“art is life – not an imitation”

 

Breaking In Grief 

he wore

his dead son’s sneakers

bought a month before

the son’s step off into oblivion

new shoes a sign of hope

of a future planned for

not of a life too soon to be ended

 

they found the sneakers

still in their box

in the cupboard

worn once to try them on

designer expensive

too nice to toss or donate

so he’s wearing them now

it gives me the creeps

practicality in the face of catastrophe

 

I visited home

the summer after my father died

his death was sudden

it was the body that gave out

he didn’t go out of his way

to find that oblivion

I went through his clothes

to help my sister winnow out

throw out donate

to share some memories

I end up keeping a a couple of jackets

that actually fit me

with enough style to suit me

 

the shirt and pants

were easy to part with

most of the shoes too

my Dad was all business

when it came to shoes

his idea of comfort were

hard onyx red oxfords

there was box with a new pair

only worn to try them on

they sort of fit me

very stuff and inflexible

never being broken in

expensive

I take them

 

I wear them a few times

then drop them in a clothing box

they don’t fit

right size but wrong shape

maybe that’s why my Dad never

wore them either

the life my Dad hoped I would fit into

was also the right size

but the wrong shape

I was unwilling to do the work

that would break me in

so it would be a comfortable fit

 

I meet my friend one day

he’s sporting his son’s

wildly neon runners

it’s been a year after the death

he finally feels okay to to walk in grief

a grief he’ll never leave

but ready

to walk forward with it

This is a piece that wrote itself. A close friend of mine in recovery had recently had his son step off a balcony to his death. Helping his daughter-in-law in going through the son’s possession they found the running shoes. He did opt to keep them. These details are facts. The neon is my poetic liberty. It was the this reversal of the cliche that struck me – usually its the son filling his father’s shoes.

Which lead me to me filling my Dad’s shoes. Once again the facts are true – me helping my sister – this was back in 2002 (I think). I still havre those jackets & ear one of them frequently enough. The other is saved for special occasions. The only oxfords are real too though my father preferred more comfortable shoes for ordinary wear.

I did try them a couple of times before donating them. To fill tour father’s shoes also means to take on the life he lead, to fulfill those expectations of fitting into the normative culture – something I never did. I’m not even sure how hard I tried because it was clear I’d never do it – it would never fit.

My friend dealt with, is still dealing with, his tragedy. He spoke about his pain & struggle openly. I’ve performed this piece frequently & it has undergone a fair bit of tweaking to get the tenses right, the flow of information smooth. It is the last piece in my recent chapbook – though this edit is different yet again.

When I performed it at the chapbook launch earlier this year, I wore one of my Dad’s jackets. My friend came to hear me & he was wearing his son’s sneakers. Sometimes art is life – not an imitation.

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Me and My Lamp Post

The Shaw Festival production of Me and My Girl: Directed by Ashlie Corcoran was a sheer delight. Well-paced, effectively staged it held my attention from beginning to end – even through the repeated curtain calls. Great songs helped – though only a few of them are that well-known: The Lambeth Walk & Leaning on a Lamp Post – thanks to my English heritage they had some resonance.

A cracker-jack ensemble dances, sings, moves sets with clockwork precision. Lead Michael Therriault as Bill Snibson brings a great sense of fun plus a Tommy Steele glint to his role of the commoner who gets turned into a Lord. As Sally, his girl friend  Kristi Frank is fresh, fun & believable. Élodie Gillett’s Jacquie Carstone is sexy, predatory & sweet at the same time. Jay Turvey’s Parchester with his very Gilbert & Sullivan-esque theme song “The Family Solicitor” managed to steal the scene every time it was used.

Parker Esse’s choreography was also scene-stealing thanks to an amazing ensemble who shifted from energetic Broadway hoofing to tap with ease. I loved the Lamp Post dream ballet. It was clear that everyone was enjoying the show. They loved to dance, to sing, to entertain & the audience was drawn in to the show & kept captivated to final bow. Highly recommended.

 

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Cost of Free

Cost of Free

saying no

to what I don’t need

hasn’t gotten easier

not that I’m not tempted

by things I want

when the price is right

 

even if there is no point

in having them

it is harder to say no

 

there is no such thing as enough

of having too much

as much as the next fellow

I long to have too much

but I have no place to put it

I can’t afford the cost of free

it piles up and up

so when I get what I need

I don’t have room for it

 

I’ve been filled to the brim

with what I was taught to want

by this culture of more is better than enough

especially when the price is right

when the price is

you have always pay a little every day

not all at once

take your time

but keep on paying

because if you don’t need it now

you will eventually

down the road you’ll be glad

to be suffocating in the free for all

It is said there is no such thing as a free lunch – nothing comes without some sort of cost, even that is an emotional cost. I even feel a twinge of guilt in throwing out those ‘free’ chards & not pads that come from charities begging for money. I wonder how much of my charity $, if I sent them any, goes to the printers of these calendars as opposed to going the cause they are raising $ for?

Free often comes with the condition than you are now on their email list, or that you will enjoy the first taste enough to keep on buying more & more. We have to keep the wheels of commerce going, don’t you know, so that when the economy fails it is our fault for not spending enough. Add though that when the economy fails its the ones with the least already that suffer the most. Sears gives big bonuses to the execs who declared bankrupt while the worked get sent packing without barely a thank you & their pension funds vanished. There’ll be no government bail out for me.

Anyway I digress. This piece isn’t all that subtle in its look at those hidden strings & costs to the free. ‘Dinner is on me, but you better come across.’ ‘I’ll treat but you’ll have to listen to every detail about my latest trip to Glace Bay’ Everything comes with some expectation.

Also part of this commercial culture is disposability. The auto industry was built on the need to replace as opposed to sustain. A new car every year. How many pairs of shoes does one need anyway? I am as guilty of the need for more as the next guy. But I have made a pact with myself that when new comes in something old goes out.

One of the hidden costs of having a house is this need to fill it with stuff, to fill storage space with old stuff to make room for the new. I have magazines from the 60’s that I can’t discard. Guests are always stunned to see the quantity stuff here – dads books cds. It’s a good thing they never see what is out of sight. One feel sorry for the man with one pair of socks. I met a guy once who only had two plates, two knives, forks etc. Less to wash. I wish I could make my life that simple.

 

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G  Whizzes

Henryk Gorecki is a composer caught in the ‘big hit’ category thanks to his powerful Symphony No. 3. Dawn Upshaw’s performance in the Cantabile section sent this piece to the top of the classical charts for decades. I love the deep lulling emotional resonance of this symphony – yet have not felt the need to seek out more by Gorecki. A must have for any classical fan or anyone who enjoys those emotionally compelling musical moments in motion picture funerals.

Louis Moreau Gottschalk: A Night in the Tropics. Here we have the opposite of Gorecki – a nearly forgotten AfroAmerican classical composer. Part of my personal mandate to widen my musical worldview to seek out what is rarely represented to the view of the world I get. This is rich, playful & pleasant program music. Impressionist with w strong Creole flavour. A clear inspiration for Scott Joplin.

So this wider world view moves from Polish, to AfroAmerican to Spanish with 3 cds of Enrique Granados’s piano music: Goyscas/Folk Songs; Piano Music 7; Piano Music 8. I first heard Segoiva playing guitar transcriptions & was fully expecting Granados to have written only for guitar & was amazed that in fact piano was his focus. The music is full of great for melody, subtle Spanish sadness & joy. Goyescas are his impressions of the famous & sometimes disturbing etchings of Goya.

 

Impressionistic, romantic at times to the point of florid this is classical music that welcomes new ears to the world of non-pop in a way that isn’t intimidating or emotionally dry. His Andaluza (Spanish dance no.5) may be one of the most popular & recognizable pieces of Spanish music you didn’t know he had written.

Bounders

Daphne shook the parchment over the candle flame. Small burn marks appeared but she moved it so no more than a slight smoulder was seen. As she moved the paper I let a few splashes of the albino newt’s blood fall from the glass dropper. They simmered a moment as the heat drew them into the paper.

‘We’ll know in a moment, Syc, if …. ‘

The parchment burst into flame. Daphne let go and the blackened flakes drifted to the floor where I stepped on them to prevent singe marks on the carpet.

‘That’s a sure a sign as any.’ She brushed her hands clean.

‘It is?’

‘Oh yes. No sign is as powerful as any sign. It means you aren’t to know. That you are diverting valuable energy from where it needs to go to pursue this avenue of thought.’

‘It can’t be.’

‘That attitude won’t get you very far here. Anything can be.’

‘But … that’s why I am here. To learn to see, foretell. If I can’t see how well my studies will go what’s the point.’

‘The point is …’ came from the doorway behind us. We both spun around. ‘… until your studies have begun there is nothing to foretell.’

‘Cal how long have you been there.’

‘Long enough Daph. Long enough.’

He came into the room with Lear.

‘Did a good job on that PA system today. Why does it take two of you?’

‘It doesn’t.’ Lear sat on the edge of the window. ‘But it looks better when two of us do it. Makes it look harder than it is, so that on those rare times one of us does it alone people are even more impressed.’

‘Always something with you two.’

‘Yeah.’ Caliban looked at Lear and they laughed.

‘I know you aren’t here to line us up for a double date.’

‘And pray tell Daph why would you say that?’

‘Look guys, I may be new here but I’ve been around. You two are …’ she stopped.

‘Are what?’ I asked. ‘Are brothers?’

‘Sort of.’

‘Oh. Bounders?’

‘Amongst other things yes. Bonded is the word we chose though. Goes a step beyond Bounders. United in more than blood and bone.’

‘You mean,’ it sunk in. So much for my erotic fantasy about Caliban and those sturdy legs of his. ‘How long?’

‘About four years now.’

 

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Lazarus Kiss.37

Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.

May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others

and a love within recall that alters you.

kiss

Alex’s hands moved quickly all over Harris’s body. Touching his cock, balls, awkwardly washing his feet. He started on Harris’s ass and stopped.

“I can’t go there.” He spit water. “I thought I could but I can’t” He stepped out of the shower.

Harris followed.

“That’s okay.” He patted Alex’s shoulders dry. “It felt nicer than I expected. Reminded me of when I was a kid and having my dad wash me in the tub.”

“Yeah but …”

“We’ve gone far enough.” Harris handed him the towel.

“Could be, but this tells me otherwise.” Alex was erect.

“That’s not what I’m hearing though.” Harris wasn’t erect. “I don’ know what to tell you or what to do.” He continued to dry himself.

“Let’s lie on the bed. We don’t have to do much. Snuggle. Oh fuck! I hate that word. Snuggle. Linda always wanted a snuggle. Said it was the best part of making out.”

The bedroom was dark and cool. Alex pulled the shade down and made it darker.

“Okay.” Harris lay on the bed. He shut his eyes.

Alex stretched out next to him. Head propped on one arm. The other gently stroked Harris from shoulder to stomach as far as his pubes and back. He could feel the heat from Alex’s cock pressed against his hip.

“Your skin is pretty soft.” Alex said. “Not that I’ve touched many men but lots of women. Not as soft as a woman. But soft. Smooth too. Those guys in the porn were hairy everywhere except … ” He gave a little laugh.

“Where?”

“Their asses. They must have to get their asses waxed for porn.” He began to giggle.

Harris laughed too. “That’s way fucked. Where would go to get that done? Smooth Asses Are Us?”

He rolled to face Alex. Alex’s hard cock pressed against his stomach.

“What makes this strange is that I’m not like those guys. They aren’t as buff as you but I’m …. ”

“Chunky?”

“Let’s be honest, fat.”

“Feels fine to me.” Alex pulled them closer and rubbed his cock against Harris’s stomach. “Soft. Fat’s not hard ta get rid of ya know. I could help ya. Come to the gym.” His thrusting increased. Harris was pushed to his back with Alex straddling him. Their legs intertwined. His cock got hard again. He could feel it between Alex’s legs grinding against Alex’s balls.

Alex’s thrusts sped up. He was hugging harder. So hard it was hard for Harris to breathe.

“Ouch.” Pain shot through his ribs.

“What?”

“I cracked my ribs a week ago.”

“How’s this.” Alex proped himself on his elbows to not be so heavy on Harris.

“Fine.”

There faced each other. Harris closed his eyes as Alex continued to rub against him.  The weight of a man on him made Harris feel grounded, not aroused. Alex enjoyed this much more than he did.

“Oh God. Oh God.” Alex leaned up. “Pinch my nipples.”

Harris tired to get a grip on them but Alex was sweating too much. He had to use a thumbnail to get a good hold. Harris felt the tip of his cock touching Alex’s asshole.

“Yeah. Pinch’em harder.” His come spewed over Harris’s stomach and splashed his chin.

As Alex came Harris felt the asshole spasm with each ejaculation. If he pushed up half-an-inch he could enter Alex. But he didn’t want to. Alex gasped raggedly as he came again.

Alex fell off him. “Man oh man. That was something. I nearly blacked out. Can’t remember the last time that happened. Spooged you good.”

Harris got off the bed. He couldn’t wait to get out of there.

A timer went off in the living room.

“Shit I gotta get going.” Alex jump off the bed and wiped himself off with his polo shirt. He handed it to harris. “I hafta get to Story. Doin’ a split shift for Steve.”

Harris wiped the come off his belly with Alex’s shirt and got dressed.

“I’d walk to the subway with you but I don’t want to be late. Again.” Alex dragged a bike from between the houses. “That was certainly not what I expected but it was great.” He quickly kissed Harris and sped off.

Harris had never kissed anyone on their way to work. It felt okay. His nipples tingled as his tee-shirt rubbed them as he walked to the subway.

Home he could still feel the pressure, the shape of Alex’s cock on his belly, feel the spasm pucker of Alex’s asshole almost like a tight mouth inviting Harris dick to slide in.

He enjoyed what happened. No woman had showed him that much attention. Not that he could recall that many of them, thanks to the curse. That was the problem. If he could remember any of them he’d have an experience to compare Alex to.

Becky the other week was good. Fun and seemed to enjoy her time with him. Plus she remembered him the next day too even if she wasn’t that interested. Not at all. She made that very clear.

He got a call from his mother reminding him about brunch the next day and to tell him she had a special surprise for him so don’t be late.

10 o’clock on a Saturday night and he had nothing to do. Ordinarily he’d drop into Story to see if Trev was there for a few beers but he’d had enough of Alex for one night.

He tidied up his apartment. Tossed in a load of laundry. The instruction book for Andy was where he had left it on the kitchen counter.

Harris moved Andy out of his corner and opened the computer link for the voice ware.

“Play time.” he said.

Andy’s eyes opened. “Thank you for turning me on Harris.”

‘You can now program Andy to respond to other simple voice activations commands such as ‘pinch,’ ‘lift,’ ‘harder,’ ‘faster’ or ‘record’ without having to touch him to start these functions.’

Harris flipped to the section on record.

‘Andy is equipped with a fully function camera with 2.8-inch vari-angle PureColor system LCD, and RAW + JPEG image modes and 720p HD video with stereo sound to get crystal clear footage capabilities – can easily take still pictures or record scenes of up to twenty minutes in length. His eyes have follow focus lenses that allow him to discern and follow the action. The sockets will move within their limited radius. His neck is articulated to add more visual range.

To physically start the record function you need only touch him between the eyes.’

That’s what Becky did when she got him going. Was that why she thought he was looking at us when I was making out with her the other night.

‘For more on the wireless playback see the record module.’

Harris scrolled through the online function menu and opened the record module. Sure enough Andy had stored several recordings.

He hit the playback button. The first was of him and Becky on the couch as she rode him. The others were merely of him going in and out of the apartment.

He went back to the manual.

‘The motion sensitive setting is a default setting. Andy will automatically start recording which makes him the ideal security monitor for the nursery.’

Yeah and his dick the ideal pacifier.

‘Andy has many uses beyond merely being playful. We hope you enjoy discovering and utilizing all joy that he is capable of bringing into your life.’

Harris deleted the shots of him exiting the apartment. Next changed the default motion sensitive setting to off. That done he went back to the clip of him and Becky.

The picture quality was good, the sound was clear. Becky’s eagerness and energy aroused him. It was very disorienting though to see himself in a porn. The lighting wasn’t as good as the one that Alex had made him watch. It was dim enough that he didn’t have to see how fat he was either. If he did this again he’d have to remember the importance of lighting.

Becky making such a fuss over Andy then him worked on him the way Alex didn’t. So that’s what his cock looked like going into a chick’s mouth. It appeared larger on the screen than it did in his hand.

He jacked off in time to her rocking her hips on him as they inched to the edge of the couch. He felt again the penetration that position had given him. How big and fat her clenching cunt had made his cock feel. There were glimpses of her rising and settling where he could see his own cock as it when in and out of her. His legs quivered as he shot off on to his virtual stomach.

The recording ended about minute after they left couch.

Yeah that was a good time. It was as good as he remembered it too.

He downloaded the scene to his hard drive and cleared Andy’s memory.

 

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Suicide 2

The past month I’ve heard of the suicides of various people I almost know – friend of a friend; brother of a friend; a man who had come in & out of recovery. Each hearing involved being asked about the why – talking about the despair & sense of guilt felt by them. There is no easy answer to such questions. Why is like a finger print – everyone is different.

When I was active with ACT I attended a couple of intense workshops on suicide prevention – I’ve even called Health Services when a friend of mine ranted about killing himself then abruptly hung up – he lived to make the same threats another day.

When I realized & accepted that I can’t give anyone the will to live I felt less responsible when faced with such threats. I’m just a guy, not a trained professional & if I have to become a trained mental-health professional to maintain a relationship then that relationship isn’t for me. I have compassion, empathy but can’t say why I chose to live in such a way as to keep someone else alive. I’m not God (if one believes in God that is) – I’m not a force of nature just a guy witnesses, sometimes, the pain in other people’s lives.

I’ve shared with these friends that this is tough stuff because it is tough stuff – not that its tough because they or we are emotionally weak, spiritual shallow or lack the intelligence to feel otherwise. Sometimes we can rescue one another, sometimes we can’t. But we do survive together no matter how alienated we feel. Survival is good.

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a mainland business consortium

wanted our village

to invest in a moose riding academy

where young ladies of a certain pedigree

would learn to ride the hounds on moose

these men had elaborate blue prints

detailed architectural models

all they needed were investors

it would take a lot of our money

to make money

so we wouldn’t be so dependent

on the fission plant or the strip bars

to put food on the table

when the villagers were reluctant

to part with their hard-earned cash

these men became derisive

of our close-minded small-town mentality

of our inability to see this great opportunity

the mayor offered to invest if they could

show us how to ride a moose

my Dad

took them to the moose breeding ground

we followed to witness this spectacle

much to everyone’s surprise these city men

were able to get a saddle on a smaller one

when one of them climbed on it

the moose wouldn’t move

it barely looked up at him

as the man dug his heels into its sides

saying “giddy up – get a move on”

the moose’s dung-slick tail

smacked the back of the man’s head

when Brandi Toffee

their buxom spokesmodel

arrived to sit on the one saddled moose

it went berserk

sexually aroused by the female legs

clamped to its back

the sight of the moose’s erection

caused the city men to fall into a swoon

which gave us no end of mirth

the spokesmodel lost her hair extensions

as they got snagged on maple branches

while she fled though the Whistling Woods

the aroused moose bellowed pitifully

when it trapped her in her SUV

the moose riding academy never opened

and we villagers kept

our hard-earned money for another day

 

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Lazarus Kiss.34

Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.

May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others and a love within recall that alters you.

kiss

Lazarus Kiss.34

“Today I am to marry Mary Fields. I feel deep shame that she is with my child for if she were not I fear we would not marry. I do not recall the occasion of bedding her. If we had not been discovered by her mother and brother I would have denied it. The fact remains we were in the same bed together when morning broke.

When it was discovered she was with child I did the honourable thing by her and her good family.”

Later in the same diary:

“My dear wife has passed away in childbirth. I have a fine son to be named Eldon. I will miss her sorely as she has proved to be a boon and blessing despite our troubled beginning. She was most considerate and understanding of my various indiscretions. She never questioned my inability to remember what had transpired.

It grieves me deeply to have become an adulterer with no conscience or presence of mind to prevent it from occurring. Each time I have pledged to Our Saviour it would be the last, that it would never transpire again. Yet I would discover that it had.

Once my dear wife is buried I will leave this territory while I have a well regarded reputation for goodness.”

This is one of the last entries in the diaries. We know that he did leave Pennsylvania and move further west to set up his legal practice. He kept no more records himself of his life. He was elected to the state assembly of Colorado. It was his son Eldon who moved to Canada.

There are no records of a Rowell Byrnes, that is if this is an authentic name.  Rowell is mostly commonly a last name.”

Harris went through the pages and there was a photocopy of the actual curse. Did the original that Rowell wrote still exist. If he had that he could burn it and free himself from it.

*37*

Harris waited for Trevor on the east bound subway platform. The day at dE.tail had passed quickly and uneventfully. Life seemed normal. There had been, as far as he could tell, no sudden infatuations. His eyes ached as they often did from the constant staring at the screen while he nursed pixels of rose blush to rose less blush. Occasionally he wished he could turn his eyes off because he’d catch himself looking at the subway ads wanting to tweak shadows or nudge text a little to give images more pop.

“Hey Dog. Looking fresh.” He tousled Harris’s hair.

“New cut.” Harris tired to smooth out what Trevor had ruffled.

“Man I never thought you’d cut loose of that pony tail. Takes pounds off.”

The train pulled up and they got on. The car was crowded so they stood where they could find a space.

“Any further adventures today?”

“Nothing. Happy to say.” Harris shrugged. “A day of peace and quiet is what I wanted and that’s what I got.”

“Cool. This suits you. The highlights.”

“Since when did hair mean that much to you?”

“It don’t, man. Can’t a guy say something nice sometimes. I mean you’ve been making major changes. Don’t you want anyone to notice?”

Harris shrugged. When no one at dE.tail had said anything about the new cut he thought he should have gone for a more dramatic cut, a total hair color change. At work he’d caught himself a few times grab for an elastic to pull it back into a pony tail only to reach up and there was no hair there. At least his shoulders no longer felt bare without the shield of hair.

“I got more info on the curse.” Out of his shoulder bag he pulled the photocopies his Dad given him.

Trevor read them. “A love beyond recall … sound like poetry.”

“Yeah, I suppose. Beyond recall may mean you don’t remember, that you can’t recall, it once it has happened.”

“Possible. I always thought a curse would be something like ‘may your soul rot in hell.’ This sounds pretty good.”

“Me too,” Harris laughed, “Or ‘may your complexion never clear up.”

“Whoa, now that’s nasty.”

At Victoria Park Station the bus was right there.

Without the fog that shrouded it the last time the apartment block didn’t look as foreboding. The long hall smelled of French fries, then hot dogs, then burnt toast.

The door to Trev’s Aunt Nilasha apartment was open.

“I am so happy to see you again Harris. The confusion you were in the last time hasn’t cleared away. Trevor tells me you have had very exciting times since you were last here. ”

They stepped out of their shoes while she closed the door behind them.

“Exciting isn’t quite the word I’d use.” Harris took a gift bag out his shoulder bag. In it were hand cream samples that had come into dE.tail. “This is to thank you for being concerned with my mystery.”

“Really?” she laughed. “There is no need for this.” She opened one and smelled it. “Very pretty. Thank you.”

“Now sit. I have delved into the nature of your curse. One this subtle and yet so strong is very rare.”

“I figured as much. Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.” Harris could remember the curse word for word.

Nilasha gasped. “These are the very words? Repeat them.”

He did.

“How did you obtain this?”

He told her about the diaries and give her the copies of the pages.

“Yes. Yes this confirms what I have learned. Do you understand that it is not a curse. It is a blessing, a gift.” She said as she sat. “You want to give the gift back?”

“I would if I could.”

“I’m of the opinion when it was first uttered it was meant to offer hope for those who found it hard to interest mates. What one acquires, another loses, though. The universe seeks equilibrium.”

“One gets love but loses memory?” Trevor suggested.

“Something like that. We assume that with wishes there is no cost when they are granted. There is always a cost to the receiver.”

“What about a cost to the the giver?” Harris asked.

“You are still looking for a way to rid yourself of it. Have you considered what it may cost you do that. What are you willing to sacrifice?”

“Sacrifice. Like a virgin on a full moon?” Trevor joked.

“I told you Harris, this is a blood bond that has been in your family for centuries. Now that you are sensitive to it I think you have to learn how to live with it. Leave these with me.” She patted the Tobias pages. “They have more to tell us.”

Outside Nilasha’s apartment block Harris turned on his phone. There were three voice-mail messages. One from his Dad to see if he had read the Tobias papers. One from Tavi to remind him of a big project starting the next day and to get plenty of sleep. One from Alex asking for his help for a computer problem.

“Why do people expect me to know anything about computers?” he asked Trevor. “Because I use one all day doesn’t mean I’d know how to fix one. Would you think a nurse knows how to fix an X-ray machine?”

When he got back to his place he returned Alex’s call. Although he didn’t want to follow through on what was there a part of him enjoyed Alex’s voice, enjoyed his memory of the look of him. He had tried watching an ultimate fighter show but the angry animal speed and the lack of discernible rules made it hard for him to follow or enjoy. He’d seen them all over each other on the mat, punching or trying to punch and didn’t know who to be rooting for, if anyone.

“Hey Alex. It’s Harris. I guess you’re at work. Try me around lunch time tomorrow. I have a big work project starting so my phone’ll be off till noon. Bye.”

*38*

When he got to work the next morning his big project was a major overhaul of the Sport Spot advertising approach. No more pitching with spokes-people who were middle-aged pro-golfers. They wanted a younger market. The rough spec drafts of the online and print catalogues were ready. His job was to make the models look healthier, to give their complexions the right glow, the glow that would make buyers buy.

They had two new models: Geoffrey Calligan, multi-gold medalist olympic swimmer and Monica Bostford, who was extending her fifteen minutes of Top Model fame, her appearance on Big Brother last season and the Amazing Race this season. Racing amazed with Geoffrey as they promoted this new line of Sport Spot equipment and accessories around the world.

The catalogue was set up to tell the story of these two showing new recruits through the various equipment as if they were in a gym. The recruits looked as if didn’t they need a gym but that wasn’t his problem.

He was to make sure all their bodies had more eye appeal. Male models were to have less body hair. In the case of Geoffrey it was his job to make his particular ‘package’ look smaller. No one wanted the ab buster to become known as the ball buster because Geoffrey’s ample bulge pulled focus.

A day of flattening shadows, fattening calves, rippling six-packs and electronically nipping out nipple hairs.

#Toronto #amwriting #dating #lgbtq #nanowrimo #novel #Lazarus Kiss #Ontario

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DeJohnette DeGenius 

Jackie DeJohnette is a jazz master genius. I’m not up on jazz critical literature so I can’t say if he is under-rated but I can say he is certainly not under-recorded. In addition to his own solo & group work he has played with with nearly every jazz musician of note. His work with Keith Jarrett is sublime.

As a percussionist, drummer he is equally at home in combos, big band, solo, chamber, free jazz & experimental. When I was buying cds if I saw he was a part of the line up I knew it was going to be worth listening to even I had never heard of any of the other players.

Like many jazz players at one time he was a mainstay of the ECM label. I can’t list all the releases of theirs that he appears on. As a sideman he was inventive, supporting but rarely called attention to himself. He knew how to make others shine.

I have stand alone Pictures. A suite of impressionist pieces in which he plays piano, organ as well as various percussion. Amazing. In an mp3 collection I have his New Rags; Special Edition; Standards: New York Session with Keith Jarrett – all replacements for vinyl versions I had at one time. This is adult thinking jazz but with strong emotional pull – never so abstract as to distance the listener. To round the mp3 collection I have some of his work with Chico Hamilton: El Chico; Kenny Wheeler: It Takes Two!; Wynton Marsalis: Think of One.

If you are, as I once as, just starting to enjoy jazz or want to explore deeper than easy listening I’d recommend anything that includes DeJonnette in the line up.

Embrace

Mike stepped out of the shower. He cursed himself for not opening the room window so the thick steam could escape but at the same time enjoyed the feel of it on his warm skin, the slick of it on the walls.

He left the shower running while he stood in front of the mirror. The day had been hot and dry and his body longed for this damp. He attempted to wipe the mirror clean to shave but the beads reformed too fast.

Reluctantly he turned off the shower. He half expected the smoke alarm to go off in his room.

Yes it was going to be a good trip after all. He rubbed himself dry twice. His skin tingled from the heat of the shower, from the heat of the day, from the rough of the towel. He could still feel Robert’s embrace. How long ago was that? Two hours? Three? He couldn’t believe it. He, Mike had met a strange man, in a strange city, and made that contact!

Not just any man but a handsome exotic dark skinned man. The kind he frequently fantasized about but felt that with his humdrum looks would never get to meet or if he did meet wouldn’t get more than a condescending smile from.

Robertino De Saint-Zexpris. He repeated the name several times. Rolling the R’s and squeezing the X. Such a name. Such a man. Such a man whom he would be meeting with shortly.

What should he wear? Nothing. Ha Ha. Now that’s the best part. Naked would they get naked this night, this first time, or would that be held out, put off till neither of them could wait.

Naked. Ha! There’s my mind running wild. So he hugged me. So we had a great time at the museum and he’s asked me to sup with him tonight.

Where does naked fit into that? Just a guy who wants someone to eat with. Simple. Yes, he had to keep it that simple, so that if that was all it turned out to be he wouldn’t be disappointed. He didn’t want another disappointment after the bomb-shell Jack dropped on him.

Yes, let’s just keep this as an opportunity to dine out not eat out. Mike laughed at his little joke.

What to wear? What would come off the fastest? What would wrinkle the least? Wrinkle! Who gave a fuck if it wrinkled. If it was coming off it would come off whether it was Hugo Boss or Goodwill.

chapbooks for sale http://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

kiss3

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Tuesday – September 19 – feature – Art Bar Poetry series – 8 p.m., Free Times Cafe, #20 College At., Toronto – $5.00http://It’s No Accident

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Suicide 1

Suicide has been in the news with a couple of celebrity deaths. Pop stars whose music I know vaguely – now regarded as troubled geniuses – as if their actions were the final proof of their genius.   I guess I’ll never classified as a genius because I choose to live & to live relatively sanely. It seems that in our culture the more one teeters on self-destructive instability, or survives a tragic past more authentic their creativity is regarded.

Before starting drinking suicide was already a part of my thinking – it seems a viable option to the other possibilities the culture I grew up in offered queers. Homosexuals were considered doomed to lives of unfilled emotions, relationships that went nowhere, incarceration or mental ward commitment. At one time prison also seemed a viable option: behind bars with men.

My creative heroes were self-destructive suiciders: Dylan Thomas, Yukio Mishima, Hemingway, Gauguin. Mishima did it is the grandest way too. This would be my romantic ending. So when I started drinking I was following in their footsteps too. My attempts at suicide were all fuelled with booze & done while drunk – as you can tell I failed.

The last one was on a New Year’s eve, my last on the East Coast. My attempts as relationships wither either sex were stonewalled – unlike most drunks I never met a rescuer. I staggered out of party early & back to my apartment, started to fill the bathtub with hot hot water & my favorite bubble bath. Razor blade ready for when the tub was full. While it was filling my roommate arrived home with his girlfriend. I didn’t want an audience so turned the tap off, went bed & passed out. In morning I decided to get out of Cape Breton.

The Moose in the Moon  http://wp.me/p1RtxU-P5

for untold millennium

the moose were happy on the moon

they were free to roam without predators

living on moon moss and small cheesy rocks

they had nothing to fear

except in mating season

when the males had to prove

who had the biggest antlers

after untold millennium

of basking in earth shine

they began to wonder

if there was more to life

the moon began to bore them

it was so small

they had roamed and combed its surface

there was no longer an abundance

of moon moss and cheesy rocks

the battles during breeding

had become limpid half-hearted events

soon there were only four moose left

on the whole of the moon

where once there had been millions

the forlorn moose looked to the earth

when the solar winds blew

the smell of water and pine

wafted to their nostrils

two of them longed for escape

while the other two

felt it was fated they should remain there

these two pairs argued endlessly

plotted revenge to teach the others

the error of its beliefs

they spent hours grunting at each other

glaring over moon rills

stomped so much dust

the sun was clouded over

the sun didn’t like to get moon dust in her eyes

she decided it was time to step in

so with a flare

she carried two of the moose to father earth

he could now take care of these creatures

on earth the two moose were overjoyed

they had new fields to run in

they began to multiply once more

they were safe till distrust came amongst them

when they were attacked by a cunning creature

that appeared as a robin to some

and a smelt to others

in fear they would bellow

to the moose in the moon

to return to where they were safe

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kiss3

Thursday – September 7 at 7:30 PM – 11 PM – HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

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Tuesday – September 19 – feature – Art Bar Poetry series – 8 p.m., Free Times Cafe, #20 College At., Toronto – $5.00http://It’s No Accident

http://www.artbar.org

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Lazarus Kiss.33

Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.

May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others

and a love within recall that alters you.

kiss

*36 Friday*

When Harris got back from lunch there was a couriered envelope from his dad at his dE.tail desk. Inside was the transcription of the diary.

“Harris

Here are more of the Tobias Stevens diaries.  The full diaries run about a four hundred pages. I’ve had the pertinent sections abstracted for you. If you want the whole thing we have that.

As you’ll see there are few dates for most of the entries. Seems Tobias kept track of events and years but not of months or even days of the week. The transcription service modernized the language for clarity but we have a literal version should we need to consult that.

His brother Thomas had suffered brain damage at a child. When their parents died Tobias took him in.

Dad”

The pertinent sections covered several pages. Along with them were photocopies of the actually pages.

He started reading them on the subway home.

“I awoke early this morning to the sound of horses and shouting around my stables. I pulled on my boots, grabbed my pistols and strode out into the morning fog. There was nearly ten men from the surrounding area in the yard. Jasper McClough and his son Bradley from the farm nearest mine and some men from the village.

Jasper expostulated angrily that they were on a hunt for a vagrant gypsy man. One who had been interfering with the women of the village. Jasper himself had caught this vagrant bedding down his own good wife.

They had pursued him though the fields and are sure he saw this vagrant dash into my barn.

I ordered them off my property. Told them to come back with a constable. I did not deny what evidence Jasper may have had with his own eyes. I would not allow blood to be shed on my property. God would not allow them the privilege of dealing out punishment for adultery.

The men heeded my words and rode off vowing to return to exact their vengeance.

Once I was sure they were gone I went into the barn with my brother Thomas. I called out for this fugitive to show himself, while assuring I meant him no harm.

The man that presented himself was swarthy and dark. Fell to his knees, grabbed my hand and kissed it thanking me for interceding on his behalf. I pulled him to his feet. I was not interested in effusive gratitude.

I questioned him regarding my good neighbours accusations. The gypsy man, whose named was Rowell Byrnes, claimed he had no knowledge of the actions of which he was accused. Despite his dark features he bore an honest face. He appeared to be in his early twenties and in good health.”

Next pertinent portion of the diary –

“Jasper McClough and his son returned as the sun was setting. They appeared less driven by anger yet were insistent that I turn the fiendish gypsy over to them. Regardless if I didn’t believe my trustworthy neighbour he was sure I realized the danger of harbouring such a vile man, that gypsies consorted with Satan. He was positive his own cows had stopped giving milk as result of this consort of the devil.

I listened to this without contradiction but wouldn’t not grant him the satisfaction of agreeing with him or of producing Rowell. Jasper became more irate as it was clear to him I was unreceptive to his demands.

He paced the yard beside me as he made it clear to me that this foreign demon had to be dealt with harshly or the hand of our Creator would fall heavy on us all. Especially anyone who harboured such an abhorrence.

When we neared the orchard two men stormed out and grabbed me. I could see in the near distance several other men binding Rowell. Once bound they dragged him on the ground.

I broke free of my captors. I dashed to my house, grabbed my pistols and fired them in the air. The men released Rowell, jumped on their horses and rode off. I dashed over to Rowell to unloosen the ropes. Other than a cut to his forearm which bleed freely he didn’t appear grievously harmed by their mishandling of him.

He noticed that I was bleeding from a gash in my head. I instructed my bother Thomas as to how to tend to these wounds.”

This is dated the very next day.

“As I sit in the evening air my heart is heavy for this has proved to be a most vexing day. As has oft been my habit I awoke before the first cock crow to enjoy the peace and stillness. To walk my land in this calm light of the rising sun reveals the promise of our Creator to grace those who are faithful to him with plenty.

My sweet morning communion was disturbed by the sounds of struggle from the barn. I feared that townsmen had returned once more to seek vengeance upon the unfortunate Rowell who was now in my protection.

I opened the barn door and there in that chaste morning light I saw Rowell upon Thomas my brother. Their nakedness was affront enough but they were engaged in an that act has stained my mind. The very mention of this detestable vice is shocking to human nature and shakes the soul of even great sinners.

I shouted for them to cease yet they remained enraptured by this vice they heeded me not. I could not bring myself to step closer. I reached for a buggy whip and brought it down with all the force God had graced me with on the backs of these men.

They parted in great haste and surprise. Each looking upon the other as if seeing the other for the first time. As if they had not be engaged in an act of abomination.

My outrage was such that I could no longer speak. They dressed hastily.

I felt great shame at my defence of this gypsy man who had proved himself to be as evil as my neighbours had claimed him to be. Although I knew that You are the great judge I could not abide to have these men on my property.

Rowell came to me to beg further mercy. A mercy I was incapable of showing him. I stuck him with all my force knocking him to the floor. I demanded that he remove himself from my sight before I had him taken to the village to be punished for his skulking perditious activities.

With Thomas’s help we bound him. There was no way I could continence such a perditious villain to live. I should not have interfered with the actions of my neighbours.

I conveyed the abomination to the church. The bell was rang for the elders. I told them what had transpired. My neighbour Jasper McClough testified to what he had witnessed. Judgement was swift and the heretic apostate was to be burned within the hour.

He stood. Blood coming from his mouth. He snatched a piece of paper from the pulpit and wrote upon it. He handed the bloodied paper to me. As I read it, he spoke the words “Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.” [once I recorded these words I burned the paper he had written them upon.]

He trembled fiercely which I took as a sign of his contrition. He muttered a hope that this enchantment would treat me more kindly that it had treated him. I sneered at his gypsy foolishness. I told him such enchantments have no power in God’s world.

The men conveyed him to the town square where a pyre had been constructed. I was grateful that it did not fall upon me to strangle the man. Once the village smith had done the job the flames were lit.

As the fire roared around him Rowell’s eyes suddenly opened. He shrieked out in great pain. I could not watch any longer. The aroma of pungent spice enveloped us till his screams ended. His last words were to beg for forgiveness for casting away his blessing of love.

I was peaceful until I went to the orchard. Thomas had hung himself. May his soul be tormented in flame for the shame he brought upon himself.”

Next pertinent portion comes from a later volume of the diaries. Some of diaries are dated, many are not but this seems to be a few years later.

“Today I am to marry Mary Fields. I feel deep shame that she is with my child for if she were not I fear we would not marry. I do not recall the occasion of bedding her. If we had not been discovered by her mother and brother I would have denied it. The fact remains we were in the same bed together when morning broke.

When it was discovered she was with child I did the honourable thing by her and her good family.”

Can’t wait to read the whole thing? order the PDF for $5.00 – paypal.me/TOpoet – say you want Kiss

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