Prometheus at Hot Damn

Hot Damn! started 2019 with a packed room workshop at Glad Day and a SRO house at Buddies in Bad Times – both driven by feature Regie Cabico. The participants at the workshop wrote & shared some excellent work on the spot – the level of trust among people who had never met before was encouraging, as was the diversity of the participants.

When I got to Buddies to help Charlie set up there were people already clambering to get in 🙂 so the house opened fifteen minutes earlier than usual, I did front of house & it was full enough to start the show a little after 8 (nearly on time for a poetry show). Standing room only by 8:15. Also a full sign-up sheet for slammers – 11 – a Hot Damn! record.

After some opener stagers the first round got underway with a series of politically & emotionally pieces that held nothing back on gender, indigenous, & local political issues. Round two had fewer slammers (lowest scores didn’t get to move forward) and the tone of the pieces became more reflective, personal but equally as direct and powerful.

Lines from the first part of the show: my tongue was not enough’ ‘the swish of sari silk’ ‘I could taste blood’ ‘I fell in love with a crack dealer’ ‘you are the art work of past lives’ ‘our medicine made illegal’ ‘give up your cottages and give us back our land’ ‘what he really should have admitted to you before you married’ ‘I only knew how to see you as a moving disaster’ ‘nobody giving me room to make mistakes in’ ‘betrayal tastes like fennel and sage’ ‘my neighbourhood becomes a trigger warning’ ‘you ask me if I’ll forgive you’ ‘I pray you get your forgiveness but it will never come from me’ ‘I say to them – it’s not your table’ ‘you still here with me like a cloud in my mind’ ‘as if money could regenerate our roots’ ‘I’m not sure how to tell your dad that you’re gay’

Feature Regie Cabico did a strong set drawing from his recent chapbook ‘Sticky Stars & Sheets.’ Funny, deeply personal, very sensual & inspiring. ‘jack-off in the name of leukaemia research’ ‘the warehouses are lit by flames of vodka’ ‘you will not pluck my pancreas like Prometheus’ ‘you hold me like an oar directing my past’ ‘we run like suitcases on wheels’ ‘two lonely Tony’s from West Side Story’ ‘his calf … stretched out before me like Florida’

This is not my first review of Regie though: Spoonful of Beautiful https://wp.me/p1RtxU-d2. We’ve enjoyed each other’s performances in the past so I may not be impartial – but the audience was so enthused so my review isn’t exaggerating his set. 

After a much needed break the show resumed with a few more open stagers & the final round of the slam; ‘I need a place to sit to get perspective’ ‘they’re asking me if I have a gender identity’ ‘never more than genetic coding’ ‘baby shoes take me back to memory like a phantom limb’ ‘too many of us seeking help’ ‘this body is not a temple you are invited to’ ‘my mess you speak to’ ‘oozo ozone’ ‘even my now voice is too heavy to raise’ ‘confuse tenderness with love’ ‘saying gay people should die while getting off on lesbian porn’ ‘it just isn’t about sex anymore’ ‘hidden by ink and time’ ‘the space between fingertips & footsteps.’

Scores were tabulated, prizes were given. Yes, there was a winner, who gets to compete in April for the grand prize: the trip to participate in Capturing Fire (dates tba, soon) but the real winner was the audience. Next Toronto Hot Damn! is March 7. 

(above blog pics are of construction by Buddies)

the piece I wrote at the workshop – rough draft –

Resume

Henry texted me

he was told to stay home

he’s afraid

he’ll lose his job

Henry is one of my lovers

we have been seeing other

every week or so

for over three years

 

I want him to feel

cared for

but I have no solution

for his situation

other than acknowledging his stress

 

I like Henry

but I do not love him

he wants job security

not love

 

it is hard to breathe 

in the workshop

so many perfumes

I’m glad I have no

environment allergies

 

the tenderness of

Henry’s slow kisses

is what I love

 

the tentative tongue start

draws us

into each other’s bodies

 

I love his tongue

but can’t pronounce his last name

Mwawasi

unless it is in front of me

 

in Cape Breton this summer

I will visit

my parents graves

I wasn’t there when they died

they won’t be here

when I die

they will never see my grave

 

Henry texts

he is going to bed

I hope he sleeps well

that he dreams of our kisses

not of rewriting his resume 

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

Architectural un/Digest/able

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Architectural un/Digest/able

The White House

architecturally speaking

holds no interest for me

big sprawling 

designed to impress 

not to live in

history was made there

apparently

 

but to me

it isn’t even a photo op

merely a symbol 

of promises unkept

of hopes betrayed

needs ignored in favour of profit

not for progress

 

I’ve seen it from a distance

that’s close enough for me

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

MRF I Monster

Next is an mp3 collection of over 7 hours is an assemblage of current electronica & pop. I sometimes get this urge for this decades cultural & this is the result: I Monster: Neveroddoreven, A Dense Swarm of Ancient Stars; MRF: Elevator Music, Mob Music; Mark Ronson: Uptown Special, Version; Black Rivers; Kate Pierson: Guitars and Microphones; Flight Facilities: Down To Earth; Jimmy Somerville: Homage.

 

Someone on my Tumblr feed posted a couple of tracks by I Monster – electronica with some dance components, some experimental. Unsettling sonic landscapes, along with pretty, nearly new age moments plus a sense of humour. Good engaging music for Moby, Lemon Jelly fans.

I found MRF thanks to Facebook. The band responded to one of my music reviews a few years ago but sending me a link to a free mp3. Jazz, pop, emotional – sax centric music. A step above lounge with great covers, strong regional material. Lead by Mike Flanagan who is a very hot, gay, bearded talent on sax and keyboards – MRF is easy on the ears & worth downloading.

Mark Ronson is a consistent top 10 pop performer, – is he a remixer, a dj? These sets are mainly collaborations with the likes of Bruno Mars, Mystical, Santo Gold etc. Nicely structured songs, bouncy, a dash of rap, some electronica that is well produced & serves up those hits than become golden oldies. Music you can dance to at weddings.

Black Rivers is a side project by members of Doves – more of their dark, emotionally intense adult pop worth listening to. Flight Facilities is a pop-electronic group similar to Chicaine that I discovered via the Red Rocket Coffee FB page. Nice background music for sex.

Not all new music is made by ‘unknowns’ 🙂 Kate Pierson is/was a member of the B-52’s who has finally done her solo lp. Solid music but kind of faceless at the same time. I was hoping for a bit of the B52’s retro energy. Jimmy Summerville (of Bronski Beat ) pays Homage to the day of disco glitter with this fine, fun set. His voice is in good form & the songs are romantic, openly queer & here to stay.

Heart of the Morning

She could smell it. Fresh and sweet. Not to far away either. More than one.

‘Mmmm.’ She hummed to herself. Each breath made her pulse  beat a little faster. ‘Smells  so good.’

The morning mist over the park began to dissipate as the sun broke through the clouds. Reds, yellows, pinks infused the grey air around her.

‘Looks to be a good day.’ she said to no one in particular. ‘A good day indeed.’

She stretched, flexing her calves and ankles after the six laps around the park. Sweat soaked her T-shirt. She held her hand out and saw the sweat rise in a mist from herself. ‘Smokin’. I’m smokin’ today.’

She took several more deep breathes. ‘Mmmmm.’

She could smell it. Fresh and getting closer. Not what she had expected, at least not so early in the day.

Four children scampered into the park. Chasing each other and screaming. An adult followed close behind.

‘Hey.’

‘Hey.’

‘Hey.’

‘Hey.’

Their shouts scattered the pigeons from the underpass. She breathed deep in their direction.

‘Ah, so it is them. Young too. Easier to handle.’

The adult with them was a man, one of their fathers? No, an older brother.

‘Morning.’ She spoke to the brother. ‘Good day to be up and out so early.’

‘Yep. Hey Greg slow down.’

‘Kids.’

‘Yeah.’ the brother flashed an amazing white smile. Dark black hair.

‘Enjoy.’ She wanted to follow them, follow the smell of their youth. Fresh and sweet. Blood that would taste so fresh if she could only get it. Just one heart would do. Didn’t matter which one, did it? The smell wasn’t as strong on the brother as it had been on the youngsters.

The sun was out full now. She pulled her hood up and did a couple of knee bends and started to trot off in the opposite direction. Or at least she thought it was the opposite direction.

‘I must be going in circles.’

She found herself round a corner and into the path of the galloping children. Two girls, two boys with the old brother not too far behind.

She lowered her hood and stopped to allow them to rush past her. Didn’t want to bump into one, not yet. What time was it? Did they make this take this route everyday? She’d have to come back here tomorrow morning. Get them comfortable with her. Time to feast and the gods were bringing the right sustenance at last. Fresh and sweet. Not ripe, not tired of anything and ready to leap into life.

Ready for her to reach out and scoop out their hearts. Mmmm breakfast of champions.

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

January 10, Thursday: 8 p.m. Hot Damn! Its’ a Queer Slam – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre: feature Regie Cabico

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 in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

I Was A Teenage Coward

My sense of masculinity growing up was never up to the rough-and-tumble masculinity that was expected of me. I never lived up to those unquestioned imperatives. Some of this was because we moved east from Manitoba for a couple years making it difficult for me to establish ‘buddy’ friendships with other boys. When we did settle in Sydney, Cape Breton we changed neighbour hoods at least two times before settling in a third.

I did many ‘boy’ things mind you – rode my bicycle everywhere, played backyard baseball with a bunch of kids near by. But was never a fighter. I got into a couple of fistfights but it was easier to avoid them. So I never establish a position of respect amongst boys (or as I felt, with my father.)

Because I was never a fighter I was called ‘yellow,’ ‘coward’ long before I was called ‘gearbox,’ ‘queer.’ Being queer was to be less than a man, to be feminine – a girly-boy who would never be considered masculine & thus to be derided, ridiculed etc. There was no support system for ‘otherness’ other than becoming a butch fisted boxer to eat the shit out them – which wasn’t going to happen. I’m glad that I didn’t get the help that I needed then because sexually confused teens were given chemical castration, lobotomies to make them non-threats the fabric of wholesomeness.

That feeling of being a coward has never fully left me but I’ve just finished reading Mad Blood Stirring: The Inner Lives of Violent Men by Daemon Fairless. The book addresses the nature of violence as a means of defining masculinity. A definition that is culturally approved. The drag queen that beats the crap out of homophobes is respected, the one that minces away to avoid conformation is not respected.

Mad Blood Stirring is an excellent book, part case study, part interviews with ‘violent’ men, part the author’s own journey to discover the roots of his own violent nature. He recreates incidents of violent confrontations so vividly that I could feel the emotional rush that pushed him over the edge. As I said this is an excellent book well worth reading even if one isn’t a man or violent. 

That fact that I didn’t take the bait of confrontation wasn’t because I was a coward but because I was already stepping out the cultural imperative that manhood is only in the fist. Or maybe I had a testosterone imbalance 🙂

(one again WP does weird things to lines breaks)

The Killer In The Morning 

with a harsh shout 

the killer awoke from a dream
someone smothering him
a pillow over his face 

when heʼd killed 

he never used a pillow
or anything that hid the face

the best part of the kill
was in the eyes
that I canʼt believe you are doing this 

combined with the actual pain
as his hands crushed 

the wind pipe squeezing
hollow bones in his strong hands

he could crush an apple
the hardest granny smith
heʼd hold it up so juice 

splashed his face 

like a warm summer shower

cleaned and ready 

the killer sat at his kitchen table 

looked out at the sunny day
at people on their way to death 

death at his hands 

maybe not right now 

but soon sooner than they expect
at least one of them would die today

he knew that
the knowledge armed him
gave him power
gave him a reason to live
to be there amongst them
each of them ripe for his desires 

the headlines no longer cowed them 

they had little fear
a killing a day
the papers screamed 

who will be next 

the tv clatter box went on and on 

flashed from his latest victim 

to breakfast cereals
that would help you lose weight

ha he laughed to himself
I have a program
thatʼll give you a permanent weight loss 

donʼt bother calling
Iʼll find you today
it is a good day to die

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

January 10, Thursday: 8 p.m. Hot Damn! Its’ a Queer Slam – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre: feature Regie Cabico

http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday


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 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

 

Sneak Peek January 2019

A quick look back before the peek – my TOpoet.ca following jumped to 298 maybe I’ll get to 300 by the end of January. Twitter is up to 210 thanks to more internet entrepreneurs following me 🙂 & Tumblr steady at 214 – it would be much more but I block any hetero-porn sites that follow me. Also a nice jump in WP hits that started when I stopped the auto link to Tumblr & replaced it with Google+.

 

Speaking of Tumblr with the new ‘adult content’ standards – it seems lots of nude picture posters have abandoned ship, some gone to twitter  (until twitter enforces those standards I guess) – those that remain are still as explicit as ever – so I’m not sure what is going on there. I’m still having to block hetero sex/dating sites from following me.

 

For January I’ll be back to posting Coal Dusters, new pieces prompted by the 227 Rules For Monks & rambling on about poems I have written. I enjoyed the Christmas stuff I was writing & will make that a new tradition for every December. The response was very positive for it but even if it wasn’t I’d do it anyway 🙂 Monday: my music collection; Tuesday: Coal Dusters; Wednesday: poetry chat; Thursday: Rules; Friday: inspirations, Disability After Dark or whatever. Saturdays will be for the occasional reviews of books, poetry shows.

Speaking of shows Hot Damn!’s January 10th show will feature Capturing Fire founder Regie Cabico. This will be a high-energy set that will leave you both shocked & grateful – plus a workshop in the afternoon. Hopefully he’ll confirm the dates for Capturing Fire 2019 so I can plan what to wear to DC this year 🙂

 

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

Something’s Different

Something’s Different

‘If nothing changes, nothing changes.’ vs. ‘If it’s not broken, why fix it.’ The dichotomy of wanting change but then being comfortable with things as they are. For many the notion of gradual change lacks drama so it is easier to stay wanting change but not make any real steps towards that change. Hence the rush to gyms then the sudden loss of interest.

I’m a believer in gradual change, subtle & frequently unseen by anyone. Eating smaller portions is more successful than cutting things out completely. I wanted to get up a little earlier to give myself more writing time in the morning but rather than setting my alarm 15 minutes earlier at one time I set it a minute or two earlier over several months & now have that extra time.

This past year I’ve made some small changes that will build to something – who know what? That’s one of the changes – the need not to know the end but trust in it. Purpose vs goals. The change from a goal driven life to a purpose driven life is liberating. Not that I don’t have goals but they don’t keep me from enjoying now.

A couple of small changes I’ve made over the past year or so are things like doing away with sweeteners in coffee or tea. One less chemical in my blood stream. You know, tea is fine black – no milk was a change I made few years ago after reading that milk may interfere with the body’s ability to absorb tea’s polyphenol antioxidants & flavonols. Not having to stir sweetener when I buy a coffee saves me minutes when I pick one up 🙂 I no longer have to make sure I have a packet or two with me when I’m out.

 

I’m also enjoying silence more by leaving my iPod at home somedays – I only use it when I have podcasts to listen to. One less object to cart around. To that end I leave also my cellphone at home a few nights a week as well. Who wants to be checking for texts all the time. How does that cellphone fit into my sense of purpose? Text me if you know the answer. 

No

what part of no

don’t you understand

no – I’m not interested

no – I don’t want to

how much clearer can I make it

I don’t wish to continue this conversation

 

no – I am not going to explain

just to make it easier for you to accept

if you don’t understand no

my reasons aren’t

going to make things any clearer for you

 

to explain will let you think

that the no might become a maybe

that under the right circumstance 

I would say yes

 

I’m not gong to justify my decision to you

if you find that unacceptable disappointing

is your problem

not mine

your life will continue well despite my no

think of the new avenues of opportunity

you can now open 

thanks to my no

 

you heard me right

I’m not going to repeat myself

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

January 10, Thursday: 8 p.m. Hot Damn! Its’ a Queer Slam – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre: feature Regie Cabico

http://www.queerslam.com

returning 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 in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Sex Work

On a recent Disability After Dark podcast, Andrew Gurza talks about his experiences with sex workers. He presents a very adult, rational & frank look at his interaction with that market. I’m not a lawyer so I know little about the legalities involved. I do know that many ‘dating’ sites refuse to allow sex workers to use them as a venue for advertising. There was a time when some had an ‘escorts’ section but those were removed to avoid prosecution. Again I don’t know law.

So I hope Andrew doesn’t get into ‘trouble’ at iTunes for this explicit episode. SESTA & FOSTA has created a major chill regarding such ‘sensitive’ adult material, regardless of the context. 

I’ve never engaged a sex worker. I’ve known several, some in 12 step recovery, of various genders & specialities. I didn’t realize there was a ‘pecking order’ until I heard a table dancer going on about call boys being further down on the trade scale. Doing phone sex is considered more respectable than … well, you get the picture.

 

I can’t say that I’ve never paid for sex or been paid for sex though. I’ve had guys give me taxi fare so we could meet up & as a result I’ve done the same for some guys. It gets to that old argument – he pays for dinner and you have sex after. Is that dating or prostitution?

 

The one thing I know though is the sex work is as discriminated against as disability. Cultural shaming around sexuality gets even more heated around the sex trade – which like same sex sex has been around as far back as recorded history – there are hieroglyphics.

 

I have fantasized about affording sex workers though. As Andrew says part of it about control – the payer can pick his player rather than waiting for the right guy to cruise on by. I have yet to fulfill a few fantasies – all involving hot dwarves 🙂

Slap Unhappy

my masochist lover wants to leave

I’m not causing him enough pain

he’s tried of merely being ashamed

of being seen with me in public

he needs more domestic humiliation

 

I reminded him

it wasn’t my fault 

he needed an audience

in order to feel the depths of abasement

that got him off

 

besides I have rotor cuff tears from

spanking him every time

the dishes weren’t cleared away fast enough

testicular torture

aggravates my Carpel tunnel syndrome

tennis elbow from fisting

doesn’t get me off at all

 

the constant stream of abuse

I had to supply him with was so draining

I had no spite left

for people who really deserved it

like that asshole barista

who couldn’t make a decent soya milk latte

a sense of futility

flooded me with each sip

of that fucking no foam latte

I had no choice but to go home

and take it out on my masochistic lover

but that wasn’t enough for him

 

and now 

my masochistic lover wants

to leave

because I don’t make him suffer enough

he feels I don’t care when I hurt him

that I’m not really into the brick-weighted

nipple clamps

into the cigar scarification

that I do those things with 

too much detachment

 

I ask him why my not caring

doesn’t add to his sense of being abused

isn’t it worse when the abuser

does it out of boredom

and not out of passion

 

once he packed up his latex

I slapped him goodbye

then shut the door

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

January 10, Thursday: 8 p.m. Hot Damn! Its’ a Queer Slam – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre: feature Regie Cabico

http://www.queerslam.com

returning 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 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

 

Festive Sensitive

“The issue is the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA) packaged set of bills. These bills were passed in April 2018 in US Congress, where websites are now liable for their content posted by 3rd parties – and can be sued if someone uses their website to solicit sex.”

“This issue is not isolated to Tumblr, and even if you leave this website and switch to another, the rules will be similar or will soon be so. If you’ve been here for a long time – sure, open up some other accounts. However, I wouldn’t be so eager to jump ship – you’ll end up in the same waters.”

(The above reposted so many times on Tumblr I’m not sure who initially posted it.)

‘websites are now liable for their content posted by 3rd parties’ I am not a lawyer but this sounds like bars being held liable for accidents caused by drunks leaving their bar. Are gun stores being held responsible for what is done with weapons bought there? Can people sue breweries? 

Will bars be forced to stop selling booze? This seems to be what the FOSTA law is forcing websites, such as Tumblr, to do. So instead of signing petitions to protest Tumblr having to follow a law passed by a government elected by the US people, they should be deal with the idiotic government that created & passed these bills. I have no idea how much ‘online sex trafficking’ goes on or how these laws can prevent it. I doubt if turning anything & everything vaguely suggestive into ‘sensitive’ is a solution. 

Snow Stunned

his eyes were the color sky

on the verge of snow

snow that is eagerly awaited

so that I have a white Christmas

not a lot of snow mind you

a dusting of it

enough to turn the world

around me into a festive card

of trees and houses

houses with warm lights in windows

as snow falls

a blizzard of affection

that blankets us together

under thick waves of heat

naked in front of a fireplace

hearth logs crackling

and our stockings hung

a vision of sugar plums

between his legs

the wind howling around the house

we tumble around each other

toasted 

tossed in a snow globe

of swiftly climbing lusts

emotions

spinning transient 

melting

breathless and mumbling

unwrapped and crumpled

naught nice naughty nice

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

January 10, Thursday: 8 p.m. Hot Damn! Its’ a Queer Slam – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre: feature Regie Cabico

http://www.queerslam.com

returning 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 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

 

Wooden Soldiers

Wooden Soldiers 

 

I always wondered

what happened to those gifts

the magi brought 

gold frankincense & myrrh

were they accepted 

refused 

put away for a rainy day

lost

 because I don’t recall

Joe & Mary having a life of ease 

while Jesus was growing up

did he ever ask about those presents 

did he remember the magi

did he look at the myrrh

and think what the heck

how much gold was there 

was it a few ingots

a darling little JC ankle bracelet

did he drum on

the frankincense & myrrh jars

till they broke

 

and another thing

what happened to Lazarus

after he was risen from the dead

is he still wandering around

cursing the miracle

eager to sleep

to dream of being able to die

but mostly I wonder 

about the magi’s gifts

I don’t have any of my first xmas gifts 

my first toy car

my earliest gift recollection

is of wooden soldiers

I must have been about four

I’d found them hidden away in a closet

under some towels

I wanted plastic ones & was disappointed 

 

I have no memory of unwrapping them 

on xmas morning

did my folks decide 

to teach me lesson 

and not give them to me 

 

did Jesus have a memory 

of the smell of barns

did the sight of camels 

make him wonder 

where is my gold mom

 

is Lazarus 

playing with my wooden soldiers

This piece is about my earliest Christmas memory when we were still living in Winnipeg. I did find find those wooden soldiers. They were laid out in a neat row in box – shiny reds & blacks holding rifles. End of memory. I can’t tell you how tall they were. As I piece says I don’t even remember getting them on Christmas Day. In fact I have recollection of playing with them which is why I wonder if they were held back to tech me a lesson.

As I started the piece I thought of other gifts, ones that have a Biblical association – the visit of the Magi is supposedly why we give gifts as Christmas (yes, I know it was how pagan practices were co-opted by the church). Even these gifts were amongst those traditionally offered to the god Apollo. Frankincense & myrrh are both tree resins – I wonder if maple syrup would be acceptable?

The other Biblical gift is that of life, in this case, Lazarus. As with the magi gifts what became of Lazarus after his resurrection isn’t known. Biblical scholars have no answer other than cultural inferences. Talking with a friend last week about sex ed. in Ontario we wonder just how old Mary and Joseph were. ‘Possibly’ 14-16 for Mary, ‘probably’ between 30-40, for Joseph; was as close as my research got me.

But that wasn’t my wonder as a kid growing up. I was more concerned with the magi’s presents. I do have strong smell associations with Christmas – particularly the pine of the tree. The step to what Jesus’s memories of the manger would be was easy an easy one to take. I have no baby memories though so perhaps he didn’t either. 

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

http://www.queerslam.com

returning 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 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

 

Janis Ian

I have a fairly extensive Janis Ian collection as mp3’s one includes the early work: Society’s Child; A Song For All the Seasons of Your Mind; The Secret Life of J. Eddy Fink; Who Really Cares? The other includes her later works: Stars; Between The Lines; Aftertones; Night Rains. After her initial hit ‘Society’s Child’ written when she was 14! She disappeared to resurface decades later with the stunning Stars. 

Why did she fade so abruptly? Part of the answer comes from Wikipedia: “At the age of 16, Ian met comedian Bill Cosby backstage at a Smothers Brothers show where she was promoting Society’s Child. Since she was underage, she was accompanied by a chaperone while touring. After her set, Ian had been sleeping with her head on her chaperone’s lap (an older female family friend). According to Ian in a 2015 interview, she was told by her then manager that Cosby had interpreted their interaction as “lesbian” and as a result “had made it his business” to warn other television shows that Ian wasn’t “suitable family entertainment” and “shouldn’t be on television” because of her sexuality, thus attempting to blacklist her.” 

Re-read that & let it sink in. This story sums up the plight of many female singer/songwriters who did not roll over and play fem.

Her early work is at times folksy, at times jazzy but she never stepped into the traditional pop female mold. Her writing covered social issues, romantic ups & downs & self-discovery. J. Eddy Fink is an amazing album with expansive jazz arrangements & tender romantic observations. It didn’t fit the commercial categories like Laura Nyro; nor the hippy category like Joni Mitchell.


She changed labels for her return with Stars. These later albums are more deeply emotional, some social commentary & sweet unfulfilled romantic longing. They music is more what I call chamber pop – elegant with jazz & semi-classical touches. Sweet harmonies & understated performances. In fact some of it is a little depressing. On Night Rains she works with, of all people, Giorgio Moroder! 

Ian is a survivor who came out, got married, started her own record label for full creative control. She may have been slowed down by that ‘blacklist’ but remains an amazing writer. If you are unfamiliar I’d recommend The Secret Life of J. Eddy Fink as good starting point. Aftertones is emotionally discomforting – though any of these are excellent lps.

The Wings Of St. Martinia

Last night Hank Grebly did me the great honour & pleasure of taking me to the Maple Valley Rialto Cinema – it is a shame that this fine building is now only opened on weekends for our film going pleasures.

I can remember a time when it would be busy seven days a week, offering us the finest in Hollywood films and fresh roasted peaches or tasty caramel bark corn.

Every time I enter the Rialto I am taken back to a distant era – the mirror balls in the ceiling reflect the many spot lights around the floor. The zig-zag carpeting & lame seat coverings make me long for simpler times.

The film Hank took me to was “The Wings Of St. Martinia.” Many of you are familiar with the local tales of St. Martinia & the font at St. Sufferer’s. Those are her blood spattered wings holding the baptismal tub in the centre of the nave. Not her actual wings, but representations. Not many angels would have had five sets of wings.

Like the Rialto this film is also a relic of another time. Recently discovered in the vaults at College of Arts and Reconstructionist Designers, we were first treated to a lecture by Rudgar Quartz, the Professor of Cinema Studies there, who gave the history of both the film, St, Martinia and the Rialto itself. A very educational evening, leavened by the delightful film itself.

The story is a simple one of suffering and repentance through suffering. Martinia, born out of wed-lock to the daughter of silver smith and troupe of travelling carnival workers, had to face the disgrace of her family and neighbours all through her life.

She saved her fellow orphans from the rain of comets in 1879 by waking each and every child, and leading them to safety. Sadly she wasn’t able to get back to rescue any of her teachers. She comforted the children, as they heard the screams of the staff, who had been trapped in locked rooms in the upper quarters of the orphanage.

In leading the children through the swamps to safety she also rescued Button, a Labrador retriever and her recent litter of puppies. This is why the suckling Labrador retriever has become the representation for St Martinia. When they say, she of the many teats, they are referring to Button and not to St Martinia.

A fact that I was not aware of either.

The movie follows her travails in the garment trade, being abducted by pirates and finally her mission to Mongolia where she single handedly brought the word of good to those unhappy and dirty mountain people. Her attempts to show them the joys of washing brought tears of joy to my eyes.

If you have a chance to, get in to see this delightful movie. Tell them Dolly sent you, and you may get an extra dash of moose mustard on your red hots. 

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

http://www.queerslam.com

returning 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 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