the Big If

the Big If

If I walk more then I won’t spend as much on public transit.

If I walk more  then I will spend more money on shoes.

If I walk more  then I will lose weight.

If I walk so much  then I don’t have a car.

If I walk a lot  then I will see more of the life around me.

If I lose weight  then I won’t wear my shoes down as quickly.

If I get a job  then I’ll have more money to spend.

If I have more money  then I can upgrade my computer.

If I upgrade my computer  then I will spend more time writing.

If I get a job  then I’ll have less time to write.

If I get a job  then I will write more in the time I have left.

If I don’t  then someone else will.

If I am truly sorry then I will not act that way again.

If I am truly loved then I don’t have to apologize.

If I am the love of your life then why aren’t you happy?

If I am telling the truth then why don’t you believe me?

If I do as you say then you will not be so angry.

If I do more than my share then you will have no reason to drink.

If I buy a dog then I will have someone to walk with.

If I but a dog then I won’t have so much time to worry about you.

If I shut the windows then no one will know.

If I don’t hit back then you won’t hit as hard.

If I don’t make a sound then you won’t know I’m here.

If I don’t eat as much then you won’t have to cook as much.

If I were never born then you would be happier.

If I made you happier then we would be happier.

If I didn’t have you then I’d have more time to write.

If I didn’t waste all my time writing then I could keep the house the way you want.

If am am content with myself then I don’t have to worry about making you happy.

If I don’t worry about making you happy then you don’t think I love you.

yellowbin

Ending the year with another look way way back to the turn of the century. All the pieces I’ve written about this month date back to around that time 2000/2001. Many of these pieces were memories so looking at them again was a bit surprising. Some for how current they still were & some for how I’ve moved forward in being direct, in use of image & language.yellowhide

This is one of the many list poems & the prompt was the title. It presents a see-saw of values. Theme & variation, expectation & unexpected results – a form of ironic paradox. Everything has a hidden cost – having more time to write doesn’t mean one will write more.redyellow01

It moves from practical things like walking, writing and move into a more emotional territory (spell check wanted me to spell terror just now). Our expectations of love and what we are willing to do for or what we expect it to do for us & others.

Eventually the ‘If’ double back on itself to create an almost narrative line for the ‘I’ of the poem. How the need for one things involves another, altering consequence & context. I don’t think it starts with the reader know that the ‘writing’ is a relationship issue.

redyellow02

The ending is a bit abrupt – I haven’t rewritten this expect to fix some typos. If I were going to perform this I would work on sequence, flow & bring it to a more satisfying conclusion but I’m not worrying about that.

16

January 20, Wednesday: judging at Hot Damn! it’s a Queer Slam – featuring  Dominic Berry Supermarket Restaurant and Bar 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto, Ontario M5T2L9

http://www.queerslam.com

hot

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1504753909765085/

March 12, Saturday: attending:

spec

Toronto-SpecFic-Colloquium

June 3-5: attending: Capturing Fire 2016 – The DC Centre – 2000 14th St NW, Suite 105 – Washington, DC

nufire

http://capturingfire.com/#/page/1

September 1-5: attending FanExpo 2016expo16

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

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nanobullseye

http://nanowrimo.org/

money

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

wrestredshorts

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un jccool

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Up SpecFic Alleys

2015 Toronto SpecFic Colloquium, once again at Round,152A Augusta Avenue, brought a powerful set of presenters for an over-filled day of fantasy, scifi, horror and SpecFic panels.

After grabbing a great bagel and coffee from Nu Bagel on Augusta I was ready for the long climb up the stairs at Round (how do drunks manage these steep, unlit stairs?) where I was greeted by an impressive loot bag of ten books (mostly trade paper size) and a flurry of promo postcards. (books in the loot bag: Kevin J Anderson: Resurrection Inc.; Ellen Datlow ed: Fearful Symmetries; Field Research Org: Half-Cat; Kenneth Mark Hoover: Haxan; Laurence Klavan: The Family Unit; Amanda Leduc: The Miracle of Ordinary Men; Michelle Sagara: Silence Douglas Smith: Chimerascope; Right to Know: Edward Willett) Organizers also provided a huge urn of Tim Ho’s finest and a wide selection of donuts & muffins.

loot

loot bag loot (note Rocksteady travel mug not part of the loot)

The wide selection of presenters was satisfying & probably better for me than the donuts. First up was Alex Leitch: Retrofuturism and Spectacular Collaboration: ‘dirt is more interesting than glass’ dirt makes the future world real. She suggested that going up an ‘alley’ in a story is more intriguing than walking along the main street. Being partial to taking pictures on laneways I had to agree. I also had to agree when she said we live in a culture where it is cheaper & easier to tear down & rebuild than it is to maintain.

