Rainbow Remembrance


Amongst the queer history books I have on my shelf are: Paul Jackson’s One of the Boys: Homosexuality in the Military During World War II; Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men & Women in World War II by Armistice Day. As well as the novel The Invisible Glass by Loren Wahl – set in the US ‘occupation’ of Italy. Plus a dvd of interviews with some of the men & women in Coming Out Under Fire.

 

I can’t recall ever seeing a film about any of the wars: Spanish Civil War, Korea, Vietnam or the World Wars – fictional or documentary that alludes to the an lgbt presence. When Jackson was doing his research he was asked, to the effect, why sully the memories of these men/women. Which is a way of erasing that part of our history.

 

 

Besides, fairies don’t fight wars only butch real men do that. Some of these attitudes have changed, but slowly & reluctantly. LGBT soldiers, some highly decorated were give dishonourable discharges as a result of their sexuality, even when their sexuality was known when they enlisted. I’m not going to go into the history of this, you can read about it elsewhere by writers more informed.

I suspect that some of this erasure comes from toxic masculinity. The services can’t let down its butch image, even though some of the butchest, bravest of them were in fact also lgbt – that’s not the image fighting forces want to project. Reading the stories of these men & women in the Jackson’s & Berube’s books is a heartbreaking revelation & it is history that deserves to be remembered & honoured when wreathes laid on Remembrance Day, Veterans Day.

Say Again

in the beginning was the word

no one seems to agree 

as to what that word was

what language it was in

or if there’s an equivalent in any language

 

perhaps it was just a sound

not a word but an utterance

a breath

a grunt

in the beginning there was the grunt

no 

that doesn’t have the eternal ambiguity 

as there was the word

the word was

according to some

good

not that the word itself was the word good

 

the argument over what that word was

and what its import is

has not been productive or good

we can’t even agree to disagree

so maybe the word was argue

in the beginning was the word 

and word was argue

was righteousness

was mine mine mine

was I’m right 

and you are eternally damned to be wrong

because if you aren’t with me

you aren’t a true patriot

you aren’t good

 

no one contests 

that there was a word in the beginning 

it all started with a word

not a kiss

not a glance

or a pie stolen from a window ledge

 

in the beginning was the word

bird had been suggested

it’s clear that what that word was isn’t clear

perhaps it wasn’t meant to be clear

only to be heard

in the beginning was the word 

and word was heard

while most days 

we can’t even hear ourselves talk

let alone think

as we wade through 

the slough of disbelief

seeking relief in blame

wanting a word that 

absolves solves resurrects

not one that puzzles confuses and eludes

a word that supports our right to be right

that gives power to the powerful

and takes hope from the hopeless

that causes disease

a word we can agree on

 

in the beginning was the word

a word no one knows

a word no one can repeat today

in any language

until then

we will be seekers

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

Thursday 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 

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

“crazy does not discriminate”

The shocking, to many, blanket of snow that covered Toronto Thursday didn’t cool the enthusiasm of the audience for the Hot Dam show hosted by Robyn Sidhu at Buddies that night. The crowd was, as always, receptive & at times noisy in response to the performers.

random lines from the open stagers & slammers that started the show. banana marshmallows for The Man With X-Ray Eyes; the candy turned into glue bars; ran faster that nightmares; my mouth unbroken; why am I haunting him; I cycle through the motions; I miss you too much to do the dishes; queer as in – if I die in prison it was not a suicide, queer as in – everything is trying to erase me; my mother asks, why are doctors lying to her; don’t you think I was a good mom.

Feature Wes Ryan gave an amazing performance, at times it was like chatting over coffee with a good friend. The pieces were deeply personal, some dealt with trauma but without melodrama or self pity. The work of a survivor who accepts the cost of lessons. random lines: I watched those pigeons grow, they would run to the edge & stop, those times you made it through without intervention, memory lapses overlapping, I had addictions: powder cocaine, taking the blame; perverts protected by apathy; get nervous when I can’t see the eyes attached to the fingers, rest was a chore I did until I was ready to relapse.

As he performed he complained about the heat (such a porn trope – is it getting hot in here?) removing sports jacket, tie etc then for one of the final poems off with his outer garments to reveal a dress.  “didn’t study dance but learned how to fall with accuracy, the thin line between fight &  flight, crazy does not discriminate.”

After the break there was a fresh, fun, open stage of cold reads of random poems from random books of poetry on the stage. What a great way to expose the audience, & poets, to the work of other poets. From the final round: my mental health is a sitcom, only my anxiety & depression ever fucked me silly, he looks at me a little too long, my mind enters rooms well after my body does, my body is a magic trick like a disappearing home that should have been safe, love is the words to a song that has no translation.

Winners were declared, prizes given out & the show wrapped by 9:30. The next Toronto Hot Damn is January 23, 2020.

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

one of the scary pieces I read

The Haunting of Him

it is a parapsychological theory

I learned from ghost hunter shows

which says it is unfinished business

emotional 

hidden treasures 

lost keys

that keeps restless spirits on earth

but we had no unfinished business

so I don’t know why

I’m haunting him

#Kazaky Crew

I couldn’t resist Ukrainian-based synthpop dance boyband Kazaky. I have mp3 collection that includes their: I Like It (Part 1); I Like It (Part 2); The Hills Chronicles. Their videos are campy, homoerotically charged works of transgressive art. They have more style than Lady Gaga ever dreamed of & dance moves to shame Beyonce. The songs are mostly high-energy, good for writing to, sonically dense. Lyrics are erotic, political without trying to – lets face it any Ukrainian band that embraces sexuality, of any kind, is making a political statement. I’m not sure why they are labelled a ‘boyband’? Is Tool a ‘boyband’? Anyway check out the videos & then download the music.

Also here – in my dedication to moving time eras & music styles of boybands are: The Chi-Lites: Original Brunswick Hit Recordings. Best remembered for Ooh Girl this is a soulful r’n’b music. Romantic sweet & great for making out. With a more disco beat is The Hues Corporation: Rockin’ Soul. You might remember them from Rock the Boat – pleasant predictable songs about dancing, music & love;. A step up the disco ladder is The Wonderland Band’s Wonder Woman – disco takes of themes music – mainly instrumental & slightly obscure. I take a break from disco with Megon McDonough: Music Inspired by the 4 Agreements. I read the book, I got the music 🙂 sensitive piano music & songs like ‘Your Word Is Your Wand’ that affirm the agreements. Also by way of departure is Kesha’s Rainbow. Modern music by an almost superstar exploring beyond dance music with some gospel, rock, ballad & even a touch of country. All done well. On a more old school soulful side are The Allergies: Push On. When I first heard them I though this was an early 70’s soul band but they are 2018 re-creators of that time era. Superb & well worth tracking down. Finally is Deepest Blue’s Late September – a return to old-school disco. Smooth, beautifully engineered, emotive songs about the power of music, lost loves & love.

God’s Plan

Mary talks cancer like a researcher. She knows more about cellular biology and mitosis than my own doctor does. I know that because I asked him on my last visit if he could help me understand. The blank look on his face told me all I needed to know – that I didn’t need to know any more than I did. 

Mary’s conversations dwelled almost entirely on cancer. The various friends, family members she knew. or had heard of, who had been stricken, could be stricken or had died recently. Everyone she knew what dying of something; that’s why I went to my doctor to make sure I was well, not undiagnosed. 

Mary would show me photos on her smart phone. Amazingly high-def looks inside cell clusters, diseased livers, lung tissue that had been over taken by the endless grasp of the killer. She would explain each one to me in a school-teacherly way, as if I needed to taught this lesson, as if I could find out form her how to avoid this.

Mary was sure there was no way to avoid it, but she wanted to be prepared. Cancer agents were in everything. The food we ate, the air we breathed, the shoes we wore. I didn’t know how to tell her that I didn’t really give a shit about all this. ‘If cancer is everywhere it must be part of God’s plan.’ I told her once. She did not find that funny.

Mary had no plan of escape. She had armed herself with all this knowledge. How to keep her own cells healthy with carrot juice, kiwi oil. she sanitized her hands after every touch of anything. Clean clean clean. That was part of her solution. Keep very clean. ‘So clean you don’t build up resistance to anything.’ I once observed. She didn’t find that funny.

Mary was sure my attitude would kill me sooner than hers would kill her. She was healthy. Always on guard against the constant onslaught of danger.

Mary couldn’t see me anymore. She would phone, she would send me the latest info, and internet sites to check out, on what I needed to know to be as safe as she was. But she couldn’t see anyone, didn’t t want to spend time in close proximity to people, to the things people touched, people were disease factories. 

Mary only felt safe from cancer in her home where she could control everything. She got rid of as much plastic as possible, filtered her water. Her cancer free haven. She had the statics to show she was doing the right things. She would out live the cockroach with all her precautions. She had reduced her risks to under 1%, she had added years to her life with all this careful protection. 

I asked her ‘Who wants to live that long if that’s how one has to live to stay alive?’ She didn’t find that funny.. Humour causes cancer.

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

every Tuesday 2019

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November
Thursday 7 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – 7 pm – featuring Wes Ryan.

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 in Bad Times Theatre

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

Hot Algorithm Method

Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam launched its sixth season with a show that reflected & amplified the diversity of poets, slam & otherwise, in the LGBTQIA community. Passionate, articulate voices meet & perform on the stage to challenge our personal concepts of LGBTQIA.

The launch was hosted by Robyn Kaur Sidhu, with some off-stage organizing help from Robert Molloy & Heather Beamish. These are the new energy needed to propel this growing series into the the next five years 🙂 Don’t worry Charlie Petch is merely stepping back a little to let others experience grow. Stepping Back, not stepping away 🙂

After a rousing opening by Ogichdaa Kwe – with a pair of greeting songs, the show got started with a great open stage lined up. Lines from the open stagers: I give myself permission to be messy, melting on an angel’s tongue, I slap my own face, so listen to what I say/ before I change my mind, you are what I thought was impossible, your birdcage heart, temporary stitches of reconciliation, she never asked for her hair to be cut

Lines from the first slam round: the laugh track that follows my body around is deafening, algorithms know the name of the wrong man before I meet him, his body looks like security, brunch at exactly 11:03 a.m. every Sunday for the last 3 years, out of the car or out of the brain/ whichever comes first, code – nothing – to hide, lid – open – eyes, I know where my passing privilege lands, my body a war zone of what-ifs, you solidarity is performative

 

Feature Zoey Roy (https://www.facebook.com/therealzoeyroy/) took the stage and invited us into her unflinching worldview. Saskatoon’s loss is definitely Toronto’s gain.  I remember smile, you had your voice all along, we’ve been silence on purpose, your homes & our fears, every fire needs a stone, they tried so hard to bury us/ they know know we were seeds, someone who forgot they once had dreams, a rap-sheet longer than his life, in the mirror I recite a new approach, bravery doesn’t make us any more/ fear doesn’t make us any less, a nice fantasy but a crude reality

after a brief break we were into round 2: my gender got lost not he way to the poetry slam, a go-fund-me for white tears, love can burn brightly between those who are supposed to love, ideas in a book I wasn’t supposed to read, I would rather be a sinner than be unscathed, heart – felt flutter – butterfly, for the first time I am seeing the damage, silent to protect those who hurt me, said it was my fault when it wasn’t –

Scores were tallied, winners announced, prizes given. The real winners, as usual, were the audience. The next Toronto Hot Damn! is November 7, at Buddies in Bad Times.

I read a couple of pieces on the open stage including:

The Company You Keep

the owner of the cafe

had called someone

an inappropriate name

it was a twitter thing

a video 

posted of the 

owner saying 

those offensive things

now no one can go

to the cafe

without being considered guilty

of saying those things themselves

 

now

to be honest

I haven’t heard

what the owner said

I haven’t watched the video

this is all the context I know

and now

I can’t even mention the name

of the cafe

I can’t even admit 

that I’ve been there

in the past

or let it be known

that I regret

that I can’t go to that cafe

ever again

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020 – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

End of Summer Jobs

I’m going to finish this year’s summer refections of Cape Breton with memories of summer jobs, most of which were arranged by my father just to get me out of the house 🙂 The first of which was to paint the house he wanted to get me out of 🙂 Almost every guy I knew on the Cape ended up with this sort of summer painting job, until the year aluminium siding salesmen flooded Sydney.

The color my mother choose was a pea green with darker green trim. I hated the ladder so getting the peak pf the house was hell. The rungs hurt my feet after standing on them for thirty minutes. I ended up moving around the house to avoid the sun as well & so the two larger sides ended up drying in a mottled pattern. 

Another summer my father & a friend of his opened Bounceland 🙂 a trampoline park with six, or was it nine, trampolines stretched over pits in the ground. I took money & kept time. There was also a trainer, a young guy hired through the YMCA. I became pretty adept. He also taught me algebra because it was his worse subject in high school & he had to take an make-up exam at the end of the summer. Needless to say I had a hopeless crush on him but also was a stellar math student in high-school, until we hit trig. 

Bounceland failed because the blast furnace smut settled on the canvas & rotted it & it couldn’t be repaired. The park wasn’t bringing in enough money to warrant replacing the canvas. It was also open air so when it rained we couldn’t open. Plus weather collected into pits & stagnated. We had the kiosk & sign in our yard for decades but eventually they both disappeared. My sister has been unable to find even a photo of it in the family hoard of pics.

Another summer I worked out at Forest Haven Memorial Gardens – sort of Starbucks of cemeteries. My father was sales & general manager overseeing see the construction of the cemetery itself. I was an assistant grounds-keeper – weeding was my main task for several weeks. As the boss’s son I never really fit in with the rest of the staff so pretty much kept myself. I know in one conversation with some of the full-time guys I said I was looking the work as research that I might want to write about it one day. 

Another summer I worked in the Forest Haven office in downtown Sydney. Typing envelopes and taking payments were more suitable 🙂 He did have a full time secretary, whose name I forget, so I’ll call her Mrs. Brown. People who bought plots paid for them monthly either by with cheque, money order & some came into the office to pay in cash. There were separate receipts issued for cash and non-cash payments.

Decades later my father tells me that Mrs. Brown was keeping yet another receipt book for cash payments and tucking that cash away for herself. Cheques & money orders had to banked by my dad so she couldn’t get her hands on them. Petty embezzlement under my very nose as I could have easily been issuing some of her receipts 🙂

When I finally did write about Forest Haven it was nothing like I thought it would be:

Sermon on the Mount

when I was a child

I remember the excitement of the day

Jesus was installed

arms open to greet you

 

my Dad was a sales manager

for Memorial Gardens

a cross Canada chain of cemeteries

I think he retired sometime in the mid-80’s

I grew up under that shadow

the grave-digger’s son

not that he dug graves

that shadow didn’t bother me

I was an odd child already

the occult added a distracting layer

 

the cemetery was divided into grottos

separated by low hedges

bronze plaques instead of tombstones

was the trademark Memorial Gardens look

that and the white marble

religious statues for each of the grottos

DaVinci’s Last Supper in the Gethsemane

 

greeting people 

was Christ

arms out spread 

for the Sermon on the Mount

for a first few years

while things were being put into green shape

the Gardens were my playground

I remember the excitement of the day

Jesus was installed

the garden workers pushing Him 

upright

arms open to greet you

arms that would never close 

to hold you

 

I was drawn to his eyes

he had comma pupils

scarily unreal eyes

that told me nothing

 

I longed for His embrace

but at that time

I was too young to understand

why

it wasn’t for spiritual contact

but a carnal love

I had no language for

when I had a language

I still longed for men

who could never enfold me

men who’s eyes

told me nothing

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

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 

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

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. 

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

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 

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

Cape Breton Pride

Just over fifty years ago, on May 14, 1969, bill C-150 amend the Criminal Code to decriminalized homosexuality in Canada. Before then same-sex sexual activities between consenting adults were considered crimes punishable by imprisonment. Re-read that.  Not only did I grow up in the 60’s with ‘imprisonment’ looming over me but also a culture in which ordinary citizen could take the law into their own hands & assault queers & get away with it. 

When I attended the Living Library during Pride Week (!) in Cape Breton I was happy to hear about high-school clubs to support lgbtq+ student. Things have certainly changed since 1969 – even then such an idea would never have happened. 

Driving in from the airport with my sister I saw rainbow flags everywhere, though much the sight of them here in Toronto, the show of support is probably more commercial than anything. A rainbow decal in your store window can’t hurt business. The event has grown considerably over the decades. I recall a pride parade down Charlotte St in the early 2000’s during one of my sporadic visits home. It was over in less than half-an-hour. Local TV personality Bette MacDonald was the parade Marshal waving from her convertible. Some baton twirling, a few cars with handmade Pride posters. It ended, I think, in what is now Luisa Gardens, at the end (or is that the start?) of Amelia Street.

This year the week started with a flag raising on August in front of the City Hall followed by a week of events. The parade was the next afternoon ending at the Open Hearth Park. I caught the tail-end of it at the Park. It was too blisteringly sunny for me to stand around watching. Much like Toronto’s Pride there were tables of handcraft rainbow merchandise & a stage with a DJ & a gaggle of drag performers eager to entertain.

The thought of a drag queen in Cape Breton at one time was tantamount to a severe beating. So this was a sign of real growth in the community that goes beyond lip-service compliance with human rights issues. The one event I had an opportunity to take in was the Living Library https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3G7. 

It was comforting to know that any same-sex sexual activities between consenting adults I might have had was no longer a crime but merely me being a slut 🙂

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

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 

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

Unmasked

For the summer I’m looking at my Brown Betty chapbook. All the pieces dealt with growing up in Cape Breton.

Unmasked

background:
Hendrix: burning the midnight lamp soon 

… I wish I was a merman 

 

foreground:
messy coffee table
open bottles wine beer Scotch
weed rolled in papers 

too thin to write on 

yet strong enough to hold 

a shared dream 

 

midground:
three of us
Del me Kathy
share this joint enterprise
laugh at a phrase 

I was going through 

hands touch to pass
the precious opener of minds  

or rather the opener of pants 

as Del loudly called it
his eyes on Kathy 

she gave him a look
that said ‘see you later’
then left 

with her cigarettes 

and the remains of the wine

 

‘uptight bitch’ Del laughed 

as the door shut
he stayed
the supply on hand
held more appeal than
the supply leaving the room 

that Jimi guitar
hooked its way around our brain
led our vision across patterns
my voodoo child eyes would wander
all along the corduroy
that hugged and held Del

he invitingly pushed 

the coffee table away 

to make room on the floor
we had become so smoke soft 

only the backless floor 

could hold our floating rolling bodies 

till we found ourselves
naked 

 

I could feel the crosstown traffic of my heart 

the sensation of his tongue on mine
the coarse grind of pubic hair on stomach
a move for a breath of air 

to refresh the disguise of liquor 

thighs hands lips
trimming a midnight lamp
that still burns today 

but no longer needs
a smoke-screen
the bottled mask of permission

A snap shot of an older me in my mid-20’s. I wasn’t ‘out’ but after a few drinks, in the right circumstances, I wasn’t as guarded. This piece revolves around Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland. The situation wasn’t unusual either though it was a pleasant surprise when ‘Del’ pushed that coffee table away.

There are lots of references to songs on the album of which my favorite is ‘all along the corduroy.’ A variation on ‘all along the watchtower.’ The line also refers to a famous photo of Henrix in form fitting, deep red, corduroy that seem to barely contained his cock. You’ll have to listen to the album to track down all the references.

Del & Kathy aren’t the actual names, the events come from a few occasions. Some of guys I drank with had rather cavalier attitudes towards their girlfriends of the moment & would often say things like ‘opener of pants.’ Often parties would end when people ran out of smokes.

I wasn’t really a fan of grass & rarely used it directly. Second hand smoke was close enough but when things went as they did here I did my best to get with it 🙂 I guess the pants Del was talking about were his.

I knew a couple of guys who were ‘explorative’ after several drinks. I would always know they were in the mood when they showed up at my little place on the East Coast with a forty-ouncer under their arm. One guy was a great kisser. But they needed that liquid permission. So did I then. I no longer do but I recently heard a gay podcast host confess that he’s never had sex sober – so I guess some still count on bottled permission even when they aren’t wearing a mask.

previous Brown Betty posts:

Man With A Past 1 https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3B3

When I Was A Young Boy  https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3By

Home (not of the brave) https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3Cg

Nailed https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3D9

Dad’s Pockets https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3E0

 


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

Sydney Academy 1



After graduating from Woodill the next step up the educational ladder was Sydney Academy – the big boys school. Senior High grades 10 – 11- 12. This was a was a relief mainly because although there were hills they weren’t as steep as the ones down Royal Ave. The walk was much shorter.

One building I remember is the dry cleaners, Snow White Laundry, which was directly across the street from the front entrance. It had a wall painting of, of all things, Disney’s Snow White & some of the dwarves. Looking out the windows facing Terrace St it was the one thing one always saw. The wall painting eventually went – maybe Disney copyright lawyers threatened to sur.

The main entrance doors were for teachers & visitors. We students entered around the side where the parking lot was. No lining up by classes. We had homerooms & moved from class to class, as opposed to the teachers moving from room to room. At Colby & Ashby we remained in one classroom the whole semester. Woodill may have been the same one room but I can’t recall. 

The building was larger than Woodill’s. Some students being bussed in. It was Sydney’s main public senior high – there was a Catholic equivalent – which was the school’s main sports rival. The school had a huge gym, a major phys-ed program that included basketball, volley ball, gymnastics. It did have a hockey team as well but that was a separate entity for boys who qualified for the team.

The school had science labs, woodworking & metal workshops & probably ones for domestic sciences as well. Lots of extra-curricular activities like Jr. Red Cross, Drama club etc. There was a cafeteria on the basement level, which is where the lockers rooms & showers for the gym were. Sock hops were held in this area too.

The social context was totally different from Woodill with the mix of students from across the city. It wasn’t particularly diverse though. Sydney did have a large black population but they were ‘confined’ to the Whitney Pier area – which, I think, had its own senior high. 

Coming next week: troubling locker room memories

Square Root

I wished him dead

every time I sat in his class

I wished he were dead   buried

not someone I had to face every day

 

I would only have to glance up at him

writing formulas on the black board

the drone of his voice 

and wish him dead

 

he would always call on me

to read out what he had written

I picture his brain exploding

bloody cosines gush from his nose

all over his spotless white shirt

 

I wanted a sharp steel edge 

on my protractor

to cut out his heart

save the class from algebra trig calculus

his stories of sailing

how he figured directions 

with his slide rule

 

die die die

so we can figure out the angle

to bury you so your rotting corpse

will slump into your penny loafers

bones a jumble of secants 

and underpants

 

the formula on the board

meant nothing to me

it could have been written in flame

blah blah squared 

equals something degrees

 

my feet burning by the time I sat down

he would pat me on the shoulder

say   you seem to be catching on

when I was really catching on fire

his abacus belt buckle at eye level

 

I’d stare at the rubble on my page

hope his hand would stay a bit longer

hope some of his knowledge could rub off

what was the angle of the dangle 

behind that zipper

 

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

about where to look 

when he stood so close

 

I leave the class

can’t remember a formula or anything

all I could see was that glint of belt buckle

and that wouldn’t be on the exam

http://wp.me/p1RtxU-1yO

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

every Tuesday 2019

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

August 8: Highland Arts Theatre: https://www.highlandartstheatre.com 


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

October

Stratford Festival – The Crucible

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

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