Recap April 2022

The TOpoet.ca following blog grew with over 600 people get notification whenever I post a new blog! The WP map does show my hits have come from  countries around the world. The USA tops the world list is interest but that Mauritius (Bonjour abonnés mauriciens) & Ghana are in the top 10 is a surprise. As you can see by the top 10 posts That’s Not Funny (https://topoet.ca/2022/04/26/thats-not-funny/) tops the list. F**k Cancer is a post from 10 years that made a trip to the top 10! 

Picture Perfect: 114 sections, about 162,000 words posted so far with about 25,000 words left to be edited then posted. I also cut some 2000 words out this past week & figure there’ll be another 2000 to get chopped soon. So I could be done by the end of the summer.

Synchronicity often puts books together for me. Last month I finished Stephen Leacock’s London Travels eBook & next on that eBooks shelf was Sunlight & Shadow (1880) by John Bartholomew Gough (died 1886). He was a temperance orator! The book is his reflection on life in London as he brings his message & it is fascinating – & also a little sad as attitudes towards alcohol & poverty haven’t changed much since then. What is amazing is that his comments on being misrepresented by the press are still relevant, plus his ‘tips’ on speaking in public hold true for today as well.

Read ‘Johnny Would You Love Me If My Dick Were Bigger’ by Brontez Purnell – this is hilarious & highly recommended. Unfiltered Sedaris-like essays on the vagaries & vulgarities of gay male life. I laughed out loud often. Be prepared for explicit sex & language.

Enjoying Servant of the People – the eerily prophetic Volodymyr Zelensky series. The writing is fearless in its political attack, the performances are spot on, though as it turns out Zelensky wasn’t acting, merely rehearsing for the role of a lifetime. Here in Canada Vision has been showing it with English subtitles which I presume aren’t censored or mistranslating what is being said. 

I have been getting to one in-person recovery meeting a week. The return to meetings in Toronto has been slow even though the only requirement by meeting spaces is that we stayed masked. Like many I’m not comfortable with more than ten people in a large room, even when all are masked. A couple of the zoom meetings closed for their in person meeting but returned to zoom to run both. I think zoom recovery is here to stay.

Two visits to my dentist this month, so I’m not sure what my summer plans are after having that $$ turned into fillings. The other drain on my summer plans was a new TV, as the ‘old’ one was losing its plasma picture – it was like watching though a thin layer of smoke that was getting smokier by the week. We found it was impossible to find one without internet in its system 😦 Getting it set up was a maze of menus but once again we can enjoy full screen & amazing colour. 

After the winter of our discontent, coming up in May, a day trip to Stratford  to see Richard III. We will be driving regardless of this entreaty “A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!”

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Osibisa

I knew I would love Osibisa from the Roger Dean cover of their first album with its butterfly elephants & the stylized lettering of their name. I was some what prepared for their African rhythms by Santana & their horn section was/is amazing plus some proto-Hendrix guitar work. I also have to admit the amount of male flesh revealed in their cover photos also held my attention. Top that off with a song called ‘Phallus C’ dealing with the myths around cock size & I was a fan.

I have as stand alone First (1971), Woyaya (1971), Osibirock (1974); as mp3 Heads (1972), Live: 1971, The Warrior (1983), Osee Yee (2009). I still have my vinyl of the first two mainly for the covers. I eventually ordered them on CD as Australian imports November 2003. Their Ghanaian-English Afro Rock sound progressed over the years as the influence of the Caribbean members was felt leading to a more reggae sound. 

The live set from 1971, probably a bootleg, is good but not great – it seems to have been done from the soundboard of the concert & it has picked up some crowd conversations that are rather fun but also a little intrusive. Their first two lps are an excellent introduction African music &, to me, haven’t dated much. I have more recent work by African bands & there is little difference. They recently released a new lp! Can’t wait to hear it.

Also in this mp3 collection is Ladysmith Black Mambazo: Shaka Zulu (1987), Zibuynhlazane (1988) – a South African male choral group that recorded with Paul Simon (Graceland). Tradition songs mixed with more contemporary work – the harmonies are sweet, their love work is energetic but a couple of lps was enough for me.

I had a cassette with Liane Foly’s 1990 ‘Rêve orange’ given to me by a friend (it is now in another mpo3 collection). On this one I have Le goût du désir (2008). A sultry jazz blues singer who infuses some of her work with Moroccan flavourings. This is romantic, sweet & sophisticated music.  

Finally from the group that started it all 🙂 is Santana’s Amigos (1976) – touches of disco that work with Dance Sister Dance – critics weren’t happy with the group moving in a more pop direction with latino flavoured songs as opposed full on latino. 

99 Tears Blues

woke up this morning 

with tears in my eyes

pillow was wet 

still so much to cry

woke up this morning 

with tears in my eyes

pillow was wet 

still so much to cry

don’t ask me why

don’t know

nothing going so wrong

all going so good

I have no complaints

<>

couldn’t stop those tears

shower didn’t wash them away

wept all through breakfast 

all the way to work 

people would stare but not dare

ask how come I was crying

glad they didn’t 

I don’t know what to tell them

don’t feel sad don’t feel glad 

just feel like me

<>

went to my doctor to see what he could see 

he said those tears are a mystery to me

went to a man of the cloth he said

those are tears for the sadness of this world

gone to sin and corruption 

someone needs to grieve

I told him get up off your knees 

don’t bother to pray 

I got better things to do today

went on my way

crying sobbing snivelling 

blowing my nose

<>

woke up this morning 

with tears in my eyes

took a plane to the desert 

to see if they can be made to dry

sun blistered my face

salty tracks itch but didn’t fade

each drop a hunger for something 

the sun couldn’t satisfy

<>

I headed home to find a place to hide

not that I felt shame

but life isn’t the same

when you cry all the time

when the tears from inside

find their way out 

there isn’t much one can do

but let them flow 

even if I don’t know why 

or who 

or where 

or what

<>

sun glasses can’t hide 

the endless trail of wet 

wherever I went 

told to leave starbucks 

asked to make myself scarce at bars

all that crying didn’t help 

the doom and gloom already there

took myself home

went back to my bed 

hope that a dream can find it’s way though

<>

woke up this morning 

smiling so wide

why was I happy

it was time for that change

smiling

beaming so strange

people looked away

the grin was so bright

the sun was pale in my sight

didn’t need no doctor 

no bartender

to make me all right

I was fine as I was

ready to face what what to be done

tears have stop flowing

time to get growing

greeting the truth 

rather than crying over it

(2008)

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June 2021 Recap

Over the past month the TOpoet.ca following grew to 500! The WP map does show my hits have come from  36 countries around the world. That USA tops the list is no surprise but that Spain & Ghana are in the top 10 is a surprise. Most popular posts were Little Red Corvette https://topoet.ca/2021/05/31/little-red-convertible/, Holy Toaster https://topoet.ca/2021/06/07/holy-toaster/ – my personal favourite has to be Psychedelic Sitar Teens https://topoet.ca/2021/06/16/psychedelic-sitar-teens/.

My Tumblr is at 326 followers. 227 Twitter followers.

Picture Perfect: 74 sections, about 111,000 words posted so far with approx 78,000 to be edited then posted. 

Watched a couple of amazing, slightly mystifying, movies. First by India’s Satyajit Ray’s 1991 Agantuk (The Stranger) – a long-lost grand-uncle appears uninvited to spend the week or is he really the long-lost grand-uncle. Not knowing a great deal about social customs of the time I was a bit at sea regarding these but the caste system, education where clear. The uncle brings a very wide world view into the safe bubble of the family. Gently humorous & nicely performed. No Bollywood  production numbers 🙂

Out of Chile is Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 2013 Dance Of Reality (La danza de la realidad). This is an overf-the-top mash up of Fellini’s Amacord & Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. A memory off his childhood told through symbolism, song & amazing cinematography. I have his other earlier films in my collection so was ready for the loopy plot. This is a stunning film that drew me in & held be from beginning to end. My favourite moment was the adult Alejandro holding his child self from jumping to his death. The extras were interesting.

Ken Russel’s Mahler was yet another surreal visual experience. I have vague memories of seeing this when it was first released & was impressed with the visuals & the music. Apparently a biography based on Mahler’s life, rather than a historically accurate  accounting of it. I loved the white worm beginning, the direct reference to Death In Venice & Georgina Hale’s performance. Lush music but the plot often gives in to tedious melodrama when it should be awash with surrealism.

Event of the month was the mass covid19 vaccine clinic at Scotiabank Arena. Nearly 27,000 people given the shot. This was my 2nd shot. The process was like clockwork. I joined the line up at around 9:30 at Bay & Front. Got my shot at 10:03. Efficient & all the volunteers were in good moods. Got the souvenir towel & was home by 11. Don’t worry I’ll stick to masks for shopping & public transit for awhile. 

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Recap April 2021

Over the past month by TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 471! My hits have come from countries around the world. That India nearly tops the list is amazing considering the rampant pandemic. Bangladesh is joined in the top 10 by Ghana. Finland! Malawi! Most popular posts were Publishing Successes (x https://topoet.ca/2021/04/12/publishing-successes/); He Said (* https://topoet.ca/2021/04/26/he-said/). 

My Tumblr is at 327 followers. Twitter up to 231 followers. Both not bad for someone who doesn’t post porn or political rants or cute animal pics 🙂 Picture Perfect is up to 65 sections, over 95,000 words posted so far with approx 90,000 more to be edited then posted.

Other than the rollercoaster of Ontario lockdown measures it has been a fairly routine month. Clearly the logic behind this bumpy ride has been political, not practical or ultimately sensible. But that’s another post, right. 

Weather has been mild enough for some work in my garden but nights have been too cold for planting or much repotting. Apparently travel restrictions (to those who feel such restrictions apply to them) will result in travel money going into gardens & home improvements. Waking up at your office because you are working at home has made many tired of seeing the same furniture 24 hours a day. I’ve seen a bounty of desks, sofas, dining room tables dragged to the curb.

Watched some movies. Andrei Rublev directed by Andrei Tarkovsky – a two disc set with both versions of the film & a slew of extras that were twice as long as the film. The movie itself is fascinating, frustrating & drowns in symbolism/political commentary one needs to know a historical context to fully understand. Visually stunning at points with amazing panoramic scenes with action in the foreground, middle ground & background. 

Episodic as it follows our hero on his travels, no real story line just events. The pagan ceremony section is symbolically dense & eerie & captivating. The final episode about the Bell does have a tradition plot though. If you see it try to watch the extras first – no spoilers in them but background material that makes the movie more accessible. As I result we ordered Stalker – which I have also seen before thanks to TCM but wanted the extras 🙂 

From TCM we watched a fun Czech film: Pearls of the Deep from the mid-sixties. Five short stories by Bohumil Hrabal each filmed by a different Czech director. Quirky stories that are sometime laugh out loud funny, others are ‘what is this about’ perplexing but all enjoyable & worth watching. 

Also watched a 1930 Japanese silent film ‘Walk Cheerfully’ directed by Yasujirō Ozu. Yes, Japan had a major silent film period! A parody of US gangster films this is a charming time capsule of Japan in the late 1920’s. Fashion & street scenes that take us out of the usual sense of Japan as all paper panelled houses. Will our modern hard-boiled hoodlum go straight for the love of an old fashioned woman or will his old gang keep their fur trimmed hold on him? Only drawback is the busy, intrusive piano score.

Inputs from hard copies of old poetry & short stories continues. At times it feels endless but also reflects that I wrote constantly for many many years. I did have many of these backed up on disks but none of those disks are readable any more. I did try a few years back, before tossing them all, & found that even if I could up load the word processing programs couldn’t be read to even translated, as it were. 

I’ve been posting the stories on Thursdays along with talk my music collection. Some of the poetry will be blogged over the summer on Wednesdays with my comments & memories of writing them. All are from between 1972-77. Wallowing in the past? Not me.

From The Archives

Easter

without a doubt

the slimmest hope

is held on to longest

that ghost of a chance 

that finds a ledge

to balance on

awaiting the opportunity

to dash into view 

when all the chips are down

can’t you just hear

his heavy footfall

up the stairs

or tripping over a chair

with a drink in one hand

resurrection in the other

1975

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Dr. Paa BoBo & Snow White

Dr. Paa BoBo: The Greatest Mix – Ghana – I picked this cd up at the $1.00 shelf from the 2nd store that used to be around the corner from me on the Danforth. For a buck I figured I could add a little something to my world view. Bouncy, energetic music. I did google him then to find out just where he hails from. I did another check for this post & found out his reputation is large. There’s a huge, whole world of music out there beyond the limited scope of English language pop.

wet03

reflection 1

Boogie Nights: soundtrack – now this is a great sound track – nearly as good as the ones from Studio 54. I loved the movie, that opening shot to Jungle Fever gave me chills mainly because the music choice was spot on.

wet02

reflection 2

A fun mix of material too, a bit unpredictable – Melanie, Walter Egan – Magnet & Steel is one of my top 100 favourite songs of all times – too bad the lp it comes from doesn’t hold up to the single. The track I like the least, ‘Sister Christian,’ also comes from the scene I like the least – those firecrackers ugh – a scene I fast forward through because it is so annoying.

wet01

reflection 3

There’s also a hidden track that features the song that Mark Wahlberg’s character records in the studio. It is sweetly lame. As an actor he hold his own – gee this is turning into a movie review too – but the endowment prosthetic was laughably fake looking.  Move & sound track are highly recommended.

sample

Snow Falls Twenty Years Too Late

‘You’re looking quiet well. Unchanged.’

‘Thank you.’

The lack of feeling in the reply made her regret ever coming back but she knew in her heart that is was where she had been the happiest in her life. The one place where she had felt whole, complete, loved for herself and not as a trophy, or an omen or as breeding stock.

‘Genetics.’ Doc stepped towards her.

‘More like nothing ages in the enchanted forest.’ Grumpy reminded him.

‘Gosh it is good to see you again.’ Happy took her hand. ‘Whatever it is …’

‘Leggo go,’ Bashful pushed Happy aside and took her hand in his. ‘Not as soft as it used to be. Poor thing.’

‘Just passing through?’ Sneeze sneezed on ‘through.’

‘Actually …’ she didn’t know where to begin. Her amazement that the seven of them hadn’t aged in these twenty years almost made her forget why she was back once again. She knew she’d lost something, left something of herself when she left but didn’t know if she could claim it now.

‘He beat you?’ Grumpy punched the palm of his hand.

‘No! No! Nothing like that.’

‘You someone we know?’ Dopey squinted at her. ‘Don’t recollect anyone with that many wrinkles except …’ he stepped back. ‘It’s her. It’s the witch. The one that killed what’s her name.’

‘Calm down,’ Doc gently patted Dopey on he back. ‘It’s Snow White.’

‘Snow White!’ Bashful’s eyes glazed over. ‘She was so pretty.’

That’s right I was so pretty then. So full of myself and too eager to leave. She looked at the seven of them and longed for them once more. She wasn’t surprised that she wasn’t recognized by them. The years hadn’t been kind to her.

Twelve children that survived out of the nearly twenty she had carried hadn’t given her much time to luxuriate in the life of wealth Prince Charming offered her. The pitter patter of little feet she wanted to hear now where of these men bringing her diamonds once again.

She looked down at her child birth ravaged body, distended breasts, varicose veins tingled in her legs, grey wisps in her once jet black hair. No wonder Prince Charming had been seen hanging around that bitch in the tower. That bitch with the wonderful hair. No wonder her old friends now saw her as the Wicked Witch.

‘So what brings you back?’ Grumpy nudged her out of her reverie, ‘besides that ugly ass you rode in on.’

She knew if she told them she expected to find her lost girlhood here, they would laugh. The thought amused her too. If only they had aged she might have felt more comfortable more welcome but they looked exactly as they had when she left.

Her eyes delighted in their short stocky firm bodies. She longed to pull off those dusty tunics to see the hard muscular bodies underneath. Seven sturdy studly men who could have been hers if she hadn’t run off to fulfill some happy ending that turned into endless sameness. But what was a girl to do but follow what she was taught was to be her heart’s delight? A perfect handsome Prince as opposed to seven sweaty soiled little men.

‘I was wondering how you’ve been all these years.’

‘We sent gifts for each of the children.’ Happy said. ‘You did get them.’

‘We never got a thank you note you know.’ Doc muttered.

‘Yes yes. Thanks. Hansel, Gretel, Peter Peter, Dick, Jane, Cinderella, Topsy, Nan, Buffy, Aladdin and Helen were all appreciative.’

Her heart begin to sink. She knew she wouldn’t fit back here. It was too late. Now she had no where to turn to, no place left to run except back home. Back to the ever so Charmings.

‘Nice to see you again.’ Sleepy roused himself before nodding back off.

She got up to leave. There was a knock at the door. A rush of excitement went through the seven of them. Each adjusted his clothes, then brushed back his hair to look presentable.

‘Who is it?’ Doc sang out invitingly.

‘Simple Simon,’ came the reply.

‘Oh Simon!’ They called out in unison and Simon entered.

Conversation flowed around her rapidly.

‘You look great … You’ve been gone all day … Make yourself comfortable … I got the hot tub all set for you …  Don’t mind her she’s just leaving … I would have come sooner but I had to get something special from the pie man for you guys … I missed you so much  …  Especially you Bashful but you aren’t so bashful when it counts are you  …  let me just look at you  …  Why don’t we get out of these itchy clothes  … ’

She stopped trying to figure out who was saying what to who. She knew she had really missed the boat and it was too late to get back on now. Without a good bye she let herself out.

Finally she understood the Wicked Witch.

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