Time Waits for No Mask

Sept 2020 Recap

Time flies when you are having a good time, but it also flies in a time of turmoil. Recently a friend wondered where the summer went, he couldn’t really recall spring either. He was one of the lucky ones those job allowed for work from home so he isn’t fully idle during the lockdown as it becomes less a lockdown & more a social distance challenge.

I told him that as one gets older time seems to move quicker plus in a time of crisis it moves even faster. One of things I learned when I was involved in palliative care in the early days of HIV is that one loses awareness of the ‘stress’ – I think the same thing is true of the covid19 crisis. The stress becomes normalized but the threat hasn’t gone away. With both the fluctuations of numbers, restrictions & the civil war news from the USA one loses track of the passage of time. Thus time moves faster.

At the start of the lockdown I joking told a couple of friends ‘see you in September’ – they thought I was being overly pessimistic, little did we realize then that I should been saying ‘see you in September 2021.’ We have learned more about covid & its transmission since the first of the year but the threat still exists. 

September has been a month of living in this new reality. Masks are fashion accessories. Social distancing is an acceptable excuse for avoid people you don’t want to see anyway 🙂 Masks as seen as infringements of personal rights by the same people who berated gay men for not wearing condoms. I use both but masks are much easier to get on & off 🙂

Blogging less has been productive as I have been writing more. October will see some of that new work with a fresh set of spooky poems to show up on Fridays. I’m still working through the annotated Distant Music. One of the books I read in September was Allen Ginsburg’s look back at Howl in which he discusses inspirations, explains his intent, names & context – which is pretty much what I’ve doing with Distant Music.

Time for stats 🙂 Over the month my TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 385! The WP map show my hits have come from 31 countries around the world. That India still tops the list is interest but Portugal & China are now in the top 10. Venezuela! America Samoa! 

My Tumblr is at 292 – it would be higher but I block buxom babes & guys who slam drugs, not poetry. Twitter is at 226 followers it would be higher but I block buxom babes, editorial services & mavens eager to show me how to make big bucks on the internet. Picture Perfect: 37 sections, about 58,000 words posted so far with 130,000  approx to be edited then posted.

Fog Tarantella

<>

for too many years 

I was in a tree top

shouting out for love

I didn’t care where it came from

the louder I shouted the less I heard

the higher I climbed

the further I got away from it

yet I didn’t think of climbing down

I wanted the love that was in the air

not the common stuff of the earth

not knowing then

that was where love grew from

<>

one morning during a snow storm

the first after a long hot autumn

of yelling myself hoarse

give me love  I want love

blood flecks dappling the leaves 

the snow at first a few darting specks

then a steady scrim hush

to cool my eyes

flakes on my fevered tongue 

letting the sky satisfy 

as best it could 

but the sky doesn’t love back

except with echoes

<>

while the snow cloaked me

my own limbs mantled like branches

a peacock

clumsily descended

a bird that at a distance has stunning beauty

but this close it was motley 

squawking as it settled by me 

our eyes met

his tail opened

the breathtaking fan of feathers

stopped my shouting

I reached out to touch 

fell

earth bound by beauty

at the foot of the tree

<>

a mist arose around me

through the winter fog 

came men dancing

their arms around wisps of white

the imagined bodies of lovers

caressing the backs

touching the hair

making it as real as they could

kissing empty haze

could I join them

should I

was this all I could expect on earth

or would I be bold enough 

to allow one of these dancing men

to dance with me

before I climbed a tree

lost in the fog

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sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Exhausted August 2020

Over the month my TOpoet.ca following is steady at 380! The August WP map shows that my hits have come from around the world. India still tops the list with 3 times as many hits than Canada at number 2. Good to see Japan & Portugal making the top 10. China! Nepal! My Tumblr (topoet) is up by 3 to 290. Twitter (@TorPoet) up to 226 followers. My most popular post in August: Fab Forty 1965 https://topoet.ca/2020/08/02/fab-forty-1965/ 

I’ve posted 33 chapters of Picture Perfect so far, nearly 49,000 words, with 137,000 words yet to be edited. I had forgotten how much attention I had paid to world-building for my hero. Making cuts has been easy & expanding some when needed has been fun. I also love making the fresh weekly graphic & will include them in an appendix to the eBook. 

I’ve been really enjoying the challenge of writing about my Distant Music pieces. Nearing the end that. Doing one week has made the work more steady. Two pieces a week was rushed. Once done I may compel it all into an eBook. I found I am following in famous footsteps: Alan Ginsburg did a similar explanation of Howl for its 50th anniversary. I’m not as self-indulgent as I thought 😦

Amongst the movies I watched in August was the oddly fascinating Paris Belongs To Us – early 60’s underground theatre in Paris – each scene deepens the mystery with layers of information that leads to ? It was as if Kafka met Beckett to write a screenplay. Was stunned by Edge Of The Knife (SG̲aawaay Ḵ’uuna) a Canadian film in Haida. Visually amazing, brilliant performances & a work of art.

Another month of living with the pandemic. Will Americans accept a covid vaccine made in Russia? Since their last presidential election was (made in Russia) I don’t see why not 🙂 More  deflection where entertainment value is more important than progress – where anger over racism is the issue not the racism itself.

Life in Toronto slowly opens up with patios, schools, community centres adapting to covid protocols. Classroom of a certain size allow for 20 or is it 30 students – LCBO spaces of similar size are restricted to 10 people, at a time. The province has made it its priorities clear. I have no children, I don’t consume alcohol so I have no standing in such issues.

Light At the End of the Closet

<>

some days I check my email

every hour I’m awake

in case there’s one from him

but he’s a fucking crappy communicator

and I like it

I like the frustration

<>

I know he isn’t stringing me along

I don’t check my voicemail 

he can’t leave messages

if he calls he has to use pay-phones

he has one of those sensitive jobs

can’t be out

can’t be caught out

I understand this

and I like it

I like the hidden secret

the old-time quality of his closet

of me being totally out of mine

I can slip into his

and not feel the need to force him out

he knows this

he is always apologizing

sorry about an unending work load

that lets him hide

that makes him hide

I like this hiding   sometimes

when he says I’m ray of light

more like a shaft 

I joke

<>

I like this frustration

knowing I can feel it

not need to judge force refuse

be present 

be in my own open life

sort of free

sort of   because

if  I see a crying child

in the street or a mall

I have to back away

gay men are automatically suspect

and can never be proven innocent

<>

so I back away into that closet

I don’t like that frustration

till I check my email

and there’s one from him

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

July 2020 ReCap Pro

Over the month my TOpoet.ca following grew to 381! The July WP map shows that my hits have come from around the world. That India still tops the list is interesting  but that Romania has jumped to 4th spot is a surprise (Bună ziua cititorilor mei români). One day alone I got 60 hits from there. But Kenya has dropped out of sight 😦 My Tumblr (topoet) is at 287. Twitter (@TorPoet) up to 227 followers.

I’ve posted 29 chapters of Picture Perfect so far, nearly 45,000 words, with 143,000 words yet to be edited. I’ve been enjoying the challenge of writing about my Distant Music pieces. Sifting though that archive has let me see how much & how little my philosophy of writing has changed. I also sense how trapped I felt by cultural sexual norms. With so many pieces about hanging I’m surprised I survived.

Other July news: bought a new airmac Pro. My present airmac heats considerably after 30 minutes or so of certain use – zoom for one thing. It’s several years old & the drive can no longer be upgraded – I guess it has been archived. It was cheaper to buy the latest than get it repaired. 

There will a change in the frequency of my blog starting in August. I find I am putting so much energy into generating new posts that I am, in fact, writing less! I have an idea for a new novel – based on the flash fiction series I’ve been posting on Fridays with the music blog. But where’s the time? So the new routine will be Sunday – photos; Monday: – whatever; Tuesday – Picture Perfect; Wednesday – poetry talk – currently working through Distant Music; Thursday – my music collection. No posts on Friday & Saturday. 

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

February 2020 Recap

My TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 383! Many days topping 40 hits & some as high as 60. Adding the Sunday photo post has worked & has bumps dup hits & added new followers. Picture Perfecting progressing slowly but surely – with 10,500 words posted so far with about 170,000 more to go. Getting back to these characters is making me ready for their next mystery.

Started to follow this excellent WordPress blog: https://freetripdownlhopmusicblog.wordpress.com. The blog started to follow me. I don’t always follow back mind you  (sorry Dog Training Tips). I like listening to this curated blog that gives me fun, new sounds, a few of which I have purchased. It is perfect for me (or anyone who might enjoy a range of trip-hop, jazzy instruments from around the world – sometimes folksy fun too).

My Tumblr is at 260 followers. It would be more but I block follows by hetero buxom babes & drug slammers (shooting up). Twitter is at 222 followers. I’m following 85 tweeters though many of those are on mute 🙂 I can only take so much political angst & queer outrage.

Watched Louis Malle’s ‘Au revoir les enfants’ (1987). This is an amazing movie. Set in a Catholic boys’ school during WW2. The priests ‘hide’ some Jewish boys from the Nazi’s. Emotionally resonant, real, & brilliant work out of the leads. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see yet another movie in a boys boarding school. Bullying, class conscious struggle etc but this transcended all that quickly – though some of that does happen. Highly recommended.

My feature at The Secret Handshake went very well. Review of show: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-47j  , video of show: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-44f  I can’t say that I miss performing in this context through. $ in the bank is always welcome though. Hot Damn! is coming up March 5 so I hope to have a couple of new pieces for that open stage. Which reminds me I have booked my flights & hotel for Capturing Fire 2020’s 10th anniversary at the end of June. I will be missing Toronto Pride. Best of all I’ll be celebrating my birthday there. You can wish me well via my paypal link 🙂

https://capfireslam.org

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees &  eat at Capturing Fire this June in Washington DC – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Bye Bye 2019

Over the past year my TOpoet.ca following blog grew from 298 to 363! That’s 65 new followers without me going out of my way beyond blogging regularly. The only stat WP doesn’t give is where the followers are located but WP map does show my hits have come from 91 countries around the world. That India tops the list is interest but that Bangladesh & Kenya are in the top 10 is a surprise. Kazakhstan! Kuwait!

My Tumblr is at 255. I no longer post there as regularly after the ‘porn’ crack down that had my pictures of random toys, or lost shoes, red flagged as being possibly against community standards. I didn’t have the energy keep asking for a review of the flag. Twitter 217 followers. Yes – my account was un-suspended after my appeal. Seems my hashtags were inappropriate for some reason. #Whatever.

2019 has been a pretty good year for me. Health has been good. Finances have been stable. Finished the edit & blogging of Coal Dusters. I hate to bring it to an end as I really loved these characters – but their stories had been told. Response was good for the novel. There’ll probably be another revision if I get back to again. Next up is Picture Perfect.

The other highlight of the year was my visit to Cape Breton where I had a great time with my sister – she loves to drive – with some old friends & also just on my own. Revisited old schools, churches of my past, took lots of photos & lost weight!! I also took my favorite photo of 2019 while at Fort Petrie.

Saw great shows at the Stratford Festival (my fav Nathan The Wise) & disappointing show at the Shaw (Mae West’s Sex was given a frenetic but poorly performed production.) Already have some shows booked for the 2020 Stratford season.

The big event for 2020 will be the 10th Anniversary of Capturing Fire in Washington DC. I do hope to get there, if I can afford it & before the Trump implosion closes the borders to the unemployed sneaking in to steal jobs. paypal.me/TOpoet I’ll be booking my trip once the dates are confirmed. 

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

January
Thursday 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – featuring ‘Yes The Poet’ https://www.facebook.com/events/577900226377507/ 

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

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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

August 2019 Sneak Peek


First the July recap of my on line life 🙂 My fan base continues expanded slowly but surely. WordPress followers are up to 337, Twitter at 217, & Tumblr is at 234. As you can see my popularity in India remains quite high as it leads the list of countries I get hits from. My WP hits topped 40 many days with a several of 60 hit days! The school memory posts have been fun to work on – finding pictures of the schools, making google maps shows me how much those neighbourhoods have changed.

Coal Dusters continues to grow as I get nearer the end with 119,000 words posted so far, still about 20,000 words to go. Into the final stretch. The mine has closed, Lillian has gotten married, the guys hav been caught in a compromising position. What remains? Keep reading to find out what the thrilling conclusion will be. 

My one Stratford excursion was to see  ‘Nathan the Wise’ which I throughly enjoyed: Our Father Issues https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3CB. Next show is Mae West’s Sex at the Shaw Festival. I’m looking forward to seeing an unexpurgated production of her play. Her film scripts were heavily censored & even then were bawdy to the extreme – “Is that gun that in your pocket? Or are you just happy to see me.” – I think that’s one of the few jokes about an erection I’ve heard in any movie.

I finally broke down & got myself prescription sunglasses. When I’m out walking I’ve been fine seeing shapes. I can see well enough to take photos but with my trip to Cape Breton pending I wanted to be able to see everything clearly. Now I see everything clearly. “Oh! That isn’t a gun in your pocket.”

Also bought some Final Touch stainless steel ice cubes at IQ Living! No more watered down ice coffee for me 🙂 Best part is that the cubes sink to the bottom of the glass so the drink cools from the bottom up.

August brings my long await trip to the east coast back to my home town of Sydney. Packing has started by picking clothes to wear – I wish one could teleport luggage – though maybe having a house fly merged with my jean’s fly insult such a pretty picture.

I have several things lined up – all very touristy mind you – a trip to Baddeck to meet friends who moved to NS a few years ago, a trip to the Fortress of Louisbourg to experience the life in the 1700’s (that’ll bring back lots of memories of unwashed, sweaty soldiers). Taking in at least one Highland Arts Theatre production, visiting some local museums, taking lots of photos. Printed out a list of the 12th step meetings which isn’t nearly as extensive as Toronto’s but there is one a day, should I choose to get to them.

 

 

I’ll be taking a media break of sorts – no TV or podcasts for ten days. Limited internet too but I will try to keep up my WP regular posts as well checking in about my excursions. I have all my music, Dusters posts done for the next two weeks.

The rest of August will be spent recovering from the Cape.


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

July 2019 Sneak Peek

First the June recap of my on line life 🙂 My fan base continues expanded slowly but surely. WordPress followers is up to 329 (5 new followers this past week), Twitter up to 219, & Tumblr is at 231. My WP hits topped 40 many days with a couple of 60 & one day 82! The day I re-posted 2015’s Porn Has Ruined My Sex Life https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3A0. I’ve started a systematic weekend reposting of my last trip to Cape Breton in 2012.

Coal Dusters continues to grow as I get nearer the end with 111,700 words posted so far, still about 30,000 words to go. Finally got to the mine cave-in. So much going on in this section I had to add more! In that first draft I didn’t really build much for Lillian to do – as I’ve been strengthening her character I needed to show her in this new light. Exciting finish will hopefully play out in July.

TV was diverting in June, besides the many movies we watch & endless documentaries I enjoyed the relaunched Project Runway – longer episodes, more interaction with the contestants by the judges & temper tantrums. We also saw more of the judges deliberations. I love the diversity & inclusivity of this show. I do wish they would have at least men’s wear challenge each season though.

Read The Frolic of the Beasts By Yukio Mishima, originally published in 1961 and available in English for the first time last year. Similar to The Sound of Waves but much darker. More blog posts about my love of Mishima: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-36t, https://wp.me/p1RtxU-qS.

Celebrated another birthday & bought myself a subtle Cashew top from Diop https://weardiop.com. Added Prince’s Originals to my music collect as well as Frank Zappa’s: The MOFO Project/Object – The Mother’s Freak Out plus a slew of extras. Help, I’m a rock 🙂 I already have this on CD but wanted the extras 🙂 Freak Out was quite influential on my creative sense of self stranded in the backwoods of Cape Breton. Listening to it bring back great memories.

July brings heat, I hope. My garden is taking jungle turn already thanks to the rain at night & sun in the day. My one Stratford excursion will be to see Gotthold Ephraim Lessing  ‘Nathan the Wise’ from 1783. I vaguely know the story but I have no idea what to expect. The Festival describes it as “rarely seen masterpiece of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment.” I hope it isn’t too educational 🙂

The Wednesday poetry chats for July & August will focus on my Brown Betty chapbook – all the pieces are about my growing up in Cape Breton. Thursday’s will contuse with new pieces inspired by the 227 Rules For Monks. Super sneak peek: August in Cape Breton 🙂

Measuring Up – A Cape Breton School Memory

I grew up

in a school system

where I learned 

I would never measure up

because I wasn’t smart enough

to memorize the times table

smart enough

to regurgitate passages of text books

when I wrote exams

even when I was right

I was given no credit

because my spelling was so wrong


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