On my Kindle 02

The Works of Hall Craine (1853-1931) contains all 15 of his novels. Never heard of him? Neither had I until he was mentioned in Something in The Blood, the Bram Stoker biography by David J. Skal (an excellent book). Craine’s popularity during his lifetime was unprecedented. He was an international literary celebrity, and sold a total of ten million books & was the most highly paid novelist of his day. I’ve only read the first of the novels in this collection & it was an effort to push through a plot that hinged on incest or is it incest. But I’ll read more of them. None of his novels have been discovered by Masterpiece Theatre 🙂

The Complete Poems – Walt Whitman. Whitman is one of my inspirations. I have, in paper, a great biography & also a paperback edition of Leaves of Grass. This massive collection has everything including revised versions. I’m not crazy about Kindle for poetry as enjambment & page layout suffers. 

The fact that I have the Complete Works of Emile Zola should come as no surprise. This was one of the first set of works I downloaded to my Kindle. I’ve blogged about Zola a few times now. He is one of my prime fiction inspirations. I got red up with searching book stores for novels other than the big hits: Thérèse Raquin, Nana, Germinal. I’m always happy when this collection rotates to the next to read on my rotating e.book shelf.

The Complete Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a revelation. Not many get past Sherlock. Those that do find The Lost World & some of the other Professor Challenger work. But most don’t get as far as his historical romances or Napoleonic war short stories. The problem with these historical works is their lack of ‘puzzle’ – they are straight forward plots with solid but dull characterizations. Only a completist like myself gets this far 🙂

Moving On

a drink won’t bring you back

crack won’t bring you back

getting numb won’t 

take this pain away long enough

it will always return

gets worse after each black out relief

there’s always the restless sun

making it clear

there is no return to what once was

talking it out won’t change things

gone is gone

new shoes won’t bring you any closer

a new look 

is not what it will take

nothing is going to work

I feel you are there 

in the next room

sleeping or watching tv

that when I’m in my way home

you are going to be there

waiting

cooking a meal for me

another toke won’t bring you back

raging at your empty space

won’t change anything

can’t fill the room

cant fill the time it’s going to take

until I run of things

to try

none of which can never bring you back

can’t dig down into the earth 

to bring you back to life 

to resemble the scattered fragments

caught for a moment over the lake

sunshine grey

can’t wet them with 

plant them with enough fertilizer

to grow you again

bring you back to life

can’t give me life either

not enough bottles 

not enough rocks

not a sweet enough pipe

not enough sex

to bring you back

can’t sing loud enough

can’t be quiet enough

to hear you

can’t wash that memory 

out of my hair

can’t give your clothes away

yet

can’t fill them like you

can’t wear them myself

can’t stand to look at them

letting go

not wanting to hold

not know what to do

because nothing will bring you back

and I’m tried of doing nothing

apologies are too thin 

too late

food not filling enough

not enough cake 

to bring you back

not prayer

bargaining 

anger 

acceptance

forgetting you 

not acting as if I don’t miss you

won’t bring you back

won’t keep that song 

from bringing you to mind

bringing you to mind 

won’t bring you back

tears won’t do it

gifts won’t do it

joining you 

won’t bring you back

not wanting you back

won’t bring you back

sleep won’t bring you back

moving on

won’t bring you back

but it means

I won’t be here

when you do come back

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

https://www.facebook.com/events/504067323723768/

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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

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 andBbad Times Theatre

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

On My Kindle 01

Last week I wrote about childhood sets of books. This week I’m looking complete sets on my Kindle. One of the cool things about Amazon for Kindle are the number of collections complete works by authors whose works can be impossible find in bookstores or even libraries. Different ebook companies have brought together set of mostly out of public domaine books at ridiculously low prices.

