M-Miscellaneous

Les Mersey’s is a PQ pop group who thrived thanks to CanCon regulations about both the amount of radio airtime that had to be devoted to Canadian music & in Quebec how much of the time had to be in French. I have several stand-alone cds of the amazing series ‘Les Groupes des Années 60.’ The 25 Chansons include originals, a few sung in English but mostly French versions of English hits such as their take on The Rolling Stones – Stupid Girl, Fille Stupide. These are a delight.

I started to collect these when I visited Montreal in the mid-90’s. It was a vain attempt to improve my French but, well, that didn’t happen – c’est la vie. But it did help open my eyes to the insidious influence of US pop music & the sometimes hilarious ways it was adapted by other cultures. If you like this wonky cultural appropriation search out Cambodian pop for the 60s. 

Next M is Metro Station best known for their insanely addictive summer hit Shake It. Catchy & fun the album is solid, though nothing quite has the zip of Shake It. All the tracks would make nice movie/TV moments though. The band disappeared after this hit, as far as I know, though Wiki tells me they are still active. The subway in Montreal is known as Le Metro so there is a connection with Les Mercy’s.

The last of this M miscellany is MGMT. I have stand-alones of Oracular Spectacular & Congratulations. I picked up them first as at the result of reading about it in Entertainment Weekly. I may have also seen the video for Electric Feel – which is a great slinky summer hit. The lps are described as psychedelic rock – but, well, they aren’t Umma Gumma trippy. Enjoyable as they are, two cds were enough for my collection.

Maybe He Was Dead

So far there were no TV crews hovering around what was going on. Jan stayed within listening distance but tried not to seem too nosey. A few people were taking pictures with cell phones but they were being warned off by the police. TTC was always sensitive about what went on. She had to figure how to confirm what her sister had told her.

Manonotti was one of the more outspoken voices on city council when it came to almost anything, he never dodged the limelight. His latest mission had been to side with the cyclist union for more dedicated bike lanes. He felt that giving more money to public transit didn’t have to mean just the subway and that if there were more attention payed to alternate forms of transport the city would be better off.

As a result he was frequently at logger-heads with both the TTC and merchants. Merchants who felt more bike lanes meant less parking for paying customers who now had no where to park their cars. Manonotti was outspoken and blunt. Now, maybe, he was dead.

Jan had met him a few times. Interviewed him once when he his crusade was to halt the health spas that were popping up along the Danforth in long empty store fronts. The spas were covers for rub and tug operations where the massage was sexual and not medicinal. 

But when he saw that transportation was getting more press hw switched his focus to what would get him the greatest face time. He had hopes of parleying all this into a run for the mayor. He felt it was time the city had someone born and bred in Toronto at the helm and not some corporate clone.

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Mask of the Breath Death

Mask of the Breath Death

perched above the city

from Prospero’s castle tower

the vast sea of lights

spun in endless eddies

cloudless night sky

the naked face of the moon

was the one we all looked to

the moon didn’t breathe

as it rose in our dreams

<>

the movie panic

didn’t materialize 

beyond a few shoving matches

over toilet paper

there was no riotous looting

at least not because of breath death

the civil war continued

only now with masks

of white yellow orange, 

blue violet or black

a legal requirement

shooting one another 

was taken for-granted 

breathing on one another

was criminalized

lungs were weaponized

<>

Prospero chose to be unmasked

even though to hold your breath

was more vital than

hold your fire

as the his guests arrived

they were forced

to shed their masks

to greet their host

<>

he retired to his tower

while they were fast tested

only the negative

could continue deeper

into the protected chambers

those that couldn’t afford

to be safe

didn’t deserve

his breath death

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Picture Perfect 39

Picture Part 2

Picture Perfect 39

Balancing his luggage Dan held his point and click camera to his eye and took a couple of pictures of the cabin door. The door opened slowly to the electronic key with an audible creak. Inside Dan put his suitcase down to shut it. The door wasn’t cooperating. He slung off his shoulder bag and put it on the bed and went back to the door. He had to lift it slightly by the knob to fit it into the door frame.

Just what he needed, another sign that things weren’t going to go so smooth. At least he was here in New Brunswick as the Waterside Motel. He opened his shoulder bag and took out the production schedule for the five weeks of the shoot. Places, distances, dates, times, drivers, motels, b’n’b’s, with no time-out between each. He was glad he’d had his breaks included in the contract.

Baxter talked big money but spent small. At least Dan wasn’t saddled with booking his own motels. If he was, they would have been half-a-star better. He was only here for two nights so he didn’t even bother unpacking more than his interview drag. Those sport coats couldn’t show a wrinkle for the HD camera. The pale blue shirt would need to ironed. That wasn’t in his contract.

He put his camera on the bedside table. He got his laptop out of his shoulder bag. Swallowed the last gulp of orange juice in his travel mug. At least this place had wifi. He turned on the laptop and while it was starting, found the outlet to to plug it in. He had to choose: did he want the TV or the laptop plugged in? At least there was a desk to put it on, too bad it faced the wall, while the TV merely blocked half the window.

The motel splash page came up first. There was free wifi but if he wanted higher speeds he would have to pay more for it. It would be charged to his room. As Quintex was paying for that, he opted for the highest speed.

There was a knock at his door. “You decent?”

It was Baxter himself. Dan pulled the door open. “Come in. I was just getting started.” He gestured to his laptop.

“Utilitarian,” Baxter glanced around the room. He breathed deeply. “Stuffy. Damp.”

“Lives up its name – Waterside Motel.”

“There’s a difference between being water side and being in the water.” Baxter brushed the quilt before sitting on the bed. “You ready for tomorrow?”

“Yeah. Interview is with the Forestier’s. I’ve read the background stuff. They have some photos I’ve never seen before. I’ll look at them to see what I might see in them. I have the set of questions your researcher has provided. Plus a few of my own. It’ll take more than a hour to get through them all you know.”

“No problem as long as you stick to them. We have to …”

He was interrupted by a loud knocking at the door.

“You order a pizza?” Baxter asked.

Dan stepped to the door when it was shoved open.

Two RCMP officers strode in.

“Daniel James?” A thick set, tall female glared at him. 

“Yes. What can I do for you Corporal?” Dan recognized her rank patch.

The other officer reached for the laptop. “Couldn’t wait for the filth, eh.” He muttered squinting at Dan then Baxter.

“John!” She silenced him. “I’ll do the talking.”

“What’s this about?” Baxter stood.

With all of them standing there wasn’t much space left for them to move in the tiny room. She handed Baxter a piece of paper. “I’m Corporal Coster. This is Sergeant Tyler. From the local RCMP detachment. We have a warrant to search the premises and to seize all electronic devices on a charge of attempting to purvey child pornography.”

“What!” Dan said.

“You heard her, asshole.” The male office nudged Dan out of his way as he left the cabin with the laptop. “I’ll take this out to Sergeant Palmer.”

“Then you’ll be impounding the truck, too?” Baxter asked.

“Truck?” she asked.

“Yeah the remote studio we brought with us.”

“Studio.” The male officer exploded. “You ….”

“There must be some confusion,” Dan said. He took out his wallet and flipped it open to his RCMP consultant badge.

Coster looked at the badge carefully. 

“We have a report that members of a child pornography ring were setting up shop here.” She said.

“Where did you get this report from?” Dan asked.

“I’m not at liberty to divulge that.” She handed him back his wallet. “We’ll be taking that.” She nodded to his cell phone. “What?” Baxter said. “We start filming tomorrow.”

“Not our problem.” The male officer said. “We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

“You can’t …”

“Read the warrant,” Coster cut Baxter off. “We can and we will and we have.”

“There must be some misunderstanding.” Baxter said reaching to stop her.

“Don’t.” Dan pulled him back. “Corporal … ”

“Listen,” she turned to face Dan. “I don’t care who you know or what you think will impress me.” She gave him back his wallet.

Dan’s cellphone rang.

“Hello,” The male officer answered it. “I’m sorry he can’t speak to you right now. … No! I won’t take a message …” He turned the phone off. It rang again. A different ring. Dan recognized it as Sanjay’s ring.

“Popular man.” The male officer said. “I guess your buyers network knew when you’d be getting here.”

“Of course people knew when we’d be getting here.” Baxter said. “I can give you a list starting with my pre-production manager who will be calling to confirm locations for tomorrow. We’re from Quintex Studios.” He attempted to hand his business card to the Sergeant. “Surely you’ve heard of us?”

“Look,” Coster glared at him. “Your cover story has been blown already. Just because we’re small town doesn’t mean we are stupid.”

“There’s a difference between being stupid and being wrong.” Dan said. “But finding out how wrong you are is up to you.”

The room phone began to ring.  Dan automatically reached to answer it. The male officer grabbed it up before Dan could get to it.

“Hello. Hello. They hung up.”

Dan read through the warrant. “You only have access to my laptop not my cellphone. And certainly not Mr. Baxter’s. The truck is also off limits. Not mentioned here.”

“It’s good for all electronic recording devices.” She said.

“That’s not what it says.” He read aloud the section that set out the perimeters of the warrant. “That’s pretty clear. Only the laptop in this cabin is liable for seizure. I’ll have my cellphone back, please.”

Reluctantly she gave it back to him. 

“Sergeant check the bathroom.” She said to Tyler. “That is listed is it not?” she said to Dan.

“Right. The premises is your. The laptop is yours to search. The warrant doesn’t even extend to my luggage.”

“Okay. So you know about search warrants.” She said.

“Who is the division captain?” Dan asked.

“Brian McKillop.” Coster said.

“Look, you can’t do this,” Baxter said. “We’ve been planning this for months now. I have all the permits, waivers from the families, you know, real documentation, not some trumped up goose chase …”

While Baxter was talking, Dan sent a text to Warszawa with McKillop’s name a question mark and a 411, a code for ‘contact this guy’.

“It was there.” Sergeant Tyler came out of the bathroom with a spindle of dvd’s. “They were in the ceiling where we were informed they’d be.”

“Shouldn’t you be wearing gloves Sergeant Tyler,” Dan said. “You’ve already contaminated the evidence.”

“I’ll contaminate you, you fucking perv.” Tyler pushed his face close to Dan’s. “You make me sick.”

“How did that get there!” Baxter exclaimed looking at Dan.

“Don’t ask me. I had barely opened the door when you came in, then these guys were right on your heels. Right?”

“You bet.” Tyler said.

“The tip told us your accomplices were here earlier in the week to leave this for you for pick up.”

“So, I guess you’ve checked to see who has rented this room recently?” Dan asked.

“Not yet.”

“Get back to me when you’ve done all your homework then.”

“Let’s check out this guy’s cabin.” Tyler said.

“Better get a warrant for that,” Dan said. “Yours only covers my laptop. It said nothing about other rooms. But we’ll let that pass, for now.”

Another officer came into the cabin with Dan’s laptop. 

“It’s clean.” He put the laptop back on the desk.

“Clean? Are you sure Palmer?” Tyler said. “He must have a flash drive somewhere.”

“You can search where you want Corporal.” Dan dumped the contents of his shoulder bag on the bed.

“They cannot,” Baxter exploded. “They …”

“Listen Baxter,” Dan said. “Why don’t you go back to your cabin and let me deal with this. There’s nothing …”

“You call these nothing?” Tyler shook the dvd’s at him.

“I’ll take those.” Sergeant Palmer took the container out of Tyler’s hand. “His laptop doesn’t have a dvd drive.”

Baxter laughed nervously. “What the fuck. I guess you’re right Dan, I’ll let you handle this.” He started to leave the cabin.

“Hold on.” Tyler followed him. “What’s this truck you were talking about.”

“In the parking lot.” Baxter said. “You can’t miss it.”

Tyler pushed past him and left the cabin. Baxter went after him. “Call me later.”

“Do you have any idea of what’s going on here?” Corporal asked.

“I don’t know.” Dan said. “I got off an airplane less than two hours ago.”

“Who knew you were coming here?”

“According to Baxter, millions of people.”

“Millions?”

“The reality show we’re making has been promoted on the History network for at least a month. Plus cross promo.”

“The one about the missing children?” she rubbed the back of her neck.

“Yep. I am that Daniel James.” He reached out to shake her hand.

“Christ, I never put that together. I’ll ask that again. Who knew you’d be here? Here at the Waterside?”

“Good question.” Dan had been too caught up in what was going on to wonder why it was going on. “I didn’t know what motel we’d be using until I got the plane in Toronto this afternoon. I didn’t even have time to tell my office manager or even Sanjay.”

“Sanjay.”

“My … lover.”

“Right. So only the production people would have known.” She asked. “Why would someone want to do something like this?”

“Someone who doesn’t want the show to go on.”

Sergeant Palmer came back into the room. “I did a quick look at random dvd’s and there is adult material on some of them – but as far as I saw no children were involved.”

“That fucking queer made a pass at me!” Sergeant Tyler stormed back into the room. 

“What?” Sergeant Palmer said.

“Yeah! He said I look good in a uniform and he was sure I would look better out of it.” 

The Corporal covered her mouth as she began to laugh. “Tyler! Tyler! What am I going to do with you.”

“What are we going to do with these pervs?” Tyler made a fist. 

“Nothing for now. It seems we have been misled. But …” she became serious. “Mr. James we will be keeping an eye on all this. I can tell when something isn’t right.”

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

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Distant Valentine

A Valentine

forced to love, 

now that’s a tear-jerker,

having heard no man

is self-contained & complete

I am forced to love

made to search 

through warm & folding bodies

for isolated responses

for unsure coincidences of desire

sparked by demand

structured into relationships

for the perpetuation of the structure

desperation in every meeting

(will this be the one?)

the eternal lunging crush

prisoners of seduction

fixed positions

bayonets of loving thoughts

tender traps

looked for only the fall into

forced to love

to rationalize tenderness

politicized into affections

scandalized by survival

it’s all one to one

paired by demand

one alone becomes distrusted

forced to love

forced to love

Feb14/76

Of the pieces in the chapbook this is one of the ‘newest’ & reflects a definite stage in my growth philosophically & emotionally. I’m actually directly questioning cultural norms around romance, sexuality & indirectly probing the nature of gender. Clearly I am ‘questioning’ not yet coming out but opening that door 🙂

‘Paired by demand’ hasn’t changed all that much though. We live in a culture where being ‘single’ is seen as an an unhappy choice, a sign of emotional immaturity. Being trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship is for some reason healthier than being single. Getting out of one is merely making one ready for the right relationship to come along. If you wonder how we are ‘structured’ think of how impossible it is to afford to live alone. Most restaurants are at least two seats per table. Bars stools are about the only single seating offered. Drinking alone, yea.

At the time I wrote this I wasn’t as articulate about this squeeze of the cultural imperative to mate bond. Being queer & somewhat closeted at the time I was conflicted by trying to fit the heterocentric romance module I was presented with. The sacredness of fidelity, the sinful cost of pleasure. Folding bodies like folding chairs that only the right person could unfold. You’re nobody until somebody unfolds you.

Looking back I see how the exploration of the cultural mating imperative has become one of my running themes. Like masculinity, it is something that goes unquestioned. Marriage for love & not politic – i.e. merge alliances between nations, merging financial concerns – is a somewhat recent development – maybe 150 years old. The nature of ‘forced’ is one of convenience & control that is accepted & goes unrecognized. The deepest loves of my life have never been forced.

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

Found Art Toronto

I always take photos of painting, frames, photographs, that have been cast aside or left in unexpected public places. I have been using them as Picture Perfect graphics as well.

lost in the move
trampled
cherry tree on Craven Road fence
close up of the cherry tree
Pomeranian under a tree on Chatham Avenue
close up of Pomeranian
trashed on Moberly Avenue
Ex trashed on Moberly Avenue

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The Discorporated Man

The Discorporated Man

<>

at first 

I thought I was dead

I thought

so this is what death is like

you feel nothing

you see though

<>

because I could see

I figured I wasn’t dead

I held my hand up

I couldn’t see myself

not even a reflection

not even that lame

blurred outline

like they use in movies

I wasn’t transparent

like glass

because you can see glass

I wasn’t there

<>

I could feel my skin

but all I could do was touch

I couldn’t hold

couldn’t grip

I couldn’t feel the air around me

yet I knew was standing on the floor

it was solid under me

I didn’t know if it

wooden carpeted earth

well I saw it was wooden

I knew I was here

<>

outside 

no one could see me

they didn’t walk though me

but somehow

around me

I could touch them

but not feel them

they didn’t feel me

not even a sight breeze

<>

I went to the office

no one sat in my cubical

the office manager

asked where I was

I could heard myself answer

she didn’t hear me speak

I was present

I wasn’t there

<>

I was breathing

I could feel my heart beating

I was discorporated

and I liked it

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Meat Loaf Transcendent

Here’s another cd mp3 compilation that covers genres, eras, & even countries. Epic rock, funk, disco, retro & meditation – who could ask for more?  Khrishna Das has been described as “the chant master of American yoga.” One doesn’t have to know yoga to enjoy this meditative music. I have Breath of the Heart & One Track Heart. New Age world music of the top order. Evocative & emotionally resonant. Good for writing to as well.

The rest of this compilation is not as transcendent but is definitely emotionally resonant starting with the classic: Meat Loaf: Bat Out Of Hell. Epic, operatic rock that still tops the oldies charts. I remember the seismic shock when this was first released & everyone was listening to it. I still love it. Sadly there was no really successful follow up – operatic quickly became bombastic tripe. If you are one of the few people on earth who has never heard Bat, do so asap 🙂

Speaking of earth here too is Rare Earth: In Concert. Solid rock/funk. More about them when I get to ‘r’ on the shelf. But we won’t wait for ‘r’ for Revolver Reloaded. This is a set of cover versions of the Beatles’ Revolver. This remake of a vintage lp is a popular nostalgia genre now. Good fun by British bands I’ve never heard of & some nice re-imaginings others too reverent.

For some more earthbound balance is Ray Charles: The Very Best Of – classic rock before classic rock was invented. I have vague recollections of some of these songs on the radio & was happy to add it here. Finally some classic disco with Jackie Moore: I’m On My Way. I have clear memories of sweating to this on the dance floor & never wanting the song to end. A great voice, great production & like many disco albums only the singles pop.

Murder on the TTC

Jan was walking up the stairs when her cell began to ring. There were too many people around her for easy access to it. At the top she stepped aside.

“Hello.”

“Jan thought you’d want to know. They found a body at the Bloor station!”

It was her sister Karen. 

“Yeah I saw the police when we passed through there.”

“It was Peter Manonotti.”

“What!” she automatically started back down the stairs. Manonotti was one of the most vocal city council members when it came to matters transit.

“I gotta go. Can’t be caught tipping you off.”

“Thanks, sis.” Karen was a subway driver. “Don’t want you to get fired on my account.”

“Fired! Ha. I have a union. Takes more than this to get rid of a tough dyke like me.”

Jan got on the next train back. Manonotti dead. Murder on the TTC. She could see the headlines now. She stepped off again at Bloor and made her way down the stairs and up to the other side. Maybe this would be the scoop she needed.

A yellow tape marked a corner from the top of the stairs to the gateway. Patrons were being moved along directed by police and transit security. Both washrooms were now out of bounds.

She pulled her press card out of her purse ready to show it to the officer in charge of moving people along.

“Can you tell me what happened Office Lee.” She glanced at his badge.

“Nothing to tell.”

“I hear there’s been a body found?”

“Some guy had a heart attack taking a crap.”

“Oh.”

“Out of the way people so the medics can get though.”

He pushed her aside into the crowd that had formed.  

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Distant Lady

Lady! Lady!

lady lady

put your parcels down;

forget the bus!

slip away with me;

live by my side

naked & nameless

for a day or two

your husband & the kids

may miss you a little

but will have to forgive

when they see the smile

reborn on your face

<>

you see me walking toward you,

the sidewalk is crowded,

a cloud hides the sun;

we can’t go on meeting this way,

I cannot bear missing this chance

every time our eyes meet

a moment long enough

for yours to scream

“yes! yes! OH YES!

take me! ravish me!

fair stranger so reckless

take me for a day or two

the shopping can wait;

my husband and the kids

can eat pizza, delivered,

just the way they like it;

they’ll be overjoyed at the chance;

despite the worry

they’ll forgive me

they always do”

<>

here comes your bus,

there’s still time;

it starts to rain;

throw your parcels away,

one is bursting already

crushed to your breast

the broken loaf of bread

slices falling at your feet;

I walk on one white crust

smiling directly at you;

you shrug, the weight of motion,

what can one do?

follow me! follow me!

I’ll take you for awhile

only a few naked seconds

your old cloth coat

crumpled on the floor

so its age won’t show

I’ll love your cologne

I’ll love you

<>

the doors kiss open

you hesitate

but get on

falling back a little

losing your balance

losing your grip on your routines;

I hand one back,

soft under crumpling paper;

a new sweater perhaps?

a blouse you’ve longed for

but never could afford?

(I’ll buy you thousands)

the husband & the kids

may miss the money

but when they see

how pretty you are in silk

they’ll forgive

<>

the bus pulls away,

my hands in overcoat pockets

stranded on the corner

waiting for the days to change;

I watch the grey shape pull away

I watch you fumble in your purse

as you fall into a seat

you look back

into the rain;

a smile flickers as I wave,

I’ll never forgive you

Fb 75

This piece has been one of the more enduring in the chap book – the one people still remember – the one that new readers will say – I really enjoyed the one about the bus. Several year ago an actress friend of mine included in her one woman poetry performance along with pieces by TS Eliot, James Joyce (yes yes yes). 

It is one of the story-telling pieces & became a poetry narrative structure I use frequently. You can read this piece & understand what is happening. It is almost like a film story board but with more subtext as text – a voice-over narration. It demonstrates one of the things poetry can do – with it one can select fragments to tell the story without having to fill in connecting details. 

One can use phrases like ‘the doors kiss open’ that gives a clear sonic sensation but also adds the sexual hint of ‘kiss’ – legs, like doors, can open to let in a kiss. As I recall it was piece that wrote itself. Edits were to add certain details ‘clutched’ became ‘crushed’ so that ‘crush’ would be echoed by crust.

The unspoken offer, mute opportunity, is the real story. The narrator is caught up in this fantasy, reading what he wants to see into every move of the lady. Does he even really make eye contact? How much of this actually happens: the bread, the falling back a little. Who hasn’t indulged in a sex fantasy on public transit while looking at a stranger, often looking away if the stranger looks back. Longing for contact it is easier to look away than acknowledge it.

Waiting for the days to change is a long wait. We have to forgive ourselves for opportunities not taken, for busses missed.

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

Picture Perfect 38

Dan waited ten minutes for FairVista shuttle that dropped him off at the nearest subway station. One change, a streetcar ride and he was back at the Depot in less than an hour.

Maybe it was time to make the store completely independent of each other. The corporation originally only included the building and the Depot business. He’d have to check into that before the end of the business year so each could start a fresh in the new. 

The Depot was busy when he got there. They were having a night of quick sales. Fifty percent of certain items for only an hour. Different items every hour. Much like the trade-in sale, when customers felt they were saving big, they were willing to spend more than they intended. It was always rewarding to see the shelves empty and sometimes even to sell out on an item. The sort of sale that could never happen at FairVista. This sort of sale was considered déclassé at the high-end mall. The lease allowed for a Boxing Day sale with discounts of no more than 10%. Rather than give a discount his sister opted for a ‘we pay the tax’ special. Evading tax was in their millionaire clientele’s DNA.

An electronic bell sounded the time to change items. Some items had deliberately limited qualities that the display board would tick off as each was sold. 

Dan enjoyed the retail end of the business. Talking to people, slyly getting them to commit to more than they intended. He didn’t sell them extended service contacts, that he left to Ushio. Dan knew most people ever used them so he felt bad palming them off on them. If there was any repair work to be done it would fall to Ushio anyway.

The last sale bell went off at 10 p.m. This was the extra hour of savings where floor samples or slow products that had proved to be hard to sell ,but kept off the floor till now would be brought out. All offered at sixty per cent off. They’d lose a bit of money on some but that was always made up for by accessories like the perfect camera bag, or spare computer cable in case you lost the one that came with the camera.

His eyes began to ache by then and he was happy when the ten minute bell rang. If you hadn’t paid for your item by eleven you’d have to hope it showed up next year. They allowed an extra five minutes grace period.

Dan was setting the back security for The Depot by eleven-thirty. Bushed by the long day he wasn’t all that eager to go home to Sanjay. The rift in their relationship showed no sign of being healed over the past week. He half-hoped Sanjay wouldn’t be home.

“In a hurry?” A voice came from the nook behind him.

Dan spun around in a fighting stance. There had been more than one assault in that back lane.

“Who is it?”

A figure stepped into the light. It was Peter.

“Fuck, you trying to give me a heart attack?” Dan said.

“Sorry, sir.” Peter kept his eyes down. “I haven’t seen you at the Carafe the last couple of days.”

“I’ve been pretty busy. How is your Dad?”

“He’s well. I was afraid you were displeased with me, sir.”

“Save sir for the bedroom” Dan looked at the shadow on the nook. Was this a good time for catching some real action on the security camera. He glanced up at the camera. His eyes ached, his feet were tired from standing. No they’d do that another night.

“The Depot was super busy tonight.” Peter said.

“Too busy.” Dan rubbed around his eyebrows.

“I was afraid you were avoiding me at the Carafe. You’re usually in a couple of times a day.”

“Things got hectic.” He didn’t want to admit to Peter that he was right.

“Yes, Mr. James.” Peter stepped further into the light. “I … can I give you a lift, sailor?”

“Got room for this?” He lifted his bike briefly.

“We can find out.” Peter’s grin almost made Dan change his mind about getting nook footage. He had never posted himself on the V-Files.

With a little wrestle the bike fit into the back seat of the car. He was about to get in when a nearby parked car started and its headlight came on. Dan recognized it as it pulled up behind them and the passenger window wound down. The driver leaned out. It was Sanjay.

“I thought I’d come for you.” Sanjay said. “It looks like you are already been well taken care of.” Sanjay stopped the car and got out. “How are you tonight, Peter. It is Peter isn’t it?”

“Uh … yes.” Peter glanced from Dan to Sanjay. “But now that you are here you’ve saved me a trip.”

“Right.” Sanjay began to pull the bike out of Peter’s back seat. “My car is a better fit for this. We bought it with bikes in mind. Didn’t we, dear.”

“Cool,” Peter said.

Dan could see how bewildered Peter was. He was just as unsure of how to handle the situation.

“Thanks for the offer Peter.” Dan said.

“Any time Mr. James. At least any time I have my Dad’s car.” He got into his car and drove off.

“His Dad’s car.” Sanjay sniggered as he got back behind the wheel. “Sounds like a line out of some high school movie.”

“I suppose it does.” Dan got in the car. “But waiting outside in the dark to spy on what’s going on is out of an equally bad movie.”

“I was not spying. I had just pulled up and was waiting for you to come from the laneway with your bike when I saw Peter go back there. Is this were you usually meet your tricks?”

“I do not meet tricks period. Any where.”

“Yeah sure. With all the surveillance equipment ready for your next V-Files home movie. You do have quite a collection there. Mostly hetero though. That is a bit disappointing. I never suspected you might be bi. You aren’t bi are you?”

“Does it matter?”

“Not really. Here we are.” Sanjay pulled into their drive. “Home, not so sweet, home.”

They went into the house.

“I’m going to turn in.” Dan said.

“Any developments on the Quintex project?” Sanjay rubbed Dan’s shoulders.

“The proposal gets presented Monday morning to the Quintex people. If they like it, which is possible, then it’ll be a go.”

“Much of a time commitment?”

“You want to turn house into an air b’n’b while I’m out of town?” Dan joked.

“No. I’ve been so caught up in the restaurants I’ve lost track of what is going on in your half of our life.”

Dan moved away from Sanjay and sat on the couch to take off his shoes. He reached for the remote but changed his mind. He was too tired to relax in front of the TV. He pushed himself up front he couch and started up stairs.

“How long are we going to go on like this?” Sanjay stopped him at the bottom of the stairs. “We can’t live like miffed room mates like this for much longer. Avoiding each other in the morning.”

“If you aren’t here when I get up I can’t be avoiding you.”

“You know what I mean.”

“You not working up country this weekend?”

“I decided not to, not while we have things that have to be worked out.”

“Things like your buy in?”

“No!” Sanjay pulled Dan towards him.

“I’m tired. Really.”

“I’m sure you wouldn’t have said that to your … what is he?”

“Your competition.” Dan laughed, as he shrugged out of Sanjay’s grip.

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Time Waits for No Mask

Sept 2020 Recap

Time flies when you are having a good time, but it also flies in a time of turmoil. Recently a friend wondered where the summer went, he couldn’t really recall spring either. He was one of the lucky ones those job allowed for work from home so he isn’t fully idle during the lockdown as it becomes less a lockdown & more a social distance challenge.

I told him that as one gets older time seems to move quicker plus in a time of crisis it moves even faster. One of things I learned when I was involved in palliative care in the early days of HIV is that one loses awareness of the ‘stress’ – I think the same thing is true of the covid19 crisis. The stress becomes normalized but the threat hasn’t gone away. With both the fluctuations of numbers, restrictions & the civil war news from the USA one loses track of the passage of time. Thus time moves faster.

At the start of the lockdown I joking told a couple of friends ‘see you in September’ – they thought I was being overly pessimistic, little did we realize then that I should been saying ‘see you in September 2021.’ We have learned more about covid & its transmission since the first of the year but the threat still exists. 

September has been a month of living in this new reality. Masks are fashion accessories. Social distancing is an acceptable excuse for avoid people you don’t want to see anyway 🙂 Masks as seen as infringements of personal rights by the same people who berated gay men for not wearing condoms. I use both but masks are much easier to get on & off 🙂

Blogging less has been productive as I have been writing more. October will see some of that new work with a fresh set of spooky poems to show up on Fridays. I’m still working through the annotated Distant Music. One of the books I read in September was Allen Ginsburg’s look back at Howl in which he discusses inspirations, explains his intent, names & context – which is pretty much what I’ve doing with Distant Music.

Time for stats 🙂 Over the month my TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 385! The WP map show my hits have come from 31 countries around the world. That India still tops the list is interest but Portugal & China are now in the top 10. Venezuela! America Samoa! 

My Tumblr is at 292 – it would be higher but I block buxom babes & guys who slam drugs, not poetry. Twitter is at 226 followers it would be higher but I block buxom babes, editorial services & mavens eager to show me how to make big bucks on the internet. Picture Perfect: 37 sections, about 58,000 words posted so far with 130,000  approx to be edited then posted.

Fog Tarantella

<>

for too many years 

I was in a tree top

shouting out for love

I didn’t care where it came from

the louder I shouted the less I heard

the higher I climbed

the further I got away from it

yet I didn’t think of climbing down

I wanted the love that was in the air

not the common stuff of the earth

not knowing then

that was where love grew from

<>

one morning during a snow storm

the first after a long hot autumn

of yelling myself hoarse

give me love  I want love

blood flecks dappling the leaves 

the snow at first a few darting specks

then a steady scrim hush

to cool my eyes

flakes on my fevered tongue 

letting the sky satisfy 

as best it could 

but the sky doesn’t love back

except with echoes

<>

while the snow cloaked me

my own limbs mantled like branches

a peacock

clumsily descended

a bird that at a distance has stunning beauty

but this close it was motley 

squawking as it settled by me 

our eyes met

his tail opened

the breathtaking fan of feathers

stopped my shouting

I reached out to touch 

fell

earth bound by beauty

at the foot of the tree

<>

a mist arose around me

through the winter fog 

came men dancing

their arms around wisps of white

the imagined bodies of lovers

caressing the backs

touching the hair

making it as real as they could

kissing empty haze

could I join them

should I

was this all I could expect on earth

or would I be bold enough 

to allow one of these dancing men

to dance with me

before I climbed a tree

lost in the fog

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