August 2021 Recap

Over the past month my TOpoet.ca following stands at 464 ! The WP map does show my hits have come from  countries around the world. That USA tops the list is no surprise but that Bangladesh moves up to 3rd spot & that Bahrain is in the top 10 is a surprise. China! Ireland! sill up there. Ola Spain. Most popular post was The Beaches (https://topoet.ca/2021/08/12/the-beaches-august-2021/  ). My personal fav is Summer Striptease https://topoet.ca/2021/08/23/summer-striptease/ .

My Tumblr is at 332 followers. Twitter at 229 followers. Picture Perfect: 82 sections, about 112,000 words posted so far with approx 72,000 to be edited then posted. Returning to the Rules For Monks on Wednesdays for this month – October will see a return of scary poems on Haunted Wednesdays. 

Finally watched Rocketman & loved it. The film is a visual, sonic & emotional delight. Surreal & yet true to life. I liked the way the narrative flowed from music to reality to surreal so smoothly while inviting me in to the addictive mess his life had become. Taron Egerton did his own singing (unlike the Freddie Mercury bio in which the lead won the Oscar for best lip-syncing). Like many recovery stories this one is too much about the glamour & glitter of the downfall with the recovery dealt with in a minute. Highly recommended.

Another great watch was ‘Ma Vie en rose’ 1997 – a sweet, remarkable movie about gender identity. A young child – supposedly 7 – decides they are a boy-girl & experiences & survives cultural resistance & forced gender norms & transphobia. Excellent writing, unforced humour, great performances. Highly recommended for all ages.

read: Germinal is part of the Les Rougon-Macquart a collective title given to a cycle of twenty novels by Emile Zola. This was, I think, the fourteenth in the series. It is brilliant. I’ve read two other ‘versions’ of it – each English translation is a rewrite of the original & retells it through the eyes of the translator. Zola is a French Dickens, only, unlike Dickens, his stories are grittier, darker & more directly sexual. If you don’t know Zola start with Terese Raquin. I have an Amazon Kindle collection of the complete novels & am about half-way through them all – I only have 150 hours of reading to finish them 🙂 Zola is one of my prime fiction influences.

Read ‘Farewell to the Sea’ the third novel in Reinaldo Arenas’ Pentagonia: a five novel “secret history” of Cuba. I’m re-reading all my Arenas, he’s another of my prime fiction influences. Farewell deconstructs the novel with free-wheeling interior monologues, ranted poetry, shifting p.o.v. in his no-holds-barred attack on Cuban justice, politics &queer sexuality. Funny, mythic & compelling. A mid-century masterpiece. 

It has been a good month with no major events as things slowly open up after the long pandemic shutdown. Waiting for what form this vaccine passport will take. Will I have to give the wait person access to my OHIP info to order a meal? Probably works only for smart phones.  Wondering how the need to prove covid status will effect things – rapid test costs $40 at Shoppers – so tickets for events that ask for that status will now cost $40 more. Friends looking for new jobs and/or apartments now searching the obituaries. Not so brave not so new world.

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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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Upper Reaches

Time to continue the tour of my house as we move upstairs to bed & bath. The bathroom has remained one of the least ‘decorated’ rooms the house – too, much moisture for one thing. There are shelves of towels, body wash, shaving stuff so the room is cluttered enough as it is. 

This stained-glass star is in the bathroom window. Handmade by my partner before we met it is one of the oldest object d’art that isn’t shop bought. He made couple of such pieces at a workshop he took one summer. We did have remains of this stained glass supplies for decades & I got rid of them in my covid cleaning frenzy.

I won this sunset (or is it sunrise) train track photo in a GenX Bears fund-raising raffle in the early 2000’s. I think they were raising money for their Pride Parade float. A friend was a member of the group. It was, as I recall, a ‘blind’ raffle, in which I knew the range of prizes but they were assigned randomly. I was happy to get this & it was perfect for over the toilet – I can gaze down the endless track of life as I pizza my life away 🙂

Across the hall is my bedroom which is relatively uncluttered – unless you count the dressers, racks of cds, book case, shelves of frequently used clothes as clutter 🙂 This wonderful Tarzan poster what a birthday gift from my fans at Cabaret Noir. I have seen the film – Acquanetta fulfills hetero teen boy exotica fantasy, while Weissmuller & Sheffield fuelled many a confused lad’s sexuality as, like me, we wondered how they kept their junk hidden under those loincloths while swinging through the jungle.

While I’m going about exotica fantasy – these jungle ‘epics’ were where many saw an abundance of hairless male flesh in our formative years. In particular, when I’ve seen some of these recently, as well some set in the jungle serials – I am delighted by the abundance of bare chested native guides, bearers & tribal kings. I wonder if any historian of black performers in movies has looked at this pool of performers.

This Japanese noren was a gift from a Japanese friend. It is a door hanging, about half-a-door in length, split down the middle. The samurai protects my room from negative energy 🙂 While the celebrants usher in good vibes. The leaf leads to my Peace Lily. 

On the wall, by the door, is this marvellous piece of religious kitch. A print I bought framed at an antique store, not longer there, near Queen & Broadview. It was love at first sight. Early 1900’s. This was a very popular subject – there are dozens of variations of the trouble soul clinging to the rugged cross in the storms of life. I love the face of Christ at the top of the cross – almost like seeing him in a piece of toast.

You Never Know Where He’ll Pop Up Next

<>

you saw the face of Christ

in a piece of toast

yet you don’t own a toaster

you can’t even boil water

you have enough trouble

opening a granola bar

<>

why was it only the face

was the slice of bread

too small 

to hold His entire body

was the holy toaster

limited to specific body parts 

<>

was it the result of

ancient aliens

who after they built the pyramids 

designed a toaster

specifically to replicated

the face of Christ in toast

a face that seems rather caucasian

for an ancient alien

<>

beside you aren’t the first 

to have seen the face of Christ

where it doesn’t belong

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Japan India Dominica Germany


This next mp3 collection is a trip around the world starting in Japan with Kuni Kawachi: Love Suki Daikirai. Someone in my tumblr feed posted ‘Graveyard of Love’ a track by Kuni & I loved the title & the song itself. This is moody, sweet early 70’s folksy psychedelic music. Kuni has an appealing voice & I was delighted by the songs. Do I understand Japanese? No, but that isn’t the point.

Next stop is Germany with Gunnar Winckler: A few hits. Once again thanks to tumblr. I follow an lp cover list – usually cheese album covers from around the world. The cover for Gin und Rum was sweet so I  checked out Gunnar. There were only a few of his tracks on iTunes. A late 1950’s hit maker in Germany. The music is rock-a-billy fun.We jump from there to India with Ganesha – My Lord. A collection by various performers of chants, rajas & spoken word in tribute to Ganesha. This a great exploration of this genre of ‘sacred’ meditation music. Some tracks over 20 minutes that are journeys worth taking.

Next we visit Guinea with music by Djelimoussa Cissoko – Kora. A kora is a 21 stringed lute-like instrument. Cissoko is considered a master of the instrument. On this lp he plays a variety of classic styles. The sound is melodious, at times meditative, sprightly & enticing. There are some jazz groups that are based around this instrument. I love this particular set though & it makes for an excellent introduction to West African music. 

Finally we come to a more modern sound with Adventura – The Last – this is a Bronx-based Dominican boy band. Latino boy bands still exist! But the competition of J or K Pop is giving them a run for the money. Fine harmonies, funky songs, nice production & in the videos they look more like men than boys.

Another Sunday Drive

“Look you little shit I’m only taking you along because Dad is here. Remember that. Get out of line and you’ll be sorry. Got it.”

“Yes, I got it.’ Dave glowered at me from the front seat of the car. He was still pissed at me for the other day, I guess.

Dad came out of the cabin and got into the front seat passenger seat.

“Okay Dave, let’s see what you’ve learned.” 

“Sure enough, Dad. I’ve been practicing all week. You know …. just driving Mike here down to the beach.”

“Sticking to the private lane I hope.”

“Of course. Dad. Didn’t I Mike.” He slowly backed out of the drive. 

Slower than I had even seen him back out. I sat quietly with my eyes peering out the window. Dave had driven me to the beach exactly once. He had been out in the car every day. Going on the highway to the store in town a couple of times. I wanted to tell but had promised not to say a thing. 

When we got the beach Dave puleld into the parking area and backed the car into a spot. This time he didn’t back right into bushes that separated the lot from the beach.

“Very good. I’m proud of you son.”

Dave beamed. “Thanks Dad. Maybe I could take us to town. We need … milk.”

“Maybe when you get your beginners. This is enough. Might as well enjoy the sand while we’re here.” Our Dad got out of the car.

We got out too. By the hotdog stand where two of the girls Dave had his eye on.

“Hi Dave,” the shorter of the girls waved and walked over. “Can you drive us into town again this afternoon?”

He scowled at her and glanced back at my Dad. “Hi Sally, this is my Dad.”

‘Oh! You taught Dave to drive great. He’s like a race car driver. He never misses a curve.” She ran her hand along her hip.

“I see.” My Dad’s eyes narrowed, as a thin smile played across his face. “You don’t say. Well, Dave why don’t you show me how you take those curves.” He pushed Dave gently back toward the car.

“Mike, you stay here till we get back.”

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

every Tuesday 2019

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

Arrgh – Godzilla

sample

Arrgh – Godzilla

as a kid

I would often play at being Godzilla

stomping on my toys

kicking them over

breathing my fire breath on them

invulnerable powerful dangerous

enjoying that ants were sacred of me

as I grew up

I would pull on my Godzilla suit

when things weren’t going my way

emotionally swing out at people

stomping on their intentions

when they didn’t suit my expectations

I later found out that Godzilla

was a man in a rubber suit

a small sweaty Japanese man

actually men

because the suit didn’t breath properly

the actors would tire out  get sick

they couldn’t see out of the eye holes

and had to lead to the set

pointed in the right direction

just like my loss of vision

when I pulled on my Godzilla suit

to strike out at life

but I refused to let anyone

lead me in the right direction

if the actor was in the suit too long

he’d break out in a rash

get too itchy to wear it

me I’d break out in rash decisions

end up with itchy resentments

that I’d take out on those around me

like those actors

no one knew who I was

as long as I wore the suit

every good villain has a motive

has something he wants

but it was never clear what Godzilla wanted

except to be left the fuck alone

we never see Godzilla relaxing

beyond floating

to the bottom of the sea to sleep

all of his energy was spent

battling the nuisances of a life

he didn’t even want to be part of

of being a monster stuck in a normal world

that didn’t have a place for monsters

rubble02

Godzilla sneezed

This is a piece that works on many levels – the retro nostalgia of Japanese horror movies for starters and how they effected the child and how they resonate within us as adults. Though this pulling on of the suit didn’t occur to me as the result of nostalgia. I’d purchased a great Godzilla t-shirt at FanExpo & was wearing at a recovery meeting. The topic was acting out and this whole image of me donning the Godzilla suit to act out as someone I wasn’t came to me.

boots

Jake was here a minute ago

It moves into the practicality of the actors in those suits – all true info about the rashes, the visual difficulties – which were somewhat solved for later movies. I push the analogy of hiding in the suit, acting out in the suit, in hopes that the suit would get the blame – no one blames the actor in the Godzilla movies for the damage that results.

boot2

booted under

I might also add that sweaty Japanese men are definitely on my list of turn ons – I’m sure some of that comes from these films and the exoticness of the actors – though the good-looking one’s were usually the reporters not the scientists. The American release of the first Godzilla was repackaged from the original to include scenes with Raymond Burr (pre-Perry). Burr is one of those out-but-hidden  gay actors – adding an ever deeper resonance of the nature of hidden to this piece.

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shades

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