For example the set  “Slavery: Not Forgiven, Never Forgotten” – which for about $2 US includes:

Narrative of Frederick Douglass

12 Years a Slave

The Underground Railroad

Up From Slavery

Willie Lynch Letter

Confessions of Nat Turner

Narrative of Sojourner Truth

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

History of Mary Prince

Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom

Thirty Years a Slave

Narrative of the Life of J. D. Green

The Life of Olaudah Equiano

Behind The Scenes

Harriet: The Moses of Her People

Father Henson’s Story of His Own Life

50 Years in Chains

Twenty-Two Years a Slave and Forty Years a Freeman

Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb

Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave

Story of Mattie J. Jackson

A Slave Girl’s Story

From the Darkness Cometh the Light

Narrative of the Life of Moses Grandy

Narrative of Joanna

Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown, Who Escaped in a 3×2 Feet Box

Memoir and Poems of Phillis Wheatley

Buried Alive (Behind Prison Walls) For a Quarter of a Century

Sketches of the Life of Joseph Mountain 

Oroonoko

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Heroic Slave

Slavery’s Pleasant Homes

Our Nig

Clotelle

Marrow of Tradition

Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

A Fool’s Errand

Bricks Without Straw

Imperium in Imperio

The Hindered Hand

The History of Abolition of African Slave-Trade

History of American Abolitionism

Pictures of Slavery in Church and State

Life, Last Words and Dying Speech of Stephen Smith Who Was Executed for Burglary

Report on Charge of Aiding and Abetting in the Rescue of a Fugitive Slave

Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases

Duty of Disobedience to the Fugitive Slave Act

Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

Gettysburg Address

XIII Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1865)

Civil Rights Act of 1866

XIV Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1868)

Reconstruction Acts (1867-1868)

Whew! This is a university syllabus that probably no university book store or even research library could supply. 

Many of these sets are to broaden my knowledge of some writers who are known for their big hits; others are by authors of queer interest whose works I knew vaguely or of whom I have never heard of before until reading about them in my endless readings. One set is the Works of John Addington Symonds. I knew of him through mentions of his interactions with Walt Whitman. His books on Ancient Greek culture are sometimes citied in histories of queer writing. So I figure when I first got my Kindle to read some of those works. Interesting essays about travel in & history of Italy, but thank God writing style has changed. 

The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft (+ 130 Poe short stories); Mary Shelly: The Ultimate Collection; The Complete Works of Bram Stoker. Who read what Mary Shelly wrote other than Frankenstein? Stoker wrote more than Dracula? Reading their other works one sees the why those works have faded. Mary was more or less an accidental writer & reading he rather work it’s easy to see why some suspect her husband played a role in her big hit for the plotting & characterizations. She was not really a fabulist. Bram became an almost tradition writer of his time & none of his other plots were as ‘startling’ as Dracula. 

Lovecraft is a boyhood favorite of mine. His plots are rich, his writing style now strikes me as overly florid & it is creamy influenced by the Shelly & Stoker – but he does avoid, the most part, the need for some sort of romantic subplot. My bedroom on the east coast had slated ceilings so his story about the room with odd angles in the ceiling & walls always appealed to me. Those angles lead to another dimension. I have the bio ‘I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft’ on my e.bookshelf short list.

It’s not all gloom doom or educational on the Kindle thanks to Stephen Leacock: Humour Books collection; Mark Twain: 51 Classic Works. Both of these are authors I loved in my teens. Leacock still makes me laugh out loud. Twain can go on but he had a grasp of the foibles of human nature I love. His short pieces are fun & the longer books reflect their times. Both a writers of the local experience – Americana, Canadiana full of innocence that still speaks of today. Who isn’t intimidated if not anxious dealing with banks; has the plight of blacks in the USA progressed from the fears of the runway slaves in Twain?

Book Bound

in one of those boys’ books

tom swift hardy brothers

can’t remember which one 

there were mysterious lights 

on the cliff

or were they from a strange shape 

in the ocean

hovering by the moon 

something distant and indistinct

but threatening

 

tough guys

were skulking around town 

something held in coat pockets

that might be a gun

a magnetic pulsator

that would incapacitate  

one or all of our heroes

who would come to

tied up somewhere

worry about their girlfriend

they always had girlfriends 

who were peripheral 

to the story 

but clearly in place

so we young readers

would not get a whiff 

of anything more unsavoury

that those unshaved goons

with foreign accents

who slouched around the ranch

the railway yards

to do no good

 

the boys always had girlfriends

so no one would get the idea

that they weren’t the ideal role model

ripe with normal heterosexual 

pubescent tension

that let them figure out 

how to cut those ropes

how to make the star capacitor

turn the hydrogen to oxygen 

so they could breathe again

float to the surface

drive off

fly off

with the adoring faces of their girlfriends

soft and worshipful

 

red-haired teens 

with freckle faces

none of them shaving yet

jumping into their roadsters

worrying about their kidnapped fathers

deciphering cryptograms

punching each other joyfully 

in the arm

as each hurdle was accomplished

as each bruise cleared up

always ready to face 

the next opportunity

never doubting what they could do

never questioning 

how they really were

what did this all mean

why couldn’t they go

a few weeks without smugglers

Martian terrorists lurking around

to make make it difficult for everyone

 

they never had to face peer pressure

other than the football team

a team that never got drunk after a big game

boys who where boys

becoming real men

growing up slowly

always gaining parental 

acceptance and approval

amazing their pals

yet not letting it go to their heads

square jawed 

rugged 

individualist who only disobeyed 

to make things better

grew up with out self doubt

normal heterosexual 

pubescent tension

that let them figure out 

how to cut those ropes

but how not to escape

what was written for them

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

https://www.facebook.com/events/504067323723768/

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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

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 andBbad Times Theatre

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

https://wp.me/p1RtxU-uJ

Nothing Here

Dig Deep

there is nothing here

nor is there

anything beneath the surface 

at least 

not worth searching for

what you will find

is that time has been wasted

looking for nothing

let the surface

be sufficient

looking for more

will result in disappointment 

dissatisfaction

when you find

that what is hidden from you

is hidden from everyone

hidden as the surface

not as something beneath 

it has no depth of perception

there is no need to strive to understand 

because understanding

changes nothing

the surface remains unchanged

no matter what you hope

to find underneath it

Is there more to me than meets the eye? It depends on whose eye is doing the looking. My Dentist sees a very different me than the barista at my favorite coffee shop or someone hearing me on stage. Which of these in my authentic self? Or does it matter? 

This cultural need to understand often gets in the way of experience. If we understand the why of a random mass murderer will that change what has happened. Does understanding make our grief & anger unfair to the killer. After all he/she/they came from a dysfunctional home & deserve our sympathy not an irrational need for revenge. 

This piece is a variation on my own reaction to this sort of emotional logic. Often understanding leads back to the same ‘secret’. It’s a wonder people continue to have children with childhood trauma the cause of so much destruction. 

 

I heard an interview with a painter who was asked about a certain ocean view painting. The interviewer wanted to know what it meant. The painter said he liked the view. The interviewer went on to ask what did it symbolize to the painter. He said it symbolized a nice view. The interviewer was disappointed with such a simple answer. 

It also come from people’s need to understand poetry, to understand art. It’s hard to grasp that often all there is the sound – the play of colours, the bounce of words, the image the words create. I recall a conversation about Walt Whitman with some English Lit MBA who felt only someone with a degree would understand Whitman. Perhaps they were right but you know, without understanding Whitman I love some of his writing & how its influence still resonates in slam poets today who have never heard of him. The MBA understood so deeply they couldn’t enjoy slam poetry. Besides it’s not as if Whitman had a university degree in anything 🙂

The piece says “understanding/changes nothing.” In recovery if one waits to understand why they were a drunk/addict until the stop they’ll probably be dead before they even understand. I don’t fully understand electricity but I do know how to change a lights bulb. That’s deep enough for me 🙂

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020 – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Gate

Gate

by the garden gate

I saw a boy

no – a man with a sense of the boy

standing

looking

into the distant sky

the man by the gate

the garden behind him

was ready to bloom

had bloomed

was a work in process

a garden with

a sense of the seed

in each mature flower

a promise to be fulfilled

a sense

that as complete as it all was

it still was not finished

that it would never be finished

that when

that man no longer stood by the gate

another man would stand there

the garden would be tended

 

by the garden gate

I saw a man

who smiled at me

invited me in

or was it the other way around

me the man by the gate

inviting him in

so that we now had

two gardens

to tend

two lives

to combine

for a time

for as long as the seasons

turned

to allow us the

opportunity

to share our duties together

to share our gardens

 

by a gate

a garden gate

sturdy   welcoming

opened

the gate sprung open

and we each

passed through into

one another gardens

we now stand

one on either side of a gate

watching   opening

to those who chose

others

whose gates open to us

to share

the blossoms of their gardens

the flowers of their time

 

here

in the garden

the sun rises   sets

rains come   go

some plants take root

others

only last a brilliant season

or never seem to thrive at all

but slowly

we find the ones that work

find the ones that last

and learn to enjoy

the ones that don’t last

but we never despair

that the garden is pointless

that it is hopeless

even on the darkest days

there is the knowledge

that the sun shines somewhere

that rain will come

that the clouds will part

they are inevitable

the moving of the planet

around the sun

the ebb and flow

of the ebb and flow

 

some days a little humdrum

the patience needed

to watch for each little shoot

grow   grow

the tenderness needed

to allow the gate to open   close

the odd fear

when

there is no one at the gate

 

we learn to rely

on the gate keeper

even if we are that gate keeper

we rely on that role

to give us a sense of where

we fit in this garden

a role that lets others

see where we fit in this garden

 

one day

years ago

I saw man standing by a gate

a sunny day

I think it was

he was happy

he was sad

his garden was growing

as well as gardens grow

and

I was by my garden gate

feeling happy

feeling sad

and

gates opened

we became gate keepers

to each other

for a time

for as long

time allows

 

our gardens flourished

perhaps

not as dazzlingly

as the dream

but as full as any other

as real as any other

as welcoming as most

as tended as most

often

when didn’t even know it

we were working at the garden

while were experiencing it

and the experience

was the work

the opportunity to share

was sunshine for all around

and the gate remains

the man

who stood by that gate

still stands there

side by side

we have gift to share

and have been given

the chance to continue to do that

snow01

This was partially inspired by Whitman’s “When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d.” Part of his poem is about the durability of plants while lives around them change. My take picks up on that while extending the allegory of garden to relationships and what we bring from out lives into them.jigsaw

Each verse looks the gate, the gate keeper and the garden in a different way – theme & variation. The first is my meeting a gatekeeper, my sense of attraction both physical,emotional & spiritual. The garden of potential, a garden that would always find someone to look after it.snow03

Then ‘I’ brings his own hopes, his own garden which combines but doesn’t merge – cooperation sharing discovery. Now two gardeners stand at this gate of opportunity. Time passes hopes come and go – some are productive some are not but the garden goes on and on. Seeming success is not the standard it gets judged by.greenear

By the end there is a Zen sense of continuance – there will always be gates and gardens, gate keepers & gardeners – somethings have a permanence beyond our momentary experience & sharing of them.

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

wrestwk4

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

gardening

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

The Basement Tapes

sample

The Basement Tapes

I’m in the basement with Dylan

creaking out of the stereo

wizened voice

tossing fantastic harsh visions

illusions half mumbled pictures

spin tumble rattle the thin speaker membrane

scratch at the back of the throat

the back of the brain  left side right side

pushing to a realization

that if he can

anyone can

the voice so plain

the words so jumbled

is there a meaning

 

no pretty harmony to hook on to

no lulling chorus to toe-tap

no bridge from one flash to the next

just the tumble rumble of words images

sights sounds to long for

to take me out of this basement

into a fluid flexing world

of Bobby notes croak under missing moons

on angry street corners

refusing to smile for the pretty girls

refusing to bend for the witty men

giving each some quick name

master of whores blaster of boots

so far from the safety of this room

mild haired boys stroking guitars

black cat girls swinging hips

inhaling looking me in the eye

is there something behind

the gates of their smoke screen

not caught in their net stocking

they finding me baited for a different catch

 

the needle hisses from one cut to the next

track after track a verbal attack

howling about a life I’ll never live

farms motor cycles

ironed hair millionaires

giving chase to to rumors of more

the highway up the stairs

past Ed Sullivan TV

into the summer street

trapped and tickled

with no way of getting from here to there

no hitch hiking get away

only the chance to get these early hints

of Ginsburg Thomas Whitman

filtered by this cranky harmonica player

caught like me

outside the gates of Eden

yellowgate

This month I am looking at some of the pieces I may be reading as part of Born To Be Blown. Bob Dylan is a suitable follow up to my Robert Johnson post last week. Early in his career he made use of those tradition blues forms then when he plugged in his career went crazy. ‘Outside’ was written for a tribute night – this one for, of all people, Bob Dylan.

I can’t say I was big fan but his language certainly inspired me – I later discovered what an influence Walt Whitman, Alan Ginsberg (two queers) & Dylan Thomas had been on Bob – but as a teen I found his lyrics as stunning flow of images and emotions.

beans

He seemed so anti everything – later I find out that he was, thanks partly to Blowin’ In The Wind, a multi-millionaire. The rich rebel. I also remember the single of Like a Rolling Stone – such a long long song with the even longer Gates Of Eden on the flip side.

soldier

I’d listen to him in my basement – drinking with friends and soaking up the coffee house vibe & longing for what he represented. So this piece is pretty true my actual memories. No attempt has been made to capture his writing style but more to capture how I felt as a gay teen outside the gates of heterosexual Eden. No one I knew ever thought he was a good singer but man, even if you don’t know what he says, he could write.

soon

June 9-10 – attending – Capturing Fire – Washington DC

https://capfireslam.org

fence02 vert

now that’s a gate

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

redbulge02

red head anyone

The Gate of the Kiss

it was a windy day
it was a windy day

Here’s a new piece – the image ‘the gate of the kiss’ – came from a Robin Blaser poem. I let it lead on a word chase as variations of it played in my mind. The lilacs compliments of  Walt Whitman. As I wrote I saw the tongue as the actual gate that opens to us and for us – opens us to mystery when it is the right kiss, or slams shut on us when it is forced open. Sex is often seen as the gate way to Hell, the same-sex kiss opens that gate even wider according to some – here I see the kiss as opening to a river of opportunity, liberation.

the same windy day
the same windy day

The Gate of the Kiss

I have waited for this gate to open

to open again

to let me in or out

to let me

I have waited for the kiss

to open me

to let me in or out

the mastery mystery

the kissed gate   the gated kiss

the waited down moment

down the gate   to the river

the river of the kiss

the sanctified moments

the wonderment befuddlement

the accusation of the kiss

the slap of the gate

on your ass as you leave me

unkissed

the lilacs along the fence

the drift of mist around them

wet in heavy rain  heads drooping

dripping petals

at the gate of this kiss

this river of missed opportunities

of lost causes we sail upon

the monument of the bed

we surrender to the amnesia of orgasm

what were you thinking

what were you hearing

did you trip on this as the kiss of opportunity

at the gate way to hell

or the blessing of river

giver or taker

second to none

I have waited for the kiss

to open me

to let me in or out

I wait no longer

back yard branch office
back yard branch office