The Keys To Sense of Purpose

Nothing To Lose

I was sure I left it there

it was there the last time I looked

I haven’t seen it

have you looked in here

have you looked anywhere 

or did you expect me to know

to keep an eye on things

without being asked

I don’t know where it is

I have more important things to do

no I didn’t move it

I didn’t see anyone take it

this is where I usually put it

I can’t leave the house without it

it can’t be replaced

there’s no reason for it to be moved

it has to be here always

it’s the perfect spot for it

it didn’t move itself

did it fall to the floor

is it under here

is it upstairs

did you even bring it with you

did you leave the house without it

you can always get a new one

it was time to move on

time to let go

of the hold of things

free yourself of objects

find a place

where there is nothing to lose

nothing to be looked for

nothing to be hidden

and everything

to be revealed

This piece is part list poem – various thoughts on misplacing something & usually not realizing until one is leaving, in a hurry but can’t got without it. I have a spot by my front door where I always put my keys, my sunglasses etc. Before heading out I have to make sure I have everything in my pockets or shoulder bag before I leave. Gone are the days of just putting a jacket & going somewhere.

 

By everything I mean phone, camera, coffee cards, credit cards, points cards, wallet (I no longer carry credit cards with my $), sometimes iPod, Kindle & something else, but I can’t remember what. If one of those items isn’t where I think I put it then I can’t leave without it. I change jackets and/or shoulder bags from day to day, so have to remember to transfer from one to the other.

 

Not too long ago I misplaced my Starbucks gold card. I searched every item of clothing I was wearing the last time I used it, shoulder bags were emptied, jacket pockets turned inside out, I checked the shop to see if I dropped it there. No where to be found. I went to the website to get a replacement but that process was endless & so I think I applied for a replacement but didn’t get even an auto-response so I must have done something wrong? 

The getting out a credit card out comes the Starbucks card stuck to it – I had tucked the card into a different part of the wallet than I usually do & never checked sufficiently the tiny tight compartment. It did mean I avoided Starbucks for a week or so, no big deal. The replacement never arrived, just as well, right.

Anyway back to this piece. It wavers between the list & a bit of a dialogue of being accused for losing whatever is lost – I didn’t see anyone take it. It take a slight philosophic turn with ‘free yourself of objects’ – to free myself of Starbucks wouldn’t be such a big thing. It delves into the mystic for the ending. What we can’t find may not be hidden or lost. 


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Godzilla-a-Go-Go

I’ve just finished reading – A Critical History and Filmography of Toho’s Godzilla Series, a historical filmography book that analyzes the Godzilla series written by David Kalat. I queue jumped this to the top of my to-read-pile, putting aside one of the books I was already reading. I really enjoy books that put things into a larger cultural context & this books nearly delivers on that level.

It was great fun to read the background story of the financial vs art struggle of the monster. Kalat is a fan but gives balanced look at the weaknesses of the films. He also gives insight into how they were marketed in japan as oppose to how they were often reconstituted for the American market. The inept bad voice choice dubbing being the prime crime against Godzilla. I’ve always wonder why they can’t hire real actors to do this work – after all Disney uses well-know actors for their animation?

But Japanese films weren’t the only one to suffer hack dubbings – try watching any of the many Italian sword & sandal epics & one realizes bad dubbing was routine. The Italian movies often suffered the same reconstitution for the US market.

But I digress.

Kalat explores the soundtracks as well & often the film were stripped of their origin soundtracks for stock sound cues when released in the US. It is no wonder they often suffered critical drubbings. Seeing them now, thanks to TCM, I am happy to read subtitles & not be distracted by dubbing. The films are Japanese originals as well not that I have even seen the crappy US versions of may of these. They didn’t make it as far as Cape Breton.

I don’t take them as seriously as Kalat though. Much like Supermarionation, one always knows this is suitmation. The scale model work is impressive but never convincing. Some things can’t be scaled: water, fire but always love scenes were boats get capsized. Back projection work improved over the years but, Let’s face it, HD TV isn’t kind to back projection.

Kalat’s filmography ends in the early 2000’s. I would like to see many of the movies later movies but the Japanese versions are unavailable on DVD – i.e. Submerging Japan. I have seen the late 90’s ‘re-boot’ set in New York with Matthew Broderick as the scientist & despite many critical quibbles I really enjoyed it. The taxi chase scene is great & the Godzilla, although not the traditional one. was pretty good cgi. Fans want suitmation. 

Of the ones I’ve seen I’ve liked Godzilla vz Hedora (The Smog Monster) – pop art meets suitmation. The psychedelic music is wondrous, nightclub scenes are on point – who cares that Hedra, at points, looks more like melting candle. Also really enjoyed ‘Ebirah, Horror of the Deep.’ 

A great book beyond the Godzilla content for its insights into the American domination of the world film industry.

The Glory of Godzilla https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3Tp 

Lock and Key

I don’t know

how many doors I’ve walk though

how many I’ve shut behind me

never to look back

how many keys I’ve had copied

how many I have lost

how many I have 

in a drawer rattling around

with forgotten doors to open

no way of finding their way home

had a book of photos of doors

doors around the world

some partially open 

some with a face peeking shyly out

most shut solid

barring me for seeing deeper

never saw a book of keys

they’re a deeper mystery for me

I have an idea where a door might lead

but a key

what lock does it match with

what could it unlock for me

the keys to the highway

the door to the unknown

could it open your heart

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

Thursday 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies andBbad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

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

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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

Snapped – Slapped

samprules2

Snapped – Slapped

some people

are just asking for a slap

you know what I mean

so I snapped & slapped 

it was so fast

I hardly felt it

but it worked

it shut them up

for a few minutes

a few scant moments of bliss

of silence

there wasn’t even an echo

of the slap

my hand hardly felt it all

you know what I mean

if it doesn’t hurt me

it surely didn’t hurt them

other than a bit of humiliation

in front of the others

I know to be slapped

is a social thing

if we were alone

I doubt if a slap would have happened

but with an audience

what else could I do

to teach them a lesson

about what I’m unwilling to put up with

boundaries have to be established

so I slapped

I would do it again

only harder the next time

you know what I mean

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Picture This 

Cast Aside

I take the picture

I point the camera

that’s it

 

the subject is usually in focus

it remains as I found it

I resist the temptation

to get it into better light

 

resist the temptation

to add to the scene

or take away from it

 

I don’t seek perfection

but let things

fall where they will

stationary in a context

that I didn’t create

 

the broken chair

the mattress still wrapped in plastic

never used

cast aside 

 

I take the picture

the subject tells the story

the picture tells you

nothing about me

 

I’ve blogged a few times about how my relationship to world was changed by my cameras. I started taking pictures when I read that blogs with photos get more hits. I didn’t want to use photos I found on  line – copyright mainly but also I didn’t want to spend time hunting down the right photo. 

 

 

I have a decent eye for composition but I am a point & shoot photographer. I didn’t want blog of typical images which forced me to be more selective & almost fetishistic in what caught my lens’s attention. Texture & pattern are my prime subjects – texture found in things usually thrown away – shoes, clothing, toys, dishes etc.

I love finding cast off doors, art, empty frames, bathtubs, aquariums, ironing boards & specially lps. Or objects one wonders why they have been thrown away, or perhaps left for the scavengers. I hav passed stuff on my walk & it was gone on my return in less than an hour. But with bed bug scare somethings just remain until garbage men remove them. 

The pictures I post on my blog are somewhat random. I don’t look for the right picture to go with the content – too much work. I figure people will make their own story around the pictures anyway. Because, as the song says, every picture tells a story. But the pictures here rarely tell you anything about me, even when they are pictures of me.


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Rainbow Remembrance


Amongst the queer history books I have on my shelf are: Paul Jackson’s One of the Boys: Homosexuality in the Military During World War II; Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men & Women in World War II by Armistice Day. As well as the novel The Invisible Glass by Loren Wahl – set in the US ‘occupation’ of Italy. Plus a dvd of interviews with some of the men & women in Coming Out Under Fire.

 

I can’t recall ever seeing a film about any of the wars: Spanish Civil War, Korea, Vietnam or the World Wars – fictional or documentary that alludes to the an lgbt presence. When Jackson was doing his research he was asked, to the effect, why sully the memories of these men/women. Which is a way of erasing that part of our history.

 

 

Besides, fairies don’t fight wars only butch real men do that. Some of these attitudes have changed, but slowly & reluctantly. LGBT soldiers, some highly decorated were give dishonourable discharges as a result of their sexuality, even when their sexuality was known when they enlisted. I’m not going to go into the history of this, you can read about it elsewhere by writers more informed.

I suspect that some of this erasure comes from toxic masculinity. The services can’t let down its butch image, even though some of the butchest, bravest of them were in fact also lgbt – that’s not the image fighting forces want to project. Reading the stories of these men & women in the Jackson’s & Berube’s books is a heartbreaking revelation & it is history that deserves to be remembered & honoured when wreathes laid on Remembrance Day, Veterans Day.

Say Again

in the beginning was the word

no one seems to agree 

as to what that word was

what language it was in

or if there’s an equivalent in any language

 

perhaps it was just a sound

not a word but an utterance

a breath

a grunt

in the beginning there was the grunt

no 

that doesn’t have the eternal ambiguity 

as there was the word

the word was

according to some

good

not that the word itself was the word good

 

the argument over what that word was

and what its import is

has not been productive or good

we can’t even agree to disagree

so maybe the word was argue

in the beginning was the word 

and word was argue

was righteousness

was mine mine mine

was I’m right 

and you are eternally damned to be wrong

because if you aren’t with me

you aren’t a true patriot

you aren’t good

 

no one contests 

that there was a word in the beginning 

it all started with a word

not a kiss

not a glance

or a pie stolen from a window ledge

 

in the beginning was the word

bird had been suggested

it’s clear that what that word was isn’t clear

perhaps it wasn’t meant to be clear

only to be heard

in the beginning was the word 

and word was heard

while most days 

we can’t even hear ourselves talk

let alone think

as we wade through 

the slough of disbelief

seeking relief in blame

wanting a word that 

absolves solves resurrects

not one that puzzles confuses and eludes

a word that supports our right to be right

that gives power to the powerful

and takes hope from the hopeless

that causes disease

a word we can agree on

 

in the beginning was the word

a word no one knows

a word no one can repeat today

in any language

until then

we will be seekers

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

Thursday 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies andBbad Times Theatre

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

“crazy does not discriminate”

The shocking, to many, blanket of snow that covered Toronto Thursday didn’t cool the enthusiasm of the audience for the Hot Dam show hosted by Robyn Sidhu at Buddies that night. The crowd was, as always, receptive & at times noisy in response to the performers.

random lines from the open stagers & slammers that started the show. banana marshmallows for The Man With X-Ray Eyes; the candy turned into glue bars; ran faster that nightmares; my mouth unbroken; why am I haunting him; I cycle through the motions; I miss you too much to do the dishes; queer as in – if I die in prison it was not a suicide, queer as in – everything is trying to erase me; my mother asks, why are doctors lying to her; don’t you think I was a good mom.

Feature Wes Ryan gave an amazing performance, at times it was like chatting over coffee with a good friend. The pieces were deeply personal, some dealt with trauma but without melodrama or self pity. The work of a survivor who accepts the cost of lessons. random lines: I watched those pigeons grow, they would run to the edge & stop, those times you made it through without intervention, memory lapses overlapping, I had addictions: powder cocaine, taking the blame; perverts protected by apathy; get nervous when I can’t see the eyes attached to the fingers, rest was a chore I did until I was ready to relapse.

As he performed he complained about the heat (such a porn trope – is it getting hot in here?) removing sports jacket, tie etc then for one of the final poems off with his outer garments to reveal a dress.  “didn’t study dance but learned how to fall with accuracy, the thin line between fight &  flight, crazy does not discriminate.”

After the break there was a fresh, fun, open stage of cold reads of random poems from random books of poetry on the stage. What a great way to expose the audience, & poets, to the work of other poets. From the final round: my mental health is a sitcom, only my anxiety & depression ever fucked me silly, he looks at me a little too long, my mind enters rooms well after my body does, my body is a magic trick like a disappearing home that should have been safe, love is the words to a song that has no translation.

Winners were declared, prizes given out & the show wrapped by 9:30. The next Toronto Hot Damn is January 23, 2020.

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one of the scary pieces I read

The Haunting of Him

it is a parapsychological theory

I learned from ghost hunter shows

which says it is unfinished business

emotional 

hidden treasures 

lost keys

that keeps restless spirits on earth

but we had no unfinished business

so I don’t know why

I’m haunting him

Stop Pointing


Stop Pointing

you aren’t the boss of me

no one is

doing what pleases me

pleases me

sure others can’t get away with it

but some of us

don’t have to be bothered

with what is required

so stop pointing out

what you consider to be the right way

this way is my way

so get out of my way

let those who have to obey

obey

let those of us who are above

that sort of thing

do what ever we deem fit

and you can deal 

with the mess we leave behind

at least we’re leaving you something


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Better To Be Talked About

People Talk

people talk

it doesn’t matter about who

the truth isn’t as relevant as 

the opportunity for spite

in fact the worse the better

who wants to believe the best

about anyone

when the worst is so much more interesting

it’s important to bring the good

down a peg or two

who do they think they are anyway

they aren’t any better

than the rest of us

even if they aren’t one of us

even if we we would never

do what we say they’ve done

we see through their facade

the sooner they get caught the better

no one is innocent

merely uncaught

 

The 227 Rules for Monks are often variations on each other – who knew micromanagement was part of the simple life – as a result some of these pieces are variations too. Part of the challenge of using the rules as prompts is to push harder against the restrictions of the variations – much like classical composers or jazz musicians or improv comedy I let things spin then edit – if I ever pull these pieces together for a collection I’d edit out the the repetitions.

 

The title of this came last but it reflects the nature of  our relationship with the press, which hasn’t changed since Oscar Wilde’s day. As is made clear by the current US president who gloats ever getting all the bad press he can generate. He has becomes an easy target for people to vent at – how much of that venting is sincere & how much is merely an opportunity for spite.

 

Stand-up comedy is almost entirely based on slavering cruelty. You could take routines from the 50’s, change names of targets & they’d fit in today. All that is different the level of anatomical vulgarity – the ten mother-fucking words one couldn’t say are now words you hear on cock-sucking sitcoms today 🙂

 

The piece is also about the emotional need that gossip fulfills, giving ‘us’ the opportunity to, momentarily, feel superior to those we gossip about – though sometimes it is tinged with envy – wishing we could get away with how the President consistently gets away with it. In today’s world it seems to be better to get caught & get away with it than not to get caught.


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October Recap

In October TOpoet.ca  had many days with over 60 hits. India tops the list with Canada at the top of the hit list, 2nd place is USA, with India regaining 3rd. Increases seen from Mauritius & Kenya coming on strong. The blog now has 359 followers (up from 298 at the start of the year). 246 Tumblr followers. Steady increase is best. Finally down to the end of Coal Dusters one more short chapter to wrap thins up in November 🙂 It’ll come in at just under 138,000 words.

My Twitter account was suspended without warning or explanation other than I had broken their rules but they refused to tell me which ones: hate speech? spamming? using copyright materials? When I pressed for an answer I was told not to bother them & that they would not reply again to my requests for explanations. So my twitter following is down to 0. It was a time waster & did nothing to enhance my productivity.

The only event, so far, in November is the Hot Damn! show on November 7 at Buddies in Bad Times. Season 5 winner Wes Ryan will be the feature. I’m giving NaNoWriMo a rest this year. Though I managed good work last year it had become a chore rather than a challenge. I may focus on organizing Picture Perfect which I hope to start blogging in 2020. Not sure what Tuesdays will bring – maybe another photo blog similar to Sunday’s.

Other blog days will remain the same. Pictures may become even more random than they are now 🙂 Friday will see lps covers & such that I’ve come across on my walks. People throw away the oddest things :-). Taking pictures is more practical, for me, than taking objects. 

TV pleasures include American Horror Story; 1984 – so far one of the best arcs of the series. Past seasons have felt stretched out by plot tangents. This one has been tight, taught & bloody good fun. The new season of Castle Rock has started & the Misery/Salem’s Lot mash up is off to a good start. Hopefully Space won’t screw up the running times as badly as they did last season. I also hope they broadcast it same time same day, instead of moving it around without notice.

Currently I’m reading: I Am Providence – a biography of HP Lovecraft by S. T. Joshi – fascinating not only for  his life but for the literary context of the time – letters-to-the-editor often became like twitter wars – with strangers taking potshots at each via the anonymity of these letters. Also a critical study by David Kalat of Toho’s Godzilla movies putting them into a cultural context. As well as the final piece in the Works of John Addington Symonds – his biography of Michelangelo.

Rant In A Tea Cup

the weather report isn’t good

no matter how nice 

the meteorologist says it is

it’s a lie 

a spin

to keep me from worrying 

about how bad it really is

no matter how perfect the days looks

it is bad

getting worse

each day less air to breath

more burning rays to avoid

 

the spin doesn’t fool me

more days when 

you can’t let seniors out till after dark

can’t let children play in the park

 

the prognoses isn’t promising

umbrellas aren‘t enough 

parkas aren’t enough

there is no protecting ourselves 

from this air we breath

from the constant crumble of the real world

 

the weather isn’t good

no matter what

America’s next top politician says

there is no roll back for the ecology

next top politician is like 

America’s next top model

they are only spokespersons

to give that hopeful spin

that change is going to come

sure it will 

but it isn’t going to a change for the better

not a change for the ordinary folk

unless that change

means big bucks for someone

the climate doesn’t have 

the right corporate sponsor

it needs a better spokesperson

 

the sunny day is a fraud

a taste of emptiness fills my mouth

when I breath what remains of our air

wondering which microscopic mote

is the one that gives me cancer

as it turns my skin to lumpy melanoma 

drooping sagging leather

rain snow sunshine highs lows

with chill uv factors

smog alerts

economic forecast grim

auto sectors need a bail out 

oil is raking in billions of profits

why not let oil bail out auto

not the highs and lows we want to see

 

so many clouds 

in the fog wrapping

around our brains 

our willingness stifled 

by the powerlessness imposed 

by powerless people in control of

spokesmodels

for hidden puppeteers

who we never will know 

because everyone is on someone 

else’s weather radar map

no one is free

no one can leave the house

without first checking 

to see what the weather is like 

the sky isn’t telling us the truth

no one is 

so take your umbrella

because a smile

isn’t enough protection any more 

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Bloody Footprints

Bloody Footprints

the movie opens

on a busy sidewalk

someone with a knife

stabs a stranger

keeps on going

while the victim collapses

remember the knife

the flash of it

the thrust

blood blood blood

 

people stepping in it

as they step over the body

on their important way

bloody footprints

quickly splotching the sidewalk

as the camera

pulls up up

the police arrive

the credits roll

over the expanding trail

of bloody footprints

 

steps lead to smart shops

to offices

into elevators

down marble corridors

over carpets in hotel hallways

cafe floors

washroom stalls

 

blood gets on hands

trying to clean shoes

the fingerprints on mirrors

coffee cups

documents

dried flakes fall between 

keyboard keys

smear smart phones

traces tracked undetected through 

airport screening machines

splotches on luggage

the blood travels around the world

 

the sidewalk

with the outline of the body

is a pool of blood

after crime scene photos have been taken

after cellphone photos have hit the net

city workers come to clean it up

 

the camera looks for the stabber

pushing through crowds

roving over heads shoulders

no faces

hands washing

blood pooling in sinks

almost dripping down the walls

of apartments

seeping out of TV screens

 

bloody footprints

lead up to a door

the bell rings

you reach to open the door

the closing credits roll

Much like Psycho Zombies in the Rain this piece is very cinematic – in fact it includes camera angles 🙂 The opening is one that I saw decades ago in a movie about a serial killer, I think. My memory of the plot is rather vague of what happens after the victim collapses other than people annoyed & reacting as if the victim was drunk not dead.

The rest is inspired by CSI, when I used to watch the show, by how they followed clues to unexpected locations. The poem is a list poem of various places this blood could have been tracked to. I realize it probably wouldn’t stay on shoes long enough to get where I take it, or that it would stay wet enough either but this is poetry not a text dealing with blood spatter theory.

Each of the bloodied locations would get its own screen time while the audience sorts through the clues to figure out which ones are relevant because narrative logic dictates that some of these locations must pertain to the identity of the killer. This is one the frequent plot ploys on many detective shows – too many clues to sort through.

I like the overhead camera view of the corpse with all these foot prints leading away from it. Prints made by people oblivious or perhaps indifferent to the body, to the crime & later miffed by having to clean the blood off their shoes.

 

The ending is a riff on surprise endings where the narrator turns out to be the killer – it is a bit of a cliche mind you but I couldn’t resist. Here it is ambiguous – has the killer come to your door or have the bloody footsteps lead the police to your door? Either way you’ll get what you deserve 🙂



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