Regifting 101

samprules2

Started a new set of prompts – I love lists of things – this one will prove to be endlessly productive for another couple of years – 227 Rules For Monks. Who knew the simple life could be so complex. This is number 25 from the 30 nissaggiyas.

Regifting 101

That’s alright

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 right for 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 only wore it once

let me see it on you

it really suits you

it looks better on you

than it ever did on me

no I don’t hate it

it’s just not right for me

they were on sale

you’e 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

I don’t 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

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#Nanowrimo vs #Danish Hotties

This year’s nano has been the toughest so far. Someday it was hard to stay motivated. I think that was mainly because I’m more of a pantser than an outliner – I like the surprises that letting the plot just go along as opposed sticking to a ‘this is what must happen next’ outline. I did my first run at Isle in 2008 so already knew the characters, the events & the finale.

I did do a fresh take on everything though, some cut-and-paste (which got deducted from my final word count) but did enjoy being so tied to merely expanding or reworking what I had already. One thing that did help was changing the time of year in which the Montreal section takes place. That happened to accommodate the time line I’d already laid out.

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Thanks to Picture Perfect – last year’s Nano – did find that I enjoy food – describing it, inventing it. This year I did more of that plus indulged in more detailed  set descriptions. I also had fun with language – the Danish hotties were brand new to the story & thanks to google translate I let them talk in Danish, without feeling the need to translate that for the reader. I did put out a call for Danish sex slang but apparently there is none 😦

As with past years I’m about 1/3 of the way though this plot. It takes place in three locations – the 3 act structure: Montreal; Halifax; Isle St. Nuit. The first two being real places the third will be pure imagination. I will have to make some decisions about how much the supernatural will play a role in what happens. Who knows what lies in the stars, or even the cards, for my hero?

“Now we are ready for what the night will bring?” Eluf wiped his mouth.

“We can perhaps walk from here to see the fireworks.” Tyge consulted his cellphone. “GooGoo says it is about ten minutes walking from here. Ou est le toilette?” he asked the clerk.

The washrooms were small. Each with homme/femme on the door. Neither was big enough for two people but the two Danish guys squeezed into one of them while Mike used the other. He could hear the guys laughing in theirs.

He exited. They hadn’t even shut the door on theirs. Tyge beckoned him. “Come, we have party favours. You will like.”

On one of the cafe saucers there was a couple of lines of powder.

“We have saved some for you. Good quality.”

Mike backed away. “Thanks but no thanks.”

“I thought you like to party with us.It will make the fireworks so much better.” Eluf said.

“For you perhaps.”

“Okay.” Tyge said. “We will clean up and meet you outside.”

This was the last thing Mike had expected to happen though he wasn’t all the surprised. Other than toking up now and then drugs held no appeal for him. So much time spent on getting something that took so little time to enjoy.

The guys came out and glanced at him.

“Enjoy the fireworks.” Tyge said. “We are going to find real fireworks fun with real men.”

Eluf hailed cab. They got in leaving Mike at the curb. It happened so fast Mike didn’t have time to say anything. Did they forget he was there because of the coke, or whatever it was they were doing. It dawned on him that he wasn’t the real man or the real fun they wanted for their research.

(He was pissed off at them for leaving him without a second-thought.  He goes to the fireworks. This is the next day: )

He let himself into the b’n’b and was headed up to his room when someone called to him from the TV room.

“Mike? What is your hurry.” It was Eluf. “I must apologize for taking off like that last night. I didn’t realize how … rude that was until we were well on our way.”

“Yes, well, done is done.” Mike said.

“Done is done? That means you accept the apology?”

“No. It means what has happened cannot be changed. It was more thoughtless than rude. I was more puzzled than anything but also relieved.”

“Relieved.”

Mike glanced at his cell for the time. “I’m not someone who wants to spend time with guys doing drugs for a good time.”

“You are angry with us. I can tell by your … tone of voice.”

“Not angry,” Mike sighed. “Not interested, is more like it.”

“You were interested enough last night.”

“Until you got high and flew off in the first taxi you could get.”

“Let us take you to …”

“No thanks. I have plans for tonight. Enjoy the rest of your stay.”

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#Nanowrimo 2017 Playlist

As usual I’ve put together a extensive, very mixed, playlist for working on nano this year. In no particular order here is the over 36 hours of music. King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King (Expanded Edition) – I do have this as a standalone but wanted those bonus tracks. Faith, Hope & Charity: Faith, Hope & Charity (Expanded Edition) – one of those obscure disco/r’n’b: sweetly retro & fun; Best of Ruth Crawford Seeger – what,s better than an obscure, American, female, classical composer – mostly solo piano stuff.

Coast Modern Taarabu (6hr): Mpango Mzima – hey, a huge collection of bouncy, almost tribal music from Zanzibar; Superfruit: Future Friends – because some new queer pop music was a must have; Billy Strange: Goldfinger: The Big Sound of Billy Strange, His Guitar and Orchestra – someone posted Billy’s take on the Munsters’ Theme on tumblr & I had to have it. fun stuff in the Sandy Nelson mode. When the Sun Goes Down, Vol. 11: Sacred Roots of the Blues – exactly what it says: rare 20’s/30s recordings of gospel music. Janis Joplin: See See Rider (From the Beginning): a set of Janis – live before she even meet Big Brother: the coffee house days & great to hear. Sid Bass: Moog España, From Another World – these are two lps of crazy moog with big band. España is hilarious.

Hannes Kästner: Bach.Toccata and Fugue in D Minor – bought this as a single track as it was touted as the very best recording ever of the Toccata by anyone. Mount Kimbie: Love What Survives – electronic in the Aphex Twin mode; Future Beat Alliance: FBA21: Collected Works 1996 – 2017 – electronica in the S.U.N. Project mode; Jazznewblood ALIVE (Live at Iklectik/Efg London Jazz Festival 2016): this is a wow collection – someone posted a track on Tumblr & I had to have it. Deepest Blue: Late September, Deepest Blue remixes – I love the single Deepest Blue & wanted the remixes, the lp it comes from is Basement Jaxx lite.

Cher: Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves – a classic everyone should have & now I finally have it. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: Live/1975-85 (3hr 34min) – hey, I need & can appreciate some testosterone driven music too. Plus I’ve always had a hungry part for Bruce. The Foundations: Build Me Up Buttercup (The Complete Pye Collection) (3hr 10min) – who knew these one-hit-wonders recorded so much & all great soul music; Bela Bartok: Sonatas & Romanian Folk Dances – those Folk dances stir up more than dust on the dance floor. these are propulsive, romantic & great typing speed music. Madonna: Like a Virgin – another classic everyone should have & now I finally have it.

How did a Muttman meet anyone? He saw that unasked question in Sam’s eyes. After his misadventure with the Danish guys he knew his gaydar was totally fucked up. How could he not see that they were … amusing themselves with him.

But that was how he felt when he first met Patrick at that cocktail party. Patrick was at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design as a lecturer for the film department. Mike hadn’t heard the lecture but had been invited to the cocktail party.

How did Patrick know he was queer? He never did find that out. Had Raphael pointed him out? Was it that mysterious thing some gay men had, to recognize it in a stranger.

Patrick picked up that he was queer. Even though he’d been direct Mike didn’t quite believe him. Handsome out-of-town lecturers were only interested in young hairless swim team guys. Yet they were in bed at Patrick’s hotel within the hour. Both a little tipsy but eager and flush with appreciation for each other.

Patrick really wasn’t what one would call a pretty boy either but a good reputation always added to a man’s good looks.. Not that that mattered much to Mike. Flesh was flesh. When the opportunity presented itself he was happy to accept it.

How long had it been before that night with Patrick? Five or six years since he’d touched a man. God, that last time was hell. As bad as Sam’s kindness. That politesse around offering the homely advice to avoid investing one’s own cock.

What was the point of it all? To be queer and find that men didn’t want you? He’d tried women but there was nothing there. Fuck! God why? It just wasn’t fair. He should have moved to be with Patrick that first year when the energy between them was high. Then this wouldn’t be happen. No, but he had his job, a career that he couldn’t leave.

Well, this is the price for that and, now where was he? Having some Eurotrash petty boys lead him on? Having some smug stranger tell him where ugly men could buy sex. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

The sun glinted off a brass sign at eye level.

Musee Lumiere.

The grey brick building was nondescript in the context of the other buildings around it. He knew some of them dated from the 1700’s but this wasn’t one of them. More like Victorian, he decided, judging by the turret in one corner and detailing around the doors and windows. Three stories high with a spiked row around the roof with brass orbs that gleamed in the sun.

Four well worn red sandstone steps led to the imposing front door. Double doors with stained glass panels over carved inserts; stained glass panels on the narrow panels on either side of the door. All the stained glass and the wood carving played on the fleur de lis. He went in.

“Bon jour.” A young woman cheerfully greeted him.

“Salut.”

“Welcome, sir.”

Was his accent that bad? He paid the admission fee.

“There is a new installation on the second floor.”

“Thank you.”

“Enjoy.”

Why was there such quiet in these places? The shuffle of shoes on the floor, polite coughing, whispers and pointing. There was museum personnel in each room. They would turn on and off the lamps, ceiling fixtures, wall mounts, if you asked. The first room was made to look like a cave pre-historic humans would have lived in. Once the lights had been lowered, the uneven walls were lit by flickering flames in low stone dishes of animal fat. The smell wasn’t unpleasant at first.

“How did they manage?” someone behind him asked. “That isn’t enough light to do anything.”

Mike stayed for a few moments after the other few people had left. The room was silent. He couldn’t hear street sounds or the creaking of feet on the floor around him. So this is what it was like back in the day. Not like the movies at all where there would enough light from a single flame to illuminate an entire cave.

Each of the subsequent rooms took him through various era. Tallow candles, wax candles, torches. With each the guide would dim the lights so there was only the one light source.

“How many candles would it take to light a room in a medieval castle?” he asked the guide.

“Better yet who would light them all?” S man beside him asked in English. Then he repeated Mike’s and his questions in French.

The guide explained that it sometime took so many candles to light a room some would have to be replaced by the time the last ones were lit.

The man explained this to Mike. He was ebony black. About Mike’s height and hefty. The man spoke French freely with the guides and more than once explained to Mike, in English, what he had just been told.

In each room Mike was taken by how movies had changed history. Until the electric light bulb came into use most corners were in shadow. The light people had wasn’t a constant single glow but would flicker depending on impurities in the oils, depending on air flow. He had a greater respect for writers who worked in candle light. Bad enough to write War and Peace by hand and to have to do it by unsteady light too.

The second floor was devoted to the gas era and gave way to the electric era.

“Movies made gaslit rooms look so bright.” Mike remarked to his companion.

“Of course. How would you see the faces of the their magnificent movie stars.”

The installation on the third floor was the latest in l.e.d and holographic images. The technology left Mike cold. Not practical enough. No one was going to read by this kind of art.

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Lazarus Kiss.46

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

“I wasn’t into sports.” Harris patted his belly. “This is enough weight for me to lift.”

Harris looked at the framed photos of Alex along the wall by the door.

“From when I was on the pro circuit.”

One of them showed Alex shaking hands with a man in a business suit who presented him an ornate belt.

“Won m’ division that year. Called it quits soon after though.” Alex sipped his beer.

“Looks like a lot of work.”
“I enjoyed it. It was a way to channel m’energy. A polite way of sayin’ I had anger management issues. Never saw a fight I could resist even if I didn’t start it. Linda said I had somethin’ to prove. I never reckon what.”

“That you were the toughest?”

“Maybe somethin’ like that.”

“So why did you stop?”

“Funny t’ing was, the more I fought, the angrier I got, ya know. Got me more pumped up. I got bored of trash talk before and after the bouts. Huffin’ an’ puffin’. Too much worry about what to say, when I wanted to be poundin’.”

“What was your fight name?”

“Fuck.” Alex laughed. “ ‘At’s professional wrestling. No masks or capes for us. This was nothin’ like that. Bare-knuckles an’ brute strent. I fought as m’self. Sometimes I’d be called the Axeman. That’s A X E not Ass. Alex ‘the Axeman’ S. People liked them ‘x’s.” Alex became more animated as he spoke.

“Sounds like you miss it.”

“Yeah. It felt good t’ sweat. T’ bleed and win. Th’ other crap took too much space in m’ head. Always havin’ t’ be huffin’ and puffin’ t’ get people t’ notice ya. Bad as pro wrestling. Then …” he finished his beer. “Another?”

“No. I’m still working on this one. Then what?”

“We sometime did this run t’Detroit. Had to be careful. It was undercover exhibition matches. Not sanctioned. Plus we couldn’t fight and get paid in the states. I never understood that part of it but this time a guy got hurt. Bad. By me. I just lost it. Hurt him real bad.” Alex stopped. “Something came over me while we were going at it. Testoserone or I don’t know what.”

“By bad you mean … ”

“He died. Doc said something his brain popped. That it coulda popped at anytime but picked while I was poundin’ him in the face. That was when I tore m’ back. I used that … ya know to get out of d’ game. Back shit they understood. Killing a guy was suppose t’ be good for a rep. That wasn’t the rep I wanted.”

Harris wasn’t sure what to say. Knowing more about Alex didn’t ease the longing the curse had forced upon him instead he was more emotionally drawn to him.

