August 2021 Recap

Over the past month my TOpoet.ca following stands at 464 ! The WP map does show my hits have come from  countries around the world. That USA tops the list is no surprise but that Bangladesh moves up to 3rd spot & that Bahrain is in the top 10 is a surprise. China! Ireland! sill up there. Ola Spain. Most popular post was The Beaches (https://topoet.ca/2021/08/12/the-beaches-august-2021/  ). My personal fav is Summer Striptease https://topoet.ca/2021/08/23/summer-striptease/ .

My Tumblr is at 332 followers. Twitter at 229 followers. Picture Perfect: 82 sections, about 112,000 words posted so far with approx 72,000 to be edited then posted. Returning to the Rules For Monks on Wednesdays for this month – October will see a return of scary poems on Haunted Wednesdays. 

Finally watched Rocketman & loved it. The film is a visual, sonic & emotional delight. Surreal & yet true to life. I liked the way the narrative flowed from music to reality to surreal so smoothly while inviting me in to the addictive mess his life had become. Taron Egerton did his own singing (unlike the Freddie Mercury bio in which the lead won the Oscar for best lip-syncing). Like many recovery stories this one is too much about the glamour & glitter of the downfall with the recovery dealt with in a minute. Highly recommended.

Another great watch was ‘Ma Vie en rose’ 1997 – a sweet, remarkable movie about gender identity. A young child – supposedly 7 – decides they are a boy-girl & experiences & survives cultural resistance & forced gender norms & transphobia. Excellent writing, unforced humour, great performances. Highly recommended for all ages.

read: Germinal is part of the Les Rougon-Macquart a collective title given to a cycle of twenty novels by Emile Zola. This was, I think, the fourteenth in the series. It is brilliant. I’ve read two other ‘versions’ of it – each English translation is a rewrite of the original & retells it through the eyes of the translator. Zola is a French Dickens, only, unlike Dickens, his stories are grittier, darker & more directly sexual. If you don’t know Zola start with Terese Raquin. I have an Amazon Kindle collection of the complete novels & am about half-way through them all – I only have 150 hours of reading to finish them 🙂 Zola is one of my prime fiction influences.

Read ‘Farewell to the Sea’ the third novel in Reinaldo Arenas’ Pentagonia: a five novel “secret history” of Cuba. I’m re-reading all my Arenas, he’s another of my prime fiction influences. Farewell deconstructs the novel with free-wheeling interior monologues, ranted poetry, shifting p.o.v. in his no-holds-barred attack on Cuban justice, politics &queer sexuality. Funny, mythic & compelling. A mid-century masterpiece. 

It has been a good month with no major events as things slowly open up after the long pandemic shutdown. Waiting for what form this vaccine passport will take. Will I have to give the wait person access to my OHIP info to order a meal? Probably works only for smart phones.  Wondering how the need to prove covid status will effect things – rapid test costs $40 at Shoppers – so tickets for events that ask for that status will now cost $40 more. Friends looking for new jobs and/or apartments now searching the obituaries. Not so brave not so new world.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees – thankspaypal.me/TOpoet 

July 2021 Recap

Stratford flower box

Over the past month by TOpoet.ca following blog shrank to 450! I went through my follower list & removed people who were no longer active on WordPress. Active followers show up in a colour, non-active followers show up in black. The WP map does show my hits have come from 32  countries around the world. Nigeria, Bahrain in the top ten! India & Bangladesh holding steady & hola Spain 🙂 Ireland! Lithuania?

Most popular posts were: My Five Year (Dead Friends) (https://topoet.ca/2021/07/04/dead-friends/), Summer Murderer (https://topoet.ca/2021/07/13/summer-murderer/). Both of which are my personal favourites.

Shakespeare Pie Shop mmm

My Tumblr is at 331 followers. Twitter is at 224 followers.

Picture Perfect: 78 sections, about 116000 words posted so far with  approx 73,000 to be edited then posted. 

TLN (https://www.tln.ca) does an occasional Italian film festival of mostly recent films – films that don’t show up anywhere else on TV. Comedies for the most part but always with a sharp social bite & sometimes a dash of romance. One I really enjoyed was The Man Who Bought The Moon – set in Sardinia, one gets a glimpse of the political & social regard of the island by the rest of Italy. Our hero first has to be taught how to pass for a Sardinian. Hilarious at points & finally the moon itself appears to save the day. Charming & well worth searching out.

That touch of magic realism owes everything to Fellini. I watched, for the first time, his Roma – there is some bravura film making in this virtually plotless movie. There are reference to his past films & even a hint of Amacord which he already planning.. Impressions of his past mixed with look at his present film making. Fascinating.

from the gift shop

God’s Own Country – I was given this dvd for Xmas a few years ago & finally got around to seeing it. A refreshing gay love story in which coming out is not a part of it. Set on a sheep farm it is far removed from the usual druggy, bar scene fodder. Our hero becomes involved with Gheorghe, a Romanian migrant worker, is hired as extra help. Played by Josh O’Connor & Alec Secăreanu, respectively, they make photogenic couple. Similar to Brokeback Mountain one is not surprised when good looking men find each other attractive. Josh played Prince Charles in The Crown so I thought of this as the The Prince & The Underwear Model. 

Read the excellent Dolls! Dolls! Dolls! by Steve Rebello. A behind the scenes look at the making of Valley Of The Dolls – one of my favourite movies. He also goes into the writing of the book & JS’s career. Full of juicy feuds, casting wars & the sad misuse of Judy Garland; this is a great read that reveals as much about how actresses were treated as it does about the business of making movies. Highly recommended.

silk tie on sale at Gift Shop – yes marked down to $1.00 !!

Took a day trip to Stratford. We didn’t see anything – getting tickets online was problematic thanks to the pandemic seating restrictions. The weather was perfect, traffic as usual, lunched at Features, picked up a few things at the Gift Shop, hit the main box-office to reserve spots on a waiting list for Three Tall Women at the end of September – including the time it took to drive there it took as long as it would have on line 🙂 A call from the box-office the next day confirmed we had tickets – no more waiting list waiting for us.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & but Festival tickets – thanks paypal.me/TOpoet 

Recap February 2021

Over the past month my TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 463! The WordPress map shows my hits in February have come from 91 countries around the world. Mainly USA & Canada with South Africa in 3rd spot! Bangladesh & Malawi remain in the top 10. The most viewed (non-photo essay) was The Thieving Slut, https://topoet.ca/2021/02/15/the-thieving-slut/, with F**k Gratitude, https://topoet.ca/2021/02/11/fk-gratitude/ close behind. Both are personal faves.

My Tumblr following is at 304. Twitter 229 followers.

Picture Perfect is moving along with 56 sections, about 84,500 words, posted so far, with 101,000 words approx to be edited, then posted. This month I was at the point where I got sidetracked in the rough draft so I did major cut of about 5000 words. The cut removed a scene I didn’t need but a character I did need so re-invented him keep the flow. A fun challenge.

I watched some interesting movies including O Ébrio (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Ébrio_(film)). Out of Brazil,1946, starring popular singer Vicente Celestino – who co-wrote it with Gilda de Abreu, who was also his wife. Imagine an Elvis film set in 1946 – fame & faithless women & songs & redemption. Eye-catching costumes for the women. A fascinating look at the culture of the time. The music & lyrics are idealized romantic, religious & dripping with sincerity. Performances are good to adequate, with some sweet silent-movie nods.

Another, an even wilder musical, is the Polish film The Lure (2015) directed by Agnieszka Smoczyńska. One critic calls it “the best goth musical about man-eating mermaids ever made.” I wouldn’t call 80’s EuroDisco Goth but … the music is sublime, the visuals at times are stunning & performances good. Plotting uneven but well worth watching. I saw both of these as part of TCM series of women directors.

A couple of books I’m currently reading. Paper: Coming Out Under Fire by Allan Bérubé about gay men and women in the U.S. military between 1941 and 1945. This quote ‘ … being a homosexual, I had that constant compelling need to prove how virile I was.’ still remains one of the male gender identity struggles. The book is stunning – easy to read, easy to understand & at time heartbreaking & frustrating.  Read it asap.

Kindle: Fairs’ Point: A Novel of Astreiant by Melissa Scott book 4 in the series. I read the first in this series a few years ago. It was part of a StoryBundle of 10 lgbtq fantasy/horror novels & I loved it. I’ve read the pervious in the series. Amazing world building, sweet male lovers & understated sex scenes. Set in a magic Mediaeval land. Only one more in the series after this one though 😦

in clearing out an archive of old writing in a file cabinet I found this piece from the early 80’s. It is about HIV fears but some of the lines about ‘a virus more virulent than love’ echo the current covid19 pandemic where a stranger’s breath could be deadly. Replace roses with masks & it’s ready for today

war/mist

1

i’m pressing the mirror

to my face

not looking for contact

not seeking any content

needing any slight

sign of mist

to reassure me

i’m still alive

i’m still breathing

<>

hey! it’s alright everybody

i’m still breathing

there’s nothing breeding in me

hey! you guys

don’t you hear me

I’m still breathing

2

something in the blood of lovers

has brought this war

to my attention

to my very front door

to my one & only bedroom

sullen pillow whispers

imploring an unwilling caution

for this angry end to innocence 

<>

‘so, we don’t meet again’

a thought

in the corner of my eye

catching you

wandering through the throng

of sights unseen

untouched

a man missed again by me

a stranger in your mist

<>

a kiss is no longer a kiss

it’s an affront to our political awareness

it’s flirting with a virus

more virulent than love

a disease befuddled by language

leaving us

untouching

unflinching

imploding

& afraid

<>

so i’ll send you roses

yellow green black

olive drab camoflage

for our war of wait & see

our war of hide

then die

<>

a lift of the hand

a nod of the head

a thin smile of acknowledgement

i practice the arts

of indifferent recognition

so i can cast them upon

unobtainable flights of obsession

‘is this the wave of the future?

or just an unobservable mannerism

by this stranger in your mist

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

Recap January 2021

Over the past month my TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 455! The WordPress map shows my hits in January have come from 91 countries around the world. Mainly USA & Canada with Bangladesh (হ্যালো) & Malawi (Moni) in the top 10. The most viewed was my post on board Games, https://topoet.ca/2021/01/15/games/ with Ghost of a Chance https://topoet.ca/2021/01/02/ghost-of-a-chance/  close behind. My persona fave is Burned At The Stake https://topoet.ca/2021/01/25/burned-at-the-stake/.

My Tumblr following is at 300. Twitter 230 followers.

Picture Perfect is moving along with 52 sections, about 78,800 words posted so far, with 111,000  approx to be edited, then posted. I generally try to keep the sections at about 1500 words.

I found another cache of old short stories & starts on others. They were in the file cabinet that I use to store Bushwack posters, photographs & articles I had cut from magazines. I haven’t really gone through these files in the 2000’s beyond searching out the posters I designed for my theatrical productions. 

I remember writing some of these stories but in some cases have forgotten the contents. I also neglected to date many of them but there are clues that place them in decades, as opposed to actual years. Some are in dot-matrix printout – we stopped using that in late 80’s – early 90’s – which puts them back into the early 80’s Some are typed or carbon copies – which puts them back into the 70’s, 80’s. Lack of technology dates them – no cell phones, computers or even answer machines. I’ll be serializing them for including them with my music collection post – the music collection is essential an archive too, so it is a fitting pairing.

Stay-at-home covid19 lockdown has ‘forced’ me to start clearing out our basement. When you have a house stuff collects in the basement. Stuff that is now finding the light of garbage pickup 🙂 The shop vac is getting workout. Bye-bye cobwebs. It is so gratifying to see things carted away, sometimes taken by scavengers before garbage guys can pick up them. There’s enough to keep me bust for another couple weeks. The best way to spend a couple of morning hours indoors when the wind chill drops to -20C. 

Day and Night

day never holds me 

as fully as the night

in light there is always

a part that doesn’t get revealed

doesn’t get illuminated

turn as fast as I can

part of me is always in shadow

<>

light is not the total lover

it always leaves one part untouched

night covers all

holds me in toto

comforting tender complete

caressing even where I cannot see

I was submerged and protected

no night burn for me 

for being too long naked in its glance

<>

if I had to make choice 

between night and day

as to which would be the better lover

I couldn’t decide

day brings flowers

night brings stars

both return despite 

my placid display of cliches

tender is the night

bright is the day

as one retreats 

to make way for the other

I am saddened

I want to hold them both

straddle those slippery moments

when one gracefully steps aside

<>

they do not fight 

to see who will be next

there is no resentment

that I have taken each 

in their own time

that I give myself equally to them

give myself without question 

without doubt

so do not make me choice

<>

when I die

will I go into the light

or merely roll over 

into the comforting dark

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

November 2020 Recap

Over the month my TOpoet.ca blog following grew to 410! The December WP map show my hits have come from around the world. That the USA tops the list is a sign of election fatigue :-). Bangladesh (একটি উষ্ণ স্বাগত) & Italy (Un caldo benvenuto) are now in the top 10! My Tumblr is at 294. Twitter is at 229 followers.

Picture Perfect: 43 sections, about 66,000 words posted so far with 120,000 approx remaining to be edited then posted. I got a little tripped up in sequence & had to double back, as it were, to get the flow back in order. My rough drafts aren’t all done in chronological sequence so when I started this draft I put the individual drafts in order but messed up a bit. Such is life.

everyone’s a critic

TV viewing: Brave New World & War of the Worlds both came to an end. Brave certainly had the look with, for the men, smart costume design – I could believe those futurist business suits & overcoats; but the women suffered from standard illogical, uncomfortable, super-tight dreck. The plot was a bit of a mess & it’s too bad they based it so loosely on its source material. Final episode was clearly open for a season two (which isn’t going to happen.)

At least the Brave wasn’t saddled with the trite backstory family-turmoil that War of the Worlds drowned in. Again very loosely based on the source material but I am enjoying the diversity of the cast, the diversity of locations. Apparently it has been renewed for a second season which I’ll probably keep an eye out for, despite the disappointing reveal in the last minutes. 

Watched an amazing movie: Madeinusa – Spanish, set in Peru. A stranger is stranded in a small mountain village in the midst of one of their religious festivals. The festival reflects the Latino mash up of their ancient beliefs & Catholicism & is stunning. The ritual cutting of the neckties took my breath away. Exceptional & worth searching out.

November was relatively uneventful. Lockdown reduced my outside social distancing even more. The only ripple was an unexpected flare of psoriases – of which I have no previous experience. One morning a trip to emerg to get a rash looked at- they told me what it wasn’t but did know what it was. Referral to dermatology clinic that I went to the next day. The Dr. there took one look & knew what it was. Whew, I guess. It appears as spots not flakes. Anyone want to rub lotion on my back?

Nothing

nothing tastes as good as 

being thin feels

the first glance of anticipation

the sweetest kisses

all lose flavour

in favour of the cling tight snuggle 

skin shrink-wrapped around 

cheeks hipbones

smooth taut as drum

counting ribs more fun

than pulling the petals off a flower

he loves me   thin

<>

the skinny love 

slips between the sheets

cool and light  sheer as linen

that carves the shape of me

pale in the heavy thick night

I waver 

a glimpse of smoke

reach out to stroke

the breathing body beside me

corpulent sighs of pleasure’s resignation

the ghost of a glance come to roost 

for a few chancing movements

not heavy enough to dent the bed

perfection

<>

the weight of sunlight

makes it hard to walk

even buoyed by the adoring glances

of those who envy 

the soundless touch of these feet

on the mass of the earth

my blessed opportunity

to dust dance on mother earth

to float shadowless under father sky 

leave no carbon footprint

<>

my clothes weigh more than I do

wearing next to nothing

next to nothing

who could ask for more

boniness is next to adoration

now to get rid of these bones

become shapeless formless

<>

oh to be free of the body

the encumbrance of personality 

that is invested in this skin

deep in bone density

to lose the self

become the nothing

that tastes better than thin

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

Summer 2020

My TOpoet.ca following blog is at 360! The June WP map show my hits have come from countries around the world. Canada & US top the list with India & Bangladesh near the top. Monaco in the top 10 is a surprise. My Tumblr is at 280. Twitter is at 226 followers

You’ll be seeing some summer changes in the blog starting this week. Wednesday & Thursday will be looking at my Fiddlehead chapbook: Distant Music. In May I input the text & in June I started exploring those old pieces. Not that I remember what I was thinking at the time but I do recall information – what I was reading, where I was etc. 

To give me a break may stop the Saturday covid posts. Things haven’t change much on that front but I will slot covid updates on Mondays to alternate with the Artist’s Way posts. People have been enjoying my posts & pictures of things in my house so they’ll continue on Mondays as well. Coming to the end of the first section of Picture Perfect. It took three Nano’s in a row to do it so by section I mean the first November. In editing I found several places that needed more writing to account for later events. My nano word count included non-plot elements it is still mounting up to a decent count. 40,000 so farI’ve also loved creating the graphic for each week.

Fridays will continue the crawl through my music collection. It is large enough to take me into to the next decade. It has been good to look at what I have, what I like & what I’ll be letting go of. My need to be a music archive has left me 🙂 Boring is boring regardless of its historic importance. Purge is the word.

Speaking of purging – my covid cleaning frenzy though some of the major hoards have reduced them considerably. I still have the basement to contend with which will be nice with the summer heat already on us. The basement is cool & full of my partner’s old school files for starters. Plus a box or two of magazines I’ve had for too long. eBay here I come.

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

paypal.me/TOpoet