Distant Waltz

Waltz

lazy grey waltz

show me the steps

glide across the floor

a feather

in the fiddler’s sleeve

<>

shadow-creased vision 

hushed distance of recall

layered webs flickering

smokey images crumbling

wondering

how did I get this way,

so far, far away

from the hoedown moon?

<>

a sorrow tugs at my sleeve

timid but persistent,

when the river flows

it’s easy to wash it away;

the sun dries me so quick

here it is back again

a tear to keep me in check,

wondering

why did I turn around

when I heard night

sweep the webs away

again

against my will to know

that it was time

to strike up the band

<>

languid hazel waltz

watch my steps

as they skip over the lawn

a thorn in the fiddler’s shoe

<>

my life is the mist

hovering around the moon

cutting golden across the floor

through the opening windows

of the haystack ballrooms

where here comes that waltz

again

slow & close, almost in tears,

slightly futile, music echoes

you are far away & I dance alone

again

out into a moonless night

<>

smooth white waltz

follow my steps

carefree through harvest fields

a gleam

in the fiddler’s eye

July 14/75

This is another structured piece with the repetition of something colour waltz – fiddler’s something as a chorus through out. It proved to be ideal for performing & on the east coast I had a fiddler friend of mine improvise while I read it. It was quite magical.

Every word & image has been thoughtfully worked out to progress to the ending.  ‘show me’ to ‘watch me’ to ‘follow me’ – the move from learning to expressing to teaching. I am happy with the sense of melancholy that hangs like a mist around the piece – a sadness that doesn’t drift into depression or melodrama but becomes a Zen acceptance of the imperfection of life.

You might notice the influence of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon in the rustic images. I was/am no country boy so this is a very romanticized longing for haystacks & hoedowns. A longing for the innocence of farm life, farm life without work involved 🙂

All my images appear in this piece as well, the moon, mists, music & that intangible reach for something equally as intangible. Perhaps emotional connection? Physical connection – the waltz is a dance for two people in close intimate contact. Who is this fiddler? God? Life? Death? 

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

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Don’t Go

Please Don’t Go

why are we here

there’s not a house in sight

not a car

not even a convenience store

not even a star in the sky

when I said

I think we should be alone now

this isn’t what I had in mind

nothing to sit on

no wall to lean against

no trees

nothing

 

everyone knows

this is nowhere

when I said

I would be nowhere without you

I didn’t expect to be here

I expected to be alone with you

not nowhere without you

don’t go

how do I get out of here

how

which way is up

don’t go

 

please

don’t go

This piece starts as dream like movie moment – the narrator is lost, looking around & asking their lover where they are. No explanation of how they got there except that the lover is responsible. Tension is created as the narrator begins to set conditions – a place to ie sit. One starts to realize this guy probably on the demanding side, needy & expectant of the lover to fulfill without being so literal.

A Neil Young quote is always welcome & give the piece more of an actual context. This flips that ‘this is nowhere’ a bit ‘nowhere without you’ – one of those romantic cliches like I would be lost without your love (which is implied by the piece). I like to literalize those cliches – i.e. nowhere without you – let’s put the speaker in a place that is nowhere & see how they feel about it. Like the Monkey’s Paw in which the wish is granted literally, as opposed to the way the wisher fantasizes it will be fulfilled.

I enjoy the shift as my narrator becomes more ‘needy’ as a result of this wish fulfillment. I’ve resisted the temptation to expand the piece to make motivations clearer or cause clearer. Who granted this wish? Why? Even genders are removed. It’s like one of Beckett’s short plays only here we don’t even get actual voices to tell us anything about the character. The reader is left in the same physical void as the narrator.

In the end it isn’t even clear who the narrator is speaking to – is the reader ‘you?’


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Sunshine Corners 1971

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. I was using a cheaper, yellow copy for many of these – the paper hasn’t yellowed with age. Enjoy 🙂

Sunshine Corners 1971

summer day small & dangling

little blue suns from the bigger ray

falling adream in the middle of the day

with pieces of pie & cups of tea

long time cashed in by ups & me

cashed in for a boat ride

sold for a smile or a simile 

to sail away to

hidden treasure island innuendos

fastly teasing eyes & ears

 

hiding hiding

in sunshine corners

early days early days

late night mourners

streets of cars

eyes of ice

making the turn

signalling for a full stop

talking word after word

catching the bus

falling in a heap

like leaves on retreat

 

red night falling from behind

unaware of the feelings in the place

beneath the ground around all

I have to offer is a million marvels

a circus to some

an escape to others

a relief to be inside

the other side of the seesaw 

the scale that will never tip

 

in the air

in the air

in the air

the snow filled air

the thousand

never ending 

ever melting

fleeting flakes of snow

finding brief rest in sudden death

patterns in paper ribbons

or

sparkles

in dark hair

on moonlight August hills

in little corners of restaurants

where we ate the fun of it

drank the hell of it

finally left the rest of it

floating

in the air

in the air

in the air

 

it’s the moon in mystical mood

shining angular

on the fields of harvest stubble

on weather grey houses

on shadows as the crow

flies off for home 

or orchard 

or lingers to scream you awake too soon in the morning

you were saving for this moment

only to have it mocked by a black jester

who has never spoken to her sister

who shines for hours all day

while the moon bides her time

hidden in a cloud’s back pocket

 

there was a sun

bright & shining

now there is the blind man

feeling the sun on his face

feeling the water tugging his knees

deep in the other way of missing

building up

higher screaming hammering

all at once

empty

in silence each note unechoed

each temptation resisted

dry laughter

little sounds within

the big sound

daring 

repercussions of daring 

to be alone

doing this

for the first time

wondering if the 

telephone is too out of time

to use

 

falsely afraid

for the beams

cannot burn

cannot shatter

afraid that they might

security afraid

but hoping to be let down

 

somebody claims to have found him

in my writing

in my searching

but for 

some reason he

he does not seem to be

what I am searching for

he I have found but feel there is 

something besides all this besides

some velvet guillotine to stop the 

interloping tangents from regressing into

solenoid spheres & exaggerated 

laughing fits of yesteryears

falling 

jagged like music

in clumps of smooth & rough

harmony & discord 

 

breaking forth

after expending so 

many days of violent 

turbulent struggle

into a soft hello

or a tender glance

or even the merest thought of 

becoming unwithdrawn

to the point

where helloes & glances

take no energy at all

 

so tell the darkness

that this sound can be heard

even while the warmth comes

as waves & veils over & down

head to toe

reflected in a window

neglected in a cellar

full of madness

desperate afraid angry

lonely

yet aware of loving

every minute of it

 

there is only the flight of the gull

to cut across the face of the sunset

there are only my tears

to wash down my face at sunrise

 

still feeling the tingling

of the right notes up my back

as the engines shift into hyperdrive

while I wait for the

passengers to climb aboard this

rocket to the sun

Let’s get this influence up front: ’I dreamed I saw the silver space ships flying/ In the yellow haze of the sun.’ There’s no denying the influence on early me by the early lps of Neil Young. ‘Ghost Town’ is clearly a variation of ‘Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.’ ‘After The Gold  Rush’ was the same with all that longing & fragility.

There are many reference to my daily life here as well. Drinking tea, eating pie with friends in my comfy basement room, drinking in restaurants, waking up hungover & feeling like harvest stubble. The emotional build up to finally say hello, or in my case, never saying it. I love & cringe at the same time, at some of the melodrama ‘there are only my tears/to wash down my face at sunrise.’

I have two versions of this piece. One handwritten with drawings & the other typewritten. I don’t know which came first but there are slight differences between the two. This one is the typed version – line breaks & all. 

 


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Please Don’t Go

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Please Don’t Go

why are we here

there’s not a house in sight

not a car

not even a convenience store

not even a star in the sky

when I said

I think we should be alone now

this isn’t what I had in mind

nothing to sit on

no wall to lean against

no trees

nothing

 

everyone knows

this is nowhere

when I said

I would be nowhere without you

I didn’t expect to be here

I expected to be left alone

don’t go

how do I get out of here

how

which way is up

don’t go

 

please

don’t go

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Secret Set Building

Last year I made a promise to myself to do a set that pulled together some of the pieces I’ve written about music and the role it has played in my life. If you’ve been reading my Monday blogs posts you know I‘ve been writing about the cd’s in my collection – a very slow, inside look at the content, when I bought them, and a bit about the emotional history of some of the music.

sky01

sky flying v

I also have pieces which involve music in the setting of my life. Some where written for (the no longer happening) Coffeehouse Cabaret tribute nights run by Norman Cristofoli, at the no longer opened Renaissance Cafe on the Danforth. They did shows were musicians were to do cover versions, writers did reflection on & sometimes read lyrics by.

The range was wide Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, delta blues and more. It spurred me to try things for these nights and rifle through my past in a more deliberate way. I already had many things kicking around but I was fun to generate new pieces.

sky02

crack of sky

So when the Secret Handshake opportunity came I merely had to go through my archive and pick pieces. There are too too many to choose from. I wanted a set that reflected the scope of my tastes and experiences from Mario Lanza to Donna Summer, from delta blues to disco. I’ve also been writing about some of these pieces in my Wednesday poetry blog – this means less talk between pieces when I perform them.

sky03

sky high roof

Each has undergone editing while I also try to get the sequence that flows. Some pieces reflect a mood as opposed to particular piece of music. It may not be chronological or even logical. I know how it’ll open and close – with two pieces that reflect each other in imagery. Ginsburg wrote about the Hydrogen Jukebox, – this will be My Generation Jukebox. Poetry you can dance to.

sample

Oogie Inferno

let’s get this party started

if you’re thinkin’ I’m too cool to boogie

boy oh boy have I got news for you

I love the sweaty potential of the dance floor

the solid mass of men mobile   shifting

eagerly crammed    crowded by the bass line

the righteous revival fever of a contralto

everybody here tonight must boogie

let me tell ya’ I was no exception to the rule

the heat was on (burnin’), rising to the top, huh!

eyes closed   hands open

shirtless strutters in sweat soaked satin shorts

muscles    bloated bellies   no one cares

as flesh wound around  pulled by the driving

boogie oogie oogie

 

an endless moment of contact high

thigh to thigh contact

the heat was on, rising to the top

where the keyboard was underfoot

put your feet to the beat

peak after peak of solid state sweat

turn this beat around

no voice heard that wasn’t amplified

no time to waste, let’s get this show on the road

listen to the music and let our bodies flow

yowsa yowsa yowsa    dance dance dance

shame shame shame  ga ga ooh la la

we were shimmering glittering

ready to take on the future    beep beep toot toot

 

I love the moment of stepping into the mass

the sooner I begin the longer I’ve got to groove

listen to the music and let bodies move

make a space for myself

get approving once overs

then not care who’s lookin’

but when my spark got hot

I heard somebody say

Burn baby burnin’ the house down

gonna boogie oogie oogie

till you just can’t boogie no more

 

I love the blur as I am transported

out the body   out of the mind

satisfaction (uhu hu hu) in the chain reaction

released from all sense of self

except for the one caught     immersed

push push in the bush bush

lost for hours

ga ga ooh la la

boogie oogie oogie

 

taking a breather wet glistening

asked what are you on

as if the music and testosterone

aren’t enough for me to

burn that cocksucker down

because have I got news for you

this could be the last dance

last chance for a bad romance

everybody here tonight must

boogie oogie oogie

soon02

April 26, 2015 – Sunday – 2-5 – Featuring – The Secret Handshake Gallery – 170 Baldwin Ave., 2nd floor, Toronto. https://www.facebook.com/events/913761975313528/

born

May 7 – Thursday – 8 pm – Judging – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Season 1 finals – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre – 12 Alexander St., Toronto –

hdamnfinal

https://www.facebook.com/events/726986450755918/permalink/726987687422461/

June 5-7 – attending – Capturing Fire – Washington DC

fire

http://www.thedccenter.org/capturingfire/

(2015 registration posted but details not posted yet. I’ve registered already 🙂 )

June 21-26 – attending – Rosemary Aubert’s Workshop: The Novelist’s Selfie – Loyalist – Belleville https://www.facebook.com/events/965611026782246/

loyclass

register now while there is room at the table

page 23 for details next page down for registration info

https://www.loyalistbanner.com/ceweb/doc/LoyalistSummerArts2015.pdf

June 27, Saturday – 7:00-  Feature: Hot Summer Nights at Hirut, Hirut Restaurant, 2050 Danforth Ave., Toronto

summer15

September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo

Expo15

http://fanexpocanada.com

October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Inner Child Sacrifice

partsnoir

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redshorts

disco daddy

Cinnamon Sand

sample

Cinnamon Sand

slipping in the cinnamon sand

looking for a heart to hold

a seeker at the gates of gone

broken furrows zig zag

across the land lightening flattened

clouds of longing loneliness stretch

farther than the eye can see

if it sees at all

at the edge of the river

 

cinnamon sand takes me down

to find the places where I can be found

to bring myself the ever sending stone

the story of people in coffee shops

stringing one another along

welfare of others with little in mind

except how to find that heart to hold

running crazy in the fields

spun here there

scraps of moments

horse rockets in the afternoon sky

silver in the sun

gold in the moon

flying higher and higher

till all true blue eyes can see me

quivering at the slide slip into

the shimmer glimmer

of a smoke man in the shape of escape

 

truck stop diner smiling bus boy

wondering if this city slicker is quicker than silver

sweeter than gold

he’s got that brush of hair

one longs to trace

wisp on the chin and along the jaw

is this the heart to hold

the image to mould into future mistakes

to tumble him in the seat beside me

the rusty red 64 pick-up

coughing down the highway

into the looming storm

a sky spread with zig zag fever strokes

a desert spreads out before us

endless cinnamon sand

to be dug through

 

but neither of knew

what words to say to take that moment

to step out of it

to shape the world

into someone with a heart to hold

into someone to build a castle

in the cinnamon sand

empty seat beside me

an aching voice on the radio tells me

look in my face

there will be hope

when the morning comes

stump03

sign of spring

This month I am looking at some of the pieces I may be reading as part of Born To Be Blown. I was tempted to make some of these a bit of a guessing game – who inspired me – but with a title like Cinnamon Sand it isn’t much of leap to Cinnamon Girl and Neil Young. I dug his hair & wondered what his mutton chops would feel like between my thighs 🙂

The piece echoes many of his songs in the same way, with sprung rhymes or variations on his lyrics – ‘horse rockets in the afternoon sky’ ‘I dreamed I saw the silver space ships’ with a dash of Crazy Horse – a real mash up perfect for someone in the future tired on unravelling Joyce’s riverrun.

stump02

lamp of the future

‘Zig Zag’ is his electric guitar sound – which often comes like  jagged lightning. I wanted to filter in some queer sensibility in the way I think Neil might have if he were queer – ‘smiling bus boy’ being the diner waitress Neil would have fantasied of picking up.

stump01

the first cut

It also has the sweet romantic longing for those things Neil seemed to long for but never had, or maybe he did – I never did late night driving or truck stop diner stopping but dreamed of it. But like castles in the sand (opps that’s a Hendrix reference) I didn’t try to built a reality on those longings, just a few poems.

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redbulge03

my favourite red head?