Therapy

 

True story – Several years ago I started to see a guy & there was good chemistry between us. When he found out I had never been to therapy it ended because he couldn’t relate to someone who had never been to therapy. I thought – such is life. He made me think of people who say ‘I don’t trust someone who won’t drink (alcohol) with me.’

 

A recent Gayish podcast (119) was about the role of therapy in lgbtq+ lives. One of the hosts conclusions was that everyone needs therapy – by which they mean one-on-one work with a therapist. I have never engaged in one-on-one work with a therapist. (Please don’t revoke my gay card 🙂 ) The closest I’ve come to therapy, I guess, is decades of 12 Step meetings – group therapy of sorts – in fact the that modem of group self-help is the model for group therapy. But 12 Step doesn’t involve professionals to facilitate such groups. https://gayishpodcast.podbean.com

I’ve written extensively about growing up gay which has worked out much of the ptsd I experienced as a child & teen – the ptsd I’ve experienced from the gay ‘community’ is another story 🙂 What is worse – being bullied & belittled by the straight community for being queer or being bullied & belittled by the gay community for not being handsome, young, hung or buff enough to be acceptable? 

The Gayish episode is an excellent guide to types of therapy based on the hosts personal experience. The statistics on mental health & addiction issues in the lgbtq+ community are dismaying but not surprising. As we see greater visibility for queers in our culture I hope many of the emotional, mental issues that come from isolation, fear, internalized homophobia, will lessen. Gayish is one of the ways in which such changes continue.

Lucky

when I tell people 

I’m lucky to alive today

they act as if I’m overreacting

because in many ways

my life has been a breeze

I didn’t suffer any physical 

sexual abuse growing up

never went hungry

my parents never divorced

so what do I have to complain about

 

it’s not that I’m complaining 

just making a statement of fact

I’m lucky to alive

maybe they don’t know

that there as a time

when gay teens were put into 

mental institutions to be cured

given shock treatments

lobotomies

behaviour modification

chemical castration

so they would be obedient 

normal boys and girls

 

role models were nonexistent 

until Elton John came along 

(oh, why couldn’t it have been 

Bruce Springsteen)

 

what saved my life 

was music & writing

not writing how

‘fear was too great’ 

but writing about anything 

music never judged me

never waited outside school to beat me up

didn’t tell on you

didn’t turn away

when I searched album covers

for inspiration in words

in Jim Morrison’s tight pants 

mooning over sturdy arms 

of drummer Keith Moon

never knowing anything about their lives

 

maybe if I had known 

Jim Morrison 

was a real back door man

Moon was a bi guy

their fame allowed them freedom

but not freedom of the press

careers would have been ruined

 

yeah I’m lucky to be alive

because the help I could have used

then

would have killed me

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

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
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September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

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

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Everyone Has One

Everyone Has An Opinion

his opinion was

irrelevant to me

not that he was

in fact I enjoyed

spending time with him

until he commented

on an item in the news

the item was not relevant

to why were naked together

 

as he went on & on

I was at first amused

then dismayed

offered a more moderate

point of view

which goaded him even further 

 

he was fun in bed

I choose to overlook his opinion

one I never asked for

& now that I knew it

there was no need to

know more about him

or his opinions

only when we might 

get together again

 

which we did eventually

and when we did

it was good

until he launched 

into an opinion

 

he spoke as one

who only listens

to those who agree with him

which I understand 

why spend time 

with people who argue with you

life is too short

 

I’m no one’s teacher

besides he knew what he knew

who was I to disagree

so

seeing him again

was no longer relevant

Sex & politics are often a bad mix. One of the traditions in 12 step recovery is that our opinions on outside issues are left outside of the room – the focus is on recovery not on who is running for x party. As in this piece, knowing too much about the other person can often change how we hear them. One things I’ve realized about myself is often I have no real opinions only smart-assed one-liners.

I don’t mind making chit-chat when I see a guy mind you but I stick to things like the weather, music, maybe TV shows we discover we both like – but I avoid politics, religion, etc. I can be judgemental when certain political, race, or even class options don’t coincide with mine. This guy, & this is a real experience, felt fine to spontaneously mouth off with his bigoted thoughts on both blacks & whites.

As I haven’t experienced the world as he has I didn’t argue but let him know I didn’t see some of these issues as he did. At least he wasn’t homophobic 🙂 The sex was great, but to be honest, that isn’t enough for me. Even in a FWB relationship I need some emotional &, I guess, philosophical connection.  He on the other had felt that because I wasn’t argumentative that we were compatible enough for his needs.

I stopped putting energy into future get togethers. Made excuses a few times, caved a few times (solely because the sex was good). I succeeded in directing conversations away from his hobby-horses. But it was more work than I was willing to put inot what was supposed to be play. That was the focus of our getting together, not me learning tolerance & patience. So I stopped responding. Such is life. 

The title is a reference to the phrase – “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks.”


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Not Insulted

I’m Not Your Girlfriend

no

I’m not insulted

but

after years of being called

faggot fairy

I’m not going to put up 

with other queers

using those words 

to tease

to cut me down to size

the same goes for 

girl or girlfriend

 

it’s not that 

I don’t have a sense of humour

the only lesson I get

when you say

‘get over it girlfriend’

is that you are still feeding into

the commodification

the compulsion

of making ‘gay’ me

into something less masculine

no masculine is the wrong word

but ‘girlfriend’

is meant to be derogatory

because of the view

that ‘girl’ is lesser

no one says

‘get over it boyfriend’

 

so no I’m not insulted

merely bored

tired of people using 

the dominant culture’s language

to maintain a status quo

I don’t take myself so seriously

you can call me faggot

but don’t expect respect

in return

The climate around appropriate language is become increasingly volatile & unpredictable. It seems that if one isn’t as upset by something that another person is upset by then the problem is your lack of support, of sensitivity to their issue. Is it even appropriate anymore to give gender specific names to children?

Within the Lgbt+ community there is shift to gender neutral appropriateness. At many events one is asked what pronouns they wish to be used. Hosting shows I’ve been careful to find out what to use for introductions, & when blogging about shows I try to use as few pronouns as possible so as not to mis-gender anyone. It is creating a more nuanced use of language. 

In my post My Ass Pussy I talked about the use of feminizing language for man-to-man sex to somehow make it less gay. On a recent Gayish Podcast they talk about the use of ‘gurl’ between gay men as a playful taunt. To not want to be be called ‘gurl’ is seen as being overly sensitive & hence not queer enough.

Trans people fight for the right to choose the language that is used to refer to them, for pronouns, for respect. Blacks do the same. Yet when I don’t want to be referred as ‘gurl’ I have been sneered at by the very people who want to be so inclusive. I’ve been dis-included in some circles because I’m not accepting enough to let them call me faggot because they feel it’s okay because we are all faggots anyway, so get over yourself. I am over myself, but this sort of amusingly derogatory use of language tests my tolerance more and more. I’m not insulted but we are not amused.


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I Put Out


I started listening to a new podcast in April – Gayish. There has been 118 podcasts so far & I’m both keeping up to date & listening to the archive starting with number 1. Two gay cismale friends talk about stuff while having a few glasses of wine. Recent podcasts covered circumcision and French tuck (not the same thing apparently 🙂 )

 

Earlier topics included coming out, interviews with one another’s family members. Their focus is dealing with stereotypes & calling themselves out on getting caught up in those stereotypes. They actually do research & cite studies & statistics to back up their facts. They are also quite funny.

 

I have joined their FB page, follow them of twitter, also joined the Patreon support https://patreon.com/gayishpodcast. The other Patreon I support is Disability After Dark https://www.patreon.com/disabilityafterdark/. Both of which explore sexuality in a direct, fun & supportive way. Not that I live in a bubble but listening to Gayish is like having the smart, gay guy pals that I’ve never had. 

The very first was about putting out on the first ‘date.’ The open talk about gay sex, top, bottom is good to hear, in a gay culture in which bottoming isn’t seen as positive as topping. i.e. bottoms are sluts, tops are studs. They even name check two books I have read. How To Top Like A Porn Star; How To Bottom Like A Porn Star. I found both books to be beneficial. When I came out there were no ‘how to’ books so it was decades before I really enjoyed bottoming – because the first tops I played with didn’t know what they were doing.

I do put out on a first date, but I don’t go the whole hog until the third 🙂


Wide Open

something happens 

when my skin is in the same room 

as his

I don’t even have to know he is there

I can feel something 

through my clothes 

through every layer 

coat sweater jeans undies

a emanation comes from him

his eyes   his smile

his indifference

that changes my chemical structure 

that grows glows down to my toes

in fact

he doesn’t even have to be there

 

I can start to talk about him

someone can mention his name

and I feel that subtle shift

like a leaf turning the sun

his picture 

his voice on the telephone

a text

doesn’t take much

for my hypersensitive flesh

to begin reacting to him

the closer he is

the less subtle the reaction

the more alone we are together

the less subtle the manifestation becomes

those radians through the air around us

as we approach the bed

step into a shower

snuggle to watch TV

those emanation knit

pull us closer and closer

enmeshed in each other

breathe the same air

walk in the same sunshine

wash with the same soap

complete without each other

but always eager for the knit

creating those opportunities 

to mention the name

laugh about something 

we could have done

but got caught up in the shower together

got lost between the between the bed and the TV

 

I can’t say that I don’t feel 

this radian from others

there are times when opportunity

allows that awareness

I feel it first in my skin

look around the room  the street 

to see who it’s coming from

can it be returned

eyes become heat seeking sensors

who looked for me that way

whose radiants flickered over mine

I’m turning like that leaf

looking for some sun

more light 

more opportunity to share that flow

with someone else

even if it is merely to nod and smile

acknowledge not act

don’t have to act every time  

anytime

the grace of light fills us each to overflowing

no need to fear there won’t be enough

 

all I have to do is breathe deep 

and open myself to the gift

of learning another name

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

every Tuesday 2019

May

Stratford Festival – Henry VIII

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

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

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Reliving with HIV

I moved to Toronto in 1979. In that first year I got sober, met the man I still share life with, and lost the job that brought me to Toronto. The second year I was working closely with gay men in recovery. The gay cancer – GRID – was already taking its toll on the community. When it first became AIDS – people were confused with Aydes: a diet candy – which went out of business partly because of the phonetic associate with the disease.

A couple of men in 12-step-recovery got me involved in what eventually became ACT – The AIDS Committee of Toronto. I attended those early board meetings as a group of men, women, gay, queer, lesbian, straight created a structure for dealing with what became a holocaust. I helped create the buddy system. Did home care for men I knew. I cycled out of committee work & became part of a meditation, healing circle. I buried more people that I can count.

That’s not a resume I care to reflect upon but recently I read “Hold tight gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the battlefield of AIDS” by Martin B Duberman. It looks at the history of HIV activism in the USA though the lives of two talented men. One white, one black. You know, I can’t recall many minorities participating in those early days when ACT was being shaped here in Toronto. This book reveals the complexity of class, race & marginalization.

Reading it I relived my own fears, frustrations & powerlessness in those years. I felt grief as each – Michael, then Essex died as a result of the inability & unwillingness of the medical community to deal with the crisis. The book also reveals in detail how the marginalized minorities were often left to their own devices to be included in anyway.

The music of Michael Callen is still available on iTunes, check him out on YouTube. More cabaret style though his days with the Flirtations and great fun. Essex Hemphill’s spokenword can be seen on YouTube as well, but be warned he is a brilliant, fearless & confrontative in ways that are still challenging today. Some made me tear up. Sadly most of his writing is out of print 😦 (I’ve ordered two of the out-of-prints via Abe Books). His poetry is breathtaking & heart stopping. His open-hearted emotional frankness has now become one of my inspirations.

Formative

she asked

are you married single 

neither

widower

nope

you have to be one those

I’ve lived with my partner 

for over twenty years 

we aren’t married.

oh, I that’s common-law

what is her name

his name you mean

oh there’s no place 

on this form for male spouse

he isn’t my spouse

he’s my partner

very well 

I’ll put own common-law 

 

now what religion are you

none

oh you don’t believe in God 

as matter of fact I do believe in God

then what faith do you practice

none

but you can’t believe in God 

and not have faith 

I do have faith

I do believe in God 

but I’m not caught up 

in any religious persuasion

I’ll say atheist then

atheists don’t believe in God 

I reminded her

but I have to have answers for this form

I’ll just put down atheist

no I am not an atheists 

is there a place there for heretic

no

 

then the form is fascist

it doesn’t allow 

for practices 

other than those it defines 

as acceptable 

I didn’t create the form sir 

I’m just filling it in

but you made that judgment call 

didn’t you

that if I wasn’t religious 

I had to be atheist 

agnostic at best

 

we can skip that  part of the form

then why is it there

for statistical purposes sir

but the only people 

who get statistically counted 

are those whom the form allows 

to be included

what about us who don’t fit 

the confines of the form

don’t we get counted

you get counted as nonbelievers

but I just told you I do believe in God

I’m just not Catholic

Buddhist

Jewish or whatever 

possible categories you have 

on that form

isn’t there a box you can check for other

no sir there isn’t

let’s move on please

 

what political party do you support

is this as relevant 

as the religious question 

or just more statistical information

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

every Tuesday 2019


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

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

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

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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‘Quieting the colonial hum’

 

The Hot Damn! season 5 finale filled Buddies in Bad Times to the rafters. The house filled so rapidly that the event actually started on time !! Yes, a spoken word event that started on time 🙂 House music was provided by DJ Sofia Fly, who also supplied great entrance & exit music for the slammers. Not that the energy of the house needed any help 🙂

 

The show opened with Charlie Petch’s land acknowledgment followed a set of songs by Ogichidaa Kwe. The song about the warning heard but not believed resonates in our political climate as we deal with governments who feel warnings are not to be believed without the right corporate backing.

I was one of the lucky poets who participated in Nasra Adem’s Mirror of Tarot workshop the night before at Unit 2 so I was ready to see their feature set. In a flashing of red and gold Nasra’s set was spokenword alternating with songs and a dash of political anger. 

some moments from that set: the sun looks up & catches my glint – I just want to ride my intentions – I quiet the colonial hum around me – how loud men are with their fear – healing only happens when I’m safe enough to call for help – bluest black starlight – if this shit ain’t intersectional it don’t exist – white feminism can suck my dick – you can wipe your tears they aren’t needed here.
After a break Charlie started the slam with the queer national anthem – somewhere over the rainbow. Then the eager slammers hit the stage with pieces that were emotionally powerful, funny, deeply personal & accurate skewering of our dominant culture’s inability to accept diversity on all levels.

moments from round one: a shade of blue trying make bruises jealous, half my identity was stolen from me by the time I was six, I want you to talk to me rather than write it all in your journal, compensation doesn’t undo the truth, he tried to whitewash me with his bedsheets, my bravery doesn’t mean your allyship is unnecessary, down the rabbit hole of trauma, the nights my memory of you is my razor blade, I never studied dance but learned how to fall with precision, it’s safer to play chameleon, either swallow fear of be swallowed by it, fat kids should eat because they are fat, every bite tastes like shame.

Moments from round two: you don’t want me & it cuts to my soul, wrote a note on my phone not to text you, the sound of motherhood knocks a cracked door, when in this city I avoid the subway, I would hold you the way gravity holds the atmosphere, I guess it isn’t about sex anymore, confession is telling how good she tastes, is there a way to be Christian & not be ignorant, being queer is fucking difficult, I used cover girl to cover up the hicks, congratulations! you’re straight, why can’t I be as angry as him.

Over these five years Hot Damn! as become an amazing force for diversity. It has created & maintained a safe space were the gender marginalized members of already marginalized communities can come together to express their loves, frustrations, fears and outright fucking anger without being judged. Oh right, they are judged as part of the slam, but that’s a different matter 🙂

It was a non-stop feast (or perhaps feeding frenzy) of words from the competing poets Sulva, Charly Bird, Dee Durward (QUEIRDO winner! Doe!) Robert Molloy, & Danielle Workman. After scores were tallied: the top three were (it was SO CLOSE) Jayda Marley (3rd 58.5), Fira (58.9) and winner Wes Ryan (59.2). 

 

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Memory Squeeze

Memory Squeeze

a light sting

skin broken

some blood

a minor hurt

it will heal fast

a couple of showers

there’ll be no sign

no scab

not even a scar

 

a minor memory

that conjures a bigger memory

of the years

years ago

in another century

another country

where I was a cutter

 

a time when I made myself bleed

more than this

there was no need to squeeze

the blood flowed easily

I’m over that now

or so I thought 

buried the memory

deep enough 

yet when I pop a pimple

it comes back

 

then I had a fearful despair 

of needing the proof of being ordinary

I no longer feel that need

but

when I squeeze

I’m forcing that memory out again

into my day today

 

I stop 

wash my hands

wondering 

why am I plucking 

at that thread again

Part of my self-abuse history involves being a cutter – that is someone who deliberately cuts themselves in one way or the other. Burners are people who, you guessed it, deliberately burn themselves – sometimes with cigarettes. I didn’t recognize or label my behaviour as such at the time, so I didn’t seek any sort of help for it either. Good things I didn’t, as I’ve said before, if I got the help need then the help available would have killed me.

LGBTQ teens at that time could be legally institutionalized by their parents – once there they were chemically castrated or given shock-treatment  or lobotomized. Sometimes I forget what I survived without really knowing the danger I was in – danger I only found out when I was well out of that danger. There wasn’t even conversion ‘therapy’ unless one counts the constant fear of been beaten up for smiling at the wrong time as conversion therapy.

The cutting started before I became a drunk and continued for awhile when I sobered up. It wasn’t a regular thing but it was often enough to be considered a thing.

 

I sometimes share about it in recovery but rarely talk about it otherwise. I’ve written another piece about it long ago. The memory of that behaviour can resurface now if I find myself worrying the occasional pimple on my arm or if I scratch an itch too much. As the poems ends I check my action to make sure its just an itch & not some stress I’m acting out on. Usually it’s a thoughtless nervous action that alerts me to the fact that I am nervous. 


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Coal Dusters Chapter XLVII – Lillian Goes to Church

Coal Dusters: Book 1 is now available as as PDF – this covers the first 35 chapters – 65540 words – send $1.99 to  paypal.me/TOpoet

Coal Dusters

Chapter XLVII

Lillian Goes to Church 

Lillian stood on the front walk of the the McFadden’s home. The O’Dowell’s had come over to New Waterford for the night on Saturday so they could attend the special service at Mount Carmel. The strike was nearing its fifth week with no sign of ending. The Monseigneur had called for a special service on Sunday to bring the Word of God to the parishioners of the area. Her uncle was one of the priest asked to speak to the men.

Clara had insisted on her and Lillian spending the night so they wouldn’t be rushed in the morning to get across the bay to New Waterer in time for the service. She plucked a stray thread off of her dark coat. She was pleased at the opportunity to wear some of her Boston clothes. Even more pleased to have her lace gloves to cover her hands. Her eyes kept going down to her pumps. How dainty her feet looked in the dark blue shoes. Probably two years out of style by now, she thought, but still looking better than anything she had seen anyone wearing here.

“Ah Lillian, there you are.” Clara came out of the house followed by the McFadden’s and their two daughters. “You are looking quite well turned out today.”

“Thank You Clara. I haven’t gotten much opportunity to dress my best.”

They walked the few blocks to the church.

As she with Clara, Lillian noticed a large number men in uniform along the street. They were smoking and laughing. Some appeared to have been drinking.

“Who are they going to protect.” Mr. McFadden said. “The choir?”

The extra militia had been brought in to New Waterford at the demand of the coal company. The management had pressured the local police to beef up security around the mines after many of the company stores had been ransacked. It was as if they had been hoping the miners would take that more militant action after the ambush hadn’t succeeded. Any action so the company could escalate things in their own way.

Lillian and Clara passed through the main part of of the town. Off to one side street were more men on horseback. There was also some artillery on a wheeled cart. Colonel Strickland stood there with his hands behind his back watching the men inspect the artillery. 

“What do they expect the miner’s to do?” Lillian asked Clara.

“They are sure there are agitators working to undermine the company’s influence.”

“Agitators?”

“Men whose only intent to disrupt lawful business under the guise of making things better for the workers. Communists.” Clara waved to her brother. “Steven, any word from BritCanada Coal?”

He crossed the street to join them. “Good morning.” He kissed his sister on the cheek and shook Lillian’s hand. They had decided to keep their engagement a secret for the time being. The assembly is in full agreement with Wolvin’s statement that the men can end all this simply by returning to work. They are willing to open the mines so the men can start earning their keep. As general manager he has no ability to negotiate. He’s only a messenger but the men feel he’s the one keeping the company from giving in.”

“Their keep!” Mr. McFadden said. “They were being paid barely enough to keep house and family together under the old contract and now they have to settle for less?”

“Mr. McFadden, in order for the company to remain competitive in the market they have to have the coal for less, that means paying the men less. The alternative is to close down more of the mines. Is that what you think the miners want?”

“You know as well as I do that the miners want an end to this starvation. BritCanada Coal is letting the miners’ children pay the price of their profits.”

“BritCanada Coal can’t be held accountable for the ….” Steven glanced apologetically to Lillian and the other ladies, “… the propagation habits of the miners. If you can’t afford children don’t bring more into the world.”

“Steven!” Clara snapped. “What a thing to say!”

They were at the church steps. In the foyer the Monseigneur was greeting parishioners as they arrived. Father Patrick was at his side. She hadn’t seen him since he had ‘cast her forth into the wilderness’ as it was reported to her by Aileen. She didn’t offer her hand to him but merely nodded as his glance went quickly to Mrs. McFadden beside her. 

Seeing him again made her bruises throb. She had kept Clara from seeing how severe they actually were. She had made Dr. Drummond swear not to mention the severity of them to anyone. The few long hot soaking baths which she had over the past week had eased the pain considerably. Aileen had insisted she try a poultice of comfrey and mustard which reduced the swelling and discolouration.

She followed Clara to the pew they were to use for the service. On the way she was stopped by Hanna Seldon.

“Miss Lillian, it’s good to see you looking well.”

“You too Hanna. How’s the baby.”

“Poorly miss. He has that flu so many of the children have had the past few months. Least we have been able feed him to keep his strength up. The doctor says there’s a good chance he’ll pull through.”

Lillian shook her head in dismay. As the strike progressed and food became scarce many families had less and less to eat. Gardens had helped stave of some of the hunger but many of the children were weak from lack of proper nutrition. This weakness made them more vulnerable to colds and recently a flu. There were funerals daily.

“I wish there was more I could do.” Lillian said.

“Knowing your prayers are with us is more than enough. At least we have a roof over our heads. There’s now many that doesn’t. When they closed the Lingan mine those families were forced out of the company houses. No mine no home. Where is a person to go?”

“There’ll be help I’m sure.” Lillian kissed Hanna on the cheek and joined Clara. She was more grateful that ever for having been given a haven when she needed one, but how long could even the O’Dowell’s  manage with things getting worse for everyone around her.

The service washed over her without her paying attention to it. She heard bits and pieces of the various rituals and the sermon. Other parishes were sending money. The Monseigneur had spoken to the Premier to no avail. The Bishop had spoken to the some cabinet misters but was told this was a provincial not a federal matter and so they would do nothing. The conclusion appeared to be that God helps those who help themselves, which in this case only the BritCanada Coal Company had pockets deep enough to help themsevels.

“What does helping themselves mean?” Lillian asked Mr McFadden as they made their way out after the mass.

“Pray and listen to the guidance one gets from the Lord.” 

“What if the Lord tells some helping themselves is to strike for better working conditions and tells others that accepting any working condition is better than not working at all?”

“Miss McTavish your words are dangerously similar to those of the Communists.”

“They … they are?” Her face flushed. “Perhaps I’ve been listening too much what Steven has to say about all this.”

“Miss McTavish you are in many ways still an outsider here. This isn’t Boston.”
“I comprehend that but …”

“The folks here don’t think logically. They have no idea of a future only of their stomachs in the now.”

They were in the foyer once again. The crowd was stopped at the doors.

Screams and shouts came from outside.

“Father,” one of the parishioners shouted. “They are charging with horses as we leave the church.”

The Monseigneur and her uncle pushed through the crowd.

The parishioners pushed back and she fell against the wall. An elderly women stumbled back into the church helping her husband. He was bleeding from a blow to the head.

“They rode up as we were walking down the street. Swinging their batons and hitting anyone they could reach.” The woman gasped. “Anyone! We’re not miners!”

Over the shouting she could hear the horses. Then gun shots. There was brief silence.

The miners who were still in the church rushed out. Some pulling up the picket fencing around the church lawn to give them something to use in self-defence.

Lillian cautiously went to one of the side exit doors to peer out. She saw a mass of men with wooden pickets flailing at the militia on horses wielding thick black clubs. Both sides were shouting accusations at each other.

“BritCan doesn’t even want us to go to church in peace. They have no respect for the God.”

“Commie rabble. Papist scum. Pray to your God now.”

“I knows you father Billy Davis.”

“Get off the streets now or …”

“These are our streets, ya goddamned company bastard.”

Another shot rang out. The fighting stopped a moment. The miners fell back to the church grounds. The militia pulled back a few yards to regroup.

A runner dashed up to one of the horsemen with a message.

“A man is dead because of you.” The lead horseman said. “How many more have to die before you learn your place.”

“Who?” several men shouted at once.

“Daniel Jenkis!” the horseman shouted back. “You ready to leave peacefully.”

“We was till you charged as us with no cause.” someone yelled back.

The horseman nodded and all the troops stepped forward. “If that’s how you want it we’ll trample the lot of you.”

“Kill a child. Is that what you want?”

“Not us. You behave and there’ll be no trouble.”

Lilian’s uncle pushed through the men and stood alone in front of them. “How can we disperse with you blocking the streets and sidewalk?” he asked quietly. He puts hands out palms up.

One of the horses reared and the front hooves hit her uncle. He fell forward under the horse. Lilian darted out to drag her uncle out of the horse’s way.

“Get out of the way you Catholic biddy.” One of the other horsemen laughed and Lilian glanced at him as he swung his baton at her.

“That’s it!” a male voice from the other side of that horseman shouted as the horseman was yanked backwards off the horse. She caught a glimpse of Steven O’Dowell wresting that rider to the ground.

The rider of the rearing horse had it under control and had pulled it away from the prone body of her uncle.

She knelt beside him. He was on his stomach and she wasn’t sure if she should turn him over.

“Uncle Pat can you hear me.” she said squeezing his hand.

“Yes child.” He turned his head toward her.

She saw that he was bleeding from a gash on his forehead. He pushed himself up painfully with his right arm. She struggled with his weight to help him stand. Two miners came over to take his weight from her.

“Thank you. I’m a bit winded. When I saw the beast rear before me it was the horsemen of the Apocalypse come to life to warn me. But this one was only an animal, not a messenger.”

“Lillian …” Steven came quickly to her brushing dust off his coat. “You haven’t been harmed in any way have you?”

“No, Steven I haven’t. Father Pat has been injured sorely. We must get him some medical attention.”

They helped her uncle back into the church. Inside on the benches were several others who had been assaulted by the militia. 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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Don Messer’s Jubilee

 

It all started with someone posting a link to a video of Fred McKenna playing some songs. What he was playing was not that interesting but it opened up a memories of my Sydney childhood in Cape Breton. When my father relocated us in Sydney it was a one TV channel town (almost as bad as a one horse town) and that channel was CJCB – which is still on the air but is now part of CTV.

 

CJCB was essentially community TV with some shows imported from Halifax. One of which was Don Messer’s Jubilee out of Halifax. Jubilee  (click Jubilee for link to video). To be honest I hated this show. I wanted real music i.e. radio top ten stuff. I don’t even recall if my parents enjoy the show but the minute it came on I dismayed. I must have watched it though because I remember the names of the singers – Marg Osburne & Charlie Chamberlain – who looked like a pair geriatrics. She was in her mid-30’s, he was in his 60’s. Fred McKenna was a frequent guest.

I also remember the Bupta Dancer who, thanks to Wikipedia, I now know were the Buchta Dancers – they did square dance crap. It was decades before I could tolerate the sound of country fiddle. But hearing Fred McKenna made me consider how this music influenced me, if at all. I did find one collection iTunes & downloaded all 32 minutes of it. Sweet but with almost no emotional resonance. The show’s intro music “Goin’ to the Barndance Tonight” isn’t included 😦

Part of why Jubilee didn’t impress me was that none of the singers or dancers had a shred of sex appeal. Black & white TV didn’t help much. Bulky boxy conservative clothes made the square dancers & singers seem even more square. The show lacked glamour or sparkle. I have vague memories of watching Liberace with my mother & being impressed by his glittery style. Jubilee had no visual style.

The music is pleasant, folky, sometimes Celtic with strong fiddle playing by Don Messer. The songs are uncomplicated folk, sea shanty & religious. Only one of the ones I’ve downloaded has much of an emotional resonance for me ‘Farewell To Nova Scotia.’ A farewell I’ve never regretted.

See Me?

people think they know me

they see me in my writing

they don’t see fiction

the fact that each confessed event

is reality 

my reality

one that they can identify with 

as my actually experience

in fact the closer I capture 

something of their emotional life 

the more they are sure

I have to have experienced it

they don’t want to believe

that each piece is a mask

not a piece of me

they see my photos 

read bits of life that I process for display

and add it up into picture of me

they approach me with that 

ah-ha

I see by your web page 

that you are …

 

they don’t realize I am 

as big a liar as they are

I may not talk in internet inches

but I don’t reveal anything out of turn either

that would be too painful 

so like so many other’s 

I adopt a mask of playful indifference

ironic poses to amuse

what they don’t see 

I’m not going to hint it

 

trust me

no one has the entire picture

many don’t even have a glimpse

not that have hidden depth

there may be surprises

tucked away in many closets

I don’t see that something to confess

shoes shirts all get displayed

and even those things 

that I explain aren’t me

the endless lists of almost lovers

sweet boyhood sexual discoveries

the bitter relationship breakups

all those fictions 

I can make so real 

are things that happen to people

but not always to me

I’m too shallow for most of that 

safe in that distance

the pose that many writers seems to strike

knowing full well

that no one questions it

the fiction

is seen as a valid side of the writer

even if I deny the experience

it must be a part of who I am

of who you perceive me to be

the need to wear this disguise

reveals who I am

 

the mask one selects 

is a reflection of the person

Romeo Harlequin Godzilla

one after the other put on 

taken off

my face the mirror of yours

so what you see as me

isn’t me at all

but the you I squeeze into 

when I sit down at the keyboard

to see though what I think is your mask

losing sense of self to that image

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


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

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
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Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Nice Undies

Nice Undies

please keep it

I don’t really need it

I have too many already

it’s not quite the right fit for me

the colour is so you

I don’t know

when I’ll ever use it

I want you to have 

you’ll get more use out of it than I would

I can’t begrudge you anything

of course you can have it

I never wore it

I only wore it once

let me see it on you

it really suits you

those undies look better on you

than they ever did on me

no I don’t hate it

it’s just not right for me

they were on sale

you’d be doing me a favour

I never want to see it again

too many memories

time to move the energy out of my life

if you don’t want it

I’ll have to throw it away

don’t let it to go to waste

it’s too good

to drop in a donation box

I want someone I know to have it

you won’t regret it

don’t thank me

thank whomever 

gave it to me

never wear it my presence

Nice Undies is a list poem of different thoughts or actual things said in giving something away. As much as I appreciate a gift I am sometimes given things that I either have, don’t want, or have no real need for. Because I enjoy bold colours I’ve been give shirts, or t-shirts that are great colours but with prints or cartoony images I’d never be seen in public wearing. Some become sleep wear, some end up in donation bins, some become regifted.

One Christmas I was given more socks than I needed, so some of them ended up in Christmas gift bags for friends. I’ve donated blank books, pens, even t-shirts to Hot Damn! as prizes. I move energy out of the house quickly so make room for new energy. It’s gotten to the point where I sometimes get a gift & I immediately think – this would be perfect for so-&-so.

Part of my personal ‘stuff’ policy is ‘if something new comes in, something old should go out.’ As a result if I keep the t-shirt someone gives me I have to cull one out of my collection to donate or give away. This can be difficult with things like shirts as my collection now if all favourites 🙂 So to make room for new I have to let go of my attachments of the old. In these cases I am more selective of where it goes but it does go.

Twice a year I cull various things from my processions: books, cds, shirts, socks, tee’s, even undies to pass on, to keep my sense of attachment in balance. I do this around New Year’s & around my birthday at the end of June. I’ve never been so invested in a memory that I can’t see someone wearing the tee I gave them. Nothing, to me, is hotter than one of my fwb arriving & finding that he’s wearing the undies I gave him. What can be more fun than some man literally getting into my pants? 🙂


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