‘the edge of mending’

There’s nothing Hot Damn! hotter than a man who wears a bowtie like Johnny Trinh – add talent, humour, sharp cultural insights & this is the complete package. I’ve first heard Johnny last year at Hot Damn – where he presented his ‘feature’ face – then I caught him at the Capturing Fire slam in DC & saw his combat face as he went toe-to-toe with fierce competitors. I’m a fan (not a stalker.)

Thus Hot Damn! launched its second season at the Supermarket with his powerful set, vibrant slammers & amazing open mic-ers – when a open mic includes the likes of Shane L Koyczan & Will Lliw you know the series is built to blast.


let me in!

Opening the show with the musical saw Charlie Petch kept the momentum going, crowing about the success of Hot Damners at Capturing Fire this past summer. Their porn ‘stash became a boob ‘stash quickly thanks to the heat of the crowd. The first open stagers set the mood: Emily (last name lost) with a sharp political piece: all my dreams are pipe dream but not Alaskan; you wash my mouth out till all that was left was your language; I was up next with Pie & Sermon On the Mount (two separate pieces though that would be a great title for a piece ‘Pie on the Mount’).

First round of slammers started with Kay Kassirer as sacrifice: ‘gay marriage is legal so the fight is over, right?’ Slammers Georgia Wilder, Vanessa McGowan &, Shawna Dimitry were on point with body image, gender issues & secrets: ‘the next thing I remember is three days later … I told no one for seventeen years,’ ‘in the place I am buried I am thin …. all I have is my words & they are as deep as my skin,’ ‘you’ve been spilling out for years … throwing yourself away by spoonfuls … misery loves over analysis.’


cum shot

Johnny Trinh’s set was stunning. Some slammers don’t step out of that slam style to feature but Johnny presents a whole new persona. Two of his pieces incorporated sound – the first a sound collage he interacted with – repeated fragments ‘the edge of mending is breaking,’ ‘you cannot edit my heart’ expanded the nature of poetry. ‘our breath is our own personal soundtrack,’ ‘power is a performance of control,’ ‘star spangled idolatry,’ ‘having nothing is being nothing.’ His final piece, to a guitar & cello background, was about race & sexual attraction ‘I’ve been taught to love your skin.’ He repeats the phrase ‘I do good job for you’ in a ripe Asian accent that at first comes across as comic but as it gets repeated we are forced to consider the power of that stereotype & why we find it comic. Emotionally resonant, creatively adventurous & inspiring.

After a break to tip the bartender 🙂 & buy chapbooks, the open stage wound up with Shane L Koyczan: ‘we’re not scrabble squares to rearrange’ ‘beauty is designed to sell yourself back to yourself’ & the Will Lliw: his imagery slips so smoothly & quickly it becomes impossible for me listen & trap a line at the same time.


cold ears to hear you with

Once again Kay Kassirer was sacrificed to start the final slam round ‘I am not a girl’ ‘gender is not a diagnosis.’ The slam order is reversed for this final round & the poets ramp up their attack: ‘straight causes so much bruising I don’t want to be part of it,’ ‘I’m straight because I never have to explain myself,’ ‘lips for double chocolate dipped,’ ‘a snatch all natural & sugar free,’ ‘double double like the spell of Shakespeare’s witches,’ ‘reverbs of her terror cross borders,’ ‘lose the light in their eyes & leave us,’ ‘being tolerated is not as easy at it looks’ ‘the female badge of perfection – you’re so thin.’

Vanessa McGowan wins the night in a tough race, so she’ll be in the running for the trip to Capturing Fire next year. Hot Damn! hits Hamilton next & returns to Toronto November 18 at the Supermarket. Cathy Petch closed the show with ‘the night we penetrated Gene Wilder’s nephew we lived the American dream.’


Sermon on the Mount

when I was a child

I remember the excitement of the day

Jesus was installed

arms open to greet you

1959 Aug Forest Haven_03

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

me – 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 another layer of weird


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


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


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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblrking.02


The Fragility of Fidelity


your cheatin’ desk

I wasn’t sure what to call this Fidelity post because words such as Fraud, Farce or Facade all seems quite as appropriate. The recent hoo-ha over that adultery site had amused and puzzled me. Once again the sanctity of heterosexual property control has been sullied. I’d say marriage but marriage was originally created as a method of property control – love had nothing to do with it (& often still doesn’t.)


the kid’s not mine

As the wave of shock over the Ashley Madison breach ripples out there have been suicides. That is seriously fucked up – killing yourself over some sex play – or rather, over being caught. Then again this comes from a culture were suicide is an acceptable alternative to being a queer.


the broken home

There is a long history of gay men & women being blackmailed & now, guess what, those furtive Madison fun seekers are now facing the same thing. Hardly surprising in this unbalanced culture where property is more precious than human life; where a moment of possible disrespect of the police justifies death; where being caught two-faced is a matter of spin – ‘I hate homos but secret infidelity is fine & now I’m seeking treatment.’

Clearly many of us are enjoying the the hypocrisy this reveals more than the actual infidelity – faces in the news who have a history of righteous posturing revealed to be ‘vile, corrupted sinners’ & not saintly true loving all-Americans.


cowardly sweater

The only thing more fragile that fidelity is the heterosexual male ego – a man kills sex worker as the result of trans panic!? The only way to impress the world that he wasn’t sexually abnormal was to kill this threat to his image. Sex worker is clearly at fault (I’m being facetious).


here’s an old piece, one posted here before, coincidentally on the first Friday in September 2014:


he’s your boyfriend?

he never mentioned anyone else

yes I see how this is upsetting you

it’s not as if I picked him up

oh is that what he said


what was I thinking?

I was thinking it would be a good time

nsa as they say no strings attached

I assumed he had no strings on him

plus it wasn’t strings that were pulled

sorry didn’t mean to take you so lightly


why you are surprised and hurt

after all men are horn dogs

or is it the fact that he was sleeping

with a guy

that’s got you so upset


look I told you

I didn’t know that he was engaged

that you have two kids already

I didn’t set out to steal your man

he was just some sort of cute guy

I ran into at Timothy’s

simple as that

I was looking at Xtra

and he sat down to look at it too

one thing lead to another and another


we didn’t get into history just into bed

and if you want to know the truth

if he was getting what needed from you

maybe he wouldn’t have bothered with me

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo


Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr



you’ll leave me in a body bag

‘a pillow for your heart’


Hot Damn It’s A Queer Slam! the ideal blast off to the new year. Host Cathy Petch, pitch perfect as always, didn’t shy away from the Regina/Vagina opportunity to rub our faces in a good time. (Feature Johnny Trinh is currently studying at UofR, which prompted the Regina/Vagina face rub.) The third floor at Glad Day was a riot of color with the exhibit Bill Bisset’s amazing paintings.

The SRO crowd brought more colour & warmth to the space, while the slammers feverishly slugged it out to get that ‘free’ trip to Capturing Fire this June in Washington DC. As a judge I was reluctant to queer anyone chances of taking the big prize, but as a queer it’s hard not to do just that.

shelf03 shelfie #1

Before the first round I did hit the open stage with a couple of pieces, one that was a bit of a mess (if you are afraid of making a mess in front of crowd this isn’t the scene or you), the other (see below) that wowed them. The first round of the small moved fast with emotion, sensuality, even a dash of humour. I’d name all the poets but don’t want to miss one, or misspell one either. I’d quote lines but they came too fast, plus it’s too hard to make notes, remember names & judge at the same time.


 shelfie #2

Feature Johnny Trinh did a funny, emotionally compelling and barefoot set. Barefoot because his feet were wet from the rain out side, but I suspect someone in the house is a toe fetishist & Johnny was willing to please.

His material tackles racism head on – as an Asian ‘I was raised to love your skin,’ ‘George Takei is not loud enough to drown the white voice out.’ on the death of a lover: ‘worse than the absent of you is the invisible me.’ Politically sharp without being strident,  sexy without being explicit (or maybe he was overly explicit to some, I can’t judge but he was never as explicit as I can be). I got to participate in his final piece about the big O. Unrehearsed group gasping and moaning to suggest coming was fun. check out this pic by slam winner  KT Job: the cast of the big O.


 shelfie #3

Second round of the slam moved quickly, pieces were more emotionally raw, less sexual & universal, as opposed only queer. I’m not the only one who finds the fact that I’m ‘coping’ means I don’t emotional support. People didn’t want to leave when the show as done. A great mixed crowd – nice to see lost of guys in the house but I left wondering why there were no male slammers?

Organizers Cathy Petch & Brock Hessel, were ably assisted in slam duties by Un-commonly Andre scorekeeping & Tanya Neumeyer on the timer. Next Hot Damn! is in Hamilton. Keep track at www.queerslam.com


  bonadge shelfie

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr





I wandered the mall

without parental guidance

to get something festive for my mother

she liked anything we ever gave her

things that remained in their gift boxes

tucked in a safe place for a special day

I was tempted to take one of those old gifts

rewrap it to see if she would remember it

I was too young understand treasured memories


did she need atomizers bath oils perfume

I touched sweaters blouses earrings

clerks would glance at me glance away

I was stumped

I knew all about my mother

she liked to drink tea smoke watch TV

make clothes for my sisters

that was an idea  – bags of yarn

no that would turn into gifts for my sisters not her

she rarely wore the jewellery she had

would read reread the same mystery books

maybe something for the kitchen

something to remind her of her childhood

I wanted one thing that would be hers

she didn’t need another tea mug tea pot

more imported teas

to store behind the one she really likes


I floated from one store the next

noticed some woman tagging along

not looking at me when I look at her

as I head for the exit she stops me

you find what your looking for?

I shake my head no

I’m not so sure about that – come with me

kids think you can get away with anything

we go to the security office

empty your pockets


she searches my coat pats the lining

tells me what’ll happen for shop lifting

go to jail – parents will be ashamed 

we kids are all the same

look so innocent and can’t be trusted

she finds my wallet my money

my dad’s list of  things for my mother

looks like I was wrong honey

she pats my shoulder

now you run along home


I went outside

mom’s little boy no more

how did I wrap that


the knot of memory

Wrap is a sweet memory poem with some real memories and events mixed together. The shopping for Christmas gifts was always challenge for my Mother. One year I had found a great collection of teas – a dozen little sample boxes of tea in bags from around the world that I did find a few year later never opened.

In fact when she passed away my sister discovered gift boxed handkerchiefs, gloves that we’d given her in past years still in those boxes. The perfume started to vary over the years once we progressed Evening in Paris (http://wp.me/p1RtxU-VE). But there were bath salts and such she had never opened, stashed in a closet.

grnal02 childhood roots

I don’t think my Dad ever gave me a list though, I was clever enough to find interesting enough things. She liked mystery novels which were easy enough to find but I realize now she preferred cozies as opposed to police procedurals. Music was fun to find for her as well.

Wandering department stores was something I did from time to time at different ages & stages on the east coast and more than once was followed – once I about 12 was stopped too but only talked to briefly at the door as my panic was so clear the floorwalker knew I had merely looked.

1964 Xmas_01 a real christmas pic from 1964 – what my mother got

The other time I was in later teen’s and knew I was being tailed, as it were, and so faked lifting something and when they checked me out in a little private office and found nothing in my backpack they let me go after a stern warning about consequences.

My loss of innocence was quite different than the one here – it came when I realized I was queer and had no way of wrapping that as a gift so kept it on a shelf in my own little safe place and didn’t share it with family until I had moved to Toronto. But that’s another story.


January 3 – attending – HOT DAMN! It’s a Queer Slam featuring Johnny Trinh

Hot Damn


January 18 – hosting – Out of the Fire – a fundraiser for Kyle Andrews






Christmas constrictor

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr



Please Please Me

For my 200th blog post of the year it seems fitting that I finally get to The Beatles. This may take three or four posts to get through. Like many kids of the 60’s The Beatles were my first real music crush. On one mp3 collection I have: Please Please Me; With The Beatles; Yellow Submarine; The White Album along with George Harrison’s Wonder Wall and Danger Mouse: The Grey Album. Which covers the start, late & finish of their career. I’m get to the other lps in a few weeks.

tree03 can you see the forest

What struck me about their first couple of lps was the amount of US music covers they did. R’n’b, soul & some rock. There is a crisp fresh quality to the sound itself, sweet almost innocent. The early hits here are so simple, direct and tender. I remember being allowed to see them on Ed Sullivan & the audience screamed so much you couldn’t hear them singing “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”

When we jump to the White Album the sound is more complex, the emotional content more adult & worldly. Fine moments but it sounds as if it was harder for them to even be there (which in fact it was.)

tree02 little tree I once knew

Yellow is the original lp with the George Martin suite on side two. Just hearing it brings back lots of Peter Max memories. Is there a pop group today who would dare do something on the scale of Yellow Submarine? Wonder Wall – Harrison’s sound track for a movie I’ve never seen has lots of sitar, raga-esque mixed with honky tonk and scraps of other genres. If it weren’t Harrison it would be totally forgotten.


stumped again

Danger Mouse’s Grey Album (quickly suppressed for copyright reasons) is dense with samples music from White Album with Mouse rapping over them. I love the samples & the notion of it but for me recognizing those snippets drowns his lyrics.


Christmas Hamper

The gun kept slipping out of her hand. Blood! So much she didn’t know if it was his or hers. Jill pulled herself closer to the wall behind the laundry hamper. For once she was glad of its size. Extra large for her extra dirty family. She breathed a prayer that she’d get to wash those clothes again.

This was her first chance to take a breath since the attack had began. It started innocently enough. A group of five nondescript kids outside singing Christmas Carols. They were fund raising throughout the housing complex. Something for the new day care centre.

Jill had already bought the chocolate almonds, the raffle for a trip to Las Vegas. The carol singing was the latest in that series of wallet squeezing.

When they had started singing she was sorry her husband was still out with their three kids. Off to see Grandma Val, the mother-in-law, whose drunken tirades Jill no longer she felt she had to endure even in the name of festive forgiveness.

When the group had finished their first off-kilter Frosty one of them, a girl it turned out, came to the door to see if Jill wanted to hear another. Jill had fished out a ten dollar bill and was about to hand it across when she saw the small luger in the belt of girl’s nylon jogging pants.

“Don’t feel safe?” Jill had asked.

“That’s right ma’am.” A boy stepped up to join the girl only he had his larger gun in in hand. “Now if you don’t mind we’ll come into the safety of your house.”

“What …”

The boy shoved Jill hard back into the house. “Shut the fuck up bitch and you won’t get hurt. We’re making some pre-Christmas pick-ups of our own.”

That’s when Jill closed her hand around the handgun in her purse. She fired without taking it out. The bullet tore through the bag and slammed into the boy’s shoulder. Blood spurted over her, over the wall. The girl yanked out her pistol and fired.

Jill felt a sting in her calf.

“Bad aim sister.” Jill dropped the purse off her gun. She saw that the other carollers had lunged in behind the first two. One had a sawed-off shot-gun.

“Lady,” he growled as he cocked the gun, “if you don’t want to join the decorations on your tree just back off.”

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” Jill laughed, “Back off this you little asshole.’

Her one shot hit him directly between the eyes. She turned and dashed up the stairs to the bathroom. Jack kept the automatic behind the hamper. This would certainly be a Christmas to remember.

 tree03 pile’em high

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr