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 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

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

 Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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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

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From CupCakes to Pride Parades

A full day of presentations, workshops, a cup cake and a Pride parade – what more could one ask for 🙂 I sometimes try to pace myself – no back to back sessions but this year I did four in a row starting at 11:15 & finishing around 6:15. with no real lunch break either. I was pleased with myself for getting from the Fairfax to the Woolly Mammoth with no trouble at all. The route I worked out was shorter & faster than the one suggested by Google maps. So there!

Of course I did a Starbucks stop to get a little jolt of energy. First stop at Mammoth was the washroom for a piss & a washroom selfie. Next up was a presentation of poetry as theatre – three artists gave samples of their poetry adapted for stage work. All very different & all very effecting. One saw that process challenges a poet to build a piece that can sustain itself beyond the slam time limit of 3.10 minutes. What if there was 10 minute slam? hmm.

Next was a presentation on Dangerous Art that started with a bit of art history & finished with some readings from Essex Hemphill & wrapped with some poets sharing their dangerous work. What was once considered dangerous by say Botticelli is now pretty safe stuff compared to Mapplethorpe.

Another brief lull and the session I hosted on geriatric writers over the age of 40. A fair turn out & some amazing work was shared. Clearly age doesn’t diminish but sharpens anger. I presents some of the Terra Cotta pieces & my transformation from comic queer to fuck you queer has been accomplished, though the comic hasn’t been abandoned.

Another longer lull & I got out for some sweltering weather, photos & a cup cake. Finally took in an actual hands-on writing workshop. A challenging exercise to write from the point of view of a randomly picked body part. I picked wrists. Then was partnered off with someone who had picked eyes & written about that. Then, this is a bit confusing, we each were to write a piece from our body part to their body part. I loved it.

This brought us up to after 6. I headed back to the hotel & exited into the DC Pride Parade still in full swing. How f-ing long is this parade? Pushed through the clouds of rainbows to the Fairfax. Had some water then had to go out to get to CVS for juice & a salad for my supper. Usually CVS is step out, go around the corner, cross the street & I’m there. But the streets were blocked so I had to do a circuit around & back. Lots of rainbow eye-candy – but nothing under that rainbow for me. Hey! There’s the start of a new piece – nothing under the rainbow 🙂

ages  names

44 44 58 37 49 47 50 40

 

Selim Esen

Abdulbasir Faizi

Majeed Kayhan

Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam

Andrew Kinsman

Dean Lisowick

Soroush Mahmudi

Skandaraj Navaratnam

 

all men

old enough

adults

not teen-age runaways

not ‘I’ll live forever’ twenty somethings

men

one commentator said

‘who should know better’

 

all men

all found dead

two white

6 missed

2 not missed until found dead

1 unnamed even when found dead

 

7 found online

all looking for love

that isn’t clear

all looking for sex

that isn’t clear

some seeking asylum

acceptance

finding limits pushed

but not expecting

to be pushed beyond limit

 

most so fearful

of discovery

they took what they could get

without … I want to say complaint

but no one knows

no one can know

what they were looking for

what they expected

we know what they got

death

 

a talking head on TV said

‘they learned their lesson’

what lesson

that homosexual men

are all sadistic murderous predators

a cliche

once more proved valid

or

dating apps aren’t to be trusted

that searching for sex

deserves to be punished with death

that they got what they deserved

 

they deserve better

than some talking head on TV

shifting blame

from perpetrator

to the dead

Glitter Reflections at #CapFire18

Friday I opted to do nothing – no tourist jaunts to conserve my energy for the Fire start later in the day. After hitting the DuPont club I went over to Ted’s Bulletin on 14th for their big breakfast. After a 10 to 15 minute wait for a table turned into 25 I left – clearly Friday is not a good day for someone wanting a single booth. Busboys & Poets was near by so I had a great burger there.

Rested at hotel. Selected the right shirt for the show. Left around 4:30 to give myself time to get lost finding the venue. Metro was simple enough as I get used to it. I got off at Chinatown/Gallery & even found the right direction on 7th. The maps all made Woolly Mammoth appear to close to 6th & D corner – where in fact it was nearly on the corner for 7th. A bit of walking in circles & I found it 🙂

Got my copy of the Stoked Words anthology. Lots of restaurants to choose from as this was centre of the theatre district. Chicken caesar & back to Woolly. Lots of familiar faces & the same old story. People starting conversations while looking over your shoulder for someone more compelling to talk to. I didn’t even bother trying to respond tho ‘how are you’ knowing full well they wouldn’t stay long enough to hear my response.

One poet asked what pronoun I preferred – which I think is great – but they were offended when I said ‘it.’ Rather than engage they rushed off to hug & chat with fiends who where less ‘challenging.’ It was great to see the Toronto crew though Charlie – in the demanding role of Slam Coordinator; D’Scribe in the demanding role of themself 🙂

The book launch was a true lesson in diversity, voice, style and world-view. With nearly 30 poets – or was it more, I lost count – I felt washed, baptized, sanctified & blessed. I also was reminded that the deeper the suffering the greater the authenticity. I don’t suffer enough, in my writing, to be considered authentic.

 

By the time all the poets had read I was exhausted to the point where I couldn’t hear anymore. Not that I was deaf but I wasn’t able to absorb any more poetry. I made my weary way back to the Fairfax. slipped more than my shoes. Checked my email. Laid down & fell asleep instantly. My sleep was deep and authentic.

on of my pieces in the anthology – not quite as it appears there as I tweaked it while waiting to perform 🙂

Oogie Inferno

if you’re thinkin’ I’m too cool to boogie

boy oh boy have I got news for you

I love the sweaty potential of the dance floor

the solid mass of men mobile  shifting

eagerly crammed     crowded by the bass line

the righteous revival fever of a contralto

everybody here tonight must boogie

let me tell ya’ I was no exception to the rule

the heat was on (burnin’),

rising to the top, huh!

eyes closed    hands open

 

shirtless strutters in sweat soaked satin shorts

muscles      bloated bellies

a guy spinning in circles in his wheelchair

no one cares

as flesh wound around   pulled by the driving

boogie oogie oogie

 

an endless moment of contact high

thigh to thigh contact

the heat was on, rising to the top

where the keyboard was underfoot

put your feet to the beat

peak after peak of solid state sweat

turn this beat around

no voice heard that wasn’t amplified

no time to waste

let’s get this show on the road

listen to the music and let our bodies flow

yowsa yowsa yowsa      dance dance dance

shame shame shame

we were shimmering glittering

ready to take on the future

beep beep toot toot

 

I love the moment of stepping into the mass

the sooner I begin the longer I’ve got to groove

listen to the music and let bodies move

make a space for myself

get approving once overs

then not care who’s lookin’

but when my spark got hot

I heard somebody say

Burn baby burnin’ the house down

gonna boogie oogie oogie

till you just can’t boogie no more

 

I love the blur as I am transported

out the body    out of the mind

satisfaction (uhu hu hu) in the chain reaction

released from all sense of self

except for the one caught       immersed

push push in the bush bush

lost for hours

boogie oogie oogie

 

taking a breather wet glistening

asked what are you on

having my answer of nothing disbelieved

as if the music and testosterone

aren’t enough for me to

burn that cocksucker down

because have I got news for you

this could be the last dance

everybody here tonight must

boogie oogie oogie