Lunch

 

I’ve seen Lydia Lunch perform a few times. Daring edgy, funny, vulgar & fun. She heads an mp3 collection that includes her Queen of Siam; Dagger & Guitar; & Big Sexy Noise. Also here are Flying Lizards 1, Top 10; Moondog 1, 2; Laurie Anderson: Mister Heartbreak.

 

I’m not sure if heard her perform before I heard Queen of Siam. The music is a mix of retro beatnik, a touch of big band, surf music & spoke word. She doesn’t exactly sing & her spoken style is a slightly detached almost indifference to the words themselves, captivating. but it is all good. I’m always happy to hear this Queen. The other two I have are good & more of the same with the same beatnik vibe. I say beatnik to separate her from the flower power hippy 60’s/70’s.

The same is true for Laurie Anderson. Laurie has more pop in her songs than Lydia, even dueting with Peter Gabriel. The music is experimental yet easy listening at the same time. Not aggressive musically but intellectually stimulating. Laurie presents sharp emotional commentary in a sweet deceptive wrap. Similar to Lydia she is more of a spoken word performer than a singer. Multi-tracking & loop songs wash over you. Serious, humorous but not campy.

Flying Lizards on the other hand are deadpan campy fun. The offer “bent interpretations of pop music constructs.” I loved their deconstruction of Summertime Blues & the album is a delight . Top Ten continues with astonishing demolitions of classic such as Get Up (I Feel like Being A) Sex Machine. These guys fill me with delight.

To round this collection of I added two by Moondog. This is a true beatnik musical rebel. Jazz? certainly not pop. 1 is experimental, unpredictable & avant-garde. 2 is a set of madrigal rounds. He realized a number of recordings in he mid50’s, drawback & returned when Big Bother & The Holding Company did a recording of one of his songs & he started writing & recording again. A true pioneer, iconoclast who influenced Lunch, Anderson, Bjork (to name a few) I should be part of your musical education.

The Milky Way

My bother wanted us to get out of the car. He’d never seen a cow before. Neither had I but I had no interest in seeing a cow. We were on one of my Dad’s Sunday adventure drives. He’d hop in the car with us kids – me the oldest, my bother then our two little sister. Then drive without a goal. 

There were some places we’d see at least once a month. Places our Dad knew we’d like. But at least once a month we’d have no idea where he was taking us.

This time he’d suddenly turned off the highway – nice and smooth paved – onto a dirt road. Gravel pecking at the underside of the car.

Empty fields then forest clumps more empty fields. Up hills then down. A puddle from recent rain at the bottom of this last hill where we made the biggest splash I’d ever seen.

My sisters screamed with glee and fear as my bother shouted. “We’re going down down down. We’re going to drown drown drown.”

We didn’t drown but the bottom of the car scraped something with an ugly grind. At the level end of this lane Dad got out to look underneath.

“Looks fine. Nothing leaking.”

That’s when the cows came over. Only four of them. not in a hurry but slowly they came over to the fnece as we got back int he car. dad started off again and the cows seemed to follow us along the fence as my dad drove slowly. My bother wanted to stop.

So we stopped. Me and my brother got out and stepped over to the cows.

Their gigantic headed drooling as they nodded down to us. The smell of dung was over powering. 

“They stink.” My brother laughed. “They smell worse that you girls.”

My sisters got out of the car. Their eyes bigger than cow eyes. Each of them had half an apple that our mother had cut for a snack later.

One held it up to the nearest cow. Big pink tongue licked out of the saliva for the apples and both my sisters screamed and ran back to the car.

We boys got back in. 

“What did you think was going to happen.” I asked. 

“They don’t have hands to take food from you.”

One sister was wiping her hand on a towel. Smelling it and wiping it some more.

“Now you know where milk comes from.” My dad said as we eased back on the road.

“Milk?” My sister turned pale. She was never fond of milk after that.
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Eat This Book

The Boy and the Book

the dad admonishes

do not eat the book

the little boy

old enough to talk

but clearly pre-school

is gnawing on the picture book

 

I wonder

is the paper digestible

is the ink toxic

what about the plastic

on the shiny cover

is it picture book of animals

does the boy expect

to find out what

a lion tastes like

can what nourishes his mind

also feed his body

will this taste haunt him

as he searches for it

in books  cookies  flesh

that bring back that memory

 

or will he realize

books are for reading

not for eating

that filling his head

will leave his stomach empty

that no matter

how many books he reads

his mind will never be satisfied

that it’s time to close books

and start to feed the world

The line of dialogue in this piece is verbatim. I was a coffee shop waiting for a friend to arrive. A dad dad said this to his child. No anger but forceful enough to the boy to stop for a few minutes. When Dad went to get their order the gnawing started again. The set up is real & I started writing this piece while waiting. 

It quickly become a list poem as wonder what I wonder about paper, poison & the like.  The book belongs to the cafe as they frequently have families drop by so I also wondered about how sanitary it was but I’m not in charge & am very cautious about infringing on people’s privacy. Watching brought back a memory of myself at about the same age wondering why a picture of a piece of cake didn’t taste like a piece of cake. My mother thought that was hilarious.

Then I wander off into speculation – turning the moment into a meditation on childhood’s imprinted memory. Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past starts with a smell from his childhood that triggers the endless book. I have a few smells like that, though I don’t have specific moments conjured by them – the smell of baby powder is one, the smell of Evening In Paris is another. 

The piece becomes a bit more philosophical about aging – books aren’t for eating though ironically we are encouraged to feed our minds with information  🙂 The hunger for learning may never leave us but, hopefully, one realizes that the search for information can turn into an avoidance of action. There comes a time when one has to leave the expansive yet closed world of books & take part in the world. 

The piece pretty much wrote itself once I got started. It didn’t need much editing either. I have performed it a few times & it reads well. I love the innocence of it – no angst to grind, no politic or sexuality – just a sweet moment.


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Picture Perfect 16

“You made the sale?” Linda beamed. “I can’t believe it.”

“Who was that?” Dan asked looking at her and then the other staff.

“Jeremy Moxham.” one of them said.

“Yes, I know that from his credit card. But who is that?”

He cell phone rang. It was from an unknown caller. He answered.

“Dan, I just wanted to thank you for treating us like normal, annoying customers.”

“My pleasure, Mr. Moxham.” He recognized the voice.

“I also wanted to make sure you’d given me the right cell number too, for that private tutoring. Bye for now.”

“Just say when. Bye.”

“Jeremy Moxham, happens to be one of the richest men, non-oil, non-tech, in the world.” Linda explained.

“I see. That explains why he only asked what the price included.”

“Little brother, he could probably afford to buy Lyphend. You should have pushed the custom model in the window.”

“The Newsman is the same price. You know …” He almost said I think Jeremy was flirting with me. “I’ve had quite a week. I think I’ll head for home.”

“I can get Hamid to drive you. A bike in this traffic isn’t going to be easy going.”

“Thanks I’ll take you up on that. That is if you don’t mind, Hamid?”

“Not at all sir. It would be my pleasure.” They went through the back of the store to the car. “You were amazing, sir. You could have sold him anything.” Hamid started the car.

“Thanks Hamid. I guess it pays not to know what’s going on the big world.”

“You have a busy life. That is good, to be too busy to not know what is going on. You must relish the opportunity to take a vacation.”

“I can’t remember the last time I really had a vacation Hamid. I guess it was when I visited India with Sanjay to see his family in Mumbai.”

“Ah, ha.” Hamid shook his head laughing. “I bet that was not the relaxing sort of vacation.”

“You got that right. I’d met his parents here a few years earlier. They’d didn’t quite grasp that Sanjay and I were a couple. They just thought it was great two bachelors were sharing expenses.”

“I know that too well. Did they introduce you to lots of cousins?”

“Oh yeah. Half our time in Mumbai was spent dining with various family friends who had marriageable daughters.”

“You see how everyone wants a Canadian husband. Even one who is not so perfect.”

“Not so perfect?”

“I mean … gay. Rest assured I’m am sure they know what is going on between the two of you but they live in hope. They do not see why you cannot be one thing in public and quite another not in public.”

 

The next morning there was already a line up in front the James Family Photography Depot when Dan let himself in through the back door at nine a.m. He’d forgotten that this was the weekend of their semi-annual ‘trade in and up sale.’ Customers could bring in old cameras, dvd players, and trade them in for up to a whopping 20% off on any similar item.

The old equipment had to be working order and the bulk of it ended up donated to Goodwill in return for a tax receipt for charitable donations. The company always made money of these sales. The public was none the wiser about the tax break they were creating for the Depot.

“Looks like we’ll have a busy Saturday.” He said to Ushio who had also come in the back way.

“Yes!” Ushio grinned. “No time to fix things today.”

“Not even time to fix a sandwich.”

“You have broken a sandwich?” Ushio scratched his head.

“Sorry. One of those expressions that doesn’t translate well I guess.”

When Sandy arrived they opened the shop twenty minutes earlier than usual to deal with the crowd. While the first dozen were being dealt with Dan went outside to look over what the others had to weed out things that weren’t what they were accepting for trade in. VCR’s were no longer wanted and even though the promo flyers made that clear people still brought them in. Unless it was a VHS to DVD converter and even then that market was disappearing. 

The size of the discount depended on the age, condition and serviceability of what was brought in. Often brands even Sandy had never heard of would show up.

The morning went by quickly. Dan was happy to see more stock leaving than was brought in. People spent more when they felt they were getting a real deal. If they were hesitant, the customer would be offered a discount on the whole purchase, not just the equivalent item.

“I’ll do a run to Classic.” Dan said. “You two can hold the fort.”

“Okay Boss man,” Sandy said. As he was leaving she announced. “There’ll be an addition 5% off all purchases over two hundred bucks while the boss is out of the store and can’t stop us.”

Dan was happy so see some of his customers at tables in the Cafe.

“You should have reminded me the sale was this weekend.” Jill said as she put bagels for him and his staff into the toaster.

“How could you forget.” He pointed to the pile of flyers by her front door. Looking out the front window he saw that the windows in one of the bottom retail stores of the office complex across the street had been covered – floor to ceiling – with brown paper. The paper was covered with the EconoCuppa logo – a hand holding a coffee cup up to the sun so the sun rays radiated around it. “Opening Soon” a sign on the front door announced.

“That was up this morning when I arrived.” Jill said from behind him.

“That was the Happiness Nail Salon when I left here Thursday.”

“It was Happiness when I locked up here last night, too. I guess they weren’t so happy to get nailed so quickly.” Jill handed him a bag with the bagels and a tray with four coffee’s. “The extra is for Sandy.”

Most days Sandy drank two to one for the him or Ushio.

“I didn’t know about this.” Dan nodded at the store across the street.

“Don’t sweat it. At least it proves they aren’t taking over here. Besides we bake fresh on the premises. They reheat only.”

“Then we’ll add that to your sign asap. Fresh baked daily. How about a vent that blows the smell of fresh baking out into the street?”

“How about getting those to your store before they cool off much more.” Jill nudged him toward the door and held it open for him. “Drop by this afternoon if you have chance, for the book launch.”

“Poetry or prose?”

“Actually I think it’s one of each.”

One if the ways Classic had made itself felt in the area was to host frequent literary events along with two weekly ‘spoken-word’ shows. One was a slam, which as far as Dan could tell, was poetry spoken faster than usual; the other was lower key delivery.  The cafe often featured photo exhibits which sometimes lead to a bigger show for the photographer at Silver Gallery.

He and Jill had discussed the possibility of adding a book store to her second floor performance space but between them they decided it was better to stick to what she knew best. Books meant stock, storage space, extra staff. He did share the cost of making the second floor fully accessible. 

When he got back to the Depot the line up was gone. There were still several customers in the store but no one was waiting to have their trade-in’s looked over. This spring sale wasn’t as busy as the Pre-Christmas one.

“Anything interesting come in?” He asked Ushio.

“A steam powered VCR.” Ushio answered.

“Not another one.” Dan trolled his eyes.

He remembered the year when the VCR was being faded out in favour of DVD. People couldn’t accept that their old machines were practically worthless and would ague at the low trade-in value they were being offered.

The same issue arose when the Depot stopped looking at Play Stations, Wii’s or any other gaming consoles. These were being so rapidly updated they no longer dealt in them at all.

When people arrived with them he sent them to Stationville a few blocks west of them. Stationville dealt in new and used gaming equipment.

There was the expected lull around one p.m. then a new influx of customers at one-thirty. 

Dan was dealing with and older gentleman who wanted a camera with a display that had buttons and lettering large enough for his hands to cope with. This was something Dan had never thought of and was as dismayed as the man to find none of the digital cameras they carried fit that bill.

“Let me just check on line.” He went over to one of the computers. After quickly checking their online catalogue and finding nothing he typed in ‘camera with large font.’ To his surprise there was one in Lyphend’s Everyman collection. 

“I’ll order one,” he said the the man. “If it suits you fine. If not, such is life, right. It’ll be here by Wednesday of next week.” 

He knew it would probably be there Monday morning but wanted a day to familiarize himself with its functions.

“Thank you. The other places I went weren’t helpful at all.”

As the man was leaving Inspector Warszawa came in.

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‘falling in love while in love’

Hot Damn’s season 6 finale was via Zoom. For once I didn’t feel I was taking the best seat in the house 🙂 But it was a pretty quiet house of nearly 60 people from across Canada & possibly around the world as there is no way to tell where who is zoomin’ from. In fact one has the choice of being in the room & not being seen. Cool & the tool of  future social distancing.

Slam rules cover costume & props but may have to extend to backdrops 🙂 The picture quality is good, depending on the cameras of the users. Sound quality was excellent. The poets were all very comfortable in front of the camera & in fact some more confident without a live audience in front of them.

The work of the slam poets was excellent, I don’t envy the judges. I enjoyed the few pieces that took on covid19 in a practical way – what do you do when the voices in your head that use to force you to wash your hands compulsively are now really coming from your TV? Writing & performances were excellent. Scoring was quicker without flip cards to flip 🙂

 

Feature Jillian Christmas, in BC wearing polkadots & behind a drum kit, started her set by reminding us of what has been silenced in the covid19 clatter i.e. pipeline oppression of indigenous peoples. I’ve seen Jillian several times & her warmth & emotional vulnerability is a blessing. Singing, reciting & reading a few piece from her book ‘The Gospel of Breaking’ her set was too short. Her simple self-accompaniment reminded me of Jessie Mae Hemphill. Just a couple of lines of too many great lines ‘there are no renewable resources’ ‘falling in love while in love.’ If you want more, buy her book: https://arsenalpulp.com/Books/T/The-Gospel-of-Breaking 

The show was nimbly hosted by Robyn Sidhu, with an able assist by Charlie Petch. It was a great success without a venue 🙂 But I did miss the live reactions of the audience. There is no ‘hiss’ or ‘boo’ button to react to the scores. Texting those remarks doesn’t have the same energy.Scores were added up. A winner was declared. Who? You’ll have to follow Hot Damn to find out 🙂

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Mask Mess

Woman wearing mask around her chin, smoking, clearly irritated she can’t smoke while wearing it. Two men in front seat of a car, masks around their chins, talking at each other. Woman pulling mask down to talk on cellphone. Me thinking maybe I should buy a beekeeper’s hat – which is probably as effective as a mask & will also be great for blocking uv rays for what is looking to be a socially distant, but sunny, summer.

Social distant stripes at registers, plastic shields at registers. I almost said cash registers but only cornerstores are accepting cash the days – bank profits will be sky high with the additional fees they collect on both ends of those transactions. Hey banks – how about waving credit/debit card fees for three months?

Walking around parked cars, into on coming traffic,  to avoid people on the sidewalks because patios, fruit market offerings are taking up so much room already. Which is worse hit by a car or covid? If they hit you will that driver’s insurance pay or can they sue you for damage to their paint job?

All these are the dilemmas of the new world we have been thrust into. I wonder how long before we have iDistance – a device that beeps when people get too close. One newish development has been the Zoom boom. Many 12 Step meetings have gone to Zoom so recovery people can stay connected – a great idea – I ‘belong’ to one such group, so far. Some wonder about online anonymity but I think in the end I’m powerless over who finds out I’m in recovery. I do think ‘the only requirement’ is sort of compromised – beside the desire for recovery one must also have a device to access online & a data plan.

We will survive but I doubt if lessons will be learned because the rich will get richer & the rest of us will be left to scramble.

(photos all north side Bloor to Danforth overpass & viaduct)
– April 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales – online

https://www.facebook.com/events/529712257592790/

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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March 2020 Recap

Over the past month TOpoet.ca my following grew to 386! Maybe I’ll hit 400 by the end of year, if the end of the world doesn’t come first. The only stat WP doesn’t give is where which followers are located but WP map does show most my hits have come Canada, USA second & in fourth place Italy!! I guess social isolation made them seek entertainment. Bangladesh & Kenya remain in the top 10, both above India! with Romania making an unexpected climb to ninth place! My Tumblr flowing is at 263. It would more but I block hetero porn & also gay shooting up drugs porn. Twitter is at 221 followers.

Otherwise March has been a fairly quiet month, except of course for the pandemic that spells the end of the complacent as we know it. What caught everyone off guard was how quickly it went from annoyance over there to threat at our front doors. A threat we don’t want to let in to wash its hands at our sink. It looks like my DC getaway for capturing Fire will have to wait until next year 😦 

 

March has been productive. Picture Perfect is being gradually blogged & I’ve been sufficient looks to keep it going. The Rules for Monks continues to produce great prompts. I’m at a set of food rules that are timely for the pandemic shopping panic. Artist’s Way is progressing slowly but surely. not rushing it makes a difference.

For the summer I’ll be looking at Distant Music, my Fiddlehead chap book, on Wednesdays & Thursdays – giving Rules a summer break. Currently I’m inputting the text & it is interesting to be pulled back into my creative east coast past. Some pieces I have fairly strong memory of, others are surreal mysteries. Coming soon on July 1. 

That’s the only real coming soon I can offer as a sneak peek. Stratford, Shaw seasons are up in the air though I wouldn’t be surprised to see them both canceled thanks to covid19. Same for the Hot Damn! finale – which will end up as a zoom slam, that can be viewed around the world. I hope my Romanian fans zoom in.

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Last Word

One of my past behaviours was being a mouthy prick – sometimes unkind, sarcastic – in order to prove that I was intelligent. I’ve talked before about how negativity is seen as being realistic while being positivity is delusional. Sullen is sexy, broken pulls the ‘I can fix them’ heartstrings. Intact & happy is often seen as smug, superior & arrogant – musts to avoid.

As a mouthy prick I always made sure I got in the last unkind word. Sometimes saving something in particular for that last sniping comment. The need for unkindness has pretty much disappeared. I’ve learned to keep my big mouth shut, trained myself not to take the bait, & leave the nastiness to people who get paid for it. 

 

There was a competitive element in this as well, topping the other person’s remark with one of my own. I noticed recently that I still tend to do this but in a more subtle way. I often exchange sexy texts, found gifs, real pics, with a couple of guys I see. Fun & flirtatious but my competitive nature often means I have to get in the last word & can’t leave it when they say or post something hot, I have to find something or say something even hotter, to prove I feel as strong or even stronger than they do.

It dawned me that they wouldn’t even start this verbal, pictorial foreplay if they weren’t already aware of my attachment to them. I didn’t have to keep proving it to them. So I have stopped myself from sending one more reply. I let theirs be the last word. You know – good relationships have gotten better 🙂

Inner Dialogue

I

is an ego construct that often leads to mud in it

don’t

negative is addictive and contagious

know

knowledge is fleeting at best

where

 ability does allow for change 

to

is it relevant to a point

begin

 in the beginning was the word so why not start there

to

again with that need for control for a sense of purpose

tell

it is better to show than to tell 

you

at last a break in the shackles of I

but

 another ambiguity which opens the possibility that perhaps you don’t know where this is going and yet continue trying to take it somewhere

I

back to the insular self

wish

ah don’t we all need that hopeful call though wishing is an abstraction. we long for something concrete

you

seesaw back & forth in this push pull of linguistics I you which is it to be inspiration or inconsequence 

would

ah giving permission to the other to find an entrance in the process of thought and perhaps an indication of a dialogue with the I and the universe of potential

shut

now closing so quickly after the promising invitation of would

the

a definitive article – are we heading for the concrete or at least a window

fuck

an unexpected turn of phrase that cools the room down without a window being opened

up

an indefinite direction how far is up when does up become up

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

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

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

‘the unzipping of the promise’

Season six of Hot Damn! has seen attendance grow steadily while the courage & numbers of slammers grow as it continues to offer a safe space for lgbtqia creatives to explore & express themselves, plus laugh, cry, sing & dance in harmony.  The newly shorn Robyn Sidhu hosted the show & left things moving smoothly with some handy Dad jokes & pointed political comments. Her family escaped Punjabi state sanctioned genocide to Canada where she now witnesses Canada’s state sanctioned genocide of its native population. 

A fair bit of the work centered around mothers – the guilt of not loving the one who never loved you, the decision not to be one, the struggle for acceptance from the one who loves you. Some addressed the struggle with body image, gender dissonance & even the conflict between biology & hormone replacement. Heartfelt without becoming melodramatic or self-pitying.

The feature Sincerely Shyy gave us a set brimming with ‘black girl magic.’ ‘she is born of the cosmos’ ‘she is an indictment’ ‘I tried to make a home out of you’. I particularly liked her piece: ‘I’m not here for the revolution – I just want to fuck you’ – it was honest, sexy, fun while being politically resonant. Her set was too short 🙂

If you’ve been reading my Hot Damn! reviews you’ll notice this time there are no quotes from the open-stagers or the slammers. One thing the Queer Slam does in regards to photos is let people op out for privacy. I decided to do the same for the performers (except the feature). The show is in a public space but its contents is only for the public that shows up. ‘the unzipping of the promise’ comes from one of the slammers.

The season finale is Friday, April 3, at Buddies in Bad Times theatre.

I did hit the open stage & presented ‘Swim’ (https://wp.me/p1RtxU-4cX) & this revised version of ‘Satisfaction’

Satisfaction 

it went exactly as planned

the only one disappointed

was me

I wanted things to be better

the story of my life

 

the right size is never right enough

a good fit isn’t adequate

the praise adulation 

are mere stop gaps

diversions

from going beyond expectations

 

good enough

feels like settling for less

it isn’t satisfying to measure up

it has to be unforgettable

 

your good enough is fine by me

but that good enough

isn’t worth bothering with

when I am the one not satisfied

by perfection

https://capfireslam.org

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The Cutest Beatle

Who is the cutest Beatle? Who is the most talented? Did Yoko break up the best band in the world? None of these questions will be answered here 🙂 All I can say for sure is that John Lennon was the uncut Beatle. Yes, that’s right I’m looking at my John Lennon music collection – not the shirts.

A few years ago I downloaded a bit set of what purports to be all his solo work (though Yoko appears frequently enough.) So I have, as mp3, on 2 cds: Unfinished Music: Two Virgins; Wedding Album; Live Peace in Toronto 1969; Plastic Ono Band; Imagine; Some Time in NYC; Live in NYC; Mind Games; Walls & Bridges; Shaved Fish; Rock’n’Roll; Double Fantasy; Milk & Honey. Of these the only one I had as lp was Walls & Bridges. 

Of the Beatles I would say John was the most adventurous (yes I know McCartney did some electronica) & at one point was avant-garde thanks to Yoko & their early sound collage work. Though I suspect Virgins/Wedding work more of a fuck you to the pop music industry – similar to Lou Reed’s Metal Music. These aren’t lps I feel drawn back to more than every ten years.

I enjoy much of his studio work once he got over his collage mood. The albums all have tracks I enjoy, tracks that have become classics. He was the most directly political of the Beatles & never really followed pop trends. The only one of his lps that I actually bought, when it was first released, was Walls & Bridges. Probably his most Beatlesque work.

To round out the mp3 cds I added The Beatles: Live at the Hollywood Bowl 1965 – the Beatles sing against a backdrop of ceaseless screaming. George Harrison w Bob Dylan: New Morning Sessions; self-titled. The Dylan sessions are sweet but probably more interesting to real fans. The ‘self-titled’ flows with his mystic explorations & love songs. Julian Lennon: Valotte – solid pop from the son of John who looks & sounds like his dad. Finally Paul McCartney’s Band On The Run – I love this album. Paul has real pop smarts & this of all his recordings is the best. I’ve listened to much of his other work & well, who cares.

Magazine Machismo 

I am walking down the street across from the park. Fall. Leaves swirling around me. I spot a few colourful magazine pages caught in a wrought iron fence. As I get closer I discern faces, bodies on the pages. I pull them off. They are pictures of naked men. Full color but not fully naked. These men have on panties, stockings, their dicks can be seen through the sheer fabric. Faces pouting. 

I look around alarmed, afraid someone might see me looking at this that I just happened to pick up. There is no one around. 

I turn the pages over and more of the same photos only  in black & white. There were no other pages swirling in the wind. Where had they come from? I had never seen anything like this before. I guess I was 14 15 at time time. I’d had my own dreams about naked men but never ones that included this sort of fantasy.

I was astounded, alarmed and puzzled all at the same time. I didn’t have any sort of role model to follow and these pictures seemed almost logical – gay men wanted to be women in some way. But I didn’t want to be a woman in anyway, so maybe I wasn’t a really queer after all.

I looked at the pictures a few more times in a street light. Again making sure there was no one around to see me looking. Had someone planted them to be found and where they watching from some window to see who would take them, linger over them.  Where had they flown from to be caught in the wind, tossed around with the leaves like this.

I shoved them in the first garbage bin I came across. I felt free without them, without those faces, cocks, garters, daring me to consider things I didn’t how to consider.

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

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales

Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Hallway

When does a hallway become a vestibule? You step into one (or the other) when you come in the front door of my house. On the wall to your right hangs a print of a calm English waterside scene. A lake? Could it be coastal France? Impressionist. Nicely framed. Not something I bought but rather inherited form a friend who died several years ago. He may have told more about it at one time but that’s forgotten. My friend isn’t. Best part of it, for me, is that you can’t read into it anything about me.

On the right side of the door is this stained glass window (original with the house) with this owl standing on the sill. The owl is my partners & he owned it before we met so it goes back at least 45 years. Metal (of some sort) painted black. On the base it says Austin Prod 1976. Prod is not a weird last name but short for (Austin) Productions Inc. The owl represents wisdom & thus is a good thing to see when I leave the house after I check to make sure my hat is on straight.

A little deeper in the hall one is confronted with one of my original paintings! Painted way back in 1981 when I was newly sober & reawakening creatively. ‘Clowns At War’ is written on the back so I guess that was my working title. The guns are cut out from a magazine. It tells several stories – clowns fighting over a hat, shocked dress shop sales person. I love the details in the windows over the dress shop. 

 

As one goes up the stairs hangs this very Cocteau/Toulouse Lautrec sketch of my friend, the late Jackie Burroughs. It was done by one of the stage hands when she was in a production of Colette’s Chéri. She played the maid. It was fun play. The secret to her performance was getting the right shoes. She insisted there be at least one moment when those shoes were seen by the audience.

Here’s a piece I wrote after Jackie’s funeral

. . . walk through . . .

her casket unadorned pine

pale

unvarnished for burning

heavy even with three on each side

the gentle struggle

to get it up church steps winded me

all glad to let go

let it glide on the gurney

through the narrow granite arch

into

the vaulted cathedral

massive stained glass window

images promised resurrection

 

we followed the minister

a slow steady pace

he held aloft a silver cross

each a single hand on the casket

 

oppressive organ music

muffling the simple choir

I longed for unadorned chant

then wanted the droning reverential

minister’s voice smothered

too much scripted polished scripture talk

and none of the real in the casket

 

      silence

 

then her voice

  previously recorded

  “… I walk through … ”

  all breaths held

  to take in

  her reading “ … I fear no … ”

  sobs for this real presence

  I looked to the casket

  expect it to shake   giggle

 

next the rites

  holy water sprinkled

  dense incense wafted

  I choked   gasped

  air thick

  smothered through the rest of the ritual

  we walk the casket out

  again the gentle clumsy struggle

  out the narrow granite arch

  the dead weight down the steps

  to the hearse

  where we all took a deep breath

  as it drove off into the sun

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

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 and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre – Washington D.C.

 capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet