Upstairs with Satan and Archie

Moving to the upstairs in my house we come to these on the walls of the upper hall. First this wonderful paint-by-number that I bought, framed, at a Goodwill on Queen E decades ago. Luckily it was light enough to carry home. I knew this painting from my childhood, though not this specific one, as part of a set that my mother had painted. She did several of such sets & finding it brought back sweet memories.

On the opposite wall is this portrait of me as rendered by Dan Parent who was, at that time, one of the illustrators & writers for Archie comics. I had it done at Fan Expo. I went that year specifically to commission it. He took my photo, I roamed the ‘market’ buying dvd’s, tee shirts, searching for old school horror [Karloff vs Kruger] & come back an hour later & it was ready.

The same holds true for the other portrait that I had done the following year. for an extra five dollars I had  more torso 🙂 As you can tell I haven’t aged since these were done but neither of these are my Dorian Gray – that is in a secret spot away from prying thighs.

The ‘demonic force’ was a Christmas gift from a friend at the end of the 1990’s. He enlarged a panel from a Chick Publication & hand-tinted it for me. ( I still see this little tracts around, sometimes left on a bus, or rumple dup on the street. Cute propaganda.

Not propaganda is this self-portrait a friend did & gave me as a birthday gift. He was experimenting with colour for that Warhol effect. The last was a gift from David Bateman he gave me during the run of the poetry cabaret The Beautiful & Damned. It is a fun amalgam of Keith Harding & Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime images. It goes up in value every year 🙂

Modern Safety

Kevlar sweats

modern day chainmail

designer duds armour plated

for style lightness and protection

don’t want to look bad 

when someone shoots at me

or tries to stab me in the mall

because I looked at them the wrong way

because I was the wrong color

wearing the wrong colors

in the wrong neighbourhood


how to be safe enough

and still look good

don’t want private guards

they’re not the accessories 

I had in mind to complete this outfit

to be safe enough 

to go to Starbucks for a latte


the fast walk and the scowl

now becomes a challenge

they’ll take me down a notch or two

kick the crap out me to liberate 

my limited edition nike’s and iPhone

which they don’t realize

now features global positioning hardware 


I hesitate to answer

because I only listen 

through an ear piece

that picks up everything you say

funnels it though lie detection software

that tells me I can trust what you say

I stick to the simplest of responses

double double

no don’t super size that


unless those fries 

are a bullet resistant shield

I can hold in front of me

as I struggle to get home

without a scratch

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Dining Room

A souvenir of the writers’ workshop/retreat at Loyalist College in Belleville. There was also a painters workshop at the same time. One morning we visited the painter, saw their work, then read some our aloud to them. I swapped one of my Renaissance anthologies for this painting. Int he area many houses have a large bed of orange flowers – at one time to signify it was the home of Orangemen. Yes gardens were once tools of political & religious importance.

One of my role models 🙂 Tweety could get away with tormenting Sylvester with the dog ready to rescue him. The brass cymbals were a gift many years ago. I ring them on the full moon. In the window  you might notice a stained glass Cape Breton Island sun catcher.

The patron saint of writers – St Michael – the only saint with a sword. I bought this Broughton’s – a religious items store not he Danforth, just east of Woodbine. They have since gone out of business. I bout this ceramic figurine at their going out of business sale. It hovers on the plate rail over me by the computer. The bearded guy under his foot is part sea serpent. The Welsh plate beside it is a nod to my Celtic roots. It might have been gift or I may have found it at a 2nd hand store.

Photos of photos 🙂 The first by my niece before she she became branded as Betty Rocksteady. I love the triple exposure effect & its surreal Man Ray vibe. Check her out on Amazon.


The other is by my friend Kyle Andrews – driftwood in sunset on the coast of Nova Scotia around Canso Causeway. 




My lunchbox collection. These are from various years of FanExpo & were included as part of the deluxe package. Supposedly limited editions – but what does that mean? Were unsold ones destroyed?  repurposed? repainted as Terminator XIX lunch boxes? The photo, one of my favourites, is of no one I know. I found it on one of my walks, leaning on a garbage bin. I couldn’t resist it.


something happens when 

my skin 

is in the same room 

as yours


I don’t have to know you are there

I can feel something 

though my clothes 

through every layer 

coat sweater jeans undies

a emanation comes from you

your eyes   your smile

that changes my chemical structure 

it grows glows down to my toes


in fact

you don’t even have to be there

someone can mention your name

& I feel like a leaf turning 

to your sun

your picture 

your voice on the telephone


my hypersensitive flesh reacts

the closer you are

the less subtle the reaction

the more alone we are together

the less subtle the manifestation 

radians through the air around us

as we snuggle to watch TV 

step into a shower

approach the bed

emanation that knit

pull us closer closer

enmeshed in each other

breathe the same air

walk in the same sunshine

wash with the same soap


complete without each other

yet always eager for the knit

creating opportunities 

to mention the name

laugh about something or the other 

we could have done

caught up in the shower

lost between the bed and the TV


there are times 

when opportunity

allows awareness of another

I feel it first in my skin

I look around the room  the street 

to see where its coming from

can it be returned

eyes become heat seeking sensors

I’m a turning leaf

looking for some sun

more light 

more opportunity to share that flow

with someone else

even if it is merely to acknowledge 

not act

don’t have to act every time  


the grace of light fills us 

each to overflowing


no need to fear 

there won’t be enough

all I have to do is breathe deep 

open myself to the gift

of your sun


(canceled by covid19 😦 )June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C. 


(Maybe) All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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sweet, eh?

Dead of Summer


Dead of Summer


Donnie Aucoin was twelve

he died swimming

his dad explained Donnie was where

he could swim as much as he wanted

Ellie Buckland

went to the hospital

she was anemic or something

she faded away

the teacher told us

Ellie was now in Strawberry Fields

she was eleven

Frankie Cameron, also eleven

visiting his grandmother in Toronto

was hit by a car

I don’t know where he went

Toronto seemed far enough away

that’s when I first wanted to die

so my parents would say

what a great fun kid I was

that everyone liked me

that I would be missed

no more school

no more homework

my dad wouldn’t get angry at me

for forgetting to take out the garbage

no one could pick on me

in bed on summer nights

smelling lilacs across the street

I’d pretend how wonderful it would be

in that cozy coffin

everyone would come up to my silver coffin

see my head on the gold satin pillow

look at my sweet little face

be sorry for not asking me to Jamie’s party

for making me stay after class

for knocking the hamster cage over

which I didn’t

but I’m not going to rat out who did

and he would feel so sorry

he wasn’t a better friend

when I took the blame

he’d tell Mrs. Butterworth

he had been the one

she would come over to my little coffin

put her warm hand on my cool cheek

tell me how sorry she was

then give me one of the peppermints

she kept in her desk

before I knew it I would be asleep

disappointed when I awoke


to remember

I forgot to take out the garbage


tree tree fall

This was written for a Coffehouse Cabaret (remember them) at the Renaissance Cafe. They did regular musical theme nights: Delta Blues, Bob Dylan & others. Musicians were encouraged to do cover versions. I wrote some about or inspired by the theme style or band.

So I have pieces about the Doors, Dylan, Neil Young and more as a result. I’d usually read something by the band – for the Beatles I read In My Life – one of my favourite Beatle lyrics.

pumpkins it’s that time of year again

If you missed it ‘strawberry fields’ is the Beatles reference. Strawberry Fields, which for some I reason I thought was a cemetery, turns out to be a children’s home near where Lennon grew up, either made it logical for this nostalgic look back at kids in my life.

The names are real enough but composites of names I remember – some of the deaths are real but often I had no names to put with them – like the boy who got killed by a car. I did have a teacher named Butterworth though. Not sure if she kept anything in her desk.

bike crushed 0 speed bike

I did attended a summer funeral too – but for the mother of a boy I knew. The death fantasy may have sprung from her open coffin but it was one I entertained from time to time. Right down how much people would be sorry they’d been so mean to me. I did often forget to take out the garbage too – yet another of my constant disappointments for my Dad.


October 10-12 – attending – Gratitude Roundup


October 19 – feature – Cabaret Noir – Pinebow


November 1-30 – participating – NaNoWriMo 2014 –



stats copyBrazil #3 !! Olá – deixa-me cair uma linha

Moose Riding Academy

sample rough draft sample

Giddy Up

a mainland business consortium

wanted our village

to invest in a moose riding academy

where young ladies of a certain pedigree

would learn to ride the hounds on moose

these men had elaborate blue prints

detailed architectural models

all they needed were investors

it would take a lot of our money

to make money

so we wouldn’t be so dependent

on the fission plant or the strip bars

to put food on the table

when the villagers were reluctant

to part with their hard-earned cash

these men became derisive

of our close-minded small-town mentality

of our inability to see this great opportunity

the mayor offered to invest if they could

show us how to ride a moose

my Dad

took them to the moose breeding ground

we followed to witness this spectacle

much to everyone’s surprise these city men

were able to get a saddle on a smaller one

when one of them climbed on it

the moose wouldn’t move

it barely looked up at him

as the man dug his heels into its sides

saying “giddy up – get a move on”

the moose’s dung-slick tail

smacked the back of the man’s head

when Brandi Toffee

their buxom spokesmodel

arrived to sit on the one saddled moose

it went berserk

sexually aroused by the female legs

clamped to its back

the sight of the moose’s erection

caused the city men to fall into a swoon

which gave us no end of mirth

the spokesmodel lost her hair extensions

as they got snagged on maple branches

while she fled though the Whistling Woods

the aroused moose bellowed pitifully

when it trapped her in her SUV

the moose riding academy never opened

and we villagers kept

our hard-earned money for another day

knit knitted something

I always find it hard to perform this piece without breaking myself up – it gives me no end of mirth. Needless to say there is no truth to the moose riding academy – I don’t even think there’s any kind of riding academy in Cape Breton. At one time there was a harness race track in Sydney. My Dad even invested in a horse, I think.

The element of truth though is the hapless way money was invested to keep the local economy afloat. There were endless industrial projects started, stalled, proposed, failed or mismanaged into oblivion. Those were disparate times (not that things have changed that much, mind you.)

snowman (s)no(w) more

The need to re-animate the Island economy once the coal mines and the steel plant were shut down for good almost became an industry of its own. Not everyone wants to open a b’n’b for the tourist trade. Local handicrafts can only produce and sell a limited amount of jam, candles and pottery. Even if it is world class.

bow snow bow not pinebow

Even the emu farming didn’t take hold. Apparently the vibrations from wind turbines have proved to be deadly to the birds (this is a true story even I couldn’t create something that fantastic, or could I?)



pink pink bow not pinebow

Another Day @FanExpoCanada 2013

Day two of Expo was fine until the invasion of the baby strollers. It can be hard enough to avoid cosplay swords, capes and gown hems without having to dodge baby carriages at the same time 🙂 after a stop at Starbucks for a coffee & an oat fudge bar, I arrived by 11. No lineups and great crowd flow. By noon it was getting packed. After a while I couldn’t tell where cosplay ended and street wear began.

live action figures
live action figures

Bought some tee-shirts, added another Archie exclusive to my gallery. Had an ice cream. Took some pics. I like splitting the exhibition areas into two spots – north and south – it did create more space in each. Moving from one to the other was smooth as well. The SportExpo was in the north area as well the autographs. This kept fan line ups from taking over as they did in past years. The walkway to the north also allowed for a fun photo op.

not a plushie
not a plushie

Things to keep in mind – never stop at the top or bottom of an escalator to orient yourself & then get pissed because people bump into you. Sitting alone at a table for 8 doesn’t give you possession of the other seven chairs – don’t get miffed if someone else wants to sit there. Don’t get miffed if you can’t get a clear cosplay photo because the swarms of cell phoners taking pictures too.


Much like 2012 I enjoyed my two days at Expo, was glad to get home & take off my shoes. But 2 days is more than enough for me. But I could be talked into another day if anyone’s interested in braving the Sunday crowds.

my coming attractions




writing sample
writing sample

Life Everlasting

death wants to get laid – simple as that

each time someone is willing to comply

they die

so death never gets laid

leaving death unfulfilled

frustration rules each encounter

disappointed by thousands at a time

pleasure is no longer expected

death has a big load to shoot

a geyser a volcano

to make the atomic bomb a firecracker

death’s orgasm will black the sun

cast a shadow over the world

but once he comes he will be gone

that’s right once death gets

that longed craved for satisfaction

he’ll leave us alone

gone – b’bye

there will be no more death

just life everlasting

I am caught on the balance

of doing it for the human race

while knowing it can’t be done

that as willing as I am to

to stroke the engorged member of death

I know that it’ll be my demise

I have no choice

eventually death will give opportunity

for me to do the bump and grind

that gets us both sweating to the point of surrender

but before death can get release

I’ll die

though I could be the one

that makes death come

the odds aren’t in my favor

the invitation into death’s bed

often comes when we least expect it

riding in a car

walking down the stairs

asleep at night

working at keeping our bodies healthy

eating enough anti-free-radicals

that one should be getting younger

not older

all this done

to make us ripe and ready

for that wild date

at least we know

death will bring flowers

expo01 2013 milling around

Day One @FanExpoCanada

The first ‘real’ day of Fan Expo was exhausting but fun. I say ‘real’ because I did go down the the Convention Centre Tuesday to pick up my pass and get a sense of the disruptions at Union Station. All I can say is that I’m so glad I don’t work downtown or have to spend much time passing through Union Station – such a calming sight for tourists – ‘y’all come back – now get out of the way, eh.’

super size that please
super size that please

Thursday morning I did my Expo check list: cellphone charged, camera charged, kindle charged, iPod charged, back up charger charged, guilty as charged- before heading out for the real deal. Left around 11 hit the Bagel Shop at Union – love their herb garlic cream cheese; and then Tim Ho’s. Arrived at the south entrance by 11:45, joined in already extensive line up. This year I had a small portable folding stool for the long wait & was glad I did. Reading War of Art made passing the time feel productive.

Inched forward till we were finally admitted at 2 – the rest was smooth sailing – direct to the collectable bag & teeshirt pick up. Ooh! Lucky Charms in every bag (wtf) – I suppose to appeal to cereal killers. Took some photos but with so many bags to cart about I didn’t take as many pics as I’d hoped – Day 2.

orange you glad to be here?
orange you glad to be here?

Stuck to the south shopping area for the first day – enough there to drain my wallet a little. Picked up American Vampire 5 – no sign of 4 though. Some Burning Effigy books. some Tartan Asia Extreme DVD’s – one of the main reason I go to Expo is for them. A bunch of free bags – they’ll make annoying christmas gifts.

three thousand bags full
three thousand bags full

By 4 it was time to head home – two hours, well 5 if you include transit & line ups – was more than enough for me. Friday I’ll see what panels I may want to check out, plus more pics, and maybe I’ll break down and buy an action figure :-).

my coming attractions
my coming attractions

August 22-25 – attending – FanExpo 2013


September 3 – Tuesday – attending – School Night!


September 8 – Sunday – attending – Cabaret Noir

September 18 – Wednesday – attending – Guys and Dolls

September 20 – Friday – attending – Racket at the Rocket

September 25 – Wednesday – attending – Measure For Measure


September 26 – Thursday – hosting – The Beautiful and The Damned


October 11-13 – attending Gratitude Roundup


June 6-8, 2014 – attending – Bloody Words

writing sample
writing sample

On The Road To Hell

the ghost of a chance

threw the ball into my court

not that I was in the playing

I’d cashed in my chips long ago

moved onto greener pastures

didn’t want be on that losing streak

got out of the rough patch

and got on with the job of life

it was high time to leave my dream world

face the cold hard music of the facts

that would creep up on me

I’d be caught napping again

dreaming of a better tomorrow

that  was within my grasp

if only I could pull myself together

if only I could get with the program

then I’d have half a chance

instead of a tinker’s damn

at the chance of a life time

that I was too busy being busy to see

too blinded by the light to recognize

I was being pig headed

I was out in the cold in the waste land

the door slammed in my face

the pole greased for my rapid decent

late for my own funeral

lost in my own dream

going down in flames

face first into the burning bush

into the same old same old jam

oblivious to the obvious

unwilling to accept the facts

taking things on face value

a pickle of a situation

that there was no escape from

no map to the treasure

x marks the spot where

I trip stumbled and landed belly up

flat on my back under the endless sky

with no where else to go but up

yet still sliding down that slippery slope

hell in a hand basket

merely paving the way

with my good intentions

cursing my luck

spitting in the face of good fortune

because I didn’t know any better

never would never will never say never

not willing to get back in the game

I’m no team player

oh no not me not this time

I’ll take a pass

I’ll stick to the sunny side over easy

safe from the storm

fate don’t tempt me now

I’ve gone for that bait once too often

even when I heed the warming

given myself a good talking to

taken every precaution

rinsed twice and spit

I’m still caught off guard

for what was waiting around the corner

when I least expected

where angles fear to tread

where I don’t read between the lines

and right between the eyes

from out of the blue

came that that feather

you could have knocked me over with

I didn’t dodge the bullet this time

I was hit square in the face

by the ghost of a chance

dropping the ball on me

truck of dreams
truck of dreams

The Gate of the Kiss

it was a windy day
it was a windy day

Here’s a new piece – the image ‘the gate of the kiss’ – came from a Robin Blaser poem. I let it lead on a word chase as variations of it played in my mind. The lilacs compliments of  Walt Whitman. As I wrote I saw the tongue as the actual gate that opens to us and for us – opens us to mystery when it is the right kiss, or slams shut on us when it is forced open. Sex is often seen as the gate way to Hell, the same-sex kiss opens that gate even wider according to some – here I see the kiss as opening to a river of opportunity, liberation.

the same windy day
the same windy day

The Gate of the Kiss

I have waited for this gate to open

to open again

to let me in or out

to let me

I have waited for the kiss

to open me

to let me in or out

the mastery mystery

the kissed gate   the gated kiss

the waited down moment

down the gate   to the river

the river of the kiss

the sanctified moments

the wonderment befuddlement

the accusation of the kiss

the slap of the gate

on your ass as you leave me


the lilacs along the fence

the drift of mist around them

wet in heavy rain  heads drooping

dripping petals

at the gate of this kiss

this river of missed opportunities

of lost causes we sail upon

the monument of the bed

we surrender to the amnesia of orgasm

what were you thinking

what were you hearing

did you trip on this as the kiss of opportunity

at the gate way to hell

or the blessing of river

giver or taker

second to none

I have waited for the kiss

to open me

to let me in or out

I wait no longer

back yard branch office
back yard branch office

Summer Eyes

Soon, I hope, summer will be here. After that cruel tease last week that had  me out in shorts & t-shirt I wasn’t happy to be being forced back into gloves & long-johns.

font blanc
font blanc

Other than a couple of day trips to Stratford for some culture, I don’t have much planned. No travel expect for the Loyalist Writer’s workshop – that falls at the end of June – so maybe it doesn’t count as summer yet anyway. In past years it has been the third week of July so I’ll have nothing to break up the swelter of July and August.

throne on the hill
throne on the hill

I have yet to decide what to take to the workshop for workshopping. A short story, another chunk of Lazarus Kiss, or some of the Priest’s Niece? I have prepared my ‘flyer.’ Each year I have some little give-away flyer to foist on my classmates to make sure they remember more than my tee-shirts. This year it’ll be Critic, along with a couple of my old paintings to add some color to it.

cold plate
cold plate

At the end of August I’ll be taking in FanExpo 2013. This year I might go so far as to get an autograph or at least have my pic taken with a star (if I can corner one in the men’s room that is). I got my deluxe package back in December – not that I’ve ever made much of the extras it offers.

Simple summer. Unless, of course, lotto max pays off and I can do a shirt shopping spree in Frisco 🙂

under the Golden Gate
under the Golden Gate