Christmas Trees

These well-hung trees are all east end Toronto. Some are in public parks so have city money behind them. Some are homes on side streets. Some are one colour, most are multi-coloured. Personally I prefer colour. All are amazing.

Joyeux Noël ! Feliz navidad ! ! مرری کریستمس ! 圣诞快乐 ! メリークリスマス!

Alexander Park at corner of Danforth & Logan
radioactive?
loop-de-loop
East Lynn Park – Danforth near Woodbine
blue & white – colours of Greek flag
East York Civic Centre on Coxwell
Withrow Park
Alexander Park at corner of Danforth & Logan


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Joy To Compost

Joy To Compost

on the thirteenth day of Christmas

streets are lined with death

discarded red wrapping paper

crushed into snowbanks

silver garlands mashed into ice

green ribbons wind-tossed into trees

gold bows under snow tires

unopened gifts jammed

into recycle bins

broken ornaments in gutters

eager excitement drained

 

on the thirteenth day of Christmas

dead pine trees

sacrificed for someone’s joy

threads of stubborn scarlet tinsel

remainders reminders

that pleasure

like life

is temporary

that death is permanent

 

on the thirteenth day of Christmas

my true love sent to me

the message of

dust to dust

joy to compost

You are correct to think this was written early one January. Someone described some of my poetry as being reportage. This one is literally what I saw on various mornings on my walk-abouts. Some years I’ve seen trees out on December 26. The ribbons & bows often start their glittery littering early in December. I don’t know what is worse the early start to store decorations or the early start of decoration discarding.

 

The repeated “thirteenth day” is an echo of both the Christmas carol & the unlucky reputation of 13. It is truly a season in which our ‘joy’ comes at the cost of sacrifice yet there is little reverence for the sacrificed after the glamour of the moment. Everything becomes disposable & ruthlessly cast aside. Very little of it is biodegradable – mostly philosophically degrading 🙂

 

I have a fake tree that we’ve used for decades. I’m sure Xmas tree farms are more humane that chicken ranches but killing a tree for the birth of JC doesn’t have scriptural support. In Toronto the cast-off live trees are collected for composting of some sort – get tossed into a tree shredder & are used on hiking trails. I’d love to see them used instead of salt on sidewalks. That fresh pine smell would making slipping a little more pleasant.

 



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Bland #Blondie ?

In Dave Marsh’s book ‘The Heart of Rock & Soul’ 1001 greatest singles ever made: Bobby Bland gets listed 6 times . I had nothing by him in my collection so I picked up a best of & loved it. I was familiar with Paul Butterfield’s version of I Pity the Fool & Driftin’ Blues so it was great to hear the originals. A great voice, great engineering & excellent songs.

bluetree

branch blue down

From Bland we go to Blondie’s first album. This 1977 lp was such a moment in my life I’ll deal with the rest of my Blondie collection next week. I was living on the east coast – Sydney. I had been getting gay magazines via mail from Toronto. One of those was Mandate, which had a section about music & there was a review of this Lp there. We had one record store in Sydney, Cape Breton and they had no idea of how to get this album. So on a trip to Halifax I visited a record store there & found it.

The cover picture was very Beatles/Rolling Stones so I was expecting them to live up to that. They did. The music is propulsive pop with an ironic edge. I must have played it twenty times within the the first two days on my friend’s record player. He was bowled over by it too.

yellowrail

bare branch bridge

I can’t pick a favorite track. They brought such a retro sensibility to the table without mocking the source. Man Overboard then Rip Her To Shreds always make me happy. I was already into Talking Heads & Pattie Smith but this was something quite different from either of those groups. It was so good even my blues-loving friends liked it.

roots

brown roots

When I moved to TO a few years later I saw Blondie at the ElMocombo – they were still bubbling under. I loved the music but was a little let down by Harry on stage – I was expecting someone a little more animated. More like say, Nina Hagen, who I’d also seen live around the same time.

If you have never heard this lp: get it. A timeless classic that took girl pop to places that the likes of Katy Perry only dream of reaching.

sample

PIECE BY PIECE

Jenny had silver stars. She stuck them on the Christmas tree on the front of the card. She stuck them on the inside of the card all around the Merry Christmas Uncle John.

Josh had the crayons. He had drawn the Christmas tree and now wanted to add another present under the tree.

“Uncle John has enough presents,” Jenny pushed him away.

“Nobody get enough presents. Do they Daddy?” Josh asked his father.

“Nobody gets enough stars do they Daddy?” Jenny said loudly to drown Josh out.

“I’m going to make another card then, and put on it all the presents I want to give.” Josh pushed the card aside and folded another piece of paper. “First I’m going to make another tree. Uncle John says no one gets too many cards.” Josh made a face at his sister.

“A card from each of you will be enough,” their Dad laughed.”After all we have to leave room for cards from other people.”

“He still has my Thanksgiving card on the wall by his bed. I know. I saw it.” Jenny pouted.

“When?” Josh asked.

“When we went to see him the last time. You didn’t come. You had a cold and Mom didn’t want you to make the whole world sick.”

“Would not make the whole world sick.”

“Would too. That’s what Mom said. Isn’t it Daddy. Josh makes the whole world sick.” She stuck her tongue out at him. “As sick as he makes me.”

“I think she meant it might make John sick. Some people catch germs easier than others. John is like that.”

“That’s why he is in the hot spices.” Jenny said proudly.

“Hospice. Uncle John is in a hospice.”

“Hospice.” Josh repeated and stuck his tongue out at Jenny.

“All done!” he took his finished card to his dad. “Do you think Uncle John will like it?”

“I’m sure he will.”

“Needs stars. Lots of stars.” Jenny said over her Dad’s arm as he looked at the new card.

soon

March 26 – Thursday 8 pm – Judging – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam – Supermarket – 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto

hot

April 26, 2015 – Sunday – 2-5 – Featuring – The Secret Handshake Gallery – 170 Baldwin Ave., 2nd floor, Toronto.

born

May 7 – Thursday – 8 pm – Judging – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Season 1 finals – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre – 12 Alexander St., Toronto –

hdamnfinal

https://www.facebook.com/events/726986450755918/permalink/726987687422461/

June 5-7 – attending – Capturing Fire – Washington DC

fire

http://www.thedccenter.org/capturingfire/

(2015 registration posted but details not posted yet. I’ve registered already 🙂 )

June 21-26 – attending – Rosemary Aubert’s Workshop: The Novelist’s Selfie – Loyalist – Belleville https://www.facebook.com/events/965611026782246/

loyclass

register now while there is room at the table

page 23 for details next page down for registration info

https://www.loyalistbanner.com/ceweb/doc/LoyalistSummerArts2015.pdf

June 27, Saturday – 7:00-  Feature: Hot Summer Nights at Hirut, Hirut Restaurant, 2050 Danforth Ave., Toronto

summer15

September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo

Expo15

http://fanexpocanada.com

October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Inner Child Sacrifice

noiroc15

 

tree

the yard sale went on anyway

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

thanks

Do You Hear What I Hear

 How quickly do you get tired of festive music? Two minutes? Two days? Over the years I’ve built up a little collection of Christmas music that covers languages: Welsh, Russian, Swedish, French and even some Elvis. I dig them out once a year & give them their annual listenings.

lane02does it come in green

I do favour the campy/cheesy side of things with the Beach Boys, The Ventures; special favourites Booker T & The MG’s go hand in hand with Jimmy Smith. I even have one of my family’s Christmas lp’s: Eddie Fisher. I can’t say as I have an absolute favourite though. Brenda Lee’s Rocking ‘Round the Christmas Tree is pretty close to perfect though. Plus Silent Night sung by a choir of starving children on an ice flow (just kidding).

lane03lane way bargains

One thing I always enjoy is a A Christmas Carol beautifully read in complete – a free download – takes a couple of hours to listen to but it has spoiled me for any movie version. I have it burned to a cd along with Dylan Thomas reading A Child’s Christmas in Wales, plus the Million Dollar Man’s Christmas adventures, and (could it get any better?) Charles Laughton reading a Pickwick Christmas and (too much?) Ronald Coleman in a very abridged Christmas Carol.

lane01red daisies

Yeah I love Christmas but I’m always happy when its over.

 

samples

another piece out of the archives:

Circle

it’s hard to resist the notions of patterns

how the repeated gets repeated

the notion

that if you go back to the same bed

you leave in the morning

you have really gone nowhere

start to finish

at the same point

doesn’t equal progress

yet   for many that is progress

to maintain the same pattern

to have the comfort

of ending back where they started from

I do not resist the comfort and ease

of repetition

that gives structure

funny though

how much quicker and smaller these

rituals become

the older one becomes

the aching years and summers of youth

are the all too fast and brief

flash from one winter to the next

winters coming too close together

and summers never long enough

flowers come go  come go

and the gardening continues

when will the circle be broken

things are done

to keep that break from happening

the right foods for the heart

exercise  avoid the sun

drinking lots of water

a few less morsels at every meal

to cut down on the burden of the waist

each a little ritual

in hopes of avoiding the break

each

to add a few morsels of days

the gift of the moment

the miracle of breath

and joy of experiencing

what there remains to be experienced

days are numbered

but no one knows what those numbers are

we don’t know

what they are going to add up to

what will remain

is rarely equalled to

what we may have done

the mark made disappears with time

I decided not to worry about the mark made

but to enjoy what there is to enjoy

to create sustain without concern

leaving a legacy

is the least of my intent

a few memories will linger

till the last of those

who remember me

are gone

that is enough for me

another of the aging details

I sometimes forget

is about what may remain

who gets what

maybe I’ll give it all way

before the break

shedding is a good stage

to prepare me for the transition

into the next one

shed all that I wouldn’t want to move with

pretend my life

is to be reduced to a single room

what would I want to keep

make it that simple

and see what

loses its hold on me

what is really wanted

and what is there merely

because I have a place for it

those things that are pleasant enough

but which it

may be time to live without

to move on

to clear and clear

make more empty shelves

and leave them empty

invite the emptiness

into the present day

to prepare me for

what may be the void

when the circle is broken

ice01

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