I Buy Drugs

Rumor has it that Nik Beat is a vampire. Easy to believe, as in the decade or so that I’ve know him he hasn’t aged visibly, and he talks about Poe as if he had just left Edgar having a few at Grossman’s. He turned the reins over to guest host, Jennifer Hosein, who did a great job with the April live HOWL show. Her job made easier by a dynamic line-up.

side yard Inukshuk
side yard Inukshuk

First feature Stedmond Pardy performed pieces from his chapbook ‘Drugs’ (I bought a copy, first time I’ve bought Drugs outside of a pharmacy in decades). His pieces are long cascades of pop, religious, and class images that convey the harried lives we live in with tenderness and frustration. ‘there is no chosen race in nature’ ‘the air reeked of a dolphin stampede.’ Moving and literate work that held us wanting more.

Windsor harbour Inukshuk
Windsor harbour Inukshuk

Next up was Nik Beat himself. He read pieces from ‘Amazing Secret Dreams.’ These are emotional, well-crafted crafty pieces that take you where you least expect with sonic puns and association: The World Is A Page starts ‘we are the pliers that twist and shape it.’ In Hurt Co-Pain he tells us ‘I mistook this mirror for me/ I mistook that girl for love.’ Strong stuff.

front yard Inukshuk
front yard Inukshuk

After the break was Laura L’Rock. I co-featured with Laura L’Rock last October and was eager to hear her again. With Nik on guitar she did a set that was barely contained by the Q Space stage, some of the songs are arena rockers scaled down to intimate size. She has a strong, direct voice that is emotionally sincere without resorting to big moment notes. Her lyrics are sharp, sweet and true ‘why lie when the truth is so much easier,’ ‘attract what you wanna be, not what you are.’

Final feature was the equally ageless Norman Allan, who put his sketch pad down long enough to treat us to his thoughtful writing. ‘Just because you think it so/ don’t make it true.’ He ended his set with Nik once again on guitar ‘you don’t bow down to love/ you just open your heart.’ Norman organizes the Renaissance Revival poetry workshop at Q Space on the 2nd Monday of the month.

o superman
o superman

The Beautiful and The Scary

paper backspace writer

The October BuDa was a chilling event. With horror poems from wicked host Lizzie Violet, vampire fiction from Monica S Kuebler, to my chainsaw patricide all the bases were cover plus a hot set from L’rock to take some of that eerie chill off before sending people out in the cool of the evening.

After fine open stagers I was up first with my Go Bump set. I find that when I don’t stick to what people have come to expect of me – out-there-queer, sexual, funny they aren’t sure how to react. So my darkish set met with a luke-warm response – without punchlines or tender endings, audiences aren’t satisfied. I did sell some chapette books & made enough to cover my basic costs. The set was recorded by Myke Mazzei for a future cd.

christmas shopping before halloween

Second set feature was Monica S Kuebler who read a choice section from her online serial novel Bleeder. A seasoned spoken-word performer she picked the right scene from Chapter 6, one the right length to hold our interest. ‘blood crusted tank-top and bird’s nest hair’ quickly sketched in the heroine – ‘gristly clean-up in aisle twelve’ offered a bit humour in what was a very tense as the heroine realizes ‘this was a blood farm and she was the prey.’

gutter (g)love

Music feature was Laura L’Rock who did a great set of radio friendly rock – a nice change from the Mitchellesque folkies who often hit non-electric stages. The catchy songs were built on strong melodies, lyrics and sweet, yet rocking, acoustic backing supplied by Nik Beat & well, to be honest, I didn’t catch the other guitarist’s name. “I feel you choke me through the telephone line.”

writing sample
writing sample

a piece that almost made it into Go Bump

Give Me A Little Sign

a bluejay feather dances over snow

the first full moon of the new year

a silent wrap of smoke

forms the letters of a name

whose name   mine   yours

our hopes for the future

a dangling curtain moving at dawn

a pale   handless shape

peers out into the fog

before the fire burns pure ashes

to scatter sooty on the snow

for the next fitful omen

a bus pulling up at the right moment

an old friend alive

where you least expected to see them

the number nine keeps popping up

how many times before it has meaning

like that bluejay feather

it has to have a meaning

a good moment to do something

but I don’t know where to begin

play the lottery  submit that manuscript

make that phone call I’ve been putting off

should I act blindly

or bide my time for a better opportunity

a voice in an empty room

a phone call that goes unanswered

was that wrong number the right one

where are my lucky shoes

what do the stars have to say

entrails of run over squirrel tell me

it isn’t wise to dash across a busy street

grounds in the bottom of my Tim’s cup

tell me it’s time they cleaned that damn machine

that look in your eyes tells me

it’s time to drop my guard

will our clothes piled on the floor

the fold of pants legs and t-shirts

twined accidentally in the dark

be a sign of more than pleasure to be had

is there a message in the goosebumps on your back

in the fevered breath on my thigh

can I let a kiss be a kiss

not the next fitful omen