Danforth Potholes

In Toronto we’re at the edge of post-covid19 life as the retail world returns to life, within safety protocols, that is. Stores have signs that say maximum capacity 121, while others say no more than 4 at time. Some say ‘for rent’ not having survived the prolonged lockdown. I suspect some took the lockdown as a sign to close up a business that was merely breaking even. 

Some that did close were fairly popular coffeeshops that subsisted on their takeout business anyway. Maybe the per sq. foot costs weren’t being covered by the sale of elevated cupcakes? Some places that survived have cut back their hours – no longer opening a 9 a.m. but at 11 a.m., or in some cases not until 2 p.m. Others are ‘by appointment only.’ I suppose the $ saved in operating costs helps their bottom lines.

Several have been replaced by similar business, chains like A&W or Burger King. The most invasive had been, what I call potholes. Marijuana dispensaries – that have taken over video, buy-your-gold, stores. Some have obvious names – High Time, Natural High, Neighbourhood Joint – others aim for a different ‘class’ – Canvas, Tokyo Rose (?). At least one has gone ‘native’ naming itself after one of the original land-owners. Cultural appropriation or perhaps the owners are natives? I don’t care to find out because even if they are, it is still a marketing ploy.

Last summer I did several photoblogs of ghosts – stores that had shut down due the pandemic – without cash flow they didn’t survive. I stopped taking those pictures as it become increasing depressing to see that covid19 wasn’t merely killing people but also opportunity. I’d say killing ‘the economy’ but lets face it big pharma is raking in the bucks. 

As for the potholes that have shown up all over Toronto – I guess they are better than abandoned storefronts.

Kharis 

<>

is this the last wrap

or the first

the first wrap was a tissue

of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

I used that wrap

over & over

until the tissue

was a layer

layer after layer of

‘oh i’m fine’

‘i don’t mind’

‘how can i make you happy’

walking away

rather than add another layer

hoping nothing had caught

no thread was snagged

on a expectation

an exception

on resurrecting love

<>

I was protected

entombed by safety

by the fact

that all anyone wanted to hear

was ‘oh i’m fine’

‘this bandage solution will do’

‘you deserve to be fixed first’

<>

bound tight

peering at life though the slits

surrendering to the weight of history

pushed along by an unquestioned past

by ritual expectations

controlled by the clasp of gauze

layer upon layer after layer

some turned to dust

some turned to scar

some turned to face the sun

reaching for release

<>

decayed tissue 

dust motes settling in the moonlight

‘how can i make you happy?’

‘how can i unravel the book of life’

can i survive

without another layer

of this tissue

this scar tissue of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

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Tales of Brave Trending

Oscar Wilde said something the effect that it doesn’t matter what people say about you, as long as they are talking about. Bad press is better that no press act all. It is better to be trending for being an asshole that not to be trending at all. The recent US President was a master of trending & seemed to get ‘fatter’ on the negativity than on praise.

A couple of rock legends have breathed life into their trending by being vocal anti-vaxxers. Releasing new music to articulate their stance. Eric Clapton, Van Morrison – as a duo & separately have chosen to stand up for the common people with their recent releases. 

I’ve listened to the songs, read the various comments & am more amused than impressed. Positive posters praise them for their anti-establishment stances & their decisions not to play where masks are mandatory etc. I want to say ‘Honey, these men are millionaires not anti-establishment spokespersons. They represent their own bottom line not your rights as an individual.’ Check out the ticket prices to their concerts.

As I said, I’ve listened to their brave anti-lockdown songs & you know, if they weren’t publicized as anti-safety-protocol songs it would easy to assume Eric is mildly peeved that his latte wasn’t milky enough. The music itself is low-energy, the singing is indifferent & the lyrics are cliche. 

Those who are critical of Eric & Van’s anti-establishment stance have derided them for being uninformed. There have been pics posted of their cds being tossed in the garbage. I want to say ‘Honey, these men are millionaires you can’t un-buy their music.’ 

I see all this more as p.r. than anything else. A way of seeming culturally relevant in ways their music isn’t, unless nostalgia is a radical construct. Their search for self-expression was rarely anti-establishment. A man who sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads turns out to be an anti-vaxxer. Gasp!

Civic Duty (2008)

I’m believin’ what Stephen has to say

Harper harping on what ordinary folks

think of the arts 

sad to say he’s right

ordinary guys are more interested 

getting in cheap dope

getting their hands on the latest xbox

than they are in 

Canadian Short Story anthologies

they want hockey scores 

blow jobs on demand

they don’t want no Canadian identity TV 

they want CSI not Little Mosque on the Prairie

they want Steven King 

not David Adams Richards 

<>

in fact Mr Harper 

you would do us all a favour 

if you out right banned 

anything that called itself Canadian 

who needs McLean’s 

when we can have People

who wants to see Canadians 

give us Linsey Lohan in a yellow thong

not Sarah McLaughlin in gossamer scarves

<>

the ordinary folks don’t give a crap about much 

they would really love it if 

you could see to it t

hat they never have to work

because they don’t like getting up

dragging their weary bones 

to some soul sucking job

so if you really want to get elected 

let us live in luxury 

without having to do anything

we don’t want no education 

studying is a total bore

and a waste of taxpayers money 

creating art elitists 

university degrees 

they only use to make them act superior 

to us ordinary Joes and Janes

whose backs they are climbing on 

to get to the opera

while we have to sit around Tim Horton’s

waiting for our Old Fashioned glazed 

to be digested

we want tv’s everywhere

free cable

free data plans

get rid of the cbc

give us all sports channels

free porn for my android

<>

it has to be free

if you want to get elected 

free beer for teens

that’s the ticket

give the ordinary folks 

what they truly desire 

a life free of want

free of any responsibility

the arts are the pretty tip

of that ugly iceberg

<>

I’m so believin’ 

what Stephen has to say 

glad someone had the balls 

to finally say those arts phonies 

are just cry babies 

who suck the vital masculinity 

from our country

we gotta get this country

back on track

take back Canada

redirect the wasted energy 

we put in to the arts

we finally have leader

who can lead out of the cave 

& into the deep dark forest

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Face To Face F2F

In Toronto some recovery groups in churches have reopened for f2f meetings, all adhering, as much as possible to safety protocols. Many of the other usual places i.e. community centres, hospitals – have been slower at reopening for user groups of any sort. There are rumours that community centres will be reopening in October, at the earliest. This depends on the return to school over the next couple of weeks. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a return to more restrictions.

I haven’t taken advantage of these reopened recovery meetings. I’m happy with the zoom community that allows for easy attendance – no transit to deal with for one thing. Social distancing is easy to maintain & one can mute a member easily 🙂 No more leaving the room to silence them.

I went to my first f2f meeting meeting haven been asked to speak there – a twenty minute talk about my recovery experience. It was within walking distance & I timed my departure to arrive just as the meeting started. There was sign in  for contact tracing & hand sanitizer at the door. Chairs were placed for social distancing. Some members were masked a couple were not. I kept mine on. The first participant berated the unmasked for defying protocols & they didn’t bat an eyelash. The others, when they participated removed their masks to speak then put them back on. This made sense to me so when I did my little talk I did the same. 

After a very brief look at my drinking history I focused on a line in the Big Book ‘we will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.’ There is a difference between intuitive knowing & automatic reflex. One thing I’ve discovered is that if I am baffled I should do nothing rather than respond because I’m afraid to admit I’m unsure – to be unsure is admit I’m stupid, incapable etc.

I wasn’t sure what to do about the unmasked but knew my primary purpose there was to share my experiences not lecture on masks. Social distance was kept & I was thanked by some for talking about living the steps today & note dragging them through a drunk-a-log.

At my zoom meetings many are longing for the social context of face-to-face, I am not one of those. I certainly enjoy that context but am content not having to deal with indoor social distancing & dealing with people only via eye contact. 

from October 2015

Conformity

<>

It’s a SOCA convention

a man in a rust-red tweed sport coat

riches out his hand

‘are you here for the convention’

it’s my hotel but not my problem

<>

though I am awake & out before 9 a.m.

not hungover or looking to score

the schooners around me are boats

not beer glasses

in some brassy sports bar

<>

I know about recovery

rooms of people sitting in circles

rounds of support

restless feet in black shoes

where they end by

holding hands

they want to show me mercy

but I don’t want to hold their hands

joining in that circle

won’t bring me into their lives

<>

one is the loneliest number 

who has one rusty nail

sees one snow flake

though no two flakes are identical

<>

I am recovering like them

but I don’t enter their circle

won’t make snow angels with them

I felt the itch that induced SOCA

but never scratched it that way

<>

he reaches out his hand

I say ‘not here for the conference’

and sail out into the morning

not ready for conformity

<>

(SOCA – Southern Ontario Cocaine Anonymous)

(Conformity

http://wp.me/p1RtxU-1pR )

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Pandemic Travel

all pics from Scotia Bank Arena

So we’ve entered another phase of pandemic life as we know it & in response covid has mutated to become more contagious – pharmaceutical companies are now pushing for booster shots – to save mankind while boosting their profits. The un-vaxxed surf their wave of ‘it’s my right to die & it’s my right to take you with me’ rational.

I’ve kept my eye on the loosening of travel restrictions & wonder who profits from the mandatory covid testing? In order to go you need a ‘fresh’ test, in order to come back you need another ‘fresh’ test but if you haven’t made appointments in advance you could be stuck. Will travel health insurance cover the cost of covid testing in the USA? 

Google says average price is $150. for tests in USA but can cost up to $850.00! There can be additional fees for collecting the samples, for transporting the sample to the testing facility. On top of which not all vaccines are acceptable so one has to make sure they have two of the accepted shots! 

All this is along with all the other preparations needed to travel: ie passport, hotel, airplane tickets, documentation to prove you have the above, proof of registration on some ‘return to Canada app.’ Do I have to travel with a printer to print out that proof? I’ll need an extra carry on just for all that stuff. Oh yes & a supply of masks. 

Speaking of masks I won’t be taking TTC, shopping at Farmer’s markets, eating indoors or attending plays without wearing one. As for travel plans for now I’ll just stay home & take a zoom tour 🙂

Whitney Pier Museum

I visit little local museums

dedicated to the industry of the area

steel workers    miners

displays about the various ethic groups

Jewish   Black    Ukrainian

old high school year books

pictures of teams   hockey   basketball

rows of mothers knitting for the war

soldiers returning   or those lost

churches that have come gone

business that survived  faded

as economies rose   dipped

the first black owned store in the city

families in fields picnics outings

Christmas parties in church auditoriums

faces turned to cameras

or sullen in front of raging blast furnaces

smeared with cold dust at a mine exit

men in groups workers comrades

sometimes everyone named

who’s your father a tree of discovery

<>

I sift through these

wonder about the real lives of these men

where is my history

I’m to assume each of them

had a wife   kids somewhere

they sweated worked for that dream

a house   garden 

no way to find out if any of them

sought out something in each other

no mention that 

Jack and John lived happily together 

in this house on Lingan Road

everyone knew but no one cared

<>

I don’t need to know the lives

of those famed homos of the past

Radcliff Hall Alan Ginsburg

the list gets longer 

as we allow history to reveal

what historians thought too sordid 

to bring to light

the sex lives of heteros 

are fine fodder mind you

<>

I look at these photos

what truths are unrecognized

no display of the same sex inclined

as if the queers in history

were not ordinary folks like these 

in little local museums of the closeted

2008

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Unlockdown

 

Survived Toronto’s first released-from-lockdown weekend patio pandemonium 🙂 The flood surge of eager patrons started at 8 a.m. or perhaps earlier, as there were folks already sipping coffees on patios when I out for my early Saturday morning walk. Or maybe they were on their way home after a night of dining under the stars. 

To be honest I was never a big patio fan: usually they aren’t shady enough for me, plus duelling with wasps puts me off, nor am I one for dining out anyway, but it’s nice to have the choice not to. The pandemic did encourage us to order in a bit more frequently – from some of the neighbourhood spots – ones that we’d probably never dine in at anyway. A rotation between pizza or gyros or General Tso or ribs – Thursdays every other week. We order for two but they all deliver enough for for four. Some of them don’t quite get it when you say no condiments or no cutlery.

People in the zoom meetings I get to are eager for things to get back to normal. It strikes me that full impact of the pandemic hasn’t fully sunk in for many. Many places: i.e. churches, community centres where recovery meeting usual took place can’t afford the the high quality air-circulating systems – hell some of them couldn’t even afford to repair broken windows. 

I suspect masks will always be with us on public transit, when shopping, going to concerts etc. Stratford is struggling to launch a season but with indoor #s strictly reduced I can’t see them doing a big production for an audience of under 100 people, even masked. Streaming doesn’t replace live. After decades of designing theatres to maximize seating they have make changes to allow for air circulation. Just think seating for people with legs 🙂

With non-essential stores finally open, I can buy some new shoes – one of few things I’m unwilling to buy online. I’m not rushing out even though I long to to refresh my browsing skills – one thing I have missed is the the opportunity to stroll through a store looking – I’ve felt obliged to get what I want & get out of there. No impulse shopping for me 😦

Of course if the covid #s soar up like they did the last time the lockdown loosened up we’ll be back to getting coffee in the mail.

Normal Life

I walk down the street

for a cup of coffee

travel mug in hand

to help save the planet

by not using the disposable cup

I wonder 

if my washing the mug when I get home

counter balances

that ecological saving

maybe if I washed it less

<>

we are such a clean culture 

it’s no wonder

that we need so much protection 

from the sun 

when we wash 

all those oils out of our skin

at every opportunity

putting on moisturizers 

to give us a glow

that doesn’t look like we’re wearing anything 

<>

walk from here to there

so as not to add to the wasteful car pollution

avoid the subway 

too dirty

all those hands feet asses

rub and smear the seats

hand rails

floors sticky with split coffee

I hope that’s all it is

need a hazmat suit 

to get out of the house for a walk

nod to others in their suits

actually never nod to others 

avoid any sort of eye contact

you never know

who will take what the wrong way

scurry past as fast as you can

<>

one has to walk in the gutter 

just to get by that bitch

with a baby carriage

stopped to stoop & talk

to her pals over a coffee

they gets pissy 

when you try to walk by 

push the carriage our of the way

or risk getting hit by a car

to get by

is the cafe owner liable 

for creating this hazard

where pedestrians can’t get by 

thanks to a fucking patio

<>

finally I get my coffee

two sips and I‘m fine

my what a sweet child

a cry like that is sure sign 

of a future in opera

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Ontario Lockdown May Update

The covid pandemic is now well into year 2 & its grip has tightened despite various lockdown restrictions & even the fairly rapid distribution of various vaccines, while the distribution of conspiracy theories has been even faster. Is there an end in sight? That depends on the profit margins, right.

Not only do the living have to bury the dead but they have to shoulder the burden of the cost – a burden that increases as the tax base shrinks thanks to covid deaths & lockdown bankruptcies.  Like poverty, the pandemic will stick around as long as someone is making big bucks off it – I should have invested in pharmaceuticals when I had the chance 🙂 Or undertakers.

Emotionally I have remained relatively even-keeled. Sharing my house means my social bubble has never been one of total isolation. Zoom has been a boon for recovery meetings & I generally log on to six a week. Each with a slightly different format & different people. I am one of those doesn’t go on camera & usual I minimize to audio only to spare my wifi connection. Not seeing all those faces eating, pulling at split ends, playing with pets lets me focus on the sharing.

I have maintained an active social bubble within the stipulated limits. Socially distant walks with a couple of recovery friends has been important. Also sending time with some non-recovery buddies has kept them for being too isolated. I’ve had a a good friend drop over a few times to help with the garden. 

Blogging & taking pictures have been vital to maintaining emotional & spiritual balance. Sharing things about various aspects of my life with complete strangers around world, most of whom I’ll never meet, makes me feel more connected. 

Major purging has given me a sense of accomplishment – one of the benefits of a house is that I have things to purge 🙂 I’ve suggested to a couple of friends maybe they should clear out their apartment storage spaces rather than gripe about not being able to do things. The purge also stepped into my writing archive – unearthing artifacts that go back to high school days. Poetry, short stories, plays, even a couple of novels. Inputting them & getting the paper into the recycle bin. 

I sure hope this lockdown paranoia soon has an end in sight though. My basement is clean enough, thanks.

Ballad of a Translucent Man

I would be happy

if someone greeted & invited me

as opposed to a nod

from the group clumped together

at their noisy chatty table 

drinks all around

guys slipping outside

in two or threes

for a quick smoke of bonding

<>

I remain unbondable

I’m not sure what underlies 

all that camaraderie 

I have never penetrated it

never been apart of an inner circle

a pal amongst pals

but I no longer seek that

content in this cool distance

<>

doubt if that’ll change at any time

won’t work at changing that

won’t make my words invite 

any more than they do

in fact I take a somewhat 

more challenging stance

a gentle fuck you

<>

no one there 

I need approval from

don’t have to please anyone but myself

the audience will respond regardless

in fact it seems 

the more indifferent I am to them

the more they listen

<>

though this sense of apartness

is something everyone carries

perhaps I am as much of this scene

as they are

as much of the under structure 

as any of them are

each of us looking for attention

for acceptance without 

wanting to surrender 

much of the self to get it

to get it for the self

for whatever that means 

to anyone else

bored and distant warm 

and in the middle of things

<>

each piece has a place 

in how things work

how things continue to work

fellowship is that the word

friendship maybe

companionship championship

a steady climb up some little ladder 

to a bugger bigger stage

the wow of applause

then the stride of celebration

that leads to 

who does he think he is

who was that translucent man

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Covid Pandemic Confusion

I’m dismayed at the eagerness of people to seize on any excuse to avoid covid vaccines but I do understand it to a degree. One of them is safe in some countries but ‘banned’ for use in others. Risk statistics are presented without any comparative information – i.e. are the side effects any worse than those for the regular flu shot? Which is worse – covid or any of said side effects?

In the States some religious factions refuse the shots as being against God’s will, protecting ourselves & others is seen as us playing God to decide who lives or dies. We cannot interfere with His plan as laid out in the scriptures – fundamentalists take it for granted that His plan also included conflicting translations of those scriptures. But if they chose to go unprotected I’ll keep my mask on while I wave a socially distant bye-bye at their funerals.

Here in Ontario the blame game has made people dizzy with constantly shifting lockdown rules, a vaccine supply chain that appears to be broke, vaccines that aren’t used before their expiry dates because there aren’t people in certain age brackets registered to get them – the mess goes on to provide fodder for excuses & finger pointing. Non-essentials are cordoned off in big box stores – but who decided what those non-essentials are? Thank God Tim Horton’s is still open, as are all the pot dispensaries.

I’ve had my first shot, I wear my mask on public transit & in stores. What more can I do? I’ve reduced my social bubble. I don’t look at airplanes that fly overhead just in case the vapour trail is spreading variants flown into the country by international flights. Maybe all this confusion has led to exhaustion & any excuse to remain isolated in my social bubble.

rough draft sample

from Ap2008 archive

Dreamland

there is something underlying everything

that I can sense 

but can’t figure out

I didn’t want to slip into

some paranoid fear

that whatever this is 

it’s against me 

but it clearly is not for me

I’m at harm’s length 

no matter close I get

there’s no way in for me

not matter how present

or how persistent I am was

I am edged away from the centre

the uncomfortable outsider

I can do without you anyway

but just keep coming around

to remind you I am here 

and remind myself 

not to slip though 

as an accepted part 

of things

I’m not hungry enough

age does that

it dulls the appetite

for certain thing

sharpens it for others

comfort becomes more important 

than information

sleep is more important

than another two hours 

of waiting around 

for something that hasn’t happened yet

dreams are more fulfilling than reality

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Apocalypse Postponed

The covid pandemic hasn’t been like the post-apocalypse movies – you know, those end-of-the-world scenarios where panicked mobs take the streets to pillage stores & hunt down one another in the struggle for survival. At least not yet. People have gotten steamed up, some reactionary noisiness about masks, vaccines with finger-pointing blame & some calling out profit mongering. Let’s face it if the pandemic wasn’t making someone lots of $ it would be ignored.

People are confused by science. One day one of the vaccines isn’t safe for over sixty, then another day it is safe but not safe for under 50’s, or at least not safe if you female between the ages of 30-40, but now safe for over over 60’s regardless of gender. Were safety protocols rushed to get it on the market? No, that would never happen.

Here in Ontario the numbers are confusing & ultimately ignored. The number of vaccines given hasn’t brought the numbers of infected down, in fact it has gone up. The biggest jump has been in schools but we can’t close them because parents need to work now that more businesses are being reopened because we have to get the economy moving so the tax base is large enough to pay for the vaccines, or something like that.

The economy has to recover so politicians can be re-elected with enough of a majority that can protect the profit margins of those already making $ off the pandemic. You know those banks who get a fee every time you use your debit/credit card because most retailers no longer accept cash because cash is riddled with potential disease. You pay a fee & the merchant pays a fee – win/win for the banking industry. How much do they pay into the tax base?

I did get my vaccine as soon as my age bracket was allowed. Booked it on line but first entering my postal code, it directed me to the nearest temporary clinic where I continued the process with birth date, health card number & it was done. Took about fifteen minutes. I did that on a Saturday & appointment booked for Tuesday, 10:20 a.m. Got there on the Tuesday by 10, lineups moving fairly quickly. More registration confirmations etc. Got the shot by 10:30.

I was given the vaccine info after the shot. I got the Pfizer – apparently the #1 rated, so far. Sat for 15 minutes, was given a receipt for the shot, next one booked for July. No side effects not even the sore arm many have experienced. I’m not sure whose profit margin I have helped but at least I didn’t have to use my credit card 🙂

Puppet Theatre Time (2008)

the theory is that

our leaders are all puppets 

figureheads

who are invested

in the illusion of power

unaware they are hollow images

taking the heat for the real powers

a hidden consortium 

who make the real decisions

they exert the right squeeze

so little leaders slump out 

to take the blame 

because leaders are just frail men

with no will power to wield

no clout to get the job done

not even attractive to look at

so they are more believable

<>

politics is now 

a form of entertainment

media fodder

to hide the real holders of power

we are amused  numbed

by the constant barrage 

of sound bite cell cam videos

of presidents getting photo ops

when they should be 

getting our boys out of 

wherever the hell they are 

because even where they are

isn’t the real war zone

but a more elaborate movie set

with real lives being lost

to keep our attention away from

what is really going on

<>

no one is sure what is really going on

it isn’t what we accept as the truth

there is no money in truth

only diverting statics

from the struggle for freedom

from Tibet to Kensington market 

upscale name branded 

divisive tactics

sometimes I believe this 

sometimes I don’t care

where do we place our faith

what is worth the energy to change

if it can be changed

revolution has been copyrighted 

by este lauder

the latest scent 

a mix of blood oil jasmine

with woody undertones

<>

if it isn’t making someone money 

it isn’t going to happen

war happens because it is big business

cancer continues to make a profit

going green isn’t happening 

the profit margins are too low

most people don’t earn

enough to save the planet

from who holds 

the reins of the illusion power

or so the theory goes

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Future of the Past

The endless lockdown is making people long for things to get back to normal, to the way things used to be. Their sense of the future, of hope for themselves & their careers is cloudy. Before the pandemic their futures were relatively clear – career opportunities were promising but now that new office is whichever corner of your apartment are you going to work from home in.

One friend misses his coworkers presence – not that he misses them as people but he enjoyed being part of a team with whom he had casual physical interaction. Working at home you are your own annoying coworker – there is no one to shrug to after a phone exchange with a client. He can’t remember when he last wore a shirt & tie. His job is secure but he doesn’t feel he has a real future if it is going to be spent in his apartment all day & night. His solution is to look for a new apartment to be trapped in.

I’ve been inputting things out of my writing archive – some pieces going back to high-school, some from the mid-70’s before I moved to Toronto, before I ‘came out.’ As I reread these pieces I try to sense my frame of mind at that time, try to sense what I thought my future would be & how this writing figured into that future. With my fiction I dreamed of being a gay Stephen King at times. 

Stranded in the east coast I really didn’t have a vision of the future until I escaped in the late 70’s. But at least I sensed there would be a future that would be an extension of the comfortable present of the times. Now my friends are facing a future that isn’t as comforting, comfortable or secure. Anxiety has replaced hope. No matter how fashionable masks become the reason for them remains.

Incontrovertible

it’s all open to interpretation

no fact is provable

the side you aren’t on 

views that suits the truth you feel 

is the most suitable to your purposes

<>

no image tells all there is to tell

it’s all in the lighting

viewed often enough 

everything  changes

was that a head bounce off the ground 

or an attempt to get up

was that a punch back 

or a hand up to block a punch

was he asking for it

was that a look of distain

depends on the camera angle

the time of day

the race of the looker

<>

what other news feeds do we have

who decides what the news is

which aspect of the truth to report

can we deny what we broadcast yesterday

why not

who remembers yesterday’s news

the past is fiction 

there is no truth too incontrovertible

that it can’t be recast 

to something more dire

more trivial

which truth will get the most viewers

which is truly entertaining

which is merely information

does it matter if it factual

one study says yes

the other says no

<>

the methodology of studies

cast the questions

so there is no one answer 

to what is being asking

but one answer is all you are allowed

yes no

<>

do your believe your eyes

your ears 

what you read in the paper

is it real until it’s been on TV

until someone has been interviewed

do we wait till the the 11 o’clock news

to know what is going on

is it safe to go outside

<>

we are an endangered species

drowning in a sludge of facts and data

that tell us nothing

but fill us with fear or indifference

it may not matter 

what side of the bed you get up on

you haven’t actually sept

that was all in your mind

maybe because there is only your word

you slept

that night cam footage could be faked 

do you remember sleeping

you didn’t use the can

that wasn’t your piss 

splashing in the bowl

all in your imagination

you have no grasp on reality

<>

when nothing is real

nothing can be proved

the past is revisionism 

the futures can’t be photographed

so it doesn’t exist 

then again 

neither do you

you aren’t real 

just a demographic

irrelevant and unbroadcast

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Recap February 2021

Over the past month my TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 463! The WordPress map shows my hits in February have come from 91 countries around the world. Mainly USA & Canada with South Africa in 3rd spot! Bangladesh & Malawi remain in the top 10. The most viewed (non-photo essay) was The Thieving Slut, https://topoet.ca/2021/02/15/the-thieving-slut/, with F**k Gratitude, https://topoet.ca/2021/02/11/fk-gratitude/ close behind. Both are personal faves.

My Tumblr following is at 304. Twitter 229 followers.

Picture Perfect is moving along with 56 sections, about 84,500 words, posted so far, with 101,000 words approx to be edited, then posted. This month I was at the point where I got sidetracked in the rough draft so I did major cut of about 5000 words. The cut removed a scene I didn’t need but a character I did need so re-invented him keep the flow. A fun challenge.

I watched some interesting movies including O Ébrio (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Ébrio_(film)). Out of Brazil,1946, starring popular singer Vicente Celestino – who co-wrote it with Gilda de Abreu, who was also his wife. Imagine an Elvis film set in 1946 – fame & faithless women & songs & redemption. Eye-catching costumes for the women. A fascinating look at the culture of the time. The music & lyrics are idealized romantic, religious & dripping with sincerity. Performances are good to adequate, with some sweet silent-movie nods.

Another, an even wilder musical, is the Polish film The Lure (2015) directed by Agnieszka Smoczyńska. One critic calls it “the best goth musical about man-eating mermaids ever made.” I wouldn’t call 80’s EuroDisco Goth but … the music is sublime, the visuals at times are stunning & performances good. Plotting uneven but well worth watching. I saw both of these as part of TCM series of women directors.

A couple of books I’m currently reading. Paper: Coming Out Under Fire by Allan Bérubé about gay men and women in the U.S. military between 1941 and 1945. This quote ‘ … being a homosexual, I had that constant compelling need to prove how virile I was.’ still remains one of the male gender identity struggles. The book is stunning – easy to read, easy to understand & at time heartbreaking & frustrating.  Read it asap.

Kindle: Fairs’ Point: A Novel of Astreiant by Melissa Scott book 4 in the series. I read the first in this series a few years ago. It was part of a StoryBundle of 10 lgbtq fantasy/horror novels & I loved it. I’ve read the pervious in the series. Amazing world building, sweet male lovers & understated sex scenes. Set in a magic Mediaeval land. Only one more in the series after this one though 😦

in clearing out an archive of old writing in a file cabinet I found this piece from the early 80’s. It is about HIV fears but some of the lines about ‘a virus more virulent than love’ echo the current covid19 pandemic where a stranger’s breath could be deadly. Replace roses with masks & it’s ready for today

war/mist

1

i’m pressing the mirror

to my face

not looking for contact

not seeking any content

needing any slight

sign of mist

to reassure me

i’m still alive

i’m still breathing

<>

hey! it’s alright everybody

i’m still breathing

there’s nothing breeding in me

hey! you guys

don’t you hear me

I’m still breathing

2

something in the blood of lovers

has brought this war

to my attention

to my very front door

to my one & only bedroom

sullen pillow whispers

imploring an unwilling caution

for this angry end to innocence 

<>

‘so, we don’t meet again’

a thought

in the corner of my eye

catching you

wandering through the throng

of sights unseen

untouched

a man missed again by me

a stranger in your mist

<>

a kiss is no longer a kiss

it’s an affront to our political awareness

it’s flirting with a virus

more virulent than love

a disease befuddled by language

leaving us

untouching

unflinching

imploding

& afraid

<>

so i’ll send you roses

yellow green black

olive drab camoflage

for our war of wait & see

our war of hide

then die

<>

a lift of the hand

a nod of the head

a thin smile of acknowledgement

i practice the arts

of indifferent recognition

so i can cast them upon

unobtainable flights of obsession

‘is this the wave of the future?

or just an unobservable mannerism

by this stranger in your mist

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee & donuts – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet