Gift Guide

The Giver Not The Gift

why yes thank you

it’s wonderful

I can’t get over it

you made it yourself

you made it just for me

I’m amazed

not that you made it

I know you are capable of making things

don’t take the wrong way

it’s just that I never expected you

to make anything for me

let alone something like this

 

I’m sure I’ll find

the right place to put it

not that it won’t fit in anywhere

one might chose to put it

something so unified

that uses only the purest

that uses every possible part

nothing is wasted

but it needs to be the right place

after all the work you put into it

I can’t just stick where

no one else will see

 

(though I’m tempted

to to do just that

how long before I can regift it

perhaps drop it into some

donation box

share the abundance

but get it out of my sight)

 

thank you

Over the years I have been given gifts that made me think ‘who the fuck do you think I am?’ who mistaken bright for garish. I have had & passed along gifts that aren’t quite right for – if asked – you ever wearer did you read – it’s easy for me to say I met someone who really loved it so it ent to a better home. 

I’m sure I’ve been guilty of the same though – giving someone something that they felt obliged to say ‘oh how lovely’ or some-such other Canadian politeness response. Now I’m more inclined to let someone dip into my music collection rather than presuppose I have the perfect music for them. Be warned, if you want something similar to Kenny G out of my jazz collection – that’s not going to happen 🙂 

The home-made, hand-made gifts I appreciate are cookies, jam – things that don’t need size & the only taste level is the flavour of the yummy goodies. So. yes, this piece is based on some actual experiences of being given travel purchased t-shirts that I knew I would never wear from people who should have known better. and yes I admit I can be hard to shop for if you think of stuff but if you think of the unemotionally of gift cards then my gratitude is real. iTunes, Starbucks, Tim Horton’s even Swiss Chalet – these are things I use.

As I get older I have less compunction about passing things on. Some gifts have turned up as amazing prizes at Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam. Who knows that what you give may not end up making somebody else day. I am grateful for anything anyone takes the time to give me though – I may not appreciate the gift but am always appreciative of the giver.

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

Looking Eating #CapeBreton Part 1

Travel often means eating in diners, cafes, restaurants & airports. Even staying, as I did, with my sister here in Sydney, I dined out more than usual. Usually for lunch.  With more Tim Ho’s per capita than doctors, Cape Breton is right on the money for coffee and donuts. What I like about the Tim’s here is that the coffee is stronger than in Toronto and they offer a regional snack – oak cakes – that I love.

My airport dining experience was in Toronto – things done to chicken at a Swiss Chalet – their summer special Greek meal – the tzatziki make a good replacement for the sauce plus the veggies were not over cooked but a bit of feta would have completed the meal.

the lunch room
the lunch room

When we went to the Miners’ Museum we ate at the Miners’ Village Restaurant after we went through the exhibits. The menu was limited but hearty. I would have like to see a few more nods of what the miners would have eaten – I’m sure they didn’t have California veggie wraps. I went for the hot hamburger with gravy sandwich. the burger was excellent – the fries okay. The Museum itself is excellent for an introduction into the mines but merely hints at the daily life of the miners. A trip into the mine is the best way to get a feel for the conditions the miners worked in.

After the Miners’ I hit the Whitney Pier Museum – which I love – not much new has been donated since I was last there 5 years ago but I enjoyed going through the old high school year books and seeing the exhibits on the extensive and various ethnic communities that were isolated in the Pier. Many groups sought to stick together and never strayed far from their ‘stomping grounds.’ Even in Toronto is Little Italy, Little India etc. But there is an awareness of each other – when I grew up in Sydney, I didn’t know there was black community till I was in my late teens.east

On Monday I had lunch with an old friend at Centre 200 where I had forgettable bacon & eggs to the sound of clicking slot machines. An ideal place to get caught up with each other without the distraction of tasty food.

Tuesday was another lunch with another old friend – this time at an old haunt – The New Moon was the first Chinese restaurant to open in Sydney. I can sort of remember my first jumbo shrimp, definitely remember my first Singapore Sling. The menu remains pretty much unchanged, prices haven’t gone up that much either and the food was good.

It was a short walk from the New Moon to hit Wentworth Perk again, had time to sit on the patio and enjoy the rather steady stream patrons. More attractive men who needed a shave than I would have expected. Coffee as good as on my first visit, great date square & my old friend gave me a section of her Turtles cheese cake which was perfect. I did hear from one of the owners after my pervious post and they hoping to start a spoken-word night in the fall.

Perk view of Park

Travel also mean a change in routine for me. Not big changes but enough to make me appreciate getting back to those routines. Less reading, less writing too – this time – but I have been making notes & picking up books to fill in the context for my next novel (Coal Dusters). I’ve had a few chats about it with people I’ve met on my search for info & the reaction is positive. The time era – mid 1920’s – is one that hasn’t been look at too closely and certainly not in fiction.

……….

here’s an old piece about growing up in Cape Breton –

Sonship

it’s hard to tell

when he became the son

his dad didn’t expect

 

was it when he hit

that dangerous hormone rush

and couldn’t concentrate in school

didn’t know where to look

where his eyes were supposed to focus

 

what was the target –

long division or

longing to doodle scribbles

that might form words

but even spelling

was beyond his grasp

 

couldn’t slip into some easy identity

all he wanted was to be left alone

why bother asking him questions

he wasn’t one of those bright kids

who could memorize the times tables

 

a boy adrift in the hazy life

where roles were cut out for you

from the start he felt himself drift

through those holes

it didn’t feel so easy at the time

the puzzlement

he knew those tight formations

weren’t for him

not that he was mr rebellious

merely mr a little off centre

moving in his own way

 

caught up in a culture that said

you can be what you want

as long as you keep it to yourself

the secret secret

that made it all right

and above all

don’t fail to appear apologetic

shame makes all the difference

to the different

 

it’s hard to tell

when I became the son

my dad didn’t expect

probably before I was born