Picture Perfect 61

Picture Perfect 61

“It wasn’t something I thought much about, especially after the Mounties stopped coming around. We never understood why they stopped. Or why they never came back when there were others.”

“Have you remembered much?”

“More and more since your show contacted me. Silly stuff. Like what I was wearing. Those cowboy costumes you and Timmy loved to play in. Mama had to sew them back together nearly every other day. We couldn’t make you kids understand they weren’t really clothes. They were as real as the toy guns. You would be climbing trees, jumping off porches in them. Timmy would sometimes sleep in his chaps. He said that how real cowboys slept. I told him real cowboys didn’t hang around with their bare butts where coyotes could get at them in their sleep. He wanted to get a job as a sharp shooter at that circus. The Hippo something.”

“You mean the Happy Hippo?”

“What a crappy circus that was. It used to be so … exciting when I was your age but as I got older, it stayed the same. All that brought me and your sister to it was to see the freaks and the fellas that ran the rides. They wanted us to call them carnies but they weren’t much older than us and working for the summer and planning to go into the army or back to university. I always kept an eye and ear out for those college boys. Here …” She took the photos from him and sorted through to a couple of them. “These are of me and Stoney. He was already studying some sort of engineering at Dalhousie. He kept the rides in good repair. He was a better catch than just the guy who sold you tickets or turned the switch on. Not that he didn’t do those things too but he also knew stuff.”

Dan stopped walking to look closely at the picture.

“Yeah, that’s me he’s got his arm draped around. I looks so cute in that halter-top.”

The young shirtless man in the picture was leaning against a fence, legs crossed at the ankles, one arm around Teresa. She was looking up at him with her hand on his bare stomach. He was gawking at her cleavage. He was enjoying the view as he had an obvious erection barely contained in his faded jeans. The face was familiar to Dan.

“It can’t be.” he said.

“Real? Yeah, he was, as they say, hung like horse.”

“Not that but I think I know him.”

“Stoney?” Teresa asked?

“Or maybe it’s his son.” He did the math in his head. “If this is who I think it is he was probably only about fourteen when this was taken.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me. Turns out he diddled lots of the younger ones too. Wait fourteen! Then all stuff about Dalhousie was a load of bs?” She gabbed the picture back from him. “Nah, he was twenty. That’s what he told us anyways. Who do you think he is?”

“I’d rather not say anything until I know more for sure. Did you tell the RCMP about his diddling young girls?”

“No. Never occurred to me. He couldn’t have anything to do with those kids disappearing. Timmy was a boy. Stoney was sure weren’t no fairy.”

“Who?” Cameron angled in for a close up of the picture.

“I’d rather not say.” Dan said covering the photo with his hand. “No need to implicate someone rashly. Baxter’s Bits doesn’t want to face a defamation law suit.”

“I’m not sure about that.” Cameron laughed. “It would go well with stories of his recent brush with death.”

“This other one.” Teresa brought the attention back to her. “Is of your sister with that Kevin guy your parents was so steamed up about. O’Neill. Kevin O’Neill. I only know because he took me out a few times.”

“The one she blamed for us moving.”

“Huh?”

“For years she said that was why we moved. To break them up.” He took the picture. “That’s my sister but that isn’t Kevin. I met him a few times when she was supposed to be minding me. He was a red head. This guy is certainly not a red head.”

“Redhead? You sure? I don’t recall any redheaded fellas in our gang that year.”

They arrived at the park.

She lit another cigarette as they sat on a bench.

“What do you think happened to Timmy?” He asked.

“Like I said we were sure he’d run off, again. Maybe to follow you guys to Ontario. When it turned more kids had gone missing no one knew what to think. Aliens?”

“Aliens?” Dan laughed.

“Look they were gone without a trace, you know. Like not even a shoe left behind. How is that possible? What do you think happened to them?”

Dan looked at Cameron. “You know, I’ve never really thought about that. We’re so focused on who and when. I doubt if any of them are alive now.”

Teresa began to cry. “I just hate thinking about what ever was done to these kids when they were … taken.”

“Teresa, I think we’ve got enough for one day.” Dan said. “What do you think Cameron.”

“Whatever you say. I know Steph will be happy with what we have.”

“You can always call me if you want to do more. I got lots of the super 8’s from then too. Not sure who took them.”

“I’ll take these pictures and go through them. We’ll get them back to you.” 

They left her at the park and went back to the rental car. Dan had Cameron drive so he could look through the pictures more carefully, separating the ones he was most interested in. He studied the one of Teresa and Stoney. It had to be Winston Chamberlain. Much younger but there was no mistaking him. It made some sense that the owner’s son would know about the rides and would want to keep his identity a secret.

“Who is it?” Cameron asked. “Your Dad?”

“No! But another suspect. If this is who I think it is, he was practically a child himself at the time.” That is if he was right about Winston’s age. 

“How does it feel being back here in Stellerton.”

“Odd. Same streets but different buildings.”

“You ever miss it.”

“Timmy was the only thing I missed. My Dad kept us so busy with his business because it was a good way to teach us values. I never had much of a chance to make friends. We moved around a lot in the summer. This was where we stayed the longest.”

“So what did he say when you moved like that?”

“Enough Cameron. Asking questions is my job. Or are you filming this too.”

“You know it. Baxter said not to waste a moment. That isn’t a GPS you know.” He pointed to the unit on the dash with his elbow. “Dashboard camera.”

“In all the cars?”

“When ever possible.”

“I guess it picked up my panic in the storm.”

“Oh, no. That had been Baxter’s car you were driving. He wasn’t interested in being filmed. We didn’t have a chance to make a switch out for the camera. Good thing too because we have his accident. Can’t fake footage like that.”

“Would it show someone tampering with the car?”

“Only if they were in the car. It wasn’t set to see outside the car. We got nothing that shows that.”

He parked the car. “Steph will send someone to pick me up. This one be your wheels for the rest of the shoot.”

“Where’s the real GPS?”

“It’s an app on your cellphone.”

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Picture Perfect 51

Picture Perfect 51

Dan could smell popcorn even before he had opened the front door of the Maritime Circus Museum. As he opened the door, calliope music announced his entry. Man, that must get irritating for the people who work here, he thought.

The inside lobby was a ceiling to floor front of a circus tent – a ticket booth in the middle, a partially opened tent flap, & two large canvas posters on either side of the ticket booth. They had to be at least twelve foot high. The ones on the left were for ‘Cora! Queen of the King Cobras’ – it showed a wide-eyed, smiling woman clad like a bellydancer, charming a king cobra by staring into its eyes. ‘Cora can charm the most dangerous of poisonous snakes. Think of what she can do with mortal man.’

Beside it was one for ‘Sharko – The Fish Man’  A thin man in bathing trunks was half twisting to show the fin on his back, his legs were covered with scales and there appeared to be gills under his jaw. ‘See his scales, his fin. Watch as he dives deep and stays underwater longer than humanly possible.’

On the other side were posters touting first, ‘Fireball.’ It showed a man putting a flaming touch into his mouth. He was wearing a flame painted costume with a what appeared to a lighting bolt of flame flashing from his crotch. Beside the ‘Fireball’ was one for ‘Madama Cabanalla’: a Gypsy woman staring out at him with a crystal ball floating over her palms. ‘Madama Cabanalla sees all! Tells all!’

A sign on the ticket booth invited him to ring for service. An arrow pointed to a rope that he followed with his eyes as it went through a series of pulleys to a fire-station type bell on the wall behind him. A group came in the door as he was about to pull the rope. Two adults and six children.

Dan pulled the bell rope. The alarm rang loudly for a minute and then res & yellow balloons shot up from the roof of the ticket booth with a loud bang. The children screamed and laughed. Dan shook his head in amazement.

A man dressed in a red blazer, with a striped yellow vest and black check pants stepped out from the tent entrance.

“Welcome! Welcome.” He reached his hand out to one of the adults. The adult was leery and squinted as if expecting a hand buzzer as they shook hands. Nothing happened.

“Welcome one and all to Chamberlain’s Maritime Circus Museum. I am Winston Chamberlain. The Happy Hippo Travelling Circus has been in my family for several generations since 1899 when Grant and Isabelle Hill started it. It toured the Eastern Provinces changing with the times over the years until it could no long keep up with the times.”

“You are free to explore the exhibits and the grounds as you want to for free, or you can take a guided tour with ME.” He pulled a bouquet of flowers out of his coat sleeve and presented it to one of the young girls in the family group. “The cost of the tour is your soul … just kidding. It’s a mere $10.00 each.”

“How long will that take?” One of the adult asked. “An hour.” Winston answered. “An hour you will never forget.”

“Can we Daddy?” one of the children asked. “Can we?”

“Is there a children’s rate?” The man asked.

“Only if their feet never touch the ground.” Winston answered. “And their hands don’t touch an exhibit, unless instructed to.”

Dan laughed at Winston’s spiel. He saw that it disarmed the parents of the children, who reluctantly paid the admission fee. 

“And you kind sire?” Winston asked Dan.

“I think I’ll explore a bit first. It might be quieter.”

“I hear you.” Winston nodded. “If you want the printed guide to the exhibits that’ll be $5. Which you can pay to my lovely assistant right though here.”

He lifted the tent flap wider and tied it back so they all could enter.

“That included with the tour Mac?” The dad asked.

“Nope.” Winston said. “But you each do get a free bag of popcorn.”

Dan went into the tent and bought the guide. The assistant was an automation pirate that dropped the booklet down a slot & out into his waiting hand. The museum was divided into several areas. One that dealt with the history of it, one that had a display of the various flyers, posters, costumes; another that devoted the various carnival games and food; in an out door area were rides dating back to the first years of the circus. Not all of them were functional and the ones that were would cost $10.00 each to ride or any three for $20.00.

“We’ll start with the Carnival Food Fair,” Winston said to the family, who were joined by several other people. 

Dan went in the opposite direction to the first of the exhibit rooms. The guide book gave a concise time line of the carnival, explained the difference between a carnival and a circus. A circus always had animals, lions, tigers; always had performs like clowns, trapeze or tumblers; rarely had rides. Whereas a carnival had more games of chance; rides; some would have freak sideshows such as The Fish Man; large ones might have simple animal acts like dogs or the occasional snake charmer like Cora. Animals always slowed down travel time and over the years were phased out as the rides became a bigger draw.

The exhibit hall Dan went into had a map of the Maritime provinces filling one wall. There were different coloured and sized circus flags representing the decades and places various carnivals had traveled to when they were on tour. The Happy Hippo was the only one based the wartime’s but a couple of the bigger ones, like the Conklin, sent touring midways to Halifax every summer. The larger the flag the more frequently it visited a particular town or city. 

Some would get an annual visit, others every two or three years. It would rarely stay longer than a week at any one place unless there some other festival or event going on at the same time. 

There where three Happy Hippo touring shows. Dan hadn’t realized this before. He’d always assumed that there was just the one he recalled from his childhood. Each of them had different rides, games of chance. The larger the town or city the larger the carnival would be, hence the three different shows. It also meant three of them could be on the road at the same time and participate in more than one local festival at a time.

There was a computer interface with the map where one could input year, month and see what locations which show was performing. It would also tell you what rides, sideshows and specials where appearing with it, how long it stayed. But not how much money it made.

Dan typed in the month they had left for Toronto. All three shows were on the road. The one nearest Stellerton was the smaller number 3. It played in Truro the week before and had moved on the day after his family left. He saw that a Madam Cabanalla was featured in all three shows. So there must have been more than one of her. Though perhaps her psychic power allowed her to appear in three places at the same time. He’d have to ask Glaucia if the was possible. The Truro special was Cora Queen of the King Cobras in the Court of King Tut. He took pictures of the various pages before they disappeared.

