Ghosts and Haunted Stumps Toronto

Pan on the Danforth – good Greek/Mediterranean food

tile entrance to Pan which is still there

Seduction on Yonge – sex no longer sells

Greek City on the Danforth – moved then vanished

corner of Sherbourne & Bloor – soon to be a covid ghost – Timothy’s gone & Starbucks took over – then pandemic

Danforth & Logan – the Tim’s stain refuses to be gone

tree on lawn of house next door

haunted stump & bones of tree professionals came later in the year to remove the stump

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees. Thanks paypal.me/TOpoet 

Toronto Ghosts

Sometimes when a store closes it leaves a ghostly stain. These are all eastend Toronto, most along the Danforth & one at Coxwell/Gerrard St.

Wongs was a camera shop near Broadview – the window had a display of antique cameras

Crossroads was empty (& still is) for decades. It recently was gutted but still remain unoccupied. I was sorry to see this faux Tudor facade finally disappear.The building between it & Gerrard Pizza has been made over riot a daycare. Oh yes Gerrard Pizza is now closed.

close up of the Crossroads wonderful diamond leaded glass.

some signs are so iconic even painting over doesn’t disguise them. This was a busy Coffee Time at the corner of Coxwell/Gerrard E that closed overnight. it remains unleased two years later.

optometrist at the corner of Danforth/Coxwell that I didn’t even realize was gone so I don’t know how it’s been for lease

Let’s talk about this place about a two years then closed overnight – access denied

Tim’s at Danforth/Logan. Always busy it unexpectedly closed overnight a few years ago & the location remains empty.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees. Thanks paypal.me/TOpoet 

No vs. Low 

How many days? Where does the count start? With patient zero? Or when they realized there was a patient zero? When community centres closed March 13? Yeah, I’ll pick March 13 when the city realized this was a real danger & started to act in proactive way. If it weren’t for time & date on my computer I’d lose track of what actual day it. My routines were hinged around certain weekly meetings that fell on Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday.

 

 

Shopping panic was dismaying but not surprising. The disappearance of thing off shelves, & apparently not replaced yet, is more amusing than anything. Gradually Toronto has closed down. What no shoe stores! What only plastic no cash? This does bug me as it is clear banks aren’t going to waive any additional fees they collect as we are forced to use credit or debit cards. Fuckers.

I take my daily morning walks, each day a different direction & with minor variations in routes as well. a couple fo them let me see what is happening along the Danforth from Greenwood to Broadview, of Greenwood To Main. Take-out only signs went up fairly quickly, some of them became pick-up only – you have to order in advance. All Danforth Starbucks closed, most Tim Horton’s closed. Some of them depended on school traffic which is nonexistent.

 

Personal health worries haven’t taken over my thinking but they can’t be ignored. My partner is in 80’s, with pacemaker – so if he contracts it odds aren’t in his favour. He’s sure they’ll be directing resources to people with longer life expectancy (as they did in Italy). But our exposure risks are very low. But ‘no’ risk is better than ‘low’ risk.

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

Cape Breton Day 9

A fun day of driving & dining that started with a morning walk to a great recovery meeting. Did my first Tim Horton’s stop of the trip. The coffee is no longer stronger than than Toronto’s. I like morning meetings as a way to start a day. Familiar faces are comforting. All the meetings I went to turned out to be topic-suggested-by-members meetings. I suppose there are some that discuss the literature. All started with the serenity prayer 🙂 & all ended with the Lord’s Prayer :-(. No hand holding to deal with.

Walked up to my sister’s & took the Terrace St. hills I used to walk to Sydney Academy. They seemed much steeper then. My sister had dug out some old photo albums, one that included some toddler pics of me. After a few minutes of looking though them & taking pictures of pictures we headed out on the day’s real adventures.

 

My Dad was fond of taking us kids for country drives and my sister has the driving bug in her blood too. our first real stop was in Sydney Mines so I could get pictures of the Municipal Region Police Station that was once a Customs House. An impressive building that dates back to the early 1900’s. It certainly stands out amidst the endless aluminium sided boxes that abound everywhere. Why does progress mean lack of architectural character?

 

 

Next we went to North Sydney. I was hoping to find out information about the German U-Boat that surfaced in the harbour – the local citizens jumped dirtier boats to defend out shores. North Sydney was a major communications hub & thus targeted by the Nazis.

Blank faces were all I got from the staff. I did get lots of pics though included some of a 1918 fire engine. We had a decent lunch at The Black Spoon. I was hoping the name referred to some naval jargon or iron smelting but Black was the last name of the owner.

Tomorrow Fort Petrie.

 

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

The Coffee Queen

The Coffee Queen

I walked out

yeah I know I’m nobody to them

not selling me a cup of coffee

isn’t going to affect

their salary

their bottom line

five bucks less in the register

it’s not as if

it’s the only coffee shop on the street

I’m even willing to wait in line

as long as the line is moving

but if there are three sales associates

behind the counter

& I’m the only customer

waiting to be served

one of you should at least acknowledge me

not roll your eyes at each other

or chat

backs turned

or see me

then go to do something else

 

I walked out without a word

 

I do this often

being the invisible man

has its drawbacks

I’m a nobody

no influence

merely a person who expects service

someone who has experienced

can I help you sir

oh yes let me show you where that is

is there anything else

in an ordinary drug store chain

or

sorry to keep you waiting

this one’s on the house

 

now I don’t want those servers

to lose their jobs

or even apologize

for being understaffed

or having to work to a clock

I walk out

wondering if there’s

a camera monitoring

that some manager will see

them so busy

see me walking out

and they’ll watch it together

shake their heads

saying some people have no patience

or

who does he think he is

the Queen of England

This take on Law 34 is more a reflection on my impatience than on my regal demeanour. On my morning walks I usually stop after about 30 minutes for a sugary snack & some days for a coffee or a hot chocolate. I have an array of different coffee shops that I’ll stop at. If I like one I’ll hit it regularly. SA good one is enough – usually depending on what cupcakes or scones they offer &, of course, the service.

I am more patient with the indie spots but if the line up is too long I may not even go in – I don’t want a cookie that bad that I’ll wait more then five minutes for service. As the piece says there are lots of coffee shops, at least in Toronto there are. I have left Tim Ho’s, Starbucks, even McD’s if the service is slow. Why people wait until they are asked to pay before looking for their money puzzles me – you know that money is going to be at the bottom of shoulder bag that takes ages to find. I don’t blame the server for that but I’m not waiting either while someone checks on their cell phone exactly what their co-workers want or finds a card that works.

But when, as all too often in the case, there are four servers on duty, one customer ahead of me & once they’ve done with that one they wander off as if I wasn’t there – I’m gone. Or they banter too much & don’t hear my order or the cafe music is so sound they ask twice what I want – I’m gone. Or there are seven people ahead of me & only one server on active duty while two other servers are gabbing with each other. I’m out of there.

I know my five bucks isn’t that vital to them anyway and there is always another cookie nearby. Just don’t keep me waiting too long for it.

 

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

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

Hot Box Girls

Guys and Dolls was our one Shaw Festival production for the season. For some reason seeing an actual Shaw play holds little appeal to me so I was glad there was at least one production at the Festival I wanted to see. I was not disappointed.

boots
boots

We drove down Wednesday – a perfect day for travel – sunny & not hot. Traffic reasonable. With a Tim Ho’s at the right place for a pit stop. We found a shady parking spot at N-Lake, also a nice bonus.

Lunch was at Yianni’s – great cajun crab cakes, fine house burger but inedible fries. A few new cafes have opened on that little strip of gift shops, fudge shops, gift shops, & we may try of them the next time. Picked up a couple of movies at Silver Screen -including a Tarzan serial from the 30’s. Oddly there is no book store in N-Lake.

branch
branch

G&D was at the main theatre. We had excellent balcony seats. The production was well-paced and well-performed. From the opening trio I was hooked and taken for a fun, melodic ride. When an ensemble and cast enjoys performing a show as much as these did it’s impossible not to enjoy it. The orchestra was great.

bench
bench

I would have liked more of the Hot Box Girls (by more I mean another number or two) and less of the gamblers but such is life. The text is very much of the time though some things haven’t changed as much as we’d like to think. At one point the women sing ‘marry him today, change him tomorrow’ – a song I hear many people still singing. The problem with fixer-uppers is that they turn into money pits 🙂

01.Nano-Winner-Certificate1.2

November 1-30 – participating – NaNoWriMo

June 6-8, 2014 – attending – Bloody Words

samples

For the Heart of Hearing

one from the hard

my hard was in my throat

the hard of darkness

a hard attack

I left my hard in San Francisco

hard of the dark continent

open hard surgery

I hard NY

talking hard to hard

places in the hard

don’t keep breaking my hard

hard harded hanna

the hard of the hard of the country

hard healthy

change of hard

hards of fire

open your hard

wearing my hard on my sleeve

deep in my hard

the hard foundation

I gave you my hard

when hards collide

my secret hard

the hard of the matter

like a stake through the hard

take a little piece of my hard

tore the hard right out of his chest

gotta hide my hard away

take it to hard

the bleeding hard

my hard skipped a beat

queen of hards was baking some tarts

hard on a platter

you gotta have hard

falling hard first in love

cross my hard

hard in my hand

the hard is a lonely hunter

a growing up green
a growing up green

The Writing is NOT Processed Cheese

romantic sunset meeting
romantic sunset meeting

Day One of the workshop winding down. Due to campus construction we’ve been assigned a new room – much brighter & with windows to the corridor – but with bad acoustics – how can anyone teach in such a room – so we’re straining for every word & telling people to speak up – some people that is – not everyone brings my experience of shouting over bar tenders to the workshop setting.

June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013

There’s eleven of us in the class – mostly ‘old’ hands who have taken workshops with Rosemary previously, some of us more that a couple of times. Most with some writing experience as well, some published, some getting back to writing again.

Today we mainly look at how to avoid passive protagonists – wondering why the villain usually more interesting that the hero. A passable lunch at Tim Ho’s – the only way to make a grilled cheese panini okay is to douse it with tabasco sauce – processed cheese slices ugh.

he was here a minute ago
he was here a minute ago

In the afternoon we did the first look at class members writing – two of the ‘old’ hands were the first up – hard to avoid I guess but a good way to let the newbies be less fearful when their turn comes up & also to hear just what gets said about the work.

There’s one other guy in the class – typical balance for these sort of things – rarely have I been at a writing workshop that was mostly men. As in past years I have too much to say – such is life. It’s shaping up to be another productive week.

last year’s Loyalist blog posts: #WorkshoppingKiller Dappled By SunGetting the ‘L’ Out Of Loyalist

throne dappled by sunlight
throne dappled by sunlight

#Coffee Shopping Around

lion

Not that I’m a coffee hound or expert but I enjoy a brew most days. Usually when I’m out for my morning constitutional. When I first moved to Greenwood/Danforth – there was no fast/take-out closer than Carrot Common. Now it’s a five minute walk between Tom Ho’s, ten between various Starbucks.

comes a dark roast rider
comes a dark roast rider

Nearest me now is Red Rocket. I hit the Rocket at least once a week, even when it was down on Queen – but a five minute walk suits lazy me. Friendly staff, great coffee & in-house baked goods. Their peanut butter cookie is the best in the city, try it. I also like the peanut butter square & the macaroons are excellent. I’m waiting for a combo: peanut butter macaroons. A great place to sit & work too – I used it last November for a weekly NaNoWriMo meet-up & edit & hope to get back there weekly again now that I don’t have to deal with winter wear.

Jones Street bridge and I'm feelin' phat-tastic
Jones Street bridge and I’m feelin’ phat-tastic

My Sunday walks take me to Cake Town – sort of at Danforth/ Woodbine. Another great spot with an in-house bakery with a great selection of savory scones and cookies. Friendly staff & smooth coffees – now that winter has passed I can walk in & not have my glasses fog over so badly that I cant’ see what else they offer. I’d recommend their pecan butter tarts if you need a sugar rush. Good peanut butter cookie too, but not as good the Rocket’s.

If I don’t hit Cake Town on Sunday I drop into Bandit – at Gerrard/Woodbine – a great local coffee spot. Recently opened but has built up a strong following for the area. I’ve only been in their maybe three of four times now & different staff each time. Good coffee but ‘imported’ cookies, muffins. Imported from local bakery, not in house. Passable peanut butter cookie, muffins okay but clearly fresh on Friday but not so fresh by Sunday.

tracks of joy
tracks of joy

I also drop by Starbucks & Tim Ho’s frequently. Tim’s has my favorite bagel – the jalapeño that has a nice heat to it. The two Starbucks on the Danforth are always too busy for sit down but the one at Gerrard/Jones has a nice upper level that is ideal for a quiet chat. I hit the Timothy’s at carrot Common when I want a super strong coffee – their sticky vanilla square always goes well with that.

don't be shy
don’t be shy

Poet in Theory

Being a poet, to most people is acceptable in theory, but when it becomes real – i.e. listen to this new piece or come to my feature – it becomes less interesting. In some ways a lot like being gay – many people accept it in theory but please don’t make it a reality by kissing in front of me, or especially the children

dreamer under the rim
dreamer under the rim

Today, in some countries, poets are considered so dangerous they are imprisoned. I can’t imagine that happening in North America. Though I wonder what is worse – physical punishment or a dismissive shrug of ‘who give a shit about a poet.’

a dream awakens
a dream awakens

I have the double whammy – gay poet. If my work isn’t political enough I’m not radical enough, if it’s too political I’m whining, if it’s too sexual I’m just another sad gay man talking smut and feeling sorry for himself.

I’ve also found that when guys on online ‘dating’ sites say they want to know more about me sending them a link to my youtube channel results in never hearing from them again. I guess being what I say I am is just too honest.

truck of dreams
truck of dreams

I’m not complaining just commenting – because ultimately it doesn’t mean shit to a tree anyway. I don’t write for acceptance, tolerance, approval or even for fame & fortune (I’m not delusional). I write because I write.

Distant.Music