Replace Me


Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Replace Me

excuse me 

while I slip into something 

more comfortable

does this fit

does it look good on me

do I look sane in it

does it turn you on

do I look educated in this

does it suit the occasion

will it get me laid

can it open doors for me

will it need to be ironed

can I wear it in public

will it turn heads

does it make me look old

look desperate 

it comes in other colours

maybe a size larger

can it be replaced

can it replace me

does it make up for my lack of style

do I have the guts to wear it

does it wear me

will it last longer than a glance

is it why you want me

am I anything without it

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees – 

#secants and #underpants

The Beautiful and The Damned kicked off their residency at The Central with a packed house and a dynamic line up hosted by the incomparable Duncan Armstrong (modesty is not his middle name 🙂 )

airy bottom

First feature Brock Hessel blasted the room with an in-your-face, take-no-prisoners piece that trampled several Canadian cultural icons underfoot – from Jack Layton to Don Cherry no one was spared at the hands of his palm-reader/masseuse Joannne, who will earn your votes ‘one had job at a time.’ His other pieces were filled with hard-earned understandings ‘dancing alone in front of the mirror you used to take selfies,’ ‘you bookmarked the box you used to box me in.’

After the break DM Moore made an impassioned appeal for Tarek & John – two Canadians caught up in Egypt. Then Heather Babcock captivated the crowd with a polished image that suited her polished work. her first piece. ‘Where did my face go’ was delightfully self-aware & funny piece that acknowledge the power of looks while wondering on looking into the mirror where her face was gone ‘perhaps my nose is rolled up in a forgotten sock.’ Her fiction pieces were as direct, ‘as if layoffs were contagious and could be spread by eye-contact,’ ‘looking for a place in her bones called shelter.’

popping up all over the city

Music feature Nelson ‘SoHot’ Sobral, despite suffering from a sore throat, did a high-energy  set that left us wanting more (but we had to clear the stage for another show at 9:30). With his propulsive, crisp acoustic guitar he gave us a set of emotional, direct to and from the heart songs. ‘I’ll always be by your side, even when I’m on the floor.’ He harkens back to Fred Neil & Joe Walsh and is so hot he popped my cork.

red on red

The cork was on the bottle of champaign that The Central honored us with for the launch of the Damned. The staff was great, kept sound levels perfect, and kept our thirsty audience happy. Looks like the Damned has found a beautiful new home. Join us next month, October 31 for a scary scary night hosted by Lizzie Violet.



one of the pieces I read at the Damned:

Square Root

 I wished him dead

every time I sat in his class

I wished he were dead


not someone I had to face every day

I would only have to glance up at him

writing formulas on the black board

the drone of his voice and wish him dead

he would always call on me

to read out what he had written

I picture his brain exploding

bloody cosines gush from his nose

all over his spotless white shirt

I wanted a sharp steel edge on my protractor

to cut out his heart

save the class from algebra trig calculus

his stories of sailing

how he figured directions with his slide rule

die die die

so we can figure out the angle

to bury you

so your rotting corpse

will slump into your penny loafers

bones a jumble of secants and underpants

the formula on the board

meant nothing to me

it could have been written in flame

blah blah squared equals something degrees

my feet burning by the time I sat down

he would pat me on the shoulder

say you seem to be catching on

when I was really catching on fire

his abacus belt buckle at eye level

I’d stare at the rubble on my page

hope his hand would stay a bit longer

hope some of his knowledge could rub off

what was the angle of the dangle behind that zipper

if he were to die I wouldn’t have to wonder

about where to look when he stood so close

I leave his class

can’t remember a formula or anything

all I could see was that glint of belt buckle

and that wouldn’t be on the exam

on stage Damned @The Central Sept13
on stage Damned @The Central Sept13

Taken Seriously @lifemorecowbell

trash for the cure
trash for the cure

At Cabaret Noir we celebrated Cate McKim’s (Morecowbell) birthday. Cate’s blog is one of the ones that inspired me to keep on bloggin’. Not that I would have stopped, but her reviews of local arts, exhibits, live theatre & cd’s launches, showed me there was a place for that sort of grass roots stuff. There are enough blogs reviewing books, movies, TV etc. – but, as far as I could tell, no one was writing about local readings.

People read reviews to decide what they want to see or read so who wants reviews of what are essentially one time events? The participants for starters, & people who have missed the event. So I took up the challenge & have been enjoying that structure.

let me in
let me in

Another blog that has been an inspiration for me is Wide Awake But Dreaming. Cassidy blogs nearly daily about the travails of writing. Often funny & always insightful – Cassidy’s book ‘Her Demonic Majesty’ is a great read, too.

two seats no waiting
two seats no waiting

Here’s one of the pieces I read at Noir.


I was sitting there

after my quick hit at the open mic

putting my crumpled pages away

when the feature sat at my table

‘nice stuff

but you don’t wear enough black

for anyone to take you seriously

as a deep spoken word artist

I’m telling you this for your own good

because you got what it takes

you have to take that next step

‘til you commit to the black

no one will take you seriously’

I clutched my coat

blundered into the rain

well    unfortunately    it wasn’t raining

my feet went fast as they could past

indifferent people

who didn’t sense me crumble inside

as I made my escape to the subway

home quivering    fearful

I stumbled up the stairs

fumbled open the door to my tiny attic room

threw myself on my little bed

sobbing and shuddering with shame

what was I going to do

was it time to conform

with the nonconformists

if I really want

to taste the vibrant sting of success

that laced their sets

not wanting to give in

yet yearning for the satisfying comfort

full and total acceptance would bring

I cried myself to sleep

the very next day

I searched through vintage clothing stores

in Kensington    Queen east and west

shoved seniors aside at Value Village

tripped them at Goodwill

‘that mottled black brackish

turtle neck is mine gramma’

then I decided to go one step beyond

and hit the tanning salons

I’d show them

not only would I wear the brightest black

I’d become black

that would do the trick

then I could throw down

harsh slam verses about

empty purses

violating nurses mysteriously

and finally be taken seriously

me May 2013
me May 2013

Suspension of Belief

the smoking glove
the smoking glove

Entering month six of the Bradbury method – which is partly to write a short story a week. Actually I didn’t do any fiction writing during April – poetry month. So far I’ve got five completed – plus a couple of extensive false starts – pieces that called for more backstory and telling than I wanted to put into them at the time. I’ll get back to them eventually. I didn’t realize that some sub-genres would call for more story weaving than I anticipated – but I’ll be more than happy to get back to them.

portal to ?
portal to ?

I say ‘sub-genres’ because I aimed to try several types that I have never worked on before – vampire, werewolf, and aliens. I have found that I can’t do ‘literary’ short story. Those slice-of-life, heart-tugging, looks at unwell people trying to help equally as unwell people cope with their disintegrating lives. By disintegrating I mean emotional instability not zombie decay. So no warm and fuzzy from me.

brolly folly
brolly folly

I’ve had success with the macabre – all those years of the Twilight Zone, plus Lovecraft – have seeped deeply into my plotting bones. I like ‘what if’ moments of the unexpected. I back away from explaining why too much. Too much explanation sucks the mystery out of things. Why ask for suspension of belief to only weight it down with any rationalization?