Measure Up

Measure Up

I concede 

I’m not that competitive

whether you are the better

isn’t that important to me

I want to be judged

on my merits alone

not on how much 

better or worse I may be

compared with anyone

better is relative

 

who is the winner

the one who comes in first 

or the one who finishes the race

on their own terms

 

I grew up

in a school system

where I learned 

I would never measure up

because I wasn’t smart enough

to memorize the times table

smart enough

to regurgitate passages of text books

when I wrote exams

even when I was right

I was given no credit

because my spelling was so wrong

 

coming out

I learned I would never measure

I was never young enough

buff enough

hung enough

to be desirable enough

in the eyes of those

who I wanted to measure up to

without realizing

I was trying to measure up



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Virility

The Best

‘you will be my third today’

he was proud of his virility

‘I save the best for last’

I wasn’t interested in being his best

‘you have a nice ass’

 

not that I thought he was

anything more than a fun fuck

but to hear of his conquests

wasn’t arousing me

 

we’d met on line

he was a 30 something

whose nickname was blktop4u

blk meaning black

it started with him messaging me

I had glanced at his profile 

even though there was no pic

it laid out the facts honestly

the first time we hooked up

I didn’t expect him to show

but he did

he was as he claimed to be

though his profile 

didn’t say he needed to fuck

three times a day

 

that fact didn’t come out for a year

we’d meet every month or so

I’d hear about his background 

but he was so fearful of identity theft 

we could only make contact

via the dating site

no cell phone

no email

 

sometimes longish text chats

on the site

then he’d show up

as arranged 

until one day he didn’t 

he contacted me two days later

to explain

he’d had a better offer

in a deluxe condo

 

so my interest changed

next time we chatted

he was so keen to play

I declined

I declined another two times

then said sure come on over

but if you’re a no show

it’s a no go ever again

 

I began to discount 

everything he told me

there was no truth

in the shifting life of a man

who wouldn’t even tell me his name

things were okay until he told me

‘you will be my third today

I save the best for last’

 

I declined to be part of his body count

said no

he asked why

I replied

you can’t always get what you want

then blocked him

because he wasn’t the best

A poet friend of mine recently started a little discussion about pieces we’ve written but that we have chosen not to share for various reasons – such as – didn’t want to tigger listeners/readers, too emotionally revealing, too blunt & judgemental. For me this is one that I am tempted to hide away – or put in an envelope ‘to be opened twenty years after my death.’ Hidden because of the the racial content & also because of what it reveals about my sex life.

 

 

It’s also a piece about a backhanded compliment. When ‘he’ said I was the best I’m sure he didn’t realize what he was saying wasn’t heard as a compliment. For the most part this is a factual real life adventure. I’ve omitted a few details that didn’t add enough to the story. The dialogue is verbatim.

 

 

Because of his secrecy I was never interested in letting our interaction become more than physical. As time passed I became more ‘illusive’ as well. It takes more than sex to keep me interested. But he never asked for more than sex, either. never needed transit money etc. 

 

Then he made the mistake of telling me about his sex life. Now, I didn’t think he was a one man man nor did I expect him to be. I’m a realist. I didn’t trust all of what he told me most of the time but when he casually mentioned ‘my third today’ I believed him. I didn’t challenge him, what was the point after all we were merely FB with no strings. My reply is also verbatim. 

 

I have heard from him since – I guess that’s one of the rewards of being ‘the best.’ No thanks.


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Picture Perfect 11

Leaning on the kitchen counter they rested against each other.

“I better finish these dishes.” Sanjay bit Dan’s ear lobe.

“They can wait. You have this to clean up first.” Dan wiped at the come drying on his face.

Sanjay leaned closer and began to lick off the come. Dan started to laugh. “That tickles. Let’s hit the shower. We can have the other dessert later when we are clean enough to eat it.”

He pulled his jeans up, grabbed Sanjay hand and pulled him toward the stairs

 “Yes, master.”

When they remodelled the house Dan had made sure the shower in the master bedroom was large enough to hold two. They soaped and scrubbed each other. Rubbing and kissing, slipping and sliding around each other at the same time. Dan loved the feeling of Sanjay’s hairy chest and belly on his back. 

“You are tempting the elephant again.” Sanjay said.

“No more than you are summoning up the albino cobra.” Dan turned so they faced each other in the shower. Erections rubbing side by side. He reached to the tap and cut the hot so they were caught in a sudden downpour of icy cold. He jumped out of the shower.

“Ah. You fucker.” Sanjay followed him out.

“Yes perhaps I am for a change.” Dan said pushing the wet Sanjay onto his back on the bed, then climbed on top of him. He moved down Sanjay’s chest, his mouth biting here and there, then to his cock, balls and pushing Sanjay’s legs into the air to his butt.

The black hairs around his hole were so tightly wound it was hard to worm his tongue to it but Dan knew he had succeeded as Sanjay gasped.

“Ooo, that hits more than one spot.”

“Freshly washed.” Dan muttered as he came up keeping Sanjay’s legs on his shoulders. He reached under the pillow and pulled out a tube of lube, quickly smeared some on his cock and Sanjay’s hole.

His cock was longer than Sanjay’s but not as thick. He pressed it against the warm opening and pushed.

“Not so gentle baby.” Sanjay squeezed his legs around Dan and pulled him in tight so Dan’s cock was buried in a single thrust. “You know I don’t like it as gentle as you do.”

“If I were as thick as an elephant trunk you wouldn’t be saying that.” He pulled out completely and thrust in hard and fast.

“Oh.” Sanjay gasped. “Yes. Hard. Bite.” He pushed Dan’s head at his left nipple. “Bite.”

Dan bit the nipple as hard as he could without losing momentum. He tasted man milk after a few sharp bites.

“Yeah yeah.” Sanjay moaned. He pushed Dan’s head to his other nipple.

Dan saw spots as he felt himself about to come and started to pull out. Sanjay gripped him even tighter with his legs. 

“In me. In me.” He begged.

Dan felt his first spurt as he pulled out. The rest of his come spilled over Sanjay’s cock and balls. He rolled off Sanjay and laid on the bed his hand on Sanjay’s stomach.

“It has been a while.” Dan said.

“Too long. I was beginning to wonder if you were still interested. It happens, I know. After a years.”

“Same here. Sometimes I wonder if you are filling more that pastry at P’s.”

“What!” Sanjay rolled and propped himself up on elbow. “You know what I’m like. I’m a one butt pie at a time kind of man.” He leaned and bit Dan’s nipple.

“Oh stop!” Dan laughed and pushed him away. “Looks like I’m going to have to shower again. This time alone.”

“Yes master.”

Once he had washed off he left the shower running for Sanjay. He dried off and went downstairs to his desk. He arrayed the pictures of the other children in the light to see if there was some connection between them. The unexpected connection he had found with the RCMP photographs in the afternoon had played on his mind.

“A new case. Right. I forgot you can’t talk about your cases.” Sanjay asked.

“This isn’t a case in that sense. These are from that cold case show I caught the other night.”

“Still thinking about that. What was it about Timmy any way?”

“I think it was the way it ended but never ended. I know now why he never answered my letters. He was abducted. Otherwise I might have forgotten all about him.”

“What do you remember?”

“We had loads of fun when we summered in Stellerton. He even visited me a couple times in New Waterford.”

“Same bed?” Sanjay asked.

“Yes. I’d sort of forgotten about that. We’d fall asleep spooning from behind. The way we sometimes do!”

“So …”

“I was only a boy Sanj. I sure liked him though. He was uncut. I’d never seen that before. Not that I’d seen any cock other than my own but I guess I figured they were all like mine.”

“Uh … huh. I wish I could say the same. I saw lots of cock when I was growing up. Men would piss in front of each other without thinking twice. There was no shame with body functions.”

“I played with his once. He saw how amazed I was at his foreskin. He let me touch it, it wouldn’t pull back the way yours does. It was so tight he could barely pee out of it.”

“Did it taste pissy?”

“Sanjay! I don’t know. That never entered my head. Though years later when I knew what I like I did wonder why I didn’t then.”

“Perhaps is just as well you didn’t. Your tender young heart would have been even more broken when your parent so cruelly tore you apart.”

“They did not move because of him, of my friendship with him. My mother says his disappearance was one of the reasons we did move. My Dad didn’t feel it was safe.”

“As if Toronto was such a safe place, right?”

“I never considered that.”

“I hate to change the subject but let’s talk about me for a change.”

“You? Something wrong?”

“No. Dessert awaits you in the living room.”

He followed Sanjay to the living room. On the coffee table were two bowls of Sanjay’s speciality. A banana raisin ice-cream with a subtle dash of curry.

“Yummy.” Dan eagerly took a spoonful. “So what about you?”

“You know this year is my parents fiftieth wedding anniversary.”

“Right.”

“You know I will be going to India to celebrate it with the rest of my family. There will be many, many of us.”

“Lots of cooking for you, right?”

“You don’t know the half of it. I will be going there the first of June to start the preparations. As the unmarried son I have more responsibilities.”

“When is the anniversary?”

“Not until the end of June.”

“I don’t know if I can get away for that long.”

“I’m not expecting you to.”

Dan had travelled with Sanjay to Agra twice now to meet his family. He wasn’t sure if his family even realized the nature of their relationship.

“You could join me for the week of the actual anniversary.”

“You sure you want me there? Last time they kept dropping hints about grandchildren.”

“I remember,” Sanjay grinned. “But if we send them pictures of our wedding, that would put a stop to that.”

