Door Perceptions

Door Perceptions

1

there is a difference

between blocking a door way

& making a grand entrance

it all depends on the width of the doorway

one doesn’t want to get

clothes caught on anything

it also helps

to some distance for the stride

the right stride

will make any entrance 

2

do you want to make an entrance

of merely suck all the attention

in the room to yourself

does it matter if the crowd

is buzzing with who is that

or with laughter

3

he gave me a look

that was hands-on-the-hips attitude

I gave him my patented

kick-in-the-ass response

<>

this wasn’t a stare down

as we both looked away

at the same time

enough attitude had been delivered

for those around us to see

there was nothing left to say

anyway

<>

it had been years since we actually spoke

often we didn’t even

glance nosily in each other’s direction

we’d both seen it all 

most of it didn’t deserve a second glance

let alone a first one

<>

we had better ways of wasting time

than looking at each other

as anything more

than exit doors

1

America’s Next Top Model taught me that there is a big difference between going into a room & making a grand entrance. Opening my front door & going into my house usually requires a different energy than stepping on stage, than being announced at the portals of the grand ballroom at the White House. If my scarf gets caught on my front door it’s annoying but no big deal, but if snags that candelabra at the top of the stairs leading to the grand ballroom it can be a disaster. But Top Model teaches us that if you walk with the right attitude even toppling that candelabra becomes irrelevant. 

There is also a difference between blocking a subway door while glued to any hand held device & having the sense to step out of people’s way as they get on & off. So don’t give me that ‘how rude look’ because I brush your elbow as I get on, or off.

2

Of course dragging a candelabra down a flight of stairs will certainly you attention, almost as much as wearing a dress made of meat. Many singers seem more intent on having their look remembered even when their songs are forgettable. 

3

Based on a true story! This happened at a gathering of writers decades ago. Shortly before this I had featured together at a poetry event where this guy insisted he go on first – getting the longer time spot because he was already more established than I was, don’t you know. He did his set, got applause. I did my set & had people laughing in the aisles & enough applause that the host asked for an encore. The established writer never forgave me, as far as I know. At another reading he pointedly left the room when I went on stage. LOL

4

Wait there’s no fourth! These pieces were written separately, on different days, as I tired to develop something for this particular rule, that had something to do with entering a room quietly. Rather than title them individually to create more of a differentiation between them I opted to lump them together to give readers a chance to create a story, where, in fact, there is none. 

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Just A Sip

Just A Sip

how kind

a cup of blood for me

fresh 

warm to the touch

I can’t thank you enough

has it been checked

I mean I don’t want to sound

ungrateful

but even the starving

have to show some caution

these days

<>

I once

broke out in hives

from contaminated blood

things like that happen

when you are starving

you lose all sense of caution

of self-preservation

in my younger days

I could smell the blood

& tell how pure it was

<>

now all it smells of is

drink me

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Our Glorious Leader

Our Glorious Leader

I won

I won

I’ve been elected

there’s no doubt about it

<>

yes the other candidate 

got more votes

but you don’t understand

those are votes for the candidate 

they didn’t want to see

lead the country

I got the least votes

which means the people

want me the least 

least of all the slate

that’s how it works

it’s not my fault

the voters didn’t read the ballot

to mark an X for the one

they least wanted to see win

<>

my first act

will be to decrease spending

on education

so fewer people can read

because reading leads to understanding

as long as they can’t read

I’ll be able to lead

Some of you may recall a recent USA electoral kerfuffle in which even the winner wasn’t allowed the privileged of being acknowledged as the winner by the loser, who quickly became the whiner – no that’s not true, he was a whiner from the first time. He did win that first round but proved to be as bad a winner as he was a loser.

The united in the USA is dubious notion as each state is fiercely autonomous as demonstrated with the continuing & persistent lack of mask & vaccine uniformity – rules change from state to state. In some it is permissible for bars to ban anyone wearing a mask; in others you can’t enter a bar if you aren’t wearing a mask. How do you keep track? I guess there’s an app for that.

I sometimes feel the conflict comes from the ‘you can’t tell me what to do’ even if what is being ‘suggested’ is for the good of all. Or a sort of stubborn toxic male pride – you know the sort of pride that keeps men from asking for directions or from even looking at map. A real man is never lost he’s just not going where you thought he was going.

That’s the art of spin – where being lost becomes a matter of interpretation not what has happened. So losing an election is a misreading of the votes. After in editing drawing X through paragraphs, even pages, means it is to be deleted, discarded. So the fewer ‘x’ you get on the ballot the more people approve of you. Congratulations! Welcome our glorious leader.


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Helm’s Deep Basement

The archeological pandemic basement deep cleaning unearthed several items of interests. The oldest of which is this still working Royal typewriter – carbon-paper dating puts it to mid-1950’s. This was one of the typewriters that I used while living in Sydney, Cape Breton. Some of the keys always jammed. When my father’s company closed its office & had one it’s more modern Remingtons to use. Though when working on the final draft for my Distant Music book I rented a space-age electric.

This was the era of white out – making corrections was a pain, ribbons had to replaced with some regularity but nothing matches the satisfying ding at the end off a line & the quick, by hand, rotation down one line. Enjambments were a dream to create & one would have a rewarding pile of paper to show for their work.

When I moved to Toronto I didn’t bring a typewriter with me. Too much weight for one thing & I figured I could get a decent 2nd hand one here. But before I could do that my brother was driving to Alberta (for some reason) & my dad said he’d send my typewriter along. I was expecting the sleek Remington but, as you can see, I got the Royal. I did use it for many years but was sure happy when we got our first eMac with its dot-matrix printer. No more whiteout – no more retyping a whole page to fix a single typo. No more carbon paper.

This Pearl of a washboard was the one my mother used when I was a baby to wash my diapers down by the stream 🙂 Just kidding. This is from my partner’s former career in jug bands – really – when he was a teacher he & a some fellow teachers formed the group to play at various student functions. He played washboard & also upright washtub bass.

Another couple of mummies unearthed are these action figures. Both that surfaced as Xmas gifts to be quickly relegated to a safe spot for their value to increase by keeping them in original packaging. Aragon I bought at a FanExpo from a pile of similar figures reduced to clear by Silver Snail (I think) so I’m sure it’s worth more than the $1.99 I paid for it several years ago. 

from 1976 – original typed on the Royal

Carol

saw your picture 

in the paper

just the other day

an emerald

in black & white

<>

hair holding tight

the model of perfection

keeping a happy thought

with all your might

<>

I turned the page thinking

I’d rather see that dress

on the floor

beside my bed 

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Tiki Time Mug Shots

As the pandemic purge continues what remains takes on a little more ‘importance.’ Getting rid of curtains that have been stored for over 40 years in the basement was an easy decision though. When did we ever expect to reuse them? Even the fabric, whatever it may be, can’t be repurposed. 

This ear mug hasn’t been used ever in over 40 years either but I won’t be tossing it. It was a Christmas gift the second year we were in this house. A friend was so delighted with the inventiveness of the handle, with its ear stud, he knew I would delight in it too. I did & still do. It hasn’t been used because it is too small – maybe it would make decent espresso cup but for a real cup of tea I have better options.

These a few of my tea mugs. They hold approximately 20 oz each. teapots without spouts 🙂 I’ve been acquiring them over the years. Each gets used for a month then goes to the back of the line. The ones with NaNoWriMo stickers are actually from Starbucks. The Friends mug I picked up at Winners & it only comes out for December use. I heart Tea was a Christmas gift. The plain white I bought at Kitchen Plus on the Danforth. I’m always on the look out for this size.

The polka dot mug is another Starbucks but too small for regular use. I love the dots. It’s a ceramic sort of travel mug with a lid insert but more for not spilling in the office while you drink, not for carry around as it doesn’t fully close. Thanks to pandemic even real travel mugs aren’t being refilled by coffee shops in Toronto.

This tiki glass is a favorite that during the hot months gets a lot of use. I bought years ago at a Cargo Imports (or some such) which vanished. It holds about 20 ounces, it also weight almost that much 🙂 Thick glass, with smile on one side & frown on other – comedy & tragedy. It is my iced-coffee mug when Toronto hots up. The straw is stainless- steel – I picked some of them up at Kitchen Plus a few years ago.

I make my own iced-coffee with brewed coffee ice-cubes – yes coffee freezes! I discovered that a few years ago & since then have made my own. I started when after having a Starbucks iced I saw that it was half plain water ice cubes – wtf. At that price I want cold coffee not caffeinated water. I brew a pot, let it cool, make a tray of ice-cubes & keep the reminder cool in the fridge.

Here’s a rant from 2008

Omnipotent

if I had unlimited power

I don’t know 

what I would do with it

I’d be so stunned by the ramifications

of every little ripple

how one thing leads to another

perhaps we all have unlimited power

that butts heads constantly

warring factions

each with its own vision of what is best 

at least for them

looking for immediate satisfaction

comforts wants needs desires

takes us far from harmony

who wants to live in harmony

unlimited power

doesn’t mean having everything your own way

or does it

<>

if I had unlimited power

I don’t know what I would change first 

how to create the correct balance

end war strife disease

how to feed that burgeoning population

control reproduction

who can chose who is to be born

without endless wisdom

<>

unlimited power

isn’t solution

every solution has a cost 

that someone has to pay

usually those who can afford it the least 

end up paying the most

the homeless can’t afford good food

the rich can afford good health care

the balance hasn’t been struck yet

nor will it

<>

unlimited power brings 

unlimited headaches with it

headaches almost as bad

as having no power

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Next Time

Next Time

the sex was good

but at this stage 

good wasn’t enough

I craved more than contact

<>

he certainly enjoyed 

the flesh on flesh

but not nearly as much

as he enjoyed the down low

the secret assignation

<> 

his exploration of excitement

of things his wife didn’t provide

I was his walk on the wild side

that made the cultural box

he felt he had no way of avoiding

bearable

<>

the sex was good

I was a non-threatening opportunity

that had nothing to do with me

as a person

as a spiritual entity

he only wanted the release

when he wanted it

<>

his travel here

often took longer

than we played together

play that was clearly more than good for him

but a vitally needed contact

<>

the sex was good

but for me

good wasn’t enough

I want desire

chemistry

there wasn’t enough chemistry 

for me to want more

not enough chemistry

to get an yen for him 

I knew enough about him

I didn’t care

<>

now to tell him

the next time he calls

and I know he will call

they always do

A guy I saw decades ago once joked ‘How long before I show up in one of your poems?’ He never did but he was aware that writers, poets in particular, often write about their lives – it is a way of processing our experiences & a way remembering them. I didn’t tell him that poetry is a fiction that reflects the truth without telling it – reflections are often distorted by the light, by time & the surface that sends back the reflection.

Some of my pieces are composites of real events that I’ve experienced or that friends had told me about. This is one of those composite pieces that reflects that balance between lust & opportunity. One would think with changes in cultural mores men (or women) wouldn’t feel so bound to fulfill the roles of husband or father but many still do.

Whether out of a sense of not letting down the folks, or maintaining their ethnic standards they find themselves in domestic relationship boxes – often though, as in the case of the married man here, he felt little conflict in maintaining two lives. He also enjoyed the ‘sneak’ of meeting up to spending time with me – overtime, going to the gym tonight, etc.

Things between us developed beyond this stage as we talked about our lives outside the bedroom. Not that he was going to leave the missus or anything stupid like that but a mutual fondness was strong. But fondness is no mask in these pandemic years. So I haven’t seen him in over year now; we email occasionally but, to be honest, if we never meet up again, life will go on. He’ll be a sweet memory not a heart ache. He texted that he’s had his vaccine so I know he’ll call.


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Mug Shots

For a birthday, or maybe it was Christmas, my niece Betty Rocksteady sent me this framed piece of her art from a series she did of posters for an imaginary side show. A signed original that according to eBay is worth nearly $12,000. (just kidding). Flanking it as two travel mugs ordered from her online XX store. They are not all that functional 😦 Some sort of lined metal that doesn’t hold heat from long & the lid son both don’t form a tight enough seal to keep from leaking. But they look great. 

Betty is an accomplished & well-regarded horror writer. Check out her out at bettyrocksteady.com or better yet buy some of her books on Amazon. I would highly recommend her story in the Looming Low anthology.

Betty is a major fan of Ernest Bushmiller’s Nancy & envies me my Nancy mug. I bought this decades ago in Stratford Ontario. At one time there was a great gift shop at the corner of Erie & Ontario Street (Worthington’s?). It was full of collectables, tee-shirts etc. I spotted Nancy on a wall of mugs. Turned out it was not a mug but a music box! The fact that it played the Theme from the Godfather !! meant I had to have it. It is a treasure.

The Queen Mother thimble. Niagara-on-the Lake, I think.

I bought this sailboat mug at a dollar store decades ago because the boat reminded me of the Bluenose. Solid microwaveable crockery it is the perfect size for hot chocolate. At one time it was also my Loyalist workshop mug, it reminds of those good time. It has no maker’s markings. I love the Japanese quality of the boat design.

Another of my favorite objects is this KFC Colonel Sanders mug. I bought it at a yard sale decades ago. I may have paid a dollar for it. The high-gloss, very dark, surface makes it hard to photograph – I’m just point & click. It is a fired dark terra-cotta (I think) & is a finer, if that’s the right word, crockery than the sailboat mug. I’ve never used it for liquids – hot or cold. It is a treasure.

rough draft sample

Serious Business

I realize this is serious business

life is always matter of

life and death

at any minute it could be over

heart attack

stray bullet

a breath in a crowded room

<>

I know that you expect 

a certain degree of compassion

respect

yet part of me is unwilling to give it

not that I don’t feel it

but showing it 

is a different matter 

or perhaps I don’t show it

in the somber way you want

<>

I give little digs

snickers at the futility

rather than wail in desperate calm

about what we are powerless over

tears aren’t the solution

one gets dehydrated too quickly

lack of water can lead to 

more emotional & physical distress

a self-propelling conundrum

that can only be stopped

by measure of levity

<>

I didn’t mean to laugh 

at that car accident

or at the fate of the environment 

I’m not mocking the event

just our powerlessness over it

while we maintain this facade that

we do have power over it

<>

people die

I will die eventually

maybe soon

who knows

but I’m not one

who waits in solemn dignity

for the right exit moment

the right exit line

that wall paper is dreadful

<>

I’m not asking you to forgive

my lack of dignified respect

sometimes there is laugher 

in the mortuary

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Dining in Wrestling Style

One of the best features of our house is the dining-room with its beams & plate rail. As you can see this side is fulfilling its display potential. At one time it was even fuller with endless mugs from recovery conferences I’d attended but day I thought ‘enough is enough’ & got rid of nearly all of them. They had no emotional resonance for me so I didn’t even take photos of them. I did keep a couple – in the corner by the Bunnykins.

This is what remains of my Royal Dalton Bunnykins collection that was broken in transit. If you are familiar Bunnykins is a collectable children’s china & figurines that set the stage for Hello Kitty & Sailor Moon. Innocent & kitch – the detail work is fascinating with lots to catch & keep anyone’s eye. I do love the artist with his palette.

Beside the B’Kins is this charming ‘grace’ plate – made in USA, decorated in Collingwood, Ont. Mid-50’s, I’d say. Picked it up at some 2nd hand shop in the 80’s. What isn’t there to love about this plate. The inculcating of children with Christian moral values & guilt- those poor hungry children. I love the ‘see Dick run’ graphics that reminds me of school book readers. The color palette & the attention to details around the bowls is great.

Now we jump to something much less innocent – my Jimmy Buckle memorabilia. As some of you may know, & as many of you will now discover, I find short guys very sexy. It goes back to a midget wrestling circuit that used to tour the Maritimes. The Shriners sponsored the show in Sydney. My Dad being a Shriner took me to see some matches. Was Little Beaver one of the wrestlers? I was enthralled.

The story is that when I first moved to Toronto I went to some of these touring matches & met Jimmy Buckle, had a very brief tumble with him & because he was on tour it didn’t develop into anything. He was married, to a woman, anyway etc etc. You like that story? Sadly it isn’t true. The mug was a one-off mock-up a friend did for me as a Christmas gift. But I can dream can’t I of undoing Jimmy Buckle’s buckle 🙂

On The Road Again

I took the road less traveled

to prove I was a real man

broken glass be damned

I can live without toes

<>

hot coals – nothing to it

burn my soul away – who needs it

brick-walled bloodied brows build character

yeah – sure

<>

I was ugly enough to start with

now I’m permanently scarred

hunchbacked from ducking punches

eyes blinded by bright ideals

heart broken by casual glances

balls busted by noisy scorn

<>

to weak to walk I crawl on and on

though I realize why this is

the road less traveled 

because it isn’t a fucking road

but better to die a real man

than admit there might be another way

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