Don Messer’s Jubilee

 

It all started with someone posting a link to a video of Fred McKenna playing some songs. What he was playing was not that interesting but it opened up a memories of my Sydney childhood in Cape Breton. When my father relocated us in Sydney it was a one TV channel town (almost as bad as a one horse town) and that channel was CJCB – which is still on the air but is now part of CTV.

 

CJCB was essentially community TV with some shows imported from Halifax. One of which was Don Messer’s Jubilee out of Halifax. Jubilee  (click Jubilee for link to video). To be honest I hated this show. I wanted real music i.e. radio top ten stuff. I don’t even recall if my parents enjoy the show but the minute it came on I dismayed. I must have watched it though because I remember the names of the singers – Marg Osburne & Charlie Chamberlain – who looked like a pair geriatrics. She was in her mid-30’s, he was in his 60’s. Fred McKenna was a frequent guest.

I also remember the Bupta Dancer who, thanks to Wikipedia, I now know were the Buchta Dancers – they did square dance crap. It was decades before I could tolerate the sound of country fiddle. But hearing Fred McKenna made me consider how this music influenced me, if at all. I did find one collection iTunes & downloaded all 32 minutes of it. Sweet but with almost no emotional resonance. The show’s intro music “Goin’ to the Barndance Tonight” isn’t included 😦

Part of why Jubilee didn’t impress me was that none of the singers or dancers had a shred of sex appeal. Black & white TV didn’t help much. Bulky boxy conservative clothes made the square dancers & singers seem even more square. The show lacked glamour or sparkle. I have vague memories of watching Liberace with my mother & being impressed by his glittery style. Jubilee had no visual style.

The music is pleasant, folky, sometimes Celtic with strong fiddle playing by Don Messer. The songs are uncomplicated folk, sea shanty & religious. Only one of the ones I’ve downloaded has much of an emotional resonance for me ‘Farewell To Nova Scotia.’ A farewell I’ve never regretted.

See Me?

people think they know me

they see me in my writing

they don’t see fiction

the fact that each confessed event

is reality 

my reality

one that they can identify with 

as my actually experience

in fact the closer I capture 

something of their emotional life 

the more they are sure

I have to have experienced it

they don’t want to believe

that each piece is a mask

not a piece of me

they see my photos 

read bits of life that I process for display

and add it up into picture of me

they approach me with that 

ah-ha

I see by your web page 

that you are …

 

they don’t realize I am 

as big a liar as they are

I may not talk in internet inches

but I don’t reveal anything out of turn either

that would be too painful 

so like so many other’s 

I adopt a mask of playful indifference

ironic poses to amuse

what they don’t see 

I’m not going to hint it

 

trust me

no one has the entire picture

many don’t even have a glimpse

not that have hidden depth

there may be surprises

tucked away in many closets

I don’t see that something to confess

shoes shirts all get displayed

and even those things 

that I explain aren’t me

the endless lists of almost lovers

sweet boyhood sexual discoveries

the bitter relationship breakups

all those fictions 

I can make so real 

are things that happen to people

but not always to me

I’m too shallow for most of that 

safe in that distance

the pose that many writers seems to strike

knowing full well

that no one questions it

the fiction

is seen as a valid side of the writer

even if I deny the experience

it must be a part of who I am

of who you perceive me to be

the need to wear this disguise

reveals who I am

 

the mask one selects 

is a reflection of the person

Romeo Harlequin Godzilla

one after the other put on 

taken off

my face the mirror of yours

so what you see as me

isn’t me at all

but the you I squeeze into 

when I sit down at the keyboard

to see though what I think is your mask

losing sense of self to that image

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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 

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

 

Nine Lives

Nine Lives

O when I was nine

I was still a child

there was no instant communication

news travelled slow

on the radio   TV news   newspapers

delay that provided an innocence

I knew about war

because my Dad had fought in one

he was a man

my mother was a woman

I was a boy child

who only knew what the culture 

of the time

reported of my gender 

 

O when I was nine

I wasn’t aware of so much

I did know I wasn’t like other boys

I played backlot-baseball

I played with dolls

I  wasn’t the son my dad expected

I didn’t like to fight

like other boys

I never understood 

why physical violence was required

to be accepted

 

O when I was nine

I had indulged in sex play

with boys and girls

looking at the differences

anatomy I didn’t understand

the boys where more interesting

I didn’t come out

but I knew shame

when we were caught

I had fear

but no closet

sex was dirty regardless

of gender

 

