Ready For My Close-Up

Ready For My Close-Up

I let death happen

by proxy

if I didn’t eat the meat

wear the shoes

would their treatment

become more humane


do I take a stand

no more meat

nothing with a face

search out alternatives

plants may have faces

that I don’t recognize

so that makes it fine


the air that I breathe

is teaming with life

the water I drink

is alive with microorganisms 

that may have faces

my vision isn’t that good


atomic microscopes

focus so finite 

I can’t recognize anything

maybe that squiggle shimmer

darting around other shimmers

is afraid of being seen

shamed by our look

not ready for their close-up


they aren’t animals

are they

is my decision that they don’t count

relevant to anything

other than another brick

in a sense of superiority

the smug comfort

of valuing all life


whereas people like me 

who still eat meat

will always be ethically

self-indulgent creeps

who should be shamed

denied our close-up

then shot

On one level what this piece is about is pretty clear. I have no animosity with vegans, their choices or even their motivations. Years ago a friend of mine once complained about how hard it was to source ‘vegan’ shoes on the internet. He wanted footwear that contained no leather or petroleum byproducts. He finally found hand-woven sandals made from reeds.

But he clearly had a computer or smart phone to a access the web to make his search. I was tempted to ask him if he’d ever tried to source electronics that were ethically produced. What petroleum by-products are in our smartphones? I haven’t seen wooden ones yet 🙂 Is anything we use ethical?

I occasionally go into ‘natural’ food stores for spices. I see signs that proclaim organically grown, ethically sourced etc then look at the prices. Clearly only the well-to-do can afford to save the planet with dietary change. Yes, I am a bit of a cynic when it comes to the motivations behind much of this pr. Coffee shops brag about their sustainable coffee growers but if that coffee isn’t selling with that label they’ll find another one for our hand-crafted beverages.

The piece also touches on the smarminess that some planet savers use in announcing their love for ‘natural’ while you are indulging in your unnatural lifestyle of range-free chicken. It is similar to non-smokers distain for smokers, or married homo’s who are examples of good queers. Give me a break & while you’re at it I’ll have hamburger with fries.

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Up A DC Escalator

It was a dark and overcast morning with light rain which was a pleasant change (for me) from the oppressive humidity since I arrived in DC. Plus I finally got to use the raincoat I packed. Stuck to my morning routine, using up the breakfast food I’d bought. Maybe I’ll do a blog post on ‘how I travel.’ Hit the 9:30 Dupont meeting: topic was defiance – I realized I’m still defiant in some settings i.e. opting for ‘it’ as a pronoun.

After the meeting I went directly to Ted’s Bulletin to avoid the lunch rush. Took a pile more of photos: as if don’t have enough already 🙂 No seating issue this time. Ordered the Big Breakfast, enjoyed the pot of coffee, totally lusted for the waiter. Took more photos. Directly back to the hotel for a bathroom break & wondered what to do next.

Onto the metro & down (I think it was down as I still don’t know downtown from uptown in DC). Go figure because I can’t. Down to Union Station for this years look around. Tried to pee in one of the washrooms but it was too busy for a pee-shy guy like me. Looked in shops, nothing spoke to my wallet. Found another washroom & got a stall when I relaxed enough for relief. More looking around. Took a few pics but I have enough from past years.

Back to Dupont where I took a video of going up the escalator – a 2 minute trip – here it is – going up isn’t as vertigo inducing as going down (the elevator I mean). It is a slow carnival ride, that at one point changes angle by .5 degrees. Relaxed, meditated, waiting for housekeeping to do it’s thing so I could take a shower. Next to tart packing for my departure in the morning. I’ll be glad to sleep in my own bed.

Virtual Virginity

A couple of recent Disability After Dark podcasts with Andrew Gurza have looked at sex first times – Andrew’s & then guest Peter Morley. Like many gay men we knew we were interested in same sex long before we had the opportunity to act upon it. Though Peter was accessing sex in parks at the age of 15. These conversations allowed me to look back at my first thoughts, fantasies & actual experiences.

