Rainbow Remembrance


Amongst the queer history books I have on my shelf are: Paul Jackson’s One of the Boys: Homosexuality in the Military During World War II; Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men & Women in World War II by Armistice Day. As well as the novel The Invisible Glass by Loren Wahl – set in the US ‘occupation’ of Italy. Plus a dvd of interviews with some of the men & women in Coming Out Under Fire.

 

I can’t recall ever seeing a film about any of the wars: Spanish Civil War, Korea, Vietnam or the World Wars – fictional or documentary that alludes to the an lgbt presence. When Jackson was doing his research he was asked, to the effect, why sully the memories of these men/women. Which is a way of erasing that part of our history.

 

 

Besides, fairies don’t fight wars only butch real men do that. Some of these attitudes have changed, but slowly & reluctantly. LGBT soldiers, some highly decorated were give dishonourable discharges as a result of their sexuality, even when their sexuality was known when they enlisted. I’m not going to go into the history of this, you can read about it elsewhere by writers more informed.

I suspect that some of this erasure comes from toxic masculinity. The services can’t let down its butch image, even though some of the butchest, bravest of them were in fact also lgbt – that’s not the image fighting forces want to project. Reading the stories of these men & women in the Jackson’s & Berube’s books is a heartbreaking revelation & it is history that deserves to be remembered & honoured when wreathes laid on Remembrance Day, Veterans Day.

Say Again

in the beginning was the word

no one seems to agree 

as to what that word was

what language it was in

or if there’s an equivalent in any language

 

perhaps it was just a sound

not a word but an utterance

a breath

a grunt

in the beginning there was the grunt

no 

that doesn’t have the eternal ambiguity 

as there was the word

the word was

according to some

good

not that the word itself was the word good

 

the argument over what that word was

and what its import is

has not been productive or good

we can’t even agree to disagree

so maybe the word was argue

in the beginning was the word 

and word was argue

was righteousness

was mine mine mine

was I’m right 

and you are eternally damned to be wrong

because if you aren’t with me

you aren’t a true patriot

you aren’t good

 

no one contests 

that there was a word in the beginning 

it all started with a word

not a kiss

not a glance

or a pie stolen from a window ledge

 

in the beginning was the word

bird had been suggested

it’s clear that what that word was isn’t clear

perhaps it wasn’t meant to be clear

only to be heard

in the beginning was the word 

and word was heard

while most days 

we can’t even hear ourselves talk

let alone think

as we wade through 

the slough of disbelief

seeking relief in blame

wanting a word that 

absolves solves resurrects

not one that puzzles confuses and eludes

a word that supports our right to be right

that gives power to the powerful

and takes hope from the hopeless

that causes disease

a word we can agree on

 

in the beginning was the word

a word no one knows

a word no one can repeat today

in any language

until then

we will be seekers

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December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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

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

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies 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

“crazy does not discriminate”

The shocking, to many, blanket of snow that covered Toronto Thursday didn’t cool the enthusiasm of the audience for the Hot Dam show hosted by Robyn Sidhu at Buddies that night. The crowd was, as always, receptive & at times noisy in response to the performers.

random lines from the open stagers & slammers that started the show. banana marshmallows for The Man With X-Ray Eyes; the candy turned into glue bars; ran faster that nightmares; my mouth unbroken; why am I haunting him; I cycle through the motions; I miss you too much to do the dishes; queer as in – if I die in prison it was not a suicide, queer as in – everything is trying to erase me; my mother asks, why are doctors lying to her; don’t you think I was a good mom.

Feature Wes Ryan gave an amazing performance, at times it was like chatting over coffee with a good friend. The pieces were deeply personal, some dealt with trauma but without melodrama or self pity. The work of a survivor who accepts the cost of lessons. random lines: I watched those pigeons grow, they would run to the edge & stop, those times you made it through without intervention, memory lapses overlapping, I had addictions: powder cocaine, taking the blame; perverts protected by apathy; get nervous when I can’t see the eyes attached to the fingers, rest was a chore I did until I was ready to relapse.

As he performed he complained about the heat (such a porn trope – is it getting hot in here?) removing sports jacket, tie etc then for one of the final poems off with his outer garments to reveal a dress.  “didn’t study dance but learned how to fall with accuracy, the thin line between fight &  flight, crazy does not discriminate.”

After the break there was a fresh, fun, open stage of cold reads of random poems from random books of poetry on the stage. What a great way to expose the audience, & poets, to the work of other poets. From the final round: my mental health is a sitcom, only my anxiety & depression ever fucked me silly, he looks at me a little too long, my mind enters rooms well after my body does, my body is a magic trick like a disappearing home that should have been safe, love is the words to a song that has no translation.

Winners were declared, prizes given out & the show wrapped by 9:30. The next Toronto Hot Damn is January 23, 2020.

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

one of the scary pieces I read

The Haunting of Him

it is a parapsychological theory

I learned from ghost hunter shows

which says it is unfinished business

emotional 

hidden treasures 

lost keys

that keeps restless spirits on earth

but we had no unfinished business

so I don’t know why

I’m haunting him

#Kazaky Crew

I couldn’t resist Ukrainian-based synthpop dance boyband Kazaky. I have mp3 collection that includes their: I Like It (Part 1); I Like It (Part 2); The Hills Chronicles. Their videos are campy, homoerotically charged works of transgressive art. They have more style than Lady Gaga ever dreamed of & dance moves to shame Beyonce. The songs are mostly high-energy, good for writing to, sonically dense. Lyrics are erotic, political without trying to – lets face it any Ukrainian band that embraces sexuality, of any kind, is making a political statement. I’m not sure why they are labelled a ‘boyband’? Is Tool a ‘boyband’? Anyway check out the videos & then download the music.

Also here – in my dedication to moving time eras & music styles of boybands are: The Chi-Lites: Original Brunswick Hit Recordings. Best remembered for Ooh Girl this is a soulful r’n’b music. Romantic sweet & great for making out. With a more disco beat is The Hues Corporation: Rockin’ Soul. You might remember them from Rock the Boat – pleasant predictable songs about dancing, music & love;. A step up the disco ladder is The Wonderland Band’s Wonder Woman – disco takes of themes music – mainly instrumental & slightly obscure. I take a break from disco with Megon McDonough: Music Inspired by the 4 Agreements. I read the book, I got the music 🙂 sensitive piano music & songs like ‘Your Word Is Your Wand’ that affirm the agreements. Also by way of departure is Kesha’s Rainbow. Modern music by an almost superstar exploring beyond dance music with some gospel, rock, ballad & even a touch of country. All done well. On a more old school soulful side are The Allergies: Push On. When I first heard them I though this was an early 70’s soul band but they are 2018 re-creators of that time era. Superb & well worth tracking down. Finally is Deepest Blue’s Late September – a return to old-school disco. Smooth, beautifully engineered, emotive songs about the power of music, lost loves & love.

God’s Plan

Mary talks cancer like a researcher. She knows more about cellular biology and mitosis than my own doctor does. I know that because I asked him on my last visit if he could help me understand. The blank look on his face told me all I needed to know – that I didn’t need to know any more than I did. 

Mary’s conversations dwelled almost entirely on cancer. The various friends, family members she knew. or had heard of, who had been stricken, could be stricken or had died recently. Everyone she knew what dying of something; that’s why I went to my doctor to make sure I was well, not undiagnosed. 

Mary would show me photos on her smart phone. Amazingly high-def looks inside cell clusters, diseased livers, lung tissue that had been over taken by the endless grasp of the killer. She would explain each one to me in a school-teacherly way, as if I needed to taught this lesson, as if I could find out form her how to avoid this.

Mary was sure there was no way to avoid it, but she wanted to be prepared. Cancer agents were in everything. The food we ate, the air we breathed, the shoes we wore. I didn’t know how to tell her that I didn’t really give a shit about all this. ‘If cancer is everywhere it must be part of God’s plan.’ I told her once. She did not find that funny.

Mary had no plan of escape. She had armed herself with all this knowledge. How to keep her own cells healthy with carrot juice, kiwi oil. she sanitized her hands after every touch of anything. Clean clean clean. That was part of her solution. Keep very clean. ‘So clean you don’t build up resistance to anything.’ I once observed. She didn’t find that funny.

Mary was sure my attitude would kill me sooner than hers would kill her. She was healthy. Always on guard against the constant onslaught of danger.

Mary couldn’t see me anymore. She would phone, she would send me the latest info, and internet sites to check out, on what I needed to know to be as safe as she was. But she couldn’t see anyone, didn’t t want to spend time in close proximity to people, to the things people touched, people were disease factories. 

Mary only felt safe from cancer in her home where she could control everything. She got rid of as much plastic as possible, filtered her water. Her cancer free haven. She had the statics to show she was doing the right things. She would out live the cockroach with all her precautions. She had reduced her risks to under 1%, she had added years to her life with all this careful protection. 

I asked her ‘Who wants to live that long if that’s how one has to live to stay alive?’ She didn’t find that funny.. Humour causes cancer.

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every Tuesday 2019

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November
Thursday 7 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – 7 pm – featuring Wes Ryan.

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 in Bad 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

Hot Algorithm Method

Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam launched its sixth season with a show that reflected & amplified the diversity of poets, slam & otherwise, in the LGBTQIA community. Passionate, articulate voices meet & perform on the stage to challenge our personal concepts of LGBTQIA.

The launch was hosted by Robyn Kaur Sidhu, with some off-stage organizing help from Robert Molloy & Heather Beamish. These are the new energy needed to propel this growing series into the the next five years 🙂 Don’t worry Charlie Petch is merely stepping back a little to let others experience grow. Stepping Back, not stepping away 🙂

After a rousing opening by Ogichdaa Kwe – with a pair of greeting songs, the show got started with a great open stage lined up. Lines from the open stagers: I give myself permission to be messy, melting on an angel’s tongue, I slap my own face, so listen to what I say/ before I change my mind, you are what I thought was impossible, your birdcage heart, temporary stitches of reconciliation, she never asked for her hair to be cut

Lines from the first slam round: the laugh track that follows my body around is deafening, algorithms know the name of the wrong man before I meet him, his body looks like security, brunch at exactly 11:03 a.m. every Sunday for the last 3 years, out of the car or out of the brain/ whichever comes first, code – nothing – to hide, lid – open – eyes, I know where my passing privilege lands, my body a war zone of what-ifs, you solidarity is performative

 

Feature Zoey Roy (https://www.facebook.com/therealzoeyroy/) took the stage and invited us into her unflinching worldview. Saskatoon’s loss is definitely Toronto’s gain.  I remember smile, you had your voice all along, we’ve been silence on purpose, your homes & our fears, every fire needs a stone, they tried so hard to bury us/ they know know we were seeds, someone who forgot they once had dreams, a rap-sheet longer than his life, in the mirror I recite a new approach, bravery doesn’t make us any more/ fear doesn’t make us any less, a nice fantasy but a crude reality

after a brief break we were into round 2: my gender got lost not he way to the poetry slam, a go-fund-me for white tears, love can burn brightly between those who are supposed to love, ideas in a book I wasn’t supposed to read, I would rather be a sinner than be unscathed, heart – felt flutter – butterfly, for the first time I am seeing the damage, silent to protect those who hurt me, said it was my fault when it wasn’t –

Scores were tallied, winners announced, prizes given. The real winners, as usual, were the audience. The next Toronto Hot Damn! is November 7, at Buddies in Bad Times.

I read a couple of pieces on the open stage including:

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 

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 

Chapter LXII – Birk Faces Father Patrick

Coal Dusters: Book 1 is now available as as PDF – this covers the first 35 chapters – 65540 words – send $1.99 to  paypal.me/TOpoet

Coal Dusters – Chapter LXII

Birk

Faces

Father Patrick

It was raining as Birk walked away from the court house. He peered around for Clancy but didn’t see him. He’s been to Sydney many times but never on his own. It was clear walking was the only way he would be getting home. He had no money for bus fare. He hoped he was walking in the right direction.

When he got to the corner of Charlotte St. and Pitt St. he was reassured. He could smell the harbour front from there and kept going in that direction. One of the ferries often stopped here and if he could find one to take him to New Waterford getting the rest of the way was simple enough. That is if he didn’t catch cold from getting drenched in the rain.

By the time he walked the length of the docks he was colder, wetter and disappointed. He hadn’t spotted any boat that might be headed where he needed to go. 

The hustle of men around him unloading, loading made him miss the noise and activity of the mines. Men working. He watched them and saw that he could easily do what they were doing. Work that took muscle and not thinking.

“Birk!” a voice called from behind him. “Birk Nelson?”

He turned around to where it came from. A tall thin man, about fifty, in long tight fitting black coat strode toward him, hand stretched to shake his.

“Dan’l Patterson.” The man said as he shook Birk’s hand.

“Of the Inverness Patterson’s?” These were the only Patterson’s he knew.

“Quite right. Pity them closing another of the mines.”

“They’d rather save money than pay money to make money.” Brik said.

“I’m here with another load of lumber from the mill.”

“Wet day for wood.” Birk finally placed Dan’l. He and his brother ran a lumber millworks outside of New Waterford.

“You here looking for work?”

Birk quickly recounted the incidents of the past few days. Dan’l chuckled and shook his head a few times.

“That’ll be story to pass on to yer kids when you’av ‘em. Some women take great joy is making the misery of men worse ‘an it is already.”

“So I’m learning. Not as if I set out for this lesson though. I’m fixing to find a way back to Castleton Mines.”

“Give us a hand unloading and you can come back with us after we collect for the wood.” He reached out to shake Birk’s hand again. “Deal.”

“Thanks.”

Their wood barge was the far end of the wharf where local boats with small loads would tie up to unload. The planks were lifted off with rope-and-pulley hoist and Birk guided them to the back of a truck.

“You can wait here below while we take these to the lumber yard. Or you can come along for the ride.”

“I’ll wait.”

“There’s a bite to eat on board. Help yourself but leave something for us, eh?” Dan’l said getting into the front cab of the truck.

Birk grabbed the hoist and swung over to the deck of the boat and dropped down on deck. The deck smelled of pine. Clean and different from the smell of the mines, or the pine they used in the mines. That pine always had a tar tang to it from the creosote. This pine had a clean sea salt bite to it. The smell comforted him.

He flexed his fingers to see if handling the boards had done any damage to them. They were a bit red but otherwise fine. No bleeding, meant they were healing up properly.

He sat at the enclosed end of the barge and ate one of the sandwiches he found in the lunch box. It looked a good life to work in lumber. Perhaps if the needed another couple of pairs of hands he and Clancy might be in luck. It would it be a change to work in daylight, in fresh air.

The lumber yard truck pulled and Dan’l hopped out.

“Another days’ work done.” He said walking down the pier to the dock. “You ready to cast off?”

“Sure.” Birk relied.

Dan’l unwound the ropes that held the scow to the pier then clambered down the ladder to get on board. 

“Over here.” He nodded to pier side hoarding. “We give a good shove and she’ll float away on her own.”

Birk braced himself against the rail of the boat and pushed hard away from the wet piling of the dock. The boat moved so quickly he nearly fell over board.

“Haha.” Dan’l laughed. “Don’t know yer own strength eh b’y. Then ’tis hard to know what someone is cap’ble of by lookn’ at them. Who’d think small you could cause such a ruckus.”

“Ruckus?” Birk asked.

“Talk of the town for too many. You and that Boston gal.”

“People taking about that?” Birk’s face was hot.

“Not as any one’d blame for taking a poke at her.”

“T’weren’t that way at all?” Birk balled his fists. “Not a bit.”

“Rest easy Birk Nelson I know how stories become something they never was. There’s always some truth to’em though.”

“I dunno know what to tell you. I’m sorry I ever met her for one thing.”

“Story of many men and women. People’ll forget it whatever it was in a few weeks. We all got enough to deal with.”

“I sure hope so.”

New Waterford came into sight.

“Might as well run you over Castleton Mines while I’m out.”

“Thanks.”

“I hear your Da’s going to the steel plant.”

“Yeh. They always need good boiler men there. He figures he can find something for me too.”

“We could always use some eager at the millworks. Mac show you much about boilers?”

“I know my way around them but I don’t have my papers.”

“Good enough. Come by tomorrow. Lonnie could use a hand as he’s gettin’ on and we could use you around the yard too. Not much by way of pay but better than nothing.” He stuck his hand out. “Deal?”

“Deal.”

They edged up to the Castleton Mines dock and Birk got off. Even though the rain had turned the Mudside streets to mud he had more hope than he had since the strike had started. 

Night had fallen by the time he was back at his house.

“Where you been?” His mother met him at the door. “Clancy’s been here for hours.”

“He has?” He squeezed past his mother to find Clancy at the kitchen table.

“Yeah the coppers drove me back in their wagon when Doucet was finished with me.”

“No such luck for me. I got brought over by Dan’l Patterson.”

“What did Doucet say to you?” His mother asked. “We thought for sure you had been shipped off to Dorchester.”

“What! He gave me what for letting my bare self be seen but that was it. I sure expected worse from the way Miss McTavish had been going on. Everyone was taking her side and so serious they were too.”

“There’s always those who are quick to believe the worse of the Mudsiders.” his Dad said.

“I went down to the Sydney docks to find a way back and met up with Dan’l Patterson of the mill. He brought me back across. “Says they’re lookin’ for help with the boilers at the mill yard.”

“The Lord at work.” His mother said. “Out of every time of hardship He brings good.”

“Might be …”

Birk was interrupted by a pounding at their front door. Before it could be answered someone shouted.

“Birk Nelson come out here and face your Maker.”

“Me Maker?” Birk said.

His father opened the door. Father Patrick pushed his way in with three men behind him. The hem of his cassock was spatted with mud.

“Take him.” he commanded the men with him.

Before he could react the men lifted him up and carried him out of the house into the street. They dropped him face first in the mud and stepped away.

“You Protestant abomination.” Father Patrick shouted at the top of his voice.

Birk felt a sharp blow across his back. The mud held his arms so he couldn’t turn over quickly. There was some scuffling behind him. When he got turned around, sitting in the mud, he saw his dad grappling with Father Patrick.

“No man whips my son in public.” ise Dad wrenched the whip out of the priest’s  hand. “What gives you the right!”

“See!” Father Patrick turned the men who had come with him. “This is how the Godless protect one another. How they chose to rut the way animals do, no better than pigs in the mud.

“You foul beasts.” He pointed at Birk, then Clancy. “Who flaunted their unnatural proclivities in daylight … in front of my niece. ” He gasped for air.

Most of the neighbouring families had come out to see what the commotion was.

“Go back to your church Father.” Someone shouted. “Tell the Pope wipe your arse.”

“I will not allow your kind to get away with treating our women in this way.” The priest said.

“Yeah, only you have that right.” Someone answered him back.

A clod of mud flew through the air and hit Father Patrick on the back.

“Take him.” The priest ordered the men with him.

“You’ll take no one.” Reverend Brown stepped out of the crowd and helped Birk back to his feet. “You Catholic hypocrite. You help your own in bad times, ignore those who don’t deem pure enough then dare to come here to punish the very one who didn’t think twice to save the lives of your precious parishioners. I’m sure that when Birk struggled up that shaft he wasn’t saying to God ‘Now God make sure only the orange get rescued.’ Did you Birk!”

“No Reverend Brown I wasn’t.”

“You were there when Miss McTavish told them that we hadn’t touched her.” Clancy said.

“It was her spirit you stained by the vision of what you two were engaged in.”
“And what might that be Father Patrick? Something you learned about behind those sanctified monastery walls from your brothers.”

Father Patrick’s face paled as he glared at Reverend Browne.

“How dare you impugn the purity of those righteous men.”

“How dare you think you can come here with your high-handed righteousness and think we would grovel, that we would let you get away with it.”

“We can’t allow these … beasts to get away with their depravity.”

“A depravity that exists only in your mind Father Patrick. And you men with him. That’s you isn’t David McInnis?”

“Yes Reverend Browne.”

“You were one of them working with Birk when the collapse happened?”

“Yes Reverend. We’ve been working together for years.”

“You have any reason to question his moral fitness as a man? Anyone here have any reason? I know this boy’s family. You all do. They’ve been good faith church goers as long as I can remember.”

All that could be heard was the squish of people’s feet in the mud.

“I suggest you all go home and have a good night’s sleep.” Reverend Brown said.

“You haven’t heard the last of this.” Father Patrick said evenly. “My niece …”

“You niece needs to mind her own business.” Brown said. “She’s an outsider. You too, I might add, Father Patrick. I’ve been here in Castleton Mines for over twenty years. You’ve only been here for three. I’m sure the Africans will appreciate you more than we have.”

“You haven’t heard the last of this.” The Priest looked to the men who can come with him but they had disappeared into the crowd.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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‘a soundless meat cleaver’


Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam gave Queen W an exciting taste of its upcoming 6th season with Cass Myers’ raw yet polished feature performance at an open stage show as part of the vital Bricks & Glitter  Festival. The event was at the cozy Beaver – close to Dufferin on Queen W. By the time the show started the packed house had people spilling out into the street.

Robert Molloy hosted the show with contagious enthusiasm and kept things moving along while allowing many of the open stagers time to do two (!) pieces. The poets covered a wide range of rage, relationship fun and/or horror (sometimes one can’t tell the difference), political anger & even a few sweetly sexy pieces. 

Random lines from those open stagers: if Doug Ford heard you play the piano would he change his mind – whispers turn into wishing wells – harness hope without harm – I don’t remember starting this fund for white-girl feminists – this is my conversation yet it somehow revolves around you – my sexuality is a case of death more painful than a tumour – you want me to talk in my accent – her tone tells me queerness + transgender doesn’t add up – I cry myself a wishing well – a beach is lonely most of the time – his lips hooked into a smile – google spits back ‘still intact’ – that everything is okay is the biggest lie we told each other – your silence calls to me from the floorboards – there are no accidental suicides – it was the summer I had words for the rage I felt 

After a brief break for everyone to get a libation and catch their breath before feature Cass Myers, a national spoken word poetry slam champion, hit the stage with a powerful paper set – all of the pieces were recent & still being worked on but came across polished.The pieces covered race, relationships, political frustration & finding emotion stability. The writing was fresh, inventive, inviting & drew the listeners to examine their own needs. 

Random lines: the sun’s rubber stamp – in the summer the most faceable parts of me are whitest parts – in the summer we can’t pass – Lake Baptiste ungenders me – our edge the only scenery – what is a boarder but a map folded along estuaries – boudoir in a white man’s gaze – body chronic crumple crackle – fibonacci fiddleheads – self-portrait as an oyster – survival of the numbest – the fraternal twins of lust & grief – pain is a soundless meat cleaver – the gasoline of truth on their velvet.

Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam kicks off it Sixth Season Sept 24 at Buddies in Bad Times.

I did my Hot Damn! duty with a brief outline of the amazing growth of the series and its connection to Capturing Fire. A moment of calm that didn’t show things down at all. I did the requisite 2 (!) pieces on of which was:

Hidden Heart

all I am hiding

are my emotions

really

no I don’t have anything

in my hands

up my sleeve 

I didn’t put anything

where you couldn’t find it

everything is out in the open

what good would it do

to hide your shoes 

so you can’t leave

hide your underwear

so you can’t dressed

hide the towels so

you can only dry off 

between the sheets

with me

me

who has nothing to hide

 

except my feelings

or rather my lack of them

though you claim

my claim of lack of feelings

is actually hiding something

because my door is so open to you

because I have made a place

for you my life

you even have your own tooth brush here

it is out in the open too

 

see nothing is hidden

really

except how I feel

which I can’t reveal

until you open up

to tell me what you have hidden

in your heart

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

End of Summer Jobs

I’m going to finish this year’s summer refections of Cape Breton with memories of summer jobs, most of which were arranged by my father just to get me out of the house 🙂 The first of which was to paint the house he wanted to get me out of 🙂 Almost every guy I knew on the Cape ended up with this sort of summer painting job, until the year aluminium siding salesmen flooded Sydney.

The color my mother choose was a pea green with darker green trim. I hated the ladder so getting the peak pf the house was hell. The rungs hurt my feet after standing on them for thirty minutes. I ended up moving around the house to avoid the sun as well & so the two larger sides ended up drying in a mottled pattern. 

Another summer my father & a friend of his opened Bounceland 🙂 a trampoline park with six, or was it nine, trampolines stretched over pits in the ground. I took money & kept time. There was also a trainer, a young guy hired through the YMCA. I became pretty adept. He also taught me algebra because it was his worse subject in high school & he had to take an make-up exam at the end of the summer. Needless to say I had a hopeless crush on him but also was a stellar math student in high-school, until we hit trig. 

Bounceland failed because the blast furnace smut settled on the canvas & rotted it & it couldn’t be repaired. The park wasn’t bringing in enough money to warrant replacing the canvas. It was also open air so when it rained we couldn’t open. Plus weather collected into pits & stagnated. We had the kiosk & sign in our yard for decades but eventually they both disappeared. My sister has been unable to find even a photo of it in the family hoard of pics.

Another summer I worked out at Forest Haven Memorial Gardens – sort of Starbucks of cemeteries. My father was sales & general manager overseeing see the construction of the cemetery itself. I was an assistant grounds-keeper – weeding was my main task for several weeks. As the boss’s son I never really fit in with the rest of the staff so pretty much kept myself. I know in one conversation with some of the full-time guys I said I was looking the work as research that I might want to write about it one day. 

Another summer I worked in the Forest Haven office in downtown Sydney. Typing envelopes and taking payments were more suitable 🙂 He did have a full time secretary, whose name I forget, so I’ll call her Mrs. Brown. People who bought plots paid for them monthly either by with cheque, money order & some came into the office to pay in cash. There were separate receipts issued for cash and non-cash payments.

Decades later my father tells me that Mrs. Brown was keeping yet another receipt book for cash payments and tucking that cash away for herself. Cheques & money orders had to banked by my dad so she couldn’t get her hands on them. Petty embezzlement under my very nose as I could have easily been issuing some of her receipts 🙂

When I finally did write about Forest Haven it was nothing like I thought it would be:

Sermon on the Mount

when I was a child

I remember the excitement of the day

Jesus was installed

arms open to greet you

 

my Dad was a sales manager

for Memorial Gardens

a cross Canada chain of cemeteries

I think he retired sometime in the mid-80’s

I grew up under that shadow

the grave-digger’s son

not that he dug graves

that shadow didn’t bother me

I was an odd child already

the occult added a distracting layer

 

the cemetery was divided into grottos

separated by low hedges

bronze plaques instead of tombstones

was the trademark Memorial Gardens look

that and the white marble

religious statues for each of the grottos

DaVinci’s Last Supper in the Gethsemane

 

greeting people 

was Christ

arms out spread 

for the Sermon on the Mount

for a first few years

while things were being put into green shape

the Gardens were my playground

I remember the excitement of the day

Jesus was installed

the garden workers pushing Him 

upright

arms open to greet you

arms that would never close 

to hold you

 

I was drawn to his eyes

he had comma pupils

scarily unreal eyes

that told me nothing

 

I longed for His embrace

but at that time

I was too young to understand

why

it wasn’t for spiritual contact

but a carnal love

I had no language for

when I had a language

I still longed for men

who could never enfold me

men who’s eyes

told me nothing

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

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

Jazz Hams

I didn’t realize how much Chico Hamilton I had in my mp3 collection. Scattered over various complications I have The Dealer; El Chico; Man From Two Worlds; The Further Adventures of El Chico; Easy Livin’; A Different Journey; and as stand-alone the Quintet Complete.

Chico was a much sought master percussionist who recorded thousands of tracks with too many jazz greats to list. Mostly notably (to me) Gabor Szabo. He also led various groups of his own. He could be understated or dominating depending on what he was called to do. Latin, swing, modern, experimental – he did it all. His group recordings are solid bop work, his many recordings with Szabo are worth seeking out.

Close to him on the shelf is the BlueNote compilation: Heros of The Hammond. Tracks selected from their immense back catalogue of work by Jimmy McGriff, ‘Bother’ Jack McDuff & others, this is an excellent introduction to jazz organ. Some in the Jimmy Smith mode, others Booker T. I love this organ sound that lead to the fun farfisa sound of garage rock & the progressive rock of ELP.

Next is an lp to cd transfer of Lionel Hampton’s Steppin’ Out. He played a very swinging jazz vibraphone and his recordings are endless as band leader & sideman. Equally at home in big and or small combos his playing is lively & tasteful. Steppin’ Out is no exception & makes a good start if you are unfamiliar with this subgenera or if you’ve only heard Gary Burton’s more modern/experimental work.

Fool

The boots had been the the back of the closet. I hadn’t cleaned here is some time, at least that’s what the layer of dust accused me of not doing. I recognized the boots instantly.

Calf-high cowboy boots. Tan leather with some deep red scroll fan-like inserts. Heels well worn, one toe scuffed. Dave had worn these daily for months. How could he have left these when he moved out? How could I have missed them till now?

I brushed the dust off them. My cleaning stopped dead in its tracks. I took them into the kitchen to clean them better. The leather was stiff and dry but a little dubbin could bring it back to life. 

Dave. Dave. Dave. Where are you now? I never really understood what went wrong. At the moment I saw the sense but now, looking back, it made no sense at all.

Impulsively I pulled the boots on. His feet were a size smaller than mine, but these were always big on him. Maybe that’s why he left them behind. The calf of the boot was tight, the ankle tighter, but I forced my toes past instep and they were on. Tight. My baby toes pained.

Dave’s boots! He never would have let me wear them when he was around. I took a few unsteady steps. The heels made me inches taller and the smooth soles slid on the floor. I could walk in them, but not far, unless I wanted to have my big toe and little toe surgically removed.

I went to the study and found the photo album of our trip through the desert and the dude ranch we stayed at for a couple of weeks. The first summer. God, Dave you were a gorgeous man. Ah, there are those boots, too. You were so proud of them. City boy gets his first cowboy boots.

There we are at the waterfall outside of Pikesville. Sex there was wild. Afraid some tourist family would pull up. Mom, Pop, Sis and Junior would catch these buck naked bare-ass guys in a frenzy under the crashing water. No one caught us though.

That summer was so sweet.

I tottered back the the kitchen.

‘Boots, you are heading the way of all trash.’

I sat on a kitchen chair and began to pull. It was as if the boot was glued to my foot. I first tried one then the other. Permanently attached to my feet. I yanked and struggled but neither would budge more than a scant nano-inch and ripped at the skin on the back of my ankle. I’d need to have my heel removed to get them off. Scissors? Cut them off? 

What a fool I was to let you go, Dave. What a fool. 

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

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