‘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.


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



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


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.


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


  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/


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.)




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.


ABC: The Lexicon of Love

 First on the pop shelf of my collection we have one of my favorites. ABC: The Lexicon of Love – the original with no extras i.e. endless remixes or demos. The open salvo of horns grabs me every time. This an album that simmer under the bombastic production work of Trevor Horn. I can remember hearing Poison arrow for the first time on the dance floor and was captured by that engineering work. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevor_Horn

emptyempty reception area

This was one of the first recordings that, for me, elevated disco (or dance music as it being called.) Martin Fry’s vocals were a compelling, if a bit ripe, mix of Brian Ferry, David Bowie with a dash of Spandau Ballet. Lounge glam blasé, it was mope music pitched to make me dance. http://www.abcmartinfry.com/ABC.html

chairempty corridor

I loved the videos – this was when video was killing the radio star (an earlier Trevor Horn hit). If I was watching Much Music I was eager for their over-the-top videos to show up. I always thought it ironic that music pitched to a queer dance audience had videos pitched to straight television viewer. My Lp quickly wore out.

viewempty view

The follow up, Beauty Stab, had moments but they never captured the slick seduction and emotional bombast of the first Lp. Very much a sound of its time it did bring me back to listening to modern pop.


Lake Pinebow 5

my son my son

my darling son

what have you learned

what has nature shown you

has she given up her secrets

to lead you another step

further along the road to manhood

my son my son

what have you learnt

in the brave air of camp this summer

what have you learnt

father dear

mother dear

many things have been revealed

deeper than I can say

I have come close to the heart of fear

yet not stepped into it’s path

I have seen how nature tempts us

makes herself so pretty and inviting

only to snap your neck

with a flick of paw

or suddenly

hold your tender feet

with the sludge of the lake

to take you deep deep deep

where one can ever return

that is what I have learnt

of the many things

that is the one I hope I never forget

dear mother dear father

my son my son

that is a lesson

well worth the cost

it is one

that has let you move along

to the harsh reality of life

outside these woods

away from this lake

into the virgin territory of the future

we are pleased and honoured

you have survived once again

that you are now ready to face

what must be faced next

and what have you made

dear mother dear father

this is a wallet

folded of fine leather

and stitched by my very own hand

the faces on the front

embossed with all my might

honour my fallen comrades

one who ventured too close

Pinebow Lake late at night

and were whisked beyond our sight

never to be seen

never to be found

without a trace or a clue

I have honoured them with this memento

every time

I reach for money

I will think

of my dear fallen comrades

of the foolish chances they took

and be wary and cautions

as I spend my way into the future

dear son dear son

such a tale you tell

of those who have vanished

we are so grateful it was not you

touched that you chose to recall and remember

and take their deed

as a lesson for yourself

the wood has taught wisdom and prudence

and what else have you made

dear mother dear father

this is an ashtray

made of sausages

bound together with

the finest of maple syrup

fired deep

in the violent heat of the smoke shed

polished and perfect

for you dear father

to keep on your desk

as a reminder of what you have put me through

to make this small token for you

to remind you that this son

has risked life and limb

mind and body

to learn the lessons

to make him fit to follow

in your footsteps

into the dark promise of tomorrow

my son my son

I have no words to thank you

this is more than I expected

a treasure for me always

one no father could deny

one which all father’s will envy

but have you nothing for your mother

dear mother dear father

have no worry there

I have for her this mark

a brand of mother

that as I roll my sleeve you can see

it has been burned into my arm

seared and scorched

the skin smelt of death

for a day or two

but when the scab fell off

I was safe and proud

I have suffered for love

and here is the proof

dear mother

suffered to prove

what no one can prove

that I am ready to be

the man you dream me to be

ready to let go

of those things of the past

to go out of the play room

to leave the toy box behind

and wrestle with the grim patterns

of being an adult

plushiethe Denizen 

What’s New?

What’s new for 2014? First up is a revised bio. To make it shorter I would drop the list of my appearances – who really cares? The ‘philosophy’ portion has been cobbled together from some recent books I’ve read – it almost makes me sound relevant.

shoesold brown shoes

TOpoet.ca (http://topoet.ca) fills the gap between form and content where he strives to give an objective presence to imaginary constructions of bourgeois or radical psychology. He embraces the realm of the ‘superficial’ as a refusal of ‘substance,’ which is culturally inscribed in heteronormative terms. TOpoet is a poet, short-story writer & novelist who has hit stages from Sydney, Nova Scotia to San Francisco, California – in Toronto he has performed at HOWL, Cryptic Chatter, Hot-Sauced Words, Poetic Justice, Word Jam, The Art Bar, Word on the Street, Pride, Queer West Fest, Plasticine Poetry & The Beautiful and the Damned.

shipstranded on the ice planet

That’s one of the little changes I’m making for the new year. Grand jestures run out of steam fast but small motions create ripples that become waves. One ripple is to drop out of the Beautiful and the Damned collective. It takes little energy to do but it hasn’t returned much creative energy in my life. Just lots of FB friends who expect me to support them but most of whom I have only seen once at the Damned & rarely at one of my features.

bootsboots given the boot

I’ve also decided not to do any open stages in 2014. I put as much effort into preparing for one of those as I do for a feature and often the result is nil. Time to stop giving it away so easily. I’ll host or feature but that’s it. If someone wants me on their stage I’ll be asked & hopefully paid, too:-)


(in future my coming attractions will only list features or conferences but not reading events I’m merely attending)

January 22, Wednesday – featuring – Winter Snow Ball, 7 p.m. – urban gallery, 400 Queen East https://www.facebook.com/events/792356567447501/

February 21, Friday – featuring – Racket at the Rocket: 7 p.m., Red Rocket Cafe, 1364 Danforth Ave.

March 1, Saturday – attending – Toronto SpecFic Colloquium

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada




I promise not to promise

that’s a promise I can keep

and if I don’t, well such is life



the things that have lasted the longest

haven’t needed a blood oath

to keep them

to meld

to last


no resolutions to lose weight

no death bed utterance

to chain the mortal soul

to some unfulfillable future

to creep up and hobble me


school was a time

when I showed so much promise

a time when I was supposed

to pledge to my 50 year old self

the dreams of some 15 year old

under the encouragement

of some teacher who thought

15 year olds could make a such decisions

how did I slip those clutches

safe from the dreams of others

of even my own dream

to become a man who has a dream

but who hasn’t pledged

to fulfill it but to allow it


a pledge is a curse

either way one suffers

a result


so when I say I will never leave you

I mean that

with the following conditions

I will never leave you

as long as you don’t leave me

as long as you don’t shut me out

as long as you don’t get too self-destructive

as long as  you  don’t make me listen to

metal jungle hip-hop rap crap

filled to the brim with anger

as long as you stay alive

as long as I  feel we aren’t trapped by some pledge

forced to tolerate

to keep up appearances

forced to stick it out

as the alternative of being alone

of having to start

the same search all over again

as long as there is a breath of life

as long as no one gets too long winded

as long as we can find movies neither of us really detests

as long as you wash your feet

and as long as I keep the food hot and fresh

as long as

as long as long

well you get the picture


I‘ll never leave you

as long as you are here

and I am there

that keeps it simple

above board

nothing hidden

no secret misgivings

no dirty laundry to be aired

fair even square and ready

you don’t have to lose weight

get a better job

get a raise

buy new clothes

wear the right scent

say the right thing

you just have to present

which is all

I can promise to you

which all we’ll need

for things to last

to be sincere honest

argumentative enough

so the other knows

the other isn’t a push over

but an opportunity a chance to take

a gift to give

not a promise to keep

not a threat to fulfill

not a pledge to scar

not a test to pass

just a bed to lie in

as we have chosen to make it

tim'sreplicator under the rim

Sleeping with a Beautiful Chainsaw

The Damed Boxing Day Blow Out show was hotter than July thanks to the amazing Tomy Bewick (http://burlingtonslam.wordpress.com/about-us/tomy-bewick/) and the equally amazing Distant Cousins, SoulFistikato & Dane Swan (https://www.facebook.com/DistantCousins2).

shoesdeserted shoes

Great open stagers warmed up the house: Adam Abbas with some saucy limericks, Philip Cairns longing for summer & to be the Sandpiper Elizabeth Taylor; and finally Vanessa McGowen with a great piece about her Dad, in which she demonstrates one of the good things about being a writer is that we can give people who have passed away a voice they lacked when they were alive.

snowcones snow cones

Then Tomy hit the stage (I couldn’t resist the Who echo) with an energetic set of emotionally raw, sometimes funny pieces. Charged with razor sharp observations ‘depends on which suicide of the bed you wake up on,’ fun turns of phrase ‘I’m only a beaver – you are what you eat’ it was a powerful set. His new work about the end of a relationship: him ‘sleeping next to the chainsaw’ or his watching his daughter ‘colour her way through the confusion’ – opened his heart to us without being maudlin or bitter.

dishdish and spoon

After a brief break Distant Cousins gave us a festive mix of music, spoken word & even improv with Tomy at one point. Dane ‘an expert at falling down’ always stands strong at the microphone. Direct lines like ‘you’ve never taken a hostage but you hold your own happiness at gunpoint,’ always make me listen closer. Soul’s singing was sweet and his verbal & performance interplay with Dane makes me jealous. Plus he slams in Italian, who could ask for more? (me)

snowbowthe bow makes the snow much easier to take

The next Damned is Thursday, January 29, 7 pm at the Central. Hosted by DM Moore with features: Jill Batteson, Brenda Clews, Neil Traynor.


March 1, Saturday – attending – Toronto SpecFic Colloquium

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada



“No! No! No! Spoon! No! No! No!” Dish dashed around the canisters with Spoon on her heels.

“Yes! Yes! Yes! My sweet.” Spoon found it hard to talk when he was so full of cream. “Let me cream you one more time. Please. You know how much you enjoy the rich cream rubbed all over you.”

“Oh, Spoon, no. It makes me feel so … so …dirty.”

“Yes, I know, and it makes me feel the same way. Let’s be dirty together.”

Spoon cornered  Dish and splattered her curved bottom with thick, rich cream.

“Oh! Spoon.” She seemed to melt before his very eyes. “That was good. I have to catch my breath.”

“It’s going to take another swim in the  pool to get us clean.”

“Oh, Spoon I don’t care if I ever get clean again. When you make me feel so dirty, I feel so good at the same time. Why is that?”

“Ha ha ha.” A harsh laugh interrupted their tryst.

“Who was that?” Spoon stood and look around.

“Ha ha ha.”

“Go look and see who it is.” Dish shook with fear.

Spoon went to the edge of the counter.

“Ha ha ha.” It was Ginger the Little family dog. “Ha ha ha.” The Little dog laughed, “I haven’t seen such fun for a long time.”

“Who is it Spoon?”

“It’s just that mutt.”

Ginger jumped up on a chair and then on to the counter. Dish tried to get away but was trapped. The little dog held her down with one paw and began to lick her.

“Oh! Oh!” Dish moaned. “He’s ….” she couldn’t speak any further as his tongue got wedged in her crack.

“Get away from her.” Spoon hit Ginger on the nose and tried to poke the dog’s belly.

“Ha ha ha.” Ginger let go of Dish. “That tickles. Now let’s see what you have to offer.” The dog give the spoon a couple of quick licks and when he was done jumped down from the counter.

“Oh my.” Spoon reeled unsteadily. “I haven’t felt like this since Little Boy Blue.”

“Same here.” Dish rolled over to Spoon. “He wasn’t too cruel to you was he?”

“No, my sweet. His nails didn’t scratch you? Did they.”

“I don’t think so.”

Dish turned around so Spoon could check all sides of her.

“You look fine. But your crack is now bigger than Mother Hubbard’s cupboard.”

taxiMother Hubbard’s cupboard?

Full Function Fashion

Things get stale real fast – like the ice storm that nearly wrecked Christmas for Toronto – sadly, for the news machine, it lost it’s entertainment value even faster than it took to get the power back on – though we may get another whisper from it in some year end review – if only Mother Nature had held off another couple of days or it would have a much more memorable storm that did ruin Christmas. As more power is restored the reporters seem more disappointed in the dwindling number of people in the dark.

ixe02ice on mirror in my backyard

Paul Simon sang ‘I get all the news I need from the weather report.’ I don’t even bother with that anymore. I’ve had all the news I need & now rarely bother. Weather I can get by stepping out side. Depressing updates on shootings, wars, drunken politicians, I can get by picking a newspaper from 1970. Same old same old shots ran out, city walloped by rain/snow. I know these things go on – they aren’t news to me anymore. Deja shoot.

ixe03ice on the clothes line

Like many who lost power, I added layers to keep warm in the slowly cooling house, tugged fallen tree branches off my front walk, salted the slippery path. No internet, TV for 36 hours & nothing much changed. Luckily Red Rocket Cafe had extra power bars for people who needed to re-charge so I was able to keep my cell-phone powered up.

ixe01Christmas lights reflected in iced mirror

Power out 10:30 Saturday night, back around 3:30 Monday morning. Ford is now taking full credit for getting the power back on in full function fashion – I wonder how many power lines he climbed to make sure it happened?

Merry Christmas to all.


Dec 26 – Thursday – hosting – The Beautiful & The Damned

June 6-8, 2014 – attending – Bloody Words


Revised Manual of Assembly 1.05 page 54

 Now that you have attached the three legs to the main torso of the console you are ready to bring the remain two legs. First be confident that the previous three appendages have been securely and firm riveted to the correct dowelling supports.

Before proceeding any further you must next stabilize the unit so that it will not move while you are doing these important steps in this process.

Notice that at the 3.6 mill mark and the 6.9 slot of B flange there are proper placement apertures for the stabilizing instruments. Please take the time now to do this simple operation, for the success of the remaining instruction depends on how well and firmly you stabilize the torso.

At this time you should also check that all the electric circuits are in full function fashion. The read outs will flicker, not to be alarmed, but wait till that has ceased. Once it has ,it is safe to proceed.

The two sound modules are also primed for an initial check so place a sound disc in carriage portal CVX5. If there is no sound it is not wise to proceed. Please go back to the standard model manual to see what you have to adjust. If the sound is not sufficiently proper at this point you will not be able to go back to repair later if you proceed with the final appendages.

The two video monitors, which are mounted at flange 6Y.8 and slot B are operational and will assist in an internal diagnostic of the hard drives of unit C. Units A and B are ready also for their initial tasks.

Once you have done a review of the present working functions you will proceed to the capture step at flange UBX. See there where the positioning of three small markings. This is the point at which the first of the remaining appendages is to be inserted.

Minimum use of the slick Star lubricant is suggested to assist at this point. Be extra cautious as not to allow the slick Star lubricant to touch anything other than this as it it is extremely worrisome. Keep out of the reach of children, fish and laminated objects.

Now that the slick Star lubricant has formed the shell, you may proceed. If you have any difficulties with the slick Star lubricant please refer to page 67 of the basic module manual.

Allow this appendage sufficient time to form a bond. Once that bond has been formed take the 512 silver slotted rivets and attach them along the periphery of the template to give the appendage proper protection from sunlight and insects. These are the two great foes of your enjoyment of this product.

SAM_1116snow shoes 

Without Your Love

A good friend of mine gets his heart broken nearly every time he falls in love. He wonders if its his fault for the kind of man he falls for. I don’t know exactly what to tell him. I don’t think the fault lies in him or the men but in a culture that measures relationship success by some skewed (to me) standard of cinematic logic.

tableget your legs in the air said the bushes to the table

The logic that says love is a form of emotional ownership that cures all, makes one another’s shortcomings acceptable, and so on. Held together by the notion of forged emotional bonds that never get tested or that will fall apart if they fail that test. Forged of course by sexual fidelity and endless available sex. Anything held together by come falls apart in the wash.

babylove on the go

I suspect many people fall into relationships simply so they won’t have to keep looking. The dating meat market is so brutal on self-confidence the opportunity to get out of it is welcomed. When we can’t we be friends and lovers forever blame and guilt take the place of connection and communication.

wardrobehiding love in a dark place

I’ve found it much easier on my heart to see relationships as opportunities not as solutions. Sure I have some expectations but having them fulfilled isn’t the basis of a friendship. Though the ways my expectations are met do shape the relationship. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t work – I can continue or walk away without making the person responsible.

In other words as much as I love to love and to be love I can live without your expectations of love being fulfilled.


Holiday Cruise

“Play ‘Hey Diddle Diddle’.” Spoon called out.

“Later, man,” Cat took his bow away from his violin. “I’ve played it twice now already.”

“Yeah, I know, but me and the missus are here for a holiday cruise.” Spoon gave Dish a light tap. “And she wants to hear our song one for time.”

“That’s cool, Spoon. I know the story but I have other people here with requests of their own. Haven’t I? Jack Sprat and his wife won’t be happy if they get none.”

“Look, Cat.” Spoon stood. “I worked hard to get here and I expect to get what I came here for.”

“Money can’t buy everything, you know.” Cat arched his back.

“Don’t antagonize the darn cat, Spoony,” Dish tried to pull Spoon away from Cat before things got worse. “Can’t you tell he’s in a bad frame of mind. Must have a thorn in his boots.”

“Yeah, yeah. Whatever you say Babe. Let’s go up to the pool. We’ll be back later Cat so be prepared. You’ll get a licking you won’t forget.”

“Of course, sir,’”Cat wet his lips and picked up his bow and fiddle again. “Now that we have gotten rid of those clods, are there any more requests.”

“There’s A Hole In The Bucket.” Shouted jack.

“Fly me to the Moon.” Cow threw a ten dollar bill at Cat’s feet.

“Avec Plaisire.” Cat watched till Dish & Spoon had left the lounge before starting.

“How can you act like that?” Dish rasped. “I just wanted to get away for a few days to relax, and here you go trying to stir things up with anyone and everyone.”

“I’m sorry, my sweet, but I want to make sure you have a good time. After your nasty fall, you needed to be treated with extra care and protection.”

“I will not break that easily.” Dish shuddered at the recollection of her recent fall from the counter. No new breaks & her crack didn’t get any wider.

“I realized that long ago my love, but you are still the most delicate of tableware to me and it’s hard for me not to worry about you.”

They found room on the rack to lay in the sun. Below them others played and frolicked in the soapy water of the pool.

“Oh, no,” Dish mumbled.

‘What is it my dear.’

“That hussy, Tea Pot, has come out of her cabin. Let me tell you, she’s not that little anymore.”

Spoon was fascinating by the bulging figure of Tea Pot. Her handle, her spout. But he knew there was was no way in for the likes of him.

“Tea Pot how are you this morning.” Spoon asked

“Just longing for you to tip me over and pour me out, Spoony.”

snow01you’re snow romanic

Brave Old Year

Facebook urges me to look back at my biggest moments in 2013 and manages to miss most of them; which suits me fine – it means I have maintained a private life that FB, WordPress, twitter, tumblr has limited access to. More of my life is out there than ever before. I have had a total stranger stop me in the street to ask if I’m the guy in that video shot at Lizzie Violet’s birthday.

doll02where she fell

I still have people telling me how brave I am for being an out queer – in this day & age? I’m sick of straight actors being called ‘brave’ for taking a gay role in a movie – particularly when the role is of yet another queer dying of HIV. But I digress.

doll01there she fades away

It has been a productive year. Did two great features: Secret Handshake, & Cabaret Noir. Wrote some great short stories, great poetry & even finished a rough draft my romanic fantasy about coal miners in love.

Expanded my following on WordPress, Tumblr & even Twitter. Not that an electronic foot print leads to more people coming out to hear me. I’ve realized that on line energy in rarely equals  the same energy in return.

I’ve made my blog more regular, expanded it to 3 posts a week, with at least 3 photos taken by me in each. Structure has made it easier to do. The reviews have made me focus more on the words I hear – this is a prime case of energy in that seems to often go into a vacuum. I do have a couple of dedicated rebloggers but rarely do I hear anything from a performer I’ve reviewed, except to correct a quoted line (kids, I make notes by hand, in the dark & often on a wet, wobbly table – give me a break.)

doll03goodbye dolly

There will be some changes in 2014. Just because things are working doesn’t mean change is out of the question. How big? That’s another blog post but I will be redirecting some of my non-productive energy output into other directions. 


Dec 26 – Thursday – hosting – The Beautiful & The Damned


June 6-8, 2014 – attending – Bloody Words

samplesDishing It Out

“This just isn’t going to work.” Dish loomed over Spoon.

“What do you mean, my sweet?” Spoon tapped playfully on Dish’s edge.

“I mean exactly what I said.” Dish pulled back.

“You can’t mean that, my sweet. We were meant for each other.”

“So you say, but I’m beginning to doubt that.”

“But why?” Spoon attempted to cuddle into the deepest recess of Dish. “No on reaches you the way I do. Admit it?”

“There’s no denying that Spoon, but with you, it’s all take, take, take. You never bring me anything.”

“But, my darling that is the way nature intended us. The dish brings supply to the spoon. Not other way around.”

“So, you think its okay that I’m all give and never get.”

“But, you get frequent caresses from me, my sweet.” Once again Spoon attempted to nestle into the curved depth of Dish.

“No. No. No.” Dish heaved out, sending Spoon skittering across the counter top. “I will not allow myself to be used by you any longer. I cannot for my own sake.”

“There’s some else, isn’t there?” Spoon sparkled with distrust. “It’s that Ladle. He fills you. It’s him, isn’t it?”

“There is no one else. There never will be. No one. Ever. I will not allow myself to be used again a lowly piece of cutlery again. You hear me! Never.”

“Was the soup too hot last night, my sweet? Is that what is troubling you. Or was the milk too cold this morning? Was it something like that. Please tell me. I want to know. Let me share your pain.” Spoon approached again and laid his head on the trembling rim of Dish.

“Oh give me a break.” Dish heaved out once again, pushing Spoon back. “It was your idea we run away, and where has that gotten us? Where?”

‘We still have each other, my precious.’

“I want more than us. I want to be a part of a set. I want cups and saucers. A meat platter. I long for the company of my own kind.”

“But that can never be, now that you have turned your back on them they will never accept you back again. Need I remind you of this?” Spoon tapped a small crack in Dish’s rim.

“So what I am a little cracked. That’s not reason to turn me out. To force me into the company of cutlery. I said I’m leaving you and I will.” The dish rolled to the edge of the counter.

“Baby don’t go. Don’t leave me this way. We can work it out. I’m sure we can. Let me think. There has to be a solution.”

“There is a solution, you have to be less selfish. You have to learn to give, to bring me as much as I bring you.”

“But darling, I hold so little, while you hold so much. We cannot change our basic natures.”

“There’s always an excuse, isn’t there? We’ll no more excuses.” Dish tipped over the counter and crashed to the floor.


Langston Hughes

For the next Damned I’ve picked Langston Hughes as our dead celeb. He’s one of those iconic American figures whose impact continues to be felt. His jazz poetry was written to be heard, to be performed, and that, to me, makes him one of founders of hip-hop, dub, slam and nearly any other kind of spoke-word poetry.

me03out in the country

As a black man he was an inspiration on par with King or Mandela. As a writer he is still an inspiration. I have the massive collected poetry as well a cd of him performing his work.

me02bundling to step out

Wikipedia says: “Hughes identified as unashamedly black at a time when blackness was démodé.” But his sexuality was suppressed – it remains ‘unconfirmable’ – poetry supposedly written to his lover has not been published. How much more powerful a role model would he have been if he could have been openly who he was. What ever is suppressed was in response to a culture that would have buried his genius lest his sexuality scared the children.

me01outing the inner

History is constantly re-assessed & re-interpreted so that what is actual gets lost in a mixed mist of cultural mores of the time that is doing the looking and the biases of the time being looked at. The result is that much queer history is lost or devalued or denied even in the fact of ‘facts.’ It seems the only proof-positive is photographs – but one can photoshop a cock into anyone’s mouth these days.




how did I turn out

the way I turned out

no one held a gun to my head

said you do this

you become that

unless the force of peer pressure

can be called that gun

what force is it that makes

one of us heterosexual

another homosexual

who would chose

considering the drawbacks of either

better to be nonsexual

to avoid all the pressures

of meeting   mating   so-called morality

working out  raising children

avoid stds

neither side of the life style equation

really gets such good press

the sexual grilling of congressmen

the boredom of those who never stray

the envy for those who do

the energy spent on judgment

not in pleasure

who would chose either

yet there is some force

beyond the ken

of the mind  heart  peer pressure

the dna string spinning around in our blood

a force that makes

all the variations flux and flow

those people caught up in it

are trying to make sense of it

that allows for a space for each

well, not all people

as some have this dna string

that doesn’t allow for any variation

where any variation

must be destroyed


and that very fact

makes me wonder

what force brings anyone into

the fold of the shunned

something happens

that pushes against the tide

of the commercial world around us

that breaks them free

of the rigid accepted standard

it happens  like sun spots

and like any invisible force

it becomes easier

to go with the tide

that to fight against it

the greater the resistance

the greater the pain

the hidden becomes less hidden

when the pain of hiding is too great

what was once such a scandal

doesn’t seem to have the weight

it once had

no force behind the fear

to sustain that pressure as it once did

it stopped being seen as revolution

accepted as a part of evolution

we can’t draw a line

that keeps the races apart

when hearts are involved

and the sky is the same over all heads

the earth is the same beneath all feet

the feet of the judgmental strike with the same force

are held by the same gravity

as the feet of those who are judged

as the feet of those

who know nothing about anything

the messy melting pot

that gives all the opportunity to be

none has the right to deny

that right to another

and even though some don’t

they find themselves

eventually drowned

in the ever rising tide of the past

of history

and the rest of us

make our way as best we can

not looking to disrupt anything

but merely to be

momhave you seen your mother, baby, standing in the shadows

Stranger in a Strange Land

Stranger in a Strange Land, Gauguin’s Paradise Lost, The Stand, A Pocket Full Of Rye, A Study In Scarlet, Catch-22: what do these books have in common? They are all books I read in my formative years: high-school, university (not that I spent much time there) & thought the 70’s, early 80’s. All of which I have re-read this past year.

rubbleconstructive rubble

Over the past couple of years I have been examining the books that influenced me creatively in one way or the other. None of which I have read in the past 30 some years. Rereading them as an adult has been informative, interesting & disappointing.

The re-reading has been as far back as grade school, jr high. Book for pre-teens: http://wp.me/p1RtxU-uJ. In both ‘eras’ what I have noticed, amongst other things, is a total lack of otherness – the occasional lesbian, but no queer boys. Sure Sherlock & Watson have than nearly non-existent connect but one has to really stretch to see it. Same with Jules Verne, whose male dominated adventure books rarely even allow the straight men express any kind of affection. Of course movie remakes had added female love interests of sort sort to keep anyone from getting the wrong ideas.

siteconstructive scaffolding

Agatha Christie was a favourite of my mother’s. I read piles of them & never caught the bad guy. Re-reading I see how she constructs plots, creates engaging characters but frequently falls back on disguises, and the explaining detectives. In one the truth is literally found as a message in a bottle.

The Stand was also a revelation. The more recent edition has had hundreds of pages restored to what was already a long novel. Again my memory was selective – Mother Abigail was all I recalled. Killing off major players at the three-quarter point was a risk that sort of paid off. Of course the noble lesbian dies to protect the good guys. All the men heterosexual. In fact in nearly all books I’ve read about the future of the world there will be no gay men; and if there are they have no sex lives & are doomed to self-sacrifice so the breeding pool can survive.

toolsconstructive tools

… a Strange Land, is the most recent of these re-reads. It is more of a satire that I recalled, in the Vonnegut vein, than anything else. I grok that but am disappointed in the amount of attention given to making fun of negotiations, double-talk pissing matches. I wanted more of Smith & less of the other talky, uninteresting stock characters.  


another piece from my recent Noir feature http://wp.me/p1RtxU-xc


snow bone back yard

the bare maple tree

flake teased kissed

every branch from crook to twig tip

gentle layer upon layer

building a changed torso

boneless mounds curving garage roof

topping fence post

midnight moon skittering streaked

dimly biding till dawn

brief days on end

reshaping mutating

with each snow cascade

in summer the tree’s over-leafed skin

longs to be bare to icy tease

yearns for the the cold bones of winter


the clue in the cover

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