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

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A CanCon Christmas

I’ve been reading some great CanCon that is worth adding to your Christmas shopping or reading lists. 

 ‘The Dame Was Trouble’ is a collection of ‘the best female crime writers in Canada.’ This is a fun, culturally diverse collection, that spans genres: noir, supernatural, interplanetary & hard-core crime – edited for an excellent flow of styles & lengths.  Some read like perfect 30’s noir movies & some deserve to become star of their own novels; Kelly Armstrong’s Indispensable Ivy for one, & M.H. Callway’s hard-driving Grace is another.

Rosemary McCracken’s ‘Uncharted Waters’  continues the saga of Pat Tierney: Financial Planner. Much like Jessica Fletcher, murder & deceit follow Pat wherever she goes 🙂 This time she is opening her business in Toronto’s Annex & is confronted with … well, you’ll have to read the book to find out. Nicely plotted, it moves quickly with some humour & lots of Toronto. 

Peter Unwin’s ‘Written on Stone’ is also humorous, Parkdale is one of its Toronto location but the bulk of it happens in buses out of the city & in the wilds of Northern Ontario. One element of the plot is the nature of ‘authentic voice’ as perceptions are spun by various characters to support their view point. The language is richly imagistic, the characters tend to blend into each other & events flow in a non-linear way. Unlike ‘Unchartered Waters’ this is not a murder mystery and leaves the reader with unanswered questions.

I’d be remiss not to mention Heather Babcock’s “Dirty Sugar.’ Read all about it here:  Dames – Wiggles and Bates https://topoet.ca/2020/09/13/dames—wiggles-and-bates/ . All of these can be found on Amazon.

Finally a non-book recommendation. The song ‘Toronto’ by Bloodstone surfaced in my Tumblr feed. From the 60s it was well-produced with a semi- Chicago sound. I did a bit of a search & found it & the flip side on band camp. Apparently this was the only release by the band lead by Dee Long. The lp is a sweet collection of his song, some are polished, some are demo. If you treasure Canadian pop history you’ll love this set. https://deelong.bandcamp.com/album/1235

Do You Breathe

do you hear what I hear 

even when I’m not listening 

when I walk unawares 

through the streets

through the crowds

through the malls 

do you hear the infinite variations 

of footsteps clothing rustle whispers

cellphone chatter

do you hear something in that burble 

people being people

something that gives you reassurance 

life is worth while 

<>

or do you hear

dispirited distracted unfocused clatter

people looking for a way out of

something they don’t fully understand

yet feel they have no other option

than consuming depleting the bounty of the planet

<>

bounty of the planet

who do I think I am

drivelling out such a tired reflection

do I hear myself 

when I say such things

do I find it profound silly 

I’m not expecting to change any minds here

another shopping opportunity

another listening experience 

where I’m not fully attuned to anything

except the sounds of

cars slipping through slush dogs barking

glass breaking doors opening closing

coffee being poured

masks lifted for a smoke

<>

do you see what I see

when I look around 

dimly aware there are people around

the focus is on not bumping one another

but avoiding at the right distance

finding a safe place to look

that isn’t already an advertising nook

wrapped in earbuds mask

magazine on the subway

fearful someone might think

that casual glance at their shoes

is a violation of their person

stick to what is safe see nothing hear nothing

except what one can control

<>

if you hear what I hear

see what I see

you are too close

I don’t want to breathe

what you breathe

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Masking My Personality

Who knew that investing in protective face mask manufacturing would be as profitable as investing in pharmaceuticals 🙂 Along the Danforth nearly every nail salon, dry cleaners, ethnic grocery store, tailor, corner store even takes outs are selling them – some making them or claiming to or that their masks are locally made. I’m waiting all those charities that send me endless unasked for Christmas cards to start sending masks.

The range of styles, fabrics, patterns & layers has certainly increased so one is longer ‘stuck’ with black accordions. Some are fixed ear loop, some adjustable, some head loop. I prefer the ear loop, for now. I’ve bought masks locally, ordered them on line, even from Amazon & most have been good. The Old Navy was a good price but some turned out to be single layer – so I have to add my own extra layers. 

DIOP has a great, African print selection if you are daring. (https://weardiop.com/). Afrisocks also makes great bold masks. (https://afrisocks.com/) Rather than, as some feel, being the latest in mass control, the mask can become another way of self-expression. Besides offering mutual protection from covid they will also cut down on the spread of colds & flus – which may affect the the sales of NeoCitron 🙂

I’ve started posting a Facebook pic each day of the mask I’ll be wearing (if needed) that day along with where I bought the mask. I am powerless over this virus, over the way anti-maskers & such choose to deal with it, but that doesn’t mean even when wearing a mask I have to mask my personality 🙂

Mask of the Breath Death

<>

perched above the city

from Prospero’s castle tower

the vast sea of lights

spun in endless eddies

cloudless night sky

the naked face of the moon

was the one we all looked to

the moon didn’t breathe

as it rose in our dreams

<>

the movie panic

didn’t materialize 

beyond a few shoving matches

over toilet paper

there was no riotous looting

at least not because of breath death

the civil war continued

only now with masks

of white yellow orange, 

blue violet or black

a legal requirement

shooting one another 

was taken for-granted 

breathing on one another

was criminalized

lungs were weaponized

<>

Prospero chose to be unmasked

even though to hold your breath

was more vital than

hold your fire

as the his guests arrived

they were forced

to shed their masks

to greet their host

<>

he retired to his tower

while they were fast tested

only the negative

could continue deeper

into the protected chambers

those that couldn’t afford

to be safe

didn’t deserve

his breath death

<>

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

Mask of the Breath Death

Mask of the Breath Death

perched above the city

from Prospero’s castle tower

the vast sea of lights

spun in endless eddies

cloudless night sky

the naked face of the moon

was the one we all looked to

the moon didn’t breathe

as it rose in our dreams

<>

the movie panic

didn’t materialize 

beyond a few shoving matches

over toilet paper

there was no riotous looting

at least not because of breath death

the civil war continued

only now with masks

of white yellow orange, 

blue violet or black

a legal requirement

shooting one another 

was taken for-granted 

breathing on one another

was criminalized

lungs were weaponized

<>

Prospero chose to be unmasked

even though to hold your breath

was more vital than

hold your fire

as the his guests arrived

they were forced

to shed their masks

to greet their host

<>

he retired to his tower

while they were fast tested

only the negative

could continue deeper

into the protected chambers

those that couldn’t afford

to be safe

didn’t deserve

his breath death

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Time Waits for No Mask

Sept 2020 Recap

Time flies when you are having a good time, but it also flies in a time of turmoil. Recently a friend wondered where the summer went, he couldn’t really recall spring either. He was one of the lucky ones those job allowed for work from home so he isn’t fully idle during the lockdown as it becomes less a lockdown & more a social distance challenge.

I told him that as one gets older time seems to move quicker plus in a time of crisis it moves even faster. One of things I learned when I was involved in palliative care in the early days of HIV is that one loses awareness of the ‘stress’ – I think the same thing is true of the covid19 crisis. The stress becomes normalized but the threat hasn’t gone away. With both the fluctuations of numbers, restrictions & the civil war news from the USA one loses track of the passage of time. Thus time moves faster.

At the start of the lockdown I joking told a couple of friends ‘see you in September’ – they thought I was being overly pessimistic, little did we realize then that I should been saying ‘see you in September 2021.’ We have learned more about covid & its transmission since the first of the year but the threat still exists. 

September has been a month of living in this new reality. Masks are fashion accessories. Social distancing is an acceptable excuse for avoid people you don’t want to see anyway 🙂 Masks as seen as infringements of personal rights by the same people who berated gay men for not wearing condoms. I use both but masks are much easier to get on & off 🙂

Blogging less has been productive as I have been writing more. October will see some of that new work with a fresh set of spooky poems to show up on Fridays. I’m still working through the annotated Distant Music. One of the books I read in September was Allen Ginsburg’s look back at Howl in which he discusses inspirations, explains his intent, names & context – which is pretty much what I’ve doing with Distant Music.

Time for stats 🙂 Over the month my TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 385! The WP map show my hits have come from 31 countries around the world. That India still tops the list is interest but Portugal & China are now in the top 10. Venezuela! America Samoa! 

My Tumblr is at 292 – it would be higher but I block buxom babes & guys who slam drugs, not poetry. Twitter is at 226 followers it would be higher but I block buxom babes, editorial services & mavens eager to show me how to make big bucks on the internet. Picture Perfect: 37 sections, about 58,000 words posted so far with 130,000  approx to be edited then posted.

Fog Tarantella

<>

for too many years 

I was in a tree top

shouting out for love

I didn’t care where it came from

the louder I shouted the less I heard

the higher I climbed

the further I got away from it

yet I didn’t think of climbing down

I wanted the love that was in the air

not the common stuff of the earth

not knowing then

that was where love grew from

<>

one morning during a snow storm

the first after a long hot autumn

of yelling myself hoarse

give me love  I want love

blood flecks dappling the leaves 

the snow at first a few darting specks

then a steady scrim hush

to cool my eyes

flakes on my fevered tongue 

letting the sky satisfy 

as best it could 

but the sky doesn’t love back

except with echoes

<>

while the snow cloaked me

my own limbs mantled like branches

a peacock

clumsily descended

a bird that at a distance has stunning beauty

but this close it was motley 

squawking as it settled by me 

our eyes met

his tail opened

the breathtaking fan of feathers

stopped my shouting

I reached out to touch 

fell

earth bound by beauty

at the foot of the tree

<>

a mist arose around me

through the winter fog 

came men dancing

their arms around wisps of white

the imagined bodies of lovers

caressing the backs

touching the hair

making it as real as they could

kissing empty haze

could I join them

should I

was this all I could expect on earth

or would I be bold enough 

to allow one of these dancing men

to dance with me

before I climbed a tree

lost in the fog

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