Lofgrin Makes Me Smile


I have a nice collections of lps by Nils Lofgrin – some are lp to cd transfers & others downloaded. In the 70s he made some of the sweetest pop/rock around but never hit superstardom – perhaps by choice. I have Nils; Cry Tough; I Came To Dance; No Mercy; Night Fades Away; The Loner. Rounding out one of the mp3 collections is Al Kooper: I Stand Alone; Steve Miller Band: Your Saving Grace, The Joker; Johnny Winter: Second Winter; Matt Hryhorsky: Hardest Last Name.

Nils has a pleasant voice, great song writing & a likeable springing bouncy guitar style that makes me want to dance. This is happy music without being corny or cloying. He’s played with Neil Young, he was a Bruce Springsteen Band member for decades too. The lps are full of great originals & lots of sweet covers of unexpected songs. The Loner are all covers of Neil Young songs. If you are unfamiliar start with I Came To Dance.

 

Al Kooper’s I Stand Alone is his first lp after leaving Blood, Sweat & Tears. It could be an extension of that lp in fact – similar experimental sound less horns. It was a disappointment at the time as fans expected it to duplicate BS&T. Steve Miller Band: Your Saving Grace, The Joker – lps from different decades of the band. Grace is more soulful while Joker is out & out commercial brilliance. Miller’s guitar work drives both but on Grace has more laidback context.

Now for some local CanCon Matt Hryhorsky: Hardest Last Name. This is an ep I bought years ago at some place like The Central of the Supermarket when Matt featured at an event. The sound quality is excellent, the songs are good & his guitar playing is superb. Finally here is the amazing Johnny Winter’s Second Winter – I remember think – three sides! when this lp was first released. Winter is a guitar genius blues & rock with a touch of soul. This is a stunning set that is merciless in energy & attack. If you haven’t heard it do so asap.

The Bill

Joe was feeling pretty good. Better than he had felt in several weeks. Better than he had felt when he finally broke off with the guy he’d met on line who turned out to be a physically abusive drunk. Better no love than a bruise he had to explain.

Today he felt specially good because he had gotten through to his cable provider on the first phone call. No waiting and waiting and even better the service representative spoke without an accent. Not that he was racist but sometimes side had to know what was exactly being said. Joe felt good about that and also because the cable provider upgraded his cell phone for free with no activation charge just to get him to renew his contract. It was always good to know who to ask for someone in customer retention. So simple.

Yes, Joe was feeling very good as he entered his favorite restaurant. His favorite booth was free – one of the few that only sat two people. He had a book he was enjoying and he couldn’t wait to tell his favorite waiter about his success with the cable company.

Joe sat at the booth. Ken came over and put a bill on the table and walked away.

Joe looked at the bill. It was over two hundred dollars with several entrees. He figured Ken had made a mistake.

“Ken!” he waved the waiter over. “This isn’t my bill. I haven’t even ordered anything yet.”

“Are you refusing to pay?” Ken glared him.

“This isn’t my bill.” Loe’s heart began to beat faster. “I just got here. I haven’t had time to order anything. See the table is clear.”

Ken glanced at the table. “The table looks clean to me. Even if it wasn’t that’s no reason not to pay your bill. We get enough assholes in here.”

“But … but …”

“Young man,” an older lady at a nearby table glared at him. “Don’t give the waiter such a hard time. Pay him so we can get some service too.”

“But I haven’t ordered anything. I certainly didn’t order all this or have time to order it. Fried chicken, roast beef dinner,’ He began to read the items off the bill.

“Let me see that,” the maître d’ snapped the bill out of his hand. “What seems to be the problem Ken.”

“This guy refused to pay his bill.”

“This isn’t my bill.” Joe took a deep breath and kept his hands relaxed. 

The maître d’ glanced at the bill. “Of course if sir is contesting the total, we will add it up again.”

“I am not contesting the total …”

“He said his table wasn’t clean enough so he’s not paying it.’ Someone from another table added their two cents worth. “The tables here are always spotless.”

“Oh, we get your type in here far too often. Order a meal eat it then find some petty thing to complain about.” The maître d’ sneered.

“I have been coming in here for year and have never complained about anything.” Joe’s voice rose.

“No need to shout, sir.” The owner came from behind the front counter. “This is a respectable family restaurant. We can’t have that kind of language.”

“Here! Here!” Cheered the old lady from the nearby table. “Let me eat in peace.”

“But I didn’t say anything offensive.”

“Then just pay up like a good guy.” The owner patted Joe on the shoulder.

“But this isn’t my bill. I didn’t order any of this. I didn’t have any of these drinks. Apple screwdriver. Kafka flip. What ever that is.”

“Oh so your are saying this isn’t your bill. Is that what you are saying.” One of the cooks had come out of the kitchen and picked up the bill.”

“Yes that’s what I’m saying.”

“He’s right. Ken this isn’t this man’s bill. He is at table 12 the bill is for table 21.”

They all looked over to table 21 and a large gentleman grinned and waved at them. “I say, can we pay up and get out of here. I’m in a frightful hurry.”

Nils, Lofgrin, Al Kooper, Steve Miller Band, Johnny Winter, Matt Hryhorsky

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

April
– April 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales – online

https://www.facebook.com/events/529712257592790/

June

travel restrictions means no 😦

Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees – ducky, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Gift

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Gift

what am I accepting

when I accept this gift

is it an emotional bond

I’m not interested in

that I haven’t instigated

it’s not that I don’t like them

as a person

but I’m more disinterested

than anything else

 

I know the gift 

comes from a good place

that one cannot have too many friends

but at the same time

one can be 

shall we say 

discerning

so if the gift comes with strings

no thanks

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Picture Perfect 13

Without looking at any of the other pictures he gathered them together and put them back in the envelope. Now where to put them? 

No! He couldn’t put them away until he saw what else was there. He took them out and quickly sorted through them. There were twelve from the whip shoot. In the last picture the man’s boxers were around his ankles and the whip marks on his ass were clearly bleeding. By that last shot the woman’s hair had become dishevelled, her nylons where loosened from the garter buttons.

He had sat on the chair in the pictures many times. His Dad used it when taking portraits of families. There was no doubt in his mind about where these were taken. The backdrop was the scrim he mother had ordered from a photo supplier in Montreal. It reflected the light just right and didn’t call attention to itself.

Time to put on my forensic hat. Had his Dad taken these or merely developed them and kept copies? Dan got one of the studio pictures he knew his Dad had taken of him and Linda. There they were by chair, each with a foot on the seat and grinning at the camera. The chair has the same smudge on the back left leg. He turned the paper over and it had the same subtle watermark as the whip pictures. They were taken by the same camera. 

He could see the camera set up on its tripod in the studio. He taken lot of pictures with it himself. Climbing up on that very chair to look through the view finder. Playing with the focus. His Dad didn’t want anyone to tamper with the tripod.

There were no colour pictures in the hidden envelope. Black and white could be easily developed by his Dad. Colour was possible but more expensive and had to sent away for developing. Racy stuff like this would probably be reported to the police if one of the reputable developers had gotten a hold of it.

That’s all what it was though. Racy. Nothing was really exposed. No genitalia, no faces. Just that big bare ass. Was this considered porn at one time? 

He took the photos over to the scanner and fed them in. He watched on the monitor as each was converted. He played them back as a slide show to which made him think of the gif program he’d tweaked so he transferred a copy of the file to that, instructed the program to do fill in – it would take what photos it had and create new versions that continued in an action. It worked best if the action in the originals was fairly similar from shot to shot. The program informed him it would an hour to complete the task.

He went back to the stills for one last close look. Something in them caught his attention but he wasn’t sure what that was as he flipped from one to the other. Then he noticed that the woman was wearing  a simple bracelet in the first four pictures but as the flogging proceeded it was gone. Did the clasp break? Or did fly off as she worked that guy’s ass over?

On the other workshop computer he isolated the bracelet and enlarged it and enhanced the image at the same time. He recognized it. He’d given it to his mother for mother’s day!

He pushed away from the computer. His mother? That couldn’t be his mother in those pictures! 

He dropped a proportions grid on the first of the pictures. He typed in the approximate dimensions of the chair and calculated the woman’s hight based on that. Even in heels his mother wouldn’t have been that tall. But to make sure he found a beach picture of the his mother from the time and had the Proportions program compare the two them. It concluded that they were not the same person.

Then why was the woman wearing his mother’s bracelet? 

He’d bought it at the Kmart that had opened recently in Sydney. They might have sold hundred of them, well at least dozens of them. He’d gotten the notion to buy it from one of the other boys in his class who had bought one for his mother.

He stood, stretched and walked to the window over looking the street. What did he know now? Other than the fact that his past was being seriously re-appraised, he was no further ahead in the finding out what had happened that summer. Right! He had forgotten to check his Dad’s travel records for that summer.

A quick search and he found them where he expected them to be. No secret symbols appeared in the notes for that summer. 

His notes for the abducted children said that Timmy was reported missing on Tuesday of that week. The family departed Stellerton Friday of the same week. That’s why the departure was so rushed. They left within days of the disappearance. The photos of him and Timmy were dated on the back for the Sunday before they left. These were probably the last pictures taken of Timmy.

He stared into Timmy’s wide open eyes. Timmy was looking directly at the camera while he was looking directly at Timmy. Both were ginning like they had secrets. Good secrets.

