Going Public

Going Public

the tenderness here

must remain here

only for the two of us

to enjoy to cherish

 

for the sight of it

in the open air

in a public space

would sully it

 

would turn it into performance

it would cease to be sacred

it would be an assault

on common decency

 

for two men 

to hold hands in public

for them to kiss

in front of innocent children


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Real After Midnight

Only Real After Midnight

he didn’t understand

that too late is too late

that too late had nothing to do

with my desire for him

with my affection for him

it was about my desire for sleep

my affection for walking up

clear headed and well-rested

 

he insisted that it was proof 

of my lack of real interest

that midnight wasn’t that late

only boring guys

went to bed that early

gay life didn’t get into full swing

without moonlight

 

I recalled my disco days

when getting to a bar before eleven

made one look desperate

the place would be empty

filled with loud music

get there at midnight

and the crowd was starting flow

by 1 a.m. it was a packed house

 

that was the gay life

I left to those that enjoyed it

just because I was man enough

to take it

didn’t mean I had to take it

like I didn’t have to take 

his definition of desire

being only real after midnight

Based on a true story 🙂 More than one ‘he’ has presented this illogical definition of real desire – if you don’t want to have sex when they want to have sex then you really aren’t interested. Sure I understand the role ‘availability’ can play is sex but to take non-aligned schedule personally is a bit much. It is a ‘red flag’ in fact. Just like men who take my no drug boundary as personal affront.

Also just because the timing is right doesn’t mean I have to say – oh sure. ‘Looking right now’ doesn’t mean looking for anyone who is eager. When I first came out in Toronto that was the case for awhile though then I developed taste 🙂 When I tell someone that ‘we aren’t a good match’ I don’t explain, if they should ask why – that fact that they ask is another of those red flags. 

As the piece says I was once a disco dolly hanging round until as late as one in the morning, back in the day, & often would go home smelling like an ashtray. Many gay bars didn’t get busy until midnight at the earliest, even if they had a happy-hour 🙂 I got bored of the night bus. This was when my gay card was first demoted from first class – choosing sleep over cruising made me a less-than-queer.

The piece also echoes the ways in which we define ourselves & how others define us as a result. Someone who opts not to have sex at midnight is usually seen as an uncooperative tease or probably not that attractive after all. Sure I could wait around until midnight but that doesn’t mean I want to or will. 


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Ours Alone

Ours Alone

the tenderness here

must remain here

only for the two of us

to enjoy to cherish

 

the sight of it

in the open air

in a public space

would sully it

 

turn it into performance

it would cease to be sacred

it would be an assault

on common decency

 

for two men 

to hold hands in public

for them to kiss

in front of innocent children



Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020- sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Risk Management

For me there is little danger in walking down the street, in going to a coffee shop, in going to bar other than drunken drivers. It has been decades since I was verbally harassed for being a ‘fucking faggot.’ For some friends of mine there is always danger in walking down the street – many I know feel unsafe doing such simple tasks, in particular trans men & women. Marginalized in various ways.

I know many trans people who have come into recovery, some have stayed & others have found the gendered language of recovery texts too difficult to deal with & chose to continue using. Another area of safety for me – I can read such literature & not feel the need to constantly re-contextualize the language.

These thoughts come about as the result of a transwoman I knew in the recovery rooms being murdered just before Christmas. I didn’t know her well, but her violent death resonated with me (& more with others who knew her better). When using one’s ability to judge risk factors is impaired – that was true for me at one point before I came into recovery. I was doing things not because I really wanted to but because I was drunk enough not to care what I was doing. With recovery I started to care more about myself, stopped taking risks to be ‘liked’, stopped needing to reaffirm my sexuality to myself.

I can’t speak to the murdered woman’s level of risk or why she was taking them – I do know how easy it is to get caught in those cycles even with some recovery. I doubt if I would be alive today if I had continued as I was – sometimes what kills isn’t the substance but what it allows us to do or what we allow to happen to us.

 

I am deeply sadden by the cultural context that makes walking to the store dangerous for some. I play an active role in recovery to help reduce risk factors but there are limits. Also I have resisted mentioning the victim’s name – those who know know. I’m not one to coat tail just to get hits here. Maybe in a year I’ll add the name. Until then this is a woman who will be missed, even by someone who hardly knew her.

 


Law Breaker

when was the first time I broke the law

was it when I shoplifted

drank underage

had a few tokes

dropped pants with another man

did I bring something across the border

without declaring it

did I ever fudge my income tax 

to claw back another lousy 50 bucks

have I ever wanted to push someone 

in front of an on coming train

thought crimes

 

I’m not a good criminal 

petty at best through

that petty crime mindset

is eroding the very structure of our society

each small look away 

leads to people disappearing

without being noticed

dots of faces not joined

till they lead to a pig farm

or terra cotta flower pots

why bother even then

they were junkies users trans

not good god fearing coffee drinkers

 

when was the first time I broke a heart

well never 

as far as  know

I’m too petty in love for that to happen

my wounds never bleed enough

to attract healers

those people addicted 

to the hurt in others

my hurts are too minor

scrapes more than scars

 

if I were a better criminal 

perhaps I could attract

a more substantial class of healer

but I’m not into self-harm

or petty law breaking either

shop lifting – why bother

it isn’t worth the hassle

who give a shit about someone toking up

now it’s all medical marijuana

I don’t make enough money 

to worry about fudging my taxes

have to inflate not deflate

just to be credible

self-destruct mode turned off years ago

that save-me-please energy has been banked

 

I’d rather be as petty as I am

a minor offence

not a major attraction

the delightful surprise 

under a taupe surface

a surface very few penetrate

most slide along in favour

of the more clearly wounded

and I suppose 

there’s no law against that

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January
Thursday January 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – featuring ‘Yes The Poet’ https://www.facebook.com/events/577900226377507/ 

Sunday –  January 26 – 1:30 – feature: The Secret Handshake Gallery, 170A Baldwin (Kensington Market) – 1:30https://www.facebook.com/events/498405247456842/

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 and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

 Queer Status: Suspended

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Queer Status: Suspended

I’ve lived with the same man

for over forty years

I don’t use poppers or party and play

so I’m not gay enough

 

I did hiv home care 

buried friends 

stepped away from the front lines

so I’m not queer enough for the room

I sleep around

sometime have unprotected sex

so I’m not a good example

I don’t like Celine Dion

which is enough to get my

gay card denied

 

I’m over several hills

hills that only survivors 

know how daunting it can be

shamed for not being young enough

to be in the room sells us

face lifts work out routines 

websites for grandpa devotees

 

gay marriage was a nudge

to make homosexually acceptable 

in heteronormative terms

was too conditional

I was amused by the need

for that sort of card carrying conformity

 

I can let myself out

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Bill and Ben

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Flower Pot Men

Bill and Ben

were the Flower Pot Men

a show I watched as a child

they would talk to each other

in gibberish

listening for the gardener 

when their friend the weed 

heard him coming

it would squeal 

weeeeed weeeeeeed

then become still and silent

as the flower pot men

sank back into their pots

curled up at the bottom

safe sound and hidden 

 

nameless men

curled up at the bottom of flower pots

didn’t remain hidden long enough

their photos bloomed

on telephone poles

bulletin boards

the corners of store windows

but not in flower pots

 

have you seen these flowers

from strange lands

with strange names 

no one knew 

let alone could pronounce

the authorities said

these aren’t real flowers

they aren’t connected

to the same soil

or to a known gardener

don’t worry

no one is stealing flowers

from your garden

 

then someone knocks over a flower pot

out falls not Bill or Ben

but

nameless men

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“crazy does not discriminate”

The shocking, to many, blanket of snow that covered Toronto Thursday didn’t cool the enthusiasm of the audience for the Hot Dam show hosted by Robyn Sidhu at Buddies that night. The crowd was, as always, receptive & at times noisy in response to the performers.

random lines from the open stagers & slammers that started the show. banana marshmallows for The Man With X-Ray Eyes; the candy turned into glue bars; ran faster that nightmares; my mouth unbroken; why am I haunting him; I cycle through the motions; I miss you too much to do the dishes; queer as in – if I die in prison it was not a suicide, queer as in – everything is trying to erase me; my mother asks, why are doctors lying to her; don’t you think I was a good mom.

Feature Wes Ryan gave an amazing performance, at times it was like chatting over coffee with a good friend. The pieces were deeply personal, some dealt with trauma but without melodrama or self pity. The work of a survivor who accepts the cost of lessons. random lines: I watched those pigeons grow, they would run to the edge & stop, those times you made it through without intervention, memory lapses overlapping, I had addictions: powder cocaine, taking the blame; perverts protected by apathy; get nervous when I can’t see the eyes attached to the fingers, rest was a chore I did until I was ready to relapse.

As he performed he complained about the heat (such a porn trope – is it getting hot in here?) removing sports jacket, tie etc then for one of the final poems off with his outer garments to reveal a dress.  “didn’t study dance but learned how to fall with accuracy, the thin line between fight &  flight, crazy does not discriminate.”

After the break there was a fresh, fun, open stage of cold reads of random poems from random books of poetry on the stage. What a great way to expose the audience, & poets, to the work of other poets. From the final round: my mental health is a sitcom, only my anxiety & depression ever fucked me silly, he looks at me a little too long, my mind enters rooms well after my body does, my body is a magic trick like a disappearing home that should have been safe, love is the words to a song that has no translation.

Winners were declared, prizes given out & the show wrapped by 9:30. The next Toronto Hot Damn is January 23, 2020.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

one of the scary pieces I read

The Haunting of Him

it is a parapsychological theory

I learned from ghost hunter shows

which says it is unfinished business

emotional 

hidden treasures 

lost keys

that keeps restless spirits on earth

but we had no unfinished business

so I don’t know why

I’m haunting him

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

Hot Algorithm Method

Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam launched its sixth season with a show that reflected & amplified the diversity of poets, slam & otherwise, in the LGBTQIA community. Passionate, articulate voices meet & perform on the stage to challenge our personal concepts of LGBTQIA.

The launch was hosted by Robyn Kaur Sidhu, with some off-stage organizing help from Robert Molloy & Heather Beamish. These are the new energy needed to propel this growing series into the the next five years 🙂 Don’t worry Charlie Petch is merely stepping back a little to let others experience grow. Stepping Back, not stepping away 🙂

After a rousing opening by Ogichdaa Kwe – with a pair of greeting songs, the show got started with a great open stage lined up. Lines from the open stagers: I give myself permission to be messy, melting on an angel’s tongue, I slap my own face, so listen to what I say/ before I change my mind, you are what I thought was impossible, your birdcage heart, temporary stitches of reconciliation, she never asked for her hair to be cut

Lines from the first slam round: the laugh track that follows my body around is deafening, algorithms know the name of the wrong man before I meet him, his body looks like security, brunch at exactly 11:03 a.m. every Sunday for the last 3 years, out of the car or out of the brain/ whichever comes first, code – nothing – to hide, lid – open – eyes, I know where my passing privilege lands, my body a war zone of what-ifs, you solidarity is performative

 

Feature Zoey Roy (https://www.facebook.com/therealzoeyroy/) took the stage and invited us into her unflinching worldview. Saskatoon’s loss is definitely Toronto’s gain.  I remember smile, you had your voice all along, we’ve been silence on purpose, your homes & our fears, every fire needs a stone, they tried so hard to bury us/ they know know we were seeds, someone who forgot they once had dreams, a rap-sheet longer than his life, in the mirror I recite a new approach, bravery doesn’t make us any more/ fear doesn’t make us any less, a nice fantasy but a crude reality

after a brief break we were into round 2: my gender got lost not he way to the poetry slam, a go-fund-me for white tears, love can burn brightly between those who are supposed to love, ideas in a book I wasn’t supposed to read, I would rather be a sinner than be unscathed, heart – felt flutter – butterfly, for the first time I am seeing the damage, silent to protect those who hurt me, said it was my fault when it wasn’t –

Scores were tallied, winners announced, prizes given. The real winners, as usual, were the audience. The next Toronto Hot Damn! is November 7, at Buddies in Bad Times.

I read a couple of pieces on the open stage including:

The Company You Keep

the owner of the cafe

had called someone

an inappropriate name

it was a twitter thing

a video 

posted of the 

owner saying 

those offensive things

now no one can go

to the cafe

without being considered guilty

of saying those things themselves

 

now

to be honest

I haven’t heard

what the owner said

I haven’t watched the video

this is all the context I know

and now

I can’t even mention the name

of the cafe

I can’t even admit 

that I’ve been there

in the past

or let it be known

that I regret

that I can’t go to that cafe

ever again

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020 – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet