Deprivation

Week Four of the Artist’s Way presented a few challenges. In particular reading deprivation on top of social isolation & distancing. Is editing chapters of Picture Perfect for the blog reading? What about daily meditation books? So I did a bit of a compromise – blog work isn’t reading. Editing isn’t reading. No reading in the bathroom, no reading in transit, no podcasts. No twitter or ‘tooling’ around until evening. I finished chapters in the books I was reading & stopped there. 

Some of these were time frittering at best. I have more time as a result. Some of these may become new habits. Eliminating the superfluous is freeing. When I stopped carting my iPod everywhere I felt less encumbered, one less worry. A much as I liked creating playlists etc not to have t keep refilling it is freeing. I only use it for guided mediations & podcasts. Walking without it has been a small adjustment but I feel more open to what is round me without a constant soundtrack in my head colouring everything. Plus it gives me an extra coat pocket 🙂

The chapter give lists of things to do as an alternative to reading – many of these things are showing up as suggestions for folks frustrated by social isolation. My days go by quickly enough with my routines without resorting to new activities. One of the blessings of being an introvert. I enjoy my own company. 

Thanks to social distancing artist dates have become more a spin than an actual event. I did three mornings of yard work (without iPod soundtrack). Those were 3 artist dates. I shared some selfies with my fans. Being where things grow was good in the face of the mounting covid toll. Things grow regardless of much of what is going on around me. Nature can recover quickly given the chance. The better air quality means better sun which means better plants. 

Boss of Me

John’s theory is that

our leaders are all puppets 

figure heads

who have bought 

into the illusion of power

they are unaware

that they are hollow images

taking the heat 

for the real powers

that hidden consortium 

of non-public figures

who make the real decisions

who exert the right squeeze

and our little leaders 

slump or pop up

to do what has to be done

take the blame for what has gone wrong

because leaders are just frail men

with no power to wield

no clout to get the job done 

often not even attractive to look at

thus even more believable

 

John tells me that politics 

are another form of entrainment

media fodder

to keep us diverted

from the real holders of power

so that we are amused  numbed

by the constant barrage of sound bites

cell cam videos

of presidents getting blow jobs

when they should be getting us out of wars

wherever the hell they are

because even where they are

isn’t the the real war 

it is a more elaborate movie set

with real lives being lost

to keep our attention from

what is really going on

 

John isn’t sure what is really going on

he is confident it isn’t what we see

it isn’t what accept as the truth

because there is no truth 

only monetized divertion statics

the struggle for freedom

from Tibet to Kensington market 

is upscale name branding

he is sure of that

 

sometimes I believe John

sometimes I don’t care

where do we place our faith

what is worth the energy to change

if it can be changed 

because revolution

has been copyrighted by 

estee lauder

the latest scent 

a mix of blood oil jasmine

with woody undertone

 

John is convinced 

that if it isn’t making someone money 

it isn’t going to happen

war happens because it is big business

pandemics are even bigger business

even as the population dwindles

going green isn’t happening 

because the profit margins 

are too low

some people can’t afford 

to save the planet

& that he finds is sad

I don’t disagree

when I do it starts another litany

of who runs what

who really holds the power

or if there is any power

stronger than futility

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee & donuts

– sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Resistance

Finished Week Three of The Artist’s Way. Julia sure loves lists. Looking into the past to clear the vision for the future didn’t turn up anything new from my pre-Toronto east coast growing up. The only real memory of negativity was the reaction of Malcom Ross – then head of the English Department at Dalhousie University – to my first attempt at a novel – it was about a character coming out & he felt the subject matter wasn’t suitable.

Looking back I’m not sure if it was because of his personal moral stance or because the writing itself wasn’t as strong as my poetry at the time. he had been very supportive of me as a poet. I still have that novel somewhere in my paper archives so I may dig it out to see how it stands up as juvenilia 🙂

My worse critic is often self-talk & not what others have said or written about my work directly. When I was involved in a crit group I felt supported up to a point but rarely got as much feedback as the others – was it because my work was fine or because they didn’t think it was worth bothering with? At least with the Loyalist workshops I got lots of excellent input. Plus some of the fiends I made at Loyalist are still people I’m in contact with – but the poetry work-shoppers have drifted away; I only hear from them when they send out bulk invites to shows.

Thanks to covid19 closings artist dates have become photo excursions. The pictures here are from my walk Thursday (Mar 25). I took TTC to Wellesley Station & walked home from there. Part of the walk crosses the Rosedale Valley Overpass then the Prince Edward Viaduct. The pictures are all from the south side – some looking as down as I could lean over the rail. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Don River so clear 🙂

Resistance

if his resistance 

has been any smaller

it would have taken 

an ant to measure it

but as it was 

it was big enough 

to change me 

on a molecular level 

each time he was near

my atomic structure 

began to revolve around him

 

heads would turn to see  

where that unseen vibe 

was coming from

eyes would linger on his lips

his smile

his teeth

each hair on his head

would mesmerize 

drawing power

from the love light 

in their eyes

charging him up

for more powerful emanations

 

and that was me

sitting by his side

who noticed me

did it matter

as long as he noticed me

as long as he was in me

as long as I was the one

who held the key to the shield

that protected him

 

they all wanted 

the part of him that was only mine

the shadow of his power 

protects me

while keeping me 

from the full expression of my own

the difference between us 

was less than than 

the thickness of a spark 

jumping from lip to lip

the nano-storm flash

of realization from eye to eye 

 

we were merged

separate unified individual

connected

shaping the universe

for all to follow

living in that gap between 

want and want even more

giving and losing

taking and reflecting

the bridge

between life and death

we were on the breeze 

on the disappearing species list 

 

nothing was safe

cataclysmic explanations 

elemental tables were upset

we didn’t sit with them

they resented the

absolute the power we held

when our hands 

were merely reaching

for one another

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

April
? – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – date to be announce thanks to COVID19

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

The House Of Dolls

Some shots of the Leslieville Dollhouse on Bertmount, near Queen & Jones – it is actually mentioned on Google maps. I’ve took pictures a few years ago but these are very recent as part of an Artist’s Way Date. I’ve walked down around Christmas to see what it is like at night & was a little disappointed that most of the blow mold decorations don’t light up.

north view through the trees

north view from the sidewalk

up close

look into my eyes

how many can you name?

busting out

hello six-pack

view from across the street

https://wp.me/s1RtxU-diop

https://capfireslam.org

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees &  eat at Capturing Fire this June in Washington DC – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Crazy-makers & Way.02

Into ‘week’ two of the Artist’s Way. ‘Week” as the book is done in weeks not chapters. I’m giving myself two weeks to do each section. Week One was okay, no great revelations but confirmations that the process I started with it decades ago has been productive. Some of my negative self-talk comes from more recent years that from my past. perhaps though it is echoes of that past bs that had seeped in.

Week Two deal with crazy makers as a way of avoiding creativity. Oddly enough one of my biggest crazy makers, no longer living in Toronto, had a major crisis as I was starting this Way chapter. A crisis that included: partner cheating, wedding is off, moving in with parents. Oh my! We exchanged a few texts as I was walking & I refused to be drawn in. I did say ‘you’re a survivor’ – supportive enough. I didn’t offer sympathy, advice or a plane ticket to Toronto :-). Two days later & all is ‘well’ with him. He sees it all as bipolar in love. I didn’t ask for details.

I know how not to invite crazy-makers too deeply into my life. Julia talks about how we use these situations as distractions or excuses & as a way to score points for being good, helpful, self-sacrificing saints. 

Today, thanks to recovery in a couple of 12 step programs, I’m okay with people thinking I’m stoic, uncaring & uncooperative. Productivity is more grounding than codependency.

I’ve taken myself on some fun artist dates. Simple things like a walk through the Williamson Ravine – made a trek to take pictures of the Dollhouse on Bertmount, near Queen & Jones – it is actually mentioned on Google maps. Stopped after the doll invasion at Bobbette & Belle  for an artist cupcake. I also consider Hot Damn! an artist date, even though I am there with several people I know, I’m pretty much by myself as one of few (if not the only) gay white cismales over 60 in the house.

Blind Sided

I’ve looked at this from all sides

taken your view

my view

the outsider’s view

the long short jaundiced

rear view

it doesn’t matter which side

I’m the one in the wrong

even if it is your fault

that I’m in this position

it’s still my fault for looking twice

when the first glance 

told me all I needed to know

I shouldn’t have taken a closer look

& let you pass me by

 

but what’s a man supposed to do

opportunities like you

don’t come my way everyday

not that this was my last chance 

but it was as good a chance

as I’ve had in some time

a stroke of luck

so here I am

the guilty party once again

someone who said what he shouldn’t 

at just the wrong time 

for the greatest effect

 

those names we called each other

were only meant to hurt

I didn’t believe them for a minute 

but you did

I’m just not as sensitive

one of my faults I know

cold heartless me

I’m too quick to react 

when my buttons get pushed

I should never have showed you 

where those buttons were 

never let your toothbrush 

in my bathroom

never let your socks under my bed

never say never again

 

it’s all my fault for making peace

for being the placater 

I should have let go 

when I first had a chance

rather prove that by holding on

I was really really serious about us

I had lots of opportunities 

to escape but I stayed

things will be different next time

I should have defended myself 

the second time 

changed my view the third

but I didn’t

to make sure you realized I cared

that I could be forgiving

now I’m looking from all sides

inside outside top bottom 

head-to-toe

the way I looked over you the first time

everything held the eye

I didn’t have enough eyes 

to take it all in 

no eye to a future

I knew it would come to no good

I would end up the heatless prick 

once more

I had to see if this time would be different

you wouldn’t be like all the others

you weren’t 

trouble was I was like all the others

you told me that over and over

every man you meet treats you this way

I was no better than any of them

 

for once

I’m glad you’re right

glad that over is over

trust me it’s over

I won’t make that mistake again

I won’t take it lying down 

standing up bending over backwards

or any which way 

if that’s what it takes

to be true to you 

I’d rather be a liar

because it doesn’t matter which side

the view is from

I’m the one in the wrong

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

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

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Way To Go Week One

Finished the introductions to both the book & the workbook. They echo each other. I find a few things to contradict but for the most part I choose not to argue & push on. I dislike the ‘informercial’ brag – so-so did this & now has two best-sellers, has a movie, an exhibition – the implication being that if you don’t get these results you are doing something wrong.

I appreciated the reinforcing of my thought that we mistake negative thinking for being realistic & positive thinking as delusional. This came up in the discussion round the use of affirmations – to think ‘I am never going to get anywhere’ is clearly factual, whereas ‘I am a productive writer’ is an egotistical brag not a fact.

Starting doing the week one tasks, as suggested, in long hand!! So I am following at least one of the suggestions, as I do my morning pages on my desktop. I do most of my writing via keyboard. The ‘Way’ theory is longhand slows the brain down to sort things out carefully – my theory is the faster I write the less my editor steps in & the more I am open to the flow.

My artist date last week was part of my morning walk – a stop at, I kid you not, Glory Hole Donuts – Gerrard E/Coxwell. These are not your average donuts. Not exactly out of my comfort zone either so future might take me more out of my routines. In winter I’m less inclined to go places where I’m trapped in my winter wear but I have been eye a few sort of trade shows that could be diverting. The ultimate artist date will be DC this June 🙂


The poems I’m currently posting on Mondays are thing I wrote in 2008 & am finally going back to take a look at – raw dough some of which needs carefully unravelling to translate from my typo or spell-check typo to English. This is sort of an an artist date with my past self.

F-Bombs Away

is there an emoticon to say 

what one doesn’t want to put into words

some cute little animated gif

that’ll take the sting out of the unspeakable

out of the unprintable

to remove any real pain

but says it all anyway

 

the vulgarity that curdles the bold

the sacrilege that shakes one’s belief system

reduced to a shruggy face

so that no one is offended

except those offended

by the sweet correctness of our times

where we dare not overstep

boundaries of taste

drop the f-bomb too much

or the deadly c-word

 

this fear of having people realize 

that we are as crass and boorish

as we are afraid we are

better to keep that self out of the public eye

off the printed page

unless that unguarded text moment

gets retweeted

shows up on You Tube

 

there has to be a way

of being offensive

without being offensive

without swearing 

making idle hand gestures

caught on cell phone videos

 

we are always on our toes

being as daring as we dare

pushing enough to let people know 

we can push

and that they should be grateful

we aren’t going as far as we’d like

that we could make them really uncomfortable

but aren’t out of politeness

yes politeness 

not out of fear of reprisal or judgement

without shooting them or ourselves 

in our pretty little heads

we want respect not dismay

for saying just the right unkind insult

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

March

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

March 13 –

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

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet