Regifting 101

samprules2

Started a new set of prompts – I love lists of things – this one will prove to be endlessly productive for another couple of years – 227 Rules For Monks. Who knew the simple life could be so complex. This is number 25 from the 30 nissaggiyas.

Regifting 101

That’s alright

please keep it

I don’t really need it

I have too many already

it’s not quite the right fit for me

the colour is right for you

I don’t know

when I’ll ever use it

I want you to have

you’ll get more use out of it than I would

I can’t begrudge you anything

of course you can have it

I only wore it once

let me see it on you

it really suits you

it looks better on you

than it ever did on me

no I don’t hate it

it’s just not right for me

they were on sale

you’e be doing me a favour

I never want to see it again

too many memories

time to move the energy out of my life

if you don’t want it

I’ll have to throw it away

I don’t it to go to waste

it’s too good

to drop in a donation box

I want someone I know to have it

you won’t regret it

don’t thank me

thank whomever

gave it to me

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Moon Phases

samprules2

Started a new set of prompts – I love lists of things – this one will prove to be endlessly productive for another couple of years – 227 Rules For Monks. Who knew the simple life could be so complex. This number 24 from the 30 nissaggiyas.

Two Moon Phases

Phase One

moonlight so blue

it left no trace

on my skin

as his fingers

followed the flow

of the edge

where the blue

became pale flesh

the flow

where finger tips

were replaced with lips

teeth biting

Phase Two

this is not the time

no one will tell you

when the time is right

 

when it’s wrong

you are told not what to do

but never what to do

 

you’ll never be assured

because

everything you do is wrong

 

there is a right way

it’s for you to figure out

no one will tell you how

 

only punish you

for each and every mistake

love will be withheld

 

opportunity will be denied

no explanations will be forthcoming

until you do it right

 

perfectly

 

giving up is not an option

this is not the time

to give up

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Sex Positive

On a recent Disability After Dark  Andrew Gurza  interviews JoEllen Notte – a noted sex researcher & blogger – about, amongst many things, sex and depression. For some people the two go hand in hand, no matter how good or often the sex. They also talked about some of the assumptions people make about them for being so sex positive. One being is that they have lots of sex and have no problem getting it. Or that must be willing to have sex with anyone – if they decline they are accused of being hypocrites.

Odd how being sex positive turns one into a slut with no discernment and with no boundaries. “Oh sure I’d be super happy to do that with you even though you don’t turn me on and it’s something I’ve never enjoyed.”

In my life I’ve been either shamed for being as sexually active as I am for my age or regarded as a slut with no discernment. In fact I find it difficult to actually talk with anyone about my sex life without them becoming uncomfortable. What I enjoy is pretty vanilla & safe but the fact that do it makes them comfortable or triggered.

In my poetry I’ve written quite directly about many types of sex play. I had to stop performing the few s/m pieces I have because I was getting approached by men (& women) who thought I was a dom top (if you don’t know what that means such is life). An assumption I’d rather not deal with, unless they are willing to cough up $500 an hour.

They also delve into the nature of ‘invisible’ disabilities, such a depression. Many people think depression is feeling down, a sort of emotional draginess that you just can merely snap out of or that one is being self-indulgently lazy by not wanting to get out bed all day, eat for two days, or not take a shower for a week because they are in a bad mood.

Much like alcoholism & other less socially approved addictions there is this sense you just have to pull yourself up by the boot straps & get on with it. It just isn’t that easy or simple. It’s not a matter of being lazy, stupid, weak or stubborn. There are more complex forces at work & what works for one person often does nothing for the next. But I’m not a therapist but this is what I’ve observed.

We live in a culture in which loneliness is terrifying, in which only a ‘loving’ relationship is the way out of loneliness (it isn’t), that sex is the solution for horniness (it isn’t). When these solutions don’t work it often leads to shame, guilt, & depression. It’s as if the fault is our, not a culture that invests so much the wrong solutions as the only solutions.

There is one school of thought, which they don’t fully explore – bad sex is better than no sex at all (I’m not sure how that was researched). I’d argue that having no sex is better than having shamed based sex thinking it’ll make you feel better about yourself and life or for any reason.

I’m sex positive – it is a good thing when we get rid of cultural baggage. Or we get the right baggage to carry it.

(in this rough draft sample Mike & Robert are having a thanksgiving dinner in Montreal. )

A couple of blocks north of St C Mike spotted Cent Milles Brasserie. The chalkboard menu listed meats, vegetables by region and by how far those regions were from Montreal.

“An interesting concept.” Robert said.

“Let’s hope the cost of locally sourced is worth it.”

“As long locally sourced results in good food. I will be most happy.”

The restaurant was done up in a season decor. Pumpkins, gourds bales of hay around the maitre d’ station. Bats on thin wires dangled over the bales.

The evening’s main special was ‘dinde rôtie avec farce aux canneberges’ which, thanks to the drawing on the chalkboard Mike knew was a tradition roast turkey with stuffing. He wasn’t sure what ‘canneberges’ were though but he was willing to find out.

Once they were seated in the window Mike asked. “Shall I order for you as well?”

Robert was reading the menu.

“That won’t be necessary. I most certainly want to try the bière d’érable.”

“Maple beer!”

“Ah, it is not a traditional drink?” Robert asked.

“Not as far as I know. The flavouring of beer is one of those trendy fads. At least I hope it’s a fad.”

“Then we will try it. Another new experience for both of us.” He waved the waiter over and ordered the beer.

“You’re French is amazing.” Mike said.

“I have been speaking it all my life.” Robert said. “As well as English.”

The beers came in tall chilled glasses.

“To your health.” Robert said as they clinked their glasses together.

Each sipped tentatively.

“Ahh a very even taste.” Robert said before taking a larger drink.

Mike did the same. “You know this could become a tradition. It tastes like fall. Maple, a little pine as well.”

“You have a sensitive pallet.”

Mike did the same. “You know this could become a tradition. It tastes like fall. Maple and a little pine as well.”

Robert took another taste. “You have a sensitive pallet.”

“I was afraid it would taste like pancake syrup.”

The waiter brought a covered basket of rolls to the table. “Pain de maïs et frais du four.”

Mike flipped the cover back and the steam brought the smell of the corn bread with it.

“This is why Quebec is called Le Belle Provence.” Robert said as he buttered one of the rolls, broke it half and gave it to Mike. He gestured for Mike wait before eating it. He held his in upturned palm of his right hand. Mike did the same without thinking.

“Merci Mère Marie pour ce repas.” Robert said. He broke off a small piece and put beside his plate.

Mike did the same.

“We will reserve a small morsel for the Grace that brings such abundance into our lives.”

“I see.” Mike said. “I’ll try not to brush it off the table.”

“Thank you for indulging me.” Robert said. “This is a part of my life I do not usually get to share under such close quarters.”

The next course was a butternut squash soup with fresh ginger.

“Ce gingembre est-il cultivé localement?” Robert asked.

“Oui. Le bistrot maintient un jardin d’herbes fraîches près de la ville.” the waiter answered.

“I did not know ginger was grown in Canada.” Robert explained. “The restaurant has its own farm for some these products. They live to their name.”

As the waiter cleared their used plates away Mike carefully protected his morsel of corn bread. The main course was next. The waiter brought the dinner plates to the table. There was a medley of fall vegetables on each. He was followed by a busboy pushing a cart with a covered plate on it. The waiter removed the cover with a small flourish to reveal the turkey, steaming and ready for further carving. One drumstick was gone, as were some slices from the breast on either side.

“If you wish,” he said in English. “We can offer the uncut?”

“No no. This is fine. Would you like the remaining drumstick?” Robert asked Mike.

“Some breast meat will be good for me.”

“Then I’ll have it.”

The waiter skillfully cut portions for both of them. He offered them a chafing dish of stuffing for each of them to help themselves. ‘Canneberges’ turned out to be cranberries.

Even though the restaurant was now full Mike felt they were dinging alone, in their own private room.

Robert asked Mike questions about his work, family but easily defective questions about himself so by the end of the dinner Mike knew little about Robert’s background. Not that that mattered as he felt, for some reason, that Robert was holding nothing back.

Dessert was pumpkin pie, freshly baked on the premises while they were enjoying their meal. Robert has his with acorn ice cream. Mike opted for the maple whipped cream. They sampled each other’s.

As the busboy cleared the table under the watchful eye of the waiter Mike and Robert both took out their credit cards.

“Non. Non.” Robert said. “My company can easily afford this meal.”

“Then I’ll leave a tip.” Mike offered. “Would forty dollars be about right?” He took a look at the bill. “Better make that fifty.”

“It is a good thing we stuck to the bière.” Robert said.

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November 1-30

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Living in the moment

samprules2

Started a new set of prompts – I love lists of things – this one will prove to be endlessly productive for another couple of years – 227 Rules For Monks. Who knew the simple life could be so complex. These are from the 30 nissaggiyas – this is 23rd.

Living in the moment

I’m feeling fine

no I am fine

feel is a word of uncertainty

because feelings can be deceiving

feels like winter

doesn’t mean it is winter

I am fine

I am well

 

no I don’t need to take another dose

not even one

just in case

I’m not as well

as I think I am

 

think

that’s another word of uncertainty

doubt

it’s as if what I think

maybe wrong

that the perspective I filter

things through

can be questioned

 

think isn’t the same as knowledge

I think it’s raining

it feels like rain

either it’s rain or it isn’t

thinking won’t change that

 

I think I feel better

 

I’m better off when I don’t think

when I am in the moment

I am well

better gives a sense

that once upon a time

I wasn’t well

that I wasn’t living in the moment

if I wasn’t

I am now

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Shell of a Man

samprules2

Started a new set of prompts – I love lists of things – this one will prove to be endlessly productive for another couple of years – 227 Rules For Monks. Who knew the simple life could be so complex. This number 22  from the 30 nissaggiyas

Shell of a Man

a woman got up

stood at the subway exit door

I got up

stood behind her

she glanced briefly

over her shoulder

she exited

I followed

up the stairs

outside the station

we both turned to the left

both crossed in the same direction

turned down the same side street

then another

I walked faster

to pass her

 

she walked faster

to escape me

we crossed at the same point

she was practically running

I slowed

saddened by what had happened

saddened

by merely being a man

she felt threatened

because my house

was along her route

 

this gender

this skin

is a shell that shouldn’t crack

a bowl to carry me through life

that doesn’t get questioned

doesn’t get handled roughly

directly

what happened thanks

to my entitlement

of not having to worry

to apologize

for what isn’t my direct doing

 

I didn’t create this cultural context

in which women

fear men

yet I feel guilt

should I have taken a different way home

when I saw us walk

in the same direction

is her fear

her insecurity

now my fault

 

how different from her

am I

I get the same anxiety

when my sense of security

is confronted

by my assumptions of strangers

do young men alarm

simply because they are young

how did race become weaponized

 

the world is on alert

trust no one

justify that lack of trust

by falling back on distorted news

by a history

that suppresses facts in favour of controllers

by not acknowledging any complicity

in making them look pure

not driven by greed

by the need to control

 

I just wanted to walk home

take my shoes off and relax

not feel the fragility of this shell

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Bloody Footprints

One final Halloween movie inspired piece. The opening scene is all I remember the rest is impure imagination. Blood is best fresh and this one is really dripping dripping dripping.

Bloody Footprints

the movie opens

on a busy sidewalk

someone with a knife

stabs a stranger

keeps on going

while the victim collapses

remember the knife

the flash of it

the thrust

blood blood blood

 

people stepping in it

as they step over the body

on their important way

bloody footprints

quickly splotching the sidewalk

as the camera

pulls up up

the police arrive

the credits roll

over the expanding trail

of bloody footprints

 

steps lead to smart shops

to offices

into elevators

down marble corridors

over carpets in hotel hallways

cafe floors

washroom stalls

blood gets on hands

trying to clean shoes

the fingerprints on mirrors

coffee cups

documents

dried flakes fall between

keyboard keys

smear smart phones

traces tracked undetected through

airport screening machines

splotches on luggage

the blood travels around the world

 

the sidewalk

with the outline of the body

is a pool of blood

after crime scene photos have been taken

after cellphone photos have hit the net

city works come to clean it up

 

the camera looks for the stabber

pushing through crowds

roving over heads shoulders

no faces

hands washing

blood pooling in sinks

almost dripping down the walls

of apartments

seeping out of TV screens

bloody footprints

lead up to a door

the bell rings

you reach to open the door

the closing credits roll

#Threesomes

On a recent Disability After Dark Andrew Gurza talks about his first threesome – about his fantasy, his anticipation, what actually happened & what he learned as a result. His fantasy, much like most sex fantasy, was informed by porn – which always removes the negotiation – you know the meeting, the decisions of where, when, who. Consent is frequently done by mental telepathy.

My experience with such sexplay has been limited, not as limited as Andrew’s mind you. But my expectations were as unrealistic as his. It was hard enough to create the opportunity for one-on-one that arranging seemed was impossible. The first was with a couple I met while out of town – there was sufficient attraction between the three of us but I was more into one of them than the other. In fact this attraction unbalance is unavoidable. It was fun but not at all as wild as I expected. They had been a couple for many years & things were rather sedate.

It was some years before another opportunity presented itself. The same attraction unbalance was present but this time I didn’t mind it at all.

I been approached on line a few times, invites to orgies, sex parties but decline when I see things like 420 friendly or p’n’p. Not that I care what other people do but they certainly are aware when one of the crowd is clean & sober – that one usually has firm boundaries. This I found in the one 4some I was invited to. It was okay until it became clear one or two of them were slipping away to use – when it devolved into a fashion show in which the host tried on every leather garment he owned I left. Too much booze as well.

The most recent time, a year or so ago, was perhaps the best time. One of my regulars invited me over & while we were warming up he kept checking his cell phone – he said he was expecting a call from his sister as their mother was unwell. He went to the washroom & came back with another guy – whom he had invited over to surprise me. A good time was had by all.

What did I learn from these experiences? I only play well with others under the right circumstances 🙂

Dangerous Science

one winter

scientists descended on our village

to study our brains

to see why we insisted on going to strip bars

when there as no light at night

why would average men women boys girls

sit around a dark room

while strippers worked the sacred pole

with alarming spills of ritual water

with cascades of tumbling moose bones

what seemed like an aberration to them

we had come to accept as normal

 

they wanted to see which hemispheres

of the brain were stimulated

by erotic simulations in the dark of winter

they attached electrodes to our skulls

capacitor cuff measurers to penises

women were forced to wear

vaginal quake seismographs

that took hours to implant correctly

 

all of which had to done before night fall

in the brief time after washing clothes

gutting fresh moose

and applying fish scale to eyelids

 

they weren’t paying us anything either

or we might have allowed

the rectal probe sensors

and calf implant durameters

there are somethings so shameful

no person will do them for free

 

the scientists stayed almost two weeks

making endless charts

that they would force us to see

every day at lunch time in the cathedral

to prepare us for the work that night

 

and when they were done

they didn’t have any conclusion

they didn’t find out there was comfort

in sitting in the dark

not seeing the spectacle

of undressing going on around us

that we were happy the way we were

 

once they were gone

there was unrest

with the way things always had been

some became angry at the night

they struck out with fists and feet

at the pitchy dark

to teach it a lesson

they refused to go the strip bars

they felt it was now just any empty sham

the village had been stuck in for thousands of years

 

nothing could be done to assuage

their crushing loss of direction

their beliefs had been questioned

 

I was a mere boy

and didn’t have as much to believe in yet

so I continued to go to unlit strip bars

with my sisters

waiting for them to finish

and walking them home

ignoring the weeping of the men

in Whistling Woods

men who were now lost

thanks to dangerous science

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The Mummy

Taking an October break from 227 Rules to share some very recent ‘scary’ pieces. How recent? This one was started October 19 at Glad Day before I watched The Mummy 1959, worked on the next day after I watched The Mummy. In the movie he sinks into a bottomless bog.

Kharis 

is this the last wrap

or the first

the first wrap was a tissue

of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

I used that wrap

over & over

until the tissue

was a layer

layer after layer of

‘oh i’m fine’

‘i don’t mind’

‘how can i make you happy’

walking away

rather than add another layer

hoping nothing had caught

no thread was snagged

on a expectation

an exception

on resurrecting love

 

I was protected

entombed by safety

by the fact

that all anyone wanted to hear

was ‘oh i’m fine’

‘this bandage solution will do’

‘you deserve to be fixed first’

 

bound tight

peering at life though the slits

surrendering to the weight of history

pushed along by an unquestioned past

by ritual expectations

controlled by the clasp of gauze

layer upon layer after layer

some turned to dust

some turned to scar

some turned to face the sun

reaching for release

 

decayed tissue

dust motes settling in the moonlight

‘how can i make you happy?’

‘how can i unravell the book of life’

can i survive

without another layer

of this tissue

this scar tissue of lies


‘oh i’m fine’

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AutoCorrected Perfection

AutoCorrected Perfection

there’s always something

my eyes don’t catch everything

words lose there meaning

thanks to auto spell

I often don’t know what I’ve just said

or if what you’ve written

is what you’ve written

so I don’t feel so responsible

for those little typos

that change love to leave

that change emotionally comithtemnt

I mean commitment

to being committed for emotionally disfunction

there’s always something

that’s why I count on your eyes

to pick up what mine miss

trust me no matter how right it appears

it needs you to make more better right

I couldn’t do it without

those sharp insightful comments of yours

you find what slips between the lines

while I’m so busy

making sure those lines are straight

to your perfect heart

Has this every happened to you – you type quiet & come back to edit & see that it is quite or even quit – that somewhere between your thinking, your fingers, the page & the push to get it out something is replaced in transmission. Concern become concerto thanks to auto spell – that algorithm that takes over your thinking to fill in what it thinks you have started or if you’ve, as I often do, switch two letters as you type jumps to concussions I mean conclusions.

There have been times I’ve let either the typo or the auto spell word stay – ‘head in the coulds’ is much more poetic than ‘head in the clouds’. I let it stand because by the time I come to edit a piece months may have passed & I no longer remember what it was I set out say anyway. So I jump on the coulds easily & gratefully. Right now autocorrect wants to change coulds either to singular or to colds.

This piece also plays on the notion of Freudian slip of accidentally saying what you don’t mean to say. Those verbal slips when one says “sure I want to leave you” when intending to say ‘sure I love you’. Or our frequent habit of saying one thing when we mean another ‘I’m busy that day’ when you mean ‘I don’t want to be there.’

In editing it’s always wise to have another set of eyes read before final product is published. In going back over Lazarus Kiss the number typos that even auto spell missed is amazing to me. I never said I was a copy editor. I don’t write a lot of directly romantic poetry so I pushed this one into what I hope is an unexpectedly cornball direction. I enjoy taking cliches and bending them into new shapes, in this case the shape of a heart.

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My Talented Friends

With the festive season rapidly approaching it is a good time for me to recommend great gift options produced by many talented friends. Starting with some sweet sounds from SoulFistikato  the head nod. I met SoulF at Valentino Assenza’s Cryptic Chatter back in the day (time for a reunion show Val?). He (& frequent collaborated Dane Swan: whose excellent new book “He Doesn’t Hurt People Anymore” can be found on Amazon) are out of the slam scene. the head nod is a set of sampled, remixed & original instrumentals that are easy on the ear & uplifting to the spirit.

Charlie C Petch’s  Mel Malarkey Odes & Acts is a studio recording of their one-person Cabaret. I say Cabaret in reference to the musical as this is out of that vaudeville tradition – even the instrumental numbers have that Kurt Weill lilt. Charlie is another artist I first encountered at Valentino Assenza’s Cryptic Chatter back in the day (time for a reunion show Val?).

Carolina Brown’s Carolina Brown is a richly textured set of their songs. Compelling guitar work with raw & sometimes playful lyrics. Carolina confronts gender & transphobia directly & connects emotionally to the listener. I’ve heard Carolina several times & have enjoyed the fearless energy they use in creative expression in such a directly honest way that invites rather than challenges. Not that some of music isn’t challenging but it is a challenge one is willing to face.

Kris Gebhard’s Fairy Feather Files is another collection that confronts gender & transphobia directly & connects emotionally to the listener. Spoken-word with gentle marimba interludes that refresh the spirit. Kris presents difficult realizations with a tenderness that lets the listener hear the experience. I first heard Kris at Capturing Fire (produced by Regie Cabico) in Washington DC. Challenging in content at times but done in way affected way that draws you in emotionally.

So much for the audio portion of this post. Andre Prefontaine’s Freshwater Genteel & Saltwater Rage chapbook is full of fun, difficult, angry, not-so-fun but always honest poetry. Their writing is sharp, thoughtful, penetrating & human. I’ve seen Andre perform several times & each time am amazed & inspired. Contract him via Facebook to find out how to buy this book.

Finally Goddess X’s Blk Grl Sick: Tales from the Library Burned. I met X at Capturing Fire a few years ago & was stunned by their writing & their performance. The writing is powerful, raw, honest & clear. I always read poetry out-loud – this allows me to feel the words as opposed to slipping over them with eyes. In reading this book aloud I was caught up in the frustration & fears of being a black trans woman in the USA in way I didn’t expect. This is a fearless, challenging, fierce book.

Maybe these sound too challenging for Christmas gifts? Sure a pair comfy slippers would be nice but challenging someone to see the world around them in a different by giving them chance to leave their comfort zone is infinitely more rewarding. Take up the challenge it could also help change the way you see the world.

The Good Old Days

when I was a boy things were different

we’ve come a long way from those days

when there wasn’t anything to do

till the sun had come up

as there was no light allowed at night

stumbling in the dark

from one strip joint to the other

to listen to dancers in the dark

fleshly moist parts

pressed against your shoulder

the only part of the body

they were allowed contact with in the dark

now that we have light at night

it’s like going to the dentist

antiseptic and numbing

ah yes we all remember

those days when the only music

came from the slap of thighs

when the village women did the wash

as they whacked the dirt out of clothes

 

we didn’t have the worries we do today

then we worried about

how many smelt or moose

would the men catch

would there be enough

so that even a lad of ten

would have a fiver

to take to unlit strip bars

so the men could afford a soothing drink

to make up for the time it took

to wash the blood out of their hair

while the village women

whacked their clothes on moist rocks

to get the stain of smelt or the stink of moose

out of those rubbed-soft loose-fitting pants

that held the private parts

of the men they loved

those were the days when people loved

 

we had such pie in those days

small pans

so carefully tended in wood stoves

wood that we children had to find

we had to scour empty condo complexes

break off chair legs or hat racks

so we could be a part of things

so we could prove

we were good for more

than homework and giggling

because we loved to giggle

especially at the women

who spent so much time getting ready

for their shifts at the unlit strip bars

putting on sparkling fish scales

that no one would ever see

and the men hot and hollowed

would stagger home to fall asleep

on piles of wet laundry

licking their lips

waiting for the sun to rise

 

those were the days

when things were different

unlike now

when different

is just another brand name

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