Fear Walks In

Fear Walks In

some people

bring fear into a room

ideologies that I am expected

to accomodate

without knowing


they prejudge me

for prejudging them

merely because of who I am

of who I appear to be to them


I am an enemy on first sight

without having to say a word

or take any action

other than being there

of being unlike them

they feel unsafe

because I am not invisible

and it is my fault


all my fault

for not understanding

what they haven’t told me

At a recovery meeting, when we could meet face to face, after a step had been read aloud – going from person to person around the room – a member shared on their difficulty with the hetero male normative language. When they read their section they de-gendered the language & as did some of the others who read. They implied that those of us who did not, lacked sensitivity to important gender issues. 

I gave an inner shrug – I’ve been around recovery rooms long enough that I am not unsympathetic to this but at the same time I’m in recovery to recover not to deal with linguistics or how to do the gender appropriate reading aloud of the literature. 

Referring to God as a him is off putting to some people, referring God at all is off putting to some people – if I don’t take pains to make the proper substitutions I make them feel unsafe. What can one do. Stop reading aloud? Ask for a show of hands, before reading starts, of people who feel unsafe because there are cismales in the room who don’t mind being called he? Online some people are including their pronouns as part of their names. (By the way my pronouns are it or that.)

After reading at an lgbtqia open stage an audience member spoke to me about enjoying my pieces but wondered if such sexually explicit material was appropriate because many in the community were triggered by such material. I had introduced one of pieces as being explicit but I guess I hadn’t allowed people enough time to leave the room. I’ve spent enough energy in saying my ‘partner’ & avoiding gender specific pronouns so as not to offended delicate hetero sensibilities that I’m not going spare lgbtqia by suppressing myself. I’d rather not perform than get trapped by self-censorship.

The fact is I’m not all that sensitive.

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

‘told I am too loud’

If Hot Damn’s first 2020 show is any indication the series has successful created a welcome space for the many intensely creative people who don’t choose to conform with cultural constructs of gender, sexuality or race yet have to contend with issues of body image, language Diaspora & employment. If you don’t want your complacency challenged this show is not for you.

some lines from the first round of open stagers & slammers: we all want to get home – it’s my hand on the pen – this is where I get to tell my side of the story – O felt every time I fell in love I’d become someone new – binary craft calculators – when gender & genetics collide it’s a battle – your past will follow in your footsteps -more suitcase than body – if I stop having kids so I stop being beautiful – I don’t know how to say love in my language – afternoons spent in the belly of the beast I didn’t know had consumed me – am I now an artist or a seance – I will not be validating your feelings – you are so brave – I still carry dry petal in my pockets – one days I can’t take care of myself I look after the garden, shame is a limb that isn’t mine – I am named after the blood in my mother’s mouth

Feature Yes The Poet – started their set with a uke cover of the Rolling Stone’s Beast of Burden that gave the song a authenticness I’ve never heard in it before. It became a folkways dustbowl recording from the early 20’s. Yes’s Cuban heritage started the spoken part of set with a heartfelt prayer of thanks (in Spanish) to grandmothers that added another spiritual context to Hot Damn.

some lines from the set: joy is having something to leave behind – some nights my sex us the predator – let me be soft & not a girl at the same time -only seeing their homeland in the background off Becky’s instagram feed – shrink to fit the paper work – I’m told I am too loud by people who aha never been told to be quiet – nobody liked me but because I told jokes they left alone – 

some lines from the second round of open-stagers & slammers: to write a poem you must bust a window – tinted in all the right places – I find myself melting on an angel’s tongue – promise to live you in sickness & in sickness – they grey with the colours dancing inside – not smiling for the first time in my life – I sit & watch the feet as they go by – tricks the eyes of your heart – my gender is a rabbit pulled out of a hat every morning – sex is my disappearing act – relearning of conversation mechanics – don’t think I don’t remember you – a lumberyard of silence – Pluto did it make you feel less empty to be recognized – as if changing a costume would change the body in it – threes no shame in fear – words in a language that doesn’t belong to either of us – my skin comes with a history – pathologizing my no.

Someone asked why I don’t name who performed, other than the feature. One of the things often chanted at slams – it’s the poem not the points. So this is about the poetry not the particular poets. A winner was declared, bug happy prizes were given. A good time as had by all.

I did this piece from my Shanty Tramp set

Old School Walk

guys in high school

knew things about me

that I didn’t know

or rather didn’t fully understand

I was a small blond boy

with very fine hair

I let grow longer

like pop stars of the time

long hair that got me teased

or was that bullied

with name calling



gear box

in the days before

faggot or queer were used

I knew they meant

that I wasn’t manly enough

not that I was fem

but I was not like them

nor did I try to be

I never knew

what it was that tipped them off

until one day a guy I knew

suggested I should walk

more like man

walk like a man

I had no awareness then

of how I walked

or how men were supposed to walk

in fact

I had no body awareness

beyond my awareness

of the bodies of the boys

in the locker room

this guy

gave me some lessons

in how to walk like a man

lessons I didn’t understand

it wasn’t as if 

I was deliberately

walking any one way

it was something 

I couldn’t consciously change

the right walk

wasn’t going to cure me of anything

any more than dating girls

having sex with them

cured me of being a fairy



Sunday –  January 26 – 1:30 – feature: The Secret Handshake Gallery, 170A Baldwin (Kensington Market) – 1:30https://www.facebook.com/events/498405247456842/

March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre


Richard III – Stratford Festival


Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 


All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet



(read out loud as fast as you can 🙂 )


moonbelly sings

the system cannot withstand close scrutiny

moonbelly sings

cities are centres of copulation

The voice male female sings the truth

cities are centres of copulation

people long to hump wherever they can

homes are only places to

hide our bodies when we copulate

a property system

that cannot withstand close scrutiny

without falling apart at the seams

without being found wanting

more houses for humping

systems that keep the hidden in its place

seeking out moist crannies

in bathroom stalls

dark cafe corners

groping   stroking

longing for closer scrutiny

a cry of mercy mercy me

I want to be taken down to the river

that flow through the city

that is the centre of copulation

where there are fashionable shoes

come milk me pumps

blowing the water into the air

a fountain of orgiastic tropes

shag hump bump get it on

we all want to get it on

praying for the right opportunity

to come along

and drop its sacred pants

while acting as if there isn’t a sweet itch

waiting to be scrutinized

smiling in anticipation

trying not to look too desperate

because no one is that desperate

in this centre of copulation

there is always something there to remind you

it’s time to wake up get down to it

rise and let the sun crawl over your flesh

even where it doesn’t shine

it wants in

it wants to taste what some call sin

we all want to take that hasty dash

along the right of way

to do it the right way

to do do do do it all night long

fountains of bursting potential

raining down wet sloppy kisses

on all who put aside shallow shame

at being happy to be here

in this centre of copulation

this city that scrutinizes each and every soul

points it to towards the right hole

wink wink nudge nudge

you gotta wanna get it on and on

many don’t even care with who

when moonbelly sings

it always brings a tear to my fly

‘cause it’s no use sighing over spilt guilt

grill under wooden bars

This is one of my favourite pieces for performing. The breath control required though is demanding & usually I do it to get energy flowing for a set. I love the bounce of rhymes, half rhymes, fleeting images that connect over-the-top moments  “fountains of bursting potential/raining down wet sloppy kisses” to create a roller-coaster of fun.


under white bars

This is as close to slam style as I get, or want to get. It lacks the anger or social consciousness that gets points – too much fun. I wanted to write something that was all out joyous about sex.

construction under construction

I love the song references (almost demanded by slam) plus the reference to a most obscure singer – you’ll never find this song on YouTube. I performed first a few years ago with SoulFistikato doing vocal beat box for it. Sublime.

Made a last minute decision to dust it off for the open stage at Hot Damn! tonight. https://www.facebook.com/events/858657287486703/. I was asked to be one of the judges & figured why not get some stage time in while I was at it.


snowy snowman

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr – follow me there 🙂 https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet