‘Rewriting the ten commandments’

Once again Sandra Cardinal has put together an excellent, eclectic ensemble of features for Racket at the Rocket. After a couple of open stagers she kicked off the show with true story filled with tasty details ‘roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, & trifle for dessert’ that was a reflection on her childhood & recently reconnecting with her Australian cousins. Family ‘secrets’ kept the sides so apart she didn’t even know she had an Australia branch until the death of her grandfather. Seems one of the family secrets was how ‘I love you,’ never got spoken.

curve01

curvaceous

All the ‘e’s’ in my opening is a nod to first feature Adam Abbas, whose work makes ample use of alliteration, sprung rhyme, & assonance to propel it along. His new pieces are fine ‘I can’t save you/if you have more problems than me.’ I have heard his older pieces from his book A State A Statue A Statute, but much like a Brugel painting reveals new moments, the rush of Adam’s images allow each listening to find new connections and meanings to keep them sounding fresh.

Next feature Merle Amodeo read from her book ‘After Love’ – a look at the various stages of love from the first rush ‘because of you/I asked my hairdresser/for copper highlights’; to uncertainty: ‘sorry about the call I made late last night.’ to misery & separation: ‘everything is disposable.’

curve02

double curves a head

She was followed by Norman Cristofoli who started his set as he walked through the audience to the stage. His writing is simple, direct, personal yet highly relatable. Vivid images abound ‘rewriting the ten commandments,’ ‘every snake leaves something behind,’ ‘drinking the tears of an ancient sorrow.’ He is clearly not someone who ‘fears the potential of his ideas.’

curve03

curve on ice

Final feature Vanessa Salazar brought us into the present day with her strong pieces about gender politics, images and age. ‘how to write a bio on a gender neutral page.’ The struggle against being judged solely based on one facet of your person: age, race, gender is one she articulated well.

Needless to say the Red Rocket Cafe is a great spot for this series – great carrot cake, great service & a freshly shorn John always add to the show.

samples

Besides The Basement Tapes (http://wp.me/p1RtxU-18Y) I read this:

Tautology

if I say what I mean

will you hear what I say

or what you want to hear me say

even I don’t say it

if you hear what I say

will it be what I want you to understand

or will you merely understand

what you want to understand

can I be so clear

there is no doubt about my intention

can you comprehend my intent

while you wonder when I’ll be done

so you can take that piss you’ve been

putting off   where is that waitress

who is that hottie over there

are they looking at you

why do I care if you listen  understand

I don’t even listen to myself

I wonder what’s going to be on TV

is my cell phone on off on vibrate

do I care that you don’t care

do I want to be understood

or are you going over your piece

so that all you care about

is me getting out of your way

so you can do what I didn’t do so well

hold the audience in the palm of your hand

for a few slippery minutes

or are you

inspired by what I said

about not wanting to be understood

a chain of images in your head

that you have to write down

mine flowing over your knuckles

as you search out something deeper that I missed

about the tautological connection

between want need getting forgetting

getting to the washroom

to find out some jack ass

has pissed all over the seat

now what do you do

you can’t blame me

when that happened I was up here

trying to hold your attention for a few slippery minutes

give you a glimpse of things

that I don’t quite grasp myself

because I’m not sure if I mean it

or merely want to say it

yellowrail

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I Monster, #MRF & Modern #Music

Someone asked me if I ever listen to modern music, which means radio/video pop. If I do that way it is by accident, but most likely by someone on my Tumblr feed posting a video or sound clip by a band they like. If I like it I may buy it. These are some bands/performers I’ve recently added to my collection:

sticks03

pick up sticks

A track by I Monster came up in my Tumblr feed: it had the feel of Avalanches/Lemon Jelly/Moby. Sample happy with fun, soul, and smooth flow. Mostly instrumental, lots of sweet synth work & danceable beats. Great cover art too. I have & totally love: Neveroddoreven; A Dense Swarm of Ancient Stars.

A jazzier version of I Monster is MRF. Less sample & more actual musician work – focus is piano & sax with lots of excellent sultry soulful stuff. Fine vocals, some good jazz cuts, a dash of rap. A tres gay video for Trying (posted on Tumblr) from their 2nd release sold me instantly – two handsome bear type men looking for an emotional connection. I have Elevator Music; Mob Music.

MRF slips nearly unnoticed into Mark Ronson. This I know is radio fodder dance stuff and goes down sweetly & makes for great writing tempo music. I have Version; Uptown Special

sticks02

tiny rebars?

Now for something different: Black Rivers with their first release Black Rivers. This is an offshoot of one of my favourite British bands, Doves, & is sonically very similar, with a bit for electronic in the mix. Strong vocals, great guitar work. This is what I’d call alternative adult pop. Capturing & emotionally resonant.

Kate Pierson isn’t new to the scene. perhaps you remember her & that voice from the B52’s? Guitars and Microphones is a great return to the music world – not that she’s actually been gone. Not as retro as the B52’s but as playful and energizing plus she still has those pipes.

My favourite coffee shop posted a twitter link to Flight Facilities. I gave them a listen: a great electronic dance band. A bit moody, a la Goldie, with a bit of Chicane for a more uptempo feeling. Down To Earth slips in easily with this set of recordings.

sticks01

flip sticks

Finally another throw back with Jimmy Somerville’s new Homage. The voice is angelic, the music is throw back old school disco: strings, bongos, but the lyrics are new school. This one should have come with a complimentary disco ball it is so perfectly old school. I’m a fan.

sample

Mi Admisión

I don’t want to admit

that I think of you all the time

my day is made when you call

when you say

it’s so good to hear your voice

I want to kiss you over the phone

maybe we should take

kiss pics

our lips puckered

so that when we talk

we can see each other

so ready willing needing

to kiss the other

is that romantic

or pathetically over-the-top

not that I care

because that’s how I feel

but please no pictures

of what I can’t have at the moment

it’s frustrating enough

to only hear you

when I want so to hold you

I know you know

how I feel

because I hold so little back

except I don’t want to admit

that I think about you all the time

red

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The Unsatisfied Spoon

Racket returned to the Rocket with another eclectic lineup of strong spoken-word performers. Host Sandra Cardinal  started things off with a romantic prom about the durability of love. After another couple of open-stagers first feature Dan Curtis Thompson did a section of his one-man show Consonance about recovering for a toxic relationship – at 26 most of the house was old enough to be his parents – & even if some missed cultural references they certainly got the timeless emotional resonance of being afraid to fall in love like that again.

lot

I will turn myself into a spoon

Next up was Deborah Kimmett. She quickly had an easy rapport with the audience. Her humour was direct, observational & highly relatable. From resisting that smile back in her doctor’s waiting room as it will lead to hearing all about someone else’s medical condition to her memories of growing up in the late 60’s. She read a few sections for her recent novel Outrunning Crazy.

After the break Dawna Wightman did a short monologue from her one-woman play in which a nervous actress auditions for the role of a Chicken MacNugget. Funny, tot he point & satisfying enough I want to see the whole piece someday.

snow

it’s all under the surface

Last feature was Nina Kaye. A playwright trying out he reported chops with some good pieces about on line dating. Clear-eyed and not melodramatic work that reminded me that on-line dating plays out the same way regardless of age, gender or sexuality. Everyone seems to wait for the phone ring.

bluehat

hats off to an early spring

A great start to the new year for Racket at the Rocket. Next month’s show will be hosted by Dan Curtis Thompson. Also congratulations to the Red Rocket for celebrating 3 years at this location. They’ve made a place for themselves in the lives of people in the neighbourhood by being more than a coffee shop.

 

 

 

 

 

samples

I did hit the open stage with ‘pillow for your heart’ which is here http://wp.me/p1RtxU-11a  – here’s another spoon poem:

The Unsatisfied Spoon

that spoon

is looking at you

I tell by the gleam

in its bowl

it’s been looking at you

ever since we came into the room

since we sat at this table

you knew that

didn’t you

that’s why you picked this table

you were going to meet the spoon

weren’t you
you wanted it in your hand

in your mouth

the way you used to want me

in your hand

in your mouth

don’t deny it

that spoon wants you

it’s the only reason we are here

isn’t it

it doesn’t matter

everywhere we go

there’s something

that wants to be in your hands

in your mouth

and you

you let it happen

you invite it

I can’t sleep at night

thanks to you

thanks to the way

you let yourself be desired

by anyone who looks at you

even if they don’t look at you the way I do

the way that spoon does

I see your smile reflect in the bowl

even before you pick it up

before you stir your coffee

bring it to your lips

to sip a bit of the sweetness

giving it the sweetness of your mouth

you do it just to drive me crazy

you flaunt the spoon’s affection for you

you satisfy it again & again

before my very eyes

I hate the spoon

I hate the day it was die cast

it’s because of the spoon

that I can never let you out of my sight

never let you dine alone

I’m sleepless

to avoid dreams of you

seeing spoons behind my back

using them casually

then tossing them aside

to grab for the next one

they are never satisfied

to be in your hand

in your mouth

the way I would be

spoon

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Lights Delight

I can’t say this luge lunge to Christmas is my favourite time of the year. One cannot avoid the season though. Sad events become even sadder in the face of the festive. Cynical grips about commercialism won’t stop that from happening. Humbugging is pointless. One can’t stop the this sleigh ride but I can chose how to respond to it.

gal07

My favourite part of the season is lighting. People do things to their homes that would make a drag queen blush. I take night walks to enjoy what people have done to their homes. The lights are, to me, the true spirit of giving.

They are there for anyone who takes the time to look. A free gift to me, I’m not the one paying their power bill. They get put up with the main thought being seen. Some people go overboard. TV has managed to turn it into a game show but most people don’t truly compete, they merely want to sparkle & share.

gal08

The lights are offered without judgments about who the seers are going to be. I doubt if the homeowners stand by the window making note of who looks, or stand ready to shut them off if that jerk up the street dares to even glance at them.

fence02

When I do my light tours I don’t judge – I like it all. Overdone, under done, doesn’t matter; not done – well not everyone gets into it, without the dark there is no contrast – such is life. My lighting isn’t all that spectacular – windows and such but it satisfies me to see it when I get home at night. My favourite lights here are the ones on our back porch – not for public viewing to the same degree as the ones out front. But I love looking at them at night & early in the morning. I’m sure the people in the houses along our laneway enjoy them too. Plus a few have started to do their own back porch lighting.

Lights delight.

samples

From a series of Dolly Dinty About Town

The Grinding

Festive readers, I am pleased to bring you a wrap up of the week-end’s events.  The highlight of which has to be the annual Lighting of the Trees. Held in several locations in the hills about Crab Apple Corners the horizon is illuminated by the first official rite of the season.

I choose to attend the ceremony at Hijil’s Farm – they had obtained two of the remaining stand of ancient red wood sycamores and had them flown in for the occasion. Trees so large they needed two helicopters to carry each of them.

The first flame was applied to them by our local Miss Pig Driver, Tanis-Lotus Flatly. The trees did us the great honour of being slow to ignite, but once they had been engulfed in flames the look of joy in the faces of the children was worth the wait.

Once these two trees were in flames, burning torches were taken to the sites where other trees were ready for the ceremony. The Great Maple at McCracken’s of Daw Hill was the next to be torched and quickly one could see similar fires all across the country side. Hijil’s Farm perched atop Green Bluffs gave us a splendid view of the various tributes to the season.

Once the first two trees had been burnt to cinders our parish Vicar Father Frank did The Grinding and was quickly joined by the other men who were of age, to participate in this ritual.

I was thrilled to be offered by my one and only Hank Grebly the fruits of his grinding. A jar filled with these delicate ashes and moose fat can sit proudly on any mantle piece. There will be enough here to guarantee me a year of fertility and good weather. After all, it only takes a pinch a day, tossed into the wind to catch the eye of the spirits for protection.

The carolling at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral was once again a thrill, especially now that the bells have almost been tuned. The climax of each verse is a ringing of these bells that echoes though our happy valley and shimmers through the fragrant smoke produced by the Lighting of the Trees.

xmasp

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 Razzo Cavalcata

The November edition of Makin’ A Racket at the Rocket was a warm respite from the chilly night. Even without Deborah Kimmett, who bowed out due to illness, there was more than enough talent on stage with excellent (& a couple of perfectly raunchy) open stages and features.

slush02 get me to the Rocket

First up was extreme east-ender Greg Santos (http://about.me/greg.santos) from Montreal who read from his recent book Rabbit Punch. After his train trip here where he was ‘motionless in my seat/I chase the moon’ he read a set of fun, sometimes tender pieces filled with pop culture references from the Green Lantern to Taylor Swift to Daffy Duck.

In Hansel and Gretel – the children aren’t cast out by evil parents but ‘lured by their own desires/we were ready to die for love.’ His final piece tagged movie title with ‘We’ – ‘We The Wild Bunch, We Walking Tall etc’ After his train poems I expected ‘We Trainspotting.’

ice the river of ice

Next up was Valentino Assenza (http://valentinoassenza.wordpress.com) . I’ve seen Val many times but it has been a couple years since hearing a full set. He stands and delivers, his set was almost a master class in how to take the stage without being overbearing. Confident and precise he had the audience following every mood of his pieces.

The poems were emotionally resonant and hight relatable. Strong images – in Archer: ‘a life time spent making a mark.’ In memories of childhood summers at his father’s tobacco shop in Italy: ‘the sign says we speak English/but they never do,’ ‘the echoes of smoke/that was once blown here.’ Memory pieces enriched by the use of Italian. His slam experience surfaces with a fine sonic word play ‘bebops of bliss bouncing off buildings.’

slush01froze the pants off him too

The night ended with a fun short play by host Sandra Cardinal. ‘Graveyard Shift’ in which a phone solicitor has the tables turned in an unnerving way. A neat effect very Twilight Zonesque piece to end a great night at Red Rocket.

 

sample

ignorance

i did not know that

honestly

this is the first time

anyone pointed

that out to me

weird eh

all these years

and this is the first time

anyone has taken the time

to explain that to me

i can’t imagine

how i got along all this time

without knowing

no i’m not being facetious

or saying that what you told me

was so trivial

it was never worth

my time finding out

it’s just

that it never dawned on me

yeah

things will be a lot easier

now that i know

no

i wasn’t in denial

i was merely never informed

you know

like a blind man

who never knows what color he is

it,s all about whats relevant

right

and I’m certainly grateful for you

pointing out to me

something

that it appears most people

already know

it’s not as if we get taught

what we really need to know in school

which is where i was taught

the ignorance is bliss

and now my bliss is over

sunny-side sunny side up

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The Devil’s Dimple

Racket returned to the Rocket for a third season of eclectic spoken word with a fine fall line-up of novelists & poets hosted by Sandra Cardinal. She opened the show with a couple of autumnal poems.

I know first feature Sharon Crawford (http://www.samcraw.com) from her excellent monthly writers workshop (checker her web page for more info). She gave a ready-for-audio-book reading of excerpt from her short stories & her novel (launched Oct 19.14). From the tribulations of getting a body into a car trunk ‘she should have removed the golf clubs first, to evidence of adultery ‘she dangled the leopard print bra as if the spots were anthrax.’ The humour of the stories was evident but not at the expense of the suspense.

pumpkin01 boo – Church Street pumpkin

Next up was poetry feature, Norman Allen. I’ve heard Norman countless times; as well as having heard some of the pieces he read many times but they are like welcome friends who reveal greater depth each time you meet them. ‘the deal God made the Devil’, ‘this side of Atlantis we put on flesh’, ‘you don’t bow down to love/ you open your heart.’ His work is warm and spiritually grounded & lifting at the same time. (http://www.normanallan.com/Lit/introLit.html)

glass

you can’t rake me

Last feature Nick Pengelley (http://www.nicholaspengelley.com) discussed and read from his novel ‘Ryder’ that deals with the politics of the middle east (who knew that situation was caused by the film Lawrence of Arabia – just kidding – but his interest was partly inspired by the film). He read the first chapter which flowed easily while giving us back story, not only of the main character, but the climate of the times. It skillfully lead to a chapter ending that made me want to read the rest of the book, even though the politics don’t interest me at all.

wrapped nice costume

I did hit the open stage to plug my Noir feature & read one of the new pieces. It got a reaction exactly where I expected it to & turned the tables on the audience just as I hoped it would. A fine night, an appreciative house, a cup of peppermint tea & the Rocket’s excellent pumpkin loaf – who could ask for anything more.

samples

The Devil’s Dimple

 

even the Devil started as a baby

sweet fresh innocent

everyone found his dimples so cute

‘whose the sweetest little baby

snookum I ever saw’

when he crushed the souls of millions

he found himself unfulfilled and empty

adulation and accomplishment

left him disappointed and bitter

unsure of himself

unable to figure out

what was wrong with him

after all

he had the cutest dimples

why wasn’t he content

with what everyone promised

would make him happy

things that made him feel cluttered

pushed having to accomplish

some new depth of evil

wasn’t it enough

that he was Evil itself

why did he have to keep on proving it

why couldn’t they leave him alone

he looked the mirror

‘I hate these fucking dimples

why was I ever born’

he took it out on the people

who pushed him

to be everything he could be

the greater the pain he felt in him

the greater the pain he had to inflict

he had no way of discarding his identity

no fresh start for Satan

no botox injections for Lucifer

to remove the source

of his eternal infernal damnation

his God given dimples

pumpkins eek

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Tea Room Tramps

More Pride month queer pop. Another mp3 collection: Johnnie Ray: High Drama, Live in London; Justin Paige: Justin; Rough Trade: Avoid Freud, O Tempura; Pink Flamingos: Soundtrack; Pansy Division: More Lovin’ From Our Oven, Total Entertainment; Huggy Bear: Taking the Rough With The Smooch; QBoy: Moxie

chair view from cold mountain

A panorama of history starting with Johnnie Ray: an early 50’s crooner on his way to the top thanks to Cry – nearly huge till he was caught in a washroom with the wrong man & his career was ruined. A sad story that deserves a movie soon. The music is standard & listenable.

Justin Paige – is a Toronto performer I know nothing about. With songs that mention the Parkside, talk about Kay Y Kuties & Tea Room Tramps we are in full out mode here – I bought this Lp in early 80’s & was thrilled with it. A bar-room rocker in Joe Cocker style he was doomed – gays want to dance & not be teased about being a ‘Steam Queen.’ If anyone knows more about Justin get in touch.

lies lies trashed

Rough Trade – icons of the first order – I remember hearing High School Confidential the first time – I played the Lp grey & bought another copy. Carol Pope ruled. She even performed a show with Divine – who appears on the cover the Pink Flamingos soundtrack – a movie I remember fondly.

Pansy Division brought a whole new energy to queer pop with their vibrant, fun & out there songs. From ‘I’m Gonna Be A Slut’ they make no bones about being queer guys who like queer guys. Power pop of the first order with humor, emotion & romance.

runners knocked your boots off, eh

Huggy Bear is queer art rock, experimental and fun. QBoy is electonica dance music – high energy, socially aware & beautifully produced, but lacking, shall we say identity – it could be any electronica guy but with a bit more queer content.

samples

Wrong Number

 

I held my hand under the shower head. Warm, close to the hot I enjoyed. I heard a faint burr over the gush of water. Telephone. A sound I couldn’t ignore once I’d heard it , it was the call of the telephone’s demand to be answered. I just hoped it wasn’t Dan ducking out on dinner, again.

“Hello.”

“May ah shpeak to Fazadi?” A confident male voice asked.

Nuts! I hated that. Bad enough the phone would ring while I tried to get ready for my date but it had to be a wrong number.

“I’m sorry you’ve reached the wrong number.” I never did understand why I had to apologize when someone else made the mistake.

“Such is whrong numba?” Came through the receiver followed by a rapid slur of anxious words I didn’t understand.

I repeated slower, “You  have  reached  the  incorrect number. There is no Fraladi at this number.’

‘“I lokshin for Fazadi not Fraladi. Fazadi is there. No?” He sounded less confident.

“No. There is no Fazadi here. You have … what number are you trying to reach.” I could hear my shower. All that hot water down the drain.

“Seize none fie sixe fo fo none.” The man on the other end of the line said rapidly.

I didn’t understand what he said but I didn’t want to confuse him even more or have him feel I was making fun of him by having him repeat the numbers.

“That is not this number. I have to go now.” Why did I feel like directory assistance? I was even using that slightly pleasant tone they used. “Please hang up and try your call again.”

“Wait! Wait sirrah. Pleasche you tell mes right numba?” There was genuine panic in his voice.

“You have the right number but you must have dialed it wrong.” I looked around for something to pull over me, as if my not being nude would help me help him.

‘Dhialled? You men I pooshh boottons.”

“Right. You pushed the wrong buttons. Try again.”

“You heelp me. Pleasche I not shure now if I do right.”

Help? How could I help this man? All I could hear was the crawl of street traffic behind him and my hot water heater empty.

“Try the operator. Just push zero and someone will help you. Good bye.”

I hung up before he could reply, got into the shower where I ignored phone as it started to ring again.

Nuts! Cold water.

loyalist myseat red rocket at Loyalist

Coffee Shopping Around 2014

Time for my round-up of local coffee spots starting a little north of the Danforth with the Last Drop Cafe – 549 Sammon Ave. I hit this spot four or five times a year – it’s usually not on my walking route. Good coffee though, great caramel butter tart and always friendly service. Accessible but washrooms are in the basement – duck your head on the way down.

South, I sometimes get to Bandit – 1925 Gerrard St. E. Recently changed management, I think. Usually hit this spot on Sunday’s. Fine coffee, good cookies – really enjoy the Oreo cookie cookie. Accessible, washrooms large and on the same floor.

table the patio is open

Recently opened Brickyard Grounds – 1289 Gerrard St. E. is a welcome addition to that corner. Bright, for a change, nice to have a spot that doesn’t feel like a cave. Good coffee, good service. On site bakery for some things, but sometimes no muffins or cookies by 10:30 a.m. If you want, you can have a whole roast chicken with your latte. The Super mint tea is excellent. Frequent flyer card as well. Accessible, washrooms on the same floor but not sure how easy it would be to get wheelchairs to the back area.

I get to Cake Town – 2039 Danforth Ave. nearly every other week to meet up with a recovery buddy. Good service, good coffee, great breakfast bagel, nice butter tart as well. Frequently flyer card. Accessible, washrooms on same floor but pretty narrow for wheelchairs to get back there. Can be a bit noisy if  children are there.

headless headless

Celena’s Bakery – 2036 Danforth Ave. – across the street from Cake Town. As you might guess, has in house bakery, great muffins, great breads as well & a good date square. Good coffee. Rarely eat in there though, so have never checked the washroom, which I think are in the basement.

Crema – 508 Danforth Ave. – has some of the hottest bearded baristas serving their excellent coffees. This is always a take out spot for me & have never needed to use the washrooms. Accessible but narrow & probably not a great space for wheelchairs. Good muffins & cookies but nothing great. Frequent flyer card though & even a gift card that offers a small discount with every purchase. I keep mine topped up.

frame picture this

The Only Cafe – 972 Danforth Ave. – I hit this spot a few times a year & always enjoy it. Nicely funky decor, hippies never fade away they just open coffee shops. No brewed coffee though – all Americanas, lattes etc. The breakfast bagel is great here. Too cluttered to be easily accessable & I’ve never used the washrooms. Accessible but another cafe so cluttered inside it’s hard to get a round

Closest to me is the Red Rocket Cafe – 1364 Danforth Ave. I’m in there five or six times a month – most Saturdays for my morning coffee & usually a rice crispies square, but sometimes the great zucchini muffin. Good coffee, great service, (hot bearded barista here too), in house baked goods. I never let my gift card dip below $10.00. Accessible but narrow & cluttered – I’ve knocked things off tables struggling to get to the service area.

samples

Heart

“Did you see it?”

“How could I have not seen it.”

“It’s horrible.”

“Yes.”

“Is that all you feel?”

“It’s horrible. What more do you want me to feel.”

“Anger.”

“Some, but for me it’s more like helplessness. It’s not as if I can get there and do anything practical.”

“I wish they’d stop showing that footage over and over.”

“I stopped watching it.”

“You stopped! Why? How could you? Don’t you care?”

“I care, but that doesn’t mean I have to watch every frame every time it comes on.”

“Sometimes I wonder if you have a heart, you know. That is the coldest thing I’ve heard you say.”

“What? That I can’t bare to watch something that horrible? I think it’s pretty callous to keep watching it. Sick. You get some sort of thrill every time you see it.”

“Thrill! No! How could you think such a thing? No one would get a thrill out of seeing that!”

“Then why watch it.”

“So I won’t forget it. No one should forget that moment.”

“I won’t forget it.”

“I bet you’re one of those who think they had it coming.”

“They?”

“The U S of A.”

“I don’t think anything except it was horrible.”

“I doubt it. If you thought that then you would want to do something, take some sort of action. Some action other than turning off your TV because it made you uncomfortable.”

“Sorry, but I did have to go to the can.”

“You know what I mean. You can’t hide in the sand. If you try to hide you are merely approving the actions of those terrorists. You have to take some action.”

“And what action are you taking? Talking about it? Watching it? Have you left the house or sent a donation to the Red Cross, given blood, made a poster to walk up and down the street with that rallies other’s to action? Have you?”

“No, but at least I care.”

“All you care about is some new juicy detail to talk about. That’s the extent of your action. Talk and look. Opinions won’t solve anything. So far all I’ve heard from you are opinions on what other’s should do.”

“At least I have an opinion. All I hear for you is that you didn’t feel the need to watch. To witness the devastation of our lives. So don’t you take that tone with me.”

“Are you going to enlist?”

“Enlist? What for?”

“If there’s going to be war don’t you want be there, in the front line?”

“If it comes to that I’ll be there. Don’t you worry. Will you?”

“I’m too old. I’ll be one of those bandage makers. But you are the right age.”

“This won’t be a foot war.”

“You think not. Does it have to be a war at all – that’s what I’d ask myself. How can we avoid that.”

“We can’t avoid that. We have to take action.”

“Again I’ll ask you what action are you going to take beside button-holing people with your opinions and rants? Or are you happy to just watch at your safe distance and opine as to what you think others should do.”

“I was right, you don’t have a heart.”

patio the patio is very open

The Art of Tent Pitching

Racket at the Rocket wrapped it’s second year with another fine show. Sandra Cardinal’s series always presents a great assortment of writers poets, novelists and even crazy playwrights. This last show, till October, was no exception.

1960 Summer_19 happy campers?

After some solid open stagers the first feature Adam Abbas took the stage for all too short set of his word play and language explorations. He opened with some of limericks – always too short to really absorb on one listening: ‘excelled in the art of tent pitching.’ He read some piece from his up coming book – the pieces flow with rich, bouncing alliterations, rhymes, assonance and dream logical connections. ‘barred by guards for stealing lard’, ‘obsessed over histrionics.’  His found poem of quotes about writing resonated with everyone.

table iced table

He was followed by Chuck Crabbe who read two well-selected sections of his novel As A Thief in the Night. One involved the cleaning of a wine vat give us a clear sense of of thoughts disintegrating as a mind is effected by gasses plus the endlessless cycle of cleaning what can’t be cleaned. The other of his hero’s sexual coming of age, was tender and rich. They gave a satisfying sense of the novel without feeling we needed more information.

constructionbeside under construction

Final feature was Nicholas Power with some recent pieces and some from his latest book Melancholy Scientist. His poems have a strong sense of place: Toronto, Amsterdam, Halifax. Images are vivid: ‘a curving street that dares you with it’s blind corners,’ ‘ancient trees catch sunlight in their rough bark,’ ‘she didn’t have enough money to keep her clothes on.’

Racket will be missed over the summer and returns October 17.

boats loyalist

masts reflecting in Belleville

samples

Angel Falls

this is the torrent

where for a set time

I throw things up against the wall

to see what sticks

to see what drips

what shapes form

as the threads fly & flail

fingers find a rapid pulse

to follow   to try

not make sense

to flicker

for little scrap of information

what do men want

love that goatee

why can’t things last

how long will we be trapped by our dreams

why do expectations keep us

from seeing what is actually there

when often

what is actually there

surpasses our limited objectives

our self-serving demands

for comfort on demand

for obedience   the willingness to think for oneself

how long how often

each time

the torrent starts

the same things come up

the same darting furtive

equations

where something equals something

but what that something is

isn’t as clear as hoped

it leads to the realization

that despite the torrent

the water doesn’t change

the water will always be water

the river flows

we are all in it

not many outside that envelope

the human humdrumness

of thrashing around at times

floating serenely at others

slipping over the waterfall

with grace

going over screaming one’s tits off

in desperate fear

hoping somehow

to swallow the river whole

be safe dry

never ever to get that wet again

which of course isn’t the point of life

isn’t the way of the world

we never get out of the river alive

we each make our own way down it

the same rocks buffet us all

the worries about the future

what is around that bend

rapids

another waterfall

a calm lagoon

why so shallow here

abruptly so deep there

learning the strokes

the rhythm

accepting

that each turn is a turn for the better

that each opportunity

to go against some current

makes the stroke stronger

makes the journey a little longer

sharing a stretch

going it alone on others

taking to the weather like ducks

taking to the air like geese

never straying far from the water

from the river

from the oceans lakes pools ponds streams rios rills

life the river

the tried trite image

dipped in the river for purification

merging with the river

for eternity

wearing the river like a loose wet garment

feeling the flow between the toes

around the calves  balls chins

nose just above the water

letting go

letting flow

under the water

the reflection of a millions points of sun

darting  dancing

dangerous  eternal

unavoidable   joyful

take me to the river

lead me to the water

float my briar on the Ganges

dip my heels in the Nile

bring me reeds from the Gauja

link each tributary

back to my heart

where all it started to pump

the little endless blue lines

the river is my blood

the veins the threads

that get pulled apart

woven together

the thread of worries   comforts

the wondering of

what do men want from each other

why do people act this way

why can’t they all strip

to the bare essentials

jump back into the river

together

jump frolic forgive

jump in all at once

so the water overflows the banks

to wash the world clean

1959 Gillis Lake Falls 3 Gillis Lake Falls – Cape Breton

On The Animals’ Twain

Almost at the end of my extensive Animals collection – The Twain Shall Meet. Twain is one of those recordings in the wake of Sgt. Pepper – the Stones did “Satanic Majesties” – groups scrambling to show off mystical leanings along with sound engineering. The Animals didn’t have George Martin at the helm and it showed.

mirror broken reflections

This was one of my favourite Animals recordings, with its sometimes cheesy lyrics ‘orange & red beams’ and the forced philosophical depth garnered from the Maharishi. Sky Pilot is a staggering anti-war song even with it weird wash of effects – bagpipes, machine guns.

redcoat plum tuckered out

Side one opens with Monterey – about the pop festival & flower power pervades the rest of the side. Spinal Tap skewers this stuff mercilessly. Side two is a sort of suite of three longish cuts that flow seamlessly into each other and fades out in a haze of patchouli incense. Eric became disenchanted with the Maharishi by the time he recorded Year of The Guru.

My music pals at the time hated this Lp, felt it was a shallow sell out no better than something the Monkees would have recorded but it stuck to me. My Cd is a reissue by One Way Records – no bonus material plus they get the name of one of the cuts wrong – Orange & Red Beams becomes Orange & Red Beans.

plates picnic sans basket

The other Animals Cds on the shelf are hits collection: Best Of: (before LSD( & Greatest Hits, (after LSD). More about Eric in another post, because as I’ve written about about the band I’m understanding what appealed to me and why they still do. That’ll be my Friday post.

 

samples

Waltz

 

Lazy grey waltz

Show me the steps

Glide across the floor

A feather

In the fiddler’s sleeve.

 

Shadow creased vision

Hushed distance of recall

Layers webs flickering

Smokey images crumbling

Wondering

How did I ever get this away

So far, far away

From the hoedown moon?

 

A sorrow tugs at my sleeve

Timid but persistence,

When the river flows

It’s easy top wash it away;

The sun dried me so quick

Here it is back again

A tear to keep me in check,

Wondering

Why did I turn around

When I heard night

Sweep the webs away

Again

Against my will to know

That it was time to rosin up the bow.

 

2

 

Languid hazel waltz

Watch my steps

Skip over the lawn

A thorn

In the fiddler’s shoe.

 

My life is the mist

Hovering around the moon

Cutting golden across the floor

Through the open windows

Of the haystack ballrooms

Where here comes that waltz

Again

Slow and close, almost in tears

Slightly futile, music echoes

You are far away and I dance alone

Again,

Out into a starless night.

 

Smooth white waltz

Follow my steps

Carefree through harvest fields

A gleam

In the fiddler’s eye.

myseat

my Loyalist seat