See You Later, Calculator

See You Later, Calculator

his look

calculated my worth

the cost of my shoes

was the measure

of his interest

his respect would be gauged 

by the tailoring of my shirt

by the cut of my jeans

by what he could see

and what he saw

clearly wasn’t up to his standards

which were clearly

the only ones that mattered

 

not that he was superficial

by any stretch of the imagination

he could discuss Hegel

he knew the Chinese poets

but would discuss them

with those whose status

was equal to his

my shoes just weren’t up to it

 

even though they were new shoes

even though my sheets

were freshly washed

they just didn’t have 

the right thread count

to support my point of view

as far as he was concerned 

 

once again

being poor pays off

In summer, one of the men I see, wears flip-flops & will take transit wearing them to my place for play. The thought going nearly barefoot on Toronto’s public transit, even walking on the sidewalks, fills me with, I want to say loathing, but with trepidation.  For one thing I hate flip-flops on men, in particular, anywhere other than pool side. This digression serves a prelude to my writing of this piece.

I do judge people by their footwear. I’m not as calculating at the ‘his’ in the piece though. I’m willing to overlook footwear if the wearer is otherwise presentable. One gets used to staring at shoes in transit to avoid actually looking at people. But the wrong shoes can unbalance a nice look. I avoid snap judgments. For me nice means shoes in decent shape in accordance to the rest the attire. Construction worker with battered Kodiaks is fine – stilettos with sweats is trashy 🙂

But I have meet people like the protagonist of this piece. Some are clerks in men’s wear stores who gauge their service, or lack thereof, according to my wear. I’ve encountered participants at various workshops who do the same thing. The better tailored the shirt I wear the more respect I get. I know the power of the button.

I’ve also met men who gauge prospect sex partners by thread-count. One man I saw briefly took great pleasure in talking about the amazing penthouse condo one of his conquests lived it & the man’s satin sheets. No satin in my house, at least not for bedding. He did know the Chinese poets & was ‘impressed’ when I pulled out an anthology of them to check out his favourites. I was not impressed. 

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

The Beginning of Wisdom

The Beginning of Wisdom

silence

is the beginning of wisdom

 

silence

often passes for depth

 

so I’ve learned

to keep my big mouth shut

not even speaking

when spoken to

delaying the opportunity

to opine

to give others the chance

to say enough to hang themselves

I’m well hung enough now

so there’s no need

to show that off by hanging myself

by having you

hang on to my every word

 

what gets imparted by my silence

isn’t my problem

it’s a real silence

it claims to be no more than that

it echoes your expectations

not my implications

if I have nothing to say

I do just that

 

if I have something to say

I keep it to myself

I’m not thoughtless

just thoughtful

not going to take up your time

so you have more to use

to display the breadth & depth

of your profound

expansive

realizations

 

I am wise enough to admit

that

I am merely saucer

to your bottomless well of endless wisdom

This pārājika deals with modesty,  not claiming to be more than one is – which in our culture is seems antithetical to the need to oversell ourselves constantly. This sort of easily exaggeration: it wasn’t just a bad movie but one of the worst one has ever seen. Enough just isn’t enough. If it is you are clearly settling for less, compromising for comfort & are probably boring. Intelligence must constantly be proved.

Actually I’m really speaking about myself – at least at one time – with the compulsion to establish my insights – often insights into things I knew nothing about anyway. Cynicism is a ‘fun’ way to entertain without needing to have a more complex grasp of anything.

I’ve have learned the lesson that ‘silence often passes for depth’ – what is he thinking? can be even more satisfying that telling people what you think, or even letting them know you think nothing. If someone is sure I’m thinking something, when I’m not, I don’t tell them otherwise. I keep my big mouth shut.

Some this comes from not caring that much what people think of me anyway. I let my shirts do the talking as they are frequently more memorable than anything I’ve ever said. Hey, may be this piece needs a rewrite ‘tailoring/is the beginning of wisdom.’ 🙂

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Don’t F**k With Me

Don’t F**k With Me

it changes your d.n.a

alters your chromosomes

creates a blood brain barrier

between you and your higher consciousness

once is all it takes

you can never turn back

you are infected for life

sullied beyond compare

your authentic spiritual values

have been sacrificed

to physical pleasure

you will never be satisfied

all who are virtuous   unsullied

will sense your lack of purity

they will have nothing to do with you

even those who have fallen

will shun you

as they shun each other

except for those frantic moments

of mutual self-abasement

that deny them fulfillment

grace will never return

to your life

which means

like all those who have partaken

you will have no life

no after life

no present life

only a life

numbing the sense of loss

with diversion

These 227 Rules for monks proved to be wild prompts – some, like this first one, proved to be very easy to run with. This the first of the 4 pārājikas. It starts as a list poem but rather than merely name off the standard reasons to avoid intercourse – i.e. pregnancy or disease – I went directly to the moral, cultural admonitions that spring from this unbalanced view that sex is good but dirty – that to enjoy carnality is superficial & shallow.

Some of that comes from the separation of mind from body from spirituality. Truly spiritual people transcend the physical and are therefore pure & deep. The notion that the spiritual opens us up to greater sexual pleasure is heretical. There is a ring of Dante’s hell for the likes of me I guess – where we taste pleasure with one part of the body while our feet are set on fire at the same time. But let’s face it shame haunts more than our feet or our private parts.

There’s also a powerful sex subtext around HIV & the use of contagion to further shame people – is sex worth dying for? Why can’t you people lead a sexless life of physical purity? One of things to remain an ‘approved’ queer is not to remind anyone about the sex part of homosexual – not in front of the children or pets. Queer is so addictive just to see two same-sex people kissing is enough to spread it, it is so contagious.

 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Breaking In Grief

samp

Another of the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Green as a writing prompt.20-chain-01

Law 41: Avoid Stepping into a Great Man’s Shoes

he was wearing

his dead son’s sneakers

bought a month before

the son’s step off into oblivion

new shoes a sign of hope

of a future planned for

not of a life too soon to be ended

they found the sneakers

still in their box

in the cupboard

worn once to try them on

designer expensive

too nice to toss or donate

so he’s wearing them now

it gives me the creeps

practicality in the face of catastrophe

 

I visited home

the summer after my father died

his death was sudden

it was the body that gave out

he didn’t go out of his way

to find that oblivion

I go through his clothes

to help my sister winnow out

throw out donate

to share some memories

I end up keeping a a couple of jackets

that actually fit me

with enough style to suit me

 

the shirt and pants

were easy to part with

most of the shoes too

my Dad was all business

when it came to shoes

his idea of comfort wear was

a semi cowboy boot

or hard onyx red oxfords

there was box with a new onyx pair

only worn to try them on

they sort of fit me

very stuff and inflexible

never being broken in

expensive

I take them

 

I wear them a few times

then drop them in a clothing box

they don’t fit

right size but wrong shape

maybe that’s why my Dad never

wore them either

the life my Dad hoped I would fit into

was also the right size

but the wrong shape

I was unwilling to do the work

that would break me in

so it would be a comfortable fit

 

I meet my friend one day

he’s sporting wildly neon runners

these were his son’s

it’s been a year after the death

and his finally feels okay to wear them

to walk in grief

knowing he’ll never leave that grief behind

but ready

to walk forward with it

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

blackshoe

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

Land of 1000 Dances

sample

Land Of At Least 10 Dances

watusi fox trot

cheek to cheek waltz

ballroom grand

sweeping dress

touching arm in air Viennese waltz

cha cha pogo

samba rumba tango palace

jumping jive

peppermint twist

hucklebuck

rock-n-roll

the shimmy

my sister Kate, remember her

the silver moon

frug

the swim

the grave digger

mosh pit intimacy

dirty boogie

the bump

rock your boat

rock your world

the lindy hop

its hammer time

flappers

zoot suits

pas de chat

first position please

now lift

pas du borree [can remember how to do it but not spell it]

kick ball change

butt scooting boogie

last chance

American in Paris

the red shoes

fred and ginger

bill and ben the flowerpot men

do si do

swing your partner

she bop the night away

you little jazz babies

I only have feet for you

shall we dance

deb and yul

I always wondered

who made that dress

those dresses

those shoes

wrote that music

shall we on and on

achey breaky

wish away chase away

that feeling of lost aimless lethargy

hip-hop

free form

martha graham hermes pan

tap dance

that old soft shoe

that old devil moon

the Japanese sandman

do the pony

everybody down

it’s a clam bake

it’s a fine day

for surfin USA

California girls are tanned

dancing in the sand

like putting out a cigarette

while drying yourself off with a towel

like fevered worms in your pants

slither around

your private parts

nudging those tender secret dirty places

mingling with the sweat

the hormones

the tension

the crush of hip to hip

butt to crotch

the slow steady grind

satan’s invitation to degradation

worse than playing cards

just listening will

lead all teens down the path to hades

to everlasting unfulfilling shallow sex

sex sex sex

yes that’s what that dance is

the mating ritual

of heathen

uncivilized black people

deep in a hot sweltering jungle

the virgin sacrifice

to the king kong cock

of the evil male

who wants to corrupt

the sweet innocent flower of all youth

so

put on your boogie shoes

do the hustle

do the tater tot

push the baby carriage

tie a knot in it

swan lake

the nutcracker

yes that’s the one to learn girls

boys work on

I’m a man

groovin is easy

roll me easy

it’s not so hard to please me

because the history of the world

unfolds before us

in beats per minute

when we put on the wax

the shellac

16 45 33.3 rmp

the LP ep 8 track cassette cd mp3

when we fire up the old music box

and we dance

dance

dance

appleshoe

quick apple two-step

I love a list poem, even if it’s my own. I have more recent pieces about dance and music and the sweaty grind. This one is takes a more scattered, historical name-checking route. Dance has always been with us at all levels of culture too. While the lords and ladies where doing their stately gavottes and other court dances, the working poor had their own less formal music and dances to enjoy.

The history of dance has many that were deemed satanic, usually those enjoyed by the working poor, the cultured were always on the side of reason and God so their courtly dancing was approved. The title & piece is inspired by Wilson Pickett’s hit Land of 1000 Dances.

oneshoe

the dropped slipper

The can-can was shocking, that glimpse of more than stocking. The first performance of the Rite of Spring caused riots in the theatre – can you imagine a ballet doing that today? I tap-dance through a panoply of dances that I recall, move on to how those get judged, pilloried even. As I wrote it I realized that anti-pleasure was the basis for most judgemental condemnations. In a working, productivity-centric culture pleasure is not productive enough to be approved. Sex is for procreation only etc.

skates

sunny day ice dancing

Bill and Ben – The Flower Pot Men was a children’s show at the edge of my memory – a British show in which these puppet flower in pots would sing and sway and teach kids important moral lessons.  There’s reference or half-mentions of lyrics, including song titles, movies and some fun turns of phrase. I love ‘I only have feet for you.’ Poetry you can dance to – shall we dance?

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

shoes

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

Lament for Anna Nicole

samples

Lament for Anna Nicole

in the beginning was the word

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  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
awash in a sea of whoʼs your daddy

our father ?

is this the way the world ends

not with a bang
but a paternity test

wing fallen angel

Word Press did the weird line skips 😦 I couldn’t figure out how to undo them.

This version of Lament appears in my chapbook of the same name (some copies still available). I rarely write about current pop figures but towards the end of her life she became inescapable. It was one of the pieces that wrote itself.

The first lines came to me while was on my morning walk. I stopped & wrote them down. The rest of it began to fall into place. I couldn’t wait to get home to hit the keyboard. The mix of actual events as they happened, mixed easily with my rather jaded view of ‘news’, a little biblical referencing adds another layer to the piece. There’s also the nod to T.S. Eliot for the die-hard poetry elitists.

pink fallen ribbon

This a piece I always love to perform. I’ve even ‘scored’ it for three voices so that is resembles a news show – chilling. Some of the images roll off my tongue with relish and I love the way it ends – not with a bang but a paternity test. snap.

This also another of my pieces about identity. Anna stopped being a person as her notoriety took over. Like Jayne Mansfield, she courted fame and when she found it didn’t know who to overcome cultural stereotypes of dumb blonds, big chested female, and gold-diggers. Getting what she thought she wanted cost her the right to privacy, even in death. One of the few times her face wasn’t seen on camera was when she was in that body bag. An ugly fact of life.

statue fallen goddess

It was sparked at how the media was so stuck on her scent even after death, almost daily reports on that paternity test, while other news was delegated to after thought. By the time she was 39 she had graced every news show and magazine cover around the world and that didn’t keep her alive. Maybe it is true, photographs steal the soul – because her need for fame and our willingness to give it to her sucked the soul out of her.

November 1-30 – participating – NaNoWriMo 2016 –nano 14http://nanowrimo.org

shoe

fallen shoe

Bazaar of the Bizarre

Started my Christmas shopping early by getting over to the Bazaar of the Bizarre Saturday at 918 Bathurst Centre for Culture etc. First off this is a great location, for me, so much easier to get to than the Convention Centre or the Gladstone.

the castle has fallen
the castle has fallen

I got there around noon with my buddy Kyle – he loves to take pictures more than I do, so I let him click away. Noon is a great time to arrive – before things get too busy. It was a great warm up for FanExpo at the end of August.

There was fun range of mainly handmade things: tee-shirts, jewelry, note books with old lps for covers, soaps, teas & more. All with a somewhat darker skew – instead of chocolate bunnies we got chocolate skulls. Instead of clown or cat face painting there was day of the dead skull face painting.

leave your shoes t the door
leave your shoes at the door

DJ music wasn’t over powering. The retailers, & crowd, was a mix of hippies & hipsters with a bit of cosplay thrown in. Some serious fashion was offered & even ChiZine had books for sale.

a game of shoes
a game of shoes

I made a few purchases – a super tee (what else) from Cachimbo, I got myself the yellow on red sun god,  & some fun things from BitchCraft & Pixiefashions. I’ll be back for the fall Bazaar & maybe line up the day of the dead face painter for the Damned’s October show.

Lunched at Hey Lucy! after but not impressed.

I’m Not The Answer

sandels no sand
sandels no sand

I jumped right into poetry month. I think last year I was in the thick of some prose diversions. I’m posting a new fresh piece every day on both my FB page & on Make Spoken Word Go Viral. Viral has also been offering a daily prompt. I like a good prompt even more than a nice … well anyway …

bag'em & tag'em
bag’em & tag’em

On my FB page I’ve also been pairing the piece off with a photo, usually of mine & usually one that sort of relates to the poem. The posts stay up about 24 hours & get deleted before I post the next. Catch’m while you can.

one free booted
one free booted

Here’s one from earlier this week:

True

I was ready

to meet you half-way

I stood a moment there

on the stairway

you were nowhere to be seen

I couldn’t deny

what my eyes told me

only your footsteps

in the snow

after the moment

I made my own tracks

I was too cold to waste

anymore time on you

I’m not the answer

to anyone’s prayers

snow01

Piss-Bombed

DM Moore hosted another fine BuDa evening of strong open stagers, including the always commanding Philip Cairns, and dynamic features. Her great trivia questions kept the night moving and an unexpected experimental guitar solo, by Carolina Brown, sparked the open stage into a new direction.

sole on ice 1

First feature Gerald Hannon read sections of his memoir. I particularly related to his late 50‘s small-town life where and the slur ‘fruit’ but he didn’t really know what it meant. He escaped from that life into a city of 1000’s where he hoped to find one other male who felt like he did. I loved his story of college mates who piss-bombed queers in cars only to meet one of them years later as a hungry client when he (Gerald) was a sex-trade worker. I’m also happy to have him recording this gay history too much of which gets lost.

Second feature was Greg “Ritallin” Frankson – he dipped into his own slam history to present the first piece he slammed with and wrapped the set with a recent piece. His sense of social commentary and political activism is clear from the beginning but the focus has become sharper. Sardonic without being jaded or bitter his set was resonant and compelling – ‘the poor aren’t lazy, they’re exhausted – they’re exhausted because they are starving’ ‘minimum wage doesn’t cover minimum needs’

sole on ice 2

The final feature was Andraya Smith – fine dances whose Martha Graham training shines through even when coping with an injury. She performed seated on a stationary, red, office chair – even though she never left the chair she flew around the room with an evocative improvised performance. Yet another departure for a reading series – keeping BuDa close to is Cabaret longings.

sole on ice 3

Loyalist willow not weeping for me

Scene 2

 

costume choice 1

Week 7 of make-a-scene brings me one week closer to the end of the workshop and closer to our graduation  Red Nose District show. What has somewhat dismayed me is the attrition rate for the class – we started with 11 gung-ho people and so far three have dropped out – I suppose some people have money to burn.

In past workshops I know some people aren’t ready for the amount work that is actually involved – for a writing workshop they don’t expect they’ll have to not only produce work for the class but also read and comment on the work of up to another dozen people – that is if they want the most out of the class. I recall one where a member only showed up when his pieces where to be looked at & he rarely had anything to say about one else’s. What’s the point?

 

costume choice 2

The past few weeks of Scene we have been workshopping the pieces for the show. This, for me, has been very productive. Some had a concept but nothing more and so a piece was built by doing it – by getting on stage and acting through possibilities – as opposed to sitting around and merely talking about what one could do – this pushed things into new shapes and sometimes new directions. Often finding an ending is the crux of things.

I’m more of a discovery writer – so this process suits me, though the piece I brought to the table, as it were, was pretty complete already – I was able to reduce it, focus it and find ways of bringing it to life on stage – I didn’t resist suggestions or defend what I had already intended to do with it – going with the flow works. Besides my own piece I’ll be appearing in a couple of the other scenes.

 

costume choice 3

What am I doing? You’ll have to come out to see it but I does involve an inflatable.

 

samp01

a rant from 2007:

 

Taking it Personal

 

I try not to take the personals personally

what they want

is a little sliver of perfection to control

to hold in an unalterable limbo

out you go the moment there is

a disagreement over anything

betrayal takes hold bitterness sets in

so that they become

even more precise in what they want

 

as those parameters get smaller

the pool of possibility gets shallower

they aren’t looking for anyone shallow

you must be complex

have a sense of humor a job

go to a gym twice a week

or at least have a big dick

that magic wand

can wave away the deeply needed

personal attributes they are seeking

 

I know when they are talking long term

they mean only as long

as you are obedient

as long as you fulfill certain

fantasy requirements

until someone with more money

or a bigger dick comes along

 

I’ve meet someone

who are none of the things they are looking for

I wonder if they read the ad they wrote

wonder if they know what they want

because even when I am

exactly what they are looking for

I’m not

 

I try not to take the personals personally

and so far have succeeded

never met the wrong guy that way

never met the right guy that way

not looking for perfection

certainly opens the field

though I don’t waste my time

with those looking for perfection

I know they are only seeking

the safety of the impossible

with a bigger dick

redbulge03