On My Kindle 01

Last week I wrote about childhood sets of books. This week I’m looking complete sets on my Kindle. One of the cool things about Amazon for Kindle are the number of collections complete works by authors whose works can be impossible find in bookstores or even libraries. Different ebook companies have brought together set of mostly out of public domaine books at ridiculously low prices.

For example the set  “Slavery: Not Forgiven, Never Forgotten” – which for about $2 US includes:

Narrative of Frederick Douglass

12 Years a Slave

The Underground Railroad

Up From Slavery

Willie Lynch Letter

Confessions of Nat Turner

Narrative of Sojourner Truth

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

History of Mary Prince

Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom

Thirty Years a Slave

Narrative of the Life of J. D. Green

The Life of Olaudah Equiano

Behind The Scenes

Harriet: The Moses of Her People

Father Henson’s Story of His Own Life

50 Years in Chains

Twenty-Two Years a Slave and Forty Years a Freeman

Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb

Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave

Story of Mattie J. Jackson

A Slave Girl’s Story

From the Darkness Cometh the Light

Narrative of the Life of Moses Grandy

Narrative of Joanna

Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown, Who Escaped in a 3×2 Feet Box

Memoir and Poems of Phillis Wheatley

Buried Alive (Behind Prison Walls) For a Quarter of a Century

Sketches of the Life of Joseph Mountain 

Oroonoko

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Heroic Slave

Slavery’s Pleasant Homes

Our Nig

Clotelle

Marrow of Tradition

Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

A Fool’s Errand

Bricks Without Straw

Imperium in Imperio

The Hindered Hand

The History of Abolition of African Slave-Trade

History of American Abolitionism

Pictures of Slavery in Church and State

Life, Last Words and Dying Speech of Stephen Smith Who Was Executed for Burglary

Report on Charge of Aiding and Abetting in the Rescue of a Fugitive Slave

Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases

Duty of Disobedience to the Fugitive Slave Act

Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

Gettysburg Address

XIII Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1865)

Civil Rights Act of 1866

XIV Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1868)

Reconstruction Acts (1867-1868)

Whew! This is a university syllabus that probably no university book store or even research library could supply. 

Many of these sets are to broaden my knowledge of some writers who are known for their big hits; others are by authors of queer interest whose works I knew vaguely or of whom I have never heard of before until reading about them in my endless readings. One set is the Works of John Addington Symonds. I knew of him through mentions of his interactions with Walt Whitman. His books on Ancient Greek culture are sometimes citied in histories of queer writing. So I figure when I first got my Kindle to read some of those works. Interesting essays about travel in & history of Italy, but thank God writing style has changed. 

The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft (+ 130 Poe short stories); Mary Shelly: The Ultimate Collection; The Complete Works of Bram Stoker. Who read what Mary Shelly wrote other than Frankenstein? Stoker wrote more than Dracula? Reading their other works one sees the why those works have faded. Mary was more or less an accidental writer & reading he rather work it’s easy to see why some suspect her husband played a role in her big hit for the plotting & characterizations. She was not really a fabulist. Bram became an almost tradition writer of his time & none of his other plots were as ‘startling’ as Dracula. 

Lovecraft is a boyhood favorite of mine. His plots are rich, his writing style now strikes me as overly florid & it is creamy influenced by the Shelly & Stoker – but he does avoid, the most part, the need for some sort of romantic subplot. My bedroom on the east coast had slated ceilings so his story about the room with odd angles in the ceiling & walls always appealed to me. Those angles lead to another dimension. I have the bio ‘I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft’ on my e.bookshelf short list.

It’s not all gloom doom or educational on the Kindle thanks to Stephen Leacock: Humour Books collection; Mark Twain: 51 Classic Works. Both of these are authors I loved in my teens. Leacock still makes me laugh out loud. Twain can go on but he had a grasp of the foibles of human nature I love. His short pieces are fun & the longer books reflect their times. Both a writers of the local experience – Americana, Canadiana full of innocence that still speaks of today. Who isn’t intimidated if not anxious dealing with banks; has the plight of blacks in the USA progressed from the fears of the runway slaves in Twain?

Book Bound

in one of those boys’ books

tom swift hardy brothers

can’t remember which one 

there were mysterious lights 

on the cliff

or were they from a strange shape 

in the ocean

hovering by the moon 

something distant and indistinct

but threatening

 

tough guys

were skulking around town 

something held in coat pockets

that might be a gun

a magnetic pulsator

that would incapacitate  

one or all of our heroes

who would come to

tied up somewhere

worry about their girlfriend

they always had girlfriends 

who were peripheral 

to the story 

but clearly in place

so we young readers

would not get a whiff 

of anything more unsavoury

that those unshaved goons

with foreign accents

who slouched around the ranch

the railway yards

to do no good

 

the boys always had girlfriends

so no one would get the idea

that they weren’t the ideal role model

ripe with normal heterosexual 

pubescent tension

that let them figure out 

how to cut those ropes

how to make the star capacitor

turn the hydrogen to oxygen 

so they could breathe again

float to the surface

drive off

fly off

with the adoring faces of their girlfriends

soft and worshipful

 

red-haired teens 

with freckle faces

none of them shaving yet

jumping into their roadsters

worrying about their kidnapped fathers

deciphering cryptograms

punching each other joyfully 

in the arm

as each hurdle was accomplished

as each bruise cleared up

always ready to face 

the next opportunity

never doubting what they could do

never questioning 

how they really were

what did this all mean

why couldn’t they go

a few weeks without smugglers

Martian terrorists lurking around

to make make it difficult for everyone

 

they never had to face peer pressure

other than the football team

a team that never got drunk after a big game

boys who where boys

becoming real men

growing up slowly

always gaining parental 

acceptance and approval

amazing their pals

yet not letting it go to their heads

square jawed 

rugged 

individualist who only disobeyed 

to make things better

grew up with out self doubt

normal heterosexual 

pubescent tension

that let them figure out 

how to cut those ropes

but how not to escape

what was written for them

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

https://www.facebook.com/events/504067323723768/

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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

March

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

April

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

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

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

https://wp.me/p1RtxU-uJ

Pachelbel Paganini Pepusch

Under P are a couple of Lp to cd transfers of  Musical Heritage Society recordings. On one is Johann Pachelbel (1653 –1706): Canon, Partitas; J Frach: Concerto, Sinfonias; George Handel: 1685 – 1759 Alexander’s Feast, Sinfonia. On the other is J.C. Pepusch (1667 – 1752: Flute Sonatas; Haydn: Flute Trios. All from about the same period mostly in Germany.

The most famous piece is Pachelbel’s Canon which became & remains a mainstay on relaxation & meditation cds. Stately, leisurely & soothing the Canon is a sweet piece of music. If you think you’ve never heard it, trust me, you probably have in commercials & movies. The other music on these cds is equally as pleasant, soothing – but if I heard any of it anywhere I probably wouldn’t recognize it.

Also under ‘p’ is Paganini (1782 –1840). I have as  stand-alone 24 Caprices for Violin; & tucked away in an mp3collection: Violin Concertos, Guitar Music. The violin virtuoso of all time 🙂 his Caprices are playful, emotional & nearly every violinist since recording was invented has recorded some of them & frequently all of them. Of course listening to the entire set at one time is a tiring & one loses the power of individual pieces in the rush of all of them.

The mp3’ are more recent additions. I thought one day here’s a virtuoso who must aha written more than this one famous set of Caprices. I did have some of the guitar so I started with more of that. His writing for guitar isn’t as show-off as in the Caprices. Neither are the violin concertos but all are listenable.   Many composers are trapped by a biggest hit or two & we lose sight of their other works. Dukas for example. Or if there isn’t a big hit they get forgotten like, well, I’ve forgotten them myself. No – I mean composers like Debussy or Pierné.

Saved By Censorship

John was (verbing) down the street he stopped to (verb) with Mary. He asked her how her (noun) was that day. she smiled and opened her (noun) and took out a (noun) and showed him pictures of her (noun)John (verbed) when he saw them. ‘Would you like to (verb) with me’ he asked her. ‘Not today,’ she (verb) ‘I would much rather (verb) with you later this week.’‘I’ll have to (verb) my (noun) if I can (verb) with you.’He gave her a quick (noun) and went on his way.’

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

https://www.facebook.com/events/504067323723768/

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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

March

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

April

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

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

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

Golden Bible

One of my recent Cape Breton posts mentions the the Oxford Dictionary  my family bought when I was but a child 🙂 It was grocery story lure – buy a section each week or spend so much & get the next section free. In the days before points cards this was popular along with green stamps. You’d get so many stamps with each purchase, paste them into books just for that purpose & when you had enough redeem them for stuff like dolls, kitchen gadgets.

On my books shelves I have two sets of books collected as supermarket promotions. One is ‘The Bible Story Library – Four volumes – 1956 -Educational Book Guild – New York.’ Lavishly illustrated with original vibrant color pictures, plus endless etching from the likes of Dore, plus murky photos of other religious art. I can remembering during over the etching that provided a pre-teen me with glimpses of nude men & women struggling in the Flood, or sprawled out in various battle scenes. Looking at it today I’m amazed the great six-packs so many of these guys had.

The set I have isn’t my original. I don’t remember what became of it. It didn’t turn up the boxes of my books that my Dad had stored away when I moved out. (Those boxes contained lots of Tom Swift Jr, & Hardy Brothers) I remember my second summer here in Toronto – 1979 – I had been wondering what happened to those books. Shortly after that I went in a huge sale an action house was having. endless boxes of books all over the parking lot and & found Volume 2 in one of the boxes. After about an hour of searching I found all four volumes.

The other set is ‘The Golden Book Encyclopedia – sixteen volumes – 3rd printing – 1960 – some (c)1940 – Golden Press – New York.’ Another lavishly illustrated set of books. I loved the hyper-real covers on each volume. The content was written for children & so hasn’t aged well 🙂 The illustrations are wonderful though, some in a campy way, but all well executed. I loved reading these when I was on the can.

My originals became quite tattered from use & abuse. I can’t recall very using them to research anything for school. The set I have now is not my original set but one which I ‘inherited’ from a friend who was moving & asked if I might be interested. When I was asked I had no idea what encyclopedia set it was but I said yes & I was delighted it was this particular one from my childhood.

These all come from Sobeys in Sydney. They also offered cooking sets, dishes, the same way – buy a different piece each week. There was once a set Classical Masterpieces lps, a set of geography books, but I don’t think my folks bought these.

Unswearing In Ceremony

how can I unswear allegiance

to my heart  mind

to my body  hormones

each time I think this is it

there’s another time

 

you hold your hand to my heart

you swear you’ll change 

that reform is possible

my head tells me 

you will never hold true to this vow

I smile & keep that to myself

 

knowing better and doing better 

are such different things

as much as I know better 

doing you is better than not doing you

 

there is the paradox of an oath 

I never took 

never signed 

never swore to you

unconsciously I have taken it

to be accepting  forgiving

not to make plans

when I know you will never fulfill 

even the simplest promise

of texting when you say you’d text

 

your dedication to the job

takes priority over your personal life

in fact it is your escape from it

that job is your bottle

you can’t help yourself

it blots out everything outside of it

even when you are told not to be there

you are there to tie up loose ends

that tie you up for days on end

 

I’m trying to swear off you

no more of this bullshit

while a part of me rather likes

getting caught up

in this hurt slightly martyred feeling

which has a certain sweet reward all of its own

I can pine at a window

hoping the car driving down the street is yours

when I know very well it’ll never be yours

 

having texts 

to long for

has a tang of romance 

of humanness

lets me feel less self contained & distant

wishing there was something I could do

but all I can alter is myself

 

you are an addict 

the grace that’ll reach you 

could work through me

but I’m not holding my breath

soon 

I may not even be holding my hand 

out to you

except to wave good bye

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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

March

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

April

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

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

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

Polar Bears and Rinoceroses

 

I love love love Jules & the Polar Bears’ two lps Got No Breeding & fəˈnet̬·ɪks. We’re talking early 80s – this is power pop-rock with a Talking Heads influence, rapid fire lyrics that are amazing. I am still amazing that this band didn’t become a smash hit – maybe the lyrics were too literate? Jules Shear is a sort of industry legend who never broke big, like Linda Perry.

 

The songs are are dense, light-hearted, bouncy, thoughtful & are full of great harmonies, complex arrangements. Romance, memory (The Smell of Home) all with a wry turn of phrase. I had these as lps, now as mp3 & always love love hearing them again & again.

To the mp3 CD I added a couple of lps by Rinôçérôse: Schizophonia; Futurino. Their use of accents made them a natural fit with ‘fəˈnet̬·ɪks’ 🙂 I have several recordings of this French duo that started out with a guitar based French House electronica sound which became more rock than electronica. Slightly experimental, absurdist lyrically, inventive and fun. These are later recordings & are show the progression of this band well. If you are unfamiliar check out their first release ‘installation sonore.’

 

 

Also, for no particular reasons I rounded out this mp3 collection Led Zeppelin’s BBC Sessions. Live takes on songs from their first albums & some songs that only appear here. The band was tight, they don’t try to replicate the studio versions. The Dazed & Confused in this set is amazing & makes it clear that, at this point in time, the band was fearless, extravagant & focused.

Intimacy

The sheets were white. The blanket, a pale pink that might have held more color at one time but was slowly becoming white. My Dad lay on the bed, on top of the blanket.

‘Not ready to get between those sheets yet.’ he smiled up at me.

‘Doesn’t feel too bad.’ I ran my hand under the blanket to feel the sheets. Cool but soft. I expected them to be hard, crisp.

‘Just one step closer to the grave.’ My Dad looked away from me.

‘Dad, this is a check-up, not a check-out.’

‘Same thing. Same thing.’

He was nearly eighty but still had full color in his hair, a firm solid, body from constant walking everywhere and anywhere. More walking since he retired. It was to keep his bone mass up. The better the bone mass the safer his hips and knees would be if he fell.

‘Dad this is just a regular check up, unless there’s something you haven’t told me?’

He looked back at me. I could tell that there was.

‘Jen … I …’

‘What?’ My heart skipped a beat. ‘What?’

‘You remember … No, I can’t tell you … never could …’ he sank into the bad and covered his eyes with his hand.

‘Tell me what? Are you in worse shape than you let on?’

‘I’m … I mean … your mother never knew … I want you to know that she never knew …’

‘Never knew what? What? Dad, tell me?’ I pulled his hand away from his face.

‘There was someone …. I mean …’

‘What? Do I have a half-brother or sister somewhere? Is that it?’ I knew my Dad was a randy guy. Always flirted with women at parties. I could see him at our bbq’s in the back yard laughing and hugging the wives of his friends. That he might have had an affair wouldn’t have surprised me.

‘No. That’s why this is so hard … I want you to know .. so you won’t find out when you … when I die … You remember Chuck and Grace.’

‘Grace? That mousy little thing? But Grace?’

‘No. Chuck.’

‘Chuck? What about Chuck.’

‘He was my lover.’

The room spun around me for a moment. Was I hearing right?

‘You and Chuck. What?’

‘It was an intimacy I never felt with your mother … with any woman …’

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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

March

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

April

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

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

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

The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep

the owner of the cafe

had called someone

an inappropriate name

it was a twitter thing

a video 

posted of the 

owner saying 

those offensive things

now no one can go

to the cafe

without being considered guilty

of saying those things themselves

 

now

to be honest

I haven’t heard

what the owner said

I haven’t watched the video

this is all the context I know

and now

I can’t even mention the name

of the cafe

I can’t even admit 

that I’ve been there

in the past

or let it be known

that I regret

that I can’t go to that cafe

ever again


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020- sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Something’s Different

March of this year in March I decided to up-grade my glasses – new frames, new prescription. Not a big deal, or so I thought, until I got a few compliments from strangers. By now they are old, to me, yet this past week someone, whom I have known long enough & also whom I have seen several times since the up-grade said ‘something’s different. are those new glasses?’ I replied, ‘they’re the same ones I had on the last time we talked.’

That’s the kind of change I like – one that is subtle. The drama of the big change – I’ll shave my head – no longer appeals to me. When I first shaved my head it was a startling change alright, nothing gradual about it. People started to treat me differently – I had become butch overnight 🙂

I prefer the gradual change. I’ve blogged about some of this before – getting up earlier by setting my alarm 2 minutes earlier every couple of months so I now have an extra 14 minutes to avoid writing every day. Besides if nothing changes nothing changes. So the past few months I’ve been reducing distractions. Most are harmless except that they are distractions.

Some have been hard to do though. Cutting way back on the podcasts I listen to for one. As much as I enjoy them I decided I don’t need the information & subscribing merely to be supportive isn’t enough for me. Why support people who don’t really support me? One podcast was as much about what the hosts were drinking as what they were supposedly talking about. No thanks. Plus less energy goes into downloading & then uploading to my iPod to listen o them. 

On the east coast I only used my iPod for meditation & relaxation in flight or in my hotel room. You know I didn’t miss it on my daily walks. I get to hear where I am without a soundtrack. One less thing to carry too 🙂

Same with twitter, tumblr, even wordpress. Less time spent skipping over things I’m not even looking at anyway. All those product mailing lists I needed up, some of whom send me daily notices of warehouse clearance sales, unsubscribed from so they aren’t cutting up even my trash folder. The less clutter the better the focus.

Focus and productivity are my fall intents. The less clutter the better the focus. 

Not Dead Already

I expected to be dead by 30

which seems to be one of those ages

that many never thought they’d live past

if not dead 

then so deep into fame fortune relationships

that they’d have everything to live for

though I’ve meet people

who had those things at 30

who wished they were we dead

or felt they were dead

they’d lost a part of themselves

to get the dreams fulfilled

dreams they expected 

would make them complete

 

I expected to be dead at 30 

35 at the latest

so when I eased 

past those tiresome ages

I was caught short 

time to grow up

figure out what I wanted to be 

now that I was alive

body fully matured

I’d say now that I was adult

but that really hadn’t happened

I was still a teen trapped 

in a old man’s body

yeah I know 35 isn’t old man

but try to tell that to a 20 year old

40 is ancient

I’m at the age where I’m a relic

adult enough to know 

I can’t turn back the hands of time

& glad those hands have been kind 

to my face

if not to my bank account

 

I never expected to see the year 2001 

let alone this year

figured if I hadn’t bought the farm by then

the world would have imploded exploded 

of its own accord

but like me it is doing

this slow smother

drowned in plastic 

& the need for more

even if I wear all natural fibres 

I’m not helping

to keep the planet breathing

 

so here I am

some sort of adult

looking around

still no surer of where life is going 

than I was when I was 16

then I was sure in knew where I was going

to my funeral at 30

a date fate saw to it that I never kept

I witness what is going on around me

some good some bad

some hopelessly futile

some valiantly optimistic

each time I put another word on paper

I am making waves for the future

ripples that will continue

even if there is not such thing s paper

even if no one can afford to live

there will be repercussion

for living past 30

the consequence of not dying 

young and pretty 

is getting old and sort of handsome 

in the right light

 

being an example

for the struggling striving generations

who just wish we relics 

would shut the fuck up

and die already

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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

March

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

April

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

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

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

‘a soundless meat cleaver’


Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam gave Queen W an exciting taste of its upcoming 6th season with Cass Myers’ raw yet polished feature performance at an open stage show as part of the vital Bricks & Glitter  Festival. The event was at the cozy Beaver – close to Dufferin on Queen W. By the time the show started the packed house had people spilling out into the street.

Robert Molloy hosted the show with contagious enthusiasm and kept things moving along while allowing many of the open stagers time to do two (!) pieces. The poets covered a wide range of rage, relationship fun and/or horror (sometimes one can’t tell the difference), political anger & even a few sweetly sexy pieces. 

Random lines from those open stagers: if Doug Ford heard you play the piano would he change his mind – whispers turn into wishing wells – harness hope without harm – I don’t remember starting this fund for white-girl feminists – this is my conversation yet it somehow revolves around you – my sexuality is a case of death more painful than a tumour – you want me to talk in my accent – her tone tells me queerness + transgender doesn’t add up – I cry myself a wishing well – a beach is lonely most of the time – his lips hooked into a smile – google spits back ‘still intact’ – that everything is okay is the biggest lie we told each other – your silence calls to me from the floorboards – there are no accidental suicides – it was the summer I had words for the rage I felt 

After a brief break for everyone to get a libation and catch their breath before feature Cass Myers, a national spoken word poetry slam champion, hit the stage with a powerful paper set – all of the pieces were recent & still being worked on but came across polished.The pieces covered race, relationships, political frustration & finding emotion stability. The writing was fresh, inventive, inviting & drew the listeners to examine their own needs. 

