#Serial Killers and #Suitcase Sam

The weather relented enough for me to get out to Nik Beat’s Howl show at Q Space Sunday night. I’ve been looking forward to to checking this new space out since it opened last year. A great space for spoken-word & unplugged music. A simple kitchen set up offers various teas, coffee, juices, assorted alcohol libations; snacks – salads, sandwiches, desserts. Lots of outlets to plug in a laptop. Comfortable seating and an excellent sound system.

Come Home Muffy

Nik hosted a typically eclectic line-up that opened with Tim Masterson – who read a chapter for him novel ‘Far From Kind and Pretty,’ as well as an ‘essay’ – both were filled with allusions to 70’s/80’s TV shows, pop music, clowns, bunnies as his character dealt with mother issues; ‘none of the pens work in Mom’s House.’ He was followed by Lizzie Violet, whose mother feared Lizzie would grow up to be a serial killer. Now that’s a mother issue 🙂 Lizzie’s pieces ranged from  relationship foibles ‘I speak the truth/you whisper innuendos‘ – to chilling zombie narratives. She also took some great show pics.

guitars bagged

After a short break we were treated with musical feature Suitcase Sam. I was popped into a time machine and transported back to San Francisco 1969 by this modern Leon Redbone channeler. Sam did a fine set of covers: Big Rock Candy Mountain, Wild Horses and some sweet original pieces. A great guitarist and solid singer who did songs by Fred Neil, Bruce Springsteen and beyond.

cool cat house

Final feature David Clink read comic pieces from his recent book ‘Crouching Yak, Hidden Emu’ (or is it the other way round?). I love Toxic Girl with her pretty ‘button down cholera.’ After David there were a few open stagers, including myself, and the show wrapped. A good time was had by all.


#Kissing Stations

Got out to Plasticine Poetry Sunday night. I haven’t been to the series for two months now – busy with NaNoWriMo – so I was eager to get back there. Even more eager because of the dynamic line up. As usual I made sure I got onto the open stage in the first set. It’s always easier for me to listen when I get my own piece out of the way.

By 6:25 there was full house, I had a tasty chicken wrap and …. I get asked to host the show. Let’s be honest give me a street light over head & two drunks watching me from across the street and I’m ready to do some spokenword. I was happy to step up and take on the task. But I did insist on keep my open stage spot all the same. I read a brand new piece (see below) which recent events in the USA made even more poignant.

ants out of my pants

Lisa De Nikolits read from passages from her novels in which the characters either read or write poems – the poetry captures the nature of the p.o.v. strongly and reflects the character and not the author trying to be poetic: ‘I may be a loser/but I’ve always dreamed of someone to hold’ ‘dance on the morals of doctors and madman.’ After a too brief set she was brought back to read more – this time a prose section of West of WaWa – which pulled her in emotionally as she read and pulled us in at the same time.

un jccool

Next up was Lizzie Violet – she started with ironic pieces about relationship: “I cannot confirm or deny my feelings for you” “I speak the truth/ you speak innuendoes.” She did some horror/zombie pieces – I got so caught up in her vampire poem I couldn’t make note. A strong set.

During the break Michael served us cake to celebrate the season. Let them eat cake, if they don’t like the features 🙂


Second set opened with Cathy Petch who gave us a zit-popping good time. Romantic in ‘I whisper I love you as softly as pollen.’ Imagist in “holds cigarettes as if they might float away.” Tender and tough in her piece about Myke Tyson “when you give up on language your dreams narrow.” She closed with a fearless deconstruction (with some  help from her saw) of “Do They Know It’s Christmas.”

June 23, 2013

Final feature was David Clink. He gave us hilarious sections of his recent book “Hidden Emu.” Then led us in a sing-a-long of christmas song parodies “Santa Claus is Tapping Your Phone,” “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Wino” and too all a good night.

After the show I walked along Bloor W to Spadina station to check out the tinsel installations someone had told me about. They are some sort of kissing stations – streetlights trimmed in tinsel with mistletoe in the middle. Odd notion that perhaps invites, even encourages inappropriate behavior with strangers. The rapist’s defense – “the lights gave me permission.”

writing sample


Panic in the Streets

I left the house once

without my water bottle

how would I save

the dwindling environment

could I use my hands

to cup water from some grundy washroom tap

would I dehydrate within blocks

the city spread out around me

parched and dusty

I left the house once

without my credit cards my atm card

what would I do

if I had to buy a cup of coffee

a bottle of water

what would I do

if I had to prove to that I was of some value

without proof of my credit-ability

I left the house once

without my cell phone

out of touch with reality

who would think I was worth

talking to without it

what would I do

if I had to tell the time

would you believe me

if I told you I missed your call

because I left my cell at home

would you forgive me

I left the house once

without my digital camera

I didn’t know where to look

my eyes had to see things as they were

not as compositions to be captured

what if I saw the defining moment

of the collapse of our civilization

or a cat sneezing

I might as well be blind

I left the house once

without my gun

I didn’t feel safe

there was a threat in every glance

how could I defend myself

how could I define myself

without at a spray of bullets

to protect  project me

I felt naked vulnerable defeated