Mixed Messages

What is your working title of your blog? TOpoet.ca

Where did the idea come from for the blog? a short course at UofT that looked at increasing one’s audience via electronic media.

gay balls of fun
gay balls of fun

What genre does your blog fall under? mixed – poetry, spoke-word, writing, short-story, stage – something just me opining from my ancient queer point of view – plus my photographs or photos of me performing.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? John Garfield.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your blog? Toronto-based poetry vulture/social bloggerfly shares his arts/culture/entertainment adventures, with random photos and cynicism thrown in.

turd in a tub
turd in a tub

Will your blog be self-published or represented by an agency? self-published – as will be any of my literary expressions.  Though I wouldn’t say no to being paid $750 a week to blog as I do either 🙂

How long does it take you to write the blog/how much time do you put into it? The blog is ongoing – I post 3 times a week and a single post can take up to about two hours just to write. Wednesday is usually my yak about poetry post, Monday, Friday review of spoken-word shows I’ve been to – I always include some of my fiction or poetry. I always include photos I’ve taken around the city – lost, discarded items or things that catch my eye.

What other blogs would you compare this story to within your genre? Too many to list.

Who or what inspired you to write this blog? Partly to raise my online presence. Life With More Cowbell inspired me to write about the poetry scene – something that wasn’t being covered – the non-slam poetry scene.

I also saw that blogs that hold my interest have a general focus – arts or writing. So I wanted to give mine more of a focus.

put your toys away
put your toys away

What else about your blog might pique the reader’s interest? You never know what might show up – a review of a flea market, a trip to Stratford, another serialization of one of my novels – glimpses into the life of an old bald gay guy – who could resist that?





writing sample
writing sample

The other piece I read at Birthday Inferno

Mixed Messages

I’m sorry

when I called you a useless piece of shit

I really meant to say

how much I respected you

when I admitted I made out with your brother

because it was close as I could get to you

without having to touch you

I actually meant say

I cherish the time we spend together

when I said

the sight of you makes me want to vomit

I actually meant to say

the thought of not seeing you again leaves me bereft

and without a reason to live

when I went behind your back

and lied to everyone

that you had given me a social disease


I had intended to thank them for being your friend

and that the disease

was just a bad case of loving you too much

trust me that when I called

you a cheap money grubbing soulless dick head

as bright as bag of sour milk

I meant to say

you were someone with the finest

emotional and spiritual insights

when I called you the

the useless off spring of two demented

misshaped unwashed oozing genitalia

that were ground together

in a blind moment of drunken stupor

I was really trying to say

that I can’t stand the thought of you

so get the fuck out of here now

sorry sorry I mean

I just want to know

how long it would be before you get here

so we can be together

believe me

I really really miss you

more than words can say


snow bound bike
snow bound bike

Matadora In The Rain (not in Spain)

Damned’s final show a Glad Day was a bitter-sweet night. When Zelda’s was destroyed by fire Glad stepped up to offer us a great new home to keep the series going. Ideal in many ways – in the downtown core & with a great space. We started off strong there with full house but gradually the attendance dropped but not the quality of our features – turns out many people found the flights of stairs too much – even more felt the space lacked amenities, mainly a real bar and food. Damned listened and found itself a new home – Q Space at College/Bathurst.

yule remains
yule remains

Hosted by DM Moore, the final show was a fitting farewell & thank you to Glad Day. First feature Elizabeth Ruth read from her new book Matadora. The story of a female bullfighter was one she felt compelled to research then write. Unconsciously, I think, she took a matador stance to read – one hand behind her back & the other holding her book almost like an espada. The sections she read were evocative and direct ‘frail stalks of sunflowers creaking underfoot;’ ‘teased his fingers along each of the carved letters’ & also called up the spirit of Lorca ‘a lamp shone through a blue silk shade turning her body into a bruise.’ Soon to be on my Kindle (once I clear off some of 50 other books on it now)

crappy Ikea planter
crappy Ikea planters

Due to illness our second feature couldn’t make to the show so DM opted to have the second spot filled by the open stagers; DM started us off with a fine rendering of Every time I Say Goodbye (she needs to sing more often); Marcy Rogers did another great monologue from Lesbians Who Wear Lipstick the Middle ages ‘I don’t need a dick, man, I play guitar!’ I followed with a new piece ‘The Gate of the Kiss’ & some old pieces from my Go Bump set. Philip Cairns read two pieces – one about the Hell of call-centre life & another about the Hell of dating life: ‘why do I keep falling for pretty boys who don’t want me.’ After Philip, Cate McKim took a rare step on to the open stage for a superb rending of After The Gold Rush (she needs to sing more often); the set closed with Lizzie Violet who first warmed us up with summer memories ‘melting Popsicle dripping on grass stained jeans’ then cooled us down with Thirteen Nails in The Coffin.’ See her pics of the show: BuDa pics.

no tan line
no tan line

Final feature Tania Joy entertained with great songs form her ep ‘I’ll be Around.’ She has a comfortable stage presence, warm delivery & voice – which some in the audience found reminiscent of Joan Armatrading. Her songs were emotional, uplifting and direct with touches of gospel, old school country and folk.

Taken Seriously @lifemorecowbell

trash for the cure
trash for the cure

At Cabaret Noir we celebrated Cate McKim’s (Morecowbell) birthday. Cate’s blog is one of the ones that inspired me to keep on bloggin’. Not that I would have stopped, but her reviews of local arts, exhibits, live theatre & cd’s launches, showed me there was a place for that sort of grass roots stuff. There are enough blogs reviewing books, movies, TV etc. – but, as far as I could tell, no one was writing about local readings.

People read reviews to decide what they want to see or read so who wants reviews of what are essentially one time events? The participants for starters, & people who have missed the event. So I took up the challenge & have been enjoying that structure.

let me in
let me in

Another blog that has been an inspiration for me is Wide Awake But Dreaming. Cassidy blogs nearly daily about the travails of writing. Often funny & always insightful – Cassidy’s book ‘Her Demonic Majesty’ is a great read, too.

two seats no waiting
two seats no waiting

Here’s one of the pieces I read at Noir.


I was sitting there

after my quick hit at the open mic

putting my crumpled pages away

when the feature sat at my table

‘nice stuff

but you don’t wear enough black

for anyone to take you seriously

as a deep spoken word artist

I’m telling you this for your own good

because you got what it takes

you have to take that next step

‘til you commit to the black

no one will take you seriously’

I clutched my coat

blundered into the rain

well    unfortunately    it wasn’t raining

my feet went fast as they could past

indifferent people

who didn’t sense me crumble inside

as I made my escape to the subway

home quivering    fearful

I stumbled up the stairs

fumbled open the door to my tiny attic room

threw myself on my little bed

sobbing and shuddering with shame

what was I going to do

was it time to conform

with the nonconformists

if I really want

to taste the vibrant sting of success

that laced their sets

not wanting to give in

yet yearning for the satisfying comfort

full and total acceptance would bring

I cried myself to sleep

the very next day

I searched through vintage clothing stores

in Kensington    Queen east and west

shoved seniors aside at Value Village

tripped them at Goodwill

‘that mottled black brackish

turtle neck is mine gramma’

then I decided to go one step beyond

and hit the tanning salons

I’d show them

not only would I wear the brightest black

I’d become black

that would do the trick

then I could throw down

harsh slam verses about

empty purses

violating nurses mysteriously

and finally be taken seriously

me May 2013
me May 2013