Taking the Fourth at 40

Someone asked me recently “What keeps you in these rooms after forty years?” They asked because this month (July 6) I hit the forty year point in my recovery. I get asked various forms of this question often enough & I try not to give an overly glib answer like ‘where else can i wear this shirt.’ But there is no simple answer.

Part of the why is that each year my understanding of the power of the steps deepens. Even if I ever feel bored, judgemental of members who wallow in their misery, or who quote the literature rather than share on a person level I know that those thoughts are better than being dead drunk somewhere. Actually it’s better than being dead period.


In Step 4 we are encouraged to make a moral inventory of ourselves (not of others). I’ve done this step a few times as a part of the process. One thing that I recently realized is that I have no morals merely a set culturally encoded behaviours that lead to acceptable behaviour – things I have conformed to without questioning. My notion of ‘moral’ was coloured, or is it discoloured, by heteronormative concepts of relationships, privilege, race, gender and consumerism. Not to overlook being labelled (or rather libelled) by a bad, but universally accepted Bible translation, as being an abomination unto the Lord.


So a part of recovery has been, for me, looking at how I’ve absorbed these cultural imperatives – some of which are so subtle they are absorbed without awareness – sort of like getting a tan but not seeing it until one sees the line been tanned & untanned skin. 

When I did my early inventory work things such as privilege or entitlement were certainly not on the list. That list was stuff like procrastination, lying, theft – things clearly disapproved (at the time). These days a politician can lie outright & when confronted with it become the victim of being held accountable – which is the essence of entitlement. Or expect their apology to get them off the hook for any consequences.

Sermon On A Mount of Plastic Bags

the plastic bag shall inherit the earth

it already owns the wind

the sea the shore claimed

by our need to carry crap

these bags choke India’s sacred cows

fill their intestines

but cows spew so much methane

they cause global warming

so it’s a fair trade off

fuck the ecology

I’m tired of trying to save our planet 


why bother reduce reuse reclaim

as much as I reduce my electric usage

my bill keeps going up

while energy honchos

make bigger and bigger profits

as they drive in fuel-efficient SUVs 

I’m told to take public transit

that if really care about our planet

I’ll only use plastic bags made in nations

that have paid carbon displacement fees

environmentalists make me sick

if they really wanted to save the planet

they’d stop shitting, breathing, breeding


I love the plastic bag

what would life be without it

Christ only knows

and he’s looking for one

that’ll hold lumber without breaking

won’t tear at the first rough patch

one that can handle any sharp edge

then reuse a shroud later


the next time that granola book store guy 

with the corporate logo on his hemp shirt

asks me do you want a bag for that



I’ll say – sure buster, double bag it

fuck the ecology

I’m tired of trying to save our planet



every Tuesday

September or October but to be confirmed – feature – The Art Bar, Free Times Cafe

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

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Restored to Sanity

Restored to sanity – a phrase from AA’s step 2 – is one that many people in recovery trip over. Sure we irrational, self-centred in the extreme – but insane? Illogical perhaps & unreliable sure. I think part of the current ‘conflict’ with the word ‘sanity’ is that we live in a world in which what is acceptable behaviour is inconsistent – if you are rich enough, white enough you can get away with many things others get shot for.


I’ve come to see that sanity is more as a way of control than of establishing mental competency. If one is docile, obedient, subservient they are clearly sane. If one shows little too much personality, creativity, expresses distain for contemporary standards they are trouble makers, if they persist they are crazy & need to be locked up, or at least chemically controlled & usually shunned, disregarded & discounted. So in recovery when we speak of sanity it is easy to get confused. In my life it has manifested as less self-destructive behaviour as opposed to socially acceptable thinking. Conformity doesn’t = sanity.

Some react to the word ‘restored’ which seems to imply that they were sane at some point – how can you be restored to something you never had in the first place? This another of those linguistic tricks that allows cultural norms to dictate what sanity is – it’s always good for a laugh though. Yet does it matter if one is remade or restored? Being willing to let our destructive, self-serving thinking change is a step to serenity, serenity = sanity.

Some of my resistance to the ‘sanity’ was seeing it as banality. Not that I was wild in the street but I certainly saw (& still see) things differently from those around me – maybe being queer was a part of that differing vision. After all, at one time homosexuality was considered not only criminal, but a serious mental issue that required shock-treatment or worse to cure.

“Restored to sanity … ” – I’m not holding my breath – but at least my lack of it is no longer in your face 🙂

In The Workshop 

I loved to spend time in my Dad’s workshop

in a little shack behind our house

when my bothers went to war

I got to help him

as he repaired the snowmobile

a job that he seemed to do every day

or when he made

little kitchen objects for my mother


his moose-bone-handled tools

were lined up in neat rows of hooks

over the work bench

he would say “spanner seven”

and I would get it for him

his thick fingers held even the heaviest tool

as if it were the most delicate instrument

while he twisted spark plugs

or carved small scenes of robins

into the bowls of pie plates

humming happily

as he concentrated on his work


I would creep into the shed

when he wasn’t there

to sit in the humble stillness

I would brush wood chips

into small piles with my fingers

fondle the handles of his tools

they would feel inviting in my hands

as if holding them

would allow me to do what he could do


sometimes he had me sing

what we were learning in choir practice

he would put his tools down

listen with his eyes closed

his hands on his belly

his fingers moving

as they conducted me from verse to verse

when my mother would call us to eat

I was disappointed

getting more of this moment

than pie could ever give me


the smell of his sweat

mixed with snowmobile oil and grease

as he showed me how to clean spark plugs

became one of the powerful erotic

aromas of my youth

it was into this shack

I would sneak with the boys

whom I had learned to undress


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Enough 6 and 7

We live in a culture in which ‘enough’ means settling for less than we want. To say one has had enough is a sign of giving up striving for a higher standard of living. Our economy is built on disposability not quality. Even if it is durable it’s time for a newer improved version. Upgrade or be left in the digital dust. Our Mac upgrades so often I don’t even know what it does anymore beyond the basic functions I use it for.

Yet even with all those improvements it still doesn’t do what I want it to: convert pages to mobi. Unlike my character ‘defects’ in which procrastination have been converted to patience. It becomes difficult to balance that trade off – wanting to comfortable with self as it is yet letting it mature into the improved version.

How can you love yourself as you are while constantly striving to improve that self? I’ve never met a cismale who had enough sex – if one-on-one is great a threesome would be even better. So that inner need for more, that cultural pressure to get better & more expensive makes balance difficult.


Where does that leave me as I continue to work through 6 and 7 – essentially striving for patient improvement. Persistence is the key for me. Dramatic change is possible but one of my shortcomings that has diminished is the need for melodrama – I rarely mistake emotionalism for true feeling – that’s an improvement. One that slows me down enough to enjoy the endless process.

How I Learned to Play With Boys

in my village

I didn’t do boy things well

shoving maple trees in the canal

breaking cathedral windows

flinging smelt guts at high schoolers

and running away

so I played with the girls

enacting family dynamics by

pulling clothes on off pink plastic dolls

that had sharp little fingers   pointy toes


when I tried to do boys things

the boys were disgusted

one day after choir practice

they dragged me into the Whistling Wood

to a grove piled high with moose skat

they pelted me with the shit

laughed and taunted

“how do you like that dolly fingers”


I kept my eyes closed my mouth shut

as they covered me from head to foot

then they ran away

the shit was thick like elephant hide

I scraped my hands on the nearest tree

I could tell by the bark it was oak

afraid to open my eyes

I walked stiff legged    hands grasping

till I came across a beech tree

I knew I was closer to the place

where the woman washed the clothes

next I found a maple tree

as I groped through Whistling Wood

the birch the alder the willow

each brought me closer to the stream

I plunged in

it was cold

the moose dung was so toxic

smelt floated dead to the surface

I scrubbed and I scrubbed

till my skin was red rough and raw

my hair went from black to blond

the pond went from clear blue water

to a brackish tar pond


it was never the same again

I emerged clean

shivering and naked

I darted from rose bush to lilac tree

till I was my home


at school the next day

the boys were afraid

I would tell what had happened

I said nothing

and started to play with them again

I used what I had learned from the girls

how easy it was to undress boys

to take off their clothes

unlike dolls their limbs were flexible

and that’s how I learned to play with boys

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August 31-Sept.3 – I have my ticket already



September: TBA


November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo



June 8-9 attending: Capturing Fire 2018


check out these poets from  Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016

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6/7 Are Endless

The past few weeks I’ve written about steps 6/7, more about 6/7,  (6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.)

Some wonder why it’s so hard to let go of behaviours that ultimately work against our progress? While others wonder why we are working to change in ways that no longer serve their best interest. After all people-pleasing isn’t so bad when you are the person being pleased. The social context of some of my behaviours was quite cunning.

To prove that I was clever, smart, deep, intelligent I was always ‘on.’ Being cynical & sarcastic was the way of proving & asserting my creativity. I had to keep proving it over & over. But is that actually a defect, a short-coming? I realized that the need to prove myself wasn’t actually progress. It was a sign of my lack of confidence, of a belief in myself – my value was only equal to your acceptance & recognition of me. If you didn’t laugh I was worthless.

As we step out of people-pleasing activity some will say things like “You used to be so funny, so easy to get along with, so open-minded … etc” Well, if I have to laugh at, add to or merely not argue with someone’s racist sexist bather to be approved of by them then it’s time to move on. I no longer even feel a need to teach them better – I did at one time but all  I taught them was that I was a judgemental no-fun prick – even if that’s true I don’t want people to learn that so easily.

People around us often want to to remain the same. When I got sober I lost friends who drank. When I tell guys on line that I don’t drink, smoke pot etc they just aren’t interested. Such is life. Those former friends are defective characters removed from my life 🙂

Then Things Changed


that was me


those were my words


I believed what I said

things change

I change

stop trying to pour me of today

into the image of me



people tell me I’ve lost weight

when I was never aware

that they were aware

of what I weighed

that what I look liked mattered


I didn’t know or care

yet now that I’ve changed

physically in their eyes

they still see me

as the same person

but not so fat

they never said I was fat


mind you

but that I’ve lost weight since



I don’t say what I once said

my world view has changed

become broader

& more refined at the same time

my body gets narrow

my vision get clearer

in ways people notice

people I hadn’t set out

to be noticed by



now knowing

they’ve been looking

that they are capable of comparing

the old me


with the new me

I still don’t give a shit


thanks for noticing

Chapbooks available: http://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


kiss3on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes


August 31-Sept.3 – I have my ticket already



September: TBA


November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo



June 8-9 attending: Capturing Fire 2018


check out these poets from  Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016

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

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Still At 6s and 7s

Last week I wrote a little about steps 6/7. (6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.) Partly because one of my regular meetings was reading  & discussing them but mainly because it was my sobriety anniversary on July 6. How long? I’ll tell you by private post but suffice to say I’ve been around this block a few decades.

One of the things I’ve found helpful is to work the steps literally as opposed to what I thought they said. In these two I read ‘remove’ as ‘replace’ but that’s is not what is stated. The replacement process is my responsibility. The removal is not – it’s sort of like putting the garbage out – I have to take it out but I don’t have to load it on the truck – I have to take it out because the garbage men aren’t going to come into my house & find it either. So taking it out part of being ready.

My street has annual yard sale. One year, when the sale was over, I left what wasn’t sold at the curb – I did not take stuff back hoping to sell it next year – I let go. In the tarot the Tower card says the old must die to make room for the new. Its the same with my growth – if I keep taking those things back I’ll never leave space for change. Letting go of old stuff after a yard sale makes room, frees me from my attachment to expectations. I was willing to have emptiness.

The thing with letting go, with putting the garbage out, is that this isn’t a permanent solution 🙂 It has be be done regularly. I can reduce my usage – recycle when possible but I am human. I’ve come to see remove more as reduce, or redirect, or repurpose as opposed to being removed the way tonsils are removed, never to return. I still have my tonsils.

Your Sons

no I do not want

to sleep with your sons

or your daughters

for that matter

at least I don’t want to sleep with them

as a result winning this battle

in fact

if we hadn’t engaged in this conflict

I might well have desired them

but that was not the object


I don’t want to burn your crops

destroy your cities

I only want to win

I want you to acknowledge my superiority

in battle

that’s it

my superiority in bed

is another matter

one that I don’t need to prove to anyone one

my tanks are the biggest

the best

what I am in bed

isn’t relevant


I won’t want your wives

your homes

I won’t loot

your ancient treasures

I’m not going to change

your government

that’s up to you

because clearly

you were incapable

of taking care of yourselves

you are conquered

not rescued

you have to save yourselves

so instead of offering me

sexual solace

in hopes that I’ll do

what you have to do for yourselves

get busy




your sons

are so sexually attracted

by the power of my determination

I might be willing to give them a tumble

Chapbooks available: http://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


kiss3on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes


August 31-Sept.3 – I have my ticket already



September: TBA


November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo



June 8-9 attending: Capturing Fire 2018


check out these poets from  Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016

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

like my pics? more on my Tumblr blog


At 6s and 7s

At a recent AA meeting we were discussing steps 6 and 7. (6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.) The longer I’ve been clean and sober the more important these two steps have been for my continuing spiritual and emotional progress. Though some may feel my progress has been rather slow, or even negligible, it has certainly continued.

