Stratford July Day Trip

sky over 401 as we set out
tarts galore at The Shakespeare Pie Shop
sky over The Shakespeare Pie Shop
dining a la fresco at Features
new Tom Patterson
other side of the new Tom Patterson
another view of the new Tom Patterson
paddleboats on the Avon

for more about the trip & more photos see Stratford Protocol  https://topoet.ca/2020/07/24/stratford-protocol/ 

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Stratford Protocol

Earlier this week we took a day trip to Stratford. This is the first summer in decades I haven’t seen show there, & the first time since the 50’s my partner hasn’t seen a show there. Neither have never been there when they wasn’t a show running. Unlike out usual visits there we didn’t have to pack as much in the way of snacks & fluids 🙂

With most of the province inching into phase 3 I was curious to see just what that meant outside of the golden horseshoe. We left later than usual, no rush to get there for 2 pm curtain. The weather was perfect. The traffic was the usual with slowdowns outside of Kitchener. Our first stop was the Tim’s at the edge of Cambridge. 

Masks on & in we went. No seating but washrooms were open, on request, one person at a time. Follow the arrows to the exit please. Staff masked & gloved. Coffee up to their standards. From there we took the New Dundee Road though New Dundee, Haysville & on to Shakespeare, This was the only major slowdown for highway work being done on the intersection there. 30 mins while road-plows plowed the road. It seems university guys aren’t doing construction this year to pay their tuition 😦

It was worth the wait for our next stop: the Pie Shop. There we bought chicken pot pies, lemon tarts & other nutritious snacks. On to Stratford for lunch at Features.

Yes Features was open for ‘take-out’ only. But they had patio tables set up & brought your order to your table. The town had more people than expected wandering in & out of the fudge stores. But the Festival theatres were all shut down even the gift shops. With so little tourist traffic the town opted not to do any gardening along sidewalks etc.

We did drive around to see the new Theatre. The rush for opening has allowed them to take their time with landscaping. The lots was fenced off so I didn’t get any real close up photos. People in paddle boats on the Avon was out matinee performance 🙂

Drive home was good. Road workers on lunch break as we passed through Shakespeare. One last stop at the Pork Shop for their excellent pulled pork. Home by 4:30. exhausted by all that sitting, taking photos & enjoying the scenery? Maybe we’ll hit Niagara-on-the-Lake for an August day trip. A big maybe because there isn’t even a favorite restaurant we miss there.  

Covid 101: McMask Meals

Actually it’s probably 105 days of ‘lockdown’ which has loosened somewhat this past week even here in Toronto. I can tell by the amount of traffic on the streets both vehicular & pedestrian. The shift to more masking has seen an uptick, as is masks litter. Though I haven’t seen much ‘corporate’ branded masking. No McMask Meals yet. But I predict they’ll take the place of baseball caps & t-shirts as give-away promotional items. What would you prefer another notepad or a mask? 

No covid immunity breakthroughs, not that I expected one this soon. We’re learning how to keep it from killing people but that’s small consolation. One way to boost the immune system is to stop reading/listening to all the contradictory news. It is clear that travel for pleasure will be restricted to the wealthy, if it happens at all. No DC visits in my future 😦

The US has decided the economy is more important than health – well, that’s always been the case – profits trump everything. Maybe there’s more money to be made in ventilators or letting people die, than in keeping them safe. As they say follow the money – if there was no profit in poverty there’d be no poverty. Treatment is more profitable than cure. What are funeral costs like these days?

In my walks around the neighbourhood I see more dusty stuff at the curb. The result of social isolation covid cleaning frenzies. By stuff I mean old dressers, old upright pianos – big items clearly dragged up out of basements or down from attics. Many of which I’m sure are gone before garbage pick up. I know stuff I’ve ‘curbed’ has been gone within hours. Thanks to covid my house weighs at least 1000 pounds less. 

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Birding Ontario

a pause of pigeons

 

a feeding of ducks & geese Stratford, Ontario

silver goose

ducks & swan Stratford, Ontario

a mist of pigeons

a waddle of geese Stratford, Ontario

unhappy in pink at Toronto zoo

a party of pigeons

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

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Nothing Doing

Get Off The Pot

there is a time & place

for everything

except this

because this a time for nothing

a time to do nothing

to save nothing

this isn’t that rainy day

this isn’t when

the cows come home

when the crows roost

so stop waiting

for those eggs to hatch

no matter what you have on your hands

this is not the time or place

to save stitches

to waste your breath

or make yet more excuses 

no more chances

there is no grace period 

it’s not now nor never

neither suits me fine

there is no better time

for doing nothing

Doing nothing is a difficult concept in a culture geared to productivity. Being idle is seen as a waste of time, or as being lazy. Time off time doesn’t really exist when one has laundry to do, a house to clean, a yard to rake, children to look after, pets to tend to, boxsets of hit TV shows to binge watch. When we are deprived of distractions we panic.

What do you do in your ‘spare time?’ Plan a vacation check flights & hotels so you can get away from your routine & do nothing? When you get there is a rush from museum to restaurant – hiking trails – or finding a quiet spot in a park & sitting there breathing 🙂 Doing nothing is hard work/

I have been trying to break some of my busy habits. One step was to stop carting my iPod around with me whenever I left the house. My life had a sound track that never seemed to stop. A sound track that became a buffer between me & what was actually around me. If I ran into friends while on my walk I would be miffed that I’d have to turn off my iPod to listen to them. Or think – don’t they see I’m busy listening.

I recently stopped reading when I take a pee – I didn’t want to piss away those previous moments when I could be reading a few pages of some vitally important book. Why not do one thing at time, right. Enjoy the flow of the moment 🙂

I am not yet at the point where I can do nothing though. The closest I get is on my walks but even those have extra layers: eyes opened for photos, mulling over blog posts, wondering what to cook for dinner on the weekend. I think one of the reasons for my routines is so I can think less. I essential know what I’m going to serve every day for dinner – variations on the same things. i.e. Monday is always rice with veggies, steamed cabbage & steamed salmon. Herbs & spices for the rice will change from week to week.

One of the Artist’s Way tasks was to listen to a side of an lp. To just listen to it without doing anything else. Sit there & do nothing but listen. Let the music be music not background, not inspiration, memory cue or even meditation. It was a challenge. Are you up to it?
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Fortress of Louisbourg Redux

Another set of photos from my Cape Breton Trip in August 2019.  

my summer look

the bloody shepherd in the Military Chapel

dog of the bloody shepherd

wound of the bloody shepherd

toy soldiers

social distancing

live chickens – not animatronics

cannon balls

Does anyone know the story behind the wounded shepherd?

https://wp.me/s1RtxU-diop



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My Peeps

birds on a wire in Toronto

all alone am I in Toronto

seagull in Stratford, Ont.

swans in Stratford, Ont.

geese in Stratford, Ont.

swan in Stratford, Ont.

swans & ducks in Stratford, Ont.

pink flamingo in Toronto

#Toronto #WordPress #pigeons #swans #geese #ducks #seagull #flamingo #Stratford #travel #photography #Ontario

 

https://wp.me/s1RtxU-diop

https://capfireslam.org

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Authenticity 

There’s been a recent on-line conversation about ‘trauma for points’ at slam competitions. At a Hot Damn It’s A Queer Slam – a year or so ago one of the slammers did such an emotionally charged piece they re-experienced the trauma that was the basis for the piece & ran off stage & outside. The piece was so emotionally charged it was impossible to judge – was it well written? Who knows. If you didn’t score the piece high enough were you diminishing their experience. It was one of the reason I stopped judging at slams.

Between WWI & WWII poetry underwent a psychological change in which the narrative/pastoral lost out to confessional ‘do I dare walk with my pant legs rolled.’ From Eliot’s surrealism to Sexton’s ‘I hate you Daddy’ authenticity became paramount. Poets who weren’t revealing something emotionally vulnerable about themselves weren’t authentic.

Poetry that wasn’t ‘insightful’ was considered entertainment – almost as bad as being greeting card sentimental. If you didn’t have trauma you didn’t have authenticity. If you had a sense of humour, even a sense of emotional balance one wasn’t a serious poet. This ran/runs though much of the serious writing arena & is heightened in the slam scene. Anger isn’t as point worthy as rage – rape is authentic – romance is sentimental tripe.

On a recent episode of Project Runway the designers were tasked to make a garment that reflected their ethnic culture. The Latino made a dress that incorporated the names of children who had died in custody crossing the border. His explanation was emotional & resonant – the garment was not good though – so the judges had to do this dance between sentiment & practicality. 

Slam judges often are confronted with this same dance – often though they favour the emotional as opposed to the actual use of language. They want to be nice. I was happy to stop judging because I’m not interested in being nice.

Good Idea

it seemed like a good idea at the time

everyone was so gung-ho

until they realized

they would have to do something 

to make it happen

 

expecting me to do it all

was part of their plan

not mine

sure I thought their idea was great 

but I’m not a one man show

as much as I’d like to be

as much I as I know

I would be better person

for being willing to do it all by by myself

I’m not going to even try

 

when that become clear

their energy began to wane

it didn’t seem so wonderful after all

getting active

making things happen

isn’t such fun after all

why can’t someone else 

do all the work for us

while we sit back

& enjoy the results 

the rewards should be ours 

for the thinking

 

thanks to someone being 

consistant and eager

to take each demanding task 

and fulfilling them 

to our specification

yes that gives us energy

but faced with having

to do it ourselves 

we grow diffident 

disinterested

disenchanted 

while looking for the right person

to blame 

to save face

 

the next fast flash of inspiration

will have to require 

even less than thinking

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

North Sydney, Cape Breton

 

pre motherboard keyboards

state of the art teletype

red glass

candle sconce

Cape Breton Condos Complex

Affordable Cape Breton Single Family Condo

Fort Petrie Directional Aid

distances estimated not exact

https://capfireslam.org

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees &  eat at Capturing Fire this June in Washington DC – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet