2020 Umbrella Blues

Over the past year by TOpoet.ca following blog grew from 363 to 445! That’s over 80 new followers without me going out of my way beyond blogging regularly. The WordPress map show my hits have come from some 85 countries around the world. India still tops the list is interest but that Italy & Japan are in the top 10 is a surprise. Kenya still in the top 20 – but Malawi! Still no hits from North Korea 😦

The 2020 post that got the most hits was https://topoet.ca/2020/06/10/catholic-girls/ but a post from 2014 made a surprise showing too https://topoet.ca/2014/01/24/born-to-be-blown/. The post with the most all-time hits is also from 2014: https://topoet.ca/2014/06/06/there-was-the-word/. My Tumblr is at 295. It would be much higher but I frequently block follows for buxom babes, porn slam (shooting up crystal meth) sites. Twitter 229 followers.

Picture Perfect is moving along nicely with 48 sections, just over 73,000 words posted so far with about 116,000 words to be edited & then posted. Editing it is fun &though I recollect most of the plot I am getting to expand somethings & fill in others. I need a cheat sheet of names at all times though.

In this has been the year of the pandemic, I never expected to be living in a scifi movie. The threat is real but the stress comes from not knowing when or if it might strike me. I take all the precautions, masks, hand washing & social distancing – which have all proved to be enough so far. Zoom has become one of my best friends 🙂

Getting to AA meetings is simple & no having to deal with winter wear has been an additional plus. Members there frequently mention how they miss all the face-to-face contact but you know I’m indifferent to it. I have never been one for social gathering , of any sort, of more than four or five people. Another bonus is this lack of social contact has resulted in no colds or flu, so far, this winter. I’ve quickly embraced face masks & have amassed a nice collection with fun patterns. a few solid colours, that allow me to feel less medical when I put one on. One way of making masks work is to make them fashion. But I’m not enjoying the realization that going to the store for a loaf of bread is actually playing Russian roulette without knowing who is holding the gun.

My 2020 plans for Capturing Fire in Washington never materialized & I doubt if I’ll be visiting the US, or anywhere else, even in Canada, until 2022. With the travel industry decimated even in country travel will be a challenge. No boats, trains, buses or airplanes to the Maritimes  might bring back the car 🙂 It isn’t clear what will happen with the Stratford Festive, they have planned a season but social distancing requirements may scuttle it even if the vaccine roll out goes well. Maybe one will need a proof of vaccine to get in to see a show? Maybe a return to classical Greek theatre style where all the performers wore masks?

Umbrella Blues

that rain is wet

comes as no surprise

it’s just that sometimes

I’m bored of the rain

tired of its endless fall

the sound of the drop

the feel of it on my skin 

by rain

I mean life

<>

not that life is wet

but it’s just that sometimes

I’m weary of it all

even more so these covid days

<>

so far

I’ve dodged that bullet 

as the numbers of infected

go up & up 

I’m not yet in that number

I say a prayer of gratitude

but I’m tired of dodging that bullet

to go the the store

to walk down the street

<>

peeved by walking into on coming traffic

to create social distance

between me and others

on sidewalks narrowed by patios

I’m weary of the worry

of the avoidance

of the feel survivor’s guilt

<>

have you seen my umbrella

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee
sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Stratford photos taken a day trip earlier in 2020.

November 2020 Recap

Over the month my TOpoet.ca blog following grew to 410! The December WP map show my hits have come from around the world. That the USA tops the list is a sign of election fatigue :-). Bangladesh (একটি উষ্ণ স্বাগত) & Italy (Un caldo benvenuto) are now in the top 10! My Tumblr is at 294. Twitter is at 229 followers.

Picture Perfect: 43 sections, about 66,000 words posted so far with 120,000 approx remaining to be edited then posted. I got a little tripped up in sequence & had to double back, as it were, to get the flow back in order. My rough drafts aren’t all done in chronological sequence so when I started this draft I put the individual drafts in order but messed up a bit. Such is life.

everyone’s a critic

TV viewing: Brave New World & War of the Worlds both came to an end. Brave certainly had the look with, for the men, smart costume design – I could believe those futurist business suits & overcoats; but the women suffered from standard illogical, uncomfortable, super-tight dreck. The plot was a bit of a mess & it’s too bad they based it so loosely on its source material. Final episode was clearly open for a season two (which isn’t going to happen.)

At least the Brave wasn’t saddled with the trite backstory family-turmoil that War of the Worlds drowned in. Again very loosely based on the source material but I am enjoying the diversity of the cast, the diversity of locations. Apparently it has been renewed for a second season which I’ll probably keep an eye out for, despite the disappointing reveal in the last minutes. 

Watched an amazing movie: Madeinusa – Spanish, set in Peru. A stranger is stranded in a small mountain village in the midst of one of their religious festivals. The festival reflects the Latino mash up of their ancient beliefs & Catholicism & is stunning. The ritual cutting of the neckties took my breath away. Exceptional & worth searching out.

November was relatively uneventful. Lockdown reduced my outside social distancing even more. The only ripple was an unexpected flare of psoriases – of which I have no previous experience. One morning a trip to emerg to get a rash looked at- they told me what it wasn’t but did know what it was. Referral to dermatology clinic that I went to the next day. The Dr. there took one look & knew what it was. Whew, I guess. It appears as spots not flakes. Anyone want to rub lotion on my back?

Nothing

nothing tastes as good as 

being thin feels

the first glance of anticipation

the sweetest kisses

all lose flavour

in favour of the cling tight snuggle 

skin shrink-wrapped around 

cheeks hipbones

smooth taut as drum

counting ribs more fun

than pulling the petals off a flower

he loves me   thin

<>

the skinny love 

slips between the sheets

cool and light  sheer as linen

that carves the shape of me

pale in the heavy thick night

I waver 

a glimpse of smoke

reach out to stroke

the breathing body beside me

corpulent sighs of pleasure’s resignation

the ghost of a glance come to roost 

for a few chancing movements

not heavy enough to dent the bed

perfection

<>

the weight of sunlight

makes it hard to walk

even buoyed by the adoring glances

of those who envy 

the soundless touch of these feet

on the mass of the earth

my blessed opportunity

to dust dance on mother earth

to float shadowless under father sky 

leave no carbon footprint

<>

my clothes weigh more than I do

wearing next to nothing

next to nothing

who could ask for more

boniness is next to adoration

now to get rid of these bones

become shapeless formless

<>

oh to be free of the body

the encumbrance of personality 

that is invested in this skin

deep in bone density

to lose the self

become the nothing

that tastes better than thin

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee
sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

October 2020 Recap

Over the month my TOpoet.ca following blog grew to! The October WP map show my hits have come from 37 countries around the world. That India falls to 2nd place with the USA taking first. Hello Luxembourg! Hola Mexico! I even received some donations via paypal 🙂 My Tumblr is at 300, Twitter at 240 followers.

Plugging away at Picture Picture & am into the 2nd nano year of the original drafts. I made an abrupt jump from where I left off in year one. That first year I got really caught up in my hero’s back story – which was threatening to take over the book at the time – so started year 2 with the reality show investigation of those missing children. Picture Perfect so far: 42 sections, about 65,000 words posted with approx 122,000 left to be edited. 

October hasn’t see any drastic domestic changes except for the spike in covid. Restrictions around that have little impact on my daily life. Not giving out candy on Halloween is a bit of a relief – though I did buy a face mask to wear for the occasion. No candy sales in the hotspots though. I have been enjoying neighbourhood dedication to spooky decorating – Halloween is the one holiday that hasn’t been co-opted by any religion.

Wrapped up the annotated Distant Music, I had planned to just do it for the summer but couldn’t stop in the middle of the book. Went back to the inputs of my 1970 novel Allen Time. POV slips around in a fun way. There is almost no action! Allen thinks a lot though. Considering what to do next with this piece of juvenilia. 

Expanded my zoom life by adding another recovery meeting to the two I already log into. Checked out several before picking the one to add. With zoom one can find a meeting to fit nearly any time of the day, though for some you have to figure out time zones, for others figuring out the format is the challenge. I rarely turn on my camera though. Too many moving figures is distracting. I’m really not interesting in watching 30+ fidgeting people at one time & don’t want to add to that number. I end up minimizing the screen anyway to sound only – uses less bandwidth. 

TV remains our prime source of entertainment. Besides documentaries on Ancient Egypt, the science of the brain I’ve been watching an adaptation of ‘War Of The Worlds.’ Some serious eye-candy has kept watching as the plot is over-wrought emotional confrontations between the people under attack. The robot dog/spiders are excellent. Finished season one of Broadchurch – intense but stretched out. We’ll start season two once we finish Brave New World: another adaptation but it stick a bit closer to the characters & general plot of the novel. It even had real laughs.

Also watched some excellent, if a bit difficult movies. Beau Travail dr Claire Denis – (loosely based on Billy Budd – set in Djbouti; Sleepwalking Land dr. Teresa Prata; Mozambique; Mouchette dr. Robert Bresson: rural France. All visually stunning, brilliantly performed – all addressing the nature of masculinity & growing up. Each with a narrative logic that at times makes you question who is telling the story & all leaving some of the story up to the viewer to tell. Rewarding & worth seeing.

November brings back pieces prompted by the 227 Rules for Monks on Wednesday. Music works fine on Thursdays, the Sunday photo blog has proved to popular enough for me to keep it going. Monday remains free-for-all, but also where I’ll chatter on about objects in my house & of course my covid19 musings. Picture Perfect will continue on Tuesdays.

Crawling Back To Me

nothing is more arousing 

than obedience

someone who says 

‘what can I do 

to bring you pleasure

I will to do what you want’

someone who doesn’t 

hint at other pleasures

till the time is right

who is cheerfully compliant

to my desires

each& every time

eager and ready

obedient and responsive

never complaining 

never holding them selves in check

asking

what more would you like to do

someone who has no complaints

about your shoes

or the way you smell at any time

who has enough of a life

of their own

that there are no recriminations 

when you don’t call everyday

someone who doesn’t need 

constant reassurance that you care

even you don’t care

but merely happy to enjoy 

the happenstance of your company

yes give me obedience over looks

over money 

because no matter how cute they are 

how rich they are

if they aren’t willing

what’s the point

if they have their own demands

the balance shifts

takes away my gratification

then it’s too late

for them to come

crawling back to me

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee
sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Time Waits for No Mask

Sept 2020 Recap

Time flies when you are having a good time, but it also flies in a time of turmoil. Recently a friend wondered where the summer went, he couldn’t really recall spring either. He was one of the lucky ones those job allowed for work from home so he isn’t fully idle during the lockdown as it becomes less a lockdown & more a social distance challenge.

I told him that as one gets older time seems to move quicker plus in a time of crisis it moves even faster. One of things I learned when I was involved in palliative care in the early days of HIV is that one loses awareness of the ‘stress’ – I think the same thing is true of the covid19 crisis. The stress becomes normalized but the threat hasn’t gone away. With both the fluctuations of numbers, restrictions & the civil war news from the USA one loses track of the passage of time. Thus time moves faster.

At the start of the lockdown I joking told a couple of friends ‘see you in September’ – they thought I was being overly pessimistic, little did we realize then that I should been saying ‘see you in September 2021.’ We have learned more about covid & its transmission since the first of the year but the threat still exists. 

September has been a month of living in this new reality. Masks are fashion accessories. Social distancing is an acceptable excuse for avoid people you don’t want to see anyway 🙂 Masks as seen as infringements of personal rights by the same people who berated gay men for not wearing condoms. I use both but masks are much easier to get on & off 🙂

Blogging less has been productive as I have been writing more. October will see some of that new work with a fresh set of spooky poems to show up on Fridays. I’m still working through the annotated Distant Music. One of the books I read in September was Allen Ginsburg’s look back at Howl in which he discusses inspirations, explains his intent, names & context – which is pretty much what I’ve doing with Distant Music.

Time for stats 🙂 Over the month my TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 385! The WP map show my hits have come from 31 countries around the world. That India still tops the list is interest but Portugal & China are now in the top 10. Venezuela! America Samoa! 

My Tumblr is at 292 – it would be higher but I block buxom babes & guys who slam drugs, not poetry. Twitter is at 226 followers it would be higher but I block buxom babes, editorial services & mavens eager to show me how to make big bucks on the internet. Picture Perfect: 37 sections, about 58,000 words posted so far with 130,000  approx to be edited then posted.

Fog Tarantella

<>

for too many years 

I was in a tree top

shouting out for love

I didn’t care where it came from

the louder I shouted the less I heard

the higher I climbed

the further I got away from it

yet I didn’t think of climbing down

I wanted the love that was in the air

not the common stuff of the earth

not knowing then

that was where love grew from

<>

one morning during a snow storm

the first after a long hot autumn

of yelling myself hoarse

give me love  I want love

blood flecks dappling the leaves 

the snow at first a few darting specks

then a steady scrim hush

to cool my eyes

flakes on my fevered tongue 

letting the sky satisfy 

as best it could 

but the sky doesn’t love back

except with echoes

<>

while the snow cloaked me

my own limbs mantled like branches

a peacock

clumsily descended

a bird that at a distance has stunning beauty

but this close it was motley 

squawking as it settled by me 

our eyes met

his tail opened

the breathtaking fan of feathers

stopped my shouting

I reached out to touch 

fell

earth bound by beauty

at the foot of the tree

<>

a mist arose around me

through the winter fog 

came men dancing

their arms around wisps of white

the imagined bodies of lovers

caressing the backs

touching the hair

making it as real as they could

kissing empty haze

could I join them

should I

was this all I could expect on earth

or would I be bold enough 

to allow one of these dancing men

to dance with me

before I climbed a tree

lost in the fog

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee
sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Exhausted August 2020

Over the month my TOpoet.ca following is steady at 380! The August WP map shows that my hits have come from around the world. India still tops the list with 3 times as many hits than Canada at number 2. Good to see Japan & Portugal making the top 10. China! Nepal! My Tumblr (topoet) is up by 3 to 290. Twitter (@TorPoet) up to 226 followers. My most popular post in August: Fab Forty 1965 https://topoet.ca/2020/08/02/fab-forty-1965/ 

I’ve posted 33 chapters of Picture Perfect so far, nearly 49,000 words, with 137,000 words yet to be edited. I had forgotten how much attention I had paid to world-building for my hero. Making cuts has been easy & expanding some when needed has been fun. I also love making the fresh weekly graphic & will include them in an appendix to the eBook. 

I’ve been really enjoying the challenge of writing about my Distant Music pieces. Nearing the end that. Doing one week has made the work more steady. Two pieces a week was rushed. Once done I may compel it all into an eBook. I found I am following in famous footsteps: Alan Ginsburg did a similar explanation of Howl for its 50th anniversary. I’m not as self-indulgent as I thought 😦

Amongst the movies I watched in August was the oddly fascinating Paris Belongs To Us – early 60’s underground theatre in Paris – each scene deepens the mystery with layers of information that leads to ? It was as if Kafka met Beckett to write a screenplay. Was stunned by Edge Of The Knife (SG̲aawaay Ḵ’uuna) a Canadian film in Haida. Visually amazing, brilliant performances & a work of art.

Another month of living with the pandemic. Will Americans accept a covid vaccine made in Russia? Since their last presidential election was (made in Russia) I don’t see why not 🙂 More  deflection where entertainment value is more important than progress – where anger over racism is the issue not the racism itself.

Life in Toronto slowly opens up with patios, schools, community centres adapting to covid protocols. Classroom of a certain size allow for 20 or is it 30 students – LCBO spaces of similar size are restricted to 10 people, at a time. The province has made it its priorities clear. I have no children, I don’t consume alcohol so I have no standing in such issues.

Light At the End of the Closet

<>

some days I check my email

every hour I’m awake

in case there’s one from him

but he’s a fucking crappy communicator

and I like it

I like the frustration

<>

I know he isn’t stringing me along

I don’t check my voicemail 

he can’t leave messages

if he calls he has to use pay-phones

he has one of those sensitive jobs

can’t be out

can’t be caught out

I understand this

and I like it

I like the hidden secret

the old-time quality of his closet

of me being totally out of mine

I can slip into his

and not feel the need to force him out

he knows this

he is always apologizing

sorry about an unending work load

that lets him hide

that makes him hide

I like this hiding   sometimes

when he says I’m ray of light

more like a shaft 

I joke

<>

I like this frustration

knowing I can feel it

not need to judge force refuse

be present 

be in my own open life

sort of free

sort of   because

if  I see a crying child

in the street or a mall

I have to back away

gay men are automatically suspect

and can never be proven innocent

<>

so I back away into that closet

I don’t like that frustration

till I check my email

and there’s one from him

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee
sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Van McCoy Voyage

This mp3 cd collection is filed under Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony. Sweet Rhythm contains the hit The Hustle – which is a disco icon of the  Philadelphia sound. Strings galore, flute & still a template for dance music that emulates old skool. To be honest I hated it then but now it is sweet nostalgia & more than bmp under a diva’s voice.  Van McCoy died young in 1979 of a heart attack. Sweet Rhythm is easy & sexy.

Peter Brown’s A Fantasy Love Affair is more brilliantly produced dance music. In 1977 his 12″ version of “Do Ya Wanna Get Funky With Me” reached the million dollar mark making it the first gold 12” single in history. This one brings back memories of my arrival in Toronto in 1979 & my discovery of discos in the gay ghetto. This is hip thrusting music, catchy & fun. Sexual & sexy.

These two were performers I had heard of before I downloaded their lps (with bonus tracks). The rest of there were unknown to be, even though I did know the songs. All were ‘discovered’ by tracks posted in my Tumblr feed. My music collection needed more r’n’b from the 70’s/80’s to round it out. 

I have the hits collection by The Main Ingredient: Everybody Plays the Fool that includes Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely. I loved both these songs but didn’t know who originated them. A sold soul band with strong vocals – reminiscent of groups like the The Four Tops – this is great music. Similar but more on the disco side is B.T. Express: Do It (’Til You’re Satisfied) B. T. stand for Brooklyn Transit. Great club music with a strong sexy edge.

I don’t know what the T stands for in T-Connection. This a band out Nassau, the Bahamas. I have the  Expanded Edition of their self titled album that includes the dance floor monster ‘At Midnight.’ The song brings back memories of getting home after Midnight and reeking go cigarette smoke & sweat. A good memory. Similar to them is Con Funk Shun’s Funk Essentials. As you might guess this a dance funk band – one that I’d never heard of before but am happy to hear now.

The holds true for Blue Magic. I have the remastered release of their first, 1974 lp. More in The Spinners mode of funk.  The longest lasting of many of these groups is Earth Wind & Fire here I have their 1980 Faces. I have several of their other lps scattered through my vast collection. Best known for their ballads this is another smooth, funky with a dash of jazzy band that produced dozens of constant lps.

Finally a San Jose, garage soul band Syndicate of Sound: Little Girl. This a bit of an anomaly here as fun, disco isn’t noted for garage bands the way rock’b’roll is – oddly street-corner doo-wop was never considered as garage band – maybe too much emphasis on vocal harmony 🙂 Anyway this a fun lp, energy with interesting r’n’b under pinning.

Had Enough

Except for the bartender the tavern was deserted. Doug ordered a bottle beer. Took a table that wasn’t too dark. He sat and watched the beads of condensation form and trickle down the side of the bottle. They pooled around the bottom. The pool heavier on one side than the other. The table wasn’t level. He wondered if there would be enough bottle sweat for it to form a stream away from the bottle.

As his eyes adjusted he could see the stains of other bottles left to stand on the table. The lights from the bar reflected and distorted on the wet surface of the bottle.

“You gonna drink that or what?”

“Huh?” Doug looked up.

“You been staring down that bottle for the last ten minutes. Won’t jump up to you mouth, you know, you gotta lite it for the full effect.”

Doug looked up to the voice. It was a young man. Late 20’s, he guessed. Shaved head big smile loose t-shirt and baggy shorts.

“Or would you rather be left alone.”

“I’m just having a beer and a think. Not looking to buy anything else.”

“Do I look like a hustler to you?”

Doug shrugged. He didn’t know what a hustler would look like but figured no one talked to strangers in places like this just to make conversation.

“Besides you look to be doing more thinkin’ than drinkin’.”

“Yeah. Well a think is all I wanted. Here …” Doug slid the beer towards the bald man. “I’ve had enough to think for one day.”

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

July 2020 ReCap Pro

Over the month my TOpoet.ca following grew to 381! The July WP map shows that my hits have come from around the world. That India still tops the list is interesting  but that Romania has jumped to 4th spot is a surprise (Bună ziua cititorilor mei români). One day alone I got 60 hits from there. But Kenya has dropped out of sight 😦 My Tumblr (topoet) is at 287. Twitter (@TorPoet) up to 227 followers.

I’ve posted 29 chapters of Picture Perfect so far, nearly 45,000 words, with 143,000 words yet to be edited. I’ve been enjoying the challenge of writing about my Distant Music pieces. Sifting though that archive has let me see how much & how little my philosophy of writing has changed. I also sense how trapped I felt by cultural sexual norms. With so many pieces about hanging I’m surprised I survived.

Other July news: bought a new airmac Pro. My present airmac heats considerably after 30 minutes or so of certain use – zoom for one thing. It’s several years old & the drive can no longer be upgraded – I guess it has been archived. It was cheaper to buy the latest than get it repaired. 

There will a change in the frequency of my blog starting in August. I find I am putting so much energy into generating new posts that I am, in fact, writing less! I have an idea for a new novel – based on the flash fiction series I’ve been posting on Fridays with the music blog. But where’s the time? So the new routine will be Sunday – photos; Monday: – whatever; Tuesday – Picture Perfect; Wednesday – poetry talk – currently working through Distant Music; Thursday – my music collection. No posts on Friday & Saturday. 

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee
sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Keep On Dancin’

This mp3 collection is a disco memory trip starting with Cheryl Lynn’s Got To Be Real (Expanded Edition). She had a couple of hits in the early 80’s: Star Love & Got To Be Real – that burned up the dance floor & take me back to my early years in Toronto. This expanded edition includes the full length dj dance mixes.

Another group that burned up the dance floor Sister Sledge: We are Family – their anthem that became a an lgbtq anthem too, along with Lost in Music, He’s The Greatest Dancer. These are the things that disco celebrated: community & dance. So it wasn’t considered ‘real’ deep music. I’m glad I’m shallow to enjoy it 🙂 Best of Disco is a fun collection of covers, remixes of song by Sister Sledge, Gloria Gaynor etc. High BPM for high energy & great for typing to 🙂 Mixes done just for this collection so they are different from the lp versions. Songs one never knew they had recorded.

Carrie Lucas: Greatest Hits – Carrie had one hit I remember ‘I Gotta Keep Dancin’. But this is a nice collection all the same of well-produced material. As is Roger: The Many Facets of Roger. I never heard of this guy until someone posted his 10 min version of I Heard It Through the Grapevine on Tumblr – I can’t resist listenable obscurity. Nice voice, nice production but, let’s face it, very few men could compete with those female disco divas.

Dynasty: The Best Of. I love best of’s by groups I never heard of & whose hits I’ve never heard either. Another Tumblr find this is a solid disco soul band in the Instant Funk, Gary’s Gang mode but never had a real catchy dance-floor hit. Here too are a couple of 12” classics by Bohannon – he’s one of the legendary disco performers/producers who infused many from Talking Heads to Lady Gaga. Keep on Dancin’ 

Text Me

My cell pinged – text message ‘lv u’ I smiled. Kept on my way. The message was from B. I was in the elevator going down from his place. I thought it was sweet. He couldn’t wait five minutes to get in touch with me.

My cell pinged again. Another text message ‘c u ltr.’

I wasn’t a text maniac. I didn’t know what to text back so I sent a smily face. Hoped none of the other people on the elevator had noticed. They hadn’t. They were all too busy texting to pay attention to me. 

My cell pinged as I was stepping off the elevator. I didn’t want to check while I was walking. I found that sort of thing slowed me down. 

It pinged again and again,

I ignored it until I was in line at the coffee shop. They were all from B so I erased them all. sweet nothings.

I usually sent one reply to his ten messages.

There was yet another ping as I left the coffeeshop.

As I checked it I bumped into someone. It was B. He turned away from me embarrassed.

“Hey. You can talk to me face to face.’

“Uh, yeah.” He was thumbing something into his cell. 

Mine pinged. ‘nc 2 rn in2 u.’

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.

paypal.me/TOpoet 

Valley of the May Dolls

Over the month my TOpoet.ca following blog shrank to 350! I went through my followers list & cleared some who had never liked a post or who really didn’t have any real connection such as ‘dog training tips.’ Only one has re-followed me.  The May WP map show my hits have come from around the world. Latvia! Indonesia! 

My Tumblr following  is at 272. Twitter at 225. I know these are all low numbers – some people have thousands of followers but on both I delete or block followers who are harvesting rather than actually following. Picture Perfect is up to 32000 words. 

May has been another month of adjusting to the new reality of masks, sanitizer & social distancing. I’ve reluctantly cut back on my morning walks & have replaced some of them with domestic chores: gardening, cleaning, purging but that will come to an end – the house will be clean enough & I can go back to daily walks. I have been doing social distant walks with some recovery friends so the isolation hasn’t been total. Also seeing a couple of my fwb (who are maintain social isolation themselves) for movies & chit-chat. 

Working through The Artist’s Way slowly but surely. It clearly wasn’t written with a pandemic lockdown in mind 🙂 Some of the issues it addresses take on a different sense of importance (or lack of) as the death toll mounts. But it has encouraged me to reexamine my past.

By reexamine I mean that literally literally – I’ve been reading Old Trout Funnies – a book about a comic book, an acquaintance of mine created while I was living in Sydney. We were drinking buddies. I left before Issue 3. The book puts Trout into a context & explains many of the very localized references. Plus I get name checked a couple of times & I know many of the people who show up as characters in the wild stories. Fascinating & highly recommended.

Also literal has been the inputing of my first novel ‘Allan Time’ which I wrote in the late 60’s, early 70’s. Resisting the temptation to edit has been a challenge, though I have made the paragraphs breaks tidier & improved the spelling. It is an interesting process as my memory of writing it is very limited. One thing is clear though is how closeted I was. 

I’m currently re-reading Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls. I have read this book several times over the years. It served as the template for City of Valleys. I love this book. Sure it is soap but it captures real psychology with humour & over-the-top emotionalism. I’ll have to watch the movie again when I’m finished.

a piece I performed at Cryptic Chatter June 2007

Try to Remember

there is a moment when 

what I remember 

what I dream

become fused

is this my childhood moment

falling down gashing my knee

the scar is there

but is the picture of me doing it

how it happened

was it a fall off a swing

was I ever on that swing

on the playground 

or was it some other moment

tipping my bike over the curb

was it an accident on purpose

was I seeking attention

or was I careless

not looking where I was going

did I get pushed or just drop

did I cry

the scar tells me it happened

the mind doesn’t tell me anything

was my mother upset or disappointed

I had come home crying once again

did I cry

was I brave little soldier

was I 10 11 15

did I limp around the house

wanly acting as if 

I was and wasn’t in pain

was the trip stumble and scrape

another of my attempts

to be like other boys

playing ball

acting out tough kid stuff

or was I running away from someone

who wanted to beat me up

was I at the play ground

because there was some boy nearby

who sometimes hung out there

did I like boys then

I seem to think I did

memory doesn’t fill in those gaps

doesn’t give me the connections 

I need to make a net 

that’ll explain today

I see the scar

not a pretty one

not an ugly one either

not like my appendix incision

that looks like 

it was made with a can opener

I sort of recollect that

the pain in school

then the hospital for a week or so

in a ward with four others

they were all men

I was a kid in junior high

I liked boys then

I tried to catch glimpses of cock

as the men walked around in pjs

dressing gowns untied

girl friends dropping in 

 rubbing their backs

I would have done that 

how long was it 

before I went back to school

did have my homework brought to me

all that is gone

all that remains is a dim image

untied bathrobes hairy chests

laughing nurses

the scars aren’t talking

only tells me that it happened

don’t even remember going home from there

like the scar on my knee

doesn’t tell me any more

when will my body forgive

what I’ve forgotten

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.

paypal.me/TOpoet 

March 2020 Recap

Over the past month TOpoet.ca my following grew to 386! Maybe I’ll hit 400 by the end of year, if the end of the world doesn’t come first. The only stat WP doesn’t give is where which followers are located but WP map does show most my hits have come Canada, USA second & in fourth place Italy!! I guess social isolation made them seek entertainment. Bangladesh & Kenya remain in the top 10, both above India! with Romania making an unexpected climb to ninth place! My Tumblr flowing is at 263. It would more but I block hetero porn & also gay shooting up drugs porn. Twitter is at 221 followers.

Otherwise March has been a fairly quiet month, except of course for the pandemic that spells the end of the complacent as we know it. What caught everyone off guard was how quickly it went from annoyance over there to threat at our front doors. A threat we don’t want to let in to wash its hands at our sink. It looks like my DC getaway for capturing Fire will have to wait until next year 😦 

 

March has been productive. Picture Perfect is being gradually blogged & I’ve been sufficient looks to keep it going. The Rules for Monks continues to produce great prompts. I’m at a set of food rules that are timely for the pandemic shopping panic. Artist’s Way is progressing slowly but surely. not rushing it makes a difference.

For the summer I’ll be looking at Distant Music, my Fiddlehead chap book, on Wednesdays & Thursdays – giving Rules a summer break. Currently I’m inputting the text & it is interesting to be pulled back into my creative east coast past. Some pieces I have fairly strong memory of, others are surreal mysteries. Coming soon on July 1. 

That’s the only real coming soon I can offer as a sneak peek. Stratford, Shaw seasons are up in the air though I wouldn’t be surprised to see them both canceled thanks to covid19. Same for the Hot Damn! finale – which will end up as a zoom slam, that can be viewed around the world. I hope my Romanian fans zoom in.

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