Hair

Hair

she was a stranger

who felt no compunction 

in reaching out to touch my hair

I must have been in my mid-twenties

at the time

my hair was freshly washed

shoulder length

‘it’s like baby hair,’ she said

I was a natural blond

even blonder 

after a month of summer sun

‘I would kill to have like yours’

she smiled 

‘thanks’ I replied

not adding

that I hate my hair

I hate it being so smooth

hate being asked

are you a boy or are you girl

being called fruit

by guys because of my hair

not that I was mr masculine

to begin with

 

shortly after that

I dyed my hair for the first time

I wanted a change

I bought a home kit

to make it permanent jet black

the look was striking

my mother said

‘what were you thinking’

I went to work

raised a few eye brows 

but no comments

the black faded after the first wash

so much for permanent

in a week it was ash

in three weeks

back to baby fine blond

 

my hair

was like my sexuality

something I couldn’t disguise

no matter what women

I flirted with

what I tried to call it

what I drank to blot it out

it would always be

I had to live with the envy

some felt about that hair

about something I was powerless over

something I hadn’t constructed

something I learned to live with

 

I remember my first perm

a head of tight blond curls

they bounced in the light

it was my face

but a different me

the stylist conferred with a colourist

both agreed

that my hair was too fine 

to hold colour for long

that it would be a shame

to tamper with it anyway

 

the permanent curls

would flatten within a week

I wasn’t willing 

to go to bed with hairpins in

to look like my mother

so I’d get that perm 

every month or so

I loved my hair for the first week

then a week of doing what I could

to keep the curl in

it was too much work

too much time checking in mirrors

 

I had a friend who was

what he referred to as 

a hair burner

he touched my freshly washed

uncurled hair one day

‘you have baby hair.

I have clients

who would kill to have hair like that.’

I said

‘I hate my hair.

it’s too much work.’

he said

‘do you trust me?’

 

I let him do what he wanted

it took a couple of hours

that first time

to cut it short short short

then incise it with electric razor

patterns into the hair

sometimes a maze

other times circle or triangles 

always different 

 

then he died

murdered by HIV meds

 

I shaved my head for his funeral

no one would ever touch my hair

again

This piece was directly inspired by reading posts, tweets, cultural analysis of race & hair. Black women, in particular, frequently have co-workers, friends of friends & complete strangers of all races, walk up to them to touch their hair, often without asking. It is seen as a lack of boundary respect.

This is something that happened to me more than once. Perhaps as a man it hasn’t had the same response from me. There is a cultural difference between a woman touching a strange man casually – than a man touching a woman’s hair casually. A woman’s touch isn’t threatening whereas a man’s is. Recently someone, without asking, stroked my fresh shaven head and said ‘smooth.’

Anyway this piece isn’t about sexual or racial politics but about my hair. This hair touching did happen often when I was a child, less often as a teen but until I actually started shaving my head it continued. The dialogue is actual, the hating of my hair is an exaggeration. I loved the colour but hated that it was baby fine. It was shiny but shapeless. I was hounded in high school by teachers to get my hair cut when it was getting to length I liked. Brian Jones-ish. 

I did dye my hair jet black & as the piece says, it washed out within a week, I never tried to dye it again. There was no altering it just ways of cutting it. As a big I usually had a brush cut, hight school was mod mop top; I never went for scraggly hippie long though. I was grappling with my sexuality & what masculinity meant. Though caring at all about my hair was then seen as being a more feminine attribute.

 

When I moved to Toronto one of the first things I started was getting my hair permed. I might photos of that somewhere. I would go to House of Lords to get that done. It was there the colourist said my hair would never hold colour. It would also not hold curls, unless I did extra work myself. 

The hair burner was a friend in recovery. Ed – he was also from my hometown, Sydney, Cape Breton; though we never knew each other when we were living there. I often wondered what might have happened had we met way back when. As the piece says he cut my hair super short then ‘etched’ patterns into it with an electric razor. I loved it. Our haircutting sessions were slow, mediative talks for many years, in which we became spiritually connected.

He was an early HIV diagnosis & thus one of the guinea pigs as science figured out dosages. The meds killed him, not HIV. ‘So sorry.’ Before he passed I did try another hair-burner friend in recovery but he didn’t have the patience for the cut that Ed gave me. For Ed’s funeral I shaved my head for the first time. I knew that in some religions mourners would wail, tear their clothes, even scar themselves in a display of grief. This was/is my display.

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Chapter XXXIX – Lillian Joins the Mob

Coal Dusters: Book 1 is now available as as PDF – this covers the first 35 chapters – 65540 words – send $1.99 to  paypal.me/TOpoet

Coal Dusters – Chapter XXXIX

Lillian Joins The Mob

Back sore from the uncomfortable train ride, yet excited, Lillian stood at the gate to her home in Boston. It hadn’t changed at all since she had departed several months ago. The white house with its yellow shutters looked freshly painted in the warm afternoon sun. The shutter on the upper right windows needed repairs. She didn’t understand how her father could allow that misaligned shutter to mar the perfect facade of their house.

The gate opened soundlessly when she pushed it. She nodded to the train porter behind her to follow her up the stairs. He put her travel bag beside her at the front door. She sorted the coins in her change purse to make sure she was giving him American, not Canadian, money.

“Thank you.” she said dropping a dime in the palm of his hand.

She watched to make sure he had gone before she turned and knocked at the door. She was disappointed that she even had to knock, she had fully expected Sarah, or any of the other housemaids, to have seen her and to have thrown the door open wide to welcome her home.

Her first knocks with her knuckles could hardly be heard. She pulled off her travel gloves to rap soundly at the door. There was no sound from inside. No hurried footsteps to answer her knock.

She tried the door handle and it was locked. Reluctantly she used the brass knocker in the middle of the door. No response. She knocked again. No response.

Surely they weren’t up at the summer cottage? Even if they were, there was always house staff on duty when they were up at the lake. She stepped to to peer in one of the side windows. She could see Sarah in the foyer dusting the stair railings. Her knock on the window to get Sarah’s attention.

When Sarah didn’t respond she went back to the front door. It was just shutting and her travel bag was gone!

She tried the door handle again, pushed against it with all her weight but it refused to budge. She pounded the door with both her hands and all her might. She could hear the pounding echo from the houses in the square behind her. The door suddenly opened and she fell hard on the floor. Momentarily dazed she painfully turned herself over and found herself on the floor beside her bed in Castleton.

The pounding continued. It was someone knocking on the front door of the manse. She grabbed her wrap, slipped on her shoes and rushed down the stairs to answer the door.

“Father Patrick!” she called out as she ran. “Father Patrick!”

She opened the door and it Mrs. McIssac from across the street.

“Sorry to be bothering you Miss Lillian.” She was breathing heavily. “I was told to gather as many of the women as I could to go down to the pier to be with the miner’s when the Dingle Dandy gets here.”

“Oh yes.” She pulled her wrap closer. “I must have overslept. I was up later than usual getting some things ready for the strikers.”

“We all do what we can. Castleton is now your home as much as any of us.”

“I’ll join you as soon as I can. But don’t wait on me if you are ready to go now.”

Lillian shut the door and leaned her back on it to catch her breath. She tried to remember her dream of Boston. She could feel that morning sun on her skin as she walked up the steps to her house. Her true home.

She went to Father Patrick’s room and knocked on the door. It swung open at her touch. The bed hadn’t been slept in.

Twenty minutes later she latched the kitchen door behind her. Mrs. McIssac, Mrs. Danvers and several other women from nearby were at the Upper Chestnut corner talking amongst themselves. There were several of their children with them.

“I’m saying we shouldn’t have the children underfoot.” one of the women was saying.

“We can’t lock them up Marg.”

“I certainly wouldn’t leave mine alone in the house.” one said.

“Or anyone else’s.” Another replied.

The women all laughed.

“Outdoors has been good enough for them so far this summer.” Mrs. Danvers said.

“For sure but there hasn’t been troops to worry about.”

“Might we put them in the Hall?” Mrs. McIssac asked.

“Ah … I don’t know.” Lillian said. “I don’t have … authority to give permission. You would have to ask Father McTavish. He’s not here.”

“He’s probably with the men already.” One of the women said.

“I’m going there what ever you say,” one of the boys said. He looked at his buddy and the two of them scampered down the road.

One of the smaller girls began to cry. “They gonna kill Daddy. I know it.”

As the women and children marched toward the dock they were joined by more of the wives of the miners. Lillian nodded to the few she had met already and to some who were familiar to her from their attendance as the various services at St. Agatha’s.

“It’s good for us to have an opportunity to show our numbers to them.” Mrs. Franklin was walking beside Lillian. “The men can’t stand alone all the time with us women folk hiding behind them. It’s time we were in the front ranks.”

“I doubt if it’ll much difference.” Lillian said. “But it is better than waiting.”

A distant horn tooting quieted them.

“That’s The Dandy leaving North Sydney.” One of the women said. “It’ll be here soon.”

“You children stay behind. You hear.” Mrs. McIssac made them form a row. “We’ll have enough to do without keeping an eye on you. You understand.”

“Yes ma’am.” one of the older girls said.

“I’ll keep watch over them.” Lillian took the smallest girl by the hand. “You’ll be good, won’t you?”

“Yes Miss McTavish.” the child said.

As they rounded the corner the dock came into view. Lillian could see the ranks of miners already there surrounding the dock. In the distance she could see the Dingle Dandy approaching. She could make out several men on board.

The miner’s began to shout. “Back to the mainland.” “Respect us workers.” “This ain’t yer fight.” “Don’t cross our picket lines.”

As the ferry got closer they miners began to stomp their feet. Lillian was afraid the dock might gave way under the pounding. She could feel the vibration in her feet.

As the boat was about to dock it was clear that there was a dozen or so men on board. Three in suits, the others in uniforms with varying shades of brown. 

“Not real uniforms.” Mrs. Franklin said to her. “Probably ex-militia. Putting on a front for us.”

“That’s Mr. Bowden?” Lillian shaded her eyes.

“Yes and I think that’s Baldwin with him.” Mrs. Franklin said.

“Baldwin?” Lillian asked.

“The Premiere. At least for now. With the election coming up he’s not going to miss this chance to campaign.”

As the ferry tied up to the wharf, the miners began to chant repeatedly, “You can’t stand the gaff. You can’t stand the gaff.” 

Lillian was stunned to see that the first person to step off the ferry was her uncle. He raised his hands and the men fell silent.

“Thank you for the enthusiastic greeting.”

The men laughed.

“I have spent the night in discussion with Premiere Baldwin, Mr. Bowen and Colonel Strickland.”

“Which of them did you give final unction to?” One of the miners shouted out. The other miners laughed.

“What did they confess?” Another called out.

“Men. Friends. Parishoners. ” Father McTavish stepped closer to the line of miners. “I have convinced them that we are civilized enough to conduct ourselves like adults, not like a bunch of hooligans. No one wants things to escalate any further.”

“We aren’t the one trying to bust up the strike with outsiders.” William Gregory stepped out from the crowd of miners.

“We have no intention of busting up the strike but BritCan can’t let the mines remain idle. We have the legal right to mine the coal there, regardless of the union’s stance.” Bowden answered.

“They have the rights to their coal.” The Premiere took a document out of his overcoat pocket. 

“Not worth the paper it’s printed on.” Someone called out. A clod of grass flew from the back to the crowd and landed directly on the Premiere’s chest and scattered dirt over the document.

“We want to come to amicable agreement.” Baldwin continued. “These are difficult time for everyone. There has to be compromise on your part if …”

“Here’s a compromise,” Gregory looked around the men behind them before continuing. “Pay the miner’s what you are going to pay the scabs, including the bonus you’ve guaranteed them.”

“I’m not here to negotiate.” the Premiere said. “I wanted to tell you directly that either you comply with the BritCan conditions or the province will step in with full support from Ottawa, I might add.”

“We will use what force is necessary.” Colonel Strickland said. “We would rather not have to go to that extreme.”

“Tell that to your wife.” Mrs. McIssac pushed through the crowd to face the colonel. “Tell that to your children.”

“My wife and children obey the law.” He said.

“I hope you are proud of yourself.” She turned to the Premiere. “It’s the law of money you obey not of the people who elected you. Remember that when the election comes around.”

“I’m asking you all to disperse.” Colonel Strickland said. “Go back to your homes and stop interfering with the lawful business of the BritCan Coal Company.”

“Or what?” one of the miners shouted.

The Colonel nodded to one of his men who was still aboard the DingleDandy.

“Attention.” The man shouted. A dozen, fully armed men came up from below deck and marched off the boat.

There were boo’s from the miners as stones, bricks and bottles flew through the air. The Colonel signalled Premiere Baldwin, Mr. Bowen and Father McIssac to step behind the soldiers.

“Arms.” He commanded.

“They aren’t going to fire on us, are they?” Lillian asked. 

“Women and children move back.” Gregory shouted. 

“Aim.” The Colonel said.

The soldiers brought their rifles to their shoulders.

“Fire.”

They discharged their weapons over the heads of the crowd. 

The children and some of the women scattered. Some were screaming, others were crying.

Lillian was pulled back by a couple of the children.

“Come Miss we have to get safe.” 

Lillian looked down and one was Birk’s sister Maddy.

“That was merely a warning.” The Colonel shouted over the noise of the crowd. “The replacement company workers will be arriving soon. My men will remain here to make sure no one … I repeat … no one interferes with them doing their lawful work. Now disperse before we take further action.”

Premiere Baldwin and Mr. Bowen boarded the Dingle Dandy and it started back to North Sydney. The crowd dispersed into grumbling factions.

Birk and his father Blackie appeared from out of one of the factions.

“Maddy there you are.” Blackie tugged her hand out of Lillian’s. “I’ll look after her.”

“You’re okay?” Birk asked.

“Yes.” Lillian replied.

“It was just a show of force.” Blackie said.

“Looked more like a declaration of war on the miners.” Lillian shook her head.

“Miners have been at war with the company for generations. Some years it feels like a losing battle but … there’ seems no other way.”

“You safe to get home?” Birk asked.

“Oh yes.” Lillian said nodding to Mrs. McIssac and the other women. “I should be getting back to the manse. Father Patrick looks famish.”

Her uncle was talking with some of his parishioners as he walked away from the dock with them. As he passed her, he glanced at Lillian.

“There was no need for you to be here Lillian.” He said.

“I was asked by Mrs. McIssac to help mind the children.” she said. “Excuse me Mr. Nelson. I’d best get these children back to their families.”

She reached out for two of the parish children she recognized and took them by the hand. “Come along now. Heather, isn’t it?”

“Yes. Weren’t you scared when the guns went off?” Heather asked.

Lillian resisted saying. “You can’t kill the dead.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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Flesh for Idol Fantasy

MTV/MuchMusic made stars given the right product. One of those photogenic products was Billy Idol. Carefully packaged, he was a sensation who almost became a superstar. He carefully curated image wasn’t enough for him to rise beyond charts of the times. I admit that I was drawn to him for those great videos – White Wedding, Flesh For Fantasy, Catch My Fall: and also by his willingness to exploit his body. Flesh for Idol Fantasy 🙂

His cover-song hits (Mony Mony) had a sort of a Punk Monkees feel to them – safe songs with a sneeringly dangerous look. Catch My Fall was a gay porn dream that kept its pants on. White Wedding was Meatloaf reheated with a hot spice thanks to Billy. Even his name is a call back to those teen boy, one hit stars of the Brit 60’s. Idol managed more than one hit though.

 

I have stand-alone Rebel Yell; and in mp3 collection the hits: Vital Idol. Thanks to the amazing guitar work of Steve Stevens, Rebel Yell transcends the standard pop sound. His work on Flesh is sublime. Idol’s singing is solid but lacks, for me, emotional depth – he’s mostly loud but never really sexy, angry, introspective. But he is a good song writer as he co-wrote all the songs on Rebel Yell. 

 

Sadly he never became the superstar he hoped. I’m not sure what actually happened: drugs, ego, booze, fame undermined him. I have heard his work after his initial star burst & it lacks the drive of his MTV era work. He never re-invented himself as Madonna (another of those MTV video stars) continues to do. I hope he isn’t stuck in some Pittsburg Holiday Inn lounge singing for his supper. 

Trust

‘What do you think?’ the clerk sprayed some cologne on a small card and handed it to me.

‘Pleasant.’ I didn’t really like the smell of wet cardboard but it was easier to feign pleasure than become a grump.

‘It’s the latest thing from Loginfield. Trust.’

The smoked glass bottle had a golden tinge. It was completely round, a ball with a small atomizer on the top. It came with a special stand to keep it from rolling around through one’s make-up.

‘Perhaps sir would like to see how it smells on him?’

‘Trust me I wouldn’t you.’

The clerk’s face wrinkled slightly as if I had imposed on her valuable time.

‘But thank you for the offer.’ I stepped away.

‘We have another you might like. ‘Patience?’

Patience had a sharp floral cardboard smell on the card she sprayed it on.

‘No, thank you. I’m not in the market for any of these. Today.’

I resisted pushing her aside so I could keep on my way.

‘We have a special on ‘Don’t Hesitate.’’ She stepped towards me. ‘There’s also a bonus with the ‘I Forgive’ line. This limited edition umbrella.’

‘No. No. I’m sure they are all quite nice but …’

‘Sounds more like you want the ‘Not Sure.’ It has become one of our best seller.’ She reached for a clear glass bell shaped bottle. There was a hazy green liquid in it. ‘One whiff and I’m sure …’

‘Look.’ I stopped and faced her. ‘I am not interested. Leave me alone. If there was a way into the store that allowed me in without passing the perfume counter I would sure take but there isn’t.’

‘Ohh, I know your type. You want ‘No Escape.’ Too bad you missed last week’s special on that but I think I may have one left somewhere. The cutest little key chain.’

‘Yes. Why don’t you see if  you can get that special for me? I might be interested.’

‘Really?’ Her face lit up. ‘I know exactly where it is.’

She ducked behind the counter and I high-tailed it to my original destination – the bedding department. I checked behind me to make sure she wasn’t following me. Though, now that I was in the store, I had to find away out without being seen my her or any of the others. Perhaps if I bought a couple of pillows and carried them so my face couldn’t be seen. That might work.

I examined a duvet. There was a tap at my shoulder. It was perfume counter clerk.

‘Perhaps you might prefer this. It just came in. We call it ‘Trapped.’

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

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Harold Pinter


Harold Pinter taught me how to write dialogue as opposed to conversation. There’s a brief scene in The Homecoming where one male character offers to take a glass of water from a female character, she declines in a simple direct way that shows she knows she is in control of more than the glass of water. It is dialogue with text and subtext as a power dynamic shifts.

 

Over the years I’ve directed One For The Road; The Servant; The Hothouse; The Homecoming. Turned out I had a good sensibility for the pacing of his plays, which I found to be much dinner that perhaps he intended. I’ve also seen various productions of The Homecoming & have a great film version of it as well. 

He has done interesting things with narrative structure – in one play the events run from the climax to the on-set. In many of them there is sense of threat, sometimes unexplained. Motivation sometimes goes unexplained forcing the audience to participate in unfolding the plot for themselves. This has allowed me as a writer not to reveal but to intimate – the power of ambiguity. Not seeing the creature but hearing it is enough.

 

The language of his plays is never overly poetic, or intellectually obscure. He doesn’t go for punch-lines or for startling plot twists either. He doesn’t hesitate in making his characters suffer though – emotionally and physically.

 

 

In my staging I did bring my own gender spin. In The Hothouse I opted for a female head of the psychiatric facility  – changing some of the sexual dynamic; I did the same for the Homecoming – having the professor daughter bring her new husband home to the family. The plays were structurally sound enough to support this challenging decision – though I was criticized for lack of respect. What the hell Shakespeare is now done with total gender & race blindness & it survives  quite well. In fact such changes often charges the plays with layers of meaning that weren’t there in the original text or subtext.

None For The Road

no no really I couldn’t

I’ve had enough already

I‘ll have one later

it’s too early in the evening for me

after a few I break out in handcuffs

there is no such thing as enough

another always leads to another

I‘d rather be uptight than passed out

there aren’t enough excuses

there aren’t enough examples 

to make someone 

who doesn’t understand understand

 

so I don’t try

I don’t even get started

I just say no and leave at that

if they persist

I step back

does it really matter 

what I have in my glass

as long as I have one

that’s enough

it has become much easier 

after all these years to say no

that invisible shield of sobriety

does its job

keeps people away 

who only trust

someone who’ll hoist another with them

pay for a round

slip out for a quick toke maybe

 

no I won’t take one

because that one may take me

and trust me

you don’t want to know where

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

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

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Headlights

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Headlights

the elevator door opened

there was a woman

alone

 

after a startled stare

she stepped back

to let me enter

 

I didn’t get on

I let the door shut

so she could continue

her ride alone

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Lost on the Road to Clear Thinking

Lost on the Road to Clear Thinking

 

I couldn’t think clearly

for days

that seemed like weeks

weak with those thoughts

sorting resorting

each thought clouding things

even more

even more

each thought building on the last

another tangent

another possibility

murkier than the last

yet refusing to quiet

without the noise

it was as if life would end

 

lost was proof of direction

confusion was proof of intelligence 

the stupid are never lost in thought

the complicated are the bright spots

glimmering in the dense mist

of one idea one notion one misstep

after the other

clarity was for the simple minded

the intellectually challenged

 

it isn’t easy

to remain so invested in this

sorting and resorting 

but without it there would be

no one here

just a blank stare of serenity

Our culture spends an inordinate amount of time & money on finding serenity while at the same pushes the importances of consumerism. Getting more while enjoying simplicity is a modern dichotomy. If you are making money you are respected. If it isn’t making money it’s a hobby not a valid pursuit. But how can you afford yoga mats, stone serenity fountains unless you get to work. Of course the more your serenity fountain costs the more serene you will be.

Self-care is only for those who can’t afford professionals to do it with them. ‘The Learn to Relax’ workshop that costs $1200 is certainly better than one that costs pay-what-you-can. 

So you can see where some of the inspiration for this piece comes from – those mixed messages that often go heard but not really listened to, merely accepted without question. The morose are seen as challenges – men & women are often drawn to partners who need a little fixing up. Married to the right person will make a real person of you. You’re nobody until someone wants to change you.

Happy, well-adjusted people are seen as somehow lacking in emotional depth or are consider in denial. The depressive are seen as authentic – if you haven’t suffered enough you aren’t seen as interesting. If you haven’t experienced & survived childhood sexual abuse aren’t as compelling a writer, painter so what bother writing?

I am one of those, so far, lucky ones who have had a relatively blessed life. The only abuse I suffered was going up in an abusive culture. That ‘suffering’ has been mostly emotional & mental. Some name calling, bullying in school but that’s it. The worse physical abuse I went through was at the hands of alcohol in a culture that said booze was the best way to deal with anything. The alternatives: shock treatment, chemical castration – were considered viable treatment for sexually non-conforming teens at that time. I’m grateful that I avoided getting the help I might have needed then because that help would have killed me or left me with a blank stare serenity.

 

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The Social Godzilla

 

This mp3 collection runs at over 7 hours of mainly amazing soundtrack music. Starting with The Best of Godzilla: 1954-1975; 1984-1995 w: Jack Nitzsche: The Reprise Recordings; The Social Network: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross; Contagion: Cliff Martinez; Traditional Japanese Kodo: Satomi Saeki; and ending with Looper: Nathan Johnson.

 

 

The Best of Godzilla are both double cd editions that covers music from not only Godzilla but Mothra, Hedora, Gigan & others. They cover such classics as Godzilla Vs. Megalon; Godzilla Vs, Spacegodzilla. John Williams has been clearly influenced by these soundtracks with their military marches, sweeping moments of victory. Often some faint traditional sounds filter through. I am particularly fond of Mothra’s Song. Music by ‘The Peanuts’ who sing it is hard to find though.

I have searched out more by some of the Japanese composers of these various soundtracks & have enjoyed exploring their modern classical work. Which how the Koto music was added to this collection – to balance the Godzilla with the real 🙂

Jack Nitzsche is a Hollywood tragedy – he worked with people like Neil Young; created memorable soundtracks for films like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; but thanks to drugs never became a ‘star.’ The Reprise set is some of his unused film music, instrumentals & a few songs. Sweet music made sad by his inability to survive the entertainment industry.

These are more modern soundtracks: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross: The Social Network; Contagion: Cliff Martinez; and ending with Looper: Nathan Johnson. I’ve seen all three movies & enjoyed them. I downloaded Contagion after seeing the movie on TV; I had the Social Network soundtrack well before seeing the movie; Looper came after watching the dvdd that included a short on the making of there soundtrack. Network & Contagion are electronic & interchangeable 🙂 Contagion has perhaps a but more tension. Looper is soundscapes contracted from various percussions & found sound. All three work independent of the movies. All make great soundtracks for daily life, sweet for sex too.

Love

The TV was off. Jimmy stared at the screen. What colour was it. Black. Grey. Charcoal. A non-colour what ever it was. Blank empty but ready to leap into colour at the touch of a button. Why was that? Why was there no colour now. Just the dust that could never be wiped off for more than five minutes.

The TV was off.

The room was silent. Very silent. Muffled with dust it seemed to Jimmy. Was dust settling on me. Am I covered with dust? No, with microbes. I saw that on the TV. Flesh is covered with billions of live mites all scurrying around in worlds of their own. Do they see the TV? Are they aware of the change from light to dark, from colour to no colour?

Should he get up? Yes, that would be a good thing. To move. To wade through the air around him. The air was full of things too. Dust motes, skin flakes floating to the ground; shedded, shredded bits of him, of everyone who had even been in that room. The room crawled with them. 

The past has no real colour only dust. 

It wasn’t late. He could watch some more TV. That would be nice but what was the point. It bored him. Even the image of his flesh crawling with worlds he couldn’t see bored him. The dust bored him. Bored him more than anything because he could never escape the dust. He could leave the TV behind but there would always be that dust. It would trail him his whole life. He might re-arrange it but never ever be rid of it.

So he stood. Into the dark of the room. Time to change that light-bulb. It’s been a week now since it burnt out. Funny he hasn’t really felt the need for it. One less thing to clutter his life. There’s enough light from this lamp in the hall. Yeah. Now what. He’s up and moving. Kitchen. Food. 

Food bored him.

So this is what it’s like to be in love. Everything is boring. All the things that I once was fascinated by now bore me. They seem so lifeless. So immobile and dull, dusty. Dust will never settle on my love. Never. Where was she? She’d be home soon. A few minutes, half-an-hour.

He would get food ready for her if he could reach anything. He’d change that light too if he could only reach something. Anything. But why bother. She could reach those things easily. Enjoyed doing it too for some reason. Liked to reach & stretch.

Yes stretch, that is a good idea. Time to stretch. maybe go back into the living-room. No too dusty. Needed a room with less dust. 

Water. Yeah water would be good right about now. Was there any. He could hear a tap drip. Can’t reach that.

Some in his bowl though. There had to be some there. Yes, there was. Just the right temperature and no dust on it. That’s nice for a change.

She would be home soon. Fresh water.

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 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

 

Prometheus at Hot Damn

Hot Damn! started 2019 with a packed room workshop at Glad Day and a SRO house at Buddies in Bad Times – both driven by feature Regie Cabico. The participants at the workshop wrote & shared some excellent work on the spot – the level of trust among people who had never met before was encouraging, as was the diversity of the participants.

When I got to Buddies to help Charlie set up there were people already clambering to get in 🙂 so the house opened fifteen minutes earlier than usual, I did front of house & it was full enough to start the show a little after 8 (nearly on time for a poetry show). Standing room only by 8:15. Also a full sign-up sheet for slammers – 11 – a Hot Damn! record.

After some opener stagers the first round got underway with a series of politically & emotionally pieces that held nothing back on gender, indigenous, & local political issues. Round two had fewer slammers (lowest scores didn’t get to move forward) and the tone of the pieces became more reflective, personal but equally as direct and powerful.

Lines from the first part of the show: my tongue was not enough’ ‘the swish of sari silk’ ‘I could taste blood’ ‘I fell in love with a crack dealer’ ‘you are the art work of past lives’ ‘our medicine made illegal’ ‘give up your cottages and give us back our land’ ‘what he really should have admitted to you before you married’ ‘I only knew how to see you as a moving disaster’ ‘nobody giving me room to make mistakes in’ ‘betrayal tastes like fennel and sage’ ‘my neighbourhood becomes a trigger warning’ ‘you ask me if I’ll forgive you’ ‘I pray you get your forgiveness but it will never come from me’ ‘I say to them – it’s not your table’ ‘you still here with me like a cloud in my mind’ ‘as if money could regenerate our roots’ ‘I’m not sure how to tell your dad that you’re gay’

Feature Regie Cabico did a strong set drawing from his recent chapbook ‘Sticky Stars & Sheets.’ Funny, deeply personal, very sensual & inspiring. ‘jack-off in the name of leukaemia research’ ‘the warehouses are lit by flames of vodka’ ‘you will not pluck my pancreas like Prometheus’ ‘you hold me like an oar directing my past’ ‘we run like suitcases on wheels’ ‘two lonely Tony’s from West Side Story’ ‘his calf … stretched out before me like Florida’

This is not my first review of Regie though: Spoonful of Beautiful https://wp.me/p1RtxU-d2. We’ve enjoyed each other’s performances in the past so I may not be impartial – but the audience was so enthused so my review isn’t exaggerating his set. 

After a much needed break the show resumed with a few more open stagers & the final round of the slam; ‘I need a place to sit to get perspective’ ‘they’re asking me if I have a gender identity’ ‘never more than genetic coding’ ‘baby shoes take me back to memory like a phantom limb’ ‘too many of us seeking help’ ‘this body is not a temple you are invited to’ ‘my mess you speak to’ ‘oozo ozone’ ‘even my now voice is too heavy to raise’ ‘confuse tenderness with love’ ‘saying gay people should die while getting off on lesbian porn’ ‘it just isn’t about sex anymore’ ‘hidden by ink and time’ ‘the space between fingertips & footsteps.’

Scores were tabulated, prizes were given. Yes, there was a winner, who gets to compete in April for the grand prize: the trip to participate in Capturing Fire (dates tba, soon) but the real winner was the audience. Next Toronto Hot Damn! is March 7. 

(above blog pics are of construction by Buddies)

the piece I wrote at the workshop – rough draft –

Resume

Henry texted me

he was told to stay home

he’s afraid

he’ll lose his job

Henry is one of my lovers

we have been seeing other

every week or so

for over three years

 

I want him to feel

cared for

but I have no solution

for his situation

other than acknowledging his stress

 

I like Henry

but I do not love him

he wants job security

not love

 

it is hard to breathe 

in the workshop

so many perfumes

I’m glad I have no

environment allergies

 

the tenderness of

Henry’s slow kisses

is what I love

 

the tentative tongue start

draws us

into each other’s bodies

 

I love his tongue

but can’t pronounce his last name

Mwawasi

unless it is in front of me

 

in Cape Breton this summer

I will visit

my parents graves

I wasn’t there when they died

they won’t be here

when I die

they will never see my grave

 

Henry texts

he is going to bed

I hope he sleeps well

that he dreams of our kisses

not of rewriting his resume 

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

Buffy Season 5

Spoiler alert – I will be revealing crucial plot points so if you haven’t seen season 5 be warned. Of course that fact that there are two more seasons spoils the finale, in which Buffy dies, anyway. The season presents, to me, the best Buffy villain yet with Clare Kramer as Glory. The actor is great & her scenes with Buffy crackle with great energy. She was like Cordelia with super evil powers.  

The season starts with Buffy vs. Dracula – one of those about time episodes it also introduced Buffy’s younger “sister”, Dawn, played by Michelle Trachtenberg. Talk about confusing. It did the writers a chance to work with easy family cliches as opposed to the Slayer mythos. The big reveal was well planned & well written to. The departure of Riley, Marc Blucas, was welcome as that ‘relationship’ was tedious & distracting. He was great eye candy but I never felt invested in him as a character.

It was a season of duality – many characters were two people, emotionally or literally – Zander get a double; Dawn is a sister & the Key; Glory is a god & Ben a mortal; Buffy is a Slayer & a parent, Spike is a  mess of emotions. Multilayered characters that drew me in & who never disappointed.

The death of Buffy’s mother, Joyce, was not unexpected & unlike many characters – she dies of natural causes. The emotions felt real and the emotional quandary for Buffy was well written & Sarah gives an amazing (& underrated) performance.

I loved the robot episodes, Zander’s double was great. Any appearance by Glory was satisfying. The morning of her dual nature was great fx & the flip between both of her/his halves int he finale episodes was very effective. I was sorry to see them go. I loved Joel Grey’s arc & I was sad to see that he doesn’t return in season 6.

I can’t say this is the best season but after the mess of season 4 it was a great return to form. 

All’s Well Bellicose

it’s not me it’s them

its a war zone out there

no safe haven 

to stop and breathe in

who wants to breathe 

the air out there

standing in what sort of shit

no place to rest 

to put down the gun 

for even a minute

random bullets materialize in the air

when you are walking down the street

looking for a burger joint

for a corner to piss in

and bang

 

if the bullets don’t get you

the burgers will

you’re all out to get me

people everywhere cough sneeze

wipe damp hands 

on door handles I have to touch

grimacing at me

at my gun

over their newspapers

cranking up their mp3 players

so I can’t hear mine

daring me to shoot 

as they light up a cigarette

as they push ahead of me 

to get their death burger faster

fast food being too slow for them

tearing off price tags

ripping books to shreds

pushing their way 

down crowded stairs ways

jumping at me with atomizers

when I enter a department store

try this sir

what’s your favourite blood 

I like the smell of 

cosmetic salespersons blood

do you have anything like that

or something that smells 

like fast food counter help

that empty fried fresh aroma

that tingles the taste buds

something that makes people hungry 

when they smell me

 

it’s not me it’s them

I set out peaceful almost serene

avoid the unscooped spots on the sidewalk

even manage a smile at the barista

who would smile back

if she weren’t afraid it slow her down

and the swish my coffee enough

to make sure the lumps of milk 

and sweetener have dissolved

and I’m happy for the first sip

until the lid pops off 

and I have to watch 

the slick scum cling 

to the sides of my cup

as I sip sip sip to the last drop

 

I am now ready for anything and everything 

that is out to get me

I won’t fight back too much today

I want to be a power of calm

in all this mindless 

staggering 

stumbling 

hurry around me

to step out of the way

resist saying have a nice day

resist saying fuck you too

resist kicking cars 

that stop in the crosswalk

as if they owned the damn streets

 

to know that even if this a war zone

all is well with the world

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

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 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

 

Architectural un/Digest/able

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Architectural un/Digest/able

The White House

architecturally speaking

holds no interest for me

big sprawling 

designed to impress 

not to live in

history was made there

apparently

 

but to me

it isn’t even a photo op

merely a symbol 

of promises unkept

of hopes betrayed

needs ignored in favour of profit

not for progress

 

I’ve seen it from a distance

that’s close enough for me

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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