Buffy Season 5

Spoiler alert – I will be revealing crucial plot points so if you haven’t seen season 5 be warned. Of course that fact that there are two more seasons spoils the finale, in which Buffy dies, anyway. The season presents, to me, the best Buffy villain yet with Clare Kramer as Glory. The actor is great & her scenes with Buffy crackle with great energy. She was like Cordelia with super evil powers.  

The season starts with Buffy vs. Dracula – one of those about time episodes it also introduced Buffy’s younger “sister”, Dawn, played by Michelle Trachtenberg. Talk about confusing. It did the writers a chance to work with easy family cliches as opposed to the Slayer mythos. The big reveal was well planned & well written to. The departure of Riley, Marc Blucas, was welcome as that ‘relationship’ was tedious & distracting. He was great eye candy but I never felt invested in him as a character.

It was a season of duality – many characters were two people, emotionally or literally – Zander get a double; Dawn is a sister & the Key; Glory is a god & Ben a mortal; Buffy is a Slayer & a parent, Spike is a  mess of emotions. Multilayered characters that drew me in & who never disappointed.

The death of Buffy’s mother, Joyce, was not unexpected & unlike many characters – she dies of natural causes. The emotions felt real and the emotional quandary for Buffy was well written & Sarah gives an amazing (& underrated) performance.

I loved the robot episodes, Zander’s double was great. Any appearance by Glory was satisfying. The morning of her dual nature was great fx & the flip between both of her/his halves int he finale episodes was very effective. I was sorry to see them go. I loved Joel Grey’s arc & I was sad to see that he doesn’t return in season 6.

I can’t say this is the best season but after the mess of season 4 it was a great return to form. 

All’s Well Bellicose

it’s not me it’s them

its a war zone out there

no safe haven 

to stop and breathe in

who wants to breathe 

the air out there

standing in what sort of shit

no place to rest 

to put down the gun 

for even a minute

random bullets materialize in the air

when you are walking down the street

looking for a burger joint

for a corner to piss in

and bang

 

if the bullets don’t get you

the burgers will

you’re all out to get me

people everywhere cough sneeze

wipe damp hands 

on door handles I have to touch

grimacing at me

at my gun

over their newspapers

cranking up their mp3 players

so I can’t hear mine

daring me to shoot 

as they light up a cigarette

as they push ahead of me 

to get their death burger faster

fast food being too slow for them

tearing off price tags

ripping books to shreds

pushing their way 

down crowded stairs ways

jumping at me with atomizers

when I enter a department store

try this sir

what’s your favourite blood 

I like the smell of 

cosmetic salespersons blood

do you have anything like that

or something that smells 

like fast food counter help

that empty fried fresh aroma

that tingles the taste buds

something that makes people hungry 

when they smell me

 

it’s not me it’s them

I set out peaceful almost serene

avoid the unscooped spots on the sidewalk

even manage a smile at the barista

who would smile back

if she weren’t afraid it slow her down

and the swish my coffee enough

to make sure the lumps of milk 

and sweetener have dissolved

and I’m happy for the first sip

until the lid pops off 

and I have to watch 

the slick scum cling 

to the sides of my cup

as I sip sip sip to the last drop

 

I am now ready for anything and everything 

that is out to get me

I won’t fight back too much today

I want to be a power of calm

in all this mindless 

staggering 

stumbling 

hurry around me

to step out of the way

resist saying have a nice day

resist saying fuck you too

resist kicking cars 

that stop in the crosswalk

as if they owned the damn streets

 

to know that even if this a war zone

all is well with the world

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August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton 

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Buffy Season 4 – Nearly Dustless

 Recently finished watching Season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There is so much sex in this season – everyone, including Giles, is getting laid I now think of this as season fornicate. This is also the season when I gave up on it when it was first broadcast. Buffy’s emotionally vulnerability was, to me, forced & distracting. There was hardly any vampires slain either. Lots of demons though. I  didn’t buy into the military complex plot line – government conspiracy is so X-Files, it was tepid at best.

Some episodes suffered from too many characters & the writers never found a balance between them. At times it felt like they were given dialogue that kept them on screen as opposed to adding to the plot. At least they dropped the one trope I hated – you know the one in which no one believes there are vampire etc. This season everyone in Sunnyvale acknowledges there are evil forces at work.

The season has some of the worse episodes (so far) of the series. “Beer Bad” being one, the other, for me, was “Pangs” the Thanksgiving episode that is so embarrassing I was ready to give up again on season 4. But I’m glad I stuck with it because there were also some of the best written & performed eps as well.

The departure of Oz was emotionally resonant but (spoiler alert) he returns before the end of the season for another great episode. In fact some of the best episodes involved returning characters. Ethan Raine does things to Giles in “A New Man” that were thrilling to see. Danny Strong shines in “Superstar” a brilliant episode. Faith surfaces again in a well plotted & emotionally satisfying two-parter. 

Adam as a villain never felt like a threat. The shenanigans of  The Initiative – the military complex were predictable & left me feeling ‘who cares’ though Lindsay Crouse as the evil doctor was always a joy to watch. I was sorry to see her dispatched without a real face off with Buffy.

It took the writers ten episodes or more to get their footing after the departure of Angel & Cordelia. Spike was to be the smart mouth but seemed totally wasted in every episode. Anya was the best addition to the gang & it was clear the writers loved writing for her. 

There were some great stand alone episodes. “Hush” with the floating Gentlemen was creepy & fantastic; the abused children spirits, is “Where The Wild Things Are” seeking revenge was chilling as was the actress playing their ‘keeper.’ I’m hoping there a another episode in future seasons that deals with her.

The season did expand some of the Slayer mythos, as well giving us more a glimpse into the Watchers that I hope is explored more in future seasons. Willow became more of character, as opposed to a side-kick, as her magic powers & confidence grows. At times it felt more like the Witch Willow show than Buffy. Oh yes, Willow gets Tara – as a love interest. I still think it would have been more revolutionary if Zander got a boyfriend though say in the form of Forrest – as Forrest is clearly resents Riley switch of affection to a girl, namely Buffy.

Speaking of Forrest it was great to see a black character on Buffy in a recurring role. Though he was not a good guy he certainly made Riley seem almost interesting with the powerful gay subtext he was playing in all their scenes. Even in the final fight between them his motivation was more ‘how could you choose her over me’ than ‘I’m helping Adam conquer the world.’

By the end of the season I was glad I stuck with it even if there are some episode I wish I could un-watch. I was also missing the lack of vampire dustings. Come on she’s a vampire slayer – not a demon hunter. On to Season 5.

The Cell

a man weeps on the subway

well-dressed   mid-thirties

turns his face from us

with no corner to hide his tears

rubs a cell phone in his left hand

squeezing it as something to hold on to

glances at the screen

bumps his head on the window

harder and harder

should someone stop him

he lurches up

gets off at the next station

stares immobile as the train pulls out

 

was that even his stop

was he ashamed of strangers 

seeing his sorrow

our eyes wanting more than they could see

was our pity   curiosity   inaction

too much more to bare

on top of what he wept about

 

his cell phone still where he sat

I pick it up look around

no one acknowledges what I have done

what should I do with it

try the numbers on it

track him down

did he abandon it   leave his sorrow behind

I get off at my stop

take the cell with me

 

at home I press the right buttons

nothing lights up dead

my recharge cable doesn’t fit

I’m at a loss about what to do

suddenly it lights up   rings

hello

all I hear are 

 

painful gut-wrenching sobs

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October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up

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September or October but to be confirmed – feature – The Art Bar, Free Times Cafe

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Vampire Willow

 Finally worked through the Buggering, I mean, Buffering archive (if I type too fast I hit ‘gg’ instead of ‘ff’.) Listened to all expect their look at Wonder Woman – I’ll wait until I’ve seen the movie. Hosts Jenny Owen Youngs & Kristin Russo have expanded the podcast, thanks to advertisers (who knew book of the month still existed) & Patreon supporters. Interviews with actors who have appeared on the show increased from those with episode appearances to those with full arc appearances.

I enjoyed the interviews with the mayor, with the deputy mayor, even one with Buffy’s mom. Fun stories, though one of the interviews was close to an infomercial for that actor’s current ‘empire.’ I was sad to see the mail-bag episodes become a bonus for their Patreon supporters. 

Season 3 is the Faith season & has too many great episodes for me to pick a favorite. Band Candy is one standout. Vampire Willow is unforgettable, as is MOO (now that’s a t-shirt I’d buy). The Mayor has most of the best moments & lines with his ‘square Dad’ banality that barely contains his inner demon. The writers & the actor had a great time giving this villain so much character & personality.

The Faith and Buffy chemistry simmers with lesbian tension in nearly every scene they have together – even their final confrontation. The hosts are sure it boiled over in not-seen scenes between slayings. I don’t find it as daring as they do though. Lesbianism – girl-on-girl – has always been more allowable in entertainment, than man-on-man. If the writers had, say, Zander & Oz, display this same kind of sexual chemistry then the show would have been revolutionary as opposed to merely toying with the acceptable girl-on-girl trope.

Diversity increased with Mr. Trick – the first regular black character. Played with great panache, & out dressing even Cordelia, he is a commanding presence but remains underdeveloped & under utilized. Race is mentioned but not explored. Why are there so few poc in Sunnydale, even as background fillers? 

In one podcast the hosts speculate on how Buffy would be made today – how would it be cast? Probably with the same formula now used in Hollywood that allows for limited but more poc. A black Willow with access to African spiritual energy; probably piss-baby Zander would be and Asian dude or perhaps Giles would be the Asian character as he so wise & serene. 

The season ends with a resounding bang that destroys the high-school – which (spoiler alert) is revisited in mid-season 4 & remains in ruins. I guess when Sunnydale High blew up to seal the Hell Mouth the department of education opted not to rebuild. I suppose they are bussing the students to another county now. 

My previous Buffering posts:

Buffy Buffy Buffering https://wp.me/p1RtxU-2P5 

Buffering Season 2 https://wp.me/p1RtxU-2Sf

A Bite

one morning there was a bite

an arc on my forearm 

almost on my elbow

clear distinct human

top row bottom row

teeth marks

skin not broken

bruised red ridges indents

not where I could have done it

it wasn’t there when I went to bed

there was another bite

on my left heel

it was tender to the touch

another spot my mouth could never reach

then a final bite mark

on my inner thigh

I could still feel a mouth there

a tongue warm and wet

as teeth sank in

as if someone had

tried to devour me in my sleep

all day I found myself

rolling up my sleeve

just far enough to see the first bite

it hadn’t faded into a pink rose

it was still there

an red angry smear

when I got home

the others were also there

as if something had a hold of me all day

I checked the mirror carefully

had I missed one

did they make a pattern

they didn’t glow in the dark

they didn’t throb

there was no pain

only the sensation of my hand

when I touched them

weeks later

years later

they are still there

and despite them

there is never less of me

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every Tuesday

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

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Buffering Season 2

I don’t binge watch TV shows but sometimes I do binge listen to podcasts. In this case I’ve been pushing through the archives of Buffering The Vampire Slayer by listening to one day to get caught up to where it is now. Currently it’s coming to the end of season 3. I’ve just come to the end of season 2 on the podcast. 

My actual watching has me part way through season 4 – I just watched Hush. Which is one of the better episodes of season 4 – the first university year. All I’ll say about season 4 is that the writers, for the most part, started out lost but things are finally coming together. The militia subplot was/is tedious but the return of Spike is welcome but I hope he stops being used as a comic foil soon.

I’ve enjoy the way the podcast has grown. Hosts Jenny Owen Youngs & Kristin Russo, remain engaging, insightful, funny & their love of the show is contagious. I’ve enjoyed the interviews with past cast members. Season 3 wraps with an interview with perhaps their biggest cast member: The Mayor. I have been tempted to go back to a few episodes with their comments in mind. I love their attention to detail & would like more of that. Back ground extras who only appear but do so in several episodes are always a joy to me.

 

Their episode songs are fun – my fave being Blue Goo. The jingles for the characters are also a nice addition that grows more in their discussion of season 2. But I can’t see myself using one as my cellphone ring 🙂 Season 2 podcast include a great  interview with Armin Shimerman, who plays Principal Snyder.

In their season 2 wrap up they talk about favourite moments, characters etc. For me it was the introduction of Oz though I feel his werewolf persona was never fully utilized in his story arc until season 4. It felt more like ‘oh hey lets have a cute werewolf as Willow’s boyfriend.’ He does get some of the best lines & Seth Green’s delivery is great, frequently better than his cool shirts. 

Is this the best season of Buffy? I found season 3 to be stronger. I lost interest in Buffy’s original broadcast run during season 4 so I can’t compare this season to subsequent ones. 

previously on Buffy:  Buffy Buffy Buffering https://wp.me/p1RtxU-2P5 

Psycho Zombies in the Rain

it was raining ballerinas

you know

rain so heavy

each drop created a splash tutu

as it landed

on its one toe

to join the corps du puddle

a literal rain dance

 

wet ragged gene mutated zombie

staggering down the street

skin stinking in the rain

crumbling for the lure of brains

grabs a light pole

flings aimless decaying arm

drops into the gutter

eyes washed but not cleaned

lightening strikes

the unlucky char

sluiced down the sewer drain

 

the rain not a sheet but a curtain

a shower curtain

lightening cuts through it

an electrified knife

stab stab after stab

screams drowned out by the rain

rain so heavy

we can’t see across the street

can’t see 

through the car window

wiper blades not cutting it

smearing rain like blood

on a steamy bathroom tile

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

HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday another chapter:

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

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Buffy Buffy Buffering

I have a confession to make – I’m a fan of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I have the complete box-set of the TV series. I got a year or so ago & have been watching nearly an episode a week. Currently I’m about 8 episodes into Season 4 – where the Scoobie gang goes to university. All I can say is that the writers feel a little lost so far. Without two of the major players from the first 3 seasons they seem unsure of what to do without them or without the high-school as the grounding set.

I’m also listening to Buffering the Vampire Slayer. An amazing podcast by Jenny Owen Youngs & Kristin Russo, a married lesbian couple (I say this because they say it frequently). I heard about Buffering (I keep hitting ‘g’ instead of ‘f’) from Liv Mammone on Facebook when she first starting season 1.

Buffering is commenting on each episode in sequence is deep into season 3. So I have a large backlog of their posts to listen to as I & I’ve just come to the end of season 1. But to keep from getting further behind I’m listening to their freshest podcasts at the same time. So I have Buffy coming at me from 3 different points in the story arc.

As they frequently point out the show not only reflects high-school but also the sense of what we hide, or think we hide, from others as lgbtq people. To avoid spoilers I will say that the show explores lesbianism in a very fun, sensual way. Season 2 does have a minor character who is an out gay male high-schooler but his story arc is so undeveloped it strikes me now as an attempt to be comic than anything else.

The Buffering podcast is great fun. The hosts know their stuff & their eye for small detail is excellent. They notice things ie: posters on the wall, how can anyone run in those shoes – sort of stuff that frequently catches my eye too. One thing they haven’t mentioned (but maybe I haven’t heard that episode) is who pays for their clothes. I don’t mean for the costume department but in the reality of Sunnydale. The characters rarely wear the same outfits from one episode to the next. We never even see them shopping for clothes (other than for Halloween or the prom). Clearly the Hellmouth has elves that make new clothes overnight for everyone.

Cape Fever

it was a black satin half-slip

with a hem of red lace

I found in my mother’s dresser

it was cool on my skin

I twisted & turned

in front of the mirror

to see it flow

clutching the waist

around my eight-year-old throat

so it was my black cape

dripping with the blood

I’d dragged it through

 

it wasn’t long enough

not full enough

meant for my mother’s narrow hips

when I tried to sweep it up

to cover my face

it fell off

it would never be Dracula’s cape

 

besides my eye brows were wrong

even after I tired to create

those terrifying arches

using eyebrow forms from

my mother’s Elizabeth Arden make up kit

it had dozens of shapes to

none were arched enough

so I did what I could

by turning one upside down

spectacular

 

a mouth full of tomato catchup

was impossible

too thick

for it drip over my teeth

or out of the corners of my mouth

the red was wrong

beet juice was the right colour

but way too thin

the two didn’t mix well either

 

but those eyebrows were spectacular

they scared even me

in the mirror

when I held a flashlight under my chin

all I needed was the right cape

and a victim

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a new chapter every Tuesday

 

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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

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