As step 6 was being read I had a small realization – a spiritual awakening to sorts – that when I came into recovery I had no character! What I had was the facade of a personality – a personality constructed by prevailing cultural restrictions of acceptability. I was formed by reaction or by compliance not by any sort of actual deep thought process of my own. Right or wrong were dictated by popular vote not because I felt something was right or wrong. I accepted many things without questioning them.

“Being queer was sick – I was queer therefore I am sick.” I accepted that feeling that it wasn’t something I could change but had to live with in secret. Not questioning that theory was the ‘defect of character’ I had to address in recovery not the fact that I was queer. This is how the steps have worked me – layer by layer – like an archaeological dig – dusting the surface is a good start but eventually one has to dig deeper. That’s were the ‘humbly’ comes in.

Often there is a reservation about the religious language in these – God, Him – why would one expect a doctrine that has labelled us as ‘abominations’ do anything to help us. This is a great, almost logical, way of avoiding the change these steps offer. I’m not Christian but I’m willing to let a Christian surgeon save my life. Of course if I chose to die I can use religion as a smoke screen for that decision. I choose to live.

samp03AutoCorrect Perfect

there’s always something

my eyes don’t catch everything

words lose their meaning

thanks to auto spell

I often don’t know what I’ve just said

or if what you’ve written

is what you’ve written

so I don’t feel so responsible

for those little typos

that change love to leave

that change emotionally comithtemnt

I mean commitment

to being committed for emotionally disfunction


there’s always something

that’s why I count on your eyes

to pick up what mine miss

trust me no matter how right it appears

it needs you to make more better right

I couldn’t do it without

those sharp insightful comments of yours

you find what slips between the lines

while I’m so busy

making sure those lines are straight

to your perfect heart

Chapbooks available: http://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


kiss3on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes


November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

June 8-9 attending: Capturing Fire 2018


check out these poets from  Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016

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

Haunted Hotel

Is my hotel room haunted? A little after I had fallen asleep my first night here I heard movement in the room. At first I thought was the sheets, or someone in the hall but as I woke it was clearly someone walking around my room! I remained still in the bed things, it’s about time I met a ghost. It was quiet for a moment then started again – footsteps around the bed. I sat & squinted but saw nothing 😦 I turned on the light & I was the only one visible in the room. I laid back and it started again. I realized then it was the room above me – I’m on the 7th floor & yes there an 8th floor.

I fell asleep quickly after that and slept pretty soundly. I’m not used to sleeping in such a dark room – only light being the little green specs of various electronics. I always cover the numbers on the clock radio – too bright. If I could black out the light from the hall around the door it would be even darker.

After hitting a meeting at the Dupont Circle Club my Thursday goal was Dumbarton – I did find it but failed to find the cemetery. The museum was boring. The Gardens weren’t open until 2. Such is life. I hiked around Dumbarton park, took lots of pics. Didn’t see any signs directing to cemetery. Did see a deer though. No ghosts.

Got a bit lost getting back to the hotel – which allows me to explore other parts of the city. My may indicated that Q street would lead me to where I wanted to be. I grabbed a bagel to give me sustenance. It was good but the clerk would have been better 🙂 Got stopped a few times because of my Canada luggage tag. So I wonder if I should remove it for now?

Got back to hotel a little after 1 – walking since 9 – so I needed to get my shoes off to rest, meditated. showered & shaved my head. Some text chat with an interested fella I’ve been emailing with for a couple of months. I have low expectations so I was a bit surprised & then quite pleased when he showed up. We’ll leave it at – let’s just say I am learning the lay of the land first hand 🙂 He had to be up for work at 4 a.m. !! Which gave me time to finally hit the Triangle Club – the lgbtq Alano Club – which doesn’t open until 6. I took in the ‘Out Side The Lines’ meeting in which they look at literature that relates to recovery but isn’t necessarily AA published. It was interesting & I wasn’t at all stressed by their use of outside literature.

Another full day in which I was much too busy to real eat more than my healthy breakfast, a bagel & a pizza slice. Maybe I’ll lose enough weight to come back to TO as a ghost of my former self 🙂 The real fun starts tomorrow night so I’ll try to file up with a real meal before the Fire ignites.

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

Past Washington posts http://wp.me/P1RtxU-1e3

Friendship Dead

Friendship Dead

Brian lay waxy pale colourless





the room was full

live people

bright flowers

hushed conversations

occasional giggles

forced smiles

limp handshakes

uncertain head shakes

the same remarks

so sudden

who knew


his family

all present

the family of Brian


whom many of us knew

for fifteen twenty years

a family

none of knew about

we had clues about a brother

a twin sister

but nieces nephews

an asian sister-in-law

more sisters

all strangers to us

his friends

strangers to them

it turns out


questions asked

how did you know

what was your last memory of

haven’t we met

oh I didn’t know

you were his brother

you are as closed lipped

about family as he was


it wasn’t as if

he was the closest friend of many

but known by more

than he might have realized


passed though

for one last look

one look to be sure

that what was said was true





snatched away from us


but he had been so hidden from us

all these years

all these lunches


pains trials tears tribulations

and yet

this bedrock of family

was barely mentioned

the bitter father

the distant mother

we’d heard about

but not the others



then I look at my own


how little I talk about them to others

as if the family were a secret

but it isn’t

there just isn’t a secret to talk about

no odd uncles

no cruel mothers or missing fathers

an intact unit

an intact functional family

of care compassion and love

seems the families I hear the most about

are the ones where the damage continues

where it never seems to heal

where the scabs of the past remain fresh

scars become badges

of entitlement

My dad did this so I am this way

yak yak yak


so perhaps Brian had good secrets

in that family closet

that we are now get to see

for a moment

that death

is now allows them to share with one another

perhaps the unrest

is put aside for

numbed by the shock


we stand in small groups

occasional glances to the open coffin

some stop to touch the cold hands

some to kneel and pray

others remain distance

glance over a shoulder

in conversations

look at the photos of Brian

photos of different times


high school

last week

alive and now not


Still reaching back to 1999. Pieces I haven’t look at again until now though I can remember writing them, sort of, in general but actual contents has been forgotten. Friendship is based on reality. Even the name ha snot been changed but unless you know this specific Brian he’s a cypher.

I’d met him in recovery, a good & regular member of my Saturday Morning AA group. We’d talked often, gone for breakfast after the meeting many times over the years I knew him. His death was a shocked to all of us as he was well liked & healthy. We never did hear the cause.

Our friendship had changed over the years & the breakfast fellowship had ended a year for so before his death. My sexuality presented no issue until one breakfast, after they remarked on cute waitress, I said the bus boy was hot – things changed when my sexuality was no longer a theory.29drawers02

The viewing was as described – this meeting of his family – this odd sense of learning something so new about a man many of us had known well for years. But this is one of the facts of AA life, we share what is pertinent at meetings, not every detail. Thought it can be a challenge to keep a private life.

Another fact of recovery is that we often see the same face at meetings for decades but never know anything more about them than their name & what they choose to share at the table. 29drawers03The piece looks at how we share ourselves with others. No one getting the whole picture. How we create boundaries of what we trust people with & when we close up for self-protection. I’m out at all times but I don’t constantly tell people when I meet them ‘oh hi i’m a queer.’ If they can’t tell or assume otherwise it isn’t my issue unless it’s relevant to the conversation.29drawers04As I said his death came as a shock – he was physically well – her one day then gone. I was saddened but not heart-broken – he was a friend but nothing more. Oddly it is the death of strangers than can affect me more – the Pulse shootings were heart breaking – perhaps because the target was more than people but an population that even though I’m not p.o.c I am a part of & feel I have no way to defend or protect.



cover170x170-1on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Deliciously iTunes

September 1-4: attending FanExpo 2016 (I’ve already registered)



November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo




June 2-4: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 –



check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5KD1eDccdjdTdQ28kZRNg


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

blue diamond



In Canada Thanksgiving falls in October. So the Toronto GLT (et al) recovery AA/AlAnon community holds an annual roundup on Thanksgiving weekend. This year was the 36th such roundup. I haven’t missed one, yet. It draws up to 400 members from around the world but mostly from Ontario & Michigan. It’s always a good opportunity to reconnect with people I see once or twice a year, even locals, and share our progress & dedication to spiritual recovery.

drawersI see a Ikea nightmare

Towards the end of my drunk life I was published, exhibited & performing – on my way somewhere but had become increasingly suicidal. I had the things that we’re supposed to make me feel fulfilled & satisfied & yet they left me lost and looking for a way out.

polerider I see a pole rider

Looking back I realize I was attempting to fill a spiritual need with physical objects & accomplishment – an attempt that only made the need bigger not small. There was no such thing as enough. Booze was a mask to hide behind and when I was drunk enough to reveal something of myself.

shade I see a party hat

I was transferred to Toronto & here I was set, almost by accident, on the road to sobriety. First hurdle, as it is for many, to real commitment to recovery was to deal with the difference between religious and spiritual – some people still cannot grasp that difference – such is life. But for me there is a difference. It’s like the difference between life and death.




Hendrix: burning the midnight lamp

soon … I wish I was a merman



messy coffee table

open bottles wine beer Scotch

weed rolled in papers too thin to write on

yet strong enough to hold a shared dream



three of us

Carl me Kathy

share this joint enterprise

laugh at a phrase I was going through

hands touch to pass

the precious opener of minds

or rather the opener of pants

as Carl loudly called it

his eyes on Kathy

she gave him a look

that said ‘see you later’

then left with her cigarettes

and the remains of the wine


‘uptight bitch’ Carl laughed

as the door shut

he stayed

the supply on hand

held more appeal than

the supply leaving the room

that Jimi guitar

hooked its way around our brain

lead our eyes across patterns

the voodoo child

my eyes would wander

all along the corduroy

that hugged and held

Carl as he invitingly

pushed the coffee table away

to make room on the floor

we had become so smoke soft

only the backless floor could

hold our floating rolling bodies

till we found ourselves



I could feel the crosstown traffic of my heart

the sensation of his tongue on mine

the coarse grind of pubic hair on stomach

a move for a breath of air

to refresh the disguise of liquor

thighs hands lips

trimming a midnight lamp

that still burns today

but no longer needs

the bottled mask of permission

glass too much stem not enough where

Charge – Public Urination

I don’t talk much about recovery on this blog. There are so many theories around addiction, around recovery that I’d rather not wade in with opinions on what process is right or the best. What works for me works for me. If you are one of those with an opinion for or against 12 step recovery, spirituality, I’m interested in it but I’m not going to defend or justify what works for me.

eggo oops

I grew up in Cape Breton at a time when otherness of any sort was not easy. I as neither a conformist nor even a loud nonconformist. Fear ruled my life, which was why I wasn’t so loud, I guess. To deal with it I drank, to make friends I drank, to make it with some of my friends, we drank. Alcohol quickly ruled my life – I wrote about it, wrote while drinking, read books by drunks (A Fan’s Notes anybody?) Didn’t trust people who wouldn’t drink. You get the picture.

constructiom I hid a bottle back here somewhere

When I moved to Toronto 1978 I ended up in AA (long story about how that happened may turn up here eventually). There was a strong gay presence in AA when I arrived which made it easier to stick. I kept coming back, & still do keep coming back.

snakes I see snakes, everywhere

It took a few years of being sober before I was able to clearly see how much of a drunk I had become – I say drunk because ‘alcoholic’ bring a certain clinical detachment to what I mess I had become. I listened at the meetings I went I saw that my emotional patterns/rationalizations were the same as people whose lives & drinking experiences were totally different from mine – let’s face it a tattoo is a tattoo regardless of the body it is on.samples

Male – White – 27

Charge – Public Urination

our plan was to have a last draft

but when one of my buds made a joke

about the country-western song just ending

I started to cover my laugh

with the hand

that was bringing the glass

to my eager lips

the jerking

jolt flung the sweet amber suds

into a perfect arc over my shoulder

the sweat slippery glass darted

from my loose grip

O for a photo of that glorious

go-for-the-gold momentum

beer escaping with glass chasing after it

me turning in my seat

eyes agog   mouth agape

stunned amazement






I didn’t realized how much energy

I had in my arm

to lift with such ballistic force

that the joke was so freaking funny

to give an extra dash of dynamic energy

the beer flew    spread    lost perfection

splattered wetly on the table behind us

splashed on food    faces

there was a dismayed shriek

anger   fucking assholes

the glass came tumbling after

hitting someone on the shoulder

bouncing  smashing on the table

I was no longer laughing

no one was laughing

my chair tipped as I stood

it fell in the path of

the bearded biker guy whose girlfriend

got the beer wave in her food

his furious fists punched empty air

as he stumbled over the chair

next thing I knew

my buds and I were outside

in a bitter ten-below-zero wind

I was pissing a steaming amber arc

on a car door handle

while one of my buds was up chucking

a police cruiser pulled over

I turned to get out of the way

slipped in vomit

spun in an imperfect circle

tumbled ass-over-tea-kettle

landed on my back

in a snow bank under a street lamp

fly down   limp dick chillin’

boys in blue hauled me to my feet

and that’s one of the many many reasons

I now chose not to drink

bottles chillin’