Distant Music

Distant Music

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1

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hush … can you hear the cat music

playing on flaying pigeon wings?

it brings out the hidden claws

of the once delicate lap warmer

now leaping wildly off the thinnest edge

to the beat of singing sounds

stirring safely behind glass

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2

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wittingly filling the room

with clicky busy city sounds

a thousand tiny tappers

rapping rhythms into the air

faster faster faster still

yet never flying to pieces

as I feel like doing

while lazily scrawling

symmetrical patterns

from my random pressures

wondering if the jazz flow

sounds as smooth to others

as it does to me

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3

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sometime I cannot make the energy

to go back over the old wrinkles

to make them smooth & clean

for the defining eyes of pryers;

I end up in some big armed chair

where I sit & stare so long

that I become a pile of creaking bones

yellowing skin & longing songs

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beside me now are empty chairs,

in front, beyond naked window.

crawls the night city sparkling

like a cluster of earth-bound stars

the wind whistles in dance

up & down the barren streets;

someone must be out there

to turn off & on all the stars;

but I cannot move

beyond these empty chairs

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while the dark & sullen moon

turns the stars aside to guide me

into letting the oars slip from my craft

so I can drift at last into my lover

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4

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changed are the ways of this Welsh lad

the days of longing are upon him now

with the first hint of cornfed comfort

making the long-by-gones seem so fine

here in the middle of my toss-up time

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I keep getting the feeling one gets

on dark, rain-spun, cloud-thick days

while looking out great bay windows

knees resting on velvet window seat

watching the mist nest in the elms

dawdling lazy-grey over the endless fields

of early morning English country side;

we discuss cricket or the government –

“frightfully so …

“rather, shall we say, common …

hey! hey!

stop the wheels before we go out of control

I’ve never been this close to that home

till now, & I hope, maybe, somehow

the clouds will have lifted by the time

I step, spanking-new, over-night, into there

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5

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hush … can you feel the man sounds

sailing on wailing baby cries 

it tries out the reveal cause

of the never ready bed charmer

now pacing softly the thickest floors

to the hum of distant music

floating unsure from Welsh hill

<>

Oct73

1 – I was visiting a friend in Halifax when I wrote this first section. I went there to see him & also to buy music that didn’t exist in the Sydney record store. One of the albums was of electronic/experimental music by the likes of Pauline Oliveros – yes even then I was pretentious enough to like the real thing 🙂 The music pulsed like wings flapping. My friend’s cat jumped up to the window ledge to confront the pigeons in the balcony but there were none there.

‘the thinnest edge’ is how one can leap to the wrong conclusion & get caught trying to figure out how to get back to solid ground. I’ve always had a ‘fear’ of balconies.

2 – I always write to music. These were the days of manual typewriters, when working on a manuscript could be retyping a whole page to correct a single typo. I was an okay typist & loved the sound in my workroom of the click of keys, the tempo of the pounding. Then I could never type fast enough to capture what I was thinking. 

I think the music I was more fascinated by was Santana’s Abraxas – chasing a thousand tiny percussionists with my keyboard. I was also digging Weather Report, Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew. Writing as fast I could before I flew to pieces.

3 – The old wrinkles are typos, edits, rewriting, re-sequencing the verses in a poem. I was also writing a novel at the time so energy was flowing in several directions. ‘creaking bones’ echoes ‘skin & bones’ from an earlier poem. The final verse is a direct reference to Dylan Thomas’s “In my Craft or Sullen Art.” Though at this time I had no lover to drift into.

4 – The Welsh connection continues in this section. This sense of of my heritage doesn’t appear in the chapbook until now. There is a feeling of the east coast, of Cape Breton, that is present in some of the pieces but here I am relishing, or it is wallowing, in my own roots.

After traversing Egypt, Japan, Africa & am brought back to my ‘toss-up time’ & my own origins. The workshops at UNB were acknowledgements of me as a writer – the ‘toss-up’ was the decision of what to do with my expectations of being taken seriously. Was it to dream of this romantic ‘velvet window seat’ success or something more realistic?

5 – a reprise, with variations, of the first part of this poem. ‘cat music’ becomes ‘ man sounds.’ ‘bed charmer’ echoes ‘bed-ridden’ from The Last Waltz  to give the whole book as sense of completion. The first piece in the collection invites you to ‘set sail on my body’ – this last verse asks you to ‘hear the man sounds/ sailing off wailing baby cries.’ The book progresses from that boy to this man. I hope you enjoyed the journey.

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 

Picture Perfect 34

Picture Perfect 34

David Dell was waiting for them at reception when they went into his office.

“Nice to see you, Daniel.” 

“Good to half-see you, David. You remember Sanjay?”

“Oh, yes, of course. Come into my office.”

Dan always liked the comfy client chairs at Dell and Strong. He wished his Depot office was large enough for them.

“What can I do for you?” Dell asked once he was seated.

“I’ll let Sanjay tell you.”

Sanjay explained about the partnership deal, the money needed and what Sylvan brought to the deal as well.

“Half-a-million isn’t an insubstantial amount.” Dell leaned back in his chair. “So, Daniel, were you considering this as a personal loan or as an investment by James Photo.”

“Basically, I want to know if I was in a position to make this sort of capital outlay.”

“Let me check your records.” He pulled up a some files on his computer. “Oh!”

“What is it?” Daniel asked.

“First as a personal … investment. You might swing it with your house as collateral. You’ve done a fair amount work on over the last couple of years and your area is doing exceptionally well on the housing market.”

“Good.”

“But as James Photo, because of the way the corporation is set up, for such a substantial amount you would need all three of the partners to sign off on it. Even then, until the other deal is fulfilled that wouldn’t be possible.”

“Other deal?” Daniel asked.

“The one with Cuppa’s. Your sister obtained a line of credit for twenty hundred for that.”

“Two hundred thousand?” Daniel asked.

“Yes. Surely she told you how much, when you signed off on it?”

“No, she didn’t. Do you have the agreement so I can refresh my memory.”

David went to the door. “Deena can you bring me the James Family Photo file.” He waited at the door until she returned with them. “Thank you.”

He opened the folder, quickly flipped to a document and turned so it faced Dan.

“You see there’s the amount.” He flipped it to the last page. “There’s your signature. Right under your mother’s.”

He looked at Sanjay. “I’ve never seen this document before.”

“That’s a very serious allegation Daniel.” David said. 

Dan’s mind was reeling. He rubbed at the pain around his eyes. “What’s the date on it?” he asked but he didn’t hear the answer.

“I’m sorry. I’m not feeling so well.” He mumbled. “I need some fresh air.”

Sanjay steadied him as he stood.

He took a couple of deep breaths. “I may be mistaken. I do recall co-signing some contracts for Linda at about that time. Let me speak with her. I’ll be back later in the week, with her, if needed.”

“Of course Mr. James. What about the other matter.”

“Now that I know where I stand financially Sanjay and I have some things to discuss.”

“Thank you Mr Dell.” Sanjay shook David’s hand.

They went out to the car. “I will drive.”

“Not yet. I have to walk and breathe. You wait here.”

Linda wouldn’t forge his signature on a document. He must have signed it and forgotten or not realized it when he was signing the FairVista invoices. Surely she didn’t forge his approval. After all he was a documents specialist. He could find out if it was his signature. Then what? Press charges?

He went back to the car and got in.

“Are you alright?” Sanjay put his hand on Dan’s and squeezed it gently.

“I think so. It’s pretty clear though that with the house I might be able swing a mortgage for you. I’m not sure I want to do that though.”

“I understand. I didn’t realize your business was so complex.”

They drove home in silence. 

“I’m going to hit the sack.” Dan said. “My head is throbbing.”

“Should I give you a massage. That will help you sleep. Align your chakras for clearer thinking?”

“Tempting but no thanks. I won’t be up for much longer once I take a couple of pain killers.”

“There is always tomorrow.” He kissed Dan long and hard. “Now you relax for awhile while I get washed up. I’ll be in to tuck you in about ten minutes.”

Dan plodded up the stairs. What sort of scheme was Linda trying to pull anyway. It wasn’t as if he would have not signed on if she had approached him. They both had a talent for getting their way with the other. The thought of even confronting her about this made him sick to his stomach.

He took his clothes off and and sat on the edge of the bed. The air was cool and he shivered. What he wanted was Sanjay’s hands to warm him up. To take all this worry and pain. Mortgage the house?

He stretched out with his hands behind his head.

Sanjay came into the room.

“I was trying to figure out who these belong to?” He flipped a pair of underwear at Dan. 

They slipped off his chest and fell to the floor.

“Must be mine.” Dan groped for them.

“Neither of us owns Aussie Bums.” Sanjay said. “Unless you’ve been shopping while I was gone.”

Fuck they must be Peter’s!

“Maybe someone named Hamid does though.” Sanjay went to the guest bedroom and shut the door.

The next day Dan was getting to leave the house for his appointment at the eye clinic. His pain meds and sleeping pill had overrode the stress of the previous day. His mind was cluttered with various scripts where he said this and did that and Sanjay or Linda or Curtis would nod and back down slightly crestfallen and fully apologetic. He knew that talk often never leads to a solution and that the less he said would give people the rope they needed to hang themselves.

Sanjay was on the phone when he came down to the kitchen. Dan poured himself a cup of coffee.

Sanjay ended his call. “Mother is very excited about the anniversary and my visit. She sends her regards.”

“Fifty years is an achievement.” Dan said.

“Quite right. Sleep well?”

“As well as my meds allowed. You?”

“What do you think?” Sanjay sat at the kitchen table. “I was restless thinking of what has to change, between us.”

“Did you come up with anything other than these mixed signals.”

“How can you be so .. so … placid? I’m disappointed that you turned out to be like so many gay guys. Sleeping around at the drop of a hat.”

“He wasn’t wearing a hat.” Dan wasn’t going to be baited into defending his actions. “I was.”

“It isn’t that funny. To me.”

“It isn’t to me either but I did what I did. I’d probably do it again, whether we were married or not.”

“Don’t start in on your assimilationist bullshit. It’s just an excuse to to act out. It’s pathetic.”

“No more pathetic than your judgmental condescension.”

“Whatever.” Sanjay sighed sadly. “I hope you wore protection.”

“We didn’t go that far. And by the way, it wasn’t Hamid. One Desi at a time is more than enough for me.”

“I know it wasn’t some Desi guy.”

“Oh? Aussie Bum not Punjabi style.”

“Dan, you aren’t the only one who knows how to check the video security logs.”

“You did that?”


“I couldn’t sleep. I had to know who it was. I came down and went through them. A little young for you and rather pale too.”

“Yes to both. We never did discuss the age gap.”

“His face wasn’t on camera long enough for me recognize him.”

“It doesn’t matter who.”

“Must have been someone you knew. Maybe tricked with before.”

“You sound pretty sure of that.”

“You’d never bring a stranger back to the house. You’re too paranoid for that, I know you. So it had to be someone you were familiar with. I’d’ve guessed Silver’s assistant but he isn’t as tall as this guy. ”

“You’ve been watching too much CSI.”

“But,” Sanjay took the underwear out his back pocket and smelled it. “By the aroma of sweat and caffeine I’d guess someone who works in a coffee shop.”

Dan grabbed the undies from Sanjay. “What’s the point of this? You’re trying to turn this into some you-betrayed-me scene and that isn’t going to happen. So I had sex with someone. Here in the house.”

“In our bed?”

“Sanjay get over it. I haven’t ‘tricked’ as you called it, with another man for years, not once you moved in here.”

“Oh, so for the first couple years you were getting your dick wet whenever you could?”

“No more than you were!”

“Me.”

“When did you stop seeing Harold? Before or after you moved in here?”

“Harold was … well, he wasn’t some teenage trick. You knew about him when we met.”

“Not that you were still fucking him”

“It’s that kid at the Carafe.” Sanjay snapped his fingers. “I thought he looked familiar.”

“So it is.” Dan took off his house slippers and put on his runners.

“You are old enough to be his father.”

Dan went to the hall to make sure he had what he’d need for the day in his shoulder bag. “Should I take my iPad?”

“I don’t care. We were …”

“No. You were …. whatever. I have to get a move on. I should be home for supper. You’ll be here?”

“How can you be cold?” Sanjay asked.

“Frankly, Sanjay either you’ll stay or you’ll go. Or do you just want another chance to line up my chakras for a mortgage?”

<>

He caught the Queen streetcar. One down and two to go, Dan thought. Confronting Linda could wait till his regular Friday at FairVista. He texted Dell and Strong that he would drop in to re-read the Cuppa contract. He texted Curtis next to find out what progress there was on the cold case project. Funny how having one eye forces you focus on one thing at a time. Fewer distractions.

He got off at University and walked up to the the clinic. Dr. Grey was pleased with his progress and suggested he could use the eye for short periods of time as long as he kept it away from bight lights or glare.

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Picture Perfect 33

In the morning he called Dell and Strong to follow up on his email. He was able to get an appointment to see one of them at 3. If Sanjay was serious about this partnership Dan wanted to make sure it was feasible.

A courier came to the door with the proposal from Baxter. He flipped through it. Eye See would entail a six episode arc of one hour shows, each devoted a one of the missing children, and one to review all the findings. He was to examine documents and photographs while he interviewed members of each of the families. 

The shoot would start in late June or early July too take advantage of the ‘scenic’ locations and possibly attract some provincial tourism investments.  There was an initial itinerary of dates, locations that they would be following once they secured consent from all the families. They could shoot around lack of consent by reexamining newspaper clippings of the time and local people’s memories.

Dan sorted through the papers looking for a contract of some sort but there was none. What good was a proposal if it didn’t say how much they were offering to pay him? 

He looked in the envelope and there was one last page that got gotten stuck. It was a handwritten letter from Curtis.

“Dan –

Here is the basic package. Financial details to follow. Perhaps you would interested in a co-production and end up with more than just the standard ACTRA fees.

Let me know what you think

Curtis.”

What were standard ACTRA fees? Crap he was going to need a show biz lawyer to guide him through this shit.

His cell rang.

“Hi babe.” It was Sanjay. “I’m should be home in about an hour. Had to stop for a coffee.”

“Great! I’ll be here with eye patches on.”

“Nothing more?”

“You’ll find that out when you get here.”

“Tease. Bye.”

That meant Sanjay would be home by noon. They’d have a couple of hours to discuss the restaurant proposal and even a make out session. No, this wasn’t to be that sort of reunion. The memory of Peter’s glowing butt cheeks got him hard.

He cleared up the food containers that he’d let pile up over the week. He washed the dishes he’d been neglecting. The flowers Curtis had sent were still where he had put them. They could go into the composter. The vase he tossed into the trash. Not worth saving or explaining.

He put his bedding and damp towels into the washing machine. He didn’t want to risk any olfactory evidence of his play with Peter. Clean sheets on to the bed – clean towels in the bathroom. Tidy enough but not too neat either. 

His cell rang. Call display told him it was Curtis.

“Did you read the proposal?” 

“Yes.”

“What do you think of the title Eye See?”

“I hope it’s a working title. You avoided the important issue.”

“You want your name above the credits? Daniel James’s Eye See? That’s co-pro territory.”

“Threatening to make me a household name isn’t going to get you anywhere. Direct answers will.”

“I can’t help it. I get juiced by new ideas and project and get ahead of myself. My brain thinks faster than …”

“Logic? Practicality?”

“Something like that. But what do you think of the concept, the time line.”

“It sounds doable. I’m not sure I want to spend that much time away from my business though.”

“You won’t have to. It’s easy enough to fly in for each of the shoots themselves. They won’t take more than a day each out of your time. The crew will do the other stuff like location shots and prepping the next location.”

“So that means what? Six days of shoots.”

“That’s right plus whatever we need to do here in Toronto. That shouldn’t take more than another day.”

Dan remained silent.

“You’ll to be paid for whatever research you do.”

“Dan remained silent.

“At your usual rate.”

“What is the ACTRA rate?”

“It varies for hosts, but we’ll offer $2000. for each episode. We’ll be paying for flights, hotels that sort of thing.”

“I’ll want all that in writing. With actual figures.”

“Of course. I’m seeing the Quintex people this afternoon. If you came along it would make it a perfect pitch.”

“I can’t. I already have another commitment.”

“How’s the eye? I’m so, so sorry about all that.”

“I’m recovering. I should be able to play the piano again soon.”

“What?”

“A little joke. I’ll be back to work at the Depot tomorrow or Wednesday.” He almost added ‘I only believe about ten percent of what you tell me Mr. Baxter.’ But opted to keep his doubts to himself. 

“Okay. We’ll talk soon. Bye.”

As he shut off his phone he heard Sanjay pulling into the garage.

“You made good time.” He said as Sanjay came into the kitchen.

“To you perhaps, but I thought I would never get here. Not as bad as driving in Kolkata but still not pleasant. How is this?” He gently touched Dan’s cheek.

“Improved. No real pain anymore. Sore. Only hurts when I look.”

“It is nothing to joke about.”

“If it had been worse I might not be joking.”

They clasped each other, kissing and running their hands over each others backs and butts until Dan pushed away.

“No handy busboys for you in Bobcaygeon?”

“Too early in the season for tender college boys. Besides you know I like them well-seasoned and mature.” Sanjay was pulling Dan’s tee shirt up.

“Slow down.” Dan disengaged. “We have important things to discuss.”

“That can wait.” Sanjay grappled with him again.

“You always use sex to divert my attention.” Dan was glad that after his encounter with Peter his need for sex had been dampened. “Beside the pain meds sort of make me … you know.” He glanced down at his crotch. “I want to to be good for both of us.”

“They better wear off before tonight.” Sanjay grinned. “Or I can’t promise to maintain my restraint.”

“Flattery will get you nowhere. We have an appointment with Dell this afternoon. Before making any decisions about your partnership opportunity we should see where we actually stand financially.”

“So you are seriously considering it? I wasn’t sure you would.”

“When did Sylvan spring it on you?”
They went to the living room and sat on the couch.

“He’d hinted at it a few time but when I mentioned to him that I was considering a move back to India be with my family he wanted to know if I was unhappy with my work here. It came around to him asking if I wanted in on the businesses. He plans to continuing expanding and it made sense to him to have his star chef as more than an employee.”

“It’s about time he realized how important you are.”

“I’d rather be that important to you.” Sanjay got up from the couch and went to the kitchen.

Dan followed him. “Look, I’m willing to help if I can afford it.”

“If you want it/ you’ll knot it.” Sanjay sang.

“Not knot it again. Or are you just after me for my money?”

“You’re joking?” 

“Of course.”

“Good.” Sanjay put away the dishes Dan had left to air dry. “You don’t look like you’ve been going hungry.”

“Just because I don’t cook doesn’t mean I don’t know how to use a telephone. Linda sent a care package over to me. Lots of KFC. I know you can’t abide that in the house.”

“I thought I smelled a deep fried rat when I came in.”

“Of course she didn’t deign to deliver it personally so she sent it over with Hamid.”

“Hamid?”

“He works for Linda. I think is last name is Ranj … Randapati?”

“Ranjit?”

“Could be. He says it so fast I don’t want to make him repeat it. A northerner. I could tell by his accent. Not at all like yours.”

“You know a lot about him. Did he serve you more than food?”

“No! I doubt if his jalebi would be as good as yours.”

“What time did you say we were meeting Dell.”

“Three.” Dan looked at his phone. “We better get going. I’ll drive.”

“After that drive home I was hoping you would.”

“So how was the opening?” Dan asked once he got the car into traffic.

“Excellent but tiring. Sylvan asked all the local millionaires to come and rub elbows with some Toronto glitterati. It was like a one of those Tift movie openings. Actors you almost recognize meeting people whose names were once in the news all wanting to be seen with the people whose names and face you knew.”

“You get some autographs?”

“Not from this crowd. Trust me if it weren’t free they wouldn’t have been there. But there were people from Michelin. Sylvan wants another star and will probably get it.”

“Great.”

“Now tell me more about this Hamid.”

“I can’t really tell you much. He lost family in some uprising. He might be from somewhere around … Gurdaspur?”

“Then his name might not be Ranjit.”

“Why would you say that?”

“Some areas aren’t know for their good reputations.”

“All the more reason for him not to want to be there.”

“Those northern guys are notorious lungi lifters.”

“Lungi lifter?”

“Yes. Sleep with anything if the cash is right.”

“He seems genuine enough. Linda trusts him.”

“My point exactly.”

“Are you actually jealous?” Dan parked the car.

“Should I be?” Sanjay said shutting his door.

“Not of Hamid.” Dan kissed him quickly. Maybe of Peter, he thought.

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Woodstock Degeneration

Fifty-two years ago Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play – actually it was fifty-two years ago this past weekend that Woodstock became a cultural milestone – or was the milestone forged when the film was released? Whatever it did happen & now it serves as a landmark marketed as a product safe for everyone – it’s no long revolutionary or even cautionary. The music itself is mainstream nostalgia.

I have some of the cd releases that get progressively more encompassing to the point where they now include every announcement from the stage – I’m waiting for a cd set devoted to the helicopters landing. I have in my music collection the original lps release plus the full sets by Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix. I’ve even searched out cds by bands that played but that didn’t get recorded – Quill anyone? The live music overall suffers from uneven sound quality & at times bad miking – Hendrix’s set lacks the horn section which is clearly on stage playing with him. It has been mixed right out.

I’ve seen the film, the sequel, the collected bit that didn’t make it to the first two. Currently watching, for the 2nd time: ‘Woodstock: Three days that defined a generation’, an American Experience documentary (one of many) of people recollections about the festival: residents of Woodstock, the organizers, attendees, even some of the performers. 

I’ve read about it, heard about it from people who claim to have been there. One thing that is clear is that peace love was almost entirely a white heterosexual moment. The only openly queer person to appear on stage was the poet Alan Ginsberg. All the cuddling kissing couples in crowd shots are male/female pairs. I guess being hippies was bad enough they didn’t want the burden of real sexual openness. They might be counterculture but they weren’t degenerates.

I mention this because of the importance of representation. Were there lgbtq people at Woodstock? There must have been but they have mostly been erased. Free love was clearly not to be tainted by politically messy same-sex crap. There is one exception, that I know of – Taking Woodstock a 2009 film about the Woodstock Festival, directed by Ang Lee, based on the memoir Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life by Elliot Tiber and Tom Monte. 

Did Woodstock define a generation? If it did it’s a very narrow definition & an even narrower generation. I heard about it in Cape Breton, I read about it in Rolling Stone, Time magazine. I may have seen some TV new coverage but there was no real political groundswell that lead to social change. Now it’s pledge fodder for PBS.

I’ll Scratch Yours

<>

it’s hard to accept 

that enough is never enough

I can scratch an itch

then minutes later 

need to scratch again

to get what I want 

leads to wanting more

if one-on-one is great 

a threesome is impossible to resist

<>

I’m a guy who can say no

but when I deny myself

I long to be praised

for not over indulging

on my way to sainthood 

when I want to gorge myself

the smug satisfaction of drawing a line

and sticking to it isn’t as rewarding 

as giving in one more time

<>

could be it that scratch

is not the solution to itch

should I try that zen approach

when the itch is ready 

the finger will appear

if only all it took was a finger

can I learn to live with that itch

for another cd another man in the sack

better car bigger house

whiter teeth faster downloads

snappier sneakers flashier T-shirts 

all calling  scratch me now

or forever regret all the opportunities 

missed by resisting

<>

even when I look away

I sense those glittering beacons

just out of reach

straining teasing demeaning me

till I’m on my knees

too weak to do anything 

except beg for some relief

<>

to live with hunger

goes against our get-it-now culture

admitting that I don’t really want to scratch

is met with disbelief

what’s wrong with me

I gotta get with the program

whatever the fuck that is

but how do I get rid of the itch

<>

isn’t there a way to feel free

be comfortable in my own skin

without the need to satisfy some urge

is this need to be free

just another in the long list of itches

<>

scratch my back

I’ll scratch yours

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sweet, eh? 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 

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 

Picture Perfect 24

Dan was surprised that Sanjay did go to Kevin McLeod’s engagement fundraiser. The lineup outside was being entertained by clowns juggling on unicycles. Mario Delucia, Kevin’s manager/partner, dressed as an aerialist in pale pink tights, with sequins sown in a scattered pattern that caught the light, was greeting people as they came in and handing each of them a cd of Kevin’s new single.

“Dan so glad you could make it.” He gave Dan a CD. “And this is the Sanjay Kumar. A real power couple. Crime and cream pies. There’s a TV show plot for you right there.”

He turned to the next guests coming in. 

As they made their way in and up the stairs they saw many people they knew who greeted them. Hugged, kissed, asked how they were doing, then busily went to the next people they half-knew as well.

Dan took a couple of glasses from a waiter. Handed one to Sanjay.

“Impressive.” Dan said.

“Yes, if you like glib.” Sanjay sipped his wine and wrinkled his nose. He looked for a place to put his plastic glass down.

“”You were supposed to call me back?” Cyrtys Baxter barrelled through a clump of people. 

“I’ve been busy. Sanjay this is Cyrtys Baxter. He called the other night.”

“Pleased to meet you. Look there’s Tracy from Zephyr. I’ll go see if they need a hand.” He kissed Dan quickly on the mouth and went.

“Very handsome.” Cyrtys watched Sanjay leave. “You like them a bit on the thick side I see.”

“You know Kevin McLeod?”

“Not at all. We’ve met a few times but this is the event of the season. Why thank you.” He accepted a balloon animal from a clown. “Looks like cock to me.” He laughed. “You pose for this?” He asked the clown.

The clown disappeared back into the crowd.

“You know Kevin?”

“I worked on a couple of his videos. Post production stuff mostly. Some green screen.”

“You’re a man of many talents. I was expecting you to return my calls though. Even during business hours.”

“Sorry, I was caught up in work. It was interesting to meet John Kilpatrick though. He’s an excellent host for the show. Didn’t sound like he was leaving the show.”

“Look, Daniel I didn’t mean to mislead you, honestly. But he was talking about wanting more money, about having another offer but that offer fell through and we’re stuck with him for another season. Contract you know.”

“So what did you want to talk to me about.” Dan accepted another drink from a waiter and some canapés.

“We want to do a more complete follow up to the east coast case. Possibly a mini-series looking only at that one case. I’ve seen the footage Stephanie shot with you and the camera loves you.”

“I know how to find my light.”

“Mr. James you have to learn how to take a compliment.”

“Mr. Baxter you do realize some of us can tell the difference between flattery and a compliment.”

His reply was cut off when a young girl jumped at them with a flash camera. She took three quick photos before taking the camera away from her face.

“Moxy Moxham. Girl reporter!” She did a quick curtsey. “And I do believe I just caught Mr. and Mr. James in polite conversation at this prestigious event.”

“Sorry to disappoint ya’kiddo,” Dan tried a 30’s news editor voice, “but no dice on the Mr. & Mr. angle.”

“Oh,” she was crest fallen.

While he did introductions he looked around the room. “Is your Dad here, too?”

“Over there somewhere. Oh look there’s Lady GaGa! I got to get pictures of this. She’s dressed like a normal person!” Ashely pushed her way into the crowd shouting. “Make way! Make way. Press.”

“What a handful.” Cyrtys shook his head. “Ever wish you had children?”


“Not at all. Sanjay is often enough.”

“I am serious though about …”

“Cyrtys I’m not here to discuss business, Really. I came as a friend of the grooms. Come to my office Monday and we can discuss whatever it is your are trying to pitch.”

“At two-fifty an hour?”

“That’s only if you have a camera on me.”

“Daniel James!” Jeremy Moxham appeared out of the crowd. “Ashley said you were here. I suppose this is your …”

“Let’s not go there. This is Cyrtys, with two y’s, Baxter, of Quintex – is it studios, films?”

“Films.” Jeremy answered. “Yes, I’m familiar with Mr. Baxter’s work.” Jeremy shook his hand. “Jeremy Moxham.”

“Of … TevTec?” Cyrtys asked

“Yes. If you don’t mind I’d like to have a word with Mr. James.”

“Certainly, sir.” Cyrtys walked away.

“What was that all about?” Dan asked.

“Just wanted to rescue you from his grip.”

“TevTec?”


“A subsidiary of mine that is involved with Quintex. It’s one of those tiny logos you see at the end of a TV show. That is if you watch the credits at all.”

“Sometimes. But never the fine print.”

“Your other half here?” Jeremy peered around the room. “Ah, yes, managing the dessert station. You’ve trained him well.”

“Your other half here?” Dan asked. He struggled to keep up the appearance that he and Sanjay were the model couple. 

“Jane? No. We’ve been separated for several years. If it weren’t for Ashley I probably would have forgotten her name by now.”

“Did someone mention my name? Smile.” Ashley popped up in front of them. “Moxy Moxham girl reporter catches the wealthy Jeremy Moxham with the debonaire Daniel James in an intimate moment at the 519.”

“Intimate!” Her dad laughed. “With this bunch of clowns?”

“Oh Dad!” she laughed.

There was a tuba and bass drum fanfare as two clowns pushed the crowd aside to allow Kevin and Stewart to enter. They followed the couple to a stage at the end of the room.

“I’d like to thank everyone who came tonight.” Kevin said. “We’ve raised over $500,000 for the 519.”

He was drowned out by the applause of the crowd.

“But even more important.” He continued as they quieted down. “I’m pleased to officially announce my marriage to Stewart O’Connor after this year’s Pride Parade.”

“Where?” Someone shouted from he crowd. “Queen’s park?”

The crowd response rattled the chandeliers.

“There’ll more people lined up for our wedding than any royal wedding.” Kevin reached for his guitar. “Here’s a little something I wrote for my … I wish I could say my two husbands but that isn’t legal yet. You want it, you knot it, you knot it, you got it.” He started to sing.

It was nearly one when Daniel and Sanjay got back to their house.

“Thank God that’s over.” Sanjay said as he turned on the kitchen light

“It wasn’t that bad, was it?” Dan open a bottle of water. “As always it was too much booze though and not enough water.”

“You didn’t waste much time.”

“How’s that?”

“I saw you flirting with that hot black guy.”

“That was Cyrtys Baxter from Unsolved Cold. It definitely wasn’t me flirting.”

“Maybe not you, but he had his eye on you all night. Then daggers after your other friend showed up. That his daughter?”

“Yes. Ashley Moxham. Daughter of …”

“Jeremy Moxham. Yes I do read the papers. He certainly doesn’t need his pictures touched up.”

“I thought you were overseeing the desserts. Or are you jealous?”

“I hadn’t … I don’t want you rebounding.” Sanjay took some cold chicken out of the refrigerator.

“I’m not looking, if that’s what you are getting at.  It hasn’t been a week yet. I was there. They were there. We were there. Perhaps you saw me kissing the grooms.”

“I kissed the grooms and their best man. Now he’s a looker.”

“Mario?” Dan took a chicken leg and began eating it. 

“Oh yeah.”

“I hate to tell you but he’s taken. It’s a triad. As Kevin explained, three person weddings aren’t legal yet but we’re working on it.”

“Triad?”

“Yep. As I understand it they live together, sleep together, though I don’t know if it’s one big bed.”

“I suppose the three will honeymoon together too.” Sanjay wiped his hands clean. “Maybe we should have a break-up party so neither of us have to work at keeping up appearances.”

“Appearances?”

“Of us as the happy couple.” Sanjay leaned against the kitchen counter.

“It doesn’t matter to me who knows or how they find out.”

“Very adult of you. How many people did you break the break-up news to tonight? Baxter? Moxham?”

“Sanj you know I was happy with you, with us, as we were.”

“So you say, but you don’t seem to care much that it may come to an end.”

“You made it all pretty clear already. The fact that I’m not broadcasting it means … May?”

“You know what it’ll take. I’ve made that very clear. You want it, you knot it, you knot it, you got it.” Sanjay sang the chorus from Kevin’s song.

“See you in the morning.”

Dan started to undress as he went up to his room. When did I start thinking of it as ‘my room’ instead of ‘our room.’ I guess I made that transition to sort-of-single easier that I expected to. Things were so ordinary a month ago and now every time I turn around there seems to be something else to deal with. At least there isn’t a new RCMP case to add to what’s going on.

He change into his bed shorts and pulled the covers around his shoulders. The bed was warmer with Sanjay in it though. I do miss that. I guess I’m human after all. What kinds of gifts would people bring to a break-up party? Or would we give away things that we had given to each other. Thanks for the memories. 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International LicenseHey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees 

 sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Kitchen Kitch

Over the basement door & the door to the dining-room I these two pairs of plaster ‘ornaments’ that I bought in the early 2000’s at a street sale on my street. This was an annual event early in July – will it happen this year? I doubt it as interest in it has declined over the years to the point where only a few house drag stuff out. At one time it was almost a real flea-market with tables of brass, dvd’s, & the like.

I did have stuff, back in the day, & sold off lots of lps, useless nick-knacks, even books. With so much covid purging the past few months I’ve seen possible street sale stuff dragged to the curb to take away or trash so I doubt if there’ll much even if there is a street sale.

Any way I bought these, now of dubious political-correctness, orientalist hangings. Hand-painted, with a couple of chips, there when purchased. Very 50’s, early 60’s feel to them that I love. the perfect size for over a doorway. I resisted a set of grapes & also a set of daises. They lacked the true kitch these have.

By the basement door is this poster on a board. It was an unexpected bonus when I bought the newly-released, expanded, collectors’ edition of The Return of The King at Sam’s or maybe it was HMV. I had picked it pop for my partner who was is TGH at the time for heart issues. As it was unexpected I had to cart it there & then home on the subway.

By the window is my orange tree (now outside for the summer). It was started from a seed that had sprouted in the orange. I planted it & it actually grew. Full spectrum grow light over it. Beside it, against the wall, is ‘Sober-Up.’ Enamelled metal, 30’s style advertising – that maybe be for a real product. It was part of a friend’s estate – when he passed I got to chose a few items & this seemed like a clear choice.

Finally another yard-sale purchase – an egg chicken. Every kitchen needs a chicken. You life the top off & store eggs in the body. I’ve never used it to store anything mind you but I love it. Hand painted with a bit of a 30’s retro about it at the same time. I doubt if it is a period piece though. I also doubt if people keep eggs outside of the fridge either. 

Aphrodisiac

I know you’re sore

after that gal you’d been hitting on

walked out on you 

after three drinks

how the last two chicks you dated

dumped you via text message

one of them still won’t return your calls

how they turn into such selfish bitches

but just because I’m a clean old queer

doesn’t mean I have any interest 

in your macho macho meat

the fact that you’re straight 

just ain’t my aphrodisiac

<>

you may think I’m one of those 

predatory homos you are sure 

are always lurking around

hungry for any straight guy 

to fall into my eager mouth

well honey 

you are in a dream world

the fact that I checked out our jeans

was because 

I was wondering where you got them

<>

you know in this light 

you are sort of cute

and kind of sweetly drunk

but I’m not drunk enough

so why don’t you find your buds 

you aren’t getting anything here

‘cause if them nasty hos

you always seem to end up with

aren’t interested I’m certainly not

the fact that you’re straight 

just ain’t my aphrodisiac mac

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 

Ordinary Dress

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Ordinary Dress

I’m looking at dresses

skirts

something for me

but it’s all too fem

I wonder

why is fem a bad thing

there was a time when

nothing was too fem for a man to wear

all those portraits of men 

in wild oceans of lace

satin

brocaded jackets

did they dress like that

hanging around their homes

what did they wear

when they weren’t posing

do I want a dress

to pose

do I need something practical

utilitarian

genderless

I’m looking at vintage photos 

of men going fishing

they’re wearing shirts & ties

shirts & ties to the beach

on picnics with the family

working on the roof

I can’t remember 

the last time I wore

a shirt & tie

I’ve never worn a dress or a skirt

I don’t want to make a statement

but that is impossible

if I showed up

in acceptable formal

Henry VIII court wear

it would be a costume

how many times 

would I have to dress that way

for it to be as ordinary

as a shirt & tie

would a dress on me

ever be as ordinary

as a shirt & tie

is ordinary a bad thing

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 

Wrestling With Connection

Week 7 on The Artist’s Way is about connection to creativity – as opposed to our connection with others. One of things that hampers that creative connection is perfectionism. I have a writing friend who has been perfecting the same thirty page opening to his novel for some ten years now. It has to be perfect so he can send it to an agent etc. He no longer asks me for advice 🙂 I stopped that by telling him it would cost $100 an hour for a minimum of three hours before I would be willing to look at his work-in-progress.

There is a section on risk – the willingness to try & not succeed as we envisioned. For me this is part of the process of letting go of expectations, of control. In recovery they say you plan the plans but the results are in the universe’s hands. I’ve painted rooms one colour only to have the paint dry in a different one 🙂

As with the Ways chapters so far there some sifting through the past for missed opportunities & for good turning points. In my covid house-cleaning frenzy I’ve unearthed old note books, old rough drafts, old photographs. Those photos reconnected me with where I was in my early 20’s, long before I moved to Toronto. I’ve also been reading Old Trout Funnies – an excellent book about a comic book series by Paul  ‘Moose’ MacKinnon that was first issued while I was living in Cape Breton. (https://www.facebook.com/OldTroutFunnies).

Moose was one of my drinking crowd & he included real people (some of whom I knew) in the comics & calendars. In one issue there is even a plug (page 70) for my poetry book ‘Distant Music’ which had been published at the time. So there was actual creative support for me in that community at that time.

 

One of the tasks was to wear a favourite item of clothing for no special reason. All my clothes are favourites, so what I did was to pick some things I rarely wear but save for intimate encounters 🙂 Namely some wrestling singlets & some revealing undies I bought a few years ago. Very snug but also very sexy. Photos “fansonly” 🙂

My Underwear

it seems the best way 

to put out the fire

in your heart

was to run over to a bar

drink till there was 

only a stumble of drunks 

to deal with

there was no way out of it

except to break the windows

push your grandma down the stairs

so what if there weren’t 

any stairs in our apartment

you still get the picture

 

yeah I know

drawing it in crayons

all over the hall to our place

wasn’t a great idea

but you have to admit

it caught the lighting of the fire

without using up all the reds

only the blues

the blues you give everyone

who is lucky enough

to catch you on your balcony

ready to jump

don’t do it

or if you have to 

wait till I get back with coffee

I have to be careful 

the contents may be hot

but wet will always 

put out the flame

it makes no difference to me 

what burns you out of my system

hot coffee or direct flame

 

maybe tossing all your undies 

in the shredder was a bit much

but it seems the only way 

to keep you out of them

to keep you fresh

ready and pliant

not that you wore them 

that often anyway

going commando

wasn’t a rare event

bare-assed at McDonalds

where did you park those buns

yeah not so funny

does it look like I’m laughing

all the way home

to the shadowed moment 

when there once was a dart of hope

now just a bunch 

of empty coat hangers

in a clump 

I can’t pull apart

hangers that once held

everything you ever wore

around the house

out in the street

 

yeah I’m a total liar

I never picked up a drink 

because of you

that isn’t going to happen

wasn’t even tempted

you took something out of my life 

but you left behind 

more that you took

I don’t need to breath 

it’s all up to you now

as if it alway wasn’t

 

I can’t get over

the number of times

I wanted to paint the hall way

that I wanted to use 

your tooth brush to clean 

the coffee machine

so I wouldn’t have to go out 

for a fresh cup to dump 

in your laugh

because I’m sure 

that behind closed eyes

you are smirking like a tried urinal

knowing that you pissed 

me off one too many times

 

you know

if you were here now

I’d probably take you back

but still wouldn’t trust you 

as far as you could throw 

my underwear

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

paypal.me/TOpoet