Running Out

Running Out

I was running out of excuses

no  not excuses 

I was running out of lies

it’s not easy being a nice guy

really

 

it’s a conundrum

when you have great sex

with a guy who isn’t your type

who says he had a great time

and wants to see you again

while you aren’t just that into him

if the sex were boring

it wouldn’t be so complicated 

so that’s when the lies start

busy

sister visiting

sore throat

 

why can’t he take a hint

why can’t I just say

I’m not that interested

there isn’t enough chemistry 

between us for me

it’s nothing personal

well I guess it is pretty personal

it is him you are saying no to

 

even after the second time

when I had run out of excuses

the sex was good

but good isn’t enough for me

I want to feel 

not necessarily an emotional connection

but something 

more than the need to make excuses


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

Joy To Compost

Joy To Compost

on the thirteenth day of Christmas

streets are lined with death

discarded red wrapping paper

crushed into snowbanks

silver garlands mashed into ice

green ribbons wind-tossed into trees

gold bows under snow tires

unopened gifts jammed

into recycle bins

broken ornaments in gutters

eager excitement drained

 

on the thirteenth day of Christmas

dead pine trees

sacrificed for someone’s joy

threads of stubborn scarlet tinsel

remainders reminders

that pleasure

like life

is temporary

that death is permanent

 

on the thirteenth day of Christmas

my true love sent to me

the message of

dust to dust

joy to compost

You are correct to think this was written early one January. Someone described some of my poetry as being reportage. This one is literally what I saw on various mornings on my walk-abouts. Some years I’ve seen trees out on December 26. The ribbons & bows often start their glittery littering early in December. I don’t know what is worse the early start to store decorations or the early start of decoration discarding.

 

The repeated “thirteenth day” is an echo of both the Christmas carol & the unlucky reputation of 13. It is truly a season in which our ‘joy’ comes at the cost of sacrifice yet there is little reverence for the sacrificed after the glamour of the moment. Everything becomes disposable & ruthlessly cast aside. Very little of it is biodegradable – mostly philosophically degrading 🙂

 

I have a fake tree that we’ve used for decades. I’m sure Xmas tree farms are more humane that chicken ranches but killing a tree for the birth of JC doesn’t have scriptural support. In Toronto the cast-off live trees are collected for composting of some sort – get tossed into a tree shredder & are used on hiking trails. I’d love to see them used instead of salt on sidewalks. That fresh pine smell would making slipping a little more pleasant.

 



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

On My Kindle 01

Last week I wrote about childhood sets of books. This week I’m looking complete sets on my Kindle. One of the cool things about Amazon for Kindle are the number of collections complete works by authors whose works can be impossible find in bookstores or even libraries. Different ebook companies have brought together set of mostly out of public domaine books at ridiculously low prices.

For example the set  “Slavery: Not Forgiven, Never Forgotten” – which for about $2 US includes:

Narrative of Frederick Douglass

12 Years a Slave

The Underground Railroad

Up From Slavery

Willie Lynch Letter

Confessions of Nat Turner

Narrative of Sojourner Truth

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

History of Mary Prince

Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom

Thirty Years a Slave

Narrative of the Life of J. D. Green

The Life of Olaudah Equiano

Behind The Scenes

Harriet: The Moses of Her People

Father Henson’s Story of His Own Life

50 Years in Chains

Twenty-Two Years a Slave and Forty Years a Freeman

Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb

Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave

Story of Mattie J. Jackson

A Slave Girl’s Story

From the Darkness Cometh the Light

Narrative of the Life of Moses Grandy

Narrative of Joanna

Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown, Who Escaped in a 3×2 Feet Box

Memoir and Poems of Phillis Wheatley

Buried Alive (Behind Prison Walls) For a Quarter of a Century

Sketches of the Life of Joseph Mountain 

Oroonoko

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Heroic Slave

Slavery’s Pleasant Homes

Our Nig

Clotelle

Marrow of Tradition

Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

A Fool’s Errand

Bricks Without Straw

Imperium in Imperio

The Hindered Hand

The History of Abolition of African Slave-Trade

History of American Abolitionism

Pictures of Slavery in Church and State

Life, Last Words and Dying Speech of Stephen Smith Who Was Executed for Burglary

Report on Charge of Aiding and Abetting in the Rescue of a Fugitive Slave

Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases

Duty of Disobedience to the Fugitive Slave Act

Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

Gettysburg Address

XIII Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1865)

Civil Rights Act of 1866

XIV Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1868)

Reconstruction Acts (1867-1868)

Whew! This is a university syllabus that probably no university book store or even research library could supply. 

Many of these sets are to broaden my knowledge of some writers who are known for their big hits; others are by authors of queer interest whose works I knew vaguely or of whom I have never heard of before until reading about them in my endless readings. One set is the Works of John Addington Symonds. I knew of him through mentions of his interactions with Walt Whitman. His books on Ancient Greek culture are sometimes citied in histories of queer writing. So I figure when I first got my Kindle to read some of those works. Interesting essays about travel in & history of Italy, but thank God writing style has changed. 

The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft (+ 130 Poe short stories); Mary Shelly: The Ultimate Collection; The Complete Works of Bram Stoker. Who read what Mary Shelly wrote other than Frankenstein? Stoker wrote more than Dracula? Reading their other works one sees the why those works have faded. Mary was more or less an accidental writer & reading he rather work it’s easy to see why some suspect her husband played a role in her big hit for the plotting & characterizations. She was not really a fabulist. Bram became an almost tradition writer of his time & none of his other plots were as ‘startling’ as Dracula. 

Lovecraft is a boyhood favorite of mine. His plots are rich, his writing style now strikes me as overly florid & it is creamy influenced by the Shelly & Stoker – but he does avoid, the most part, the need for some sort of romantic subplot. My bedroom on the east coast had slated ceilings so his story about the room with odd angles in the ceiling & walls always appealed to me. Those angles lead to another dimension. I have the bio ‘I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft’ on my e.bookshelf short list.

It’s not all gloom doom or educational on the Kindle thanks to Stephen Leacock: Humour Books collection; Mark Twain: 51 Classic Works. Both of these are authors I loved in my teens. Leacock still makes me laugh out loud. Twain can go on but he had a grasp of the foibles of human nature I love. His short pieces are fun & the longer books reflect their times. Both a writers of the local experience – Americana, Canadiana full of innocence that still speaks of today. Who isn’t intimidated if not anxious dealing with banks; has the plight of blacks in the USA progressed from the fears of the runway slaves in Twain?

Book Bound

in one of those boys’ books

tom swift hardy brothers

can’t remember which one 

there were mysterious lights 

on the cliff

or were they from a strange shape 

in the ocean

hovering by the moon 

something distant and indistinct

but threatening

 

tough guys

were skulking around town 

something held in coat pockets

that might be a gun

a magnetic pulsator

that would incapacitate  

one or all of our heroes

who would come to

tied up somewhere

worry about their girlfriend

they always had girlfriends 

who were peripheral 

to the story 

but clearly in place

so we young readers

would not get a whiff 

of anything more unsavoury

that those unshaved goons

with foreign accents

who slouched around the ranch

the railway yards

to do no good

 

the boys always had girlfriends

so no one would get the idea

that they weren’t the ideal role model

ripe with normal heterosexual 

pubescent tension

that let them figure out 

how to cut those ropes

how to make the star capacitor

turn the hydrogen to oxygen 

so they could breathe again

float to the surface

drive off

fly off

with the adoring faces of their girlfriends

soft and worshipful

 

red-haired teens 

with freckle faces

none of them shaving yet

jumping into their roadsters

worrying about their kidnapped fathers

deciphering cryptograms

punching each other joyfully 

in the arm

as each hurdle was accomplished

as each bruise cleared up

always ready to face 

the next opportunity

never doubting what they could do

never questioning 

how they really were

what did this all mean

why couldn’t they go

a few weeks without smugglers

Martian terrorists lurking around

to make make it difficult for everyone

 

they never had to face peer pressure

other than the football team

a team that never got drunk after a big game

boys who where boys

becoming real men

growing up slowly

always gaining parental 

acceptance and approval

amazing their pals

yet not letting it go to their heads

square jawed 

rugged 

individualist who only disobeyed 

to make things better

grew up with out self doubt

normal heterosexual 

pubescent tension

that let them figure out 

how to cut those ropes

but how not to escape

what was written for them

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

https://www.facebook.com/events/504067323723768/

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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 andBbad Times Theatre

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

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

https://wp.me/p1RtxU-uJ

The Rules

The Rules

the rules don’t apply to him

though one isn’t sure

if he understands the rules

he nods

smile

when anyone explained them

then never follows them

he acts as if his lack of respect

is your problem

that it is no big deal

when he does what he wants

regardless of how disruptive

it might be

he says

politically correct is bullshit

he speaks his mind

without apology

he talks wherever and whenever 

he wants to 

your need to hear what others say

isn’t his problem

shushing him at a lecture

is pointless

he takes phone calls 

at the movies

turning his cell phone down

isn’t going to happen

your thought control isn’t for him

you can take

your control issues

and fuck right off

he is a free man

and will never let you

hung-up tight-ass bastards

forget his

unspoken rule

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Nothing Here

Dig Deep

there is nothing here

nor is there

anything beneath the surface 

at least 

not worth searching for

what you will find

is that time has been wasted

looking for nothing

let the surface

be sufficient

looking for more

will result in disappointment 

dissatisfaction

when you find

that what is hidden from you

is hidden from everyone

hidden as the surface

not as something beneath 

it has no depth of perception

there is no need to strive to understand 

because understanding

changes nothing

the surface remains unchanged

no matter what you hope

to find underneath it

Is there more to me than meets the eye? It depends on whose eye is doing the looking. My Dentist sees a very different me than the barista at my favorite coffee shop or someone hearing me on stage. Which of these in my authentic self? Or does it matter? 

This cultural need to understand often gets in the way of experience. If we understand the why of a random mass murderer will that change what has happened. Does understanding make our grief & anger unfair to the killer. After all he/she/they came from a dysfunctional home & deserve our sympathy not an irrational need for revenge. 

This piece is a variation on my own reaction to this sort of emotional logic. Often understanding leads back to the same ‘secret’. It’s a wonder people continue to have children with childhood trauma the cause of so much destruction. 

 

I heard an interview with a painter who was asked about a certain ocean view painting. The interviewer wanted to know what it meant. The painter said he liked the view. The interviewer went on to ask what did it symbolize to the painter. He said it symbolized a nice view. The interviewer was disappointed with such a simple answer. 

It also come from people’s need to understand poetry, to understand art. It’s hard to grasp that often all there is the sound – the play of colours, the bounce of words, the image the words create. I recall a conversation about Walt Whitman with some English Lit MBA who felt only someone with a degree would understand Whitman. Perhaps they were right but you know, without understanding Whitman I love some of his writing & how its influence still resonates in slam poets today who have never heard of him. The MBA understood so deeply they couldn’t enjoy slam poetry. Besides it’s not as if Whitman had a university degree in anything 🙂

The piece says “understanding/changes nothing.” In recovery if one waits to understand why they were a drunk/addict until the stop they’ll probably be dead before they even understand. I don’t fully understand electricity but I do know how to change a lights bulb. That’s deep enough for me 🙂

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

Golden Bible

One of my recent Cape Breton posts mentions the the Oxford Dictionary  my family bought when I was but a child 🙂 It was grocery story lure – buy a section each week or spend so much & get the next section free. In the days before points cards this was popular along with green stamps. You’d get so many stamps with each purchase, paste them into books just for that purpose & when you had enough redeem them for stuff like dolls, kitchen gadgets.

On my books shelves I have two sets of books collected as supermarket promotions. One is ‘The Bible Story Library – Four volumes – 1956 -Educational Book Guild – New York.’ Lavishly illustrated with original vibrant color pictures, plus endless etching from the likes of Dore, plus murky photos of other religious art. I can remembering during over the etching that provided a pre-teen me with glimpses of nude men & women struggling in the Flood, or sprawled out in various battle scenes. Looking at it today I’m amazed the great six-packs so many of these guys had.

The set I have isn’t my original. I don’t remember what became of it. It didn’t turn up the boxes of my books that my Dad had stored away when I moved out. (Those boxes contained lots of Tom Swift Jr, & Hardy Brothers) I remember my second summer here in Toronto – 1979 – I had been wondering what happened to those books. Shortly after that I went in a huge sale an action house was having. endless boxes of books all over the parking lot and & found Volume 2 in one of the boxes. After about an hour of searching I found all four volumes.

The other set is ‘The Golden Book Encyclopedia – sixteen volumes – 3rd printing – 1960 – some (c)1940 – Golden Press – New York.’ Another lavishly illustrated set of books. I loved the hyper-real covers on each volume. The content was written for children & so hasn’t aged well 🙂 The illustrations are wonderful though, some in a campy way, but all well executed. I loved reading these when I was on the can.

My originals became quite tattered from use & abuse. I can’t recall very using them to research anything for school. The set I have now is not my original set but one which I ‘inherited’ from a friend who was moving & asked if I might be interested. When I was asked I had no idea what encyclopedia set it was but I said yes & I was delighted it was this particular one from my childhood.

These all come from Sobeys in Sydney. They also offered cooking sets, dishes, the same way – buy a different piece each week. There was once a set Classical Masterpieces lps, a set of geography books, but I don’t think my folks bought these.

Unswearing In Ceremony

how can I unswear allegiance

to my heart  mind

to my body  hormones

each time I think this is it

there’s another time

 

you hold your hand to my heart

you swear you’ll change 

that reform is possible

my head tells me 

you will never hold true to this vow

I smile & keep that to myself

 

knowing better and doing better 

are such different things

as much as I know better 

doing you is better than not doing you

 

there is the paradox of an oath 

I never took 

never signed 

never swore to you

unconsciously I have taken it

to be accepting  forgiving

not to make plans

when I know you will never fulfill 

even the simplest promise

of texting when you say you’d text

 

your dedication to the job

takes priority over your personal life

in fact it is your escape from it

that job is your bottle

you can’t help yourself

it blots out everything outside of it

even when you are told not to be there

you are there to tie up loose ends

that tie you up for days on end

 

I’m trying to swear off you

no more of this bullshit

while a part of me rather likes

getting caught up

in this hurt slightly martyred feeling

which has a certain sweet reward all of its own

I can pine at a window

hoping the car driving down the street is yours

when I know very well it’ll never be yours

 

having texts 

to long for

has a tang of romance 

of humanness

lets me feel less self contained & distant

wishing there was something I could do

but all I can alter is myself

 

you are an addict 

the grace that’ll reach you 

could work through me

but I’m not holding my breath

soon 

I may not even be holding my hand 

out to you

except to wave good bye

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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 andBbad Times Theatre

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

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

The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep

the owner of the cafe

had called someone

an inappropriate name

it was a twitter thing

a video 

posted of the 

owner saying 

those offensive things

now no one can go

to the cafe

without being considered guilty

of saying those things themselves

 

now

to be honest

I haven’t heard

what the owner said

I haven’t watched the video

this is all the context I know

and now

I can’t even mention the name

of the cafe

I can’t even admit 

that I’ve been there

in the past

or let it be known

that I regret

that I can’t go to that cafe

ever again


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

Discernment

Discernment

I don’t like everyone

or everything

but I no longer waste energy

demonstrating my dislike

at one time it was 

a sort of performance piece 

to prove how superior I was

to what I disliked

it gave me a sense of self

defined by those opinions

 

as I aged

I saw that it made life easier

to stop scattering my energy 

on what I disliked

or even specific people

and focus that energy on 

keeping my mouth shut

so that even when asked

what do I think of so-and-so

I’d resist going into the litany

of someone else’s foibles

I’d say they can be difficult

and let it go at that

 

besides

I have more productive things to do

than talk about 

the egotistical ways of others

let’s talk about me

for a change

This was partially prompted by a discussion I had with a friend about how our likes change without us being aware of it. His example was Jerry Lewis – an actor we both found hilarious at one time but now makes him cringe to the point he can’t watch Lewis in anything. So when TCM showed The Bellhop, & The Nutty Professor I pvr-ed them both. Five minutes of each was more than enough to give me cringe spasms.

As hard as it is to believe I was once a mouthy, opinionated prick – as they say the less I knew the more judgemental my remarks became. I lost one drinking friend over a difference of opinions about something neither of us really cared about. Being critical was a proof on intelligence, of discernment. It wasn’t enough to dislike something one had to dismember it verbally. If you hurt someone’s feelings in the process – such was life.

 

I want to say I out-grew Jerry Lewis but that implies that those who love him aren’t as sophisticated or as mature as I am. Not that I expect to have a discussion about him ever again anyway but … there are often opportunities for me to venture opinions on popular trends, political situations that I usually take a pass on. I don’t have opinions I only have smart-assed one-liners.

 

I can’t pretend to be non-judgemental. I choose not to hang out with recreational drug users – I get tired of repeating what i said five minutes ago while they repeat what they said ten minutes ago every ten minutes. I also know that my likes or dislikes are often irrelevant anyway. When someone asked what I think I know they only me to agree with them or want to tell me what they think.

I love the way this piece ends with ‘me’ taking on the role of the one who wants to be talked about – I am never the one who ‘can be difficult’ 🙂
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020 – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Something’s Different

March of this year in March I decided to up-grade my glasses – new frames, new prescription. Not a big deal, or so I thought, until I got a few compliments from strangers. By now they are old, to me, yet this past week someone, whom I have known long enough & also whom I have seen several times since the up-grade said ‘something’s different. are those new glasses?’ I replied, ‘they’re the same ones I had on the last time we talked.’

That’s the kind of change I like – one that is subtle. The drama of the big change – I’ll shave my head – no longer appeals to me. When I first shaved my head it was a startling change alright, nothing gradual about it. People started to treat me differently – I had become butch overnight 🙂

I prefer the gradual change. I’ve blogged about some of this before – getting up earlier by setting my alarm 2 minutes earlier every couple of months so I now have an extra 14 minutes to avoid writing every day. Besides if nothing changes nothing changes. So the past few months I’ve been reducing distractions. Most are harmless except that they are distractions.

Some have been hard to do though. Cutting way back on the podcasts I listen to for one. As much as I enjoy them I decided I don’t need the information & subscribing merely to be supportive isn’t enough for me. Why support people who don’t really support me? One podcast was as much about what the hosts were drinking as what they were supposedly talking about. No thanks. Plus less energy goes into downloading & then uploading to my iPod to listen o them. 

On the east coast I only used my iPod for meditation & relaxation in flight or in my hotel room. You know I didn’t miss it on my daily walks. I get to hear where I am without a soundtrack. One less thing to carry too 🙂

Same with twitter, tumblr, even wordpress. Less time spent skipping over things I’m not even looking at anyway. All those product mailing lists I needed up, some of whom send me daily notices of warehouse clearance sales, unsubscribed from so they aren’t cutting up even my trash folder. The less clutter the better the focus.

Focus and productivity are my fall intents. The less clutter the better the focus. 

Not Dead Already

I expected to be dead by 30

which seems to be one of those ages

that many never thought they’d live past

if not dead 

then so deep into fame fortune relationships

that they’d have everything to live for

though I’ve meet people

who had those things at 30

who wished they were we dead

or felt they were dead

they’d lost a part of themselves

to get the dreams fulfilled

dreams they expected 

would make them complete

 

I expected to be dead at 30 

35 at the latest

so when I eased 

past those tiresome ages

I was caught short 

time to grow up

figure out what I wanted to be 

now that I was alive

body fully matured

I’d say now that I was adult

but that really hadn’t happened

I was still a teen trapped 

in a old man’s body

yeah I know 35 isn’t old man

but try to tell that to a 20 year old

40 is ancient

I’m at the age where I’m a relic

adult enough to know 

I can’t turn back the hands of time

& glad those hands have been kind 

to my face

if not to my bank account

 

I never expected to see the year 2001 

let alone this year

figured if I hadn’t bought the farm by then

the world would have imploded exploded 

of its own accord

but like me it is doing

this slow smother

drowned in plastic 

& the need for more

even if I wear all natural fibres 

I’m not helping

to keep the planet breathing

 

so here I am

some sort of adult

looking around

still no surer of where life is going 

than I was when I was 16

then I was sure in knew where I was going

to my funeral at 30

a date fate saw to it that I never kept

I witness what is going on around me

some good some bad

some hopelessly futile

some valiantly optimistic

each time I put another word on paper

I am making waves for the future

ripples that will continue

even if there is not such thing s paper

even if no one can afford to live

there will be repercussion

for living past 30

the consequence of not dying 

young and pretty 

is getting old and sort of handsome 

in the right light

 

being an example

for the struggling striving generations

who just wish we relics 

would shut the fuck up

and die already

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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 andBbad Times Theatre

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

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