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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 sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

‘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

Cape Breton Pride

Just over fifty years ago, on May 14, 1969, bill C-150 amend the Criminal Code to decriminalized homosexuality in Canada. Before then same-sex sexual activities between consenting adults were considered crimes punishable by imprisonment. Re-read that.  Not only did I grow up in the 60’s with ‘imprisonment’ looming over me but also a culture in which ordinary citizen could take the law into their own hands & assault queers & get away with it. 

When I attended the Living Library during Pride Week (!) in Cape Breton I was happy to hear about high-school clubs to support lgbtq+ student. Things have certainly changed since 1969 – even then such an idea would never have happened. 

Driving in from the airport with my sister I saw rainbow flags everywhere, though much the sight of them here in Toronto, the show of support is probably more commercial than anything. A rainbow decal in your store window can’t hurt business. The event has grown considerably over the decades. I recall a pride parade down Charlotte St in the early 2000’s during one of my sporadic visits home. It was over in less than half-an-hour. Local TV personality Bette MacDonald was the parade Marshal waving from her convertible. Some baton twirling, a few cars with handmade Pride posters. It ended, I think, in what is now Luisa Gardens, at the end (or is that the start?) of Amelia Street.

This year the week started with a flag raising on August in front of the City Hall followed by a week of events. The parade was the next afternoon ending at the Open Hearth Park. I caught the tail-end of it at the Park. It was too blisteringly sunny for me to stand around watching. Much like Toronto’s Pride there were tables of handcraft rainbow merchandise & a stage with a DJ & a gaggle of drag performers eager to entertain.

The thought of a drag queen in Cape Breton at one time was tantamount to a severe beating. So this was a sign of real growth in the community that goes beyond lip-service compliance with human rights issues. The one event I had an opportunity to take in was the Living Library https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3G7. 

It was comforting to know that any same-sex sexual activities between consenting adults I might have had was no longer a crime but merely me being a slut 🙂

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

Sydney Academy 3

When I was in Sydney recently my sister asked what did I do to ‘hang out’? At the Academy I was fairly active in some of the ‘clubs.’ One was the Junior Red Cross that devoted its energy to raising money – I guess the money went to the Red Cross. One year we sold ballpoint pens with, I think, Sydney Academy & the school logo printed on them. I remember this because I the group bought them from a company my father’s business used for similar office stuff.

If the order was large enough the company threw in an extra bonus: a coffee percolator one year, a wrist watch the next. We also sold raffle tickets for those bonus items. One year there was regional Jr. Red Cross conference held at Riverview (I think). There was a dinner& dance. 

I also joined the Chess Club, even though I wasn’t all that good at it. I barely remember anyone in it. The same for a short-lived ‘Record Club’ where we brought our favourite lps & played a couple of tracks & talked about why we liked them. My selection ‘The King & I’ wasn’t deemed serious enough. The teacher behind the group wanted to hear serious music not pop, show tunes or jazz. The club didn’t last.

My biggest involvement was badminton. We had the gym every Saturday & played round-robin. Singles, mens doubles, girls doubles & mixed doubles. I was a fairly accomplished player & did win a few trophies. There was also competition with other schools.

The best part of this became music! We were allowed to play records, usually 45s, while the play was going on. I quickly gravitated to this & became a sort of dj as mt pop music interest increased. Popular stuff was the Lovin’ Spoonful, The Beatles, Dave Clarke 5. I recall playing The Gates of Eden, which was the flip side of Like A Rolling Stone & being asked to play less serious stuff. When the Monkee’s I’m Not Your Stepping Stone was first played everyone went nuts for it & we had to play it over & over again.

I was pretty serious about badminton though. A bunch of us also played at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, (now home of HAT) which had a couple of courts in its semi-basement auditorium. The space was also used by the Rotary Club for rehearsals & set building. It was great as we got to practice without the rest of the school around us. I was quite taken by one of the other guys who played. He was hairy & sometimes sported a beard until someone at the school would tell him it was time to shave.

The one non-school organization I became involved with was DeMolay, but that’s another post 🙂

The Whitney Pier Museum

 

is dedicated to the industry of the area

steel workers miners

displays about the various ethic groups

that created the community

Jewish Black Ukrainian

old high-school year books

pictures of teams hockey basketballs

rows of mothers knitting for the war

soldiers returning 

those lost

churches that have come gone

business that survived then faded

as economies rose and dipped

the first black owned store in the city

 

families in fields picnics outings

Christmas parties in church auditoriums

faces turned to cameras

leaden in front of raging blast furnaces

or smeared with cold dust at a mine entrance

men in groups workers comrades

sometimes everyone named

who’s your father 

takes on a tree of discovery

 

I sift through these

wonder about the real lives of these men

wonder where is my queer history

I’m assume each of them

had a wife and kids somewhere

they sweated and worked for that classic dream

a house a garden 

 

no way to find out if any of them

sought out something in each other

no mention that 

this is Jack and John 

who lived happily together 

in this house on Lingan Road

everyone knew but no one cared

 

I’m happy to know the lives

of famed homos of the past

Radcliff Hall Alan Ginsburg

the list gets longer 

as we allow history to reveal

what some historians once thought 

too sordid to bring to light

the sex lives of heteros are fine fodder mind you

 

I look at these photos and wonder

what truths are hidden 

unrecognized

no display of the same-sex inclined

it is as if only the famed were queers in history

no ordinary folks

in these little local museums 

of the closeted

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

October

Stratford Festival – The Crucible

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

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

Sydney Academy 2

 


I remember some of the teachers: Mr. Miller known as Jolly Miller behind his back who taught mathematics: algebra, trigonometry _ I excelled at the first & got lost with the second. Two English teachers stand out as well. Mr. Mould – an English gentleman whose accent we all tried to imitate. Rather staid & he always favoured the memorizers. Miss Laura Donaldson: perhaps my favourite English teacher who was sarcastic, challenging & stern. The English literature we were taught was never modern though. Dickens was as up to date as it got.

The other teacher I can’t forget is Mr. Mills who taught phys-ed at all grade levels. We had to have our gym shoes whitened properly for every class, we lined up for shoe & sock inspection, as well fingernails. Boys & girls got separate gym classes, to keep those raging hormones under control. We were never taught about how to control them expect avoidance. There was no sex ed that I recall.

I stumbled through basketball – never learned a lay up. Managed volley ball, hated gymnastics, found wrestling confusing – thanks to my raging hormones 🙂 After gym there were communal showers where I always washed as fast as possible, keeping my eyes on the floor to avoid slipping on soap suds. Our lockers were assigned so I changed next to the same boys each term. It was here I saw lots of different cocks, saw that some were darker skinned than the rest of the body, saw public hair, hairy chests, hairy legs.

There lots of taunting & bragging. Because I was crappy at every sport, except badminton, I was derided for not being good at basketball etc. There was no physical abuse though. In fact I experienced little of that but there was lots of verbal abuse in the halls.

My sense of style surfaced in high school. I had some paisley shirts, the first seen in the school. My hair was longish & Mr. Mills frequently suggested I get a haircut. I remember seeing a band on TV wearing shirts with cuffs & collars that matched so I had my mother cover the collar and cuffs of one my shirts with some polka dot fabric. I loved it. Another time I had her sew epaulettes on a shirt for me. The teasing increased & escalated to shoving. I didn’t back down.

Suffocating

me face down flat on the floor

me: fifteen

the floor: high school gym

pine slats and the smell of socks

 

lift from the waist

me lifting sweating

I could do this much of the class

I felt safe in one spot

not facing anything   anyone

 

now roll over

this was a little worse

I could see the other guys in my class

but I’m still safe

in one spot on the floor

 

I dreaded it all so much

I’d arrive at school in my gym clothes 

to avoid the change room

okay on your feet boys

we groaned up

jumping jacks

 

I was still safe in one spot

I could keep up with this

it was basketball that did me in

where I could never remember left from right

never could manage a lay up

traveling with the ball – whatever that was

I would pass whenever I could

sometimes I’d fall to get out of the way

 

but that fear was merely prelude 

to what I dreaded the most

the showers

I’d yank my glasses off right away

soft focus everyone

into naked fuzzy forms

I would slink in as small as I could

rinse down

dart back to my locker

keep my eyes to the floor – to faces

but there was always someone too close

someone I couldn’t keep from focusing on

when I was trying not to look

at hair everywhere on some of them

asses backs around their balls

 

I would dress barely dried off 

rush up the stairs and outside

to breath

to keep from drowning 

in the damp desires

that were suffocating me

http://wp.me/p1RtxU-1dQ

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

every Tuesday 2019

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

October

Stratford Festival – The Crucible

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

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

Cape Breton Day 6

I like to alternate pure tourist days with almost local days. Today I had one almost local plan – to take in the Pride CB Living Library at the McConnell Library. An early phone call confirmed supper with an old friend, so now I had two plans on an unplanned day 🙂 The Travelodge is close enough for me to me willing to walk to the downtown. The sun wasn’t as relentless as it has been. So the walk took about thirty minutes, with photo & text stops.

The main drag is now in tatters – empty stores, some of which were posh now are dusty vacant remain Lots I did stop in at a couple & picked up some books, trinkets & to ask about obscure east coast music. Stopped for lunch at Flavor – which wouldn’t be out of place one the Danforth. Decent coffee, good service & excellent bacon & eggs with an exceptional in-house sour dough bread. Stopped in at Heritage Museum but nothing much there but it has taken over the superb old Bank of Montreal building.

Hit another souvenir shop for more trinkets. A coffee shop & finally the McConnell. Four members of the lgbt etc community shared some of their coming out – it was like an AA talk without the alcohol. They each brought in focus very different aspects of the queer experience: pan, intersex, non binary, cis, not cis, lesbian experience. Sometime funny, sometimes sad, always real. 

All of them had some sort of community to come out into & found support for their process. I did remind them that as someone who lived in CB the 60s/70s they had a very different experience. Too bad there wasn’t any of the older generation available for the panel to give it a more complete historical context.

Walked back to the hotel, relaxed a bit, showered & out for that dinner with an old friend. Too much food, too stuffy an apartment, but at least she was within walking distance. I find that’s one of the good things about opting for a hotel this visit – I have seen parts of this city that I have never seen before.

Here’s a brand new piece I wrote at Flavor.

Morning Moment

the old home town

not in ruins

yet –

tatters

remodelled for the tourist trade

some shops only open

when the liners are in

cruise ships

with so many passengers

the population is doubled

for a couple of hours

 

I grew up here

before the liners

made this a port of call

escaped when I was young enough

to enjoy my freedom

now old enough

to know

I escaped with my life

I felt then I was in a prison

but didn’t understand

I was under a death sentence

 

the old home town

familiar 

storefronts of abandoned shops

schools burned down

washed away

dead friends

nostalgia not memory

brings me back

 

I don’t want to revisit

as much as reframe

to make new moments

to be what I wasn’t 

once upon a time

maybe to be

what I am not even today

 

so what do I say

to a message

‘dick this morning?’

will I be 

some old guy in a past self

who was a prisoner of shame

or do I let myself

become a man

who takes this moment

to exchange blow jobs

before eight in the morning