Was Cora why he was so disappointed in not getting to the circus that last weekend? He had been so into Tut that summer for some reason. Following links on the computer screen he found a flyer for that area’s carnival. It also said that the actual flyers could be found in Exhibit Hall two. He consulted he guide to see where that hall was.

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Cutthroat Circus 1970

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. I was using a cheaper, yellow copy for many of these – the paper hasn’t yellowed with age. Enjoy 🙂

Cutthroat Circus 1970

Tickets

bleeding

needing

someone to laugh

in this empty garden

somebody to shut the windows to the night

somebody to open the box of toys

hidden so long

 

topaz shatterproof whispering thief

finding his way into the locked room

tiptoes then dynamites the hanging

fearing to find escape outside of

becoming another fugitive figure

flung fatally into one of the frames

 

mixed relaxations

reactions

interactions

of sitting & rocking

the childminder asleep

like a tighter thought leaping

across the room at my throat

 

Ringmaster’s Intro Speech

 

realized confinement

time & tomorrow waiting

with a box full of everyone

wishes for their giving to

secret plans & dangling

free frozen in the act

of trying to be a lover

or another testy fake

 

beneath satin sliding silk

sticking sucking slender

silent

waiting then leaping

at your throat

knife sharp

cutting

steel swift

shining sinking into

flinching flesh

bursting bleeding

bravely saving sighs for songs

as duty demands this sudden

stealthy

dubious death

 

The Show

 

cautiously

carefully

itemized perfections

petrified pain

aware merry-go-round

 

circus

charmer looking for Mesmer

trying for the bigtop jackpot

scarcely leaning jagged seat-edged

watching amazed as

the trapeze swings

empty

as

the trapeze swings

full

oriental curving through

a thousand falling feet

to the thudding ground

netted protected below

unaware

timid almost

blushing

shy for once

pleased & proud

confused aloud

almost sure these

hands reached for

across the crowd

might prove to be gone

plunging again

but knowing full well

it’s merely a trick of the band

 

the trombone

tension getting device

as the drums beat faster

& the trapeze bar mirrored silver

fogs with perspiration 

slipping hands

feeling thousand hands hounding

grabbing you out of mid-flight

& dragging you

gracefully arching

to the aching 

safety of home

 

gaunt & tall

removed & aloof

the savage tamer

of the tigers in the room

the charming knife thrower

electric pulsating neon

through pink spotlight

cage bar shadow rippled face

loses no time

in hurling rockets of steel

flashing through sawdust air

to trembling spangled buxom target

coyly smiling as she walk

from the spinning hazard into

your eager spread-legged dream

of night & thrill

in the trailers

in the tents

in the bandwagon

in the centre ring

the major attraction of all time

together

you might & majestic

while she

so calm & serene

& able to walk way

alive after having been burst upon

by your crimson dagger

 

simple acts of contrition

rings one & two

no bells are heard

but the leper’s bell

as the choir bursts forth

with discord after harmony 

 

chime

chime

chime

the centre attraction 

is cutting himself to shreds

the knife thrower stands small in the wings

the centre attraction

is taming himself with whip & chair

s c r e a m i n g

dan

g

l

i

n

g in the air

swings by his teeth

twisting & turning in erotic agony

as the bareback lady rides her

mount so heavily over

the sweating

distressed

finish line

 

clowns in fire engine

save the crying child

the crowd roars wild

 

the choir finds a fatal note

rapture

applause

laughter

spotlights flash aimlessly

uncontrolled

over

the

tent top

sky

as beyond

fireworks

filled

as the final fugitive elephant

is prodded back into chains

is lured back into his corner of the circus

 

fleeting & everlasting

steaming rows of

honking seals

screaming rows of terrified children

as the tigers leap

thrashing

at the cage bars

trying for freedom

foreheads bleeding & dripping

clowns playing

in frenzy to hide the

deep inside mastery of the circus

 

circus tickets

laughing futile 

flight through time

again the choir

singing some

faithless mass

the organist trashing his peddles

the guest soprano

leading through

new augmented chords

all united as all

lions leaping through flaming hoops

horses dancing the arias

cadenza

pianist handless

rhythms 

pumping faster

the fire engines futile whine

 

while in the centre ring

I lead them all in

one final chorus of

laughter

At the time wrote this I felt it was a magnum opus. This is one piece were the enjambments were a carnival in & of themselves. ‘dan g l i n g’ stretched across the page, as well as down the page, with each turn of the typewriter roller dropping the letters down one line after the other.

‘topaz shatterproof whispering thief’ wtf? It clearly shows the influence of surrealism and Dylan Thomas. It creates, to me, an image that almost makes sense while being mystifying meaningless. ‘fugitive figure/flung fatally into one of the frames’ what the ‘f’ is going on 🙂 I do love ‘bigtop jackpot’ for the sonics.

The trapeze symbolized my sense of trying swing through life while keeping from being unbalanced by my expectations & sexuality ‘alive after having been burst upon/by your crimson dagger.’ The pumelling images almost reflect some of the melodramatic turmoil I was struggling with trying to get a sense of my own future.


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Good Sex With Andrew Gurza

 

(Trigger warning: explicit man on man sex)


On a recent Disability After Dark Andrew Gurza  describes in explicit & visceral detail good M2M sex he has had. Refreshing & bold he takes us into a bedroom, holding nothing back (except the name of his sex partner). There is nothing ‘show off’ about his descriptions just a sense of his pleasure & joy in sex. He talks about rimming without shame – actually names it. It is neither pornographic nor clinical – matter of fact & honest. 

Like me he prefers more than just the dropping of pants that reduces sex to body parts. Good sex for me starts with texting – one guy I see will send a text asking what my weekend plans are – I know that means ‘let’s play.’ If I’m free, which I usually am, he follows up with a least one selfie of his stunning smile then another of his equally fine cock. I do the same.

Good sex involves dinner here. One guy sometimes sends a day before pic showing his eagerness. Day of dinner texts are confirmation of time, a mention of the food menu. Sometimes there is an exchange of shower/bath pics too. I always like to know when a guy is on his way from the subway or parking his car so I can wait on my front steps for him & can watch as he comes up the walk. 

This walk is so sweet because this is the only time we really see each other from a distance. Weather & time permitting we chat a bit outside about the weather, the week & go inside to sup. There is often chat over supper with my partner (who doesn’t play). Table cleared. 

Up to my study after supper. Quick wash up, brushing teeth (one of my guys has his own toothbrush here). Then on to the play portion of the evening – alway starts with hugging kissing rubbing of clothed junk, hands into pants for fondling until pants are ready to explode off. The first touch of naked belly to belly can give me chills – maybe we will rotate around each other for belly to back, erections caressing between ass cheeks. 

Onto the bed for lots more kissing, hugging, cock sucking, tit teasing, ball sucking, ass eating, penetration, ejaculating (too clinical? fucking & coming). More snuggles, chit-chat, washing up, sometimes more sucking & fucking. Occasionally down to watch some TV. Sad parting as I watch them walk to the subway or find their car. Occasionally a text five minutes later to say ‘great time.’

I Still Dream of Wee Willie

Wee Willie stomped the ground 

in his pen

agitated bellowing

I dashed to see what was going on

 

my mother reached to hold me back

I eluded her easily

Wee Willie reared on his hind legs

that was all the glimpse I got

before my mother’s shawl 

covered my head

but in that gimpse 

I saw all she was afraid I’d see

 

the rose pattern shawl 

was the one she used

to cover her crystal ball

the future was to be veiled at all times

so she told her customers

only the hand of spirit 

and $10 could move it

 

what it hid from me was not my future

but Wee Willie pawing the air

with lumbering legs

as he teetered toward Daisy Blue

 

I pulled the shawl away

I had to see if they were fighting

then I saw for the first time

Wee Willie erect

his elephant cock in gory glory

it was huge enormous

bigger even than that of Herculo

the muscle man

 

Wee Willie clambered 

onto the back of Daisy Blue

she was docile 

her big ears flickered 

as she moved her head side to side

his humungous cock got bigger harder

his weight upon her back

 

I fainted

I came to in our trailer

my shoulders ached 

under the weight of my dreams

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Wee Willie

circusboy

I Still Dream of Wee Willie

Wee Willie stomped

the ground in his pen

agitated bellowing

I dashed to see what was going on

my mother reached to hold me back

I eluded her easily

Wee Willie reared on his hind legs

was all the glimpse I got

before my mother’s shawl

covered my head

 

the rose patterned shawl

was the one she used

to cover her crystal ball

the future was to be veiled at all times

so she told her customers

only the hand of spirit

and $10 could move it

 

but in that glimpse I saw

what she was afraid I’d see

was not my future

but Wee Willie pawing the air

with lumbering legs

as he teetered toward Daisy Blue

 

I pushed the shawl away

I had to see if they were fighting

then I saw for the first time

Wee Willie erect

his elephant cock in gory glory

it was huge   enormous

bigger even than that of Herculo

the muscle man

 

Wee Willie clambered

onto the back of Daisy Blue

she was docile  big ears flickered

as she moved her head side to side

his humungous cock got bigger  harder

his weight upon her back

 

I fainted

 

I woke in our trailer

my shoulders ached

under the weight of my dreams

elephant

One of my favourite shows as a child was Circus Boy. The show centred on Toby Tyler and the child actor was cute and even wore his hair like mine at the time. His character was based on a book Toby Tyler which I read & reread longing of that adventure. ‘I Dream’ is my fantasy based on that longing.

This is one of four or five pieces in which I explore being a child growing up in a circus. I’m did world building as I went along and initially it was also a poem of discovery even for me as characters became clearer.

greenpole

The name Wee Willie came to me first and the scene of the agitated, aroused elephant quickly followed. I needed action to get the ball rolling. Mother as fortune teller is a bit of a cliche but I needed the shawl, trapeze artists didn’t usually wear their capes when working around the grounds. The hiding with the shawl is also a way to indicate the age of my hero. If he were in his teens I don’t think the mother would have bothered.

I also like the way I veil the eyes of the reader with it so that they don’t see what is going on until my hero sees it. I also tried to create a sense of real emotional connection between my hero and Wee Willie so the reader could feel his concern. Daisy Blue is another of those names that came easily.

Then the ‘big’ reveal.

weeds01

We do enter the realm of truth here – I have seen, thanks to TV of course – an elephant’s erection: impressive but not pretty. The mention of Herculo is to give my hero a sense of the reality of living in a circus where things are seen as a part of what is around as opposed to as objects of desire.weeds02

The faint leads into the real nature of this memory, of how things we see as children work into our subconscious in unexpected way, that they can reveal to us what we may not even have a name for but feel the weight of all the same.

soon

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

nufire

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

poetrytalk

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September 1-4: attending FanExpo 2016expo16

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

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nanobullseye

http://nanowrimo.org/

money

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elephant

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Cirque de #NaNoWriMo 2014

Imagine my surprise to find a new, to me, genre of music that turns out to be perfect for my Nano project this year. Part of Picture Perfect take place in a circus museum that I’ve imagined on the east coast. The museum is an attempt by a smallish town to create somewhat of a tourist attraction – as tourism is the prime industry in many parts of the east coast.

rollercoaster rides are in my blood

So I did a search for calliope music to see if that would put me the mood – it put me over the moon – what better invitation to sit down to the computer to write than a great circus march. A little goes along way mind you but the relentless fun of this music is hard to resist as it gets my imagination really flowing and flowering.

ridestea cup rides are so scarrry 

I also grabbed some fresh beta beats (as suggested by nanorimo’s Chris Batty) for my iPod to tune my creative frequencies when I’m out for my morning walk. The walk falls after I’ve done my first couple of pages where I get the scene started. Getting out gives that start time to develop in my subconscious. I may know how things start & where I want them to end up but the thinking often changes how they get there.

clown but not scarrry as clowns

Over the past few months I read the various NaNoWriMo books – ‘no plot no problem’ etc – nothing new to me in them but a nice confirmation that much of my creative (as opposed to structural) approach is a good one to get the job done. One thing I learned in improv is that pushing fast can take you into unexpected and sometimes brilliant directions. Nano is a written improv in which I try transcribe without editing or telling the brain to slow down. When I do that I lose all fear and can find myself on the tight rope without intending to be there.

So I’m stepping into the big ring tomorrow.

Calliope

 

there is this circus of flesh

that moves faster

than the blood can pound

that over rides all cautions

lessons learned  go out the window

when that pandemonium opens

cotton candy balls of fun

for the ones who surrender

to take give take give

rise and fall

expectation and delivery

the fierce red flush of ginger hair

that surrounds the heave and heft

of the the timid and free

fleeting and heavy

melt of the stars

into a mouth

into the sudden rise

shape fall

stomach churning moment

when a glance is returned

take this button popping opportunity

slow stroke of zipper

happy slide of pants

shirts

sweaters

shoes socks

fly through the air

merry go around

in the middle of the bed

sheet strewn masses

wrinkled rivers of dim corner

vibrant and frightened

tongue chasing twists

I know the promise

I take this opportunity

to chase the roller coaster

to sharper shocks

higher highs

all dips hips slips

the rock solid rocket

twist and tumble

the grazed knees

the bruised knuckles

the wet dry hot cool

sweat sweet breath to catch

running faster lunge

the weight of one on the other

that pulls each to the earth

accepts shares

separates courses

through the veins

beat pulse

throb shudder

seek the chance to get back on the ride

I know the circus

will pitch another tent

but I am reluctant to leave this one

so sweetly pitched

so well enjoyed

employed spent dreamy sleepy

in this gift of satisfaction

this blank slate surrender

for a few blinding seconds

when we played each other

like a big rolly polly

steam calliope

that never runs out of steam

circusboy

not porn!!


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#CircusRides and #RollingPins

As always PlasPo offered a great, eclectic lineup of readers for its February edition. Bitter cold outside but warm, packed house inside. Once again I got to do the hosting duties – seems Cathy Petch sometimes has a real life 🙂

ferris wheel anyone
ferris wheel anyone

First up was Damian Rogers – who showed us how ‘the bird of the mind returned to find it’s nest a mess’ but what a lovely mess. How to be happy includes ‘learn how to swing a rolling pin.’ Her pieces were crafted around wry observations ‘if life is a movie I sneak out for smoke breaks between shoots.’ Loved her memory of meeting with Robin Blaser – ‘the light freezes into ice cubes for our cocktails.’

She was followed by Rob Coleman who read from his recent book ‘Little Empires. The man likes his dogs ‘the knives of their lungs,’ ‘dogs breath of thieves.’ His pieces are personal, sometimes funny, often constructed around crisp images and alliterations: ‘a corolla of condemnations’ ‘shell of the new self.’

ready to go-go
ready to go-go

After the break Heather Babcock – looking sharp – read some flash-fiction and a section from a story of hers to be in an upcoming Descant. Emotionally demanding pieces about damaged people – a child’s unhappiness with her looks soothed by arcs of ‘red rubies’ that replace her eyebrows. ‘her man’s face was a fist,’ looking for ‘a place in her bones called shelter.’

Final feature was Sheila Stewart – ‘poetry is not giving up each other’ – I’m not a fan of poetry about poetry but lines like the above ‘verbs tensed in pleasure’ can speak to me. ‘The sky lifts making room for my mid-winter steps’ captured February for all of us. Her final piece ‘Sugar’ was a compelling contrast between the sweetness of sugar and the way it is harvested. It made it so clear how removed we are from where our pleasure comes from.

yeah! tilt-a-whirl
yeah! tilt-a-whirl

A dynamic slate of open stagers added to a great night, with good food, libations and creativity. Not to mention a host in fine form :-).

not porn!!
not porn!!