Garland Jeffreys

I can’t remember when I first heard Garland Jeffreys. One of my friends in Sydney had picked up an lp or maybe I’d bought one on spec at Woolworth’s in their rack of deleted lps. Or I might have even read a review in Rolling Stone. But he is a memory from my Cape Breton life. I have now in an mp3 collection Guts for Love; Rock & Roll Adult; Don’t Call Me Buckwheat.

He was more a cult favourite than a big pop star. More of a Warren Zevon than a Jackson Browne – who were also making ripples at this time. Jefferys’ sound was somewhat different though. More soulful, dash of reggae  Tough songs about love, politics & race. A direct influence on Lenny Kravtiz. Rock & Roll Adult is an amazing live album. Cool Down Boy about his physically abusive father is powerful.

Like many of my mp3 collections this one spans time & genres. So it also has Frank Ocean’s Channel ORANGE. Hop-hop artist with a queer vibes that is sonically dense but none of the songs really grabbed me. Same with Bruno Mars: Unorthodox Jukebox – radio friendly pop. I enjoy this sort of disposable music from the likes of Mars or even the Jonas brothers. Romanic, r’n’b lite. 

Here as well is a Toronto indie band Melting Pot: Cancel Everything. Grounded by the guitar of Nelson Sobral this is solid rock that is well produced, engineered & fun. Finally another throw back with a sort best of collection of The Left Banke: There’s Gonna Be A Storm. A brilliant 60’s group that didn’t hop the psychedelic bandwagon & produced some great songs. Their mix of strings, harpsichord & rock is refreshing, clearly a precursor to the chamber pop of Antony and the Johnsons.

Pain

‘Is there pain after death?’ Tom looked over to Frank. ‘That’s what we’re here to find out, isn’t it?’

‘Not entirely. But that’s a good notion to work with. I doubt if there is pain after death, with no attachment to the nerve endings, no corporal presence to to be connected to, there is nothing to feel the pain.’

‘Physical pain but what about emotional pain, spiritual pain?’

‘Spiritual pain? Have you ever felt spiritual pain?’

‘Yeah. It’s a restless emptiness that can’t be filled with people, places or things. When I use them to sooth that pain, it only gets worse. The spiritual remedy is the only one that has helped.’

‘Well, we are certainly in a philosophical frame of mind this morning.’

‘Must be my Season of Change. ‘What has been started, continues in each of us, even if we don’t know it.’ ’

‘That’s from Dr Melburton’s book?’

‘I think so. It what made me come with you. To find out what there was to find out here.’

‘So you believe there is a power here.’

‘Here, there and everywhere. Hiding. Always hidden.’

‘Only we don’t know what we might find.’

‘We know what we hope to find. That’s a start isn’t it.’

‘And we hope to find out if there’s pain after death?’

‘Something like that. I’ve felt something around me since we heard that chant. You have too haven’t you Frank?’

‘I suppose. Seems the air is more humid today.’

‘Rainy season is creeping up.’

‘The dead are just hiding and we are seeking them.’

‘What?’

‘Something my Dad once told me. He said they have passed beyond mortal sight.’

‘As if life were hide and seek … I kind of like that image. They’ve merely hidden and we may never find them.’

‘Oh, we’ll find them. The harder we seek the sooner we’ll find them.’

‘Then perhaps we’d better stop looking so hard.’ Tom laughed uneasily. ‘I don’t think I’m ready to …’

A flash of lightening was followed by a nearby clap of thunder. The drinking glasses on the bathroom sink rattled.

‘Very close.’

‘I have come to protect you?’

They turned and the leader of the boys they had seen two nights ago stood on the balcony of their room. His body streaked with raw, red paint, daubed with splotches of red, white and yellow. He was naked.

There was another ground shaking crash of thunder. The rain started. Heavy. Thick rain that darkened the room.

The boy stepped into the room and collapsed on the bed.

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

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

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

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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“Abject Object”

Over the years I have seen nearly all Shakespeare’s plays. Thankfully Stratford Festival presents one of the infrequently produced ones every year or so. This year it is Henry VIII, which we saw at the intimate Studio Theatre. A play with the largest cast list done in the smallest theatre presented a challenge for director Martha Henry, which she met with ease.

This was a preview production but most of the performances were excellent. Irene Poole as Queen Katherine was strong, her death scene was compelling – cutting the appearance of the spirit apparitions allowed the scene even greater emotional resonance. Kim Horsman as Duchess of Norfolk was great fun. Jonathan Goad as Henry was boyish, regal and made the king so appealing one almost forgives his treatment of women. The supporting players were good, Scott Wentworth as the Duke of Norfolk was particularly strong.

Thanks to the series The Tudors I was able to sort out the political web that was being spun for Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn but I’m not sure how anyone unfamiliar with the actual history would have fared with the religious & political intrigues that run though the play. But the play is also an emotional look at the disintegration of a marriage regardless of the political context.

The staging was simple, the costumes were detailed, though there were more sequins than one would have expected at that time 🙂 The ending bows were cleverly  choreographed. Highly recommended.

 

My only quibble is with an audience member, in my row, two seats to my right who felt it was perfectly fine to use his smartphone to check messages & text replies two different times, while the show was in progress. I guess I should be grateful he didn’t start a whispered conversation on it. 

 

 

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Jacksoul to Jamiroquai

There was a time whenMuchMusic actually showed music videos!! One of the Canada bands that shone was Jacksoul lead by the talented Haydain Neale. I have their ABsolute, sleepless, Resurrected as stand alones. The sound is radio & music video friendly sweet soul with jazz touches. The songs are plaintive, romantic, & smooth to the ear. Neale has/had a very appealing voice. Very John Legend. Sadly he died some years ago.

 

Next on the shelf are a couple of Mp3 collections that feature Jamiroquai: a funk/acid jazz group lead by singer Jay Kay. On one cd is Emergency on Planet Earth; Travelling Without Moving; A Funk Odyssey; Synkronized; on the other is Rock Dust Light Star, Dynamite. Jay’s voice is very Stevie Wonder. There have been some radio hits, dance floor hits too. Music with an ecological message that you can dance to. The album sound changes over time as they flirt with then embrace old school disco: strings, congas. Sexy, enjoyable & never challenging.

 

In the first MP3 collection are several indie eps I picked up at local poetry shows. A couple by DanJahRus: 2019, Sunrise. Hip-Hop rap with Dan’s mixing skills equal to his writing. DRP: Clever Title – son of a friend of mine had a sort of metal bar band & recorded some tracks in a basement. Youthful fun.

BC’s CJ Leon: Booty Music for Zombie Swingers; Street Corner Gothic – folk punk sexual anarchy with zombies. good sound quality. Toronto’s: Examples. Rex is a folk punk queer Japanese protest singer. We need more of this. Archie & The Bunkers is an organ based trio full to the brim with sweet, cheese surf music fun. Three Beards: bearded men writing & singing about their feelings.

Also some non-indie powerhouse albums. I became obsessed with the song Lonely Street & found a decent version on Mick Hucknall’s American Soul. Mick was lead singer for Simply Red. This was a come-back attempt with covers. Easy listening pleasant. Bob Dylan’s Tempest. A recent release I picked up more for nostalgia. He still writes well & sings well in a Tom Waits way. The same with Paul Simon’s So Beautiful or So What. Paul Simon never wrote a bad song & his voice is still intact, as is his sense of political irony. Finally: Debbie Gravitte – Defying Gravity – this a great Lp of Broadway songs, some obscure, some well-known. I love her version of that title track, from Wicked.

Stroke of Genius

‘Mambo?’ Ted gave Jim a playful shove. ‘Where did you get that name from?’

‘Just came to me.’ Jim snapped his fingers. ‘A stroke of genius.’

‘Yeah along with ‘dat acc’nt mon’?’

‘Well, those guys had it coming. Snooping around here every night. Had to give them something they could enjoy.’ Jim began to wipe the green make up off his chin. ‘Did you see his face. Boy, looked like he was about to crap his pants.’

‘Yeah, but ‘Mambo.’ Good thing you didn’t give any of the others names.’

‘Good idea. You can be ChaCha. Phil can be Tango.’

‘I don’t feel right about it though. What if they … ’

‘What? Tell on us? I can see them now at the Militia Office. These boys with red and green faces told us they would protect us from evil. That’d go over big around here.’

‘You did pick the red and green. Afraid of the blue and white.’

‘Ted this is for fun. I know enough not to cross the line. That would have been begging for trouble.’

‘Since when did that bother you?’

‘It doesn’t. Fear is an emotion I choose not to fear. But that doesn’t mean I’m an idiot either. Bad enough we used the right markings.’ He continued to rub at the make up around his eyes. ‘Is it all off?’

‘Sort of but I think you rubbed too hard.’

‘You too.’ He gave another playful hip shove that sent Jim sprawling. ‘You think the other guys got home okay.’ Jim stood.

‘Don’t they always.’ 

‘I don’t think …’

‘Then stop thinking. Let me worry about that. We’d have more fun if  you’d stop all that thinking. It’s not as if we are robbing the tourists, just putting a little of local fear into them. Get their imaginations going.’

‘It’s not all imagination and you know it.’

‘Yeah! So. It’s no fun to play in safe places. So this had a little more edge than the rag doll and pins routine. Gives them more for their dollar.’

‘I know. I spooks me. That’s all. Mama Gre’loo says we have to be careful with the forest spirits. This is the Season of Change and all things that start a change now must follow where it leads.’

‘You gotta stop listening to that foolishness. You sound like one of those tourists. You know?’

‘I know. Come on, let’s get that stuff washed off so we can get home.’

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

every Tuesday 2019

May

Stratford Festival – Henry VIII

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

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

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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I Put Out


I started listening to a new podcast in April – Gayish. There has been 118 podcasts so far & I’m both keeping up to date & listening to the archive starting with number 1. Two gay cismale friends talk about stuff while having a few glasses of wine. Recent podcasts covered circumcision and French tuck (not the same thing apparently 🙂 )

 

Earlier topics included coming out, interviews with one another’s family members. Their focus is dealing with stereotypes & calling themselves out on getting caught up in those stereotypes. They actually do research & cite studies & statistics to back up their facts. They are also quite funny.

 

I have joined their FB page, follow them of twitter, also joined the Patreon support https://patreon.com/gayishpodcast. The other Patreon I support is Disability After Dark https://www.patreon.com/disabilityafterdark/. Both of which explore sexuality in a direct, fun & supportive way. Not that I live in a bubble but listening to Gayish is like having the smart, gay guy pals that I’ve never had. 

The very first was about putting out on the first ‘date.’ The open talk about gay sex, top, bottom is good to hear, in a gay culture in which bottoming isn’t seen as positive as topping. i.e. bottoms are sluts, tops are studs. They even name check two books I have read. How To Top Like A Porn Star; How To Bottom Like A Porn Star. I found both books to be beneficial. When I came out there were no ‘how to’ books so it was decades before I really enjoyed bottoming – because the first tops I played with didn’t know what they were doing.

I do put out on a first date, but I don’t go the whole hog until the third 🙂


Wide Open

something happens 

when my skin is in the same room 

as his

I don’t even have to know he is there

I can feel something 

through my clothes 

through every layer 

coat sweater jeans undies

a emanation comes from him

his eyes   his smile

his indifference

that changes my chemical structure 

that grows glows down to my toes

in fact

he doesn’t even have to be there

 

I can start to talk about him

someone can mention his name

and I feel that subtle shift

like a leaf turning the sun

his picture 

his voice on the telephone

a text

doesn’t take much

for my hypersensitive flesh

to begin reacting to him

the closer he is

the less subtle the reaction

the more alone we are together

the less subtle the manifestation becomes

those radians through the air around us

as we approach the bed

step into a shower

snuggle to watch TV

those emanation knit

pull us closer and closer

enmeshed in each other

breathe the same air

walk in the same sunshine

wash with the same soap

complete without each other

but always eager for the knit

creating those opportunities 

to mention the name

laugh about something 

we could have done

but got caught up in the shower together

got lost between the between the bed and the TV

 

I can’t say that I don’t feel 

this radian from others

there are times when opportunity

allows that awareness

I feel it first in my skin

look around the room  the street 

to see who it’s coming from

can it be returned

eyes become heat seeking sensors

who looked for me that way

whose radiants flickered over mine

I’m turning like that leaf

looking for some sun

more light 

more opportunity to share that flow

with someone else

even if it is merely to nod and smile

acknowledge not act

don’t have to act every time  

anytime

the grace of light fills us each to overflowing

no need to fear there won’t be enough

 

all I have to do is breathe deep 

and open myself to the gift

of learning another name

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

every Tuesday 2019

May

Stratford Festival – Henry VIII

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

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

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Mozart

Let’s get this catalogue out of the way first – My Mozart collection, in various boxsets, mp3 compilations, includes Abduction From the Seraglio; Clarinet Quintet; Piano Trio; Concertone; Sinfonias; Serenades; Divermentios; Musical Joke; Flute Quartet; Flute Concerto; Flute Quartets; Horn Concertos; The Magic Flute; Masses 1; Mass 317/Exsultate; Regina; Ave Verum; Overtures; Cosi Fan Tutte; Mass 427; Church Sonatas; Le Nozzie Di Figerro; Piano Concertos: 9 cds; Piano Sonatas: 5 cds; Piano Trios; Violin Concertos 1 2; Violin Duos; Piano Quartets; Violin Sonatas; Requiem D Min;  Serenade #9; Quintets; Variations; Serenade#19; Nacht Musik; String Quartets 6 cds; Symphonies 11 cds; String Quintets; Oboe Quartet; Piano Clarinet Trio; Violin Sonatas; Piano Four Hands; Woodwind Concertos; As well as a set of Bryn Terfel arias from the operas.

I am a fan 🙂 One of the first pieces of his that I totally loved was the Concerto for Harp & Flute. It transported me & still does. I had many of these on lps. First as box sets of the piano music that I ordered from Vox, some singly from MHS, then the bulk from Time-Life who did a complete Mozart in 5 lp box sets. I loved getting things in the mail. Some of these are lp to cd transfers.

 

It is hard to pick out favourites as I love the string quartets, the piano sonatas delight, his flute music is charming, his operas are okay (I’m not really an opera fan). The Magic Flute is a good intro to opera. His masses are moving and soothing. His range is amazing with sparkling music for flute, oboe, bassoon, & glass harmonica (yes this was a thing.) Oddly cello was never singled out for a solo extravaganza. My most recent addition was his music for piano four hands.

I also have pieces by his father, even his rival Antonio Salieri. Mozart didn’t write in a vacuum & I like to have ‘context’ for my favourites. I have jazzed up Mozart. Plus The New Koto Ensemble Of Tokyo plucking away at his war horses 🙂 (They also do a great version the Four Seasons). 

Mozart’s operas are excellent starts for people who don’t know or think they like opera. More emotionally open than his chamber music they edge toward the more romantic period. An innovator, a genius from a time when classical music was pop music 🙂 Much of his output was chamber music – pieces written for families – this was entertainment at home before radio.

 Sleep

‘Let’s check it now.’

‘Look, it’s nearly 3 a.m. Let’s get some sleep and we’ll check the tape in the morning.’

Frank was already plugging the cable connector from the camera into the back of the TV. ‘Tom this is what we came here for. We’ve been doing that jungle walk for two weeks and now we finally have something.’

The screen came to life. Murky movements jumped back and forth.

‘Worse than the Blair Witch.’

‘You try sometime then.’ Tom snapped back.

‘Sorry I was just …’

The picture came into focus. The sound was muffled, distant.

‘Shit!’ Tom hit the top of the TV.

‘That’s not going to do much.’ Frank laughed. ‘Turn it up.’

‘Why bother with that.’ Tom pulled the cables from the TV. ‘Let’s use this.’ He opened his lap top. ‘I have a program in here that will refine things considerably.’

It took the tape several minutes to be downloaded into the computer.

‘Couldn’t you get anything faster.’

‘You making a crack about the size of my hard drive?’

‘You said it not me.’

The program flashed that it was ready. The sounds were still muddied but with some audio editing Tom played them back clearly:

‘We call the time to change

we call the time to change.’

‘That’s not what that kid said.’

‘No, that’s what we heard first though. Remember. I thought it might be the wind in the trees.’

‘We call the time to change?’ Frank repeated. ‘Wonder what that can mean. We call the time to change.’

The lights in the room dimmed and the computer screen blinked on and off and on again.

‘Whoa! Better not say that too many times.’ Tom pulled the curtains shut.

‘You don’t think …’

‘You know what I think. I told you we would be playing with …’

‘We are not playing here Tom. This is serious research.’

‘Right and these are serious results.’

‘Okay. Let’s see what else we have there then. ‘We call…’ Frank began.

Tom put his hand over Frank’s mouth. ‘Enough with that. We have to be careful when we don’t fully understand.’

‘But it’s just words Tom.’

‘You know that isn’t so.’

The teenage boy appeared on the screen. His lips moving.

‘What! I can’t hear him.’

‘There’s no audio here.’ Tom punched at the keyboard moving back and forth along the audio indicator.

‘Silence.’

‘When did the sound cut out?’

Tom did more inputting.

‘Seems to have cut out when he appeared and comes back when he disappears.’

‘He’s the one called Mambo? What did they say he was called? Cha Cha?’

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

every Tuesday 2019

May

Stratford Festival – Henry VIII

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

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

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Dune

Over the past few years I’ve been rereading science fiction novels that I read in my teens and twenties. Books by Vonnegut, Heinlein etc. They have been enjoyable but held little resonance for me. Stranger in a Strange Land was a favorite at one time but rereading it I realized it was the magic-thinking aspect that appealed, not the science.

Recently I reread Dune by Frank Herbert. Through the 60’s to early 80’s I belonged to the Science Fiction book club (which eventually added Horror to its title). Dune was one of the books that I got as part of my enrolment offer. It stunned me. I must have read it several times to re-experience the adventure. It was also one of my first fictional crushes – Paul Atreides was hot.

I recall my own world building attempts at the time: creating maps of places, making up language, inventing devices for the people/creatures in worlds – none of which ever progressed into plots or even short stories. The religious underpinning sos the book fascinated me with its witches, orange bibles, quotes from that imaginary scriptural text. The messianic nature of Paul’s mythology – was he the first ‘as the prediction promised’ hero?

Reading it now I am still awestruck by the intricate world building, the complex social & emotional lives the Herbert built. Female characters are as rounded & developed as the male characters. How I would love to have ‘the voice.’ The world building is astounding. New words are introduced in such a way one knows exactly what they are without explanation. I see how this series inspired Star Wars & a hundred of other films.

Unfortunately Dune itself has never been successful made into a film, or mini-series. Attempts have been made but, so far, they have merely captured events without convey the epic scale or emotional complexities of Dune.

Sadly what gay characters there are, are decadent, physically repulsive, and evil. Sigh.

Ingratitude

let me get that for you

I know you can do it yourself

but sometimes it’s nice to help

no no I insist

you deserve to it take it easy

I’ll do everything

like I always do

no insist

it makes me feel so much better 

when I do these little things for you

keep you comfortable

helpless

 

no you aren’t helpless

as long as you have me

to do everything

it’s is my pleasure to help you

you don’t have to worry about a thing

just ask and I’ll be happy to oblige

no no don’t get up

I’ll bring the paper to you

I’ll read it out loud if you want

 

don’t be silly

I trust you to do things for yourself

but you know 

I do them so much better than you

and I don’t mind at all

why fend for yourself

when there is someone 

who is so willing so eager

almost indispensable

don’t worry 

your pretty little head about anything

save your thinking for important matters

such as what to wear tomorrow

if you don’t like what I’ve picked out

 

I’ll make sure

you get up on time

you won’t ever be late for anything

as long as you have me 

to tend to your needs

I’ll even tend to needs

you didn’t know you had 

 

what’s in it for me

just the joy of being useful 

to someone as useless as as you

all you have to be is you

one of those who don’t have to do a thing 

 

let me pamper you

let me walk a mile in your shoes 

so you don’t have to 

if I could

I would take a dump for you

yes I would

 

now open up

I’ve cut your meat into little pieces

do want then pre-chewed

I‘ll do what it takes 

to keep you in this sweet state of surrender

no i don’t think I control you

you are in control

your ever wish is my desire

merely ask and I’ll do it

I’m that selfless 

 

don’t you know

people will envy you

that you have someone so attentive 

so eager to fulfill your commands

to spare you from 

having to experience life

in any of its many unpleasant facets

all you have to do is enjoy 

being helpless but in control

oh yes you are in control

my happiness depends on yours

I am more capable of making you happy

than you are yourself

 

admit it

you like not having to be responsible 

for your own life

I’ll take the blame

I’ll make all the excuses

it is my joy

my one goal in life

is to make sure 

you don’t have to live yours

except as I make it pleasant for you

 

who could ask for more

if you want more

ask me

really I don’t mind

even if you do mind

I’ll have to insist

ever so gently

relax

stop fighting

you don’t need an identity 

when you’ve got me

you don’t even need a purpose

when my own purpose 

it to keep you happy

to keep you safe from 

purpose of any kind

you don’t even have to be grateful

who could ask for more 

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

every Tuesday 2019

May

Stratford Festival – Henry VIII

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

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

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Joe Jackson

 

There was an 70’s wave of British punk/power/soul popsters that included of Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson & Graham Parker. Each made a place for themselves, at the time, & each after their initial break through took their own creative journey. All are still recording.

Costello went from nerdy threatening to fairly sweet mainstream. Parker stayed closest to his r’n’b roots. Joe Jackson explored & moved away from his punky snarl through so many styles he was a chameleon. In my collection I have as stand alone: Look Sharp!; Night & Day; Jumpin’ Jive; rain. In an mp3 collection is I’m The Man; Beat Crazy; Will Power; Big World. 

I remember those first couple of lps & having ‘discussions’ with friend as to who was better Costello or Jackson. Both had a nice streak of romantic snarkiness, punchy delivery, clever lyrics. So there is no clear winner 🙂 Jackson was more ‘dangerous’ though & still carries some of the punk edge. I was amazed when he embraced small combo big band with Jumpin’ Jive & Beat Crazy. Two albums I love for ether sheer joy. Will Power is his classical flirtation which is okay – Costello recorded with a string quartet – so they are even on the score. Big World he tries latino & other influences nicely. The more recent ‘rain’ is comfortable but to me, undistinguished.

To round out the mp3 collection I included Otto (Otto Maximiliano Pereira de Cordeiro Ferreira). He mixes traditional popular Brazilian genres with electronica, drum and bass and rap. I first saw the amazing video for Bob, from his first release Samba Pra Burro (which I do have in yet another mp3 collection). Here are his Condom Black; Sem Gravidade; Certa Manhã Acordei de Sonhos Intranquilos. His singing is emotive, the engineering is brilliant & he is a hottie. Finally here is Nation Beat: Legends of the Preacher – another Latino band out of NY (a successful fusion of Brazilian maracatu drumming, New Orleans second line rhythms, Appalachian-inspired bluegrass music, funk, rock, and country-blues) I love their cover of I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.

 Sleep

‘Let’s check it now.’

‘Look, it’s nearly 3 a.m. Let’s get some sleep and we’ll check the tape in the morning.’

Frank was already plugging the cable connector from the camera into the back of the TV. ‘Tom this is what we came here for. We’ve been doing that jungle walk for two weeks and now we finally have something.’

The screen came to life. Murky movements jumped back and forth.

‘Worse than the Blair Witch.’

‘You try sometime then.’ Tom snapped back.

‘Sorry I was just …’

The picture came into focus. The sound was muffled, distant.

‘Shit!’ Tom hit the top of the TV.

‘That’s not going to do much.’ Frank laughed. ‘Turn it up.’

‘Why bother with that.’ Tom pulled the cables from the TV. ‘Let’s use this.’ He opened his lap top. ‘I have a program in here that will refine things considerably.’

It took the tape several minutes to be downloaded into the computer.

‘Couldn’t you get anything faster.’

‘You making a crack about the size of my hard drive?’

‘You said it not me.’

The program flashed that it was ready. The sounds were still muddied but with some audio editing Tom played them back clearly:

‘We call the time to change

we call the time to change.’

‘That’s not what that kid said.’

‘No that’s what we heard first though. Remember. I thought it might be the wind in the trees.’

‘We call the time to change?’ Frank repeated. ‘Wonder that that can mean. We call the time to change.’

The lights in the room dimmed and the computer screen blinked on and off and on again.

‘Whoa! Better not say that too many times.’ Tom pulled the curtains shut.

‘You don’t think …’

‘You know what I think. I told you we would be playing with …’

‘We are not playing here Tom. This is serious research.’

‘Right and these are serious results.’

‘Okay. Let’s see what else we have there then . ‘We call…’

Tom put his hand over Frank’s mouth. ‘Enough with that. We have to be careful when we don’t fully understand.’

‘But it’s just words Tom.’

‘You know that isn’t so.’

The teenage boy appeared on the screen. His lips moving.

‘What! I can’t hear him.’

‘There’s no audio here.’ Tom punched at the keyboard moving back and forth along the audio indicator.

‘Silence.’

‘When did the sound cut out?’

Tom did more in putting.

‘Seems to have cut out when he appeared and comes back when he disappears.’

‘Mambo? What did they say he was called? Cha Cha?’

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

every Tuesday 2019

May

Stratford Festival – Henry VIII

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

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

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Reliving with HIV

I moved to Toronto in 1979. In that first year I got sober, met the man I still share life with, and lost the job that brought me to Toronto. The second year I was working closely with gay men in recovery. The gay cancer – GRID – was already taking its toll on the community. When it first became AIDS – people were confused with Aydes: a diet candy – which went out of business partly because of the phonetic associate with the disease.

A couple of men in 12-step-recovery got me involved in what eventually became ACT – The AIDS Committee of Toronto. I attended those early board meetings as a group of men, women, gay, queer, lesbian, straight created a structure for dealing with what became a holocaust. I helped create the buddy system. Did home care for men I knew. I cycled out of committee work & became part of a meditation, healing circle. I buried more people that I can count.

That’s not a resume I care to reflect upon but recently I read “Hold tight gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the battlefield of AIDS” by Martin B Duberman. It looks at the history of HIV activism in the USA though the lives of two talented men. One white, one black. You know, I can’t recall many minorities participating in those early days when ACT was being shaped here in Toronto. This book reveals the complexity of class, race & marginalization.

Reading it I relived my own fears, frustrations & powerlessness in those years. I felt grief as each – Michael, then Essex died as a result of the inability & unwillingness of the medical community to deal with the crisis. The book also reveals in detail how the marginalized minorities were often left to their own devices to be included in anyway.

The music of Michael Callen is still available on iTunes, check him out on YouTube. More cabaret style though his days with the Flirtations and great fun. Essex Hemphill’s spokenword can be seen on YouTube as well, but be warned he is a brilliant, fearless & confrontative in ways that are still challenging today. Some made me tear up. Sadly most of his writing is out of print 😦 (I’ve ordered two of the out-of-prints via Abe Books). His poetry is breathtaking & heart stopping. His open-hearted emotional frankness has now become one of my inspirations.

Formative

she asked

are you married single 

neither

widower

nope

you have to be one those

I’ve lived with my partner 

for over twenty years 

we aren’t married.

oh, I that’s common-law

what is her name

his name you mean

oh there’s no place 

on this form for male spouse

he isn’t my spouse

he’s my partner

very well 

I’ll put own common-law 

 

now what religion are you

none

oh you don’t believe in God 

as matter of fact I do believe in God

then what faith do you practice

none

but you can’t believe in God 

and not have faith 

I do have faith

I do believe in God 

but I’m not caught up 

in any religious persuasion

I’ll say atheist then

atheists don’t believe in God 

I reminded her

but I have to have answers for this form

I’ll just put down atheist

no I am not an atheists 

is there a place there for heretic

no

 

then the form is fascist

it doesn’t allow 

for practices 

other than those it defines 

as acceptable 

I didn’t create the form sir 

I’m just filling it in

but you made that judgment call 

didn’t you

that if I wasn’t religious 

I had to be atheist 

agnostic at best

 

we can skip that  part of the form

then why is it there

for statistical purposes sir

but the only people 

who get statistically counted 

are those whom the form allows 

to be included

what about us who don’t fit 

the confines of the form

don’t we get counted

you get counted as nonbelievers

but I just told you I do believe in God

I’m just not Catholic

Buddhist

Jewish or whatever 

possible categories you have 

on that form

isn’t there a box you can check for other

no sir there isn’t

let’s move on please

 

what political party do you support

is this as relevant 

as the religious question 

or just more statistical information

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

every Tuesday 2019


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

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 

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Ivy Jackson Jalbert

 

On the shelf are three stand-alones by Ivy: Apartment Life; Long Distance; In The Clear. In 1997 I read a review of Apartment Life and picked it up in December of that year. I enjoyed it enough to pick up another two of their releases. This is cafe music. Easy listening songs about love, loss, longing & travel. There is a decided French influence that adds to their appeal. Singer Dominique Durand has a sweet whisper of a voice – like Brigitte Bardot or Jane Birken. Appealing, almost romantic, background music for making out. 

The opposite is true for Millie Jackson – she doesn’t make background music. On an mp3 collection I have – Caught Up; Still Caught Up; Pleasure. All are classic r’n’b soul. Millie has a fine raspy voice. The albums are all concept albums about obsessive love gone wrong from the pov of the stalker. This is great music that taps romance in a highly relatable way as opposed to the blissful lovey dovey love song way. 

Also in this mp3 collection is Sister Monica: as the name suggests this is secular gospel music mixed with real life 🙂 She has rich full voice. Worth checking out. As is Alice Ruiz & Rogeria Holtz’s No Pais de Alice – fun Latino music with a message I nearly understand. Finally in this collection is a return to real French with La Mome: the soundtrack to the 2007 Piaf film. Recordings of Piaf, some slightly remixed for the sound track plus some of actual soundtrack music. This is a soundtrack that doesn’t need the movie for you to enjoy it.

I first heard Laurence Jalbert on MuchMusic’s French Kiss (no longer on the air) A P.Q. Bonnie Riatt but with more sensuality. I have stand-alones of her 1st & Corridors. Both bought in Montreal. Like many Quebecois singers her style ranges from r/n/b, soul, pop, a touch of country, some with traditional influence, even jazz. A warm inviting voice. My French hasn’t improved though 🙂

Protect

From were he stood on the crest of a small hill Tom could only hear broken phrases. A group of voices chanting in the night. The wind broken up the chant, as did the trees between him and them. The voices rose and fell almost with the rise and fall of the waves that crashed at the base of the cliffs. The timing had to deliberate yet how could it be?

‘What are you listening to?’ Steve asked.

‘Can’t you hear it?’

‘Sounds like the wind in the trees.’

‘No. It’s more than that.’

‘Perhaps a blood sacrifice to the moon?’

‘More like some drunken kids howling at the moon.’

The wind dropped suddenly. There was a cool stillness around them. A figure stepped out ten feet in front of them A te‚enage boy with a sloppy smile and even sloppier clothes.

‘Yo, watcha gawkin’ man. Take a good look while you can. There’s nothing other than the moon and you be the snake skin soon soon.’

Several other teens stepped out around them. Each repeating the same phrases.

‘We seem to have …’

‘Yo, man, no say anything. We protect. You be needin’ protection.’

The circle of teens pressed closer. All boys, about fifteen or sixteen years old.

‘We should be getting back to our hotel.’ Steve said. 

‘You be stain’ at Casa Trib’mana?’

‘Yes.’ Tom flexed his hands, ready.

‘Not to worry, man, we’ll not harm you. Others would be doing that, but we aren’t like that. We protect. Protect the foolish likes of you.’

In the dim light Tom couldn’t make out the faces of these teens clearly, but as they came closer, he saw streaks of scarlet had been drawn around the eyes, several short dashes of green along the chin.

‘You look at our whiskers.’ the first teen said. ‘We make our selves fit the world. You see this world.’

The boys spread out and vanished except for the first boy.

‘You better be head, back. A night like this isn’t one for strangers. You know my meaning. Not for strangers who have no idea where the world is headin. You need help ask for Rumba. I be Rumba.’

‘Thanks.’ Frank turned around. They headed back up the path.

‘Did you get all that?’ he asked Tom.

‘I think so.’ he tapped the bag that held the video camera. ‘That was best we’ve gotten so far.’

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

every Tuesday 2019


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

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 

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

‘Quieting the colonial hum’

 

The Hot Damn! season 5 finale filled Buddies in Bad Times to the rafters. The house filled so rapidly that the event actually started on time !! Yes, a spoken word event that started on time 🙂 House music was provided by DJ Sofia Fly, who also supplied great entrance & exit music for the slammers. Not that the energy of the house needed any help 🙂

 

The show opened with Charlie Petch’s land acknowledgment followed a set of songs by Ogichidaa Kwe. The song about the warning heard but not believed resonates in our political climate as we deal with governments who feel warnings are not to be believed without the right corporate backing.

I was one of the lucky poets who participated in Nasra Adem’s Mirror of Tarot workshop the night before at Unit 2 so I was ready to see their feature set. In a flashing of red and gold Nasra’s set was spokenword alternating with songs and a dash of political anger. 

some moments from that set: the sun looks up & catches my glint – I just want to ride my intentions – I quiet the colonial hum around me – how loud men are with their fear – healing only happens when I’m safe enough to call for help – bluest black starlight – if this shit ain’t intersectional it don’t exist – white feminism can suck my dick – you can wipe your tears they aren’t needed here.
After a break Charlie started the slam with the queer national anthem – somewhere over the rainbow. Then the eager slammers hit the stage with pieces that were emotionally powerful, funny, deeply personal & accurate skewering of our dominant culture’s inability to accept diversity on all levels.

moments from round one: a shade of blue trying make bruises jealous, half my identity was stolen from me by the time I was six, I want you to talk to me rather than write it all in your journal, compensation doesn’t undo the truth, he tried to whitewash me with his bedsheets, my bravery doesn’t mean your allyship is unnecessary, down the rabbit hole of trauma, the nights my memory of you is my razor blade, I never studied dance but learned how to fall with precision, it’s safer to play chameleon, either swallow fear of be swallowed by it, fat kids should eat because they are fat, every bite tastes like shame.

Moments from round two: you don’t want me & it cuts to my soul, wrote a note on my phone not to text you, the sound of motherhood knocks a cracked door, when in this city I avoid the subway, I would hold you the way gravity holds the atmosphere, I guess it isn’t about sex anymore, confession is telling how good she tastes, is there a way to be Christian & not be ignorant, being queer is fucking difficult, I used cover girl to cover up the hicks, congratulations! you’re straight, why can’t I be as angry as him.

Over these five years Hot Damn! as become an amazing force for diversity. It has created & maintained a safe space were the gender marginalized members of already marginalized communities can come together to express their loves, frustrations, fears and outright fucking anger without being judged. Oh right, they are judged as part of the slam, but that’s a different matter 🙂

It was a non-stop feast (or perhaps feeding frenzy) of words from the competing poets Sulva, Charly Bird, Dee Durward (QUEIRDO winner! Doe!) Robert Molloy, & Danielle Workman. After scores were tallied: the top three were (it was SO CLOSE) Jayda Marley (3rd 58.5), Fira (58.9) and winner Wes Ryan (59.2). 

 

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet