Gift

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Gift

what am I accepting

when I accept this gift

is it an emotional bond

I’m not interested in

that I haven’t instigated

it’s not that I don’t like them

as a person

but I’m more disinterested

than anything else

 

I know the gift 

comes from a good place

that one cannot have too many friends

but at the same time

one can be 

shall we say 

discerning

so if the gift comes with strings

no thanks

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees – thankspaypal.me/TOpoet 

Resistance

Finished Week Three of The Artist’s Way. Julia sure loves lists. Looking into the past to clear the vision for the future didn’t turn up anything new from my pre-Toronto east coast growing up. The only real memory of negativity was the reaction of Malcom Ross – then head of the English Department at Dalhousie University – to my first attempt at a novel – it was about a character coming out & he felt the subject matter wasn’t suitable.

Looking back I’m not sure if it was because of his personal moral stance or because the writing itself wasn’t as strong as my poetry at the time. he had been very supportive of me as a poet. I still have that novel somewhere in my paper archives so I may dig it out to see how it stands up as juvenilia 🙂

My worse critic is often self-talk & not what others have said or written about my work directly. When I was involved in a crit group I felt supported up to a point but rarely got as much feedback as the others – was it because my work was fine or because they didn’t think it was worth bothering with? At least with the Loyalist workshops I got lots of excellent input. Plus some of the fiends I made at Loyalist are still people I’m in contact with – but the poetry work-shoppers have drifted away; I only hear from them when they send out bulk invites to shows.

Thanks to covid19 closings artist dates have become photo excursions. The pictures here are from my walk Thursday (Mar 25). I took TTC to Wellesley Station & walked home from there. Part of the walk crosses the Rosedale Valley Overpass then the Prince Edward Viaduct. The pictures are all from the south side – some looking as down as I could lean over the rail. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Don River so clear 🙂

Resistance

if his resistance 

has been any smaller

it would have taken 

an ant to measure it

but as it was 

it was big enough 

to change me 

on a molecular level 

each time he was near

my atomic structure 

began to revolve around him

 

heads would turn to see  

where that unseen vibe 

was coming from

eyes would linger on his lips

his smile

his teeth

each hair on his head

would mesmerize 

drawing power

from the love light 

in their eyes

charging him up

for more powerful emanations

 

and that was me

sitting by his side

who noticed me

did it matter

as long as he noticed me

as long as he was in me

as long as I was the one

who held the key to the shield

that protected him

 

they all wanted 

the part of him that was only mine

the shadow of his power 

protects me

while keeping me 

from the full expression of my own

the difference between us 

was less than than 

the thickness of a spark 

jumping from lip to lip

the nano-storm flash

of realization from eye to eye 

 

we were merged

separate unified individual

connected

shaping the universe

for all to follow

living in that gap between 

want and want even more

giving and losing

taking and reflecting

the bridge

between life and death

we were on the breeze 

on the disappearing species list 

 

nothing was safe

cataclysmic explanations 

elemental tables were upset

we didn’t sit with them

they resented the

absolute the power we held

when our hands 

were merely reaching

for one another

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

April
? – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – date to be announce thanks to COVID19

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

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

Measure Up

Measure Up

I concede 

I’m not that competitive

whether you are the better

isn’t that important to me

I want to be judged

on my merits alone

not on how much 

better or worse I may be

compared with anyone

better is relative

 

who is the winner

the one who comes in first 

or the one who finishes the race

on their own terms

 

I grew up

in a school system

where I learned 

I would never measure up

because I wasn’t smart enough

to memorize the times table

smart enough

to regurgitate passages of text books

when I wrote exams

even when I was right

I was given no credit

because my spelling was so wrong

 

coming out

I learned I would never measure

I was never young enough

buff enough

hung enough

to be desirable enough

in the eyes of those

who I wanted to measure up to

without realizing

I was trying to measure up



Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020- sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Virility

The Best

‘you will be my third today’

he was proud of his virility

‘I save the best for last’

I wasn’t interested in being his best

‘you have a nice ass’

 

not that I thought he was

anything more than a fun fuck

but to hear of his conquests

wasn’t arousing me

 

we’d met on line

he was a 30 something

whose nickname was blktop4u

blk meaning black

it started with him messaging me

I had glanced at his profile 

even though there was no pic

it laid out the facts honestly

the first time we hooked up

I didn’t expect him to show

but he did

he was as he claimed to be

though his profile 

didn’t say he needed to fuck

three times a day

 

that fact didn’t come out for a year

we’d meet every month or so

I’d hear about his background 

but he was so fearful of identity theft 

we could only make contact

via the dating site

no cell phone

no email

 

sometimes longish text chats

on the site

then he’d show up

as arranged 

until one day he didn’t 

he contacted me two days later

to explain

he’d had a better offer

in a deluxe condo

 

so my interest changed

next time we chatted

he was so keen to play

I declined

I declined another two times

then said sure come on over

but if you’re a no show

it’s a no go ever again

 

I began to discount 

everything he told me

there was no truth

in the shifting life of a man

who wouldn’t even tell me his name

things were okay until he told me

‘you will be my third today

I save the best for last’

 

I declined to be part of his body count

said no

he asked why

I replied

you can’t always get what you want

then blocked him

because he wasn’t the best

A poet friend of mine recently started a little discussion about pieces we’ve written but that we have chosen not to share for various reasons – such as – didn’t want to tigger listeners/readers, too emotionally revealing, too blunt & judgemental. For me this is one that I am tempted to hide away – or put in an envelope ‘to be opened twenty years after my death.’ Hidden because of the the racial content & also because of what it reveals about my sex life.

 

 

It’s also a piece about a backhanded compliment. When ‘he’ said I was the best I’m sure he didn’t realize what he was saying wasn’t heard as a compliment. For the most part this is a factual real life adventure. I’ve omitted a few details that didn’t add enough to the story. The dialogue is verbatim.

 

 

Because of his secrecy I was never interested in letting our interaction become more than physical. As time passed I became more ‘illusive’ as well. It takes more than sex to keep me interested. But he never asked for more than sex, either. never needed transit money etc. 

 

Then he made the mistake of telling me about his sex life. Now, I didn’t think he was a one man man nor did I expect him to be. I’m a realist. I didn’t trust all of what he told me most of the time but when he casually mentioned ‘my third today’ I believed him. I didn’t challenge him, what was the point after all we were merely FB with no strings. My reply is also verbatim. 

 

I have heard from him since – I guess that’s one of the rewards of being ‘the best.’ No thanks.


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020 – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Vow Of Noise

One of things that is discussed in The Artist’s Way week 3 is shaming  – things like ‘you think you’re so great’ or ‘get a real job because your ….. (fill in the blank) will never make enough money & is only a hobby’ or ‘boys don’t do that sort of thing’ ‘good writers know how to spell & punctuate.’

 

My parents often encouraged me to be more like other kids – the subtext being that I wasn’t good enough – oddly when I said wanted to do something or have something the others kids had I was told ‘think for you self.’ My parents wondered why I preferred to spend so much time alone & then worried about the artsy people I began to hang out with – musician hippies & clearly drug users.

 

Thanks to the current covid19, social distancing, work at home, I’m reading lots of griping about being alone & how boring it is. I’ve had years of social distancing so this all come natural to me. When, as a poet, one doesn’t drink, smoke, use any number of social drugs people have been happy to be socially distant from me. Go figure. 

One of the tasks is a ‘bad habits’ list which syncs perfectly with an excellent book I just finished reading – Deep Work by Cal Newport. Frittering away time on-line is one of my most non-productive habits but it is a hard addiction to step away from – made harder by the constantly changing covid climate. The need to know can take over the need to be productive.

Vow of Noise

I took a vow of noise

a promise to the future 

from my silenced past

to say what I have to say 

not to stop for anyone

not listen to anyone else 

because once I’ve said it all

it’s all been said

no one else will ever have to 

find the right words

I’ll have saved them the trouble

I’ll have made all the necessary apologies 

all the required promises

solved the intellectual  conundrum

of what to do with emotional blind alleys

 

here is the solution 

gushing out of me

at the speed of sound

stop talking and listen to me

you have to hear me

I‘ve been given 

the sole rights to speak

the rest of the world 

can be plunged into silence

think of all the work that’ll save you

when only I have the right to talk

 

if you don’t speak your mind

your mind will be silent enough

to realize

that no one has anything to say 

so you might as well let an idiot

like myself 

do all the talking for you

make an ass of myself

so you can rest quietly in your homes

relaxed and untroubled  

by even the need to formulate a sentence

the blessing will be sweet serenity

who can ask for more

not you

because you aren’t allowed to talk

 

I have taken on that burden 

for all mankind

I’ll be the only one

who has to answer to the Maker

when the time comes

it’ll be so much simpler

one solitary voice 

to speak for all

no clamour and clutter 

no shouting arguing yelling

conflict will disappear

and you’ll have me to thank

surrender your right 

to conversation to me

the one who has taken 

a sacred vow of noise

has taken endless repetition

off your backs

and put it on the tip of my tongue

nothing will be repressed

I’ll get it all off your chest

and into the the universe

I’ll leave no hatred unuttered

no blessing unfulfilled

no sacredness undefiled

praises insults slurs slaps

adulation love 

I’ll take over all that

a single direct voice will be more effective

undistracted by points of view 

 

are you getting this down

are the cameras on me

beamed into smart phones

movies will be silent once again

a new calm will settle on the earth

as silence takes over

as I tire of the sound of my own voice

while you go about your daily lives 

content in the knowledge 

that I am speaking up for you

soon you won’t even have to listen

you won’t need to hear

that sonic shift

will get our planet on the right track

all that noise pollution 

dampening down

you won’t need jobs

because they are are only there 

to get you enough cash to communicate

but when you have no need to speak

there won’t be anything left 

to communicate

slip into serenity

till even I have nothing left to say

 

I can stand on any hilltop

to the be greeted by the calm

all around me

no sound waves to move the clouds

bliss will arrive softly

a rain drop on my lips

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

April
? – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – date to be announce thanks to COVID19

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

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

Haunted

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Haunted 

there is this theory

that it is unfinished business

that keeps spirits on earth

but we had no unfinished business

so I don’t know why

I’m haunting him

 

it wasn’t my intention

to haunt anybody

when death fit me like a glove

I thought

this is it

I can take it easy

let myself relax

let this new dimension

can give me whatever shape I need

 

I don’t have to think

of who I am

what to do

I can just be nothing

I welcomed this loss of self

 

only to discover

him

he was holding 

onto more than a memory of me

as far as I knew

we were sexually familiar with each other

affectionate but not emotionally invested

at least not the point

where I would be

hovering behind him

in a shower steamed mirror

gone before he could turn around

 

I don’t want to be here

he’s not the one

I’d pick to haunt

 

it would be you

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees – thankspaypal.me/TOpoet 

 

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?’


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020 – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Last Word

One of my past behaviours was being a mouthy prick – sometimes unkind, sarcastic – in order to prove that I was intelligent. I’ve talked before about how negativity is seen as being realistic while being positivity is delusional. Sullen is sexy, broken pulls the ‘I can fix them’ heartstrings. Intact & happy is often seen as smug, superior & arrogant – musts to avoid.

As a mouthy prick I always made sure I got in the last unkind word. Sometimes saving something in particular for that last sniping comment. The need for unkindness has pretty much disappeared. I’ve learned to keep my big mouth shut, trained myself not to take the bait, & leave the nastiness to people who get paid for it. 

 

There was a competitive element in this as well, topping the other person’s remark with one of my own. I noticed recently that I still tend to do this but in a more subtle way. I often exchange sexy texts, found gifs, real pics, with a couple of guys I see. Fun & flirtatious but my competitive nature often means I have to get in the last word & can’t leave it when they say or post something hot, I have to find something or say something even hotter, to prove I feel as strong or even stronger than they do.

It dawned me that they wouldn’t even start this verbal, pictorial foreplay if they weren’t already aware of my attachment to them. I didn’t have to keep proving it to them. So I have stopped myself from sending one more reply. I let theirs be the last word. You know – good relationships have gotten better 🙂

Inner Dialogue

I

is an ego construct that often leads to mud in it

don’t

negative is addictive and contagious

know

knowledge is fleeting at best

where

 ability does allow for change 

to

is it relevant to a point

begin

 in the beginning was the word so why not start there

to

again with that need for control for a sense of purpose

tell

it is better to show than to tell 

you

at last a break in the shackles of I

but

 another ambiguity which opens the possibility that perhaps you don’t know where this is going and yet continue trying to take it somewhere

I

back to the insular self

wish

ah don’t we all need that hopeful call though wishing is an abstraction. we long for something concrete

you

seesaw back & forth in this push pull of linguistics I you which is it to be inspiration or inconsequence 

would

ah giving permission to the other to find an entrance in the process of thought and perhaps an indication of a dialogue with the I and the universe of potential

shut

now closing so quickly after the promising invitation of would

the

a definitive article – are we heading for the concrete or at least a window

fuck

an unexpected turn of phrase that cools the room down without a window being opened

up

an indefinite direction how far is up when does up become up

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

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

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

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

Dusty

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Dusty

I didn’t feel anything

was it supposed to hurt 

I thought this is how

it’s supposed to feel

not that I enjoyed the feeling

it wasn’t pain

it wasn’t pleasure 

merely

this is how I felt it always would be

that everyone lived in fear

 

this was the fear

that I was supposed to hide

or be hidden from

after enough time

I became unaware 

callose

I learned to live with it

didn’t conceive of being without it

 

it was like growing up

in a dark room

not knowing there was light

then one day

a window opens

to reveal the layers of dust

protection

I’ve been cloaked in

choked in

 

one fear replaces another

how much light can I shed

& still be safe

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees – thankspaypal.me/TOpoet 

No No No

No

no thank you

I’m not that hungry

 

I’ve learned 

it’s okay to say no

to what I don’t want

it has nothing to do with you

it’s not something I would

ordinarily eat anyway

I’m not watching my weight

just my intake

 

so no thank you

I’m really not hungry

I had a snack earlier

yes it looks good

but no thank you

 

why can’t you take no for an answer

no I won’t want it later

I realize all the work you put into it

the time it took

that you planned this specially for me

I am pleased by the efforts you took

but that’s not enough

to make me want to eat

what I don’t want to eat

 

I know where that compliance leads to

so I’m saying no now

I won’t be pressured

no doesn’t mean 

open for negotiation

if I let you talk me into this

you’ll think

you can talk me into anything

that you can coax me

into doing things I don’t want to do

even those harmless things

 

this no is relevant

no thank you

Based on a true story! Or rather on true stories. Some people take a ‘no’ to food, or a drink, or the drugs they love & want to share with you, as a rejection of them. The ‘no’ becomes your personal judgement on them as cooks, hosts or possible sex partners. One host who persistently offered me a drink thought I thought his wine wasn’t to my snooty standards. 

Similarly saying ‘no’ to the offer of some tokes in a bar became playing hard to get – I was merely refusing not to smoke up not refusing to socialize with them. But for many people booze, drugs = socializing. At one time I would do a little explaining about being in recovery etc but you know, in the long run, it wasn’t worth the effort.

If they can’t understand a simple ‘no’ it isn’t up to me to justify that. Explaining can quickly become negotiation. If you won’t do this maybe you’ll do that instead. It create a conversation of persuasion that I’m not interested in. As the menu of options increases my interest decreases.

At a restaurant with an extensive wine list the waiter offered several he felt would compliment my meal perfectly. I told him clearly that I don’t drink & that I wasn’t interested in his suggestions. In fact every entree on the menu had a suggested wine listed with it. I wanted to say – if I need wine to make the food taste good then I really don’t want anything.

Of course ‘food’ here is symbolic for the many things people present hoping we’ll take – emotional demand, time demands, sexual trade-offs. Taking ‘no’ for answer is defeat. But if they aren’t listening to me & see my ‘no’ as a challenge I’m not interested.


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020 – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet