this is my eating food face

if you don’t like it

look the other way

yes I’ve always eaten like this

put food in my mouth

chew it


I have no control

if my lips look funny

I am not trying to

imitate a camel or a jellyfish

as you so sweetly put it



this is how I eat in private too

not that I eat in front of  mirror

not that I watch myself 

no I don’t want to see

your cell phone video

of me eating like an angry monkey


I’m not going to eat

another thing

until you put that phone down

if you don’t put that phone down

this’ll be our last meal

Candid Camera (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candid_Camera) was a precursor to Funniest Video & TikTok – people on camera doing usually comic things, sometimes aware of the camera & often not. Now thanks to cellphones anyone & everyone can be a filmmaker, can be a photo journalist, can hide a camera so that it makes private acts public.

I’ve seen new reports about assaults that resulted from someone recording on their cell an event, seen footage of police warning people to stop recording as they arrested someone. Privacy has become a tightrope. When I take photos I avoid having people I don’t know in them, even then I have obscured the faces of people before I blog them. In fact a couple of my favorite workshop photos are of the hands of people around the lunch table. When I take photos that have cars or houses in them I obscure licence plates & house numbers. 

The piece is also about boundaries & how often those who feel what they are doing is harmless & lighthearted or truthful, should be allowed to cross any boundary: Don’t be a spoil sport – I was only kidding – You take yourself too seriously. It’s only tickling. It’s all fun. But you are fat. If you don’t like xxxx it’s your fault not mine for refusing to respect your boundary. Get over yourself.

It becomes victim blaming as opposed to taking responsibility for one’s actions. ‘You’ll ruin his life if you press sexual assault charges.’ ‘You shouldn’t have been walking home alone in dark.’ ‘Just because they couldn’t take a joke doesn’t make it hate speech.’ Language spins are endless. 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

A Place At The Table

A Place At The Table

it wasn’t as if

I had that much to say

or that I was

all that hungry 

but it was a free lunch


I had to thank someone

but didn’t want to stop eating

long enough to say anything

if I didn’t say something

I would be asked to leave

before I’d had my fair share


all around me 

people were eating

a sandwich in one hand 

a pork chop in the other

no one was listening

all intent on getting our fill

elbowing one another

out of the way

to get the next scrumptious plate


there was no time to talk

no time to say ‘excuse me’

no one passed anything to one another

we each reached out for more

not wanting to stop

long enough

to say thank you

our appetite was

our expression of deep gratitude

for this abundance


once the food was gone

the dishes were licked clean

I started in on the table legs

someone else nibbled

on the table cloth

we kept eating what was in front of us

because once that was gone

we would turn on one another

saying thanks

between mouthfuls 

of each other 

I wrote this after rewatching either Fellini’s Satyricon or La grande bouffe with a friend who had never seen either. If you haven’t seen either – see them before reading any further lol. Each is about appetite   & there are extensive eating sequences that go on & on. The banquet food orgy in Satyricon is stunning & numbing.

Most animals eat when they are hungry & then enough to stay alive, many won’t eat what isn’t good them – humans will eat without hunger. We will eat things that aren’t necessary but are tasty – i.e. there is no actual nutritional need for chocolate. Yet, very few of us will say no it & those that do for dietary (diabetes) reason feel they are experience a painful sacrifice. I had a friend who was told for health-reasons, to cutback on cheese & she was like ‘what! how can I do that?’

It’s also a variation on the recurring theme – there is no such thing as enough. In our consumer culture we are encouraged to always want more whether we need it or not. Being satisfied is seen as being an under-achiever, as someone falling short of their full potential, as someone who isn’t adding anything to the gross national product – those that aren’t upwardly mobile as drag on society & end up, in many cases, as the dregs – homeless, lazy slugs trying to deprive that haves of their guiltless bliss. 

Keep in mind that these pieces are in response to the Rules for Buddhist monks. The rules were intended to keep the monks’ lives simpler by removing the need to worry about things like what to wear, how many processions to own, so they wouldn’t be distracted from their disciple by things like what to wear, changing fashions, food fads etc. They strove to be undefined by commercial culture.

Just think empty our lives would be without knowing what was worn on the red carpet at the latest awards ceremony. How do we find a sense of self without striving for the next almond milk, gluten free, fair-trade, low foam, tofu latte?

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

My Editing Riot

So I’m editing this old short story, from the mid 80’s, so I can air it here on the blog & I get distracted by this show of force in the US capital. Do I want to see what they do or do I want to correctly punctuate a sentence? As they climb over barricades & breaking windows I’m breaking down paragraphs. Are they protestors or terrorists. A rampage of white entitlement that eventually fizzles out. No one even shit on the podium. Death by stress & no change in the results, the forgone conclusions.

In my story there is a change in names, a clarification of motivations but the same result. The story results as comedic as the clumsy crowd of echos lurching up & down the Capital building stairs, bumping into each other as they attempt to get the perfect backgrounds for selfies of their righteous bravery. Everyone seems disappointed at the lack of blood on the floor, that there isn’t any burning buildings for truly dramatic context to tweet.

Already that narrative is being rewritten so that every side is at fault as they insist they are upholding the fine principles of democracy, capitalism & freedom of selfie speech. My characters don’t have that much freedom, even as I change their size & shape they tell me what they should do in the situation I created for them. I allow them to be frail, vacillating & only threats to themselves. As much as they are under my control I end up surrendering them to spellcheck & word count – or should I say word re-count. Even when the story is finished it is not certifiable 🙂 but part 1 was posted here with my music blog on Thursday. https://topoet.ca/2021/01/06/jonesing-for-joplin/


in movies about a future

with few survivors 

that stumble across an abandoned store

with canned food on the shelves

not much

watching we think

how desperate they feel

how sad

so when i go into a supermarket


i think

even if what want isn’t there

there is still lots there

there is enough


at one time

thank you

wasn’t enough

there had to be praise


thank you

didn’t go far enough

i had to be grateful

that i was even allowed

to say thank you


i didn’t look

when the food was served

i kept my eyes unfocused

as i ate

i didn’t ask what was on the plate

i didn’t look to cut

i trusted

each morsel was what

i was supposed to have

i didn’t question

i ate 

taste was surpressed

pleasure was not the point

the point was to eat

whatever was served

not to judge

or comment

to eat silently


get the fuck out

so the next person could

be satisfied 

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee
sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet


I miss the smell of the restaurant – of food cooking, of someone serving the meal & taking away my dirty dishes, of being able to ask for suggestions. Taking your chicken souvlaki out of a paper bag and finding out it is pork isn’t the same as seeing it on the plate & sending it back right away. I miss plating – the art of someone else arranging food on your plate.

I missing being able to give your order at a coffee shop without having to shout through your mask & over-enunciate words like ‘sweet & low’ & having to repeat yourself as they still don’t hear clearly over the music. I miss paying for things with cash. What do people without plastic do?

I miss wearing shirts to public events, because there are no public events to wear them to. I have a wardrobe based on public appearances, even if the appearance is meeting someone for lunch or doing a feature in front an eager audience of poetry fans. The face mask has replaced the shirt, the t-shirt for now.

Shopping has changed here in Ontario. Not that I spent a lot of time in stores but I miss the sense of destination, of discovery as I browsed the aisles looking. When I do shop I am focused on what I want but there are times when going through the tables of remaindered books at Book City, or even Indigo, results is amazing discoveries. 

Not that I mind online shopping for most things & I sure do love packages showing up at my door but I miss the hunt. No more impulse shopping. No more checking every aisle in the grocery store for specials, now it’s all about following the right arrows to maintain social distance. 

I missing not knowing what day of the week it is because I’m no longer doing what I used to do every Wednesday that took me out of the house. My cell phone now tells me what day of the week it is. I think this is Monday.

Old Feet New Shoes

it’s never a fresh start

there is no clean page

no expanse of innocent white

to start in on

there is always a past 

something to remember to avoid 

lessons learned

something to escape from

to forget

to write over scribble out 


new shoes always go on old feet

we stand on what we are familiar with 

bring the same skill set 

to each fresh opportunity

to do the same thing in a different place

yet how different is the place 

a chair is always a chair

lights are always lights


different shades fabrics 

but new jeans are still jeans

same hair changed style

anxious for the new

as if the old 

was worthless inferior


why should things last at all

the longer cars last 

the fewer cars get sold

the fewer cars get sold

the economy grinds to a halt

people are out of work

it’s all your fault

you fucking pedestrians

we’ll make narrower sidewalks 

to discourage all that walking


nothing new in this same old rant 

about the same pointless crap

words won’t fuel the economy

who reads 

who listens 

who cares

nobody wants a fresh start

just new shoes

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee
sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Coffee Shopping Around 2014

Time for my round-up of local coffee spots starting a little north of the Danforth with the Last Drop Cafe – 549 Sammon Ave. I hit this spot four or five times a year – it’s usually not on my walking route. Good coffee though, great caramel butter tart and always friendly service. Accessible but washrooms are in the basement – duck your head on the way down.

South, I sometimes get to Bandit – 1925 Gerrard St. E. Recently changed management, I think. Usually hit this spot on Sunday’s. Fine coffee, good cookies – really enjoy the Oreo cookie cookie. Accessible, washrooms large and on the same floor.

table the patio is open

Recently opened Brickyard Grounds – 1289 Gerrard St. E. is a welcome addition to that corner. Bright, for a change, nice to have a spot that doesn’t feel like a cave. Good coffee, good service. On site bakery for some things, but sometimes no muffins or cookies by 10:30 a.m. If you want, you can have a whole roast chicken with your latte. The Super mint tea is excellent. Frequent flyer card as well. Accessible, washrooms on the same floor but not sure how easy it would be to get wheelchairs to the back area.

I get to Cake Town – 2039 Danforth Ave. nearly every other week to meet up with a recovery buddy. Good service, good coffee, great breakfast bagel, nice butter tart as well. Frequently flyer card. Accessible, washrooms on same floor but pretty narrow for wheelchairs to get back there. Can be a bit noisy if  children are there.

headless headless

Celena’s Bakery – 2036 Danforth Ave. – across the street from Cake Town. As you might guess, has in house bakery, great muffins, great breads as well & a good date square. Good coffee. Rarely eat in there though, so have never checked the washroom, which I think are in the basement.

Crema – 508 Danforth Ave. – has some of the hottest bearded baristas serving their excellent coffees. This is always a take out spot for me & have never needed to use the washrooms. Accessible but narrow & probably not a great space for wheelchairs. Good muffins & cookies but nothing great. Frequent flyer card though & even a gift card that offers a small discount with every purchase. I keep mine topped up.

frame picture this

The Only Cafe – 972 Danforth Ave. – I hit this spot a few times a year & always enjoy it. Nicely funky decor, hippies never fade away they just open coffee shops. No brewed coffee though – all Americanas, lattes etc. The breakfast bagel is great here. Too cluttered to be easily accessable & I’ve never used the washrooms. Accessible but another cafe so cluttered inside it’s hard to get a round

Closest to me is the Red Rocket Cafe – 1364 Danforth Ave. I’m in there five or six times a month – most Saturdays for my morning coffee & usually a rice crispies square, but sometimes the great zucchini muffin. Good coffee, great service, (hot bearded barista here too), in house baked goods. I never let my gift card dip below $10.00. Accessible but narrow & cluttered – I’ve knocked things off tables struggling to get to the service area.



“Did you see it?”

“How could I have not seen it.”

“It’s horrible.”


“Is that all you feel?”

“It’s horrible. What more do you want me to feel.”


“Some, but for me it’s more like helplessness. It’s not as if I can get there and do anything practical.”

“I wish they’d stop showing that footage over and over.”

“I stopped watching it.”

“You stopped! Why? How could you? Don’t you care?”

“I care, but that doesn’t mean I have to watch every frame every time it comes on.”

“Sometimes I wonder if you have a heart, you know. That is the coldest thing I’ve heard you say.”

“What? That I can’t bare to watch something that horrible? I think it’s pretty callous to keep watching it. Sick. You get some sort of thrill every time you see it.”

“Thrill! No! How could you think such a thing? No one would get a thrill out of seeing that!”

“Then why watch it.”

“So I won’t forget it. No one should forget that moment.”

“I won’t forget it.”

“I bet you’re one of those who think they had it coming.”


“The U S of A.”

“I don’t think anything except it was horrible.”

“I doubt it. If you thought that then you would want to do something, take some sort of action. Some action other than turning off your TV because it made you uncomfortable.”

“Sorry, but I did have to go to the can.”

“You know what I mean. You can’t hide in the sand. If you try to hide you are merely approving the actions of those terrorists. You have to take some action.”

“And what action are you taking? Talking about it? Watching it? Have you left the house or sent a donation to the Red Cross, given blood, made a poster to walk up and down the street with that rallies other’s to action? Have you?”

“No, but at least I care.”

“All you care about is some new juicy detail to talk about. That’s the extent of your action. Talk and look. Opinions won’t solve anything. So far all I’ve heard from you are opinions on what other’s should do.”

“At least I have an opinion. All I hear for you is that you didn’t feel the need to watch. To witness the devastation of our lives. So don’t you take that tone with me.”

“Are you going to enlist?”

“Enlist? What for?”

“If there’s going to be war don’t you want be there, in the front line?”

“If it comes to that I’ll be there. Don’t you worry. Will you?”

“I’m too old. I’ll be one of those bandage makers. But you are the right age.”

“This won’t be a foot war.”

“You think not. Does it have to be a war at all – that’s what I’d ask myself. How can we avoid that.”

“We can’t avoid that. We have to take action.”

“Again I’ll ask you what action are you going to take beside button-holing people with your opinions and rants? Or are you happy to just watch at your safe distance and opine as to what you think others should do.”

“I was right, you don’t have a heart.”

patio the patio is very open

‘The Fire of My Body’

I’ve seen Lydia Lunch on stage a couple times in the last century, once co-featuring with John Waters. This was my first time in this one. I do have some of her Lps in my collection: Queen of Siam, Dagger & Guitar, and Big Sexy Noise. I wouldn’t call myself a die-hard fan but I do dig her history.

Capre Breton sky
Capre Breton sky

She appeared at The Steady on Bloor. The back room was an intimate, if unheated, space that was the right size for the packed house for her show. She read from her cookbook The Need To Feed – why a cookbook – because ‘she can fucking do anything.’ Plus performers like to reinvent themselves every now and then.

Cape Breton church
Cape Breton church

She read several of the chapter introductions that combined food history, her history and her sharply aimed comments on the state of food in the USA. All marked by fun sexuality: of cayenne she says ‘anything that hurts I like to put in my mouth.’; of pasta puttanesca pasta ‘the whore’s pasta: unlike most things that are cheap and easy this one is good for you.’

coal trams
coal trams

She started the show inviting us to warm up to ‘the fire of my body,’ but the unheated room never did warm up. I can’t say anything about the kitchen at The Steady. My escort & I had the cheese board & the tapas plate – the only things on the menu other than the prix fixe meal, which we didn’t know had to be ordered in advance. The cheese & tapas were as good as any I’ve had.



Coal Dusters Sample

(55,000 words already written, set in Cape Breton, mid-1920’s, Birk 19 – Clancy 20)

Birk woke with a start. Clancy was at the foot of the bed, shaking the frame gently until he woke.

“Strike’s over b’y.”

Birk pushed himself up, not sure if he was dreaming. “Wha?”

“Union settled for less than we were getting afor.” Clancy tossed his russack on the dresser.

“I knows that.” Birk sat up and put his legs over the side of the bed.

“You sleepin’ like there’s nothing to do.”

“I’m sleeping like someone who don’t have to share his bed with someone who tosses like a … a shirt on the line on a windy day.”

“And smells as fresh.”

“Yeh, freshly fished out of a net.” Birk tossed his pillow at Clancy. “So you’re back?”

“Nothing better to do?”

“I was getting use to having all this bed to myself.” He pulled his pants on and pushed his feet into his work boots. “Been a while since I wore these. Kinda stiff.”

He stood facing Clancy. He’d forgotten how blue Clancy’s eyes were. He grinned not know what else to do or say. He thought of grappling with Clancy, wrestle him to the floor but reached out and mussed his hair instead.

“Time’s awasting!” A shout came from the bottom of the stair.

“Yer Ma hasn’t changed.”

“Good things never do.” Birk laughed.

Their first two days in the pits where spent making sure the shafts and stavings were sound enough for being worked. After the weeks of inaction it felt to good to be back at the work but at the same they would only get paid for the coal they produced. There was no pay for replacing, reinforcing the hoardings, for doing all the maintenance work that had gone undone during the strike. Work that the managers had groused being supposedly forced to do while the miners were lazing about fishing.

“You’d think they’ve cleaned out the carts at least.” Red grunted as they went down for their first shift.

No one was happy about the way the strike had been settled. Everything forced on them by the management, the government, neither of whom did seem to care about the miners but only about their taxes and dividends.

Birk was too focused on getting things ready to be bothered talking much with Clancy beyond quick grunts of agreement as they did their tasks. When he got back at night after their shift he was too tired. Sometimes they both fell asleep during dinner. But he could sense Clancy’s restlessness.

Even as he tried to keep his distance in the bed their shoulders or hands would brush briefly in the night.

By the third day the shafts were ready to be worked. Birk found that he and Clancy were back into their old routine. Joking in the mornings and focused when they started to work. Birk was happy to hear Clancy singing behind him as they got back to the grind of hacking the coal out of the seam. He slipped back into his physical digging and everything that had happened in the pat few months vanished as he sweated.

“Com’on by. Time for a slurp of tea.”

“Wha?’ Birk pushed himself out of the crevice he was working in.

“Can’t make up for lost time that way Birk.”

“Feels good though to be doing sumthin’ ”

They scuttled along to a level spot on the floor to sit.

“Where you get to?” Birk asked even though he knew the answer.

“Back to my Ma’s. “I figured your family had enough to do keepin’ fed without an extra face to feed. Not much to do here without getting pulled into that spineless union’s foolishness. Ya can’t trust them.” Clancy slurped his tea. “Still smells the same down here.”

“No more ‘an you can trust the owners.”

“That’s for sure. I hear you kept yourself busy in a pretty way.”

“Wha?” Birk nibbled at his bread.

“You and the nun.”

Birk could see Clancy smirk in the dim light.

“That lass’s been trying to teach me how read and write proper. Don’t see as I’m going to do much with that. I could read figures well enough. But now I can sign my name pretty good. But …. ”

“She’s getting to you, isn’t she?”

“Yeh but not in the way some seems to think.” Birk was eager to have someone to talk to about Lillian. There were things he didn’t he could tell his mother. “Everyone thinks I’m …. sweet on her. But tisn’t so. Sure she’s pretty and that, but she makes it hard to breathe when she’s around. It’s like she’s trying cover me up with whatever scent she’s wearing. Always looks at me as if she wants something more than an answer to what the numbers add up to.”

“She must have her eye on you.”

“Well I wish she didn’t. Ma gets so burned up about her being a Catholic girl. She thinks Lillian wants to turn me mick too. I wished I knew what she was after.”

“What most women want Birk m’boy. To land a decent man who’ll look after them. So I don’t know what she sees in you.” Clancy’s laugh echoed in the shaft.

“Yeh. I’m glad to … that … fuk Clancy I never had a mate I much took too … like m’brother”

“Yeah. I missed you too monkey.”

Birk resisted the temptation to reach out and touch Clancy somehow.

Back at the face they were working he was happy to hear Clancy singing the familiar ‘shovel and pick, pick and shovel,’ then, ‘rake and hustle, hustle and rake.’ Clancy stopped mid-word.

“Hush,” Clancy whispered. “Stop for a minute.”

Birk leaned away from the wall. “What is it?”

They stood holding their breaths. A distant rumble could be heard. Then the ceiling over them groaned and a large flat strata of it shook free and fell with a dusty thud.

Birk pushed Clancy toward the wall. “We better high tail it.”

“Right. That’s what happens when you don’t wait for the inspectors to come.”

They made their way to the main shaft that was crowded with the other men on the shift. They were grousing about how hastily the management had get things started and how the union didn’t make any difference or even seem to care about the possible unsafe conditions. Another heavier rumble overhead stopped their nattering.

“At’s a big one.” one of the miners said.

Part of the ceiling collapsed ahead of them.

(for more see my NaNoWriMo posts in Novmember 2012)

Cape Breton icons

#Toronto Desperado @redrocketcoffee

The October Racket at the Rocket was another fine line-up of diverse writers hosted by Sandra Cardinal. The Rocket was decked out in spooky cobwebs, skulls & rats. The pumpkin bar was excellent. Try one while there are on the menu. Also happy to see that management have built a small portable stage for the many music, comedy & spoken event that they are playing host to.

chrome skeleton at night
chrome skeleton at night

First feature was Jerry Levy who read a piece of one of the stories in his collection Urban Legend. He prefaced the section with a look at the Golem legend in literature. Although the story involved recreating the hero’s deceased fiancee the language was simple, direct & effectively drew us into the story without using, what I call the language of the eerie. Even in the short section he presented it was clear clinging to the past is responsibility not a solace.

day chairs
day chairs

Next up was Koom Kankesan with a section of one of his Rajapaksa Stories. A funny, sardonic take on the politics of Sri Lanka from someone who experienced it first-hand. The section showed how consumerism is gradually dominating culture – with a protagonist caught up in Chinese technology and fascinated with American ‘classic’ films. He made great use of the rat squeeze toys & had fun with the ‘you fucked my wife’ scene from Raging Bull. (my review of the book: https://topoet.ca/2013/10/28/the-rajapaksa-stories/)

flashed chrome skeleton at night
flashed chrome skeleton at night

After the break we heard poet Jean-Paul Bedard – he opened with a piece dealing with the bombing at Boston marathon he had run in. About the bombers he says ‘grasping out in desperation for the American Dream’. His rhymed pieces were filled with sharp observations: denizens of a coffee shop ‘they were broken in familiar places,’ after summer ‘all tanned and bruised.’ He successfully rhymed Toronto with desperado.

Final feature was Vanessa McGowan – who proved that great hair and cure shoes don’t detract from her emotionally compelling writing and performing. I’ve reviewed her several times now & am always happy to hear her again. Hard hitting lines: ‘you’re not disabled enough,’ a mother who ‘cut you so deep with her eyes,’ ‘the silence of sober made you feel small,’ & ‘ not in our family, playing like a loop,’ helped the audience acknowledging that she is ‘the miracle left to tell the story.’


On the open stage I read ‘Petition,’ ‘How Do I Fear Thee’ and

Harvest Moon

people told us

the Macintosh Manson

on Mapleview Road

was haunted

we kids didn’t believe them

so we went in there

to prove them wrong

at midnight on the harvest moon


were never seen again


‘what color are your eyes’

Catching my breath after a busy, for me, week. My friend JCD visiting from New York had me walking around downtown & neighborhoods I rarely spend much time it. He was staying at the Courtyard just north of College. His first day here we had a banal lunch at the ‘market’ cafe in College Park (never again). Supper that night at Swiss Chalet. Love the ribs. I hadn’t realized that 7/11 & Starbucks had made such inroads south of College along Yonge.

San Francisco
San Francisco

The next day we had a great lunch at Flo’s Diner. A reliable kitchen, smooth coffee with great staff.  I lunch there every other month or so & am never disappointed. The following day we got over to Kensington market after getting off the street car at Bathurst – I loved the reclaimed cargo container food shops – nothing tempted me though. Did a good look through Kensington stores. Checked out the wood burning bagel place (I’ll hit there another day) but I really had to try The Grilled Cheese on Nassau St – simple menu & good, thick, oozing delicious cheese sandwiches served with ripple chips (you can’t have everything.) Simple fare but the best grilled cheese I’ve had in ages. The place had a sweet 60’s vibe interior & the cub waiter was hot hot hot. I’ll eat there again.

New York
New York

That night we supped at Sambucas on Church St. Good pasta & more excellent service. I lunch here occasionally & have always been impressed by the inventive menu, reliable kitchen & the friendly staff. Our final dining experience was Lunch Saturday at Como en Casa on Yonge. When it says authentic I have to believe because I have nothing to compare it too – I had a perfectly spicy beef stew with rice, beans & a big corn chip. I’ll certainly lunch here again too.


As reluctant as I was to see my friend off to the airport Saturday I was eager to get back to my routine, cut out the carbs, spend a day doing s.f.a & not wondering how much to tip or if the washroom has something to dry your hands on – hmm that’s an idea – maybe I should do restaurant bathroom reviews?


a little something to get you in the mood for halloween:


Your Eyes

what color are your eyes


you know that’s my favorite color


well not really

I guess my favorite color is

a sort of cerise

you know the red of sherry

when you spill it on an eagle-white rug

just as it soaks in a little

I love that red

can’t get enough of it

though I do really like the impact

of a sudden spurt of blood

on newly fallen snow

blood warm enough to melt   sink

clotted crimson in a thin gleam of ice

that is a sweet color too

or the tinge of a bruise after the third day

when the blue-black is ebbing out

to that green blush along the edges

until finally it becomes as faint

as a finger print on a knife point

or a the kiss of a rose

trodden underfoot in a muddy field

after the police have searched for days

looking for clues

the dark deep brown of fresh dug earth

or ground recently patted down

to a sort of smooth quality

like skin untouched for a year or so

dried in the corner of a basement

who knew Aunt Sally was down there

we thought she had gone back to Mapleview

I love the color of her eyes

what was left of them anyway

a beige blackened

with whites jellied dried pink rose petals

so I love the color of your eyes

yes that has to be nearly

my favorite color in the whole wide world

floating alley art
floating alley art

#secants and #underpants

The Beautiful and The Damned kicked off their residency at The Central with a packed house and a dynamic line up hosted by the incomparable Duncan Armstrong (modesty is not his middle name 🙂 )

airy bottom

First feature Brock Hessel blasted the room with an in-your-face, take-no-prisoners piece that trampled several Canadian cultural icons underfoot – from Jack Layton to Don Cherry no one was spared at the hands of his palm-reader/masseuse Joannne, who will earn your votes ‘one had job at a time.’ His other pieces were filled with hard-earned understandings ‘dancing alone in front of the mirror you used to take selfies,’ ‘you bookmarked the box you used to box me in.’

After the break DM Moore made an impassioned appeal for Tarek & John – two Canadians caught up in Egypt. Then Heather Babcock captivated the crowd with a polished image that suited her polished work. her first piece. ‘Where did my face go’ was delightfully self-aware & funny piece that acknowledge the power of looks while wondering on looking into the mirror where her face was gone ‘perhaps my nose is rolled up in a forgotten sock.’ Her fiction pieces were as direct, ‘as if layoffs were contagious and could be spread by eye-contact,’ ‘looking for a place in her bones called shelter.’

popping up all over the city

Music feature Nelson ‘SoHot’ Sobral, despite suffering from a sore throat, did a high-energy  set that left us wanting more (but we had to clear the stage for another show at 9:30). With his propulsive, crisp acoustic guitar he gave us a set of emotional, direct to and from the heart songs. ‘I’ll always be by your side, even when I’m on the floor.’ He harkens back to Fred Neil & Joe Walsh and is so hot he popped my cork.

red on red

The cork was on the bottle of champaign that The Central honored us with for the launch of the Damned. The staff was great, kept sound levels perfect, and kept our thirsty audience happy. Looks like the Damned has found a beautiful new home. Join us next month, October 31 for a scary scary night hosted by Lizzie Violet.



one of the pieces I read at the Damned:

Square Root

 I wished him dead

every time I sat in his class

I wished he were dead


not someone I had to face every day

I would only have to glance up at him

writing formulas on the black board

the drone of his voice and wish him dead

he would always call on me

to read out what he had written

I picture his brain exploding

bloody cosines gush from his nose

all over his spotless white shirt

I wanted a sharp steel edge on my protractor

to cut out his heart

save the class from algebra trig calculus

his stories of sailing

how he figured directions with his slide rule

die die die

so we can figure out the angle

to bury you

so your rotting corpse

will slump into your penny loafers

bones a jumble of secants and underpants

the formula on the board

meant nothing to me

it could have been written in flame

blah blah squared equals something degrees

my feet burning by the time I sat down

he would pat me on the shoulder

say you seem to be catching on

when I was really catching on fire

his abacus belt buckle at eye level

I’d stare at the rubble on my page

hope his hand would stay a bit longer

hope some of his knowledge could rub off

what was the angle of the dangle behind that zipper

if he were to die I wouldn’t have to wonder

about where to look when he stood so close

I leave his class

can’t remember a formula or anything

all I could see was that glint of belt buckle

and that wouldn’t be on the exam

on stage Damned @The Central Sept13
on stage Damned @The Central Sept13

Blithe Spirit

The day before I was swamped by FanExpo I was to Stratford to see their production of Blithe Spirit at the Avon Theatre. It was our first day trip with the new old car – a Cobalt 4-door. Smooth ride and a great sound system.

transformers at rest
transformers at rest

Before the show I lunched with Clara Blackwood et famile – to celebrate her birthday. We dined at Molly Bloom’s – my first time there. Usually we hit Features for lunch, but change is good. Molly’s was busy but crammed. We sat under the electronic fish-tank – which only rebooted once while we were there. Fish & chips were excellent.

caution: shattered dreams
caution: shattered dreams

Blithe Spirit was excellent. Briskly paced, a laugh-out-loud script that didn’t rely on one-liners to get laughs, performs who clearly enjoy their characters, and the expected Stratford attention to costumes plus a splendid set. To top it off a finale of sweet stage-craft effects that one rarely gets to see.

after the sweet nectar
after the sweet nectar

This is our third Stratford day trip, adding to the list of shows we’ve enjoyed this year: R&J, and Tommy. Next up Measure For Measure.

writing sample
writing sample

Tale of the Unexpected

he was into me

I could tell by the way

his eyes held mine

as he talked about books   movies   music

searching for common ground

to make bedrock

for us to roll around on

books I hadn’t read yet

movies I had no intention of ever seeing

music I was indifferent to

but I’m a patient listener

I knew what it was like

the nervous energy of hoping

to strike the right chords of concordance

seeking that common ground to roll around on

I’d met him a fews times before

a friend of a friend

but he wasn’t my type

too tall    too clean shaved

I could tell he was mistaking my listening

for a returned interest

my nods on the right time

were cues to him to lean closer

touch me lightly on the forearm

to emphasize a point

I understood this neediness

I used to fall for waiters who joked

mistaking their professional patter

for something more than working for their tips

I’m not that naive anymore

I know the difference

he was into me

once was a time

when that would be enough

myself esteem so low

my interest in them was fueled

by their interest in me

even if they weren’t my type

my need for acceptance was so great

I’d have no resistance

not that I don’t enjoy having someone interested in me

but now I can resist the pull better

lessons learned and all that

I’d know after ten minutes it wasn’t going to work

but it would take ten days to get out of it

so I was looking for a way out

without being too blunt

my placid responses weren’t bored enough

for him to read

or maybe like I often did

ignored the disinterest

push harder till I found what would catch

look for the right bait in movies   books   music

ask a few leading questions

I disengaged his look

said it was nice to run into him

didn’t offer my number

then he kissed me


everything changed

San Francisco joy
San Francisco joy