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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Santa Daddy

(WordPress has messed up line spacing & I can’t figure out how to fix it 😦

Santa Daddy 

get thee in front of me Santa
keep your hands where I can see them 

I know all about that list
I’m not one of those nice boys
whose naughty can be gotten for toys 

that better not be a fat suit
‘cause I tend to be a chubby chaser 

no matter how big the bag
there better be more happening than that
if you hope to roast
your chestnuts on my fire

so get thee in front of me Santa
don’t bother sneaking around
if you want my milk and cookies 

keep those damn reindeer quiet
your ad said discreet encounter 

honey those sleigh bells aren’t discreet
when you said you were into uniforms 

this isn’t quite what I had envisioned 

you have to offer more than
those spit-shined black boots

so guess you want to get down to business
no chit chat how you doing
just want to drop your load 

get out of here
not that I’m surprised
you have a full to-see list
if you think you can go that quickly 

it isn’t going to happen
I want more than an XXXbox
those elves you brought
aren’t going to make up for that

no I don’t want do some Coke-a-Cola 

I don’t want to be flying all night

so get thee in front of me Santa 

unless you long to Kris Kringle kiss 

my Christmas ass 

and say thank you sir
before you head back up that chimney

This is a fun, sexy Christmas poem that springs from the notions of gay men’s types & from what men say about themselves in their dating profiles. Dating is being generous as most guys are just looking to get off. There is something creepy about someone always watching you – Santa the voyeur, stalking children & rewarding them with toys. Getting to sit on his lap: fun or fraught with loss of boundary? Teaching that being good is how we earn favour.

 

Men in the gay world who like ‘larger’ physical types were once called ‘chubby chasers’ – a term that is no longer politically correct. Santa, as invented by some commercial artist fits the bearded chubby profile perfectly. Santa is the classic bear. The first verse ends with a nod to size queens (the bigger the dick the better the time) but for some if all there is a large package that isn’t enough without a personality to go with it.

 

A buzz word in many profile is ‘discreet.’ I still have no idea what that means. Are they fearful that the encounter will be on live twitter feed? That the hook up with become a FB invite? Or is it a way of saying – don’t be too fem? Perhaps, don’t ask my name, don’t tell me yours? But lets face it there is nothing discreet about Santa, particularly in his boots – perfect for a master to use to stomp on your … uh … Christmas tree balls, to teach you a lesson.

 

Clearly though Santa is and in-and-out man who does drop his load & gets out of there. As anonymous as possible. Coke is a reference both to the drug & to the fact that the roly-poly Santa we love was created to sell Coke-a-Cola.

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Winter Whisky – Part One

Winter Whisky

Part One

“Dave, wanna get together for a good drink?” I asked on recognizing his voice on the phone. Neither of us had said hello. “With Scott and me?”

“Love to, Donnie.”

We were three guys who drank together. Bottle buddies. Booze hounds. All in our mid-twenties, we had lapped up the hooch together since high school. At least I think that’s where I met Donnie. Scott was a friend of his.

Donnie had a girlfriend, who, now that she was pregnant, he would marry soon. It was all her goddamn fault, too. He drank to punish her.

Scott’s last girlfriend ditched him for some mainland loser with a big car, and besides most women were bitches. He drank to stop feeling so fucked up all the time.

I didn’t have a girlfriend these days. Not since Cindy. Wasn’t interested in replacing her. I drank to stay numb in the closet.

Of course Donnie and Scott would never drink with some fairy, so I had my own moans about how hard it was to meet a bitch you could trust. That sort of thing.

We would get together every month or so for a good drink. That’s how it would start. Donnie would call to say, “Let’s get together with Scott for a good drink.” If he didn’t, Scott would call to say, “Hey, Donnie’s here for a good drink. Come on over.”

It had been over a month since I’d heard from either of them and I longed for a real good drink myself, but I was always shy to start the ball rolling. I was happy having that good drink by myself. Alone it was easier to wallow in my own morass of “woe is queer me stuck in the sticks and terrified someone will find out.”

It was Donnie who called this time. Once we got where the good drink would happen settled he continued. “So, Dave. How’s it hanging?”

“Same old, same old. How’s Trish?”

“Bigger than your house.”

“Set a date?”

“Not ‘til after the kid. Not enough taffeta to cover her now. She’s been off to see her folks for a few days now.”

