Bye Bye Nano 2017 – December Sneak Peek

Signing off on Nanowrimo 2017 – productive & loads of fun. Hit just over 75k words. Hosted a couple of writing sessions at my house which were great opportunities for bitching and writing – I can multitask!! I’m happy with the direction the story is going in but can’t get back to it until I do the edit of Cold Dusters. A monumental task for January.

My one Nanowrimo regret is not getting the tee shirts or any other of their branded merchandise – postal costs have escalated to the point where I can’t see my way clear to order a $17 tee-shirt & have to pay an additional $17 for shipping & handling – add 30% for American exchange, plus the bank fees for US transactions & we’re taking $50 or more for that tee-shirt. May I’ll order one at the end of May for delivery to my hotel in DC in June.

The blog will back to routine for December. I’ve picked my photos and am allowing them to be more seasonal than usual. Monday with feature festive lighting; Wednesday will be square or rectangular objects; Thursday random pairings; Friday will be cast off toys.

Because Nano took so much focus I didn’t have time to keep up with my Tumblr postings so there’ll be set posted every day in December. Monday will be store fronts & tiles; Tuesday, as always, will be garages & laneways; Wednesday will be seasonal snowy scenes; Thursday will be chairs chairs chairs; Friday sunny or less than sunny skies; Saturday: more cast off toys; Sunday: more festive lighting.


Mike stood across from L’Bras D’Or. Afraid to cross the street. Afraid to go in, afraid not to go in. What would Robert do if he didn’t show up? Yes, that would be the test. He’d stay out there till Robert came out, then he’d know for sure.

Twenty minutes now before he was supposed to arrive. A walk around the block should get him there at the right time to miss his meeting. Twenty minutes, half an hour. How long would Robert wait before he came flying out to find him? How long could he wait to find that out?

He was about to cross when he saw Robert walk up the street. He wore a long deep blue robe with gold trim, African tribal designs on the midriff. Beside him was a tall woman, younger than he. The red and green African print shift she wore was shapeless.

Mike stepped between two houses. He didn’t want to be seen but if he pulled back too far between the houses he wouldn’t be able to hear.

“You cannot go on like this. You know you cannot.” The woman’s rapid words flicked at Robert. Her eyes narrowed as she slashed at him in a mix of French and Spanish so rapid Mike couldn’t follow even if he could understand it.

Robert put his right hand on her shoulder. “Sister Coppah, do not go on like this. I will return as planned. Till then I will not be …”

“Don’t do this. How can you be so selfish. There is more at stake here than your little pleasures.”

“That may be so, but for now that is all that concerns me.” Robert made a small gesture with his left hand over her face. Her eyes widened and she stepped back.

“You will regret this decision.”

“Life is built on regrets.”

“What about your people? Your so called children?”

So, that’s Robert secret life. He wasn’t some hustler, just some married man trying not to get caught in a fling. Mike could deal with that. He didn’t expect this to be more than what it was already. A few days of pleasure. One long distant relationship had been enough.

What would he do once he returned to Halifax though. No Patrick to look forward to? No get-a-ways from his safe routine there?

Robert started up the steps of his b’n’b. The woman held him by the arm.

“Father.” She curtsied slightly and bowed her head. “I’m sorry if I’ve upset you.”

Father? Daughter?

“Go back, Sister Coppah. I won’t desert you, or the others. Now or ever. But I have my own needs to take care. Would you deny me this brief respite?”

“No.” she said in a small voice. “But I hope the costs won’t be more than we expect.”

“They won’t be. In fact, there may be rewards.”

“If there are not, you won’t be the only one who pays.”

“Are you threatening me?”

“Not only you, but the other. You must not disappoint your children. Remember. You have been warned.”

Robert laughed. “I have been warned. Again. Now go. I do not warn I act.”

Robert walked from her and into the hotel.

She stood on the steps. Was she waiting for him to come out? Suitcase in hand or what? She walked up two steps. Then glared across the street.

Mike pulled deeper into the shadow between the houses. She couldn’t have seen him, but he felt the heat of her look play on his forehead. Drops of sweat quivered on his eyebrows, the tip of his nose. No, she couldn’t have seen him. Even if she did, who was he to her? No one.

His neck ached. He had to get into the open air. He stretched fully upright, took a deep breath and walked to the street.

She didn’t turn away from the door as he crossed.

He went up the steps of the hotel. As he opened the door he glanced back. She was gone.

He stood at Robert’s door and listened. Water ran in the sink. He knocked. Could he mention to Robert that he had seen him and his ‘daughter?’

“It is unlocked my friend.”

Robert stood in the bathroom naked. He dried his face.

“I have been missing you. I should never have put it so late.” He kissed Mike gently. “How are you this afternoon?”

“Good.” He glanced around the room for the blue robes he had seen Robert wearing earlier. Nothing. He reached to touch the shell-beads around the crucifix. Robert held his arm before he could handle them

“Please. Only I am to come in contact with these. Indulge me.”

“Superstitious?”

“A little.”

Robert got dressed quickly. Shorts, tee-shirt, sandals.

“We will lunch and then perhaps go to the Gallery on Sherbrooke.” Robert said.

“You lead and I follow.”

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#Nanowrimo vs #Danish Hotties

This year’s nano has been the toughest so far. Someday it was hard to stay motivated. I think that was mainly because I’m more of a pantser than an outliner – I like the surprises that letting the plot just go along as opposed sticking to a ‘this is what must happen next’ outline. I did my first run at Isle in 2008 so already knew the characters, the events & the finale.

I did do a fresh take on everything though, some cut-and-paste (which got deducted from my final word count) but did enjoy being so tied to merely expanding or reworking what I had already. One thing that did help was changing the time of year in which the Montreal section takes place. That happened to accommodate the time line I’d already laid out.

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Thanks to Picture Perfect – last year’s Nano – did find that I enjoy food – describing it, inventing it. This year I did more of that plus indulged in more detailed  set descriptions. I also had fun with language – the Danish hotties were brand new to the story & thanks to google translate I let them talk in Danish, without feeling the need to translate that for the reader. I did put out a call for Danish sex slang but apparently there is none 😦

As with past years I’m about 1/3 of the way though this plot. It takes place in three locations – the 3 act structure: Montreal; Halifax; Isle St. Nuit. The first two being real places the third will be pure imagination. I will have to make some decisions about how much the supernatural will play a role in what happens. Who knows what lies in the stars, or even the cards, for my hero?

“Now we are ready for what the night will bring?” Eluf wiped his mouth.

“We can perhaps walk from here to see the fireworks.” Tyge consulted his cellphone. “GooGoo says it is about ten minutes walking from here. Ou est le toilette?” he asked the clerk.

The washrooms were small. Each with homme/femme on the door. Neither was big enough for two people but the two Danish guys squeezed into one of them while Mike used the other. He could hear the guys laughing in theirs.

He exited. They hadn’t even shut the door on theirs. Tyge beckoned him. “Come, we have party favours. You will like.”

On one of the cafe saucers there was a couple of lines of powder.

“We have saved some for you. Good quality.”

Mike backed away. “Thanks but no thanks.”

“I thought you like to party with us.It will make the fireworks so much better.” Eluf said.

“For you perhaps.”

“Okay.” Tyge said. “We will clean up and meet you outside.”

This was the last thing Mike had expected to happen though he wasn’t all the surprised. Other than toking up now and then drugs held no appeal for him. So much time spent on getting something that took so little time to enjoy.

The guys came out and glanced at him.

“Enjoy the fireworks.” Tyge said. “We are going to find real fireworks fun with real men.”

Eluf hailed cab. They got in leaving Mike at the curb. It happened so fast Mike didn’t have time to say anything. Did they forget he was there because of the coke, or whatever it was they were doing. It dawned on him that he wasn’t the real man or the real fun they wanted for their research.

(He was pissed off at them for leaving him without a second-thought.  He goes to the fireworks. This is the next day: )

He let himself into the b’n’b and was headed up to his room when someone called to him from the TV room.

“Mike? What is your hurry.” It was Eluf. “I must apologize for taking off like that last night. I didn’t realize how … rude that was until we were well on our way.”

“Yes, well, done is done.” Mike said.

“Done is done? That means you accept the apology?”

“No. It means what has happened cannot be changed. It was more thoughtless than rude. I was more puzzled than anything but also relieved.”

“Relieved.”

Mike glanced at his cell for the time. “I’m not someone who wants to spend time with guys doing drugs for a good time.”

“You are angry with us. I can tell by your … tone of voice.”

“Not angry,” Mike sighed. “Not interested, is more like it.”

“You were interested enough last night.”

“Until you got high and flew off in the first taxi you could get.”

“Let us take you to …”

“No thanks. I have plans for tonight. Enjoy the rest of your stay.”

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Bonded or Bondage

Andrew Gurza talks about his time on 1 Girl 5 Gays on a recent Disability After Dark. The show was produced by MTV Canada. It was somewhat like The View with the six of them chatting about different cultural and sexual issues in an edited for bitchiest lines way. I do remember watching an episode or two back in the day but not when Andrew was on. I didn’t like the ‘edited for bitchiest lines’ that left these people with personality but little substance.

Andrew explains that each episode was edited down from two to three hours of conversations & he felt that often the most emotional or complex stuff was never used. I wonder how such a show might work today looking at recent events: the predatory nature of wealthy, entitled people of power. Now there’s a shop that Andrew should pitch with him as host.

He also talks about how his disability – the necessity of his chair – kept him off the couch that the rest of the chatterboxes sat together on – and as a result he never felt that bonded with them even after his seven episodes were done. Drinks after the tapings ended up with him on one side of the table and them on the other, or him with the production crew. One thing I learned from a showbiz pal is that good lighting will do more for your career than any co-star. So always bond with the production crew.

I know that non-bonding feeling while yearning to bond though. Often at poetry show, workshops, & other cultural events when you are not one of the smokers, tokers, snorters, or boozers a shadow falls between you and the other there almost as dark as the shadow that separates the MFA in creative writing from the clearly less skilled writers.

The myth of bonding is that it lasts forever, the reality is that it usually merely means years later, when you haven’t seen each other since that bonding experience, you have fond feelings for each other. Listening to Andrew it sounds like he has those fond feelings so perhaps he was more bonded than he thought with his 1 Girl 5 Gays cohorts. Though something tells me Andrew might enjoy bondage even more.

By the time they had worked his way through the several ages of illumination with the man as his companion, Mike was reluctant to leave without saying something to him.

The other man had stopped to talk with two of the guides. Mike didn’t want to stand around. It would be too presumptuous to think there was a reason to speak to some stranger.

Out on the street it was time to go back to the hotel. Which way was that? He’d lost his sense of direction in the twists and turns of the stairs in the museum.

He started to cross the street. No, not this way. He turned abruptly and almost walked into the black man.

“Sorry.”

“Perhaps I should wear a bell.” the man said.

“You seem to know a lot about lamps.”

“Non. I know it can make a rather dull experience much more interesting when others think you are interested. I get more pleasure out of talking with the … guides. They are so eager to impart. The more they impart the more I know.”

“The more I have to forget. You are right, you did make it more interesting for me”

“As you did for me. Perhaps you would like to dine with me? Robert Etang.” He shook Mike’s hand. He pronounced his name in French Rober.

“Mike Poole. Supper?”

“Yes. I see we are two men alone in a strange city. That is unusual of itself, isn’t it? Unless you have left the wife and kids for this calm.”

“Hardly. I’m not …”

“Yes, I know you are not married. You do not have the harried look of a husband. I could tell. You are, perhaps, as I am, a man who prefers the company of other men.”

Mike laughed. As he laughed the tension he’d felt for the past day melted away. (The stranger) Robert joined him and their laughter echoed along the narrow street.

“I take that you would be delighted to dine with me?”

“Yes Rober I would. But I do have to return to my hotel to freshen up.”

“Freshen up?”

“Take a shower, change my clothes.” Mike often found himself explaining these North American turns of phrase to his ESL students.

“Ah I see. Here is my card.” Robert took a card out of his shoulder bag and wrote him hotel information on it and handed it to Mike. “Will an hour be long enough for you to be fresh with me?”

Mike wanted to say ‘I’d be fresh with you right now.’ But wasn’t ready to explain all the subtleties of the English language.

He glanced at the card. “I’ll call if I’m delayed.”

Mike looked at the business card repeatedly as he walked back to Assoupir. It was a delicious buzz between his eyes. The card hardly seemed real paper. It was from Les Bras D’Or. Another bed and breakfast in the south quarter of the village.

“Robert Etang – Room 206.” was written on the back. “7:15 p.m.”

Rowber A-tange. Rowber A-tange. Mike repeated the name to himself. He had a date! How did that happen? Right place right time? It was so simple. All he had to do was accept and he did. He’d be a fool not too, right? Strangers in the Musee.

Would they have sex? Should they? Would it seem desperate if that happened right off the bat. After all, this was why most people travelled. Single people. Gay men. Sex. Or was the supper invitation merely a way to pass an empty evening?

No, it couldn’t be. Robert’s eyes danced with that knowing invitation. Even when he fresh Mike suspected Robert knew the subtext. More than food was offered. Offered to him by a stranger. Him and a stranger. How had it happened? How?

He was at the front floor of Assoupir. Where was his electronic key? Back pocket. Nope. Fuck he hadn’t lost the key had he? There it was at the bottom of his shoulder bag.

Would half-clad Danes be sprawled in the living room to giggle at him behind their hands as he came in? No. Empty. He went to his room. There was an envelope taped to the door. He opened it in his room. It was his gold pass and a note.

“Sorry about today. I don’t think I can accept this. Thanks for the thought. Sam Degan, 4C.”

Mike put the pass in on the desk. I won’t be able to use it either. I’m dining with a dark prince. Was that racist? The man was black. He couldn’t ignore that. Any man would have excited him. A stranger. A casual meeting and now promise. One night would be enough.

How could he see to it that the men at the b’n’b saw him with his black lover? Teach them a lesson.

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HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

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November 1-30
2018

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June – dates t.b.a – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C.


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#Nanowrimo 2017 Playlist

As usual I’ve put together a extensive, very mixed, playlist for working on nano this year. In no particular order here is the over 36 hours of music. King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King (Expanded Edition) – I do have this as a standalone but wanted those bonus tracks. Faith, Hope & Charity: Faith, Hope & Charity (Expanded Edition) – one of those obscure disco/r’n’b: sweetly retro & fun; Best of Ruth Crawford Seeger – what,s better than an obscure, American, female, classical composer – mostly solo piano stuff.

Coast Modern Taarabu (6hr): Mpango Mzima – hey, a huge collection of bouncy, almost tribal music from Zanzibar; Superfruit: Future Friends – because some new queer pop music was a must have; Billy Strange: Goldfinger: The Big Sound of Billy Strange, His Guitar and Orchestra – someone posted Billy’s take on the Munsters’ Theme on tumblr & I had to have it. fun stuff in the Sandy Nelson mode. When the Sun Goes Down, Vol. 11: Sacred Roots of the Blues – exactly what it says: rare 20’s/30s recordings of gospel music. Janis Joplin: See See Rider (From the Beginning): a set of Janis – live before she even meet Big Brother: the coffee house days & great to hear. Sid Bass: Moog España, From Another World – these are two lps of crazy moog with big band. España is hilarious.

Hannes Kästner: Bach.Toccata and Fugue in D Minor – bought this as a single track as it was touted as the very best recording ever of the Toccata by anyone. Mount Kimbie: Love What Survives – electronic in the Aphex Twin mode; Future Beat Alliance: FBA21: Collected Works 1996 – 2017 – electronica in the S.U.N. Project mode; Jazznewblood ALIVE (Live at Iklectik/Efg London Jazz Festival 2016): this is a wow collection – someone posted a track on Tumblr & I had to have it. Deepest Blue: Late September, Deepest Blue remixes – I love the single Deepest Blue & wanted the remixes, the lp it comes from is Basement Jaxx lite.

Cher: Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves – a classic everyone should have & now I finally have it. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: Live/1975-85 (3hr 34min) – hey, I need & can appreciate some testosterone driven music too. Plus I’ve always had a hungry part for Bruce. The Foundations: Build Me Up Buttercup (The Complete Pye Collection) (3hr 10min) – who knew these one-hit-wonders recorded so much & all great soul music; Bela Bartok: Sonatas & Romanian Folk Dances – those Folk dances stir up more than dust on the dance floor. these are propulsive, romantic & great typing speed music. Madonna: Like a Virgin – another classic everyone should have & now I finally have it.

How did a Muttman meet anyone? He saw that unasked question in Sam’s eyes. After his misadventure with the Danish guys he knew his gaydar was totally fucked up. How could he not see that they were … amusing themselves with him.

But that was how he felt when he first met Patrick at that cocktail party. Patrick was at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design as a lecturer for the film department. Mike hadn’t heard the lecture but had been invited to the cocktail party.

How did Patrick know he was queer? He never did find that out. Had Raphael pointed him out? Was it that mysterious thing some gay men had, to recognize it in a stranger.

Patrick picked up that he was queer. Even though he’d been direct Mike didn’t quite believe him. Handsome out-of-town lecturers were only interested in young hairless swim team guys. Yet they were in bed at Patrick’s hotel within the hour. Both a little tipsy but eager and flush with appreciation for each other.

Patrick really wasn’t what one would call a pretty boy either but a good reputation always added to a man’s good looks.. Not that that mattered much to Mike. Flesh was flesh. When the opportunity presented itself he was happy to accept it.

How long had it been before that night with Patrick? Five or six years since he’d touched a man. God, that last time was hell. As bad as Sam’s kindness. That politesse around offering the homely advice to avoid investing one’s own cock.

What was the point of it all? To be queer and find that men didn’t want you? He’d tried women but there was nothing there. Fuck! God why? It just wasn’t fair. He should have moved to be with Patrick that first year when the energy between them was high. Then this wouldn’t be happen. No, but he had his job, a career that he couldn’t leave.

Well, this is the price for that and, now where was he? Having some Eurotrash petty boys lead him on? Having some smug stranger tell him where ugly men could buy sex. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

The sun glinted off a brass sign at eye level.

Musee Lumiere.

The grey brick building was nondescript in the context of the other buildings around it. He knew some of them dated from the 1700’s but this wasn’t one of them. More like Victorian, he decided, judging by the turret in one corner and detailing around the doors and windows. Three stories high with a spiked row around the roof with brass orbs that gleamed in the sun.

Four well worn red sandstone steps led to the imposing front door. Double doors with stained glass panels over carved inserts; stained glass panels on the narrow panels on either side of the door. All the stained glass and the wood carving played on the fleur de lis. He went in.

“Bon jour.” A young woman cheerfully greeted him.

“Salut.”

“Welcome, sir.”

Was his accent that bad? He paid the admission fee.

“There is a new installation on the second floor.”

“Thank you.”

“Enjoy.”

Why was there such quiet in these places? The shuffle of shoes on the floor, polite coughing, whispers and pointing. There was museum personnel in each room. They would turn on and off the lamps, ceiling fixtures, wall mounts, if you asked. The first room was made to look like a cave pre-historic humans would have lived in. Once the lights had been lowered, the uneven walls were lit by flickering flames in low stone dishes of animal fat. The smell wasn’t unpleasant at first.

“How did they manage?” someone behind him asked. “That isn’t enough light to do anything.”

Mike stayed for a few moments after the other few people had left. The room was silent. He couldn’t hear street sounds or the creaking of feet on the floor around him. So this is what it was like back in the day. Not like the movies at all where there would enough light from a single flame to illuminate an entire cave.

Each of the subsequent rooms took him through various era. Tallow candles, wax candles, torches. With each the guide would dim the lights so there was only the one light source.

“How many candles would it take to light a room in a medieval castle?” he asked the guide.

“Better yet who would light them all?” S man beside him asked in English. Then he repeated Mike’s and his questions in French.

The guide explained that it sometime took so many candles to light a room some would have to be replaced by the time the last ones were lit.

The man explained this to Mike. He was ebony black. About Mike’s height and hefty. The man spoke French freely with the guides and more than once explained to Mike, in English, what he had just been told.

In each room Mike was taken by how movies had changed history. Until the electric light bulb came into use most corners were in shadow. The light people had wasn’t a constant single glow but would flicker depending on impurities in the oils, depending on air flow. He had a greater respect for writers who worked in candle light. Bad enough to write War and Peace by hand and to have to do it by unsteady light too.

The second floor was devoted to the gas era and gave way to the electric era.

“Movies made gaslit rooms look so bright.” Mike remarked to his companion.

“Of course. How would you see the faces of the their magnificent movie stars.”

The installation on the third floor was the latest in l.e.d and holographic images. The technology left Mike cold. Not practical enough. No one was going to read by this kind of art.

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Sex Positive

On a recent Disability After Dark  Andrew Gurza  interviews JoEllen Notte – a noted sex researcher & blogger – about, amongst many things, sex and depression. For some people the two go hand in hand, no matter how good or often the sex. They also talked about some of the assumptions people make about them for being so sex positive. One being is that they have lots of sex and have no problem getting it. Or that must be willing to have sex with anyone – if they decline they are accused of being hypocrites.

Odd how being sex positive turns one into a slut with no discernment and with no boundaries. “Oh sure I’d be super happy to do that with you even though you don’t turn me on and it’s something I’ve never enjoyed.”

In my life I’ve been either shamed for being as sexually active as I am for my age or regarded as a slut with no discernment. In fact I find it difficult to actually talk with anyone about my sex life without them becoming uncomfortable. What I enjoy is pretty vanilla & safe but the fact that do it makes them comfortable or triggered.

In my poetry I’ve written quite directly about many types of sex play. I had to stop performing the few s/m pieces I have because I was getting approached by men (& women) who thought I was a dom top (if you don’t know what that means such is life). An assumption I’d rather not deal with, unless they are willing to cough up $500 an hour.

They also delve into the nature of ‘invisible’ disabilities, such a depression. Many people think depression is feeling down, a sort of emotional draginess that you just can merely snap out of or that one is being self-indulgently lazy by not wanting to get out bed all day, eat for two days, or not take a shower for a week because they are in a bad mood.

Much like alcoholism & other less socially approved addictions there is this sense you just have to pull yourself up by the boot straps & get on with it. It just isn’t that easy or simple. It’s not a matter of being lazy, stupid, weak or stubborn. There are more complex forces at work & what works for one person often does nothing for the next. But I’m not a therapist but this is what I’ve observed.

We live in a culture in which loneliness is terrifying, in which only a ‘loving’ relationship is the way out of loneliness (it isn’t), that sex is the solution for horniness (it isn’t). When these solutions don’t work it often leads to shame, guilt, & depression. It’s as if the fault is our, not a culture that invests so much the wrong solutions as the only solutions.

There is one school of thought, which they don’t fully explore – bad sex is better than no sex at all (I’m not sure how that was researched). I’d argue that having no sex is better than having shamed based sex thinking it’ll make you feel better about yourself and life or for any reason.

I’m sex positive – it is a good thing when we get rid of cultural baggage. Or we get the right baggage to carry it.

(in this rough draft sample Mike & Robert are having a thanksgiving dinner in Montreal. )

A couple of blocks north of St C Mike spotted Cent Milles Brasserie. The chalkboard menu listed meats, vegetables by region and by how far those regions were from Montreal.

