Beyoncé & Beyond

30door01Doing a step back in the alphabet for this recent mp3 collection addition filed under ‘b’ for Beyoncé: Beyoncé, Lemonade. While listening to Lemonade I decided to add her previous release to my collection. Self-titled, it is a fun set of songs which acts as a prelude for what comes later. Productions values are state of the art but it lacks identity – where as Lemonade is making a clear statement.30door02On this cd is Linda Martell’s Color Me Country. Steel guitars & country standards from the first African-American woman to appear on the Grand Ole Opry in 1969. Sweet stuff. On the cd is also Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson’s Lovers Holiday: a best of collection by this duo that falls between country folk and soul. I really love the sitar sound guitar work on several of the tracks here.30door03Also a full soul blast with Curtis Mayfield Live – he’s is fine form at the Bitter End. Hits, covers, some raps & an amazing version of People Darker Than Blue. To round things out I added a couple free ep downloads from EarthTone: GMale & New Balance -he’s a black, gay, hard spitting hip-hop rising star. No holds barred sexuality more political as opposed to raunch. Check him out on iTunes or here: (EarthTone) Added a couple of tracks by local rapper Nanu Alidina (he’s on iTunes). Solid, well recorded and proud to be in Toronto.30door04Finally MRF’s latest ep release Yasko Sensei. Jazzy sexy and worth tracking down. As you can tell this is another of my era/genre spanning cds. I love the mix of retro, obscure, sexualities, politics and ultra current.

sample

Reality 

The smell of food cooking drifted out to the street. I stopped to figure out if it was steak or chicken, mashed potato or cabbage roll, food for four or just a single little plate for one.

A door slammed.

A dog barked.

A baby cried.

Children rushed past. Their feet thumped the sidewalk around me. One brushed my arm. They didn’t look back in their happy chase around the block.

Someone came out a front door to put garbage bags by the curb. Must be garbage pick up in the morning. I’d better remember to bring mine out. Once I had cooked my little meal – for two.

A car pulled up and parked. A man, woman, teenage boy got out. Words must have been spoken. A stale air of unfinished conversation hovered in their glances. The boy followed them up the steps and to a house. Ding dong. Ding dong. Ding dong .

‘I told you there would be no one home.’

‘Try again for Christ sake. We didn’t drive all this way for nothing.’

The boy’s eyes catch mine. A plea? An apology? He is older than I thought. Maybe in his mid 20’s. A nice ripe age.

The door opens and they are sucked into the dark house out of the light of day.

His look stays with me as I climb the steps to my house. I unlock my door. Step in.

‘Hello?’

Empty. As I knew it would be but one always hopes the other will be home first. The first one home get the joy of privacy for a few minutes. The cost of that joy is of course the preparation of an evening meal.

My feet are warm from the walk, the all day travel from one point to another and back to here. A circle. A life in circles, intersecting circles.

I circle up the stairs to my room. It is at the front of the house. I can look out on the street and I undress, as I shuck off my work day skin for my real flesh. Bare flesh for a few moments. Feet happy for release, waist glad to shed the belt.

I look out the window. The boy is on the steps. He smokes and looks up and down the street.

I send him a message. ‘I’m up here. Naked. You want a quick escape from this family? Look up. Look up.’

He doesn’t.

Just as well. I have my own household to look after, to satisfy, to clean up after.

I sit on the bed for a moment to peel off the damp socks. Through the open window I hear phones, another rush of children scampers past, laughing, screaming, happy and free.

Thank God I don’t have that fierce worry. That reality.

 

soon

cover170x170-1on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Deliciously iTunes

June 3-5: attending: Capturing Fire 2016 – newcap

https://capfireslam.org

check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5KD1eDccdjdTdQ28kZRNg

Here’s my DC experience 2015: http://wp.me/P1RtxU-1e3

June 11, Saturday  – attending: The Toronto Poetry Talks – 10 AM – Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Toronto, Ontario M5V 3C6

poetrytalk

https://www.facebook.com/events/147955055574679/

June 12, Sunday – participating: Michael Matheson – The Axe and the Scalpel – Editing Your Own Work 1:00 pm – Bakka-Phoenix Books – 84 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2H7construction vert

tickets here

September 1-4: attending FanExpo 2016 (I’ve already registered)

expo16

https://www.facebook.com/fanexpocanada/?fref=ts

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nanobullseye

http://nanowrimo.org/

money

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Hot Damn! Hep #Cats

Dominic Berry opened his set by calling the audience ‘cats’ as in the 50’s beat  term – because ‘cat’ is gender free but still sensual. The cats at Hot Damn this month at the Supermarket frolicked through a show of strong open-stagers, strong slammers – including two new tabbies to the Hot Damn! stage.

dc01

Cathy Petch set the tone with her saw rending of the gay national anthem (What is it? You’ll have to attend a show to find out.) I hit the open stage with three pieces inducing the one below.

Some lines from the artist slam round: ‘on some chunks of this world I deserve to die’ ‘my breath claws for freedom’ ‘too fucked to fuck’ ‘people ask me when I knew I was trans, I ask them hen they one they were straight’ ‘my name is silence’ ‘Vanessa’s not my name – it doesn’t fit.’ dc02

I met feature Dominic Berry (http://dominicberry.net) at Capturing Fire in Washington DC. He wowed there with his energetic, funny & at times deeply touching poetry. It’s always good to see a poet do a set that isn’t under the influence of the pressure for judges’ points. Dominic stretches out, takes his time to make his piece breath fully as they come alive and draw us in.

His first piece capture the cadence and physicality of a deeply troubled man ‘silence sits so clammy beside me’ ‘my confidence is getting hungry’ ‘at night it feels like that day is getting further away.’ In his Coming Out Vegan’ he is loud & proud about being a ‘celery munching queen’ who ‘ravishes radishes.’

His series of gaming poems, set to funky music, was full of fun rhymes ‘splatter me with flattery’. It made me think of a gay The Streets. Even though I don’t know the gaming world I certainly understand sexual desire for unreal men 🙂

A dynamic set performed with theatrical gusto and verbal inventiveness that I enjoyed. If you missed him here you can catch him at Capturing Fire this June. (photos in this post are all from Washington DC)

dc03

After the break we were treated a fine singing cat -who didn’t sing memories. The energy was raised for the final slam round. Some lines: ‘a rumour mill of revolution’ ‘a one way ticket that’s not even in my name’ ‘post card from a high functioning borderline kid’ ‘our knees touching under the table of the diner’ ‘going from playing dress up to putting something resembling armour’ ‘I don’t need you to like me.’

dc04

Oodles of prizes (including poodles) were give. Kay Kessirer won the evening’s round & is now in the running for the trip to DC in June. The next TO Hot Damn! will be at the Supermarket March 16 and the second season grand finale will be at Buddies in Bad Times on April 21. All the hep cats will be there.

sample

Moment of F**king Silence

a moment of silence

to respect

those who have been silenced

to offer a dignity

a solemnity

all that’s missing

is the hashtag

a #moment of #silence

that’s better

showing support

without doing #anything

because those who have been silenced

and by silence

I don’t mean marginalized

I don’t mean neutralized

I mean murdered

killed by others

by their own hand

by neglect

by #silence by the face of shame

where is the moment of retaliation

oh no we can’t do that

because doing that

will sink us down to their level

getting even isn’t justice

it doesn’t get good press

#victimization

gets all the good press

a moment of violence

of striking back is tut tut not adult

we must have silence

so the healing can begin

why not a moment of vanity

in which we all pull out a mirror

to contemplate our own faces

to see where we fit in

to see what healing means

while the screaming is still going on

to figure out why

forgiveness is more fulfilling

that taking the victimizers to task

for their behaviour

where was their forgiveness

so I don’t forgive

that’s my flaw

I’m called out for being bitter

not understanding enough

unwilling to make a social context

that rationalizes actions

that spring from a troubled childhood

from a drug addled brain

from a books of words holy pages

that approves

making victims of others

in the name of righteousness

a moment of silence

to prove that I am emotionally more mature

I can take it

I can rise above

the blood soaked streets

an angel of mercy

fuck that

fuck fuck fuck that

I don’t care about

perpetrators’ apologies

how they feel remorse

I don’t want revenge

I want it to stop

I want an eon of silence

not a moment of silence

hot

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Songs Without Words

bluejeans

am I blue jeans

I picked up Willem Moolenbeek: Songs Without Words: classical music for tenor saxophone back in June 2001 during our annual street sale. I’d actually heard the title track on the radio recently & was a but surprised to find it on sale. At that the people at the house worked in radio & got slews of cds. A nice set of sweet stuff including things by Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff, Vaughn Williams – either written for or adapted for the sac. Pleasant enough & nice to hear sax so structured – no jazzy riffing here.

blueundie

teal panties to go

Operetta Weekend with work by Offenbach, Strauss, Lehar: Die Fledermaus, The Merry Widow – I bought this at Sam’s for .99 way back in September 1995 – I’m not an opera fan, though I have come to enjoy it as I get older but there’s no opera moments that work the way a great symphony does for me. This is an easy introduction compilation with the likes of Joan Sutherland singing loudly.

blueface

face up to it cloth & cigar

Pro Arte Guitar Trio: Arabesque – Debussy, Satie, Ravel. This dates back to June 99. Relaxing guitar versions of some of my favourite pieces by these composers.Perhaps pieces done too often but here they are fresh and appealing. Satie’s Gymnopedies must be one of the most recorded classical pieces of all time – I have dozens of versions jazz, pop & classical on dozens of different instruments – piano, guitar, flute, sax, vibes. Love them all.

samples

this an old piece, from way back in 1999 – editing it for here I realize it was a trial run for City Of Valleys, the novel I was working on at the time.

Destiny: A Dialogue

“I thought you were my destiny.”

“What? Me?”

“You may not remember this but I saw you one day last summer looking at the bulletin board at the 519.”

“Just before Pride day?”

“Right.”

“That was my first time there or even downtown on my own.”

“When I saw you that first time I knew you and were destined to be one.”

“As lovers?”

“What else could our destiny be?”

“To be friends?”

“No. One doesn’t get that psychic zap about a future friend.”

“I never felt we were destined to be lovers.”

“You don’t think those coincidences mean more? There’s no one you’ve seen and had that feeling for?”

“I’ve had hot flashes but never something like you’ve described.”

“I thought that night you got tossed out of your place was going to be to be the start of things. It seemed to be sign that our destiny was going to be fulfilled.”

‘Well, maybe that’s all that was destined. That you’d have a couch for me to sleep on for a couple of nights till I found a place of my own. After all it was you who knew someone with a place for me.”

“I know. I was happy to do that but sad that it all happened  before anything had a chance to develop between us. Didn’t you sense anything?”

“Nope.”

“I guess I was too surprised and fearful.You have no idea how vulnerable I felt being so near you and at the same time afraid to show my desires for you. I didn’t want to scare you. I didn’t want to risk you rejecting me either.”

“If it was destined why would I reject you?”

“If it was destined I didn’t think I’d have to make the first move. That you would give me some signal you wanted me to. You didn’t.”

“So you want destiny fulfilled according to your specific expectations? That it would be a reciprocal destiny? It isn’t.”

“I realized esp and destiny are two different things. That’s why I’m telling you about what I thought our destiny was.”

“Maybe it’s for you to want, but not get.’

“It couldn’t be something that unfair, could it?’

“Destiny isn’t always a happy ending is it? If it were we wouldn’t have dreams.”

“Maybe when destiny isn’t fulfilled all we have is dreams. I did what I could to bring us together. Prayers. Sacrifice.”

“Sacrifice?”

“Yeah. I ended the relationship I was in when I knew I wanted you more than I’d ever want him.”

“You hoped that if you gave him up you’d get me in return?”

“Sounds silly.”

“Maybe you were destined to give him up even without me in the picture.”

“But you were in the picture. Next I gave up sex.”

“Sex?”

“Yes. I made this deal with the universe that I wouldn’t have sex again till I had sex with you.”

“So our destiny was just to have sex?”

“No! It is more than that. I feel we are meant to be together as lovers, as one, as a couple.”

“I can’t get over it. You saw me that first time and boom! DESTINY. And you’ve been hoping for it to be fulfilled all this time. How long would you wait?”

“There was no delivery date on this but I didn’t think you would elude me for so long. Every time I was ready to give up on you’d show up in some way or the other. It seemed that even if wanted to shut that door it would open and there you’d be.”

“Far out. Me your destiny. Could be a poem in that.”

‘Please, no. The last thing I need to hear is you spouting about the futility of my destiny.”

“Expectation and fulfillment are two different things. Maybe the poem is its fulfillment.”

soon

April 26, 2015 – Sunday – 2-5 – Featuring – The Secret Handshake Gallery – 170 Baldwin Ave., 2nd floor, Toronto. https://www.facebook.com/events/913761975313528/

born

May 7 – Thursday – 8 pm – Judging – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Season 1 finals – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre – 12 Alexander St., Toronto –

hdamnfinal

https://www.facebook.com/events/726986450755918/permalink/726987687422461/

June 5-7 – attending – Capturing Fire – Washington DC

fire

http://www.thedccenter.org/capturingfire/

(2015 registration posted but details not posted yet. I’ve registered already 🙂 )

June 21-26 – attending – Rosemary Aubert’s Workshop: The Novelist’s Selfie – Loyalist – Belleville https://www.facebook.com/events/965611026782246/

loyclass

register now while there is room at the table

page 23 for details next page down for registration info

https://www.loyalistbanner.com/ceweb/doc/LoyalistSummerArts2015.pdf

June 27, Saturday – 7:00-  Feature: Hot Summer Nights at Hirut, Hirut Restaurant, 2050 Danforth Ave., Toronto

summer15

September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo

Expo15

http://fanexpocanada.com

October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Inner Child Sacrifice

partsnoir

 

bluechair

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Mi alcance de todo el mundo

WPFeb

My reach around the world – more precisely my WordPress reach around the world. One of the great features of WP is this Top Views by Country, where I can tell what countries have looked at my posts going right back to when I first started it. That the USA & Canada top the most frequent list comes as no surprise. But that Brazil has claimed the 3rd spot for the last year has been unexpected.

wires

the wired corner

What the stats don’t tell me is who has looked, only where they are from, or perhaps where their server is from? That isn’t totally clear to me nor do I really care. I do wish I knew how some of these readers found the blog in the first place.

But to have so many readers from Spanish/Portuguese speaking areas pleases me: Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Costa Rica. Mexico, Columbia, Chile, Guatemala – hola. Drop me a line – google translate will tell me what you say 🙂

blackfile

the cold case files

What always surprises, almost shocks me, is getting hits from China (with how controlled the Internet is there). Russia is 5th on the list for February – with queer life so suppressed, repressed there I am amazed anyone would take the risk to look at my blog. Places where you can be jailed for writing poetry, let alone having same sex sex. Those brave Africans in Zimbabwe, South Africa – wow!

sky

the unwired sky

To get the map graphic I do a screen picture, trim it down some, cut & paste the info to take up less space. Also edit out the number of hits – where is more important that how many, right. But the darker the colour the more hits from that place. I’d love to see more places the color of Brazil & love to see Brazil as red as Canada.

Maybe when I win the lottery I can line up lunch dates with these total strangers & find out what keeps bringing them back to my postings.

samples

The Scope of Things

Dave got a telescope

for his thirteenth birthday

it needed a tripod to hold it up

if the screws weren’t tight enough

the heavy head would drift down

he showed me how to focus on stars

the faces of the moon

people’s roofs living rooms

to see what they were watching on TV

prying spying was sneaky fun

 

when we looked at the Milky Way

I would hum the Star Trek theme

we made notes of constellations nebulas

when we came to Earth

we had no guides for these creatures

observed from our ufo

as it hovered unseen

peering into their windows

as they shuffled from living room to kitchen

sat on the floor to eat chocolate ice cream

directly from the carton

scratched their private parts

which was about as exciting

as those dull humanoids ever got

never found an open bedroom curtain

or some flash of undressed flesh

 

for my thirteenth birthday

I got a microscope

to prepare me for science in school

Dave and I took turns looking at trapped squiggles

water had uncountable live darters

snot was creepy

our shit swarmed with so many  things

I had to wash and wash afterward

I had to do my sperm

in secret

again

I had to wash and wash afterward

 

we tried the microscope

through the telescope

puzzled by things so far

we couldn’t touch them

so small we couldn’t feel them

wondering where did we fit in

soon1

March 7 – Saturday – attending – 2015 Toronto SpecFic Colloquium – Round Venue, 152A Augusta Ave., Toronto

specfic

http://chiseries.ticketleap.com

March 26 – Thursday 8 pm – Judging – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam – Supermarket – 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto

hot

April 26, 2015 – Sunday – 2-5 – Featuring – The Secret Handshake Gallery – 170 Baldwin Ave., 2nd floor, Toronto.

born

May 7 – Thursday – 8 pm – Judging – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Season 1 finals – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre – 12 Alexander St., Toronto –

hdamnfinal

https://www.facebook.com/events/726986450755918/permalink/726987687422461/

June 5-7 – attending – Capturing Fire – Washington DC

fire

http://www.thedccenter.org/capturingfire/

(2015 registration posted but details not posted yet. I’ve registered already 🙂 )

June 21-26 – attending – Rosemary Aubert’s Workshop: The Novelist’s Selfie – Loyalist – Belleville

loylab

Loyalist Workshop is the real deal

page 23 for details next page down for registration info

https://www.loyalistbanner.com/ceweb/doc/LoyalistSummerArts2015.pdf

June 27, Saturday – 7:00-  Feature: Hot Summer Nights at Hirut, Hirut Restaurant, 2050 Danforth Ave., Toronto

summer15

September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo

Expo15

http://fanexpocanada.com

October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Inner Child Sacrifice

noiroc15

 

foggy

foggy wires

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thanks

How The Damned End

The Beautiful and the Damned had a good run starting at Zelda’s, then Glad Day Books, Q Space & finally The Central. Over its few short years the series brought a rich variety of spoken-word & music to the stage. From James Ince to Spencer Butts to Marcia Rogers, to name-drop but a few. Musically diverse it introduced musicians from Kat Leonard to Rex Baunset to Nelson Sobral to spoken-word audiences.

fog03 mist in the Whispering Woods?

The final show of the series was hosted by Brenda Clews, with fun Poe trivia supplied by John Oughton. Spoken feature was the urbane, comic & tres gay J.P. Larocque. He did two powerful, insightful, funny & in your face queer pieces. Both combined explicit sex with the ironic counter-point of the mundaneness of daily life – in one piece he explores the mutual negianegationstions of a couple at a bathhouse – wanting to be sexually adventuresome while at the same time preoccupied with financial planning. ‘I am no longer the youngest one at the orgy’

His second piece took us to the under-lit confines of washroom sex – ‘… more hopeless that a men’s washroom on Friday afternoon.’ Again he easily mixes the erotic amidadmistst the ordinary. Sharp writing, that reminded me of Conner Habib’s clear eyed take on queerness.

fog02 what lies beneath the surface?

Music feature Amoeba Starfish has graced the Damned stage before & also featured with them at Pride a few years ago. Elegant, trippy, thoughful zen jazz that works effortlessly with spoken-word performers and stands equally engaging on its own. I might be biased as I do I have several of their recordings in my collection.

fog01 red eyes of the besat?

Although I’m saddened to see the Damned come to an end I’m not sorry to have it out of the Central – the wrong spot for a spoken-word show – at times it felt like listening to the performances while trapped in an MRI machine with earplugs on – loud house music, louder band downstairs – as volume was upped for readers, volume was upped else where to compete.

soon

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

expo hair

why so sad? No Buffy reunion panel at FanExpo 2014

October 19 – feature – Cabaret Noir – Pinebow pine2https://www.facebook.com/events/1651892755035275/

samples

I hit the open stage with another glimpse of my October set:

Pinebow 2

has anyone seen Brad?

he was here last night

remember how he screamed

when we told tales

around the campfire

last night

has anyone seen Brad

he shouted with fear and delight

said he wouldn’t be able to sleep without a light

has anyone seen him

I saw him go down to the lake

he took a canoe

rowed into the mist

now Jeff are you sure

that’s what you saw

because all the canoes are there now

not one’s missing

has anyone seen Brad

he has a talent for hiding

that’s for sure

he went missing last week

for two whole days

till we found him then

sleeping in the crook of an oak tree

as tidy and warm

as could be

up so high and deep

in the Whispering Woods

out near Pine Point

perhaps we should look

for him there

he could be pulling another of his stunts

just to teach us a lesson

to make sure we don’t scare with such tales

as you told last night

I saw him go to the smoke shed

he wanted a sausage 

he felt so hungry and weak

he needed a snack before he went to bed

now Olaf that can’t be so

we don’t use the smoke shed

for the summer

that’s for the fall

as you well know

or in the spring

when we run the maple syrup off

perhaps he’s gone there

looking for what is left 

there’s always some dribs and drabs

of that sweet sugar to be found

if you look hard enough

if you scrape under the ground

the black sweet blood of the earth

you don’t say

that’s news to the counsellors and I

so let’s go to the smoke shed

perhaps we’ll find what

we need to find there

as they approached

they saw a strange trail

footprints

small and dainty

hollow and round

with a smudge mark deep

between them

like a long sharp tail

we can’t go in there

the boys shouted as one

we can’t go in there

the Denizen is there

that’s what’s happened to Brad

the Denizen has gotten him

eaten him up

smoked with maple syrup

we know

we can tell

you warned us

the smell of death is in the air

they stood silent

in a circle around the smoke shed

none willing to to take a step forward

the door swung a little in the breeze

they all jumped back

a bell rang

six rapid clangs

ah there breakfast ready boys

we’ll leave this till later

Brad is bound to show up

he’s hoping to give us

another merry chase

another merry chase

which we won’t give into

as a whole

they rushed to the mess hall

hot steaming plates of food were ready

rice crispy squares

scrambled eggs

crisp bacon

pancakes

French toast

home made sausages

cornflakes

poached eggs

Belgian waffles

fresh milk

yellow butter

and ladles of maple syrup

syrup to wash everything down

to make the boys

fat and pump and round

as plump and fat and round

as Brad

river01 river of syrup?

wpjl14

Sex-o-phobia

In the past a couple of months I’ve been chatted up by a couple guys whose need for ‘safe’ sex has become, to me, more about internalized sex-o- or even homo-phobia.

SanF climbing the walls

Both needed reassurance that I was negative and that I had no recent sexual contact with anyone who was poz. By recent they mean years ago. When I couldn’t guarantee that I hadn’t they were no longer interested – fear of contracting HIV was their excuse.

I shrugged. It’s not up to me to educate them on safety protocols and risk factors. Making out with or jacking off a poz guy while he sucks you off isn’t a very high risk factor for HIV.

crack wise crack?

Then I realized what they wanted was someone to have sex with without worrying about any safety protocols. They also expected me to take their word on their status while I was being honest about mine. Asking when I last got tested etc. As if I’m going to send a pdf of results. With stats tipping on the increased infection rate I wonder if this is one of the reasons.

lamp lamp unto mine eyes

I understand the need for caution, trust me I am careful. I also realized that these guys were looking for reasons not to have sex – perhaps they wanted to be wanted, to express desire & then not have sex is pretty safe. Ultimately they seemed too stupid for me to want to get naked with them.

 

samples

Ambition

 

day 1

 

there’s a fog on the city

that cat paw

plays with the dusky sun

fog smog

can’t tell the difference

it smudges the high rises

takes away a bit of the bitter ambition

of polished steel and glass

 

day 2

 

one can almost see it breath

this deep thin thick white yellow mist

trees steam

as it settles closer and closer

to the ground

a cloud come for lunch

a crow moves uncertain

a new world to fit

cover the old world

fuzzy damp slick

 

day 5

 

everything has a new tactile identity

even the sidewalk under foot

has a membrane over it

nothing is cut and dry

the fog smog becomes a night

white damp

hands reach out to move foreward

looking for a familiar wall

feet tentatively feeling for stairs up or down

a curb

car lights barely penetrate

traffic lights useless

police whistles

echo

as things grind to a stop

 

day 12

 

skin decaying with the constant damp

fungus boils between toes

behind ears

skin aches for sun for true light

the mist continues impassive

it develops a weight of its own

holds you down

keeps you in your chair

seeps under doors

fills rooms

makes TV dim

hides the computer monitor from you

ink blots

pens tear paper

damp soggy paper

nothing can been read

seen

felt

tasted

lungs congested

with this new atmosphere

fetid  stifling

 

day 33

 

people gaspn collapse

in stairwells

behind the wheels of their car

one by one

entranced

caught in the chill

unaware unprepared

ready for the big one

not for the big wet one

by the time the wind arrives

it will arrive

won’t it

there will be a fresh wind some day

won’t there

 

day 124

 

some of us survived

rose high in tall buildings

crept out on to roofs

where

the mist wasn’t quite so thick

we stood to look down

around us

an island above

a vague city

silent

sad

the ground level under not water

but cloud

not sure

how to save

just pray for a wind

pray for a new sun

to burn away the fog smog

danger caught in our throats

 

day 125

 

cough

each of us cough

no power

nothing to eat

all infested by the damp

deserted by all except ambition

buriedsnowed under

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On The Animals’ Twain

Almost at the end of my extensive Animals collection – The Twain Shall Meet. Twain is one of those recordings in the wake of Sgt. Pepper – the Stones did “Satanic Majesties” – groups scrambling to show off mystical leanings along with sound engineering. The Animals didn’t have George Martin at the helm and it showed.

mirror broken reflections

This was one of my favourite Animals recordings, with its sometimes cheesy lyrics ‘orange & red beams’ and the forced philosophical depth garnered from the Maharishi. Sky Pilot is a staggering anti-war song even with it weird wash of effects – bagpipes, machine guns.

redcoat plum tuckered out

Side one opens with Monterey – about the pop festival & flower power pervades the rest of the side. Spinal Tap skewers this stuff mercilessly. Side two is a sort of suite of three longish cuts that flow seamlessly into each other and fades out in a haze of patchouli incense. Eric became disenchanted with the Maharishi by the time he recorded Year of The Guru.

My music pals at the time hated this Lp, felt it was a shallow sell out no better than something the Monkees would have recorded but it stuck to me. My Cd is a reissue by One Way Records – no bonus material plus they get the name of one of the cuts wrong – Orange & Red Beams becomes Orange & Red Beans.

plates picnic sans basket

The other Animals Cds on the shelf are hits collection: Best Of: (before LSD( & Greatest Hits, (after LSD). More about Eric in another post, because as I’ve written about about the band I’m understanding what appealed to me and why they still do. That’ll be my Friday post.

 

samples

Waltz

 

Lazy grey waltz

Show me the steps

Glide across the floor

A feather

In the fiddler’s sleeve.

 

Shadow creased vision

Hushed distance of recall

Layers webs flickering

Smokey images crumbling

Wondering

How did I ever get this away

So far, far away

From the hoedown moon?

 

A sorrow tugs at my sleeve

Timid but persistence,

When the river flows

It’s easy top wash it away;

The sun dried me so quick

Here it is back again

A tear to keep me in check,

Wondering

Why did I turn around

When I heard night

Sweep the webs away

Again

Against my will to know

That it was time to rosin up the bow.

 

2

 

Languid hazel waltz

Watch my steps

Skip over the lawn

A thorn

In the fiddler’s shoe.

 

My life is the mist

Hovering around the moon

Cutting golden across the floor

Through the open windows

Of the haystack ballrooms

Where here comes that waltz

Again

Slow and close, almost in tears

Slightly futile, music echoes

You are far away and I dance alone

Again,

Out into a starless night.

 

Smooth white waltz

Follow my steps

Carefree through harvest fields

A gleam

In the fiddler’s eye.

myseat

my Loyalist seat

Untattooed

One of the pieces I read on Monday night I first included in a blog post here: Brain Rental http://wp.me/p1RtxU-Hj. It has been edited several times as I’ve performed it a few times. Someone asked me how my editing process works. So I’ll try to explain some of it here. The most recent version is after My Coming Attractions.

two Practicality to be supreme. Choices to be made.

Bradbury – (this was working title, taken from what I thought the Viral prompt was. When I first wrote it, by hand, I made a note to add some Spanish & when I did that the new title presented itself)

he held

the palm of my hand open

traced a line

with his untattooed index finger (untattooed gives a sense that the rest of the body may be tattooed. This is a reference to Bradbury’s ‘Illustrated Man’ – in which each tattoo tells a story to the people looking at them.)

his touch light

tickled

my fingers began to curl

as did my toes

the hair stood up on the back of neck

as if he had caressed me there (‘there’ cut as we know where)

he pushed my fingers back

looked me in the eye

you have a wet life line

wet is good

you live in a world of rain (a reference to one of the stories in The Illustrated Man)

puedes verlo

he slipped into his native tongue

can you see it (no Spanish in the very first draft – picked some very simple phrases – Why Spanish? Ask mi tesoro if you ever get to meet him 🙂 )

his eyes held mine

they were the blue of a seaside sky

over a lawn being mowed (changed these lines to make them more surreal, romanic & also truer to mi tesoro – who had told me how much he enjoyed swimming at sunset as a child)

he leaned closer

his lips brushing mine

he smelled of

a freshly sanded maple toy box

and New year’s Day (tweaked these some from written version to add a more surreal dream feeling)

