‘silence is manslaughter’

Hot Damn! launched it’s 4th season (may the 4th be with you) at  Buddies In Bad Times Theatre Thursday night with rainbow-high-energy, out-to-win slammers, fearless open stagers & a wildly enthusiastic full house. Charlie Petch was in fine form keeping things flowing & the energy somewhere over the rainbow.

First set of open stagers & slammers: by the time you are able to read this, you may not remember me – I was told I could pave the way for women, why can’t I pave the way for all mankind – teens decomposing their own songs – this place smell of chance & lost dreams – less that nothing is still something – if it all means nothing, why not have fun – I dream of things I never want to see again – I wake to fear walking above ground – pour smoke over my heart – Wendy’s pigtails never fit the little boy that worse the – you wanna say best & breast comes out – I say I’m sorry more than I say I love you.

Andre Prefontaine’s feature set was amazing – emotionally resonant, overflowing with rich images, vibrant precise anger, & sassy theatricality. Honey, he was tougher than any nail they used to stab you – my Dad uses your homosexuality like a pair of scissors that cuts you out of his picture – worry about the future is a tragic waste of your imagination – I’m so calm it’s almost like disassociating – don’t you know how difficult it is to blow someone and do origami at the same time – hold the bible like brass knuckles – silence is manslaughter – people killing people for killing people.

After a much needed break – during which I got to hand out flyers for my feature (see below) – I picked up a couple of copies of Andre Prefontaine’s new chap book & got caught up with Vanessa McGowan. (when is her Hot Damn! feature?) I started out the second set of open stagers with my hair piece (see below).

From the rest of the night: that little crack makes you so human – I’ve never been struck by lightning – my body tells the truth when it shows the scars that anchor me to the reality of what happened – biting is cool, bite marks are not – we can’t use my name as a safety word – you left tiny blades my throat where you name used to be – the art of drowning in perfect make up – the rest of you is still living – never explain lost battles for your recovery – somehow your pain is never about you – being gay is more than whatever gender you choose – anatomy trump compassion – that word holds a power I cannot overcome – do you know where you are – chill of frosting in my bones – I smell like a Wes Craven movie –

Scores were added up & an array of prizes were handed out. Teddy Syrette took the Queirdo Prize for funnest bingo poem. Ezra Stewart took first spot in a tight race for a chance to win the big big prize: a trip to Washington DC (if Canadians are still allowed into the USA next summer) to attend Capturing Fire.

Next Hot Damn! is Gueph! Sept 30th. Hot Damn! returns to Toronto at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre on November 30.

Don’t Touch (My Hair)

she was a stranger

who felt no compunction

in reaching out to touch my hair

I must have been in my mid-twenties

at the time

my hair was freshly washed

shoulder length

‘it’s like baby hair,’ she said

I was a natural blond

even blonder

after a month of summer sun

‘I would kill to have hair like yours’

she smiled

‘thanks’ I replied

not adding

that I hate my hair

I hate it being so smooth

hate being asked

are you a boy or are you girl

being called fruit

by guys because of my hair

not that I was mr masculine

to begin with

shortly after that

I dyed my hair for the first time

I wanted a change

I bought a home kit

to make it permanent jet black

the look was striking

my mother said

‘what were you thinking’

I went to work

raised a few eye brows

but no comments

the black faded after the first wash

so much for permanent

in a week it was ash

in three weeks

back to baby fine blond

my hair

was like my sexuality

something I couldn’t disguise

no matter what women

I flirted with

no matter what I tried to call it

bi questioning pan

no matter what I drank to blot it out

it would always be

like my hair

something I was powerless over

something I hadn’t constructed

something I had to live with

I remember my first perm

a head of tight blond curls

they bounced in the light

it was my face

but a different me

the stylist conferred with a colourist

both agreed

that my hair was too fine

to hold colour for long

that it would be a shame

to tamper with it anyway

the permanent curls

would flatten within a week

I wasn’t willing

to go to bed with hairpins

so I’d get that perm

every month or so

I loved my hair for the first week

then a week of doing what I could

to keep the curl in

it was too much work

too much time checking in mirrors

I had a friend who was

what he referred to as a hair burner

he touched my freshly washed

uncurled hair one day

‘you have baby hair

I have clients

who would kill to have hair like that’

I said

‘I hate my hair

it’s too much work’

he said

‘do you trust me’

I let him do what he wanted

it took a couple of hours

that first time

to cut it short short short

then incise with electric razor

patterns into the hair

sometimes a maze

other times circle or triangles

always different

then he died

murdered by HIV meds

I shaved my head for his funeral

no one would ever touch my hair

again

catch me on stage: Tuesday – September 19 – feature – Art Bar Poetry series – 8 p.m., Free Times Cafe, #20 College At., Toronto – $5.00http://It’s No Accident

http://www.artbar.org

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

Suicide 1

Suicide has been in the news with a couple of celebrity deaths. Pop stars whose music I know vaguely – now regarded as troubled geniuses – as if their actions were the final proof of their genius.   I guess I’ll never classified as a genius because I choose to live & to live relatively sanely. It seems that in our culture the more one teeters on self-destructive instability, or survives a tragic past more authentic their creativity is regarded.

Before starting drinking suicide was already a part of my thinking – it seems a viable option to the other possibilities the culture I grew up in offered queers. Homosexuals were considered doomed to lives of unfilled emotions, relationships that went nowhere, incarceration or mental ward commitment. At one time prison also seemed a viable option: behind bars with men.

My creative heroes were self-destructive suiciders: Dylan Thomas, Yukio Mishima, Hemingway, Gauguin. Mishima did it is the grandest way too. This would be my romantic ending. So when I started drinking I was following in their footsteps too. My attempts at suicide were all fuelled with booze & done while drunk – as you can tell I failed.

The last one was on a New Year’s eve, my last on the East Coast. My attempts as relationships wither either sex were stonewalled – unlike most drunks I never met a rescuer. I staggered out of party early & back to my apartment, started to fill the bathtub with hot hot water & my favorite bubble bath. Razor blade ready for when the tub was full. While it was filling my roommate arrived home with his girlfriend. I didn’t want an audience so turned the tap off, went bed & passed out. In morning I decided to get out of Cape Breton.

The Moose in the Moon  http://wp.me/p1RtxU-P5

for untold millennium

the moose were happy on the moon

they were free to roam without predators

living on moon moss and small cheesy rocks

they had nothing to fear

except in mating season

when the males had to prove

who had the biggest antlers

after untold millennium

of basking in earth shine

they began to wonder

if there was more to life

the moon began to bore them

it was so small

they had roamed and combed its surface

there was no longer an abundance

of moon moss and cheesy rocks

the battles during breeding

had become limpid half-hearted events

soon there were only four moose left

on the whole of the moon

where once there had been millions

the forlorn moose looked to the earth

when the solar winds blew

the smell of water and pine

wafted to their nostrils

two of them longed for escape

while the other two

felt it was fated they should remain there

these two pairs argued endlessly

plotted revenge to teach the others

the error of its beliefs

they spent hours grunting at each other

glaring over moon rills

stomped so much dust

the sun was clouded over

the sun didn’t like to get moon dust in her eyes

she decided it was time to step in

so with a flare

she carried two of the moose to father earth

he could now take care of these creatures

on earth the two moose were overjoyed

they had new fields to run in

they began to multiply once more

they were safe till distrust came amongst them

when they were attacked by a cunning creature

that appeared as a robin to some

and a smelt to others

in fear they would bellow

to the moose in the moon

to return to where they were safe

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

kiss3

Thursday – September 7 at 7:30 PM – 11 PM – HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

https://www.facebook.com/events/110567226312109/

Tuesday – September 19 – feature – Art Bar Poetry series – 8 p.m., Free Times Cafe, #20 College At., Toronto – $5.00http://It’s No Accident

http://www.artbar.org

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

‘The gateway drug to gay’

The heat, the Fire & Pride were all impossible to avoid on Saturday – one had to experience the heat & Pride to get cozy with the Fire. Temperatures, with humidity, were in the 30s. iced coffee was a latte in microseconds. After the late night at Coffy I got nearly enough sleep to face the first workshop of the day at the Keegler, that is once I found the Keegler – it was closer than I realized but parallel to my hotel not north of it. I think the start of the Pride crowd in DuPont Circle got me slightly disorientated. Sweaty shirtless men can have effect on me before 9:30 in the morning.

The workshop with Sonya Renee Taylor dealt with body – not how we view out body image but how we relate to the body as writers. Where does something resonate outside of the intellect? A provocative workshop that was way too short to fully explore things beyond the intellectual level.

Next I took in the First Kiss reading – which wasn’t as sweet or even-bitter sweet as the title suggests. The pieces, for the most part, were emotionally direct, angry & disturbing. Mine was the anomaly – sweet & a little nostalgic. Those who were the most ‘troubled’ garnered the most appreciation – I clearly haven’t suffered enough to be an authentic poet.

mail came through the slot during the workshop

I followed the with Jillian Christmas’s workshop on Perspective – it looked at how we as poets need to find ways of writing from perspectives outside your own to enlarge out world view. How to do this without seeming cultural appropriation is part of the challenge. I enjoyed the conversation around this issues and the writing exercise as well. By now it was time to rest – I had misspelled ‘hand’ twice – first as ‘hard’, then as ‘herd’.

After a recharge, mediation, shower & change of clothes I was ready to face the SLAM part of the summit. Crowds at DuPont circle where even thicker so I took a different street to evade them, but they became inescapable as walked over to 14th Street. It was the largest blocks party that makes Toronto’s pride seem small & provincial. I learned later that a par tof this spread was due to anti-corporate sponsorship Pride posters who managed to stop he parade at one point. More about that in another blog post.

I got to Busboys & Poets by 6 pm – which amazed me considering the heat – maybe the fact that I didn’t get lost once helped. Ate sensible food, consumed fluids & got asked to be one of the judges for this portion of the semi-finals. I have had some experience 🙂 8 slammers, 2 rounds & the top 4 were to go on to the final slam.

Round 1: supper was a getting of grievances, I wish you wouldn’t yell was wish never granted, like the earth sounds when we are six feet under, love themselves with the lights off, remedy this by sleeping with anyone who will sleep with you, their lips sealed but open, I’m the gateway drug to gay, more mistake than man, it’s only real if it hurts, I can tell them anything as long as that anything isn’t the truth, without F’s A’s are meaningless, F won’t get a kid out of bed in the morning, the ring on her finger was a noose around her neck, holding hands makes me a target, own the words that burned us’

Round 2: punishing us with green bean casserole, you have to fall before you can fly, sometimes it’s better to shut up & pay the bills, one day you’ll be okay, shaping the idea of themselves in the air, jars of gas station wine, all I’m ready to do is cry, silence acts lie a step to one side, let unwanted visitors come inside, my memory creates an illusion, any more than a hurricane is a breeze, mental illness is a good scape goat it lets white entitlement off the hook, fuck the idea of blaming this on trauma’

I was drained by the end of this – multitasking isn’t my thing: so eating, listening, judging, make blog notes & looking fab in my tee took its toll. After the top 4 were announced I made the difficult choice of getting out of there. The Pride block party had spilled out over the areas blocked of traffic for it so there even more of those shirtless men to spot but by now they were stumbling and out-of-focus – clearly the heat had gotten to them not the booze, party favours and protest.

Past Washington posts http://wp.me/P1RtxU-1e3

Ghost Kiss

I was eight

Peter was ten

his grandmother

in tight plum slacks

was a million

the occasion

his hallowe’en party

I was dressed as a ghost

my mom’s easy-to-do costume

I didn’t want to wear that

old faded to pink red sheet

with uneven eye-holes

‘you’re the scary crimson ghost’

my mom smiled

with a nudge

I trudged off

anticipated mockery in my ears

Grandma greeted at the door

popping her teeth out

‘who wants a kiss’

she would purse her lips

if you wanted one

you’d get the wrapped kind

if you didn’t

she’d cackle

‘ha ha I’ll give you one

before the night is over’

pirates ballerinas

cowboys spacemen

kids in real costumes

Peter was dressed as a ghost too

only he had curtains

nylon and sort of transparent

they were really spooky

 

we slipped off

to a cool upstairs room

stripped off and reappeared

in each other’s costumes

to fool everyone

and when Grandma

caught sight of my naked little body

under those curtains she shrieked

‘you horrid horrid little boy

how could you do something like that’

and sent me home

no treats

except for the moment

when Peter and I

naked

hugged kissed

then got into the ghost costumes

many of us still wear today

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

Supreme Music

26-fab01My John Coltrane collection is so large I considered dividing it into 3 posts but instead I’ll list what I have & share the history of his music in my life. First the list – some are stand-alones, some are mp3 collections: w/Monk w/Monk Complete 1 2; Prestige Complete 1 2 3 4 w/Gillespie; Blue Train; w/Adderley; w/Harden; w/Davis: Kind of Blue Atlantic Complete: 1: Giant Steps/ My Favorite Things/Jazz/Bags/Ole; Atlantic Complete 2: Plays the Blues/Sound/Avant-Gard/ Odds; Impulse compete 1 Coltrane/Ballads/Hartman/Crescent/ Plays/ Ascension/ Living Space; Impulse complete 2: Stockholm/ Birdland/ Transition/ Living Space/ Sun Ship/ First Meditations; Africa Brass 1 2; Live Village vanguard 1 2 3 4: A Love Supreme Deluxe 1 2; Live at Newport; bits & pieces; Live in Japan; Blues For Coltrane. You can see why I wanted to split this into three posts.

26-fab02On the east coast I bought, at the Metropolitan (I think) – a department store that had a rack of discontinued lps that was briefly filled with a raft of Impulse deletes including a double Impulse lp of Coltrane ‘hits’.  It included a section of Supreme, After the Rain & now forgotten others. I also had a track of his on a Sonny Rollins best of. That was it for years, decades in fact. I enjoyed the Impulse cuts.

Then in late 90’s I mounted a production of The Servant & wanted some music for it. I heard Blue Train on the radio & loved the brass sound & bought it. Blue Train, on Blue Note, is one of the few lps Coltrane record with a brass section & it is a fine way to get into him, or jazz itself. This catapulted me into total fandom.

26-fab03Over the years I’ve added nearly the complete works, his own group stuff, his sideman recordings & his work with Miles Davis. I also have some excellent biographies. I really had to know more about his creative arc – from session player, his work with Davis, his own work & the dramatic spiritual change in his later career once he escaped heroin.

The Prestige work is session work, fun pairings, various quartets & not overly challenging. With Gillespie he is part of the big band sound with a few sweet solos. He’s learning & expanding. With Monk he begins really exploring. With Davis he starts to come into his own.

26-fab04He steps out into real solo with his Atlantic work  & becomes more challenging. Giant Steps is superb. I love all of his releases – too many to list. Blues, Sound are classics of any jazz era. But he seems to run out of steam & when he moves to Impulse we get lps of covers of things like Favorite Things. Though his work with Ellington is amazing & I love his Johnny Hartman lps too. Africa Brass is superb. Then he gets clean, gets his teeth fixed & bam the big shift with A Love Supreme. An lp I have to play twice in a row. The Live in Antibes Supreme is magnificent.

Crescent, Meditations, Live at the Vanguard: the list is above why repeat it. The live material is wonderful & exhaustive & often challenging in its aggressive free jazz flow. The Love Supreme Deluxe edition includes a live Love that is worth the price of the set. Live in Japan are performances shortly before his death. Blues For … is a tribute cd of covers. Coltrane is as close to God in music as one can get.

samp02

Frails

“Will the frail blocking Aisle Six please get a move on. Will the frail blocking Aisle Six please get a move on.”

Aisle six? Aisle six? I looked up from my shopping list. I was having trouble reading my handwriting, again. I really have to start printing. Was that tomato paste or tomato pasta?

“Will the frail blocking Aisle Six please get a move on.”

Aisle Six? That was one aisle over, wasn’t it? I just had to get these last few things on my list. All I needed now was the tooth paste, or was that tomato paste? What did I need? I visualized my bathroom, then the kitchen. God it was time to replace those tiles over the sink. I wonder if they have any of that adhesive glue I saw advertised on TV last night.

“Will the frail blocking Aisle Six please get a move on.”

A hand gently touched me on the shoulder.

‘Can I help you sir?’

‘No, no. I’m doing alright young man.’

‘Perhaps if we moved your cart over a little others could get by.’

‘You saying I’m in the way? Is that what you’re saying? Spit it out.’

‘Sir please. Let’s just move along. You have your list there? Good. Perhaps I can help you with the it.’

‘I suppose you might be of some use.’ I handed him the list. ‘Does that look like tooth paste or tomato paste to you?’

He squinted at the list. ‘They’re both on the list.’

‘Are they now? Well now we are getting somewhere.’

The young man pushed my cart to the end of the aisle.

‘You wait right here sir and I’ll get these things for you.’

‘No, no. I can do this myself. Don’t want to end up with the most expensive brands you know. Money doesn’t grow on lawns anymore you know.’

‘Yes I know that sir. Follow me then and we’ll have this done in a jiffy.’

He ran to the next aisle.

‘Not so fast I’m not as quick on my feet as you are, you know. You know that don’t you? Can’t you see that? Not so swift on my feet.’

‘Right sir. Here we are. Now which brand of tooth paste would you like. We have mint gel, antiseptic fluoridated Crest with plaque guard or do you need a denture cleaner.’

‘These are my own teeth. Just give me something that works and doesn’t cost an arm and a head.’

‘Here’s the store brand. Wintermint.’

‘Good. That’ll do.’

‘God damned frails,’ he muttered under his breath.

Frails? Frails? Was he muttering about me. Well I’d soon put a stop to that. I pushed my cart over his toes.

‘Ouch!’ he hopped up and down on one foot.

‘Sorry sonny gotta get a move on.’

soon

kiss3
14257567_1162384753819933_3271661288579707843_o
on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes

hot3

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

March 4, Saturday, 8 pm: my first local feature in over two years: Glad Day Books

hotposter

https://www.facebook.com/events/149545348875710/

attending: Saturday, March 25: 9 a.m. 2017 TORONTO SPECFIC COLLOQUIUM

spec

April season 3 FINALS – Friday April 15th Buddies in Bad Times – early show – 7pm startgames

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

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

dcjan01

https://capfireslam.org

check out these poets from  Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016

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

fec17-header

https://www.facebook.com/events/526940540845331/

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winner

http://nanowrimo.org/

money

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

bag blue fabric

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

Harnessing Fashion

03-greendcw-01I once had a pair of grease monkey coveralls – a button up the front onesie – tattered, stained, clearly once well-used for what they were intended. I bought them at an Army-Navy surplus store (are those still around?). I wore them when I went out dancing – no glitter for me or snug denims – I wanted, & enjoyed, the image of the grease monkey. I’d wear only a jockstrap underneath & felt very, very sexy.

On a recent Disability After Dark, Andrew Gurza talks about his experience with fashion & dressing for sex appeal – baiting the hook. Like his mobility, his options were limited. What was comfortable was functional not fuckshallwe – dressing for suck sex. He is frustrated in trying to get clothing that make him feel sexy rather than make him feel shapeless in sweats. No one is designing for his market – male or female. I think that would be an amazing Project Runway challenge.

When What Not To Wear was broadcast I was a big fan. They were very articulate03-greenplants-02jpg about the emotional & psychological power of clothing, on both the wearer & people seeing them. I get a different response when I wear a white shirt than I do do when I wear a paisley shirt. My black leather jacket elicits a different response than my denim. The world is shallow, first impression do count & if one wants a second impression the first should invite it. But when you can’t find clothes beyond the functional it is hard to create that impression.

03-greenbottle-01Andrew found that a leather harness made him feel very sexy & desirable. I’ve seen the photos & he does look hot in it – but my experience with leather is that guys who look good in leathers look good period. Andrew is hot regardless (even in sweats). But the key is how it makes the wearer feel. Because we end up projecting how we feel.

Leathers, though, are also indicators of S/M, B/D sexuality & those attracted to it have that expectation. Andrew is comfortable with that indicator. My experiences dressed in harness, as good as it looked on me, made me opt not to wear it as a fashion accessory – it brings too much subtext to be used as a mere accessory. For the same reason I don’t have handcuffs dangling from a belt loop.

03-greenplants-04I blogged about my underwear experience – Daily Jocks. Taking the step away from functional & utilitarian to underwear that is clearly sexy, fun & better tailored, has in fact made me feel sexier. Even if I’m the only one who sees it, it changes me. I know the power of the garment. It is for the wearer as much as it is for the viewer. Maybe I should help Andrew pick out some undies? Finding & fitting a pair that could contain his package would be hot.

samp02

After The Fallen

I’ve fallen down many times before

I didn’t even notice

until you helped me up

you are so strong

you did that seamlessly

I only had to reach up

not that falling is something I do often

and when I say many times before

I mean this time it came as no surprise

took so effort on my part

I felt like an old hand at it

but your new hand

pulling me to my feet

was worth the effort

was worth looking a tad silly

elegant

I sure hope I was elegant

falling with all the grace of death

of a leaf in the wind

landing delicately on the ground

distracted at the moment

by the sheer smoothness of the fall

my descent was casual

didn’t call too much attention to it self

it flew like a dance

with you as the perfect partner

for the swanning gesture

of your effortless lift

me the shooting star

unbroken by its perfect landing

but one thing I have to say is

I did not fall for you

soon

kiss3
14257567_1162384753819933_3271661288579707843_o
on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes

hot3

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

March 4, Saturday, 8 pm: my first local feature in over two years: Glad Day Books

hotposter

https://www.facebook.com/events/149545348875710/

April season 3 FINALS – Friday April 15th Buddies in Bad Times – early show – 7pm startgames

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

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

dcjan01

https://capfireslam.org

check out these poets from  Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016

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

fec17-header

https://www.facebook.com/events/526940540845331/

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winner

http://nanowrimo.org/

money

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

toyhorses

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

Personal Appearances

samp

Personal Appearances

it never feels right

to stay very long

sometimes the personal appearance

is enough

say hello to everyone

give a few choice words

then get out of there

that’s always been my policy

make the right impression

be noticed

then get out of there

before people get too bored

always be the one they want more of

not the one the’ve had enough of

so I never say much

just enough to show I’m aware

silence is the birth of wisdom

I can do that

give them something to talk about

when I’m not there

I like to get the ball rolling

then get out of the way

if things go well

I get the praise the respect

if they go wrong

no one hold me at fault

in fact

they apologize

for not fulfilling expectations

of themselves

not of me

I’m never there long enough

once I get the praise

I’m out of there

getting another ball rolling

somewhere else

11-elec04It’s not that I’m anti-social or that I have to be centre of attention either but Law 16 reminds me I’ve never been a fan of the ‘party.’ Socializing, networking, schmoozing, have never appealed that much to me. Hanging out with a bunch of people who are drinking, ducking out for smokes, ducking into the washroom for stimulants – has never been my thing. Even when I’m the one giving the party.

11-elec03At the Loyalist workshops there was always a gathering on the last night where our group and the painters would meet up at a local restaurant to share a meal & socialize. I hated it. Up to twenty people, half of whom didn’t know the other half, making small talk. Spare me. Four at a table dining out is more than enough for me. 20 is impossible.

11-elecred02When I do go to these social occasions I try to do what this piece says. Personal appearance. Arrive on time, shake a few hands, chit-chat, eat, then get out of there. Even when I went to readings regularly I found it awkward to make conversation with people who were looking over my shoulder for more important people to make conversation with.

11-elec01

The piece ends with a bit of fantasy, in that I doubt if I’m that crucial to an event that anyone even notices when I leave & I certainly don’t get many balls rolling – at least not in such a public setting 🙂

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

eliteelecblue

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

Lazarus Kiss.02

Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.

May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others

and a love within recall that alters you.

kiss

“Excuse me.” A man brushed them as he hurried past them almost knocking her purse off her arm.

“I’ve known Dave since high school.” She had to follow him. “Like ten years now. Some people don’t believe we’ve never ever done it. You know how hard it is to stay a virgin. Yes, I’m a virgin … Can’t you tell? It’s not that I’m afraid of sex or anything or even that I was saving myself, but it just worked out that way, you know.”

Why was she telling him she was a virgin? It wasn’t something she’d set out to be but with Dave in jail for several of their years together and then her bout with cancer there wasn’t opportunity for anything beyond giving Dave hand jobs to convince him she wanted him.

“I see. You don’t want to be late for that rehearsal.”

“Are you married?” Yes, check if he’s free. It’s not too late to start her own life. This one was predetermined and fixed. Everything done for her because everyone felt she was fragile and couldn’t deal with anything not even her own wedding. It wasn’t her fault her parents were dead. That she really had no one to call family other than the aunt and uncle who had brought her up. Plus she did enjoy people doing things for her.

“No. But you are going to be soon.”

“Don’t you find me attractive.” She shouldn’t have said anything about being a virgin. He probably suspects she’s a sort of a religious nut. She shouldn’t have worn the red wig. It made her look sallow.

“It’s not that …”

“Please.” she grabbed at his hoodie sleeve and he pulled away. “There’s must be a bar nearby.”

“No, I have …”

“It’s just a drink. I’ll pay.” She pulled a credit card out of her purse. “I’m not …”

“No. Not tonight.”

“Later tonight?” She got out her cellphone and looked to him to give her his cell number. She hoped he didn’t notice her taking a picture of him once she turned it on. “I can call you after the wedding rehearsal.”

“No.”

“Here’s my cell number. Call me around ten.” She wrote the number on the first piece of paper she found in her purse and pushed it into his hoodie pocket. “Even if we aren’t done I’ll leave. Dave won’t mind. I’ll tell him I’m not feeling well. That …. his mother is making me sick. He’ll understand.”

“No.” he started to walk away again.

“I’m not like this usually. I want you to know that.” She had never felt such a sense of being on the verge of freedom. That this man was her new protector, saviour from the life she had been living. Till now she never felt she had the strength to escape. She didn’t want marriage, she wanted escape with this man.

“Whatever.”

“Then maybe …”

“No. Get going or you’ll be late, won’t you?”  He walked quickly away.

She felt useless, defeated. Her cell phone rang.

“Where are you, Francie? Everyone’s here.”

“I’m … I’m on my way,  Dave. I got lost leaving the subway station.”

“That’s my gal. Having a blond moment?”

“Redhead tonight. I’ll be there a few minutes. Sorry.”

It didn’t take her long to get to St. Anne’s. She looked at the lights in the hall. She looked at the stranger’s picture on her cell phone. Could have been better lit but looked okay. Sweet smile. She posted it to her Facebook page then switched the cell phone off and walked back to the subway station.

*3 – Sunday*

After the lunch dishes were done his mother left him and his Dad at the kitchen table.

“Time for my afternoon nap. There’s apple pie if you want any.”

“Only your mother would serve quiche and follow it up with pie.”

‘Thank’s Mom.” Harris cut a slice. “You want a piece Dad?”

“No, thanks Helen, I’m crusty enough as it is.”

“For sure.” His mother gave his Dad a kiss on the forehead and left them.

Harris’s father pulled his chair closer to the kitchen table. “I don’t know if you’ll understand this but it’s time to tell you anyway.”

“If you’re going to tell me about the facts of life …” Harris laughed. His father’s face was serious. Shit! Time for the big ‘C’ announcement.

“Ah no Harris, if only it was a simple as that. Occasionally impossible things happen, you understand?”

“You stole me from gypsies.” Crap it is the big ‘C.’ Who is it going to be, his father or his mother?

“Have you ever wondered why you haven’t had a girlfriend for more than a week?”

“Sort of, but I figured the right one hadn’t found me yet. Hard to meet a woman who knows who Morbius is.” he plucked at his tee-shirt. God they were lining him up with a neighbor’s daughter. Better that than the big ‘C.’

“You’re closer to the truth than you realize.” His Dad scratched himself under the chin.

“Truth?” This should be easy enough to nip in the bud. “You mean the truth that most guys are only interested in getting what they can. Look Dad I know you think it’s time for me to settle down. You were married by the time you were my age but when I’m ready, I’ll do just that. Guys are getting married later these days. Being single and in your thirties isn’t end the world any more, at least for men.”

“It’s not a matter of you being ready. You’re a lot like me, I wasn’t ready, though I always thought I was. You’ve never had a hard time with gals, right.”

“Yeah. Guess that’s what makes it harder to worry about finding the right one.” Harris leaned his chair away from the table.

“How about guys?”

“What do you mean. As in gay? No! You think I’ve never had a girlfriend because I’m gay!”

“Just asking. Your mother and I want you to …”

“Yeah. Yeah. I will when I’m ready unless you have a potential bride lined for me?” He set his chair back down.

“What I’m trying to tell you is that you may never be ready. It may not be up to you. It’s … Hell … I don’t know how to say this … It’s a curse.”

“Oh yeah! The curse of good looks, you mean.” Harris flipped his hair and patted his belly.

“It has nothing to do with looks, trust me. Till I met your mother I was like you, always found it a breeze to meet women, enjoy them, more than I could ever keep track of.  Seemed to happen every day like clock work. I knew that if it hadn’t happened by a certain time it was going to any minute. But it wasn’t always women. A few times it was a man. Which I declined …. ”

“You telling me you’re gay, bi or what.” He stared his piece of pie. Was it okay to eat it while his Dad was going on? Yes it was.

“Harris you aren’t listening. It wasn’t something I could control but I could control what happened when it did happen. I turned the men down instantly but carefully. I recognized they weren’t acting their usual selves. It was a compulsion to be near me.’

“Yeah, now that you mention it I’ve experienced that. Women who wanted to be near me. I guess there have been a few guys too but …” Harris stopped. He could dimly picture a time that had happened but only that it was a male – no face, no conversations, came to him, not even what had happened after. He cut another big piece of the pie and started to eat it.

“See! You can’t remember, can you? Can you tell me who you dated last month or even last week. That’s what it was like for me too.”

“You mean I have inherited a short-term memory problem? I can remember who I work with, where I live.” He recalled the pretty woman on her way to her wedding rehearsal. He could almost see her face. What had he done with her number? She did give it to him didn’t she? He had stuck to his decision not to screw her. Hadn’t he? Possibly he did and now had forgotten it.

“What I’m trying to tell you is that people will find you attractive, irresistible. Strangers on the street. Once a woman in a car that passed me, turned around to follow me. She only had a glance of me. It’s the family curse. Your grandfather suffered from it too. It might go back even further for all I know.”

“Does Mom know?”

“I tried to tell her once. You know your Aunt Clara?”
“Mom’s sister – the one who lives in England.”

“Right. She did visit once. When you were thirteen.”

“I don’t remember her very well.”

“She was going to spend two weeks but only stayed about three days. Your Mom and me left her with you while we went for groceries. When we came back she and you …” His dad raised his eye brows. “were more than playing house.”

“What? She was having sex with me?”

“Your mother walked in you and her naked and …. well …. she threw Clara out of the house. Wanted to press charges but I didn’t think it was a good idea. I said to wait a few days and see what you remembered. By the end of the week you didn’t remember Clara had visited.

“When tried to explain about the curse to your mother she thought I was trying to make out it was your fault. That her sister was the victim. I couldn’t make her understand. So I gave up.”

“So this curse is a witch’s hex?” He waved his fork like a wand then put it down. “Put on our family for what reason?”

“I don’t know, but I do know we have this effect on random strangers.”

“Doomed to …”

“Never find love or something like that.”

 

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Hot Damn! Exit Strategies

pinksnow01The December edition of Hot Damn! at Buddies in Bad Times, didn’t waste time with chimneys or stockings before it got directly down to the naughty and nice with Charlie Petch hosting a slam of writers who were anything but sugar plums – though some were fairies (& damn proud of it). By the end of the night it was Bop Dionne Samuels The Bird of Paradise Paradise who proved to be fairyest of them all 🙂

The Hot Damn!’s December brought fine open mic-ers & eager slammers to the Buddies cabaret stage. First up was Kyle Andrews who read from his piece in the anthology Making Out Like A Virgin. The book collects writing by survivors of childhood sexual abuse – true stories of how they have healed and moved forward. A powerful, but not heavy-handed, collection of hope and purpose everyone should read.pinksnow02

From the first round slam: if there is no such thing as the passage of time, rocks the shape of every one of our disappointments, my voice is running out of steam, I come out to people but it doesn’t get easier, all of the people were white … all the food was banal … mistaking my kindness for interest, I don’t ask those questions back, you can’t promise not to hurt me by accident, teach me the words of my next poem, you expect me to take all the risks, kicking people out will be his first priority, have a moment of silence for that lesbianna … make a sandwich for that lesbianna … she is hungry’

ribbonFeature Thepoet Mona  returning to Toronto from Winnipeg, gave a well-constructed set of personal pieces about relationships, race, politics, family and self-awareness. She was accompanied at time by Daniel (with a fine moustache) on guitar. ‘red wine whispers a planned whisky escape, I am built of exit strategies, seeking penance and permission, it hurts me now but it was right to leave, that’s sounds like a bad idea – what time?, (about Trump) racist America was already her y’all, my skin tone is a narrative I don’t understand, sometimes getting out of bed is a political statement’

snowribbonSomehow my notes for the last set of open stagers & the round 2 of slam disappeared 😦 Someone not wanting to be quoted? So I have no lines from it to share with you. I make notes of lines as I listen, using one side of the page, so maybe someone needed a blank side of a page & mistaking my hen scrawl for scrap paper took it for their own vital work.

Six strong poets performed in the slam. Funny. emotional, challenging and in some cases rambling. A couple of them lost points for going over the slam time limit. As host Charlie Petch reminds us we applaud the poet not the points but when one of the points of slamming is to discipline the imagination to a structure poets suffer for flaunting the rules. Save the full version for your feature 🙂

Hot Damn! will be spreading the queer gospel to Peterborough in January, then Hamilton in February  before returning to Buddies on March 1.

sample I read Venus Selenite’s 12 griefs on the open stage. It’s from her book Trigger. I changed one line in the final iteration of the 12 days to read the chalk outline of a thirteen-year old on my sidewalk. News of the suicide of a Tyrone Unsworth bullied for being gay brought me memories of my troubled thirteen-year self.

While Enjoying A Grape Popsicle

‘it’s the sookie

the gutless wonder – get him’

three pairs of feet rushed me

Dave Parsons, his brother Stinky

and kid sister Mag

with a bruise on her arm

Dave a year older than me

Vic in my class at school

at 12 I knew what helpless meant

there was no way out

sometimes they were suddenly there

shoving and pushing me

‘yah yellow crybaby’

Dave had me in a head lock

handed my Popsicle to Mag

‘can’t even fight a girl’

he pushed me at Mag

she hit me in the face

‘go on – you useless gutless wonder’

she hit me again

I tried to stop her third smack

the others piled on me

‘hit her would you – we’ll teach you’

kicking shoving me to the ground

I tried to stop crying

‘sookie baby you tell

and we’ll say you did that bruise to Mag’

looking back

I can place these kids

in small town unhappy drunken homes

where Dave learned

words like ‘gutless wonder’

booze-hound Dad working mother

older brothers in and out of jail

acting out as they were acted upon

abuse that I didn’t experience in my home

which doesn’t change the fact

I didn’t know how to protect myself

I believed that I was gutless

my useless word against theirs

Dave broke an arm rolling a stolen car

Stinky got busted for dealing

Mag had her first kid at 16

I suppose they suffered for their actions

yet even as I put them

in this sociological context

I still wish I had the power then

to beat them

weeping for me to quit it

as I eat my grape Popsicle

and piss

on their bruised

powerless

facessoon1

14257567_1162384753819933_3271661288579707843_o
on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes

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http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

6DC0301

Early 2017:

my first local feature in over a year: location date TBA

it came in

April season 3 FINALS – Friday April 15th Buddies in Bad Times – early show – 7pm startgames

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

June 2-4: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 –

newcap

https://capfireslam.org

check out these poets from  Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016

August 31-Sept.3

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https://www.facebook.com/events/526940540845331/

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

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Les Chaises Plus

07-round01I discovered Daran & Les Chaises on French Kiss – when MuchMusic was attempting to expose English Canada to French pop. These were the days when I was visiting Montreal for an AA roundup & wanted to improve my French. Daran was not a PQ band so their French wasn’t quite the same.

07-round02I have two stand alone’s: J’évite le soleil; Huit. The music is rock, with thick, propulsive guitar work. Vocals are good, emotionally evocative. The videos were compelling too, even I never did learn enough French to understand the lyrics. The guys in the band were good looking in that unshaved mec way. Two cd’s were enough though I always enjoy them when they come back up in play rotation.

Near Daran is Joe Dassin – now were talking more old school French pop – smooth, easy listening & with lots of charm. I had various lps & cassettes at one time & replaced the with a double cd set of his ‘hits.’ His covers of Tony Joe White are excellent. He is a sort of Parisienne Neil Diamond. He was (& perhaps still is) immensely popular in Europe. TV shows, movies & the like. Not as emotionally demanding as Brel he covers some of the same cabaret territory with a somewhat more c/w flavour.

07-round04I discovered him at the huge second hand record & book store, that at that time was near the Berri-UQAM metro station. I’d spend hours going through endless rows of lps, cassette – cds hadn’t quite come into the market then. I’d shove to wash my hands they’d be so dirty from he search. The only other music store I’ve found like it was Amoeba Records in San Francisco. Those were the days when I didn’t travel to bar hop but to record shop.

sample

Dark

Slat stumbled over the sharp shard that projected from the rough floor. He had picked his way so careful and was pissed to have this catch him now. The bit wasn’t more than four knuckles high and as thick around as his baby finger. But it was sharp. It had sliced into the bottom of his foot and blood leaked from the puncture.

‘What be you?’

He accused the sharp. He hunched down for a closer look. He pushed the dirt away from the base of it.

‘Are you a ….’

He gripped it as hard as he could but it was firmly set in the hard floor. He wriggled it back and forth and it loosened slightly.

‘You can’t resist my pull, can you?’

He pushed the shard back and forth and ground it against the sides of the gradually larger hole. The white dust of the floor was caught in a sudden breeze and blew into his eyes.

‘You know resistance only makes me more set.’

He had to get it out before dark. Once the sun was down Wires would be out. He had never faced a Wire and didn’t want to. He got a better purchase on the shard and yanked at it with all his might. It gave way and he fell back as it slid out of his hands. The palms were red with cuts from it.

‘You have gone too far now whatever you are.’

Slat pushed the hair away from his face, spit on his sore hands and jerked the shard up and down, back and forth and inched it up and out. It was nearly twice his height. Long and firm.

‘Could be st’kl.’

He knew that st’kl was of great value and to have piece this long would make his fortune. Make his future. He leaned it against his shoulder and found the passage way down to the street. The first rays of the sunset set glinted from the gl’ss that remained on the highest parts of the structures around him.

‘Ques will sure be pleased to see what I have found for him today. Found for us.’

soon

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

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

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December – Thursday Dec 1st – Toronto, 8 pm, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St.

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http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

6DC0301

Early 2017:

my first local feature in over a year: location date TBA

it came in

April season 3 FINALS – Friday April 15th Buddies in Bad Times – early show – 7pm startgames

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

June 2-4: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 –

newcap

https://capfireslam.org

check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5KD1eDccdjdTdQ28kZRNg

money

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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