Don Messer’s Jubilee

 

It all started with someone posting a link to a video of Fred McKenna playing some songs. What he was playing was not that interesting but it opened up a memories of my Sydney childhood in Cape Breton. When my father relocated us in Sydney it was a one TV channel town (almost as bad as a one horse town) and that channel was CJCB – which is still on the air but is now part of CTV.

 

CJCB was essentially community TV with some shows imported from Halifax. One of which was Don Messer’s Jubilee out of Halifax. Jubilee  (click Jubilee for link to video). To be honest I hated this show. I wanted real music i.e. radio top ten stuff. I don’t even recall if my parents enjoy the show but the minute it came on I dismayed. I must have watched it though because I remember the names of the singers – Marg Osburne & Charlie Chamberlain – who looked like a pair geriatrics. She was in her mid-30’s, he was in his 60’s. Fred McKenna was a frequent guest.

I also remember the Bupta Dancer who, thanks to Wikipedia, I now know were the Buchta Dancers – they did square dance crap. It was decades before I could tolerate the sound of country fiddle. But hearing Fred McKenna made me consider how this music influenced me, if at all. I did find one collection iTunes & downloaded all 32 minutes of it. Sweet but with almost no emotional resonance. The show’s intro music “Goin’ to the Barndance Tonight” isn’t included 😦

Part of why Jubilee didn’t impress me was that none of the singers or dancers had a shred of sex appeal. Black & white TV didn’t help much. Bulky boxy conservative clothes made the square dancers & singers seem even more square. The show lacked glamour or sparkle. I have vague memories of watching Liberace with my mother & being impressed by his glittery style. Jubilee had no visual style.

The music is pleasant, folky, sometimes Celtic with strong fiddle playing by Don Messer. The songs are uncomplicated folk, sea shanty & religious. Only one of the ones I’ve downloaded has much of an emotional resonance for me ‘Farewell To Nova Scotia.’ A farewell I’ve never regretted.

See Me?

people think they know me

they see me in my writing

they don’t see fiction

the fact that each confessed event

is reality 

my reality

one that they can identify with 

as my actually experience

in fact the closer I capture 

something of their emotional life 

the more they are sure

I have to have experienced it

they don’t want to believe

that each piece is a mask

not a piece of me

they see my photos 

read bits of life that I process for display

and add it up into picture of me

they approach me with that 

ah-ha

I see by your web page 

that you are …

 

they don’t realize I am 

as big a liar as they are

I may not talk in internet inches

but I don’t reveal anything out of turn either

that would be too painful 

so like so many other’s 

I adopt a mask of playful indifference

ironic poses to amuse

what they don’t see 

I’m not going to hint it

 

trust me

no one has the entire picture

many don’t even have a glimpse

not that have hidden depth

there may be surprises

tucked away in many closets

I don’t see that something to confess

shoes shirts all get displayed

and even those things 

that I explain aren’t me

the endless lists of almost lovers

sweet boyhood sexual discoveries

the bitter relationship breakups

all those fictions 

I can make so real 

are things that happen to people

but not always to me

I’m too shallow for most of that 

safe in that distance

the pose that many writers seems to strike

knowing full well

that no one questions it

the fiction

is seen as a valid side of the writer

even if I deny the experience

it must be a part of who I am

of who you perceive me to be

the need to wear this disguise

reveals who I am

 

the mask one selects 

is a reflection of the person

Romeo Harlequin Godzilla

one after the other put on 

taken off

my face the mirror of yours

so what you see as me

isn’t me at all

but the you I squeeze into 

when I sit down at the keyboard

to see though what I think is your mask

losing sense of self to that image

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – 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 

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

 

Mompou and Revueltas

I find music in unexpected places. A few years ago I watched the excellent Spanish movie Cría Cuervos (Ana Torrent and Geraldine Chaplin). In it Chaplin is a pianist & she plays an etude over and over. The credits listed Frederico Mompou as the composer. I did a search & easily found the etude in a collection of his complete piano works, played by the composer himself. I also found the pop song by Jeanette that is featured in the film.

Mompou’s piano music is charming, playful, at times a little sentimental. Some reminds me of Gershwin’s etudes, a touch of Satie. There is, as one would expect, a distinct Spanish flavour to much of it with pieces that are variations on folksongs, dances, Chopin. I was happy to discover classical world music.

To this mp3 collection I added some work by Mexican modern composer Silvestre Revueltas – Music de Feria: a set of his string quartets & Troka: various orchestra compositions. I came across ‘Feria’ as 2nd hand cd at a store that was once around the corner from me on the Danforth. I enjoy string quartets & this intrigued me. Troka is a download when I wanted more of his work.

 

Both collections reflect rather than replicate his Mexican heritage. Energetic in some pieces, mellow in others. Clearly modern but not atonal. Rich harmonies, sweet melodies, & appealing. It is refreshing to find, in both cases, Latino composers who aren’t mariachi homages. There is an amazing range of excellent classical music outside of standard repertoire – these are two great composers to widen your horizons.

Plotless Outline

When I was turning twenty-three life was a lost treasure that I no map for, futility seemed a nice, kind way of looking at it – why bother – but I was driven at the same time to bother. A Doors song was my theme ‘music is your only friend’ and I believed that – I was a little town queer who felt isolated and threatened.

Lucky I wrote a lot – driven to expresses something. Though I never knew exactly what is was I wanted to say – I kept trying to say it. I had some booze buddies, musicians and poets. Smoked a few joints with them and hung out in my family’s basement. I had a room there decorated with Beatles posters, my paintings – art getting the inner out some how.

Drunken, near blackout fits of sex. Oops, what did we do last night, sort of stuff. Seeking and not connecting with anything other than the shame of being what I was with no one to share that with.

I became more eccentric as years went on but the patterns were really set then. The things that I held closest to me: music, books, paintings all around me. My writing and some friends who were more extensions of my fears & wants than companions.

Got a job at Famous Players thanks to the mother of my best friend Howard. Flo was box-office there & that was to be my position, it quickly became assistant manager & candy boy. Made lots of pop corn.

Gave me a steady income and some sense of being functional. Added at the same time to my sense of not fitting in. I think that was a big thing for me then, wanting to be like the others yet not wanting to be like the others. Wanting acceptance without wanting to conform to some pattern.

The year before I got the job hadn’t been that bad or good, aimless and pretending I was looking for some job to steady my Dad’s need to see me working and out of the house.

The folks were never that approving of my writing or painting – like many, they figured that stuff was only good if it made one lots and lots of money. Sex wasn’t discussed at all and I didn’t know how to go about telling them I was queer. It wasn’t till I was ready to leave the Cape many years later that I told them. Not that it was such a shock mind you.

Looking back I really didn’t know how to establish myself as a man, as an adult. Booze was one of those adult things but I felt I had to hide how much I drank & how often. Sad, but true. All those secret nooks and crannies.

Most of which had no real outlet then and there. Little was I to know what the journey of my future was to hold. But I survived wanting to wake up dead, wanting to end the confusion and pain and made it past 23 and even past 24 and finally here I am.

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – 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 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

‘molten at the core’

Hot Damn! nears the end of its 5th spectacular season of slams and the hunger of the competitors is increasing – who wouldn’t want a trip to Washington DC to participate in Capturing Fire? The cabaret space at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre filled up quickly & the show got started nearly on time 🙂 Charlie Petch opened the show with a land acknowledgement, followed by a Welcome song by Kammy Alexson & friends. Of course Charlie’s sawed ‘Over The Rainbow’ took us into a queer wonderland of music, poetry, and slam blood, sweat & tears.

Lines from the open stagers and Round 1: a voice like wind chimes; a hole in my heart where you made me feel whole; they said my medicine was a fire hazard; a world of solo not soulless; nothing to hold on to but the hook; twist & shout all around penny lane; turning a person into a poem will not bring them back; none of this has cut you open to spill out the way it has me; I want not to miss you; we all felt we deserved it; thoughts like nesting Russian dolls; or do you mean your ally-ship is unnecessary; gotta break down to break through; playing games we didn’t create.

Feature: Inali Barger‘s set, was full of music, warmth and so many languages including sign. ‘I don’t want a translated interpretation of you;  reading your hands; the difference between boredom & passive aggression; some lost boys never get found; some parts of you only exist in private; the smell of place that hasn’t seen light in years; I’ve known so little about safety; soft as ashes but molten at the core. 

After a grief break things got started with more ppen stagers and right into Round Two: ancient fabric celebrates loses; I don’t know where I went wrong; remind me why we need community; ban the politicians; anxiety & I had it pretty good; they party on a tectonic plate; I want love without a lover; not all little girls are little boys all the same; cis-white boys shooting up schools; handshakes enough to feed us all; my dearest nightmare changed to a hallowed dream.

I’ve been to many, many shows and can tell when a performer is going to be on fire after the first two words of a piece and the night’s winner Fira Astrali’s piece about the addictive allure of toxic relationships nearly set off the sprinkler system. 

The final show of this season will be April 5. Mark it on your calendar & get to Buddies early if you want a decent seat.

for the open stage I resurrected an old piece

(line breaks imposed by WordPress):

Lament for Anna Nicole 

in the beginning was the word 

and the word was blond 

a blond who came striding
out of the sweet morning light
assured radiant reaching out
past the flock of photographers
to bring tender mercies to the world
a blond who hid fears frustration
in the twinkling wink of an eye
ready and ripe
to be a distraction for the world

here is the blond
the unattainable firm force of nature
on every tv magazine cover front page
all pondering the ways and wiles
of the soft hearted blond
who will be next
who was the last tail twist
in the trail of broken hearts

we follow 

our noses nailed to her scent
this glowing example
of what the ordinary can rise to
billionaires reality shows
who cares about cancer
when we have the blond
a rare creature of fine design
who can invade dreams
wrap legs around broken hearts

lead us out of loneliness 

by taking on all our loneliness
in a single furtive glance
away from the camera
a single shunning 

of the lime light 

for a moment 

that blesses us all 

the blond reeling and recoiling 

teetering on stilettos 

from the press of press
the lurch of bully boy interviewers
who want to expose 

the gold digger the drug addled bimbo
to show the world that the blond
is no saint 

merely another floozy chunky 

top heavy flabby doll
lucky to be in our sanctifying gaze
the blond gratefully accepts 

each slight 

by each slight she is elevated 

what comes next
what can be sacrificed now
there is no reputation left
the first born has been cut down
the blond has been shuffled off
in a shapeless body bag
leaving the newborn
a wash in a sea of whoʼs your daddy 

our father ?
is this the way the world ends 

not with a bang
but a paternity test

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – 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 

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

 

Psychedelic Butterfly

I have a stand alone CD of Iron Butterfly’s In-a-Gadda-Vida – & in a wild psychedelic mp3 compilation, their Evolution best of, Live at the Galaxy Club 1967. Iron Butterfly is a one-hit wonder who rode that hit to fame, recorded a some other lps & influenced & still influence, countless bands. The big hit comes in a couple of edits – the long version features a drum solo! that sets a standard & forced many bands to include at least one long song with a long drum solo.

 

Their material other than the big hit is solid rock with ponderous lyrics, decent singing, good guitar & organ playing. They were ‘serious’ pop musicians. The live is a bootleg I stumbled across – the sound balance is off & the volume fluctuates & as a result I was disappointed. The hits are relics.

 

On the mp3 collection is another one-one-hit wonder with two lps by Strawberry Alarm Clock: Incense & Peppermints; Wake Up It’s Tomorrow. More organ driven radio fun. Hippy love lyrics, nicely engineered & with unexpected jazzy touches. I had the 1st lp at one time & didn’t know there was another until I did a bit of a search. Their music in Beyond The Valley of The Dolls is great fun too.

On it are two lps by The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band: Part One; Part Two. I had the lp of Part One at one time. Part Two is more of the same. This is a sonic step down from Alarm & miles away from Butterfly. Sweet, interesting as relic uneventful though Part One does include a cover of the Mothers of Invention’s I Am A Rock. 

Out of Britain comes Deep Purple’s The Book of Taliesyn. Butterfly is a clear influence on Deep Purple with its thick, sometimes turgid sound. More interesting vocally than Butterfly & with, of course those fairy tale lyrics & ‘adventurous’ cover songs Before Deep Purple became heavy metal. 

Truly experimental is a band called United States of America. This is a lost classic with progressive lyrics, explorative use of electronics, loopy arraignments, stunning engineering & decades ahead of its time. Find it, you won’t be sorry. Another lost classic is The Association’s Birthday. The psychedelic cover art alone is worth tracking down but the songs are gorgeous, the vocals are stunning, the lyrics are a bit greeting card at times but thanks to the engineering  this is a brilliant feel-good album, trippy, that is also worth hunting down.

Feel That?

‘Can you feel that?’ Dr Fell tapped along my spine. Gentle at first and then harder. I knew it was harder by the sound

‘No.’

‘How about this?’

I wasn’t sure what he was doing.

‘Nothing.’

‘Not even a tickle.’

‘No, nothing.’

He showed me a pin. ‘I was sticking you with this.’ He jabbed it in the back of my hand and I jumped. ‘At least there’s some feeling there.’

‘I’ll say,’ I shook my hand as if I should shake the pain off it like a drop of water.

‘How long have you noticed this.’

‘A week or so. Maybe longer. It’s not as if I touch much with my back. The bed, my shirt.’

‘It is serious you know. You can feel here.’ he stroked my neck. ‘But from here down to here,’ next I felt his hand at the crack of my butt. ‘You feel nothing. No reaction to any stimulus.’

‘Almost.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Try something wet.’

‘Wet?’

‘Yes. I know I can feel water on it when I shower. At least I can tell temperature of water. Hot or cold.’

‘Hum. So you feel this.’ Something cold pressed my back. 

‘Yes. Cool. But that’s all I can tell. I don’t know what part of the back you are touching or even the shape or size of what you are touching me with.’

‘How does it feel when there is nothing?’

‘Like …’ I tried to sense the flesh but couldn’t. ‘It’s like an empty space.’

‘No numb along the edges.’

‘No. Just nothing.’

‘We’ll need to do tests. Neurological damage of some sort. You haven’t fallen recently.’

‘No.’

‘Changed your sleeping pattern. I mean how you sleep on the bed.’

‘Not that I’m aware of.’

‘No trouble sleeping?’

‘Not really. Sleep like a log most nights. Mornings are a bit odd these days.’

‘How so?’

‘I can’t feel the bed at my back, so I wake like I’m floating in some sort of warm pool. Very odd. To sense the sheets with my feet but then the rest of me doesn’t seem attached to the earth anymore.’

‘Any problems getting out of  the bed.’

‘I have to roll over to my side to feel my way up. I suppose I can get used it. It’s not as if my head is going to fall off. Is it Doc?’

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – 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 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Whispering Grass

This is one of my clear childhood memories, while I was an only child – listening to The Ink Spots on our record player with my Dad while he got breakfast for us on Sunday mornings. He would sing along with Java Jive – though I don’t think I ever saw him have a cup of coffee. My mother was a tea drinker.

At the time I had no idea was coffee was but I always loved that song. I loved The Ink Spots, those harmonies and easy rhythm of the song. I can picture the cover of that album with the four of them in tuxes singing around a microphone while staring at the camera.

The other song I remember clearly was Whispering Grass – by Fred Fisher and his daughter Doris Fisher – with its very surreal lyrics about blabbering trees. I am pretty sure those lyrics became a part of my poetic influence at that early age. I recent did a search for other recordings of Whispering Grass, so I now have some great versions of those blabbering trees, including one by Dorothy Carless (https://wp.me/p1RtxU-1zn).

I have a stand-alone cd Greatest Hits collection which brings me sweet memory when I play it. Their simple accompaniment of upright base, drums, guitar also influenced my jazz leanings as well. I’ve always enjoy the dry, deep sound of what I thought was an acoustic upright base but was sometimes a plucked cello. Hearing the Spots now I also can hear how repetitive their song structure was – it could almost be the same basic track with different lyrics on top. Mellow, smooth, romantic. Now I also understand where the name comes from – ‘black as ink’ becomes The Ink Spots.

They set a vocal standard that lead to do-wop but they were never do-wop. Their sound was not revolutionary or challenging nor particularly black but their harmonies have influenced countless groups & I can hear them in The Temptations, Men2Boys. For some these songs are the 40’s, early 50’s romantic memories – the sound of simpler, supposedly better, times. 

Even The Best Of Families

‘Did you hear about your cousin Josephine?’

‘No!’

‘Well, she left that guy from the circus.’

‘Circus?’

‘You know, the trapeze artist. That’s a stretch – artist. He couldn’t draw a line in the sawdust, if you know what I mean? Anyway, she’s left him for some banker.’

‘Good for her. Didn’t your brother end up with some banker, as well?’

‘No. Dave settled down with a dentist. Imagine. Some people have all the luck.’

‘Dentist! Well good to have that in the family isn’t it?’

‘It didn’t last though, Dave’s now with some man who owns a construction company. Roofing, that sort of thing.’

‘Can’t complain about that.’

‘Well, you know who can complain though, is Dad’s second wife, Sally – remember Sally?’

‘Who could forget Sally. Those macaws ruined the furniture in less than two weeks. Who knew birds shit so much?’

‘Anyway, Sal has found out that her first husband has died and left her nothing.’

‘What did she expect?’

‘Some people expect the world. I heard this from your half-sister Jewel.’

‘Oh, how is that bitch anyway.’

‘I don’t know why you and Jewel never got along. She is really very sweet.’

‘So is arsenic until you swallow it.’

‘My my. Bitterness becomes you.’

‘So what about Jewel. How’s she doing?’

‘She was looking fine. Just got out of a 28 day rehab program and seems to back on her own two feet for a change.’

‘Instead of on her back, you mean?’

‘Ha ha.’

‘I ran into your ex the other day too.’

‘Which one?’

‘Chuck.’

‘Chuck. That was years ago. He was my first. Actually I don’t think we ever got married. You know. Just as well, he didn’t have much to offer, if you know what I mean?’

‘He certainly kept you happy.’

‘Honey we were only 12, so what do you expect?’

‘Right.’

‘So how is he.’

‘He’s doing well. Sold the steak house and has moved along to a chain of motels.’

‘Motels? Do tell.’

‘Along three inter-state highways. He hopes to be rich one of these day. You should have stuck with him.’

‘Twelve-year olds aren’t noted for their ability to see the future potential of many things.’

‘Right. Did you see that TV special of Greg’s last night.

‘Which Greg? Your step-son or my son-in-law.’

‘Neither. He’s Dave’s son.’

‘But I thought Dave was with that guy is construction.’

‘He did test the waters before once or twice. Greg was the result. Named him after our grandfather.’

‘So how is this Greg doing.’

‘He did win that Academy Award two years ago.’

‘He’s been in more treatment centres than June though.’

‘They must have paid off. He was looking good and has a new picture coming out next month.’

‘Good thing we have such a busy family. Isn’t it.’

‘I suppose. Give us a little something to talk about. Speaking of which, did you know that Cyril’s mother has left them. Run off.’

‘Not with a Fuller Brush Man?’

‘Ha ha. No found out about the other woman, she did.’

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – 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 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Glass

I can’t say that I’m a Philip Glass fan but I do have several works by him scattered though my collection: Koyaanisqatsi; Mishima as MP3 (along with works by w: Shivkumar Sharma: Call of the Valley; Sanjay Mishra: Blue Incantation; Abhijit Banerjee: Phases; Ravi Shankar: Chants of India; The Art of the Hurdy-Gurdy); as a stand-alone Hydrogen Jukebox; mp3 of his Piano Music; and The Book Of Longing: a collaboration with Leonard Cohen. 

Like many I first heard of him thanks to his soundtrack for Koyaanisqatsi – sweeping strings & choral work that doesn’t need visuals to be effective. Propulsive music that sold millions of soundtrack lps. Unlike, say, Bernard Hermann, he was more than a soundtrack composer he was a ‘serious’ modern composer. Mishima is energetic & shows a greater range of textures.

I find Hydrogen Jukebox (Ginsberg) and The Book Of Longing (Cohen) to be more liturgical than contemporary. As much as I enjoy Jukebox it fails to grasp the energy of Ginsberg’s use of language and becomes turgid and repetitive. His work with Cohen has more life but again moves like molasses. Both are more Gregorian than contemporary. The solo piano music is delightful & more emotionally engaging.

To round out the mp3 collection I added works by Shivkumar Sharma: Call of the Valley; Sanjay Mishra: Blue Incantation; Abhijit Banerjee: Phases; Ravi Shankar: Chants of India; The Art of the Hurdy-Gurdy. Mostly world music, nearly classical in its way, out of India. Some edging into new age & some very traditional. The Hurdy-Gurdy is an lp to mp3 transfer of an MHS lp I found 2nd hand. I plunked here for fun.

 

Theoretical Talk

‘Are there any more questions?’

Dyna surveyed the class. The rows of seats rose in tiers around her. She felt small in the centre of the semi-circular room. Her slide projected behind her seemed so massive. She was happy to see that most of the faces she encountered were still awake. A hand fluttered in the tenth row.

‘Yes. Casey Stelle, isn’t it?’ 

Dyna liked to demonstrate her ability to remember names.

‘Yes. I wanted to know if … well … how could such a crime go undetected for so long.’

‘Casey, you have to put it into its proper cultural context. At that time people didn’t talk about such things. It was a closely guarded secret.’

‘Yes,’ another hand shot up. ‘but it had such a deep resonance at the time. How could it go undetected.’

‘Jeff, that isn’t so strange. The fact that it wasn’t talked about doesn’t mean it was undetected. People knew of it, but out of shame or other cultural conditioning didn’t deal with. They didn’t ignore it but at the same time they turned their back on the events. Went on as if it hadn’t happened.’

She stepped from the podium and looked over the students once more. Books were being closed and backpacks being back-packed. As sure a sign as any that this part of the class had come to an end. As usual a few students descend to talk to her. She turned off the projector was was glad to have the gloom of the room return. The brightness of the slides made her feel on display.

The first to reach her was Jeff.

‘Miss Dark. I didn’t want to get into this in front of the class. Not enough time left anyway as it turns out, but I still don’t quite buy your theory.’

‘It’s not for sale Jeff. I merely presented one of several approaches to the circumstances. After all, wife beating once wasn’t a crime. Women who complained about it were shunned for being unfaithful to their husbands. Today that has reversed Women who don’t complain get shunned.’

‘But this case isn’t at that scale.’

‘Now it’s me who doesn’t buy your theory.’

‘You could at least hear it out.’

‘Okay Jeff I’m listening.’

Their eyes locked. Jeff’s face reddened. Dyna knew she had this power to silence and wasn’t unwilling to use it now.

‘Another time.’ Jeff glared back at her and started up the stairs to exit the classroom. He tripped on the first one and fell.

‘Serves him right.’ Dyna thought with a small laugh.

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – 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 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Bad Sex But a Great Time

On a recent Disability After Dark podcast, Andrew Gurza talks about his emotional responses to great sex. His frankness is always refreshing, especially in an online culture in which naming names – calling ‘oral sex’ a ‘blow job’ is considered against community standards. The podcast looks at how frustrating he finds his physical limitations when it comes to the free-and-easy play that often is sex. How these limitations cause him to question his masculinity.

This, as his podcasts often do, makes me look at how my performance, or my partner’s performance effects the the quality of the sex act. I say ‘sex act’ because there is more to sex than the coming … oops, I guess I should say ‘ejaculation’ to avoid conflict with community standards. It also lead me to think on great sex in general. Technically proficient sex isn’t always great sex.

I’ve had good sex but a bad time; I’ve also had bad sex but a great time; I usually have great sex & a great time. ‘good sex but a bad time’ is about guys who want praise after the act, who figure what gets them off gets you off too & if it doesn’t the problem is you; guys who suck dick but flinch at being kissed – these are usually ‘straight’ or ‘bi’ guys. ‘bad sex but a great time’ – there is one married-with-children guy I see occasionally, usually after a week or so of texting, on-line sexy chat – when he arrives he is so pent up that often he comes taking my pants off – like many guys his energy wanes after orgasm – he likes to cuddle though. Another good time bad sex guy spends more time fussing with condoms and lubes that by the time we start he has to wash up and go. 

Andrew talks about the connection between sex and sense of masculinity. I see this manifest in how rough sex is considered more masculine – that tops are more manly than bottoms. I lost interest in one guy who sent a dick pic with the message ‘are you man enough to deal with this.’ First off, I wasn’t sure it was his dick in the pic; secondly, if all you got to show is a dick pic you aren’t up to my community standards 🙂

 

Go to iTunes and download Andrew’s podcast on great sex. 

Chocolates

this is the week

when the universal currency is

flowers chocolates hearts and regrets

that get traded with eager expectations

I’ll give you a glimpse of this

if you give me a glimpse of that

I’ll put up with your doing that 

if you allow me to do do this

I’ll treat you like crap 

love you and put up with your crap

because you love me

we exchange these representations

of our willingness to continue 

our little patterns of regret dispute 

in the name of tender loving 

compassionate cooperation

because our relationship is perfect

bouquet trade-offs

of explanations for reality

how far we are willing to compromise 

our teenage ideals 

for our forty-year-old realities

as so many of us

are still ruled by bitter teenagers

who didn’t get the pretty girl 

or great guy we idolized in high school

we still cart that fractured dream

around as a measure of what we want

as if we’d stop some teenager 

in the street today and ask 

‘is this the one for me’

 

(not that a stranger 

can actually to talk 

to a teenager in the street today

without getting charged for something

but that’s another story

another compromise

to protect us from one another

so where was I)

 

ah yes

the new universal currency

of regrets fears retribution 

being more satisfying than love

who wants things flow simple and easy 

without the elegant 

encumbrance of expectations 

without the sunny 

undercurrent of resentment

that mental telepathy doesn’t work

and it is your fault

I should not have to tell you 

what I want

you should just know

from the way I wear my hat

oh right, I don’t wear hats

well that should tell you something

 

it tells you I love you

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – 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 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

The Incredible String Band

 

 

The cover of The Incredible String Band’s The 5000 Spirits (by The Fool) is the epitome of 60’s psychedelic art. Iconic & instantly defining the best of the era. I didn’t have to hear the album to know I would love it. To be honest I was expecting something of the Jefferson Airplane style of psychedelic but instead got almost straight-ahead folk music.

 

A sort of gothic, renaissance sound of dulcimers, lutes, tambours with slightly off-kilter sing-songy  songs full of Yates type lyrics. On my first listen it sounded like something anyone could perform. I loved it. As I listened more it became layered, more complex & emotionally involving. No Sleep Blues, First Girl I Loved … so sweet & with a twinge of humour. Way Back In the 1960’s is a time-capsule of that era. I may still ahi emu regional lp saved because of that album art. It was one of those lps that a actually made it to Cape Breton.

I picked up their First as a stand-alone CD, on sale, at Sam’s way back in 2003 – October Song is sweet; also as stand-alone a double cd set of The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion & The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter – this took some searching as I was replacing my Layers lp with the cd & I found it via eBay in 2003. Hearing 5000 crisp was a delight. Hangman I had never heard – it continues that psychedelic folk mood. Both sound traditional but lyrically combines trippy with almost renaissance folk lyrics.

 

They also had the classic hippy look of long haired, beaded, fringed & farm living commune minstrels. I didn’t really follow them though. Maybe too twee for me then & now a fond memory. There are lots of great folk/pop bands: Fairport Convention, The Pentangle, Kaleidoscope, Donovan – of the time but only The Incredible String Band had such a homespun feel. They were too gentle to become big stars. The band gained, lost members, split up, reunited, continued recording but became & stayed a folk mainstay.

Dream

The dish ran way with the spoon. The spoon had belonged to my grandmother and the loss of it became an insurmountable obstacle to progress. Several important scientific discoveries were put aside as futile gestures without the spoon. Mankind was bereft of the one key, the one object that was vital to intellectual stimulation and financial progress.

My sister wasn’t sure what to to tell me. I had been late, again, coming home from flying school. I had hoped to follow in my father’s footsteps and keep up the family name but the tragic news of the spoon put all that in jeopardy as well.

‘How could such a thing happen.’ I demanded of her.

‘I wish I knew. No one was expecting it. Least of of all I.’

‘And just where were you when this transpired.’

‘Asleep.’

‘Asleep!’ my voice rose. Two windows in the left wing were shattered by my explosive anger. I had to keep it in check and usually did, but occasionally I lost control. This was one of those rare occasions.

‘After losing two nights of sleep worrying over Gabriella, is it little wonder I drifted off. The afternoon was hot, balmy.’

‘You have a knack for making excuses.’ I set about packing my bags. ‘But this time you have gone too far, even for a sister.’

‘Ferdov please, please forgive me. I doubt if I can go on knowing you feel so strongly.’

‘Tell that to the spoon.’

I dashed down the hand-hewed alabaster stairs to the dock and leapt into my motorboat. I had longed to escape this island, this family trap of of the past but had hoped it would be an easy departure and not this sort of emotional break.

‘Wait! Wait!’ my sister stood on the pier waving her apron aimless in the breeze. I would not return. How could I? There was nothing holding me to them now. Now that the spoon had run away with the dish the next part of the prophesy would also come true. If I could somehow keep that in check perhaps there was hope after all.

The two-way radio on the dash sparkled to life. 

‘Reports have come in that the last of the three blind mice has perished in a disastrous fire in the east wing.’

‘God!’ I raised my fist to the sky. ‘This is all your fault. Why have you deserted me now in this moment of trial.’

I stopped the motor of my boat. I needed some silence. Some small dollop of calm before I could face what I knew remained to be faced. If this was to be on my shoulders I would need to be ready. A hand appeared at the side of the pea-green boat and two men pulled themselves aboard, one on either side. ‘So Ferdov this is where you skulk to when you are needed.’

‘Father,’ I was amazed at the beads of water that dripped like topaz diamonds from his thick black beard. It had never shone so in the afternoon sun. ‘I did only what I felt in my bones I had to do.’

His valet, Rudo, grabbed me from behind and yanked hard on my arms, clasping my hands and wrists together tightly.

‘You’re hurting me.’

‘You like that, don’t you?’ Rudo breath rosewater assaulted my senses.

‘On your knees,’ My father punched me in the forehead. I sank to the teak deck of the boat on my knees.

‘This is a fine mess and you are responsible.’

‘I? I’m not the one who fell asleep.’

‘Yes but it was you who fed those silly notions of freedom and adventure to the dish. It was you who convinced him that there was more to life than being convenient conveyer of our food stuffs. You made him question his basic sense of self and now you see the result of your interference.’

‘But Father, I was only repeating what you had told me so many times.’

‘Do not try to cast aspersions on the legends of our family. Never has such a thing happened. I will not allow you to escape punishments.’

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – 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 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Big Dickens

I have the complete Dickens on my shelf – paperback & hardcover. The paperbacks are Penguin classics with lots of notes. Some of the hardcovers are the classic Oxford editions. My Nicholas Nickleby is a 2 volume reproduction of the original serialized version that includes the ads etc. Some of the books I have read more than once. I have also sat through various Masterpiece Theatre explorations of the novels, seen movies & musicals of same & have Five of the Christmas books also as mp3s. I have resisted downloading the entire works as ebook.

I’m not sure which Dickens was the first I actually read – probably A Christmas Carol, though it could have been Oliver Twist, or was the Pickwick Papers? There was one of the Pickwick stories in out high school English literature text. The one where they go skating. I was in focused pursuit at one time of getting everything, even the obscure ones, like Master Humphrey’s Clock.

It was the boy hero that captivated me. I didn’t recognize the accuracy of his depiction of the poverty of time though. Recent readings show how unstinting he was with that cultural context. People caught up in journeys, quests in following their dreams & hopes. He was a master plotter who did count on coincidence a bit much, & often fell back on the long lost relative, but who cares.

What still inspires me about him is his ability to create complex, human villains i.e. Mr. Murdstone, Daniel Quilp, Uriah Heep, Bill Sykes. He had a gift for names that rivals Shakespeare’s. His heroes were too good to be real, his women either good little wives, generous relatives or harsh thanks to the men in their lives. His narrative structure was simple, almost formulaic, stories were told in linear movements, with some backstory when needed.

I’ve always like the fact that he was an unabashed sentimentalist and that as a writer he had no compunction in manipulating the readers emotions. When I realized he wrote drafts by hand – let that sink in a little – by hand – I was staggered. Of course he was being usually paid by the word so his books did get rather long. But his shorter works are also stunning: Hard Times is one of his best works.

Day and Night

day never holds me 

as fully as the night

in light there is always

a part that doesn’t get revealed

doesn’t get illuminated

turn as fast as I can

part of me is always in shadow

 

light is not the total lover

always leaves one part untouched

night covers all

nothing gets omitted 

over-looked

holds me in toto

comforting tender complete

caressing even where I cannot see

I was submerged and protected

no night burn for me 

for being too long naked in its glance

but I do welcome the sun

the energy released in my flesh and bones

by the ignition of my skin

 

if I had to make choice 

between night and day

as to which would be the better lover

I couldn’t say

day brings flowers

night brings stars

both return despite 

my placid display of cliches

tender is the night

bright is the day

as one retreats 

to make way for the other

I am saddened

I want to hold them both

straddle those slippery moments

when one makes way

gracefully stepping aside 

they do not fight 

to see who will be next

there is no resentment

that I have taken each 

in their own time

that I give myself equally to them

give myself without question 

without doubt

so do not make me choice

 

when I die

will I go into the light

or merely roll over 

into the comforting dark

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – 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 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

If 

I bought a cassette of If I at the Radio Shack in the Zeller’s Mall (now the Sydney Shopping Centre) when I was living in Cape Breton. In fact that is where I bought my first stereo system. They had a rack of discontinued, discounted cassettes from which I bought music that never showed up at the local record shop. We’re talking early 70’s.

 

This British band has a great jazz sound – a British Blood, Sweat & Tears. I loved that cassette. Each track is sweet & still contemporary – it could be released this week & sound fresh. Dockland is brilliantly moody. The horn work is superb, as are the lyrics, the singing.

I kept my eye out for more by them for decades. Nothing else by them reached Cape Breton. None of my music buddies ever heard of them. They got reviewed by the US rock press: ie Rolling Stone. As far I know they never had a hit song. When I upgraded from cassette to CD this was one cassette I wanted to replace before the tension was shot but I could find nothing. It was as if they disappeared. Then in I found a 2008 CD compilation ‘What Did I Say About The Box Jack’ of tracks from heir first albums. I was happy to hear those songs I knew & some that I had never heard. The booklet was excellent too.

When I finally upgraded my internet to high speed I did a search & downloaded mp3 version of their first two lps & a live concert from 1972. If you are unfamiliar with If, that first lp is worth tracking down. Or if it’s still around the 2008 compilation.

Care

‘You’re nothing but trouble.’ Drak resisted the temptation to hit. He knew hitting would get some response but would also slow things down. And things were going badly enough as it was. ‘You hear me? Trouble.’

‘Yes,’ Steve stepped back. ‘Sorry. I’m …’

‘I know what you are trying to do.’ Drak lost control and the back of his hand smacked Steve across the cheek before he could stop himself. Struck Steve twice more and was stopped on the third blow by a hand that clenched his wrist. Hurt it.

‘Enough of this. There’s too much at stake for you two to be playing at enemy with each other.’

‘Sorry Sis Care’

‘Sorry Sis Care.’

The two men were ashamed.

‘But he …’

‘Drak,’ Sis Care stood firmly before them. ‘I don’t want explanations or excuses. I want action. Not infighting. You know that.’

‘Yes.’ Drak answered.

‘You both understand that?’

‘Yes,’ Steven muttered.

‘Drak, you understand that don’t you?’ Her face was inches from his interface.

‘Yes, Sis Care. It’s just that …’

‘I said, no explanations and no excuses. This one is the last one.’ She tapped the laser pistol at her side. ‘I don’t need much to make me use this. You both know that.’

‘Yes,’ they replied.

‘Okay. Now we have less than ten minutes before we rejoin Group R. Have you laid all the trip wires?’

‘Three to go but Steve here was …’

‘Drak, cut the crap. Three to go and they take five minutes each to set. We have ten. Get your asses in gear.’

The three of them laid the trrace2 wire filaments along the base of the copter pad and over the catwalk entries. Once all of these optic paths where broken the blast would be set off..

‘Hurry up,’ Sis found herself impatient with Steve. ‘What are you fumbling with there anyway?’

‘Sorry, I get …’ Steve reddened as the ply slipped from his hands.

‘Give it to me.’ She snatched it up. ‘I’ll finish this off.’

As she picked it up Steve stepped on her hand.

‘Not so fast, Sis.’

She had her laser in her hand before he could react. A blast ripped through his arm and sent him sprawling ten feet away from her.

‘What …’ Drak raced over.

‘I guess he wasn’t your fault after all. Okay we’re done here. Let’s go.’

‘What about?’ Drak nodded at Steve.

‘Leave him. He’s not one of ours.’

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – 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 

Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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