Cape Breton Reflections

My visit to Cape Breton had me living in many worlds – my memories, my sister’s memories, the present day & the fictional worlds of Emile Zola’s amazing Au Bonheur des Dames, & Aliette de Bodard’s Servant of the Underworld, set in the fifteenth-century Aztec Empire (which I was reading alternate chapters from on my Kindle.) Both of which I’d highly recommend.

The weather was perfect – hot, sunny & not overly humid. The Travelodge was the right distance from the downtown – I could walk where I wanted in 40-50 minutes – which is my usual daily walking routine so I certainly got my steps in. I deliberately didn’t use my iPod so that I was present for the walks. Only listened to my airmac iTunes when I was writing & even then I enjoyed working in ‘silence’ most of the time.

I did a couple of my school walks but retracing those steps wasn’t the point of this trip. The same with meeting up with a few old friends – it was more about today than reflecting on the times we spent together. Though the past did provide a few highlights in my sister’s house, which is the one we grew up in. The old dictionary was sweet to leaf through, the silver set was similarly sweet to see & handle. The chest it was in was enough at first then we opened it up! The Singer 🙂

Visiting the Fortress of Louisbourg is always fun, taking pictures was even more fun. Seeing the wind turbine farm at Lingan was a totally new memory. Finding a bunch of original Whitman YA novels on my last full day was a treat too. I can’t wait to read them 🙂

The flight back to Toronto was trouble free, as it should be right? There was a team of young athletes from the Ontario Track & Field association heading back on the flight – wearing red, white jackets. I had opted to wear the red hoodie I’d bought so I did get some interesting reactions as they wondered why they hadn’t seen this guy at their events.

I didn’t get to do everything I set out to do, which is a good things – I’ll have stuff to do on my next visit.

Jury Duty Calls

Me up at 5 a.m. & not leaving the country! Q: What could be more alarming? A: Me, deciding the innocence or degree of guilt of the accused – that’s right I was summoned for jury duty. The original summons was for June but I was in DC so I had it deferred to October.18jury01

The day 1 call was for 8:30 – not trusting TTC I left home by 7:30 & arrived in time at the lounge/holding tank. Prospective jurors are sorted into colours: blue, green, red, purple – I was the green group so there’ll be no colour purple jokes. Each group was at least 100 people. It reminded of the pharmaceutical drug research I used to do – bag search on entry, sitting & waiting to be called – at least here there would be no blood draws to deal with.

The chairs were comfy, mens room large & clean, an onsite cafe (for morning coffee) & it was reasonably priced. There was an abundance of eye candy to rest my vision when I tired of reading. There is nothing more relaxing than a well tailored blue shirt snuggly fitted over a man’s pecs & biceps. The prospective jurors were a true cross-section of Toronto – all ages, genders, physiques, races, nationalities.18jury02

After a video explanation & then more details by the head clerk (titles were rarely given ?) those who wanted deferral were dealt with – that eliminated a 100 or more of the pool. More waiting. I had lot son my Kindle to read & 7 days of non-stop music, should I need it. I had my laptop as well but opted to do this without internet access.

The Green group was called up for a trial – the counsels would select from our pool. Our juror #s were picked at random. The judge spoke to each individually, some were excused with cause. The prospective juror looked the accused in the eye. Then the attorney’s either accepted or challenged the prospect. No reasons for either were given. My # wasn’t even close to being called – just like lotto max. Those excused or challenge at the trial were returned to the juror pool – they are still eligible for another trial & still have to do the 5 days.18jury03

Lunch break & took some photos. Back the holding tank for more sitting. We were released for the day by 4:15.

Day 2 we didn’t have to return until 9:30. Transit was hell sauna on wheels. I needed another shower by the time I got off at St. George. Walked down from Queen’s Park Station to get some fresh air. Another morning of waiting. Two other of the groups called call up. Then at 1:15 we were released for the day – juries were needed but we were due back the next day.18jury04

 

As a civic duty this isn’t too taxing, merely boring. I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to deal with employers, new borns or health issues to be there.

 

 

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‘pleasure in the school yard after Noir’

Lizzie Violet hosted the September Cabaret Noir at the Central to a a packed house of people eager to escape the tedium of Tiff red carpet events. A quick round of open-stagers got the show off to  great start. Sarrah October with a sneaky snaky piece about not fitting in: she grew up feeling it was ‘normal to excluded because kids are assholes,’ ‘… accept words at face because you don’t have  a choice.’  Wayne Neon did a fun song ‘She’s the girl in the transparent dress.’ I hit the stage with some creepy pieces to hint at my October set (which may include a lost Twilight Zone episode.)

sch01

steps to the school yard?

First feature was the ultra sparkly Melissa Nicole Mather: with some poems about love, family & growth through loss: ’I want to paint you a plane,’ ‘if only I had the courage to make a scene to prevent the obscene,’ ‘the fish felt the floor for pins,’ ‘if it weren’t for you (leaving me) I never would have found myself.’ She ended with a bouncy dream pop synth song that reminded me a lot of Book of Love.

After a break Dan Curtis Thompson with James King gave us a hint of their upcoming production of Scooter Thomas – this glimpse was of two 13-yr-old boys bragging about making sexual discoveries ‘they weren’t made of rubber they were real tits’ ‘you can stop crying & come out of the bushes’

sch02

school yard at noon

Next was feature Beth Murch – winner of the the 2015 HotDamn slam (https://www.facebook.com/queerslam?fref=ts) with a seemly effortless set of emotional, funny, articulate pieces about body conformity, religion, sex & city life. ‘you would be my friend if I were fit (not fat)’, ‘F.A.T. Fucking Amazing Tits,’ my body is more than a Wonderland, it’s a Bouncy Castle,’ ‘do I belive in God? do I believe in swimming lessons?’ ‘salvation is the last piece of cake & that’s given to my sister instead,’ ‘the halls smelt like bic pens & ammonia’ ‘he said he’d never leave – he was right because I still find bits of his lies around,’ ‘a language older that words,’ ‘I will give you oral pleasure in the school yard after dark.’ A perfectly structured set that left all wanting more.

sch03

school yard at night

After a another quick break for drinks, chapbook sales & smoke ceremonies the last open-stagers started the last set. Arlene Paculan with a new song: ‘you’re deep inside my fantasy.’ James King with a ballad of longing ‘I never knew I could love you – I guess there are some surprises left.’

sch04

school yard later at night

Then Myke Mazzei hit the stage. I have heard Myke many times over the years & his stage presence never fails to invite us into his gentle worldview. His deceptively simple guitar playing supports his strong singing. Some of the songs remind of the best of America or Poco. ‘here I am rambling in the dark again,’ ‘like a bruise you can cover it up but can’t take it back, ‘I was wrong to make you cry.’

samp01

besides Memory I also read Confirmation (http://wp.me/p1RtxU-1le)

Memory

have you forgotten me

black bones in the cluttered attic

satin shoes in the dry basement

the tufts of red hair in the eucalyptus tree

fragments of me to be moved   assembled

each lift of the stain spotted blanket

each a dream in it’s fresh grave

a pinch of thou shalt remember

this bone dust sonata

gives shape each time it is deconstructed

rafters   sugar laces   broken diaries

scopes we scrape together

fleshless ginger ciliate coverings

teach each time we redecorate the dungeon’s view

of a Norwegian countryside cemetery

comfortless in warm midnight allure

soon1

money

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

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo
nano15

http://nanowrimo.org/

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#Hawaiian Noir Eye

Who has time for the PanAm when Lizzie Violet, with co-host Romeo Satin, sizzle us with a night at a Luau! Luau! Luau! Romeo, channelling both Jack Lord & Don Ho – not as easy or as confusing as it sounds, was the umbrella in our cocoanut drinks as he & Lizzie surfed the laughs of an audience decked out in more Hawaiian togs than you would see on Surfside 6, or even Hawaiian Eye.

greencloth

not my luau costume

Yes, it was great to see the audience get leid as it embraced the Luau theme – lots of great Hawaiian shirts, Tiki buttons, leis, sarongs but sadly (for me) no shirtless Hawaiians. Romeo Satin & the Satinets (Tessa Stone, Cynthia Gould) started the night off with the classic ‘Little Grass Shack.’

The first set of open stagers quickly raised the heat of the room. Brenda Clews with some pimp-mobile, cybersex raunch; Philip Cairns with apples in the vortex – is this the madness Snow White dreamed of until the Prince awoke her? Bonnie Bonser raged about the distant illusion of satisfaction; Jeff Cottrill was delayed in transit 🙂 with a sharp new piece that everyone identified with.

I’ve heard The Rando Bando a few times & was hau’oli to hear them again, but circumstances forced them to cancel 😦 So I got a last minute call to step in & do a mini-set :-). To keep it simple I chose some of the recent Village pieces I’ve blogged: How I Learned to Play With Boys, In The Workshop, Founders Day, By the Moose of Moses: which came together as a nice suite. I must have hit the right notes, as during the break more than one stranger was effusive about my writing (too bad they were merely effusive & not asking to buy chap books).

redgold

cool thoughts from Hell

During the break The Satinets worked the crowd for tequila while checking for Hawaiian shirts, sarongs & the best beach wear for the contest. Kensington Market must have been stripped bare to the walls. Speaking of strip, burlesque temptress Lilla Koi: Hawaii’s own Forbidden Fruit – started a heatwave when she let more than her seat wave in an all too short set after the break.

She did a polished, sweet sexy routine to I Wanna Be Like You – Disney for burlesque, why not? Her tropical costume was strategically placed green sequinned leaves & fronds. She balanced sexiness with humour without getting kitchy. Gloves were peeled & leaves fell to reveal glittering lotus blossom tassels. Out of 5 she gets an Hawaii 5 Oh Oh Oh.

dolls.JPG

got my eye on you

The Satinettes worked the crowd again checking out Tiki buttons, yacht pants & hula hips for the contest before doing another number with Romeo – Blue Hawaii – that lead to the final round of open stagers – great music by Michelle Lecce-Hewitt (check out her upcoming benefit); Anastace & finally poetry from Shawn Sosnowski – ‘she gave me a racing stripe … then stole the car’ Winning the prize for best Hawaiian shirt he won’t missing that car so much.

Jeff Alan Greenway closed the night with a great set of piano driven pop. He has an appealing stage presence, a great voice & singing style that lets the lyric carry the emotion. His piano playing is deceptively simple, much like his singing, filling the melody without underlining the emotions or showboating to say ‘what a great Keith Emerson I am.’ He allows his songs to breathe & the crowd loved him & the songs & even sang along.

jluau

overdressed for the luau

A great night, sweltering heat, fantastic Fringe shows & dynamical PanAm games didn’t keep the Luau Noir from filling the Central & giving the people what they want – grass skirts & real entertainment 🙂

sample

Besides the Village pieces I did two new, non-Village pieces. Here’s one of them – summer escapism:

Hoop Dreams

second story back window

Venetian blinds open

sunny noontime

shirtless guys in the laneway

play bball without a hoop

deke dodge around each other

winter pale skin eager for the sun

as eager as my eyes are

for their pale winter skin

 

they can’t see me

as aware of my look

as they are of the sun

their pant legs rolled up

hairy calves revealed

am I looking too long

looking too close

would I look if they were

older

than their twenties thirties

if they were in their fifties sixties

yeah sure but not for as long

if they were younger

pre-teens

I wouldn’t bother

 

from this window

I have the opportunity to stare

not feel their response for

my old queer guy gaze

age isn’t the factor

the opportunity is

so here I stand

an idle old man unseen

on a warm day

enjoying desultory male flesh

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Kindle-ing

Émile Zola (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Émile_Zola); Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; John Addington Symonds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Addington_Symonds): Mark Twain. What do these writers have in common (besides being dead white males)? I have the Delphi Complete works of each on my Kindle.

whiteboard

the white panel

It may take me years to read all these Complete works but I’m up the challenge. I can’t recall how I got caught up by Zola but it was way back in the 1970’s; the first book of his I read was either the amazing Thérèse Raquin – one of the best crime novels I have ever read; or it was Nana: an astonishing look at theatrical life in Paris including the nature of queer life at the time. Germinal is still one of the most powerful books about coal mining I’ve ever read.

The translations in this collection are good, unexpurgated, for the most part. At one time I despaired at finding many of these in paperback & in English, so getting this massive edition was sweet & inexpensive too. Similar to Dickens in his complex plotting, his writing is more explicit & his endings rarely happy.

whitedoor

the white door

Doyle – who doesn’t know Sherlock – I haven’t read much Sherlock as an adult though, so felt it was time to get back to it. The stories aren’t as clever or as soundly written as I recalled & the use of language has certainly dated but they are great to re-read. Plus this collection includes the many many historical novels he wrote, which it seems only scholars read these days. Yes, he did write things that didn’t include Sherlock.

Symonds I picked up after reading so many mentions of his work & the role it played in queer literary history & theory. No fiction here but his very Victorian writing about his travels, art in Italy, literary criticism – this edition lacks illustrations which is a bit ‘sad’ when he lavishes such affection & attention on painters, architects & sculptors. But that’s what Google is for, right.

whitegrid

the white transit grid

Twain, like Doyle, has been reduced mainly to a couple of big hits but his works are extensive, funny, rambling and a delight to read. A riverboat ride through Americana. Huck & Tom were great favourites of mine as a boy & I’ve always longed for a boyfriend named Huckleberry – maybe I’ll re-purpose that name in one of own novels or is it too loaded with the Twain history to be used.

It’ll take a decade for me to work through all these, while keeping up with my other readings, but at least I won’t have to worry about their next blockbuster. Once these guys are done I’ll move to the Complete Jules Verne, Victor Hugo, George Elliot and maybe Scott.

soon

March 7 – Saturday – attending – 2015 Toronto SpecFic Colloquium – Round Venue, 152A Augusta Ave., Toronto

specfic

http://chiseries.ticketleap.com

March 26 – Thursday 8 pm – Judging – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam – Supermarket – 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto

hot

April 26, 2015 – Sunday – 2-5 – Featuring – The Secret Handshake Gallery – 170 Baldwin Ave., 2nd floor, Toronto.

born

June 5-7 – attending – Capturing Fire – Washington DC

fire

http://www.thedccenter.org/capturingfire/

(2015 registration posted but details not posted yet. I’ve registered already 🙂 )

June 21-26 – attending – Rosemary Aubert’s Workshop: The Novelist’s Selfie – Loyalist – Belleville

loylab

Loyalist Workshop is the real deal

page 23 for details next page down for registration info

https://www.loyalistbanner.com/ceweb/doc/LoyalistSummerArts2015.pdf

June 27, Saturday – 7:00-  Feature: Hot Summer Nights at Hirut, Hirut Restaurant, 2050 Danforth Ave., Toronto

summer15

September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo

Expo15

http://fanexpocanada.com

October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Inner Child Sacrifice

noiroc15

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sample

On The Beach

sand

an evening breeze brings

the first hint of night

the stiff bendable scruff grass dances

families pack   cars drive off

tires softly grind new sand

with each turn of the wheel

the waves continue

never impeded by the frolic

heedless of the left behind

the tattered towel

twig trapped since last fall

small cellophane wrappers rattle in the grass

the echo of the last footsteps

the still steady kiss of water across the sand

smooths away those last footsteps

washes away the echo

laughing crying restless children

children who want to be home

in front of the TV

watching the beach on TV

not to be here to poke at dry boring sand

with a dumb ass shovel

filling a dumb ass pail   dumping it on the food

on dad’s book

on mom’s suntan lotion

the water rolls in and out wets their dumb feet

wrinkles their dumb asses

the sea kelp floats just beneath the surface

waits 20 30 feet out from shore

kept them from swimming out to the horizon

kept the children at bay

kept their dumb asses

from really feeling the freeze of the sea

the still depth

where all hovers in continuous motion

the floating barrier that kept all safe

floats a bit closer to the empty shore

nudges up onto the sand

to enjoy the spell binding moon light

to enjoy the echo of those footsteps

takes a moment to get away from its usual distance

the tiring distance

where it was some how held

in abeyance by the restless roil of the sea

the under flow of currents relaxes as the sea swells

as the kelp darts on sand a moment

as the sea once again pulls it back to safety

to float    to mingle

a dog runs along the damp sand

a master somewhere whistles

the clouds over head slowly cover the moon

star reflections dance bravely around the kelp

a deeper dark settles on the dark of the sea

whitebear

white wedding

Being For the Benefit of Mr. K

kyposter

A packed, generous house at Glad Day Books made for a night of spirit lifting & reassurance for my friend Kyle Andrews & his dog Duke, after the destruction of their apartment by fire. Everyone was effected by this show of support by strangers for strangers, as it was the first time some of the performers had met Kyle, as well being the first time I’d met some of the performers.

coat hairy coat

I kept the talent lineup simple, even turning down some who had volunteered to perform. Too many performers makes for a less focused show, I thought. I’d rather four great songs by a great band than four great songs by four different performers. Plus less time getting people on & off stage.

All the performers respected my request not to do cover versions of Disco Inferno, Light my Fire, Burning Down The House, You Started a Fire, Ashes to Ashes or any songs by Arcade Fire.

whitesink that sinkless feeling

Allen Rex started & ended the show with his rocking, folk, queer and energetic songs. Duke made his stage debut with tricks only dog can do, then Kyle read some poetry about recovering from the fire. Renee’s rewriting of pop songs was hilarious, sharp & well sung, too. NorthStar were sweet, emotive in their two sets. Their take on Sugar Sugar gave me chills (you know who can pour his sweetness all over me anytime 🙂 ) Arelen Paculan wowed us with a couple of great songs but had to scoot to another gig, leaving us wanting more.

Cate McKim kicked off the second set with her direct from the heart a cappella songs – After the Gold Rush gave us all chills.  NorthStar did another couple of excellent songs. Paul Bellini arrived to do Yoko proud. Allen Rex wrapped the show on a high note. Many left wishing they were ‘skinny white boys.’

Spoken word performances were good too: Lizzie Violet give a different kind of chill, as did DS Campbell with a section of his twitter feed zombie novel. I reached into the raunchy bag to some of my pieces to make sure there wasn’t a dry seat in the house.

clothes

cleaning out sale

The raffles were a great success. Letting people pick the prizes they were interested in meant that the six-packs of gay porn went to good homes. It was curious to note that the ‘mature man’ porn pack had a handful of tickets whereas the six-pack of twink porn had the most number of tickets. Gift cards for Fresh Burger, Cara Foods, Glad Day all proved to be popular.

Money was raised but more importantly sprits were raised. It was powerful to see diverse strangers come together to support someone in their struggle, and do so gladly and happily. Pics of the event Fun at out of the fire

one of the pieces I read – WP sometimes does weird things to line breaks 😦

What I Did For Sex

let him think I was falling in love
brought flowers
pretended to be drunk
said I’ve never done anything like this before

walked endless blocks at 3 a.m. in pouring rain

flew from one coast to the other

said yes when I meant to say maybe
said maybe when I meant to say no
said no till the first kiss
didn’t shower for three days as requested

lied about my age

agreed to let him take pictures

pretended to be straight
watched a direct to dvd Steven Segal comedy

‘wading pool paratroopers 2’

pretended to believe he was straight l

istened to music I hated – Diana Krall

wore knee high athletic socks

apologized when it wasn’t my fault

watched hetero porn with him –

‘The Breastler’

spoke tres mauvais French

let him take my socks off with his teeth

ignored the kitty litter underfoot
put my feet in his face
took showers together

exclaimed it’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen

let the dog stay in the room
stood in smokey bars for endless hours
let him think I wasn’t falling in love

nelboots these boots were made for rocking’ someone’s world 🙂

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Noir Set Building

Set building is one of my favourite parts of getting ready to do a feature – next to designing flyers, deciding what shirt to wear. I already a small series about a summer camp – 5 pieces – that I’d written a few years ago, then posted here earlier this year. The response to the sections I posted was good so I decided to present them at Noir.

structure01 into the set murkily

Lizzie had an open spot in October, which was perfect for the dark of these pieces. Bad things happen at the summer camp but are they are treated with a curious detachment by all. I enjoy that ironic paradox as the story unfolds. The sections are linked by images and, what I hope, is a sense of foreboding and threat – that the reader feels for the boys but which the boys don’t really feel.

Each section takes a different narrative approach as well, one includes campfire songs, another is a nod to the ballad form: “mother mother what did you do.”

structure02 vert

building set connections

To add to the piece I decided to put in a few of the ghost stories told around the campfire. These I’ve picked from another series My Village, which I blogged about here on Wednesdays during the summer. I am reading the Decameron – in which the pilgrims tell stories each night that are vaguely related to their personal growth as their pilgrimage goes on.

I’m not aiming quite so high with Pinebow but one of the things I’ve discovered is that connecting random pieces often creates a through line for the reader, listener, that the writer is unaware of. I am not unaware though so I making them stitch together more cohesively. I’ve written a couple of brand new scary pieces that expand my mythology of the moose.

structure03

set ready for props

In rewriting the Pinebow sections I also made them creepier, more related to the mythology of My Village and added some hints of Lovecraft. See if you can find them. The winner gets a visit from the ancient ones.

soon

October 19 – feature – Cabaret Noir – Pinebow

newpinehttps://www.facebook.com/events/1651892755035275/

November 1-30 – participating – NaNoWriMo 2014 – http://nanowrimo.org

nanowrimo

samples

 

a piece that didn’t make into this set

 

Pushed To The Wall

 

I don’t think I could kill

not even in self defence

maybe those survival endorphins

would kick in

if I was pushed to the wall

but the emotional aftermath

is something I don’t I want to deal with

I’d rather be the spirit

that haunts someone

than have one haunt me

I have enough ghosts already

without adding to them

with someone I deliberately

invited into the picture

by killing them

 

I trust people I know

who have killed

in war

by accident

deliberately

they tell me

the act of taking a life

changes the mind

even the psychotic

the serial killer

has that change

after they get away with the first one

life looses it value

for them

except in the game their mind is playing

 

for others

they often wake up

from a dream of those last moments

eyes of the dying

the gasps for a bit more life

they spend their life atoning

for drunk driving swerves

for killing for their country

they are never at peace

 

no I don’t think I could kill

so don’t push me to the wall

or my will to live

might teach us otherwise

buried vert is that a human ear

#NaNoWriMo 2014 – Getting in Shape

Each year I’ve found things that get me ready for NaNo. This year I’ve been doing more blogging – up from two times a week to at least three times a week – as I include a piece of my fiction or poetry with each post I’ve been doing more quick editing than ever. For Nano that means daily editing just to make sure I’ve passed my projected word count of 2000 words a day.

chairs rusty modernity

When I write I am a terribly but fast typist, I miss keys, don’t worry about spelling & have somewhat dyslexic fingers so that words like around turn inot aorund, or into into inot. I keep punctuation to a minimum, rarely indent or even bother with quotation marks, or even character names, even if I happen to remember them at the moment.

vase vase dappled by sun

In the house I have two main writing areas – the desk top which sits at the window facing the back yard. Here’s where the first rush happens & the later editing for typos. I’ve been writing more on my lap top in my upstairs study – I have board that fits nicely across the arms of my recliner & I write there in the morning as well. I email my upstairs work to the desk top to work on there in the afternoon.

toilet roll up the rim?

From past years I’ve found creating a separate file for each day works best for me, as opposed to opening one that holds everything done so far. That gives me better access to my daily word count. I keep the running total on a separate page.

soon

November 1-30 – participating – NaNoWriMo 2014 – http://nanowrimo.org

nano

Haters Gonna Hate

“I hate you.”

Sylvia couldn’t believe she was saying what she was saying. It had been playing on her mind for several weeks now, but she figured it would stay a thought, something she would never act on or say.

“Do you hear me? I hate you.”

She tried to make each word harsh, cutting, to get her point across.

“I hate you and everything you stand for. I have since I first met you. And nothing you have done has changed my first impression. I hate you.”

It felt good to get the words out, to get the thoughts out of her head. Perhaps now she could stop thinking them, she might make room for something more positive, something happier.

She was tired of the nights wasted by this hate image in her mind. Dreams of it, plans of how to avoid confronting it, of how to change her own attitudes to make it less so, but nothing helped. She would go to bed with this ball of hate in her stomach and wake up with it still there, only worse.

“Every time I see you, I hate you more and more. Do you understand what that is like? Do you? To hate someone this way?”

She wanted the hating to stop to be over, but with the object now right in front of her, with that docile face and slight smile of disinterest instead of a  real response her hate deepened. She wanted to slap that face, to wipe that smile off it and send it to Hell.

“Say something? Or do you like being hated? Is that it? Or don’t you care?”

She knew she was right.

“You just don’t care. Do you? How can you be  so … so … indifferent. How? That’s why I hate you. That and a thousand other things.”

She was suddenly ashamed of what she had said. How could she be so cruel? No one deserved to be hated so much or if they did they didn’t need to be told. She should have kept all this to herself. It wouldn’t change things. That much she could tell. There was no sense of relief as she spewed out her hate. Just a bitter aftertaste of disappointment. How could she be so stupid? Hate changed nothing. Only made things worse. Made herself feel worse, feel foolish and how could she face the rest of the week, of her life, with with information out there?

“I hate you and you have nothing to say? Say something? Anything? Please. It must mean something to you to hear this? Or am I so unimportant to you, to the scheme of things? That’s it, isn’t it. My hate is beneath you. Is that how you feel? Really? Really?”

She knew it was time to leave. She had come in with the full force of her hate hot and boiling ready to explode. It had exploded but left no marks on anyone else but her. Wasn’t that always the way. All those hours wasted on someone who didn’t even know she existed beyond being just another link in some chain of command.

God how she hated that, that no one really cared and now she was empty, deflated with no where to go back back to where she started from.

waves breaking waves Cape Breton

How The Damned End

The Beautiful and the Damned had a good run starting at Zelda’s, then Glad Day Books, Q Space & finally The Central. Over its few short years the series brought a rich variety of spoken-word & music to the stage. From James Ince to Spencer Butts to Marcia Rogers, to name-drop but a few. Musically diverse it introduced musicians from Kat Leonard to Rex Baunset to Nelson Sobral to spoken-word audiences.

fog03 mist in the Whispering Woods?

The final show of the series was hosted by Brenda Clews, with fun Poe trivia supplied by John Oughton. Spoken feature was the urbane, comic & tres gay J.P. Larocque. He did two powerful, insightful, funny & in your face queer pieces. Both combined explicit sex with the ironic counter-point of the mundaneness of daily life – in one piece he explores the mutual negianegationstions of a couple at a bathhouse – wanting to be sexually adventuresome while at the same time preoccupied with financial planning. ‘I am no longer the youngest one at the orgy’

His second piece took us to the under-lit confines of washroom sex – ‘… more hopeless that a men’s washroom on Friday afternoon.’ Again he easily mixes the erotic amidadmistst the ordinary. Sharp writing, that reminded me of Conner Habib’s clear eyed take on queerness.

fog02 what lies beneath the surface?

Music feature Amoeba Starfish has graced the Damned stage before & also featured with them at Pride a few years ago. Elegant, trippy, thoughful zen jazz that works effortlessly with spoken-word performers and stands equally engaging on its own. I might be biased as I do I have several of their recordings in my collection.

fog01 red eyes of the besat?

Although I’m saddened to see the Damned come to an end I’m not sorry to have it out of the Central – the wrong spot for a spoken-word show – at times it felt like listening to the performances while trapped in an MRI machine with earplugs on – loud house music, louder band downstairs – as volume was upped for readers, volume was upped else where to compete.

soon

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

expo hair

why so sad? No Buffy reunion panel at FanExpo 2014

October 19 – feature – Cabaret Noir – Pinebow pine2https://www.facebook.com/events/1651892755035275/

samples

I hit the open stage with another glimpse of my October set:

Pinebow 2

has anyone seen Brad?