Where I grew up Sydney, Nova Scotia, there was a park that had a ‘reputation’ but at 15 I was too terrified to check it out at night to see if it lived up to that rep. My earliest ‘sex’ with guys was about 13 though – now that I look back on it, it wasn’t much more playing doctor.

When I was 12/13 we had a little vacation trailer in our driveway that I would sleep out in during the summer. My own little house. I had a couple of buds who would join me & we would play with each other’s cocks, get hard. One them heard about blow jobs but none us knew what that actually meant – we tried merely blowing air on each other’s cock – taking it literally – & not getting much out of it. There was even some ass play. I don’t think any of us ever came. But we all knew what we were doing was ‘dirty’ and the fear of getting caught put an end to such exploration.

About a year later an older guy – 16 I think, explained to me what jerking off was – I think he asked me something like ‘ever pull your self kid?’ I couldn’t wait to get home & try it. That became another dirty secret. My fantasies always centred on guys may age or as I got older pop stars like Mick Jagger or Jim Morrison. I do remember being fascinating by Little Joe’s package on Bonanza.

I remained hidden – dated some girls but only to keep up appearances. My eyes were always going to the guys around me. Fantasy & fear was the thing. It wasn’t until my mid20’s that I had actual sex with another man – drunken sex with a ‘straight’ bud – who came back with booze for more. Kissing & oral was all we did. This didn’t happen often but I always looked forward to those opportunities.

So I didn’t actually have what I can call real sex until I moved to Toronto in 1978. My summer of fun coincided with my first summer of sobriety. Fun is a joke – it was frustrating. Guys I found attractive were interested in younger, firmer, hairier. Not that I was so old but I clearly wasn’t what the market wanted. I remained a virtual virgin because what id id as a drunk didn’t really count, did it? So I had sex with guys I wasn’t that keen on simply because they were interested in me.

There was no Internet in those days, movies were silent super eights one could order from the back of magazines like Honcho, Mandate. There were porn stories in these that gave me some of technical info I needed but they were also awash with either romantic or performance fantasy. Eyes meeting, electric sparks, hours of sweet ass pounding sort of stuff.

So I was expecting some of that and instead got hasty kissing, fast clothing removal, messy orgasims with guys who didn’t want to leave their phone # of take mine. Sex didn’t lead to the deep relationships those stories ended up in. My learning curve was steep.

I’m not a virtual virgin because virtue has nothing to do with it. My first sober sex was so unremarkable I have no recollection of it. But it did happen. And still does.

Coffee Queen

I walked out

yeah I know I’m nobody to them

not selling me a cup of coffee

isn’t going to affect

their salary

their bottom line

five bucks less in the register

it’s not as if

it’s the only coffee shop on the street

I’m even willing to wait in line

as long as the line is moving

but if there are three sales associates

behind the counter

& I’m the only customer

waiting to be served

one of you should at least acknowledge me

not roll your eyes at each other

or chat

backs turned

or see me

then go to do something else

I walked out

without a word

I do this often

being the invisible man

has its drawbacks

I’m a nobody

no influence

merely a person who expects service

someone who has experienced

can I help you sir

oh yes let me show you where that is

is there anything else

in an ordinary drug store chain


sorry to keep you waiting

this one’s on the house

now I don’t want those servers

to lose their jobs

or even apologize

I walk out

wondering if there’s

a camera monitoring

that some manager will see

them so busy

see me walking out

and they’ll watch it together

shake their heads

some people have no patience

who does he think he is

the Queen of England

Chapbooks available:


kiss318623501_1423973777661028_1910593667749701924_oon going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes


June 9-10-11: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 – flight & hotel booked already


check out these poets from  Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016

August 31-Sept.3 – I have my ticket already


November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo



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Coffee Shopping Around 2014

Time for my round-up of local coffee spots starting a little north of the Danforth with the Last Drop Cafe – 549 Sammon Ave. I hit this spot four or five times a year – it’s usually not on my walking route. Good coffee though, great caramel butter tart and always friendly service. Accessible but washrooms are in the basement – duck your head on the way down.

