Emptied Toy Boxes

I always wonder about these boxes of toys – out-grown? tossed as punishment? left behind by previous tenants? bedbugs?

blue or green? which suits you
bad day for knights
u-haul these out of here
the blue car
after the tea party
the sun don’t shine anymore
the baby isn’t mine
pink Cthulhu
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The House Of Dolls

Some shots of the Leslieville Dollhouse on Bertmount, near Queen & Jones – it is actually mentioned on Google maps. I’ve took pictures a few years ago but these are very recent as part of an Artist’s Way Date. I’ve walked down around Christmas to see what it is like at night & was a little disappointed that most of the blow mold decorations don’t light up.

north view through the trees

north view from the sidewalk

up close

look into my eyes

how many can you name?

busting out

hello six-pack

view from across the street

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Crazy-makers & Way.02

Into ‘week’ two of the Artist’s Way. ‘Week” as the book is done in weeks not chapters. I’m giving myself two weeks to do each section. Week One was okay, no great revelations but confirmations that the process I started with it decades ago has been productive. Some of my negative self-talk comes from more recent years that from my past. perhaps though it is echoes of that past bs that had seeped in.

Week Two deal with crazy makers as a way of avoiding creativity. Oddly enough one of my biggest crazy makers, no longer living in Toronto, had a major crisis as I was starting this Way chapter. A crisis that included: partner cheating, wedding is off, moving in with parents. Oh my! We exchanged a few texts as I was walking & I refused to be drawn in. I did say ‘you’re a survivor’ – supportive enough. I didn’t offer sympathy, advice or a plane ticket to Toronto :-). Two days later & all is ‘well’ with him. He sees it all as bipolar in love. I didn’t ask for details.

I know how not to invite crazy-makers too deeply into my life. Julia talks about how we use these situations as distractions or excuses & as a way to score points for being good, helpful, self-sacrificing saints. 

Today, thanks to recovery in a couple of 12 step programs, I’m okay with people thinking I’m stoic, uncaring & uncooperative. Productivity is more grounding than codependency.

I’ve taken myself on some fun artist dates. Simple things like a walk through the Williamson Ravine – made a trek to take pictures of the Dollhouse on Bertmount, near Queen & Jones – it is actually mentioned on Google maps. Stopped after the doll invasion at Bobbette & Belle  for an artist cupcake. I also consider Hot Damn! an artist date, even though I am there with several people I know, I’m pretty much by myself as one of few (if not the only) gay white cismales over 60 in the house.

Blind Sided

I’ve looked at this from all sides

taken your view

my view

the outsider’s view

the long short jaundiced

rear view

it doesn’t matter which side

I’m the one in the wrong

even if it is your fault

that I’m in this position

it’s still my fault for looking twice

when the first glance 

told me all I needed to know

I shouldn’t have taken a closer look

& let you pass me by

 

but what’s a man supposed to do

opportunities like you

don’t come my way everyday

not that this was my last chance 

but it was as good a chance

as I’ve had in some time

a stroke of luck

so here I am

the guilty party once again

someone who said what he shouldn’t 

at just the wrong time 

for the greatest effect

 

those names we called each other

were only meant to hurt

I didn’t believe them for a minute 

but you did

I’m just not as sensitive

one of my faults I know

cold heartless me

I’m too quick to react 

when my buttons get pushed

I should never have showed you 

where those buttons were 

never let your toothbrush 

in my bathroom

never let your socks under my bed

never say never again

 

it’s all my fault for making peace

for being the placater 

I should have let go 

when I first had a chance

rather prove that by holding on

I was really really serious about us

I had lots of opportunities 

to escape but I stayed

things will be different next time

I should have defended myself 

the second time 

changed my view the third

but I didn’t

to make sure you realized I cared

that I could be forgiving

now I’m looking from all sides

inside outside top bottom 

head-to-toe

the way I looked over you the first time

everything held the eye

I didn’t have enough eyes 

to take it all in 

no eye to a future

I knew it would come to no good

I would end up the heatless prick 

once more

I had to see if this time would be different

you wouldn’t be like all the others

you weren’t 

trouble was I was like all the others

you told me that over and over

every man you meet treats you this way

I was no better than any of them

 

for once

I’m glad you’re right

glad that over is over

trust me it’s over

I won’t make that mistake again

I won’t take it lying down 

standing up bending over backwards

or any which way 

if that’s what it takes

to be true to you 

I’d rather be a liar

because it doesn’t matter which side

the view is from

I’m the one in the wrong

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April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
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July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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Yes Is Meaningless

Law 28: Enter Action with Boldness

Take 1

what have I got to lose

this is opportunity

not solution

this is a move in a direction

right or wrong

doesn’t matter as much as

this is a move in a direction

I have more to lose

by remain still

by keeping safe

all I have to lose

……

Yes Is Meaningless (Take Two)