“You mean she needs a break from cleaning up after you?”

“Yeah. Whatever. Listen, I’m catching Scott at Stoners. Why don’t I pick you up? Seems like ages since we’ve had a good drink.”

Stoners, a tavern near where Scott worked, was the Stone Workers Hall from when there was once a quarry outside of town. Now it was full of stoners of other sorts. Some nights there would be live music. Scott had a little band, Pals Of Mine, that played there sometimes.

I knew that meant we’d hang at my place for a while to give us time to have a few good drinks before we went out for more good drinks. We’d probably come back here for more, once Scott’s gig was done. I had enough to hold us for a few hours. A full bottle of Johnny Walker. A forty pounder. I hefted it and the weight of good times made me feel complete. Good friends. Good times.

I was in the kitchen for clean glasses when the doorbell rang. I had the glasses in my hand when I answered the door. “That didn’t . . . Oh, Cindy?”

“Expecting company?” She handed me a gift as she scuffed her boots on the welcome mat.

“Sort of.” I could tell by the look in her eyes she knew exactly who I was expecting.

“The guys on their way over?” She said.

“We’re . . . ”

“Having a few before heading down to Stoners. Some things never change.”

“If you came here for the same old argument you might as well leave.”

“Dave,” she shook her coat and hung it on one of the hooks by the door. “When are you going to give up on them?”

The smell of her perfume brought back such good memories, I realized how much I missed the time we spent together. I put the glasses on the coffee table. “Cindy, we’ve been through this. How long has been now, almost a year?” I had last seen her during the summer.

“I was hoping you might have changed.”

“I haven’t.” I poured myself an inch of Scotch. “There’s some red wine in the kitchen.” 

“Not for me. Thanks”

Things with Cindy might have gone on indefinitely, but she wanted more and more of what I knew wasn’t in me to give. Marriage. Children. None of that wasn’t for me. The second time she had a pregnancy scare I brought things to an end. I didn’t actually think she was sleeping with anyone else, but that was as good as any excuse to end things. Then how could I really trust anyone else, right? The perfect out. I never let her know how much I missed her as a friend, but that would never have worked. A clean break was best.

“I don’t need a ‘good’ drink?”

“For me it’s more like ‘enjoying’ one.” I swirled my drink around the the glass. I loved the smell of it.

She never understood my need for a good drink, but I also knew that a part of what attracted her to me was thinking she could change me, that there was something I needed her to fix. What she never suspected was that what needed fixing was something deeper than my love of a good drink.

“The same way you enjoy those jerks.”

“Cindy, you can’t blame them for what didn’t work out between us.” It was easier to let her think that than tell her the truth. 

“They’re just an excuse to feel better than someone, hanging out with such losers lets you feel superior to them. It boosts your ego.”

“If this is what you came over for, Oprah, you might as well leave. Before those losers arrive.” There was some truth to what she said, but the guys never challenged me on anything the way she did. Plus they envied me my house, my education, my job, and I enjoyed that drunken envy. “I know you hate to see a man enjoy a drink.”

“It’s never a drink but a Goddamn drunken spree. You just get drunk. Falling-down stupid drunk. Is there such a thing as a bad drink?”

I had no answer for her. Once again she became a threat to my comfort, whereas a good drink let me stay numb to what I was afraid of admitting to anyone.

“Season’s greetings to you, too.” I finished my Scotch and poured another.

“I’m sorry, Dave. I can’t help it, I guess. I thought there was a real connection between us.”

“So did I until …”

“Look I didn’t come back here to go over the past. I wanted to drop by and see how you were doing. It’s frustrating to see you still doing this to yourself.”

“Not much else to do in this one-horse town, right.” I poured myself another drink. A smaller one this time. It allowed me to look away from her eyes.

“You’re looking good, though. I like this.” She reached to the moustache I had let develop the past few months.

“Yeah, makes me look a little older, don’t you think?” With her hand so near I wanted to hold her. Could she handle a truth that I didn’t even know how to deal with myself?

“How’s your Dad?”

The phone rang. I grimaced to her as I answered. It was Donnie.

“Listen Dave, why don’t you drop by here. Less driving for me.”

“Sure, Donnie. Give me say half-an-hour to change my socks.” I laughed and hung up the phone.

This happened pretty often. It meant Donnie had started in already. He didn’t like to drive with only a couple of drinks under his belt. After a few good ones, he’d drive anywhere but the first few made him paranoid.

“I hate to bring this to an end but . . .” I helped her into her coat.

“Your duty calls. Can I give you a lift?” 

“Thanks, but no thanks. I’ve been in the house all day. The walk’ll do me good. Thanks for the gift.”

Once she was gone I changed out the jeans and sweatshirt I’d been wearing all day. My socks and boxers would do for a night of drinking. I hesitated at the bathroom but figured my face was clean enough to waste time on it. Same with my teeth. A beer would settle my breath easy enough.

I pulled on my parka, laced up my boots, tucked a mickey of bourbon in the inside pocket and headed out. The mickey was one I had bought for my Dad as a Christmas gift, but there was another couple of weeks before then so I’d have time to buy him another. Last year, it took me three trips to finally get him the pint that he got. Always pays to have something portable on hand.

The wind from earlier in the day had died down, and the snow had stopped.  Cloudless and clear. The Christmas lights looked like the bulbs had been freshly washed. The street wasn’t too slippery. Some people were out shovelling their walks. Mine could wait for morning.

I was tempted to stop at one of the corner stores to grab some mix, but figured Donnie’d have something in the fridge we could use. If he didn’t, his folks would.

As I walked up the driveway to the back of Donnie’s house, I tapped the basement window with the toe of my boot to let him know I was there. He lived in the basement of his parents’ house. He had a separate entrance so it wasn’t really like living at home.

The warm apartment smelled of fried onions and hot dogs. That was Donnie’s specialty. If you were good, he’d throw in some sliced tomato.

“Got the place to yourself?” I pushed my boots off at the door and dropped my coat on the floor by the couch.

“Yep. Trish’s gone up to her folks for a few days. Baby’s not due for a while. But man! What a pain she can be about stuff. You know?”

“I’ll take your word for it.” I put the bourbon on the table beside his half empty bottle of beer. His face lit up.

“Ahh a real drink for a change.”

“Got something to go with it?” I could hear footsteps overhead. “Is that Ma and Pa Cattle practicing their two-step?”

“Yeah. Can’t wait till I can get moved out of here. They’re off to bingo soon enough anyhow.”

Once they were out, we could turn up the record player. Until then, noise was to be kept at a minimum.

I stood in the doorway of the tiny kitchen while Donnie rinsed a couple of coffee mugs for us. The sink was filled with dishes. There wasn’t much counter space. Even the stove had dirty dinner plates on it.

“How long has Trish been at her folks?”

“A couple of days.”

“Looks like a couple of months.” I nodded at the pile of dirty clothes by the washer.

“Yeah, well. Takes me a little longer to get things done when I’m on me own. You know.”

“Yeah, right.” I took the mugs and dried them off with the tail of my shirt rather than use the crusty towel on the floor.

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FatBoy Out Of The House

I first heard The Housemartins in a friend’s place way back in the 80’s. He had the lp London 0 Hull 4 which he had picked up in London well before it was released in North America. I made a an lp to cassette copy of it. The band has a sweet Beatles vibe I enjoyed. Not that they were retro but they were ‘uncomplicated.’

Nice textured harmonies with solid rock music. No electronic effects, no trippy studio gimmicks, with a sense of humour. The same holds true their second lp The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death. The writing is emotional without being melodramatic. Lead singer has a very appealing voice as well. I enjoyed them & eventually replaced my cassette with mp3s of both albums. But before I did that I did pick the cd: Now That’s What I Call Quite Good – a compilation of some tracks from the lps with some out-takes, b-sides & live performances. All fine stuff & well worth tracking down.

The band split up before they really made it big. A couple of them formed Beautiful South. I’ve heard some tracks by South – an extension of House but they didn’t grab me enough to add them to my collection. 

Even more of a surprise is that, Norman Cook, one of that original band went on to become FatBoy Slim! The antithesis of Housemartins. Nothing homey or laidback about Slim. I have stand-alones: You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby; Halfway Between the Gutter & The Stars; Palookaville. I heard a couple of tracks on a compilation of techo-dance music & came across a 2nd copy of Long Way, Baby & really loved him. 

All the cd’s are sample heavy in the best way but as he progressed more ‘original’ electronica developed. His ‘funky’ stuff is great for writing to, his original stuff tends to Moby like soundscapes. Halfway’s Sunset [Bird of Prey] features a tasty Jim Morrison sample. Give it a listen on youtube 🙂 

Warning 

‘Put that down.’

‘What?’ I pulled my hand away from the shopping bag I was about to pick up. ‘I mean, why?’

‘Just step away from the bag, ma’am.’

‘I don’t understand.’ I glared at the police woman, levelling a gun at me.

‘I said just step away from the bag.’

I obeyed.

‘That’s good. Keep stepping back.’

Two officers rushed between me and the shopping bag.

‘I was just … ’

‘We know what you were just going to do, ma’am.’ The female officer yanked my arms behind my back and handcuffed me. ‘It happens all the time. Can’t leave well enough alone can you.’

‘Cut.’ Stan Johnson called out.

‘Did I hurt you?’ Jean, the actress playing the female officer, asked me.

‘No. That went well, don’t you think?’ Stan clapped. ‘Very well.’

‘Yeah. But …’

‘But what?’ The prop grip came over and removed the handcuffs.

Jean nodded for me to step off the set with her.

‘Don’t go far girls.’ Stan, our beloved director, said.

‘There.’ Jean winced. ‘Calling us girls, again. I’m sick of it.’

‘But it’s just a word. He’s not even thinking.’

‘Yeah, well, even this commercial makes me want to scream.’

‘I think it’s funny.’

‘Funny?’

‘Yeah. The wife so curious she can’t wait to see what her husband has bought so she can switch it with what she really wants while his back is turned.’

‘Well, it makes me sick. All women aren’t that curious, aren’t all snoops. Plays on stereotypes.’

‘Makes fun of stereotypes.’

‘Still not fair, you know. And where’s the husband? Why not have him arrested as he buys the crappy gift – now that makes me laugh. No, arrest the wife for trying to look after her own needs.’

‘Okay, back on set.’ Stan motioned to Jean. ‘Why don’t you just do your job, sweetheart, and leave the rest of it to us. Market research knows what sells. We aren’t selling to women but to men.’

‘And women don’t know what men want.’

‘Of course they do, but we can’t show that on television. At least not at family hour.’ Stan laughed at his  joke.

‘Places everyone.’ his assistant made sure each of us was on our marks. 

‘Okay. Action.’

I reached for the shopping bag. I didn’t even know what was actually in it. It could be some styrofoam blob.  It didn’t matter. It was a script, an action, not a reality.

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November 1 -30

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Jessie Mae Hemphill

Four or five years ago I watched a documentary on Christmas music – obscure Christmas music, not the mainstream albums pumped out by big pop stars. It focused on a couple of obsessive collectors – which I identify with – looking for lost treasures. One of the songs was ‘Merry Christmas, Pretty Baby’ by Jessie Mae Hemphill. The song was rollicking, sexy fun & the sound was sort of rustic & homemade – clanky tambourine, slide blues guitar with her vocals on top of it all.

I found her on iTunes & have Feelin’ Good; She-Wolf; Get Right Blues on this mp3 collection. The sound quality is excellent. Her guitar playing is strong. The material is a mix of originals, blues classics & some spirituals. Mostly uptempo & all fun. Levon Helm won grammies for Americana but Jessie Mae is an even more rootsy Americana.

One of the other Christmas songs “Christmas in Veitnam” by Private Charles Bowens & Gentlemen From Tigerland – lead me to the The Rojac Story. The only collection where I could get this track. “Founded in 1963 Rojac Records was Jack Taylor’s attempt to capture the musical pulse of Harlem. Throughout the 60s (and into the 80s) the imprint released a steady stream of releases. Whether they were hits or near hits they’re all exceptional in quality.”

The Rojac Story is some 44 tracks from their catalogue including cuts by Big Maybelle, Damn Sam The Miracle Man & The Soul Con’ & many more. Raunchy, funky music that I was never exposed to growing up on the east coast. Some it novelty or one-cut wonders like Private Charles Bowens. This is a compilation worth tracking down.

Clarence Reid is so well represented in this Rojac collection I picked up his Funky Party – the title alone tells you what to expect. A funky version of Otis Redding – Clarance has a fine voice, lots of fun & charm in his music. He may want ‘A Real Woman’ but is open to fun until she comes along. His ‘Winter Man’ deserves to be rediscovered. Love finding these hidden treasures – at least hidden from me – things that round out my musical knowledge. I never know where I’m going to find something new. 

That first time I watched Jingle Bell Rocks! twice just to jot down the names of songs & performers. Since 2014 it shows up on TV every year in December and I watch it every year.

Visionary 

What do I see for 2001 – the news will not change, different names and better coverage but the same events – senseless killing sprees, innocent people shot at their desks, fire bombed in jungles, cults of capitalist doom consuming the energies of people. 

Money made and lost on the stock market, more lost than made made, dives and dips that will send more people screaming in front of TV cameras with opinions but no solutions.

Bad movies about teenagers with no sense of value that will get rave reviews. Music that no one understands, not even the people who make it. Books of pointless dissections of lives, past recriminations of parents for being human and not gods when bringing up those children, with the microphones hidden in their heads, tape recorders for brains that will spew out entire dinner conversations to reveal just how human parents are.

TV shows about people losing their way in big cities where they don’t even speak the language. Sad American tourists blindfolded and taken by air to unknown destinations and just let free – no money, no guides, just that damn camera crew trailing behind their every step.

The American legal system with tear right down the middle with a nation more divided than ever. Greater civic unrest for minorities who are actually majorities. Whites will wake up to the fact that there are more Asians and blacks than anglos in the the land of the free and those people will demand to be free once and for all from the oppression of financial expectations, religious intolerance and body shame. They will rise slowly but surely before anyone realizes what is going on and the tide of change will not be controlled by any national guard or petty sex scandal.

Water will slowly disappear. People will wake up and find there isn’t enough to go around, not enough water, not enough power. Waste will become a crime. No watering of lawns, recycling of bath water, all controlled to eke out each last drop, but still there will not be enough for some. Only the rich will have lawns, the rest of us will have wild flowers (yeah).

The hungry will get more hungry, the homeless will increase as people lose the longing for home. 

The nature of family will continue to change. The Rockwell image will be replaced with the reality of today. Nostalgia will no longer rule and the those who wish we were back to yesterday will be sent there once and for all, leaving the rest of here to enjoy progress and appreciate and flexible future. For without flex there is no future.

The war between the sexes will continue as men stay stuck till they find the gal still stuck in that past. Men will marry each other, women will marry each other and God will smile while churches that perform such services will be burnt to the ground by worshippers of nostalgia.

2001 will be a year of great spiritual shifts in all who flex and one of deep fear and a distrust to those who refuse to open to the future. 

The future cannot be halted and it is my fault.

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October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up

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October scary poetry every Wednesday & Thursday

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Joy To Compost

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks. Who knew the simple life could be so complex. This another of the 92 pācittiyas.

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

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

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Pining For Yule

I watched Food Unwrapped on TVO this week. They were looking at Christmas foods. Mostly traditional fare but one odd, to me, thing they explored was cooking your Christmas tree. Pine is edible & in Finland it is used in cooking as a flavouring & as a beverage. Pine tea. I recall a family in Cape Breton than made Spruce beer every December. So I decided to try it.

I cut a small branch off the pine tree in my backyard. The tree is hone to bluejays, robins, cardinals & what I think are chickadees(?). If it wasn’t such a bio-home we would have cut it down several years ago as it is huge.

I washed the branch, cut several tips off & boiled them for half-an-hour. Let it cool. the ‘broth’ had a strong pine taste & the needles weren’t really edible. I left that cooling on my front porch overnight. I also started my stuffing. The recipe changes slightly every year.

The base is always raisin bread, with green grapes, apple, pear, orange, & this year dried cranberries added, plus a couple of onions. Spiced with black pepper, nutmeg, & all spice. I mix these dry ingredients as best I can & let it stand overnight as well. Next day its’ ready for stuffing the birds. Our tradition Rock Cornish hens. I cook them Christmas eve day so I don’t have to worry about cooking on Christmas day while I’m unwrapping my gifts 🙂

I make loads of dressing. What is cooked in the hens is called stuffing, what is cooked outside of them is called dressing. I add some of the cooked hen stock to the dressing to add to the flavour of it. This year I moistened the dressing with the pine broth, placed the birds on a bed of pine already in the pan. Added some of the pine to around the legs as well.

Once the hens were cooked I halved each of them, removed the stuffing, Removed the cooked pine twigs but left any needles that stuck. The result is very pleasant. But the proof will be when they get served to my guests on Christmas day. If the pine works out it’ll become another tradition.

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Top Ten Plus One

Top Ten Things I Love About The Grinch

10 – he looks good in green and red

9 – he’s not afraid of heights

8 – he makes a plan and sticks to it

7 – he likes winter sports – sledding

6 – he’s willing to admit when he’s wrong

5 – he can sew

4- he leaves your house cleaner than it was when he arrived

3 – he knows how to use a whip

2 – he has a wicked grin

1 – his dog loves him

plus One

It wasn’t only his heart that grew three times larger

Log Deep in Yule

Sometimes I am reminded that some people don’t know as much trivial shit as I know. I was reminded of this the other day when a friend of mine says he refused to put up Christmas lights because they were too Christian. Ordinarily I would let someone’s misinformation slip by but this one I had to address. To make this even odder he was unaware of the pre-Christian roots of the Festive season – that the Church co-opted Saturnalia (much as they did with Easter). I also told him there is no mention of outdoor lighting, other than the Star, in the Bible.

I figured everyone knew that what we know as Christmas didn’t come into being until the late 1800’s. Yes, I know there were Christmas feasts for centuries but it didn’t hit its commercial stride until Dickens & then all shopping hell broke loose. He was stunned to hear that Santa Claus, as we envision him, was created by Coca Cola.

Holiday lights spring from the Victorian custom of placing the Christmas Tree in a window for passers-by to see it. It wasn’t until electric lighting that the tree moved into a corner & the windows were trimmed. The tree & lights go back to the ancient Yule need for more lights during the darkest time of the year. Those crafty Church folk quickly made the light represent the Star. Very wise. There’s are lots of excellent documentaries on the history of Christmas so do more research if you want to know more.

I find the PC correctness of the Holidays amusing – calling it Christmas isn’t inclusive of non-Christians. But let me tell you any merchant will accept your cash this time of year whether you are Christian or not. So I go to Festive gatherings, holiday parties. It’s a wonder we get to hear actual carols like Silent Night without some sort of trigger warning. Being an avowed non-Christian I embrace what I can – I love Starbuck’s Egg Nog latte. I’m sure even the Magi would see the wisdom in that.

Dark of Five

Invitation

in the dark of five in the afternoon

I have no fear of death

just a fear that putting it in words

becomes an invocation

to what needs no invitation

 

Contemplation

 

duende knows no time

no clock    no light

nothing is needed

nothing is sacred

diversion is sacramental worship

as long as there is no need to focus

there is no need to fear

there is nothing to push away

the duende brings its own ripe red bite

the edges are crisp clear

you are just wretched rat shit

hoping that you have a way out

there is no need to escape

there no where to go

where the black ribbon won’t tie you

cannot define you but will end you

no need for need

all will be hidden revealed discarded

 

Avocation

 

my fear is that only in death

will I be discovered

that the vast treasure I contain

will only spill forth

like gold nuggets hidden under my skin

when death slices that thin membrane

to send them raining ringing like love

 

Consternation

in the dark of five

do I dare invoke duende

while I sit at my window

the fade of an ice etched day

the mortal cold of that snap grip

dances between dust flashes

the empty air ghost filled

 

Invocation

 

I call upon the balsam east

rising hope’s dream language

to assuage pain it can never cure

 

I call upon the spruce south

the scald of blooded lusts

words tossed to defend portents

all that has passed and will come

 

I call upon the Douglas west

a sense of past to build on

recall the many who have stood here

to evoke from you a shared memory

our separate histories that

understand pine but see a different box

 

I call upon the evergreen north

the clarity of moon on brittle snow

the gash of revenge regret atonement

join with the strength from below

the earth that holds divines the future

it has the silence of the sky above

the sun to reflect on us

who count on words to illuminate

what turns out not to be seeable

in the dark of five in the afternoon

kiss3

HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

http://www.queerslam.com

2018

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

June – dates t.b.a – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C.


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My Talented Friends

With the festive season rapidly approaching it is a good time for me to recommend great gift options produced by many talented friends. Starting with some sweet sounds from SoulFistikato  the head nod. I met SoulF at Valentino Assenza’s Cryptic Chatter back in the day (time for a reunion show Val?). He (& frequent collaborated Dane Swan: whose excellent new book “He Doesn’t Hurt People Anymore” can be found on Amazon) are out of the slam scene. the head nod is a set of sampled, remixed & original instrumentals that are easy on the ear & uplifting to the spirit.

Charlie C Petch’s  Mel Malarkey Odes & Acts is a studio recording of their one-person Cabaret. I say Cabaret in reference to the musical as this is out of that vaudeville tradition – even the instrumental numbers have that Kurt Weill lilt. Charlie is another artist I first encountered at Valentino Assenza’s Cryptic Chatter back in the day (time for a reunion show Val?).

Carolina Brown’s Carolina Brown is a richly textured set of their songs. Compelling guitar work with raw & sometimes playful lyrics. Carolina confronts gender & transphobia directly & connects emotionally to the listener. I’ve heard Carolina several times & have enjoyed the fearless energy they use in creative expression in such a directly honest way that invites rather than challenges. Not that some of music isn’t challenging but it is a challenge one is willing to face.

Kris Gebhard’s Fairy Feather Files is another collection that confronts gender & transphobia directly & connects emotionally to the listener. Spoken-word with gentle marimba interludes that refresh the spirit. Kris presents difficult realizations with a tenderness that lets the listener hear the experience. I first heard Kris at Capturing Fire (produced by Regie Cabico) in Washington DC. Challenging in content at times but done in way affected way that draws you in emotionally.

So much for the audio portion of this post. Andre Prefontaine’s Freshwater Genteel & Saltwater Rage chapbook is full of fun, difficult, angry, not-so-fun but always honest poetry. Their writing is sharp, thoughtful, penetrating & human. I’ve seen Andre perform several times & each time am amazed & inspired. Contract him via Facebook to find out how to buy this book.

Finally Goddess X’s Blk Grl Sick: Tales from the Library Burned. I met X at Capturing Fire a few years ago & was stunned by their writing & their performance. The writing is powerful, raw, honest & clear. I always read poetry out-loud – this allows me to feel the words as opposed to slipping over them with eyes. In reading this book aloud I was caught up in the frustration & fears of being a black trans woman in the USA in way I didn’t expect. This is a fearless, challenging, fierce book.

Maybe these sound too challenging for Christmas gifts? Sure a pair comfy slippers would be nice but challenging someone to see the world around them in a different by giving them chance to leave their comfort zone is infinitely more rewarding. Take up the challenge it could also help change the way you see the world.

The Good Old Days

when I was a boy things were different

we’ve come a long way from those days

when there wasn’t anything to do

till the sun had come up

as there was no light allowed at night

stumbling in the dark

from one strip joint to the other

to listen to dancers in the dark

fleshly moist parts

pressed against your shoulder

the only part of the body

they were allowed contact with in the dark

now that we have light at night

it’s like going to the dentist

antiseptic and numbing

ah yes we all remember

those days when the only music

came from the slap of thighs

when the village women did the wash

as they whacked the dirt out of clothes

 

we didn’t have the worries we do today

then we worried about

how many smelt or moose

would the men catch

would there be enough

so that even a lad of ten

would have a fiver

to take to unlit strip bars

so the men could afford a soothing drink

to make up for the time it took

to wash the blood out of their hair

while the village women

whacked their clothes on moist rocks

to get the stain of smelt or the stink of moose

out of those rubbed-soft loose-fitting pants

that held the private parts

of the men they loved

those were the days when people loved

 

we had such pie in those days

small pans

so carefully tended in wood stoves

wood that we children had to find

we had to scour empty condo complexes

break off chair legs or hat racks

so we could be a part of things

so we could prove

we were good for more

than homework and giggling

because we loved to giggle

especially at the women

who spent so much time getting ready

for their shifts at the unlit strip bars

putting on sparkling fish scales

that no one would ever see

and the men hot and hollowed

would stagger home to fall asleep

on piles of wet laundry

licking their lips

waiting for the sun to rise

 

those were the days

when things were different

unlike now

when different

is just another brand name

chapbooks for sale http://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

kiss3

HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

http://www.queerslam.com

November 1-30

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

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