‘the inner narrative of a vase’

The September 19 edition of the Art Bar hosted by Mike Lipsius went around the world in approximately 80 minutes. Barbara Pelman, visiting in Victoria BC – took us to Sweden, Italy & BC; Klara du Plessis, a South African expat, visiting from Montreal took us to her roots; while I visiting from who know where took the audience to Cape Breton, Japan & Queerville.


Barbara Pelman read a series of poems about bridges filled with evocative memory, colour & taste – Matisse rich with a tinge of Munch realism. ‘there is nothing you can take home in your melting hands’ ‘everything the same & not the same’ ‘blackberries summer in her mouth’ ‘unfolds the hours without lists’ ‘the blue doors still asleep’ ‘the morning opens slowly’ ‘reds browning blues blackening’ ‘if only you believed this was enough’ ‘or jump.’

Klara du Plessis started several short pieces with words locked like with stones & carefully placed for the right effect: Serrault precision with a hint of Monet. ‘to welcome the warm’ ‘like saying the skeleton is sexing the bone’ tangible but illegible’ ‘cling to acts of a future self’ ‘rain  redefining the meaning of rain’ ‘the guilt of imperfection weighs me down’ ‘a female five o’clock shadow’ ‘the inner narrative of a vase.’ Her long piece Waxing Lyrical was an unexpected foreshadowing of my set.

I started my Lichtenstein pop art set with Don’t Touch (My Hair), finished it with Arrg Godzilla. The ‘topical’ social commentary pieces didn’t go over as well as my nostalgic Waiting For The Boats (http://wp.me/p1RtxU-2rt) or the fun & funny Socks but I’m determined to be heard as more than just another funny gay guy with a great shirt. I sold a couple of chap books too, which is always nice.

It was also great to see several of the Renaissance Conspirators in the audience – fellow writers who have heard & seen me grow & change over the years.  The Free Times is a great spot for any series. Good sound quality, a cozy room & of course a great kitchen. I last appeared at the Art Bar in 2009 so get ready for my return there in 2025.


where did you get those socks

my mother had a pair of

argyle socks in her left hand

these aren’t yours

they certainly

don’t belong to your father


I didn’t want to tell her

I got them from a girl

in my class at school

we had swapped socks at recess

I had loved the way

these argyle socks looked

in her brightly polished penny loafers

she liked my ordinary red socks

that matched her tartan skirt

so we swapped


I saw them as socks

not as girls’ clothes

yet at that moment

I was afraid


to tell my mother

that I owned that pair of girls’ socks


I found them in your drawer

she said

looking for the mate to this one

she held up a crusty black sock

going through my drawers

was something she often did

to make sure I hadn’t

just stuck my dirty undies or socks

in there

not to have them

all over the floor


I found them

I finally blurted out

found them!

she exclaimed

you brought a dirty pair of socks

into my house

how did you know they didn’t have fleas

or something worse?


I washed them before I brought them home

I said


washed them where!


at school.


then you can take them back

to where you found them

and don’t let me ever catch you

bringing home dirty clothes

you find in the street



they’re nice socks I said


what do think

people will think

that we can’t afford to buy socks

I nodded

I guess you’re right


she was lucky

I didn’t bring the skirt home too

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