“It shook me up. I could’t get back in the ring. Tried a few times but it made me sick. I did this’n’that. Bartending. Ya know the stuff ya do when ya got no skills.  Bartending. Waiting tables.”

“My life hasn’t been that exciting. I was one of those nerdy guys. Dirty thoughts and little action. My biggest thrill was to get to the comic book store. This curse thing has pushed me out of my comfort zone a lot too. I didn’t know I was in such a …. a rut. Made a few changes. Finally cut my hair.”

“I remember guys like you when I was in school. Sorry to say, loved shoving you around. To prove how tough I was, so no one else would shove me around.”

“How ironic … no … paradoxical that we’d end up pushed together like this. The bully and the bullied.” Harris wanted to make Alex not feel bad about his past. “We all get caught up in …. doing things without knowing what we were doing at the time. Like how this curse has put us together. Neither of us planned it, plotted it or thought about it while it was happening.”

“We gotta to live with it.” Alex put his hand on Harris’s inner thigh.

“I have to get going.” Harris finished his beer. “I have a date. Glad I could help with your spooge residue.” That was true, if he met up with Becky, it sounded like a total lie once he said it.

They both stood at the same time.

“You’re scared as I am, aren’t you.” Alex faced him. “I don’t know much, this family curse of your or whatever it is, but it is tearing me up inside. We can’t keep avoid where it’s pushing us. We can’t.”

The beer bottle Alex clutched cracked in his grip.

“Shit!” he dropped it. Beer sloshed on to Harris feet.

“You okay?”

“I reckon so.” Alex turned his hand,  palm up. “Didn’t cut m’self. My hide is tough from wiping all those tables.”

He ran his hand along Harris’s arm.

“Does it feel rough to you?”

“No.” Harris took a deep breath and stepped into Alex’s arms.

They embraced.  Alex’s forehead was at Harris chin hight. He looked up and bit Harris lightly on the jaw, continued biting as Harris lowered his head so they could kiss. This time Alex wasn’t as forceful as he had been at his apartment the night of the rain storm. His tongue tasted of beer.

“That wasn’t all that bad.” Alex stepped back. “Sit. This’ll make it easier for ya. Like I told ya this man on man, was a shocker to me. I couldn’t shake it, I figured if I watched what it was all about it would enough. Ya know get rid of these … urges. I watched this porno. I can’t tell ya how many I gave up on after five seconds. I got computer feed hooked into the TV.”

The porn started. It was called Learning to Pitch For The Other Team. It was two guys meeting on a street. They were like ordinary guys Harris saw everyday on the subway or walking down the street. Average Joes with decent figures. Not gym buff at all.

While he watched, Alex got them another couple of beers.

The guys in the porno were suddenly in a living room. On the wall over the couch were a pair of baseball pennants. They talked about a ball game they were going to later that day. The taller of the two went to the kitchen and brought back a couple of beers.

They continued to talk. Sat closer.

Alex sat closer to Harris. As one of the guys on the screen put his arm around the other Alex did the same to Harris. The other guy put his hand on tall guy’s thigh. Harris did that. The guys in the porn talked but Harris couldn’t hear them. All he could sense was Alex close to him, his own hand moving along Alex’s thigh, to his crotch. Alex’s legs opened wider.

“Yeah. You wanna touch m’dick, don’t you.” Alex breathed into his ear. “Go on.”

Harris didn’t want to touch. It was like adjusting a graphic image only he could actually feel it.

Alex kissed him. His stubble rubbed Harris’s face. He pushed Alex away.

“No, Alex! This is way too much.”

“Slowly. We can take it slow.” Alex pulled Harris tee-shirt off. Ran his tongue from his collar bone and down to his nipples. He bit gently, than harder.

“You call that slow.” Harris began to push him away but it felt okay. The slight pain was pleasant enough. The warm tongue mixed the with the scrape of stubble, the solid bite of teeth. Plus it was being done to him. He merely had to let it happen.

Alex moved to the other nipple and while he bit, his hand massaged Harris’s cock. Harris was surprised that he got hard. It didn’t make sense to him but curse or not, if this good looking guy wanted to suck his dick, such is life.

Alex stopped biting his nipples to kiss him again. “Slow enough? This isn’t too much for you is it.”

“I guess not.” He kissed back. Their tongues moving together. He let Alex guide his hand back on his cock as he continued to caress Harris’s.

“Why don’t we get out of these.” Alex stood, pulled off his polo shirt at the same time. He hauled Harris to his feet. With bare belly to bare belly he unbuckled, then pushed Harris’s jeans down, wriggled out of his sweat pants.

“Let’s … take a shower?” Harris suggested. “I’ve been at work all day, you know. I may not be my freshest.” He laughed. Anything to delay the inevitable.

“Sure. It’s this way.”

The bathroom was tiny. The shower stall was barely large enough for two people to stand up but not to wash. They had to slip and slide around each other to get under the shower head.

“I’ll just help you soap up and rinse down.”

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

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Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington is/was a jazz grand master. A bold innovator who fought racism, classism & proudly employed known gay creators like Billy Strayhorn. This is the sort of jazz I once hated – too smooth, too swing, & too much my Dad’s music. But I got over that thanks partly to the Time-Life Giants of Jazz series of 3 lps box sets that included one of Ellington which I transferred to 2 cds. I dug his wild early work with voices. I kept finding inexpensive lps of compilations like Monologue, Early Years, Primping For The Prom which also received the lp to cd transfer treatment.

He composed many jazz tone poems, suites of connected pieces that explored Harlem, revival meetings; as well creating classics like Take the A train, Sophisticated Lady. Black Brown Beige (featuring Mahalia Jackson) pushed jazz to a neo-classical area without strings. Amazing.

On a couple of mp3 collections I have two different live sets: Live at Newport; The Great Paris Concert: I had Paris as lp but found a cd release with bonus tracks – yea. On Afro-Eurasian Eclipse & Togo Bravo suite he explores World Music rhythms. His soundtrack for Anatomy of a Murder is wonderful.

Togo Brava is one of my few remaining cassettes – mainly because I have never found it in any other form. At least I think it is Togo Brava – my handwritten label maybe be wrong – I love it though.

 

Ellington wasn’t afraid to stretch himself with amazing recordings with a couple of jazz revolutionaries. His Ballads with John Coltrane is sublime, resonant, romantic and a must hear. On Money Jungle he tangles with Charlie Mingus & Max Roach & produces, for me, his most radical work. Driving, dissonant & timeless. This is what Bad Plus strives for, & occasionally reaches, but never overtakes.

This is a review is totally fabricated – from artists’ names, instruments, languages & locations. One way I want to create the mythos of Isle St. Nuit is via this indirect third party of inclusions of details about the Isle.

Dans Le Jardin: In The Garden – Telmanna Dix Morlanda – Telmanna’s new cd is a delight from start to finish, especially to those of us who have followed his career for the last several years. Despite his dark Latin looks he has managed to avoid the Americanization that has befallen too many other’s.

His current album which concentrates on the music of Isle St. Nuit follows in the footsteps of his recordings of music from Cuba, Panama and Brazil. He moves with ease from various dialects and complex rhythms. This album is mainly performed in the St Nuit patois which is a mix of French, Spanish and African tribal dialects.

Several of the songs are taken from the Livre Santitina, a collection of ritual songs and dances for the worship of the three snakes. Some are  adaptations of children’s songs.

Telmanna is joined by L’Purle Valdez on three up tempo numbers. She brings her special sasqualla rhythms with her from Panama. Hard to keep still when she tears into a song, any song.

For those of you unfamiliar with this genre Dans Le Jardin makes a good introduction. Lyrics are in English and Nuit Patois, though in some cases not knowing what is being sung might add to your pleasure.

The title song is powerful in its use of native instrumentation – the galida (a three string lute like gourd) players combined with the relentless drumming and percussion will draw the listener very quickly into the thick of a Santitina ceremony. The lyrics call upon the spirits to guide, protect, and if necessary kill all adversaries. The last track, running at nearly forty minutes, ‘Mort de Marie’ tells the story of the death of the Virgin Mary that somehow, and I’m not familiar with this particular St. Nuit legend, allowed for the freedom of the slaves.

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November 1-30

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Florence Flowers

Moving along the F’s next up in The Mike Flowers Generation – this is one of those off-beat & apparently one-time British novelty hits. Combining a very 60s brocade hippy look with a cocktail lounge musicality the generation recorded an ep of was sweet fun takes on things like Wonderwall, 1999 – that recast these songs in their gentle, sardonic style. I loved it.

This is followed by one of those next-big-things: Florence & the Machine: I have Lungs, as stand alone; Ceremonies tucked away on another mp3 collection; How Big, How Blue etc on yet another mp3 collection. I kept hearing, reading raves about this band. They have a somewhat more pop sound than say Antony & The Johnsons, but they mine the same sensitive, elegant, kind of morose territory.

Emotional, slightly mystic, sometimes cryptic lyrics with strong Celtic underpinnings that appeal thanks to the dynamically emotional voice of their lead singer Florence Welch. The videos are full of her swirling around in voluminous dark dresses in shadowy rooms or misty fields. It’s hard to tell who is a variation on who with so many of these British singers. If you like Adele you’ll enjoy Florence, or vice versa. Nice music for making out or breaking up.

How Big etc starts off a a 7 hours+ mp3 set that includes Gordon Jenkins; Pere Ubu; Giorgio Moroder; Girls in the Garage; Spotlight’59; Jack Nitzsche; Adam Lambert; Alissa Vox Raw – a typically eclectic set of great music.

Jenkins was a master arranger through the 40s to 60s in the Nelson Riddle mold. Cocktail, cheesy at time but sweet. He was found of suites of songs and did several adventurous musical plays orchestrated but undemanding at the same time. Jack Nitzsche is in the same genre but more recent. He did film soundtracks, worked with Neil Young & deserves a biopic soon about his very wild & crazy life: his music is rarely wild & crazy.

Pere Ubu’s Carnival of Souls is eccentric, whacky & challenging. Giorgio Moroder: Deja Vu: a recent set in which he works with the likes of Charli XCX in a set of nicely old school dance music. Girls in the Garage: great, fun covers by 60s Asian girl bands. Songs like Sugar Town, My Boy Lollipop get trounced is the most delightful way while demonstrating the power of pop music to ‘infect’ the world.

Spotlight’59 is a compilation of r’n’b/soul from 1959.  Someone on Tumblr had posted Marie & Rex’s I Can’t Sit Down & I had to have it & found it included here along with great songs by Ruth Brown, LaVern Baker & others. Here too is Adam Lambert: The Original High – energetic pop by a very talented guy who still struggles with the pop industry to be heard. Finally an amazing Toronto performer: Alissa Vox Raw. I co-featured with her a couple of years ago. The music is sonically dense, emotionally direct. She works with voice manipulation & on stage thanks to instant multilayering moved from her solo voice to the Andrews Sisters trio and layer after layer. Fun stuff, full of swing vibe too. The sort of swing vibe Florence should try sometime.

Mike sat on the bed and went through the flyers: Turkey dinner specials. One for a Cuirula Noir that featured a muscular black man as a black caped vampire wearing nothing under the cape except a leather harness and a red jockstrap studded with silver. Mike assumed the cape was also leather.

The Night Fever from Saturday Night Fever played on his cellphone. This was his ring tone for Patrick.

“Hey!” Mike answered. “I just got in. Not even unpacked yet.”

“Cool. I hate to do this but I won’t be getting in until tomorrow morning. I have to do an exclusive interview with Angelina Jolie while she’s in town. It’s my only chance.”

“Oh.” Mike lay on the bed. “Must be tough covering the diva beat.”

“That’s life near the spotlight. I can meet you for lunch. T’Cafe?”

“Sure.”

“Sorry, again. Caio.”

T’Cafe was a bistro Patrick had ‘discovered’ a few years ago. Not too far from his b’n’b. (Locate the b’n’b on St. Hubert south of St. Catherine). The name was a play on T used as slang for petite & tisane. Grammar be damned.

Mike wasn’t sure what to do with himself. All his plans were around Patrick. He had never spent time on their get-aways without Patrick in town at the time. usually he’d arrive before Mike. Even with Patrick busy with festival functions Mike at least knew he had something specific to look forward to. An evening to himself. Good thin he had the tourist guides to help fill the time. But first a shower was in order.

The early fall air was cooler than he expected when he left the b’n’b so he went back in to get a hoodie to wear under his jean jacket.

Simon was at the front desk as he went in. A dog barked and ran over to him.

“How is Madam?” He knelt to rub the dog behind the ears.

“As you can see she is fine. Gave us a scare, didn’t you.”

The dog rolled over inviting Mike to rub its belly.

“I hate to tell you this but she’s no Madam.”

“Ah yes.” Simon laughed as he came over. “We are well aware of that. But so many of the she’s you might meet here are not she’s after all. Nor do they wish to be. It is all a question of appearances, n’est pas?”

“Right.” Mike stood rather than remain at eye level with Simon’s crotch. Did he have a red leather jock strap? “Cools off fast.”

“I suppose.” Simon picked up the dog and rubbed his face against the dog’s forehead. “Whose not going to run out into traffic again. Who?”

Back on the street and warm enough he walked up the short hill to St. Catherine. He let the street light decide which direction to go in and he followed the green light that lead west away from the Gay Village. People were lined up for the Cathedral. Students were going to and coming from the UQAM buildings in the area.

He hesitated on going up St. Denis but the green light was propelling west. None of fast-food deli’s appealed to him. Nothing he passed looked welcoming for a single customer.

The next streetlight was red so he crossed to the other side on the green. No stopping to decide. No thinking. Drifting with the flow. He walked another block north to …. then turned on the next corner to go back in the direction he had come. The street was mainly town houses similar the row his b’n’b was in. Being so close to St C. many of the houses has been converted to boutiques.

At least the basement floor and the first floor. Most of them still had people living on the second and third floors. The shops were what he presumed were high end fashion with a couple of basement level bistros. None of them tempted him. He glanced in windows, stopped to look a couple of menus.

At one he thought he saw a familiar face sitting near the window but he kept moving. He stopped. Was that Patrick? No he couldn’t have gotten here that quickly. He retraced his steps slowly to get a better look. No, is wasn’t but … He took a photo of his cell of the man.He’d have to ask Patrick if he knew the had a twin in Montreal.

He stopped at a Poivre et Sel, a grocery store, to pick up some snacks and breakfast food. The one meal of the day he preferred to eat alone was breakfast. Cereal, milks and bananas. The store also had ready roast chicken so he bought a few pieces of that, fries & a pre-made salad. It would spare him trying to order something in one of the cafes he had passed. Eating alone in any of them didn’t appeal to him.

Back at the b’n’b he sat in the common dining area to eat his chicken.

“Poulet dans sac.” Luc (works at the b’n’b) sat at the table. “From Poivre?”

“Good guess.” Mike pushed the Styrofoam container toward him. “More than I can eat.”

“They do the skin nicely there. No hot sauce?” Luc arched brows as took a couple of wings.

“Not tonight.”

“That can be … supplied.” Luc nodded toward the various bottles on a shelf behind him “Perhaps some wine?”

“Only if you are trying to get me drunk.” Mike joked.

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November 1-30

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Fleetwood Mac

By Fleetwood Mac I have on various mp3 collections Mac; English Rose; Chicago Jam; In Chicago; Play On; Penguin; Fleetwood Mac; Tusk; Tango in the Night. As well as stand alones a pair of 2 cd sets: Black Magic Woman; Very best of. So you might say I’m bit of a fan but I started following them long before they became huge.

My first Fleetwood Mac was the lp Play On – it was the cover art that attracted me. The music was an odd mic or rock, blues & an odd strain of jazzy prog rock. Rattlesnake Shake rocked out. It was an lp I always enjoyed because of the range of styles it covered. Then at Radio Shack I found cassette of their early stuff which was more basic British blues & I really enjoyed it. It was a revelation to hear the original Black Magic Woman. A song Santana transformed.

They sort of vanished except for the instrumental Albatross then abruptly resurfaced with that new line up, that new sound & I was fan of their radio-friendly work. I had some of these as Lps at the time & was happy to replace them with mp3. Big Love was great video. The emotional soap of their relationships produced great music – so good it was more compelling, to me, than the emotional soap of their relationships.

Thanks to high speed (as opposed to dialup) I tracked down more of their early releases like English Rose & the legendary In Chicago where they jam with the likes of Willie Dixon. The stand alone’s are nice completions of the early Black Magic Woman era & then one of the resurgence with live takes of their hits. Also tucked on a shelf is Chicken Shack: a solid blues band that included  Christine Perfect before she joined Mac.

Family

Silence.

John stood in the small chapel. A narrow window let some light fall on the cross half way up the wall. A rough pine bench with a cloth over it was the altar. All was silence

Fort Harwood was empty when they arrived. The surge of expectation and hope they had felt when they had first seen it quickly evaporated.

Silent and empty and cold. It was like a house waiting for someone to move in. A house in which no one had ever lived.

None of the small huts outside the walls of the fort or the barracks inside held any hint of occupancy.

‘Too clean picked for Injuns.’ Pete sucked air through his broken smile. ‘Can’t see a sign of anything. Not a scrap.’

There was wood for fire, water in the well, hay for the horses.

John made sure he’d looked in every room at least once. Opened cupboards, glanced under beds even pried up floor boards that had tramped hollow under foot. Nothing.

He’d kept the chapel for last. Frank had already been through he knew but he had to be here with himself before he’d believe.

He put his Bible on the altar and knelt. He opened the first page and read the names of his family. Mothers, fathers, children, going back several generations. He would call those spirits into this place. This was all he knew to do. Each name was a link in the rosary of his life that he knew would take him into the future so that he would hand this book down to his children to dot eh same.

‘Preacher Boy! Taking to yourself?’

‘No.’ John stood with his family around him. ‘Clyde you could do with a little of this yerself don’t you think.’

Clyde stepped back. ‘Watch you mean? I got no time for God and all that. He hide the people here? He look after them or what? There was a couple of hundred here last fall and where are they?’

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November 1-30

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November Sneak Peek

I’ll be changing things up a little for November so here’s a sneak preview of those changes. Nanowrimo starts November 1 – this year I’ll be posting very rough draft samples starting that day. They’ll be posted on Monday, Wednesday & Friday if you want keep up with where the new novel is sort of going. On the Wednesdays I’ll also be writing about how Nano is going & what music I’m listening.

The other days will remain the same, expect for those rough draft samples. Monday will be music, Tuesday: Lazarus Kiss; Thursday: 227 Rules; Friday: what Disability After Dark inspires in me. With the usual scattering of Saturday reviews. (Who has watched the recent Channel Zero: No-End House?)

Over the past few months I’ve started to organize the photos. I select all the ones I’m going use at the end of the previous month. Each weekday gets is own ‘theme.’ For November Monday: will be sports equipment; Wednesday: will be black objects; Friday: books – because this is Nano month I figure where our books will end up will be encouraging 🙂

The Mummy

Taking an October break from 227 Rules to share some very recent ‘scary’ pieces. How recent? This one was started October 19 at Glad Day before I watched The Mummy 1959, worked on the next day after I watched The Mummy. In the movie he sinks into a bottomless bog.

Kharis 

is this the last wrap

or the first

the first wrap was a tissue

of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

I used that wrap

over & over

until the tissue

was a layer

layer after layer of

‘oh i’m fine’

‘i don’t mind’

‘how can i make you happy’

walking away

rather than add another layer

hoping nothing had caught

no thread was snagged

on a expectation

an exception

on resurrecting love

 

I was protected

entombed by safety

by the fact

that all anyone wanted to hear

was ‘oh i’m fine’

‘this bandage solution will do’

‘you deserve to be fixed first’

 

bound tight

peering at life though the slits

surrendering to the weight of history

pushed along by an unquestioned past

by ritual expectations

controlled by the clasp of gauze

layer upon layer after layer

some turned to dust

some turned to scar

some turned to face the sun

reaching for release

 

decayed tissue

dust motes settling in the moonlight

‘how can i make you happy?’

‘how can i unravell the book of life’

can i survive

without another layer

of this tissue

this scar tissue of lies


‘oh i’m fine’

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AutoCorrected Perfection

AutoCorrected Perfection

there’s always something

my eyes don’t catch everything

words lose there meaning

thanks to auto spell

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

or if what you’ve written

is what you’ve written

so I don’t feel so responsible

for those little typos

that change love to leave

that change emotionally comithtemnt

I mean commitment

to being committed for emotionally disfunction

there’s always something

that’s why I count on your eyes

to pick up what mine miss

trust me no matter how right it appears

it needs you to make more better right

I couldn’t do it without

those sharp insightful comments of yours

you find what slips between the lines

while I’m so busy

making sure those lines are straight

to your perfect heart

Has this every happened to you – you type quiet & come back to edit & see that it is quite or even quit – that somewhere between your thinking, your fingers, the page & the push to get it out something is replaced in transmission. Concern become concerto thanks to auto spell – that algorithm that takes over your thinking to fill in what it thinks you have started or if you’ve, as I often do, switch two letters as you type jumps to concussions I mean conclusions.

There have been times I’ve let either the typo or the auto spell word stay – ‘head in the coulds’ is much more poetic than ‘head in the clouds’. I let it stand because by the time I come to edit a piece months may have passed & I no longer remember what it was I set out say anyway. So I jump on the coulds easily & gratefully. Right now autocorrect wants to change coulds either to singular or to colds.

This piece also plays on the notion of Freudian slip of accidentally saying what you don’t mean to say. Those verbal slips when one says “sure I want to leave you” when intending to say ‘sure I love you’. Or our frequent habit of saying one thing when we mean another ‘I’m busy that day’ when you mean ‘I don’t want to be there.’

In editing it’s always wise to have another set of eyes read before final product is published. In going back over Lazarus Kiss the number typos that even auto spell missed is amazing to me. I never said I was a copy editor. I don’t write a lot of directly romantic poetry so I pushed this one into what I hope is an unexpectedly cornball direction. I enjoy taking cliches and bending them into new shapes, in this case the shape of a heart.

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