Danforth Potholes

In Toronto we’re at the edge of post-covid19 life as the retail world returns to life, within safety protocols, that is. Stores have signs that say maximum capacity 121, while others say no more than 4 at time. Some say ‘for rent’ not having survived the prolonged lockdown. I suspect some took the lockdown as a sign to close up a business that was merely breaking even. 

Some that did close were fairly popular coffeeshops that subsisted on their takeout business anyway. Maybe the per sq. foot costs weren’t being covered by the sale of elevated cupcakes? Some places that survived have cut back their hours – no longer opening a 9 a.m. but at 11 a.m., or in some cases not until 2 p.m. Others are ‘by appointment only.’ I suppose the $ saved in operating costs helps their bottom lines.

Several have been replaced by similar business, chains like A&W or Burger King. The most invasive had been, what I call potholes. Marijuana dispensaries – that have taken over video, buy-your-gold, stores. Some have obvious names – High Time, Natural High, Neighbourhood Joint – others aim for a different ‘class’ – Canvas, Tokyo Rose (?). At least one has gone ‘native’ naming itself after one of the original land-owners. Cultural appropriation or perhaps the owners are natives? I don’t care to find out because even if they are, it is still a marketing ploy.

Last summer I did several photoblogs of ghosts – stores that had shut down due the pandemic – without cash flow they didn’t survive. I stopped taking those pictures as it become increasing depressing to see that covid19 wasn’t merely killing people but also opportunity. I’d say killing ‘the economy’ but lets face it big pharma is raking in the bucks. 

As for the potholes that have shown up all over Toronto – I guess they are better than abandoned storefronts.

Kharis 

<>

is this the last wrap

or the first

the first wrap was a tissue

of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

I used that wrap

over & over

until the tissue

was a layer

layer after layer of

‘oh i’m fine’

‘i don’t mind’

‘how can i make you happy’

walking away

rather than add another layer

hoping nothing had caught

no thread was snagged

on a expectation

an exception

on resurrecting love

<>

I was protected

entombed by safety

by the fact

that all anyone wanted to hear

was ‘oh i’m fine’

‘this bandage solution will do’

‘you deserve to be fixed first’

<>

bound tight

peering at life though the slits

surrendering to the weight of history

pushed along by an unquestioned past

by ritual expectations

controlled by the clasp of gauze

layer upon layer after layer

some turned to dust

some turned to scar

some turned to face the sun

reaching for release

<>

decayed tissue 

dust motes settling in the moonlight

‘how can i make you happy?’

‘how can i unravel the book of life’

can i survive

without another layer

of this tissue

this scar tissue of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

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Tales of Brave Trending

Oscar Wilde said something the effect that it doesn’t matter what people say about you, as long as they are talking about. Bad press is better that no press act all. It is better to be trending for being an asshole that not to be trending at all. The recent US President was a master of trending & seemed to get ‘fatter’ on the negativity than on praise.

A couple of rock legends have breathed life into their trending by being vocal anti-vaxxers. Releasing new music to articulate their stance. Eric Clapton, Van Morrison – as a duo & separately have chosen to stand up for the common people with their recent releases. 

I’ve listened to the songs, read the various comments & am more amused than impressed. Positive posters praise them for their anti-establishment stances & their decisions not to play where masks are mandatory etc. I want to say ‘Honey, these men are millionaires not anti-establishment spokespersons. They represent their own bottom line not your rights as an individual.’ Check out the ticket prices to their concerts.

As I said, I’ve listened to their brave anti-lockdown songs & you know, if they weren’t publicized as anti-safety-protocol songs it would easy to assume Eric is mildly peeved that his latte wasn’t milky enough. The music itself is low-energy, the singing is indifferent & the lyrics are cliche. 

Those who are critical of Eric & Van’s anti-establishment stance have derided them for being uninformed. There have been pics posted of their cds being tossed in the garbage. I want to say ‘Honey, these men are millionaires you can’t un-buy their music.’ 

I see all this more as p.r. than anything else. A way of seeming culturally relevant in ways their music isn’t, unless nostalgia is a radical construct. Their search for self-expression was rarely anti-establishment. A man who sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads turns out to be an anti-vaxxer. Gasp!

Civic Duty (2008)

I’m believin’ what Stephen has to say

Harper harping on what ordinary folks

think of the arts 

sad to say he’s right

ordinary guys are more interested 

getting in cheap dope

getting their hands on the latest xbox

than they are in 

Canadian Short Story anthologies

they want hockey scores 

blow jobs on demand

they don’t want no Canadian identity TV 

they want CSI not Little Mosque on the Prairie

they want Steven King 

not David Adams Richards 

<>

in fact Mr Harper 

you would do us all a favour 

if you out right banned 

anything that called itself Canadian 

who needs McLean’s 

when we can have People

who wants to see Canadians 

give us Linsey Lohan in a yellow thong

not Sarah McLaughlin in gossamer scarves

<>

the ordinary folks don’t give a crap about much 

they would really love it if 

you could see to it t

hat they never have to work

because they don’t like getting up

dragging their weary bones 

to some soul sucking job

so if you really want to get elected 

let us live in luxury 

without having to do anything

we don’t want no education 

studying is a total bore

and a waste of taxpayers money 

creating art elitists 

university degrees 

they only use to make them act superior 

to us ordinary Joes and Janes

whose backs they are climbing on 

to get to the opera

while we have to sit around Tim Horton’s

waiting for our Old Fashioned glazed 

to be digested

we want tv’s everywhere

free cable

free data plans

get rid of the cbc

give us all sports channels

free porn for my android

<>

it has to be free

if you want to get elected 

free beer for teens

that’s the ticket

give the ordinary folks 

what they truly desire 

a life free of want

free of any responsibility

the arts are the pretty tip

of that ugly iceberg

<>

I’m so believin’ 

what Stephen has to say 

glad someone had the balls 

to finally say those arts phonies 

are just cry babies 

who suck the vital masculinity 

from our country

we gotta get this country

back on track

take back Canada

redirect the wasted energy 

we put in to the arts

we finally have leader

who can lead out of the cave 

& into the deep dark forest

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Face To Face F2F

In Toronto some recovery groups in churches have reopened for f2f meetings, all adhering, as much as possible to safety protocols. Many of the other usual places i.e. community centres, hospitals – have been slower at reopening for user groups of any sort. There are rumours that community centres will be reopening in October, at the earliest. This depends on the return to school over the next couple of weeks. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a return to more restrictions.

I haven’t taken advantage of these reopened recovery meetings. I’m happy with the zoom community that allows for easy attendance – no transit to deal with for one thing. Social distancing is easy to maintain & one can mute a member easily 🙂 No more leaving the room to silence them.

I went to my first f2f meeting meeting haven been asked to speak there – a twenty minute talk about my recovery experience. It was within walking distance & I timed my departure to arrive just as the meeting started. There was sign in  for contact tracing & hand sanitizer at the door. Chairs were placed for social distancing. Some members were masked a couple were not. I kept mine on. The first participant berated the unmasked for defying protocols & they didn’t bat an eyelash. The others, when they participated removed their masks to speak then put them back on. This made sense to me so when I did my little talk I did the same. 

After a very brief look at my drinking history I focused on a line in the Big Book ‘we will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.’ There is a difference between intuitive knowing & automatic reflex. One thing I’ve discovered is that if I am baffled I should do nothing rather than respond because I’m afraid to admit I’m unsure – to be unsure is admit I’m stupid, incapable etc.

I wasn’t sure what to do about the unmasked but knew my primary purpose there was to share my experiences not lecture on masks. Social distance was kept & I was thanked by some for talking about living the steps today & note dragging them through a drunk-a-log.

At my zoom meetings many are longing for the social context of face-to-face, I am not one of those. I certainly enjoy that context but am content not having to deal with indoor social distancing & dealing with people only via eye contact. 

from October 2015

Conformity

<>

It’s a SOCA convention

a man in a rust-red tweed sport coat

riches out his hand

‘are you here for the convention’

it’s my hotel but not my problem

<>

though I am awake & out before 9 a.m.

not hungover or looking to score

the schooners around me are boats

not beer glasses

in some brassy sports bar

<>

I know about recovery

rooms of people sitting in circles

rounds of support

restless feet in black shoes

where they end by

holding hands

they want to show me mercy

but I don’t want to hold their hands

joining in that circle

won’t bring me into their lives

<>

one is the loneliest number 

who has one rusty nail

sees one snow flake

though no two flakes are identical

<>

I am recovering like them

but I don’t enter their circle

won’t make snow angels with them

I felt the itch that induced SOCA

but never scratched it that way

<>

he reaches out his hand

I say ‘not here for the conference’

and sail out into the morning

not ready for conformity

<>

(SOCA – Southern Ontario Cocaine Anonymous)

(Conformity

http://wp.me/p1RtxU-1pR )

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Reconnect

tangled plots

Met up with Lizzie Violet, an actual f2f visit, with someone outside of my bubble for the time since the initial pandemic lockdown. I haven’t spent time with Lizzie since the unexpected demise of her Cabaret Noir a few years ago. We’ve had a few coffee dates with a group of writers but this was a one-on-one without distractions. The day proved to be hot, for me, to sit on a shady patio, so we enjoyed the a/c cool of my dining-room for a couple of hours. (http://lizzieviolet.com)

story building blocks

She writing a novel set during the 30’s set in Toronto & one of the characters is from the east coast. I was a natural resource seeing as my novel, Coal Dusters, is set near that time – there was little change in Cape Breton due to the depression after its own disastrous labour struggles with the coal/steel industries. They were already a hard-scrabble people making the most of what resources they had. But I digress, slightly.

some plot steps lead nowhere

I do get to talk ‘writing’ with one of my Loyalist crew every month or so but was great to do so with with an almost new face 🙂 I also got to share some of the books I picked up in my Cape Breton research & some of the things I discovered for other sources – things like the black miners imported from the Caribbean with promises of company houses etc only to arrive totally unprepared in the middle of a blizzard with no real place to live. There’s a book that needs to be written.

I also shared how I read novels written in the 20s/30s to get sense of the language used, I also read some boys adventures written at that time too. In Dusters I wanted my characters talk like 20’s people not like the over-articulate people of today. In rewatching the The Tudors recently I was dismayed at the over use of the word fuck – I know it existed at the time – but as a word of mocking not vulgarity. 

too many diversions?

Hopefully there’ll be opportunity to reconnect f2f with more of my writing/poetry community before the the lockdown rolls back to protect us from people who feel their personal rights supersede their responsibility to others. 

from August 2008

Dreaming Of Me

you tell me 

you’ve been dreaming about me

you think about me all the time

you think such talk is flattering

but because 

we’ve only been together 

three times

to me these are warnings

things too much too soon

from someone I don’t dream about

about whom my only thought is

how do I break this to you gently

<>

you really are quite sweet

but being attracted to me

isn’t enough anymore

not that I think I’m so hot

that I can pick and choose

it’s just that I’m no longer

driven by opportunity

the way I once was

<>

the longer you dream

the longer it will take

for you to wake up to the fact

that you aren’t in my dreams

I don’t fantasize about you 

I don’t long for your call

I’m not hungry for your kiss

I didn’t want to say no thanks

too quickly

opportunities like this

don’t come often in my life

the last time it did

I was eager like you

for more of that mouthful of wonder feeling

but this time

I’m more inclined to keep my mouth shut

let someone else do the talking

then I’ll do the walking

<>

I’m out of here

once I figure out how to tell you that

after all we’ve only been together

what three times now

not long enough 

for me to consider it an investment

more of an investigation

a chance for both of us 

to check out the goods

and as much as I’m pleased 

with what lies beneath the sheets

I’m not drawn back for more of it

even when you tell me

you dream of me

that you waited all week for my call

the fact that I waited a week to call

should have told you something

if I was that into you

nothing would’ve held me back

<>

I wish you sweet dreams though

feel a little flattered 

some of them are of me

but I’m not selling 

myself for a dream 

anymore

cabaret noir march 2015
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Pandemic Travel

all pics from Scotia Bank Arena

So we’ve entered another phase of pandemic life as we know it & in response covid has mutated to become more contagious – pharmaceutical companies are now pushing for booster shots – to save mankind while boosting their profits. The un-vaxxed surf their wave of ‘it’s my right to die & it’s my right to take you with me’ rational.

I’ve kept my eye on the loosening of travel restrictions & wonder who profits from the mandatory covid testing? In order to go you need a ‘fresh’ test, in order to come back you need another ‘fresh’ test but if you haven’t made appointments in advance you could be stuck. Will travel health insurance cover the cost of covid testing in the USA? 

Google says average price is $150. for tests in USA but can cost up to $850.00! There can be additional fees for collecting the samples, for transporting the sample to the testing facility. On top of which not all vaccines are acceptable so one has to make sure they have two of the accepted shots! 

All this is along with all the other preparations needed to travel: ie passport, hotel, airplane tickets, documentation to prove you have the above, proof of registration on some ‘return to Canada app.’ Do I have to travel with a printer to print out that proof? I’ll need an extra carry on just for all that stuff. Oh yes & a supply of masks. 

Speaking of masks I won’t be taking TTC, shopping at Farmer’s markets, eating indoors or attending plays without wearing one. As for travel plans for now I’ll just stay home & take a zoom tour 🙂

Whitney Pier Museum

I visit little local museums

dedicated to the industry of the area

steel workers    miners

displays about the various ethic groups

Jewish   Black    Ukrainian

old high school year books

pictures of teams   hockey   basketball

rows of mothers knitting for the war

soldiers returning   or those lost

churches that have come gone

business that survived  faded

as economies rose   dipped

the first black owned store in the city

families in fields picnics outings

Christmas parties in church auditoriums

faces turned to cameras

or sullen in front of raging blast furnaces

smeared with cold dust at a mine exit

men in groups workers comrades

sometimes everyone named

who’s your father a tree of discovery

<>

I sift through these

wonder about the real lives of these men

where is my history

I’m to assume each of them

had a wife   kids somewhere

they sweated worked for that dream

a house   garden 

no way to find out if any of them

sought out something in each other

no mention that 

Jack and John lived happily together 

in this house on Lingan Road

everyone knew but no one cared

<>

I don’t need to know the lives

of those famed homos of the past

Radcliff Hall Alan Ginsburg

the list gets longer 

as we allow history to reveal

what historians thought too sordid 

to bring to light

the sex lives of heteros 

are fine fodder mind you

<>

I look at these photos

what truths are unrecognized

no display of the same sex inclined

as if the queers in history

were not ordinary folks like these 

in little local museums of the closeted

2008

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June 2021 Recap

Over the past month the TOpoet.ca following grew to 500! The WP map does show my hits have come from  36 countries around the world. That USA tops the list is no surprise but that Spain & Ghana are in the top 10 is a surprise. Most popular posts were Little Red Corvette https://topoet.ca/2021/05/31/little-red-convertible/, Holy Toaster https://topoet.ca/2021/06/07/holy-toaster/ – my personal favourite has to be Psychedelic Sitar Teens https://topoet.ca/2021/06/16/psychedelic-sitar-teens/.

My Tumblr is at 326 followers. 227 Twitter followers.

Picture Perfect: 74 sections, about 111,000 words posted so far with approx 78,000 to be edited then posted. 

Watched a couple of amazing, slightly mystifying, movies. First by India’s Satyajit Ray’s 1991 Agantuk (The Stranger) – a long-lost grand-uncle appears uninvited to spend the week or is he really the long-lost grand-uncle. Not knowing a great deal about social customs of the time I was a bit at sea regarding these but the caste system, education where clear. The uncle brings a very wide world view into the safe bubble of the family. Gently humorous & nicely performed. No Bollywood  production numbers 🙂

Out of Chile is Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 2013 Dance Of Reality (La danza de la realidad). This is an overf-the-top mash up of Fellini’s Amacord & Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. A memory off his childhood told through symbolism, song & amazing cinematography. I have his other earlier films in my collection so was ready for the loopy plot. This is a stunning film that drew me in & held be from beginning to end. My favourite moment was the adult Alejandro holding his child self from jumping to his death. The extras were interesting.

Ken Russel’s Mahler was yet another surreal visual experience. I have vague memories of seeing this when it was first released & was impressed with the visuals & the music. Apparently a biography based on Mahler’s life, rather than a historically accurate  accounting of it. I loved the white worm beginning, the direct reference to Death In Venice & Georgina Hale’s performance. Lush music but the plot often gives in to tedious melodrama when it should be awash with surrealism.

Event of the month was the mass covid19 vaccine clinic at Scotiabank Arena. Nearly 27,000 people given the shot. This was my 2nd shot. The process was like clockwork. I joined the line up at around 9:30 at Bay & Front. Got my shot at 10:03. Efficient & all the volunteers were in good moods. Got the souvenir towel & was home by 11. Don’t worry I’ll stick to masks for shopping & public transit for awhile. 

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Unlockdown

 

Survived Toronto’s first released-from-lockdown weekend patio pandemonium 🙂 The flood surge of eager patrons started at 8 a.m. or perhaps earlier, as there were folks already sipping coffees on patios when I out for my early Saturday morning walk. Or maybe they were on their way home after a night of dining under the stars. 

To be honest I was never a big patio fan: usually they aren’t shady enough for me, plus duelling with wasps puts me off, nor am I one for dining out anyway, but it’s nice to have the choice not to. The pandemic did encourage us to order in a bit more frequently – from some of the neighbourhood spots – ones that we’d probably never dine in at anyway. A rotation between pizza or gyros or General Tso or ribs – Thursdays every other week. We order for two but they all deliver enough for for four. Some of them don’t quite get it when you say no condiments or no cutlery.

People in the zoom meetings I get to are eager for things to get back to normal. It strikes me that full impact of the pandemic hasn’t fully sunk in for many. Many places: i.e. churches, community centres where recovery meeting usual took place can’t afford the the high quality air-circulating systems – hell some of them couldn’t even afford to repair broken windows. 

I suspect masks will always be with us on public transit, when shopping, going to concerts etc. Stratford is struggling to launch a season but with indoor #s strictly reduced I can’t see them doing a big production for an audience of under 100 people, even masked. Streaming doesn’t replace live. After decades of designing theatres to maximize seating they have make changes to allow for air circulation. Just think seating for people with legs 🙂

With non-essential stores finally open, I can buy some new shoes – one of few things I’m unwilling to buy online. I’m not rushing out even though I long to to refresh my browsing skills – one thing I have missed is the the opportunity to stroll through a store looking – I’ve felt obliged to get what I want & get out of there. No impulse shopping for me 😦

Of course if the covid #s soar up like they did the last time the lockdown loosened up we’ll be back to getting coffee in the mail.

Normal Life

I walk down the street

for a cup of coffee

travel mug in hand

to help save the planet

by not using the disposable cup

I wonder 

if my washing the mug when I get home

counter balances

that ecological saving

maybe if I washed it less

<>

we are such a clean culture 

it’s no wonder

that we need so much protection 

from the sun 

when we wash 

all those oils out of our skin

at every opportunity

putting on moisturizers 

to give us a glow

that doesn’t look like we’re wearing anything 

<>

walk from here to there

so as not to add to the wasteful car pollution

avoid the subway 

too dirty

all those hands feet asses

rub and smear the seats

hand rails

floors sticky with split coffee

I hope that’s all it is

need a hazmat suit 

to get out of the house for a walk

nod to others in their suits

actually never nod to others 

avoid any sort of eye contact

you never know

who will take what the wrong way

scurry past as fast as you can

<>

one has to walk in the gutter 

just to get by that bitch

with a baby carriage

stopped to stoop & talk

to her pals over a coffee

they gets pissy 

when you try to walk by 

push the carriage our of the way

or risk getting hit by a car

to get by

is the cafe owner liable 

for creating this hazard

where pedestrians can’t get by 

thanks to a fucking patio

<>

finally I get my coffee

two sips and I‘m fine

my what a sweet child

a cry like that is sure sign 

of a future in opera

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Ontario Lockdown May Update

The covid pandemic is now well into year 2 & its grip has tightened despite various lockdown restrictions & even the fairly rapid distribution of various vaccines, while the distribution of conspiracy theories has been even faster. Is there an end in sight? That depends on the profit margins, right.

Not only do the living have to bury the dead but they have to shoulder the burden of the cost – a burden that increases as the tax base shrinks thanks to covid deaths & lockdown bankruptcies.  Like poverty, the pandemic will stick around as long as someone is making big bucks off it – I should have invested in pharmaceuticals when I had the chance 🙂 Or undertakers.

Emotionally I have remained relatively even-keeled. Sharing my house means my social bubble has never been one of total isolation. Zoom has been a boon for recovery meetings & I generally log on to six a week. Each with a slightly different format & different people. I am one of those doesn’t go on camera & usual I minimize to audio only to spare my wifi connection. Not seeing all those faces eating, pulling at split ends, playing with pets lets me focus on the sharing.

I have maintained an active social bubble within the stipulated limits. Socially distant walks with a couple of recovery friends has been important. Also sending time with some non-recovery buddies has kept them for being too isolated. I’ve had a a good friend drop over a few times to help with the garden. 

Blogging & taking pictures have been vital to maintaining emotional & spiritual balance. Sharing things about various aspects of my life with complete strangers around world, most of whom I’ll never meet, makes me feel more connected. 

Major purging has given me a sense of accomplishment – one of the benefits of a house is that I have things to purge 🙂 I’ve suggested to a couple of friends maybe they should clear out their apartment storage spaces rather than gripe about not being able to do things. The purge also stepped into my writing archive – unearthing artifacts that go back to high school days. Poetry, short stories, plays, even a couple of novels. Inputting them & getting the paper into the recycle bin. 

I sure hope this lockdown paranoia soon has an end in sight though. My basement is clean enough, thanks.

Ballad of a Translucent Man

I would be happy

if someone greeted & invited me

as opposed to a nod

from the group clumped together

at their noisy chatty table 

drinks all around

guys slipping outside

in two or threes

for a quick smoke of bonding

<>

I remain unbondable

I’m not sure what underlies 

all that camaraderie 

I have never penetrated it

never been apart of an inner circle

a pal amongst pals

but I no longer seek that

content in this cool distance

<>

doubt if that’ll change at any time

won’t work at changing that

won’t make my words invite 

any more than they do

in fact I take a somewhat 

more challenging stance

a gentle fuck you

<>

no one there 

I need approval from

don’t have to please anyone but myself

the audience will respond regardless

in fact it seems 

the more indifferent I am to them

the more they listen

<>

though this sense of apartness

is something everyone carries

perhaps I am as much of this scene

as they are

as much of the under structure 

as any of them are

each of us looking for attention

for acceptance without 

wanting to surrender 

much of the self to get it

to get it for the self

for whatever that means 

to anyone else

bored and distant warm 

and in the middle of things

<>

each piece has a place 

in how things work

how things continue to work

fellowship is that the word

friendship maybe

companionship championship

a steady climb up some little ladder 

to a bugger bigger stage

the wow of applause

then the stride of celebration

that leads to 

who does he think he is

who was that translucent man

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Running Out

Running Out

I was running out of excuses

no – not excuses 

I was running out of lies

it’s not easy being a nice guy

really

<>

it’s a conundrum

when you have great sex

with a guy who isn’t your type

who says he had a great time

wants to see you again

while you aren’t that into him

if the sex were boring

it wouldn’t be so complicated 

that’s when the lies start

busy with laundry

editing

sister visiting

sore throat

<>

why can’t he take a hint

why can’t I just say

I’m not that interested

there isn’t enough chemistry 

between us for me

it’s nothing personal

well I guess it is pretty personal

it is him you are saying no to

<>

even after the second time

when I had run out of excuses

the sex was good

but good isn’t enough for me

I want to feel 

not necessarily an emotional connection

but something 

more than the panic

of running out of excuses

The 227 Rules for Monks is an exhaustive list that is often variations on the same idea – things like – not to touch touch your nose as you sit down, followed by, not to touch your chin as you sit down. As a result of what they lead to for me are variations on a theme as well, some some of these pieces are so like that – I wonder as I edit – ‘didn’t I edit this one two months ago’ & check back to find it – no I didn’t. Like peeling of layers with each version to find out what hides underneath.

On one level it deals with sexual civility, on another is it about the cunning nature of co-dependency – the way people get stuck in relationships, situations that aren’t working simple so they don’t hurt someone’s feelings. The Canadian border remained a covid sieve because out government was unwilling to offend other countries by staying – stay out. Looks here that got us. But that’s a rant for another post.

The short of list excuses are ones I’ve actually used to decline meeting up with someone – not just sex dates but often I just want to feed my addiction to isolation 🙂 Thanks to covid I have been telling some guys that I’m not opening my social bubble period. One was rather insistent about the possibility of sex with masks but I said no. Masks are okay for walking around, shopping but don’t handle gasping, deep breathing very well.

He mocked me for being paranoid & unrealistic about the level of threat. Wrong tactics for sure. I said ‘I’ve seen the #s go up & I’m not going down.’ I was afraid the next thing he’d be telling me condoms are part of a homophobic conspiracy. Did he take it personally? Maybe. Did I care – no. 


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Covid Pandemic Confusion

I’m dismayed at the eagerness of people to seize on any excuse to avoid covid vaccines but I do understand it to a degree. One of them is safe in some countries but ‘banned’ for use in others. Risk statistics are presented without any comparative information – i.e. are the side effects any worse than those for the regular flu shot? Which is worse – covid or any of said side effects?

In the States some religious factions refuse the shots as being against God’s will, protecting ourselves & others is seen as us playing God to decide who lives or dies. We cannot interfere with His plan as laid out in the scriptures – fundamentalists take it for granted that His plan also included conflicting translations of those scriptures. But if they chose to go unprotected I’ll keep my mask on while I wave a socially distant bye-bye at their funerals.

Here in Ontario the blame game has made people dizzy with constantly shifting lockdown rules, a vaccine supply chain that appears to be broke, vaccines that aren’t used before their expiry dates because there aren’t people in certain age brackets registered to get them – the mess goes on to provide fodder for excuses & finger pointing. Non-essentials are cordoned off in big box stores – but who decided what those non-essentials are? Thank God Tim Horton’s is still open, as are all the pot dispensaries.

I’ve had my first shot, I wear my mask on public transit & in stores. What more can I do? I’ve reduced my social bubble. I don’t look at airplanes that fly overhead just in case the vapour trail is spreading variants flown into the country by international flights. Maybe all this confusion has led to exhaustion & any excuse to remain isolated in my social bubble.

rough draft sample

from Ap2008 archive

Dreamland

there is something underlying everything

that I can sense 

but can’t figure out

I didn’t want to slip into

some paranoid fear

that whatever this is 

it’s against me 

but it clearly is not for me

I’m at harm’s length 

no matter close I get

there’s no way in for me

not matter how present

or how persistent I am was

I am edged away from the centre

the uncomfortable outsider

I can do without you anyway

but just keep coming around

to remind you I am here 

and remind myself 

not to slip though 

as an accepted part 

of things

I’m not hungry enough

age does that

it dulls the appetite

for certain thing

sharpens it for others

comfort becomes more important 

than information

sleep is more important

than another two hours 

of waiting around 

for something that hasn’t happened yet

dreams are more fulfilling than reality

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