Distant Dances.02

Dances of Apocalypse 2

Hornpipe

one more morning

is all I need

to fill my sails

to sooth my lost feelings

with Neptune sensations 

ripped from the quaking mound

of the Virgin’s first child

Hornpipe because this is a short piece with sea references & Biblical allusions. Jesus filled the sail of the fishermen’s boat when needed to sooth their fears. Was I wondering what would rip me feeling from me? Melodrama mistaken for depth:-)

Cakewalk

Japanese pagoda

growing in Rome 

or was it Venice?

all jade fragile

amid marble columns

awaked by murky waters

steaming morning haze

when we roll off our pallets,

to silky cool

onto the the polished mosaic floor;

looking to the chiming clock,

listening to the pigeons fly.

open for daylight

onto freshly fallen snow

mingling white with the Pines,

or were they Spruce?

high in Smokey Ridge

deep in Twin Rock Valley

Cakewalk – not sure why this one ended up with this title. A piece about displacements, paradoxical dreamlike images that travel from Japan to Rome & end up in Twin Rock Valley – which is in Cape Breton. I had friends, draft-dodgers, who had bought a farm in the hippy get-back-to-the-land phase. The waking up to fresh snow is a real moment  Maybe the title refers to the fact that back-to-the-land was no Cakewalk for them.

Minuet

fame and fortune are not goals

merely drugs to opiate the system

to deaden the feelings of futility

of creating in the face of destruction

<>

let the pygmies of Paris eat me alive;

make them scourge the meat off my bones;

let the sniper with his random pulse

find me accidentally in his sights;

put the final, fleeting, flash blow

into someone else’s hands,

take the responsibility from me,

I handle these things so badly,

even when I remember what to do.

<>

the moment of truth (never now)

comes slow, to disturb the calm

to strengthen the desperate feeling

that destruction charges with energy.

Minuet – polite little dance – much like the dance of expectations, no wait, expectations are rarely polite. I grew up in the shadow of nuclear destruction, war in Vietnam, war protests & racial strife in the USA. Kennedy shot by a sniper. The randomness of violence was pretty far removed from me in Cape Breton but it was felt. Why create when we can annihilate the world in a moment?

Quadrille

impatience is the problem;

the waiting should be over

yet it persists in hiding,

making me lust in secret wanting;

words merely fall,

not for insight

but only to pass the time

before the curtain finally goes up.

Quadrille – this word makes me think of cotillions for some reason. The piece, as I see it now, is wanting to be an adult, ‘lust in secret’ is the itch to be out & making conversation to hide that fact. Like waiting for the plane to land – you want the flight to over.

The Last Waltz

bed-ridden, guilty-disappearer

alludes carpets backwards

into ember sparkling through cozy air,

crackling crystal cut perspectives

reflections held too closely eye-ward

making a pyramid of ink blotches

stretch out

turn in

till there is no border to be fought

only a multiplicity of images to sort.

<>

Nov. ‘73

The Last Waltz – the final piece in this sequence is both an invitation to look back before you go on then a warning that there’ll be even denser imagery to deal with in what follows. In looking at these I see a foreshadowing of of images to come with references to Africa, Japan, Egypt, Canadiana, water, music. When I first wrote these I was not conscious of these patterns. I also see various influences of pop lyrics, as opposed to ‘serious’ literary ones. 

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Catholic Girls

Mary Teresa

Mary Teresa said

I can’t play with you anymore

her mother came out

get out of our yard

you aren’t welcome here

her brother Gerald

pushed me to the gate

you heard my mother

get lost

<>

Why

<>

Gerald shoved me again

punched me in the face

stop that his mother shouted

but Gerald hit me again

I could taste blood

<>

get going

you trouble maker

his mother pulled him away

you people are always trouble makers

now get going

don’t come back

don’t speak to Mary Teresa again

you hear me

she said

<>

Mary Teresa glared at me

from the top of the steps

stuck her tongue out at me

<>

I didn’t know what I had done

Mary Teresa was a year older than me

so I guess she was eleven

her bother maybe thirteen

they lived a block over from us

but neither went to my school

they had their own

Saint something or the other

where the Catholic kids went

I wasn’t Catholic

<>

we had lived in the neighbourhood

for about a year now

I knew the different schools 

there was taunting and chasing

that I avoided

<>

I didn’t understand how their God 

gave them the right to bully

told them who was good

who was bad

years later I still don’t

understand

Catholic Protestant whatever

caught in a match

of who’s piss is closest to the good book

<>

I never did speak to Mary Teresa again

<>

Here I have a sweet mash-up of real memory, somewhat fictionalized characters, and the real social context of Sydney, where I grew up. There were separate schools for the Catholics that remained separate for decades. Up to grade 10 – when some mix was allowed with catholic boys going to the multi-denominational high-schools. Catholic girls had their own high-school so keep them from being raped by heathen Protestant boys.

