Picky Picky


as you said

I am picky

not that I didn’t appreciate your offer

I’ve learned

that just because I can

doesn’t mean I have to


I’ve learned by past experience

time after time

of saying yes

to please someone

who wants to gratify some need of mine

doesn’t result in satisfaction


so when I say no

it is because I don’t want to

not that I’m not interested

or that it isn’t something I might enjoy

but because I know better

in fact

I’d rather have you think

I’m picky

than explain why I say no

and calling me picky

isn’t going to change my mind

This is a concept that took me a long time to realize: “because I can/ doesn’t mean I have to.” It fights out consumer culture’s push of more more more  in which there is no such thing as too much – having enough is seen a settling for less – enough is passive, more is productive. In some areas (ie music) I suffer from this addiction to ‘too much.’ In posting about my collection on Fridays I sometimes find things that I had forgotten I had 🙂

This piece is also another reflection on people pleasing. Some people will take someone turning down a drink, a toke, a line of coke personally. As if they are being told they aren’t good enough, their booze or drugs aren’t good enough – they feel judged. Too often trust is based on mutual enjoyments, friendships are built over passing joints around. In the queer world saying no to drugs is seen as saying to to sex. But that’s another post.

A large part of the 227 Rules for monks deals with their comportment in public – mostly ways of not calling attention to themselves. Not that they encourage people pleasing but at the same time they encourage the diminishment of self – the rules for clothes make one robe indistinguishable from that of another monk. Which goes against our culture … or is that cult of identity.


I’m not going to become a monk but I do like being less confined by the need to prove identity or to surrender identity to please someone else. “because I can/ doesn’t mean I have to” is a balance of not letting opportunity taken or declined become definition. 

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




shall I compare thee to a hand

severed from a corpse

an unidentified left hand

isolated insulated in ice

not yet murky with drifting pinks

lit from below by a cool blue

as blue as your eyes

when you concede

that even though you are right

you will never get your way

so this wild wound

will howl at the afternoon sun

fearful of losing its shadow

in the comfort of my affection

In the chapbook this followed the anti-war rant. A change of pace, pov & a sort of mental palate cleanser for what follows. It’s very sort & to the point, unlike the war rant. Short but perhaps not much easier on the mind. This was inspired by a moment on some CSI type show in which a severed body part was floating in a lab tank. Thin strands of blood were drifting from it in the carefully modulated light of the room.


I, for one, doubt if in reality these labs have such subtle soft focus, indirect lighting. All those dim corners would be too scary and I’d end up squinting all the time trying see what I was supposed to see. I can hear some set designer ‘ooh’ at the divine, delicate effect of light on red corn syrup in ice water – which was probably also given a shot of something to make it the right shade of blue.

But this a love poem, not a critique of crime TV. The opening refers to one of the most famous of all love poems Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 – yes I do have some classical education but chose not to use it much 🙂 The severed hand is certainly the opposite of a summer’s day, though time of year is not germane to the content at all. I push the images from concrete realism to romantic abstractions.


Sonnet 18 is emotionally uncluttered – I love you. ‘hand’ on the other … um … hand, is emotionally & graphically loaded. Clearly, to me, there is some sort of dark struggle here between the object of affection and the observer. Readers of this piece, in the past, have been a little creeped out as their identifying with the voice switches from observer to being observed.


Everyone wants a flowery love a la Sonnet 18. But a love lit from below is only for the brave.


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Ashes of Our Pasts

Ashes is one of the new pieces I read at the recent Winter Snow Ball. It is mildly sexy, mildly political, slightly personal and a whole lot of tactile stimulus.

glove01lonely glove

One of things that I realize about ‘kids’ today is that most of them have lived in a world in which being queer isn’t quite as fraught as it once was – I say ‘quite’ because teens are still being bullied into suicide for ‘otherness’ – but there is a certain tolerance as result of queer presence on TV, in pop music too, so it isn’t suppressed as it was when I was growing up, coming out.

glove02in the pink

Yet there are nation where things as bad as they ever were here in North America. So this piece addresses that in a direct way. I try to avoid political rhetoric while making whatever point I may be making. It also looks at the nature of freedom and of what holds us, even after years.

glove03the (g)love(less) lottery

I infused the piece with color, smell, feel, sound without overloading it. Also I wanted to allude to race issues without exoticizing race. Men are men.


February 21, Friday – featuring – Racket at the Rocket: 7 p.m., Red Rocket Cafe, 1364 Danforth Ave. https://www.facebook.com/events/818441091515505/


March 1, Saturday – attending – Toronto SpecFic Colloquium


June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada



he smells of coal

I know its a conditioner

an after shower lotion

to keep his skin from drying

into ashy patches

he smells of coal

but has never been in a mine

has probably never burned coal

the smell takes me back

to my childhood

growing up in a coal town

sorting a freshly delivered load

in the basement bin

picking though for rocks

that would pop in the furnace

scare my mother

when we moved out of that house

to one with oil heating

I never missed the smell of coal

until I met him

a tar dark skinned man

who held me with a cautious tenderness

he’d come from a country

were men of his sort

were stoned in the street

where women who loved women

could be raped with impunity

here he was still unsure

he didn’t quite believe he was safe

he couldn’t free himself

of the fear he grew up with

I cannot free myself

from the smell of coal

I grew up with the same fears

as he did

so when we meet

we taste the ashes of our pasts

my power spot

my Loyalist power spot

I Am Not A #Camera

Napa ’04

I was gifted my first digital camera several years when I won a trip for four to Napa Valley – one of the people I took with me gave me the camera. It became a constant companion for a few years, always in my shoulder bag, just in case. Plus a must have for what travel I did. But it had limitations – hard to turn off flash, couldn’t get closer than 3 feet & stay in focus, and useless for night shots. Video had 10 second limit & no sound. So I pretty much stopped using it expect for special occasions.

golden gate ’04

Then I signed on to WordPress to raise my online profile. One of the hints for increasing an audience was to have pictures on your blog, so I dug the camera out and starting taking pictures again. But the focus limits bugged me. Once I got my income tax return this year I splurged on a new camera. More bells and whistles, sound for video etc. Plus a 12X lens, a memory card that’ll hold thousands of pictures.

At first I was taking pictures of anything – flowers, architectural details, amusing signs, sleeping cats and the sky. But I have friends who do similar things, and much better too, so I did some thinking. For travels some of those things are fine but even then my picture of a field of flowers in Cape Breton could be by anyone. Memories for me and a bit of color for my blog about the east coast.

(g)love in the shadow

I wanted to limit my range a bit as well or I’d be spending all my time taking pictures of people’s gardens, broken windows and abandoned furniture. Something that has always spoke to me is random shoes, pieces of clothing – there’s a story in how and why that one shoe is there on the street. What pleased me is that when I started in on my ‘cast-offs’ gallery, more often than not, there would be another and another and hence a focus was born.

going to the hop

I may not have a great eye, technique or bother with composition but I do have fun. I’m more an observer – reportage as opposed to an explorer or revealer. It’s up to the viewer to slip beneath the surface if a picture speaks to them. What I see and what you see looking at the same moment are often very different things.


an older piece – sort of seasonal –

The Fright

here’s comes the fright

that belongs to lovers

that covers the sight front

we put on to keep others

from getting too close to the truth

if they know my deepest secret fears

they’ll use them

dismiss me dismay me measure me

who is this they

what is this hidden treasure

under cover of might maybe not now

under the radar

not even a blip beat

heart sneaks down and around

wanting to be caught taught a lesson

wanting to be fearless

creeping away instead

why is it we choose to reveal ourselves

only to the one we fear to lose the most

as if this revelation will become a glue

that can keep the fright

from pulling us apart

feeling no gain

wishing there was another way

to say what doesn’t make sense

except in the beat of the moment of suspense

between trust and fear of truth

push me closer to the think again buster

I’m not the one you want

I’m merely the one you need

and the bedroom isn’t a threat

but a motion of grace

a station of the come across

does that make sense build fences

or are you like me

another of the dearly parted

ready to depart from chances to changes

from dinnerware to underwear

losing sight of the fright

devising ways to make me sorry

don’t make me put down my ideals

just to reach something in you

so you feel safe enough

to put down your questionable attitude

your heart isn’t a noose isn’t bad news

someone might see me naked

catch sight of the short coming

the longing clinging shame

this fright is the same the world round

staggering subjected to the next opportunity

the expectation that  some sort of salvation

can only come through

the transcendent shattering of self

by shooting the biggest load

into the warmest trusting affectionate

accepting person

who will look you in the eyes in the morning

tell you everything is all right

they forgive you

for wanting more than enough

for not getting everything in a single gulp

knowing that they measured your treasure

and found it haunting