“They’d see two grooms and wonder where the brides where.”

“You have a point there.” Sanjay took Dan’s hand. “One no longer has to be a pop star to pop the question.”

Sanjay regularly dropped hints about them getting married.

“Sanj, you know that isn’t going to happen. I thought you understood. Do I have to explain that again?”

Sanjay stopped him with a kiss. “Say no more but I hoped after your excitement about Kevin McLeod’s nuptials, you might have had a change of mind.”

“His wedding more PR than love I think. Though a … triad does seem interesting. Marriage is just fucking heteronormative bs being forced on us. Marriage has proven to be a flop for centuries.”

“You cynic!” Sanjay lay with his head in Dan’s lap. “We only hear about the drama of failure not about the ordinariness of success. Drama sells, quiet success fades into the background.”

“You want to fade into the background? Not that we are such an out there couple but … you know what I mean. Forced conformity just isn’t for me.”

“Forced?”

“Yeah, just because we can doesn’t mean we should. It seems only the real queers are getting married. Us who don’t are giving them bad name by living in sin.”

“Whatever.” Sanjay stood to take the dessert bowls to the kitchen.

“I doubt if married couples, of any gender, have the sort of sex we just had. Especially after being to gather for nearly ten years.”

“How did we end up talking about you again?” Sanjay laughed. “I’ll be booking my tickets to India next week. My cousin tells me there’s going to be seat sale. I’ll book yours at the same time.”

“No more than seven days for me.” Dan was firm.

“That barely gives you time to get over jet lag. I’ll get a better price for a ten day spread.”

“Since when?” Dan stood, stretched and yawned. “Man, I am tired. Bushed.”

“And well whacked too.” Sanjay called from the kitchen.

“I’m going to turn in. Check with me before you book anything for me.”

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Picture Perfect 10

As Warszawa and Clarke drove away, Dan rubbed his fingers against the palm of his hand. What was that look all about? Was Warszawa showing some sort of interest him. 

His cell phone rang. Sanjay’s face lit up on the screen as his incoming caller.

“Sanjay! I was just thinking about you.” He said.

“Me too. I mean I was also thinking about you not about me. Will you be home at the usual time? It seems like weeks since we had a meal together.”

This was the main stress on their relationship. Finding and making time to be together for more than a few hours.

“I’ll make sure I’m there. You do the same.”

“Agreed.”

“Even if Sylvan offers you triple-time.”

“Yes, of course. If I am delayed you can triple-time my Gulab Jamuns.”

“Not so much rosewater this time. Your balls taste fine without it.”

 

After a busy morning James was enjoying a routine afternoon at the shop until Kevin McLeod arrived, he had Mario Delucia and another man with him.

“Kevin,” they hugged. “It’s been ages since I’ve seen you. Mario,” he shook Mario’s hand, ‘You’re looking well. And this is …”

“Stewart O’Connor.” Stewart was a little taller than both Mario and Kevin. His full beard made him look older as well.

“So you are getting married?” Dan said, glancing between Kevin and Mario. 

“Not that I have a choice.” Kevin kissed Stewart.

Dan was puzzled. He’d expected Mario to be the other groom.

“Well, actually I did have a choice. We each pulled name out of a hat and Stewart and I were the winning combination.”

“Combination?” Dan asked.

“It could have just easily been Stewart and Mario. But it does make more sense that it’s me with either of them.”

“Oh?” Dan was more puzzled.

“We’re a …” Mario stopped to find the right word.

“Triad.” Stewart supplied. “Not all that unusual in ichthyology.”

“Stewart is a marine biologist.” Mario explained. 

“I see.” Dan had heard of polyamory but this was the first time he’d actual met a triad. 

“Mario will be best man.”

“Very best.” Stewart joked. 

“Okay.” Dan said. “It’s been some years since I shot a wedding. What did you have in mind?”

“It’ll be a simple three ring ceremony.” Kevin began.

“At Pride.” Mario added.

“In front of a hundred thousand people.” Stewart shook his head.

“Pride because that’s where I really came out.”

“You had too much talent to keep in any closet.” Stewart said.

“So you’ll want the shoot there?” Dan was already thinking of the logistics. In the past ten years Kevin had become a major international pop star. Canada’s answer to Elton John.

“Of course.” Kevin said. “But I really want something more subtle for actual wedding. The parade and all that comes after the fact.

“It’s not as if you need the exposure.” Daniel said.

“True.” Mario explained. “But after the success of Kevin’s pro-marriage song we figured it was a good idea.”

“Just cause I can’t have your baby

don’t mean I’ll take your maybe

if you want it

you’ll knot it

cause I’m drivin’ you crazy’’ Kevin sang the chorus.

“So we’re talking the end of June, right. Gives us more than a few months to prepare.” Dan said. “How much of a budget do have for this?”

“How much did Beyonce spend on her wedding?” Kevin asked Mario.

“Look Kevin.” name said sternly. “You promised this wasn’t going to too over-the-top. It’s a three ring ceremony, not a three-ring circus.”

“Trust me it won’t be.” Dan said. “Not if I can help it. If that’s what you want, and I wouldn’t blame you, but I’m the photographer for you.”

“Okay.” Kevin said. “There’s be an official engagement party next week. Can you be there?”
“As guest or photographer? I come free as a guest but if you want pictures I don’t come free.” He’d learned to draw that line years ago after being asked to bring his camera along to various friends’ function.

“I get you Dan. Sometimes I’d like to go to party where I’m not expected to perform. Guest. My friend. Guest.”

“Okay.”

“Bring Sanjay, too.”

“He’s such a big fan there’s no way I could stop him.”

“We’re doing a circus motif for the engagement party.” Stewart added.

“His daughter’s idea.” Marco said. “She never got a real birthday so thinks we have to make it up to her this way.”

“I see.” Dan said even though he didn’t quite get it. “As long as I don’t have to wear clown white.”

“No.” Kevin said. “We’re leaving costumes to the professionals.”

“Time to get to the studio Kevin.” Mario said.

“Okay okay. We’re working on a follow up to the hit. Knot Got Me Caught.”

“Catchy.” Dan said as they left the shop.

The place was very quiet as he, Sandy and Ushio looked at each other in stunned amazement.

 

 

“And then Kevin McLeod walks in with his two husbands.” Dan was going through the events of his day for Sanjay.

“What!” Sanjay turned away from the sink where he had been doing the dishes. “Two?”

“You heard me. Only one of them will be the legal husband. The rewards of being young and famous and rich.”

“Is that a note of envy in your voice? You’d like two husbands I suppose.”

“Sanj I have barely enough time for one.” He hugged Sanjay from behind pushing his hands though the top of his sweats to play with Sanjay’s foreskin. “I bet neither of them has anything as sweet as this.”

You want it, You gotta knot it first.” Sanjay sang.

“Oh man. Don’t quit your day job.” Dan continued to caress Sanjay as he got hard in his hands. “This is too thick to tie a knot in anyway.”

He remembered the first time he and Sanjay had sex. They’d met on line on a site for bears and their admirers. It turned out that neither of them were bears though but the attraction was there. 

Dan found Sanjay’s wide face and sense of humour enough to make him want more. Sanjay said it was Dan’s smooth skin that turned him on the most when they first met. It took two dates before they actually got to the practical matter of sexual compatibility.

Dan hooked his thumbs around the waist band of Sanjay’s sweats and began to pull them down.

“Hey!” Sanjay slapped at his hand. “At least let me finish the dishes.”

“Yes, master.” Dan nuzzled Sanjay’s ear. “How’s this.”

“Not much better.” Sanjay giggled and reached behind with one hand to fondle’s Dan’s cock. “Good thing you are wearing jeans or I’d be unable to finish my work.”

Dan took his hands out of Sanjay’s sweats, put one over Sanjay’s hand to press it harder on his cock and stroked Sanjay’s erection through the front of his sweats.

“You want to finish these?” Squirmed around to face Dan.

“Nope. I’d rather finish this.” He pushed Sanjay’s sweats down past his ankles and leaned over to suck the head of his cock.

San pumped his hips slightly. “Ah yes, that is a good worker.”

Dan knelt. Hands on Sanjay’s ass he pushed Sanjay deeper into his mouth then let him back out a little. He worked his tongue under the foreskin, tasting pre-come. He gently bit the loose skin.

“Oh. Oh.” Sanjay gasped. “Yes. Yes. Harder. Bite that skin harder.”

Dan bit a little harder. Sanjay rocked his hips a little, pulled his cock out and then came on Dan’s face.

“Let me wipe that off for you.” With a ragged sigh he rubbed his cock in his come on Dan’s chin

As he did that Dan attempted to catch Sanjay’s cock in his mouth again.

“You can’t get enough, can you you cock-sucking slut.” He shoved his still hard cock back into Dan’s mouth then pulled it out. He forced Dan to stand up and kissed him, smearing the come on both their faces.

“You like that.” He grunted between kisses.

“You know I do.”

“Then you are going to like this even more.”

Sanjay stepped out of his sweats and kicked them away. Then he undid Dan’s jeans and forced down to his ankles, pushed him around and bent him over the table. He dropped to his knees and tongued Dan’s ass. He reached around to jack Dan off.

Dan moaned while he reached back to push Sanjay’s face between his ass cheeks. The rub of Sanjay’s whiskers on his ass cheeks made his eyes water with pleasure.

“Oh, baby yes. Eat that fucking ass. Eat it.”

Sanjay did for a few minutes then stood to grab some lube from behind the cookie jar on the kitchen counter.

“You ready for this?” he said as he rubbed lube on his cock and then along Dan’s ass crack and up his hole.

“Oh!” Dan said. “I see you were ready.”

“Yeah. Why wait for dessert before I have dessert. Right? Nothing like some fresh butt pie to make me happy.”

He pressed his cock along Dan’s ass and gently pushed the head in.

“Ow.” Dan steeled himself. “Slowly. It’s been awhile.”

“Don’t I know it.” Sanjay pushed in a little.

“Be still.” Dan said. He held his breath as his ass muscles relaxed enough to allow Sanjay to enter deeper. Then pushed down on the cock to encourage Sanjay to push up at the same time.

“I love to open you up.” He trust deeper. In and out slowly.

“That’s it.” Dan rolled his head back on Sanjay’s shoulders. “Who knew we would turn out to be the perfect height for each other.”

The table began to move as Sanjay fucked Dan harder. They did a quick pivot so Dan could brace himself against the kitchen counter.

“Better?” He asked.

“Perfect, baby, perfect.”

Sanjay held Dan’s hips as he trust faster and deeper. His knees flexed and his last few trusts lifted Dan right off the floor. He stopped abruptly and pulled his cock out.

Dan felt hot come splatter the small of his back.

“Whoa!” Sanjay breathed out. “I’m getting too old for that sort of thing.”

“Didn’t feel that way to me.” Dan wiped the come off his back and used it to lube his dick. As he stoked he guided Sanjay’s hand to his balls. Sanjay squeezed them and kissed him until he came.

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‘the unzipping of the promise’

Season six of Hot Damn! has seen attendance grow steadily while the courage & numbers of slammers grow as it continues to offer a safe space for lgbtqia creatives to explore & express themselves, plus laugh, cry, sing & dance in harmony.  The newly shorn Robyn Sidhu hosted the show & left things moving smoothly with some handy Dad jokes & pointed political comments. Her family escaped Punjabi state sanctioned genocide to Canada where she now witnesses Canada’s state sanctioned genocide of its native population. 

A fair bit of the work centered around mothers – the guilt of not loving the one who never loved you, the decision not to be one, the struggle for acceptance from the one who loves you. Some addressed the struggle with body image, gender dissonance & even the conflict between biology & hormone replacement. Heartfelt without becoming melodramatic or self-pitying.

The feature Sincerely Shyy gave us a set brimming with ‘black girl magic.’ ‘she is born of the cosmos’ ‘she is an indictment’ ‘I tried to make a home out of you’. I particularly liked her piece: ‘I’m not here for the revolution – I just want to fuck you’ – it was honest, sexy, fun while being politically resonant. Her set was too short 🙂

If you’ve been reading my Hot Damn! reviews you’ll notice this time there are no quotes from the open-stagers or the slammers. One thing the Queer Slam does in regards to photos is let people op out for privacy. I decided to do the same for the performers (except the feature). The show is in a public space but its contents is only for the public that shows up. ‘the unzipping of the promise’ comes from one of the slammers.

The season finale is Friday, April 3, at Buddies in Bad Times theatre.

I did hit the open stage & presented ‘Swim’ (https://wp.me/p1RtxU-4cX) & this revised version of ‘Satisfaction’

Satisfaction 

it went exactly as planned

the only one disappointed

was me

I wanted things to be better

the story of my life

 

the right size is never right enough

a good fit isn’t adequate

the praise adulation 

are mere stop gaps

diversions

from going beyond expectations

 

good enough

feels like settling for less

it isn’t satisfying to measure up

it has to be unforgettable

 

your good enough is fine by me

but that good enough

isn’t worth bothering with

when I am the one not satisfied

by perfection

https://capfireslam.org

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The Cutest Beatle

Who is the cutest Beatle? Who is the most talented? Did Yoko break up the best band in the world? None of these questions will be answered here 🙂 All I can say for sure is that John Lennon was the uncut Beatle. Yes, that’s right I’m looking at my John Lennon music collection – not the shirts.

A few years ago I downloaded a bit set of what purports to be all his solo work (though Yoko appears frequently enough.) So I have, as mp3, on 2 cds: Unfinished Music: Two Virgins; Wedding Album; Live Peace in Toronto 1969; Plastic Ono Band; Imagine; Some Time in NYC; Live in NYC; Mind Games; Walls & Bridges; Shaved Fish; Rock’n’Roll; Double Fantasy; Milk & Honey. Of these the only one I had as lp was Walls & Bridges. 

Of the Beatles I would say John was the most adventurous (yes I know McCartney did some electronica) & at one point was avant-garde thanks to Yoko & their early sound collage work. Though I suspect Virgins/Wedding work more of a fuck you to the pop music industry – similar to Lou Reed’s Metal Music. These aren’t lps I feel drawn back to more than every ten years.

I enjoy much of his studio work once he got over his collage mood. The albums all have tracks I enjoy, tracks that have become classics. He was the most directly political of the Beatles & never really followed pop trends. The only one of his lps that I actually bought, when it was first released, was Walls & Bridges. Probably his most Beatlesque work.

To round out the mp3 cds I added The Beatles: Live at the Hollywood Bowl 1965 – the Beatles sing against a backdrop of ceaseless screaming. George Harrison w Bob Dylan: New Morning Sessions; self-titled. The Dylan sessions are sweet but probably more interesting to real fans. The ‘self-titled’ flows with his mystic explorations & love songs. Julian Lennon: Valotte – solid pop from the son of John who looks & sounds like his dad. Finally Paul McCartney’s Band On The Run – I love this album. Paul has real pop smarts & this of all his recordings is the best. I’ve listened to much of his other work & well, who cares.

Magazine Machismo 

I am walking down the street across from the park. Fall. Leaves swirling around me. I spot a few colourful magazine pages caught in a wrought iron fence. As I get closer I discern faces, bodies on the pages. I pull them off. They are pictures of naked men. Full color but not fully naked. These men have on panties, stockings, their dicks can be seen through the sheer fabric. Faces pouting. 

I look around alarmed, afraid someone might see me looking at this that I just happened to pick up. There is no one around. 

I turn the pages over and more of the same photos only  in black & white. There were no other pages swirling in the wind. Where had they come from? I had never seen anything like this before. I guess I was 14 15 at time time. I’d had my own dreams about naked men but never ones that included this sort of fantasy.

I was astounded, alarmed and puzzled all at the same time. I didn’t have any sort of role model to follow and these pictures seemed almost logical – gay men wanted to be women in some way. But I didn’t want to be a woman in anyway, so maybe I wasn’t a really queer after all.

I looked at the pictures a few more times in a street light. Again making sure there was no one around to see me looking. Had someone planted them to be found and where they watching from some window to see who would take them, linger over them.  Where had they flown from to be caught in the wind, tossed around with the leaves like this.

I shoved them in the first garbage bin I came across. I felt free without them, without those faces, cocks, garters, daring me to consider things I didn’t how to consider.

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

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

Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Conversation

Text Me

he’s behind bars

so the streets are safer

yet I still say

text me when you get home

these streets will never be safe

 

all those years 

when I never worried

about more than someone getting wet

waiting too long for a bus

 

all those years

when this was happening

men lured into a van

expecting a lift home

not a fight for their life

 

I’m feeling retroactive fear

regret

for dangers I never knew existed 

for men coming and going

from my house

from my arms

making their way home

at night

 

some who have in fact

disappeared from my life

moved on

I presumed

but now I’m not sure

 

I know he’s behind bars

but the streets

will never feel safe again

so text me when you get home

I’ll text you when I get home

I find it unsettling to revisit the Terra Cotta poems. Some were written during the manhunt. This one after the arrest. I live a relatively protected life – not quite a cocoon but one at a distance from the downtown core where my immediate physical risks are minimal. I feel much safer walking the my east end streets at night that I do walking along, say, Jarvis at night.

Many of the killers victims were met on-line – which is where I do meet men – geography only plays a role when travel is involved. So it is not unlikely that I could have met this man. It isn’t even impossible that we did have some on-line contact but I’m clearly was not the ‘type’ he was looking for. Being a non-drugger, sober, white queer offers some protection 🙂

I knew men who knew some of the victims. One who was sure there was something going on before the police acknowledged there was something going on. I’ve been told that the killer went to some recovery meetings in his hunt for vulnerable men. I mention these things as context for all the Terra Cotta pieces. I felt I had tom write something about this, about the way the media responded to the man hunt.

It impacted the community is many ways. This piece reflects one of those ways. Our concern for friends & lovers whom we cannot protect. The text request was a way to offer connection to friends – not necessarily just fwb. I always make the request when one of guys who drive to my place head home. Even when men are ‘out of the closet’ they may not be out about who they are seeing. If they have an accident I may never know unless family alerts every # on a cell phone that so & so etc.

 

The fact that this guy is behind bars hasn’t changed the culture in which what he was doing was so easy to ignore. The indifference to crime/assault against the LGBTQIA community hasn’t changed as a result. It may have started a ‘conversation’ but let’s face it talk is not a change.



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Star Trek Subtext (Feb 20.12)

Got out to Plasticine Poetry Sunday night. I haven’t been to a reading event for nearly two months. Not since I hosted Plasticine in December. I guess that’s part of the aging process – my unwillingness to bundle up warm and then drag myself out on cold wet nights to spots where there is barely room to sit at a table, let alone have a place to pile winter clothes. Paupers offers a bit of space for that in their booths so one doesn’t have to sit the entire night wearing the parka that you don’t want to throw on the floor.memole15

No mic cord for the first set of open stagers & feature. But the room was good for hearing without microphone – though first feature Lynn McClory did have to move to centre of the room. Her set was, for me, a bit dry. I’ve never been a fan of poetry about language – her works captures emotional distancing with abstractions, language play and broken phrases.  As much as I like phrases such as ‘deftly indifferent to the photographs’ I’m not sure how one is deftly indifferent. I did enjoy the irony of her closing piece about the Silent Majority.

During the break I connected with Adam Abbas – he did a great pean to Cathy Petch when he hit the open stage later. Also enjoyed running into and then sharing my booth with one of the Toronto Erotica guys. Thanks also to the organizers for cake to celebrate the recent launch of Cathy Petch’s book “Late Night Knife Fights” – which is already into it’s second printing.PC070014.JPG

Jim Nason started the second set – he read from his recent book “Narcissus Unfolding.” The pieces had a strong sense of place – the ocean, a back alley – that felt grounded and were emotionally inviting to me. Images like ‘the terrible flame of your father’s hand’ made sure I bought a copy of his book.

Final feature was Beatriz Hausner. When I featured with her at Plasticine a few years ago she read several surreal pieces about sewing the perfect man & that book  – “Sew Him Up” – is now in print, so I bought it. The pieces she read from it were infused with a warm Latino sensuality the reminded me of my favorites Lorca and Arenas. She read some pieces from ‘Raccoon’ that were rich with magic realism balanced with powerful emotional response to the life and death of Amy Winehouse – a book I can’t wait to get.

I managed to get into the first round of open stagers – read a couple of comfortable older pieces. As usual the open stagers run the gamut of pure Canadiana nature poetry to closing with a Serge Gainsbourgh song.

samples

Here’s one of the pieces I read:

Star Trek Subtext

an all day Star Trek marathon

the original series on Blue Ray

weird space plants

funky 60’s retro-futurist sets

Kirk Spock Bones Sulu

(Sulu who knew you were

the real queen of outer space)

we had nachos   salsa

bags of sea salt-n-pepper chips

Hawaiian pizza   fried chicken

diet coke   real dr pepper

a 90 inch plasma TV

Trek in all its never to fade glory

as each episode started

we did a soprano unearthly dance

every time Scotty said

‘I’m giving it everything we got captain’

we’d eat chips as fast as we could

when Uhura said

‘we are experiencing interference’

we saw who could burp the loudest

every time Kirk took off or tore his shirt

we removed an article of clothing

(Strip Trek)

every time the fate of a culture

was decided by a kiss from Kirk

we made moony eyes at each other

until someone said ‘phasers on stun’

each time human emotions

were a puzzle

we asked deep personal questions like

‘who has the bigger dick

Chekov or that guy

with his face painted black and white?’

when any alien said

‘what is this thing you earth people call kissing’

we gave each other alien tongue baths

every time Spock said ‘illogical’

we did the Vulcan grind meld

by the time the marathon was over

it didn’t matter

that neither of us really liked Star Trek

we’ll never forget this Star Date One

…..

When I got home there was Sulu – George Takei – on Celebrity Apprentice – though I don’t think I’d want of these contestants to make me a sandwich.

dish

Know Better?

ages  names

44 44 58 37 49 47 50 40

 

Selim Esen

Abdulbasir Faizi

Majeed Kayhan

Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam  

Andrew Kinsman

Dean Lisowick

Soroush Mahmudi

Skandaraj Navaratnam

 

all men

old enough 

adults

not teen-age runaways

not ‘I’ll live forever’ twenty somethings

men

one commentator said

‘who should know better’

 

all men

all with beards

all found dead

two white

6 missed

2 not missed until found dead

1 unnamed even when found dead

7 found online

 

all looking for love

that isn’t clear

all looking for sex

that isn’t clear

some seeking asylum 

acceptance 

finding limits pushed

but not expecting 

to be pushed beyond limit

 

most so fearful

of discovery

they took what they could get

without … I want to say complaint

but no one knows

no one can know

what they were looking for

what they expected

we know what they got

death

 

a talking head on TV said

‘they learned their lesson’

what lesson

that homosexual men

are all sadistic murderous predators 

a cliche

once more proved valid

or

dating apps aren’t to be trusted

that searching for sex

deserves to be punished with death

that they got what they deserved

 

they deserve better

than some talking head on TV

shifting blame

from perpetrator

to the dead

I performed this piece as part of my Shanty Tramp set on Jan 26, 2020. I placed it in the middle of the set along with another of the Terra Cotta poems. All of them deal with the serial killer of gay men here in Toronto in 2017/18. Like some of pieces it deals more with the media coverage as the cases unfolded. It also echoes the naming of names that I have heard/read in relation to the massacre of trans people. This list isn’t as long. It also echoes the use of names & ages in the news. Ages are used when they aren’t relevant to the report – ‘an age gender died in a fire.’

 

Here I separated the ages from the names of the known victims. I have not memorized or perfected their pronunciation for performance – I never want them to come easily off my tongue the way they did with news announcers. I don’t even connect the names with the statistics around race etc. I don’t venture a statistic about their sexuality.

 

 

The commentator quotes are real. I found myself watching some of the coverage, even things on 2020 & ‘news’ shows of that ilk. I also read something into the subtext of remarks made by various talking heads – essentially these men got what they deserved for being gay – the same logic behind spousal abuse – if she had been more compliant etc. The shifting of guilt from the perpetrator to the victim.

Some of the subtext was that these weren’t good queers like the ones who got legally married & adopted children in heteronormative acceptability. The shaming of sexuality – no, it is broader than that – the shaming of enjoying a variety of sex partners (regardless of genders) played a bit part in the media coverage. Only married homos or celebrate homos are good – the rest get what they deserve & this serial killer gave them justification for this lesson.

My lesson: media will use any excuse to be condescending & self-righteous. 


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‘told I am too loud’

If Hot Damn’s first 2020 show is any indication the series has successful created a welcome space for the many intensely creative people who don’t choose to conform with cultural constructs of gender, sexuality or race yet have to contend with issues of body image, language Diaspora & employment. If you don’t want your complacency challenged this show is not for you.

some lines from the first round of open stagers & slammers: we all want to get home – it’s my hand on the pen – this is where I get to tell my side of the story – O felt every time I fell in love I’d become someone new – binary craft calculators – when gender & genetics collide it’s a battle – your past will follow in your footsteps -more suitcase than body – if I stop having kids so I stop being beautiful – I don’t know how to say love in my language – afternoons spent in the belly of the beast I didn’t know had consumed me – am I now an artist or a seance – I will not be validating your feelings – you are so brave – I still carry dry petal in my pockets – one days I can’t take care of myself I look after the garden, shame is a limb that isn’t mine – I am named after the blood in my mother’s mouth

Feature Yes The Poet – started their set with a uke cover of the Rolling Stone’s Beast of Burden that gave the song a authenticness I’ve never heard in it before. It became a folkways dustbowl recording from the early 20’s. Yes’s Cuban heritage started the spoken part of set with a heartfelt prayer of thanks (in Spanish) to grandmothers that added another spiritual context to Hot Damn.

some lines from the set: joy is having something to leave behind – some nights my sex us the predator – let me be soft & not a girl at the same time -only seeing their homeland in the background off Becky’s instagram feed – shrink to fit the paper work – I’m told I am too loud by people who aha never been told to be quiet – nobody liked me but because I told jokes they left alone – 

some lines from the second round of open-stagers & slammers: to write a poem you must bust a window – tinted in all the right places – I find myself melting on an angel’s tongue – promise to live you in sickness & in sickness – they grey with the colours dancing inside – not smiling for the first time in my life – I sit & watch the feet as they go by – tricks the eyes of your heart – my gender is a rabbit pulled out of a hat every morning – sex is my disappearing act – relearning of conversation mechanics – don’t think I don’t remember you – a lumberyard of silence – Pluto did it make you feel less empty to be recognized – as if changing a costume would change the body in it – threes no shame in fear – words in a language that doesn’t belong to either of us – my skin comes with a history – pathologizing my no.

Someone asked why I don’t name who performed, other than the feature. One of the things often chanted at slams – it’s the poem not the points. So this is about the poetry not the particular poets. A winner was declared, bug happy prizes were given. A good time as had by all.

I did this piece from my Shanty Tramp set

Old School Walk

guys in high school

knew things about me

that I didn’t know

or rather didn’t fully understand

I was a small blond boy

with very fine hair

I let grow longer

like pop stars of the time

long hair that got me teased

or was that bullied

with name calling

fruit

fairy

gear box

in the days before

faggot or queer were used

I knew they meant

that I wasn’t manly enough

not that I was fem

but I was not like them

nor did I try to be

I never knew

what it was that tipped them off

until one day a guy I knew

suggested I should walk

more like man

walk like a man

I had no awareness then

of how I walked

or how men were supposed to walk

in fact

I had no body awareness

beyond my awareness

of the bodies of the boys

in the locker room

this guy

gave me some lessons

in how to walk like a man

lessons I didn’t understand

it wasn’t as if 

I was deliberately

walking any one way

it was something 

I couldn’t consciously change

the right walk

wasn’t going to cure me of anything

any more than dating girls

having sex with them

cured me of being a fairy

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

January

Sunday –  January 26 – 1:30 – feature: The Secret Handshake Gallery, 170A Baldwin (Kensington Market) – 1:30https://www.facebook.com/events/498405247456842/

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 and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

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

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet