Santa Daddy

(WordPress has messed up line spacing & I can’t figure out how to fix it 😦

Santa Daddy 

get thee in front of me Santa
keep your hands where I can see them 

I know all about that list
I’m not one of those nice boys
whose naughty can be gotten for toys 

that better not be a fat suit
‘cause I tend to be a chubby chaser 

no matter how big the bag
there better be more happening than that
if you hope to roast
your chestnuts on my fire

so get thee in front of me Santa
don’t bother sneaking around
if you want my milk and cookies 

keep those damn reindeer quiet
your ad said discreet encounter 

honey those sleigh bells aren’t discreet
when you said you were into uniforms 

this isn’t quite what I had envisioned 

you have to offer more than
those spit-shined black boots

so guess you want to get down to business
no chit chat how you doing
just want to drop your load 

get out of here
not that I’m surprised
you have a full to-see list
if you think you can go that quickly 

it isn’t going to happen
I want more than an XXXbox
those elves you brought
aren’t going to make up for that

no I don’t want do some Coke-a-Cola 

I don’t want to be flying all night

so get thee in front of me Santa 

unless you long to Kris Kringle kiss 

my Christmas ass 

and say thank you sir
before you head back up that chimney

This is a fun, sexy Christmas poem that springs from the notions of gay men’s types & from what men say about themselves in their dating profiles. Dating is being generous as most guys are just looking to get off. There is something creepy about someone always watching you – Santa the voyeur, stalking children & rewarding them with toys. Getting to sit on his lap: fun or fraught with loss of boundary? Teaching that being good is how we earn favour.

 

Men in the gay world who like ‘larger’ physical types were once called ‘chubby chasers’ – a term that is no longer politically correct. Santa, as invented by some commercial artist fits the bearded chubby profile perfectly. Santa is the classic bear. The first verse ends with a nod to size queens (the bigger the dick the better the time) but for some if all there is a large package that isn’t enough without a personality to go with it.

 

A buzz word in many profile is ‘discreet.’ I still have no idea what that means. Are they fearful that the encounter will be on live twitter feed? That the hook up with become a FB invite? Or is it a way of saying – don’t be too fem? Perhaps, don’t ask my name, don’t tell me yours? But lets face it there is nothing discreet about Santa, particularly in his boots – perfect for a master to use to stomp on your … uh … Christmas tree balls, to teach you a lesson.

 

Clearly though Santa is and in-and-out man who does drop his load & gets out of there. As anonymous as possible. Coke is a reference both to the drug & to the fact that the roly-poly Santa we love was created to sell Coke-a-Cola.

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

Fraud

Fraud

 

there are days

when I am more confused

days that start 

with me feeling pretty confident

in my worldview

in my opinions about things

often things that have nothing to do with me

things that don’t depend of me

except as a faceless person

 

I’m pretty comfortable in that milieu

having only the weight

of my own thinking to carry

then along comes

someone I know

who challenges this safety zone

 

I realize

I may not be as liberal & accepting 

as I think I am

apparently being supportive

means totally 

not merely 

as far as I’m willing to go

if I don’t go all the way

I’m a fraud

 

if I’m not intimidated

I must be interested

but if I’m not interested 

then I’m still trapped 

by cultural concepts of gender 

by heteronormative ideals of sexuality

 

this all came about

when a trans friend

was peeved that I didn’t find them

sexually attractive

to be frank I didn’t even find them

asexually attractive

but I did enjoy their articulate way

of dealing with struggles 

of their self discovery

I didn’t realize

my lack of sexual interest was unsettling

was a lack of acceptance of their struggle

so I was confused

I was suddenly like

every other cismale they’d ever met

 

because I didn’t know any better

I stepped away from that opportunity

to find a human beneath the struggle

one that is perhaps still

struggling to find itself

I stepped out of the way

I’m not one to hold back progress

while I find a space for myself

in a world where there 

is so much black and white thinking

there seems no middle ground

for compassion

 

There is truth in this but not all of it is my direct experience. I know a fair number of trans people – transitioned or -ing in either direction. I’m pretty comfortable with them as well. I also know androgynous, asexual people. So far none of them have hit on me, at least not f2f. I have some transmales contact me on dating sites though. After a few messages it was clear there really wasn’t enough interest on either side pursue things. Mainly because I’m too old.

 

But I have had a couple of trans who thought because I was friendly that I was interested. As I’ve told a few guys, just because I like what you are wearing doesn’t mean I want to get into your pants. It’s that delicate balance between people’s need for acceptance & their sense of self. I know that when I was a drunk a kind waiter meant he was clearly interested.

 

Some of this comes out of other people’s experiences around these issues of sexual attraction, gender & political correctness. It’s similar to the bear community bitching about body shaming while at the same time shaming people who are too thin for being politically ensnared by heteronormative standards of looks.

 

Confused? Then you feel a bit of what this piece talks about. If one is so radical what difference does it make what the body is – but then again if any body will do, you are clearly a slut. I have heard trans people say that if you really supported me you’d have no issue with sleeping with me; denying the other the right to have an acceptable opinion.

 

 

 

There seems to be no middle ground.

 

 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

‘the knife of shame’

Things change 🙂 the morning starts out a little overcast, the sidewalks are clear then an hour later one is caught in a winter wonderland of slush. Hot Damn!’s workshop facilitator and feature gets bogged down by the slush of chronic illness & things change. I end up facilitating the workshop: Vulnerability/Strength. It was productive enough, for me, at any rate. Too bad I wasn’t prepared to do more than to listen & write a little.

Charlie Petch was scrambling for a new feature while getting set for an interview before the show itself. Over supper I went though my note books to see if I had suitable pieces besides the two I had uploaded to my Kindle. It had a few things to present. I forgot what I had jotted down to work on later – some going back a few years.

Vanessa McGowan stepped up to feature, so all I had to worry about was being all judgemental for the slam. Even with slushy snow falling there was a decent house for the show at 8. Lots of great open stagers and some dynamic slammers made for a rewarding & cozy night. Plus good conversation with fellow judge Teddy Syrette.

The participants were the epitome of diversity with indigenous, trans, queers across the gender spectrum, coming from as far away as Ecuador (Hola) to share honest, emotionally raw and sometimes very funny material. This is the real power of Hot Damn!’s vision to create a safe space for queers to perform, mostly without judgement. I say mostly because part of a slam is being judged 🙂

Random lines from the open-stagers & slammers: ‘don’t tell your mother’ ‘children need parents who want to be parents’ ‘I practice reparation by topping settlers’ ‘he was masc looking but not masc looking for masc’ ‘my spirit name is isolate for safety’ ‘I want you all over mt skin’ ‘seeking wisdom in dreams’ ‘I am six minutes behind the world’ ‘nothing scares me – not even clowns’ ‘sometimes bullies look just like body guards’ ‘let me tell you where I left these bones’ ‘the attack from within is worse that the wound from without’ ‘I say to them it’s not your table’ ‘the blood I shed won’t tell me what I missed’

Vanessa’s set was emotionally charged, frank, sometime a little ironic humour slipped in – her social commentary is from within situations not from the p.o.v. of an observer. ‘we met beneath the water line’ ‘I still cannot say your name – my mouth is full of water’ ‘removing the knife of shame from throat so you can remove it from yours’ ‘covering up for poverty is exhausting’ ‘they praise me for being highly functioning’ 

Winner were declared, prizes were awarded (for those names: Hot Damn!) Next Hot Damn! is in St. Catherines in December. It returns to Buddies in Bad Time January 10, 2019.

On the open stage I read Cold Spot https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3ci & this old piece – if one considers September 2017 old – I dug out.

My Own Devices 

when I came out

to my friends

I did it by stages

like – I’m no queer

but if ‘hot movie star’

wanted to have sex with me

I’d be willing to explore

but truth to be told

I jerked off 

to a bathing suit picture

of that hot movie star

who

decades later came out

 

when I came out to my friends

as fully queer

some were 

‘You know I’m not that way’

or

some never spoke to me again

or

got drunk with me & explored

 

When I came out to my mother

she said

‘don’t tell your father’

when I came out to my father

he said

‘don’t tell your mother’

 

when I came out

no one said

‘how do you feel’

‘what does it mean to you’

no one said

‘congratulations’

or

‘it’s about fucking time’

no one

at any point

engaged me in conversation

no one ever asked

‘are you seeing someone’

no one said

‘I work with a gay guy

maybe you’d like to meet him’

no one said

‘you must feel incredibly alienated

in this small-town hard-drinking

cis-hetero-red-neck culture’

 

maybe I was too stoic

not wanting to let anyone in

being queer was enough

without presenting

as weepy drama queen

I had to be man enough 

masculine enough

to keep up appearances

so no one would suspect

the emotional uncertainty

I was drowning in

 

I was told

that so & so

who was gay

had hung himself

or 

had stepped in front of semi

on a dark highway

told that by friends 

who never said

‘I hope you don’t do that’

who never said

‘if you feel like that

talk to us’

 

when I came out

I was left to my own devices

and survived

and sometimes

I jerk off 

to the memory 

of that bathing suit picture

of the hot movie star

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

Ruby Red Christmas

Hot Damn! varied its usual slam context for a an evening with Jillian Christmas at Unit 2 in the west end. Home of Bricks & Glitter it provided a simple intimate space to feature this great poet/singer/storyteller. Host Charlie Petch was effusive, emotional and, for the most part, focused 🙂 Plus some mighty fine open stagers (including myself) made for a great evening.

Too many open-stagers to name – they ran the gamut from national champions to just plain folk. Pieces covered self-realization, the desire to be a rich bitch & scary Halloween (scare provided by me.) The space was welcoming for us who made it through the rain to fill the house. Some pieces brought out tears, some laughter. All satisfied.

 

I’ve known Jillian for several years now so my thoughts on her may be slightly biased 🙂 One of the good things about knowing performer over time is that one can see the changes in their approach and even in subject matter. It’s been maybe two years since I last heard her perform. She was one of the lucky Hot Damn! season winners who represented Damn! at Capturing Fire – which, I might add, she also won.

 

Her set was generous with a great range of styles, p.o.v and emotional frankness. Pieces about relationships, family, the ecology, same-sex self discovery & magic. Accompanying herself on uke (which she elevates to lute like delicacy) at times, on a snare at time & even with both at the same time for one piece – she held the audience spellbound. By the time she was done she left us as one heart – ruby red.

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



http://www.queerslam.com

 

one of the horror pieces I read on the open stage

The Villagers

Anton was restless 

it had been a boring week

it seemed like ages

since they had stormed the castle

to stop the brain surgeon

who had transplanted 

criminal brains into spiders

which wasn’t as much fun

as the time the villagers 

had tracked down

the radioactive slime centipedes

let loose by the deranged 

unmarried woman scientist

she had hoped the slime

would restore her youth

but instead turned flesh

into hair then eyeball eating centipedes

 

Anton longed for the days

when there was castle

worth storming 

when fools who would play God

with forces of nature

would be forced to face the wrath

of uneducated villagers

the last time they had lit their torches

was to storm

the local coffee shop to force it to add

pumpkin spice latte to the menu

but that wasn’t as satisfying  

as chasing the giant 

bone-marrow-sucking mutant leach

into the power lines

to electrocute it 

that smell lasted for weeks

 

Dragos stopped him

‘Anton did you know

that the abandoned meat factory

that was once the asylum mortuary

has been leased to a Doctor Mortise’

 

things were looking up

it would soon be time

to open the torch shop again

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Cape Fever

Cape Fever

it was a black satin half-slip

with a hem of red lace

I found in my mother’s dresser

it was cool on my skin

I twisted & turned

in front of the mirror

to see it flow

clutching the waist

around my eight-year-old throat

so it was my black cape

dripping with the blood

I’d dragged it through

 

it wasn’t long enough

not full enough

meant for my mother’s narrow hips

when I tried to sweep it up

to cover my face

it fell off

it would never be Dracula’s cape

 

besides my eye brows were wrong

even after I tired to create

those terrifying arches 

using eyebrow forms from

my mother’s Elizabeth Arden make up kit

it had dozens of shapes  

none were arched enough

so I did what I could

by turning one upside down

spectacular

 

the mouth full of tomato catchup

was impossible 

too thick

for it drip over my teeth

or out of the corners of my mouth

the red was wrong

beet juice was the right colour

but way too thin

the two didn’t mix well either

 

but those eyebrows were spectacular

they scared even me

in the mirror

when I held a flashlight under my chin

all I needed was the right cape

and a victim

This is a sweet mix of real memory but not of an actual event. The half-slip existed, as well some crinolines. I was never brave enough to actually handle the half-slip but I did so towel capes, which were too heavy for the right effect. The crinolines I did wear on my head a few times. They gave me a feeling of long long big hair. Even then I wasn’t really dawn to cross-dressing – I guess the cultural sense of male and female was present.

My mother also had one of those make-up kits. It came in the mail. If I remember there were some Tv ads for these kits, or maybe they were in some magazine. A collection of eye brow stencils, lip stencils that she would use to create eyebrows & lip outlines for that perfect look. There were brushes an pencils. Even an eyelash curler. I did attempt eyebrows one halloween but they were more funny than scary.


This is one of those false childhood memory poems in which every detail is true but they never happened in the context they happen in here. I always wanted a cape, more in the Batman style though than Dracula. I found the red collar distracting 🙂 I have tired on a few as an adult & what a difference a fabric makes. Velvet sure looks good but it weighs a ton. Satin is nearly as bad. Plus keeping the hem out of the mud in a graveyard can be very distracting.

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

“When A Fem Walks”

Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam kicked off it’s 5th season with international flare with Korean, Middle Eastern, Asian & native poets, singers, & even dancers bringing their creativity to the stage. All are Canadians but our queer roots go deeper than nationality.

Host Charlie Petch’s boundless energy kept the night moving along well after the land acknowledgement & our queer international anthem. The hot button issue of the night was hot buttons 🙂 Hot Damn! now has official Queer Slam Buttons in a range of colours & sizes. You’ll have to come to a show to get one.

Open stagers warmed things up for the first round of the slam. I read a few pieces from my recent chap book. “they were all dead” “don’t turn the light on – I’m less lonely with you here” “being my lover takes more than persistence” “the not-for-profit industrial complex” “lower that critical gaze” “so queer I sweat rainbows & glitter”

From the first slam round: “using binary sex computers” “put a fault line across your body” “years since you left the closet but you still smell of mothballs” “launched too soon & landed too late” “bar shot after shot – you turn into your brother” “talk big act small”

Feature janice jo lee (http://janicejolee.ca) did a resonant set of poems, songs, accompanying herself on a loop station which replaced the cismale boy band of yesterday. Over dubbing herself the songs were complex, compelling & inviting. “when a fem walks down the street – she or he or they are not meat” “if you can’t handle the truth – you can’t handle the revolution” “what’s my gender today.” 

For ‘Crumpled Heart Regrowing” she added a Korean drum to the vocal layering & was join by dancer Sze-Yang Ade-Lam for a remarkable mediation on boundaries & inner strength. Between them they hit the sort emotional notes that shows like So You Think You Can Dance? strive to imitate.

From the last slam round: “morning showers bring afternoon rainbows” “separate the has been from the never was” “I’m going to keep saying my name until it is not forgotten” “when worth is only measured by western standards” “the sound of motherhood is knocking on a cracked door” “why was I born with this ticking clock.”

Winners were declared, prizes were given, photos were taken & season 5 was launched into the stratosphere 🙂 Next Toronto Hot Damn will be at Buddies in Bad Times November 15. 

Spoilers

boy gets girl

dog lives

monster vanquished

boy buys right girl

man repents

eviler spirits arise

escape succeeds

money isn’t enough

love conquers all

she feels compete in marriage

success isn’t everything

he was a she

family is reunited

all is forgiven

things are never the same again

she knows better

he finds a purpose in self sacrifice

boy gets boy

dog learns a lesson

man rescued from loneliness by child

greed is punished

being pretty isn’t fulfilling

he didn’t really want her

the lame horse wins a race

he dies saving others

the truth remains hidden

it was all a dream

there is no escaping

they were ghosts

drugs were a bad choice

bad guy repents

she was a princess all along

the villain was his father

the castle blows up

the space ship blows up

the race is won

marriage means more than career

he is a genius

the plants were evil

Satan is foiled

he walks again

she forgives her rapist

he sees the errors of his ways

his heart is ten times bigger

everyone is dead

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

For Free

For Free

I decided to stop

giving it away for free

when the bar manager

made it clear my free

wasn’t bringing enough 

in drink sales

drink that cost more

than I could afford

because I was giving it away for free

 

every poet

was expected to give it away for free

that’s how it was done

our opportunity

to give it away for free

was paid for in what the bar earned

we were worth our weight in foam

which is ultimately worthless

because what given away for free

became valueless not priceless 

 

when I decided to stop

giving it away for free

it was as if

I priced myself out of the market

a market that went on

without me

 

giving it away for free

let me     forced me

to devalue myself

because people may be grateful

for free

but they only respect 

what they pay for

and I deserve at least

as much respect

as your next drink

I’ve been asked a few times why I stopped doing spoken word shows or even open stages. I told them that I was tried of seeing bartenders make more in tips than the features were getting. It wasn’t an even playing field with poets struggling to pay printing costs while others were struggling to get grant money. Struggling to be heard at the mic over the chatter of the next features friends didn’t seem worth the effort to me.

When I told one series (now defunct) organizers that I wanted to be paid I was told that so&so, who won such&such prize, featured there for free. It was as if I had an ego problem to be expected remuneration. I declined the honour. I know one performer who declined a ‘show’ where they was expected to give a % of any chapbooks sold to the organizers, after all they made it possible for them to even sell chapbooks.

There are worse horror stories of poets, singers who are expected to be grateful to perform without getting paid, or even getting a cut of the door, while being expected to do all the pr work for the event. 

The only open stage I perform on regularly is Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam mainly to make sure old white cismale queers get some representation 🙂 I turned down Pride as the person asking was sure the ‘exposure’ was enough for me – I said ‘Honey try getting Lavern Cox to appear just for exposure.’ I haven’t been approached since 🙂 I am as supportive of the ‘community’ as it is of me.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Jimi Hendrix

What can I say about Hendrix? Died too young period. I played the Are You Experienced? lp grey, replaced it twice. He was one of the first pop stars that I fantasized about when I was jacking off (the first was Jim Morrison). He was one of the few stars that all my friends liked. I once knew all the words to Purple Haze. All alone in my little basement room in Cape Breton I cried the day he died. 

In my collection I have as stand alone’s: Are You Experienced?, Axis: Bold as Love, Electric Lady Land, Ultimate Experience, BBC Sessions, Isle of Wight 1970, Feeling Good, Sunshine of Your Love. An mp3 collection that includes Axis Outtakes, Rainbow Bridge, Band of Gypsies & tucked away in another mp3 collection Cry of Love. Plus a ‘is it Hendrix or not’ set of jams with member of Traffic. 

Wait there’s more: Hendrix at Woodstock. A dvd of his Monterey Pop break though. Not to mention Gil Evans’ jazz take on Hendrix. Plus biographies by Curtis Knight and one by Charles R. Cross. In a pic file I have a photo of the cast of his cock made by the Plaster Casters. A bough in San Francisco teeshirt of the Axis cover art & a lunch pail of the same.

I’m not going to name check every track or every lp. The Experience studio albums are still state of the art engineering. They are also state of the art psychedelic. Feeling Good, Sunshine of Your Love are weird odds & ends of live stuff that slipped under the radar of his label. Messy at times but fun. One track has a very drunk Jim Morrison bellowing away. 

It’s his Experience studio work I enjoy the most. He seemed to lose direction without the band. The Woodstock release isn’t true to the event, though, as the percussionists & horns playing with him on stage, have been nearly erased from the mix that has been released. But it is still worth having. His sense of fashion still inspires my selection of shirts. 

Craving

‘You want it? Don’t you? You want it bad? I can tell. I can see it in your eyes, in your flesh. The way sweat beads along your upper lip. You want it? Don’t you? You want it bad? I can tell.’

‘Are you talking to me?’ 

‘Yes. Of course who else would I be talking to.’

I glanced around the mall. It was thick with people scouring the stores for that ultimate bargain. 

‘Anyone of them?’

‘Oh no. You heard. It had to be you. You want it? Don’t you? You want it bad. I can tell.’

‘Excuse me?’ Another woman stopped. ‘Are you talking to me?’

‘No. He’s talking to me.’

‘Perhaps I mean both of you.’

‘What’s he going on about?’ the second woman asked me.

‘I don’t know. I heard him babbling like this and stopped. I thought he was a pan handler.’

‘Ladies! I am not a pan handler.’ He stood an inch taller. ‘I am here as a warning, as an oracle to your future.’

‘Oh please. Give me a break.’ I started to leave.

‘No. Wait. You can’t go. You know you can’t go. You both know I’m right. You both want it? Don’t you? You want it bad. I can tell.’

Another shopper stopped. ‘What’s he selling.’

‘The future.’ I told her.

‘Been there, done that.’ She started to walk away.

‘You cannot have been there,’’ he railed at her. ‘No one has seen  the future. No has done it.’

‘Look. I know what I’m talking about. In a moment I will be gone.’ she left.

‘I guess she didn’t want it that bad.’ I wanted to laugh. ‘So get on with it. What’s the spiel. What do we want?’

‘Yeah. Come on,’ the other woman added. ‘I haven’t got all day.’

‘You have a life time ladies. A life time. But you want it? Don’t you? You want it bad I can tell.’

‘We’ve heard that bit. Get on with it or we’ll be gone, too.’

‘No. You can never escape once it had sunk its insidious claws into you. Never escape.’

‘Look,’ The other woman stepped away. ‘I’m escaping now.’ She disappeared into the crowd.

‘What’s with you people these days? No depth. No real sense of value.’

‘You have to give people something of value. I’m sure you mean well. What ever it is you may think. But words aren’t enough.’

‘But don’t you feel it? Deep. In your bones. Feel that something, that need.’

‘The only need I’m beginning to feel is the need to take a …’ I stopped. I couldn’t tell him that. What was coming over me? Telling a stranger I had to go to the bathroom.

‘Ah. So I was right. You want it? Don’t you? You want it bad, I can tell. The ladies room is through the food court.’

‘Thank you.’

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

http://buddiesinbadtimes.com/event/hot-damn-its-a-queer-slam-feat-janice-lee/

http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday

October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up

https://www.facebook.com/TorontoGratitudeRoundup/

October scary poetry every Wednesday & Thursday

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Castle Rock Rocks

Hulu’s Castle Rock was satisfying & more fun to watch than I expected. It never became as bloody (or as silly) as American Horror Story, didn’t get as gloomy & relentless as Taboo or Handmaiden or as soapy as The Dome. Overall I enjoyed the writing, the cast & in particular the music.

Spoiler warning: there may be spoilers in this review but I’ll try not to give too much away either. Based on locations & characters out of the entire Stephen King oeuvre the writers do a great job of referencing without being slavish to King. Episode One started in Shawshank Prison and I was doubtful of enjoying the series. 

I have read King extensively but not recently so this opening made me fearful that I wouldn’t understand this world without an extensive knowledge of his work – but I didn’t. The plot & subplots are quite clear without knowing a word of King. The show is full of ‘Easter eggs’ small references to some of his writing i.e. there is a Claiborne’s Cafe in the background of some shots.

The plot hinges on the discovery of Bill Skarsgård as “The Kid” in an isolated cage in in an aboandoned part Shawshank Prison. Is he evil, good or merely in the wrong dimension? He asks for Henry Deaver (André Holland) who turns out to be a lawyer. In the course of the show we meet Sissy Spacek as Henry’s mother Ruth Deaver; Scott Glenn as Alan Pangborn – character who appears in King’s novels & some short stories; & Noel Fisher as prison guard Dennis Zalewski.

The atmosphere is eerie as opposed to scary. The story telling is often done in flash-backs. The Dark Tower multiple universes concept is more a distraction than an explanation. The finale wrapped things in a tidy way – Henry gets the Kid released in the beginning & in the end Henry becomes the Kid’s new jailer. 

I loved the episode 7 “The Queen” & hated episode 8 “Past Perfect.” Episode 8 was great fun at the Dead & Breakfast in an American Horror Story way but was so deliberately clever I was disappointed. It showed that the only reason there was a Jackie Torrence character was for the punch line of her wielding an axe. One direct King reference  that didn’t advance or add to any plot line but merely existed for the witty Shining references.

What I enjoyed as much as the show was the Castle Rock Critical podcast with a fine set of hosts who explored each episode scene by scene, theorized what might be happening, pointed out the many King references & made it all fun. On their scale I’d give the season 4 out of 5 blueberries. It loses a berry for too many unresolved plot threads and for events that were only there for atmosphere i.e. the dog that takes the severed head. I’d give the podcast 5 blueberries.

The performances were all excellent. On line & on the podcast there was a lot of sexual ogling of Bill Skarsgård, who as an actor was excellent, but as a sex object I find to be a tall glass of tepid water. Give me André Holland, or even Noel Fisher any day (or night). Then again this Castle Rock takes place in a dimension with no LGBTQ people.

Elbow 

1

‘They found another elbow in the park.’

My mother was doing something to eggs on the stove. The scrape of the spatula dull on the frying pan as if she wasn’t fully playing attention to anything. 

‘I said they found … ’

‘I heard you dear. I’m afraid they have to be scrambled.’

I hated scrambled eggs. I could cook my own breakfast, but when I started she would hover, then take over as if she was doing me a favour. Saying something like ‘boys shouldn’t cook’

‘Left or right’ she asked.

‘Huh?’

‘The elbow, was it left or right?’

‘I didn’t hear.’

The eggs were a yellow clump with browned edges

‘That makes the fifth elbow this month.’

‘Soon they’ll have enough for a whole body’ my mother half laughed. ‘How are the eggs?’

‘Yummy.’

‘Can they tell left from right?’ She stirred her coffee. ‘It’s just an elbow joint.’

‘Yep. The eggs are fine. Severed clean. I suppose there’s enough for them to tell from the way the joint moves.’

‘Yuk.’ My mother shuddered. ‘Gives me the creeps to think of an elbow like that – of some csi guy manipulating it with their hands.’

She manipulated an invisible elbow in the air over her coffee cup.

‘Would it squeak like a rusty door?’ she made a weird squeak with her voice. ‘Creeeeeequee.’

We both laughed till tears ran down our cheeks.

2

‘Could you pass me that book?’ Mrs. Coude gestured with the stump of her right arm.

‘This one?’ I picked up the English text that had fallen off her desk.

She’d had two complete arms yesterday. In her sleeveless dress the stump was hard to miss. A complete left arm and nothing on the other side. As if it was trick of the light. My eyes were almost seeing what was once there. I didn’t want to stare too obviously. It wasn’t a red raw. The end was smooth, healed. The nub, just before where the elbow would be, was so natural, as if there had never been a limb beyond it. It seemed impossible to me that less that twenty-four hours ago she had a flesh and blood arm there and now her forearm was gone.

She was the first person I had met who had suffered the loss of an elbow. I had so many questions. I had to know how did it happen.  Did she feel anything when it happened. Did she wake up in this morning and her elbow was gone.

She went to the board and started to write with her left hand. The letters were childlike, less controlled, as she went along. At one point she rubbed some of it out with her right shoulder. She stopped abruptly, her back to us as she sobbed into her left hand.

A couple of students went to the office to get the vice-principle. It felt like we were telling on her, but something had to be done.

Mr. De Codo took her by the shoulders and gently lead her out of the room.

‘You boys behave. Someone will be with you directly.’

We sat still, silent, looking at the scattered smudge she had put on the blackboard. Then began to copy it as exactly as we could. One never knew what was going to be on the exams.

(Elbow to be continued next week)

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every Tuesday

October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up

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October scary poetry every Wednesday & Thursday

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

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Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Taking Pictures

Taking Pictures

do I need another coffee mug

even from Mumbai

or another t-shirt

even one from Istanbul

do I want you buying me gifts

on your travels

 

it’s nice to be thought of

but you know

a photo of the mug would be enough

better yet

a photo of you naked

holding that mug

to your lips

because when you travel

that’s what I miss the most

or a picture of you

mugging in the mirror

in your hotel room

with the t-shirt pulled up

with one hand

the camera in the other

and your dick below

catching the glint of the summer sun

 

I don’t want your overtime work

that pays for the travel

to be turned into some souvenir 

that sits on my shelf

until I donate it to some garage sale

 

better yet

take me with you

so I can take pictures

This is based on real experience – both receiving & giving travel gifts. I have been given some of the most hideous t-shirts by various friends that they picked up just for me on their travels – bright colours aren’t going to sell me on a crappy graphic of eyes bulging out at a boobs on the beach. My thanks is usually on behalf of of the nearly clothing donation bin.

Now if they had texted me a photo of that tee still on the pile I would have even happier & more amused. My Mumbai buddy now asks if there’s anything I might like to have when he travels because he knows I don’t want anymore tee shirts, crockery is too hard to pack. This year he’ll bring me tea packaged for the local market. Something I will use & enjoy.

Some of my other travel friends know that face pics or beach sunset pics are enough for me. A few do take that extra step of showing me uh … their tan lines. A post card is sweet too. 

When I travel I do text pics to friends of things I see. No more than one a day though. Yes I do send more explicit selfies to those who merit them 🙂 I do buy tee’s for a couple of them as well. One once sent me a picture of himself while he was in Kenya, wearing the DC tee I gave him, so I know it was practical & appreciated & looks good on him (it looks best on the floor beside my bed.) He brought me back a box of tea (that tastes nearly as good as he does.) 

This piece was fun to write. It let my mind ramble away from social commentary, emotional interactions or childhood memories. The 222 Rules aren’t prompts that lead me to humour.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet