Isis Of March

Next on the shelf is an mp3 collection of Isis. I’ve blogged about Isis before so check that out. I recently watched Some Like It Hot, which includes an all-female swing band. No matter how musically inventive or competent such bands were they were always considered novelty acts not serious swing bands. Such was the case of Isis. The market wasn’t open to an all-female version of Chicago. Women in rock were usually limited to vocals,  not playing instruments, other than piano or acoustic guitar, themselves:-)

Also in this compilation are two releases by Lowell Fulsom: Drifting Blues, In A Heavy Bag. This is solid r&b. There were a couple of tracks by him on the Rojak Story compilation. I liked his old school soul sound & his voice, so downloads a couple of his solo releases. His cover of ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’ takes a road the Beatles would never have taken 🙂

Here as well is Otis Blackwell’s These Are My Songs. Never heard of him? You’ve probably heard some of his songs though, which include Great Balls of Fire, Don’t Be Cruel, All Shook Up & more. His take on his songs is refreshing. I always love to hear songwriters doing their work. I also never knew that these big hits where the work of the same writer.

For some reason I added Jethro Tull’s A Passion Play: The Château d’Hérouville Sessions to this mp3 collection – a classic lp I wanted to replace with better quality sound. The original lp was two sides with no track breaks. Here it has seamless track breaks & no need to turn it over half way through. The Château d’Hérouville Sessions includes other takes of some of Passion Play songs plus earlier versions of songs such as Skating Away. The sound quality is excellent even if A Passion Play is a bit overwrought 🙂

To round out this cd I added: Arthur Brown & Vincent Crane: Faster Than The Speed of Light. Crazy World world is the best known work by these two – Crane was keyboards on that lp. Neither followed it with another big hit but they reunited in 1980 for this release. Fun & surprisingly prog-rock with an Emerson, Lake & Palmer vibe without being as self-serious. Brown’s vocals are playful & the production values & engineering is excellent. Too bad it vanished almost as soon as it was released. Worth seeking out.

Snake Skine

“Priestess and the Snake Skine” by Davina K’ltra – set in the rich fertile islands of the Caribbean the third novel of Davina K’ltra continues her fascination with things dark and lurking. 

One almost expects characters from the previous books to walk in the door at each turn of the plot. It is almost as if she had merely changed the names with the help of word search, the plots are so similar and yet one keeps reading with pleasure.

As in her previous two novels – “Snake Skine Sisters” and “Sinner in Snake Skine “- an innocent person, often of indeterminate gender, finds themselves drawn to the world and power of a vodou like cult.

In each the innocent victim is unaware till the final moment that there is no turning back now that the door has been opened. There is no one to turn to when the very people thought to be protectors turn out to be Sirens, lures. There is no safety anywhere.

Even, as in this novel, when the innocent makes an escape off the island and back to the shores of the good old USA there is no real escape. Everyone, it seems, is connected with this nefarious cult.

The major departure in “Priestess and the Snake Skine” is the gender of the innocent. In the previous two novels it has probably been female. This time it seems to be male. A young Police Academy graduate celebrates his graduation with a two week jaunt in the Caribbean Islands before he is to take up his post in Detroit. Kaleb Jones comes from a middle class black family and has proven himself to be an open minded young man. Boxing champion for his class and built to be a prime example of the best America has to offer.

We meet his family first and enjoy the last weeks of his police training. A deceptive start for K’ltra, who seems to be trying to expand the horizons of her novels by opening them to new locations. Too bad the action once it does get started is so cookie cutter.

Perhaps though it is the predictability of this fatal action that allows the reader comfort to follow it. The ritual scenes are fevered and fast, the blood flows and even when it becomes human we are ready, almost wanting to participate ourselves so we can slip into our own dangerous skine.

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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

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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

 

In This Irrepressible Shirt

I discovered The Irrepressibles thanks to Tumblr – one of my feeds posted the video for In This Shirt. Visually mesmerizing & musically compelling is searched & I found that track on their Mirror Mirror lp.  I have that as well as Nude, Nude:Landscapes, In This Shirt remixes, on this mp3 collection. The tracks flow into one another sweetly if glacially.

The sound is very Antony & The Johnsons. Chamber pop – strings with some drum tracks & an angelic, heartbreak voice singing on top of it all. Lyrics are usually haunting love or self-self-discovery songs. Words are carefully chosen, not picked to belt out. I enjoy chamber pop. Usually slow and romantic. I first encountered it on Donovan’s Sunshine Superman lp way back in the 60’s.

Also on this mp3 compilation are soundtracks from American Horror Story’s first couple of seasons. That credit music is eerie & evocative. It doesn’t wear out its welcome or go on too long, like the series itself tends to 🙂 To add some sonic variety I have  Basement Jaxx: Junto (Special Edition). A great electronic band that has expanded its sound over the years. This is a great addition to their catalogue even though it seems the genre itself had faded away they will not vanish.

Here also is a track from Ibizia Chillout – a 70 min DJ mix of other tracks on the release – something that happens now with many such completions one or two of the tracks is a non-stop dj mix of all the tracks on the lp. Dance music is great for writing.

 

Because The Irrepressibles  are so relaxing I added Tranquility: Voices of Deep Calm – a collection of Russian choral music designed to lead you to tranquility. Finally Childhood’s Lacuna (Bonus Track Version). Their sound is Modest Mouse with major reverb & echo. I heard a track on So You Think You Can Dance & quite liked it. I couldn’t now tell you which track that was though 🙂 Childhood, like Jaxx, is a nice counter balance to the airy sounds of The Irrepressibles. 

Dish of Dreams

‘I asked for Diet Pepsi.’ The dish knew this was bound to happen.

‘I’m sure the lemon pie will be better for you.’ The spoon stepped back from the swimming pool. This was going too far. ‘And if you don’t like it you can take a flying leap over the ….’

‘Don’t say it!’ The dish walked over to the operating table. ‘We have more important issues at hand now.’ The dish began to wash up for surgery.

‘If you think I’m going to glove you,  you have another thing coming.’

‘You don’t glove me anymore?’ The dish turned to the Bride of Frankenstein. ‘How did you deal with such things when they happened to you.’

‘You are asking the wrong person,’ the Bride of Frankenstein shrieked.

Several ducks fell out of the air at her shriek.

‘Oh wonderful. Fresh duck for supper.’ The games keeper scrambled over the sand dunes to get the gamy birds as they lay dead, still on the shimmering sunset shore.

‘Hey! You!’ a shout came from the bluffs, ‘Those are the King’s fowl. To touch them is treason.’

‘Since when, you useless old fart catcher?’ The games keeper scooped up the dead ducks and put them in his evening bag. It matched his shoes and hat. The perfect ensemble for evening dining.

‘Where did you get those bullets?’ The dish had to know. ‘They are just perfect with those gloves.’

‘Thank you. I didn’t think anyone would notice.’

‘It’s always these little details that make occasions like this so special, Don’t you think?’

‘I think you asked for Diet Pepsi and here it is it.’

Diet Pepsi walked through the swinging doors. The band stopped and all heads turned. At Pepsi’s side was the Queen of Sheba.

‘Some people have all the nerve. Imagine showing up here with her after all that’s happened.’ The spoon muttered.

‘Oh,’ the Queen of Sheba clappered her tiny hands, ‘it’s so good to get out of the kitchen for change. I’ve been baking tarts all day and just longed to get out. I’m so happy Diet Pepsi had a free evening.’

‘Yes, my schedule has been very busy.’ At that moment Diet Pepsi caught sight of the Bride of Frankenstein. ‘Perhaps, though, we might consider some other environs. You know who is here.’

‘Don’t let her get into your hair.’ The waiter joked as he led them to a corner table that overlooked the stage. ‘Can I get you drinks before the first act.’

‘I haven’t been to the ballet in years. What wine goes with Swan Lake?’

‘Perhaps a dry white would suit you.’

‘I trust your discretion.’ Diet Pepsi tipped the waiter handsomely. ‘Is that Godot over there?’

‘Why, yes. I’m his waiter as well.’

‘How lucky we are,’ the Queen of Sheba looked around. She allowed the rigatoni straps on her shimmering gown to inch over her iridescent white shoulders.

‘Madam!’ A cry came from across the pond, ‘The reflection of the sun off your bare shoulders is pornographic.’

‘Why thank you!’ she replied.

She glanced over and to her dismay a troop of twenty-one boy scouts had dropped their khaki hiking shorts to display a salute of proud, stone-hard erections.

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

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Mompou and Revueltas

I find music in unexpected places. A few years ago I watched the excellent Spanish movie Cría Cuervos (Ana Torrent and Geraldine Chaplin). In it Chaplin is a pianist & she plays an etude over and over. The credits listed Frederico Mompou as the composer. I did a search & easily found the etude in a collection of his complete piano works, played by the composer himself. I also found the pop song by Jeanette that is featured in the film.

Mompou’s piano music is charming, playful, at times a little sentimental. Some reminds me of Gershwin’s etudes, a touch of Satie. There is, as one would expect, a distinct Spanish flavour to much of it with pieces that are variations on folksongs, dances, Chopin. I was happy to discover classical world music.

To this mp3 collection I added some work by Mexican modern composer Silvestre Revueltas – Music de Feria: a set of his string quartets & Troka: various orchestra compositions. I came across ‘Feria’ as 2nd hand cd at a store that was once around the corner from me on the Danforth. I enjoy string quartets & this intrigued me. Troka is a download when I wanted more of his work.

 

Both collections reflect rather than replicate his Mexican heritage. Energetic in some pieces, mellow in others. Clearly modern but not atonal. Rich harmonies, sweet melodies, & appealing. It is refreshing to find, in both cases, Latino composers who aren’t mariachi homages. There is an amazing range of excellent classical music outside of standard repertoire – these are two great composers to widen your horizons.

Plotless Outline

When I was turning twenty-three life was a lost treasure that I no map for, futility seemed a nice, kind way of looking at it – why bother – but I was driven at the same time to bother. A Doors song was my theme ‘music is your only friend’ and I believed that – I was a little town queer who felt isolated and threatened.

Lucky I wrote a lot – driven to expresses something. Though I never knew exactly what is was I wanted to say – I kept trying to say it. I had some booze buddies, musicians and poets. Smoked a few joints with them and hung out in my family’s basement. I had a room there decorated with Beatles posters, my paintings – art getting the inner out some how.

Drunken, near blackout fits of sex. Oops, what did we do last night, sort of stuff. Seeking and not connecting with anything other than the shame of being what I was with no one to share that with.

I became more eccentric as years went on but the patterns were really set then. The things that I held closest to me: music, books, paintings all around me. My writing and some friends who were more extensions of my fears & wants than companions.

Got a job at Famous Players thanks to the mother of my best friend Howard. Flo was box-office there & that was to be my position, it quickly became assistant manager & candy boy. Made lots of pop corn.

Gave me a steady income and some sense of being functional. Added at the same time to my sense of not fitting in. I think that was a big thing for me then, wanting to be like the others yet not wanting to be like the others. Wanting acceptance without wanting to conform to some pattern.

The year before I got the job hadn’t been that bad or good, aimless and pretending I was looking for some job to steady my Dad’s need to see me working and out of the house.

The folks were never that approving of my writing or painting – like many, they figured that stuff was only good if it made one lots and lots of money. Sex wasn’t discussed at all and I didn’t know how to go about telling them I was queer. It wasn’t till I was ready to leave the Cape many years later that I told them. Not that it was such a shock mind you.

Looking back I really didn’t know how to establish myself as a man, as an adult. Booze was one of those adult things but I felt I had to hide how much I drank & how often. Sad, but true. All those secret nooks and crannies.

Most of which had no real outlet then and there. Little was I to know what the journey of my future was to hold. But I survived wanting to wake up dead, wanting to end the confusion and pain and made it past 23 and even past 24 and finally here I am.

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 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

‘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

 

Psychedelic Butterfly

I have a stand alone CD of Iron Butterfly’s In-a-Gadda-Vida – & in a wild psychedelic mp3 compilation, their Evolution best of, Live at the Galaxy Club 1967. Iron Butterfly is a one-hit wonder who rode that hit to fame, recorded a some other lps & influenced & still influence, countless bands. The big hit comes in a couple of edits – the long version features a drum solo! that sets a standard & forced many bands to include at least one long song with a long drum solo.

 

Their material other than the big hit is solid rock with ponderous lyrics, decent singing, good guitar & organ playing. They were ‘serious’ pop musicians. The live is a bootleg I stumbled across – the sound balance is off & the volume fluctuates & as a result I was disappointed. The hits are relics.

 

On the mp3 collection is another one-one-hit wonder with two lps by Strawberry Alarm Clock: Incense & Peppermints; Wake Up It’s Tomorrow. More organ driven radio fun. Hippy love lyrics, nicely engineered & with unexpected jazzy touches. I had the 1st lp at one time & didn’t know there was another until I did a bit of a search. Their music in Beyond The Valley of The Dolls is great fun too.

On it are two lps by The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band: Part One; Part Two. I had the lp of Part One at one time. Part Two is more of the same. This is a sonic step down from Alarm & miles away from Butterfly. Sweet, interesting as relic uneventful though Part One does include a cover of the Mothers of Invention’s I Am A Rock. 

Out of Britain comes Deep Purple’s The Book of Taliesyn. Butterfly is a clear influence on Deep Purple with its thick, sometimes turgid sound. More interesting vocally than Butterfly & with, of course those fairy tale lyrics & ‘adventurous’ cover songs Before Deep Purple became heavy metal. 

Truly experimental is a band called United States of America. This is a lost classic with progressive lyrics, explorative use of electronics, loopy arraignments, stunning engineering & decades ahead of its time. Find it, you won’t be sorry. Another lost classic is The Association’s Birthday. The psychedelic cover art alone is worth tracking down but the songs are gorgeous, the vocals are stunning, the lyrics are a bit greeting card at times but thanks to the engineering  this is a brilliant feel-good album, trippy, that is also worth hunting down.

Feel That?

‘Can you feel that?’ Dr Fell tapped along my spine. Gentle at first and then harder. I knew it was harder by the sound

‘No.’

‘How about this?’

I wasn’t sure what he was doing.

‘Nothing.’

‘Not even a tickle.’

‘No, nothing.’

He showed me a pin. ‘I was sticking you with this.’ He jabbed it in the back of my hand and I jumped. ‘At least there’s some feeling there.’

‘I’ll say,’ I shook my hand as if I should shake the pain off it like a drop of water.

‘How long have you noticed this.’

‘A week or so. Maybe longer. It’s not as if I touch much with my back. The bed, my shirt.’

‘It is serious you know. You can feel here.’ he stroked my neck. ‘But from here down to here,’ next I felt his hand at the crack of my butt. ‘You feel nothing. No reaction to any stimulus.’

‘Almost.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Try something wet.’

‘Wet?’

‘Yes. I know I can feel water on it when I shower. At least I can tell temperature of water. Hot or cold.’

‘Hum. So you feel this.’ Something cold pressed my back. 

‘Yes. Cool. But that’s all I can tell. I don’t know what part of the back you are touching or even the shape or size of what you are touching me with.’

‘How does it feel when there is nothing?’

‘Like …’ I tried to sense the flesh but couldn’t. ‘It’s like an empty space.’

‘No numb along the edges.’

‘No. Just nothing.’

‘We’ll need to do tests. Neurological damage of some sort. You haven’t fallen recently.’

‘No.’

‘Changed your sleeping pattern. I mean how you sleep on the bed.’

‘Not that I’m aware of.’

‘No trouble sleeping?’

‘Not really. Sleep like a log most nights. Mornings are a bit odd these days.’

‘How so?’

‘I can’t feel the bed at my back, so I wake like I’m floating in some sort of warm pool. Very odd. To sense the sheets with my feet but then the rest of me doesn’t seem attached to the earth anymore.’

‘Any problems getting out of  the bed.’

‘I have to roll over to my side to feel my way up. I suppose I can get used it. It’s not as if my head is going to fall off. Is it Doc?’

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 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Whispering Grass

This is one of my clear childhood memories, while I was an only child – listening to The Ink Spots on our record player with my Dad while he got breakfast for us on Sunday mornings. He would sing along with Java Jive – though I don’t think I ever saw him have a cup of coffee. My mother was a tea drinker.

At the time I had no idea was coffee was but I always loved that song. I loved The Ink Spots, those harmonies and easy rhythm of the song. I can picture the cover of that album with the four of them in tuxes singing around a microphone while staring at the camera.

The other song I remember clearly was Whispering Grass – by Fred Fisher and his daughter Doris Fisher – with its very surreal lyrics about blabbering trees. I am pretty sure those lyrics became a part of my poetic influence at that early age. I recent did a search for other recordings of Whispering Grass, so I now have some great versions of those blabbering trees, including one by Dorothy Carless (https://wp.me/p1RtxU-1zn).

I have a stand-alone cd Greatest Hits collection which brings me sweet memory when I play it. Their simple accompaniment of upright base, drums, guitar also influenced my jazz leanings as well. I’ve always enjoy the dry, deep sound of what I thought was an acoustic upright base but was sometimes a plucked cello. Hearing the Spots now I also can hear how repetitive their song structure was – it could almost be the same basic track with different lyrics on top. Mellow, smooth, romantic. Now I also understand where the name comes from – ‘black as ink’ becomes The Ink Spots.

They set a vocal standard that lead to do-wop but they were never do-wop. Their sound was not revolutionary or challenging nor particularly black but their harmonies have influenced countless groups & I can hear them in The Temptations, Men2Boys. For some these songs are the 40’s, early 50’s romantic memories – the sound of simpler, supposedly better, times. 

Even The Best Of Families

‘Did you hear about your cousin Josephine?’

‘No!’

‘Well, she left that guy from the circus.’

‘Circus?’

‘You know, the trapeze artist. That’s a stretch – artist. He couldn’t draw a line in the sawdust, if you know what I mean? Anyway, she’s left him for some banker.’

‘Good for her. Didn’t your brother end up with some banker, as well?’

‘No. Dave settled down with a dentist. Imagine. Some people have all the luck.’

‘Dentist! Well good to have that in the family isn’t it?’

‘It didn’t last though, Dave’s now with some man who owns a construction company. Roofing, that sort of thing.’

‘Can’t complain about that.’

‘Well, you know who can complain though, is Dad’s second wife, Sally – remember Sally?’

‘Who could forget Sally. Those macaws ruined the furniture in less than two weeks. Who knew birds shit so much?’

‘Anyway, Sal has found out that her first husband has died and left her nothing.’

‘What did she expect?’

‘Some people expect the world. I heard this from your half-sister Jewel.’

‘Oh, how is that bitch anyway.’

‘I don’t know why you and Jewel never got along. She is really very sweet.’

‘So is arsenic until you swallow it.’

‘My my. Bitterness becomes you.’

‘So what about Jewel. How’s she doing?’

‘She was looking fine. Just got out of a 28 day rehab program and seems to back on her own two feet for a change.’

‘Instead of on her back, you mean?’

‘Ha ha.’

‘I ran into your ex the other day too.’

‘Which one?’

‘Chuck.’

‘Chuck. That was years ago. He was my first. Actually I don’t think we ever got married. You know. Just as well, he didn’t have much to offer, if you know what I mean?’

‘He certainly kept you happy.’

‘Honey we were only 12, so what do you expect?’

‘Right.’

‘So how is he.’

‘He’s doing well. Sold the steak house and has moved along to a chain of motels.’

‘Motels? Do tell.’

‘Along three inter-state highways. He hopes to be rich one of these day. You should have stuck with him.’

‘Twelve-year olds aren’t noted for their ability to see the future potential of many things.’

‘Right. Did you see that TV special of Greg’s last night.

‘Which Greg? Your step-son or my son-in-law.’

‘Neither. He’s Dave’s son.’

‘But I thought Dave was with that guy is construction.’

‘He did test the waters before once or twice. Greg was the result. Named him after our grandfather.’

‘So how is this Greg doing.’

‘He did win that Academy Award two years ago.’

‘He’s been in more treatment centres than June though.’

‘They must have paid off. He was looking good and has a new picture coming out next month.’

‘Good thing we have such a busy family. Isn’t it.’

‘I suppose. Give us a little something to talk about. Speaking of which, did you know that Cyril’s mother has left them. Run off.’

‘Not with a Fuller Brush Man?’

‘Ha ha. No found out about the other woman, she did.’

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 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Émile Zola

Nana was my introduction to Émile Zola. I bought a copy of it way back in the 70’s when I was living in Cape Breton. It floored me. I knew he was writing, publishing in France at the same time Dickens was publishing in England. Both wrote about class, labour, family but that’s where the resemblance ends. Zola wrote adult fiction full of drugs, druggies, adulterers, prostitution, social disease and nice people too.

Nana floored me with its frank sexuality. No classic novel I’d read by Scott, Stevenson, even Dostoyevsky approached this level of sexuality. At points he delves into the lesbian subculture of Paris that still amazes me today. It certainly wasn’t what I expected in a novel of that time & also showed me that there is a hidden gay history too. Nana uses her sexuality to move up and down the class ladder. In fact all the women in Zola novels are clearly sexual beings, not always in control of it, not always giving into it.

He has a great grasp of human psychology from a time when human psychology wasn’t even a field of study. I have, on my Kindle, the complete works – which I hope to finish before I die 🙂 He was prolific & as a result as popular as Dickens. I bought the complete works to get the novels that are out-of-print in translation. As a result I can’t commune ton his ability as a stylist – the translations are good enough for me. His plotting is solid. Went, or more of them, are a family saga that rivals any daytime soap. The family tree of his fictional family is impressive, as was his ability to keep it organized. He was a social commentator who spared no one.

If you are unfamiliar I would recommend Thérèse Raquin, (http://wp.me/p1RtxU-Cx) or Nana. Germinal is also amazing & inspired my novel Coal Dusters – good too are L’Assommoir and La Bête humaine.

 

Plus he was very handsome: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Émile_Zola#/media/File:Émile_Zola_by_Carjat.jpg 

The Fault In My Chromosomes

there is a theory

that when the first atomic bomb 

was exploded

the molecular structure of life 

of our dna

as we know it 

was changed

 

there’s always some explanation

for what went wrong

the first match

the first man 

who looked at the moon

and thought 

that’s not god

why am I blood-letting goats

to make sure

the moon will rise again

to insure sure we get good crops

 

us assuming that there is 

some secret level of control

we can manifest 

if we find the right path

we can work down 

to the chromosomal level of life

get at the delicate tissue

to harness it 

or our our personal gratification

then everything would work out swell

 

no war

no struggle

no hunger disease

no TV – that’s going too far

what if the atomic structure of life 

was changed by the first TV broadcast

what if those beams

were controlling us humans

telling us what to say

what to wear 

what to eat

when to go out

how many layers of clothing we need

that would never happen

we can’t be manipulated

at the cellular level by a cell phone

electronic conveniences are our tools

we aren’t their tools

they do our bidding

they have no control over who we love

over how often we hook up

they don’t conspire against us

we are in control at all times

we can turn them off 

see I’ve set my cell phone to no ring 

I can leave it that way for hours

often I don’t even check for texts

some people can’t imagine that at all

somedays I don’t turn on my TV for hours

don’t check my email

I am always in control of my universe

 

when the first atomic bomb

was exploded

molecular structure was changed

so I am not responsible for my actions

nothing is ever my fault

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 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Bad Sex But a Great Time

On a recent Disability After Dark podcast, Andrew Gurza talks about his emotional responses to great sex. His frankness is always refreshing, especially in an online culture in which naming names – calling ‘oral sex’ a ‘blow job’ is considered against community standards. The podcast looks at how frustrating he finds his physical limitations when it comes to the free-and-easy play that often is sex. How these limitations cause him to question his masculinity.

This, as his podcasts often do, makes me look at how my performance, or my partner’s performance effects the the quality of the sex act. I say ‘sex act’ because there is more to sex than the coming … oops, I guess I should say ‘ejaculation’ to avoid conflict with community standards. It also lead me to think on great sex in general. Technically proficient sex isn’t always great sex.

I’ve had good sex but a bad time; I’ve also had bad sex but a great time; I usually have great sex & a great time. ‘good sex but a bad time’ is about guys who want praise after the act, who figure what gets them off gets you off too & if it doesn’t the problem is you; guys who suck dick but flinch at being kissed – these are usually ‘straight’ or ‘bi’ guys. ‘bad sex but a great time’ – there is one married-with-children guy I see occasionally, usually after a week or so of texting, on-line sexy chat – when he arrives he is so pent up that often he comes taking my pants off – like many guys his energy wanes after orgasm – he likes to cuddle though. Another good time bad sex guy spends more time fussing with condoms and lubes that by the time we start he has to wash up and go. 

Andrew talks about the connection between sex and sense of masculinity. I see this manifest in how rough sex is considered more masculine – that tops are more manly than bottoms. I lost interest in one guy who sent a dick pic with the message ‘are you man enough to deal with this.’ First off, I wasn’t sure it was his dick in the pic; secondly, if all you got to show is a dick pic you aren’t up to my community standards 🙂

 

Go to iTunes and download Andrew’s podcast on great sex. 

Chocolates

this is the week

when the universal currency is

flowers chocolates hearts and regrets

that get traded with eager expectations

I’ll give you a glimpse of this

if you give me a glimpse of that

I’ll put up with your doing that 

if you allow me to do do this

I’ll treat you like crap 

love you and put up with your crap

because you love me

we exchange these representations

of our willingness to continue 

our little patterns of regret dispute 

in the name of tender loving 

compassionate cooperation

because our relationship is perfect

bouquet trade-offs

of explanations for reality

how far we are willing to compromise 

our teenage ideals 

for our forty-year-old realities

as so many of us

are still ruled by bitter teenagers

who didn’t get the pretty girl 

or great guy we idolized in high school

we still cart that fractured dream

around as a measure of what we want

as if we’d stop some teenager 

in the street today and ask 

‘is this the one for me’

 

(not that a stranger 

can actually to talk 

to a teenager in the street today

without getting charged for something

but that’s another story

another compromise

to protect us from one another

so where was I)

 

ah yes

the new universal currency

of regrets fears retribution 

being more satisfying than love

who wants things flow simple and easy 

without the elegant 

encumbrance of expectations 

without the sunny 

undercurrent of resentment

that mental telepathy doesn’t work

and it is your fault

I should not have to tell you 

what I want

you should just know

from the way I wear my hat

oh right, I don’t wear hats

well that should tell you something

 

it tells you I love you

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 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Big Dickens

I have the complete Dickens on my shelf – paperback & hardcover. The paperbacks are Penguin classics with lots of notes. Some of the hardcovers are the classic Oxford editions. My Nicholas Nickleby is a 2 volume reproduction of the original serialized version that includes the ads etc. Some of the books I have read more than once. I have also sat through various Masterpiece Theatre explorations of the novels, seen movies & musicals of same & have Five of the Christmas books also as mp3s. I have resisted downloading the entire works as ebook.

I’m not sure which Dickens was the first I actually read – probably A Christmas Carol, though it could have been Oliver Twist, or was the Pickwick Papers? There was one of the Pickwick stories in out high school English literature text. The one where they go skating. I was in focused pursuit at one time of getting everything, even the obscure ones, like Master Humphrey’s Clock.

It was the boy hero that captivated me. I didn’t recognize the accuracy of his depiction of the poverty of time though. Recent readings show how unstinting he was with that cultural context. People caught up in journeys, quests in following their dreams & hopes. He was a master plotter who did count on coincidence a bit much, & often fell back on the long lost relative, but who cares.

What still inspires me about him is his ability to create complex, human villains i.e. Mr. Murdstone, Daniel Quilp, Uriah Heep, Bill Sykes. He had a gift for names that rivals Shakespeare’s. His heroes were too good to be real, his women either good little wives, generous relatives or harsh thanks to the men in their lives. His narrative structure was simple, almost formulaic, stories were told in linear movements, with some backstory when needed.

I’ve always like the fact that he was an unabashed sentimentalist and that as a writer he had no compunction in manipulating the readers emotions. When I realized he wrote drafts by hand – let that sink in a little – by hand – I was staggered. Of course he was being usually paid by the word so his books did get rather long. But his shorter works are also stunning: Hard Times is one of his best works.

Day and Night

day never holds me 

as fully as the night

in light there is always

a part that doesn’t get revealed

doesn’t get illuminated

turn as fast as I can

part of me is always in shadow

 

light is not the total lover

always leaves one part untouched

night covers all

nothing gets omitted 

over-looked

holds me in toto

comforting tender complete

caressing even where I cannot see

I was submerged and protected

no night burn for me 

for being too long naked in its glance

but I do welcome the sun

the energy released in my flesh and bones

by the ignition of my skin

 

if I had to make choice 

between night and day

as to which would be the better lover

I couldn’t say

day brings flowers

night brings stars

both return despite 

my placid display of cliches

tender is the night

bright is the day

as one retreats 

to make way for the other

I am saddened

I want to hold them both

straddle those slippery moments

when one makes way

gracefully stepping aside 

they do not fight 

to see who will be next

there is no resentment

that I have taken each 

in their own time

that I give myself equally to them

give myself without question 

without doubt

so do not make me choice

 

when I die

will I go into the light

or merely roll over 

into the comforting dark

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 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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