Ashby Days 1


I don’t recall the actual move from Cottage Road to our house on Royal Avenue. Maybe I was away at summer camp (that’s a whole blog post in itself). My Dad was tired of renting & was ready to build a family. The neighbourhood was working class Catholic. St Teresa’s Church down the street from us plus a Convent. My new school was Ashby School that went from kindergarten to grade VII.

Much large than Colby. I cannot remember a name of a single teacher though. We did have ‘visiting’ teachers who went from school to school teaching things like music, French, even mathematics. I missed my Cottage Road friends though & would visit them frequently. I did gradually make some nearby buddies.

Ashby School was a short walk from our house. Shorter if one cut through a field & a laneway. We would go through people’s yards often even though we were warned often not to trespass. There were older guys at this school so there was spot where they hung out to smoke. Some girls had reputations for putting out. My first ‘sex’ ed happened in the school yard here. 

Also some of my initial boy-to-boy contact happened about this time too. Very innocent looking, touching. One boy bragged about getting pubic hair & showed us. As a blond, what body hair I had was invisible, so I had nothing to show. I hadn’t hit my puberty growth spurt yet either & I remained under 5’5 until I left high-school.

I was always hounded by teachers & my parents for being lazy & not living up to my potential. I was an indifferent student getting average grades. Recess is a blur of tag, bullies & learning to swear. The school yard had a fair hill along Howie St so there was sledding in the winter.

One of my formative lessons in ‘talent’ was learned here. There was an annual city wide art contest that we were all encouraged to enter. There would be a ‘gallery’ in the school & the more realistic the picture were the better they were placed in the show. I was a colour & shape kid so always ended up being on the last row.

Lost in The Forest

I dig in my back yard

not a farmer tilling soil

to replenish the food supply

nor a picky gardener

putting the exact right plant

into the perfect alkaline soil 

for maximum growth

 

I dig

and shove in whatever 

selective only as to color

I know a bit about shade plants

but sometimes even then

I don’t care

let the plant do what it can

I’ve given it a spot 

keep weeds at bay for a few weeks

 

I dig deep enough

never deeper than needed

sometimes

I come across 

sometimes bits of shale

rocks sand

once pieces of blue willow china

 

I dig 

I plant

I water but count on the sky father 

to provide rain

for his plant children

I dig 

I plant

I enjoy washing earth off my hands

cleaning my finger nails

I feel connected

 

I even feel connected 

through the concrete asphalt

on the 20th floor 

in the parking garage

it doesn’t matter

the force of this earth

reaches to me

I feel safe surrounded 

in touch

 

when I am in any forest

I feel alien 

unwelcome hunted haunted

wandering wondering 

where can I dig here

what can I plant 

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

every Tuesday 2019

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

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


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September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

October

Stratford Festival – The Crucible

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

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

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Colby Days 2


Our Cottage Road house, between Park St & Whitney Ave by a laneway, was a compact two-story home belonging to Miss Kelly who lived in the house next door. Her house was huge. She had boarders on the second & third floors & she lived alone on the first floor. Her house was the model for the boarding house in my novel Coal Dusters. She deserves a post of her own, so this is all I’ll say about her now 🙂

This was a more upperclass neighbourhood. Larger houses, doctors & lawyers & sport celebrities abounded. Larger houses too – many 3 story, single family dwellings. Colby remained within walking distance & I would trudge Cottage Rd. in the morning, home for lunch, back for the afternoon. I’d walk home along central with the guys.

I was at Colby for grades IV & V. I have a class photos of me in Grade VI at Ashby school. I don’t recall if that was another summer move though. I do remember some of my Colby teachers though. The principle Miss Greenwood, Mrs. Butterworth & Mrs. McLeod. There were others but even seeing the list of teachers on the Colby School page didn’t ring any lunch bells. https://www.facebook.com/groups/colbyschool/

I do remember the hand bell that rang to get us into the school. I was a middling student even then. I had attention issues 🙂 I was also aware that I didn’t have the same feelings about girls as the boys claimed to have. I was, in fact, a sissy who preferred hopscotch to baseball. I don’t recall having any real pals or playmates of either sex.

I did get into a couple of fist fights though & lost. It was hard to keep punching when everyone around you was encouraging the other guy to teach me a lesson. I became a coward because proving my masculinity with violence was beyond me. Shame & fear were the biggest lessons I learned at Colby School.

It was here that I had to spend a summer writing out  words from a speller. I did page after page of writing each word out twenty times. Then had to retake the spelling exam at the start of the new term before I could go on. I did pass but again, the real lesson learned was shame, not how to spell.

The other thing I remember from then was the birth of my brother. Now that my Dad was settled in Sydney, his job was going well, may parents felt secure enough to raise a family. I felt I was a disappointment & now they wanted to get it right this time. My brother was about a year old when my mother was pregnant again, & we moved again, this time to the Ashby area.

Fully Human

I’m not enjoying this

so it must be good for me

the less I like it

the better what I am getting

the more I suffer

the more fully human I am

what I enjoy is to be avoid

it is merely a diversion 

from suffering

because life is suffering

 

any attempt to diminish suffering

diminishes all life

we a cannot afford pleasure

to admit to liking something 

someone

is to admit to weakness

is to admit to being 

a shallow fun-loving 

corrupter of basic human dignity

dignity requires suffering 

and sacrifice

 

those who aren’t willing to suffer

aren’t worth the breath 

they take to live

they should be face 

the error of their ways 

or be shunned

 

if you are having a good time

do it in another room

quietly

we don’t want reality 

sullied by gasps 

of sexual indulgences

we don’t want to hear laugher 

behind our backs

take to another room

another city if possible

 

here we are on the righteous trail

suffering to fulfill our real 

authenticity as humans

as a parade of weeping assholes

(poem prompted by one of Montaigne’s essays)


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Out With The Bathwater

Out With The Bathwater

he wanted to drink

my bathwater

or so he said

I never did take him up on it

 

if he had said that

after a few dates

I might have found it

appealing  almost flattering

but to start with that

was a bit much

 

it was the sort of

coming on too strong

I called ‘a red flag’

similar to sending a phone number

as the first message

not even a call me

or I liked your profile

I’m not going to call that number

 

he wanted to drink

my bathwater

when I asked him why

he said that it was pretty obvious

the water

was something that had touched

every inch of my body

the way he wished he could

I was amused

intrigued

 

all his pics were blurry

closeups of his nipples

I think

no face pic

 

I asked for a face photo

never heard back from him

I was going to take a bath

anyway


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When I Was A Young Boy

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

When I Was A Young Boy

when I was a young boy 

I kissed a girl 

when I was a young boy

about 11 

I kissed a girl 

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

she was wore a frilly rose-yellow dress 

I wore a white shirt and tie 

so maybe it wasn’t a birthday party 

maybe a wedding

 

there were about a dozen of us
kids from various families 

kids that sort of knew each other 

made to dress like little adults 

 

we watched adults kissing greeting 

and like little adults we kissed 

I don’t remember her name 

but I kissed her
she didn’t seem to mind 

then we chased each other 

sneaking kisses 

till we were caught 

someone’s mother
gave a little shocked shriek 

‘oh you naughty kids’ 

 

the other kids picked that up
and ran around 

calling me ‘naughty boy’

‘naughty boy’
while the little girl I kissed 

blushed then joined in with them 

as if it was all my fault
all my idea

 

the adults got in on it after awhile 

‘oh look there’s the naughty boy 

watch out or he’ll kiss you’ 

 

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

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

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

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

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


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Out In The Open

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Out In The Open

I was hiding

my feelings from him

not hiding exactly

but not declaring them

not putting them into words

what was communicated in my touch

 

was that enough

did he

could he

read between the kisses

between my legs

 

was there enough

emotional import

in my smile

my eagerness

to convey 

what I was afraid 

to put into words

 

as I waited

for him to put into words

what I felt in his touch

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Age in Play

One of the men I see frequently recently celebrated his birthday. He is much younger than me. As are most of the men I am intimate with – part of that is the aging process, part of that is that many men around my age won’t have sex with men around my age. I’m not that concerned with age, though I do find over-30 is a reasonable boundary – but younger is fine if they fit some of my preferences 🙂

I’m only thinking about the age gap because the hosts of Gayish podcast, on an earlier podcast, tangent-talked about what the youngest & oldest person they’ve been intimate with & another time talked about when was too old to go clubbing (apparently 30 is the cut off age for clubbing). Both of them concluded that more than 10 year older or younger, was the limit for  either of them. What they don’t realize is that the older you get the less restricted the age limit will become.

 

In North American culture ageism is unavoidable – often the notion of an older person with some clearly involved someone younger is seen as a joke, ‘no fool like an old fool,’ ‘I hope the money is good.’ Even I find it creepy in movies to see the older male star become the romantic object of a much younger female star. Is she looking for a daddy figure, a sugar daddy, or merely a more sexually experienced partner? Or is some writer indulging his own sex fantasy?

 

I’ve blogged about some of this before – the way sexually active seniors are viewed as perverts of some sort or denied any right to be sexual – at your age you should be over all that. Though I’m not sure what age is ‘your age.’ Not that I see myself as a senior either 🙂

This is a piece I’ve performed many times. The gap represents a pause I take when I do the piece & nearly every time there has been an audible gasp from someone in the audience.

Boyfriend

I’m so excited   

I have a new boy friend

he’s barely fifteen

 

 

 

 

years younger than me

 

did that pause catch you off guard 

were you sure I was going to say 

he was only fifteen years old

 

was it hard enough to think of a man

having a boyfriend at all

then add to it 

the shudder that it was

an innocent 

emotionally underdeveloped

fifteen year old child

 

though I can remember me at fifteen

jacking off to visions of rock star cock

Jimi Hendrix        Bruce Springsteen

that I wished there in my bed

telling you too much am I

get used to it

I’ve heard enough straight poets go on 

sparing no intimate details

about blissful raspberry nipples

moist peach fuzzed mounds 

 

so I’ll talk about man on man action

even if it makes some of you restless

a bit bored     a bit threatened

girl on girl would make you more comfortable

I usually try to make the nestling 

of men’s bodies into each other

sound sort of sweet and tender

pulling myself away 

from the gasp   grasp of sweat    pubic hair

 

so I’m excited 

about my new boyfriend

though I hate ‘boyfriend’

boy carries that too young taint

man friend isn’t close

lover is more complex 

than it is at this point

bed buddy     yeah I like that 

 

I have a new bed buddy

he’s nearly fifteen 

years younger than me

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

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

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

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

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

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Bored

Bored

he was bored

& looking for sex

as if sex was a solution

so far

nothing had lived up

to his expectations

 

his profile listed

his interests

it was like the index

to a gay sex manual

at nineteen

he wanted to try them all

while he was still young enough

to enjoy them all

before he was bored

by them all

 

what I hadn’t tried

of his endless index

had never appealed to me 

at any age

some I had tried a few times

decided no thanks

to exploring them again

 

we chatted a awhile

he liked my dick pic

he wanted an older guide

one who was opened minded

as it became clear

I had boundaries

he became bitter

judgemental

 

not wanting to do

what he wanted to do

made me an ‘uptight old queen’

I wished him well

hoped he’d enjoy his explorations

added there were lots of men

ready to teach a nineteen year old

the ropes

but I wasn’t one of them

I signed off

 

his age wasn’t a big factor to me

but the index was

he’d have to learn

that just because 

there was some common ground

that didn’t mean all ground

was was common

 

he texted me a day later

he felt

because I wasn’t so eager

that I was someone he could trust

wouldn’t take advantage of him

I mentioned a few of the

items in his index

that would never happen with me

and he once again

tried to bargain

 

he asked why didn’t I trust him

after all he trusted me

I said it had nothing to do with trust

but lack of interest

the more insistent he became

the the more bored I became

 

so I texted

‘okay okay

let’s meet 

when and where’

he signed off

 

I haven’t from him since


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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The Name Game

The Name Game

this is not my real name

in fact

I use my given name so infrequently

no one is sure what it is

I’m not sure of what it is

 

I won’t tell you what you want to know

not that it’s a secret

there is no deep shame

that I am hiding

 

names that I use

change from time to time

location to location

in fact

we may have met before

when I was someone else

that’s why I sometimes

seem so familiar

 

I don’t go out of the way

to disguise myself

to cover my trail

only who I might be

so that when you say

you understand me

I know 

you don’t even know who are talking to

 

everything you know

is about another person

someone with a name you know

that’s not my name

it wasn’t then

and it never will be again

I’ve met guys on line who. for privacy, I guess, have more than one name. In fact nearly all people on line do – a handle, a nickname, an email address that doesn’t reveal who they are. On dating sites guys have names like Toppugood43 or flexlexy – that may hint on what they want to do. Some have given one name in chat, then another one shows up as part of their email response & when they text another name & when we meet maybe their real name.

 

Some never give a name at all, really. ‘Hi it’s Toppu.’ Or not even that much, as if their phone number will tell me who it is. Names are one of the way we define people, so I can accept people needing to self-define by choosing their own name & using it as a sort of mask. Would John Wayne have made it big with his birth name Marion Morrison?

One of the reasons for ‘branding’ myself as TOpoet, was to remove immediate information about myself. All I want you to know is there – where I am located & what I do. No gender, sexuality, race or even age is alluded to. The only preconceived notion one may have is about poets, not about me as a person – unless it is to conclude that anyone labeling themselves as a poet is a pretentious fop. Guilty.

So this piece is about the ambiguity of names, of what we think we know about people & how insubstantial image is. It is easy to be someone else on line. I’m never sure if who I may be chatting with for the first time is actually the person in the picture (if they have a picture). I don’t know until I meet them face to face & it is the face in their photos. I don’t even fully believe what they’ve said in our chats, or in their profile. It is easy to flirt, overstate interests in text. Meeting moves things to the next level of negotiation. Which may require proof of identity 🙂 


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Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Sober Sex 2

An experience that shows up frequently in recovery circles – gay or straight, male or female – is being trapped in a using relationship – using because one’s partner uses & expects them to do the same – fear of losing that ‘lover’ keeps them using out of what is essentially, to me, people pleasing. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a relationship – even casual hook ups can have the same ‘people pleasing’ context.

Saying no to booze or drugs offered by a possible hook up often means that door closes. Booze & drugs lower some inhibitions which supposedly leads to wilder & better sex. But Shakespeare says something to the effect – it enflames the desire but cools the ability. Often booze or drugs become the focus of, not the lubricant for, fun. I’ve had men decline play with me because I didn’t have poppers.

When I first got sober declining social offers of a drink, or a toke, wasn’t easy – I wanted to fit in, to be accepted – saying ‘no’ might hurt someone’s feelings – looking back, my sense of self-acceptance was based on conforming. The example of guys in recovery helped me get over some of that & over time it was easier.

The first few times I had sex sober were interesting. I was also coming out & being held by another man was nearly a spiritual experience. (It still is). Being held by another man who can’t wait to get his next drink, toke, line isn’t all that satisfying. I wanted sex partners not drinking partners. When the guy on Disability After Dark said he’d never had sex sober I totally identified with him. Substances can lower our inhibitions but also impair the ability to give consent & also kicks the shit out of the immune system.

Today I lead an active sex life. Sober. Dick is my drug of choice.

heart of hearing

one from the hard

my hard was in my throat

the hard of darkness

a hard attack

I left my hard in San Francisco

hard of the dark continent

open hard surgery

I hard NY

talking hard to hard

places in the hard

don’t keep breaking my hard

hard harded hanna

the hard of the hard of the country

hard healthy

change of hard

hards of fire

open your hard

wearing my hard on my sleeve

deep in my hard

the hard foundation

I gave you my hard

when hards collide

my secret hard

the hard of the matter

like a stake through the hard

a little piece of my hard

tore the hard right of his chest

gotta hide my hard away

take it to hard

the bleeding hard

my hard skipped a beat

queen of hards was baking some tarts

hard on a platter

you gotta have hard

falling hard first in love

cross my hard

hard in my hand

the hard is a lonely hunter

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

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

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

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

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

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

The Right Entrance

The Right Entrance

the girls

had their own school

a Catholic separate school

we’re talking 60’s – 70’s

Cape Breton

 

I don’t know if there was one

for Catholic boys

but the girls had their own

to protect them 

from the unruly attentions of boys

 

schools I went to were mixed

but there was

boys’ manual training

girls’ domestic science

separate entrances for boys for girls

mixed classes

but boys’ gym

girls’ gym

 

the best way to control

those masculine urges

was segregation

guys who got laid were men

girls who got laid were easy

girls who didn’t were teases

guys who didn’t 

bragged about doing it

or salivated endless about pussy

boobs

because they were men

 

never once

never

was there a sense

that the guys were in the wrong

it was only the girls 

who need to be protected

guys weren’t taught

to think differently

in fact

we were encouraged

to get a little

get laid

get into her panties

 

find’em

feel’em

fuck’em

forget’em

 

this was masculine prerogative

entitlement

a natural urge

that resented any attempt

to curb it

do you want your sons

to grow up to be fags

yeah sure

free and easy access

to pussy

is the cure for queer

 

yet I grew up

gay queer a fag

full of fear

yet sure of who I was

& who I wanted to have sex with

 

I tried dating

getting a little

getting a little wasn’t enough

to cure me of anything

so I forgot’em 

but I did learn 

which entrance

was right for me

This piece is a documentary. All of it is my high-school experience though some of the facts go back even further in my history. When my family moved to Cape Breton I was enrolled in a nearby school with a mixed gender & to a degree religious population. Entirely white as well I might add. Protestant with a scattering of Jewish students – who we knew were Jewish because of the many holidays they had.

It wasn’t until I got to high-school that I realized there was a separate school system for Catholics, particularly girls. Rather it was a high-school run by a teaching order of Catholic nuns. It wasn’t limited to Catholic’s as I think one of my sisters went there because it offered better secretarial training. A class that was never offered to boys – we did get an introduction to basic accounting though.

Beyond this religious segregation there was a gender divide in the rest of the school system for sports, non-academic vocational options – boys got manual training & shop; girls got domestic science & shopping. Most of the academic classes were mixed but there was separate entrances for grades & genders. 

Sydney did have a sizeable black community, as well as a large Native community – but we only saw them if our teams were playing against them. As best as I can remember there was no racial mix in my high school except for one, lone Japanese girl.

 

The four f’s ‘find’em’ was a real mantra usually used by ‘guys who didn’t but bragged about doing it’ The piece also reflects how gender doesn’t equate sexuality – that even though I had all this male behaviour example I turned out queer, having no queer male behaviour example to lure me into the unnatural side. 

The ‘entrance’ that was right for me? I’ll leave that to your imagination 🙂


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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