Week 6 of the Artist’s Way is about abundance/money. One of AA’s promises is ‘the fear of money & economic insecurity will leave us’ – the trick being the word ‘fear’  as ‘economic insecurity’ never leaves us – just ask Trump about his tax returns & his fear flares up instantly. I’ve rarely heard anyone say they have too much money or that the money that they have makes them all that secure. Money can’t buy you happiness but it can get you a decent therapist.

As with the other weeks there are lots of lists to make. Here’s one of mine: silver cloud rolls royce; spaniel; lilacs; maple pecan ices cream; kiwi; cauliflower; bbq ribs & bake potato; endless list; red. Can you guess what this is a list of? In some ways this list a challenge because some of the items where areas of my life I that aren’t very relevant.

The artists dates have not been going someplace but cleaning neglected nooks & closets in my house & making discoveries. Caches of photos from 1973; rough drafts of early novels; old notebooks; boxes old bandages (do they expire? I tossed them regardless). An abundance memory, dust & paper-clips. Letting go of that stuff has become easier creating an abundance of space, space I’ll not to refill.

The Way doesn’t really address the culture of materialism – in which having enough is seen settling for less. Compulsive consumers are seen as the key to progress – so one wants to be unblocked creatively in order to make more money to keep the wheels of progress turning. In the USA now there are people who see social distancing impeding progress. I guess money $ for the funeral industry is actually a good thing.

One thing I did do that created an instant sense of too much & wow! was indulging in a sale that Brick Books is having – a box of 50 poetry books for $30. Mine arrived this past week & I was amazed. The books average at 18.00 each – which is $900.00 worth of books. Then I reflected on the nature of becoming a published poet & was saddened. https://www.brickbooks.ca/30-for-a-box-of-books-sale/ . But what won’t keep me from enjoying the books. Guess what my friends are getting for Christmas 🙂

My Luck

when I tell people

I’m lucky to be alive today

they react as if I’m over-reacting

because in many ways

my life has been a breeze

I didn’t suffer any physical 



abuse growing up

never went hungry

my parents never divorced

so what do I have to complain about


it’s not that I’m complaining

merely making a statement of fact

I’m lucky to alive

that was a time

when gay teens 

were put into institutions 

to be cured

given shock treatment


behaviour modification

so they could be normal 

gender conforming

boys & girls


what saved my life 

was music

music never judged you

never waited outside school 

to beat you up

didn’t tell on you

didn’t turn away

when you searched album covers

for inspiration in words

in the tight pants of lead guitarists

or the sturdy arms of drummers

mooning over Keith Moon


never knowing anything 

about their lives

maybe if I had known 

Jim Morrison 

was really a backdoor man

Moon was a bi guy

I might have had a glimmer

of hope 


but even though they had talent


that allowed them freedom

but not enough to be out

careers would have been ruined

and when the music was over

they self-destructed

I was lucky to be alive


nothing thanks to covid19 😦

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Basement Boxx

Here’s the piece I wrote when misunderstanding one of the Viral prompts, which I had assumed was about packing, where as it as really about travel. There is travel element in this mind you but not strong enough to count. I do move from Cape Breton to Toronto in it and my thoughts do move through my the history of my growing up queer to a willingness to let go of the tangible remains of those memories.

tear ragged bottom

This is how I like to deal with those coming out years, with more nostalgia than anger. In fact I’m glad that I was never offered much adult guidance – too often gay teens where forced into aversion therapy, shock treatment or prayed for under the healing hands of their church till Satan was driven out. I suppose that would make for a more dramatic poem.

cherry cherry chair

There are elements of truth in this piece – moving here, the feelings about my dad’s disappointment, making yogurt, even having an unopened box but that box was of cup and saucers packed away when we moved to this house & stuck on a basement shelf. It was finally opened & donated to Goodwill. As for papers in my old desk – some that has been tossed but I still have notebooks of poetry, even novels, I wrote in high-school, college and before my move to Toronto.

shovel chair tossed

I revisit some of it every four or five years just to remind myself what handwriting looks like. It’s aways a bit of shock to see my drunken scrawl as I struggle to write myself out the truth I was trapped by. That handwriting is better than aversion therapy for keeping me honest to who I am.

samples Basement Boxx

I came across this cardboard box

sitting on a basement shelf

my handwriting on the side ‘desk papers’

the box had been there for so long

I don’t remember putting it there

when we moved into the house

over thirty years ago


I wiped the collected dust off the top

‘what desk’ I wondered

the box had once held a yogurt maker

I recognized the illustration of it

on the side of the box

I’d gotten rid of that maker twenty years ago

it had been a gift from my dad

when I moved from the family home

to my first apartment


man I felt like my life was in motion

my first place

a place where I could drink

without being observed by my parents

where I could entertain whenever I wanted


the booze helped me pack away

the stuff in my life

I didn’t know how to deal with

and at the same time

give me the courage to unpack it

to drop my pants


to hide my fear & uncertainty

the frustration of never being the son

I thought I was supposed to be

a son who make the basketball team

not yogurt

a time when no parent wanted

their eldest to become a queer


frustrations that lead me to leave

that Cape Breton town

for the bigger one of Toronto

this was one of those boxes

from that move

now I know what desk

I give it a little shake

I hear papers loose paperclips   pens

I start to put it back

then decide to toss it unopened

finding it has unpacked

enough of my past or one day

SAM_1218 brokeback snow bank