Prometheus at Hot Damn

Hot Damn! started 2019 with a packed room workshop at Glad Day and a SRO house at Buddies in Bad Times – both driven by feature Regie Cabico. The participants at the workshop wrote & shared some excellent work on the spot – the level of trust among people who had never met before was encouraging, as was the diversity of the participants.

When I got to Buddies to help Charlie set up there were people already clambering to get in 🙂 so the house opened fifteen minutes earlier than usual, I did front of house & it was full enough to start the show a little after 8 (nearly on time for a poetry show). Standing room only by 8:15. Also a full sign-up sheet for slammers – 11 – a Hot Damn! record.

After some opener stagers the first round got underway with a series of politically & emotionally pieces that held nothing back on gender, indigenous, & local political issues. Round two had fewer slammers (lowest scores didn’t get to move forward) and the tone of the pieces became more reflective, personal but equally as direct and powerful.

Lines from the first part of the show: my tongue was not enough’ ‘the swish of sari silk’ ‘I could taste blood’ ‘I fell in love with a crack dealer’ ‘you are the art work of past lives’ ‘our medicine made illegal’ ‘give up your cottages and give us back our land’ ‘what he really should have admitted to you before you married’ ‘I only knew how to see you as a moving disaster’ ‘nobody giving me room to make mistakes in’ ‘betrayal tastes like fennel and sage’ ‘my neighbourhood becomes a trigger warning’ ‘you ask me if I’ll forgive you’ ‘I pray you get your forgiveness but it will never come from me’ ‘I say to them – it’s not your table’ ‘you still here with me like a cloud in my mind’ ‘as if money could regenerate our roots’ ‘I’m not sure how to tell your dad that you’re gay’

Feature Regie Cabico did a strong set drawing from his recent chapbook ‘Sticky Stars & Sheets.’ Funny, deeply personal, very sensual & inspiring. ‘jack-off in the name of leukaemia research’ ‘the warehouses are lit by flames of vodka’ ‘you will not pluck my pancreas like Prometheus’ ‘you hold me like an oar directing my past’ ‘we run like suitcases on wheels’ ‘two lonely Tony’s from West Side Story’ ‘his calf … stretched out before me like Florida’

This is not my first review of Regie though: Spoonful of Beautiful https://wp.me/p1RtxU-d2. We’ve enjoyed each other’s performances in the past so I may not be impartial – but the audience was so enthused so my review isn’t exaggerating his set. 

After a much needed break the show resumed with a few more open stagers & the final round of the slam; ‘I need a place to sit to get perspective’ ‘they’re asking me if I have a gender identity’ ‘never more than genetic coding’ ‘baby shoes take me back to memory like a phantom limb’ ‘too many of us seeking help’ ‘this body is not a temple you are invited to’ ‘my mess you speak to’ ‘oozo ozone’ ‘even my now voice is too heavy to raise’ ‘confuse tenderness with love’ ‘saying gay people should die while getting off on lesbian porn’ ‘it just isn’t about sex anymore’ ‘hidden by ink and time’ ‘the space between fingertips & footsteps.’

Scores were tabulated, prizes were given. Yes, there was a winner, who gets to compete in April for the grand prize: the trip to participate in Capturing Fire (dates tba, soon) but the real winner was the audience. Next Toronto Hot Damn! is March 7. 

(above blog pics are of construction by Buddies)

the piece I wrote at the workshop – rough draft –

Resume

Henry texted me

he was told to stay home

he’s afraid

he’ll lose his job

Henry is one of my lovers

we have been seeing other

every week or so

for over three years

 

I want him to feel

cared for

but I have no solution

for his situation

other than acknowledging his stress

 

I like Henry

but I do not love him

he wants job security

not love

 

it is hard to breathe 

in the workshop

so many perfumes

I’m glad I have no

environment allergies

 

the tenderness of

Henry’s slow kisses

is what I love

 

the tentative tongue start

draws us

into each other’s bodies

 

I love his tongue

but can’t pronounce his last name

Mwawasi

unless it is in front of me

 

in Cape Breton this summer

I will visit

my parents graves

I wasn’t there when they died

they won’t be here

when I die

they will never see my grave

 

Henry texts

he is going to bed

I hope he sleeps well

that he dreams of our kisses

not of rewriting his resume 

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

‘the knife of shame’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Own Devices 

when I came out

to my friends

I did it by stages

like – I’m no queer

but if ‘hot movie star’

wanted to have sex with me

I’d be willing to explore

but truth to be told

I jerked off 

to a bathing suit picture

of that hot movie star

who

decades later came out

 

when I came out to my friends

as fully queer

some were 

‘You know I’m not that way’

or

some never spoke to me again

or

got drunk with me & explored

 

When I came out to my mother

she said

‘don’t tell your father’

when I came out to my father

he said

‘don’t tell your mother’

 

when I came out

no one said

‘how do you feel’

‘what does it mean to you’

no one said

‘congratulations’

or

‘it’s about fucking time’

no one

at any point

engaged me in conversation

no one ever asked

‘are you seeing someone’

no one said

‘I work with a gay guy

maybe you’d like to meet him’

no one said

‘you must feel incredibly alienated

in this small-town hard-drinking

cis-hetero-red-neck culture’

 

maybe I was too stoic

not wanting to let anyone in

being queer was enough

without presenting

as weepy drama queen

I had to be man enough 

masculine enough

to keep up appearances

so no one would suspect

the emotional uncertainty

I was drowning in

 

I was told

that so & so

who was gay

had hung himself

or 

had stepped in front of semi

on a dark highway

told that by friends 

who never said

‘I hope you don’t do that’

who never said

‘if you feel like that

talk to us’

 

when I came out

I was left to my own devices

and survived

and sometimes

I jerk off 

to the memory 

of that bathing suit picture

of the hot movie star

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

Hot Damn’s Pine Needle Eyes

My Hot Damn! experience this month began with a workshop at Glad Day Books lead by D’Scribe that lead us through a fun prompt then on to various practical aspects of performing. There were some simple voice- warmups; talk about the use of volume, speed & hand gesture – ending every piece with a middle finger isn’t a good idea 🙂 There was time for some of us to try some of these techniques on one of our own pieces.

The Hot Damn! slam at Buddies was an enthusiastic, intimate. After after acknowledging the land and the debt of settlers to the original people of Turtle Island Charlie launched into the Hot Damn! anthem ‘Over The Rainbow’ on music saw. They talked about Soaring Eagle’s Camp in Toronto that is calling attention to indigenous people & justice.

After donning our selection for the moustache party Charlie gave us an exclusive sneak peek at their new piece “Daughter Of Geppetto” to debut at the Emergency Performance Festival #22 in Peterborough March 22/23/24. ‘when I was just a talking log’-  Chopin’s Nocturne 9 #2 clearly played a big part in teaching that log to talk.

Open stagers and slammers hit the stage. I presented Terra Cotta (below) & Pleasure Shame (see my blog post of the same name) “I circle around your square like a tourist” “smelling the difference between rice & books” “lie of the moments as I write the story you want to hear” “two weeks with the company of your empty bed” “I unplugged your alarm clock” “drive the side streets of my heart beats” “dancing beneath the cosmos following the moon home” “when I was born those bodies were found” “thirty pounds of my life on my back” “I will love you though I never met you” “they live in the garden of a house that is a home”

D’Scribe did a energizing set that was often a barely controlled rant – spilling over with fearless & emotionally resonant pieces were about oppression of indigenous people, addictions & it ended with a fun piece about oral sex. “you can hear the break of all our hearts at once” “we are more than the pain they throw us” “silence rarely changes anything” “the news never tells us the full story” “pine needles eyes with a hint of hazel” “I kept drinking to find an answer” “still breathing but dead inside” “my biggest regret is not being good enough”

A rare tie for for first place sends two slammers to the season finale on April 6 at Buddies In Bad Times. The winner of that slam gets swell prizes including a trip to Washing DC for Capturing Fire in June. One of the features will be the amazing Witch Prophet. 

Terra Cotta

he insisted

on terra cotta flower pots

not pots

planters

you know the kind big enough

for a …

oh you’ve heard this story

you know where it’s going

unlike the men

meeting him

they didn’t know where they were going

just that he promised

to take them somewhere

offered –

well I’m not sure what he offered

it’s hard to call that something sex

I guess I’m old fashioned that way

 

terra cotta is better for the plants

for the roots

it breathes properly

allows water to filter through

plastic containers trap the water

traps insects

plastic absorbs heat

the soil doesn’t breathe

 

neither do the men

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

“gun shots in the night”

Hot Damn!  continues to evolve and now with a grant from Toronto Arts Council it will evolve even more and widen its performance potential and creative reach. The November edition at Buddies in Bad Times with dynamic feature Kai Cheng Thom brought many new faces to the stage. Some reading on the open mic for the first time and presenting challenging and emotionally raw work. It is a powerful reassurance that Hot Damn! proves a safe and welcoming space for writers to be so vulnerable and honest.

Charlie C Petch started the show off by honouring the stolen land we thrive on and with the Hot Damn! anthem, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, played on the musical saw.

Some moments from the first open stagers and slammers: ‘queer smokers unite,’ ‘my sister wouldn’t sell me a broken phone’ ‘I feel scared to be happy’ ‘happiness is the breath between anxiety attacks’ ‘this is so much more than friendship’ ‘happy is a farm house’ ‘in happy I have a life where I want to get out of bed’ ‘maybe I’m scared of seeing your face’

‘my body is a vessel – like the Millennium Falcon?’ ‘my body is not missing anything’ ‘the greatest gift is not to have a child’ ‘something I made when I had feelings’ ‘like that hope I used to save for Christianity’ ‘my parents really screwed up’ ‘nothing but gossip is truly sacred’ ‘I might have come out sooner if my sister hadn’t come out Christian’

Feature Kai Cheng Thom was vibrant, confident, laugh-out-loud funny, politically blunt & emotionally vulnerable. ‘donate my body to art not science’ ‘the dead are free to go where they want’ ‘you were a good child because you were silent’ ‘gun shots in the night that weren’t meant for you’ ‘it is really hard for you, I know, I took a workshop’ ‘seeing salvation in the blue of the flame’ ‘are you keeping me safe or keeping me trapped’

I loved the piece about the revolutionary leader’s lover that took me back to those 60’s icons of change who spouted about tearing down the corporate structure while counting on wives to do their cooking & laundry. Also really identified with the piece about being with a guy having sex with you who kept checking to see that his girlfriend was okay.

After a much need break Charlie got things rolling once again with more open stagers and the final round of the slam. ‘I ache for a sense of belonging’ ‘I cut deeper – when did this become a competition’ ‘I have a dance with death looking in the mirror’ ‘the murdered were all around my age, they died a violent death’ ‘the weight of my backpack still haunts me’ ‘I wear my red dress for you, sisters’ ‘my wrists tells my story better than my mouth’ ‘my gender in a party crasher’ ‘that information should be saved for the wedding’ ‘in my very own bedroom, in my very own house’ ‘what is indigenous pain without a white man’s honour’

Prizes were given, including the $50 cash prize for first place. Hugs, with consent, where exchanged and a good time was had by all. Next couple of Hot Damn! will be in Peterborough, then Hamilton, returning to Buddies on March 8. The Season Four  finale will be in April 6 when we see which winner will represent Hot Damn! at Capturing Fire in June.

On the open stage I read this newly edited version of one of my recent October poems:

The Tingler

as a kid

I couldn’t tell the truth

if my life depended on it

not that I was a compulsive liar

or even lied that often

but under any sort of questioning

I was guilty

regardless of being innocent

Did you do that?

no – which was the truth

Go to your room

Until you are ready to tell the truth

but

No buts. Now go, you lying loser

 

to avoid that banishment

I’d have to tell a lie

but I was even a worse liar

thanks to a movie I saw

where a sort of centipede

would materialize

around the spine

when you were scared

lying scared me

as much as telling the truth

I would feel those

million sharp legs

sinking into my back

my skin would tingle

The Tingler!

that’s what that movie was called

 

a lie would kill me

it would crush my heart

burst out of my nose

brain spattering everywhere

insect legs would dig out from my eyes

 

so I was afraid to lie

the punishment for telling the truth

was bad enough

not be be believed

not to be trusted was confusing

it was better to leave the room

let them think what they wanted

because the clearly truth

made no fucking difference

 

at that age

they made sure

I knew I was a lying loser

a useless dishonest kid

which I know now

was their lie

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

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Myths And Realities

I went to Glad Day on Thursday Oct 19 to take in the ‘Myths And Realities Of Artists’ Health Panel Discussion’ by Mahlikah Awe:ri, Charlie C Petch and Dr. Chase McMurren. The event was co-produced by akinprojects.org & artistshealth.com. It was to start at 7 but by the time I arrived at 6:30 there was already a full house. Each of the panelists presented different myths & realities. 

The first myth was our expectation of social media – allowing ourselves to be caught up constantly comparing our progress with the posted progress of others & feeling we never measure up. Personally I think the real myth of social media is that it is a platform for selling yourself & if it isn’t then you are the problem not the medium.

I suspect the only people who make a million selling stuff on the internet are people selling books about how to make a million dollars selling stuff omg the internet. On-line life can be distracting though & somewhat addictive: what so-&-so is faint can be much more compelling that re-writing that poem or working on that painting.

Another myth – the one I really related to – is the yearning to fulfill the expectation of ones passions – if we aren’t always consumed by passion then we aren’t creating – the reality is that passion is the spark, the fuel – not the fire – passion needs to be contained to be productive or it consumes itself & the artist leaving them drained & unproductive. An affirmation that I use is: writers write, not wait, for inspiration.

One of the realities discussed was finding time to create, make a living, & having an opportunity to just be. The myth creatives are constantly productive leaves little opportunity to be still – being still leads to stress one isn’t doing or fulfilling their passion. Stress leads to …. well we all know what stress leads to.

The focus was more on the mental & psychological than the physical health of creative people. With only an hour for the panel & some discussion it was rewarding but it could have gone on for two hours easily & covered these few issues in greater detail. Check out the resources at akin & the Artists’ Health Network – one step towards better health & greater creativity is to step out of isolation.

 

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

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Hot Damn! SubZero Heat

hotCharlie C Petch returned Hot Damn! to it’s Glad Day roots for the March edition of the series. Glad Day, now moved to Church St., has created a multi-functional space with a cafe, books store & performance space. Hot Damn! audience filled the space for a hot standing-room-only show. A space created by having books shelve son wheels & moving them when needed for performance. A great idea that however suffers from noise bleed – often the cafe chatter distracted from the poets on stage.

12cath01With sixteen on-going projects Charlie forgot their saw so we hummed the queer national anthem. The open-stagers & slammers covered material from body image, sexual insectonality, gender presentation, eating disorders, native rights – it went from angry, political to outright bodacious & even funny.

doll houseSome lines from the first open-stagers & first round of the slam: ‘pretty … existing only to titillate’ ‘I realized I wasn’t a girl two years before I came out’ ‘I am a customer service smile’ ‘feel like the wrong end of a firing squad’ ‘a broken bbq that plays Pantera’ ‘Dr. said I don’t look like I have a disorder’ ‘you’re counting sheep & I’m counting calories’ ‘we’re to look appetizing but have no appetite’ ‘I thank God for my queerness’ ‘we’re made in His image so my adoration of your body is adoration of Him’ ‘as if saying that validates you’ ‘I don’t give a fuck about being liked’ ‘labels are divisive’ ‘ptsd like a pistol pointed at the back of your head’ ‘I live a life my dealer has a solution for’ ‘when you need the money you learn to like the pain’ ‘cactus … their sharpness doesn’t keep them from blooming’ ‘she had big tits, a bad attitude – everything a girl like me looked up to’ ‘it was a good way to pissing my parents off & a good way to die’

meandchapI did my set. Now I can’t review myself but I can review the audience – which was receptive & appreciative. I did drop one piece – Reaping Victory – there had already been enough political stuff I didn’t feel like adding more plus my set was proving to be more serious than ever I wanted it to be. So the raunch, when it came, was a relief to most of the house. Hard On got consistent laughs starting with the title. I sold a good number of chapbooks but do have some left for those of you who want to buy one.

greyrubble.JPGAfter a break the second round was launched. ‘it doesn’t matter that I don’t remember – I keep getting back on but why’ ‘sharp line between my world & yours’ ‘how we failed to make you happy’ ‘it’s not that easy with you but I want you to stay’ ‘I’m running late but I’m not a coffee drinker’ ‘turn the attic into a dungeon’ ‘sure I have a flogger I can share’ ‘a social-cuddling-but-no-sex room, ‘I feared butch on butch as much as I desired it’ ‘I walk narrow’ ‘lips sucked back like curtains’ ‘when she tries to speak it comes out white-wash’ ‘native paid back by a credit on our taxes’ ‘cats aren’t aloof that just have low tolerance for assholes’ ‘tick-tock do you hear the sound of motherhood’ ‘I was never the son my father wanted but became the daughter he always wanted’ ‘can’t talk about my father outside the smilies I grew up with’ ‘if I hate my body does that make me alive’ ‘I have run out of swipes on Tinder’ ‘dating apps is one of the few places where I feel seen’

newcapThe evening’s winner was The Illiterate Poet. The season finale will be Saturday April 15 at Buddies in BadTimes with feature Queen Sheba. The winner of the season will be transported to Capturing Fire in June.

cropped-covsnap.jpg

Hard On

just because

I have a hard on

doesn’t mean I’m horny

it’s not like

we’re in high school

& I can hide it behind my books

or tie a jacket around my waist

yes I do have a hard on

that is an erection

yes it is very hard

like a rock

like a rocket ship

but

you aren’t the landing pad

I’m not interested

I’m not even pretending I am

what more can I say

to convince you

I’m not interested

no I don’t find you repulsive

but it’s not you

that’s making me so hard

when you kiss me

when you pinch my nipples

anyone can do that

and I would get erect

so it has nothing to do with you

you can ignore my hard on

in fact

I wish you would

just take your hands off my balls

stop licking the head of my dick

I’m not interested

I didn’t take my clothes off

for you to give me a blow job

I didn’t

take your clothes off

for that reason either

it was just something to do

honestly

I didn’t come here to have sex with you

that was the last thing on my mind

I’m not having sex with you

to make you fall in love me

I don’t want to be in love

I don’t have the time for that

neither do you

we are adults

we can control ourselves

we can ignore these erections

and get on with our conversation

nice weather isn’t it

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Hot Damn! Sneak Peak

meandchap

As I posted in Hot Damn! Set Building I’ll be doing something different with 03-redtuba01this feature – rather than themed pieces I’ll be doing a variety of things – sort of a sampler pack that should help keep me from being classified as a specific genre writer. Queer is enough of a label (or is that liability) for me.

I go through stages of getting a set ready, picking the pieces, reading them aloud a couple of times & editing the words for flow &, in some cases, ease of pronunciation. I end up taking some out of the set, changing the position of others. The key is what to start with & what to end with. As these are unrelated it was more difficult to make those choices.

03-redpoppy-02My opener is usually a high-energy, slightly comic piece so this time I’m doing the opposite with the no-holds-barred social commentary “Dead Already” – this explores the unwillingness to take responsibility for ones actions by victim blaming. High-energy & perhaps blackly comic. There is a previously blogged version that made a few people cry.

I follow with “Love Your Work” – a directly comic look at the foibles of a spokenword scene in which bartenders get more tips at a show that the performers earn by being there. I follow that with “Give Generously” – social commentary on the gap between the objects of charity & those getting the charity. Next is “Reaping Victory” – a more directly political piece that deals with memory, war and agriculture.

03-redselfie04“Chalk It Up To Experience*” is the one sweet memory piece in this set. People love these & I felt ti was time to share my memories of high-school mammaries. Next is “Faultless” another no-holds-barred exploration of the unwillingness to take responsibility for ones actions by victim blaming.

“Spoilers” is a list poem. “After The Falling” perhaps the most surreal of this set maybe about slipping on the ice or about falling in love.

For those waiting for the hot stuff here it comes, first with “Hard On” – we say other thing but our bodies say another but when you’re naked no one is listening. That is followed by “Man In The Moon” – an attempt to explore gay sex, race & permission. Finally “Breaking In Grief” – unlike anything else in the set though it does have some memory – the memory goes back about fifteen years, not fifty years :-). It’s looks at house grief is processed. Sounds like a downer way to end a set buy trust me it isn’t.

03-redcar03A PDF of my Hot Damn! will be available for $2.00. My chapbook is $10.00 (in the flesh if you want one via mail add $3 for postage). If you want a PDF copy of the chap book send $4.00 to my paypal below & I’ll email you a copy. The PDF will have additional Power pieces. All PayPal sales go to buying me (& other poets) coffee at Capturing Fire 🙂

samp01

another piece that didn’t make the final cut

Then Things Changed

yes

that was me

then

those were my words

then

I believed what I said

things change

I change

stop trying to pour me of today

into the image of me

then

 

people tell me I’ve lost weight

when I was never aware

that they were aware

of what I weighed

that what I look liked mattered

then

I didn’t know or care

yet now that I’ve changed

physically in their eyes

they still see me

as the same person

but not so fat

they never said I was fat

then

mind you

but that I’ve lost weight since

then

 

I don’t say what I once said

my world view has changed

become broader

& more refined at the same time

my body gets narrow

my vision get clearer

in ways people notice

people I hadn’t set out

to be noticed by

then

 

now knowing

they’ve been looking

that they are capable of comparing

the old me

then

with the new me

I still don’t give a shit

but

thanks for noticing



14257567_1162384753819933_3271661288579707843_o
on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes

games

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

June 8-9- Capturing Fire

https://capfireslam.org

check out these poets from  Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016

 

money

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

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Hot Damn! Set Building

selfieb01It’s been a few years since I’ve done a full set at a poetry series in Toronto. Even then I’ve been one of three or our others, never as a sole feature. Not that I mind the competition but the theory of more poets the broader the audience appeal rarely works out – the audience pool is pretty small & fans of one are often fans of all.

hotdamn2I was aiming to be a Hot Damn! Slam out of town feature but that didn’t work out – timing etc. I’m doing the March show sort of by default. Not hitting open stages for some time means I have lots of ‘fresh’ material to choose from. The set I’ve put together is mainly pieces written as result of the 48 Laws of Power. I used each law as a prompt. These prompts often took my writing in fun, provocative directions.

Don’t worry I’m not going all 60+ pieces I wrote from these prompts. I picked a handful that either I have liked, or that other’s have responded to when I blogged them here. I’ll also include a couple of more recent pieces prompted by the 227 Rules of Monks. There be some political comment, some nostalgia, some sexy stuff & at least one surprise.

menoirPast sets I’ve tried to theme – east coast life, sexy stuff, in your pants stuff, political commentary – but this set will have no connecting thread other than the prompt sources. I will group things so there’ll be social, relationship, political, sexy pieces paired off. As usual I do start with the pieces that invite then become more ‘challenging’. There’ll be a fair bit of ironic humour  & perhaps out-right laughs. Many of the pieces have been already blogged but these versions have been edited more tightly.

jan0117meAs it stands now the set will be Dead Already*, Don’t Do Anything, Love Your Work, Give Generously, The Illusion of Democracy, Reaping Victory, Chalk It Up To Experience*, Faultless, Spoilers, After The Falling, Hard On, Man In The Moon, Breaking in Grief. The ‘*’ are from the 227 series of prompts.

After the Falling is the title of the chapbook I’m putting together for the show. I won’t be reading all the pieces in it. The ‘*’ poems won’t be in it either as I’m limiting the book to a selection the Laws of Power  pieces. Watch more about the chapbook in a later blog post. The chapbook will be $10.00. $9.00 if you have exact change 🙂

covsnap

Give Generously

you can make a difference

in the lives of these children

dogs  endangered species  bees

ice shelf

you can make a difference

the overfishing of the sea

the destruction of the rain forest

the testing of make up on animals

only you can help

we know you want to

if only to stop

seeing these high definition

close ups of tears on cheeks

skin taut over fragile bones

acres of swamps

replaced with sugar cane fields

birds slicked with oil

babies

look it’s babies

for fuck sake

innocent little kittens

going hungry

so skinny

even the human babies

starving won’t eat them

 

only you can help

these photographers need work

these administrators need

your funds to administrate

we don’t want you to rescue anyone

we have skilled professionals

who studied in universities

to learn how to teach these unfortunates

what they need to change

to become suitable candidates for rescue

that education doesn’t come for free

you won’t have to touch anything

other than the donation button

only you can help

 

only you

 



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on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes

April season 3 FINALS – Friday April 15th Buddies in Bad Times – early show – 7pm startgames

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

June 8-9 attending: Capturing Fire 2018

 

https://capfireslam.org

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#Boyfriend

Even with the Jays game there was a good turn out for the Naked Heart – Howling Against Assimilation  panel. It was held at the City Park Library – the brainchild of Jeff Kirby. It is housed in what was once a huge deserted storage room off the stairwell to the parking garages at City Park. This a brilliant repurposing of space in the co-op. Everything in the space: furniture, books, even the computers have been donated by the community it serves.

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entrance to City Park Library

Kirby moderated the panel & opened it up with a discussion of a larger assimilation issue – why has queer lit gone from edgy erotic sex to middle-of-the-road romance over the past decades. I don’t think any of us panellists were prepared for a discussion of contemporary queer literature mind you.

My take was that with gay marriage came a move to play down queer sexuality in favour of traditional heteronormative values. Those queers who have sex outside of relationships are sluts & are not presenting a positive image to the heteronormative world – slut shamming. I saw a lot of heads nodding in agreement with me. Peter Kingstone speculated that some of it has to do with the HIV crisis as well.

cpl02

stairs to parking garage & City Park Library

Peter talked about his various video projects that explore giving voice to various often dismissed people. Part of his ‘assimilation’ & resistance to it springs from his experiences as a sex trade worker, which he regards as ‘ordinary’ but often created a gulf of judgement when he presents creative aspects of himself outside of that context.

Catherine Hernandez talked about the balance of being true to one’s inner spirit & the need to fulfill grant stipulations – to put food on the able without being compromised creatively. Articulate & creative she finds the energy for that balance can be distracting but the projects she is working on are clearly challenge she likes to face.

cpl03

stairwell mirror selfie

Kaleigh Trace talked her mobility issues – of body sovereignty – how ablists would rather see her as thwarted & unfulfilled by her physical condition as opposed to seeing her as a intact & happy in her own skin woman.

Toward the end of the panel the nature of body sovereignty took stage. Catherine remarked on the trope of the wise person also being the damaged person – they may be ‘fill in the bank’ but they re wise to make up for it. It made me wonder what the reaction would be to, say, a blind asshole?

redcart

Peter, Catherine & myself read from our work a piece the reflected in some way the nature of refusing to be assimilated. I trucked out Boyfriend which I’ve posted below. An excellent panel which certainly made up for the Jays losing 🙂

sample

Boyfriend

I’m so excited

I have a new boy friend

he’s barely fifteen

 

years younger than me

 

did that pause catch you off guard

were you sure I was going to say

he was only fifteen years old

was it hard enough to think of a man

having a boyfriend at all

then add to it the shudder that it was

an innocent emotionally underdeveloped

fifteen year old child

 

though I can remember me at fifteen

jacking off to visions of rock star cock

Jimi Hendrix Bruce Springsteen

that I wished there in my bed

 

telling you too much am I

get used to it

I’ve heard enough straight poets go on

sparing no intimate details

about blissful raspberry nipples

moist peach fuzzed mounds

 

so I’ll talk about man on man action

even if it makes some of you restless

a bit bored     a bit threatened

girl on girl would make you more comfortable

 

I usually try to make the nestling

of men’s bodies into each other

sound sort of sweet and tender

pulling myself away

from the gasp   grasp of sweat    pubic hair

 

so I’m excited

about my new boyfriend

though I hate boyfriend

boy carries that too young taint

man friend isn’t close

lover is more complex than it is at this point

bed buddy     yeah I like that

I have a new bed buddy

he’s nearly fifteen

 

years younger than me

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Chew My Bacca

Glad Day Books’ Naked Heart literary festival had so many events I needed a clone to take in all the ones I wanted to get to – three events at the same time – that calls for some sort of Skype, right? Maybe next year someone can be talked into doing recordings for podcasts.

On Saturday I took in IN:VERSE – Poetry & Tea: at DAVIDsTEA. I got there a little after 3 pm & the house as already packed – though it turns out some were just there to get a cup of tea. But it was a standing room event. I managed to wedge myself into table with good sight lines. I was eager to hear a line up of writers all, but one, of whom I had never heard. The host, whose name I never did find out, ran a tight ship, though a few of the readers had bios nearly as long as their sets – in future skip bios that are already in the guide, guys – that’ll give readers more time.

mirror01

Robert Steckling started the event with a short short story about the isolation of downtown apartment living: ‘eyes uninterrupted that seemed to look at nothing,’ ‘his breakfast was a taxi home,’ ‘stay with me as long as you don’t talk.’ Next up was Ralph Hamilton with emotionally resonant poems about loss: ‘I stepped in the dark just to breath his air,’ ‘duelling peeing over an open commode,’ ‘a voice called like a warm summer rain.’

mirror02

Then Lucas Crawford, a Cape Bretoner transplanted to Vancouver did an excellent piece about Rita MacNeil ‘you asked to have your ashes put into a tea pot, two if necessary, ‘a sea of capsized bass notes,’ ‘gravitas of a fat women who longs for the microphone,’ ‘a kilt is a portal to a new dimension.’ As a Cape Bretoner myself this set resonated with me. Lucas was followed by Keith Ribian (sp?) with his poetic looks at Frida Kahlo & Derek Jarman: ‘it’s all in the bite,’ ‘anything to return to old virginity’ ‘at the Museum of Modern Art I am deluged by stupidity.’ ‘the stated altitudes of sex.’mirror03

Jordaan Mason ‘having a body is weird,’ ‘I draw a map on my body of each of the times I said no, ‘I want to yell your name until we are surrounded by wild animals.’ Eric Wright: transplanted from Montreal with several short sexy imagist pieces: ‘a kiss never planted,’ ‘dead pan forged,’ ‘seeping in your ear & foaming around your sheets.’

Debra Anderson read first from her novel Code White: ‘we are racing against night & the meds,’ ‘some sort of promise passed between us.’ Then a piece about The Slow Dance ‘she looked like a watered down Joan Jett, ‘none of the people I held in my arms tonight were you.’

Cathy Petch closed the show: no one asks what volunteers rehiring from, ‘the feeling that my skin was drag.’ After some rousing haiku & saw playing she ended with her Ode To Chewbacca that came from her ‘star warring heart’ with a plea for him ‘to chew her bacca.’

saw

Each of the readers brought strong points of view, along with divergent literary approaches and performance styles for a very rich hour of queer vision, talent & dare I say it, community.

samples

Identity

you aren’t you

she shouted pointing at me

I don’t know who you are

you aren’t you

he’s you

she went on

pointing to a heavy set black man

who smiled and waved at me

 

great, I thought,

I’ll finally know what it feels

like to have a thick black cock

 

how long did you think

you could get away with it

she stepped closer

pretending to be yourself

some one you clearly are not

 

thanks, I got a word in edge wise,

now that I can stop being me

I can be who I really am

 

that’s not how it works

she glared at me

you can’t just become anyone else

because you aren’t you

 

what about me

the black guy came over

to shake my hand

pleased to meet me

 

he’s not you

she pushed us apart

neither of you are each other either

you are both not

who you are

can’t you get it through your heads

she was nearly screaming

 

but I’ve always wanted to a white dude

the black guy said

if I’m him

I’m not this big black guy anymore

 

no no no the woman was scornful

it’s not that simple

stop thinking you are who you think you are

because you aren’t you

he’s you

identity is in the eye of the beholder

don’t you get it

she was exasperated

as if we were children

how can I make it any simpler

you can’t change what you are

 

well, I tried

I’m not you, for starters

are you you

 

of course I am, she snapped

but trust me I know you aren’t you

he is you

and don’t you forget it

okay okay I get the picture

I tried to calm her down

it felt good not to be me

to let go of all that identity crap

I was finally free

I looked at the self

I was just introduced to

let’s get out of here

I said

it’s time we learned how to

play with myself

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo
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