School’s Out – Colby Days 1

When my father settled down in was in Sydney. Our first house was on the corner of Rigby Road & Centre St. It was like a giant playhouse too big for the three of us – Mom, Dad & me. Living-room, dining room, kitchen & a parlour on the first floor, another four rooms on the 2nd floor. So I had my own bedroom plus a play room. Attic, basement with a sprawling hot-air coal furnace. Barn-size garage too.

 

It was a mid-income neighbourhood. Lots of families. I remember being friends with a girl who lived across the street, whose name may have been Wendy. There was a boy I hung around with but I don’t remove this name at all. We lived there for about a year.

 

I was enrolled in Colby School (now Brookland Elementary) at corner of Royal Ave. & Cottage Road. I can’t recall if I was there for the start of the school term or not. I do recall my Dad walking to school along Center St the first few days to make sure I knew my way. It was about a 5min walk. The first time I walk home along I ended up walking along Cottage Road & getting lost.

 

This past week I did some research on Colby Elementary (there is a FB page https://www.facebook.com/groups/colbyschool/). That research brought back lots of memories but none of my first year there. Colby went up to Grade VI. So I was there for IV & V. There was a special ed class in the basement. My memories of some teachers names have stuck with me though – Miss Greenwell, Mrs. Butterworth, Mrs. McLeod.

The building was essentially a box with windows. Two floors, two entrances one for boys, one for girls. Big school yard in back for recess where we would play baseball, hopscotch – nothing organized. at the end of the school yard was Wash Brook – which ran through the city. It was forbidden territory during school hours.

Summer of that year I went to Wales with my mother & when we returned my father had moved us into a smaller house on Cottage Road. More about that & some actual school moments next week 🙂

 Sing

as a child I liked to sing

used to do it a lot

around the house 

on my way to school

with my dad when we went fishing

with my sisters when they got old enough 

we would sing bits of songs off the radio

sing along with records of my mother

Mario Lanza 

drink drink drink

each trying to out sing the other

 

then there was 

hey you with the stars in your eyes

that would become

hey there

you with sausages in your eyes

don’t fry my heart

it always broke us up 

hey there 

you with the bananas in your eyes

don’t monkey with my heart

hey there

you with the beans in your ears

can’t you hear I love you

 

the children choir at the United Church 

was looking for new members

my mom suggested 

it would be great opportunity

I could learn to sing for real

learn how to carry a tune 

instead of burying it under volume

 

a bunch kids at the church hall

were lined up according to height

mostly girls and some boys

mostly around my age 10 to 12

we where given a song sheet

words between dangling fangs of music

I didn’t know notes rests 

 

we where told 

just worry about the words

a woman played a few notes on the piano

we started in with a din

a few tries and we worked through it

then girls only  boys only 

individually

some got a nod from her

yes you’ll do fine

my turn she played a few notes

I started

no no no this note

finally she gave up

thank you but you really can’t …

 

blood rushed to my face ears

the other kids gawked at me

I ran out ran home

told my mother 

I never wanted to sing

never ever ever

and really haven’t

except for the occasional

hey there 

you with the fingers in your ears

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

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton

August 8: Highland Arts Theatre: https://www.highlandartstheatre.com 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

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

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Boyfriend

sample

Boyfriend

I’m so excited

I have a new boy friend

he’s barely fifteen

 

years younger than me

 

did that pause catch you off guard

were you sure I was going to say

he was only fifteen years old

was it hard enough to think of a man

having a boyfriend at all

then add to it the shudder that it was

an innocent emotionally underdeveloped

fifteen year old child

 

though I can remember me at fifteen

jacking off to visions of rock star cock

Jimi Hendrix Bruce Springsteen

that I wished there in my bed

 

telling you too much am I

get used to it

I’ve heard enough straight poets go on

sparing no intimate details

about blissful raspberry nipples

moist peach fuzzed mounds

 

so I’ll talk about man on man action

even if it makes some of you restless

a bit bored     a bit threatened

girl on girl would make you more comfortable

 

I usually try to make the nestling

of men’s bodies into each other

sound sort of sweet and tender

pulling myself away

from the gasp   grasp of sweat    pubic hair

 

so I’m excited

about my new boyfriend

though I hate boyfriend

boy carries that too young taint

man friend isn’t close

lover is more complex than it is at this point

bed buddy     yeah I like that

I have a new bed buddy

he’s nearly fifteen

 

years younger than me

born

This month I am looking at some of the pieces I may be reading as part of Born To Be Blown. All pieces deal with music I grew up with from Mario Lanza to the Blues Magoos. Boyfriend presents the context of much of it. I’ve written before about the lack of openly queer role models I grew up and this touches on that a little. There’s also this sense of having no guidance at all other that straight poets.

redsweater

 

parked red

I like the little ‘fooled you’ about sex and age at the start of the piece. It’s fun to perform with an actual pause with a big foolish grin to let minds jump to fifteen years old so I can catch them in mid-judgement of me. It plays into the illusion that all queers are pedophiles. Even at fifteen I wasn’t that attracted to boys my age. There is math teacher I’ve written bout though.

whitewrap

your Ikea kit is here

Some of my musical hotties get name checked – only two as that list could go on & on. I certainly remember scouring lp’s covers pics for any hint of what might be in to r’n’r jeans. John Lennon was the only one who ever gave us the goods.

It moves into ‘present’ time with talk about self-censoring when I first starting hitting open stages, being shy about being too out, even been criticized for being too out in fact a male poet who were very explicit about his heterosex longings. I’m not sure where the ‘raspberry nipples’ came from.

blue&whitecomposition in blue & white

At one time I did make an effort to present man on man without naming body parts but that got to be too phobic and I’m now quite comfortable to call a cock a dick if it fits the piece.

soon1

April 26, 2015 – Sunday – 2-5 – Featuring – The Secret Handshake Gallery – 170 Baldwin Ave., 2nd floor, Toronto. https://www.facebook.com/events/913761975313528/

born

May 7 – Thursday – 8 pm – Judging – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Season 1 finals – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre – 12 Alexander St., Toronto –

hdamnfinal

https://www.facebook.com/events/726986450755918/permalink/726987687422461/

June 5-7 – attending – Capturing Fire – Washington DC

fire

http://www.thedccenter.org/capturingfire/

(2015 registration posted but details not posted yet. I’ve registered already 🙂 )

June 21-26 – attending – Rosemary Aubert’s Workshop: The Novelist’s Selfie – Loyalist – Belleville https://www.facebook.com/events/965611026782246/

loyclass

register now while there is room at the table

page 23 for details next page down for registration info

https://www.loyalistbanner.com/ceweb/doc/LoyalistSummerArts2015.pdf

June 27, Saturday – 7:00-  Feature: Hot Summer Nights at Hirut, Hirut Restaurant, 2050 Danforth Ave., Toronto

summer15

September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo

Expo15

http://fanexpocanada.com

October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Inner Child Sacrifice

partsnoir

 

yellow snow

farewell yellow snow

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thanks

Land of Lanza

classical cd

tip of an iceberg

If my classical collection, so far, looks scattered it’s because I’m still working through the compilation CDs. It’ll be a while before I get to composer collections. But often it was these compilations that lead me to composers.  Though this next one didn’t: Mario Lanza is a childhood memory (see earlier post Golden Days: http://wp.me/p1RtxU-iN for more about that memory).

blackhat

black & yellow hat

This is one of my lp to cd transfers I combined his soundtrack recording for The Great Caruso with recordings of Caruso singing the same songs – a chance to compare the two voices. My ear isn’t refined enough to tell you the difference but there are difference. One thing that my ear did tell me was how orchestra is placed – sounding like the singer is recording while the orchestra is in a another room – distant.

greenfence

green & lavender fence

Next come Alicia De Larrocha: Spanish Fireworks: she lets fly with dynamic work by Albeniz, Granados, de Falla  & others. I love theis over-emotional writing & playing. Perfect for writing romantic scenes. I picked this up 2nd hand way back in 1997. Just like books, though, digital is replacing the jewel case.

shoe

black running shoe

Next is The Musicians of Swanne Alley: Elizabethan Ballads & Theatre Music. I bought this way back in 1993 to use as pre-show music for a play I was directing. What play? That I can’t recall – the info is my archives somewhere. But the music was appropriate for the production. I enjoy this period of music but often find the recordings too polite – like classical renderings of pop music that sort miss the energy of the common folk originals. Fine stuff all the same.

sample

Cue

‘Hi.’

‘Hi.’

‘Saw you in here the other day. Last week?’ I added soap to the clothes in the washing machine.

‘I suppose so.’ He leaned against them machine two down from mine. His newspaper vibrating on top if it.

‘Good thing all the machine are working today.’

‘Yep.’ he answered without looking up from his paper.

Baggy saggy ass jeans hugged his hips, band of boxers showed above. Glimpse of flesh where his tight t-shirt had slid up some.

‘You live around here?’ I wanted to keep the conversation going, to get him to look at me so I could see more of his face.

‘No. I take a cab here special cause this is such a friendly laundromat.’

‘Sorry I didn’t mean that to sound like such a line.’

‘Well it did.’ He finally looked up. Little trail of dark hair around his chin & up into his toque. Soul patch under his lip.

I wasn’t sure what to say or do next. I needed more text, a line that was the right tip-off that took the action somewhere. Not that it could go anywhere outside of the laundromat. As much as I enjoyed the street look I never felt confident enough to ask it into my home.

I retreated to a chair that allowed me to watch my laundry till the light went off that it was ready for the drier. I did a cross word. Five letter word for wet snow.

‘Sorry.’

I glanced up. He stood before me. He scratched his hard, flat stomach inches from my face. I didn’t really want to look up.

‘It’s just that guys are always hitting on me for some reason. I’m not … you know … gay.’

‘Life is like that.’

‘Must be some sort of cue that I sent out. I don’t know. Can’t help being who I am. Can I?’

‘No more than some guys can help being who they are either.’

‘Yeah. Right.’

I expected him to move away but he leaned against the coke machine beside me.

‘Funny world. Takes a lot of getting use to.’ his yanked his jeans up.

‘I don’t think one very gets used to it.’

My machine dinged.

foggy

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Golden Days and Donkey D**k

Poetry Month has ended and I have to say I enjoyed the challenge of producing a new piece a day and posting it for the world to see. I found myself writing in the street, stopping on my walks to jot down an image ‘hung like a hunch that paid off’ and finding the right place for it in one of the Cathy Petch’s great Go Viral prompts. So I have 35 new pieces to polish & eventually perform. Some of which I have posted here on WP. It was also great to dip into my vast collection of pics to stick to the pieces as they got posted.

product placement?

A couple of the prompts took me into my past. As a result of ‘critic’ I dug out a batch of my old painting & posted them for the world to see. As a result of ‘golden’ I was nudged back to Mario Lanza:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBjfhWjte3g

Golden Days

 

before the Beatles held my hand

or Led Zeppelin shook me

Golden Days transported me

my mother was a Mario Lanza fan

Golden Days would transport her

 

when I finally saw/heard it

in the film Student Prince

it was his voice but not his body

not that he had such a bad body

a solid sexy Italian man

dark and real

on his way to being an operatic Elvis

but by the time of The Student Prince

he was considered too fat

couldn’t lose the weight

and attempts to make him perfect

killed him

leaving us his perfect voice

and sparing us the insult of

his pudgy imperfect sweet Italian body

 

‘Golden days, full of gaiety and full of truth’

the first song I remember that mentioned gay

though it didn’t mean it in the sense I knew it

but as much as those sweaty half-naked oars men

in sword and toga movies made me queer

 

so did Mario’s voice

us kids would sing along with him

but the words never filled our mouths

the way they spilled out of his

 

years later I read in a biography

he was a womanizer with a donkey dick

that Katherine Grayson called him a pig

I laughed and gave the biography to my mother

she wasn’t happy to have his perfect voice

pitched to this disharmonious tune

 

‘Looking back through memory’s eyes’

I’m sorry I did that to her

but today when I hear his voice

I get lulled back to

‘Golden days, in the sunshine of a happy youth’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaqKznArobE

Layers of memory came into play as I wrote this – those of of being a kid, along with my brother & sisters singing along to Drink Drink Drink on Sunday mornings as my Dad made pancakes. Seems that soundtrack was big in a lot of families. I knew it pretty well so when I finally saw The Student Prince I was shocked that it was Edmund Purdom (hey, that’s a right sexy name) lip syncing the songs. I recall a photo of Mario on the beach with his wife – I don’t think his package was well displayed but his hairy chest was fine. Needless to say I do enjoy the look of hunky Italian men.

diamond dizzy

His film career made me aware of how media creates & tries to control packages – Judy Garland & Monroe – to name two, were chewed up and damaged beyond repair by that system – even men, like Mario, got caught in the tyranny of the body. He spent a much time losing weight to please the studios as he did making films. Things haven’t changed – can you imagine Frank Black as Batman or Melissa McCarthy as Wonder Woman (I could, but that’s never going to happen.) Would Shia LeBeouf even have a film career without his abs?

In recent years, thanks to TCM,  I’ve seen many of Mario’s films – great singing, good songs & he has a real screen presence, that often transcended the formulaic crap he was given. I recently bought a DVD of The Student Prince. In some ways it like seeing it for the first time, in color, as my other viewings were in the days of b/w TV. Purdom is bland, generic good-looking. But seeing Ann Blyth was distracting – odd how memory changes every role an actor ever plays – I’m so familiar with her as Veda in Mildred Pierce, I found her sweetness hard to believe & anticipated a false pregnancy.

build like a brick wall

I inherited my mother’s Lanza records & have converted them to mp3’s. (2019 note: all replaced with fresh mp3). He was a packaged product of the times, treated in some way like an operatic Sinatra – passable arrangements, lots of big notes. All easy listening but nevertheless, Golden Days still transports me.

Loyalist calls to me
Loyalist calls to me

wall of the hand