“An interesting concept.” Robert said.

“Let’s hope the cost of locally sourced is worth it.”

“As long locally sourced results in good food. I will be most happy.”

The restaurant was done up in a season decor. Pumpkins, gourds bales of hay around the maitre d’ station. Bats on thin wires dangled over the bales.

The evening’s main special was ‘dinde rôtie avec farce aux canneberges’ which, thanks to the drawing on the chalkboard Mike knew was a tradition roast turkey with stuffing. He wasn’t sure what ‘canneberges’ were though but he was willing to find out.

Once they were seated in the window Mike asked. “Shall I order for you as well?”

Robert was reading the menu.

“That won’t be necessary. I most certainly want to try the bière d’érable.”

“Maple beer!”

“Ah, it is not a traditional drink?” Robert asked.

“Not as far as I know. The flavouring of beer is one of those trendy fads. At least I hope it’s a fad.”

“Then we will try it. Another new experience for both of us.” He waved the waiter over and ordered the beer.

“You’re French is amazing.” Mike said.

“I have been speaking it all my life.” Robert said. “As well as English.”

The beers came in tall chilled glasses.

“To your health.” Robert said as they clinked their glasses together.

Each sipped tentatively.

“Ahh a very even taste.” Robert said before taking a larger drink.

Mike did the same. “You know this could become a tradition. It tastes like fall. Maple, a little pine as well.”

“You have a sensitive pallet.”

Mike did the same. “You know this could become a tradition. It tastes like fall. Maple and a little pine as well.”

Robert took another taste. “You have a sensitive pallet.”

“I was afraid it would taste like pancake syrup.”

The waiter brought a covered basket of rolls to the table. “Pain de maïs et frais du four.”

Mike flipped the cover back and the steam brought the smell of the corn bread with it.

“This is why Quebec is called Le Belle Provence.” Robert said as he buttered one of the rolls, broke it half and gave it to Mike. He gestured for Mike wait before eating it. He held his in upturned palm of his right hand. Mike did the same without thinking.

“Merci Mère Marie pour ce repas.” Robert said. He broke off a small piece and put beside his plate.

Mike did the same.

“We will reserve a small morsel for the Grace that brings such abundance into our lives.”

“I see.” Mike said. “I’ll try not to brush it off the table.”

“Thank you for indulging me.” Robert said. “This is a part of my life I do not usually get to share under such close quarters.”

The next course was a butternut squash soup with fresh ginger.

“Ce gingembre est-il cultivé localement?” Robert asked.

“Oui. Le bistrot maintient un jardin d’herbes fraîches près de la ville.” the waiter answered.

“I did not know ginger was grown in Canada.” Robert explained. “The restaurant has its own farm for some these products. They live to their name.”

As the waiter cleared their used plates away Mike carefully protected his morsel of corn bread. The main course was next. The waiter brought the dinner plates to the table. There was a medley of fall vegetables on each. He was followed by a busboy pushing a cart with a covered plate on it. The waiter removed the cover with a small flourish to reveal the turkey, steaming and ready for further carving. One drumstick was gone, as were some slices from the breast on either side.

“If you wish,” he said in English. “We can offer the uncut?”

“No no. This is fine. Would you like the remaining drumstick?” Robert asked Mike.

“Some breast meat will be good for me.”

“Then I’ll have it.”

The waiter skillfully cut portions for both of them. He offered them a chafing dish of stuffing for each of them to help themselves. ‘Canneberges’ turned out to be cranberries.

Even though the restaurant was now full Mike felt they were dinging alone, in their own private room.

Robert asked Mike questions about his work, family but easily defective questions about himself so by the end of the dinner Mike knew little about Robert’s background. Not that that mattered as he felt, for some reason, that Robert was holding nothing back.

Dessert was pumpkin pie, freshly baked on the premises while they were enjoying their meal. Robert has his with acorn ice cream. Mike opted for the maple whipped cream. They sampled each other’s.

As the busboy cleared the table under the watchful eye of the waiter Mike and Robert both took out their credit cards.

“Non. Non.” Robert said. “My company can easily afford this meal.”

“Then I’ll leave a tip.” Mike offered. “Would forty dollars be about right?” He took a look at the bill. “Better make that fifty.”

“It is a good thing we stuck to the bière.” Robert said.

chapbooks for sale http://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

kiss3

HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

http://www.queerslam.com

November 1-30

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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Isle Nanowrimo 

Is Nanowrimo my favorite time of the year? It certainly is my most focused & consistently productive. Not that I’m not writing everyday but I am not writing 2500+ words a day every day. I like the feeling of being productive, I like it even more when I don’t worry about monetizing the result. You can’t imagine the weight that takes off creativity’s shoulders.

I’m doing what has worked well for me in the past – structure & idea pushing me along. I don’t aim to finish the plot in a month, or two. It took me three Nano’s the finish my last nano project. When I start I just can’t stop. Well I can stop but I didn’t stop thinking about things.

My usual pattern has been to write about 500+ words in the morning. God for a long walk, let those words bubble boil & make trouble for my characters then get back to it and push out another 1500+ words in the after, add more after supper, if I have time. Many days I pass 3000. Once I hit 60,000 I do slow down some & by 75,000 I’ve about had it – so maybe this year I’ll push it to 90,000. Last year I topped off at around 75,000 by Nov 25.

Isle St Nuit is something I started many years ago – I have some of my note from that first start but it got bogged down with the need to keep the plot going in a logical direction. You know what – fuck logic – let’s just tell a great stupid story & let the readers discover their own logic. If people will watch Sharknado why should I worry, as long as my logical remains consistent with the world I’ll be building.

Don’t let ‘world building’ throw you. It is set on this planet, I places you know, with people who are human, semi-rational & possibly relatable. But of course the things that happen to them are a little on the fantastic side. I’ll be dealing with the supernatural in a subtle energy sort of way. Trust me, you’ll like it (or think what’s the big fuss about).

Note: Assoupir is the b’n’b Mike is staying at)

“How is Assoupir?’

“Very comfortable. Hot guy runs it. Simon Piquer. If he could make it a nudist guest house he would.”

The patio was in a quiet courtyard behind a cafe. Cool, damp.

“How was the train?”

“Nice. Relaxing.”

“Flying is faster and cheaper.”

“So you tell me, but I’m not in such a rush.”

“Right, I forget you’ve had the whole summer to yourself. I’m lucky to squeeze in this one week and I’m working at the same time.”

“Who is he?” Mike saw no reason for more small talk.

“You had a vision?”

“I saw you. Under the oak.”

Patrick reddened. “I’m sorry.”

“We knew this might happen.”

“I wasn’t looking for someone. Really. You know that.”

“Yes.”

“Jay Fisher. We met one night. At Big E’s. We started talking and …”

“One thing lead to another. He know?”

“About us? Yes. He doesn’t mind.”

“No one wants their honeymoon shared. Do they?”

“Honeymoon?”

“This is your first trip together?”

“No, Vancouver.”

“Ah, right, the Queer Film Fest. How was it?”

“I told you all about it.”

“First I’ve heard of Jay.”

“Mike …. nothing’s changed.”

“So what was going to be? Me in the afternoon? Him at night?”

“I … I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you not to come. We’ve been planning this since Christmas. How would you have felt?”

“No worse than I feel now.”

Patrick reached out to him. Mike pulled back. He didn’t want a vision of Patrick and Jay in bed.

“Don’t pull away from me.”

Mike got up. The table grated against the brick floor. “I haven’t unpacked yet. Now I won’t have to.”

He could jump back on the train. Go to the airport. Catch any flight out of here. Out of this. Patrick had allowed him not to worry about being alone. Now he had that to face. His life. His future.

“Nothing has to change.”

“Too late Patrick. It has already changed.’

“Do you want to meet him?”

“No.”

“Please, Mike. You’ll …”

“I’ve got to go.”

Montreal was a big city. He would stay. Lots of men and now he was on the loose he could dive into that pond and come up with something. Easy as fucking pie.

“I’ll see you at the brunch tomorrow.”

He had a pass to all the Film Festival events. Openings, press conferences, brunches, anything he wanted to see.

“I don’t know.”

“Tonight?”

“I’ll get by tonight.”

A small change of plan, that’s all. No furious pumping away and glorious nut throbbing ejaculations with Patrick tonight. The scent of which had taunted him for the last few weeks. His anticipation of Patrick’s belly, thighs. Such a waste of of time. Years of wasted time.

The search continues. He wasn’t spared. Fuck. Why wasn’t he spared?

“See tomorrow. You know where?”

“I got my map.”

Too bad this detour wasn’t on it.

Mike wanted the hot sun to burn his frustration away. His legs were numb but not the emotional numb he wanted to feel. The hill up to the Old Port was steeper than it look. The sun was unclouded and there was no shady side of the street for protection.

His shoes were too heavy. Why had he picked these useless, thick, hot, hot shoes. Heavier with each step. Ugly shoes, ugly black socks, all wrong. No wonder he was unhappy. Who’d look twice at this hairy, squat man limp up the steps if only to laugh at him.

Fool. He was such a fool. He should go back to Assoupir and get out of the city. Leave it all behind. Get back to the safety of his house in Halifax, the cool dry house. He could play his favorite music, take his hot, hot, hot shoes off and just sit in the living room, sit on the back porch and let the air cool his feet.

He plodded up the hill, each step took him closer to something and away from something.

Not that there would be anything there for him. He’d made his plans before he left. Names and locations of the movies he would see with Patrick, the receptions he would be go to around the city. A useless list things that would never happen.

Like always, it was a mistake for him to live in the future. Plans always caught him and bit him on the ass, kicked him in the head. Dreams would turn around to mock him for even dreaming them.

He stopped to catch his breath. A group of teens crowded past him. In matching T-shirts and shorts. Laughing and elbowing each other as they made their way past him. Boys and girls. He caught sight of a badge on one of them;

‘Teen Congress for Hope.’ with a dove hovering over a name.

Great. Just what he needed now a bunch of fresh faced, happy religious freaks.

“Sorry, sir.” One of them stopped beside him.

“It’s okay. I’m in no hurry.” He looked the boy in the face. Not a boy after all. Must be one of the chaperones.

“You going to the Old Port?”

“Eventually.”

The man’s smile was brilliant, like the sun, his perfect skin almost glowed as he spoke to Mike.

“Here.” The man trust a tract into Mike’s hand.

“Stop the Film Festival.” was printed on the cover.

Their hands brushed. Mike had a brief vision of the man eating ice-cream, laughing.

“Thanks.”

“The Light shines on all regardless of how they look my friend.” The man darted to catch up with the rest of his crowd.

Too bad it looks reflects better on you. Mike headed back to the b’n’b. The Old Port could wait.

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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Les Chaises Plus

07-round01I discovered Daran & Les Chaises on French Kiss – when MuchMusic was attempting to expose English Canada to French pop. These were the days when I was visiting Montreal for an AA roundup & wanted to improve my French. Daran was not a PQ band so their French wasn’t quite the same.

07-round02I have two stand alone’s: J’évite le soleil; Huit. The music is rock, with thick, propulsive guitar work. Vocals are good, emotionally evocative. The videos were compelling too, even I never did learn enough French to understand the lyrics. The guys in the band were good looking in that unshaved mec way. Two cd’s were enough though I always enjoy them when they come back up in play rotation.

Near Daran is Joe Dassin – now were talking more old school French pop – smooth, easy listening & with lots of charm. I had various lps & cassettes at one time & replaced the with a double cd set of his ‘hits.’ His covers of Tony Joe White are excellent. He is a sort of Parisienne Neil Diamond. He was (& perhaps still is) immensely popular in Europe. TV shows, movies & the like. Not as emotionally demanding as Brel he covers some of the same cabaret territory with a somewhat more c/w flavour.

07-round04I discovered him at the huge second hand record & book store, that at that time was near the Berri-UQAM metro station. I’d spend hours going through endless rows of lps, cassette – cds hadn’t quite come into the market then. I’d shove to wash my hands they’d be so dirty from he search. The only other music store I’ve found like it was Amoeba Records in San Francisco. Those were the days when I didn’t travel to bar hop but to record shop.

sample

Dark

Slat stumbled over the sharp shard that projected from the rough floor. He had picked his way so careful and was pissed to have this catch him now. The bit wasn’t more than four knuckles high and as thick around as his baby finger. But it was sharp. It had sliced into the bottom of his foot and blood leaked from the puncture.

‘What be you?’

He accused the sharp. He hunched down for a closer look. He pushed the dirt away from the base of it.

‘Are you a ….’

He gripped it as hard as he could but it was firmly set in the hard floor. He wriggled it back and forth and it loosened slightly.

‘You can’t resist my pull, can you?’

He pushed the shard back and forth and ground it against the sides of the gradually larger hole. The white dust of the floor was caught in a sudden breeze and blew into his eyes.

‘You know resistance only makes me more set.’

He had to get it out before dark. Once the sun was down Wires would be out. He had never faced a Wire and didn’t want to. He got a better purchase on the shard and yanked at it with all his might. It gave way and he fell back as it slid out of his hands. The palms were red with cuts from it.

‘You have gone too far now whatever you are.’

Slat pushed the hair away from his face, spit on his sore hands and jerked the shard up and down, back and forth and inched it up and out. It was nearly twice his height. Long and firm.

‘Could be st’kl.’

He knew that st’kl was of great value and to have piece this long would make his fortune. Make his future. He leaned it against his shoulder and found the passage way down to the street. The first rays of the sunset set glinted from the gl’ss that remained on the highest parts of the structures around him.

‘Ques will sure be pleased to see what I have found for him today. Found for us.’

soon

14257567_1162384753819933_3271661288579707843_o
on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nano_odwv0rd0j91s3yvqto2_540

http://nanowrimo.org/

December – Thursday Dec 1st – Toronto, 8 pm, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St.

14976378_1263645170376130_4297695032579630041_ohttps://www.facebook.com/events/1156455914402108/

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

6DC0301

Early 2017:

my first local feature in over a year: location date TBA

it came in

April season 3 FINALS – Friday April 15th Buddies in Bad Times – early show – 7pm startgames

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

June 2-4: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 –

newcap

https://capfireslam.org

check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5KD1eDccdjdTdQ28kZRNg

money

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

balls

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

Le Jour du Dernier Jour

Next on the ‘c’ shelf I have a pair of store bought cds by Cesar et les Romans. Fifty-tracks of amazing, glorious, Quebecois 60’s pop. Garage band at its best with lots of wild French covers of my 60’s favourites plus great originals. I picked these up way back in 1996 when I used to spend a week or two in Montreal several summers in a row. Driving there with friends.mousesnow

The music was part of my attempt to improve my French but also to expand my music knowledge. I have several hits collections by PQ bands. It’s a huge piece of Canada’s pop history from the 60’s that often gets ignored. My French remains so-so.chair06

The PQ radio play required not only a % of Canadian content but also a requirement for a major % of French language content. The result was local bands would do French covers of English pop so those songs could get radio play.chair07

There was a recording industry built around this. Some bands only did covers & some managed to produce original material. Often the ‘cover’ versions used only the music of the original with new lyrics when the English didn’t translate at all. Whiter Shade of Pale becomes ‘le jour du denier jour.’ The % laws gradually changed to allow more English & these bands faded away. There is still a thriving pop scene in Quebecchair08

Cesar is sweet eclectic fun covering Procol Harum, The Beatles, Jimmy Buffet, The Grass Roots & the like. The band is simple, basic & nicely recorded. They stick to that basic rock style, some bands delved into psychedelic with delightfully odd results. Every time I hear these I am transported to good times in Montreal & also to my own 60’s.

sample

Pie Part 4

‘So who found the body?’ the other officer asked.

‘Margaret did,’ Miss Griffs answered.

‘We sort of found it together. I was doing my rounds. I was at the front of the house when Miss Griffs came out from back here to get me. We broke the door down.’

‘And just why were you here Miss Griffs?’ Carl asked.

‘I had come by to get my pies.` But Cassie didn’t answer the door and I knew she knew I was coming by so I thought to check the back door and it was locked and I was going to leave. When I came out front and there was Margaret.’ She dabbed her eyes again and sat back on the bench.

‘And Willie?’ The other officer stepped out of the house.

‘He jumped out at me when Margaret went to call the police. He was going to murder me too, just like he killed Cassie.’

‘And you Dave? After that complaint Missus Crofts lodged last week I didn’t expect you to …’

‘Just a misunderstanding, Carl. I was watching that comet shower from the back yard and she thought I was spying on her.’

‘As have other women in the neighbourhood. It might be time to join an amateur astronomy club if you want to save your reputation.’ The other officer laughed.

Another pair of officers arrived. Carl stepped into the kitchen with them. The back yard filled up with what I assumed was the murder squad. Carl came back out and had us go to the front yard for more questioning.

A different officer was assigned to each of us. I got permission to finish the rest of my route. People here get used to things at a certain time, and with this delay many of them wouldn’t be pleased.

About an hour later I had just finished when Carl pulled up in a police car.

‘A few more questions and we’ll have this settled.’ He opened the door for me.

‘What’ll people think? Their trusty mailman being picked up by the police.’

‘Then let’s really give them something to talk about.’ He kissed me.

‘You’re a tough questioner. By now you should know I’m not hiding anything.’

Back at the house I saw that Willie was in the back of one of the police cars. Carl took me into the back yard.

‘Chief Inspector?’ Carl tapped a tall man peering though the window on the shoulder.

‘Now Margaret, we have to confirm some details. Corroborate some of Miss Griffs’ facts. Show us as best as you remember how you looked through the window.’

I stood on the bench. Tiptoed to crane my head to see over and around the plants in the window.

‘You see the table?’ the Inspector asked.

‘Yes. The sandwiches are still there.’

‘They’re what is called pinwheels?’

‘I suppose. I really can’t see them that well.’ I stepped down.

‘Good, good. Now show us where Miss Griffs was when she spotted the body.’

I hesitated a moment.

‘Oh don’t worry. The body has been moved,’ he reassured me.

I peered through the far edge of the window and moved my head up and down. There was onÙe break in the geraniums that allowed me a direct view of the kitchen floor.

‘Here?’

‘And what do you see?’

‘A bit of the floor, the tile.’ I stepped off the bench.

‘Bring Miss Griffs around,’ He asked Carl. ‘We have to check everything carefully.’

Miss Griffs was more red-eyed than before. Carl carried her basket and handed it with care to the Inspector. The Inspector put on a pair of rubber gloves, lifted the cloth cover and took out one pie and then another.

‘But she didn’t get her pies.’ I was astonished.

Miss Griffs blanched and leapt for the basket. ‘You have no right …’

‘And what do we have here.’ The Inspector took out a bloodied length of pipe.

‘That … that… tramp! He must have put that there when I left my basket on the counter.’ She clutched her hanky to her mouth. ‘I saw her with that Dave next door. I saw him with those roses.’

‘We’d had words about the property line and I said some things I regretted. I came back later to apologize with some roses.’ Dave explained. ‘I already told that to the police.’

‘She was casting her net over you. I know. She’s always been …’

‘Miss Griffs, how well did you know Mrs. Crofts before she moved here?’

‘Not at all Inspector. I didn’t know her at all.’ Miss Griffs blurted out. ‘I didn’t.’

‘According to Willie you did. She told him her maiden name was …’

soon

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

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

chairs

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

#NaNoWriMo Wrestling With The Saint

Still doing this tag-team decision tussle with the two plots trying to pin me down for the month of November. I’ve written about plot #1– the older of the two but by no means the weaker.

construction warning: plot construction overhead

The other, for which I do have some of my original notes, has the working title of Isle St. Nuit. The basic, but not very simple plot, involves Jim, an art teacher from Halifax – mid-40’s, who has had a long-term, long-distant relationship with Chad, a film reviewer. They initially met a film festival several years earlier and meet three of four times a year at various film festive during the year in various cities.

tv not far from the tree

With me so far – a lot of back story right – anyway at a film fest in Montreal Chad ends things – he’s found someone younger etc. Jim is at loose ends suddenly. He meets Len – a black guy, for the next couple of days & nights they have a good time. On the 3rd day Jim goes to meet Len at Len’s hotel & Len isn’t there, there is no record of him every being there & the clerks deny even meeting Jim.

towel never throwing in the towel

Jim’s stay ends & he goes back to Halifax & tries to forget both guys. He’s been closeted in his life there. A clue in a travel magazine leads him to Isle St. Nuit in search of Len. There he gets caught up a volatile political situation; discovers that Len is actually a Catholic Cardinal. Add to this murder, a snake worshipping fertility cult, gay sex & there you have it. I told you it was far from simple.

soon

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

October 10-12 – Gratitude Roundup http://www.torontogratitude.org

grat14

October 19 – feature – Cabaret Noir – Pinebow newpine
https://www.facebook.com/events/1651892755035275/

November 1-30 – participating – NaNoWriMo 2014 – notebookhttp://nanowrimo.org

samples

Children’s Skipping and Play Songs

of Isle St Nuit

mama kentu

she makes a list

mama kentu

she makes a list

makes a list

she holds tight

in her fist

in her fist

mama kentu

she makes a list

she take it to

the snake skin man

the snake skin man

and on the list

she writes

salt and pepper

salt and pepper

on the paper

salt and pepper

give me a candy

and all will fall

into the list

mama kentu

she makes a list

***

three little babies

left out in the rain

one had six legs

the other had pain

the third

was shed

to become the skin

of the next of kin

three little babies

left out in the rain

***

call me quick

call me trick

and the leaves will leave

and the rain will fall

take the time

to bring back my ball

we see the world

all in all

I will go to France

you will go home

because you  wet your pants

I will to heaven

and you will go to hell

because

you have no secrets to tell

***

1   2

we march and we flew

3   4

we found the key to open the door

5   6

the snake in the stick

7  8

he made us wait and wait

and when got back again

it was time for

9 and 10

9 and 10

fingers and toes

one to touch the sky

the other to touch his nose

***

father father

call us to your church

father father

let us learn to sing

mother mother

we know the Mary mild

we have the reach

we have the perch

high in the trees

where the dead children chirp

we know the way

we know the day

father father

call us to church

***

I have seen

we have seen

your mama and your papa

with the mambo snake

he was green

and he was slithery

and we were busy

in the kitchen

so he would go

to your house

eat you all up

faster than a mouse

***

the forest is wet

and we are pretty

we have no place to set

our feet

that isn’t dirty

****

the three red boys

bring the snake his joys

the little green bird

swings and sings

this the pail

and this is the brook

we all know the  skin

and we all feel the grin

as the joy goes up

and boys go down

***

chase chase

you can’t catch

face face

hide in a flash

***

skip a rope

find a slope

bring a stone

and start alone

jump and weave

time to leave

for the next to jump in

quick

quick

what list did she bring

salt pepper

salt pepper

fast slow

and away we go

***

snake jala

snake jala

didn’t finish her dinner

come out come out

we want to see

if you got thinner

snake jala

snake jala

don’t be shy

we won’t make you cry

just finish your dinner

slip and slip

we are ready

to see to play

come out now before the crack of day

***

he hides and waits

slake and fakes

hunts and kills

so get you home

before the sun

slides behind the hills

sleep tight

sleep at night

and all will be better in the morning.

elasticblue not snakes