Dan wiped away a tear. He’d lost a] his best friend at the time and didn’t even know it till now. Not only that but now felt his own past slipping away.

 

 

Friday was Dan’s least favourite day of the week. I was the day he worked at the FairVista location. It was his own fault for insisting that he be there at least once a week to run a ‘camera clinic.’

“Ms James isn’t here again today Dan. She called to say she might in by lunch time.” David O’Neill, her assistant manager apologized.

“Figures.” Dan shook his head. Since the Cuppa visit he’d been unable to make contact with Linda. He’d left messages, texts but so far no response. Not that he was surprised after the stunt she pulled to get him out of the way. But even this avoidance was bit much for her.

“Did she tell you anything?” Dan asked as he watched people arrive in the store.

“Just that Anne was feeling much better.”

“Anne?” Anne was the oldest of Linda’s children.

“Oh! I thought you knew. Anne is in Sick Kids. Fell off her bike. Hit her head. They were afraid there might be a concussion so she’s been at Sick Kids the last couple of days for observation.”

How convenient, Dan thought.

He had arrived at the FairVista shop that morning looking forward to finally confronting Linda about the Cuppa deal. 

He googled the Sick Kids number, called the patient inquiry number and asked for Anne Tanaka’s room. He was patched through and Linda answered.

“Hi Linda. It’s Dan. I’m at the shop and was surprised not to find you here.”

“Let me tell you, I’d rather be there.”

“How’s Anne.”

“Good. Very scared but as it turns out nothing to worry about. No concussion.”

“Is it Daddy?” He could hear Anne in the back ground.

“No, baby, it’s Uncle Dan calling to see how you are.”

“Hi, Uncle Dan.”

“Hi, Tiny. You gave us all a scare.” He didn’t want to let on this was all news to him.

“Me too. I loss consciousness for five minutes. Five whole minutes. I was just riding along on my bike when this dog dashed out in front me and I swerved to not to hit him and ran right into a car that I didn’t even know was there. Good thing the car was parked and I flipped off the bike and landed and hit my head and the dog was licking my face when I came to and he was so cute. And …”

He let her ramble on for a minute or so.

“I gotta go, Tiny. Tell your mother I’ll see her later.”

He looked around the store to see who might be there for the ‘camera clinic.’ If there was enough people he would show them the latest in technology, how to integrate it with what systems they already had. Each week they’d showcase a different camera. Ten people took the seats provided for his demonstration.

The presentation did sell a few items, some software. They often became Q&A with people wanting to know what the fuck to do with the cell phones and tablets that kept sharing information they didn’t want shared. He did his best to keep them focused on what he knew, not what they wanted him to know.

Friday was also the Lyphend ‘by appointment’ day where he discussed their line with prospective buyers. These he enjoyed greatly, as many people thought it was like buying a car. They would try to negotiate but there was no such thing as discounts even if they wanted fewer features. Lyphend did have a line of cameras for the public, along with other household electronics made to their exacting specifications. Not cheap by any means, but all designed to out-live their owners.

The morning session made Dan aware, once again, that too many people found it challenging enough to turn the flash off on their digital cameras that explaining how set fStops was almost a pointless digression. He did show them how easy it was to do on most makes but couldn’t answer questions such as ‘why don’t they make a digital that does all that for you,’ when he had, in fact explained how the auto setting did that.

The best he could do was say some camera can become intuitive about the most frequent users needs, none were mind readers. A camera still had to be pointed somehow to take a picture.

After the session was over he worked the floor. Stopping to chat with customers, answer questions. He aimed to make at least two sales whenever he was at FairVista to demonstrate to Linda he wanted the location to succeed. Plus he liked the rush of selling, especially when he could encourage the customer to upscale what they wanted. 

Selling $750.00 cameras was easy enough but getting them up to $1750.00 was rewarding. He also knew Linda liked to see their extended warranties sold.  These were usually pure profit.

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Resistance

Finished Week Three of The Artist’s Way. Julia sure loves lists. Looking into the past to clear the vision for the future didn’t turn up anything new from my pre-Toronto east coast growing up. The only real memory of negativity was the reaction of Malcom Ross – then head of the English Department at Dalhousie University – to my first attempt at a novel – it was about a character coming out & he felt the subject matter wasn’t suitable.

Looking back I’m not sure if it was because of his personal moral stance or because the writing itself wasn’t as strong as my poetry at the time. he had been very supportive of me as a poet. I still have that novel somewhere in my paper archives so I may dig it out to see how it stands up as juvenilia 🙂

My worse critic is often self-talk & not what others have said or written about my work directly. When I was involved in a crit group I felt supported up to a point but rarely got as much feedback as the others – was it because my work was fine or because they didn’t think it was worth bothering with? At least with the Loyalist workshops I got lots of excellent input. Plus some of the fiends I made at Loyalist are still people I’m in contact with – but the poetry work-shoppers have drifted away; I only hear from them when they send out bulk invites to shows.

Thanks to covid19 closings artist dates have become photo excursions. The pictures here are from my walk Thursday (Mar 25). I took TTC to Wellesley Station & walked home from there. Part of the walk crosses the Rosedale Valley Overpass then the Prince Edward Viaduct. The pictures are all from the south side – some looking as down as I could lean over the rail. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Don River so clear 🙂

Resistance

if his resistance 

has been any smaller

it would have taken 

an ant to measure it

but as it was 

it was big enough 

to change me 

on a molecular level 

each time he was near

my atomic structure 

began to revolve around him

 

heads would turn to see  

where that unseen vibe 

was coming from

eyes would linger on his lips

his smile

his teeth

each hair on his head

would mesmerize 

drawing power

from the love light 

in their eyes

charging him up

for more powerful emanations

 

and that was me

sitting by his side

who noticed me

did it matter

as long as he noticed me

as long as he was in me

as long as I was the one

who held the key to the shield

that protected him

 

they all wanted 

the part of him that was only mine

the shadow of his power 

protects me

while keeping me 

from the full expression of my own

the difference between us 

was less than than 

the thickness of a spark 

jumping from lip to lip

the nano-storm flash

of realization from eye to eye 

 

we were merged

separate unified individual

connected

shaping the universe

for all to follow

living in that gap between 

want and want even more

giving and losing

taking and reflecting

the bridge

between life and death

we were on the breeze 

on the disappearing species list 

 

nothing was safe

cataclysmic explanations 

elemental tables were upset

we didn’t sit with them

they resented the

absolute the power we held

when our hands 

were merely reaching

for one another

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

April
? – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – date to be announce thanks to COVID19

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Measure Up

Measure Up

I concede 

I’m not that competitive

whether you are the better

isn’t that important to me

I want to be judged

on my merits alone

not on how much 

better or worse I may be

compared with anyone

better is relative

 

who is the winner

the one who comes in first 

or the one who finishes the race

on their own terms

 

I grew up

in a school system

where I learned 

I would never measure up

because I wasn’t smart enough

to memorize the times table

smart enough

to regurgitate passages of text books

when I wrote exams

even when I was right

I was given no credit

because my spelling was so wrong

 

coming out

I learned I would never measure

I was never young enough

buff enough

hung enough

to be desirable enough

in the eyes of those

who I wanted to measure up to

without realizing

I was trying to measure up



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Picture Perfect 12

The next day Dan was grateful for a routine morning at James Family Photographers. The the unusual activity the past couple of days had tempted him to take a day off to collect his thoughts about Timmy, Cyrtys and his sister’s Cuppa threat. He dropped into the Classic for a bagel and coffee to take up to his office. 

“Quiet morning for you too?” He asked Jill as he waited for his bagel to toast.

“Yeah. The Institute doesn’t take a morning break Thursday. I wonder how those students feel when they get off the street car to to see their Toronto campus for the first time.” Jill said. 

“I know. When I think of a campus I imagine something like U of T not a two floors in a ten story office complex.” Dan nodded. “Sorry about the Cuppa people.”

“These things happen. But I’ve always said your sister is a piece of work. The whole atmosphere here has changed since you opened up the other location.”

“In a good way?”

“Oh, yes. Very good. I don’t envy Cuppa. She used to come in here and no matter how busy we were she’d just push in front of the line up. She’d claim she was picking up an order she’d texted us.”

“She does know how to get her way. Most of the time. Not this time though.”

Coffee and bagel in hand he stepped into the shop. “Ushio, I’ll be up in the archives for awhile. If you need me.”

He went thought store to the back stairway. It always brought back memories of when they had lived her. He always expected to see his first bike locked to the landing on the second floor along with garbage he frequently forgot to take out. On really humid days he could still smell the steamed cabbage his mother was so fond of. Today he could smell coffee and baked goods coming from the basement ovens of the Classic.

Once he had finished his bagel he went into the archives storage and pulled out the two bins for 1984. All he had taken when he retrieved the Timmy photos were from the month they had moved. Maybe there was something in the other files that would shed some light on what was going on in the months before.

Linda had said the move was talked about at Christmas so he also took the bins for the previous year. Each year had been split into two bins – regardless of how little there was in one half.

His father had kept meticulous records of his travels – hotels, motels, school he’d worked for, endless receipts for restaurants, gas, even for clothes bought for them when they were kids.

Much of that had been discarded before his Dad had died. Receipts were for tax purposes. But his Dad’s daily appointment books were there, in those he recorded, expenses, mileage and sometimes incidents.

His Dad opted to only keep family or other personal photographs. Most of the commercial stuff, that wasn’t in the business’s portfolio, was discarded. Dan sometimes wished they had kept some of those early wedding photos though to compare them with what was being done now.

He shook the contents out of the envelop in the Dec 83 folder. Like most of them there were glassine envelopes of negatives, lots of developed photos in back and white, in colour, even a super eight. Did they have a projector? There was always the Stedman Transferer. When had they used that last? There had been a brisk business for awhile in transferring old home movies to VHS. Did they even have a VHS player on the premises?

He used his cell to call the store. “Ushio can we transfer Super 8 to digital? …. I see …. come up the third I have a little project for you.”

It was possible but it wasn’t a one-step operation as he had hoped. 

He flipped through his father’s record books but saw nothing that jumped out to him. Entires were in both his father’s and mother’s handwriting. She had been the main receptionist when the store first opened. 

Weddings. parties. Business banquets. One of his Dad’s specialities was a super wide lens that could take a picture of an entire ballroom of tables. The camera was huge and took two men to move and set up. Maybe it was time to haul that out of storage and set up in the store to contraat it with todays tiny digitals cameras.

There was soft knock at the door. Dan realized he hadn’t unlocked the storage door.

“Sorry Ushio. Got so involved I forget.”

“You have top secrets today?” 

“Nothing like that.” he gave Ushio the super 8 reel.

Ushio unspooled the first few feet and held it up to the light.

“Very clear. Being in the dark was good for it. I can have this ready in a couple of hours. Anything else.” He reached for the other pictures.

“No, not yet. I may get some of these scanned later though. I’m sure Linda will be thrilled to see her acne pictures.”

Ushio stood awkwardly at the door.

“Is there anything else?”

“I was wondering   ….”

“Yes. You want a raise?”
“Oh no nothing like that. The school across the way …”

“Yes?”

“They ask if I might teach sometimes.”

“Teach?”

“Yes! Equipment repair. That sort of thing.”

“You want to leave here to work for them?”

“Oh, no. It would be part time. Two nights a week.”

“You don’t need my permission to dot hat.”

“They have no facility there. It would be here. In the shop downstairs.”

“Oh! Let me think about it.” Was the building zoned for that sort of use he wondered. It had to be as they did camera workshops often.

Once Ushio left he want back the assortment of items from the bin. Why had his Dad held on to these paper napkins? Some party that only he could remember. Dan opened one of them up and there was a red lipstick kiss in the middle of it. Hmm. 

The Shoreline Diner was printed in one corner in letters sticking in the sand. They had eaten there a few times for special occasions. He recalled standing at the huge plate glass windows that overlooked the Atlantic. One night there had be an amazing storm and he saw a boat’s lights bobbing up and down.

He had emptied the bin of all the various folders, envelopes and photos. As far as he could tell there wasn’t anything unexpected in the appointment books. Nothing that explained the decision to move.

He put the contents back in order. As he lifted it to move to the next box an envelop flapped from the bottom. The gum of the flap had adhered it there and gravity had pulled it free.

On the front of it ‘04/79 – 07/83’ was scribbled. He couldn’t tell whose handwriting it was though. He pushed the sides in to open it enough to see what was in it. More photographs and negatives. He cautiously tipped it so the contents slid out into the pool of light on the desk.

He couldn’t believe this eyes. The top picture was a black and white shot of a woman in bra and panties buttoning her seamed nylons into a garter belt. Her back was to the camera so her buttocks were the focus. Her face was turned but not enough for him to see who she was. He recognized the chair she had her left foot on as one from his Dad’s studio.

He turned the photo over to see the next one. It was the same woman, in the same clothes, back still to the camera, head partly turned, standing wide legged, her hands on her ass as if about to spread the cheeks.

On the back of the the photo he had turned over was a hand drawn circle with an x through it. He’d seen that symbol before. He took one of the record books out of the bin and flipped though it till he came to day with that mark on it. Was that the day the pictures were taken?

Gingerly he went to the next picture. The same woman, the same chair, the same back to the camera only this time there was man on his knees, leaned over the chair. No face visible. Boxer shorts, shoes and socks on. The woman was wielding a cat-of-nine-tails aimed at the man’s ass. In the next several pictures the whip went from hitting the man’s ass to being brought back and down to his ass.

Dan squirmed uneasily in his chair. He got up and went to the window rubbing his eyes to relive the strain of peering at the photos. This wasn’t the fun family Christmas memories he expected to find.

Had his Dad rented out the studio space for these? He couldn’t have taken them himself. Could he?

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International LicenseHey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees 

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Vow Of Noise

One of things that is discussed in The Artist’s Way week 3 is shaming  – things like ‘you think you’re so great’ or ‘get a real job because your ….. (fill in the blank) will never make enough money & is only a hobby’ or ‘boys don’t do that sort of thing’ ‘good writers know how to spell & punctuate.’

 

My parents often encouraged me to be more like other kids – the subtext being that I wasn’t good enough – oddly when I said wanted to do something or have something the others kids had I was told ‘think for you self.’ My parents wondered why I preferred to spend so much time alone & then worried about the artsy people I began to hang out with – musician hippies & clearly drug users.

 

Thanks to the current covid19, social distancing, work at home, I’m reading lots of griping about being alone & how boring it is. I’ve had years of social distancing so this all come natural to me. When, as a poet, one doesn’t drink, smoke, use any number of social drugs people have been happy to be socially distant from me. Go figure. 

One of the tasks is a ‘bad habits’ list which syncs perfectly with an excellent book I just finished reading – Deep Work by Cal Newport. Frittering away time on-line is one of my most non-productive habits but it is a hard addiction to step away from – made harder by the constantly changing covid climate. The need to know can take over the need to be productive.

Vow of Noise

I took a vow of noise

a promise to the future 

from my silenced past

to say what I have to say 

not to stop for anyone

not listen to anyone else 

because once I’ve said it all

it’s all been said

no one else will ever have to 

find the right words

I’ll have saved them the trouble

I’ll have made all the necessary apologies 

all the required promises

solved the intellectual  conundrum

of what to do with emotional blind alleys

 

here is the solution 

gushing out of me

at the speed of sound

stop talking and listen to me

you have to hear me

I‘ve been given 

the sole rights to speak

the rest of the world 

can be plunged into silence

think of all the work that’ll save you

when only I have the right to talk

 

if you don’t speak your mind

your mind will be silent enough

to realize

that no one has anything to say 

so you might as well let an idiot

like myself 

do all the talking for you

make an ass of myself

so you can rest quietly in your homes

relaxed and untroubled  

by even the need to formulate a sentence

the blessing will be sweet serenity

who can ask for more

not you

because you aren’t allowed to talk

 

I have taken on that burden 

for all mankind

I’ll be the only one

who has to answer to the Maker

when the time comes

it’ll be so much simpler

one solitary voice 

to speak for all

no clamour and clutter 

no shouting arguing yelling

conflict will disappear

and you’ll have me to thank

surrender your right 

to conversation to me

the one who has taken 

a sacred vow of noise

has taken endless repetition

off your backs

and put it on the tip of my tongue

nothing will be repressed

I’ll get it all off your chest

and into the the universe

I’ll leave no hatred unuttered

no blessing unfulfilled

no sacredness undefiled

praises insults slurs slaps

adulation love 

I’ll take over all that

a single direct voice will be more effective

undistracted by points of view 

 

are you getting this down

are the cameras on me

beamed into smart phones

movies will be silent once again

a new calm will settle on the earth

as silence takes over

as I tire of the sound of my own voice

while you go about your daily lives 

content in the knowledge 

that I am speaking up for you

soon you won’t even have to listen

you won’t need to hear

that sonic shift

will get our planet on the right track

all that noise pollution 

dampening down

you won’t need jobs

because they are are only there 

to get you enough cash to communicate

but when you have no need to speak

there won’t be anything left 

to communicate

slip into serenity

till even I have nothing left to say

 

I can stand on any hilltop

to the be greeted by the calm

all around me

no sound waves to move the clouds

bliss will arrive softly

a rain drop on my lips

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

April
? – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – date to be announce thanks to COVID19

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Haunted

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Haunted 

there is this theory

that it is unfinished business

that keeps spirits on earth

but we had no unfinished business

so I don’t know why

I’m haunting him

 

it wasn’t my intention

to haunt anybody

when death fit me like a glove

I thought

this is it

I can take it easy

let myself relax

let this new dimension

can give me whatever shape I need

 

I don’t have to think

of who I am

what to do

I can just be nothing

I welcomed this loss of self

 

only to discover

him

he was holding 

onto more than a memory of me

as far as I knew

we were sexually familiar with each other

affectionate but not emotionally invested

at least not the point

where I would be

hovering behind him

in a shower steamed mirror

gone before he could turn around

 

I don’t want to be here

he’s not the one

I’d pick to haunt

 

it would be you

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Don’t Go

Please Don’t Go

why are we here

there’s not a house in sight

not a car

not even a convenience store

not even a star in the sky

when I said

I think we should be alone now

this isn’t what I had in mind

nothing to sit on

no wall to lean against

no trees

nothing

 

everyone knows

this is nowhere

when I said

I would be nowhere without you

I didn’t expect to be here

I expected to be alone with you

not nowhere without you

don’t go

how do I get out of here

how

which way is up

don’t go

 

please

don’t go

This piece starts as dream like movie moment – the narrator is lost, looking around & asking their lover where they are. No explanation of how they got there except that the lover is responsible. Tension is created as the narrator begins to set conditions – a place to ie sit. One starts to realize this guy probably on the demanding side, needy & expectant of the lover to fulfill without being so literal.

A Neil Young quote is always welcome & give the piece more of an actual context. This flips that ‘this is nowhere’ a bit ‘nowhere without you’ – one of those romantic cliches like I would be lost without your love (which is implied by the piece). I like to literalize those cliches – i.e. nowhere without you – let’s put the speaker in a place that is nowhere & see how they feel about it. Like the Monkey’s Paw in which the wish is granted literally, as opposed to the way the wisher fantasizes it will be fulfilled.

I enjoy the shift as my narrator becomes more ‘needy’ as a result of this wish fulfillment. I’ve resisted the temptation to expand the piece to make motivations clearer or cause clearer. Who granted this wish? Why? Even genders are removed. It’s like one of Beckett’s short plays only here we don’t even get actual voices to tell us anything about the character. The reader is left in the same physical void as the narrator.

In the end it isn’t even clear who the narrator is speaking to – is the reader ‘you?’


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Picture Perfect 11

Leaning on the kitchen counter they rested against each other.

“I better finish these dishes.” Sanjay bit Dan’s ear lobe.

“They can wait. You have this to clean up first.” Dan wiped at the come drying on his face.

Sanjay leaned closer and began to lick off the come. Dan started to laugh. “That tickles. Let’s hit the shower. We can have the other dessert later when we are clean enough to eat it.”

He pulled his jeans up, grabbed Sanjay hand and pulled him toward the stairs

 “Yes, master.”

When they remodelled the house Dan had made sure the shower in the master bedroom was large enough to hold two. They soaped and scrubbed each other. Rubbing and kissing, slipping and sliding around each other at the same time. Dan loved the feeling of Sanjay’s hairy chest and belly on his back. 

“You are tempting the elephant again.” Sanjay said.

“No more than you are summoning up the albino cobra.” Dan turned so they faced each other in the shower. Erections rubbing side by side. He reached to the tap and cut the hot so they were caught in a sudden downpour of icy cold. He jumped out of the shower.

“Ah. You fucker.” Sanjay followed him out.

“Yes perhaps I am for a change.” Dan said pushing the wet Sanjay onto his back on the bed, then climbed on top of him. He moved down Sanjay’s chest, his mouth biting here and there, then to his cock, balls and pushing Sanjay’s legs into the air to his butt.

The black hairs around his hole were so tightly wound it was hard to worm his tongue to it but Dan knew he had succeeded as Sanjay gasped.

“Ooo, that hits more than one spot.”

“Freshly washed.” Dan muttered as he came up keeping Sanjay’s legs on his shoulders. He reached under the pillow and pulled out a tube of lube, quickly smeared some on his cock and Sanjay’s hole.

His cock was longer than Sanjay’s but not as thick. He pressed it against the warm opening and pushed.

“Not so gentle baby.” Sanjay squeezed his legs around Dan and pulled him in tight so Dan’s cock was buried in a single thrust. “You know I don’t like it as gentle as you do.”

“If I were as thick as an elephant trunk you wouldn’t be saying that.” He pulled out completely and thrust in hard and fast.

“Oh.” Sanjay gasped. “Yes. Hard. Bite.” He pushed Dan’s head at his left nipple. “Bite.”

Dan bit the nipple as hard as he could without losing momentum. He tasted man milk after a few sharp bites.

“Yeah yeah.” Sanjay moaned. He pushed Dan’s head to his other nipple.

Dan saw spots as he felt himself about to come and started to pull out. Sanjay gripped him even tighter with his legs. 

“In me. In me.” He begged.

Dan felt his first spurt as he pulled out. The rest of his come spilled over Sanjay’s cock and balls. He rolled off Sanjay and laid on the bed his hand on Sanjay’s stomach.

“It has been a while.” Dan said.

“Too long. I was beginning to wonder if you were still interested. It happens, I know. After a years.”

“Same here. Sometimes I wonder if you are filling more that pastry at P’s.”

“What!” Sanjay rolled and propped himself up on elbow. “You know what I’m like. I’m a one butt pie at a time kind of man.” He leaned and bit Dan’s nipple.

“Oh stop!” Dan laughed and pushed him away. “Looks like I’m going to have to shower again. This time alone.”

“Yes master.”

Once he had washed off he left the shower running for Sanjay. He dried off and went downstairs to his desk. He arrayed the pictures of the other children in the light to see if there was some connection between them. The unexpected connection he had found with the RCMP photographs in the afternoon had played on his mind.

“A new case. Right. I forgot you can’t talk about your cases.” Sanjay asked.

“This isn’t a case in that sense. These are from that cold case show I caught the other night.”

“Still thinking about that. What was it about Timmy any way?”

“I think it was the way it ended but never ended. I know now why he never answered my letters. He was abducted. Otherwise I might have forgotten all about him.”

“What do you remember?”

“We had loads of fun when we summered in Stellerton. He even visited me a couple times in New Waterford.”

“Same bed?” Sanjay asked.

“Yes. I’d sort of forgotten about that. We’d fall asleep spooning from behind. The way we sometimes do!”

“So …”

“I was only a boy Sanj. I sure liked him though. He was uncut. I’d never seen that before. Not that I’d seen any cock other than my own but I guess I figured they were all like mine.”

“Uh … huh. I wish I could say the same. I saw lots of cock when I was growing up. Men would piss in front of each other without thinking twice. There was no shame with body functions.”

“I played with his once. He saw how amazed I was at his foreskin. He let me touch it, it wouldn’t pull back the way yours does. It was so tight he could barely pee out of it.”

“Did it taste pissy?”

“Sanjay! I don’t know. That never entered my head. Though years later when I knew what I like I did wonder why I didn’t then.”

“Perhaps is just as well you didn’t. Your tender young heart would have been even more broken when your parent so cruelly tore you apart.”

“They did not move because of him, of my friendship with him. My mother says his disappearance was one of the reasons we did move. My Dad didn’t feel it was safe.”

“As if Toronto was such a safe place, right?”

“I never considered that.”

“I hate to change the subject but let’s talk about me for a change.”

“You? Something wrong?”

“No. Dessert awaits you in the living room.”

He followed Sanjay to the living room. On the coffee table were two bowls of Sanjay’s speciality. A banana raisin ice-cream with a subtle dash of curry.

“Yummy.” Dan eagerly took a spoonful. “So what about you?”

“You know this year is my parents fiftieth wedding anniversary.”

“Right.”

“You know I will be going to India to celebrate it with the rest of my family. There will be many, many of us.”

“Lots of cooking for you, right?”

“You don’t know the half of it. I will be going there the first of June to start the preparations. As the unmarried son I have more responsibilities.”

“When is the anniversary?”

“Not until the end of June.”

“I don’t know if I can get away for that long.”

“I’m not expecting you to.”

Dan had travelled with Sanjay to Agra twice now to meet his family. He wasn’t sure if his family even realized the nature of their relationship.

“You could join me for the week of the actual anniversary.”

“You sure you want me there? Last time they kept dropping hints about grandchildren.”

“I remember,” Sanjay grinned. “But if we send them pictures of our wedding, that would put a stop to that.”

“They’d see two grooms and wonder where the brides where.”

“You have a point there.” Sanjay took Dan’s hand. “One no longer has to be a pop star to pop the question.”

Sanjay regularly dropped hints about them getting married.

“Sanj, you know that isn’t going to happen. I thought you understood. Do I have to explain that again?”

Sanjay stopped him with a kiss. “Say no more but I hoped after your excitement about Kevin McLeod’s nuptials, you might have had a change of mind.”

“His wedding more PR than love I think. Though a … triad does seem interesting. Marriage is just fucking heteronormative bs being forced on us. Marriage has proven to be a flop for centuries.”

“You cynic!” Sanjay lay with his head in Dan’s lap. “We only hear about the drama of failure not about the ordinariness of success. Drama sells, quiet success fades into the background.”

“You want to fade into the background? Not that we are such an out there couple but … you know what I mean. Forced conformity just isn’t for me.”

“Forced?”

“Yeah, just because we can doesn’t mean we should. It seems only the real queers are getting married. Us who don’t are giving them bad name by living in sin.”

“Whatever.” Sanjay stood to take the dessert bowls to the kitchen.

“I doubt if married couples, of any gender, have the sort of sex we just had. Especially after being to gather for nearly ten years.”

“How did we end up talking about you again?” Sanjay laughed. “I’ll be booking my tickets to India next week. My cousin tells me there’s going to be seat sale. I’ll book yours at the same time.”

“No more than seven days for me.” Dan was firm.

“That barely gives you time to get over jet lag. I’ll get a better price for a ten day spread.”

“Since when?” Dan stood, stretched and yawned. “Man, I am tired. Bushed.”

“And well whacked too.” Sanjay called from the kitchen.

“I’m going to turn in. Check with me before you book anything for me.”

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