Recap November 2021

Over the past month by TOpoet.ca following blog grew to ! The WP map does show my hits have come from  countries around the world. That India remains near the top of the list is interesting but that Ecuador & Finland are in the top 10 is a surprise. Most popular posts were I Got You Covered (https://topoet.ca/2021/11/16/i-got-you-covered/), Toys Curbed (https://topoet.ca/2021/11/14/toys-curbed/). The Kafka Hotel (https://topoet.ca/2021/11/23/the-kafka-hotel/) is a personal favorite.

Picture Perfect is inching to an end with 94 sections posted so far, about 136,000 words with approx 55,000 left to be edited then posted. I love the editing & also the creating of new images every week.

I reread Lush Life by David Hajdu – an amazing biography of composer/arranger Billy Strayhorn. Strayhorn worked closely with Duke Ellington & wrote, amongst others, Take the ‘A’ Train & Lush Life. Never heard of him? Well, unless you are a big band jazz fan I’m not surprised. He was often uncredited for his work & thanks to Ellington’s homophobic PR man his name was frequently removed from articles about the band.

Strayhorn was out to those who knew him, but because of the times kept a somewhat low profile. Reading about his life is both sad & inspiring. He knew his race & sexuality would hold him back from real fame but he persisted in doing what he did best. I read the book when it was first published in 1996 & was happy to read it again. As a result I dowloaded a some lps of his work & it is prime big band jazz that leans into modern classical – a suite for piano & french horn anyone? It’s time for a biopic or at least an American Masters profile.

Came to the end of Melissa Scott’s Astreiant series (https://mescott.livejournal.com/43451.html)  I was hooked after reading the first in the series, thanks to the amazing world-building & engaging characters. Each novel took us into a different aspect of this world as seen through the exploits of our hero & his lover. Spells cast by flower arraignments, the travails of dog racing, the murky underworld of the docks. Each is a murder mystery as well. All can be found on Amazon. Sadly there is no hint of a new adventure 😦

Watched Tom Jones (1963). The criterion edition includes two versions of the film – Director’s Cut & theatrical release plus some excellent extras. The cinematography is amazing & stands up to anything now being done with cgi & green screen. John Addison’s music is a delight – I’ve had the soundtrack for decades & it was nice to see/hear it in context. Energetic performances carry the story. Hugh Griffith steals every scene he is in as the permanently drunken land owner.  

Also watched the hilariously bad southern gothic Walk On The Wild Side – it has excellent opening & closing credits by Saul Bass plus an amazing soundtrack by Elmer Bernstein. A must see if you like over-heated brothel romances with Barbra Stanwyck riding a a lesbian subtext into the sunset.

Wounds of the Saints

Gentle Reader let me tell you that, Dolly Dinty, your friendly reporter has certainly had quite a week-end to share with you. As you may remember in my column on Friday, I said I would be checking out the Family Fun Fair at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral. I did this and also found time to go to the pet show at The Pig Driver’s Arena by Buttontown Airport and the Bridal Show at Pester’s Mall. 

Yes, a very busy Saturday. Sunday was as bad, what with the opening of the new font at St. Sufferer’s, a baby shower for the latest in the McGinch clan and finally a fund raising dinner in Crab Apple Corners for the Maple Valley Fire Department.

So, where to begin? If I hadn’t had my trusty map with me I surely would have gotten lost at the very start. St. Sufferer’s Cathedral is one of the largest churches in Pumpkin County but also the most difficult to find. It’s spires can be seen for miles in all directions but every turn of the road seemed to put it at my back and not in front of me.

I hope the next function they hold is to find funds to put up more accurate signage. The Fun Fair was fun for the entire family. Bobbing for pears, a banana tossing contest and even some feet painting for the children. It was a carefree time that made all feel closer to their Creator’s pain. I was deeply touched by the drawings of the Sunday School classes that depicted the various wounds of the Saints.

I was reluctant to leave there for the Pet Show. Fortunately finding The Pig Driver’s Arena is much easier.

The first thing I was confronted with though, was the Hijil’s Farm elephants. Not the sort of thing one expects at a pet show and who amongst us can judge them? They did do some rather charming tricks – rolling over to play dead and fetching the tree – but I think a more simple approach would be better. The prize ribbon went, as it has the last several years, to the McCracken’s of Daw Hill with their trained herding sparrows.

So, I was pretty tuckered by the time I got to the Bridal Show. I did get there & walked down that aisle longing for the time I would have time to actually walk down the aisle of St. Sufferer’s for my sacred wedding sacrifice. Bea Petratica’s Bridalle Shoppe had a new shipment of fine pearl crushed velvet lace that would make any bride look like a dark queen.

One of these days Hank Grebly, one of these days. You – me & the aisle.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees – thankspaypal.me/TOpoet 

Recap October 2021

Over the past month by TOpoet.ca following blog grew to ! The WP map does show my hits have come from  21 countries around the world. That the USA tops the list is no surprise but that Ecuador & Singapore are in the top 10 is a surprise. Most popular posts were The Late Charlie C Petch https://topoet.ca/2021/10/24/the-late-charlie-c-petch/, Ramsey Lewis https://topoet.ca/2021/10/27/ramsey-lewis/ – my personal favorite was one of my spooktastic pieces Remains  https://topoet.ca/2021/10/18/remains/

My Tumblr is 352 at followers, it would be a much large number but I block bot follows that promise me sites better than Grindr (which I don’t have anyway). 229 Twitter followers. 

Picture Perfect: 90 sections, about 130,000 words posted so far with 60,000 approx to be edited then posted. Cutting or refashioning scenes that don’t push the plots forward has made the editing more fun as I get near the end, I think. 

Really really enjoyed American Horror Show: Double Feature. Francis Conroy gives an amazing performs in Red Tide, the first half as the failed, historical romance writer whose career changes thanks to The Muse. Death Valley, the second half, is a brilliant tribute to early 50’s scifi & THX 1138 & hundred of conspiracy theories (microwave ovens are from outer space) as aliens impregnate abducted women & men with their hope for the future. Men give birth. How? You’ll have watch for yourself. Several laugh out loud moments For me their best season so far.

Read some fun books including Wingmen – an exciting aircraft carrier novel! US flyboys vs the Japanese after Pearl Harbour. You’ll feel like you can fly after the dogfight descriptions. Details of the mundane routines fascinated me – the politics of army life, the pressure woof men living together in battles & oh yes, our heroes do fall in love. I loved it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wingmen_(novel)

Also look at the making of Pasolini’s Arabian Nights by Michael Moon – A Queer Film Classics – Arsenal Press – a study of Pasolini’s film full of gossipy revelations, serious cinephile contexuralizing of nudity in film. Makes me want to watch the movie again in the new year.  

Through October I’ve been watching the BBC’s Elizabeth R: a series of six 85-minute plays from 1971 with Glenda Jackson as Liz. The arc of her monarchy is told in 6 plays – each dwelling on a single time or event. After finished the Tudors I wanted to see what came next 🙂 These are excellent video, as opposed to filmed, productions. Good costumes. Jackson in her prime. No real tension mind you as history is a spoiler – will she marry the French prince – of course not. At this time Jackson also made the film Mary, Queen of Scots, with Vanessa Redgrave as Mary.

Watched Hereditary – which tuned out to be a depressing, overlong, melodrama about grief & people’s indifference to red flags. Mom & son are so clearly disturbed yet no seems to take notice other that Dad. Toni Collette gives an intense performance as Mom & the ending, to me, was ho-hum. The music by Colin Stetson was excellent & I downloaded the soundtrack album.

At the end of October I had an unsettling computer access issue – one morning Safari was a bit wonky on all my Macs. I could access a limited number of site but not access WordPress, Twitter etc. turns out Apple was launching their new Monterey operating system which included an updated Safari – so figured that was the problem. I downloaded the new system – which took some time – installed it – which took even more time. The Safari issue remained though 😦 One of the sites I couldn’t access was Apple. I found the number for their Tech support & called it.

I was taken though some standard clearing caches & such to no avail. Because I couldn’t access Apple screen sharing was not possible. end of call one. next day call two & an even deeper dive into various libraries, files, folders with no result. I was told re-install Monterey. But I got message ‘the recovery server could not be contacted.’ I gave up & limp along with my lamed Safari. I couldn’t access alternatives i.e. google chrome.

So the next day I try again with the Monterey, no luck & call Apple tech again. I end up with a Senior tech & he takes me through a different set of folders etc. He can’t find any problems with either the software or my hard drive. Finally he suggests I reboot my Roger’s modem & it clears up the problem!! He had me check the other two Mac & they were working fine too. So it wasn’t a Mac issue after all. Whew. For a moment I suspected it their attempt to force us to upgrade to their silicon hard drives. 

Brotherhood of the Bottle

I won’t be getting drunk 

with any of you 

any time soon 

so chances are 

we’ll never become more 

than nodding acquaintances

it’s not that I don’t like the idea

that I don’t think there something

between us 

that could do more than nodding

<>

but the bottle’s been gunning for me

for a long time

I’ve taken more than a few body blows

after a few too many body shots

I’m not going down that road again

yeah I know there’s

a cost to everything

the one to this is 

being a little more outsider

<>

getting dunk 

would make me more one of the guys

someone easier to relate to 

I wish that could happen

but not in that way

besides it pains me to see

angel head hipsters 

on that road of self-destruction

thinking 

as I once did

that this amber road 

is the way to the true self

<>

but a drunk is drunk

whether they are muttering about

grant applications or restraining orders

or fighting racial slurs

to make sense

of things that are slipping away 

faster than the minutes dragging 

them to morning

in some fried egg joint

where they feel a sense 

of oneness with one another

<>

the uncracked bottle

has weight until opened

but it always ends up empty

I’m not going to invite 

that empty back into my life

to make anyone feel

I’m one of the guys

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees – thankspaypal.me/TOpoet 

Recap September 2021

Stratford safety protocols

Over the past month my TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 465! The WP map does show my hits have come from  countries around the world. That USA & Canada top the list is no surprise but India is back to third place while Sweden &  Bangladesh remain in the top 10 is a surprise. Hello Zimbabwe! 

Most popular posts were Pandemic Poetry Project (https://topoet.ca/2021/09/16/pandemic-poetry-project/); Sunlight & Shadows (https://topoet.ca/2021/09/13/sunlight-and-shadows/). My particular favorite was Tales of Brave Trending (https://topoet.ca/2021/09/19/tales-of-brave-trending/).

My Tumblr is at 350 followers. 226 Twitter followers. Picture Perfect: 86 sections, about 126,000 words posted so far with approx 66,000 remaining to be edited then posted.

A surprisingly great watch has been American Horror Show: Double Feature. All the usual throat slashing & blood drinking but this time combined with a sharp, merciless look at creativity & the sacrifices made to be productive. In this case a drug that unlocks a writer’s, painter’s blocked inner potential. If you are brilliant & blocked you become genius, if you are mediocre & blocked you become a sort of stumbling grey person. Intense performances with Frances Conroy stunning & Macaulay Culkin excellent. 

Finally got around to seeing Parasite – a visually & philosophically stunning film. Figuratively & literally the plot moves through cultural levels to a fugal climax that is breathtaking. The rich house set is an amazing piece of modern architecture – one of those sets like the astounding deco apartments that show up is 30’s movies but only existed in movies. The plot made me think of Dante’s Inferno as it takes us literally through the rings of Hell. 

Also watched Valley of the Dolls, again 🙂 https://topoet.ca/2021/09/26/valley-of-the-bras/ 

nice tongue action

Finished reading Claude McKay’s Home to Harlem (1928). McKay was part of the Harlem Renaissance & wrote several novels & books of poetry but his approach was ‘earthier’ & deemed not elevated enough to cast a favourable light on his race. The novel is a fun, fast slice of the night life, the work life, the love/sex life of the times by someone who lived those times.  His hero has a strong emotional bromance with another male character: Wiki tells us “McKay was bisexual; he pursued relationships with both men and women throughout his life. He never officially “came out” (nor did anyone else in his time) nor explicitly stated his sexual preference.” 

The highlight of the month was a day trip to Stratford to see Three Tall Women. https://topoet.ca/2021/10/01/ah-yes-i-remember-it-well/ 

The Tingler

as a boy

I couldn’t tell the truth

if my life depended on it

mot that I was a compulsive liar

or even lied that often

but under any sort of questioning

I was guilty

regardless of being innocent

Did you do that?

no – which was the truth

Go to your room

Until you are ready to tell the truth.

but

No buts. Now go you lying loser.

<>

to avoid that banishment

I’d have to tell a lie

but I was even a worse liar

thanks to some movie I saw

where some sort of centipede

would materialize

around the spine

when you were scared

lying scared me

as much as telling the truth

I would feel those

million sharp legs 

sinking into my back

my skin would tingle

The Tingler!

that’s what that movie was called

<>

a lie would kill me

it would crush my heart

burst out of my nose

brain spattering everywhere

insect legs would dig out from my eyes

<>

so I was afraid to lie

the punishment for telling the truth

was bad enough

not be be believed

not to be trusted was confusing

it was better to leave the room

let them think what they wanted

because the clearly truth 

made no fucking difference

<>

at that age

they made sure

I knew I was a lying loser

a useless dishonest kid

which I know now was a lie

and that’s the truth

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees – thankspaypal.me/TOpoet 

August 2021 Recap

Over the past month my TOpoet.ca following stands at 464 ! The WP map does show my hits have come from  countries around the world. That USA tops the list is no surprise but that Bangladesh moves up to 3rd spot & that Bahrain is in the top 10 is a surprise. China! Ireland! sill up there. Ola Spain. Most popular post was The Beaches (https://topoet.ca/2021/08/12/the-beaches-august-2021/  ). My personal fav is Summer Striptease https://topoet.ca/2021/08/23/summer-striptease/ .

My Tumblr is at 332 followers. Twitter at 229 followers. Picture Perfect: 82 sections, about 112,000 words posted so far with approx 72,000 to be edited then posted. Returning to the Rules For Monks on Wednesdays for this month – October will see a return of scary poems on Haunted Wednesdays. 

Finally watched Rocketman & loved it. The film is a visual, sonic & emotional delight. Surreal & yet true to life. I liked the way the narrative flowed from music to reality to surreal so smoothly while inviting me in to the addictive mess his life had become. Taron Egerton did his own singing (unlike the Freddie Mercury bio in which the lead won the Oscar for best lip-syncing). Like many recovery stories this one is too much about the glamour & glitter of the downfall with the recovery dealt with in a minute. Highly recommended.

Another great watch was ‘Ma Vie en rose’ 1997 – a sweet, remarkable movie about gender identity. A young child – supposedly 7 – decides they are a boy-girl & experiences & survives cultural resistance & forced gender norms & transphobia. Excellent writing, unforced humour, great performances. Highly recommended for all ages.

read: Germinal is part of the Les Rougon-Macquart a collective title given to a cycle of twenty novels by Emile Zola. This was, I think, the fourteenth in the series. It is brilliant. I’ve read two other ‘versions’ of it – each English translation is a rewrite of the original & retells it through the eyes of the translator. Zola is a French Dickens, only, unlike Dickens, his stories are grittier, darker & more directly sexual. If you don’t know Zola start with Terese Raquin. I have an Amazon Kindle collection of the complete novels & am about half-way through them all – I only have 150 hours of reading to finish them 🙂 Zola is one of my prime fiction influences.

Read ‘Farewell to the Sea’ the third novel in Reinaldo Arenas’ Pentagonia: a five novel “secret history” of Cuba. I’m re-reading all my Arenas, he’s another of my prime fiction influences. Farewell deconstructs the novel with free-wheeling interior monologues, ranted poetry, shifting p.o.v. in his no-holds-barred attack on Cuban justice, politics &queer sexuality. Funny, mythic & compelling. A mid-century masterpiece. 

It has been a good month with no major events as things slowly open up after the long pandemic shutdown. Waiting for what form this vaccine passport will take. Will I have to give the wait person access to my OHIP info to order a meal? Probably works only for smart phones.  Wondering how the need to prove covid status will effect things – rapid test costs $40 at Shoppers – so tickets for events that ask for that status will now cost $40 more. Friends looking for new jobs and/or apartments now searching the obituaries. Not so brave not so new world.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees – thankspaypal.me/TOpoet 

July 2021 Recap

Stratford flower box

Over the past month by TOpoet.ca following blog shrank to 450! I went through my follower list & removed people who were no longer active on WordPress. Active followers show up in a colour, non-active followers show up in black. The WP map does show my hits have come from 32  countries around the world. Nigeria, Bahrain in the top ten! India & Bangladesh holding steady & hola Spain 🙂 Ireland! Lithuania?

Most popular posts were: My Five Year (Dead Friends) (https://topoet.ca/2021/07/04/dead-friends/), Summer Murderer (https://topoet.ca/2021/07/13/summer-murderer/). Both of which are my personal favourites.

Shakespeare Pie Shop mmm

My Tumblr is at 331 followers. Twitter is at 224 followers.

Picture Perfect: 78 sections, about 116000 words posted so far with  approx 73,000 to be edited then posted. 

TLN (https://www.tln.ca) does an occasional Italian film festival of mostly recent films – films that don’t show up anywhere else on TV. Comedies for the most part but always with a sharp social bite & sometimes a dash of romance. One I really enjoyed was The Man Who Bought The Moon – set in Sardinia, one gets a glimpse of the political & social regard of the island by the rest of Italy. Our hero first has to be taught how to pass for a Sardinian. Hilarious at points & finally the moon itself appears to save the day. Charming & well worth searching out.

That touch of magic realism owes everything to Fellini. I watched, for the first time, his Roma – there is some bravura film making in this virtually plotless movie. There are reference to his past films & even a hint of Amacord which he already planning.. Impressions of his past mixed with look at his present film making. Fascinating.

from the gift shop

God’s Own Country – I was given this dvd for Xmas a few years ago & finally got around to seeing it. A refreshing gay love story in which coming out is not a part of it. Set on a sheep farm it is far removed from the usual druggy, bar scene fodder. Our hero becomes involved with Gheorghe, a Romanian migrant worker, is hired as extra help. Played by Josh O’Connor & Alec Secăreanu, respectively, they make photogenic couple. Similar to Brokeback Mountain one is not surprised when good looking men find each other attractive. Josh played Prince Charles in The Crown so I thought of this as the The Prince & The Underwear Model. 

Read the excellent Dolls! Dolls! Dolls! by Steve Rebello. A behind the scenes look at the making of Valley Of The Dolls – one of my favourite movies. He also goes into the writing of the book & JS’s career. Full of juicy feuds, casting wars & the sad misuse of Judy Garland; this is a great read that reveals as much about how actresses were treated as it does about the business of making movies. Highly recommended.

silk tie on sale at Gift Shop – yes marked down to $1.00 !!

Took a day trip to Stratford. We didn’t see anything – getting tickets online was problematic thanks to the pandemic seating restrictions. The weather was perfect, traffic as usual, lunched at Features, picked up a few things at the Gift Shop, hit the main box-office to reserve spots on a waiting list for Three Tall Women at the end of September – including the time it took to drive there it took as long as it would have on line 🙂 A call from the box-office the next day confirmed we had tickets – no more waiting list waiting for us.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & but Festival tickets – thanks paypal.me/TOpoet 

June 2021 Recap

Over the past month the TOpoet.ca following grew to 500! The WP map does show my hits have come from  36 countries around the world. That USA tops the list is no surprise but that Spain & Ghana are in the top 10 is a surprise. Most popular posts were Little Red Corvette https://topoet.ca/2021/05/31/little-red-convertible/, Holy Toaster https://topoet.ca/2021/06/07/holy-toaster/ – my personal favourite has to be Psychedelic Sitar Teens https://topoet.ca/2021/06/16/psychedelic-sitar-teens/.

My Tumblr is at 326 followers. 227 Twitter followers.

Picture Perfect: 74 sections, about 111,000 words posted so far with approx 78,000 to be edited then posted. 

Watched a couple of amazing, slightly mystifying, movies. First by India’s Satyajit Ray’s 1991 Agantuk (The Stranger) – a long-lost grand-uncle appears uninvited to spend the week or is he really the long-lost grand-uncle. Not knowing a great deal about social customs of the time I was a bit at sea regarding these but the caste system, education where clear. The uncle brings a very wide world view into the safe bubble of the family. Gently humorous & nicely performed. No Bollywood  production numbers 🙂

Out of Chile is Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 2013 Dance Of Reality (La danza de la realidad). This is an overf-the-top mash up of Fellini’s Amacord & Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. A memory off his childhood told through symbolism, song & amazing cinematography. I have his other earlier films in my collection so was ready for the loopy plot. This is a stunning film that drew me in & held be from beginning to end. My favourite moment was the adult Alejandro holding his child self from jumping to his death. The extras were interesting.

Ken Russel’s Mahler was yet another surreal visual experience. I have vague memories of seeing this when it was first released & was impressed with the visuals & the music. Apparently a biography based on Mahler’s life, rather than a historically accurate  accounting of it. I loved the white worm beginning, the direct reference to Death In Venice & Georgina Hale’s performance. Lush music but the plot often gives in to tedious melodrama when it should be awash with surrealism.

Event of the month was the mass covid19 vaccine clinic at Scotiabank Arena. Nearly 27,000 people given the shot. This was my 2nd shot. The process was like clockwork. I joined the line up at around 9:30 at Bay & Front. Got my shot at 10:03. Efficient & all the volunteers were in good moods. Got the souvenir towel & was home by 11. Don’t worry I’ll stick to masks for shopping & public transit for awhile. 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees – thankspaypal.me/TOpoet 

Recap May 2021

Over the past month by TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 492 so I should hit 500 by the end of the year! The WP map shows my hits have come from 31 countries around the world. That the USA tops the list is no surprise but that Italy & South Korea are in the top 10 is a surprise. Most popular posts were Small Word (https://topoet.ca/2021/05/17/small-world/) & The Flirt (https://topoet.ca/2021/05/29/the-flirt/

My Tumblr is at 326 followers – the latest being a cryptocurrency trader (we have so much in common 🙂 ). Twitter is at 226 followers.

Picture Perfect: 69 sections, about 100,000 words posted so far with  approx 85,000 to be edited & then posted. 

The rollercoaster of the Ontario lockdown measures continued its ups & downs almost in keeping with the weather’s ups & downs. Hot one day, frost the next night. As usual Toronto jumped into summer with a week of hot dry weather which has been great for my garden which exploded within a week.

Apparently travel restrictions (for those who feel such restrictions apply to them) will result in travel money going into gardens & home improvements. Waking up at your office because you are working at home has made many tired of seeing the same furniture 24 hours a day. I’ve seen a bounty of desks, sofas, dining room tables dragged to the curb.

Rewatched our dvd of Fellini’s Amacord which I enjoy more & more with each watching. It captures a sense of nostalgia that transcends time & place. The cinematography is stunning – the floating puffballs, the snow, the amazing moment when the peacock lands during the snow to open its tail. The music is delightful, the performances are on point. 

In one of the extras someone says that the movie may not be a historically correct memory but it is a true one. The past is always a selective reconstruction. The Crown, as excellent as it is, doesn’t hesitate for a good story. I was surprised to find out that, in fact, Princess Margaret never met LBJ on her USA jaunt. I love the show but don’t mistake it for factual.

Inputs from hard copies of old poetry & short stories nearly finished. Found a paper folder full of old scripts to input next. At times it feels endless but also reflects that I wrote constantly for many, many years. I did have many of these backed up on disks but none of those disks are readable any more 🙂 I did try a few years back, before tossing them all, & found that even if I could up load the word processing programs couldn’t be read to even translated, as it were. 

I’ve been posting the stories on Thursdays along with talk about my music collection. Some of the poetry will be blogged over the summer on Wednesdays with my comments & memories of writing them. All are from between 1972-77. Wallowing in the past? Not me.

a poem inspired by the last time I watched Amarcord 

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

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees – thankspaypal.me/TOpoet 

Recap April 2021

Over the past month by TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 471! My hits have come from countries around the world. That India nearly tops the list is amazing considering the rampant pandemic. Bangladesh is joined in the top 10 by Ghana. Finland! Malawi! Most popular posts were Publishing Successes (x https://topoet.ca/2021/04/12/publishing-successes/); He Said (* https://topoet.ca/2021/04/26/he-said/). 

My Tumblr is at 327 followers. Twitter up to 231 followers. Both not bad for someone who doesn’t post porn or political rants or cute animal pics 🙂 Picture Perfect is up to 65 sections, over 95,000 words posted so far with approx 90,000 more to be edited then posted.

Other than the rollercoaster of Ontario lockdown measures it has been a fairly routine month. Clearly the logic behind this bumpy ride has been political, not practical or ultimately sensible. But that’s another post, right. 

Weather has been mild enough for some work in my garden but nights have been too cold for planting or much repotting. Apparently travel restrictions (to those who feel such restrictions apply to them) will result in travel money going into gardens & home improvements. Waking up at your office because you are working at home has made many tired of seeing the same furniture 24 hours a day. I’ve seen a bounty of desks, sofas, dining room tables dragged to the curb.

Watched some movies. Andrei Rublev directed by Andrei Tarkovsky – a two disc set with both versions of the film & a slew of extras that were twice as long as the film. The movie itself is fascinating, frustrating & drowns in symbolism/political commentary one needs to know a historical context to fully understand. Visually stunning at points with amazing panoramic scenes with action in the foreground, middle ground & background. 

Episodic as it follows our hero on his travels, no real story line just events. The pagan ceremony section is symbolically dense & eerie & captivating. The final episode about the Bell does have a tradition plot though. If you see it try to watch the extras first – no spoilers in them but background material that makes the movie more accessible. As I result we ordered Stalker – which I have also seen before thanks to TCM but wanted the extras 🙂 

From TCM we watched a fun Czech film: Pearls of the Deep from the mid-sixties. Five short stories by Bohumil Hrabal each filmed by a different Czech director. Quirky stories that are sometime laugh out loud funny, others are ‘what is this about’ perplexing but all enjoyable & worth watching. 

Also watched a 1930 Japanese silent film ‘Walk Cheerfully’ directed by Yasujirō Ozu. Yes, Japan had a major silent film period! A parody of US gangster films this is a charming time capsule of Japan in the late 1920’s. Fashion & street scenes that take us out of the usual sense of Japan as all paper panelled houses. Will our modern hard-boiled hoodlum go straight for the love of an old fashioned woman or will his old gang keep their fur trimmed hold on him? Only drawback is the busy, intrusive piano score.

Inputs from hard copies of old poetry & short stories continues. At times it feels endless but also reflects that I wrote constantly for many many years. I did have many of these backed up on disks but none of those disks are readable any more. I did try a few years back, before tossing them all, & found that even if I could up load the word processing programs couldn’t be read to even translated, as it were. 

I’ve been posting the stories on Thursdays along with talk my music collection. Some of the poetry will be blogged over the summer on Wednesdays with my comments & memories of writing them. All are from between 1972-77. Wallowing in the past? Not me.

From The Archives

Easter

without a doubt

the slimmest hope

is held on to longest

that ghost of a chance 

that finds a ledge

to balance on

awaiting the opportunity

to dash into view 

when all the chips are down

can’t you just hear

his heavy footfall

up the stairs

or tripping over a chair

with a drink in one hand

resurrection in the other

1975

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Recap March 2021

Over the past year by TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 487! The only stat WP doesn’t give is where the followers are located but WP map does show my hits have come from 30 countries around the world. That USA tops the list is no surprise but that India & Bangladesh are in the top 4 is interesting. Ireland, Japan in the top 10!  Most popular post for March was Attention Span (https://topoet.ca/2021/03/28/attention-span/). My Tumblr is at 311. It would be higher but this past month I‘ve blocking a flood of banal anime sex sites. Twitter 231 followers.

Picture Perfect is moving along with 61 sections, nearly 90,000 words, posted so far, with 95,000 words approx to be edited, then posted. Yes finally at the half-way point & know there are major cuts yet to be made. That the joy of writing without worry I know I can chase a subplot knowing if it doesn’t pan out it can be chopped.

I continued working through the archived files of short-stories, poetry, even plays. Some date back to the mid-seventies. My typing & handwriting haven’t improved much over the decades. I’m enjoying the array of paper, scrap paper, that I used. It helps to date some of the work, as does the typewriter used, the colour of ink, & of course dot-matrix printouts – some of which hadn’t been separated.

I watched lots of great movies this past month including two wildly different movies about witches. The first is a version of Susperia – based on the original Dario Argenta movie but not a remake. I love the original despite the distracting loud soundtrack. Both are set in a dance school. I enjoyed this fresh take in which dance took a major role. The music & choreography & even the theory of dance were spot on. The music was moody, never intrusive. Performances were great – Tilda Swinton was fine. The bloodbath scene was gory but then …. sadly they added an endless, pointless coda that turned an A movie into a C.

The other witch move was ‘The Juniper Tree’ from 1990. It could have been a lost Bergman film with its stark Iceland setting, shot in stunning black & white. Mystical, poetic & magical without any special effects & solid compelling performances. Ethereal music & a realistic ending. Well worth searching out. 

As break from the macabre I watched, for at least the 3rd time, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. This was the fully restored print with stunning colour & a pristine soundtrack. This is a masterpiece of film making. The set decor is breathtaking, stunning & a feast for the eyes. The cast is good, Deneuve is stunning too. The men are tasty Gallic eye candy. The music is lush & the singing is perfect. All the voices are dubbed – so this is a live-action animated feature 🙂 They sing like ordinary people – I’m so used to the over-singing of songs in which every one has to have a heart-rending emotional climax. 

Another truly amazing film was Diamonds In The Night – Czech black & white – follows two young men, escapees from transport to concentration camp during WWII. A touch surreal, intense, compelling & rewarding. 

We’re finally watching The Crown, season 2. The Aberfan episode is one of the most amazing chapters of a serial I’ve ever seen, right up there with The Queen episode of Castle Rock. An emotional tour de force that left me tearful. Heart-rending without being cloying or over-the-top.

from the archives – sometime 1985

‘let’s swim to the moon’

Jim Morrison

last night I dreamed of the dead

they weren’t looking very well

the endlessness of the past

was worrying them

as there was more past every day

their worries were constantly growing

at this point as expected

things got a little confusing

the cafe of experience

was flooded by Symbolists

our meals became metaphors

which left us hungering for reality

an allusion of symbiotics

were looking for a new quantifier

they wanted pride

by lions had already cornered that one

they asked to join us for coffee

but no one had a measuring spoon

mystic sixties retro music on the juke box

left us even more unsatisfied

reminding us of old frustrations

we had matured out of long long ago

we were speechless with despair 

none willing to swim anymore

there was no room for miles

the stars repeated their menu

soup song of sorrows in the heartbreak hotel

pulling up to the gas pump

in an early model Chevrolet 

revved up the effortless drive of love

to fuel the furnace of art

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

Recap February 2021

Over the past month my TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 463! The WordPress map shows my hits in February have come from 91 countries around the world. Mainly USA & Canada with South Africa in 3rd spot! Bangladesh & Malawi remain in the top 10. The most viewed (non-photo essay) was The Thieving Slut, https://topoet.ca/2021/02/15/the-thieving-slut/, with F**k Gratitude, https://topoet.ca/2021/02/11/fk-gratitude/ close behind. Both are personal faves.

My Tumblr following is at 304. Twitter 229 followers.

Picture Perfect is moving along with 56 sections, about 84,500 words, posted so far, with 101,000 words approx to be edited, then posted. This month I was at the point where I got sidetracked in the rough draft so I did major cut of about 5000 words. The cut removed a scene I didn’t need but a character I did need so re-invented him keep the flow. A fun challenge.

I watched some interesting movies including O Ébrio (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Ébrio_(film)). Out of Brazil,1946, starring popular singer Vicente Celestino – who co-wrote it with Gilda de Abreu, who was also his wife. Imagine an Elvis film set in 1946 – fame & faithless women & songs & redemption. Eye-catching costumes for the women. A fascinating look at the culture of the time. The music & lyrics are idealized romantic, religious & dripping with sincerity. Performances are good to adequate, with some sweet silent-movie nods.

Another, an even wilder musical, is the Polish film The Lure (2015) directed by Agnieszka Smoczyńska. One critic calls it “the best goth musical about man-eating mermaids ever made.” I wouldn’t call 80’s EuroDisco Goth but … the music is sublime, the visuals at times are stunning & performances good. Plotting uneven but well worth watching. I saw both of these as part of TCM series of women directors.

A couple of books I’m currently reading. Paper: Coming Out Under Fire by Allan Bérubé about gay men and women in the U.S. military between 1941 and 1945. This quote ‘ … being a homosexual, I had that constant compelling need to prove how virile I was.’ still remains one of the male gender identity struggles. The book is stunning – easy to read, easy to understand & at time heartbreaking & frustrating.  Read it asap.

Kindle: Fairs’ Point: A Novel of Astreiant by Melissa Scott book 4 in the series. I read the first in this series a few years ago. It was part of a StoryBundle of 10 lgbtq fantasy/horror novels & I loved it. I’ve read the pervious in the series. Amazing world building, sweet male lovers & understated sex scenes. Set in a magic Mediaeval land. Only one more in the series after this one though 😦

in clearing out an archive of old writing in a file cabinet I found this piece from the early 80’s. It is about HIV fears but some of the lines about ‘a virus more virulent than love’ echo the current covid19 pandemic where a stranger’s breath could be deadly. Replace roses with masks & it’s ready for today

war/mist

1

i’m pressing the mirror

to my face

not looking for contact

not seeking any content

needing any slight

sign of mist

to reassure me

i’m still alive

i’m still breathing

<>

hey! it’s alright everybody

i’m still breathing

there’s nothing breeding in me

hey! you guys

don’t you hear me

I’m still breathing

2

something in the blood of lovers

has brought this war

to my attention

to my very front door

to my one & only bedroom

sullen pillow whispers

imploring an unwilling caution

for this angry end to innocence 

<>

‘so, we don’t meet again’

a thought

in the corner of my eye

catching you

wandering through the throng

of sights unseen

untouched

a man missed again by me

a stranger in your mist

<>

a kiss is no longer a kiss

it’s an affront to our political awareness

it’s flirting with a virus

more virulent than love

a disease befuddled by language

leaving us

untouching

unflinching

imploding

& afraid

<>

so i’ll send you roses

yellow green black

olive drab camoflage

for our war of wait & see

our war of hide

then die

<>

a lift of the hand

a nod of the head

a thin smile of acknowledgement

i practice the arts

of indifferent recognition

so i can cast them upon

unobtainable flights of obsession

‘is this the wave of the future?

or just an unobservable mannerism

by this stranger in your mist

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