Paper Ghosts

Thanks to the pandemic I’ve been purging my past. Papers, first drafts, photographs & memories. A basement full of lumber, bricks, paint, nut & bolts saved, salvaged, kept for another day now gone, with out regret. Stage set pieces from Bushwack Theatre finally seeing the light of day in the back of a junk removal truck 🙂 

I have seeing my history in the paper I used for writing on. Scrap paper recycled from Famous Players old daily multi-coloured sales report forms – pads of which became redundant as they were updated. Colour coded for filing & mailing purposes. Flyers for movies, for theatrical productions. Lined or blank loose leaf, pages torn out of scribblers, note book of various sizes & even shapes. Notes, poems, fiction typed on various typewriters, hand written in various inks & pens, dot-matrix print outs that had never been separated. https://topoet.ca/2021/03/16/past-of-the-future/

The ‘See Europe’ was one of several road show productions that travelled around the maritimes with special presentations – this was Travel, another was Alpine Skiing – the most popular was the in person show by Raveen – a hypnotist, magician – I wish I had some of those flyers. The travel shows weren’t big draws mind you but they were rentals – in this case Tony Smith was in charge of his ticket sales. We got the rental fee plus sold lots of popcorn 🙂

The various papers help date when some of these pieces were written as many of them were undated. The Famous pages are before I moved to Toronto in 1978. Days Of Heaven is from my first year here. The Famous Players form bring back memories beyond what I had written on the blank sides. One of my jobs there was to type details onto them. There was carbon paper between the pages that were 4 form thick so one had to hit hard to make sure the bottom one was legible. A mistake meant whiteout on all copies before re-entering. A total pain. Life before computers & data entry. 

This piece was typed on the blank side of a ‘Days Of Heaven’ flyer

My Left Hand

he gives me a call

a peace offering

an invitation

an offer

to nail my left hand

to the floor

but he has no camera

<>

he calls

on days

when his memory

is fading

the echo of the moon

in an old well

he speak

French threats

innuendos

of vague violence

I cannot resist

<>

I cannot confront

direct violence

I have a fear of pain

pain as in death

facts to face

I am afraid

I’ll enjoy the nail

relish each thud of the hammer

<>

I remember

the bite of his teeth

even when I cannot

recall the feel

of his lips

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Madonna


In my modest Madonna collection I have, as mp3: Like A Virgin, The Immaculate Collection, Music & as a stand-alone Confessions From The Dance Floor. So it is clear I’m not a fan – fans have everything, fanatics have everything plus the remixes, the outtakes, the concerts, the artfully torn t-shirt & the aluminum Sex.

Is she musically creative? Does it matter when you have such great collaborators, producers, costume designers, stylists & video directors? She admits she is a product, package & a boss lady. To me she was more a provocateur than a visionary. Like Mae West she used sexuality to establish her self, unlike Mae Madonna didn’t rely on a single persona to keep her career moving.

I love some of her songs, hate some of them – Vogue was one I hated & would leave a club (when I went to clubs) when it was played – I just knew we would get the 45 minute remix. Same with Papa Don’t Preach. Some I couldn’t resist: Lucky Star, Like A Prayer.

She sampled, borrowed, adopted, adapted freely from most pop genres with varying degrees of success. Her electronica didn’t work for but her retro disco, Dancefloor, cd was great. The Immaculate Collection of her hits is probably enough nostalgia for anyone; Material Girl is solid pop & in its way, is a landmark album of promotion power. I did have her ‘Sex’ but lacked

the sexy spunk of Mae West. 

 

Gambit 

I heard later than two guys were arrested for the beating. Jim Donaldson and Victor Hanson. Both almost twenty, so not guys we knew at all. My father called them trouble makers and wasn’t surprised they were the ones behind this. Seems they heard Mr. Razov had money hidden his house and broke in to get it and when he caught them they beat the crap out of him and left him for dead in his own house. Some kids have no respect for anything these days. My dad liked to ride that one whenever he had a chance to remind me to watch my step and show proper respect.

Midterm exams were coming up, so we all sort of forget about Mr Mr. Razov. He did recover from the beating but walked with a weird shy turn of the head whenever we guys saw him in the street. He never did come back to tutor the chess club. I don’t even know what happened to the guys who beat him up. 

Fifteen years later and I’m visiting my folks for a few weeks in the summer. University out of the way and I have a decent job in the movie biz. Lightning and that sort of thing. Pays well when it pays. I’d just broken off with Kevin. He was sweet but we both saw it wasn’t working out. So a few weeks out of all that was appealing to me.

Sitting at the table in the kitchen that had changed every time I saw it – new cupboards one year, new appliances another – it was not the repository of any childhood memories. My favorite cereal bowl wa along gone. This summer they were having the pluming redone to install a dish washer and so there’d be new counters et al. 

My Mom brought me a cup of tea. “I suppose you heard Mr. Mr. Razov finally passed away. Poor man. He was never the same after that time. You remember him?”

“When did he die?”

“Just last week. Service early next week. They’re waiting till his family could be here.”

I vaguely recalled that when he deflected he’d left behind some family. 

“Wife?” I asked.

“Nope. A son. It’s all in the newspapers out in the front porch.”

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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