I like this wetness I witness

quieres saber más

do you want to know more (thanks to Google translate for my okay Spanish)

he leaned back

raised the palm of my hand

to his mouth  his lips (changed to logical sequence)

he bit the flesh below my thumb

then looked to me

what do you see

joker the spirit in search of experience

I see rain

I walk naked in its warmth

the ground is rough

the grass is green (changes here for consistency – brought the image back to the sunset beach)

yes yes he said

I want to be in you

in your wet

he folded my hand

and let rest on the table (fixed grammar here)

you like your future

Le gusta su futuro

seems to me

you read your own future

in the palm of my hand

he smiled wide

then showered me

with his happy laughter

five sexo en grupo

The poem is a mix of many moments – some from a dream – some from actual things mi tesoro has said to me – he has never read my palm, nor, as far as I know, reads the future either. The Spanish is also a nod to one of my dead muses – Lorca.

samples

Native Tongue

he held

the palm of my hand open

traced a line

with his untattooed index finger

his touch light

tickled

my fingers began to curl

as did my toes

the hair stood up on the back of neck

as if he had caressed me

he pushed my fingers back

looked me in the eye

you have a wet life line

wet is good

you live in a world of rain

puedes verlo

he slipped into his native tongue

can you see it

his eyes held mine

they were the shadow brown

of a seaside sunset

he leaned closer

his lips brushing mine

he smelled of

a freshly sanded maple toy box

and New Year’s Day

I like this wetness I witness

quieres saber más

do you want to know more

he leaned back

raised the palm of my hand

to his lips  his mouth

bit the flesh below my thumb

then looked to me

what do you see

  I see rain

  I walk naked in its warmth

  the sand is smooth

yes yes he said

I want to be in you

in your wet

he folded my hand

and let it rest on the table

you like your future

Le gusta su futuro

  seems to me

  you read your own future

  in the palm of my hand

he smiled wide

then showered me

with his happy laughter

3501211-mirror-ball Le gusta su futuro

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‘a dream’s first kiss’

Racket’s March show kicked winter in the butt with a fine set of features & open-stagers. Sandra Cardinal, back in the hosting spotlight, put together another great line up of spoken performers. Starting with playwright Nina Kaye, who mixed some of her poetry in with some strong, well-performed monologues. Teen-age girls who relish the fact that ‘cab drivers will do anything if your flash them your tits’; a male hustler who admits that ‘it just feels good to know someone wants you.’ Her piece about teen-age infatuation perfectly captured that cloying adolescent idealism ‘seeing his face was like seeing the sun after a long winter.’

moon moon at noon

Next up was Rob Ellis with a fun set of poems of political bite and rhyme – ‘Welcome to the Hotel North Korea’ ‘I asked Obama how can this be/he said, we haven’t a conflict since 1953.’ Of work life he says, ‘now employees are associates,’ ‘when things go bad as always it’s the staff that pays.’

dresser get into my loose drawers

After the break Norm Cristofoli delivered a well-structured. polished set of spiritually grounded, at the same time sensually seeking, poems. Of religions he say, ‘the greatest mistake mankind made/ was to turn the messengers into the message.’ His homage to film noir offered us ‘a liquid jewel to help me forget’ ‘sixes in his eyes, sevens on his tongue.’ Of love ‘you move me like a dream’s first kiss.’ A great set that was over too soon.

chairget out from under my legs

Too many open-stagers to name but new-to-the-scene Matthew Carmichael is gaining in confidence. Susan Helwig did a brief monolgue about visiting an artist’s studio that brought the house down -‘Why are all the men in your paintings asleep?’

As always The Red Rocket Cafe is a great spot for an intimate night of spoken-word. Good coffee, great desserts and a staff that enjoys the artists as much as they enjoy the tips. In some spots it seems the staff only puts up with ‘art’ as long as they are getting tips.

coming

April 21, Monday – featuring – Lizzie Violet’s Poetry Open Mic at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club – 7:30 – doors and open mic sign up, 8:00 – start – 54 The Esplanade, Toronto https://www.facebook.com/events/1379693865637955/

amflyerjpg copy

April 27, Sunday – attending – Julie Czerndea Workshop http://chiseries.ticketleap.com/chiseriesworkshop-julie-czerneda/

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

samplesGrief

 

when it was over

it was over

that part was pretty simple

fairly painless

the grief was in the waiting

looking for a right moment

to admit to one another

that over was over

that we didn’t need

to spend any more time

in trying to make things work

in looking for some

little thing to do or say

that would make things new

that would return us to

what we had at the start

even if we could

I was never sure

if either of us would

have set the way back machine

to reclaim those early months

of frisky free falling fun

even now

if we are clear headed

that free fall

wasn’t all peaches and cream

but it was good

wasn’t it?

 

it’s hard to learn

to avoid the rough patch

that comes before

it’s over

that patch

is what seems to cause the most pain

the ending is nearly always a relief

when we both admit

it’s time for a change

thanks for the memories

except that patch

why do we get so caught

in that patch

it sticks to the feet

slows us down

makes us both blind & super sensitive

at the same time

makes us both wander aimless

afraid of saying the wrong thing

or the right thing

that will bring the inevitable to light

to reveal to the other

that over has to be soon

that over is better than this

whatever this is

that hovers over our heads

the fear of being alone

the rest of our lives

isn’t as bad as being together

admitting that isn’t what love is all about

isn’t what we wanted

out of this relationship

 

why do we let it fester so long

so long there is no clear break

just more fester

and fester can’t hold a couple together

any better that come does

so what gain is there in that patch

because I’ve known people

who spend more time in the patch

than they did in loving one another

that patch

begins the moment one or the other says

we have to work on this relationship

if we expect it to work

work!

what sort of work

hammer and nails

I know enough not to give up

when the first hormone blush has faded

but I also know

that work isn’t the solution

making me or him change

isn’t going to lead to any real affection

that merely allows one another

to trot our little  power games

that please appease for a short time

but rarely improve

we end up improving one another

for the next relationship

for the better one

that hovers in a cloud

in a dream around the corner

the one we weren’t ready for when we met each other

but the one that will truly last

the one that will be a longer

free fall fondle

though the gates of paradise

up the stairs

of the local gym

to pack on or take off

to shape   reshape

to avoid and dangle

to take us into the next one

it gives us no respite

for no matter how happy

a couple seems

at any given moment

one of them is

looking for the one that will do

when over is over

gull uncaged

gull uncaged

 

Raised by Noir Wolves

Cabaret Noir started the new year off in fine style with dynamic sets from Brock Hessel, David Bateman & music by Cap & Kev. Kevin, at the Central, with zydeco then French Pop 60’s playlists created a great mood for the show.

bow

I’d seen Brock perform recently and was eager to hear what new material he had. His first piece about a bathhouse Betty introduced us to his relentlessly pointed observations of gay and pop culture, politics and the mental health system. ‘Someone called me an asshole – how can a part of me represent the whole?’ He closed with Joanne’s Hands or is Johanda’s Hands – a no-holds-bars milking of Canadian cultural icons from Layton to Lightfoot.  http://brawk-ward.tumblr.com

hedge

  Next up was David Bateman. I’ve heard David several times and each time he’s had strong new pieces, so I was looking forward to his latest observations, stories and maybe a haiku or two. No haiku’s but a fine long memory piece: ‘I kissed her husband ten times, deeply,’ ‘raised by wolves in a badly furnished den,’ ‘now that I’m too old to die young.’ The piece was rich with cultural references: KFC, Dairy Queen, trailer parks and assassinations. http://batemanpoetry.blogspot.ca/

broken

This is the first time I’ve heard musical feature Cap & Kev, as Cap & Kev – as members of I Hate Todd – I’ve heard them in various combinations with other circle of jerkers. A violin & acoustic guitar duo they treated us to a great set of mid-tempo, adult, folksy material. The violin added warm, Celtic accents that took me back to my coffee house days in Cape Breton. They mixed original material with some great covers of John Prine, The Pretenders (!!) & Death Cab. When they started Brass in The Pocket I was slightly dismayed but Cap seized that song & turned it into her own with a dynamic performance. Loved their hockey song as well – not sure what it was called but it scored.

A Noir full house made for a great start for 2014 (plus an all too brief lap dance for me from Nelson Sobral.)

 

samples 

Beginning

Jess looked down at the knife. It was in her hand. She held it. Clutched it would be more accurate. It was embedded in her grip and the sight of the silver blade gripped her.

She held it at arm’s length to keep it as far from her face as possible.

“Is this a dagger before me?” She breathed the words into the cold air, her breath a cloud of frost before her. A cloud that for a brief moment hid the knife from her.

The moon reflected from the beads of her breath as they formed a frost pattern on the blade. Cold hard steel that would liberate her, free her people, if she wielded it properly.

“The Word will come to pass.” Jess held the blade over head, the tip of it grazing the low branch of the oak tree above her. Where it grazed a thin spark of blue appeared and vanished.

“The Tower of the east will no longer have the power to possess.” She turned to the east with the tip of the dagger aimed in that direction.

“The Fires of the south will no longer have the warmth to boil the life out of our souls.” She muttered as she moved the point of the dagger to the south.

“The Watch of the west will lose all grip on reality, on the word she thinks holds her intact.” The blade vibrated for a moment as it locked into true west. “You can resist but only for this moment.”

“The Desert of the north will blow across the land only one more time.” She brought the blade point to north. “We will allow it only one last time to cover all the land with the healing power of dryness. Then life will spring anew.”

She directed the blade at the rocky ground beneath her and with all her force drove the point into stone. The stone shattered and separated beneath her feet. The very planet shook for an instant.

“Earth has been moved for this moment. As has been written the Spirit of Life has been set free again. All elements will be bound together for ever.”

Jess tugged the dagger. It was solid in the stone. With all her might she pulled but it resisted. This was not the way it was to be. If all was done right the dagger would slide out easily from the stone to reach once more past the moon and to the sun as it rose.

If she did not raise the dagger high she didn’t know what the consequence might it. It would not be good.

She stopped tugging a moment and held the handle gently in her hand.

“You take what you need from the earth.” She wiped her brow and gently slid the dagger out. The silver blade was now black, with no reflection. She couldn’t tell where the blade ended and the night began.

frozen