The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep

the owner of the cafe

had called someone

an inappropriate name

it was a twitter thing

a video 

posted of the 

owner saying 

those offensive things

now no one can go

to the cafe

without being considered guilty

of saying those things themselves

 

now

to be honest

I haven’t heard

what the owner said

I haven’t watched the video

this is all the context I know

and now

I can’t even mention the name

of the cafe

I can’t even admit 

that I’ve been there

in the past

or let it be known

that I regret

that I can’t go to that cafe

ever again


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Profiting From Guilt

Profiting From Guilt

you think the guilt

this guilt

this humiliation

is a benefit

that I somehow enjoyed

being reviled

being castigated by the press

by pundits on TV

people who have never met me

but who felt no compunction

in demonizing my actions

 

my alleged actions

which by the way

have never been conclusively been proven

guilt by accusation

not by proof

but once that accusation has been uttered

innocence will never return

a loss that was a benefit

 

oh yes that was the main benefit

I have experienced as a result

my face on every news channel

by name on so many lips

my reputation

in every gutter in the world

 

good thing

I’m not here to be popular

only to be rich

that’s right I’m rich

thanks to your condemnation

rich beyond your wildest accusations

and I will continue to gain

overtime bonuses 

when anyone continues

to defame my name

even though I don’t enjoy the guilt

I sure do enjoy the interest it earns

 

The moral compass of our media culture skews to entertainment – not to justice, or equality. This piece reflects how media & the sacrament of celebrity absolves men (usually caucasians) of responsibility, accountability & repercussions for their actions. In fact it rewards them with attention. As Oscar Wilde said – ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity.’

 

A current celebrity convicted of rape gets more press than his victims. He is a martyr & they are crybaby bitches who should have been grateful for any attentions he may have blessed them with. I’m sure once he’s done his time he’ll end up with a sitcom (set in a prison) or perhaps a talk show.

 

 

Somehow seeking redress for harm turns victims into villains for wanting more than mere acknowledgement of harm done. The apology is now deemed sufficient. To want more is unfair, greedy & cruel. Reparations become court battles in which only the lawyers seem to profit.

 

I enjoy the way this piece moves from ‘you think’ – wherein the pov is showing a tinge of remorse – & ends up with them enjoying the media sacrament of notoriety. Almost saying that any negativity on our part is envy of their ‘fame.’


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Point of View: Camera

Point of View: Camera

I turn off the sound

mute evidence

is easier to ignore

if I could turn off

the bottom of the screen scroll

I would do that

 

I see the images clearer

when I can’t hear

the inane babbling of announcers

underlining what is flickering

I don’t want to witness 

this camera-shaped reality

any more than I want to eyewitness 

these events

 

I can’t look away though

that would be denial

I have to admit these things happen 

are happening

regardless of a spin

that results in no one being accountable 

except the victims 

it is clearly their fault

for being where the camera is pointing

 

I’m fine with that

as long as the camera

never points at me


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Strong and Safe

I live close enough to the Danforth mass shooting that I had phone texts & emails checking to make sure I was okay. The Danforth/Logan intersection is about a 20 minute walk from my house. I pass it at least three times a week on my morning walks. Walking the Danforth is like a trip to the United Nations with restaurants & stores representing the world – Mexican ceramics, Nigerian batik, lamps from Nepal, food from assorted provinces of Greece, Italy, desserts from France. From Broadview to about Jones it is primarily Greek & Italian; Jones to Greenwood is Islamic; Greenwood to Rhodes has become Ethiopian; from Coxwell to Main – anything goes.

I once tried to count the number of places to eat between Greenwood and Broadview and lost count at over 400 before I even got to Broadview. Not for dieters, though there a few vegan spots in the mix. No I haven’t tried them all 🙂

I didn’t hear about the shootings until Monday morning when I saw that someone I knew had posted they were safe on the Facebook ‘I’m Safe’ page. I read what they were safe from & was, I want to say shocked, but it was more like dismayed. I changed my Monday route to the opposite direction – I didn’t want to deal with gawkers, police investigators & the like. 

Plus the media whose right to the news overrides anyone’s right to privacy. I didn’t want to be getting a doughnut & being asked ‘how do I feel.’ I’m very cynical about the ‘compassion’ of the media. To reply ‘I feel like getting a doughnut’ isn’t what they want.

I went through the area on Tuesday, as I ordinarily would have anyway. Took photos, as I ordinarily do, only this time there were the memorials & walls of graffiti to photograph. I took pictures until my own grief made me put my camera away. #DanforthStrong #GreektownStrong were on the walls. 

I’m not sure what they mean – usually to be strong in the face of death mean not to show your emotions – be strong, don’t let anyone see you crying. The Greeks and the Italians are wailers – there were people weeping as I walked through. Were they not being #strong? 

I walked through again on Thursday, also a regular walk for me, took more pictures as the memorials & graffiti increased. I felt the sense of community grief & loss. I was not #strong & stopped taking pictures when I became tearful. Reporters on TV keep asking people – ‘do you feel safe?’ Putting words into the mouths of the people they’re interviewing. It seems, to the media, that feeling safe & strong is more important than feeling grief.

 

The Danforth http://topoet.tumblr.com/post/176234936423/the-danforth-delayed-my-usual-walk-to-broadview

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“How could anyone … ”

I watched the W5 piece on the Village murders, which told me nothing new. That some of the victims were immigrants who come here to be free to be gay while still being the closet to their wives & families was a sad irony – that they died for the opportunity is even sadder.

 


The cultural bondage of gender roles and sexual acceptability is clearly reflected in the b&d scenes the accused offered online. Of course this was not explored in the brief W5 piece which focused on ineffective police response and the lurid sensationalism of – wtf – cannibalism! Let’s take what is already a disgusting situation and make it even worse so we can paint the gay world as sick as we possibly can.

This isn’t the search for truth but exploitation. I sensed that the reporter was relishing the opportunity to say what was said. Legitimizing the opportunity to use language just for the sake of being sensational. So far, there’s been no mention of the role of impaired judgement. It is presented as if these men where somehow complicit in what happened to them by letting it happen at all. “How could anyone” shifts the blame to the victim from the predator.

In watching the W5 I was also dismayed to realize that as much time & money was spent on nice graphics & music as is probably spent on helping the victims’ families. One of the reporters said they had been closely following the case for months – fuck! This has been going for years! Media and police were alerted almost a decade ago – maybe if they had started following this case closely before it became so sensational some of these victims might be alive today.

These are the identified victims (so far) Selim Esen, 44; Andrew Kinsman, 49; Majeed Kayhan, 58; Soroush Mahmudi, 50; and Dean Lisowick, 47. I’ll repeat their names. His will probably never be forgotten so there’s no need for me to mention it.

Guilt

he told me I had too many shoes

I almost told him to drop dead

I have no sympathy for the shoeless

how did he know

that they didn’t prefer it that way

besides I’m helping the economy

he said I have too many cds

tee shirts

so many books

I am single-handedly responsible

for depleting acres of the rain forest

in my insatiable hunger for more

as mother earth stumbles

to a sobbing heap begging

no more please please

this rape and pillage has got to stop

 

so I have more shoes

than I can wear at one time

what fucking business is it of his anyway

his eyes glance around my place

going from the neat rows of shoes

neat rows of cd’s books

tidy piles of tee shirts

then to the  bed

 

we’d met at rally

to protest auto sector bail out

hit it off over free trade coffee

at a non-chain coffee shop

that gave a discount for our travel mugs

we were on the same page about issues

till I brought him back to my place

 

he started in on

my drive-in-sized TV

how TV was mind rot

how books were part of the problem

reading for solutions

rather getting out there making it happen

 

when we got to my bedroom

and he saw the shoes

and gasped

my that’s a lot of shoes

for someone who lives alone

I bit my tongue instead of his

laid back to glare at the ceiling

his head a lighthouse beam revealing

all my self-indulgent planet-wasting

depleting thoughtless humanness

 

finally he laid back

one hand gently on my stomach

and like mother earth

he let me have my way with him

because sex with guilt is always the best

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

kiss3

March 8, Thursday – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Workshop: 4 pm at Glad Day with D’Scribe.

March 8, Thursday – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Slam: 8 pm Buddies In Bad Times Theatre Feature D’Scribe

https://www.facebook.com/events/2000968880141003/

HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

http://www.queerslam.com

April 03 – every Tuesday

June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked) capfireslam.org 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice cream in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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Gluten Free Atrocity

Gluten Free Atrocity

I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen

I followed every moment

from the very first cellphone video

the FB feed was mesmerizing

the tweets head spinning

the pundits were informative

I couldn’t get enough

the close up of the bleeding

were heart rending

I was washed by this flood

of compassion

dismay dispair

that this had happened

innocent people

men women children

killed maimed

forced to leave their homes

clubs churches

no safe place

shown no mercy

by their attackers or the press

I had to watch

flipping channels

media devices

to get the latest feed

the freshest atrocity

to feed my growing sense of outrage

drowning in powerless

hopeless

oh look

Burger King now has gluten free buns

 

My take on Law 37 reflects my fascination for media, as opposed to content. I am not caught up in following news to the extent that the ‘I’ of this piece is but I know people who are, who can’t wait for the latest development & have become addicted to negative, tragic news – catastraporn. I’d rather sleep at night than have to check newsfeed. One friend has their TV set to wake them with CNN. So much for serenity.

Cell phones have changed reporting – we can get actual footage by victims as things are happening. Immediate & stunning but to what end? The event happens regardless of the coverage. The technology takes over – I started to watch a series about real life people but it was being shot on cell phones combined with some other hand held device & frankly I was bored within minutes. Crazy angles and constant flash cuts conveyed confusion not information or personality.

I also find the news media intrusive & manipulative. It’s one thing for a bystander to capture images, say of an out of control fire, but when victims have devices thrust as them by reporters while they are being rescued I change the channel. Your friends have been shot the last thing you want is some reporter asking ‘how do you feel’ – some reporter who is getting paid for being there while the victim may not even have the money to pay their medical bills when the dust settles.

 

I also mention ‘pundits’ – one of the last news stories I watched anything about was the flight that vanished a few years ago – the aviation experts were so uninformative all one got was speculation, the same speculations over and over – how much do these pundits get paid to satisfy the public need for commentary that tells us nothing?

 

I end on a cynical note – because every TV show has to break for commercials. The tragic events are brought down to reality by the mundane sensationalization of our daily lives. The final title came to me as I was posing this on June 21. There’s nothing like seeing the crowd of people plowed through by a suicide driver then cut to Marineland Niagara crowds lined up for a water slide. I guess violence has to struggle to get the attention it deserves.

 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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I Listen 1

I don’t remember when I bought my iPod classic. I do know it’s is beyond vintage it’s an antique. Apple stopped making them some years ago, so I’m holding on to mine as long as possible. It doesn’t hold a charge as long but long enough for me.

bluecouch

It allowed for another boom in my music listening & collecting. Just like the move from cassette walkman to cd walkman caused a boom. Then it was great not to warty about cassettes losing tension, unspooling – crying several when I went for a walk plus batteries. The cd walkman was an improvement, less bulk & less turning tapes over.But with the iPod I didn’t have to cart around untying but the iPod. I could have days of nonstop music to listen to wherever I traveled. I have iPod docks around the house – my bedroom, the bathroom.hockey01

I also have a couple of boombox cd players – one with a cassette player included as I still have a handful of tapes that I have never found in any other form. Of course there are extensive playlist on our two Mac – different playlists. The desktop gets used in the morning – which is when I post my daily Facebook link to the music I’m listening to at the time.. The AirMac is upstairs in my study & where I do dos too my reading & some writing. The iTune playlists are mp3 collections.greyorbit

I’ve added external speakers to both the desktop & the airmac. For Christmas I got a wireless speaker to take when I travel with the airmac. I usual pack a pair of the externals but they are bulky & mean I have to decide which shirt not tot are to make room for them.hockey02

How do I pick what to listen to? That might be next week’s blog.

samp02

Everything is About U(SofA)

as she was carried on a stretcher

out of the smouldering rubble

of the bombed out London subway

a harried reporter stopped the medics

to ask

‘how do you feel this will effect

security measures in New York’

 

a panel of experts gripes

that if only the UK had been more alert

there wouldn’t have been a public transit scare

in Chicago LA & New York

why does this worry

about my personal safety

always turn into a tired take

on how everything is about U(SofA)

 

how can I keep the focus

on my own fears

without them easily slipping into

yet another moan about media

about how we only see the story

that effects the ratings

we have reporters asking

the wrong people the wrong questions

inundating us with shreds of information

that never adds up

that never tells

how to feed the starving here in Canada

 

that never leads me to a conclusion

except that there is more information

than there are solutions

and if we pile up enough data

we won’t have time to worry

about a solution

we only have to make sure we have

the right bytes of facts

to demonstrate that we are

doing something

information gathering

is a good way to avoid action

as long as we gather

we can distance ourseleves

from actual events

 

we don’t have to wash the blood off our hands

because we are too busy with digital reality

for real blood to get that close to us

who can we turn to to blame

who can we hold responsible

without blaming those who have the power

to turn aside all blame anyway

they just utter the word terrorism

and they are free of having to do anything

except finger point

from a comfortable distance

soon02

March 12, Saturday: attending:

spec2016

Toronto-SpecFic-Colloquium

March 16, Wednesday: judging at Hot Damn! it’s a Queer Slam – featuring  The Ragdolls Supermarket Restaurant and Bar 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto, Ontario M5T2L9

hotdamn

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1504753909765085/

June 3-5: attending: Capturing Fire 2016 – The DC Centre – 2000 14th St NW, Suite 105 – Washington, DC

nufire

https://www.facebook.com/capturingfire/

June 11 – attending: The Toronto Poetry Talks – 10 AM – Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Toronto, Ontario M5V 3C6

poetrytalk

https://www.facebook.com/events/147955055574679/

July 4-8: maybe attending: Chasing  your Tale – Loyalist – Belleville

loy16

check 2016 Summer arts: loyalistfocus.com

September 1-4: attending FanExpo 2016expo16

https://www.facebook.com/fanexpocanada/?fref=ts

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nanobullseye

http://nanowrimo.org/

money

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bluestick

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