My Space

My Space

marking my territory 

even temporarily 

happens without my awareness

an automatic act

will I share a table

with a stranger

in a crowded restaurant

a stranger who has already

marked it as their territory 

with a stare

a knapsack placed just so

<>

do I want an empty seat

on either side of me

when I fly

take public transit

sit in the audience

well – yes

unless I get to pick

who invades my territory

<>

dogs mark with quick squirts

an automatic act

that leaves a message

for any other dog to read

my territory

is only mine 

as long as I am there

no trace of me

is left behind

The other day I watched a guy walking his dog. The dog stopped frequently to mark their territory & couldn’t be deterred by its master, who smiled apologetically at me for being in the way. I envied the dog that sort of bladder control. I also wondered what it expected to do with the territory it had marked. The scent isn’t like a code that can be scanned telling other dogs to back off – all they do is piss on it.

Years ago I witnessed an altercation in a cafe when someone sat at an empty table with the coffee & sandwich. Moments later someone came to the table & said that that was their table – that they had just gone into give their order. The seated person said something toe effect that was too bad. The other said didn’t you see my knapsack on the chair. Swearing ensued & sadly the seated person relinquished the table. I was hoping for at least a drink being thrown.

One of few good things about pandemic distancing is the distancing. It makes establishing physical boundaries more culturally acceptable. When patios were opened it was no longer okay to crowd so many tables together than one and to hold their shoulder bag over their heads to avoid knocking things off the table next to them.

When it was possible (remember those days) to go to a public performance, or attend a workshop I would usually get a spot with good sight lines & away from groups of people. I was never one for sitting at the table, as it were. I liked my space. 


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Recorporated

 

Recorporated 

I was on the subway. Standing & avoiding those crowding close me. Breathing slowly into my mask, head down to keep as from contact as possible. The new reality.

People got on & off at each stop. Each negotiating space around them & between others. Some apologizing for brushing up against someone when it was impossible to avoid brushing up against someone. The old reality.

In the window reflection I saw someone stand close beside me but when I glanced to them there was no one there. The reflection was unchanged though. There was clearly a person – I say a person because though the shape was clearly there, the face was distorted by the glass. I couldn’t tell if it was male or female. I couldn’t even see any race. I could feel them press against me as the subway stopped. When I looked to apologize there was no one there. No one.

They were only there in reflection. Wearing a mask much like mine.

The train stopped at my station. I moved to get off but stopped for a moment to glance at the figure by me. I saw it moving past me in reflection. I followed. It turned. I saw it full face. It was me. He exited. Stunned, I couldn’t follow.

The door closed. I had no reflection. I merge back into the crowd. Stood behind someone, willing them to look up. When they did I saw my refection.

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M-Miscellaneous

Les Mersey’s is a PQ pop group who thrived thanks to CanCon regulations about both the amount of radio airtime that had to be devoted to Canadian music & in Quebec how much of the time had to be in French. I have several stand-alone cds of the amazing series ‘Les Groupes des Années 60.’ The 25 Chansons include originals, a few sung in English but mostly French versions of English hits such as their take on The Rolling Stones – Stupid Girl, Fille Stupide. These are a delight.

I started to collect these when I visited Montreal in the mid-90’s. It was a vain attempt to improve my French but, well, that didn’t happen – c’est la vie. But it did help open my eyes to the insidious influence of US pop music & the sometimes hilarious ways it was adapted by other cultures. If you like this wonky cultural appropriation search out Cambodian pop for the 60s. 

Next M is Metro Station best known for their insanely addictive summer hit Shake It. Catchy & fun the album is solid, though nothing quite has the zip of Shake It. All the tracks would make nice movie/TV moments though. The band disappeared after this hit, as far as I know, though Wiki tells me they are still active. The subway in Montreal is known as Le Metro so there is a connection with Les Mercy’s.

The last of this M miscellany is MGMT. I have stand-alones of Oracular Spectacular & Congratulations. I picked up them first as at the result of reading about it in Entertainment Weekly. I may have also seen the video for Electric Feel – which is a great slinky summer hit. The lps are described as psychedelic rock – but, well, they aren’t Umma Gumma trippy. Enjoyable as they are, two cds were enough for my collection.

Maybe He Was Dead

So far there were no TV crews hovering around what was going on. Jan stayed within listening distance but tried not to seem too nosey. A few people were taking pictures with cell phones but they were being warned off by the police. TTC was always sensitive about what went on. She had to figure how to confirm what her sister had told her.

Manonotti was one of the more outspoken voices on city council when it came to almost anything, he never dodged the limelight. His latest mission had been to side with the cyclist union for more dedicated bike lanes. He felt that giving more money to public transit didn’t have to mean just the subway and that if there were more attention payed to alternate forms of transport the city would be better off.

As a result he was frequently at logger-heads with both the TTC and merchants. Merchants who felt more bike lanes meant less parking for paying customers who now had no where to park their cars. Manonotti was outspoken and blunt. Now, maybe, he was dead.

Jan had met him a few times. Interviewed him once when he his crusade was to halt the health spas that were popping up along the Danforth in long empty store fronts. The spas were covers for rub and tug operations where the massage was sexual and not medicinal. 

But when he saw that transportation was getting more press hw switched his focus to what would get him the greatest face time. He had hopes of parleying all this into a run for the mayor. He felt it was time the city had someone born and bred in Toronto at the helm and not some corporate clone.

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Meat Loaf Transcendent

Here’s another cd mp3 compilation that covers genres, eras, & even countries. Epic rock, funk, disco, retro & meditation – who could ask for more?  Khrishna Das has been described as “the chant master of American yoga.” One doesn’t have to know yoga to enjoy this meditative music. I have Breath of the Heart & One Track Heart. New Age world music of the top order. Evocative & emotionally resonant. Good for writing to as well.

The rest of this compilation is not as transcendent but is definitely emotionally resonant starting with the classic: Meat Loaf: Bat Out Of Hell. Epic, operatic rock that still tops the oldies charts. I remember the seismic shock when this was first released & everyone was listening to it. I still love it. Sadly there was no really successful follow up – operatic quickly became bombastic tripe. If you are one of the few people on earth who has never heard Bat, do so asap 🙂

Speaking of earth here too is Rare Earth: In Concert. Solid rock/funk. More about them when I get to ‘r’ on the shelf. But we won’t wait for ‘r’ for Revolver Reloaded. This is a set of cover versions of the Beatles’ Revolver. This remake of a vintage lp is a popular nostalgia genre now. Good fun by British bands I’ve never heard of & some nice re-imaginings others too reverent.

For some more earthbound balance is Ray Charles: The Very Best Of – classic rock before classic rock was invented. I have vague recollections of some of these songs on the radio & was happy to add it here. Finally some classic disco with Jackie Moore: I’m On My Way. I have clear memories of sweating to this on the dance floor & never wanting the song to end. A great voice, great production & like many disco albums only the singles pop.

Murder on the TTC

Jan was walking up the stairs when her cell began to ring. There were too many people around her for easy access to it. At the top she stepped aside.

“Hello.”

“Jan thought you’d want to know. They found a body at the Bloor station!”

It was her sister Karen. 

“Yeah I saw the police when we passed through there.”

“It was Peter Manonotti.”

“What!” she automatically started back down the stairs. Manonotti was one of the most vocal city council members when it came to matters transit.

“I gotta go. Can’t be caught tipping you off.”

“Thanks, sis.” Karen was a subway driver. “Don’t want you to get fired on my account.”

“Fired! Ha. I have a union. Takes more than this to get rid of a tough dyke like me.”

Jan got on the next train back. Manonotti dead. Murder on the TTC. She could see the headlines now. She stepped off again at Bloor and made her way down the stairs and up to the other side. Maybe this would be the scoop she needed.

A yellow tape marked a corner from the top of the stairs to the gateway. Patrons were being moved along directed by police and transit security. Both washrooms were now out of bounds.

She pulled her press card out of her purse ready to show it to the officer in charge of moving people along.

“Can you tell me what happened Office Lee.” She glanced at his badge.

“Nothing to tell.”

“I hear there’s been a body found?”

“Some guy had a heart attack taking a crap.”

“Oh.”

“Out of the way people so the medics can get though.”

He pushed her aside into the crowd that had formed.  

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Ten More Stops

samprules2

Working through a new set of prompts – I love lists of things – this one will prove to be endlessly productive for another couple of years – 227 Rules For Monks

The 13 saṃghādisesas

2 Not to touch a woman.

19drawersred04

Ten More Stops

she struggled

snuggled

into the subway seat

next to me

pulling her arms close

gave me a perplexed glance

my knees were tight together

my shoulder bag on my lap

my own arms pressed to my waist

my ebook open and balanced

on top of my shoulder bag

taking up as little space as I could

 

‘do you mind’ she muttered

I pulled my feet closer

‘I said do you mind!’ she was angry

I chose to ignore her

I couldn’t take up less space

she elbowed me sharply

knocking the ebook askew

it wasn’t my fault

the seats were so small

 

‘what an asshole’ she said loudly

‘keep your hands off me’

people looked at us

I shrugged

my hands were clearly

holding my ebook & my shoulder bag

in place

 

more people got on to

the already overcrowded car

the a/c wasn’t working

it was hot   stinky

I had ten more stops to go

and this bitch was muttering

‘fucking asshole men

think they can get away

with pawing women

whenever they want’

 

I decided I didn’t need this aggravation

put my ebook into my shoulder bag

pulled myself out of the seat

indicated it empty

to a woman much bigger than me

then watched the face

of the angry woman

as she was squeezed even tighter

and

for some strange reason

it felt good

when the large lady said

‘move a little   do you mind’

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