Story Bundle On My Kindle

I have a raft of Story Bundle offerings on my Kindle. In the past I’ve had their annual lgbtqia selections. I also pick up their world scifi collections & currently am working through this bookshelf:

Cannibal Chef – Cassandra Khaw

Priome Meridian: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Secret History of Moscow – Ekaterina Sedia

The Apex Book of World SF 3/4/5

The Vanishing Kind – Lavie Tidhar

Under the pendulum Sun – Jeanette Ng

The Thousand Year Black – TOBI Hirotaka

Slipping – Lauren Brukes

Nexhuman – Francesco Verso

Falling in Love With Hominids – Nalo Hopkinson

Escape From Bagdad! – Saad Z. Hossain

After the Falre – Deji Bryce Olukotun

AfroSF v3

I enjoy these looks at the future from writers outside the ciswhite heterosex context. I have read the first two volumes of The Apex Books & loved them. 

Also waiting to be read are: Dune Messiah: Frank Herbert; Point of Dreams: A Novel of Astreiant – Melissa Scott – this is the 3rd in this series that I first came across in a Story Bundle of lgbtqia scifi. Star: Yukio Mishima – Mishima is an inspiration to me. I saw this on the shelf at a book store & checked on Amazon & downloaded a copy. Too bad there isn’t away to do that as an in-store download purchase or I would have done it there.

Psychedelic-40 – Louis Charbonneau; Sexperiment – Clyde Allison – I stumbled on these thanks a Tumblr feed of pulp scifi feeds. The covers were enough to make me want to read these plus those titles are fantastic. I can’t wait to read them. 

Looming Low Volume I; Dig Two Graves: Anthology Vol. II; Anathema: Issue 8. Looming & Dig feature stories by my niece Betty Rocksteady (she writes nightmares 🙂 ) Gory with a helping of sexuality & insects. Anathema is a Canadian spec fiction magazine that is strongly lgbtqia. I’ve been a subscriber from issue 1. Excellent stories minimal gore.

Recent additions are Valley Of The Dolls: 50th Anniversary Edition – Jacqueline Susann. Susann is another of my literary inspirations – this book in particular with its mix of soap opera, wish fulfilment, showbiz & sex. I’ve read it several times & my paperback is showing signs of age. Deep Work – Cal Newport: a self-help book! A friend of mine read it & it pushed him to remove diversions from his life so he can focus on productivity or at least on things that move him forward. The Internet is full of fake-productivity time-wasters like Facebook, twitter, linked in, etc. 

Most recent addition is What happens on tour, stays on tour by Kevin Paterson. I ‘met’ Kevin online via WordPress. This is the fourth ebook book of his I’ve downloaded. Yes I did read the others & quite enjoyed them so I’m looking forward to this one. 

The Witch

the witch that is my name

cartwheels over the city

clowns around when there is nothing

here to laugh at

when there are only tears to spill

to dampen the grave dust grace

of lost stars and missed chances

 

you aren’t the only one

needing to be charmed back to wetness

not the only one who had lost his day

in the night of frustrations and distrust

not the only one who thinks

the witch that is my name

can do more that any one name

can possibly do

besides

you don’t believe in fairy tale stuff

there are no happy blending

no shuffled coils

that can ever lead you back

to the safety of the tomb

 

the witch that is my name

cannot remove the pain

that creeps into your bones

that leaves you feeling

like a ghost without a skin

cannot move you along this path

any farther than you are now

but will not sit around with you either

there are floors to be swept

things to be undone

 

the witch that is my name

flies around blind alleys

with the same discomfort as any other

lost hankering figment

the blood in my veins hurts for you

takes me where I least expect to be

and leaves me the word

the unutterable word

that cannot help anyone

that cannot bring comfort to anyone

but me

cannot replace your skin

cannot take your place

 

the witch that is my name

has been divested of all power

except the power you give yourself

http://wp.me/p1RtxU-1b0

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

On my Kindle 02

The Works of Hall Craine (1853-1931) contains all 15 of his novels. Never heard of him? Neither had I until he was mentioned in Something in The Blood, the Bram Stoker biography by David J. Skal (an excellent book). Craine’s popularity during his lifetime was unprecedented. He was an international literary celebrity, and sold a total of ten million books & was the most highly paid novelist of his day. I’ve only read the first of the novels in this collection & it was an effort to push through a plot that hinged on incest or is it incest. But I’ll read more of them. None of his novels have been discovered by Masterpiece Theatre 🙂

The Complete Poems – Walt Whitman. Whitman is one of my inspirations. I have, in paper, a great biography & also a paperback edition of Leaves of Grass. This massive collection has everything including revised versions. I’m not crazy about Kindle for poetry as enjambment & page layout suffers. 

The fact that I have the Complete Works of Emile Zola should come as no surprise. This was one of the first set of works I downloaded to my Kindle. I’ve blogged about Zola a few times now. He is one of my prime fiction inspirations. I got red up with searching book stores for novels other than the big hits: Thérèse Raquin, Nana, Germinal. I’m always happy when this collection rotates to the next to read on my rotating e.book shelf.

The Complete Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a revelation. Not many get past Sherlock. Those that do find The Lost World & some of the other Professor Challenger work. But most don’t get as far as his historical romances or Napoleonic war short stories. The problem with these historical works is their lack of ‘puzzle’ – they are straight forward plots with solid but dull characterizations. Only a completist like myself gets this far 🙂

Moving On

a drink won’t bring you back

crack won’t bring you back

getting numb won’t 

take this pain away long enough

it will always return

gets worse after each black out relief

there’s always the restless sun

making it clear

there is no return to what once was

talking it out won’t change things

gone is gone

new shoes won’t bring you any closer

a new look 

is not what it will take

nothing is going to work

I feel you are there 

in the next room

sleeping or watching tv

that when I’m in my way home

you are going to be there

waiting

cooking a meal for me

another toke won’t bring you back

raging at your empty space

won’t change anything

can’t fill the room

cant fill the time it’s going to take

until I run of things

to try

none of which can never bring you back

can’t dig down into the earth 

to bring you back to life 

to resemble the scattered fragments

caught for a moment over the lake

sunshine grey

can’t wet them with 

plant them with enough fertilizer

to grow you again

bring you back to life

can’t give me life either

not enough bottles 

not enough rocks

not a sweet enough pipe

not enough sex

to bring you back

can’t sing loud enough

can’t be quiet enough

to hear you

can’t wash that memory 

out of my hair

can’t give your clothes away

yet

can’t fill them like you

can’t wear them myself

can’t stand to look at them

letting go

not wanting to hold

not know what to do

because nothing will bring you back

and I’m tried of doing nothing

apologies are too thin 

too late

food not filling enough

not enough cake 

to bring you back

not prayer

bargaining 

anger 

acceptance

forgetting you 

not acting as if I don’t miss you

won’t bring you back

won’t keep that song 

from bringing you to mind

bringing you to mind 

won’t bring you back

tears won’t do it

gifts won’t do it

joining you 

won’t bring you back

not wanting you back

won’t bring you back

sleep won’t bring you back

moving on

won’t bring you back

but it means

I won’t be here

when you do come back

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

https://www.facebook.com/events/504067323723768/

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

On My Kindle 01

Last week I wrote about childhood sets of books. This week I’m looking complete sets on my Kindle. One of the cool things about Amazon for Kindle are the number of collections complete works by authors whose works can be impossible find in bookstores or even libraries. Different ebook companies have brought together set of mostly out of public domaine books at ridiculously low prices.

For example the set  “Slavery: Not Forgiven, Never Forgotten” – which for about $2 US includes:

Narrative of Frederick Douglass

12 Years a Slave

The Underground Railroad

Up From Slavery

Willie Lynch Letter

Confessions of Nat Turner

Narrative of Sojourner Truth

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

History of Mary Prince

Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom

Thirty Years a Slave

Narrative of the Life of J. D. Green

The Life of Olaudah Equiano

Behind The Scenes

Harriet: The Moses of Her People

Father Henson’s Story of His Own Life

50 Years in Chains

Twenty-Two Years a Slave and Forty Years a Freeman

Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb

Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave

Story of Mattie J. Jackson

A Slave Girl’s Story

From the Darkness Cometh the Light

Narrative of the Life of Moses Grandy

Narrative of Joanna

Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown, Who Escaped in a 3×2 Feet Box

Memoir and Poems of Phillis Wheatley

Buried Alive (Behind Prison Walls) For a Quarter of a Century

Sketches of the Life of Joseph Mountain 

Oroonoko

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Heroic Slave

Slavery’s Pleasant Homes

Our Nig

Clotelle

Marrow of Tradition

Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

A Fool’s Errand

Bricks Without Straw

Imperium in Imperio

The Hindered Hand

The History of Abolition of African Slave-Trade

History of American Abolitionism

Pictures of Slavery in Church and State

Life, Last Words and Dying Speech of Stephen Smith Who Was Executed for Burglary

Report on Charge of Aiding and Abetting in the Rescue of a Fugitive Slave

Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases

Duty of Disobedience to the Fugitive Slave Act

Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

Gettysburg Address

XIII Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1865)

Civil Rights Act of 1866

XIV Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1868)

Reconstruction Acts (1867-1868)

Whew! This is a university syllabus that probably no university book store or even research library could supply. 

Many of these sets are to broaden my knowledge of some writers who are known for their big hits; others are by authors of queer interest whose works I knew vaguely or of whom I have never heard of before until reading about them in my endless readings. One set is the Works of John Addington Symonds. I knew of him through mentions of his interactions with Walt Whitman. His books on Ancient Greek culture are sometimes citied in histories of queer writing. So I figure when I first got my Kindle to read some of those works. Interesting essays about travel in & history of Italy, but thank God writing style has changed. 

The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft (+ 130 Poe short stories); Mary Shelly: The Ultimate Collection; The Complete Works of Bram Stoker. Who read what Mary Shelly wrote other than Frankenstein? Stoker wrote more than Dracula? Reading their other works one sees the why those works have faded. Mary was more or less an accidental writer & reading he rather work it’s easy to see why some suspect her husband played a role in her big hit for the plotting & characterizations. She was not really a fabulist. Bram became an almost tradition writer of his time & none of his other plots were as ‘startling’ as Dracula. 

Lovecraft is a boyhood favorite of mine. His plots are rich, his writing style now strikes me as overly florid & it is creamy influenced by the Shelly & Stoker – but he does avoid, the most part, the need for some sort of romantic subplot. My bedroom on the east coast had slated ceilings so his story about the room with odd angles in the ceiling & walls always appealed to me. Those angles lead to another dimension. I have the bio ‘I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft’ on my e.bookshelf short list.

It’s not all gloom doom or educational on the Kindle thanks to Stephen Leacock: Humour Books collection; Mark Twain: 51 Classic Works. Both of these are authors I loved in my teens. Leacock still makes me laugh out loud. Twain can go on but he had a grasp of the foibles of human nature I love. His short pieces are fun & the longer books reflect their times. Both a writers of the local experience – Americana, Canadiana full of innocence that still speaks of today. Who isn’t intimidated if not anxious dealing with banks; has the plight of blacks in the USA progressed from the fears of the runway slaves in Twain?

Book Bound

in one of those boys’ books

tom swift hardy brothers

can’t remember which one 

there were mysterious lights 

on the cliff

or were they from a strange shape 

in the ocean

hovering by the moon 

something distant and indistinct

but threatening

 

tough guys

were skulking around town 

something held in coat pockets

that might be a gun

a magnetic pulsator

that would incapacitate  

one or all of our heroes

who would come to

tied up somewhere

worry about their girlfriend

they always had girlfriends 

who were peripheral 

to the story 

but clearly in place

so we young readers

would not get a whiff 

of anything more unsavoury

that those unshaved goons

with foreign accents

who slouched around the ranch

the railway yards

to do no good

 

the boys always had girlfriends

so no one would get the idea

that they weren’t the ideal role model

ripe with normal heterosexual 

pubescent tension

that let them figure out 

how to cut those ropes

how to make the star capacitor

turn the hydrogen to oxygen 

so they could breathe again

float to the surface

drive off

fly off

with the adoring faces of their girlfriends

soft and worshipful

 

red-haired teens 

with freckle faces

none of them shaving yet

jumping into their roadsters

worrying about their kidnapped fathers

deciphering cryptograms

punching each other joyfully 

in the arm

as each hurdle was accomplished

as each bruise cleared up

always ready to face 

the next opportunity

never doubting what they could do

never questioning 

how they really were

what did this all mean

why couldn’t they go

a few weeks without smugglers

Martian terrorists lurking around

to make make it difficult for everyone

 

they never had to face peer pressure

other than the football team

a team that never got drunk after a big game

boys who where boys

becoming real men

growing up slowly

always gaining parental 

acceptance and approval

amazing their pals

yet not letting it go to their heads

square jawed 

rugged 

individualist who only disobeyed 

to make things better

grew up with out self doubt

normal heterosexual 

pubescent tension

that let them figure out 

how to cut those ropes

but how not to escape

what was written for them

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

https://www.facebook.com/events/504067323723768/

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

https://wp.me/p1RtxU-uJ

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

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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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

yellowf

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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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