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. 

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.

paypal.me/TOpoet 

Distant Dance.01

#Toronto #chapbook #Fiddlehead #CapeBreton #WordPress #DistantMusic #photography #UNB #archives #angst #NovaScotia #lgbtq #closeted #review #amwriting #spokenword #inspiration #poetry #Ontario

Dances of Apocalypse

Capypso Calypso

water running freely

I am your river bed,

set sail upon my body;

let me rain upon you

while a day dry spot remains.

<>

if there is mystery

hire a detective

perhaps he can follow

deep into the forests

twisting, turning, rising

up mountain, down valley

finding oceans between.

<>

I am blind alley lost

if that’s how you find me,

tossing off whatever lines

crawling baited with words;

let me pull you to land,

let my star-hook catch you

as your revelations

become Apocalypse

for this poor fisherman.

<>

Square Set

gorilla sunshine

Sunday promenade

my African lady

prayful ravager

graces without virtue

the hungry textures

of her orchid flesh

<>

freeze the scene 

mute clean forever

mood maiden’s gestation

crying zebra infant

born upon straw

as aphrodesiac

<>

crossword writer

heralds by cannon

newly confused issues

of fragments strewn

humble jumble

sequential sparkling

against the rhythm

beating in suspicion

that I am fear

<>

lackadasical stairs

leading expertly

to doorless walls;

how do I get in?

why do I want out

of walls with no doors?

stairs with no wells?

illnesses with no cures

<>

Fox Trot

the meaning 

of spirals

escapes me

just now,

eyes closed

doodling 

fireside circles

<>

burn the expression clean

turn the precious key

in my head or somewhere

found huddling between

taking myself back in

  or

giving myself all out

<>

walking tall

and straight

isn’t really

important

when

in the end

you’re lucky

to walk

at all

<>

Tarantellas

entertain only collapsible thoughts

before the unattainable is revealed

before you cannot see beyond frustration;

marginal mirrors, crafty devices,

reflect only the background so clearly;

you, the foreground, become so indistinct

that all I can see are your misted eyes

peering out from the vivid evergreens

showing me the path beyond the seasons:

destroy the constant bordering distance

so the final sun rises and sets on me

being everything without horizon.

<>

turkey-face readies for waltzes in the straw

while I search out her magnetic north poles,

spread-legged in the marble arch of change

baring my timid flesh to trumpet scorn

sugary jazz swayed up through the ceiling

into a vision of sexual vagrants

trotting, hastily candid, all night, naked

except for clothing their apple-bruised eyes.

<>

Hong Kong recognition for the humbler

peace by piece constructing a gilded loom

foaming with potentially sleepy songs

to the intently triangular sobs

of mystics clinging to the morning post;

I’m another one, I know all to well,

who can barely repeat, but fabricates

so much that this ash-peace in purity

falls short when autumn tress blaze brightly

without any hints of skin searing heat

rolling huge Douglas-pine-legged day-dreams

across an ultra-submarine-filled notion.

The books starts with a suite of short poems each named after a dance style. One reviewer remarked on the subtle way each reflects its title. But that reflection was coincidental & the titles came after the pieces had been written at various time & without attempt to make them relate to one another or to dance either. The title Calypso was suggested by the sea & water imagery in the piece. Square Set & Fox Trot were suggested by the short lines & clearly Tarantellas by the wordy lines. 

I’ve left the typos in this first piece & marked them but have removed, corrected them without indication where they showed up in the other poems. I was tempted to include them in brackets but that disrupted the flow too much. Maybe I’ll do an addendum for the typos only.

Calypso open the book with an invitation to set sail into this world of my imagery, warning about blind alleys that can be dead ends or escape routes to other mazes. Calypso lured men into her caves. The readers understandings can be so different from the writer’s intent that the writer’s intent is humbled. 

Square Set is full of alliteration, surreal imagery, with a slightly sexual undertow. The influence of Dylan Thomas is so clear to me with phrases like ‘gorilla sunshine’ ‘orchid flesh’ – warm moist images that jump into ‘freeze’ – a humble jumble of words & sensations that don’t really lead to a way to get in & ends up boxing itself shut.

Fox Trot is a dance where the couples moves in small circles, the lines in the piece are short & the in the end it wraps around itself 🙂 I sense that I was looking for a way to unlock the future, to open myself up & possibly open the closet I was trapped in. 

Tarantellas has lines that sprawl, with images about searching mirrors for clarity, looking for direction, a path – an echo of uncertain that runs through the the previous pieces. I find traces of poets I hadn’t even read i.e. Ginsburg in ‘sugary jazz swayed.’ I was a Bob Dylan fan & Ginsburg was a clear influence on him with thusly influenced me. There’s also a nod to Canadiana with Douglas pine & barn dance straw. 

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.
paypal.me/TOpoet 

unDigestable

Architectural un/Digest/able

The White House

architecturally speaking

holds no interest for me

big sprawling 

designed to impress 

not to live in

history was made there

apparently

but to me

it isn’t even a photo op

merely a symbol 

of promises unkept

of hopes betrayed

need ignored in favour of profit

not for progress

I’ve seen it from a distance

that’s close enough for me

I wrote this piece a few years ago, before the current US president turned their democracy into a media circus. I may have written it while in DC or shortly after coming from Capturing Fire that year. The city is a great mix of architectural styles with something surprising around the corner from something surprising. This would have been the week of Capturing Fire 2020 so it synchronistic this piece should come into the flow now. (Will I ever get to use my travel vouchers?)

So I have had visual contact with the building in question 🙂 I’ve watched a few TV documentaries on the history of the building, one about Secrets, another a look at Christmas Decorating. I’ve even checked out how one might tour the inside but applying to Canadian Embassy in DC is more trouble than I want to go to. I was hoping it would be like booking a guided tour of the Zoo. 

What I have learned that the interior of the house has undergone many extensive alterations that the outside is a shell, a facade, which seems mighty fitting symbol for politics anyway. I don’t say American politics but politics in general, as I don’t think the Canadian system is all that ‘transparent.’

Race riots have been happening for as long as I recall. Colonialist attitudes & actions have echoed throughout history. A few tweets around BLM that have really clarified things for me “Be grateful we want equality, not revenge.” “There are no caucasians in the Bible.” But race issues, like poverty, will be around as long as there is profit in it. The White House was built by colonizers.


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

The Echo Echo Echo

The Echo

because I disagree

doesn’t mean you are wrong

<>

seeing things differently

doesn’t mean I know better

our ideological differences

ultimately don’t mean anything

minority majority

there’s always a power disparity 

our control over

each other

is still limited 

I may not be in charge

but neither are you

as we are caught in this dance

of conformity to

cultural imperatives

that define confine

us to gender roles

race roles

age roles

financial education class boundaries

that we struggle to tear down

or to reinforce

often without questioning why

they came to be in the first place

<>

there are noisy 

spokespersons on all sides

who shout down each other

as to who is right wrong

when the loudest wins

it’s only the echo

of what could have been

This piece starts with what I consider a truism which if more people understood there’d be no real purpose for twitter 🙂 There not agreeing is seen as treasonous, seditious & unpatriotic. I’d say un-American, but only the US president can make that decision. That’s disagreeing on a bigger playing field. History is seen through the eyes of the historian, not the eyes of the people who lived it. Colonizers see property rights as earned not stolen.

A variation on that truism is ‘just because I’m not arguing doesn’t mean I agree with you.’ What it does mean is that I’m not easily drawn into arguing because my experience has been the more insistent either side is the less productive the conversation is going to be. Not that I think we ‘should all be friends’    but we can respect one another’s individuality.

One of things recovery has pushed me to do is to examine more closely my own conformity to cultural imperatives, how lack of conformity to some of these imperatives has influenced me. One, that I’ve blogged about before is how masculinity is childhood is defined by fighting back with bullies. I was not a fighter so my internal self branded me a coward.

The news is often dominated by media whores who will tweet, say, do anything for attention. They don’t need information or even misinformation int heir reckless disregard for common sense. Contradict them & you are seditious, ignore them & you are seen as resentful & envious. The only dialogue they are interested in is the one in which you agree with them, not one that will lead to change.


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

Kitchen Kitch

Over the basement door & the door to the dining-room I these two pairs of plaster ‘ornaments’ that I bought in the early 2000’s at a street sale on my street. This was an annual event early in July – will it happen this year? I doubt it as interest in it has declined over the years to the point where only a few house drag stuff out. At one time it was almost a real flea-market with tables of brass, dvd’s, & the like.

I did have stuff, back in the day, & sold off lots of lps, useless nick-knacks, even books. With so much covid purging the past few months I’ve seen possible street sale stuff dragged to the curb to take away or trash so I doubt if there’ll much even if there is a street sale.

Any way I bought these, now of dubious political-correctness, orientalist hangings. Hand-painted, with a couple of chips, there when purchased. Very 50’s, early 60’s feel to them that I love. the perfect size for over a doorway. I resisted a set of grapes & also a set of daises. They lacked the true kitch these have.

By the basement door is this poster on a board. It was an unexpected bonus when I bought the newly-released, expanded, collectors’ edition of The Return of The King at Sam’s or maybe it was HMV. I had picked it pop for my partner who was is TGH at the time for heart issues. As it was unexpected I had to cart it there & then home on the subway.

By the window is my orange tree (now outside for the summer). It was started from a seed that had sprouted in the orange. I planted it & it actually grew. Full spectrum grow light over it. Beside it, against the wall, is ‘Sober-Up.’ Enamelled metal, 30’s style advertising – that maybe be for a real product. It was part of a friend’s estate – when he passed I got to chose a few items & this seemed like a clear choice.

Finally another yard-sale purchase – an egg chicken. Every kitchen needs a chicken. You life the top off & store eggs in the body. I’ve never used it to store anything mind you but I love it. Hand painted with a bit of a 30’s retro about it at the same time. I doubt if it is a period piece though. I also doubt if people keep eggs outside of the fridge either. 

Aphrodisiac

I know you’re sore

after that gal you’d been hitting on

walked out on you 

after three drinks

how the last two chicks you dated

dumped you via text message

one of them still won’t return your calls

how they turn into such selfish bitches

but just because I’m a clean old queer

doesn’t mean I have any interest 

in your macho macho meat

the fact that you’re straight 

just ain’t my aphrodisiac

<>

you may think I’m one of those 

predatory homos you are sure 

are always lurking around

hungry for any straight guy 

to fall into my eager mouth

well honey 

you are in a dream world

the fact that I checked out our jeans

was because 

I was wondering where you got them

<>

you know in this light 

you are sort of cute

and kind of sweetly drunk

but I’m not drunk enough

so why don’t you find your buds 

you aren’t getting anything here

‘cause if them nasty hos

you always seem to end up with

aren’t interested I’m certainly not

the fact that you’re straight 

just ain’t my aphrodisiac mac

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.

paypal.me/TOpoet 

Voyeur’s Picnic

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Voyeur’s Picnic

I only close the blinds

to sun

to too much light

never to the eyes of others 

we’re on the 2nd story of my house

you can’t see in from the ground

from across street

not even from the 2nd story

of the house across the street

<>

they can’t see us

naked

on the bed

not that I’ve tried to look

into my house from their vantage point

but I certainly can see nothing

when I look across to theirs

besides

there is no one in their houses

I’d care to glimpse

taking off clothes

making out

<>

so I only close the blinds

to sun

I keep them open most of the time

if they can see in

they to be working at it

I’m rarely that close to the window

if they are working at it

they are welcome to see me

dry my ass after a shower

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

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.)


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

How Dare She

How Dare She

the outrage

at her success

was matched by the publicity

the outrage

brought her success

 

how dare she

a woman

write like a man

how dare she 

use men

the way men used women

 

the obscenity 

of carnality on stage

was too much 

for the male powers that be

when she wouldn’t back down

they shut her down

sent her to prison

sentenced her to becoming

the top box office draw of the decade

despite being a woman

 

her success

didn’t silence her censors

it only made them more eager

avid

to teach her a lesson

to be obedient

to shut her mouth

watch her words

or they would snip the words

so only the censors heard them

 

so she

took her money to the bank

& bid the public

good bye

 

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

This Isn’t A Compliment

 Discernment

it’s not that it isn’t satisfying

in no way is this a judgement 

of the quality

the quantity

there may be deeper flavours

those aren’t the issues

really

it’s not that there’s a alternative

or some way

of not accepting what is offered

in favour of something else

enough is enough

even if it is only available now 

there is no need to apologize

explain

or delay

what is here

will have to do

this isn’t a complaint 

merely compliance 

taking it in

making the most of it

while admitting

this desire not to have more

at least not more of the same

We live in a paradoxical culture in which we are either polite to the point of codependency or enraged when our desire to control is thwarted. We say or do things we’d rather not do just to spare someone feelings then get pissed if they aren’t grateful enough. 

Often we’re dealing with people who see our disinterest as a person attack. Not to noisily agree with them is seen as arrogant, judgemental closed mindedness. 

Discernment becomes pretentiousness. As the current USA President demonstrates, to be even mildly critical is to be dismissed as an unpatriotic hater – if you aren’t blindly with us you are against us.

This piece is a list poem not one with with a direct plot line, no narrative other than the one the reader imposes on it. So if you didn’t find it had a beginning middle or logical ending – it doesn’t. It respects the readers’ ability to make connections, to find their way without every moment being sign-posted with neon arrows.

Some of the lines are things I’ve overheard, hear on TV/movies, read where people are talking about identity, sexuality, or food. Words have been given a spin but changing a letter, adding a letter etc. Pulling them out of one context & dropping them into another. Like the piece, this chat about the piece feels there is no need to apologize or explain. I’ve discovered that what I say & what you hear can be two different things anyway. 


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

Wrestling With Connection

Week 7 on The Artist’s Way is about connection to creativity – as opposed to our connection with others. One of things that hampers that creative connection is perfectionism. I have a writing friend who has been perfecting the same thirty page opening to his novel for some ten years now. It has to be perfect so he can send it to an agent etc. He no longer asks me for advice 🙂 I stopped that by telling him it would cost $100 an hour for a minimum of three hours before I would be willing to look at his work-in-progress.

There is a section on risk – the willingness to try & not succeed as we envisioned. For me this is part of the process of letting go of expectations, of control. In recovery they say you plan the plans but the results are in the universe’s hands. I’ve painted rooms one colour only to have the paint dry in a different one 🙂

As with the Ways chapters so far there some sifting through the past for missed opportunities & for good turning points. In my covid house-cleaning frenzy I’ve unearthed old note books, old rough drafts, old photographs. Those photos reconnected me with where I was in my early 20’s, long before I moved to Toronto. I’ve also been reading Old Trout Funnies – an excellent book about a comic book series by Paul  ‘Moose’ MacKinnon that was first issued while I was living in Cape Breton. (https://www.facebook.com/OldTroutFunnies).

Moose was one of my drinking crowd & he included real people (some of whom I knew) in the comics & calendars. In one issue there is even a plug (page 70) for my poetry book ‘Distant Music’ which had been published at the time. So there was actual creative support for me in that community at that time.

 

One of the tasks was to wear a favourite item of clothing for no special reason. All my clothes are favourites, so what I did was to pick some things I rarely wear but save for intimate encounters 🙂 Namely some wrestling singlets & some revealing undies I bought a few years ago. Very snug but also very sexy. Photos “fansonly” 🙂

My Underwear

it seems the best way 

to put out the fire

in your heart

was to run over to a bar

drink till there was 

only a stumble of drunks 

to deal with

there was no way out of it

except to break the windows

push your grandma down the stairs

so what if there weren’t 

any stairs in our apartment

you still get the picture

 

yeah I know

drawing it in crayons

all over the hall to our place

wasn’t a great idea

but you have to admit

it caught the lighting of the fire

without using up all the reds

only the blues

the blues you give everyone

who is lucky enough

to catch you on your balcony

ready to jump

don’t do it

or if you have to 

wait till I get back with coffee

I have to be careful 

the contents may be hot

but wet will always 

put out the flame

it makes no difference to me 

what burns you out of my system

hot coffee or direct flame

 

maybe tossing all your undies 

in the shredder was a bit much

but it seems the only way 

to keep you out of them

to keep you fresh

ready and pliant

not that you wore them 

that often anyway

going commando

wasn’t a rare event

bare-assed at McDonalds

where did you park those buns

yeah not so funny

does it look like I’m laughing

all the way home

to the shadowed moment 

when there once was a dart of hope

now just a bunch 

of empty coat hangers

in a clump 

I can’t pull apart

hangers that once held

everything you ever wore

around the house

out in the street

 

yeah I’m a total liar

I never picked up a drink 

because of you

that isn’t going to happen

wasn’t even tempted

you took something out of my life 

but you left behind 

more that you took

I don’t need to breath 

it’s all up to you now

as if it alway wasn’t

 

I can’t get over

the number of times

I wanted to paint the hall way

that I wanted to use 

your tooth brush to clean 

the coffee machine

so I wouldn’t have to go out 

for a fresh cup to dump 

in your laugh

because I’m sure 

that behind closed eyes

you are smirking like a tried urinal

knowing that you pissed 

me off one too many times

 

you know

if you were here now

I’d probably take you back

but still wouldn’t trust you 

as far as you could throw 

my underwear

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

paypal.me/TOpoet