She was followed by Derek Newman-Stille: Accessible Space: The Final Frontier? Disability in Speculative Genres: with a great presentation on disability – how easily we are deaf to using terms like ‘turned a blind eye.’ With examples from Star Trek to Dr Who he showed how disability is rarely allowed to be normal but was either noble or vengeful. I love his statement that ‘as a disabled person he doesn’t feel the need to be a para-Olympian just to prove he’s accepted himself.

art

wave of the present art at NuBagel

After a brief break Dave McIntosh: Quipucamayoc: Interactive Media Art Project in Cusco and Buenos Aires: a fascinating presentation on (amongst other things) quipu – a South America form of story telling with knotted strands – knots as a sort of binary code – an ebook that doesn’t need a battery. I wonder how many of us will try to use the fact that at one time the faces of heroes would be peeled off at death & taken out once a year to be shown & animated like a puppet. I found it ironic that he couldn’t access the files on the Interactive project.

The lunch break was welcome. I had the silver bass with white beans. I worked on the vampire unicorn porn part of a long short story I’m developing (more about that later in the week). After lunch keynote speaker Nnedi Okorafor gave an inspiring, perceptive talk about her history, race & her writing process. As a black woman she’s been asked why she doesn’t write about American racism – as if that is the only thing she can write about authentically – that she is wasting her talent writing SpecFic when she could write serious work. One of her editing tips is on the fourth edit to change the font of the entire manuscript. I could go on – maybe I’ll do another post just about this talk in a week or so.

loot2

loot close up

After another brief break Simon McNeil: From Guernica to Gamergate: The Inseparability of Art and Politics. Partially a look at the misuse of the label ‘censorship’ – i.e. how voicing a contrary opinion become an attempt to censor what you feel contrary to so you better keep your contrary opinion to yourself. One of the conclusions is that like beauty, political content is often in the eye of the reader not the creator. Another complex presentation that may result in my writing more about it & the notions of PC, freedom of speech & censorship.

The day wrapped with a fun, perceptive almost fanboy teen squee by David Nickle: Secret Agent, Secret Shame. A presentation on the embarrassing appeal of Ian Fleming’s James Bond. I’ve always enjoyed seeing literary history re-interpreted though the lens of present day theory – such feminists looking at misogyny in the works of Conan Doyle. Here Nickle reveals the racism, misogyny etc in Bond. But none of that keeps most men from wishing we had those gadgets, that attraction for the opposite sex & that sense of cool in the face of danger.

Angela Keeley did MC duties for the day & kept things running on time. Her enthusiasm for the genres was contagious – not that anyone would have wandered into the Colloquium without being infected already. All the presenters were more expansive than I can adequately explore here so forgive my rather narrow selectivity of their talks.

more of my pics: http://topoet.tumblr.com/post/113080879268/before-the-round-house-fills-for-2015-toronto

samples

Here’s a bit of what I was writing when I wasn’t making notes or enjoying some of the male eye candy. The shorty story, untitled at this point, features three writers, writing in different horror genres reading from their work. One of them is launching the fifth volume in his series about vampire unicorns.

Red Horn could smell the woman. He stood still at the edge of the parking lot, the moon reflecting silver on the windscreens of the cars. Cars that were another of the ways humans had ruined the habitats of his race.

Humans, he snorted, as his front hooves scraped at the asphalt. He could feel the earth struggle to breathe beneath this hard crust.

He heard the woman gasp at the sound of his pawing. Her fear scent increased. The tip of his horn twinged briefly. It knew there would be blood soon. This was one way of righting the balance of nature.

Suddenly the woman stood. “Please don’t …” she begged.

Red Horn was pleased to see he ranked as she approached him.

“You started me,” she said brushing his mane with her hands. “I am the one who summoned you and yet when you appeared I was afraid.”

Her hands moved along his flanks, under his belly to dance briefly along his gentiles. “Most of all I was afraid of this.” she squeezed his testicles. “That it would be too large.”

The twinge moved down from the top of his horn. He knew she was ready. When the blood was willing it tasted better. He nuzzled her breasts and then let his lips open at her neck.

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thanks

Inventory Of An Abomination

In recovery one of the process I went through was a look at my past – a fearless & moral inventory. Much of my boozing sprung from the fear of growing up queer (which is probably the most interesting thing about me). Dealing with the lack of understanding & tolerance of the time (have things changed that much?) was easier when I was numbed to it.

glass

box for two

Being called, as the scriptures say, an abomination unto the face of the Lord – is a label difficult to rationalize. That label combined with a culture that valued conformity above all else pushed me deeper into fear. A push I felt but didn’t comprehend or question either. After all what 15 year old doesn’t feel the need to resist conformity.

Psychology didn’t help much – there were detailed books on the disease of homosexuality, state of the art treatment was shock or chemical castration – thank God I didn’t caught, discovered, diagnosed & treated. I reached for the bottle & bottled myself up at the same time.

greentoy

toys boxed

By the time I’d come into recovery I had come to an intellectual understanding of my sexuality & had to stop using it as an excuse for self-abuse. But those years of fear where hard to work though. My first sexual interactions were more about finding someone willing to touch me without revulsion but with eagerness (that self-shame runs through many people regardless of their sexuality).

whitelamp

light box

Through the moral inventory process I’ve come to realize that I had to stop looking at the ways I didn’t live up to or fit into cultural norms – ways I felt judged. Not that I’m a radical nonconformist but I’m certainly in a counterculture that is beyond that hippy-dippy notion of counterculture. It’s been very liberating to free myself of certain cultural baggage – even queer cultural baggage such as the assimilationist cant of gay marriage.

But trust me even nonconformists get caught in their comfort zones or want to break out of them.

sample

Spawn of Satan

someone shouted out from a car

‘spawn of satan’

loud harsh intent

could they have meant me

there weren’t many others on the sidewalk

so I guess it was me

getting the recognition I deserved

I checked myself out in a store window

not too bad for an old guy

spawn of satan

must mean I’m looking pretty hot

hot in that hot sexy way

do I carry a smoulder of danger

that I’ve become unaware of

though the truth of the matter

was that I’m tidy as opposed to hot

I know the truth can set you free

but it rarely gets you laid

or is that how the spawn of satan works

lies his way into what he wants

but my dad certainly wasn’t satan

though his family tree is a bit obscure

immigrant Swedes at the end of the 1800

who changed the last name

of their first born into what I have now

a name that wasn’t Swedish for satan

I’m sure if that change hadn’t happened

I would have had an even harder time in school

always correcting people on that name

though maybe I would have been know as Swede

as opposed to queer    gear box

fairy    fruit

so being called the spawn of satan

isn’t really that bad

just don’t ask me to live up to it

soon02

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

specfic

http://chiseries.ticketleap.com

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

born

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 – Loyalist – Belleville

loylab

Loyalist Workshop is the real deal

(further info & links: TBA)

September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo

Expo15

http://fanexpocanada.com

October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Deep Burlesque Hallowe’en

noiroc15

 

warbox

lunch boxed

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Beck BeeGees + DC5

Working through the Bs: Jeff Beck: Truth; BeeGees: spread on 3 mp3 collections: Best of 1; Odessa; Best of 2 along with complete Dave Clark Five; & Best of The Seekers, Freddie & The Dreamers. A slew of British pop.

tree after the storm

The Jeff Beck (not be confused with Beck) is a stand alone I picked up cheap at H&M (I think) back in 2007. I was never a fan back in the day but do have Yardbirds on the shelf too. I also have his great jazz-rock recordings (more about them when I get to him on the jazz shelf). Truth is highly regarded & is interesting with a slew of bonus tracks.

The BeeGees have never been critics’ darlings. Too pop popular for Beck fans – but I was a radio fan, so those early hits are still sweet: I Started  A Joke – vulnerable and emotive . Odessa the double lp goes from elegant to overwrought from track to track but I’ve always been happy to hear it when it came up in rotation. The Hits 2 – disco takes over but in retrospect their Night Music will survive.

van

hippie vans rule

Freddie & the Dreamers are bouncy catchy pop of the 60’s. The Seekers had a few North American hits – more folk-rock than pop with sweet polished harmonies.

The Dave Clark Five is a huge box set of everything & out-takes etc. I was a fan. Even my mother liked them. Musically they were catchy pop with a tinge of soul thanks to having a sax player as member. Catch US If You Can is probably my favourite track by them. They were one of the Brit bands that resisted the psychedelic wave or prog rock and sank from the horizon in the mid-70’s.

paper

paper type writer

sample

Riot

‘Here.’ Steve reached out, grabbed my arm roughly and yanked me behind a small car.

Part of a chair sailed over my head followed by something metal. I wanted to look but Steve propelled me farther along the row of cars.

‘Just keep your head down.’

Something landed on the car we just passed. The car shook a moment and then erupted. Thick black smoke poured around us.

‘We can head that way.’ Smoke stinging my eyes I pointed through the park behind us. ‘The smoke should give us some cover.’

A handful of others had the same idea. They got about 20 feet into the park when gun fire rattled. Two of them dropped.

‘Someone’s up there.’ Steve nodded to the building at the far end of the park. ‘Snipers.’

‘Shit.’

The crowd on the other side of the cars began to disperse in different directions.

‘Should we follow any them?’

‘No,’ Steve took a deep breath.

We head more gun fire, screams, sirens.

‘We can’t just sit here though, can we.’ I knew we had to keep moving  ‘The Militia will arrest us.’

‘No. If that was the case I’d turn myself in now but no one’s getting out of here unscathed. These guys aren’t out to suppress. They are out to destroy.’

‘Look!’ I pointed to a manhole cover.

‘Down the sewers here? Please. No, we need a plan.’

‘I thought we had a plan.’

‘Well, sorry, but this riot wasn’t a part of the plan.’

‘You wanted an exciting get away and you got it.’

‘This isn’t the time or …’

The car we were hunched behind began to rock and turn over toward us. We jumped up and moved back to the shop behind us. An armoured tank was rolling over the car. It’s cannon turret rotated toward us.

‘Oh hell.’

We backed against the window of the shop and inched along to the door way. The door was locked. A narrow red light came from the top of the cockpit.

‘Duck.’ Steve shoved me to the sidewalk.

xtree

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Unrepressed

Denise Levertov writes, in 1965, on John Wieners’ poems: “The things various confessional poets describe have happened to him too – drug addiction, the pain & loneliness of homosexual love, the mental breakdown …” This is 50 years ago – I’ve never read John Wieners so I can’t vouch for his content but I trust Levertov is correct. His poetry is out-of-print so I ‘borrowed’ some of his poems from the Poetry Foundation website.

garg03 chilly loneliness 1

I’m not a ‘confessional poet’ even though I often write about my life, my childhood and sexuality. I don’t think of it as confessing – confession, to me, involves revealing the hidden sins, shames. I may have regrets but no shame about my past and nothing worth hiding.

I read this review of hers & think how much & how little things have changed. What she says saddens me – at 1965 it seemed homosexual love could only exist in an atmosphere of pain & loneliness – queers in novels had to suffer or they weren’t considered realistic.

garg02

chilly loneliness 2

There’s also a sense that without sufficient, credible pain & suffering, writing lacks the emotional depth to be taken seriously – even Wieners says in The Acts of Youth ‘But the formula all great art is made of. Pain and suffering.’ Which lets me off the hook, whew, as I haven’t suffered enough, nor seek to, to create great art. It’s enough to create art period.

garg01

chilly loneliness 3

I also know that sexuality has nothing to with ‘drug addiction, the pain & loneliness of …. love.’

samples

Unrepressed

I have no memories to repress

sure I have moments I’d like to forget

like the time he ended things with an email

saying he was no longer in the mood

I can’t forget that

I don’t want need to repress it

it’s one of those things that happen in life

I want it never to have happened

or to have been the one to send that message

it’s not that my past

is bereft of events

or that I’m in denial

I was spared

simple as that

the only abuse I experienced

was from a culture

of scapegoating

you know

lets pick on the fag

so we don’t have to deal with our own shit

so that we don’t have to think

through the nature of sexuality

because we’re the normal hetero majority

the abuse that comes

when it assumed

bullying is the way

to teach boys to become men

by defending themselves

but that’s not a memory I’ve repressed

not that I can still see their faces

but I can hear those words

feel those shoves in high-school corridors

I have no memories to repress

but that doesn’t make

my life any less value

any less authentic

than that of those who have to unpack

those harrow moments of their lives

don’t dimiss me

because I haven’t suffered enough

to earn your respect

besides I’m too busy

being unrepressed

soon

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

specfic

http://chiseries.ticketleap.com

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 – Loyalist – Belleville

loylab

Loyalist Workshop is the real deal

(further info & links: TBA)

September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo

Expo15

http://fanexpocanada.com

October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Blood Will Flow Hallowe’en Masquerade Massacre

noir15

 

structure03

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Walk Like a #Cisman

I did some research on the next sign in Chinese astrology. We’re leaving year of the horse for the year of the sheep – the wooden sheep apparently – the system is too complex to explain here – google will take you there.

pillow

Hmmm … year of the sheep – doesn’t sound very butch does it? Seems I’m not the only who thinks that it is year of the ram. I know a ram is a male sheep – but why isn’t it the year of the ewe? How did the gender get decided upon? Gemini – are both twins male? Leo is always a male lion, never a lioness.

For Year of the Horse I came across lots of striking pictures of stallions but none of mares tending colts. That this is the Year of the Ram in the Americanized rendering of Asian systems doesn’t come as a real shock though. Even Post Canada is honouring the Ram.

shoe

This is how unobtrusive oppression can be. Do I sound melodramatic? Pedantic? This sort of gender bias makes it so clear to me the things women have to face in such a subtle consistent way. This is how language reinforces roles & stereotypes.

blackdrain

In my own writing about queer life I stopped referring to men as boys, unless I was writing childhood recollections. It wasn’t a big adjustment for me but when I question straight male writers on the use of ‘girl’ as opposed to ‘woman’ they act as if I’m being picky. Sorry but that’s how it is – when a guy writes how much his ‘girl’ turns him on I get a little queasy – not because hetero sex bothers me but sex with children does.

samples

Walk Like a Cisman

don’t waste your time

trying to shame me

with these sociological divisions

the fact that I’m not sexually interested in

is one of those things about me

that I can live with

it’s not meant to marginalize

oppress or judge you or anyone

there’s enough shame to go around

without your need to assign blame and fault

adding to the confusion

to the endlessly split hairs of gender sexuality

body image   agism

I thought it was enough

to define myself as gay male

but it seems that isn’t clearly defined enough

there’s a new gender code

cismale

for male born male

who identify as male

to keep the playing filed transparent

I’m a cismale

who finds cismen who like cismen

attractive

my mind isn’t closed to those

outside that general description

but I am not looking there

which makes me into oppressor

just for being me

it’s bad enough I’m one

of those racist assholes

who finds asian man hot

who likes black guys

desi suits me fine too

oh white guys are equally welcome

a bit of body hair is nice

shaved really doesn’t work for me

showered is best

there’s my narrow platform

my limited erotic map

says who?

cis me

art

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Blazing BeBop Deluxe

On to one another of my favourite, nearly unheard of groups: BeBop Deluxe: cd1: Axe Victim, Futurama, Starburst Finish, Modern Music, Live in the Air Age. cd2: Drastic Plastic, Radioland (BBC); Bill Nelson: Sound on Sound, The Love That Whirls; Yellow Magic Orchestra. Stand alone: Raiding the Divine Archive.

tables

patio mushrooms

Prog rock was a force at one time, one that never really made it to the charts mind you. Bands like ELP, Yes, Caravan – to name a few – where pushing pop in what was supposed to be complex directions with lot of classical organ, piano & seemingly random structures.

light

shaft of light

BeBop, is a guitar based group – the genius of Bill Nelson on guitar. For me it was truly progressive. Starburst Finish & Modern Music are the two lps I know the best – stunning engineering, surreal lyrics & a scifi subtext propels their music. Always surprising and rarely dull I always enjoy re-listening to their work. Unlike, say, ELP, which can be a bit of a slog at times – slog prog: a new genre.

Many of the arrangements are astonishing – each line seems to come from a different song yet they cohere and take me with them with a consistent sonic flow that seems effortless. Some of the lyric writing now has a sense of the time: that ironic 70’s stance, but who cares.

carpet

carpet hedge

Rounding it out is a couple of Bill Nelson’s solo & other work: excellent. His Beauty & The Beast is worth tracking down. He released a new CD, After the Satellite Sings, in 2014 – every bit as good as the recent David Bowie. I also added some Yellow Magic Orchestra lps: electronica from Japan that is a delight to hear, at times a bit cheesy but without these guys there’d be no FatBoy Slim.

sample

Thought

The radio suddenly went dead. The overhead lights flickered and went off. A few seconds later the emergency power kicked in but that was only enough to keep vital monitoring machines going.

“What the fuck is going on?” Carl’s shouts echoed down the hallway. “Did I just die or what the fuck? I thought this was a … “

“Keep calm and quiet.” the nurse pushed the door to Carl’s room open. “We have enough to worry about without your shrieking.”

“Sorry to be such a bother but what am I supposed to do? It’s not as if I can just get up and get out of here.”

“Yes, well, if it came to that you’d have nothing to worry about.”

“Haven’t met you before, have I?”

“Janet Green. No you haven’t met me before I just got back from leave of absence. But I have heard all about you.”

“I’m sure you have.” Carl laughed. “Gotta keep you guys on your toes.”

She smoothed his bedding and headed out the door. “I have others to check on.”

“I’m sure you do Janet. But what the fuck is going on?”

“I don’t know. Got batteries for that radio?”

“Nope.”

“None in your vibrator?”

She let the door shut and went to the nurses station.

“So any word on what’s going on?”

Don held his hand over the receiver of the telephone. “It isn’t the end of world. Looks like a transformer blew. They should have us back on line with-in the hour.”

“Just what we needed.”

“Thought things had changed while you were gone?”

The emergency power flickered and plunged into black.

“Oh shit now what.”

“What the hell is going on here.”

“Yeah.”

Frightened complaints flowed out from the rooms on the floor.

“I gotta go down and see what’s happening.”

“You know about that sort of stuff?”

“Well, no, Janet but someone has to go down. The phones are still live anyway. You see if you can get someone. An electrician would be the best thing.”

“What about  the maintenance guy, Amos?”

“Try him at home. He might be able to help.”

Don was on his knees looking for a flashlight on a shelf under the nurses station when the lights flooded back on.

 

 

 

 

 

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Land of 1000 Dances

sample

Land Of At Least 10 Dances

watusi fox trot

cheek to cheek waltz

ballroom grand

sweeping dress

touching arm in air Viennese waltz

cha cha pogo

samba rumba tango palace

jumping jive

peppermint twist

hucklebuck

rock-n-roll

the shimmy

my sister Kate, remember her

the silver moon

frug

the swim

the grave digger

mosh pit intimacy

dirty boogie

the bump

rock your boat

rock your world

the lindy hop

its hammer time

flappers

zoot suits

pas de chat

first position please

now lift

pas du borree [can remember how to do it but not spell it]

kick ball change

butt scooting boogie

last chance

American in Paris

the red shoes

fred and ginger

bill and ben the flowerpot men

do si do

swing your partner

she bop the night away

you little jazz babies

I only have feet for you

shall we dance

deb and yul

I always wondered

who made that dress

those dresses

those shoes

wrote that music

shall we on and on

achey breaky

wish away chase away

that feeling of lost aimless lethargy

hip-hop

free form

martha graham hermes pan

tap dance

that old soft shoe

that old devil moon

the Japanese sandman

do the pony

everybody down

it’s a clam bake

it’s a fine day

for surfin USA

California girls are tanned

dancing in the sand

like putting out a cigarette

while drying yourself off with a towel

like fevered worms in your pants

slither around

your private parts

nudging those tender secret dirty places

mingling with the sweat

the hormones

the tension

the crush of hip to hip

butt to crotch

the slow steady grind

satan’s invitation to degradation

worse than playing cards

just listening will

lead all teens down the path to hades

to everlasting unfulfilling shallow sex

sex sex sex

yes that’s what that dance is

the mating ritual

of heathen

uncivilized black people

deep in a hot sweltering jungle

the virgin sacrifice

to the king kong cock

of the evil male

who wants to corrupt

the sweet innocent flower of all youth

so

put on your boogie shoes

do the hustle

do the tater tot

push the baby carriage

tie a knot in it

swan lake

the nutcracker

yes that’s the one to learn girls

boys work on

I’m a man

groovin is easy

roll me easy

it’s not so hard to please me

because the history of the world

unfolds before us

in beats per minute

when we put on the wax

the shellac

16 45 33.3 rmp

the LP ep 8 track cassette cd mp3

when we fire up the old music box

and we dance

dance

dance

appleshoe

quick apple two-step

I love a list poem, even if it’s my own. I have more recent pieces about dance and music and the sweaty grind. This one is takes a more scattered, historical name-checking route. Dance has always been with us at all levels of culture too. While the lords and ladies where doing their stately gavottes and other court dances, the working poor had their own less formal music and dances to enjoy.

The history of dance has many that were deemed satanic, usually those enjoyed by the working poor, the cultured were always on the side of reason and God so their courtly dancing was approved. The title & piece is inspired by Wilson Pickett’s hit Land of 1000 Dances.

oneshoe

the dropped slipper

The can-can was shocking, that glimpse of more than stocking. The first performance of the Rite of Spring caused riots in the theatre – can you imagine a ballet doing that today? I tap-dance through a panoply of dances that I recall, move on to how those get judged, pilloried even. As I wrote it I realized that anti-pleasure was the basis for most judgemental condemnations. In a working, productivity-centric culture pleasure is not productive enough to be approved. Sex is for procreation only etc.

skates

sunny day ice dancing

Bill and Ben – The Flower Pot Men was a children’s show at the edge of my memory – a British show in which these puppet flower in pots would sing and sway and teach kids important moral lessons.  There’s reference or half-mentions of lyrics, including song titles, movies and some fun turns of phrase. I love ‘I only have feet for you.’ Poetry you can dance to – shall we dance?

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The Unsatisfied Spoon

Racket returned to the Rocket with another eclectic lineup of strong spoken-word performers. Host Sandra Cardinal  started things off with a romantic prom about the durability of love. After another couple of open-stagers first feature Dan Curtis Thompson did a section of his one-man show Consonance about recovering for a toxic relationship – at 26 most of the house was old enough to be his parents – & even if some missed cultural references they certainly got the timeless emotional resonance of being afraid to fall in love like that again.

lot

I will turn myself into a spoon

Next up was Deborah Kimmett. She quickly had an easy rapport with the audience. Her humour was direct, observational & highly relatable. From resisting that smile back in her doctor’s waiting room as it will lead to hearing all about someone else’s medical condition to her memories of growing up in the late 60’s. She read a few sections for her recent novel Outrunning Crazy.

After the break Dawna Wightman did a short monologue from her one-woman play in which a nervous actress auditions for the role of a Chicken MacNugget. Funny, tot he point & satisfying enough I want to see the whole piece someday.

snow

it’s all under the surface

Last feature was Nina Kaye. A playwright trying out he reported chops with some good pieces about on line dating. Clear-eyed and not melodramatic work that reminded me that on-line dating plays out the same way regardless of age, gender or sexuality. Everyone seems to wait for the phone ring.

bluehat

hats off to an early spring

A great start to the new year for Racket at the Rocket. Next month’s show will be hosted by Dan Curtis Thompson. Also congratulations to the Red Rocket for celebrating 3 years at this location. They’ve made a place for themselves in the lives of people in the neighbourhood by being more than a coffee shop.

 

 

 

 

 

samples

I did hit the open stage with ‘pillow for your heart’ which is here http://wp.me/p1RtxU-11a  – here’s another spoon poem:

The Unsatisfied Spoon

that spoon

is looking at you

I tell by the gleam

in its bowl

it’s been looking at you

ever since we came into the room

since we sat at this table

you knew that

didn’t you

that’s why you picked this table

you were going to meet the spoon

weren’t you
you wanted it in your hand

in your mouth

the way you used to want me

in your hand

in your mouth

don’t deny it

that spoon wants you

it’s the only reason we are here

isn’t it

it doesn’t matter

everywhere we go

there’s something

that wants to be in your hands

in your mouth

and you

you let it happen

you invite it

I can’t sleep at night

thanks to you

thanks to the way

you let yourself be desired

by anyone who looks at you

even if they don’t look at you the way I do

the way that spoon does

I see your smile reflect in the bowl

even before you pick it up

before you stir your coffee

bring it to your lips

to sip a bit of the sweetness

giving it the sweetness of your mouth

you do it just to drive me crazy

you flaunt the spoon’s affection for you

you satisfy it again & again

before my very eyes

I hate the spoon

I hate the day it was die cast

it’s because of the spoon

that I can never let you out of my sight

never let you dine alone

I’m sleepless

to avoid dreams of you

seeing spoons behind my back

using them casually

then tossing them aside

to grab for the next one

they are never satisfied

to be in your hand

in your mouth

the way I would be

spoon

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#JesuisCharlie / #IAmCharlie

It’s over a week since the executions in Paris. It was impossible not to watch at time but it was quickly easy to move on as the same talking heads asked the same questions and added nothing to the event other than their need to be paid to be heard. I can’t help but see the moments before the camera goes on when some make person darts away after making sure hair is right.

sink

fallen

It gets too easy to be distracted by the media frenzy around events as news crews shuffle around looking for the right back drops for their reports. I’ve written extensively in the past about the media manipulating the scene so I’m not going to go on about it here. As I say in one older piece – it’s hard for me to feel the religious sacredness of countries where queers like me can be put to death.

ribbon

culture’s come undone

I was shocked by the numbers of killed, the speed of the killers & what appears to be their reasoning. It brought to mind the firebombing of abortion clinics & killing of doctors in the USA. Their own home-grown terrorists – murderers who eluded police capture just as readily. They too thought they were in the right, that they had God on their side.

teeshirt

out of the blue

Events played out, almost predictably, resulting in new martyrs for both sides. Am I sounding cynical? All this search for an explanation is a smoke-screen & creates justification for deeper xenophobia. In the USA there is a move to ban hoodies because  they are an easy way to obscure the face – sunglasses next?

 

 

samples

 

Death in Paris

there’s been death in Paris

fervour for revenge

young men caught in the need

to teach a lesson

to set people right

to affirm a price must be paid

for not listening

for not respecting

while those that believe

what they believe

retreat

the young men are aberrations

even to them

their personal faith is the fault

not the faith itself

did they come from broken homes

is this a mother’s mental break down

another crime

caused by cultural neglect

now shifted to religious cant

or does it matter

as long as there is room

for the camera man

the probing host

and his teleprompter

we need the right pundit to explain all this

to make it even more compelling

to assign the right blame

all I know

is that it’s not my fault

I don’t even want to watch it unfold

I can’t blank out my TV screen

can’t chase away

the bottom of the screen scroll

can’t keep the cell-cam images

from spattering

my email’s page

it’s everywhere

the issue of respect

who has the right to demand it

you can’t cuss out a queer in public

you get shunned for sexist comments about women

but to mock another’s faith is death

what is freedom of speech

I’m afraid to start conversations

there is death in the news

again

that it happened

is the truth

the evidence is in front of my eyes

the damage done

I heard the the words said

that I can testify to

but I can’t account for why

why it happened

why what was said

even though I see the video footage

I don’t know what I’m seeing

one side interprets it to suit their own version

the other refutes

each equally self-serving

but what cannot be denied

is someone died

you can’t lie about that

you ask me what I saw

what I heard

then question my veracity

my truth becomes a matter of perception

slanted by my own personal judgments

I become someone incapable of telling the truth

so why bother telling it ever

it becomes so much more practical to lie

to spin reality

to suit the listener

so I’ve become a compulsive liar

how do I feel about that

who cares

no one is listening anyway

they ask how do you feel

while wondering who has texted them

the truth

all they care about

is how short your answer is

that you answer in a way

that doesn’t draw them any further

into your life

than the moment it takes to ask

then get the fuck out of there

before too much information gets revealed

they don’t want to be witnesses

they don’t want to rationalize away

your reality

so I learn to say the same thing back

how are you doing

rather than answer their question

because no one cares

there isn’t enough time

before the commercial break

not enough language

too many ways to spin the facts

and the facts seem to be these

there is no truth

there is death in the news

again

and that’s

no lie

ribbon

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