I say no

without anger

it’s not meant to punish

to teach anyone a lesson

it means exactly what it says

no

I don’t want what I don’t want

I don’t want that item on the menu

I don’t want to walk any further

I don’t want to talk about it

 

once I’ve said no

I’m not open to negotiation

any more than you are

in your eagerness for a yes

 

there are time when no is pointless

I can say no more shit

but it keeps coming

from people who don’t ask for permission

they take thing into their own hands

pick up the gun

don’t make excuses apologies

bold brash trigger pullers

teaching us the lesson

that tolerance isn’t acceptance

that the law

can’t legislate thoughts

there are no thought police

only pundits

to say how terrible it is

after the fact

after the fact

it’s too late to be bold enough to say anything

even though before the fact

it was bold enough

to celebrate ourselves

our skins

our agency as humans

after the fact

it’s too late to say no

 

I say no when I mean no

I don’t explain

apologize

don’t condition it as a potential yes

I’ll repeat the no

but if it takes more than one repeat

to be heard

I say nothing

I walk

because if you can’t respect my no

then my yes is meaningless to you

It took two tries to get into Law 28. To me ‘bold’ at first meant a sort of brash pushiness that calls attention to itself – an act that is a departure from the norm – fashion forward with deliberate changes in shape or fabric that challenges. The first take was feeling out the expectation of being bold within the safety of no change. I liked this start but it wasn’t bold enough for me 🙂

One of the boldest things, for me, is to step away from people pleasing without the need to please at the same time. There is a power in saying NO. As I’ve heard in recovery ‘No is a complete sentence.’ The ability to say NO without also having to make an apology to go with it takes practice. Often I’m not sorry when I say No Thanks so why pretend that I am.

There are those who feel NO needs to be justified or that if you say it you are merely saying ‘convince me.’ ‘What do you mean No?’ Some of this reflects the notion of consent – just because I meet a guy fro coffee isn’t consent to coming back to my place, coming back to my place may be consent to sex but not to getting tied up – no amount of sweet talk is going to get me to say yes to what I said no to.

Of course we always don’t have agency – I never said yes to crowded subway cars but if I want to get there I have to fit into that car. I was also thinking about event she may be powerless over like the Orlando Pulse shootings. That shooter didn’t ask permission he acted boldly. Laws that try to protect can’t in the long run. Laws are often a way of enforcing a NO – to control behaviour but as the piece says they can’t control thoughts.

It returns to the more person level in the end with boundaries – No is a boundary – some people feel it is perfectly okay to ignore a boundary if they feel they know what is best for you or if they they can change your mind because it’ll suit their own ends as yours are clearly wrong – they feel somehow victimized when you don’t compromise. They can’t respect your decision to say No, if they don’t – move on. Now that is bold.

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Honesty

sample

Honesty

look I’m going to be honest here

I want people to think

I’m one of those men

drawn to the inner light of a person

someone who has that unique gift

to sense the tender spiritual values

the hesitant sweet flicker

of the ethereal in a soul

and once I have that flicker

my heart is the candle lit by your flame

we fall in righteous burning love

but let me tell you

that is not the case here

I dig you in those jeans

the hug of denim on your calves

that brush of hairy wrist

when your each across the table

is what gets me burning

I don’t give a fig for spiritual values

for all I care you could be

a callow insufferable arrogant prick

really

I just want to get naked with you

I want to run my tongue over you

feel you do the same to me

take you

without the weight of personality

don’t tell me your political views

your favourite sport team is irrelevant

the last book you read

screw that

forget all pretences

of being intellectual thinking creatures

and be the animals

we are ashamed to be

I don’t even have to see you again

I won’t give you a phone number

don’t want yours

I just want you

head to toe   mouth to mouth

wipe that shock off your face

it only comes from

all those years of inculcation

that to act like barn yard animals

is less than honourable

that to give in even once

to the rutting gut busting urge

is demeaning   isn’t right

who wants to be right

when it feel so right

come on

I’m ready to drop my pretences

as fast as you can drop your pants

look I’m being honest with you

I know how rare that may be

when we have to commodify desire

to mask lust as art or apologize for it

but I’m not into apologies

unless its to say I’ll be sorry

if we let this chance go by

dolls04 welcome to the doll house

Part of the inspiration or this piece was hearing one to many poets (of both sexes) talking about how sensitive they were to the true essence of their loved ones. All too often, to me, these sound like a plea by the poet to be seen as being so sensitive you would be a fool not to have sex with them. In fact they are begging for you touch their cosmic transporting neither regions, what Zappa calls the latex solar beef, to experience true delight. Please please please.

dolls03 ooh Santa

My pieces about sex are usually frank, direct & often funny, sometimes sensual. I’ve found that often the emotional content is human-sexual as opposed to homo-sexual.

Though some people get the impression I write about my actual sex life all the time – let me tell if you had as much sex as people assume I do, I would not have time or inclination to write about it. 🙂 Others assume I’m a sex addict because I write about guiltlessly enjoy sex. I think that comes from that ‘inculcation’ by cultural & religious pressures – the message that pleasure is bed, suffering is good.

dolls02 valley of the dolls

I enjoy the play of words through this piece as well – ‘the weight of personality’ ‘drop my pretences as fast as I drop my pants.’ As LMFAO says – I Am Not A Whore – if I was, you couldn’t afford me.

soon1

November 1-30 – participating – NaNoWriMo 2014 –nanowrimo http://nanowrimo.org

December 14 – special guest spot – Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir

noirxmas

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snowman

dirty old snow man

Surfin’ Ragtime Noise

John Arpin: Ragtime on Broadway; The Art of Noise: Best of Of; Atomic 7: … Gowns By Edith Head. Three separate cd’s that stand together on my jazz shelf as a shining example of the weird unrelated things I enjoy. None has enough emotional resonance for a separate post but I did commit to writing a little something about every cd on my shelves. Also you see that my definition of ‘jazz’ isn’t too narrow as it include things more on the instrumental side.

gloves

sinking in snow

The Arpin was a Christmas gift in 2001. As the title says Arpin does fun ragtime versions of music from Gershwin to Berlin to Hamlish. Songs from A Chorus Line to Mame to Little Johnny Jones & of course from Ragtime. I enjoy it when I hear it but I’m not drawn back to it.

The Art Of Noise – one of Trevor Horn’s early projects – has a place in my history – I remember that little girl with a chainsaw in Close To The Edit – the sputter Max Headroom in Paranoimia – from the early days of Much Music. I picked this up back in ’96, at the 2nd hand record shop that used to be a five minute walk from my house.

snowbottles

ice wine

I also remember dancing to Kiss at a gay club & thinking that’s Tom Jones! He was one of my mother’s favorites (another Welsh man) and the irony was sweet, then sweaty. I was never a big fan then but nostalgia is hard to resist. Trevor Horn had great success as a producer with ABC, Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

dolls01 more to follow

Now for some CanCon – Atomic 7 are a surf instrumental band, a touch of rock-a-billy runs though their fun frisky work. I read a review in Broken Pencil &  ordered this via mail from Mint Records in Vancouver back in 2003. Retro in sound & fulfills my need for a Canadian version of the Ventures. Great song titles too: Seven Stranded Castanets anyone?

soon02

November 1-30 – participating – NaNoWriMo 2014 – nano02http://nanowrimo.org

December 14 – special guest spot – Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noirnoirxmas

https://www.facebook.com/events/743240899058830/?notif_t=plan_edited

sample

Getting Ahead

A chill went up Mac’s spine as the door clicked behind him. At that instant he didn’t feel prepared to take this chance, yet he knew there was no escape, no time to turn back and all he could do was move forward.

‘Sit down.’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘How long have you been with the firm, Mr. Geddis?’

‘Almost three years now, sir. I started as a Junior Sales Associate at the outlet in Frantown Mall.’

‘Yes I see that here. You liked that did you?’

‘Yes, sir. But I knew that one has to work hard and not stay where they feel comfortable.’

The more he spoke the less nervous Mac felt.

‘Yes, I can from your employment profile you have been eager and persistent.’

‘Thank you sir. Be prepared and inventive is my motto.’

‘When your manager at the Mall met an untimely end you certainly didn’t hesitate.’

‘Someone had to step in to the breach sir. It was a chance I was ready to take.’

‘Sales went up by 50%.’

‘The staff was most cooperative.’

‘Modesty too. Don’t see much of that these days.’

‘Thank you.’

‘Didn’t keep you from becoming district coordinator though did it.’

‘What can I say sir? A good man never denies his worth. I saw the job posted in the employee newsletter and just sent in my application. That is how things are done, aren’t they.’

‘Quite right. Too bad Miss Griffs, the other applicant, passed away quite unexpectedly.’

‘Road conditions are very hazardous that time of year. We were all shocked.’

‘She was driving through your neck of the county, wasn’t she?’

‘Was she? I didn’t know.’

‘Yes. She was scouting locations in Pumpkin Corners.’

‘Such a pretty place. I think an outlet there would be a fine idea.’

‘We’ll it wasn’t and …’

‘Sorry Sir. I forgot about that debacle. Now if I had been allowed to participate things might have turned out differently there.’

‘Differently? You think you could have avoided the largest sink hole in the state?’

‘No but there are other — what I mean is — if you don’t mind me saying so sir — certain spiritual values were ignored and consequences had to paid.’

doll01 escaped doll

The Groin’s Endless Coil

I’m currently reading a biography of Charles Jackson author of Lost Weekend. He’s one of those forgotten mid-century writers. He’s also a writer caught in the crush of closetedness, booze and creativity. A cultural cage he never really broke out of.

There is this romantic connection between self-destruction, creativity and authentic voice. The notion that a great novel/poem/painting by an ex-junkie is more compelling than a great novel by someone whose never been a junkie/addict etc is almost endemic in our culture.

Having survived my own history of drunken self-abuse, plus the delight of growing up an ‘abomination unto the face of the Lord,’ I suppose I have my own bit of suffering to qualify me as deserving to be a credible artist. But I’ve never been one to make much of those ‘wrinkles.’ If I have to produce a history of suffering to get artistic repect I’ll pass on the respect.

shallow long grave

When some have found out I have over 35 years clean & sober it comes as a surprise. It’s not something I present in my writing & often seems irrelevant to my relationships with people outside the recovery community. But it is always the one of the factors in my writing. Same with being queer – whether the piece I’m writing even mentions sexuality it is there in the mix.

One of the things I faced, as do many highly creative types, when first getting clean & sober is where does creativity now come from. My sense of self, purpose had become so immeshed in being a drunk that it wasn’t clear who I was.

dark oak heart

So over the years I continued to write some but also explored painting, stand-up, dance plus a long stretch in theatre until I finally came back to the core ground of writing. I stepped back into the ‘scene’ at the Renaissance Cafe in January 2000 (or maybe it was 2001) and have kept coming back.

samples

a piece I wrote early in recovery:

in the groin’s endless coil

a man is tangled

Dylan Thomas

O Dylan

I remember those

Guided by rockets in pockets days

When my Thomas caterpillar heart

Slowly crawled along

The bottle edge

I knew yours crawled along

I felt the same call

The evaporating sigh

And almost fell

Liquid slippery splendid

Siren pulled   tugged

Till I had been

Pulled   tugged apart

Dream by illusion

I walked   teased

Along the amber edge

The tightrope territory

Between head and heart

Feeling

Feeding

Off its red perfection

I flowed

When I could mirror long enough

I burned

I raced its bullet blue images

Rippling the insistent rage

Of whiskey-tangled youth

The without falling

Within awareness

I was untangled

In a bramble of healing hands   coffee grounds

Breathing but not

Angry

I needed a new tangle

When that slippery rage

Consumed itself

Its siren seemed to fuse me

With an angry flowering flame

Without which

I became a blank saint

Blank until I felt

A thorn in the tender loin

The groin’s endless coil

Shoving my heart and head

Kicking  screaming around

The bends of wanting   getting,

Of beating my clear head

Against the walls

Of my own unfocused expectations

I piously tried

To disregard thorny dreams

In favor of spiritual fantasy

They returned to haunt

To root

Warm   just out of reach

Like ghosts of a blossom

Ghosts I accepted as ghosts

That persist in taunting me

With their trite tired

Old romantic fear

That slam-dance  pity-party

Tired  tried   true lament

I know too damn well

Nobody can love me enough

Nobody can love you enough

A bramble barely concealing

that

I want more than enough

I want more than it all

I will always want more

Than there is to have

O Dylan

When I was unlearned

In my childwise

Little nearsighted world

Where books were real

And dreams were innocent

I believed something too pure

For even love to make possible

I still believe today

Not for the comfort it brings

But for the light it spills

Golden  glowing with faith

Between my head and the wall

I have a truth

The coil is human

I have a love

The tangle is healing

I have a bramble

The endless is being

dollhouse

 

Lord of the Dolls

snow lion
snow lion

Light edit of City Of Valleys completed. Didn’t take as long as expected mainly because I resisted diving right back into it to do major rewrites. I wrote this in the 2001/02 – so it doesn’t have all the electronics we have now – cell phones get used some but not much else.

I wrote it in two chunks, as I have with my other two novels. There’s a gap of about a year between writing the two halves. It gave time for what was started to really brew and take shape. The first draft of Valleys ran over 250,000 words – I had lots to say about these guys.

the ice shelf
the ice shelf

This slightly revised 4th draft came about as a result of submitting it to an agent – she found the sex too explicit & too frequent – never mind the fact that sex doesn’t happen till about page 50. In that rewrite I made the sex less explicit – but not less frequent. I knew when I first wrote it that the sex was closer to porn than erotica anyway. I know my market. She wasn’t my market nor did she know my market. Such is life.

n/ice rack
n/ice rack

Doing this light edit I saw places for some cuts but am leaving it as it. If I think there’s enough interest to push it to another level I’ll tighten it up. But for now this is it. I want to get back to Lazarus Kiss & do major work on that so I’ll then be free to finish off my coal miners in love project and once that is out of the way I might tackle the Quarwolf Pack.

Lord of the Dolls
Lord of the Dolls