Kindle Garden

Before I get to the Kindle here the ‘real’ books I’m currently reading: brother to brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men ed Essex Hemphill (1988). I bought this re-issue as it is the only Hemphill in print. I did attempt to get his out-of-print poetry collection but it got lost in the mail & I had no way to prove that & so lost the $ I paid for it 😦 Anyway this is an excellent collection. Sadly some of the racism that black gay men experienced then is still happening. The chapters on HIV are heartbreaking & brought back memories of may work in palliative care.

I’m working this the box in Brick Books 50 books for $30.00 offer. I alternate one of those with the Whitman on my Kindle. I now reading monkey ranch – Julie Bruck. Excellent contemporary poetry. I loved this deal but at the same time it reveals the financial rewards of being a published poet. 

My kindle presently has Escape From Baghdad! – Saad Z. Hassain Set in Baghdad during the US invasion. It feature religious fanatics, mercenaries, occultists, soldiers & an ancient watch that doesn’t tell time. Gritty, no one can be trusted. The ‘science’ around the watch is more compelling than the ‘war’ elements. I enjoy the setting but so many shifting characters, shifting allegiances it gets a bit confusing.

Looming Low Vol. 1 – ed Justin Steele & Sam Cowan. This is an amazing collection of eerie short stories. Atmosphere over gore can’t be beat. Simple off-kilter setups lead through multilayered stories. The old Twilight Zone influence only adds to the power of these stories. Highly recommend. 

Complete Poems – Walt Whitman. Who knew Walt wrote so much! I was somewhat familiar with Leaves of Grass – but that about 10% of what he produced. I try to read a certain % of it then alternate it with something else. 

I also am working though: 12 Books – Steven Leacock; Complete Fiction – H.P. Lovecraft & 120 Bonus Poe stories; Slavery: Not Forgiven, Never Forgotten; Complete Works: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Works of Hall Caine; Complete Works: Emile Zola; The Ultimate Collection: novels & essays Mary Shelly; 51 Classic Works: Mark Twain; The Complete Works of Bram Stoker.

The Leacock & Twain are delight. Lovecraft good in limited doses. Slavery is a massive set of writing by early Black writers: poetry, novels, biographies. Doyle gets a bit dry with his historic romances. I read about Hall Caine in a biography of Bram Stoker. Hall was, at one time, the best selling novelist in the British Isles & a known homosexual, so I had to read him – very much of the period. As is Stoker’s fiction which gets a bit dry one the blood sucking stops. Zola is a writing God & one of my inspirations. Mary Shelly is interesting enough but is also caught up by literary styles conventions of her time.

Collections from Story Bundle one of World SciFi novels & anthologies & one of horror/ghost novels & anthologies. Seeing the future by non-North Americanized eyes is worth the effort. Some of these are the closest I get to reading contemporary fiction, as well, other than the occasional novel I’ve downloaded written by friends.

cerise

Your Eyes

what color are your eyes

really 

you know that’s my favorite color

honestly

well not really

I guess my favorite color is 

a sort of cerise

<>

you know the red of sherry 

when you spill it on an off white rug

just as it soaks in a little

I love that red

can’t get enough of it

<>

though I do really like the contrast 

of a suddenly spurt of blood 

on newly fallen snow

blood warm enough to melt sink

clotted crimson in a thin gleam of ice

that is a sweet color too

<>

or the tinge of a bruise after the third day

when the blue black is ebbing out

to that green blush along the edges

till finally it becomes as faint 

as a finger print on a knife hilt

or a the kiss of a rose 

trodden underfoot in a muddy field

after the police have searched for days

looking for clues

the dark deep brown of fresh dug earth

or ground recently patted down

to a sort of smooth quality

like skin untouched for a year or so

dried in the corner of a basement

who knew Aunt Sally was down there

we thought she had gone back to Florida]

<>

I love the color of her eyes

what was left of them anyway

a beige blackened

with whites jellied dried pink rose petals

<>

so I love the color of your eyes

yes that has to be nearly 

my favorite color in the whole wide world

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

On my Kindle 02

The Works of Hall Craine (1853-1931) contains all 15 of his novels. Never heard of him? Neither had I until he was mentioned in Something in The Blood, the Bram Stoker biography by David J. Skal (an excellent book). Craine’s popularity during his lifetime was unprecedented. He was an international literary celebrity, and sold a total of ten million books & was the most highly paid novelist of his day. I’ve only read the first of the novels in this collection & it was an effort to push through a plot that hinged on incest or is it incest. But I’ll read more of them. None of his novels have been discovered by Masterpiece Theatre 🙂

The Complete Poems – Walt Whitman. Whitman is one of my inspirations. I have, in paper, a great biography & also a paperback edition of Leaves of Grass. This massive collection has everything including revised versions. I’m not crazy about Kindle for poetry as enjambment & page layout suffers. 

The fact that I have the Complete Works of Emile Zola should come as no surprise. This was one of the first set of works I downloaded to my Kindle. I’ve blogged about Zola a few times now. He is one of my prime fiction inspirations. I got red up with searching book stores for novels other than the big hits: Thérèse Raquin, Nana, Germinal. I’m always happy when this collection rotates to the next to read on my rotating e.book shelf.

The Complete Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a revelation. Not many get past Sherlock. Those that do find The Lost World & some of the other Professor Challenger work. But most don’t get as far as his historical romances or Napoleonic war short stories. The problem with these historical works is their lack of ‘puzzle’ – they are straight forward plots with solid but dull characterizations. Only a completist like myself gets this far 🙂

Moving On

a drink won’t bring you back

crack won’t bring you back

getting numb won’t 

take this pain away long enough

it will always return

gets worse after each black out relief

there’s always the restless sun

making it clear

there is no return to what once was

talking it out won’t change things

gone is gone

new shoes won’t bring you any closer

a new look 

is not what it will take

nothing is going to work

I feel you are there 

in the next room

sleeping or watching tv

that when I’m in my way home

you are going to be there

waiting

cooking a meal for me

another toke won’t bring you back

raging at your empty space

won’t change anything

can’t fill the room

cant fill the time it’s going to take

until I run of things

to try

none of which can never bring you back

can’t dig down into the earth 

to bring you back to life 

to resemble the scattered fragments

caught for a moment over the lake

sunshine grey

can’t wet them with 

plant them with enough fertilizer

to grow you again

bring you back to life

can’t give me life either

not enough bottles 

not enough rocks

not a sweet enough pipe

not enough sex

to bring you back

can’t sing loud enough

can’t be quiet enough

to hear you

can’t wash that memory 

out of my hair

can’t give your clothes away

yet

can’t fill them like you

can’t wear them myself

can’t stand to look at them

letting go

not wanting to hold

not know what to do

because nothing will bring you back

and I’m tried of doing nothing

apologies are too thin 

too late

food not filling enough

not enough cake 

to bring you back

not prayer

bargaining 

anger 

acceptance

forgetting you 

not acting as if I don’t miss you

won’t bring you back

won’t keep that song 

from bringing you to mind

bringing you to mind 

won’t bring you back

tears won’t do it

gifts won’t do it

joining you 

won’t bring you back

not wanting you back

won’t bring you back

sleep won’t bring you back

moving on

won’t bring you back

but it means

I won’t be here

when you do come back

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

https://www.facebook.com/events/504067323723768/

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

7 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March

March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April

April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies andBbad Times Theatre

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

Entertainment Afoot

The Shaw Festival production of Hound of the Baskervilles is top-flight entertainment. Well staged with a great ensemble cast it delivers a fun, fast-paced adaptation of the the Doyle novel that chills and even surprises in ways that will please the most dedicated Sherlock fan. Sounds too good to be true? Trust me I was anticipating a muddled mess like the Shaw production of Dracula last season.

With Sherlock it is hard to say who the lead is Sherlock or Watson. Damien Atkins, as Sherlock, heads a sharp ensemble cast, with Graeme Somerville as his Watson. Both were good – I found Atkins a bit young but enjoyed him all the same. Somerville gives us the ‘Nigel Bruce’ Watson, as opposed to the Jude Law take on the character.

The staging was perfection. The use of projection & scrims was precise & as effective as their use in Stratford’s current Coriolanus. I love the rolling stairways in the chase scene & the clever use of trap. The moors were perfectly created & properly moody. Sadly, in this preview production, the hound itself was not a success. John Gzowki’s music was so good I hoped to find a cd of it in the gift shop – no such luck.

The text brought in elements of the Sherlock mythos not in the novel. It stuck to the essential points of the Hound’s plot & characters but did insert some new scenes – a dinner party that was not in the novel but which worked perfectly giving a more romantic edge to the story. It also introduced layers of villainy that were satisfying. I was gratified that there was no nods to the current modernized Holmes. A fine production that I’d recommend to anyone.

Other summer reviews:

Long Day’s Journey Into Night: “a ghost haunting the past” https://wp.me/p1RtxU-30f 

Coriolanus: “My rage is gone” https://wp.me/p1RtxU-31K 

The King and I: The King and My Memories https://wp.me/p1RtxU-31Y

Julius Caesar: Honourable Women https://wp.me/p1RtxU-33T 

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Kindle-ing

Émile Zola (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Émile_Zola); Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; John Addington Symonds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Addington_Symonds): Mark Twain. What do these writers have in common (besides being dead white males)? I have the Delphi Complete works of each on my Kindle.

whiteboard

the white panel

It may take me years to read all these Complete works but I’m up the challenge. I can’t recall how I got caught up by Zola but it was way back in the 1970’s; the first book of his I read was either the amazing Thérèse Raquin – one of the best crime novels I have ever read; or it was Nana: an astonishing look at theatrical life in Paris including the nature of queer life at the time. Germinal is still one of the most powerful books about coal mining I’ve ever read.

The translations in this collection are good, unexpurgated, for the most part. At one time I despaired at finding many of these in paperback & in English, so getting this massive edition was sweet & inexpensive too. Similar to Dickens in his complex plotting, his writing is more explicit & his endings rarely happy.

whitedoor

the white door

Doyle – who doesn’t know Sherlock – I haven’t read much Sherlock as an adult though, so felt it was time to get back to it. The stories aren’t as clever or as soundly written as I recalled & the use of language has certainly dated but they are great to re-read. Plus this collection includes the many many historical novels he wrote, which it seems only scholars read these days. Yes, he did write things that didn’t include Sherlock.

Symonds I picked up after reading so many mentions of his work & the role it played in queer literary history & theory. No fiction here but his very Victorian writing about his travels, art in Italy, literary criticism – this edition lacks illustrations which is a bit ‘sad’ when he lavishes such affection & attention on painters, architects & sculptors. But that’s what Google is for, right.

whitegrid

the white transit grid

Twain, like Doyle, has been reduced mainly to a couple of big hits but his works are extensive, funny, rambling and a delight to read. A riverboat ride through Americana. Huck & Tom were great favourites of mine as a boy & I’ve always longed for a boyfriend named Huckleberry – maybe I’ll re-purpose that name in one of own novels or is it too loaded with the Twain history to be used.

It’ll take a decade for me to work through all these, while keeping up with my other readings, but at least I won’t have to worry about their next blockbuster. Once these guys are done I’ll move to the Complete Jules Verne, Victor Hugo, George Elliot and maybe Scott.

soon

March 7 – Saturday – attending – 2015 Toronto SpecFic Colloquium – Round Venue, 152A Augusta Ave., Toronto

specfic

http://chiseries.ticketleap.com

March 26 – Thursday 8 pm – Judging – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam – Supermarket – 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto

hot

April 26, 2015 – Sunday – 2-5 – Featuring – The Secret Handshake Gallery – 170 Baldwin Ave., 2nd floor, Toronto.

born

June 5-7 – attending – Capturing Fire – Washington DC

fire

http://www.thedccenter.org/capturingfire/

(2015 registration posted but details not posted yet. I’ve registered already 🙂 )

June 21-26 – attending – Rosemary Aubert’s Workshop: The Novelist’s Selfie – Loyalist – Belleville

loylab

Loyalist Workshop is the real deal

page 23 for details next page down for registration info

https://www.loyalistbanner.com/ceweb/doc/LoyalistSummerArts2015.pdf

June 27, Saturday – 7:00-  Feature: Hot Summer Nights at Hirut, Hirut Restaurant, 2050 Danforth Ave., Toronto

summer15

September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo

Expo15

http://fanexpocanada.com

October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Inner Child Sacrifice

noiroc15

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

sample

On The Beach

sand

an evening breeze brings

the first hint of night

the stiff bendable scruff grass dances

families pack   cars drive off

tires softly grind new sand

with each turn of the wheel

the waves continue

never impeded by the frolic

heedless of the left behind

the tattered towel

twig trapped since last fall

small cellophane wrappers rattle in the grass

the echo of the last footsteps

the still steady kiss of water across the sand

smooths away those last footsteps

washes away the echo

laughing crying restless children

children who want to be home

in front of the TV

watching the beach on TV

not to be here to poke at dry boring sand

with a dumb ass shovel

filling a dumb ass pail   dumping it on the food

on dad’s book

on mom’s suntan lotion

the water rolls in and out wets their dumb feet

wrinkles their dumb asses

the sea kelp floats just beneath the surface

waits 20 30 feet out from shore

kept them from swimming out to the horizon

kept the children at bay

kept their dumb asses

from really feeling the freeze of the sea

the still depth

where all hovers in continuous motion

the floating barrier that kept all safe

floats a bit closer to the empty shore

nudges up onto the sand

to enjoy the spell binding moon light

to enjoy the echo of those footsteps

takes a moment to get away from its usual distance

the tiring distance

where it was some how held

in abeyance by the restless roil of the sea

the under flow of currents relaxes as the sea swells

as the kelp darts on sand a moment

as the sea once again pulls it back to safety

to float    to mingle

a dog runs along the damp sand

a master somewhere whistles

the clouds over head slowly cover the moon

star reflections dance bravely around the kelp

a deeper dark settles on the dark of the sea

whitebear

white wedding