Union Station Blues

Monday June 6 was my first day in DC to do nothing – no tours were booked, no dates were set up, no alarm was set but I did wake up at my usual time anyway. Sadly the a/c in my hotel room is so noisy I have to choose between sort of cool air or music. Other than that Embassy Inn has proved to be a good hotel. Like every hotel I’ve stayed in, hotel maids find it impossible to understand the request – please don’t make the bed. So every day when I do get back I spend five minutes undoing their hard bed making work.DC0704My only tentative plan for the day was to check out Union Station. Dipping myself in 110 sunblock I walked over to DuPont Circle & took the Metro – after a couple of trips now I’m feeling more confident on the Red line. Just like TTC transit times are affected by track work delays & users grumble. The system must be wifi ready as lots of people were texting away on various devices.DC0701Union Station (google for real facts) is hub for trains & buses & the many tours of the city. The grand hall is spectacular, columns & imposing statues. Three floors of shopping, dining & of course train platforms. Only ticket holders get as far as those platforms. I took enough pictures to satisfy me. I checked a couple of gift shops looking for the ideal DC tank top – nothing 😦 I did run into Jason Sniderman, one of the Sparkle features & he actually recognized me. We chatted a bit about Fire, the history of paper & the book as a souvenir. A sweet fluke of timing. Before I left I did pick up at the Post Office a mailer for sending some stuff back to TO.DC0702A successful return to DuPont circle, stop for a cold drink, back to the hotel to pack the chap books & poetry collections I had purchased. I’ll have to wait until next week to start reading those. googled nearest PO & it was 14th by the DC Centre. Another dip into 110 sunblock & added my sun cloth – it fits under my hat to cover my neck & ears. What’s more foolish? the cloth or the skin cancer it helps me avoid?

Once my package was mailed (apparently the only DC package I’ll get to open this year, if you catch my drift), I found a shady bench & did a bit of writing. Fire ideas that had to be worked on a little. Back to the hotel once again for real rest up. Unmade the maid made bed, mediated, slept, re-dipped in sunblock & out at 5. Grabbed pizza slices & hit another meeting at the DuPont Circle Club. Enjoy the unison saying of the steps & happy this meeting ended with only the Serenity Prayer. DC0703Heat had abated somewhat but more than muggy enough for me. Happy to get back to hotel, undress, take a shower. Transcribed the Fire workshop stuff & some of it is fine & none of it is showing off. Chatted on line with a couple of local lads but no one was willing to go further than chat. Finally crawled into my unmade bed & fell asleep nearly instantly.

sample

one of the workshop prompts was the describe, in seven minutes, the perfect date & include time, setting, food:

Cold Pizza

front porch six p.m.

grass freshly mown

lilacs in bloom

rain an hour ago

me showered

he five minutes late

porch fan rotating

keeping my heels cool

he arrives

freshly showered

pizza ordered

pineapple on one half

bacon on the other

weather talked about

work discussed

bare feet

sweat damp calves

not so timid touching

not so tentative kissing

pizza arrives at seven

table set

shorts tugged off

in the kitchen

the counter the right height

for support

pizza eaten at midnight

snowtoy

Cabaret Noir

Back in the day, when Cabaret Noir was in full swing, I often took charge of house music to keep the pre-show mood moving in the right direction. For the Halloween shows I put together a special scary music mp3 cd – over six hours of spine chilling music.16.door.36It includes the entire Bernard Hermann score for Psycho – original soundtrack version. One of the all-time great scores I was super happy when it was finally released. I picked it up on iTunes. Scary but, oddly enough, is also great make out music – time to hit showers stud.16.door.16On this cd is a version of some of Psycho by the Horror Theme Ensemble – part of a set of other horror themes by some studio musicians. Another iTunes find of some 50 themes remade. Some work, some don’t but fun & moody.16.door.80Dot’s Calliope is creepy – an electronica band with a consistent down tempo inventiveness. They were right at home with organ music from one of my all-time favourite movies: Last Year At Marienbad – the movie isn’t scary but that music – wow. The scary movie soundtrack here is Return of the Living Dead – that include snippets of film dialogue ‘send more cops.’ Plus fun zombie punk & surf rock.16.door.19Also a funereal set of Brahms’ Organ Preludes by Peter Planyavsky. One can almost smell the lilies around the open coffin in these preludes. Rounding it all off is Wendy Carlos’s Shining themes & the Winter suite from her Sonic Seasonings. If you need music to inspire your horror novel this set will do it. If not there’s still time to hit the showers, stud.sample

Conversation

I call upon the Bliss Beast of Seraph to protect me from all harm.

        Allow the Conversation of Elders to be heard

        Scatter the small seeds of Hope and Truth so they take hold

        Bring to all the Final Seal still Unbroken.

Sylver Rayn read the invocation silently and then uttered aloud. She didn’t know what all the various words meant, some where strange to her tongue but she knew that this was the only way to find a return to her own land, to her own people.

The vaulted chamber was cool, damp but mist free. It was one of the few places here at the bottom of the gorge that she had found to be free of that penetrating mist.

Her every move was echoed by the thick granite walls. The blink of an eyelash brought a soft rustle ripple in response. Her breathing became a lulling hum as it re-echoed upon itself and the words she spoke darted and merged into the hum to disappear but never to end.

She inched forward slowly towards the three tiny droplets that hovered in the air over the altar in the centre of the room. They danced and darted in the vibrations she had caused.

She stopped. She waited.

Nothing happened.

She waited. She waited.

She felt the sting of tears in the corners of her eyes. Futility returned. Bitter and thwarted she left the Chamber of Echoes. She had been lied to one too many times. This wouldn’t do. She had to impress up someone the importance of her quest.

‘Guard!’

‘Yas, Mistress.’

‘I am to be taken to the Minor Coventanter.’

‘Follow me.’

The guard lifted the dim flame taper to lead her through the narrow passage ways. The ever present fog didn’t allow the light to illuminate much more than a few inches on either side of them and even less in front of them.

Rarely on her travels through the city had she met up with another party. The natives needed no light as they knew these routes and mazes from birth. She was their Visitor, their salvation some said, who had dropped from the sky above. ‘The lady brought upon the rain’ that was foretold but she had yet to find any records of this foretelling.

All she had was the Seraph Invocation to the Elders and that had proved be another dead end.soon

cover170x170-1on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Deliciously iTunes

June 3-5: attending: Capturing Fire 2016 – The DC Centre – 2000 14th St NW, Suite 105 – Washington, DC – I’m registered 🙂

nufire

https://capfireslam.org

check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5KD1eDccdjdTdQ28kZRNg

June 11, Saturday  – attending: The Toronto Poetry Talks – 10 AM – Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Toronto, Ontario M5V 3C6

poetrytalk

https://www.facebook.com/events/147955055574679/

June 12, Sunday – participating: Michael Matheson – The Axe and the Scalpel – Editing Your Own Work 1:00 pm – Bakka-Phoenix Books – 84 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2H7construction vert

tickets here

September 1-4: attending FanExpo 2016 (I’ve already registered)

expo16

https://www.facebook.com/fanexpocanada/?fref=ts

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nanobullseye

http://nanowrimo.org/

money

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

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you look so a doorable in blue

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Christmas Itchmas

Festive greetings in keeping with your belief, or lack of belief, systems. I started writing this 10 days before Christmas Day – my life is so busy, right? I’ll be spending the day with chosen family. Friends in & out of recovery. We’ll exchange gifts, eat too much food, laugh, some will cry & we’ll all leave satisfied. Neither richer nor wise & still with life’s discontents to deal with.xmas01

The time of the year to look back. This time last year I was dealing with the stress of the stress of my friend whose apartment was destroyed by fire – he spent a few nights here before the insurance kicked in & he went to hotels. It wasn’t easy to detach as he dealt with this form of homelessness for some months.xmas02

It was a year of endings & beginnings. I got unofficially involved with Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam when the show was in Toronto. I became a permanent house judge & donated prizes to bring more than my jadedness to the proceedings. That lead me to going to Washington DC for Capturing Fire, which was dynamic & fun.xmas03

It was also the last year for two of my regular events. Rosemary Aubert brought her annual Loyalist workshops to an end. I looked forward this retreat & the company of the writers there for five intense days. There was some talk of me taking over to keep it going but I lack the paper (i.e M.A. in Creative Writing or a publishing record) credentials needed.xmas04

I also bid a sad farewell to Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir. The frequently full houses didn’t spend enough $ at the bar to satisfy management so rather than take an earlier time upstairs at the Central Lizzie decided to end the series. I’ll miss the show & the people but won’t miss the Central at all. As the tarot says the old must die for the new to arrive.

samples

I’ll Scratch Yours

why is enough never enough

I can scratch an itch

then minutes later need to scratch again

to get what I want leads to wanting more

if one-on-one is great

a threesome has to be even better

I’m a guy who can say no

but when I deny myself

the smug satisfaction of drawing a line

and sticking to it isn’t as rewarding

as giving in one more time

 

could be it that scratch

is not the solution to itch

should I try that zen approach

when the itch is ready

the finger will appear

if only all it took was a finger

 

can I learn to live with the itch

for whiter teeth faster downloads

snappier sneakers flashier T-shirts

all calling scratch me now

or forever regret

all you will miss by resisting

 

those glittering beacons

floating out of reach

straining teasing demeaning

‘til I’m too weak to do anything

except beg for some relief

 

isn’t there a way to feel free

of the need to satisfy some urge

or is need to be free

just another in the long itch list

scratch my back

16

January 20, Wednesday: judging at Hot Damn! it’s a Queer Slam – featuring  Dominic Berry Supermarket Restaurant and Bar 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto, Ontario M5T2L9

http://www.queerslam.com

hot

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

March 12, Saturday: attending:

spec

Toronto-SpecFic-Colloquium

June 3-5: attending: Capturing Fire 2016 – The DC Centre – 2000 14th St NW, Suite 105 – Washington, DC

nufire

http://capturingfire.com/#/page/1

September 1-5: attending FanExpo 2016expo16

https://www.facebook.com/fanexpocanada/?fref=ts

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nanobullseye

http://nanowrimo.org/

money

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

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xmasbroken

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Noir Magick Finale

A chilly October night was made even chillier by Cabaret Noir’s Halloween show. At least we weren’t knocking the snow off our boots. A full house, some in costume, ‘enjoyed’ an evening of zombies, witches, vampires & Bela Lugosi. Lizzie Violet, with lips artful sown shut, started the show with a piece of her own: ‘I could still hear it breathing.’ Philip Cairns brought the Ghosts of the Past – a piece sparked by a film shoot in a place he had lived as a child – there’s a movie plot is that – apparently he’s still haunted by Annette Funicello’s breasts. He was followed by Shawn Sosnowski who did a fine acapella take on Bright Eye’s ‘You Will.’

blueplant

First feature D. S. Campbell hit the stage with his inner child literally exploding out of his head. He read from his Zombie Manifesto. First a scene on an airport tarmac: ‘just enough breathing room, to consider the weather,’ ‘I saw them shuffle … eating as they themselves were dying.’ Tension was palpable & characters were sharply drawn. The other section was the nano-technological rational of the zombies – for once it makes sense but you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is.

bluewater

After a break Saraah October did a vampire piece: ‘She said I could come in, but I wasn’t sure.’ I followed with my much anticipated set – anticipated mainly by me 🙂 I’ve never read one of my short stories so I wasn’t sure if I had the energy, for one thing, or that the audience would follow & not get antsy after five minutes. Yes I had the energy & no they didn’t get antsy. Sex Magick cast its spell over them.

pinkcloud

After a break Conflicting Plaid hit the stage – bass, lead & drummer in various zombie makeup – or were they just scary than usual mimes? As always their punk drive delivered a pile-driver set of propulsive fun. They added a few seasonal songs: ‘pieces of you keep turning up’ ‘she loves me for my brraains’ ‘you cut off my hand & shoved it up my ass.’ Great originals plus some covers include a great take on Bela Lugosi’s Dead. A set that left us both called & warmed up.pinkdoll

Sadly, & unknown at the time, this was the final of Cabaret Noir. The Central just isn’t making enough $ on sweet potato fries – most poets, performers don’t have enough cash to keep that show commercially viable enough. Rest assured this isn’t the end of Lizzie Violet.

samp01

For my set I read Sex Magical Quarterly – a stolen magazine has unexpected results on the thief – this is a excerpt from the story:

 

When Hogsy got home he stashed his magazines in a box under his bed. All through supper he itched to read whatever it was the Sex Magick had to say.

As Hogsy ate, he felt the witch’s eyes burning into him. They seemed to be everywhere he looked.

….

Back in his room, Hogsy propped open his history text. The Sex Magick pull-out fit perfectly under it so he could read it and hide it fast if someone came into his room

The witch’s glittering eyes danced on and off the page. They seemed to be in 3D. He held the cover at eye level and tilted it this way and that to see what sort of printing technique they had used. It had to be some sort of laser print. The eyes darted in a way that made him open the insert.

The first page was an introduction to the use of the spell. He skimmed it; the print got smaller toward the bottom of the page. It was stuff about getting the right implements, taking take to clear one’s mind. Stuff he didn’t care about.

The weird font and odd use of language made it difficult for him to understand what was being said. Then it became another language all together.

“Nam drim incagto Hogsy fridamo.” He was amazed to see his name right there in the spell. He looked away, rubbed his eyes and looked back. Yep, it said Hogsy all right!

There was whole paragraph which he felt compelled to say out loud. The words felt odd as he stumbled through them, but when he read it a second time, it flowed and he felt he actually understood what it said. His name only appeared in that one place. After the third time, his eyes became heavy and he fell asleep at his desk.

He woke out of a wild sex dream. He was with the witch on the cover making out in a huge, endless bed. The bed was like the beach. She kept touching his cock and balls with her tongue while talking to him. She was speaking in the same language as the spell. He was forced awake by the need to piss.

When he woke he was in bed. He didn’t remember leaving his desk. His cock throbbed with pee pressure, and he rushed to the bathroom.

He struggled with his fly on the way to the bathroom to get his cock out before he pissed his pants. It felt like his underwear had gotten twisted around and all bunched up around his nut sack.

He kicked the bathroom door shut behind him and pushed his jeans down. He couldn’t believe what he saw. His cock was big. He was dizzy looking at the size of it. He began to piss and the stream was dark yellow and he was missing the toilet. Pee was splashing off the rim, on to the floor and walls.

He was afraid to touch his cock, but had to keep it aimed. How could it grow that much overnight? What took one hand to aim now took two. Yesterday he could get his hand around the shaft; now it was like trying to get his hands around a … a football.

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo
nano15

http://nanowrimo.org/

money

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

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doll

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

#Boyfriend

Even with the Jays game there was a good turn out for the Naked Heart – Howling Against Assimilation  panel. It was held at the City Park Library – the brainchild of Jeff Kirby. It is housed in what was once a huge deserted storage room off the stairwell to the parking garages at City Park. This a brilliant repurposing of space in the co-op. Everything in the space: furniture, books, even the computers have been donated by the community it serves.

cpl

entrance to City Park Library

Kirby moderated the panel & opened it up with a discussion of a larger assimilation issue – why has queer lit gone from edgy erotic sex to middle-of-the-road romance over the past decades. I don’t think any of us panellists were prepared for a discussion of contemporary queer literature mind you.

My take was that with gay marriage came a move to play down queer sexuality in favour of traditional heteronormative values. Those queers who have sex outside of relationships are sluts & are not presenting a positive image to the heteronormative world – slut shamming. I saw a lot of heads nodding in agreement with me. Peter Kingstone speculated that some of it has to do with the HIV crisis as well.

cpl02

stairs to parking garage & City Park Library

Peter talked about his various video projects that explore giving voice to various often dismissed people. Part of his ‘assimilation’ & resistance to it springs from his experiences as a sex trade worker, which he regards as ‘ordinary’ but often created a gulf of judgement when he presents creative aspects of himself outside of that context.

Catherine Hernandez talked about the balance of being true to one’s inner spirit & the need to fulfill grant stipulations – to put food on the able without being compromised creatively. Articulate & creative she finds the energy for that balance can be distracting but the projects she is working on are clearly challenge she likes to face.

cpl03

stairwell mirror selfie

Kaleigh Trace talked her mobility issues – of body sovereignty – how ablists would rather see her as thwarted & unfulfilled by her physical condition as opposed to seeing her as a intact & happy in her own skin woman.

Toward the end of the panel the nature of body sovereignty took stage. Catherine remarked on the trope of the wise person also being the damaged person – they may be ‘fill in the bank’ but they re wise to make up for it. It made me wonder what the reaction would be to, say, a blind asshole?

redcart

Peter, Catherine & myself read from our work a piece the reflected in some way the nature of refusing to be assimilated. I trucked out Boyfriend which I’ve posted below. An excellent panel which certainly made up for the Jays losing 🙂

sample

Boyfriend

I’m so excited

I have a new boy friend

he’s barely fifteen

 

years younger than me

 

did that pause catch you off guard

were you sure I was going to say

he was only fifteen years old

was it hard enough to think of a man

having a boyfriend at all

then add to it the shudder that it was

an innocent emotionally underdeveloped

fifteen year old child

 

though I can remember me at fifteen

jacking off to visions of rock star cock

Jimi Hendrix Bruce Springsteen

that I wished there in my bed

 

telling you too much am I

get used to it

I’ve heard enough straight poets go on

sparing no intimate details

about blissful raspberry nipples

moist peach fuzzed mounds

 

so I’ll talk about man on man action

even if it makes some of you restless

a bit bored     a bit threatened

girl on girl would make you more comfortable

 

I usually try to make the nestling

of men’s bodies into each other

sound sort of sweet and tender

pulling myself away

from the gasp   grasp of sweat    pubic hair

 

so I’m excited

about my new boyfriend

though I hate boyfriend

boy carries that too young taint

man friend isn’t close

lover is more complex than it is at this point

bed buddy     yeah I like that

I have a new bed buddy

he’s nearly fifteen

 

years younger than me

money

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

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#NaNoWriMo #Playlist.01

As my followers know by now, music plays a major role in my creative drive – variety being the spice of creativity for me. I started picking up new things back in July & storing them away in a NaNo playlist – let me tell you it’s pretty hard not to listen them asap but, for the most part I’ve resisted. I have, according to iTunes, 2.1 days of music on my desk top playlist.

fifteen

What’s on that list: AB Soto: Mr. Soto; Andrei Krylov: Bard Music Fantasy On Celtic, Gothic, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Slavic Medieval Dances and Songs for German Renaissance Folk Lute and Guitar; Aventura: The Last; Bob Dylan: Tempest; Buddy Chaino: The Best of Jungle Echoes; Debbie Gravitte: Defying Gravity; Disclosure: Caracal (Deluxe); Donald Byrd: Black Byrd; Ensemble Nipponia: Kabuki & Other Traditional Music; Geza Music from the Kabuki; Gay Marvine: It’s Bath House Etiquette!; Gay Marvine: Secret Mixes Fixes, Vol. 9: The 3rd Gender – EP; James Carter: After All; Jens-Uwe Beyer: The Emissary; Joe Bataan: Anthology; Julio Bashmore: Knockin’ Boots.night

Terry Riley: Requiem for Adam; Kuni Kawachi and His Band: Love Suki Daikirai; Les Baxter: African Jazz / Jungle Jazz; Marlena Shaw: The Spice of Life; Marlena Shaw: Who Is This Bitch, Anyway?; Friedrich Kuhlau: Six Duos Opus 87; Friedrich Kuhlau: Elverhoj Overture/Concertino for Two Horns/Piano Concerto; John Simon: So Beautiful or So What; Pink Floyd: The Division Bell; Santo & Johnny: 50+ Guitar Classics; Squarepusher: Damogen Furies; Deep House; Japanese Noh Music; Yusef Lateef: Stable Mates + Jazz for the Thinker + Jazz Mood; Ganesha – My Lord; T. Riley: In C; FKA twigs: LP1; National Symphony Orchestra: Overtures of Broadway.construction

not entirely new, meaning I’ve pulled these off playlists intended for my iPod but has only heard them once previously: MacMaster: Cape Breton Tradition; The Azuma Kabuki Musicians: Naguta Music, Original Music and Arrangements from Older Classics; The Esoterics: John Browning: Samuel Barber: The Complete Piano Music; Barber: Samuel Barber’s Collected Choral Works; Moreno Veloso: Music Typewriter; Barber: Adagio, Violin Concerto, Cello Concerto.black

Whew – just getting all these entered was a task. As you can tell it is a very diverse mix lounge African; dance; electronica; old surf instruments; classical; hard core jazz; & for some reason a lot of Japanese stuff. When I play this I’ll hit the shuffle mode so I really won’t know what is coming next. Some of the newer music is stuff by artists I know but haven’t heard i.e. Dylan. Simon, Pink Floyd. Anything to keep my mind entertained and my fingers moving.

I do have a separate playlist of new music on my AirMac. Trust me it is as scattered as this one but not as long as I tend to do more work on the desktop. I’ll post that playlist next week.sample

On The Road To Hell

the ghost of a chance

threw the ball into my court

not that I was in the playing

I’d cashed in my chips long ago

moved onto greener pastures

didn’t want be on that losing streak

got out of the rough patch

and got on with the job of life

it was high time to leave my dream world

face the cold hard music of the facts

that would creep up on me

I’d be caught napping again

dreaming of a better tomorrow

that was within my grasp

if only I could pull myself together

if only I could get with the program

then I’d have half a chance

instead of a tinker’s damn

at the opportunity of a life time

that I was too busy being busy to see

too blinded by the light to recognize

I was being pig headed

I was out in the cold in the waste land

the door slammed in my face

the pole greased for my rapid decent

late for my own funeral

lost in my own dream

going down in flames

face first into the burning bush

into the same old same old jam

oblivious to the obvious

unwilling to accept the facts

taking things on face value

a pickle of a situation

that there was no escape from

no map to the treasure

x marks the spot where

I trip stumbled and landed belly up

flat on my back under the endless sky

with no where else to go but up

yet still sliding down that slippery slope

hell in a hand basket

merely paving the way

with my good intentions

cursing my luck

spitting in the face of good fortune

because I didn’t know any better

never would never will

never say never

not willing to get back in the game

I’m no team player

oh no not me not this time

I’ll take a pass

I’ll stick to the sunny side over easy

safe from the storm

fate don’t tempt me now

I’ve gone for that bait once too often

even when I heed the warming

given myself a good talking to

taken every precaution

rinsed twice and spit

I’m still caught off guard

for what was waiting around the corner

when I least expected

where angles fear to tread

where I don’t read between the lines

and right between the eyes

from out of the blue

came that that feather

you could have knocked me over with

I didn’t dodge the bullet this time

I was hit square in the face

by the ghost of a chance

dropping the ball on me

 

money

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

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Comfort (Zone) Inn

When I made my reservations to stay at downtown hotel for Gratitude this year I didn’t know that the TTC was shutting down, for Saturday & Sunday, the Bloor line between Pape & St. George – shuttle busses would be running; so had a real sense of Gratitude when I got to the hotel. Transit usually takes me 20-30 min, add shuttle busses & it hits over an hour, with at least two transfers. To be honest I’d stay home rather than under go that sort of stress.

grat01

I opted for the Comfort Inn on Jarvis, it was a 15 min. walk to the hotel where the round-up was being held. Plus cost half of what the host hotel was offering. The Inn is a medium range, simple hotel. The room was cool, dark & quiet. Wifi was included & it was fast. My only gripe: the closet was as wide as a pair of shoes. But for three days – no big deal.

grat02

The round-up was excellent -180 eager for recovery – LGBQTS – laughed cried hugged & shared at great workshops, panels. Speakers were good. ‘If you only feel whole when you’re helping someone it’s time to learn to help yourself.’ The banquet food was good but I’ve always been let down by the banal brunch – particularly when one is paying $30 for the meal I expect more than scrambled eggs & sausages. I asked about cranberry juice & that would have cost me.

grat03

It was interesting being downtown though. I was amazed at the amount of construction. Blocks of buildings gone on the west side of Yonge, north of College; & ones on the east side look slated for tear down too. What’s with Starbucks? I hadn’t noticed how they have proliferated in that area. Can Ryerson students afford that much latte?

grat04

Sunday after the conference wrapped, I put on my shorts & trekked down to the St Laurence Market antique scene. My oh my lots of old china, piles of bangles, furs, coins & books to avoid. Took some pics (#GardenDistrict)& felt like a tourist in my home town. Got home Monday morning & there’s no bed like my own little bed.

samp03

Rimes of Ancient Drunks

got time to listen to an old drunk

well, not so old and not drunk enough

but you’ll listen won’t you

buy me a beer

and I’ll tell you your future

not that you deserve to know your future

because it’s the same future for all of us

listen

you won’t want to miss this

I’ll tell you  what you really need to know

that stuff in books

isn’t going to get you anywhere

words aren’t the answer

you think you know it all

well all you know is shit

are you listening

you understand that much don’t you

all that thinking and writing

isn’t going to get you any where

you know that don’t you

there isn’t any way out of this

even what I say isn’t going to mean shit

in the long run

it’s just a pointless chase

after something that isn’t even running

something that can never be caught

you following me – catching my drift

I see through the likes of you

come on buy me another beer

I’ve more to say than you’ll ever think

no matter how broke you are

the morning always comes

a body needs a drink

a way out for a few hours

that’s all we really want

you getting this down

do I make you uncomfortable

can’t be bothered looking at me

is that the problem

you wanted a little quiet

to doodle useless words about

the way of  the misery in your world

that some gal is not giving you enough

some guy playing the same game

no way out of it, is there

not that I give a shit

you know that don’t you

that’s half the problem

no one gives a shit

they just want suffering to stop

so they don’t have to see it on TV

that’s the way of the world

you know that don’t you

and you

you think you have some notion

of a better way to live

yet don’t have the decency

to buy a guy a drink

well that’s the way of the world

that’s why I say what I gotta say

something you won’t ever hear

because something more important

is waiting for you

buy me a beer

maybe I’ll change your life

because you know buddy

it’s time for a change

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo
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#Burdon’s Burden

brownlp

Next on the shelf are two massive mp3 collections grouped around Eric Burdon. This started when I blogged about the Animals last year. I discovered that Eric was still recording & had recently released a new lp ’Til Your River Runs Dry – he remains in fine vocal form & it’s worth checking out. It’s on the first cd along with his work with War and Soldedad Blues w Jimmy Witherspoon: post Animals & fun strong stuff. Eric was always eager to try new things & his work with War is solid if unexceptional.brown

On this one I threw in some Sister Rosetta Tharpe: great female r’n’b thumper. Ginger Baker: one his many post Cream Africa projects: clunky but fun. Osibisa, Mandrill: two Santana inspired bands with strong African roots – these are both later career recordings. Eek-a-mouse: Black Cowboy: every collection needs some obscure reggie  The Congas: more of those African rhythms.

greyice

The second collection has Love Is: Eric & the Animals do their double lp of indulgent yet endearing songs. I enjoy their take on Ring Of Fire. River Deep is hilarious though with the echoed Tina Tina at points – was he having it off with her? The Black-Man’s Burdon – how he got away with title is beyond me, more of his work with War. Plus their live tracks & other performers at Monterey Pop. Monterey was where he fell in love with Jimi Hendrix & that changed his musical direction for several years.blackcouch

I counted this off with a slew of Lonnie Donegan: Lonnie was one of those British hitmakers who never crossed the ocean – his influence on British pop is substantial though – his rockabilly recording of House of the Rising Sun, Mule Train & others clearly influenced the Animals, The Stones, the Beatles, The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton.

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Journey

When I was turning twenty-three life was a lost treasure that I no map for, futility seemed a nice, kind way of looking at it – why bother – but I was driven at the same time to bother. A Doors song was my theme ‘music is your only friend’ and I believed that – I was a little town queer who felt isolated and threatened.

Lucky I wrote a lot – driven to expresses something. though I never knew exactly what is was I wanted to say – I kept trying to say it. I had some booze buddies, musicians and poets. Smoked a few joints with them and hung out in my family’s basement. I had a room there decorated with Beatles posters, my paintings – more getting the inner out some how.

Drunken, near blackout fits of sex. Oops, what did we do last night sort of stuff. Seeking and just not connecting with anything other than the shame of being what I was with no one to share that with.

I became more eccentric as years went on but the patterns were really set then. The things that I held closest to me music, books, painting all around me. My writing and some friends who were more extensions of my fears & wants than companions.

Got a job at Famous Players thanks to the mother of my best friend Howard. Flo was box-office there & that was to be my position, I quickly became assistant manager & candy boy. Made lots of pop corn.

Gave me a steady income and some sense of being functional. Added at the same time to my sense of not fitting in. I think that was a big thing for me then. wanting to be like the others yet not wanting to be like the others. Wanting acceptance without wanting to conform to some pattern.

The past year hadn’t been that bad or good, aimless and pretending I was looking for some job to steady my Dad’s need to see me working and out of the house.

The folks were never that approving of my writing or painting – like many, they figured that stuff was only good if it made one lots and lots of money. Sex wasn’t discussed at all and I didn’t know how to go about telling them that anyway. It wasn’t till I was ready to leave the Cape many years later that I told them. Not that it was such a shock mind you.

Looking back I really didn’t know how to establish myself as a man, as an adult. Booze was one of those adult things but I felt I had to hide how much I drank & how often. Sad, but true. All those secret nooks and crannies.

Some of which had no real outlet then and there. Little was I to no what the journey of my future was to hold. But I survived wanting to wake up dead, wanting to end the confusion and pain and made it past 23 and even past 24 and finally here I am.

 

 

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo
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November 18, Wednesday: judging at Hot Damn! it’s a Queer Slam – The Supermarket., Toronto

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Neutralized

Newspeak is easy to miss if one isn’t paying attention. If one hears a politician apologize ‘I’m sorry you caught me …’ without really listening to word usage, you get the impression of remorse, of an admission of guilt – but this is an apology for getting caught – not for the ‘alleged’ action they were ‘guilty’ of. ‘I’m sorry if that’s how it appears to you’ is another of those sidestepping responsibility admissions – this one puts the blame on you not on them.grey01

The most recent example of newspeak I’ve heard is ‘the suspect has been neutralized.’ This was said repeatedly by the authorities  during the Oregon shooting. Like the notion of ‘collateral damage’ which means civilians were killed, ‘neutralized’ is a way of distancing listeners from the facts. I even heard that the ‘alleged’ gunman was ‘neutralized’ – ‘alleged’ allows for him to maybe be innocent? At least he his definitely male & not ‘allegedly’ male.

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It wasn’t until a reporter directly asked – is the gun man dead – that the police said ‘Yes, he’s dead.’ I stopped watching before experts were brought in to help the healing begin. What we need is a linguist so the understanding can begin.

When I hear the term ‘neutralized’ I get a flash of him being neutered – that there’s been a castration of sorts – an angry mob tearing his cock & balls off. You know if this were in fact what it meant I’m sure the crime rate would drop. tree02

I’m not sure what to do with this need to tiptoe, soften or avoid direct statements. Political correctness has pushed people into a kind of coy over-sensitiveness. On Top Model one of the male ‘alleged’ models admitted that he’s ‘gender fluid’ – wtf? So he’s not gay, bi, hetero, or trans. As much I like the notion of ‘fluid’ it comes across as one of those admissions in which one doesn’t have to be responsible for clarity.grey02

I’m always suspicious of language that evades a direct conformation. Ambiguity as a literary construct can create suspense, can allow the reader to experience their own doubts & thoughts but even in literature the reader eventually wants facts, a sense of conclusion. ‘Happily ever after’ does satisfy without showing us how they live but ‘allegedly happily ever after’ – well – that make me laugh now that I see it in print – in fact I might use it sometime but only as a sardonic comment on the need for concrete conclusions.

samp02

Completion

 

do you remember the feel of

did it sound like

was there a moment when

could you count the number of

was there a place that

did the reasons seem

could you take back what

was there another opportunity to

was that the first time he

was she ever

where you there when

did he want more than

when did it first appear that

who did he

was there a time of

was that an opportunity to

why didn’t one of you

was the taste similar to

does this remind you of

was there ever a time when

did the bed

would you ever again

could there be a chance that

did the money make a

why take another

is this the way he

is this where you first

the pain wasn’t as bad as

what were the reasons

after the first words

does his smile

do you remember the feel of

did you count the number of

does anyone have

will you ever again

what did you expect after

was it because he

why did

do you feel that

could he have

should you have

would

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo
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Buffalo Springfield

Buffalo Springfield is the band that made Neil Young a household word. His songs with this band are so evocative – i.e. I Am A Child – I rarely hear recent songs, even by him, that have this power. But perhaps this is nostalgia  speaking. I love these three albums: First two with no titles and Last Time Around – it’s hard not to singalong with ‘now a-days Clancy can’t even sing.’bluejemThe first lp is sweet CaliPop with country folk tinges – harmonies for days, lyrics about love, loss, the urge to be experienced without paying the price. The second is the masterpiece – the angel on the cover, the muttonchops on the band members; who could ask for more? Superb engineering & superb song writing. Uno Mondo of genius.ravine01

The songs! ‘There you stood at the edge of your feather.’ Strings by Jack Nitzsche turns some of these tracks into lush dreams. Neil Young never sounded better. The rest of the band sort of fades. Internal creative struggles had already torn the band apart by the time they were recording that second lp. – leaving them hung upside down, as it were.ravine02

The finale Last Time Round with songs too sweet to be real, romantic, tender, but they rock out too. All I have to do is look at the names of the songs & I can hear them in my head. The band had ended well before this was released. Poco, with a rocking country vibe, was one of the results; Desert Rose another with a more country bent. Stills tried solo & never took off. Then of course CSN (& sometimes Y) took off from these ashes.ravine03

Individually & together all have produced good to great work – Young in particular – but none have surpassed the energy, range & resonance of those first three Springfield albums – then again very few other groups have come near them either – not even the Beatles, CCR, the Band or you name one.sample

Touch

‘Can you feel that?’ Dr Fell tapped along my spine. Gentle at first and then harder. I knew it was harder by the sound.

‘No.’

‘How about this?’

I wasn’t sure what he was doing.

‘Nothing.’

‘Not even a tickle.’

‘No, nothing.’

He showed me a pin. ‘I was sticking you with this.’ He jabbed it in the back of my hand and I jumped. ‘At least there’s some feeling there.’

‘I’ll say,’ I shook my hand as if I should shake the pain off  like a drop of water.

‘How long have you noticed this.’

‘A week or so. Maybe longer. It’s not as if I touch much with my back. The bed, my shirt.’

‘It is serious you know. You can feel here.’ He stroked my neck. ‘But from here down to here,’ I felt his hand at the crack of my butt. ‘You feel nothing. No reaction to any stimulus.’

‘Almost.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Try something wet.’

‘Wet?’

‘Yes. I know I can feel water on it when I shower.  I can tell  the temperature of water. Hot or cold.’

‘Hum. So you feel this.’ Something cold pressed my back.

‘Yes. Cool. But that’s all I can tell. I don’t know what part of the back you are touching or even the shape or size of what you are touching me with.’

‘How does it feel when there is nothing?’

‘Like …’ I tried to sense the flesh but couldn’t. ‘It’s like an empty space.’

‘No numb along the edges.’

‘No. Just nothing.’

‘We’ll need to do tests. Neurological damage of some sort. You haven’t fallen recently.’

‘No.’

‘Changed your sleeping pattern. I mean how you sleep on the bed.’

‘Not that I’m aware of.’

‘No trouble sleeping?’

‘Not really. Sleep like a log most nights. Mornings are a bit odd these days.’

‘How so?’

‘I can’t feel the bed at my back, so I wake like I’m floating in some sort of warm pool. Very odd. To sense the sheets with my feet but then the rest of me doesn’t seem attached to the earth anymore.’

‘Any problems getting out of  the bed.’

‘I have to roll over to my side to feel my way up. I suppose I can get used it. It’s not as if my head is going to fall off. Is it Doc?’

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo
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November 18, Wednesday: judging at Hot Damn! it’s a Queer Slam – The Supermarket., Toronto

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