he was here last night

remember how he screamed

when we told tales

around the campfire

last night

has anyone seen Brad

he shouted with fear and delight

said he wouldn’t be able to sleep without a light

has anyone seen him

I saw him go down to the lake

he took a canoe

rowed into the mist

now Jeff are you sure

that’s what you saw

because all the canoes are there now

not one’s missing

has anyone seen Brad

he has a talent for hiding

that’s for sure

he went missing last week

for two whole days

till we found him then

sleeping in the crook of an oak tree

as tidy and warm

as could be

up so high and deep

in the Whispering Woods

out near Pine Point

perhaps we should look

for him there

he could be pulling another of his stunts

just to teach us a lesson

to make sure we don’t scare with such tales

as you told last night

I saw him go to the smoke shed

he wanted a sausage 

he felt so hungry and weak

he needed a snack before he went to bed

now Olaf that can’t be so

we don’t use the smoke shed

for the summer

that’s for the fall

as you well know

or in the spring

when we run the maple syrup off

perhaps he’s gone there

looking for what is left 

there’s always some dribs and drabs

of that sweet sugar to be found

if you look hard enough

if you scrape under the ground

the black sweet blood of the earth

you don’t say

that’s news to the counsellors and I

so let’s go to the smoke shed

perhaps we’ll find what

we need to find there

as they approached

they saw a strange trail

footprints

small and dainty

hollow and round

with a smudge mark deep

between them

like a long sharp tail

we can’t go in there

the boys shouted as one

we can’t go in there

the Denizen is there

that’s what’s happened to Brad

the Denizen has gotten him

eaten him up

smoked with maple syrup

we know

we can tell

you warned us

the smell of death is in the air

they stood silent

in a circle around the smoke shed

none willing to to take a step forward

the door swung a little in the breeze

they all jumped back

a bell rang

six rapid clangs

ah there breakfast ready boys

we’ll leave this till later

Brad is bound to show up

he’s hoping to give us

another merry chase

another merry chase

which we won’t give into

as a whole

they rushed to the mess hall

hot steaming plates of food were ready

rice crispy squares

scrambled eggs

crisp bacon

pancakes

French toast

home made sausages

cornflakes

poached eggs

Belgian waffles

fresh milk

yellow butter

and ladles of maple syrup

syrup to wash everything down

to make the boys

fat and pump and round

as plump and fat and round

as Brad

river01 river of syrup?

wpjl14

L’amour #ChiZine

Over the past couple of months, amongst other things, I’ve read: Robert Sherman: Remember Why You Fear Me; Tone Milazzo: Picking Up The Ghost; Nalo Hopkinson: Brown Girl In The Ring. The first two published by ChiZine & which I read as (!) paper books; Brown Girl was talked up so much at the recent ChiZine Colloquium, I just had to download the ebook (hence I don’t know who the publisher is).

book03 green reading in amber

I got the Sherman book when I attended a Sunday workshop ChiZine held here in Toronto. It’s a collection of his short stories & I was wowed. Emotionally resonant, inventive, sometimes creepy & always grounded in reality. He takes the ordinary & pushes it to the fantastic. Too many brilliant stories to list. In one a woman can’t give her heart to her lover because she has already given it, literally, to some pop star when she was fourteen – by literally, I mean people put their hearts in containers to give to someone else. Amazing stuff. Buy it.

book02 no page unstoned

At the last Colloquium there was an excellent presentation on location, particularly Toronto. Brown Girl was focused on as our city is setting. It is an amazing book set in a future TO following the Brown Girl as she learns to accept & channel her magic energies. Afro-Caribbean mythology plays a big part and it is handled with realism & authenticity. I loved it.

At the last Colloquium I won a big bag of books in a raffle, one of these was Picking Up The Ghost. Set in the USA it follows the quest of a young black boy as he discovers and learns to use his magical energies. A similar but wider mythological net (than Brown Girl) for his magic system it is compelling and authentic. No middle act lull, lots of great plot decisions, small twists. A stand alone that left me hoping there would a sequel.

book01 what! no eBooks in the snow?

What pleased me about all three was that they were better than I expected, fun to read & resonant with real emotions even in unreal situations. Like Sherman I often write about the ordinary being pushed in unexpected directions. I also have an outlined, partially written novel that has elements of Santeria – so I appreciated how those were used by Milazzo and Hopkinson. Three great books I’d recommend to anyone.

soon

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

expo notplushie smile please Expo 2013

October 19 – feature – Cabaret Noir – Welcome to Lake Pinebow pine2https://www.facebook.com/events/1651892755035275/ 

samples

L’amour domestique

 

my fridge made a pass at me

the other day

I was in my usual hurry to get the milk

when the door caressed my cheek

pushed me into its cool welcoming heart

 

now I’m not into sex with inanimate objects

if I was I would probably pick

my coffee maker

something small and easy to satisfy

the fridge is never filled

always has demands that

make me feel inadequate

while the coffee machine

fills to brim so quickly

yes give me hot and perky

to big and cold – any day

but it was one of those days

 

the kitchen chairs were

plucking at my pant legs

like over excited little dogs humping a foot

it made eating almost impossible

I wasn’t sure what to do with the left overs

the fridge was glaring me petulant

at being snubbed

in favour of the coffee maker

 

in the bathroom the face cloth

competed with the tooth brush

to get in my mouth

until the towels pulled them aside

to push me into the shower

they needed all my body wet

for the satisfaction they craved

 

I didn’t have the moral strength

to deny them anything

they rubbed and dried every square inch

 

the sofa was anxious for me to

snuggle in front of the TV

I had to watch home decorating shows

about getting cute little throws

hints from the sofa of what would make

our family complete

 

in bed the pillows tenderly cradled my head

as the sheets twined around me

hungry for dreams about coffee makers

books oh Canada