O when I was nine

I don’t know I was swimming

that I was making waves

as I dog-paddled from nine to nineteen

by that time I knew

these were dangerous waters

 

O at nine there was only

the fear of getting caught

not the fear

of my culture drowning me

like an unwanted litter of kittens

that were denied their nine lives


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Nice Undies

Nice Undies

please keep it

I don’t really need it

I have too many already

it’s not quite the right fit for me

the colour is so you

I don’t know

when I’ll ever use it

I want you to have 

you’ll get more use out of it than I would

I can’t begrudge you anything

of course you can have it

I never wore it

I only wore it once

let me see it on you

it really suits you

those undies look better on you

than they ever did on me

no I don’t hate it

it’s just not right for me

they were on sale

you’d be doing me a favour

I never want to see it again

too many memories

time to move the energy out of my life

if you don’t want it

I’ll have to throw it away

don’t let it to go to waste

it’s too good

to drop in a donation box

I want someone I know to have it

you won’t regret it

don’t thank me

thank whomever 

gave it to me

never wear it my presence

Nice Undies is a list poem of different thoughts or actual things said in giving something away. As much as I appreciate a gift I am sometimes given things that I either have, don’t want, or have no real need for. Because I enjoy bold colours I’ve been give shirts, or t-shirts that are great colours but with prints or cartoony images I’d never be seen in public wearing. Some become sleep wear, some end up in donation bins, some become regifted.

One Christmas I was given more socks than I needed, so some of them ended up in Christmas gift bags for friends. I’ve donated blank books, pens, even t-shirts to Hot Damn! as prizes. I move energy out of the house quickly so make room for new energy. It’s gotten to the point where I sometimes get a gift & I immediately think – this would be perfect for so-&-so.

Part of my personal ‘stuff’ policy is ‘if something new comes in, something old should go out.’ As a result if I keep the t-shirt someone gives me I have to cull one out of my collection to donate or give away. This can be difficult with things like shirts as my collection now if all favourites 🙂 So to make room for new I have to let go of my attachments of the old. In these cases I am more selective of where it goes but it does go.

Twice a year I cull various things from my processions: books, cds, shirts, socks, tee’s, even undies to pass on, to keep my sense of attachment in balance. I do this around New Year’s & around my birthday at the end of June. I’ve never been so invested in a memory that I can’t see someone wearing the tee I gave them. Nothing, to me, is hotter than one of my fwb arriving & finding that he’s wearing the undies I gave him. What can be more fun than some man literally getting into my pants? 🙂


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

My Belongs Dada Heart to

Another major influence on me was Dada which lead to another major influence: Surrealism. In particular the art, which was at time more gimmick & concept than painterly technique. I loved Marcel Duchamp – ‘The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even’ visually & conceptually infused me with a strong sense of the possible, while Salvador Dali infused me with a strong sense of the absurd.

The collages used ironic, sometimes non sequitur, images to create an emotional & intellectual resonance in the viewer. One writer Tristan Tzara would take random lines from random books to create poem. This was also the movement that invented the  to disorientate readers. I have several books of their writings, painting and recordings of their music (Satie). Dada was the start of surrealism & cubism.

I also see the movement’s influence on T.S Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Ginsberg, ee cummings, Warhol. Both the art and the writing demonstrated to me that linear narrative isn’t necessary. Imagery didn’t have to make sense to make sense. Sometime the power in a word or words was in how they sounded, in how they resonated in the reader, rather than in what story they might be telling.

The photos in my blog here reflect my Dada influence, rarely do they have anything to do with the text. When I’m taking pictures it’s sometimes the odd juxtaposition of objects that attracts my eye. My poems can include what to me is surrealist images: ‘balls like emu eggs in my hand’ ‘my fridge made a pass at me the other day.’

 

Dada & surrealism respected the power of the dream, of automatic writing as a creative process. Of course if I could become famous by signing urinals I’d give it a try.

Lʼamour domestique

my fridge made a pass at me

the other day

I was in my usual hurry

to get the milk

when

the door caressed my cheek

pushed me into its cool

welcoming heart

 

now Iʼm not into sex

with inanimate objects if I was

I would probably pick

my coffee maker

something small and easy to satisfy

 

the fridge is never filled

always has demands that

make me feel inadequate

while the coffee machine

fills to brim so quickly

 

yes give me hot and perky

to big and cold – any day

but it was one of those days

the kitchen chairs were

plucking at my pant legs

like over excited little dogs

humping a foot

it made eating almost impossible

 

I wasnʼt sure

what to do with the left overs

the fridge was glaring me

petulant

at being snubbed

in favour of the coffee maker

 

in the bathroom

the face cloth competed

with the tooth brush

to get in my mouth

until the towels

pulled them aside

to push me into the shower

they needed all my body wet

for the satisfaction they craved

 

I didnʼt have the moral strength

to deny them anything

they rubbed and dried

every square inch

 

the sofa was anxious for me to

snuggle in front of the TV

I had to watch

home decorating shows

about getting cute little throws

hints from the sofa

of what would make

our family complete

 

in bed the pillows

tenderly cradled my head

as the sheets twined around me

hungry for dreams

about coffee makers

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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 

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

 

The Ick Factor

The Ick Factor

you’ve used up my trust

yes I know you don’t mean any harm

no it doesn’t hurt

but I asked you to stop

because it is meaningless

yet distracting

it is like the tip of the iceberg

that small act

meant to be affectionate

that I can’t stand it

that I don’t enjoy it

represents your lack of respect

it means to you

that I don’t have a sense of humour

such is life

 

it’s not a control issue

on my part

it is the same as serving food 

you know I’m allergic to

then getting pissed off

when I refuse to eat it

or insisting on playing

music you know I can’t stand

just to be playful

to be annoying

because I’m so cute

when I’m annoyed

 

enjoy that memory

because if you can’t respect

my silly boundary

memory is all you’ll have


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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Beat The Clock

Beat The Clock

1

moonlight so blue

it left no trace

on my skin

as his fingers

followed the flow

of the edge

where the blue

became pale flesh

the flow

where finger tips

were replaced 

with

teeth biting

 

2

this is not the time

no one will tell you

when the time is right

but when it’s wrong

you are told not what to do

but never what to do 

you’ll never be assured

because

everything you do is wrong

of course

over time

the right way becomes the wrong way

 

there is a right way

it’s for you to figure out

no one will tell you how

only punish you

for each and every mistake 

love will be withheld

opportunity will be denied

without explanation

no explanations will be forthcoming

until you do it right

perfectly

 

giving up is not an option

this is not the time

to give up

even if you don’t 

have the time

even if you don’t

give a fuck about what time it is

even if 

you don’t have anything 

to give up

you can beat the clock

but time always wins

and that bites

This piece is a little disjointed, so don’t worry about trying to make the two parts fit 🙂 They do but I don’t have the time to explain how. Both were prompted by the same rule. I wasn’t that happy with the first take so left it. The next day I took another run at. Part 1 is a sort of romantic, sensual moment that verges on gay greeting card. Pretty. In editing it I’ve made it a little less generic with the last last line. It could stand on its own.

Part 2 is a partially a play on words and partially a comment on assumptions. I have met an endless number of people in recovery who felt that when they were younger they missed the class where one was taught how to live & be happy. I often felt I lacked some key piece in the puzzle of emotionally relationships – apparently the same piece millions of people think they lack. A piece that no one can give them because everyone is looking for it 🙂 

 

Many on that search find fault with others on that search. Everyone is wrong when no one is right. We live in a culture where the ideal of the right ONE rules advertising, sitcoms, romcom – the search for the key to a last relationship. To opt out of that ‘search’ is nearly impossible. If one does they are seen as arrogant, misanthropic, and destined to be incomplete humans, failures at life. So giving up is not an option.

In editing I rearranged lines, added some, cut some and came up with an ending that is logical (to me) if a bit too clever. I like echo as a way of resolving a poem so the end of part two echoes the end of part one.


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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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‘molten at the core’

Hot Damn! nears the end of its 5th spectacular season of slams and the hunger of the competitors is increasing – who wouldn’t want a trip to Washington DC to participate in Capturing Fire? The cabaret space at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre filled up quickly & the show got started nearly on time 🙂 Charlie Petch opened the show with a land acknowledgement, followed by a Welcome song by Kammy Alexson & friends. Of course Charlie’s sawed ‘Over The Rainbow’ took us into a queer wonderland of music, poetry, and slam blood, sweat & tears.

Lines from the open stagers and Round 1: a voice like wind chimes; a hole in my heart where you made me feel whole; they said my medicine was a fire hazard; a world of solo not soulless; nothing to hold on to but the hook; twist & shout all around penny lane; turning a person into a poem will not bring them back; none of this has cut you open to spill out the way it has me; I want not to miss you; we all felt we deserved it; thoughts like nesting Russian dolls; or do you mean your ally-ship is unnecessary; gotta break down to break through; playing games we didn’t create.

Feature: Inali Barger‘s set, was full of music, warmth and so many languages including sign. ‘I don’t want a translated interpretation of you;  reading your hands; the difference between boredom & passive aggression; some lost boys never get found; some parts of you only exist in private; the smell of place that hasn’t seen light in years; I’ve known so little about safety; soft as ashes but molten at the core. 

After a grief break things got started with more ppen stagers and right into Round Two: ancient fabric celebrates loses; I don’t know where I went wrong; remind me why we need community; ban the politicians; anxiety & I had it pretty good; they party on a tectonic plate; I want love without a lover; not all little girls are little boys all the same; cis-white boys shooting up schools; handshakes enough to feed us all; my dearest nightmare changed to a hallowed dream.

I’ve been to many, many shows and can tell when a performer is going to be on fire after the first two words of a piece and the night’s winner Fira Astrali’s piece about the addictive allure of toxic relationships nearly set off the sprinkler system. 

The final show of this season will be April 5. Mark it on your calendar & get to Buddies early if you want a decent seat.

for the open stage I resurrected an old piece

(line breaks imposed by WordPress):

Lament for Anna Nicole 

in the beginning was the word 

and the word was blond 

a blond who came striding
out of the sweet morning light
assured radiant reaching out
past the flock of photographers
to bring tender mercies to the world
a blond who hid fears frustration
in the twinkling wink of an eye
ready and ripe
to be a distraction for the world

here is the blond
the unattainable firm force of nature
on every tv magazine cover front page
all pondering the ways and wiles
of the soft hearted blond
who will be next
who was the last tail twist
in the trail of broken hearts

we follow 

our noses nailed to her scent
this glowing example
of what the ordinary can rise to
billionaires reality shows
who cares about cancer
when we have the blond
a rare creature of fine design
who can invade dreams
wrap legs around broken hearts

lead us out of loneliness 

by taking on all our loneliness
in a single furtive glance
away from the camera
a single shunning 

of the lime light 

for a moment 

that blesses us all 

the blond reeling and recoiling 

teetering on stilettos 

from the press of press
the lurch of bully boy interviewers
who want to expose 

the gold digger the drug addled bimbo
to show the world that the blond
is no saint 

merely another floozy chunky 

top heavy flabby doll
lucky to be in our sanctifying gaze
the blond gratefully accepts 

each slight 

by each slight she is elevated 

what comes next
what can be sacrificed now
there is no reputation left
the first born has been cut down
the blond has been shuffled off
in a shapeless body bag
leaving the newborn
a wash in a sea of whoʼs your daddy 

our father ?
is this the way the world ends 

not with a bang
but a paternity test

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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 

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

 

A Little Sad

The past week has been both productive and at the the same time – plodding. I’ve been feeling a little sad, or is it depressed, & was not sure why. The weather is a factor – as much as I like layering I’m officially over it. The time it takes to get ready to go any where makes wanting to go any where a matter perseverance rather than of pleasure.

I’m tired of negotiating slippery, unshovelled, stretches of icy sidewalks – of spending energy trying not to fall as opposed to on what to take pictures of. Freezing my hands to use my camera had no appeal. The best part of my walks has been sending cell pics to some of the guys I see – it’s almost like having them on the walk with me.

 

Another thing that is lowering my spirits is my decision not to go to Capturing Fire this year. This is mainly financial as I need new glasses, plus I’ve already booked my visit to Cape Breton. When I booked the Cape Breton I thought it would be easy to skip Fire but it isn’t. Though, if 649 or Lotto Max pay off soon enough I’ll go.

 

I’m into the last section of Coal Dusters (only another 50,000 words to go) & I’ve been enjoying revisiting & reinvesting in these characters, I don’t really want to say goodbye to them. Though getting on to Picture Perfect will be great fun. I don’t mind feeling a little low though – it’s like the the ache of the earth as frost leaves.

Turning The News Off

I’ve lost track of what the truth is

there is one side and the other

there are the facts 

and then there is how they are 

in translation

in context

in spin

I want to confront someone

anyone

on the state of things

but no one is responsible

no one is accountable

except the receptionist

of the spokesperson

speaking on behalf of the unnamed source

 

too many people to punch 

not that I want to punch

I only want to know

what the in the hell is going on

global warming

war in (you fill in the blank)

no, it’s not a war 

it’s peace keeping

it’s rebuilding a fragile ecosystem 

with guns

with oil pipe lines

 

I want know who to believe

to have something to believe in

is the truth relevant to survival

does it matter if I find out

who killed Kennedy

as long as the buses run on time

though time is fleeting

& no one tells the right time anymore

it’s so 

no one wants to be wrong

I don’t know what right is anymore

 

which pile of bs do we attack first

besides it isn’t bs

it’s the grease that keeps the wheels turning

it’s fertilizer

so accept the stench 

& get on with what ever 

you where doing

it’s none of your business anyways

even if it’s your life

in your back yard

you may have the right to remain silent

but that seems to only 

when you know the truth

while there is no one to tell it to 

no one can change conditions

fast enough clean things up

 

you don’t understand

that may be what I said

but that isn’t want I meant

you are taking it the wrong way

twisting it to suit your view point

which is unfair

besides it is none of your business

even though 

you are the ones to pay for it 

in the long run

with your tax dollars

to figure out who did what

costs more to reveal a truth

than the damage 

the lie may or may not have caused 

if it was a lie

if it was collusion behind closed doors

it was for your benefit

so why not stop worrying

get on with your little life

leave the important stuff

to people you can’t control

who all know better than you

who can afford the price of the truth

who are free of integrity

in fact be grateful you are in the dark

it is safe there trust me

the truth isn’t relevant anymore

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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 

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

 

None For The Road

None For The Road

if you won’t trust

someone who won’t drink

with you

then you’ll never trust me

if all your close friends

smoke up with you

we’ll never be close friends

if you only respect 

someone who’ll do a line with you

shoot up with you

share a bowl with you

then I have no role in your life 

we’ll never bond

 

if only self-destructive writers

are real writers

then I’ll always be a fake

a wanna-be

who really doesn’t warrant

your attention

 

I’m just one of those shallow dilettantes

a hanger on

without the guts

the stamina

to deal with life through

a haze of booze drugs

 

you are clearly better off with me

so don’t take it personally

when I decline to indulge

for the sake of group acceptance

I’d rather be unacceptable

than drown in conformity


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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

Feeling Fine

Feeling Fine

I’m feeling fine

no – I am fine

feel is a word of uncertainty

because feelings can be deceiving

feels like winter

doesn’t mean it is winter

I am fine

I am well

 

no – I don’t need to take another dose

not even one

just in case

perhaps I’m not as well

as I think I am

 

think

another word of uncertainty 

doubt

it’s as if what I think

maybe wrong

that the perspective I filter

things through

can be questioned

think isn’t the same as know

I think it’s raining

it feels like rain

either it’s rain or it isn’t

thinking won’t change that

 

I think I feel better

 

I’m better off when I don’t think

when I am in the moment

I am well

better gives a sense 

that once upon a time I wasn’t well

that I wasn’t living in the moment

because 

at this moment in time

I’m as well as I can be

This piece is a word game. When I edit one of the things I do is make things more concrete by eliminating distancing words like ‘think’ ‘feel.’ ‘John felt angry” isn’t as direct as ‘John was angry.’ Not that I don’t appreciate the passive voice at times but I prefer the more active and direct. Words like ‘think’ ‘feel’ become contagious & to me, reflect lazy writing. The word ‘like’ is another one of those words 🙂

In live in a culture in which feelings become immobile facts in our minds, facts which are often not supported by circumstances. There’s a tree on our street. Large, & to me beautiful; to one of our neighbours it is a menace ready to drop a branch in the next windstorm. Regardless of our ‘feelings’ the tree is still the tree. Perspective.

There’s also an echo of people not accepting ‘fine’ as an adequate response to how things are. It’s as if to feel fine one is either in denial or perhaps too shallow for a ‘deeper’ emotional experience to life. If one is upset or conflicted or experiencing difficulty one is real, if not one is fake. Negative is real, positive is delusional. “Perhaps I’m not as well as I think I am.”

Another echo is that when people ask ‘how are you doing’ it is out of rote not out of interest. They don’t want an answer, or if they want an answer its only until they can jump in with their own litany complaint. Most people start conversations to tell you what they think not to hear what you think. I rarely start conversations 🙂 And, you know, I’m fine with that.


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