Cape Breton Pride

Just over fifty years ago, on May 14, 1969, bill C-150 amend the Criminal Code to decriminalized homosexuality in Canada. Before then same-sex sexual activities between consenting adults were considered crimes punishable by imprisonment. Re-read that.  Not only did I grow up in the 60’s with ‘imprisonment’ looming over me but also a culture in which ordinary citizen could take the law into their own hands & assault queers & get away with it. 

When I attended the Living Library during Pride Week (!) in Cape Breton I was happy to hear about high-school clubs to support lgbtq+ student. Things have certainly changed since 1969 – even then such an idea would never have happened. 

Driving in from the airport with my sister I saw rainbow flags everywhere, though much the sight of them here in Toronto, the show of support is probably more commercial than anything. A rainbow decal in your store window can’t hurt business. The event has grown considerably over the decades. I recall a pride parade down Charlotte St in the early 2000’s during one of my sporadic visits home. It was over in less than half-an-hour. Local TV personality Bette MacDonald was the parade Marshal waving from her convertible. Some baton twirling, a few cars with handmade Pride posters. It ended, I think, in what is now Luisa Gardens, at the end (or is that the start?) of Amelia Street.

This year the week started with a flag raising on August in front of the City Hall followed by a week of events. The parade was the next afternoon ending at the Open Hearth Park. I caught the tail-end of it at the Park. It was too blisteringly sunny for me to stand around watching. Much like Toronto’s Pride there were tables of handcraft rainbow merchandise & a stage with a DJ & a gaggle of drag performers eager to entertain.

The thought of a drag queen in Cape Breton at one time was tantamount to a severe beating. So this was a sign of real growth in the community that goes beyond lip-service compliance with human rights issues. The one event I had an opportunity to take in was the Living Library https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3G7. 

It was comforting to know that any same-sex sexual activities between consenting adults I might have had was no longer a crime but merely me being a slut 🙂

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

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

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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

March

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

April

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

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

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

‘Quieting the colonial hum’

 

The Hot Damn! season 5 finale filled Buddies in Bad Times to the rafters. The house filled so rapidly that the event actually started on time !! Yes, a spoken word event that started on time 🙂 House music was provided by DJ Sofia Fly, who also supplied great entrance & exit music for the slammers. Not that the energy of the house needed any help 🙂

 

The show opened with Charlie Petch’s land acknowledgment followed a set of songs by Ogichidaa Kwe. The song about the warning heard but not believed resonates in our political climate as we deal with governments who feel warnings are not to be believed without the right corporate backing.

I was one of the lucky poets who participated in Nasra Adem’s Mirror of Tarot workshop the night before at Unit 2 so I was ready to see their feature set. In a flashing of red and gold Nasra’s set was spokenword alternating with songs and a dash of political anger. 

some moments from that set: the sun looks up & catches my glint – I just want to ride my intentions – I quiet the colonial hum around me – how loud men are with their fear – healing only happens when I’m safe enough to call for help – bluest black starlight – if this shit ain’t intersectional it don’t exist – white feminism can suck my dick – you can wipe your tears they aren’t needed here.
After a break Charlie started the slam with the queer national anthem – somewhere over the rainbow. Then the eager slammers hit the stage with pieces that were emotionally powerful, funny, deeply personal & accurate skewering of our dominant culture’s inability to accept diversity on all levels.

moments from round one: a shade of blue trying make bruises jealous, half my identity was stolen from me by the time I was six, I want you to talk to me rather than write it all in your journal, compensation doesn’t undo the truth, he tried to whitewash me with his bedsheets, my bravery doesn’t mean your allyship is unnecessary, down the rabbit hole of trauma, the nights my memory of you is my razor blade, I never studied dance but learned how to fall with precision, it’s safer to play chameleon, either swallow fear of be swallowed by it, fat kids should eat because they are fat, every bite tastes like shame.

Moments from round two: you don’t want me & it cuts to my soul, wrote a note on my phone not to text you, the sound of motherhood knocks a cracked door, when in this city I avoid the subway, I would hold you the way gravity holds the atmosphere, I guess it isn’t about sex anymore, confession is telling how good she tastes, is there a way to be Christian & not be ignorant, being queer is fucking difficult, I used cover girl to cover up the hicks, congratulations! you’re straight, why can’t I be as angry as him.

Over these five years Hot Damn! as become an amazing force for diversity. It has created & maintained a safe space were the gender marginalized members of already marginalized communities can come together to express their loves, frustrations, fears and outright fucking anger without being judged. Oh right, they are judged as part of the slam, but that’s a different matter 🙂

It was a non-stop feast (or perhaps feeding frenzy) of words from the competing poets Sulva, Charly Bird, Dee Durward (QUEIRDO winner! Doe!) Robert Molloy, & Danielle Workman. After scores were tallied: the top three were (it was SO CLOSE) Jayda Marley (3rd 58.5), Fira (58.9) and winner Wes Ryan (59.2). 

 

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Prometheus at Hot Damn

Hot Damn! started 2019 with a packed room workshop at Glad Day and a SRO house at Buddies in Bad Times – both driven by feature Regie Cabico. The participants at the workshop wrote & shared some excellent work on the spot – the level of trust among people who had never met before was encouraging, as was the diversity of the participants.

When I got to Buddies to help Charlie set up there were people already clambering to get in 🙂 so the house opened fifteen minutes earlier than usual, I did front of house & it was full enough to start the show a little after 8 (nearly on time for a poetry show). Standing room only by 8:15. Also a full sign-up sheet for slammers – 11 – a Hot Damn! record.

After some opener stagers the first round got underway with a series of politically & emotionally pieces that held nothing back on gender, indigenous, & local political issues. Round two had fewer slammers (lowest scores didn’t get to move forward) and the tone of the pieces became more reflective, personal but equally as direct and powerful.

Lines from the first part of the show: my tongue was not enough’ ‘the swish of sari silk’ ‘I could taste blood’ ‘I fell in love with a crack dealer’ ‘you are the art work of past lives’ ‘our medicine made illegal’ ‘give up your cottages and give us back our land’ ‘what he really should have admitted to you before you married’ ‘I only knew how to see you as a moving disaster’ ‘nobody giving me room to make mistakes in’ ‘betrayal tastes like fennel and sage’ ‘my neighbourhood becomes a trigger warning’ ‘you ask me if I’ll forgive you’ ‘I pray you get your forgiveness but it will never come from me’ ‘I say to them – it’s not your table’ ‘you still here with me like a cloud in my mind’ ‘as if money could regenerate our roots’ ‘I’m not sure how to tell your dad that you’re gay’

Feature Regie Cabico did a strong set drawing from his recent chapbook ‘Sticky Stars & Sheets.’ Funny, deeply personal, very sensual & inspiring. ‘jack-off in the name of leukaemia research’ ‘the warehouses are lit by flames of vodka’ ‘you will not pluck my pancreas like Prometheus’ ‘you hold me like an oar directing my past’ ‘we run like suitcases on wheels’ ‘two lonely Tony’s from West Side Story’ ‘his calf … stretched out before me like Florida’

This is not my first review of Regie though: Spoonful of Beautiful https://wp.me/p1RtxU-d2. We’ve enjoyed each other’s performances in the past so I may not be impartial – but the audience was so enthused so my review isn’t exaggerating his set. 

After a much needed break the show resumed with a few more open stagers & the final round of the slam; ‘I need a place to sit to get perspective’ ‘they’re asking me if I have a gender identity’ ‘never more than genetic coding’ ‘baby shoes take me back to memory like a phantom limb’ ‘too many of us seeking help’ ‘this body is not a temple you are invited to’ ‘my mess you speak to’ ‘oozo ozone’ ‘even my now voice is too heavy to raise’ ‘confuse tenderness with love’ ‘saying gay people should die while getting off on lesbian porn’ ‘it just isn’t about sex anymore’ ‘hidden by ink and time’ ‘the space between fingertips & footsteps.’

Scores were tabulated, prizes were given. Yes, there was a winner, who gets to compete in April for the grand prize: the trip to participate in Capturing Fire (dates tba, soon) but the real winner was the audience. Next Toronto Hot Damn! is March 7. 

(above blog pics are of construction by Buddies)

the piece I wrote at the workshop – rough draft –

Resume

Henry texted me

he was told to stay home

he’s afraid

he’ll lose his job

Henry is one of my lovers

we have been seeing other

every week or so

for over three years

 

I want him to feel

cared for

but I have no solution

for his situation

other than acknowledging his stress

 

I like Henry

but I do not love him

he wants job security

not love

 

it is hard to breathe 

in the workshop

so many perfumes

I’m glad I have no

environment allergies

 

the tenderness of

Henry’s slow kisses

is what I love

 

the tentative tongue start

draws us

into each other’s bodies

 

I love his tongue

but can’t pronounce his last name

Mwawasi

unless it is in front of me

 

in Cape Breton this summer

I will visit

my parents graves

I wasn’t there when they died

they won’t be here

when I die

they will never see my grave

 

Henry texts

he is going to bed

I hope he sleeps well

that he dreams of our kisses

not of rewriting his resume 

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Fraud

Fraud

 

there are days

when I am more confused

days that start 

with me feeling pretty confident

in my worldview

in my opinions about things

often things that have nothing to do with me

things that don’t depend of me

except as a faceless person

 

I’m pretty comfortable in that milieu

having only the weight

of my own thinking to carry

then along comes

someone I know

who challenges this safety zone

 

I realize

I may not be as liberal & accepting 

as I think I am

apparently being supportive

means totally 

not merely 

as far as I’m willing to go

if I don’t go all the way

I’m a fraud

 

if I’m not intimidated

I must be interested

but if I’m not interested 

then I’m still trapped 

by cultural concepts of gender 

by heteronormative ideals of sexuality

 

this all came about

when a trans friend

was peeved that I didn’t find them

sexually attractive

to be frank I didn’t even find them

asexually attractive

but I did enjoy their articulate way

of dealing with struggles 

of their self discovery

I didn’t realize

my lack of sexual interest was unsettling

was a lack of acceptance of their struggle

so I was confused

I was suddenly like

every other cismale they’d ever met

 

because I didn’t know any better

I stepped away from that opportunity

to find a human beneath the struggle

one that is perhaps still

struggling to find itself

I stepped out of the way

I’m not one to hold back progress

while I find a space for myself

in a world where there 

is so much black and white thinking

there seems no middle ground

for compassion

 

There is truth in this but not all of it is my direct experience. I know a fair number of trans people – transitioned or -ing in either direction. I’m pretty comfortable with them as well. I also know androgynous, asexual people. So far none of them have hit on me, at least not f2f. I have some transmales contact me on dating sites though. After a few messages it was clear there really wasn’t enough interest on either side pursue things. Mainly because I’m too old.

 

But I have had a couple of trans who thought because I was friendly that I was interested. As I’ve told a few guys, just because I like what you are wearing doesn’t mean I want to get into your pants. It’s that delicate balance between people’s need for acceptance & their sense of self. I know that when I was a drunk a kind waiter meant he was clearly interested.

 

Some of this comes out of other people’s experiences around these issues of sexual attraction, gender & political correctness. It’s similar to the bear community bitching about body shaming while at the same time shaming people who are too thin for being politically ensnared by heteronormative standards of looks.

 

Confused? Then you feel a bit of what this piece talks about. If one is so radical what difference does it make what the body is – but then again if any body will do, you are clearly a slut. I have heard trans people say that if you really supported me you’d have no issue with sleeping with me; denying the other the right to have an acceptable opinion.

 

 

 

There seems to be no middle ground.

 

 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

‘the knife of shame’

Things change 🙂 the morning starts out a little overcast, the sidewalks are clear then an hour later one is caught in a winter wonderland of slush. Hot Damn!’s workshop facilitator and feature gets bogged down by the slush of chronic illness & things change. I end up facilitating the workshop: Vulnerability/Strength. It was productive enough, for me, at any rate. Too bad I wasn’t prepared to do more than to listen & write a little.

Charlie Petch was scrambling for a new feature while getting set for an interview before the show itself. Over supper I went though my note books to see if I had suitable pieces besides the two I had uploaded to my Kindle. It had a few things to present. I forgot what I had jotted down to work on later – some going back a few years.

Vanessa McGowan stepped up to feature, so all I had to worry about was being all judgemental for the slam. Even with slushy snow falling there was a decent house for the show at 8. Lots of great open stagers and some dynamic slammers made for a rewarding & cozy night. Plus good conversation with fellow judge Teddy Syrette.

The participants were the epitome of diversity with indigenous, trans, queers across the gender spectrum, coming from as far away as Ecuador (Hola) to share honest, emotionally raw and sometimes very funny material. This is the real power of Hot Damn!’s vision to create a safe space for queers to perform, mostly without judgement. I say mostly because part of a slam is being judged 🙂

Random lines from the open-stagers & slammers: ‘don’t tell your mother’ ‘children need parents who want to be parents’ ‘I practice reparation by topping settlers’ ‘he was masc looking but not masc looking for masc’ ‘my spirit name is isolate for safety’ ‘I want you all over mt skin’ ‘seeking wisdom in dreams’ ‘I am six minutes behind the world’ ‘nothing scares me – not even clowns’ ‘sometimes bullies look just like body guards’ ‘let me tell you where I left these bones’ ‘the attack from within is worse that the wound from without’ ‘I say to them it’s not your table’ ‘the blood I shed won’t tell me what I missed’

Vanessa’s set was emotionally charged, frank, sometime a little ironic humour slipped in – her social commentary is from within situations not from the p.o.v. of an observer. ‘we met beneath the water line’ ‘I still cannot say your name – my mouth is full of water’ ‘removing the knife of shame from throat so you can remove it from yours’ ‘covering up for poverty is exhausting’ ‘they praise me for being highly functioning’ 

Winner were declared, prizes were awarded (for those names: Hot Damn!) Next Hot Damn! is in St. Catherines in December. It returns to Buddies in Bad Time January 10, 2019.

On the open stage I read Cold Spot https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3ci & this old piece – if one considers September 2017 old – I dug out.

My Own Devices 

when I came out

to my friends

I did it by stages

like – I’m no queer

but if ‘hot movie star’

wanted to have sex with me

I’d be willing to explore

but truth to be told

I jerked off 

to a bathing suit picture

of that hot movie star

who

decades later came out

 

when I came out to my friends

as fully queer

some were 

‘You know I’m not that way’

or

some never spoke to me again

or

got drunk with me & explored

 

When I came out to my mother

she said

‘don’t tell your father’

when I came out to my father

he said

‘don’t tell your mother’

 

when I came out

no one said

‘how do you feel’

‘what does it mean to you’

no one said

‘congratulations’

or

‘it’s about fucking time’

no one

at any point

engaged me in conversation

no one ever asked

‘are you seeing someone’

no one said

‘I work with a gay guy

maybe you’d like to meet him’

no one said

‘you must feel incredibly alienated

in this small-town hard-drinking

cis-hetero-red-neck culture’

 

maybe I was too stoic

not wanting to let anyone in

being queer was enough

without presenting

as weepy drama queen

I had to be man enough 

masculine enough

to keep up appearances

so no one would suspect

the emotional uncertainty

I was drowning in

 

I was told

that so & so

who was gay

had hung himself

or 

had stepped in front of semi

on a dark highway

told that by friends 

who never said

‘I hope you don’t do that’

who never said

‘if you feel like that

talk to us’

 

when I came out

I was left to my own devices

and survived

and sometimes

I jerk off 

to the memory 

of that bathing suit picture

of the hot movie star

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

Gratitude in Action

The last Gratitude Round-Up I attended was October 2015 https://wp.me/p1RtxU-1or. That year I stayed at the (semi) Comfort Inn this year I opted to the Holiday Inn on Carlton, where I stayed for the Playground Conference earlier this year. The Round-Up is a five minute walk so I’ll get more exercise 🙂 The room in adequate. WiFi fast enough for my purposes.

The Courtyard, where the round-up was held, has had a renovation since I was there last. Explosive new carpets & corporate paintings, even new couches & armchairs. Change is good. Registration went smooth, a few familiar faces already but lots of fresh ones too. I’m almost anonymous for a change.

The workshops I took in on Saturday were: Perfectionism Over Progress?; In All Our Affairs; Relinquishing Guilt; Life on Life’s Terms. It was hard to choose out of the 20 or so offered. The banquet was good, for hotel food. Seasonal turkey along with nice selection of veggies. Best part, for me, was having my non-program friend Carlos with me. We’ve been seeing other for a few years now so I figured it was time to let him into this part of my life.

The closing Sunday was sweet & a little sad, for many. All the speakers over the weekend were excellent. There was even a glimpse of diversity with some French from the podium. I suggest they make the even more a part of things now that the round-up has celebrated 40 years but including, in even a small way, more French in the readings, perhaps Spanish as well because there some Spanish speaking attendees. Diversity is the future.

In the afternoon I headed over to Chinatown in quest of a new Maneki, or anything else that caught my eye (besides the endless Asian eye-candy men). I saw lots of solar Maneki: the arms wave. But I wanted solid body, as it were, & found one. Took fun photos & made my way back to the hotel to really relax. I was amazed by the amount of construction, everywhere. If it ever gets finished there’s be endless places for new Starbucks.

With the round-up over, I made no plans for Sunday night other than eating. Home in the morning. I do love getting back to my own little bed.

“When A Fem Walks”

Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam kicked off it’s 5th season with international flare with Korean, Middle Eastern, Asian & native poets, singers, & even dancers bringing their creativity to the stage. All are Canadians but our queer roots go deeper than nationality.

Host Charlie Petch’s boundless energy kept the night moving along well after the land acknowledgement & our queer international anthem. The hot button issue of the night was hot buttons 🙂 Hot Damn! now has official Queer Slam Buttons in a range of colours & sizes. You’ll have to come to a show to get one.

Open stagers warmed things up for the first round of the slam. I read a few pieces from my recent chap book. “they were all dead” “don’t turn the light on – I’m less lonely with you here” “being my lover takes more than persistence” “the not-for-profit industrial complex” “lower that critical gaze” “so queer I sweat rainbows & glitter”

From the first slam round: “using binary sex computers” “put a fault line across your body” “years since you left the closet but you still smell of mothballs” “launched too soon & landed too late” “bar shot after shot – you turn into your brother” “talk big act small”

Feature janice jo lee (http://janicejolee.ca) did a resonant set of poems, songs, accompanying herself on a loop station which replaced the cismale boy band of yesterday. Over dubbing herself the songs were complex, compelling & inviting. “when a fem walks down the street – she or he or they are not meat” “if you can’t handle the truth – you can’t handle the revolution” “what’s my gender today.” 

For ‘Crumpled Heart Regrowing” she added a Korean drum to the vocal layering & was join by dancer Sze-Yang Ade-Lam for a remarkable mediation on boundaries & inner strength. Between them they hit the sort emotional notes that shows like So You Think You Can Dance? strive to imitate.

From the last slam round: “morning showers bring afternoon rainbows” “separate the has been from the never was” “I’m going to keep saying my name until it is not forgotten” “when worth is only measured by western standards” “the sound of motherhood is knocking on a cracked door” “why was I born with this ticking clock.”

Winners were declared, prizes were given, photos were taken & season 5 was launched into the stratosphere 🙂 Next Toronto Hot Damn will be at Buddies in Bad Times November 15. 

Spoilers

boy gets girl

dog lives

monster vanquished

boy buys right girl

man repents

eviler spirits arise

escape succeeds

money isn’t enough

love conquers all

she feels compete in marriage

success isn’t everything

he was a she

family is reunited

all is forgiven

things are never the same again

she knows better

he finds a purpose in self sacrifice

boy gets boy

dog learns a lesson

man rescued from loneliness by child

greed is punished

being pretty isn’t fulfilling

he didn’t really want her

the lame horse wins a race

he dies saving others

the truth remains hidden

it was all a dream

there is no escaping

they were ghosts

drugs were a bad choice

bad guy repents

she was a princess all along

the villain was his father

the castle blows up

the space ship blows up

the race is won

marriage means more than career

he is a genius

the plants were evil

Satan is foiled

he walks again

she forgives her rapist

he sees the errors of his ways

his heart is ten times bigger

everyone is dead

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

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For Free

For Free

I decided to stop

giving it away for free

when the bar manager

made it clear my free

wasn’t bringing enough 

in drink sales

drink that cost more

than I could afford

because I was giving it away for free

 

every poet

was expected to give it away for free

that’s how it was done

our opportunity

to give it away for free

was paid for in what the bar earned

we were worth our weight in foam

which is ultimately worthless

because what given away for free

became valueless not priceless 

 

when I decided to stop

giving it away for free

it was as if

I priced myself out of the market

a market that went on

without me

 

giving it away for free

let me     forced me

to devalue myself

because people may be grateful

for free

but they only respect 

what they pay for

and I deserve at least

as much respect

as your next drink

I’ve been asked a few times why I stopped doing spoken word shows or even open stages. I told them that I was tried of seeing bartenders make more in tips than the features were getting. It wasn’t an even playing field with poets struggling to pay printing costs while others were struggling to get grant money. Struggling to be heard at the mic over the chatter of the next features friends didn’t seem worth the effort to me.

When I told one series (now defunct) organizers that I wanted to be paid I was told that so&so, who won such&such prize, featured there for free. It was as if I had an ego problem to be expected remuneration. I declined the honour. I know one performer who declined a ‘show’ where they was expected to give a % of any chapbooks sold to the organizers, after all they made it possible for them to even sell chapbooks.

There are worse horror stories of poets, singers who are expected to be grateful to perform without getting paid, or even getting a cut of the door, while being expected to do all the pr work for the event. 

The only open stage I perform on regularly is Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam mainly to make sure old white cismale queers get some representation 🙂 I turned down Pride as the person asking was sure the ‘exposure’ was enough for me – I said ‘Honey try getting Lavern Cox to appear just for exposure.’ I haven’t been approached since 🙂 I am as supportive of the ‘community’ as it is of me.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Strong and Safe

I live close enough to the Danforth mass shooting that I had phone texts & emails checking to make sure I was okay. The Danforth/Logan intersection is about a 20 minute walk from my house. I pass it at least three times a week on my morning walks. Walking the Danforth is like a trip to the United Nations with restaurants & stores representing the world – Mexican ceramics, Nigerian batik, lamps from Nepal, food from assorted provinces of Greece, Italy, desserts from France. From Broadview to about Jones it is primarily Greek & Italian; Jones to Greenwood is Islamic; Greenwood to Rhodes has become Ethiopian; from Coxwell to Main – anything goes.

I once tried to count the number of places to eat between Greenwood and Broadview and lost count at over 400 before I even got to Broadview. Not for dieters, though there a few vegan spots in the mix. No I haven’t tried them all 🙂

I didn’t hear about the shootings until Monday morning when I saw that someone I knew had posted they were safe on the Facebook ‘I’m Safe’ page. I read what they were safe from & was, I want to say shocked, but it was more like dismayed. I changed my Monday route to the opposite direction – I didn’t want to deal with gawkers, police investigators & the like. 

Plus the media whose right to the news overrides anyone’s right to privacy. I didn’t want to be getting a doughnut & being asked ‘how do I feel.’ I’m very cynical about the ‘compassion’ of the media. To reply ‘I feel like getting a doughnut’ isn’t what they want.

I went through the area on Tuesday, as I ordinarily would have anyway. Took photos, as I ordinarily do, only this time there were the memorials & walls of graffiti to photograph. I took pictures until my own grief made me put my camera away. #DanforthStrong #GreektownStrong were on the walls. 

I’m not sure what they mean – usually to be strong in the face of death mean not to show your emotions – be strong, don’t let anyone see you crying. The Greeks and the Italians are wailers – there were people weeping as I walked through. Were they not being #strong? 

I walked through again on Thursday, also a regular walk for me, took more pictures as the memorials & graffiti increased. I felt the sense of community grief & loss. I was not #strong & stopped taking pictures when I became tearful. Reporters on TV keep asking people – ‘do you feel safe?’ Putting words into the mouths of the people they’re interviewing. It seems, to the media, that feeling safe & strong is more important than feeling grief.

 

The Danforth http://topoet.tumblr.com/post/176234936423/the-danforth-delayed-my-usual-walk-to-broadview

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Text Me

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Text Me

he’s behind bars

so the streets are safe

yet I still say

text me when you get home

 

all those years

when I never worried

about more than someone getting wet

waiting too long for a bus

 

all those years

when this was happening

men lured into a van

expecting a lift home

not a fight for their life

 

I’m feeling retroactive fear

regret

for dangers I never knew existed

for men coming and going

from my house

from my arms

making their way home

at night

 

some who have in fact

disappeared from my life

moved on

I presumed

but now I’m not sure

 

I know he’s behind bars

but the streets

will never feel safe again

so text me when you get home

I’ll text you when I get home

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet