Colby Days 2


Our Cottage Road house, between Park St & Whitney Ave by a laneway, was a compact two-story home belonging to Miss Kelly who lived in the house next door. Her house was huge. She had boarders on the second & third floors & she lived alone on the first floor. Her house was the model for the boarding house in my novel Coal Dusters. She deserves a post of her own, so this is all I’ll say about her now 🙂

This was a more upperclass neighbourhood. Larger houses, doctors & lawyers & sport celebrities abounded. Larger houses too – many 3 story, single family dwellings. Colby remained within walking distance & I would trudge Cottage Rd. in the morning, home for lunch, back for the afternoon. I’d walk home along central with the guys.

I was at Colby for grades IV & V. I have a class photos of me in Grade VI at Ashby school. I don’t recall if that was another summer move though. I do remember some of my Colby teachers though. The principle Miss Greenwood, Mrs. Butterworth & Mrs. McLeod. There were others but even seeing the list of teachers on the Colby School page didn’t ring any lunch bells. https://www.facebook.com/groups/colbyschool/

I do remember the hand bell that rang to get us into the school. I was a middling student even then. I had attention issues 🙂 I was also aware that I didn’t have the same feelings about girls as the boys claimed to have. I was, in fact, a sissy who preferred hopscotch to baseball. I don’t recall having any real pals or playmates of either sex.

I did get into a couple of fist fights though & lost. It was hard to keep punching when everyone around you was encouraging the other guy to teach me a lesson. I became a coward because proving my masculinity with violence was beyond me. Shame & fear were the biggest lessons I learned at Colby School.

It was here that I had to spend a summer writing out  words from a speller. I did page after page of writing each word out twenty times. Then had to retake the spelling exam at the start of the new term before I could go on. I did pass but again, the real lesson learned was shame, not how to spell.

The other thing I remember from then was the birth of my brother. Now that my Dad was settled in Sydney, his job was going well, may parents felt secure enough to raise a family. I felt I was a disappointment & now they wanted to get it right this time. My brother was about a year old when my mother was pregnant again, & we moved again, this time to the Ashby area.

Fully Human

I’m not enjoying this

so it must be good for me

the less I like it

the better what I am getting

the more I suffer

the more fully human I am

what I enjoy is to be avoid

it is merely a diversion 

from suffering

because life is suffering

 

any attempt to diminish suffering

diminishes all life

we a cannot afford pleasure

to admit to liking something 

someone

is to admit to weakness

is to admit to being 

a shallow fun-loving 

corrupter of basic human dignity

dignity requires suffering 

and sacrifice

 

those who aren’t willing to suffer

aren’t worth the breath 

they take to live

they should be face 

the error of their ways 

or be shunned

 

if you are having a good time

do it in another room

quietly

we don’t want reality 

sullied by gasps 

of sexual indulgences

we don’t want to hear laugher 

behind our backs

take to another room

another city if possible

 

here we are on the righteous trail

suffering to fulfill our real 

authenticity as humans

as a parade of weeping assholes

(poem prompted by one of Montaigne’s essays)


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Out In The Open

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Out In The Open

I was hiding

my feelings from him

not hiding exactly

but not declaring them

not putting them into words

what was communicated in my touch

 

was that enough

did he

could he

read between the kisses

between my legs

 

was there enough

emotional import

in my smile

my eagerness

to convey 

what I was afraid 

to put into words

 

as I waited

for him to put into words

what I felt in his touch

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Sacred

Nothing Is Sacred

it’s not that I don’t know

but what I know isn’t relevant

to you

 

I’m not an explainer

what you want to understand about me

isn’t going to make any difference

 

what I don’t tell you

isn’t even a secret

it’s merely a boundary 

of how willing I am to trust you

 

I won’t even confirm

what you think you know

I have nothing more to tell you

not even why

 

each thing I say

makes it appear I’m open

for negotiation

that if you keep me talking

I‘ll tell you what you want to know

tell you some amazing realization 

that let’s you feel ah ah

now I have him

he’s in my control 

or he’s not so special after all

 

you were expecting something deeper

more profound

instead you are getting nothing

 

don’t forget

nothing is sacred
What is the difference been data & information, between truth & facts? Even data can be ignored if it doesn’t fit one’s deeply held religious beliefs. Accepting this has made it easier for me to keep my big mouth shut in many situations. When people ask for my option I know they ultimately want me to confirm what they already believe.

The theme of identity appears frequently in my poetry – what we think we know about each other, about the political scene, about greenhouse gas – issues we become invested in that give us a sense of definition in our own minds & in the eyes of each other. We are judged a much by our opinions as by our appearance, or our actions. Guilty even when proved innocent.

As I grow older life gets simpler the less I have to say. I have my opinions on religion – how easy it is to justify homophobia by using cherry-picked Bible quotes by people who brag about known g their Bible history – usually when they don’t know the history of the bible itself. But I choose not to wade into that morass – people who don’t want to listen are a waste of my time. I have more important things   to worry about – like what tee-shirt am I going to wear.

 

This piece is also about people who want to make sure you know just how more they know than you do. I do have a rather extensive file of trivia trapped in my brain than I can access quickly – ask me what I watched on TV yesterday & I may not know though 🙂 But I do know what tee-shirt I’m probably going to wear tomorrow. I’d rather be defined by what I wear anyway.


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Nice Undies

Nice Undies

please keep it

I don’t really need it

I have too many already

it’s not quite the right fit for me

the colour is so you

I don’t know

when I’ll ever use it

I want you to have 

you’ll get more use out of it than I would

I can’t begrudge you anything

of course you can have it

I never wore it

I only wore it once

let me see it on you

it really suits you

those undies look better on you

than they ever did on me

no I don’t hate it

it’s just not right for me

they were on sale

you’d be doing me a favour

I never want to see it again

too many memories

time to move the energy out of my life

if you don’t want it

I’ll have to throw it away

don’t let it to go to waste

it’s too good

to drop in a donation box

I want someone I know to have it

you won’t regret it

don’t thank me

thank whomever 

gave it to me

never wear it my presence

Nice Undies is a list poem of different thoughts or actual things said in giving something away. As much as I appreciate a gift I am sometimes given things that I either have, don’t want, or have no real need for. Because I enjoy bold colours I’ve been give shirts, or t-shirts that are great colours but with prints or cartoony images I’d never be seen in public wearing. Some become sleep wear, some end up in donation bins, some become regifted.

One Christmas I was given more socks than I needed, so some of them ended up in Christmas gift bags for friends. I’ve donated blank books, pens, even t-shirts to Hot Damn! as prizes. I move energy out of the house quickly so make room for new energy. It’s gotten to the point where I sometimes get a gift & I immediately think – this would be perfect for so-&-so.

Part of my personal ‘stuff’ policy is ‘if something new comes in, something old should go out.’ As a result if I keep the t-shirt someone gives me I have to cull one out of my collection to donate or give away. This can be difficult with things like shirts as my collection now if all favourites 🙂 So to make room for new I have to let go of my attachments of the old. In these cases I am more selective of where it goes but it does go.

Twice a year I cull various things from my processions: books, cds, shirts, socks, tee’s, even undies to pass on, to keep my sense of attachment in balance. I do this around New Year’s & around my birthday at the end of June. I’ve never been so invested in a memory that I can’t see someone wearing the tee I gave them. Nothing, to me, is hotter than one of my fwb arriving & finding that he’s wearing the undies I gave him. What can be more fun than some man literally getting into my pants? 🙂


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None For The Road

None For The Road

if you won’t trust

someone who won’t drink

with you

then you’ll never trust me

if all your close friends

smoke up with you

we’ll never be close friends

if you only respect 

someone who’ll do a line with you

shoot up with you

share a bowl with you

then I have no role in your life 

we’ll never bond

 

if only self-destructive writers

are real writers

then I’ll always be a fake

a wanna-be

who really doesn’t warrant

your attention

 

I’m just one of those shallow dilettantes

a hanger on

without the guts

the stamina

to deal with life through

a haze of booze drugs

 

you are clearly better off with me

so don’t take it personally

when I decline to indulge

for the sake of group acceptance

I’d rather be unacceptable

than drown in conformity


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Point of View: Camera

Point of View: Camera

I turn off the sound

mute evidence

is easier to ignore

if I could turn off

the bottom of the screen scroll

I would do that

 

I see the images clearer

when I can’t hear

the inane babbling of announcers

underlining what is flickering

I don’t want to witness 

this camera-shaped reality

any more than I want to eyewitness 

these events

 

I can’t look away though

that would be denial

I have to admit these things happen 

are happening

regardless of a spin

that results in no one being accountable 

except the victims 

it is clearly their fault

for being where the camera is pointing

 

I’m fine with that

as long as the camera

never points at me


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Shell of a Man

Shell of a Man

a woman got up 

stood at the subway exit door

I got up

stood behind her

she glanced briefly 

over her shoulder

she exited

I followed

up the stairs

outside the station

we both turned to the left

both crossed in the same direction

turned down the same side street

then another

 

I walked faster

to pass her

she walked faster

to escape me

we crossed at the same point 

she was practically running

 

I slowed 

saddened by what had happened

saddened

by merely being a man

she felt threatened

because my house

was along her route

 

this gender

this skin

is a shell that shouldn’t crack

a bowl to carry me through life

that doesn’t get questioned

doesn’t get handled roughly

directly

thanks

to my entitlement

of not having to worry

to apologize

for what isn’t my direct doing

 

I didn’t create this cultural context

in which women

fear men

yet I feel guilt

should I have taken a different way home

when I saw us walk 

in the same direction 

is her fear 

her insecurity

now my fault

 

how different from her

am I

I get the same anxiety 

when my sense of security 

is confronted 

by my assumptions of strangers

do young men alarm me

simply because they are young

how did age become weaponized

how did skin colour become weaponized

 

the world is on alert

trust no one

justify that lack of trust

by falling back on distorted news

by a history 

that suppresses facts in favour of controllers

by not acknowledging any complicity

in making them look pure 

not driven by greed

by the need to control

 

I just wanted to walk home

take my shoes off and relax

not feel the fragility of this shell

This was prompted by an actual event, or rather events, because this isn’t the first time this has happened – me and a random lone female getting on then off the subway train at the same time, walking in the same direction, as the same time. I’m always paranoid that as we walk she’ll stop, unknowingly at the sidewalk to my house, and confront me, mace me, kick me in the balls. 

So far no such confrontation has occurred. I don’t know of a way of reassuring anyone, of making myself appear non-threatening when this happens. At times I have not crossed where I usually cross but the defiance to my house is less than 5 minutes so there’s no real way to not go in the same direction. This reaction to her paranoia – I say her, as I’ve never happens when such accidentally-in-the-direction occurs with men.

I have female friends who tell me they have felt unsafe when a man walks behind them at night on the street. It saddens me. It one of the memento when I confront the this cultural context of fear. I feel very safe on the street at night, alone, but that is because I’m a man – not because I am necessarily safe – there have been shootings & stabbings all along the Danforth.

I have to admit though that I am less inclined go out at night unless I have a destination I want to get to. Even less inclined in the winter – icy, snowy, sidewalks can be treacherous enough in daylight – if slip and fall I want someone to see me asap. But the war on pedestrians is another issue.

In the piece I also look at this culture of paranoia regarding race & age. I have a black friend who still, in 2019, gets watched when he goes into a corner store. There’s a couple of corner shops in this area with signs that say ‘one student at a time.’ We have a US president who wants to build a wall to further the demonization of Mexicans (rather than rebalance the profit driven economy) – now that blacks have become a less sensational target.

Yeah a lot of that actually through my head when I’m accidentally going in the same direction as a woman. Sometimes I rather stay home at night than confront all that.


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Sneak Peek February 2019 

A quick look back before the peek – my TOpoet.ca following is up to 305 maybe I’ll get to 350 by the end of the year. Also the jump in WordPress hits has remained consistent when I stopped the auto link to Tumblr & replaced it with Google+. India now takes the lead in the number of hits, with US, Canada, Ireland, South Africa (!) rounding out the top five.

Twitter is up to 212 followers thanks to more self-publishing entrepreneurs following me :-). Tumblr up 217 – even with their community standards I’m still getting hetero porn sites trying to follow me. Some are moaning about the ‘death’ of Tumblr merely because it is no longer a convenient site for uploading erotic to explicit sex pics. I see are fewer of such pics but they are still there.

So far, no such issues with WordPress. The serialization of Coal Dusters continues with 76,600 words, 40 chapters, so far; with at least 51,000 words (not chapters) to go. I say at least because as I edit things expand. I’m into the second nanowrimo portion & as I work on it I see where I left space for bridging scenes. So I’ve been creating whole new text to connect things. I like what is happening. I’ve also made a PDF file of Book 1 – $1.99 for anyone who wants to have the the first half in one piece (paypal.me/TOpoet). At this place I might have it done by summer.

 

WordPress photos are now Mondays: suitcases – I want to travel more & one way of getting that energy out there is with suitcases, right? Wednesday is texture – fabric, brick, shingles, wood – the feel of life; Thursday will continue to be random pairs; Fridays is doors – even cast-off doors are openings to a future.

 

Otherwise February is a routine month – no spoke-word shows to anticipate, no plays on the horizon though we’ll be ordering some tickets soon. Looking forward to Little Shop of Horrors at Stratford & Mae West’s Sex at the Shaw Festival this summer. Good news for my visit to Cape Breton: not only dot hey have a well-organize {Pride week they also have a Starbucks!

Stay In Bed

it seemed like a good idea 

at the time everyone was gung-ho

until they realized

they would have to do something 

to make it happen

 

expecting me to do it all

was part of their plan

not mine

sure I thought it was a great idea

but I’m not a one man show

as much as I’d like to be

and as much I as I know

I would be better person

for being willing to do it all by by myself

I’m not going to even try

 

when that become clear

the energy began to wane

the idea didn’t seem so wonderful

getting active

making things happen

isn’t such fun after all

 

why can’t someone else 

do all the work for us

while we sit back

and enjoy the results 

the rewards should be ours 

for the thinking

thanks to your doing

thanks to someone being 

consistant and eager

to take each demanding task 

and fulfilling them 

to our specification

faced with having

to do it ourselves 

we grow diffident 

disinterested

disenchanted 

while looking for the right person

to blame 

to save face

 

picking up the rake the shovel 

is such a bore

makes us want to just stay in bed

for another half hour 

maybe this’ll blow over 

maybe the next fast flash of inspiration

will require even less than thinking

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http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


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

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

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Chapter XL – Lillian Leaves Castleton

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 XL

Lillian Leaves Castleton

When Lillian returned to the manse she appreciated the cool silence of the house. It was as if she had gone deaf as she stood in the stillness of the kitchen. No shouting, no children rushing around her, no bullets being fired over her head.

She cleared the ashes out of the kitchen stove. This was one of the jobs she hated and one which she was already grateful to have Father Patrick do but he was no where to be seen when she got back to the house. After the incident at the wharf the union was meeting at the Hall so she knew he was there. 

Once the fire was going she put the kettle on. Even if they were having a cold dinner her Uncle always enjoyed a fresh cup of tea with his evening meal. As she was in the pantry she heard him coming in the back door.

“Is that you Father Patrick?” she called.

“Who did you think it was?” came his gruff reply. “One of those empty-headed miners you’ve been convortuing with behind my back?”

She stepped into the kitchen to confront him. “Behind your back? Yesterday you said how much you admired me for helping the striker’s children.”

“Children, yes.” He grabbed her roughly by the shoulders. “You weren’t seen walking down the street holding hands with children. Flaunting it. Mrs. McIssac was all too eager to say how good the women thought you are but I know she wanted to make it clear was they there talking about you. About you and those dirty mine rats. ” He shoved her hard against the wall.

“Mine rats? Mrs. McIssac? They were walking me home. Seeing that I was safe.” She struggled to get out of his grip.

“She was all too eager to tell me all about you and that Franklin strumpet. Visiting her at the brothel she runs.”

“Brothel?”

“Was she hoping to entice you into becoming one of her house maids? I see through your innocent act my child. I can see the evil conniving behind your eyes. I can see fear there. Fear that you have been caught once again trying to inveigle some unsuspecting man into the mire of your carnality.”

He loosened his grip to grab the wooden plunger she used to wash the clothes. She turned to get out of the kitchen but he hit her across the back before she got to the door. The blow sent her sprawling on to her hands and knees into the back pantry. Before she could get up he struck her repeated until she was on her stomach.

“I should have beat the evil out of you the last time my child but that interring O’Dowell harridan got in the way. This time there is no one to hold back the wrath of God.”

Each time she tried to raise herself up he pushed her back down with his foot.

“You want to cavort with those …. unwashed animals you might as well get used to living at their level.”

With a groan Lillian rolled on to her back. She could taste blood in her mouth. She wiped her lips with the back of her hand her eyes holding her uncle’s eyes.

“Do not look to me for mercy.” He said. “There is none for wonton females of your sort who are nothing more than the evil that leads men away from the will of God.”

She reached up to the edge of the counter to pull herself to her feet with taking her eyes away from his.

“I said do not look to me for mercy.” He reach up to her face to shield her eyes from his. 

She flinched back.

“I won’t mar your face. Not this time my child.”

Bracing herself against the wall she moved unsteadily from the pantry without taking her eyes from his.

“Take your eyes off me you … witch. I will not fall under you spell.” Pulled the rosary out his vest pocket and held it up between them. “Leave my house.”

“Gladly.”

She steadied herself firmly against the counter.

“I said to stop glaring at me.” He raised his arm and stepped toward her.

Pushing away from the counter she parried his arm with hers and shoved him with all her might with the other. Her sudden attack caused him to slip and fall back hitting his head against the lower cabinets. He slid down until he was sitting on the floor. Without hesitation, using what strength she had left she slapped him in the face with all her might.

“The Lord is my shield …” he began.

“Turn the other cheek Father.” She said as he slapped him again. 

Using the railing she pulled herself up the stairs to her room. Each step was agonizing. She was in tears by the time she got to the top and had brace herself firmly to keep from falling backwards.

In her room she longed to sit long enough to catch her breath but she was unsure of what her uncle would do next. She bent to reach for her carpet bag and momentarily lost consciousness.

Dazed she thrust her hair brushes from the top of the dresser along with some underclothes and her other house shift into the bag. The house was quiet as she walked down to the front door.

“Uncle Patrick?” she asked.

The noise of a creaking chair came from the living-room.

“I will return to collect the rest of my things tomorrow. I will not be alone.”

“Satan will always find those willing to his biding.” he said.

She walked unsure of where to go. Mrs. Franklin’s boarding house was the nearest thing to a hotel in Castleton Mines. She was sure Rose would understand her need for a room? All she needed was temporary lodgings. How would she pay? Thee were a few items of value in her trunks. Perhaps she could trade them. She stopped at the gate to catch her breath.

The front rooms of the house were well lit. She walked up the steps, glanced in the parlour window and saw Colonel Strickland standing with his back tot he window regaling the men in the room.

She knocked on the door. Mrs. Franklin opened it and caught Lillian as she collapsed.

The sun was streaming across the foot of the bed when she awoke with a start. She had been undressed and put into the bed. Her dress was laid across the back of a chair by the bed. Her back throbbed as she pushed herself up and swung her feet to the floor.

It took her a few minutes to understand where she was. Her last memory was of a group of men looking down at her once floor. Mrs. Franklin must have put her to bed. 

There was a timid knock at the door. “Miss McTavish?”

“Yes.” she answered. “Mrs. Franklin?”

“No ma’am.” the door opened wide enough for a head to appear. “T’is Aileen from the O’Dowell’s. Might I come in?”

“Yes. Please.” she pulled a shawl around her shoulders.

“Mrs. Franklin sent a boy over to tell us you were here.  Dr. Drummond said you weren’t to be disturbed. We’ve all been mighty worried about you.”

“Dr. Drummond?”

“Yes ma’am. Miss O’Dowell saw how … harmed you were. She knew who had done it. That uncle of yours. Some priest he’s turned out to be. So kind to all who sees him but when no one sees him he’s … sorry ma’am.”

“That’s quite alright Aileen.”

“She’s been to his house, if’n you don’t mind, and had all your things removed.”

“How long have I been asleep?”

“All day yesterday. Doctor says not to worry but you will be sore for a bit.”

Mrs. Franklin strode into the room. “Aileen you were to let us know if Miss McTavish had awakened, not tire her with conversation.”

“Sorry, Mrs. Franklin, but when i saw she was sitting up I forgot.” Aileen pulled at her fingers.

“That’s quite alright.” Lillian said. “I could do we a cup of tea though Aileen. If there’s some brewed that is.” She glanced to Mrs. Franklin.

“The kettle just boiled in Aileen. There’s a tea pot where you can see it. Let it steep a few minutes before you bring it up.”

“The tea things?” Aileen asked as she backed to the door.

“I’ll be down shortly to get them.”

“Yes mum.”

“And shut the door when you leave.” 

“Yes mum.”

“Some of these girls have to be told everything.” Mrs. Franklin moved Lillian’s dress and sat on the chair. “So how are you feeling Lillian?”

“I’m a bit dazed. have I really been asleep for two days?”

“Asleep … more like unconscious. Do remember arriving here?”

“Yes. Colonel Strickland was here?”

“Yes. He still is, along with a couple of his men. He was talking with Mr. O’Dowell when you arrived. It was Steven who forbad us to move you at all until Dr. Drummond had examined you.” 

“I see. I don’t want to be any more trouble to you.” She tested the floor with her feet as she stood up cautiously. Dizzy she sat on the bed.

“Dr. Drummond is here now. He wanted to speak with you once you were awake. Shall I let him come up?”

“Have you a mirror, Rose?”

“Of course.” Mrs. Franklin went to the dresser and brought Lillian a mirror and a hair brush.

“Oh! These are mine!”

“Yes I took a few things out of your bag.”

Lillian realized she was wearing one of her own nightdresses.

“You robe is here too.”

Lillian was relieved to see that her face showed no signs of her ordeal. Her hair however was quite tangled. She started to brush it out but the brush pulled at her scalp. Her back ached the harder she tried. She began to cry.

“It’s hopeless.” she said.

“There! There! Lillian.” Mrs. Franklin took another brush off the dresser and began to help. “It isn’t that bad.”

“I really don’t know what to do, Rose. I can’t go back to that man’s house. I can’t go back to Boston.”

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way, Lillian.”

“Of course. Do I look presentable?”

“Under the circumstances you look fine.” She went to the door. “Dr. Drummond, Miss McTavish can receive you now.”

A few moments later the doctor came into the room. He was much younger than Lillian had expected.

“How is my patient today?” he asked putting his bag on the dresser and taking out a stethoscope.

“Sore.” Lillian said. She felt faint as he put his hands on her. She was accustomed to much old doctors. Men as old or older than her father. 

“Understandable. Umm … I don’t want to seem indelicate but I must examine your back.”

“Oh!” Lillian blushed.

“Of course Mrs. Franklin will remain in the room. Would you like Aileen to be here as well?”

“Yes. If you don’t mind?” Lillian said.

“No, not at all.” He went to the door. “I’ll send her in and once you are ready have her call me back in. You needn’t disrobe completely if it makes you uncomfortable.”

“Thank you.”

 

After the doctor had listened to her breathing and heart, he gently felt her back.

“Is this painful?” he asked.

“I don’t feel anything.” she said.

“Not even this?” he asked.

“No.”

“I see. Very well you can get dressed.” He turned his back to her as he looked through his bag.

“Is it serious.” Lillian asked.

“Nothing feels broken, if that’s what you mean. There is of course bruising but it is the lack of sensation that is worrisome.”

“It will return as the bruising subsides?” Lillian attempted once again to stand.

“Yes.” Dr. Drummond held his arm out for her to hold as she took a few tentative steps.

“I … I don’t want to be an invalid.”

“No, that is unlikely.”

With his help and with Mrs. Franklin near at hand she walked around the room.

“Can I tell her now ma’am?” Aileen asked.

“Tell me what?” Lillian asked.

“Miss O’Dowell says you are to come live us in North Sydney once you are well enough to come.”

“That’s very kind of her but …”

“I don’t want to sound inhospitable Lillian,” Mrs. Franklin said. “But this isn’t a … fitting place for a single. young lady to reside.”

“She is right, Miss McTavish.” Dr. Drummond said. “I would say you are fit to travel.”

“Thank you. Yes, tell Miss O’Dowell I’d be happy to accept her kind invitation.” Lillian was grateful but knew she had no viable alternative either.

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Mendelssohn

I have a 40 cd boxset of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Masterworks – I did replaced the one that had some of his organ works with a downloaded complete organ works. Even at 40 cds this is a sampling of his output. He died at 38! He either burned out like a lightbulb or exploded like a supernova.

I did have a some lps, then cd’s of his work before I  picked up this set. I knew the hits, as it were, but that was all. Like many composers he was reduced to a few concert warhorses & of course the Wedding March. The box set includes complete: symphonies, piano concertos, violin concertos, chamber music, choral works, lieder, some oratorios & more. 

I bought it at HMV for about $70. The sound quality is good, though the recoding levels change from cd to cd. some are louder than others. The musicianship is excellent including the likes of Kurt Masur, Dietrich Fischer-Dieshaku. So it was a solid investment in my classical collection.

Mendelssohn is a romantic composer in the Beethoven sense – rich, playful, emotive works for piano, orchestra that sweep me away, though he rarely becomes as over-the-top as, say, Liszt or Chopin. It is delightful music that doesn’t call attention to technique.

 

Much of it was new to me and his choral music lead to my greater enjoyment of that form. He also incorporates choir & solo voices into some of his symphonies. I added the organ music for the melodic work & also to have an organ version of the wedding march, which to me is rather funereal & spooky. ‘Here comes the deceased, all dressed in pine”

Death

‘Did you know Greg well?’ Jane asked the sullen man beside her.

‘Met him a few times in the neighbourhood. You know at the annual street sale. Sometimes I’d stop to chat while he was working on the front bed of his?’

‘Front bed?’

They had both stepped out of the funeral home chapel to smoke.

‘Garden. A little patch of tulips & crocus. He kept pretty much to himself. Did you know him?’

‘Same as you. I have the house cross the back laneway from his. We’d wave sometimes when he was mowing the back lawn but that was it.’

‘So you live in this neighbourhood, too?’

‘Yes. I have seen you at the corner store a few times.’

‘Yeah.’

‘Well, sad though isn’t it?’

‘It happens.’

‘Makes you wonder though, just how well you know people. Like he’s lived here nearly 15 years and I didn’t even know his name.’

‘Yeah.’

‘Yours is?’

‘Jane Brown. That’s my husband over there.’

‘Right. Good looking man.’

‘Thanks. And yours?’

‘My husband isn’t quite that real. Single life.’

‘I mean your name?’

‘Ah, right. David Peters. I’m at 46 Amber and you?’

‘52 Green.’

‘Amber is that one street away. We’re nearly neighbours too.’

‘Yeah.’

‘Small world, yet it seems too far at the same time. A few hundred yards. Sorry I never got to know Greg better. Not many other gays in this area, you know.’

‘Haven’t given it much thought.’

‘I suppose not.’

‘You knew Greg was … gay?’

‘Not that we ever talked about it but that rainbow flag, single white male living alone except for the occasional male visitor. It adds up.’

‘Rainbow flag?’

‘Yeah, in the back yard. I think he had one in the front too. That one would go up around gay pride.’

‘Oh, that’s what that was all about. The changing banners, I just thought there were decorations not signals.’

‘See, you’re learning more about him already.’

‘So you are … gay too?’

‘Yep. Not much point is pretending otherwise.’

‘Strange that you’d live so far from the heart of town … you know … where I understand most of that goes on.’

‘I like it out here. Quieter, feels safer even if it isn’t.’

‘Isn’t safer?’

‘Oh yeah. Didn’t you hear about the swarming at the school a block over. Pretty nasty stuff. Glad I’m not closer to the school than I am. But yeah, this is pretty much like the neighbourhood I grew up in. Nice houses with families.’

‘Doesn’t keep death away from the door though does it.’

‘Not many places do Jane. Not many places do.’

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every Tuesday 2019


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

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

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