South, I sometimes get to Bandit – 1925 Gerrard St. E. Recently changed management, I think. Usually hit this spot on Sunday’s. Fine coffee, good cookies – really enjoy the Oreo cookie cookie. Accessible, washrooms large and on the same floor.

table the patio is open

Recently opened Brickyard Grounds – 1289 Gerrard St. E. is a welcome addition to that corner. Bright, for a change, nice to have a spot that doesn’t feel like a cave. Good coffee, good service. On site bakery for some things, but sometimes no muffins or cookies by 10:30 a.m. If you want, you can have a whole roast chicken with your latte. The Super mint tea is excellent. Frequent flyer card as well. Accessible, washrooms on the same floor but not sure how easy it would be to get wheelchairs to the back area.

I get to Cake Town – 2039 Danforth Ave. nearly every other week to meet up with a recovery buddy. Good service, good coffee, great breakfast bagel, nice butter tart as well. Frequently flyer card. Accessible, washrooms on same floor but pretty narrow for wheelchairs to get back there. Can be a bit noisy if  children are there.

headless headless

Celena’s Bakery – 2036 Danforth Ave. – across the street from Cake Town. As you might guess, has in house bakery, great muffins, great breads as well & a good date square. Good coffee. Rarely eat in there though, so have never checked the washroom, which I think are in the basement.

Crema – 508 Danforth Ave. – has some of the hottest bearded baristas serving their excellent coffees. This is always a take out spot for me & have never needed to use the washrooms. Accessible but narrow & probably not a great space for wheelchairs. Good muffins & cookies but nothing great. Frequent flyer card though & even a gift card that offers a small discount with every purchase. I keep mine topped up.

frame picture this

The Only Cafe – 972 Danforth Ave. – I hit this spot a few times a year & always enjoy it. Nicely funky decor, hippies never fade away they just open coffee shops. No brewed coffee though – all Americanas, lattes etc. The breakfast bagel is great here. Too cluttered to be easily accessable & I’ve never used the washrooms. Accessible but another cafe so cluttered inside it’s hard to get a round

Closest to me is the Red Rocket Cafe – 1364 Danforth Ave. I’m in there five or six times a month – most Saturdays for my morning coffee & usually a rice crispies square, but sometimes the great zucchini muffin. Good coffee, great service, (hot bearded barista here too), in house baked goods. I never let my gift card dip below $10.00. Accessible but narrow & cluttered – I’ve knocked things off tables struggling to get to the service area.



“Did you see it?”

“How could I have not seen it.”

“It’s horrible.”


“Is that all you feel?”

“It’s horrible. What more do you want me to feel.”


“Some, but for me it’s more like helplessness. It’s not as if I can get there and do anything practical.”

“I wish they’d stop showing that footage over and over.”

“I stopped watching it.”

“You stopped! Why? How could you? Don’t you care?”

“I care, but that doesn’t mean I have to watch every frame every time it comes on.”

“Sometimes I wonder if you have a heart, you know. That is the coldest thing I’ve heard you say.”

“What? That I can’t bare to watch something that horrible? I think it’s pretty callous to keep watching it. Sick. You get some sort of thrill every time you see it.”

“Thrill! No! How could you think such a thing? No one would get a thrill out of seeing that!”

“Then why watch it.”

“So I won’t forget it. No one should forget that moment.”

“I won’t forget it.”

“I bet you’re one of those who think they had it coming.”


“The U S of A.”

“I don’t think anything except it was horrible.”

“I doubt it. If you thought that then you would want to do something, take some sort of action. Some action other than turning off your TV because it made you uncomfortable.”

“Sorry, but I did have to go to the can.”

“You know what I mean. You can’t hide in the sand. If you try to hide you are merely approving the actions of those terrorists. You have to take some action.”

“And what action are you taking? Talking about it? Watching it? Have you left the house or sent a donation to the Red Cross, given blood, made a poster to walk up and down the street with that rallies other’s to action? Have you?”

“No, but at least I care.”

“All you care about is some new juicy detail to talk about. That’s the extent of your action. Talk and look. Opinions won’t solve anything. So far all I’ve heard from you are opinions on what other’s should do.”

“At least I have an opinion. All I hear for you is that you didn’t feel the need to watch. To witness the devastation of our lives. So don’t you take that tone with me.”

“Are you going to enlist?”

“Enlist? What for?”

“If there’s going to be war don’t you want be there, in the front line?”

“If it comes to that I’ll be there. Don’t you worry. Will you?”

“I’m too old. I’ll be one of those bandage makers. But you are the right age.”

“This won’t be a foot war.”

“You think not. Does it have to be a war at all – that’s what I’d ask myself. How can we avoid that.”

“We can’t avoid that. We have to take action.”

“Again I’ll ask you what action are you going to take beside button-holing people with your opinions and rants? Or are you happy to just watch at your safe distance and opine as to what you think others should do.”

“I was right, you don’t have a heart.”

patio the patio is very open

#Coffee Shopping Around


Not that I’m a coffee hound or expert but I enjoy a brew most days. Usually when I’m out for my morning constitutional. When I first moved to Greenwood/Danforth – there was no fast/take-out closer than Carrot Common. Now it’s a five minute walk between Tom Ho’s, ten between various Starbucks.

comes a dark roast rider
comes a dark roast rider

Nearest me now is Red Rocket. I hit the Rocket at least once a week, even when it was down on Queen – but a five minute walk suits lazy me. Friendly staff, great coffee & in-house baked goods. Their peanut butter cookie is the best in the city, try it. I also like the peanut butter square & the macaroons are excellent. I’m waiting for a combo: peanut butter macaroons. A great place to sit & work too – I used it last November for a weekly NaNoWriMo meet-up & edit & hope to get back there weekly again now that I don’t have to deal with winter wear.

Jones Street bridge and I'm feelin' phat-tastic
Jones Street bridge and I’m feelin’ phat-tastic

My Sunday walks take me to Cake Town – sort of at Danforth/ Woodbine. Another great spot with an in-house bakery with a great selection of savory scones and cookies. Friendly staff & smooth coffees – now that winter has passed I can walk in & not have my glasses fog over so badly that I cant’ see what else they offer. I’d recommend their pecan butter tarts if you need a sugar rush. Good peanut butter cookie too, but not as good the Rocket’s.

If I don’t hit Cake Town on Sunday I drop into Bandit – at Gerrard/Woodbine – a great local coffee spot. Recently opened but has built up a strong following for the area. I’ve only been in their maybe three of four times now & different staff each time. Good coffee but ‘imported’ cookies, muffins. Imported from local bakery, not in house. Passable peanut butter cookie, muffins okay but clearly fresh on Friday but not so fresh by Sunday.

tracks of joy
tracks of joy

I also drop by Starbucks & Tim Ho’s frequently. Tim’s has my favorite bagel – the jalapeño that has a nice heat to it. The two Starbucks on the Danforth are always too busy for sit down but the one at Gerrard/Jones has a nice upper level that is ideal for a quiet chat. I hit the Timothy’s at carrot Common when I want a super strong coffee – their sticky vanilla square always goes well with that.

don't be shy
don’t be shy

Ice Ice Coffee, Baby

shuffled off this mortal coil
shuffled off this mortal coil

Wearing shorts in the sun at last! Once I get used to Danforth patios I’ll enjoy summer. Neither car exhaust or wasps add to my dining pleasure. Each year they get a little larger – if someone stops to talk a friend on a patio pedestrians have to walk in the street to get by – sometimes there is no way to give a baby carriage right of way without jumping on to some diner’s table. And as much as bike’s are good for the planet, I won’t get out their way on the sidewalk when that means pushing that woman with the baby carriage into the street to make way for it.

condo to let
condo to let

Of the many things I enjoy about summer is iced coffee. Last year after getting my first of the year at Starbucks – a venti – I was struck that after a few slurps all that was left was ice – clear ice – a glass that was brim full of ice. So that was, like, an ounce of milky coffee poured over ice?

traces of hair were found at the scene
traces of hair were found at the scene

I got to thinking that wasn’t cost effective for me. I brewed a pot of coffee at home, let it cool, then filled a couple of ice cube trays with it – coffee will freeze!! It doesn’t separate out either. I brewed another pot of coffee – chilled that in the fridge. Voila – perfect & real iced coffee. Never again will I pay for watery cold coffee.