Dames – Wiggles and Bates

Heather Babcock’s Filthy Sugar is a noir window into a Wanda Wiggle’s life in the 30s – the writing is rich in hard-boiled dialogue, descriptions & situations. Set in the Toronto sex-trade of the time it is refreshingly non-judgemental, funny & at times sexy. Wanda does sort of wander through what we se of her life – an opportunity, & her overflowing bra, take her into the burlesque world.

At times Wanda reminded me of Playboy’s Little Annie Fanny – a buxom gal who innocently engages in sex & yet isn’t exploited or emotionally scarred by it. Matter-of-fact as opposed to unsavoury or shocking. Wanda has this same attitude & is aware & in control without being manipulative (unless pulling gun can be called manipulative) or deceitful. Heather builds a world that is true to the times but still has an element of fantasy that keeps it from feeling depressing or hopeless, which I suspect those times were. Characters are well-developed, situations are real & the emotion level is also real – no melodrama here. Check out her excellent blog https://meetmeatthesodafountain.home.blog .

From the 30s we move into the 40s – I was lead to Betty Bates: Lady at Law by The Stiletto Gumshoe‘s blog. I ordered the collection of complete stories from Amazon. It is full size pages but sadly in black & white. She is a kick-ass female lady, public defender at one point, district-attorney at another point. She battles gangsters, spies, mad scientists & the occasional unsavoury miscreant. There are enough great plots here for endless movies & I’m surprised she never made it to the screen.

Perhaps she was too independent for the male movie moguls to consider. Men are either villains or irrelevant, even her love interest goes undeveloped. No sidekick either. She gets into & out of jams mostly by her wiles & her martial arts skills. The drawings are classic comic book. The story writers & illustrators changed over the years. Some years she might have been naked except for a line drawn for hem & collar.

The collection is sweet though sadly the scans are not in colour, as the originals were, which results in more greys & blurred images. Also with her is Miss America: gifted with powers of the Statue Of Liberty she – fights criminals & spies. Fun rah-rah America propaganda. A collection worth checking out. The The Stiletto Gumshoe is another excellent blog.

Hooterville

the one area I feel empathy 

for straight guys is 

cleavage

where are you supposed to look

when caught up 

in a barrage of boob

focus on her eyes if you can

and hope 

she doesn’t perceive 

the wavering flickers

as you try not to get drawn down

<>

it is easy to see how women 

become objectified

even when they object to it

how to pretend she isn’t pretty

that you find attractive 

attractive 

without being demonized

brow beaten by breasts 

for being such a beast

<>

there’s no way of making up for it

no apology

no affirmative action

removes the taint of having a dick

of having two competing heads to think with

of being faulted 

for thinking with the wrong one

regardless of which one is being used

berated being opportunistic slaves 

to base male instinct

all men are guilty

no way out no absolution 

to be hormonally driven dick heads

is punishment enough

<>

I have this simmering empathy 

when I get caught 

as they often do

in décolletage

try to make conversation

as subtle light shifts with each motion

as she pushes her hair behind her ear

try to focus on her words

try to ignore non-verbal communication

<>

I’ve never heard a guy tell a woman 

‘stop looking at my package

my eyes are up here’

yeah I know

eyes are the window to the soul

I don’t think either of us is 

ready to go there

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sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Wrestling With Connection

Week 7 on The Artist’s Way is about connection to creativity – as opposed to our connection with others. One of things that hampers that creative connection is perfectionism. I have a writing friend who has been perfecting the same thirty page opening to his novel for some ten years now. It has to be perfect so he can send it to an agent etc. He no longer asks me for advice 🙂 I stopped that by telling him it would cost $100 an hour for a minimum of three hours before I would be willing to look at his work-in-progress.

There is a section on risk – the willingness to try & not succeed as we envisioned. For me this is part of the process of letting go of expectations, of control. In recovery they say you plan the plans but the results are in the universe’s hands. I’ve painted rooms one colour only to have the paint dry in a different one 🙂

As with the Ways chapters so far there some sifting through the past for missed opportunities & for good turning points. In my covid house-cleaning frenzy I’ve unearthed old note books, old rough drafts, old photographs. Those photos reconnected me with where I was in my early 20’s, long before I moved to Toronto. I’ve also been reading Old Trout Funnies – an excellent book about a comic book series by Paul  ‘Moose’ MacKinnon that was first issued while I was living in Cape Breton. (https://www.facebook.com/OldTroutFunnies).

Moose was one of my drinking crowd & he included real people (some of whom I knew) in the comics & calendars. In one issue there is even a plug (page 70) for my poetry book ‘Distant Music’ which had been published at the time. So there was actual creative support for me in that community at that time.

 

One of the tasks was to wear a favourite item of clothing for no special reason. All my clothes are favourites, so what I did was to pick some things I rarely wear but save for intimate encounters 🙂 Namely some wrestling singlets & some revealing undies I bought a few years ago. Very snug but also very sexy. Photos “fansonly” 🙂

My Underwear

it seems the best way 

to put out the fire

in your heart

was to run over to a bar

drink till there was 

only a stumble of drunks 

to deal with

there was no way out of it

except to break the windows

push your grandma down the stairs

so what if there weren’t 

any stairs in our apartment

you still get the picture

 

yeah I know

drawing it in crayons

all over the hall to our place

wasn’t a great idea

but you have to admit

it caught the lighting of the fire

without using up all the reds

only the blues

the blues you give everyone

who is lucky enough

to catch you on your balcony

ready to jump

don’t do it

or if you have to 

wait till I get back with coffee

I have to be careful 

the contents may be hot

but wet will always 

put out the flame

it makes no difference to me 

what burns you out of my system

hot coffee or direct flame

 

maybe tossing all your undies 

in the shredder was a bit much

but it seems the only way 

to keep you out of them

to keep you fresh

ready and pliant

not that you wore them 

that often anyway

going commando

wasn’t a rare event

bare-assed at McDonalds

where did you park those buns

yeah not so funny

does it look like I’m laughing

all the way home

to the shadowed moment 

when there once was a dart of hope

now just a bunch 

of empty coat hangers

in a clump 

I can’t pull apart

hangers that once held

everything you ever wore

around the house

out in the street

 

yeah I’m a total liar

I never picked up a drink 

because of you

that isn’t going to happen

wasn’t even tempted

you took something out of my life 

but you left behind 

more that you took

I don’t need to breath 

it’s all up to you now

as if it alway wasn’t

 

I can’t get over

the number of times

I wanted to paint the hall way

that I wanted to use 

your tooth brush to clean 

the coffee machine

so I wouldn’t have to go out 

for a fresh cup to dump 

in your laugh

because I’m sure 

that behind closed eyes

you are smirking like a tried urinal

knowing that you pissed 

me off one too many times

 

you know

if you were here now

I’d probably take you back

but still wouldn’t trust you 

as far as you could throw 

my underwear

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Order via the paypal along with where to send it.

paypal.me/TOpoet