shriek 

‘oh you naughty kids’ 

 

the other kids picked that up
and ran around 

calling me ‘naughty boy’

‘naughty boy’
while the little girl I kissed 

blushed then joined in with them 

as if it was all my fault
all my idea

 

the adults got in on it after awhile 

‘oh look there’s the naughty boy 

watch out or he’ll kiss you’ 

 

when I was a young boy
I kissed a girl
I learned my lesson
I never a kissed another girl

This piece starts as a traditional English ballad. There are many variations on this beginning – when I was a young …. is the start of many a story, almost like ‘once upon a time.’ Even the ‘I kissed’ come out of the old school tradition. Though there is also a nod some recent pop songs. The party setting is also very tradition – the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner starts with the mariner talking to a wedding guest.

The piece plays on the nature of memory, of place, circumstances. Growing up I ended up at similar events, wearing a shirt & tie with kids I didn’t know, some of whom I never saw again either. The story unfolds in a sweet logically way, much as the traditional ballad would tell the story, adding layer so detail as it progressed. In ballad the hero always faced some sort of ‘conflict.’

I’ve always found it puzzling when young children are asked if they have a boyfriend or girlfriend while the idea of children’s sexuality is so fought with fear & shame at once. Their lack of sexual knowledge is praised, almost encouraged & shamed all at the same time.

This piece was written for a class I took Make-A-Scene on performative story telling. https://wp.me/p1RtxU-7V, https://wp.me/p1RtxU-83,  When I performed it I wore shorts, a white shirt & a playful tie. The girl was played by a helium balloon with a string that put it at about about shoulder height to me. I found one with a girl’s face on it. My class mates did the ‘naughty boy’ shaming. At the end of the piece I cut the string and it floated away. 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

School’s Out – Colby Days 1

When my father settled down in was in Sydney. Our first house was on the corner of Rigby Road & Centre St. It was like a giant playhouse too big for the three of us – Mom, Dad & me. Living-room, dining room, kitchen & a parlour on the first floor, another four rooms on the 2nd floor. So I had my own bedroom plus a play room. Attic, basement with a sprawling hot-air coal furnace. Barn-size garage too.

 

It was a mid-income neighbourhood. Lots of families. I remember being friends with a girl who lived across the street, whose name may have been Wendy. There was a boy I hung around with but I don’t remove this name at all. We lived there for about a year.

 

I was enrolled in Colby School (now Brookland Elementary) at corner of Royal Ave. & Cottage Road. I can’t recall if I was there for the start of the school term or not. I do recall my Dad walking to school along Center St the first few days to make sure I knew my way. It was about a 5min walk. The first time I walk home along I ended up walking along Cottage Road & getting lost.

 

This past week I did some research on Colby Elementary (there is a FB page https://www.facebook.com/groups/colbyschool/). That research brought back lots of memories but none of my first year there. Colby went up to Grade VI. So I was there for IV & V. There was a special ed class in the basement. My memories of some teachers names have stuck with me though – Miss Greenwell, Mrs. Butterworth, Mrs. McLeod.

The building was essentially a box with windows. Two floors, two entrances one for boys, one for girls. Big school yard in back for recess where we would play baseball, hopscotch – nothing organized. at the end of the school yard was Wash Brook – which ran through the city. It was forbidden territory during school hours.

Summer of that year I went to Wales with my mother & when we returned my father had moved us into a smaller house on Cottage Road. More about that & some actual school moments next week 🙂

 Sing

as a child I liked to sing

used to do it a lot

around the house 

on my way to school

with my dad when we went fishing

with my sisters when they got old enough 

we would sing bits of songs off the radio

sing along with records of my mother

Mario Lanza 

drink drink drink

each trying to out sing the other

 

then there was 

hey you with the stars in your eyes

that would become

hey there

you with sausages in your eyes

don’t fry my heart

it always broke us up 

hey there 

you with the bananas in your eyes

don’t monkey with my heart

hey there

you with the beans in your ears

can’t you hear I love you

 

the children choir at the United Church 

was looking for new members

my mom suggested 

it would be great opportunity

I could learn to sing for real

learn how to carry a tune 

instead of burying it under volume

 

a bunch kids at the church hall

were lined up according to height

mostly girls and some boys

mostly around my age 10 to 12

we where given a song sheet

words between dangling fangs of music

I didn’t know notes rests 

 

we where told 

just worry about the words

a woman played a few notes on the piano

we started in with a din

a few tries and we worked through it

then girls only  boys only 

individually

some got a nod from her

yes you’ll do fine

my turn she played a few notes

I started

no no no this note

finally she gave up

thank you but you really can’t …

 

blood rushed to my face ears

the other kids gawked at me

I ran out ran home

told my mother 

I never wanted to sing

never ever ever

and really haven’t

except for the occasional

hey there 

you with the fingers in your ears

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

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton

August 8: Highland Arts Theatre: https://www.highlandartstheatre.com 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Joy of Jobim

Antonio Carlos Jobim is considered an elder statesman of Brazilian jazz – though in Brazil, samba, bossa nova were considered street music they became jazz in the USA & hence in the rest of the world. Best know for his his breakthrough recording with Stan Getz, Jobim is more than a fine guitarist. As stand alone’s in my pop collection I have his Echoes of Rio, Rio Revisited (with Gal Costa), Jazz Masters. Sure it is easy listening but well worth it & perfect for quiet nights of quiet stars.

Not quite next on the shelf is an mp3 collection of Joy of Cooking. Here is their First & Closer To The Ground. Folk-jazz with sweet harmonies and congas – nearly very song is propelled by the pitter-pat of congas. The songs are romantic, feminist & easy on the ear. The First was a moderate ‘hit.’ Joy of Cooking was an unusual example of a late 60’s rock band fronted by women.

When Joy broke up the women worked together on Toni Brown & Terry Garthwaite: Cross Country. This is more country blues folk. Solo Terry Garthwaite released Terry – an amazing jazzy rock album that I consider a hidden treasure & it is well worth hunting down.

Also in this mp3 collection I added Cass Elliot: Dream A Little Dream; Bubble Gum, Lemonade. Cass never regained the momentum of her Mama & Papas days. The production on these lps is merely adequate & the songs lack energy & focus. There are few good tracks mind you, but over all she needed a stronger musical guide as she has one of the great rock voices.

Also in here is Kathi McDonald’s Insane Asylum. Why didn’t she become a huge star? This is one of the best Canadian albums ever with great songs i.e. Bogart to Bowie is amazing. Kathi can sing the pants off nearly any female vocalist out there & probably teach the guys a few things too. A hidden treasure worth seeking out.

Wait there’s more. To balance all these female voices I added The Association: And Then … Along Comes the Association – an immensely popular mid-60’s group that was never taken serious because of their success. Complex harmonies, some stunning production & songs that will live on forever. And finally Candymen: The Candymen – power driven 60’s garage rock of the best kind.

Brother

‘What do you mean, your brother? You never mentioned a brother before.’

‘Well I’m mentioning him now.’

‘And he’ll be here for supper? Tonight!’

‘That’s right. We can order pizza. He loves pizza. Save you cooking.’

‘That’s not the problem.’

‘There’s a problem?’

‘Damn rights there is. I’ve known you how long now?’

‘Five years.’

‘Right, and we’ve been living together for the last three and now you tell me you have  a brother?’

‘Didn’t seem like a thing to tell. There’s lots of things we don’t know about each other.’

‘Yes, but not something this big. How could you not mention a brother to me? How?’

‘I guess it never came up. You never asked if I had siblings.’

‘It’s not the sort of thing one asks about. It’s the sort of thing that comes up, in conversation.’

‘That conversation never came up then. Christ. I’m sorry I never told you I had a brother. Is that what you wanted, an apology?’

‘I just want to know why you’ve never told me. Didn’t you trust me?’

‘Oh, now it’s a trust thing. I told you, I never thought him important enough to talk about. Lots of things are like that. He didn’t seem relevant to our relationship.’

‘Till now.’

‘Yeah, till now. He’s in town for the week-end and wants to meet you.’

‘So, he knows about me?’

‘Of course. Everybody knows about us.’

‘You’ve talked to this brother about me. How many times?’

‘A couple.’

‘How often do you speak to him?’

‘Once or twice a year since I met you.’

‘Once or twice! What aren’t you telling me? He’s just been let out of prison or something. Is that it?’

‘No. Why? Do you think my family is the criminal type.’

‘Now that I know you’ve got a family it wouldn’t surprise me.’

‘My mom was right you are …’

‘Mom!’

‘What? Didn’t you think I had a mother?’

‘You never mentioned a mother. Or didn’t she ever come up in conversation either?’

‘Christ you are on a tear today. Yes I have a mother. And a father too.’

‘A father! This is going too far. Why have you kept all these secrets from me?’

‘Secrets? How do you think I got here – you didn’t find me under a cabbage leaf. Of course I have parents. Everyone has parents. Don’t they?’

‘I suppose you’re right, but it’s still a shock to find out. You know. A shock that you’ve kept these things from me all this time. First a brother. Then parents. What else have you neglected to tell me. What other dirty dark secrets do you have.’

‘These are not secrets. Just things I didn’t think important enough to bother you with.’

‘So, now I have to face this opportunity to meet your brother, whom I didn’t even know you had. How am I going to do that, how can I admit I never heard of him before. How?’

Echoes of Rio, Rio Revisited, Joy of Cooking, Toni Brown, Terry Garthwaite, Cass Elliot, Kathi McDonald, Insane Asylum, Bogart to Bowie, The Association, The Candymen

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

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton

August 8: Highland Arts Theatre: https://www.highlandartstheatre.com 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Death By Proxy

Death By Proxy

I let death happen

by proxy

 

if I didn’t eat the meat

wear the shoes

would their treatment

become more humane

 

do I take a stand

no more meat

nothing with a face

search out alternatives

 

plants may have faces

that I don’t recognize

does that makes it fine

the air that I breathe

is teaming with life

the water I drink

is alive with microorganisms 

that may have faces

my vision isn’t that good

 

atomic microscopes

focus so finite 

I can’t recognize anything

but that jellyfish like shimmer

darting around other shimmers

as if afraid of being seen

shamed by our look

not ready for their close up

they aren’t animals

are they

 

is my decision that they don’t count

relevant to anything

other than another brick

in a sense of superiority

the smug comfort

of valuing all life

 

whereas people

like me who still eat meat

will always be ethically

self-indulgent creeps

who should be shamed

put to bed without any supper

or better yet

shot


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Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Man With A Past 1

For the summer I’m looking at my Brown Betty chapbook. All the pieces dealt duh growing up in Cape Breton. Sadly WordPress had imposed line breaks that I can’t figure out how to fix.

Man With A Past 1

I am from a cup of King Cole black tea

steeping in a Brown Betty pot
flat fried scones
burned pancakes on Sunday mornings

born in Manitoba
moved to Cape Breton before I was ten
the Cape is an island of cousins aunts uncles 

I had none
only good parents

who couldn’t protect me

from a context they wanted to fit 

I am from the rusted rain
seeded by steel plant exhaust
black pearl gritted snow
that fell in layers of grey white grey white 

my mother a Welsh war bride
a family of eleven brothers and sisters 

lots of cousins aunts uncles in-laws 

oceans too far away
to coax me into this island world 

told that not fitting in was my fault
why didn’t I try harder 

be more like other kids 

so I hid    but that’s not the point
because we all hide 

I am from an east coast pollution pulsation 

I still call home
where paying the rent and feeding the kids

was worth the cold damp steel poison price 

while the blast furnace
spewed the air
to pepper the food we ate
at night no one saw it
flood our dreams

I am from Swedes who changed
the last name of their first born to Armstrong 

a name I could never live up to
never defend in school yard brawls
would come home
with a bloodied nose   bruises
that disappointed my dad
who didn’t understand
why I couldn’t stand up for myself 

stranded on the molehill of 

growing up queer
no role models to offer hope
in a culture of judgement and fear 

so I hid   but that’s not the point 

because we all hide 

I am diverted from
the history I have
by a history that is denied to me 

when researchers into
the lives of gay men and women 

in WWII fighting forces
are asked 

why sully the memory 

of our brave men and women 

I am from an unrecorded past 

where there was no name
till what I am became labelled 

by incomprehensible fear 

the point is – I survived what past I had
by creating a self 

out of the fear and shame 

hidden in my past
but today
no longer hiding from it

I suppose from the context you know that King Cole is a black tea 🙂 It is blended for the Maritime market & first sold in 1910. It is a strong, black tea found, at one time, in nearly every Cape Breton home. Brown Betty is a common tea pot also found in many east coast homes. Traditional, functional & not ornamental. Solid. I’ve had mine for so long I don’t remember when I got it.

My mother preferred Red Rose. She was the maker of the flat, fried scones – they were almost cookies. She added raisins & pressed the thick dough with an egg flipped onto the frying pan to brown each side. Yummy with butter. My Dad was the pancake man. He would make them nearly every Sunday for us kids.

As you might conclude by now this piece is autobiographic. Full of real details & understanding. Though the understanding came years later. I don’t think my Dad realized how interconnected the families were when he settled us in Sydney. All my cousins were in Wales. I couldn’t visit them after school, or stay with an aunt for a weekend. Fitting in was my problem not theirs.

The main industry in Sydney was the steel plant. As the piece says it belched clouds of smoke regularly. Sometime white, sometimes black, sometimes grey. In school we were taught how steel was made but it was never explained to us what this smoke was made up of – clearly it wasn’t just steam. Years later, when the Steel Plant closed it was revealed how dangerous this was & how poised even the soil in areas closest to the plant were.

But that’s not the point of this piece – except that it was merely one of the secrets hidden like the the secrets I kept hidden. Looking back I see how isolated I was in this culture – on that molehill – knowing my queer secret & the shame that forced me to keep it. 

 

The WWII book is Paul Jackson’s excellent One Of The Boys. He had to deal with this attitude of ‘why sully’ while doing is research. The ‘why sully’ still exists when it comes to allowing queer representation to be part of my history. It was only recently that Tchaikovsky’s love letters were allowed to be published. That they weren’t destroyed at the time – which happened to many ‘creatives’ though history – is a surprise. My ‘love letters’ will live forever thanks to the Internet 🙂 There is no hiding here.


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

School’s Out 1

My house in Toronto’s east end is surrounded by schools. There are at least 5 within 5 minutes walking distance, plus another 5 within 15 minutes. A couple of the buildings remind me of the schools I went to in Sydney. 1920’s functional with a bit of actual design work around entrances & windows.

The end of the school year always being back memories of anticipating summer. Sitting in class rooms fidgeting with nothing to do – final exams were over, no more lessons to be taught, waiting for reports cards to be filled in the given out. I don’t even know if report cards exist anymore. Back int he day we had to take them home for parents sign during the year. I may have one of my old ones hidden somewhere in my archives.

I was always an average student. Fairly obedient, rarely got into trouble, so deportment was good. But I had attention problems. Also I had spelling issues, which in looking back was a mild dyslexia. One summer I had to spend an hour or so every day writing out words – spelling them each ten times – so I could take that spelling exams once more to see if I could pass into the next grade. 

 

I went to four schools – Colby Elementary, Ashby Middle School, Woodhill Junior High, Sydney Academy High-School. Only the Academy is still standing. Colby was replaced with a big tin box, Ashby burned down mysteriously & was replaced by a big tin box; Woodhill became a community centre for decades & was finally torn down for a housing complex.

 

As much as I was eager for summer I dreaded that final report card – would my marks be good enough to get my reward: a new bicycle, cash. One year they weren’t & I was so demoralized I was afraid to go home & not get my reward. One year I did get that bicycle but not the one I wanted 🙂

Out of Control 

in control or out of control

which gives the better result

which can lead to where 

control is too hard to relinquish

expectations drive dreams goals

 

can someone with control issues

get out of control

with the need to control

hold on too tight

or drop everything too suddenly

relax into a puddle

even a puddle is controlled 

by gravity

free fall isn’t free

free form still has form

 

is the goal to be shapeless 

uncontainable

is that destruction 

anarchy

aimless directionlessness

still has points of reference

that pull to the norm

can the norm be out of control

 

who imposes that structure

who gets to be responsible 

while the rest

are wild and free 

is there actual energy 

in being out of control

doing nothing takes no energy 

realize float down stream

the stream has the control

the surrender is to another’s control

even when out of control

someone does the doing 

 

what is ‘out’

what is ‘control’

who is the object of these definitions

of these structures

even light need dark to exist

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

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton

August 8: Highland Arts Theatre: https://www.highlandartstheatre.com 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

July 2019 Sneak Peek

First the June recap of my on line life 🙂 My fan base continues expanded slowly but surely. WordPress followers is up to 329 (5 new followers this past week), Twitter up to 219, & Tumblr is at 231. My WP hits topped 40 many days with a couple of 60 & one day 82! The day I re-posted 2015’s Porn Has Ruined My Sex Life https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3A0. I’ve started a systematic weekend reposting of my last trip to Cape Breton in 2012.

Coal Dusters continues to grow as I get nearer the end with 111,700 words posted so far, still about 30,000 words to go. Finally got to the mine cave-in. So much going on in this section I had to add more! In that first draft I didn’t really build much for Lillian to do – as I’ve been strengthening her character I needed to show her in this new light. Exciting finish will hopefully play out in July.

TV was diverting in June, besides the many movies we watch & endless documentaries I enjoyed the relaunched Project Runway – longer episodes, more interaction with the contestants by the judges & temper tantrums. We also saw more of the judges deliberations. I love the diversity & inclusivity of this show. I do wish they would have at least men’s wear challenge each season though.

Read The Frolic of the Beasts By Yukio Mishima, originally published in 1961 and available in English for the first time last year. Similar to The Sound of Waves but much darker. More blog posts about my love of Mishima: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-36t, https://wp.me/p1RtxU-qS.

Celebrated another birthday & bought myself a subtle Cashew top from Diop https://weardiop.com. Added Prince’s Originals to my music collect as well as Frank Zappa’s: The MOFO Project/Object – The Mother’s Freak Out plus a slew of extras. Help, I’m a rock 🙂 I already have this on CD but wanted the extras 🙂 Freak Out was quite influential on my creative sense of self stranded in the backwoods of Cape Breton. Listening to it bring back great memories.

July brings heat, I hope. My garden is taking jungle turn already thanks to the rain at night & sun in the day. My one Stratford excursion will be to see Gotthold Ephraim Lessing  ‘Nathan the Wise’ from 1783. I vaguely know the story but I have no idea what to expect. The Festival describes it as “rarely seen masterpiece of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment.” I hope it isn’t too educational 🙂

The Wednesday poetry chats for July & August will focus on my Brown Betty chapbook – all the pieces are about my growing up in Cape Breton. Thursday’s will contuse with new pieces inspired by the 227 Rules For Monks. Super sneak peek: August in Cape Breton 🙂

Measuring Up – A Cape Breton School Memory

I grew up

in a school system

where I learned 

I would never measure up

because I wasn’t smart enough

to memorize the times table

smart enough

to regurgitate passages of text books

when I wrote exams

even when I was right

I was given no credit

because my spelling was so wrong


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Jethro Tull


I am amused by the press Lizzo gets for bringing the flute into pop music when decades ago Jethro Tull brought flute into pop in a bigger way. Sure Moody Blues used it occasionally but never the same driving way Ian Anderson did. I played those early lps constantly. I loved the scraggy hippy look the band embraced which was a strong contrast to the complex blues baroque jazz pop music they  produced.

I have stand alone’s This Was, Stand Up, Aqualung, Thick As A Brick. In mp3 collections Benefit, A Passion Play, War Child – plus another version of Aqualung that has been remastered etc. All with various bonus tracks & interviews. I had all as lp at one time & gradually replaced them with either cd or mp3 versions.

Tull was the epitome of progrock without delving too much is not the classical end of things, sure there is enough of that but they weren’t flaunting it, the way ELP did. Lyrically the songs were about love, the system, war. Two lps Thick as a Brick (inspiration for Another Brick In The Wall?) & A Passion Play – are two long suites – with mp3 one gets to hear these without having to turn over the lp :-). Brick is commentary on British class & schools, Passion is a fun mess & includes a rather twee fairy tale in the middle of it. Both lapse into British music hall at times.

Later lps – War Child, Songs from the Wood are good with real social commentary & the band is drifting into Celtic folk territory more & more. If you are unfamiliar with Tull start with This was or Stand Up.


On the mp3 collection I’ve added Noel Harrison: Collage – sweet nostalgia for me. Maggie Bell: Queen of the Night, Suicide Sal – bluesy work by a British Maria Muldaur – adult pop. I rounded out this mp3 collection with the classic Steely Dan: Countdown to Ecstasy.

Set A Spell

‘It’s dry.’ his chair creaked as he leaned back against the sun-stripped paint in the shady part of the porch.

‘Been that way for a while now.’ The other rubbed his eyebrows.

‘Yep.’ The third rubbed his nose.

‘Looking to stay that way for awhile longer, if you ask me.’

‘Yep.’

‘Don’t need no one to tell us what’s as plain as the nose on your face.’

‘Yep. That’s right hard to miss.’ He rubbed his nose again with a small grin.

‘Not much we can do about this dry, is there?’

‘Time for …’

Silence.

The three men turned to look at the fourth. He leaned back against the porch rail and spit into the dust.

‘What! What!’ He dabbed at his mouth with the tattered almost-white hanky from his back pocket. ‘You all been thinking the same thing. I know. I can tell when that thought is in the air.’

‘Least you got enough wet in ya ta spit. Some of us aren’t so lucky.’

‘Takes more than luck.’ the first leaned out of the shade. ‘You got something up at that place of yours we don’t know about?’

‘Me? Yeah. Come on up and I’ll show you the hidden river that runs through Dust Canyon. It comes up right under my bedroom. Keeps the missus happy to be so damp all night.’

‘Good thing. Nice missus you got there.’

‘Yep. Some would envy a gal like that.’

‘Sure is dry though. Can’t remember seeing it this dry before.’

‘Years back it was bad. Real bad. That was the last time we …’ he pulled back into the shadow, took off his straw hat to fan his face.

‘You remember that?’

‘Sure enough. I was just a boy, mind you. Just old enough not to worry about being asked to participate.’

‘That was the Gimbly kid wasn’t it.’

‘Not going to say one way or the other. Can’t. Not proper to talk about that sort of stuff. Not here or now. Too much talk takes the power away from it. You understand?’

‘Yep.’ 

The heat couldn’t be avoided. The sun blistered down on the four of them. Each edged more into the scant shade the porch afforded. Time to make plans and in the heat thinking became harder, slower.

‘Can’t take much of this. It’s hot enough to set things afire.’

‘Almost. We don’t need to worry about that. Nothing left to burn. Is there?’

The four of them laughed.

A black-haired girl, about five, came out of the house with a bucket of water.

‘Ma says you might want a splash of this.’

They looked at the water. The first tickled it with his finger tips and splayed the others with it.

‘See. Told you this was the right house to come to. If anything’s gonna done. This is where we’ll find it.’

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

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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