Upstairs with Satan and Archie

Moving to the upstairs in my house we come to these on the walls of the upper hall. First this wonderful paint-by-number that I bought, framed, at a Goodwill on Queen E decades ago. Luckily it was light enough to carry home. I knew this painting from my childhood, though not this specific one, as part of a set that my mother had painted. She did several of such sets & finding it brought back sweet memories.

On the opposite wall is this portrait of me as rendered by Dan Parent who was, at that time, one of the illustrators & writers for Archie comics. I had it done at Fan Expo. I went that year specifically to commission it. He took my photo, I roamed the ‘market’ buying dvd’s, tee shirts, searching for old school horror [Karloff vs Kruger] & come back an hour later & it was ready.

The same holds true for the other portrait that I had done the following year. for an extra five dollars I had  more torso 🙂 As you can tell I haven’t aged since these were done but neither of these are my Dorian Gray – that is in a secret spot away from prying thighs.

The ‘demonic force’ was a Christmas gift from a friend at the end of the 1990’s. He enlarged a panel from a Chick Publication & hand-tinted it for me. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chick_tract#Chick_Publications) I still see this little tracts around, sometimes left on a bus, or rumple dup on the street. Cute propaganda.

Not propaganda is this self-portrait a friend did & gave me as a birthday gift. He was experimenting with colour for that Warhol effect. The last was a gift from David Bateman he gave me during the run of the poetry cabaret The Beautiful & Damned. It is a fun amalgam of Keith Harding & Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime images. It goes up in value every year 🙂

Modern Safety

Kevlar sweats

modern day chainmail

designer duds armour plated

for style lightness and protection

don’t want to look bad 

when someone shoots at me

or tries to stab me in the mall

because I looked at them the wrong way

because I was the wrong color

wearing the wrong colors

in the wrong neighbourhood

<>

how to be safe enough

and still look good

don’t want private guards

they’re not the accessories 

I had in mind to complete this outfit

to be safe enough 

to go to Starbucks for a latte

<>

the fast walk and the scowl

now becomes a challenge

they’ll take me down a notch or two

kick the crap out me to liberate 

my limited edition nike’s and iPhone

which they don’t realize

now features global positioning hardware 

<>

I hesitate to answer

because I only listen 

through an ear piece

that picks up everything you say

funnels it though lie detection software

that tells me I can trust what you say

I stick to the simplest of responses

double double

no don’t super size that

<>

unless those fries 

are a bullet resistant shield

I can hold in front of me

as I struggle to get home

without a scratch

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Festive Lights

most of which have since been taken down 🙂

octa-mas

be-lighted trees

East York Civic Centre

close up East York Civic Centre

rainbow snake

a bit restrained

well strung tree

chez moi

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Frosty Invaders

I love these old school blow mold Christmas decorations. 

broom wielding Frosty

broom wielding Frosty that’s had it’s eyes done

candy cane wielding Frosty

shovel wielding Frosty in the rose hips

broom wielding Frostys in a tree

broom wielding Frosty aglow

broom wielding Frosty in the candy cane orchard

broom wielding Frosty

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Gift Exchange

Gift Exchange

I like the gift with no giver

the left behind book on the subway

the twenty dollar bill in a parking lot puddle

a gift with no sense of obligation

not even a sense of 

should I find out who lost this

who are you going ask

when there’s no one around to ask 

 

a gift that doesn’t demand response

for a return

where you have to match the value

where there isn’t a hidden agenda

where gratitude is in accepting and using

not in words and forced forgiveness

This is not part of the 227 Rules For Monks. It comes from my archive of rough draft dating, in this case, back to December 2008. If I never write another poem again I have a backlog of rough drafts to keep me busy for years to come.

This is the season of gifts – many given out of a sense of obligation to one’s building super etc. We bribe them for another year of considerate treatment – rarely do we gifts for no reason. At one time, at this time of year I do leave things on the subway, if I do use it – things like a toque or gloves – in hopes that someone might find them useful. Then a friend of mine, who works for the TTC, told me that those things usual went the lost & found or clearers took them home. So much for random altruism 🙂

Over the years I’ve become easy around gifts – giving & accepting. I’m as happy receiving home made cookies as I am with a paypal donation. (paypal.me/TOpoetI also hav become a good regifter as well. I have enough socks & often gifted socks go to someone else, or donated to a clothing box. I no longer give gifts out of a sense of obligation.

Forgiveness has become more a mode of victimizing victims than something emotionally freeing. There is this subtext these days that if you don’t forgive someone who had harmed you you are being unreasonable & are as bad as the the person who harmed you. It’s as if not letting someone who has apologized, face the consequences of their action now makes the victim a victimizer. We may be God’s children but only one was chosen. 

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A Christmas LivingRoom

One Christmas Day decades ago on my morning walk I found this baby sock on the sidewalk. I couldn’t resist it & brought it home. I hung it on the fireplace screen as a Xmas stocking for the baby Jesus. The glass bell beside it is a more recent addition. I stole it at a White Elephant gift exchange a few years ago. For those unfamiliar with that game part of it is the taking of gifts from one another.

In one corner of the living-room is a dvd cabinet that gets a seasonal make over. The festive ‘cloth’ is actually plastic, which is why the creases have never folded out of it. The embroidery is real but done by a machine & the ‘lace’ is laser cut. It was another White Elephant steal. 

On top of it are a couple of kitch but not seasonal items that only come out for the season. The praying hands are done in a delightful lime green flocking. They were a recovery anniversary gift over 30 years ago. They were a re-gifting from a friend who got them from someone who had picked them up on a visit to Las Vegas where else). My friend was a little insulted by them here as I was delighted & had them on display for years than decided they were best as a tonal feature.

The 3D picture is a take on classic protective angel hovering over children. This was a very popular Victorian trope of which I seen many representations from oils, prints, jigsaw puzzles & even embroideries. I bought it unframed a yard sale. 3D pictures are always kitch no matter how artful they maybe – this one is merely depth – the faces don’t flicker between pretty & skeletal or demonic 😦 I have it for many years as well & am always happy to take it out of hiding so the protective angel can hover over us all.

This final, for this post, picture goes back to 1981 – our first year in this house. You can see the actual mantle piece & the fireplace at work. That’s me pouring over some book that I almost remember but I do recognize the bookmark as a postcard of a Cocteau drawing. We still have that tinsel garland.

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January

Thursday 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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Creche Landing

the cat and the cradle

waiting for the inner glow

Santa snow globe swallows the reason for the season?

I bought this at Honest Ed’s decades ago & it is one of my favorite ornaments

season stained

stained for life

amazing crèche built into an old TV chassis – asking price $1200.00

close-up of the blessed event

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A Christmas Mantle

Decades ago I decided our fireplace mantle piece was too boring at Christmas so I got out my trusty staple gun & a festive table cloth & covered it with fabric. It, to me, had a sweet old-fashioned almost Victorian feel to it which I loved. Stockings were hung to complete the scene. Over the year it became busier & the fabric has changed a few times – always something festive.

In the mantle clutter is an angel balancing a horn – the horn is from a set of four that my Dad had – each of us kids got one. The horn makes no sound 🙂 The cherub that holds it is from some yard sale a few years ago. 

The plastic tree once was eliminated but the light socket disintegrated. It is one of my Cape Breton work life souvenirs. It was given to me by one of my Famous Players co-workers & had been in her family for many years. The bead garlands are my own addition. Not so festive is the brass letter opener under it – it gets lots of use this time of year. Stacked along beside it are some gift boxes. The boxes nest inside each other & get un-nested every year for display on the mantle.

On the mantle by the wall is my Cock-of-the-walk. One of favorite kitch items, it spends most of year on the front hall table. It is mainly a rooster morphed into great clothes & human hands. I bought it up at a store east of Woodbine on the Danforth. It store is no longer there. Made of some resin, not plaster, it is beautifully hand painted. Dangling from one hand is a Starbucks ornament. The beads are my additions over the years.

Covering the mantle this year is fabric that I got at Fabric Land in Stratford a few falls ago. The previous mantle treatment was a more tradition poinsettia & holly print which I found too dark. The blue is more fun too. The tinsel swag & lights are more recent – the lights have four settings but I stick to the one glow that changes colours. We don’t need a light show. The fireplace works but it has been years since we’ve had gifts that deserved to be set afire. 

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Blowing Up Christmas

I love a big candy cane

Front porch Santa (not as popular as backdoor Santa)

Only two reindeer 😦

Frosty with out his candy cane seems lost

that’s a big Santa

on his way from whom?

not strangers to candy cane lane

what’s the score

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Climbing A Stairway To Christmas


The stairway landing has been come a landing runway for various festive bits over the years. The illumined snowman in front of the mirror is a year round feature. It gives enough light to the a very dark spot & makes it safer for anyone going up the stairs. The mirror reflects that light enough. The light web I picked up at Shoppers several years ago & allows for fun festive lights. It also remains up year round but gets its most use in December.

The rest of this stuff, I mean treasures, comes out only for the festive season. My partner is a Lord of the Rings/Merlin fan & his nieces etc sent these wizard figurines over the years. The tall skinny Santa is another relative gift. The disco bear was a gift from a friend many years ago. Scattered around are some plastic snowflakes – gift of a friend. Humpty Dumpty Is one of my Cape Breton pieces – I bought it from Humpty Dumpty chips – sending in several wrappers or bar codes, I think, plus postage charges. He balances, as is fitting, at the top of the mirror.

On the window ledge is a set of Red Rose ceramic miniature tea pots. I ordered this from Red Rose many years ago. Corporate take over there ended all such fun stuff. The Paris souvenir was a gift from a friend who went to, of all places, Paris. I don’t think Notre Dame, the Tower & the Arc are in scale to each other 🙂 I added it to the seasonal display. The police car is just for fun. The caroller is a tea candle holder. The sand castles where a fad many years ago & at one time had little flags which have since been washed out to sea.

 

Finally, suspended over all is the angel. A tree topper, too big for our tree, it comes from a friend’s store of childhood decorations – when he moved back to NS he took the bulk of his decorations that had been merged without ours butI kept this one as everyone needs a Christmas angel on high 🙂

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