‘Quieting the colonial hum’

 

The Hot Damn! season 5 finale filled Buddies in Bad Times to the rafters. The house filled so rapidly that the event actually started on time !! Yes, a spoken word event that started on time 🙂 House music was provided by DJ Sofia Fly, who also supplied great entrance & exit music for the slammers. Not that the energy of the house needed any help 🙂

 

The show opened with Charlie Petch’s land acknowledgment followed a set of songs by Ogichidaa Kwe. The song about the warning heard but not believed resonates in our political climate as we deal with governments who feel warnings are not to be believed without the right corporate backing.

I was one of the lucky poets who participated in Nasra Adem’s Mirror of Tarot workshop the night before at Unit 2 so I was ready to see their feature set. In a flashing of red and gold Nasra’s set was spokenword alternating with songs and a dash of political anger. 

some moments from that set: the sun looks up & catches my glint – I just want to ride my intentions – I quiet the colonial hum around me – how loud men are with their fear – healing only happens when I’m safe enough to call for help – bluest black starlight – if this shit ain’t intersectional it don’t exist – white feminism can suck my dick – you can wipe your tears they aren’t needed here.
After a break Charlie started the slam with the queer national anthem – somewhere over the rainbow. Then the eager slammers hit the stage with pieces that were emotionally powerful, funny, deeply personal & accurate skewering of our dominant culture’s inability to accept diversity on all levels.

moments from round one: a shade of blue trying make bruises jealous, half my identity was stolen from me by the time I was six, I want you to talk to me rather than write it all in your journal, compensation doesn’t undo the truth, he tried to whitewash me with his bedsheets, my bravery doesn’t mean your allyship is unnecessary, down the rabbit hole of trauma, the nights my memory of you is my razor blade, I never studied dance but learned how to fall with precision, it’s safer to play chameleon, either swallow fear of be swallowed by it, fat kids should eat because they are fat, every bite tastes like shame.

Moments from round two: you don’t want me & it cuts to my soul, wrote a note on my phone not to text you, the sound of motherhood knocks a cracked door, when in this city I avoid the subway, I would hold you the way gravity holds the atmosphere, I guess it isn’t about sex anymore, confession is telling how good she tastes, is there a way to be Christian & not be ignorant, being queer is fucking difficult, I used cover girl to cover up the hicks, congratulations! you’re straight, why can’t I be as angry as him.

Over these five years Hot Damn! as become an amazing force for diversity. It has created & maintained a safe space were the gender marginalized members of already marginalized communities can come together to express their loves, frustrations, fears and outright fucking anger without being judged. Oh right, they are judged as part of the slam, but that’s a different matter 🙂

It was a non-stop feast (or perhaps feeding frenzy) of words from the competing poets Sulva, Charly Bird, Dee Durward (QUEIRDO winner! Doe!) Robert Molloy, & Danielle Workman. After scores were tallied: the top three were (it was SO CLOSE) Jayda Marley (3rd 58.5), Fira (58.9) and winner Wes Ryan (59.2). 

 

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet


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

‘molten at the core’

Hot Damn! nears the end of its 5th spectacular season of slams and the hunger of the competitors is increasing – who wouldn’t want a trip to Washington DC to participate in Capturing Fire? The cabaret space at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre filled up quickly & the show got started nearly on time 🙂 Charlie Petch opened the show with a land acknowledgement, followed by a Welcome song by Kammy Alexson & friends. Of course Charlie’s sawed ‘Over The Rainbow’ took us into a queer wonderland of music, poetry, and slam blood, sweat & tears.

Lines from the open stagers and Round 1: a voice like wind chimes; a hole in my heart where you made me feel whole; they said my medicine was a fire hazard; a world of solo not soulless; nothing to hold on to but the hook; twist & shout all around penny lane; turning a person into a poem will not bring them back; none of this has cut you open to spill out the way it has me; I want not to miss you; we all felt we deserved it; thoughts like nesting Russian dolls; or do you mean your ally-ship is unnecessary; gotta break down to break through; playing games we didn’t create.

Feature: Inali Barger‘s set, was full of music, warmth and so many languages including sign. ‘I don’t want a translated interpretation of you;  reading your hands; the difference between boredom & passive aggression; some lost boys never get found; some parts of you only exist in private; the smell of place that hasn’t seen light in years; I’ve known so little about safety; soft as ashes but molten at the core. 

After a grief break things got started with more ppen stagers and right into Round Two: ancient fabric celebrates loses; I don’t know where I went wrong; remind me why we need community; ban the politicians; anxiety & I had it pretty good; they party on a tectonic plate; I want love without a lover; not all little girls are little boys all the same; cis-white boys shooting up schools; handshakes enough to feed us all; my dearest nightmare changed to a hallowed dream.

I’ve been to many, many shows and can tell when a performer is going to be on fire after the first two words of a piece and the night’s winner Fira Astrali’s piece about the addictive allure of toxic relationships nearly set off the sprinkler system. 

The final show of this season will be April 5. Mark it on your calendar & get to Buddies early if you want a decent seat.

for the open stage I resurrected an old piece

(line breaks imposed by WordPress):

Lament for Anna Nicole 

in the beginning was the word 

and the word was blond 

a blond who came striding
out of the sweet morning light
assured radiant reaching out
past the flock of photographers
to bring tender mercies to the world
a blond who hid fears frustration
in the twinkling wink of an eye
ready and ripe
to be a distraction for the world

here is the blond
the unattainable firm force of nature
on every tv magazine cover front page
all pondering the ways and wiles
of the soft hearted blond
who will be next
who was the last tail twist
in the trail of broken hearts

we follow 

our noses nailed to her scent
this glowing example
of what the ordinary can rise to
billionaires reality shows
who cares about cancer
when we have the blond
a rare creature of fine design
who can invade dreams
wrap legs around broken hearts

lead us out of loneliness 

by taking on all our loneliness
in a single furtive glance
away from the camera
a single shunning 

of the lime light 

for a moment 

that blesses us all 

the blond reeling and recoiling 

teetering on stilettos 

from the press of press
the lurch of bully boy interviewers
who want to expose 

the gold digger the drug addled bimbo
to show the world that the blond
is no saint 

merely another floozy chunky 

top heavy flabby doll
lucky to be in our sanctifying gaze
the blond gratefully accepts 

each slight 

by each slight she is elevated 

what comes next
what can be sacrificed now
there is no reputation left
the first born has been cut down
the blond has been shuffled off
in a shapeless body bag
leaving the newborn
a wash in a sea of whoʼs your daddy 

our father ?
is this the way the world ends 

not with a bang
but a paternity test

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


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

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Prometheus at Hot Damn

Hot Damn! started 2019 with a packed room workshop at Glad Day and a SRO house at Buddies in Bad Times – both driven by feature Regie Cabico. The participants at the workshop wrote & shared some excellent work on the spot – the level of trust among people who had never met before was encouraging, as was the diversity of the participants.

When I got to Buddies to help Charlie set up there were people already clambering to get in 🙂 so the house opened fifteen minutes earlier than usual, I did front of house & it was full enough to start the show a little after 8 (nearly on time for a poetry show). Standing room only by 8:15. Also a full sign-up sheet for slammers – 11 – a Hot Damn! record.

After some opener stagers the first round got underway with a series of politically & emotionally pieces that held nothing back on gender, indigenous, & local political issues. Round two had fewer slammers (lowest scores didn’t get to move forward) and the tone of the pieces became more reflective, personal but equally as direct and powerful.

Lines from the first part of the show: my tongue was not enough’ ‘the swish of sari silk’ ‘I could taste blood’ ‘I fell in love with a crack dealer’ ‘you are the art work of past lives’ ‘our medicine made illegal’ ‘give up your cottages and give us back our land’ ‘what he really should have admitted to you before you married’ ‘I only knew how to see you as a moving disaster’ ‘nobody giving me room to make mistakes in’ ‘betrayal tastes like fennel and sage’ ‘my neighbourhood becomes a trigger warning’ ‘you ask me if I’ll forgive you’ ‘I pray you get your forgiveness but it will never come from me’ ‘I say to them – it’s not your table’ ‘you still here with me like a cloud in my mind’ ‘as if money could regenerate our roots’ ‘I’m not sure how to tell your dad that you’re gay’

Feature Regie Cabico did a strong set drawing from his recent chapbook ‘Sticky Stars & Sheets.’ Funny, deeply personal, very sensual & inspiring. ‘jack-off in the name of leukaemia research’ ‘the warehouses are lit by flames of vodka’ ‘you will not pluck my pancreas like Prometheus’ ‘you hold me like an oar directing my past’ ‘we run like suitcases on wheels’ ‘two lonely Tony’s from West Side Story’ ‘his calf … stretched out before me like Florida’

This is not my first review of Regie though: Spoonful of Beautiful https://wp.me/p1RtxU-d2. We’ve enjoyed each other’s performances in the past so I may not be impartial – but the audience was so enthused so my review isn’t exaggerating his set. 

After a much needed break the show resumed with a few more open stagers & the final round of the slam; ‘I need a place to sit to get perspective’ ‘they’re asking me if I have a gender identity’ ‘never more than genetic coding’ ‘baby shoes take me back to memory like a phantom limb’ ‘too many of us seeking help’ ‘this body is not a temple you are invited to’ ‘my mess you speak to’ ‘oozo ozone’ ‘even my now voice is too heavy to raise’ ‘confuse tenderness with love’ ‘saying gay people should die while getting off on lesbian porn’ ‘it just isn’t about sex anymore’ ‘hidden by ink and time’ ‘the space between fingertips & footsteps.’

Scores were tabulated, prizes were given. Yes, there was a winner, who gets to compete in April for the grand prize: the trip to participate in Capturing Fire (dates tba, soon) but the real winner was the audience. Next Toronto Hot Damn! is March 7. 

(above blog pics are of construction by Buddies)

the piece I wrote at the workshop – rough draft –

Resume

Henry texted me

he was told to stay home

he’s afraid

he’ll lose his job

Henry is one of my lovers

we have been seeing other

every week or so

for over three years

 

I want him to feel

cared for

but I have no solution

for his situation

other than acknowledging his stress

 

I like Henry

but I do not love him

he wants job security

not love

 

it is hard to breathe 

in the workshop

so many perfumes

I’m glad I have no

environment allergies

 

the tenderness of

Henry’s slow kisses

is what I love

 

the tentative tongue start

draws us

into each other’s bodies

 

I love his tongue

but can’t pronounce his last name

Mwawasi

unless it is in front of me

 

in Cape Breton this summer

I will visit

my parents graves

I wasn’t there when they died

they won’t be here

when I die

they will never see my grave

 

Henry texts

he is going to bed

I hope he sleeps well

that he dreams of our kisses

not of rewriting his resume 

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

‘the knife of shame’

Things change 🙂 the morning starts out a little overcast, the sidewalks are clear then an hour later one is caught in a winter wonderland of slush. Hot Damn!’s workshop facilitator and feature gets bogged down by the slush of chronic illness & things change. I end up facilitating the workshop: Vulnerability/Strength. It was productive enough, for me, at any rate. Too bad I wasn’t prepared to do more than to listen & write a little.

Charlie Petch was scrambling for a new feature while getting set for an interview before the show itself. Over supper I went though my note books to see if I had suitable pieces besides the two I had uploaded to my Kindle. It had a few things to present. I forgot what I had jotted down to work on later – some going back a few years.

Vanessa McGowan stepped up to feature, so all I had to worry about was being all judgemental for the slam. Even with slushy snow falling there was a decent house for the show at 8. Lots of great open stagers and some dynamic slammers made for a rewarding & cozy night. Plus good conversation with fellow judge Teddy Syrette.

The participants were the epitome of diversity with indigenous, trans, queers across the gender spectrum, coming from as far away as Ecuador (Hola) to share honest, emotionally raw and sometimes very funny material. This is the real power of Hot Damn!’s vision to create a safe space for queers to perform, mostly without judgement. I say mostly because part of a slam is being judged 🙂

Random lines from the open-stagers & slammers: ‘don’t tell your mother’ ‘children need parents who want to be parents’ ‘I practice reparation by topping settlers’ ‘he was masc looking but not masc looking for masc’ ‘my spirit name is isolate for safety’ ‘I want you all over mt skin’ ‘seeking wisdom in dreams’ ‘I am six minutes behind the world’ ‘nothing scares me – not even clowns’ ‘sometimes bullies look just like body guards’ ‘let me tell you where I left these bones’ ‘the attack from within is worse that the wound from without’ ‘I say to them it’s not your table’ ‘the blood I shed won’t tell me what I missed’

Vanessa’s set was emotionally charged, frank, sometime a little ironic humour slipped in – her social commentary is from within situations not from the p.o.v. of an observer. ‘we met beneath the water line’ ‘I still cannot say your name – my mouth is full of water’ ‘removing the knife of shame from throat so you can remove it from yours’ ‘covering up for poverty is exhausting’ ‘they praise me for being highly functioning’ 

Winner were declared, prizes were awarded (for those names: Hot Damn!) Next Hot Damn! is in St. Catherines in December. It returns to Buddies in Bad Time January 10, 2019.

On the open stage I read Cold Spot https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3ci & this old piece – if one considers September 2017 old – I dug out.

My Own Devices 

when I came out

to my friends

I did it by stages

like – I’m no queer

but if ‘hot movie star’

wanted to have sex with me

I’d be willing to explore

but truth to be told

I jerked off 

to a bathing suit picture

of that hot movie star

who

decades later came out

 

when I came out to my friends

as fully queer

some were 

‘You know I’m not that way’

or

some never spoke to me again

or

got drunk with me & explored

 

When I came out to my mother

she said

‘don’t tell your father’

when I came out to my father

he said

‘don’t tell your mother’

 

when I came out

no one said

‘how do you feel’

‘what does it mean to you’

no one said

‘congratulations’

or

‘it’s about fucking time’

no one

at any point

engaged me in conversation

no one ever asked

‘are you seeing someone’

no one said

‘I work with a gay guy

maybe you’d like to meet him’

no one said

‘you must feel incredibly alienated

in this small-town hard-drinking

cis-hetero-red-neck culture’

 

maybe I was too stoic

not wanting to let anyone in

being queer was enough

without presenting

as weepy drama queen

I had to be man enough 

masculine enough

to keep up appearances

so no one would suspect

the emotional uncertainty

I was drowning in

 

I was told

that so & so

who was gay

had hung himself

or 

had stepped in front of semi

on a dark highway

told that by friends 

who never said

‘I hope you don’t do that’

who never said

‘if you feel like that

talk to us’

 

when I came out

I was left to my own devices

and survived

and sometimes

I jerk off 

to the memory 

of that bathing suit picture

of the hot movie star

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice-cream in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

“When A Fem Walks”

Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam kicked off it’s 5th season with international flare with Korean, Middle Eastern, Asian & native poets, singers, & even dancers bringing their creativity to the stage. All are Canadians but our queer roots go deeper than nationality.

Host Charlie Petch’s boundless energy kept the night moving along well after the land acknowledgement & our queer international anthem. The hot button issue of the night was hot buttons 🙂 Hot Damn! now has official Queer Slam Buttons in a range of colours & sizes. You’ll have to come to a show to get one.

Open stagers warmed things up for the first round of the slam. I read a few pieces from my recent chap book. “they were all dead” “don’t turn the light on – I’m less lonely with you here” “being my lover takes more than persistence” “the not-for-profit industrial complex” “lower that critical gaze” “so queer I sweat rainbows & glitter”

From the first slam round: “using binary sex computers” “put a fault line across your body” “years since you left the closet but you still smell of mothballs” “launched too soon & landed too late” “bar shot after shot – you turn into your brother” “talk big act small”

Feature janice jo lee (http://janicejolee.ca) did a resonant set of poems, songs, accompanying herself on a loop station which replaced the cismale boy band of yesterday. Over dubbing herself the songs were complex, compelling & inviting. “when a fem walks down the street – she or he or they are not meat” “if you can’t handle the truth – you can’t handle the revolution” “what’s my gender today.” 

For ‘Crumpled Heart Regrowing” she added a Korean drum to the vocal layering & was join by dancer Sze-Yang Ade-Lam for a remarkable mediation on boundaries & inner strength. Between them they hit the sort emotional notes that shows like So You Think You Can Dance? strive to imitate.

From the last slam round: “morning showers bring afternoon rainbows” “separate the has been from the never was” “I’m going to keep saying my name until it is not forgotten” “when worth is only measured by western standards” “the sound of motherhood is knocking on a cracked door” “why was I born with this ticking clock.”

Winners were declared, prizes were given, photos were taken & season 5 was launched into the stratosphere 🙂 Next Toronto Hot Damn will be at Buddies in Bad Times November 15. 

Spoilers

boy gets girl

dog lives

monster vanquished

boy buys right girl

man repents

eviler spirits arise

escape succeeds

money isn’t enough

love conquers all

she feels compete in marriage

success isn’t everything

he was a she

family is reunited

all is forgiven

things are never the same again

she knows better

he finds a purpose in self sacrifice

boy gets boy

dog learns a lesson

man rescued from loneliness by child

greed is punished

being pretty isn’t fulfilling

he didn’t really want her

the lame horse wins a race

he dies saving others

the truth remains hidden

it was all a dream

there is no escaping

they were ghosts

drugs were a bad choice

bad guy repents

she was a princess all along

the villain was his father

the castle blows up

the space ship blows up

the race is won

marriage means more than career

he is a genius

the plants were evil

Satan is foiled

he walks again

she forgives her rapist

he sees the errors of his ways

his heart is ten times bigger

everyone is dead

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice-cream in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

Bricks to Banksy 

Somehow I lost the notes I took at the Hot Damn! Showcase as part of Unit2’s Bricks & Glitter queer festival 😦 https://www.facebook.com/bricksandglitter/ So what I may quote from the show come entirely from my memory. One thing burned in my memory from the night is the actual getting to the west-end location on Stirling Road. Google was helpful to a degree, it got me in the right direction 🙂 The heat was intense, which wasn’t helped by a text message from a FB wanting to play that night. 

I gave myself time to get lost, which I did but I quickly got back on the right track. I have never been in this area, near Lansdowne. It is a simmering art warehouse district. One was dedicated to a Banksy show, a parking lot was set up as a sit-down outdoor movie theatre. A Museum Of Contemporary Art is being built. The House of Anansi  is nestled beside a craft brewery.

I found Unit2 easily & stepped back into my Cape Breton past. In Sydney friends of mine had gotten a grant to set up a store front children’s theatre for the summer. They made puppets, did show there & in playgrounds. Unit2 had that feeling of repurposed space, not finished or polished, of people working together for change, as opposed to profits. I felt more at home than I expected. In some ways it was like being in a large rec room to watch friends perform.

The showcase was excellent. Charlie Petch opened, as they do the ‘real’ show, with acknowledging the stolen land we are on & then played the Damn! anthem, on the saw. First feature was D’Scribe: ‘I pretended my parents loved me.’ I’ve seen him perform many times now & each time I have been caught up in his vision & struggles.

Charlie did the second set in which they gave us samples of Mel Malarkey, & Daughter Of Geppetto. They also did an amazing grief piece with live multilayered vocals, sound fx that invited the audience in to experience their own feeling of personal grief & loss after the recent Danforth mass shooting. It was a performance that transcended language & took us into pure emotion.

Sadly it was getting too late for me so I left before seeing Truth Is … I wanted to be home by 11 & to bed by midnight. It was a fine show & makes me eager for the start of Hot Damn!’s season 5 this fall at Buddies in Bad Times.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1504753909765085/

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

Hot Damn’s Pine Needle Eyes

My Hot Damn! experience this month began with a workshop at Glad Day Books lead by D’Scribe that lead us through a fun prompt then on to various practical aspects of performing. There were some simple voice- warmups; talk about the use of volume, speed & hand gesture – ending every piece with a middle finger isn’t a good idea 🙂 There was time for some of us to try some of these techniques on one of our own pieces.

The Hot Damn! slam at Buddies was an enthusiastic, intimate. After after acknowledging the land and the debt of settlers to the original people of Turtle Island Charlie launched into the Hot Damn! anthem ‘Over The Rainbow’ on music saw. They talked about Soaring Eagle’s Camp in Toronto that is calling attention to indigenous people & justice.

After donning our selection for the moustache party Charlie gave us an exclusive sneak peek at their new piece “Daughter Of Geppetto” to debut at the Emergency Performance Festival #22 in Peterborough March 22/23/24. ‘when I was just a talking log’-  Chopin’s Nocturne 9 #2 clearly played a big part in teaching that log to talk.

Open stagers and slammers hit the stage. I presented Terra Cotta (below) & Pleasure Shame (see my blog post of the same name) “I circle around your square like a tourist” “smelling the difference between rice & books” “lie of the moments as I write the story you want to hear” “two weeks with the company of your empty bed” “I unplugged your alarm clock” “drive the side streets of my heart beats” “dancing beneath the cosmos following the moon home” “when I was born those bodies were found” “thirty pounds of my life on my back” “I will love you though I never met you” “they live in the garden of a house that is a home”

D’Scribe did a energizing set that was often a barely controlled rant – spilling over with fearless & emotionally resonant pieces were about oppression of indigenous people, addictions & it ended with a fun piece about oral sex. “you can hear the break of all our hearts at once” “we are more than the pain they throw us” “silence rarely changes anything” “the news never tells us the full story” “pine needles eyes with a hint of hazel” “I kept drinking to find an answer” “still breathing but dead inside” “my biggest regret is not being good enough”

A rare tie for for first place sends two slammers to the season finale on April 6 at Buddies In Bad Times. The winner of that slam gets swell prizes including a trip to Washing DC for Capturing Fire in June. One of the features will be the amazing Witch Prophet. 

Terra Cotta

he insisted

on terra cotta flower pots

not pots

planters

you know the kind big enough

for a …

oh you’ve heard this story

you know where it’s going

unlike the men

meeting him

they didn’t know where they were going

just that he promised

to take them somewhere

offered –

well I’m not sure what he offered

it’s hard to call that something sex

I guess I’m old fashioned that way

 

terra cotta is better for the plants

for the roots

it breathes properly

allows water to filter through

plastic containers trap the water

traps insects

plastic absorbs heat

the soil doesn’t breathe

 

neither do the men

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice-cream in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Sexting

On a recent Disability After Dark Andrew Gurza in conversation with Mari Ramsawakh covers a lot of territory including sexting, in particular sexting as a way to experience shared fantasy. Both of them use it as an opportunity to talk about sex they are physically incapable of performing but would like to have. They are clear with their sexting partners about their real limitations.

 

 

I enjoying sexting – sending, receiving – on my cell with guys I’ve met up with before. We’ve exchanged dick pics etc. Nothing can perk up a routine day like getting a sweet selfie for a guy bored at work – who then slips into the washroom for an even more intimate pic. It creates a fun sense of anticipation.

On line, some dating sites allow for c2c – camera to camera – but, to be honest, watching some guy I may never meet jacking off doesn’t appeal enough for me, even if it’s one I know. There is one guy, who I’ve played with in the past,  who would ‘page’ me to watch his ‘show’ with me providing hot talk to really get him off. After the second time I lost interest. Which can also happen without a camera on – too much sex talk with no chance of meeting up doesn’t hold my attention for long.

With no face – other than profile pics – one is never sure if who they are fantasizing with is actual the person in the picture. Usually these guy want you to talk about what you will do them, ask them what they want to do to you and conversations end quickly or they say doing them should be enough for me. It’s not as if we’re doing anything real anyway so if I can pretend, so can they 🙂

Icarus

when I caught Icarus

I thought he was a snowflake

as he tumbled through eons

the taste of fast singed flesh

on the tip of my tongue

filled my mouth

 

I set him on the ground

red-faced and sizzling

he wasn’t sure where he was

memory sun-stung into forgetfulness

the propulsion of the sun

sent him spinning through time

 

I offered buttered ice

to cool his shoulder smoulder

offered clothes to cover the cinders he wore

the wing stubble on his back

not sufficient cover for the shame he felt

at his blistered red raw nakedness

he stood chastened before me

barely able to open his eyes

to accept what he couldn’t see clearly

 

he was no longer the ambitious boy

but now a man on earth

his generations gone in the spin though time

he didn’t understand my language

didn’t know how to say yes or no to my help

followed me unsure

as I lead him from the field

into my arms    my home

 

I caught Icarus

now I need to find the right myth to repair

his broken heart    his broken spirit

to assure him

I mean no offence when I order

the extra hot wings

 

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

kiss3

https://www.facebook.com/events/1895647050666334/

March 8, Thursday – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Workshop: 4 pm at Glad Day with D’Scribe.

March 8, Thursday – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Slam: 8 pm Buddies In Bad Times Theatre Feature D’Scribe

https://www.facebook.com/events/2000968880141003/

HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

http://www.queerslam.com

April 03 – every Tuesday

June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked) capfireslam.org 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice cream in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

“gun shots in the night”

Hot Damn!  continues to evolve and now with a grant from Toronto Arts Council it will evolve even more and widen its performance potential and creative reach. The November edition at Buddies in Bad Times with dynamic feature Kai Cheng Thom brought many new faces to the stage. Some reading on the open mic for the first time and presenting challenging and emotionally raw work. It is a powerful reassurance that Hot Damn! proves a safe and welcoming space for writers to be so vulnerable and honest.

Charlie C Petch started the show off by honouring the stolen land we thrive on and with the Hot Damn! anthem, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, played on the musical saw.

Some moments from the first open stagers and slammers: ‘queer smokers unite,’ ‘my sister wouldn’t sell me a broken phone’ ‘I feel scared to be happy’ ‘happiness is the breath between anxiety attacks’ ‘this is so much more than friendship’ ‘happy is a farm house’ ‘in happy I have a life where I want to get out of bed’ ‘maybe I’m scared of seeing your face’

‘my body is a vessel – like the Millennium Falcon?’ ‘my body is not missing anything’ ‘the greatest gift is not to have a child’ ‘something I made when I had feelings’ ‘like that hope I used to save for Christianity’ ‘my parents really screwed up’ ‘nothing but gossip is truly sacred’ ‘I might have come out sooner if my sister hadn’t come out Christian’

Feature Kai Cheng Thom was vibrant, confident, laugh-out-loud funny, politically blunt & emotionally vulnerable. ‘donate my body to art not science’ ‘the dead are free to go where they want’ ‘you were a good child because you were silent’ ‘gun shots in the night that weren’t meant for you’ ‘it is really hard for you, I know, I took a workshop’ ‘seeing salvation in the blue of the flame’ ‘are you keeping me safe or keeping me trapped’

I loved the piece about the revolutionary leader’s lover that took me back to those 60’s icons of change who spouted about tearing down the corporate structure while counting on wives to do their cooking & laundry. Also really identified with the piece about being with a guy having sex with you who kept checking to see that his girlfriend was okay.

After a much need break Charlie got things rolling once again with more open stagers and the final round of the slam. ‘I ache for a sense of belonging’ ‘I cut deeper – when did this become a competition’ ‘I have a dance with death looking in the mirror’ ‘the murdered were all around my age, they died a violent death’ ‘the weight of my backpack still haunts me’ ‘I wear my red dress for you, sisters’ ‘my wrists tells my story better than my mouth’ ‘my gender in a party crasher’ ‘that information should be saved for the wedding’ ‘in my very own bedroom, in my very own house’ ‘what is indigenous pain without a white man’s honour’

Prizes were given, including the $50 cash prize for first place. Hugs, with consent, where exchanged and a good time was had by all. Next couple of Hot Damn! will be in Peterborough, then Hamilton, returning to Buddies on March 8. The Season Four  finale will be in April 6 when we see which winner will represent Hot Damn! at Capturing Fire in June.

On the open stage I read this newly edited version of one of my recent October poems:

The Tingler

as a kid

I couldn’t tell the truth

if my life depended on it

not that I was a compulsive liar

or even lied that often

but under any sort of questioning

I was guilty

regardless of being innocent

Did you do that?

no – which was the truth

Go to your room

Until you are ready to tell the truth

but

No buts. Now go, you lying loser

 

to avoid that banishment

I’d have to tell a lie

but I was even a worse liar

thanks to a movie I saw

where a sort of centipede

would materialize

around the spine

when you were scared

lying scared me

as much as telling the truth

I would feel those

million sharp legs

sinking into my back

my skin would tingle

The Tingler!

that’s what that movie was called

 

a lie would kill me

it would crush my heart

burst out of my nose

brain spattering everywhere

insect legs would dig out from my eyes

 

so I was afraid to lie

the punishment for telling the truth

was bad enough

not be be believed

not to be trusted was confusing

it was better to leave the room

let them think what they wanted

because the clearly truth

made no fucking difference

 

at that age

they made sure

I knew I was a lying loser

a useless dishonest kid

which I know now

was their lie

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice-cream in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

‘silence is manslaughter’

Hot Damn! launched it’s 4th season (may the 4th be with you) at  Buddies In Bad Times Theatre Thursday night with rainbow-high-energy, out-to-win slammers, fearless open stagers & a wildly enthusiastic full house. Charlie Petch was in fine form keeping things flowing & the energy somewhere over the rainbow.

First set of open stagers & slammers: by the time you are able to read this, you may not remember me – I was told I could pave the way for women, why can’t I pave the way for all mankind – teens decomposing their own songs – this place smell of chance & lost dreams – less that nothing is still something – if it all means nothing, why not have fun – I dream of things I never want to see again – I wake to fear walking above ground – pour smoke over my heart – Wendy’s pigtails never fit the little boy that worse the – you wanna say best & breast comes out – I say I’m sorry more than I say I love you.

Andre Prefontaine’s feature set was amazing – emotionally resonant, overflowing with rich images, vibrant precise anger, & sassy theatricality. Honey, he was tougher than any nail they used to stab you – my Dad uses your homosexuality like a pair of scissors that cuts you out of his picture – worry about the future is a tragic waste of your imagination – I’m so calm it’s almost like disassociating – don’t you know how difficult it is to blow someone and do origami at the same time – hold the bible like brass knuckles – silence is manslaughter – people killing people for killing people.

After a much needed break – during which I got to hand out flyers for my feature (see below) – I picked up a couple of copies of Andre Prefontaine’s new chap book & got caught up with Vanessa McGowan. (when is her Hot Damn! feature?) I started out the second set of open stagers with my hair piece (see below).

From the rest of the night: that little crack makes you so human – I’ve never been struck by lightning – my body tells the truth when it shows the scars that anchor me to the reality of what happened – biting is cool, bite marks are not – we can’t use my name as a safety word – you left tiny blades my throat where you name used to be – the art of drowning in perfect make up – the rest of you is still living – never explain lost battles for your recovery – somehow your pain is never about you – being gay is more than whatever gender you choose – anatomy trump compassion – that word holds a power I cannot overcome – do you know where you are – chill of frosting in my bones – I smell like a Wes Craven movie –

Scores were added up & an array of prizes were handed out. Teddy Syrette took the Queirdo Prize for funnest bingo poem. Ezra Stewart took first spot in a tight race for a chance to win the big big prize: a trip to Washington DC (if Canadians are still allowed into the USA next summer) to attend Capturing Fire.

Next Hot Damn! is Gueph! Sept 30th. Hot Damn! returns to Toronto at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre on November 30.

Don’t Touch (My Hair)

she was a stranger

who felt no compunction

in reaching out to touch my hair

I must have been in my mid-twenties

at the time

my hair was freshly washed

shoulder length

‘it’s like baby hair,’ she said

I was a natural blond

even blonder

after a month of summer sun

‘I would kill to have hair like yours’

she smiled

‘thanks’ I replied

not adding

that I hate my hair

I hate it being so smooth

hate being asked

are you a boy or are you girl

being called fruit

by guys because of my hair

not that I was mr masculine

to begin with

shortly after that

I dyed my hair for the first time

I wanted a change

I bought a home kit

to make it permanent jet black

the look was striking

my mother said

‘what were you thinking’

I went to work

raised a few eye brows

but no comments

the black faded after the first wash

so much for permanent

in a week it was ash

in three weeks

back to baby fine blond

my hair

was like my sexuality

something I couldn’t disguise

no matter what women

I flirted with

no matter what I tried to call it

bi questioning pan

no matter what I drank to blot it out

it would always be

like my hair

something I was powerless over

something I hadn’t constructed

something I had to live with

I remember my first perm

a head of tight blond curls

they bounced in the light

it was my face

but a different me

the stylist conferred with a colourist

both agreed

that my hair was too fine

to hold colour for long

that it would be a shame

to tamper with it anyway

the permanent curls

would flatten within a week

I wasn’t willing

to go to bed with hairpins

so I’d get that perm

every month or so

I loved my hair for the first week

then a week of doing what I could

to keep the curl in

it was too much work

too much time checking in mirrors

I had a friend who was

what he referred to as a hair burner

he touched my freshly washed

uncurled hair one day

‘you have baby hair

I have clients

who would kill to have hair like that’

I said

‘I hate my hair

it’s too much work’

he said

‘do you trust me’

I let him do what he wanted

it took a couple of hours

that first time

to cut it short short short

then incise with electric razor

patterns into the hair

sometimes a maze

other times circle or triangles

always different

then he died

murdered by HIV meds

I shaved my head for his funeral

no one would ever touch my hair

again

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet