The Go Lounge (1718 Queen W. at Roncesvalles) was the perfect place for a Master Class with Lillian Allen hosted by Andrea Thompson. As much as I enjoy an event with three or four poets and a handful of open stagers I often feel rushed & by the end ‘listened out.’ Features usually get twenty minutes tops, so time for their comments on individual poems is minimal.

puzzling evidence
puzzling evidence

The Master Class was an excellent opportunity to hear poetry and have the poet talk about, in this case, her writing process, her artistic vision. Lillian give us a concise, brief, explanation of dub poetry, which is where hip-hop sprouted from.

it fell from the sky
it fell from the sky

Her pieces were funny – ‘Moses and Steve Jobs were comparing tablets,’ rhythmically complex, emotionally compelling, politically fearless and presented with warmth and a real sense of her pleasure. By the end of the hour or so I felt that I had actually heard a poet, as opposed to merely listened to them. Sadly, with nearly an hour of transit to get home, I had to duck out before the second half were we to write and the present a piece prompted by the Master Poet of the night.

nice catch
nice catch

The Lounge itself is an intimate space with a friendly staff. A simple menu and what appears to be a nicely stocked bar. I had a great grilled cheese sandwich. I look forward to next month’s Master Class with Lishai Peel.

writing sample
writing sample


I know you’re sore

after that gal you’d been hitting on

walked out on you after three drinks

how the last two chicks you dated

dumped you via text message

one of them still won’t return your calls

how they turn into such selfish bitches

but just because I’m a clean old queer

doesn’t mean I have any interest

in your macho macho meat

the fact that you’re straight

just ain’t my aphrodisiac

you may think I’m one of those

predatory homos you are sure

are always lurking around

hungry for any straight guy

to fall into my eager mouth

well honey you are in a dream world

the fact that I checked out our jeans

was because I was wondering where you got them

you know in this light

you are sort of cute

and kind of sweetly drunk

but I’m not drunk enough

so why don’t you find your buds

you aren’t getting anything here

‘cause if those nasty hos

you always seem to end up with

aren’t interested I’m certainly not

the fact that you’re straight

just ain’t my aphrodisiac mac


Racket @redrocketcoffee

Got over to Make A Racket at the Red Rocket. I’ve been aiming to check out this new reading series & had a great time. Host Sandra Cardinal offered up an eclectic mix of non-fiction, spoken word, music, drama & story telling. As it was the 200th anniversary of Laura Secord Sandra opened the show with a look her research into Laura’s life.

side by side
side by side

First feature Teri Degler read and discussed a section of her book Divine Feminine Fire. This section dealt with the ‘Transmutation of Desire.’ Like myself, she’s found it odd that so many people believe that spirituality is meant to transcended sexuality rather than a way to experience it on deeper creative level.

Next up was a quick set of great open stagers me, Vanessa McGowan (her dad never learned how to laugh), Adam Abbas (tackling limericks to good effect & actually cracked a smile), & Joshua newly moved here from Montreal (multi-generation pieces, one about newly born niece, the other partly about how is grandparents met).

a Cathy Petch étude
a Cathy Petch étude

After the break Cathy Petch hit the stage. I’ve seen & reviewed Cathy many times but she is always a compelling performer. From her Mike Tyson piece -where we sympathize with him then are dismayed by his inability to escape the violence of his life – to her fan crush on Chewbacca – to a recent death ‘On the way to your memorial I discarded pieces of the wall you hit instead of me,’ I was not disappointed.

trashy cuddle buddies
trashy cuddle buddies

Next up was Teneile Warren a Jamaican playwright/poet – a strong set with some solid poetry  about the ‘cold war of adolescence’ and a short story of her coming out – cultures may be different but the fear of coming out remains the same – fearful at first & then how much do you tell once the basic truth is out there. Dancing with guys while eyeing the other girls dancing with guys – sort of the reverse of my high-school experience of dancing with some girl while watching the guys dance.

The night wrapped with Sage Tyrtle a ‘true’ storyteller with a great tale of growing up in California with her Dad, who meets a woman at T.M. who looks like a wicked step-mother – a wry, touching & laugh-out-loud funny story about the face verses the behind the doors reality of getting caught up in the Beach Boys extended families. Makes the Kardashians look like Quakers.

A great show, on hiatus for the summer. Kudos to Red Rocket for making itself a go-to destination in the east end with regular nights of comedy, live music and spoken words.

my legs are cold

my legs are cold

Spoonful of Beautiful

orange you glad

BuDa kicked off 2013 with a dynamic January show, hosted by Philip Cairns, with three features who left me wanting more – sadly time restraints at Glad Day force us to wrap the show by 9:40 or all of them would have been called on for encores.

First feature Faye Guenther read Hostage Spaces – a short story told from the ‘You’ point of view. It opens  with an almost clinical description of a building’s white marble lobby: “smooth dove-coloured leather couches that never hold a body, standing in illuminated pools of white on white” The descriptions move into a more personalized sense of the space, of the You addressed, “the soreness begins to explore your face”; of the life You lives, then brings other people into that life – a lover, a coworker: “you lifted your head and recognized someone….Her eyes were the color of trees this time of year, you thought, reaching for sun.” A naked woman appear to You offering, perhaps, a release from the space that hold You hostage as you are “smoking into the soft precision of a spring night.”

don't be shy

Next up was Regie Cabico – who captivated us with his well-honed slam skills & structures. He sang (nicely), made us laugh – men meeting and exchange cell phone pics of their cocks  and place those cell phones together to rub in the safest sex possible – ‘he smelled like a thousand likes on Facebook’ A raunchy, queer set of the highest order ‘my mouth is perpetually the year of the cock’ – more please – he closed with, what I regard as a slam staple – how deep is my love, in this instance two poets in love: ‘your poetry is so lonely Orpheus wants you to be his lyricist.

Joshua Jlatte Lopez – the music feature was sheer joy. He did an amazing set of blues standards: Spoonful, St. James Infirmary etc and some originals. His guitar playing is tasty without being flashy even when it was throwing off sparks in effortless runs and solos. Spirits of Robert Johnson, Canned Heat, Roy Buchanan flowed though his hands and vocals. One Spoonful – not enough.

put your hat on

Other news – the clean up of Valleys has been moving along well. I had to ‘translate’ my original file from appleworks to the latest Pages by importing it first into simple text – that process seeded it with a lot of small code inserts that I have to delete. I was hoping to do lots of cuts but so far that hasn’t happened. It flows better than I thought. I’ll have a PDF version ready to sell in a week or so for those you who find the excerpts too slow.

I’ve also been plugging away at my Bradbury story-a-week challenge but failing – I’ve been working on the same story since the first of the year – it grows but characters, as I hope, take over and don’t want to be done with so quickly – so perhaps I’ll aim for a story a month instead – I’m at about 2000 words for this one so far.

festive gutter ball
festive gutter ball

Getting Wired and #NaNoWriMo Prep

pretty lowe?

Electricians have infested my house as the wiring is finally being upgraded from mortar and pestle (or some such configuration) to what I presume will be state of the art. This mean, amongst other things, no power for several hours a day, until the work is complete. The plan is to have it done within two weeks, so there’ll be no interruption for NaNo in November.

The other thing about the re-wiring is moving stuff, lots and lots of dusty of stuff – bookcases overloaded with books that have to moved to make baseboard access possible. Forcing a long needed purge of books to the Trinity College book sale (I hope) and probably some long neglected dust bunnies to be sent packing as well. Perhaps that missing sock will surface.

how lowe can you go

But now to the topic at hand. NaNo preparations: my plot came to me a few years ago after a visit to my Cape Breton home. I visited several local historical museums. I loved the details about lives that I was mainly unaware of – the large black community for one – not only in Sydney but in the mining towns as well. Miners were imported from the Bahamas etc. I think of this as lost history.

Plus the number of other immigrants who worked those harsh jobs underground, at the steel plant etc. Photos of their fraternal organizations, church picnics, sports teams and schools.

12-14 hour shifts

So many fascinating details about families, wives, husbands, relatives, music and daily lives. All so heteronormative I wondered if there were gays in those days. Gay history isn’t lost but hidden, unrecognized or unacknowledged.  I realize there really wasn’t a language at some levels of society for otherness. That lead me to thinking of what life might be like for men with such feelings yet with no way to describe them even as they acted on them.

the lunch room

My research into sexual mores of the time lead me to conclude that often leisure time, education and money play a big part in awareness and judgment. People who work 12-14 hour grueling shifts don’t have the energy to care who sleeps with who.


here’s a piece from 2007:


I know you’re sore

after that gal you’d been hitting on

walked out on you

after three drinks

I heard you moan to your pals

how the last two chicks you dated

dumped you via text message

one of them still won’t return your calls

that they turn into such selfish bitches

when they know they can get

what they want from you

but just because I’m a clean old queer

doesn’t mean I have any interest

in your macho macho meat

the fact that you’re straight

ain’t my aphrodisiac

I agree it’s too bad

every woman you’ve known

thinks you are some sort of egotistic jerk

who only thinks of himself

when all you want to do is please them in bed

then roll over to fall asleep

I suppose it’s unreasonable

that you show up on time every time

you say you’re going to pick them up after work

yeah I guess those bitches are just lazy

unfair and expect way too much

when all all you want to do

spend a few hours watching TV all weekend

I can see how that is pretty mean

but the fact that you’re straight

just ain’t my aphrodisiac

you may think I’m one of those

predatory homos you are sure

are always lurking around

that I’m hungry for any straight guy

to come along and fall

into my eager mouth

well honey

you are living in a dream world

the fact that I checked out our jeans

was because I was wondering where you got them

so why don’t you go back to your buds

because you aren’t getting anything here

‘cause if them nasty hos

you always end up with

aren’t interested I’m certainly not

the fact that you’re straight

just ain’t my aphrodisiac, mac


#Disco #Revolution

While I was performing my ode to disco “Oogie Inferno” I realized that disco is truly the music of revolution – it was pop music that fearlessly opted to ignore the macho stance of rock’n’roll, c&w and even r&b. When the ‘disco sucks’ movement was burning Bee Gees albums before baseball games it seems like a futile gesture – today I realized that what the statement really was/is ‘disco sucks cock.’

As I read I saw the ode as a protest piece and that charged it with a different energy. Protest songs are usually strident and angry, this piece isn’t. Like much of disco music it extolled the sheer joy of dance, of being alive – which in a culture that sees pessimism as realistic and that pleasure is shallow plus its its intrenched sexophobia, disco joy is a subtle defiance. While protest music (& most r’n’r)  is heterosexist in your face, disco is queer sex in your pants.

What other music form has allowed for transgressive performers like Sylvester, Divine, Grace Jones while giving new life to the careers of Aretha, Patti & even life support to Madonna. ‘Disco sucks’ because it gave women with big voices even bigger songs to sing.

burn that cksucker down

BuDa at Pride gave each of us the opportunity to share our voices in the midst of this corporate celebration of a queer demographic that isn’t geared to spoken-word. But we where there. Taking the stage in the heat and bringing our own heartbeat to the throb. It worked.


The disco revolution may not be in your face, or even in your pants but it is certainly in your feet.


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   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