Random lines: the sun’s rubber stamp – in the summer the most faceable parts of me are whitest parts – in the summer we can’t pass – Lake Baptiste ungenders me – our edge the only scenery – what is a boarder but a map folded along estuaries – boudoir in a white man’s gaze – body chronic crumple crackle – fibonacci fiddleheads – self-portrait as an oyster – survival of the numbest – the fraternal twins of lust & grief – pain is a soundless meat cleaver – the gasoline of truth on their velvet.

Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam kicks off it Sixth Season Sept 24 at Buddies in Bad Times.

I did my Hot Damn! duty with a brief outline of the amazing growth of the series and its connection to Capturing Fire. A moment of calm that didn’t show things down at all. I did the requisite 2 (!) pieces on of which was:

Hidden Heart

all I am hiding

are my emotions

really

no I don’t have anything

in my hands

up my sleeve 

I didn’t put anything

where you couldn’t find it

everything is out in the open

what good would it do

to hide your shoes 

so you can’t leave

hide your underwear

so you can’t dressed

hide the towels so

you can only dry off 

between the sheets

with me

me

who has nothing to hide

 

except my feelings

or rather my lack of them

though you claim

my claim of lack of feelings

is actually hiding something

because my door is so open to you

because I have made a place

for you my life

you even have your own tooth brush here

it is out in the open too

 

see nothing is hidden

really

except how I feel

which I can’t reveal

until you open up

to tell me what you have hidden

in your heart

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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

March

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

April

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

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

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

Cubs Scouts to DeMolay

On my recent visit to Sydney I check out some of the places, other than schools, that were a part of my growing up and some of them are still standing !! One place was the First United Church on Whitney Avenue. It is no longer, as far as I can tell, a functioning church. Signage out front has been removed for one thing.

I went to the Sunday school here for a while. This is where I went for Cubs. My memory is quite vague though. I recall the uniform, neckerchiefs and the Jungle Book power structure of the dens. We earned badges of learning knots, doing community service. It was an exclusively male territory. Girls had Brownies, Pixies & such. Our den had a den mother though – wife of the the Akela. She died in a car accident & the dens attended the funeral service. There was lots of crying even though there was no badge for that.

I ‘graduated’ from cubs to Boy Scouts. Our troop meet at, what at that time I think was a Baptist Church, on the corner of Charlotte & Townsend St. (Now it is the United Heritage Church). Points & badges for being on time, tying knots & neckerchief slides. The troop did out of town a couple of times to do a treasure hunt with compass directions & cook outs. I got a badge for cooking – baked potato wrapped in foil in an open fire.

Next level possibilities were things like Air Cadets – which my dad though was too military. He was a Masonic member so I advanced to DeMolay. Both of which are exclusively male domains. In fact my dad was one of the organizers so I guess I’m one of the founding members. We met at the Masonic Temple on the Esplanade at Dorchester St.

Like the Masons it was very ritualistic, Knights Templar stuff. There was a password to get in – that sort of thing. We did fund-raising for community organizations, I think. I know there was at least on car wash. Once we were sufficiently organized we went to New Glasgow to be officially installed. The intent was good but I found the ‘religious’ stuff silly & the ritualistic aspects even sillier. I was not, in the end, a good candidate.

The Visit

I went up to my room. Parents can be so weird at times, even though I had changed, they had room had restored to pretty much to what it had been like when I was in high-school. Maybe that was when they were happiest with me. When I was still the boy who would grow up to fulfill their dreams of ae perfect heterosexual son.

True I had taken much of my furniture with me when I finally left home for university so they unearthed what had been stashed in the basement – including my old, narrow, single bed. I could remember the fight when I wanted to get rid of it for a larger one. Mom was sure a bigger bed would take up too much of the limited space in the room. She was right but at the time I wasn’t giving in a an inch. The oak frame had a new mattress on it though. The headboard had been sanded lightly but some of my carving still remained as reminders of time frittered away. Initials of girls, I now didn’t remember, in little hearts with my initials. 

Maybe some boys though, as then I didn’t know better, or maybe couldn’t admit what I sort of suspected. Like the only reason I went out with ‘D.K.’ who I remember as Darla, was because her older bother mesmerized me with his smile. I could still see his face so clearly while her’s a blur in a yearbook.

“I’m about ready to leave.” My Dad called up to me.

“Okay.” 

Outside, I looked over the house, the garden. It had been over five years since I’d been home last. Trees were bigger.

“You want a lift anywhere?” My Dad opened the car door.

“No, thanks. Think I’ll just take a stroll.”

“Enjoy. Some of us have to work you know.” He laughed.

I watched from the front steps as he drove away.

I walked to the corner and stood for a minute to look in each direction. One way was the walk to my grade school, another direction to my high-school and a third, the direction towards downtown. Which set of memories did I want to tackle first?

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

Thurs 7 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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

March

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

April

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

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

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

End of Summer Jobs

I’m going to finish this year’s summer refections of Cape Breton with memories of summer jobs, most of which were arranged by my father just to get me out of the house 🙂 The first of which was to paint the house he wanted to get me out of 🙂 Almost every guy I knew on the Cape ended up with this sort of summer painting job, until the year aluminium siding salesmen flooded Sydney.

The color my mother choose was a pea green with darker green trim. I hated the ladder so getting the peak pf the house was hell. The rungs hurt my feet after standing on them for thirty minutes. I ended up moving around the house to avoid the sun as well & so the two larger sides ended up drying in a mottled pattern. 

Another summer my father & a friend of his opened Bounceland 🙂 a trampoline park with six, or was it nine, trampolines stretched over pits in the ground. I took money & kept time. There was also a trainer, a young guy hired through the YMCA. I became pretty adept. He also taught me algebra because it was his worse subject in high school & he had to take an make-up exam at the end of the summer. Needless to say I had a hopeless crush on him but also was a stellar math student in high-school, until we hit trig. 

Bounceland failed because the blast furnace smut settled on the canvas & rotted it & it couldn’t be repaired. The park wasn’t bringing in enough money to warrant replacing the canvas. It was also open air so when it rained we couldn’t open. Plus weather collected into pits & stagnated. We had the kiosk & sign in our yard for decades but eventually they both disappeared. My sister has been unable to find even a photo of it in the family hoard of pics.

Another summer I worked out at Forest Haven Memorial Gardens – sort of Starbucks of cemeteries. My father was sales & general manager overseeing see the construction of the cemetery itself. I was an assistant grounds-keeper – weeding was my main task for several weeks. As the boss’s son I never really fit in with the rest of the staff so pretty much kept myself. I know in one conversation with some of the full-time guys I said I was looking the work as research that I might want to write about it one day. 

Another summer I worked in the Forest Haven office in downtown Sydney. Typing envelopes and taking payments were more suitable 🙂 He did have a full time secretary, whose name I forget, so I’ll call her Mrs. Brown. People who bought plots paid for them monthly either by with cheque, money order & some came into the office to pay in cash. There were separate receipts issued for cash and non-cash payments.

Decades later my father tells me that Mrs. Brown was keeping yet another receipt book for cash payments and tucking that cash away for herself. Cheques & money orders had to banked by my dad so she couldn’t get her hands on them. Petty embezzlement under my very nose as I could have easily been issuing some of her receipts 🙂

When I finally did write about Forest Haven it was nothing like I thought it would be:

Sermon on the Mount

when I was a child

I remember the excitement of the day

Jesus was installed

arms open to greet you

 

my Dad was a sales manager

for Memorial Gardens

a cross Canada chain of cemeteries

I think he retired sometime in the mid-80’s

I grew up under that shadow

the grave-digger’s son

not that he dug graves

that shadow didn’t bother me

I was an odd child already

the occult added a distracting layer

 

the cemetery was divided into grottos

separated by low hedges

bronze plaques instead of tombstones

was the trademark Memorial Gardens look

that and the white marble

religious statues for each of the grottos

DaVinci’s Last Supper in the Gethsemane

 

greeting people 

was Christ

arms out spread 

for the Sermon on the Mount

for a first few years

while things were being put into green shape

the Gardens were my playground

I remember the excitement of the day

Jesus was installed

the garden workers pushing Him 

upright

arms open to greet you

arms that would never close 

to hold you

 

I was drawn to his eyes

he had comma pupils

scarily unreal eyes

that told me nothing

 

I longed for His embrace

but at that time

I was too young to understand

why

it wasn’t for spiritual contact

but a carnal love

I had no language for

when I had a language

I still longed for men

who could never enfold me

men who’s eyes

told me nothing

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

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

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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

March

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

April

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

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

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