Reliving with HIV

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

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

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

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

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

Formative

she asked

are you married single 

neither

widower

nope

you have to be one those

I’ve lived with my partner 

for over twenty years 

we aren’t married.

oh, I that’s common-law

what is her name

his name you mean

oh there’s no place 

on this form for male spouse

he isn’t my spouse

he’s my partner

very well 

I’ll put own common-law 

 

now what religion are you

none

oh you don’t believe in God 

as matter of fact I do believe in God

then what faith do you practice

none

but you can’t believe in God 

and not have faith 

I do have faith

I do believe in God 

but I’m not caught up 

in any religious persuasion

I’ll say atheist then

atheists don’t believe in God 

I reminded her

but I have to have answers for this form

I’ll just put down atheist

no I am not an atheists 

is there a place there for heretic

no

 

then the form is fascist

it doesn’t allow 

for practices 

other than those it defines 

as acceptable 

I didn’t create the form sir 

I’m just filling it in

but you made that judgment call 

didn’t you

that if I wasn’t religious 

I had to be atheist 

agnostic at best

 

we can skip that  part of the form

then why is it there

for statistical purposes sir

but the only people 

who get statistically counted 

are those whom the form allows 

to be included

what about us who don’t fit 

the confines of the form

don’t we get counted

you get counted as nonbelievers

but I just told you I do believe in God

I’m just not Catholic

Buddhist

Jewish or whatever 

possible categories you have 

on that form

isn’t there a box you can check for other

no sir there isn’t

let’s move on please

 

what political party do you support

is this as relevant 

as the religious question 

or just more statistical information

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

every Tuesday 2019


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

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

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

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

‘Quieting the colonial hum’

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

Alden Nowlan

I’d forgotten how deeply I was influenced by the poetry of Alden Nowlan until I bought a copy of his collected poems for myself a year or so ago. My shelf is so extensive it’s taken me until this year to start reading it. It is a doorstopper. When asked what Canadian poets influenced me early on I would say Margaret Atwood, Susan Musgrave. 

Nowlan’s writing is conversational I guess I didn’t think of him as someone to mention. He didn’t write capital P poetry. I’d read others like Milton Acorn, Al Purdy but they didn’t stick to me the way Nowlan did.

In reading this collection I recognize that my usually conversational style come directly from him. He wrote about ordinary things, cows in a field, the smell of a hospital bed and fashion them into powerful moments. He was also a master of the end line, as I tend to be, that turns what one has just read, on its head to reframe everything.

 

I also have his CBC recording Alden Nowlan’s Maritimes – in which he reads some of his poetry one one side, the other side is a radio play based on one his short stories. I did meet him once when I was at the University of New Brunswick summer writing workshop. He didn’t lead any workshops but some of us were invited to his home to talk about our poetry. He was most encouraging.

 

Next to Dylan Thomas there is no greater influence I can think of on my poetic vision.

Arachnologic Romance

what’s that word

you know the one

that you call a kiss

that feels like walking 

into a dew jewelled spider web

on a sunny day

while looking in the basement 

for that lost sock

you know that word

 

that kiss 

that slip of the tongue

that tip of the tail

wagging excitedly

yet with a vague damp unease

at the same time

wanting to give in

yet feeling it’s all too sudden

too stuck on your face

while one hand reaches up 

to brush the spider web off

the other wants to fondle the spider

 

what is that word

I have to get the right word

for that sensational sensation

also a word for that rapidly

elusive need for the right word

I have to tell you all this

in exactly the right tone of voice 

if I don’t

it may never happen again

I may never find that sock

I’ll have to go with one foot bare

on this chilled concrete floor

while other in snug in a sock

trying to balance that tightrope

of grit under one foot

and comfy protection on the other

 

when did I lose that sock

when did I do laundry last 

don’t I have another pair

upstairs in a safe room

in neat rows in a drawer

no it has to be these socks

the ones you like to pull off my feet

with your teeth

 

you like to undress me

kiss each bared part

my outline in your silver silva

draws me into that web

the bad at the centre

where we devour each other

without a second thought

what about the the other sock

 

the word has escape me

I thought I had it trapped

like your tongue

held firmly in my grasp

as it slips slides

elusive fleshy fragments

tender mysteries

and all I can think about

is the tender shock of 

cobweb on my face

don’t want it to get into my eyes

bad enough 

it has caressed my lips

it has a dusty sooty taste

is it hygienic 

can I catch insect infection

eating a cobweb

one hand darts up to brush it away

but stops when I see 

the spider scuttle away

back into the dark

shocked by the size of this catch

not ready to crawl across my shoulders

the way you do so well

not ready to take the seed

and play it into new shapes 

along my stomach

each breath slithering cool trails

laughing at the moment

 

turning over in the bed

looking for our clothe

time for clean socks

the other must be in the laundry

I’ll be right back

only I’m stuck here

caught in a loss for words

looking for a definition

that will wind you around me forever

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

 

Goldsmith Cats

It’s no secret that I love soundtracks. I have many in my collection, some of movies I have never seen :-). One of the first I bought was as a result of seeing the movie Papillon was by Jerry Goldsmith. I loved that lp & eventually replaced with a downloaded mp3 version. Goldsmith was a prolific soundtrack composer with an amazing grasp of many musical genres.

I also have his earlier work in the music for Our Man Flint and In Like Flint. These were spy parodies (forerunners of Austin Powers) starring James Coburn. The music captures 60s instrumental pop perfectly in that it embraces the sound rather than makes fun of it. Bouncy & sweet I love this type of movie work. Papillon on the other hand is lush, romantic, sweeping & at times meditative. It is one of my all-time favourites.

Another major film composer is Max Steiner – is this collection his King Kong score (rerecorded) & it is amazing, fun & evocative. Here too, is Elmer Bernstein’s score for The Man With The Golden Arm – brassy, jazzy & sometimes romantic. A film about a junkie trumpet player I have never seen. Listening to this I can sense where tension for the next fix is probably happening 🙂  

More modern & even more obscure is Bill Nelson’s music for the silent movie La Belle et la Bete. Nelson is best know as guitarist for BeBop Deluxe. The music here is a mix of sound effects, moody mellotron & percussion. It is excellent mood music & I’m sure works well with the movie – which I have seen but not with Nelson’s music. 

I’ve interspersed these soundtracks with various Scott Joplin rags. Many of which have shown up as  occasional moments in many movies. Finally a non-movie lp: Cats: London Cast highlights. I figured let’s go from film to stage for a break. I have seen a stage production of Cats & enjoyed it as much for the costumes as for the songs. There’s been talk of a film version for decades but I think it’s time as a film property has passed.

Last word: search out Papillon.

Eye Contact

‘Did you hear that?’

‘What?’ Janes was fed up with Frank’s constant questions. ‘What ?’

‘I though …shh…’

They stood in silence for a few moments, their breath visible in the icy air. 

‘I don’t hear anything.’

‘Shh.’ Frank was also impatient. Janes was too fast to move, to jump to conclusions while he was more methodical. Taking time made things more secure.

There was a faint crackle in the air. A small electronic sound, a discharge of static. At the same time both of them saw a thin blue aura at the periphery of their vision.

‘What as that?’ Janes reached to rub his eye. 

Frank stopped him. ‘Don’t.’

‘Don’t what?’ He pushed Frank’s hand away and began to rub his eyebrow. As he did the blue become brighter within his eye and he began to shake.

‘Shit shit shit. Why don’t you listen.’ Frank looked for something to move Janes’ hand away from his face. He knew that to make contact would pull him to the Connection. Once linked neither of them would be functional for the rest of the day.

The wooded area was barren. Tall trees whose nearest branch was several feet towered above them. There was no fallen twigs or even leaves. The broken shale of the ground held no other plant life. He’d need something though. The bark of the trees was thin like onion skin and peeled haphazardly but perhaps he could cut a piece of that if he moved quickly when he pulled.

‘Gr.. gl…’ Janes began to sputter.

‘Save your breath. I know you can hear me. You’ll be fine. In a day or so. Why don’t you listen.’

‘Gl… gr…’ 

‘Yeah I know … radio the captain. When we have a chance. But for now …’ The noon sun sent sparks of light through the leaves of the trees overhead.  ‘We have to keep moving. Follow me and I’ll see what can bed done.’

Frank had an idea. If he could get Janes to the trees and brush him against one, perhaps his hand would come loose. If they broke the Connection now there would be little damage to worry about. Just a fierce headache and the loss of an eyebrow. 

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

 

Hungry Sneak Peek – April 2019

First a recap of March 🙂 March was cold then cool, dark then sunny. Started the rewatch of Taboo. The series is as intense as I recalled, also as illogical. The image clarity of the DVD is clearer than the original broadcast so some things are more noticeable – no this plot holes but the make-up on the King& other characters doesn’t hold up at all. But Tom Hardy is a magnificent beast & the tattoo work is exceptional. His great coat pulls focus everything he walks down the street.

Also rewatching Castle Rock. Knowing what is going on from having seen the series already doesn’t detract from the mystery but does let me ignore the endless red herrings, and frequent incidents that only exist for atmosphere or for the writers to show us how clever they are. Re-listening the the Fan Critical commentaries as well.

Speaking of Fan Critical I have also been listening to their reviews of ‘event’ movies I’ll never get to see until they turn up on TV. This is a very funny, intelligent group of commentators. Their newest addition is the ‘Worst of Netflix.’ Hilarious.

As I expected with the end of google+, my WordPress hits have dropped from frequent 60+ a day – to an average of 20 a day. My followers have increased: WordPress – 312, (following 36) Tumblr: 223 (following 54). TW: 215 (following 99). The Tumblr purge hasn’t ended the site & the nudes keep coming. I’m still deleting follows from hetero porn sites.

Coal Dusters is moving along well. I’ve blogged just over 90,000 words with at least 40,000 more words to go. This is clearly a second draft & not the final draft. I realize that I have to iron out wrinkles in time. I have to makes sure I have a time line that all these events can fit into. I suspect I have to get some of my geography settled as well. I am using some imaginary places i.e. Castleton  – but also real places i.e. North Sydney, New Waterford.

Now for the sneak peek part of this post. First up is Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Season 5 finale at Buddies in Badtimes Friday April 5, 7 p.m. 5 Cities! 8 Poets! But only 1 Champion. I can’t wait to see who wins the grand prize of a trip to Capturing Fire Slam, the International Queer Summit & Slam in Washington DC. I love everything about this expect the part where I can’t afford to go to Washington DC this year 😦 

The Hot Damn! feature is a dream come true! The out of this universe fantastic Nasra Adem NASRA is a queer, Muslim, Oromo creator/curator living in Amiskwaciwȃskahikan (Edmonton) on Treaty 6 territory. They were the Youth Poet Laureate of Edmonton from 2016 to 2017.

So far tickets have been booked to see Henry VIII, Nathan The Wise, & Little Shop Of Horrors at Stratford. Considering Private Lives, Othello if good seats go on sale. Tickets booked to see Sex at the Shaw Festival. Yet to book there is The Ladykillers. Oddly I’ve never wanted to any of their actual Bernard Shaw plays.

Not so distant future coming event is why I can’t afford to go to Washington DC this year: my visit to Cape Breton in August. I haven’t visited since June 2012. Plans include a visit to Fortress of Louisbourg, day trips to North Sydney, New Waterford for Duster’s & Picture Perfect research. Sydney has an unexpectedly lively lgbtq+ community now. Judging by the large number of Squirt profiles there are lots of men on the prowl too.  I guess I got the seven year itch?

Hungry Plants

more or less

all or nothing

how much is little enough

what constitutes over load

enough is a feast 

but we all want more

give em an inch

they‘ll want sex

quantity or quality

a little of the good stuff

or all you can eat

in for a pound

staggering from the corner 

for another go

another kick at the can

another bite at the hands 

that don’t feed enough

 

when things are overflowing

too much is left behind 

not every bit gets eaten

all those tiny crumbs

don’t miss one

good to the last drop to the canvas

slug fest of who gets

the bigger piece of pie

who gets left high without a dish to dry 

without a mouth to feed

getting is better that giving

don’t let anyone tell you otherwise

become the gracious receiver of gifts

so that others 

can indulge their need for generosity 

superiority

while you relax into gluttony

thank you thank you

don’t be shy or ashamed

anything you offer is fine by me

don’t stop giving

I want it all 

both my hands helping you 

by rifling through your wallet 

while you look the other way 

I know you’d be dismayed if I didn’t

you don’t want all that stuff

as much as I do

 

feed me Seymour feed me now

we’re all hungry plants

duking it out for the purse

raging shrill hogs

barely able to stand on two legs

in the lunge for greased joys

gimme gimme gimme 

more than my share is all I want

don’t get parsimonious on me now

after all it’s for the good of your soul

for the good of the world

more for me

means less for the people 

you really want to punish

 

you know I’ll always be thankful

even when I go behind your back

to the people you deprive

for more

I’ll take it from all givers

I’ll never let pride get in the way 

of getting more than I deserve

of getting more than you can spare

everything not nothing

biggest piece is always mine

so give now

be generous

or

live with your selfish regrets 

because that’s all you get 

to take to the grave

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

 

In This Irrepressible Shirt

I discovered The Irrepressibles thanks to Tumblr – one of my feeds posted the video for In This Shirt. Visually mesmerizing & musically compelling is searched & I found that track on their Mirror Mirror lp.  I have that as well as Nude, Nude:Landscapes, In This Shirt remixes, on this mp3 collection. The tracks flow into one another sweetly if glacially.

The sound is very Antony & The Johnsons. Chamber pop – strings with some drum tracks & an angelic, heartbreak voice singing on top of it all. Lyrics are usually haunting love or self-self-discovery songs. Words are carefully chosen, not picked to belt out. I enjoy chamber pop. Usually slow and romantic. I first encountered it on Donovan’s Sunshine Superman lp way back in the 60’s.

Also on this mp3 compilation are soundtracks from American Horror Story’s first couple of seasons. That credit music is eerie & evocative. It doesn’t wear out its welcome or go on too long, like the series itself tends to 🙂 To add some sonic variety I have  Basement Jaxx: Junto (Special Edition). A great electronic band that has expanded its sound over the years. This is a great addition to their catalogue even though it seems the genre itself had faded away they will not vanish.

Here also is a track from Ibizia Chillout – a 70 min DJ mix of other tracks on the release – something that happens now with many such completions one or two of the tracks is a non-stop dj mix of all the tracks on the lp. Dance music is great for writing.

 

Because The Irrepressibles  are so relaxing I added Tranquility: Voices of Deep Calm – a collection of Russian choral music designed to lead you to tranquility. Finally Childhood’s Lacuna (Bonus Track Version). Their sound is Modest Mouse with major reverb & echo. I heard a track on So You Think You Can Dance & quite liked it. I couldn’t now tell you which track that was though 🙂 Childhood, like Jaxx, is a nice counter balance to the airy sounds of The Irrepressibles. 

Dish of Dreams

‘I asked for Diet Pepsi.’ The dish knew this was bound to happen.

‘I’m sure the lemon pie will be better for you.’ The spoon stepped back from the swimming pool. This was going too far. ‘And if you don’t like it you can take a flying leap over the ….’

‘Don’t say it!’ The dish walked over to the operating table. ‘We have more important issues at hand now.’ The dish began to wash up for surgery.

‘If you think I’m going to glove you,  you have another thing coming.’

‘You don’t glove me anymore?’ The dish turned to the Bride of Frankenstein. ‘How did you deal with such things when they happened to you.’

‘You are asking the wrong person,’ the Bride of Frankenstein shrieked.

Several ducks fell out of the air at her shriek.

‘Oh wonderful. Fresh duck for supper.’ The games keeper scrambled over the sand dunes to get the gamy birds as they lay dead, still on the shimmering sunset shore.

‘Hey! You!’ a shout came from the bluffs, ‘Those are the King’s fowl. To touch them is treason.’

‘Since when, you useless old fart catcher?’ The games keeper scooped up the dead ducks and put them in his evening bag. It matched his shoes and hat. The perfect ensemble for evening dining.

‘Where did you get those bullets?’ The dish had to know. ‘They are just perfect with those gloves.’

‘Thank you. I didn’t think anyone would notice.’

‘It’s always these little details that make occasions like this so special, Don’t you think?’

‘I think you asked for Diet Pepsi and here it is it.’

Diet Pepsi walked through the swinging doors. The band stopped and all heads turned. At Pepsi’s side was the Queen of Sheba.

‘Some people have all the nerve. Imagine showing up here with her after all that’s happened.’ The spoon muttered.

‘Oh,’ the Queen of Sheba clappered her tiny hands, ‘it’s so good to get out of the kitchen for change. I’ve been baking tarts all day and just longed to get out. I’m so happy Diet Pepsi had a free evening.’

‘Yes, my schedule has been very busy.’ At that moment Diet Pepsi caught sight of the Bride of Frankenstein. ‘Perhaps, though, we might consider some other environs. You know who is here.’

‘Don’t let her get into your hair.’ The waiter joked as he led them to a corner table that overlooked the stage. ‘Can I get you drinks before the first act.’

‘I haven’t been to the ballet in years. What wine goes with Swan Lake?’

‘Perhaps a dry white would suit you.’

‘I trust your discretion.’ Diet Pepsi tipped the waiter handsomely. ‘Is that Godot over there?’

‘Why, yes. I’m his waiter as well.’

‘How lucky we are,’ the Queen of Sheba looked around. She allowed the rigatoni straps on her shimmering gown to inch over her iridescent white shoulders.

‘Madam!’ A cry came from across the pond, ‘The reflection of the sun off your bare shoulders is pornographic.’

‘Why thank you!’ she replied.

She glanced over and to her dismay a troop of twenty-one boy scouts had dropped their khaki hiking shorts to display a salute of proud, stone-hard erections.

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

 

My Belongs Dada Heart to

Another major influence on me was Dada which lead to another major influence: Surrealism. In particular the art, which was at time more gimmick & concept than painterly technique. I loved Marcel Duchamp – ‘The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even’ visually & conceptually infused me with a strong sense of the possible, while Salvador Dali infused me with a strong sense of the absurd.

The collages used ironic, sometimes non sequitur, images to create an emotional & intellectual resonance in the viewer. One writer Tristan Tzara would take random lines from random books to create poem. This was also the movement that invented the  to disorientate readers. I have several books of their writings, painting and recordings of their music (Satie). Dada was the start of surrealism & cubism.

I also see the movement’s influence on T.S Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Ginsberg, ee cummings, Warhol. Both the art and the writing demonstrated to me that linear narrative isn’t necessary. Imagery didn’t have to make sense to make sense. Sometime the power in a word or words was in how they sounded, in how they resonated in the reader, rather than in what story they might be telling.

The photos in my blog here reflect my Dada influence, rarely do they have anything to do with the text. When I’m taking pictures it’s sometimes the odd juxtaposition of objects that attracts my eye. My poems can include what to me is surrealist images: ‘balls like emu eggs in my hand’ ‘my fridge made a pass at me the other day.’

 

Dada & surrealism respected the power of the dream, of automatic writing as a creative process. Of course if I could become famous by signing urinals I’d give it a try.

Lʼamour domestique

my fridge made a pass at me

the other day

I was in my usual hurry

to get the milk

when

the door caressed my cheek

pushed me into its cool

welcoming heart

 

now Iʼm not into sex

with inanimate objects if I was

I would probably pick

my coffee maker

something small and easy to satisfy

 

the fridge is never filled

always has demands that

make me feel inadequate

while the coffee machine

fills to brim so quickly

 

yes give me hot and perky

to big and cold – any day

but it was one of those days

the kitchen chairs were

plucking at my pant legs

like over excited little dogs

humping a foot

it made eating almost impossible

 

I wasnʼt sure

what to do with the left overs

the fridge was glaring me

petulant

at being snubbed

in favour of the coffee maker

 

in the bathroom

the face cloth competed

with the tooth brush

to get in my mouth

until the towels

pulled them aside

to push me into the shower

they needed all my body wet

for the satisfaction they craved

 

I didnʼt have the moral strength

to deny them anything

they rubbed and dried

every square inch

 

the sofa was anxious for me to

snuggle in front of the TV

I had to watch

home decorating shows

about getting cute little throws

hints from the sofa

of what would make

our family complete

 

in bed the pillows

tenderly cradled my head

as the sheets twined around me

hungry for dreams

about coffee makers

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

 

‘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

 

A Little Sad

The past week has been both productive and at the the same time – plodding. I’ve been feeling a little sad, or is it depressed, & was not sure why. The weather is a factor – as much as I like layering I’m officially over it. The time it takes to get ready to go any where makes wanting to go any where a matter perseverance rather than of pleasure.

I’m tired of negotiating slippery, unshovelled, stretches of icy sidewalks – of spending energy trying not to fall as opposed to on what to take pictures of. Freezing my hands to use my camera had no appeal. The best part of my walks has been sending cell pics to some of the guys I see – it’s almost like having them on the walk with me.

 

Another thing that is lowering my spirits is my decision not to go to Capturing Fire this year. This is mainly financial as I need new glasses, plus I’ve already booked my visit to Cape Breton. When I booked the Cape Breton I thought it would be easy to skip Fire but it isn’t. Though, if 649 or Lotto Max pay off soon enough I’ll go.

 

I’m into the last section of Coal Dusters (only another 50,000 words to go) & I’ve been enjoying revisiting & reinvesting in these characters, I don’t really want to say goodbye to them. Though getting on to Picture Perfect will be great fun. I don’t mind feeling a little low though – it’s like the the ache of the earth as frost leaves.

Turning The News Off

I’ve lost track of what the truth is

there is one side and the other

there are the facts 

and then there is how they are 

in translation

in context

in spin

I want to confront someone

anyone

on the state of things

but no one is responsible

no one is accountable

except the receptionist

of the spokesperson

speaking on behalf of the unnamed source

 

too many people to punch 

not that I want to punch

I only want to know

what the in the hell is going on

global warming

war in (you fill in the blank)

no, it’s not a war 

it’s peace keeping

it’s rebuilding a fragile ecosystem 

with guns

with oil pipe lines

 

I want know who to believe

to have something to believe in

is the truth relevant to survival

does it matter if I find out

who killed Kennedy

as long as the buses run on time

though time is fleeting

& no one tells the right time anymore

it’s so 

no one wants to be wrong

I don’t know what right is anymore

 

which pile of bs do we attack first

besides it isn’t bs

it’s the grease that keeps the wheels turning

it’s fertilizer

so accept the stench 

& get on with what ever 

you where doing

it’s none of your business anyways

even if it’s your life

in your back yard

you may have the right to remain silent

but that seems to only 

when you know the truth

while there is no one to tell it to 

no one can change conditions

fast enough clean things up

 

you don’t understand

that may be what I said

but that isn’t want I meant

you are taking it the wrong way

twisting it to suit your view point

which is unfair

besides it is none of your business

even though 

you are the ones to pay for it 

in the long run

with your tax dollars

to figure out who did what

costs more to reveal a truth

than the damage 

the lie may or may not have caused 

if it was a lie

if it was collusion behind closed doors

it was for your benefit

so why not stop worrying

get on with your little life

leave the important stuff

to people you can’t control

who all know better than you

who can afford the price of the truth

who are free of integrity

in fact be grateful you are in the dark

it is safe there trust me

the truth isn’t relevant anymore

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

 

March 2019 Sneak Peek


A quick look back before the peek – my TOpoet.ca following has crept up to 307 maybe I’ll get to 330 by the end of the year. Also the jump in WordPress hits has remained consistent many days with over 40 hits. I hope that remains once Google+ closes. India now keeps the lead in the number of hits, with US, Canada, Argentina, UK (!) rounding out the top five. Twitter is up to 213 followers thanks to more self-publishing entrepreneurs following me :-). Tumblr up 222 – even with their community standards I’m still getting hetero porn sites (‘Wet pussy waiting to date you’) trying to follow me.

Cold Dusters is moving along slowly but surely. Working though this second half I’m finding more spots where bridges have yet to be built, or where past events have to taken more into account i.e. Lillian dealing with her death notice. Some characters have been expanded. Not worrying about a paper publisher has let the story loosen up and expand in a much more natural way.

Speaking editing – for the Friday posts I’ve been including poems from way back in 2008. I have an endless back log of pieces that I haven’t looked at since I first spewed them out – so I can’t say they are new pieces but they are newly cleaned up of most typos – though I do aha etc some guessing as toy what I want when I, typing as fast as I could think, inout things like ‘f[erpqosjsdp[f gpdmf[ sdmf;’s’ 🙂 Actually not quite than radom but you get the picture.

 

The big event for March will be Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam with feature Inali Barger, at Buddies in Bad Times on Thursday, March 7. One more Toronto show in April will cap season 5 and send some Hot Damn! talent to Capturing Fire in Washington DC this June. Chances of my getting to Capturing Fire are slim this year, unless lotto max pays off. At least I don’t have to worry about travel health insurance in Canada.

The View From Here

I’ve looked at this from all sides

taken your view

my view

the outsiders’ view

the long short jaundiced

rear view

and it doesn’t matter which side

I’m the one in the wrong

even if it is your fault

that I’m in this position

it’s still my fault for looking twice

when the first glance 

told me all I needed to know

I shouldn’t have taken a closer look

and let you pass me by

 

but what’s a man supposed to do

opportunities like you

don’t come my way everyday

not that this was my last chance 

but it was as good a chance

as I’ve had in some time

a stroke of luck

and here I am

the guilty party once again

someone who said what he shouldn’t 

at just the wrong time 

for the greatest effect

 

those names we called each other

were only meant to hurt

I didn’t believe them for a minute 

but you did

I’m not sensitive

one of my faults I know

cold heartless me

I’m too quick to react 

when my buttons get pushed

I should never have showed you 

where those buttons were 

never let your tooth brush 

in my bathroom

never let your socks under my bed

never say never again

 

it’s all my fault for making peace

for being the placater 

I should have let go 

when I first thad a chance

rather prove that by holding on

I was really really serious about us

I had lots of opportunities 

to escape but I stayed

I should have defended myself 

the second time 

changed my view the third

but I didn’t

to make sure you realized I cared

that I could be forgiving

 

looking from all sides

inside outside top bottom head-to-toe

like I looked over you the first time

everything held the eye

I didn’t have enough eyes 

to take it all in 

no eye to the future

 

I knew it would come to no good

I would end up the heatless prick 

once more

I had to see if this time would be different

you wouldn’t be like all the others

and you weren’t 

trouble was I was like all the others

you told me that over and over

every man you meet treats you this way

I was no better than any of them

not as bad as some

but bad enough

and you know

for once

I’m glad you’re right

glad that over is over

trust me it’s over

 

I won’t take it lying down 

standing up behind over backwards

or any which way 

if that’s what it takes

to be true to you 

I’d rather be a liar

because it doesn’t matter which side

view is from

I’m the one in the wrong

 

things will be different next time

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