Dear Santa

My mother was a memory hoarder. My sister has been going though boxes of things stored in our family home & has unearthed things from my past. This letter to Santa was one of those treasures. It tells me so many things about myself at that time – when was that time? Probably when we first moved to Cape Breton in the mid50’s. Before my brother was born. While I was learning cursive writing in school.

The spelling mistakes & writing errors are things that I am still plagued by in my hand written notes. Even then I couldn’t write as fast as I thought & so my letters stumbled over each other resulting in scratching words out or writing over them. 

I can remember learning cursive in grade school. We had to have a special scribbler with lines to train us how to keep uniform sizes for small & capital letters. I have vague memories of the actual exercises but, much liking tying my shoes, there is no specific moment. I do see the influence of my Dad’s writing in the shape of some of the letters.

I was very keen on that cowboy suit. It was not the first one I had – it was a hat, vest, chaps & a two-gun holster. A cowhide print but probably not on cowhide. I recall getting fire engines a few times. Red plastic with ladders that could be swivelled & cranked up with a gear. I love me asking for ‘any old toys you don’t want’ Even then there was no such thing as enough but willingness to accept the mystery ‘any.’ 

I suspect the ‘thank you’ was suggested by my mother though, that’s not the sort of thing I would have added. An early lesson in trying to curry favour though gratitude. The ‘good at school’ sounds like me. I can’t say if that ‘good’ means if my marks or my behaviour had improved 😉 

Envy

if I want what I want

& want it now

does that make me 

motivated

decisive

or obsessive

<>

is it better to be goal driven

or to live in the moment

is what happening now 

as an end itself 

rather than a step 

to something  better

something so much better in fact

that is happening now

loses flavour

makes me impatient for this to be over

so I can get on to the next best thing to do

<>

if i don’t what i have now

how did i end up with it

should i have had better plans

did i miss the turn

take the wrong page 

out of the wrong book 

& end up with the last thing i wanted 

or is this what i want

but don’t recognize it

have i been blindsided 

by some urge 

that spun me so far off reality

that i no longer know 

what i like anymore 

do i want what what i have

<>

if i have what i want

is it important to reach fulfillment

is contentment settling for less

or accepting things as they are

because things aren’t that bad

pretty good in fact

though it took some time

to sort through wants needs 

haves 

& don’t needs

<>

i always thought i wanted 

to be adored

worshipped in fact

because being loved 

wasn’t fulfilling

then it dawned on me

that what i really wanted was envy

i wanted people 

to wish they had what i have

not that i know 

what i really do have

<>

it took awhile to sort that out

to filter it through 

the expropriations of cultures 

to a point where i had 

a hard kernel of fact 

that then escaped me[

because there are so many

bubbling hesitations to distract 

direct my attention

that i forget what i discovered

so maybe that isn’t 

the hard truth either

though i’m better off now 

than i was once upon a time

when the world was young

and i was a mere boy

on his way to the old fishing hole

dangling a can of worms 

on the end of his line

hot sunny day barefoot on the path

he walks down to the stream bank

warm rocks to sit on

not evening thinking of writing a word

or getting laid

just being

just being

without want

<>

now that is something to envy

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A Christmas LivingRoom

One Christmas Day decades ago on my morning walk I found this baby sock on the sidewalk. I couldn’t resist it & brought it home. I hung it on the fireplace screen as a Xmas stocking for the baby Jesus. The glass bell beside it is a more recent addition. I stole it at a White Elephant gift exchange a few years ago. For those unfamiliar with that game part of it is the taking of gifts from one another.

In one corner of the living-room is a dvd cabinet that gets a seasonal make over. The festive ‘cloth’ is actually plastic, which is why the creases have never folded out of it. The embroidery is real but done by a machine & the ‘lace’ is laser cut. It was another White Elephant steal. 

On top of it are a couple of kitch but not seasonal items that only come out for the season. The praying hands are done in a delightful lime green flocking. They were a recovery anniversary gift over 30 years ago. They were a re-gifting from a friend who got them from someone who had picked them up on a visit to Las Vegas where else). My friend was a little insulted by them here as I was delighted & had them on display for years than decided they were best as a tonal feature.

The 3D picture is a take on classic protective angel hovering over children. This was a very popular Victorian trope of which I seen many representations from oils, prints, jigsaw puzzles & even embroideries. I bought it unframed a yard sale. 3D pictures are always kitch no matter how artful they maybe – this one is merely depth – the faces don’t flicker between pretty & skeletal or demonic 😦 I have it for many years as well & am always happy to take it out of hiding so the protective angel can hover over us all.

This final, for this post, picture goes back to 1981 – our first year in this house. You can see the actual mantle piece & the fireplace at work. That’s me pouring over some book that I almost remember but I do recognize the bookmark as a postcard of a Cocteau drawing. We still have that tinsel garland.

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

January

Thursday 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

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

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

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

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

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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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Christmas in My Bathroom

For December I’ll be sharing Christmas memories that I’ve stored away as ornaments over the decades. Up first is this busy creche scene than has grown over the years. The oldest piece is the stained glass star that my partner made before we met – so it goes back at least 45 years. No, now that I look closely, the oldest are the Red Rose Tea ceramic figurines from my childhood in Cape Breton.

The creche was a gift at our first Christmas party way back in the early 80’s – I love the simplicity of it – though over the years the setting has become less simple 🙂 It always reminds me of my friend Frank (downed by AIDS neglect) who gave it to me. The Pope, with solar waving hand, was a gift, as were the Jesus & E.A. Poe action figures the other side of the Archway. The Jesus beside the Pope was found in the street, as was the Statue of Liberty, & the colourful ‘village’ people, including the skier on top of the Archway.

The Archway was another gift one Christmas, its also a digital clock but no one had figured out how to set the time. The ‘jewels’ are actually napkin rings but I felt they did more good here than on a table. The camel is from my friend Kyle’s childhood creche array. The turtles – not sure from where actually. I may have picked up the shell turtle on my travels.

The colourful ‘village’ people are this year’s additions. I found a bowl of them at the curb & plucked out the ones that weren’t too badly broken. They fit in perfectly. Another last minute addition is the Born This Way wrist band that is so appropriate for the Virgin birth – Jesus didn’t ask to be saviour but he was born that way.

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Sneak Peek January 2019

A quick look back before the peek – my TOpoet.ca following jumped to 298 maybe I’ll get to 300 by the end of January. Twitter is up to 210 thanks to more internet entrepreneurs following me 🙂 & Tumblr steady at 214 – it would be much more but I block any hetero-porn sites that follow me. Also a nice jump in WP hits that started when I stopped the auto link to Tumblr & replaced it with Google+.

 

Speaking of Tumblr with the new ‘adult content’ standards – it seems lots of nude picture posters have abandoned ship, some gone to twitter  (until twitter enforces those standards I guess) – those that remain are still as explicit as ever – so I’m not sure what is going on there. I’m still having to block hetero sex/dating sites from following me.

 

For January I’ll be back to posting Coal Dusters, new pieces prompted by the 227 Rules For Monks & rambling on about poems I have written. I enjoyed the Christmas stuff I was writing & will make that a new tradition for every December. The response was very positive for it but even if it wasn’t I’d do it anyway 🙂 Monday: my music collection; Tuesday: Coal Dusters; Wednesday: poetry chat; Thursday: Rules; Friday: inspirations, Disability After Dark or whatever. Saturdays will be for the occasional reviews of books, poetry shows.

Speaking of shows Hot Damn!’s January 10th show will feature Capturing Fire founder Regie Cabico. This will be a high-energy set that will leave you both shocked & grateful – plus a workshop in the afternoon. Hopefully he’ll confirm the dates for Capturing Fire 2019 so I can plan what to wear to DC this year 🙂

 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice-cream in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Humpty Grinch in the Box

 

I bought the Humpty Dumpty way back in the 80’s for Humpty Dumpty potato chips. I had to sent four bar codes. I can’t remember if $ was involved too. I blame the effect of the salt on the potato chips for my memory lapse. There was a time when I loved potato chips but eventually they were too salty or soaked with flavoured chemicals & that compulsion was removed.

 

 

Anyway I love this little stuffed toy. The details are mostly glued on though so it is clearly not meant to be played with. It quickly became a part of my festive decor & now its perched atop of a mirror on the landing on my stairs.

 

Another stuffed decoration is the Grinch which I picked up at Shoppers (or maybe Howie’s before it became Shoppers) at Danforth/Coxwell, sometime in the 90’s. I’ve added a few details over the years 🙂 the stocking he’s stealing showed up one Christmas, stuffed with gifts, a few years later. The reindeer I picked dup at a yard sale & it was the perfect size for the stocking. handcuffs! Well, what can I say. He did the crime & is ready to do his time every year when he comes out of the trunk.

 

Finally is this tree ornament that I picked up at a Jack in the Box takeout San Diego in December 2000. I had won a trip for two there to see Elton John in concert performing Songs From The West Coast. The trip included airfare, hotel & thickets to the concert. I took a friend. The hotel was miles from anything though so we did public transit one day & had Jack for supper that night. They were selling these ornaments. 

 

As you can see not all my Christmas decor has bitter-sweet emotional memories for me.

Top Ten Things I Love About The Grinch

10 – he looks good in green and red

9 – he’s not afraid of heights

8 – he makes a plan and sticks to it

7 – he likes winter sports – sledding

6 – he’s willing to admit when he’s wrong

5 – he can sew

4- he leaves your house cleaner than it was when he arrived

3 – he knows how to use a whip

2 – he has a wicked grin

1 – his dog loves him

Plus one

It wasn’t only his heart that grew three times larger

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Christmas Aneramics

 Aneramics

In recovery one can get dumbstruck by an intoxicating lust for another member in recovery. This is known as 13th stepping – turning the hand of AA into the gland of AA 🙂 This has happened to me a few times in my early years. One of those times was Andrew X. X, of course, to grant him some anonymity.

Andrew was the living embodiment of a Tom of Finland character. For those of you unfamiliar with the type Google can help 🙂 Thick set, muscular, nordic features, square jaw, broad forehead always with a sweep of hair, slightly squinty eyes, and well-hung. 

 

For a couple months we hung out a lot. I helped paint his apartment, we talked before & after meetings. Once we went all the way one afternoon. Neither of us was disappointed, & both of us stayed sober too. But, as it always the case, there was more attraction for him on my side than from him. 

He met the man of his dreams & they quickly set up housekeeping. We remained good friends though. They were regulars at our Xmas day feast for a few years. Andrew started a ceramic side-business – Aneramics. One Christmas he gave me a set of angel chimes that now hangs every December in the bathroom. Another year it was set of teddy bear ornaments. One of which I still have.

 

We remained good friends & his partner & I got along nicely. I was on Andrew’s home care team as his HIV progressed. He was eventually transferred to Casey House where he succumbed to the disease. I was heartbroken & still miss him. I put up the chimes every year. The tip of one of the angle’s wings has broken off & though I could fix it I have resisted. Andrew wasn’t a perfect angel either.