Welcome to The F Files

For the summer Wednesdays will be devoted to the F Files – all poems written in the 70’s that I had been filed away in an accordion file folder = F Files. In the 2021 pandemic purge of my file cabinet I came across the folder & over the next couple of month input all of the pieces – just over 7800 words. Many I had forgotten, some I vaguely remembered writing. Some were drafts, some carbon copies. 

They were on various types paper – some repurposed flyers, Famous Players daily box-office report forms. Yellow draft paper, good white paper. Some where handwritten on note pads, scribblers etc. Also various typewriters – my Dad’s office Remington, the theatre’s (the make of which I have forgotten), my old Royal, some with a rented electric typewriter.

I’ve picked ten of them to reflect on start end of  June through July & August, ending in September. I’ve resisted major edits, but did some fixes for punctuation, spelling & typos. I did removed capital letters at the start of every line – one of those grammar rules that I eventually let go of. Same with the use of &. One thing that is ‘difficult’ with both Pages & WP is enjambments. With a typewriter I could just turn the rolled once & type right there.

I also have two ‘novels’ I wrote between 1969 & 1976 that may eventually get serialized here. Unlike the poetry’s which I find fairly good, the novels are clumsy & even more closeted. The first one reflects the influence of the writers I was most familiar with – Dixon & Appleton – not familiar with them? One wrote the Hardy Boys & the other was the brains behind Tom Swift 🙂

early 70’s – I was a fan of Gabor Szabo – one of my drinking buddies was a guitar playing guy whose last name was O’Neill

SzabO’Neill

from fret to fret

the hum of wires

the hopes of fires

not set just yet

to the tune of chances

missed but hoped for again

to give song to fliers

or new steps to dances

break forms into flight

one less note to regret

as your hand flies

from fret to fret

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Jazz Hams

I didn’t realize how much Chico Hamilton I had in my mp3 collection. Scattered over various complications I have The Dealer; El Chico; Man From Two Worlds; The Further Adventures of El Chico; Easy Livin’; A Different Journey; and as stand-alone the Quintet Complete.

Chico was a much sought master percussionist who recorded thousands of tracks with too many jazz greats to list. Mostly notably (to me) Gabor Szabo. He also led various groups of his own. He could be understated or dominating depending on what he was called to do. Latin, swing, modern, experimental – he did it all. His group recordings are solid bop work, his many recordings with Szabo are worth seeking out.

Close to him on the shelf is the BlueNote compilation: Heros of The Hammond. Tracks selected from their immense back catalogue of work by Jimmy McGriff, ‘Bother’ Jack McDuff & others, this is an excellent introduction to jazz organ. Some in the Jimmy Smith mode, others Booker T. I love this organ sound that lead to the fun farfisa sound of garage rock & the progressive rock of ELP.

Next is an lp to cd transfer of Lionel Hampton’s Steppin’ Out. He played a very swinging jazz vibraphone and his recordings are endless as band leader & sideman. Equally at home in big and or small combos his playing is lively & tasteful. Steppin’ Out is no exception & makes a good start if you are unfamiliar with this subgenera or if you’ve only heard Gary Burton’s more modern/experimental work.

Fool

The boots had been the the back of the closet. I hadn’t cleaned here is some time, at least that’s what the layer of dust accused me of not doing. I recognized the boots instantly.

Calf-high cowboy boots. Tan leather with some deep red scroll fan-like inserts. Heels well worn, one toe scuffed. Dave had worn these daily for months. How could he have left these when he moved out? How could I have missed them till now?

I brushed the dust off them. My cleaning stopped dead in its tracks. I took them into the kitchen to clean them better. The leather was stiff and dry but a little dubbin could bring it back to life. 

Dave. Dave. Dave. Where are you now? I never really understood what went wrong. At the moment I saw the sense but now, looking back, it made no sense at all.

Impulsively I pulled the boots on. His feet were a size smaller than mine, but these were always big on him. Maybe that’s why he left them behind. The calf of the boot was tight, the ankle tighter, but I forced my toes past instep and they were on. Tight. My baby toes pained.

Dave’s boots! He never would have let me wear them when he was around. I took a few unsteady steps. The heels made me inches taller and the smooth soles slid on the floor. I could walk in them, but not far, unless I wanted to have my big toe and little toe surgically removed.

I went to the study and found the photo album of our trip through the desert and the dude ranch we stayed at for a couple of weeks. The first summer. God, Dave you were a gorgeous man. Ah, there are those boots, too. You were so proud of them. City boy gets his first cowboy boots.

There we are at the waterfall outside of Pikesville. Sex there was wild. Afraid some tourist family would pull up. Mom, Pop, Sis and Junior would catch these buck naked bare-ass guys in a frenzy under the crashing water. No one caught us though.

That summer was so sweet.

I tottered back the the kitchen.

‘Boots, you are heading the way of all trash.’

I sat on a kitchen chair and began to pull. It was as if the boot was glued to my foot. I first tried one then the other. Permanently attached to my feet. I yanked and struggled but neither would budge more than a scant nano-inch and ripped at the skin on the back of my ankle. I’d need to have my heel removed to get them off. Scissors? Cut them off? 

What a fool I was to let you go, Dave. What a fool. 

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every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

7 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March

March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April

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

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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Horn to Horne

Next are two legendary vocalists. First is Shirley Horn: I have these stand-alone: Loads of Love/With Horns; Jazz ’Round Midnight; Light Out of Darkness. Loads is a pair of her early lps – Loads of Love & Shirley Horn With Horns. Both from 1963 & both delightful but like many female vocalists she was working with producers who saw her as a voice not as a person. The songs are are show tunes or jazz classics like Do It Again, Wouldn’t It Be Loverly. 

Jazz ’Round Midnight is a Verve compilation series that includes this one of her. It repeats some of the Loads tracks. Because of her difficulty is working with producers & studio engineers who knew better than some woman she stepped away from recording for some time. When she did return in 1993 with ‘Light Out Of Darkness’ (a tribute to Ray Charles) she was fully in control as producer & arranger.

This is a great set of Ray Charles songs from Hit The Road Jack to It Isn’t Easy Being Green. Her voice has aged well & her takes on the songs is hers. She doesn’t duplicate the Charles versions but remakes them & makes many of them her own in what feels like an effortless fashion.

Next is Lena Horne – strand alone: The Lady Is A Tramp; tucked into an Mp3 collection: Lena & Gabor: Watch What Happens. I enjoy Lena Horne more for nostalgia than as a singer. She was a trail-blazer for black women in film & was considered a great jazz vocalist but to my ear, she’s no Billie Holliday. Tramp is a compilation of ‘hits’ full of jazz standards. Her work with Gabor Szabo is more jazzy – he is a genius guitarist. Recorded in 1968 it includes unexpected current pop songs i.e Rocky Racoon.

Both are excellent vocalists for starting a jazz singer exploration. I do prefer the 1963 Horn compilation. Though Lena Horne’s work with Szabo is more pop than anything Shirley did. I’m such a big fan of Szabo anything he plays on is worth listening to & he certainly plays well with Lena.

Saggy Baggy

‘Hi.’

‘Hi.’

‘Saw you in here the other day. Last week?’ I added soap to the clothes in the washing machine.

‘I suppose so.’ He leaned against them machine two down from mine. His newspaper vibrating on top if it.

‘Good thing all the machine are working today.’

‘Yep.’ he answered without looking up from his paper.

Baggy saggy ass jeans hugged his hips, waist-band of boxers showed above. Glimpse of flesh where his tight t-shirt had slid up some.

‘You live around here?’ I wanted to keep the conversation going. to get him to look at me so I could see more of his face. 

‘No I take a cab here special cause this is such a friendly laundromat.’

‘Sorry I didn’t mean that to sound like such a line.’

‘Well it did.’ He finally looked up. Little trail of dark hair around his chin & up into his toque. Soul patch under his lip.

I wasn’t sure what to say or do next. I needed more text, a comment that was the right tip-off that took the action somewhere. Not that it could go anywhere outside of the laundromat. As much as I enjoyed the casual then lingering street eye-contact I never felt confident enough to ask it into my home.

I retreated to a chair that allowed me to watch my laundry till the light went off that it was ready for the drier. I did a crossword puzzle. Five-letter word for wet snow.

‘Sorry.’

I glanced up. He stood before me. He scratched his hard, flat stomach inches from my face. I didn’t really want to look up.

‘It’s just that guys are always hitting on me for some reason. I’m not … you know … gay.’

‘Life is like that.’

‘Must be some sort of vibe that I send out. I don’t know. Can’t help being who I am. Can I?’

‘No more than some guys can help being who they are either.’

‘Yeah. Right.’

I expected him to move away but he leaned against the coke machine beside me.

‘Funny world. Takes a lot of getting use to.’ He pulled up his saggy baggy jeans.

‘I don’t think one very gets used to it.’

My machine dinged.

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November 1 -30

http://nanowrimo.org

November 15: Hot Damn! It’s a Queer Slam – 8p.m. – Buddies In Bad Time Theatre, Toronto


https://www.facebook.com/events/590060771426819/

http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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This Book Cooks

I discovered Booker Ervin in the late 80’s when I picked up a double lp of his at Cheapies. It was a compilation of tracks from other lps. I’d never heard of him or even heard him until then. He falls into the  Sonny Rollins, Pharaoh Saunders school of sax. His work is more hard-bop but gradually expanded but always remained firmly in the ‘real’ jazz mode. No easy listening.

His sound, to me, isn’t particularly distinctive, but his is always inventive & rarely harsh – say as Coltrane gets at time – even his free jazz work isn’t overly aggressive. In my collection I have The Book Cooks; Space Book; Back From The Gig; Structurally Sound; n’Brass; Cracklin.’ I really like his solid, timeless sound. These could be recorded yesterday unlike a lot of jazz from the 50s/60s/70s. One of the rewards of keeping it ‘acoustic’ – there are no washes of strings, or busy electronic keyboards to date his playing.

Tucked in with this mp3 collection is Chico Hamilton’s Easy Living: this in an lp to mp3 dupe. I’ve never found this Pacific Jazz compilation in digital form. Chico was a percussionist & the music here is held down by his tasteful drums & great sidemen (Gabor Szabo on some tracks). Just for the heck of it I also included the soundtrack for Social Network! I love this soundtrack & the music doesn’t need the movie to work. I have seen the movie but don’t have any images from it to put with the music.

 

If you’re looking to start into to jazz, Chico Hamilton is an excellent performer to explore. If you want somewhat more serious, Booker Ervin is a fine, less-known, sax player to start with – try Structurally Sound.

 

 


Nameless

Dave rolled over to his right shoulder. The left was stiff, tingling from sleeping on it for too long. The bed was warm comfortable. He liked his bed. It hadn’t taken too long to get its valleys in just the right spots for his hips.

The alarm went off.

He reached for it.

Cool grey light filtered into the room around the edges of his blinds. He stretched out under the covers and then thrust them off in a quick motion. He knew if he wrapped himself in them now he’d sleep for another half an hour. Time he didn’t have to spare.

A quick morning prayer at the side of bed and then off to obey the call of nature.

Breakfast in the little nook by the kitchen. Not quite a dining room. Listening to classical music. Keeps the day from taking over too fast. Cereal. Toast with jam. Apple orange banana. Healthy meal.

Shower, shave. Clothes laid out the night before. Anything to save his brain from making decisions in the morning.

Plain white t-shirt, black boxers, black socks, blue shirt, red tie, black pants, black suede shoes, charcoal sports coat and he was ready to face the day.

Elevator fast for a change. Yesterday it had stopped on every floor going up and down. Some kids must have been screwing around. Good thing he was never in a hurry in the morning. He’d get there in time. Familiar faces on the elevator. Same ones he saw most mornings. Same ones with no names just small friendly smiles.

‘Looks to be a nice day.’

‘Yes.’

‘Didn’t get much rain this summer though.’

‘True.’

Quick glance at his mail box but empty. Mail never arrived this early but he always checked, just in case something was slipped in over night. Never was.

Crisp walk to the subway. More of the familiar faces on the street. Familiar nameless faces. He could almost tell what day it was by what certain people wore. A comfortable routine that allowed the fabric of his time to remain intact.

Down the steps  into the station. Flash his pass and to the platform. Crowded. Train pulled in and they crowed on. He never tried for a seat. Standing was good for the circulation, wore off a few more calories and one less worry.

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HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam


http://www.queerslam.com

April 03 – every Tuesday

June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked)
 capfireslam.org 

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Airto Moreira

Airto Moreira first came to my attention thanks to Chick Corea’s Light As A Feather. Airto was everywhere at one time: from Miles Davis, Bitches Brew, to work with Weather Report, John McLaughin & Keith Jarrett. I have lots of his work with these jazz icons. In fact he is one of those icons himself.

trunk03 who saw you?

He’s recorded extensively with his wife Flora Purim and also has many releases under his own name. On one of my mp3 compilations I have Virgin Land, In Concert w/Deodato, Fingers & Identity. All dupes from Lp or direct downloads. I can remember buying the original Lps, some from Cheapies on Yonge Street.

trunk01 how old am I?

Brazilian rhythms ground his music which runs from almost traditional folk to jazz fusion to pure jazz. His tracks on the Deodato concert are amazing (too bad Deodato is such a snooze).

trunk02

stumped again

Also on this cd is Chico Hamilton: The Dealer – which features more Latin rhythms with the amazing Gabor Szabo on guitar. Al Hirt: Music To Watch Girls By – a sixties radio throwback; Jimmy Smith: Peter & The Wolf – yes, this a jazz version of the classical suite – fun & funky; Joe Pass: The Stones Jazz – yes, instrumental versions of the Rolling Stones – some of which work; Tough Young Tenors: Alone Together – more contemporary than the rest of the compilation – great hot playing by a handful of excellent, young sax players. You know they must have amazing tongue control 🙂

sample

Unfolding The Map

As the last of Jill’s clothes fell to the carpet Jack felt he finally stood on the border of manhood. The blue-pink light from the television in the corner of the hotel room rippled on the wall, danced on Jill’s bare skin.

‘Like what you see?’ she stepped towards him and undid the top button of his shirt.

He didn’t know how to convey the confusion of this moment, to tell her that he wanted to look, to stare but to have a real woman there made him feel embarrassed, ashamed of his need to look.

‘Uh … yes.’ He wished that the news announcer would tell him just what to do next, that the weather map would show which highs and lows his hands were to reach for first.

His skin was cool and then warm once his shirt had dropped to the ground. He resisted the temptation to pick it up, to fold it neatly on a chair. Jill’s breasts were hot against him. His arms moved around her of their own volition.

‘Mmmm.’ Jill’s mouth opened to his.

He’d imagined many times what this would be like, he’d watched enough adult videos to know what was supposed to happen, but now that it was happening to him, he was unsure, unscripted. He felt watched by the news announcer, now the sports announcer, soon to be a talk show host telling jokes.

Should he turn off the TV? No. The light was fine but perhaps he should turn it down.

The Leafs had scored, a race was run, he moved towards the bed with Jill. It seemed she was doing as much of the lean to the bed as he was.

‘There. There,’ she moaned as his hands moved slowly along her sides. ‘Why don’t you get out of … ’ she gave his belt buckle a gentle tug.

‘Yes yes.’ He sat and pulled at his shoes laces, knotting one of them. He stood to slide his jeans off, the shadow of his erection sprung across the wall.

My what a big shadow you cast, he though.

‘Come on Jack. We don’t have all night you know.’ Jill patted the bed beside her.

He turned to her. The pink-blue flicker made strange dark areas across her stomach, between her legs. He wanted more light so he could really see, to explore. He knew this wasn’t the body of his favorite adult actress. He’d know that body anywhere; that body never looked back at him, didn’t blush to avoid his gaze to make him feel dirty for looking.

‘What are you looking at?’ she giggled.

He closed his eyes to kiss her. As he stretched beside Jill he regretted that he wouldn’t be able to rewind to inspect and savour each moment of discovery.

As his passion was accepted, responded to, he wondered if his memory could ever be as crisp, as accurate in it’s replay, as those favorite video moments he was about to recreate for real.

map map to summer

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Mayhem at Loyalist

Loyalist hardcore work
Loyalist hardcore work

Starting to feel ‘recovered’ from the Writers’ workshop at Loyalist – recovered from early morning wake-ups, Tim Ho’s twice a day for 5 days in a row – is there much caloric & nutritional difference between a sun-dried tomato bagel & a maple-pecan danish? The flavor difference is minimal.

What Tim’s lacked in variety our workshop certainly made up for – we looked at pieces that went from falling through the ice to basking on rooftops in India, from women banished to Cape Breton purgatory to ‘scatter-brained’ ladies murdering their 2nd (that we know of) husbands.

Participants included some Mesdames of Mayhem – Madeline, Joan, Rosemary – each of who lead polished, perceptive discussions on the state of the publishing industry. Rosemary Aubert’s decision to farm out some of the course material to us students paid off well. Richard one day & Nancy another, give great presentations as well. Their’s were so great I invited myself into their writers’ group. Time for me to wade into those waters.

barefoot climber?
barefoot climber?

Campus life was comfortable. For less than $35 a night the rooms were luxury suites. This year I actually got some use out of the microwave. Also enjoyed suppers in our pad with Richard (he shared the pod with me) – and Nancy & Liza – these three are members of the writers group I’ve joined. Though after my first story they may regret it 🙂

As I’ve done in past years I bring suppers for three nights. Our last night there we dine out as a group. I had loaded up a special Loyalist playlist – lots of Chopin, Gabor Szabo – with a dash of retro pop from Sugar Loaf, Rare Earth, The Grassroots & Sal Mineo (yes he did have a recording career).

By Friday all of us were tired – using our brains this intensively can be exhausting but everyone was eager for another week of it as well – but this is all we get. Happily Rosemary A. is already planning next year’s workshop. If all goes well I’ll have Smashword-ed City of Valleys and can really jump in on marketing discussions.

City Of Valleys
low clouds

#Killdozer vs #ArcadeFire

spoon battery
spoon battery

Recently someone asked me what I was listening to on my iPod. I hesitated to answer because whatever it was they would jump to conclusions about me based on the music I was listening to – if I said The Beatles – I was living the past; if I said Lady Gaga – I was a real fag; if I said Coltrane – I was elitist pretentious; if I said – Chopin – I was was beyond comprehension.

pull yourself together
pull yourself together

There are some musicians or composers, who are always on my iPod. I think I have at least 10 days of listening without repeat on tap at any given time. Once a play list gets heard it gets replaced. Each play list, in general, is a mix of pop, jazz, classical.

spoon battery
spoon battery

Nearly always on one play list or the other is: The Beatles, The Stones, Van Morrison, Jacques Brel, Sinatra, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Chopin, Beethoven, Haydn, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Mozart. Frequently: The Animals, Procol Harum, Lou Reed, McCoy Tyner, Gabor Szabo, Bach, Dvorak. There’s one play list of Latino/French,/World Music music that often includes Otto, Osibisa, Santana, Boyo Boys, Piaf, Pizzicato Five.

When I was asked what I was listening, I replied: “Guess.” Because what they thought I was listening would tell me what they thought of me. They said Arcade Fire (am I a hipster?) when the truth was Killdozer.

sad plant
sad plant