Depending on the Catholicism of the parents us kids weren’t allowed to mix. The incident here is based on more than one event. I did have some kids who we had played tag with tell me they couldn’t hang out anymore because we weren’t Catholic. Simple as that, as children we didn’t have the knowledge base to get into theological discussions. I did hear of kids told to get out of yards because they weren’t ‘micks.’

Even then the excuse of religion to justify bullying was acceptable. I say excuse because even today one can use ‘religion’ to justify any unreasonable fear rather than face that fear. The Bible says races shouldn’t mix so to prevent that lynching is logical. The Bible has relegated to a photo op prop anyway. I’m not anti-christian by any means but not particularly Christian either – so please, piss on someone else.

 

(I’m still getting use to the new WP editing program & can’t figure out how to put in poetry line breaks hence the use of <> to indicate were breaks would be if I could figure out how to get them there.)


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Dining Room

A souvenir of the writers’ workshop/retreat at Loyalist College in Belleville. There was also a painters workshop at the same time. One morning we visited the painter, saw their work, then read some our aloud to them. I swapped one of my Renaissance anthologies for this painting. Int he area many houses have a large bed of orange flowers – at one time to signify it was the home of Orangemen. Yes gardens were once tools of political & religious importance.

One of my role models 🙂 Tweety could get away with tormenting Sylvester with the dog ready to rescue him. The brass cymbals were a gift many years ago. I ring them on the full moon. In the window  you might notice a stained glass Cape Breton Island sun catcher.

The patron saint of writers – St Michael – the only saint with a sword. I bought this Broughton’s – a religious items store not he Danforth, just east of Woodbine. They have since gone out of business. I bout this ceramic figurine at their going out of business sale. It hovers on the plate rail over me by the computer. The bearded guy under his foot is part sea serpent. The Welsh plate beside it is a nod to my Celtic roots. It might have been gift or I may have found it at a 2nd hand store.

Photos of photos 🙂 The first by my niece before she she became branded as Betty Rocksteady. I love the triple exposure effect & its surreal Man Ray vibe. Check her out on Amazon.

 

The other is by my friend Kyle Andrews – driftwood in sunset on the coast of Nova Scotia around Canso Causeway. 

 

 

 

My lunchbox collection. These are from various years of FanExpo & were included as part of the deluxe package. Supposedly limited editions – but what does that mean? Were unsold ones destroyed?  repurposed? repainted as Terminator XIX lunch boxes? The photo, one of my favourites, is of no one I know. I found it on one of my walks, leaning on a garbage bin. I couldn’t resist it.

Photosynthesis

something happens when 

my skin 

is in the same room 

as yours

 

I don’t have to know you are there

I can feel something 

though my clothes 

through every layer 

coat sweater jeans undies

a emanation comes from you

your eyes   your smile

that changes my chemical structure 

it grows glows down to my toes

 

in fact

you don’t even have to be there

someone can mention your name

& I feel like a leaf turning 

to your sun

your picture 

your voice on the telephone

 

my hypersensitive flesh reacts

the closer you are

the less subtle the reaction

the more alone we are together

the less subtle the manifestation 

radians through the air around us

as we snuggle to watch TV 

step into a shower

approach the bed

emanation that knit

pull us closer closer

enmeshed in each other

breathe the same air

walk in the same sunshine

wash with the same soap

 

complete without each other

yet always eager for the knit

creating opportunities 

to mention the name

laugh about something or the other 

we could have done

caught up in the shower

lost between the bed and the TV

 

there are times 

when opportunity

allows awareness of another

I feel it first in my skin

I look around the room  the street 

to see where its coming from

can it be returned

eyes become heat seeking sensors

I’m a turning leaf

looking for some sun

more light 

more opportunity to share that flow

with someone else

even if it is merely to acknowledge 

not act

don’t have to act every time  

anytime

the grace of light fills us 

each to overflowing

 

no need to fear 

there won’t be enough

all I have to do is breathe deep 

open myself to the gift

of your sun

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June

(canceled by covid19 😦 )June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

(Maybe) All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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Remembering Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

My sister found a cache of old photos during her isolation house cleaning & sent a jpeg of this one of me as a very wee lad in Wales. I have very vague memories of the several months I spent there but it was pre-kindergarten years. I was an only child, we were living in Winnipeg – where I was born. We were visiting my mother’s huge family in Merthyr Tydfil. By huge I mean at least 10 bothers & sisters. I had lots of aunts, uncles & even some cousins.

How did we get there? I vaguely remember spending time on a liner – The Franconia II (?). We did have a photo of the boat for many years & my sister may yet find that 🙂 as she digs though decades of papers.

It must have been a cool day in Cardiff as I’m wearing top coat & well wrapped in a scarf. Anyway the most telling thing about the photo is the rather wide belt. I was a hyper child & the only way my mother could keep me from climbing light poles was to keep me tethered. I’ve marked the actual tether & its shadow in one of the pictures. I remember the tethering but have no memory of the cause 🙂

 

The other pictures are of a more mature me – all unearth by my sister several years ago. On the beach at Broad Cove along the Cabot Trail. I loved that hat & stuck feathers in it. The shirt had blue stripes. I also love what we called ‘pit socks’ thick wooled, not exactly summer wear. The child I’m dragging might be one of my sisters but looking closely at it I doubt think so.

Next is me in a nice white shirt, possibly one of my Dad’s. The car was Prefect that my dad bought me to teach me how to drive. We’re at Memorial Gardens so I could drive around the road there. Despite the nerd look I never did learn to drive 🙂

 

The final ‘remember me’ is early 70’s in my almost hippy days 🙂 US draft dodgers had bought & started a farm in vape Breton. We became friends & I visited them a few times. I had a crush on a couple of the guys but didn’t know how to go from thought to action. Other than hair (& weight) I haven’t really changed much, have I?

Odds 

these days if I don’t know 

I’m willing to step up and say so

I no longer waste time 

with bluffing and postulating

on what I thought it might be

wasting time 

on half right information

that gets no one anywhere 

except back to blame

blame an easy place to get trapped

it means not going forward 

but is the ideal excuse

to look for what went wrong

that might have been avoided 

if i had been willing at one point

to say 

I don’t really know

my guess 

isn’t going to be close enough 

let’s get the right info 

then see where that leads us

because sometimes 

even knowing isn’t the solution

I have the right fact for the wrong situation

I may have no idea 

what the fuck is going on

so it is better 

to make that clear from the start

let someone else 

with half right information 

take the lead

so we have someone to blame

though sometimes 

there is no right or wrong way to go

it’s just important to go

to not stay stuck 

waiting for a clear sign

for verifiable facts 

to present themselves

but waiting can be 

such comforting thing to do

a great place to be

in which nothing gets done

and no one is to blame

we may not get ahead of the game

but at least were still in it aren’t we

I don’t know

there see I’ve admitted it

I don’t know 

if we’re in the game or not

I don’t know 

how to find out either

does it matter

is it all really a game 

or is that an allegorical handle

used to make things 

seem more manageable

one that does really work

because rules shift so fast

it’s impossible to keep up with them

impossible to repeat 

them make them work

we have to keep plugging 

away on available information

be prepared for change

take another step 

in some direction

think we get the clear sign

step up 

and get flatten 

by an on coming car

I hear that can happen

that’s why I’m afraid 

of winning the lottery

42 million dollars at last 

& a piano falls on me

as I go to the bank to cash the cheque

no I’m not a fatalist

a pigeon could shit me 

on the way to the bank

but that’s the worse 

regardless of how big the cheque is

or is it a cheque 

an automatic bank transfer

a few click of keys 

it’s in my account

I don’t know

I’d love to find out 

I’m willing to learn

I am open to suggestion

to new information

but this is postulating

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Fortress of Louisbourg Redux

Another set of photos from my Cape Breton Trip in August 2019.  

my summer look

the bloody shepherd in the Military Chapel

dog of the bloody shepherd

wound of the bloody shepherd

toy soldiers

social distancing

live chickens – not animatronics

cannon balls

Does anyone know the story behind the wounded shepherd?

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North Sydney, Cape Breton

 

pre motherboard keyboards

state of the art teletype

red glass

candle sconce

Cape Breton Condos Complex

Affordable Cape Breton Single Family Condo

Fort Petrie Directional Aid

distances estimated not exact

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Rotary Park 

I have fond memories of Rotary Park  when growing up in Sydney. It was just far enough to make it a trek but not so far one couldn’t get there by bike. It was the city reservoir & locals would picnic out there & swim. Needless to say it has become more urban wild than woodsy wild – with actual gravel trails – we only had beaten paths in the olde days 🙂

Entrance – Greenlink refers to trails

spray pledged forever love

shale & aspen

Greenlink map – note no Tim Horton’s !

the lake/pond?

water over the dam

teens hanging out at the top of the dam

wild blueberries – yes I ate some –

we would come here as kids to fill buckets with them

more water over the dam

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Climbing A Stairway To Christmas


The stairway landing has been come a landing runway for various festive bits over the years. The illumined snowman in front of the mirror is a year round feature. It gives enough light to the a very dark spot & makes it safer for anyone going up the stairs. The mirror reflects that light enough. The light web I picked up at Shoppers several years ago & allows for fun festive lights. It also remains up year round but gets its most use in December.

The rest of this stuff, I mean treasures, comes out only for the festive season. My partner is a Lord of the Rings/Merlin fan & his nieces etc sent these wizard figurines over the years. The tall skinny Santa is another relative gift. The disco bear was a gift from a friend many years ago. Scattered around are some plastic snowflakes – gift of a friend. Humpty Dumpty Is one of my Cape Breton pieces – I bought it from Humpty Dumpty chips – sending in several wrappers or bar codes, I think, plus postage charges. He balances, as is fitting, at the top of the mirror.

On the window ledge is a set of Red Rose ceramic miniature tea pots. I ordered this from Red Rose many years ago. Corporate take over there ended all such fun stuff. The Paris souvenir was a gift from a friend who went to, of all places, Paris. I don’t think Notre Dame, the Tower & the Arc are in scale to each other 🙂 I added it to the seasonal display. The police car is just for fun. The caroller is a tea candle holder. The sand castles where a fad many years ago & at one time had little flags which have since been washed out to sea.

 

Finally, suspended over all is the angel. A tree topper, too big for our tree, it comes from a friend’s store of childhood decorations – when he moved back to NS he took the bulk of his decorations that had been merged without ours butI kept this one as everyone needs a Christmas angel on high 🙂

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Coal Dusters – Chapter LXX Birk’s Rude Awakening

Coal Dusters: Book 1 is now available as as PDF – this covers the first 35 chapters – 65540 words – send $1.99 to  paypal.me/TOpoet

Coal Dusters – Chapter LXX

Birk’s

Rude

Awakening

#Toronto #Wordpress #coalmine #amwriting #gayromance #lgbtq #nanowrimo #CapeBreton #novel #Ontario

Birk could hear his mother downstairs in the kitchen. Singing “Bringing in the sheaves” as she clanged the stove top covers. He could still feel Clancy’s hands on him, feel the slide of their tongues  in each others mouths as they kissed. They had started out in the front bedroom Clancy was to use but ended up back in Birk’s room in the bed that was familiar to them.

He rolled onto his back and stretched his arms and legs as far as he could on either side. The bed was cool where he expected to feel the heat of Clancy. There was no one there with him.

“Clancy?” He sat up. He pulled on his pants and went to Clancy’s bedroom. It was empty. The drawers were open and empty. There was nothing in the closet either. On the pillow was a note. 

“Birk

I’ve got too much to do with my life. It wouldn’t be fair to you let my feelings keep me where I don’t want to be. When I can I’ll be back. If I can’t come back I’ll never forget you, you hairy monkey.

Clancy”

#Toronto #Wordpress #coalmine #amwriting #gayromance #lgbtq #nanowrimo #CapeBreton #novel #Ontario

Birk could hear his mother downstairs in the kitchen. Singing “Bringing in the sheaves” as she clanged the stove top covers. He could still feel Clancy’s hands on him, feel the slide of their tongues  in each others mouths as they kissed. They had started out in the front bedroom Clancy was to use but ended up back in Birk’s room in the bed that was familiar to them.

He rolled onto his back and stretched his arms and legs as far as he could on either side. The bed was cool where he expected to feel the heat of Clancy. There was no one there with him.

“Clancy?” He sat up. He pulled on his pants and went to Clancy’s bedroom. It was empty. The drawers were open and empty. There was nothing in the closet either. On the pillow was a note. 

“Birk

I’ve got too much to do with my life. It wouldn’t be fair to you let my feelings keep me where I don’t want to be. When I can I’ll be back. If I can’t come back I’ll never forget you, you hairy monkey.

Clancy”

– the end –

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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Dominion Beach Party

On my August Cape Breton visit I spent an hour or so on Dominion Beach. I can’t remember the last time I actually stood in the Atlantic Ocean 🙂 

Dominion Beach before the crowds

view of the Lingan Power Plant from the beach

‘the beach has changed once again’

public shower

horizon

TOpoet.ca under the horizon

feet in the sand

clouds over Dominion

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