Sydney Academy 3

When I was in Sydney recently my sister asked what did I do to ‘hang out’? At the Academy I was fairly active in some of the ‘clubs.’ One was the Junior Red Cross that devoted its energy to raising money – I guess the money went to the Red Cross. One year we sold ballpoint pens with, I think, Sydney Academy & the school logo printed on them. I remember this because I the group bought them from a company my father’s business used for similar office stuff.

If the order was large enough the company threw in an extra bonus: a coffee percolator one year, a wrist watch the next. We also sold raffle tickets for those bonus items. One year there was regional Jr. Red Cross conference held at Riverview (I think). There was a dinner& dance. 

I also joined the Chess Club, even though I wasn’t all that good at it. I barely remember anyone in it. The same for a short-lived ‘Record Club’ where we brought our favourite lps & played a couple of tracks & talked about why we liked them. My selection ‘The King & I’ wasn’t deemed serious enough. The teacher behind the group wanted to hear serious music not pop, show tunes or jazz. The club didn’t last.

My biggest involvement was badminton. We had the gym every Saturday & played round-robin. Singles, mens doubles, girls doubles & mixed doubles. I was a fairly accomplished player & did win a few trophies. There was also competition with other schools.

The best part of this became music! We were allowed to play records, usually 45s, while the play was going on. I quickly gravitated to this & became a sort of dj as mt pop music interest increased. Popular stuff was the Lovin’ Spoonful, The Beatles, Dave Clarke 5. I recall playing The Gates of Eden, which was the flip side of Like A Rolling Stone & being asked to play less serious stuff. When the Monkee’s I’m Not Your Stepping Stone was first played everyone went nuts for it & we had to play it over & over again.

I was pretty serious about badminton though. A bunch of us also played at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, (now home of HAT) which had a couple of courts in its semi-basement auditorium. The space was also used by the Rotary Club for rehearsals & set building. It was great as we got to practice without the rest of the school around us. I was quite taken by one of the other guys who played. He was hairy & sometimes sported a beard until someone at the school would tell him it was time to shave.

The one non-school organization I became involved with was DeMolay, but that’s another post 🙂

The Whitney Pier Museum

 

is dedicated to the industry of the area

steel workers miners

displays about the various ethic groups

that created the community

Jewish Black Ukrainian

old high-school year books

pictures of teams hockey basketballs

rows of mothers knitting for the war

soldiers returning 

those lost

churches that have come gone

business that survived then faded

as economies rose and dipped

the first black owned store in the city

 

families in fields picnics outings

Christmas parties in church auditoriums

faces turned to cameras

leaden in front of raging blast furnaces

or smeared with cold dust at a mine entrance

men in groups workers comrades

sometimes everyone named

who’s your father 

takes on a tree of discovery

 

I sift through these

wonder about the real lives of these men

wonder where is my queer history

I’m assume each of them

had a wife and kids somewhere

they sweated and worked for that classic dream

a house a garden 

 

no way to find out if any of them

sought out something in each other

no mention that 

this is Jack and John 

who lived happily together 

in this house on Lingan Road

everyone knew but no one cared

 

I’m happy to know the lives

of famed homos of the past

Radcliff Hall Alan Ginsburg

the list gets longer 

as we allow history to reveal

what some historians once thought 

too sordid to bring to light

the sex lives of heteros are fine fodder mind you

 

I look at these photos and wonder

what truths are hidden 

unrecognized

no display of the same-sex inclined

it is as if only the famed were queers in history

no ordinary folks

in these little local museums 

of the closeted

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

October

Stratford Festival – The Crucible

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

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

Jones and King

I loved Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings old-school soul sound from the first moments of the first track on Naturally. I read a rave review of her somewhere & for once wasn’t disappointed. The same is true of 100 Days & I Learned The Hard Way. Great songs, great band, fine Dap Kings horn section & Sharon’s voice – it all seems so effortless – like stepping into a time machine into a 1968 r’n’b review. If you’ve never her you are missing something.

Not next on the shelf but close enough is Carol King’s Tapestry plus an mp3 collection that includes her Music; Rhymes & Reasons; Fantasy. Tapestry was one of those unavoidable albums – everyone I knew in Sydney had a copy of it, except for me. Not that I didn’t like it but I found some of it too limpid – I was a Led Zeppelin fan 🙂 Too peaceful, as is nearly all her music.

In the mp3 collection I also have Françoise Hardy’s Le Premier Bonheur du Jour – I had an lp copy of this I bought in Montreal sometime in the 90’s. It is her 2nd release & is full of sweet girl pop. She was the French version of Marianne Faithful – gentle rock/folk innocence.  

Also Lotte Lenya Sings Berlin Theatre Songs – mainly Brecht (gasp!). I had a cassette transfer of this given to me by a friend & I replaced that with mp3 download. I love her voice, her phrasing & the songs, all in German, are classics. Never a big US star, like Detrich, Lenya is a treasure.

More French, this time PQ with Monique Leyrac: Les Grands Succes, Chant Leclerc. An international music icon who could rival Celine Dion, Monique ever courted the US market & as a result never achieved the same celebrity status as Celine. I love her versions of Pendant Que & Mon Pays both included in Grands. An amazing voice 

Beatrice Lillie: The Very Best of – Canada’s own darling 🙂 great comic timing, excellent songs that straddle English musical hall & Broadway. Very funny.

Free Your Mind

‘Peaches … readers … congratulations … filling … piecrust … rodents … ski … slope … car … carpet … time … clocks … grass … lawn.’ Jeff shouted each word as loudly as he could. ‘Green … tickle … piano … anger … cage … French … carpet.’

‘You already said carpet.’ Paul muttered.

‘Thanks … regrets … simplicity … theatre … teachers … dy-no-mite … carbonated … selections … execution.’ He stopped for a breath.

‘Are we getting close to the end of this?’ Paul yawned.

‘Conclusion … finality … death … roadwork … cantaloupe … comic … trigger … shovel … lawn.’

‘You’ve already said lawn.’

‘Repetition … suspicion … furtive … creep … birthday … cardigan.’ Jeff glanced at his watch. Another minute to go. ‘Devious … bible … wedding … swimming  … sand … teeth … filling … candy … spoon.’ He stopped.

‘Is that it?’ Paul began to stand up. 

‘Yep. For now. You should try it.’

‘It sounds pointless to me.’

‘Frees the mind. If anyone needed to free their mind, it’s you.’

‘Thank you. But I’ll stay stuck, rather than sound like a street person off his meds.’

‘Go on try. Say the first thing that comes to mind. Let the words spring up without trying to make sense of them.’

‘No I’d rather stick to cohesive links.’

‘As if that produces anything. You need to learn how to free your mind.’ Jeff grabbed Paul in a head lock and rubbed his head with his knuckles. ‘Come on let it out … let it out.’

‘Get the fuck away from me.’ Paul shoved Jeff aside. ‘Idiot  … asshole … fuck head … prick face. How’s that?’

‘Not random enough. Too much thinking and purpose behind each of them. You need to liberate the editor and let the subconscious well up and flow out. It really clears out the mind and sets you up for what you really want to say.’

‘Look, I know what I really want to say, and that is, that you are an idiot.’

‘That’s merely what you think you want to say to hide what you subconscious is thinking.’

‘I see, so this ‘shout it out’ process also makes you psychic?’

‘Doesn’t take esp to see how uptight you are. Come on just let it loose. The words will set you free. Try it.’

‘Boxer uh midget uh delicate uh…’

‘Louder and don’t select. The right word is the one that appears. Go on you can do it.’

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

October

Stratford Festival – The Crucible

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

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

Man With A Past 1

For the summer I’m looking at my Brown Betty chapbook. All the pieces dealt duh growing up in Cape Breton. Sadly WordPress had imposed line breaks that I can’t figure out how to fix.

Man With A Past 1

I am from a cup of King Cole black tea

steeping in a Brown Betty pot
flat fried scones
burned pancakes on Sunday mornings

born in Manitoba
moved to Cape Breton before I was ten
the Cape is an island of cousins aunts uncles 

I had none
only good parents

who couldn’t protect me

from a context they wanted to fit 

I am from the rusted rain
seeded by steel plant exhaust
black pearl gritted snow
that fell in layers of grey white grey white 

my mother a Welsh war bride
a family of eleven brothers and sisters 

lots of cousins aunts uncles in-laws 

oceans too far away
to coax me into this island world 

told that not fitting in was my fault
why didn’t I try harder 

be more like other kids 

so I hid    but that’s not the point
because we all hide 

I am from an east coast pollution pulsation 

I still call home
where paying the rent and feeding the kids

was worth the cold damp steel poison price 

while the blast furnace
spewed the air
to pepper the food we ate
at night no one saw it
flood our dreams

I am from Swedes who changed
the last name of their first born to Armstrong 

a name I could never live up to
never defend in school yard brawls
would come home
with a bloodied nose   bruises
that disappointed my dad
who didn’t understand
why I couldn’t stand up for myself 

stranded on the molehill of 

growing up queer
no role models to offer hope
in a culture of judgement and fear 

so I hid   but that’s not the point 

because we all hide 

I am diverted from
the history I have
by a history that is denied to me 

when researchers into
the lives of gay men and women 

in WWII fighting forces
are asked 

why sully the memory 

of our brave men and women 

I am from an unrecorded past 

where there was no name
till what I am became labelled 

by incomprehensible fear 

the point is – I survived what past I had
by creating a self 

out of the fear and shame 

hidden in my past
but today
no longer hiding from it

I suppose from the context you know that King Cole is a black tea 🙂 It is blended for the Maritime market & first sold in 1910. It is a strong, black tea found, at one time, in nearly every Cape Breton home. Brown Betty is a common tea pot also found in many east coast homes. Traditional, functional & not ornamental. Solid. I’ve had mine for so long I don’t remember when I got it.

My mother preferred Red Rose. She was the maker of the flat, fried scones – they were almost cookies. She added raisins & pressed the thick dough with an egg flipped onto the frying pan to brown each side. Yummy with butter. My Dad was the pancake man. He would make them nearly every Sunday for us kids.

As you might conclude by now this piece is autobiographic. Full of real details & understanding. Though the understanding came years later. I don’t think my Dad realized how interconnected the families were when he settled us in Sydney. All my cousins were in Wales. I couldn’t visit them after school, or stay with an aunt for a weekend. Fitting in was my problem not theirs.

The main industry in Sydney was the steel plant. As the piece says it belched clouds of smoke regularly. Sometime white, sometimes black, sometimes grey. In school we were taught how steel was made but it was never explained to us what this smoke was made up of – clearly it wasn’t just steam. Years later, when the Steel Plant closed it was revealed how dangerous this was & how poised even the soil in areas closest to the plant were.

But that’s not the point of this piece – except that it was merely one of the secrets hidden like the the secrets I kept hidden. Looking back I see how isolated I was in this culture – on that molehill – knowing my queer secret & the shame that forced me to keep it. 

 

The WWII book is Paul Jackson’s excellent One Of The Boys. He had to deal with this attitude of ‘why sully’ while doing is research. The ‘why sully’ still exists when it comes to allowing queer representation to be part of my history. It was only recently that Tchaikovsky’s love letters were allowed to be published. That they weren’t destroyed at the time – which happened to many ‘creatives’ though history – is a surprise. My ‘love letters’ will live forever thanks to the Internet 🙂 There is no hiding here.


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Sober Sex 2

An experience that shows up frequently in recovery circles – gay or straight, male or female – is being trapped in a using relationship – using because one’s partner uses & expects them to do the same – fear of losing that ‘lover’ keeps them using out of what is essentially, to me, people pleasing. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a relationship – even casual hook ups can have the same ‘people pleasing’ context.

Saying no to booze or drugs offered by a possible hook up often means that door closes. Booze & drugs lower some inhibitions which supposedly leads to wilder & better sex. But Shakespeare says something to the effect – it enflames the desire but cools the ability. Often booze or drugs become the focus of, not the lubricant for, fun. I’ve had men decline play with me because I didn’t have poppers.

When I first got sober declining social offers of a drink, or a toke, wasn’t easy – I wanted to fit in, to be accepted – saying ‘no’ might hurt someone’s feelings – looking back, my sense of self-acceptance was based on conforming. The example of guys in recovery helped me get over some of that & over time it was easier.

The first few times I had sex sober were interesting. I was also coming out & being held by another man was nearly a spiritual experience. (It still is). Being held by another man who can’t wait to get his next drink, toke, line isn’t all that satisfying. I wanted sex partners not drinking partners. When the guy on Disability After Dark said he’d never had sex sober I totally identified with him. Substances can lower our inhibitions but also impair the ability to give consent & also kicks the shit out of the immune system.

Today I lead an active sex life. Sober. Dick is my drug of choice.

heart of hearing

one from the hard

my hard was in my throat

the hard of darkness

a hard attack

I left my hard in San Francisco

hard of the dark continent

open hard surgery

I hard NY

talking hard to hard

places in the hard

don’t keep breaking my hard

hard harded hanna

the hard of the hard of the country

hard healthy

change of hard

hards of fire

open your hard

wearing my hard on my sleeve

deep in my hard

the hard foundation

I gave you my hard

when hards collide

my secret hard

the hard of the matter

like a stake through the hard

a little piece of my hard

tore the hard right of his chest

gotta hide my hard away

take it to hard

the bleeding hard

my hard skipped a beat

queen of hards was baking some tarts

hard on a platter

you gotta have hard

falling hard first in love

cross my hard

hard in my hand

the hard is a lonely hunter

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

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Sneak Peek – May 2019

April recap:

April unexpectedly proved to a rather retrospective month for me. In looking for the print-out of the Armstrong family tree I came across a pile of poems written way back in the late 60’s, early 70’s. I though – Easter = resurrection. I culled some out and did a very light edit as I input them. By light I mean dispensing with punctuation, start of line capitals, made spelling & typo corrections.

My fan base continues expanded slowly but surely. WordPress is up to 316, Twitter sits at 217, & Tumblr is at 224. Coal Dusters continues to grow as I get nearer the end with 96,500 words posted so far, about 37,000 words to go. The clash between the striking miners & the militia has been great fun to expand. I’ll be doing more research when I visit Cape Breton in August that’ll make the final draft even better.

The other April highlight was finally getting new glasses. It’s been several years since I’ve had my eyes checked it was about time. My vision has improved with age ( much like my sex life). This time there was no resistance to visible bifocals – I tried the non-visible but the bi-area was too small for me. I like a larger bi, for some reason. Opted for real colour for the arms – something I’ve never done before. They are a strong yellow. 

Not much coming up in May though 😦 Going to Stratford Festival to see Henry VIII – a play I’ve never seen before. I’ve also booked a tour of the Festival costume department that morning. After the costume sale last year I wanted to see more of the warehouse. Tours have to be booked in advance & are limited to 30 people. Lots of photos should result 🙂

One thing I’m not looking forward to this month is missing Capturing Fire on May31/June1. Though if lotto max coughs up before then I’ll book an emergency get away 🙂

Aim 

it doesn’t matter where I aim

I come back to earth

my arc cannot lift me 

far enough way 

to escape the greedy clutch of gravity

my aim is set beyond

the horizon

beyond belief

around the silent corners

that wait for all

no not even wait

waiting involves expectation 

of something arriving

they have no expectations

the earth is mere witness

no not even that involved

the earth doesn’t see

doesn’t feel

it remains constantly present 

regardless of what goes on around 

above

beneath its surface

no emotional investment 

in anything

anyone 

 

how sweet to be a rock

a stone 

a boulder

being what one is regardless 

of what goes on around you

even the pulverizing machine

creates no fear

no perception

safe in stoney silence

blind self-contained

even when in a pile of other stones

absorbing the same heat

or frozen 

in the same icy rain

not struggling next to one another 

for warmth 

no complaining of being too close 

 

the arc of the tossed rock

as it sings though the air

can’t throw it high enough 

hard enough 

fast enough

for it to escape the law of gravity

it falls to the earth

as we all fall to the earth

our bones may break

our expectations 

higher than a stone can be aimed

when they return unfulfilled

we aren’t crushed

but continue to practice

how to survive rough landings


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

writing blocks broken at Loyalist

‘Quieting the colonial hum’

 

The Hot Damn! season 5 finale filled Buddies in Bad Times to the rafters. The house filled so rapidly that the event actually started on time !! Yes, a spoken word event that started on time 🙂 House music was provided by DJ Sofia Fly, who also supplied great entrance & exit music for the slammers. Not that the energy of the house needed any help 🙂

 

The show opened with Charlie Petch’s land acknowledgment followed a set of songs by Ogichidaa Kwe. The song about the warning heard but not believed resonates in our political climate as we deal with governments who feel warnings are not to be believed without the right corporate backing.

I was one of the lucky poets who participated in Nasra Adem’s Mirror of Tarot workshop the night before at Unit 2 so I was ready to see their feature set. In a flashing of red and gold Nasra’s set was spokenword alternating with songs and a dash of political anger. 

some moments from that set: the sun looks up & catches my glint – I just want to ride my intentions – I quiet the colonial hum around me – how loud men are with their fear – healing only happens when I’m safe enough to call for help – bluest black starlight – if this shit ain’t intersectional it don’t exist – white feminism can suck my dick – you can wipe your tears they aren’t needed here.
After a break Charlie started the slam with the queer national anthem – somewhere over the rainbow. Then the eager slammers hit the stage with pieces that were emotionally powerful, funny, deeply personal & accurate skewering of our dominant culture’s inability to accept diversity on all levels.

moments from round one: a shade of blue trying make bruises jealous, half my identity was stolen from me by the time I was six, I want you to talk to me rather than write it all in your journal, compensation doesn’t undo the truth, he tried to whitewash me with his bedsheets, my bravery doesn’t mean your allyship is unnecessary, down the rabbit hole of trauma, the nights my memory of you is my razor blade, I never studied dance but learned how to fall with precision, it’s safer to play chameleon, either swallow fear of be swallowed by it, fat kids should eat because they are fat, every bite tastes like shame.

Moments from round two: you don’t want me & it cuts to my soul, wrote a note on my phone not to text you, the sound of motherhood knocks a cracked door, when in this city I avoid the subway, I would hold you the way gravity holds the atmosphere, I guess it isn’t about sex anymore, confession is telling how good she tastes, is there a way to be Christian & not be ignorant, being queer is fucking difficult, I used cover girl to cover up the hicks, congratulations! you’re straight, why can’t I be as angry as him.

Over these five years Hot Damn! as become an amazing force for diversity. It has created & maintained a safe space were the gender marginalized members of already marginalized communities can come together to express their loves, frustrations, fears and outright fucking anger without being judged. Oh right, they are judged as part of the slam, but that’s a different matter 🙂

It was a non-stop feast (or perhaps feeding frenzy) of words from the competing poets Sulva, Charly Bird, Dee Durward (QUEIRDO winner! Doe!) Robert Molloy, & Danielle Workman. After scores were tallied: the top three were (it was SO CLOSE) Jayda Marley (3rd 58.5), Fira (58.9) and winner Wes Ryan (59.2). 

 

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Hungry Sneak Peek – April 2019

First a recap of March 🙂 March was cold then cool, dark then sunny. Started the rewatch of Taboo. The series is as intense as I recalled, also as illogical. The image clarity of the DVD is clearer than the original broadcast so some things are more noticeable – no this plot holes but the make-up on the King& other characters doesn’t hold up at all. But Tom Hardy is a magnificent beast & the tattoo work is exceptional. His great coat pulls focus everything he walks down the street.

Also rewatching Castle Rock. Knowing what is going on from having seen the series already doesn’t detract from the mystery but does let me ignore the endless red herrings, and frequent incidents that only exist for atmosphere or for the writers to show us how clever they are. Re-listening the the Fan Critical commentaries as well.

Speaking of Fan Critical I have also been listening to their reviews of ‘event’ movies I’ll never get to see until they turn up on TV. This is a very funny, intelligent group of commentators. Their newest addition is the ‘Worst of Netflix.’ Hilarious.

As I expected with the end of google+, my WordPress hits have dropped from frequent 60+ a day – to an average of 20 a day. My followers have increased: WordPress – 312, (following 36) Tumblr: 223 (following 54). TW: 215 (following 99). The Tumblr purge hasn’t ended the site & the nudes keep coming. I’m still deleting follows from hetero porn sites.

Coal Dusters is moving along well. I’ve blogged just over 90,000 words with at least 40,000 more words to go. This is clearly a second draft & not the final draft. I realize that I have to iron out wrinkles in time. I have to makes sure I have a time line that all these events can fit into. I suspect I have to get some of my geography settled as well. I am using some imaginary places i.e. Castleton  – but also real places i.e. North Sydney, New Waterford.

Now for the sneak peek part of this post. First up is Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Season 5 finale at Buddies in Badtimes Friday April 5, 7 p.m. 5 Cities! 8 Poets! But only 1 Champion. I can’t wait to see who wins the grand prize of a trip to Capturing Fire Slam, the International Queer Summit & Slam in Washington DC. I love everything about this expect the part where I can’t afford to go to Washington DC this year 😦 

The Hot Damn! feature is a dream come true! The out of this universe fantastic Nasra Adem NASRA is a queer, Muslim, Oromo creator/curator living in Amiskwaciwȃskahikan (Edmonton) on Treaty 6 territory. They were the Youth Poet Laureate of Edmonton from 2016 to 2017.

So far tickets have been booked to see Henry VIII, Nathan The Wise, & Little Shop Of Horrors at Stratford. Considering Private Lives, Othello if good seats go on sale. Tickets booked to see Sex at the Shaw Festival. Yet to book there is The Ladykillers. Oddly I’ve never wanted to any of their actual Bernard Shaw plays.

Not so distant future coming event is why I can’t afford to go to Washington DC this year: my visit to Cape Breton in August. I haven’t visited since June 2012. Plans include a visit to Fortress of Louisbourg, day trips to North Sydney, New Waterford for Duster’s & Picture Perfect research. Sydney has an unexpectedly lively lgbtq+ community now. Judging by the large number of Squirt profiles there are lots of men on the prowl too.  I guess I got the seven year itch?

Hungry Plants

more or less

all or nothing

how much is little enough

what constitutes over load

enough is a feast 

but we all want more

give em an inch

they‘ll want sex

quantity or quality

a little of the good stuff

or all you can eat

in for a pound

staggering from the corner 

for another go

another kick at the can

another bite at the hands 

that don’t feed enough

 

when things are overflowing

too much is left behind 

not every bit gets eaten

all those tiny crumbs

don’t miss one

good to the last drop to the canvas

slug fest of who gets

the bigger piece of pie

who gets left high without a dish to dry 

without a mouth to feed

getting is better that giving

don’t let anyone tell you otherwise

become the gracious receiver of gifts

so that others 

can indulge their need for generosity 

superiority

while you relax into gluttony

thank you thank you

don’t be shy or ashamed

anything you offer is fine by me

don’t stop giving

I want it all 

both my hands helping you 

by rifling through your wallet 

while you look the other way 

I know you’d be dismayed if I didn’t

you don’t want all that stuff

as much as I do

 

feed me Seymour feed me now

we’re all hungry plants

duking it out for the purse

raging shrill hogs

barely able to stand on two legs

in the lunge for greased joys

gimme gimme gimme 

more than my share is all I want

don’t get parsimonious on me now

after all it’s for the good of your soul

for the good of the world

more for me

means less for the people 

you really want to punish

 

you know I’ll always be thankful

even when I go behind your back

to the people you deprive

for more

I’ll take it from all givers

I’ll never let pride get in the way 

of getting more than I deserve

of getting more than you can spare

everything not nothing

biggest piece is always mine

so give now

be generous

or

live with your selfish regrets 

because that’s all you get 

to take to the grave

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

In This Irrepressible Shirt

I discovered The Irrepressibles thanks to Tumblr – one of my feeds posted the video for In This Shirt. Visually mesmerizing & musically compelling is searched & I found that track on their Mirror Mirror lp.  I have that as well as Nude, Nude:Landscapes, In This Shirt remixes, on this mp3 collection. The tracks flow into one another sweetly if glacially.

The sound is very Antony & The Johnsons. Chamber pop – strings with some drum tracks & an angelic, heartbreak voice singing on top of it all. Lyrics are usually haunting love or self-self-discovery songs. Words are carefully chosen, not picked to belt out. I enjoy chamber pop. Usually slow and romantic. I first encountered it on Donovan’s Sunshine Superman lp way back in the 60’s.

Also on this mp3 compilation are soundtracks from American Horror Story’s first couple of seasons. That credit music is eerie & evocative. It doesn’t wear out its welcome or go on too long, like the series itself tends to 🙂 To add some sonic variety I have  Basement Jaxx: Junto (Special Edition). A great electronic band that has expanded its sound over the years. This is a great addition to their catalogue even though it seems the genre itself had faded away they will not vanish.

Here also is a track from Ibizia Chillout – a 70 min DJ mix of other tracks on the release – something that happens now with many such completions one or two of the tracks is a non-stop dj mix of all the tracks on the lp. Dance music is great for writing.

 

Because The Irrepressibles  are so relaxing I added Tranquility: Voices of Deep Calm – a collection of Russian choral music designed to lead you to tranquility. Finally Childhood’s Lacuna (Bonus Track Version). Their sound is Modest Mouse with major reverb & echo. I heard a track on So You Think You Can Dance & quite liked it. I couldn’t now tell you which track that was though 🙂 Childhood, like Jaxx, is a nice counter balance to the airy sounds of The Irrepressibles. 

Dish of Dreams

‘I asked for Diet Pepsi.’ The dish knew this was bound to happen.

‘I’m sure the lemon pie will be better for you.’ The spoon stepped back from the swimming pool. This was going too far. ‘And if you don’t like it you can take a flying leap over the ….’

‘Don’t say it!’ The dish walked over to the operating table. ‘We have more important issues at hand now.’ The dish began to wash up for surgery.

‘If you think I’m going to glove you,  you have another thing coming.’

‘You don’t glove me anymore?’ The dish turned to the Bride of Frankenstein. ‘How did you deal with such things when they happened to you.’

‘You are asking the wrong person,’ the Bride of Frankenstein shrieked.

Several ducks fell out of the air at her shriek.

‘Oh wonderful. Fresh duck for supper.’ The games keeper scrambled over the sand dunes to get the gamy birds as they lay dead, still on the shimmering sunset shore.

‘Hey! You!’ a shout came from the bluffs, ‘Those are the King’s fowl. To touch them is treason.’

‘Since when, you useless old fart catcher?’ The games keeper scooped up the dead ducks and put them in his evening bag. It matched his shoes and hat. The perfect ensemble for evening dining.

‘Where did you get those bullets?’ The dish had to know. ‘They are just perfect with those gloves.’

‘Thank you. I didn’t think anyone would notice.’

‘It’s always these little details that make occasions like this so special, Don’t you think?’

‘I think you asked for Diet Pepsi and here it is it.’

Diet Pepsi walked through the swinging doors. The band stopped and all heads turned. At Pepsi’s side was the Queen of Sheba.

‘Some people have all the nerve. Imagine showing up here with her after all that’s happened.’ The spoon muttered.

‘Oh,’ the Queen of Sheba clappered her tiny hands, ‘it’s so good to get out of the kitchen for change. I’ve been baking tarts all day and just longed to get out. I’m so happy Diet Pepsi had a free evening.’

‘Yes, my schedule has been very busy.’ At that moment Diet Pepsi caught sight of the Bride of Frankenstein. ‘Perhaps, though, we might consider some other environs. You know who is here.’

‘Don’t let her get into your hair.’ The waiter joked as he led them to a corner table that overlooked the stage. ‘Can I get you drinks before the first act.’

‘I haven’t been to the ballet in years. What wine goes with Swan Lake?’

‘Perhaps a dry white would suit you.’

‘I trust your discretion.’ Diet Pepsi tipped the waiter handsomely. ‘Is that Godot over there?’

‘Why, yes. I’m his waiter as well.’

‘How lucky we are,’ the Queen of Sheba looked around. She allowed the rigatoni straps on her shimmering gown to inch over her iridescent white shoulders.

‘Madam!’ A cry came from across the pond, ‘The reflection of the sun off your bare shoulders is pornographic.’

‘Why thank you!’ she replied.

She glanced over and to her dismay a troop of twenty-one boy scouts had dropped their khaki hiking shorts to display a salute of proud, stone-hard erections.

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

My Belongs Dada Heart to

Another major influence on me was Dada which lead to another major influence: Surrealism. In particular the art, which was at time more gimmick & concept than painterly technique. I loved Marcel Duchamp – ‘The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even’ visually & conceptually infused me with a strong sense of the possible, while Salvador Dali infused me with a strong sense of the absurd.

The collages used ironic, sometimes non sequitur, images to create an emotional & intellectual resonance in the viewer. One writer Tristan Tzara would take random lines from random books to create poem. This was also the movement that invented the  to disorientate readers. I have several books of their writings, painting and recordings of their music (Satie). Dada was the start of surrealism & cubism.

I also see the movement’s influence on T.S Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Ginsberg, ee cummings, Warhol. Both the art and the writing demonstrated to me that linear narrative isn’t necessary. Imagery didn’t have to make sense to make sense. Sometime the power in a word or words was in how they sounded, in how they resonated in the reader, rather than in what story they might be telling.

The photos in my blog here reflect my Dada influence, rarely do they have anything to do with the text. When I’m taking pictures it’s sometimes the odd juxtaposition of objects that attracts my eye. My poems can include what to me is surrealist images: ‘balls like emu eggs in my hand’ ‘my fridge made a pass at me the other day.’

 

Dada & surrealism respected the power of the dream, of automatic writing as a creative process. Of course if I could become famous by signing urinals I’d give it a try.

Lʼamour domestique

my fridge made a pass at me

the other day

I was in my usual hurry

to get the milk

when

the door caressed my cheek

pushed me into its cool

welcoming heart

 

now Iʼm not into sex

with inanimate objects if I was

I would probably pick

my coffee maker

something small and easy to satisfy

 

the fridge is never filled

always has demands that

make me feel inadequate

while the coffee machine

fills to brim so quickly

 

yes give me hot and perky

to big and cold – any day

but it was one of those days

the kitchen chairs were

plucking at my pant legs

like over excited little dogs

humping a foot

it made eating almost impossible

 

I wasnʼt sure

what to do with the left overs

the fridge was glaring me

petulant

at being snubbed

in favour of the coffee maker

 

in the bathroom

the face cloth competed

with the tooth brush

to get in my mouth

until the towels

pulled them aside

to push me into the shower

they needed all my body wet

for the satisfaction they craved

 

I didnʼt have the moral strength

to deny them anything

they rubbed and dried

every square inch

 

the sofa was anxious for me to

snuggle in front of the TV

I had to watch

home decorating shows

about getting cute little throws

hints from the sofa

of what would make

our family complete

 

in bed the pillows

tenderly cradled my head

as the sheets twined around me

hungry for dreams

about coffee makers

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Mompou and Revueltas

I find music in unexpected places. A few years ago I watched the excellent Spanish movie Cría Cuervos (Ana Torrent and Geraldine Chaplin). In it Chaplin is a pianist & she plays an etude over and over. The credits listed Frederico Mompou as the composer. I did a search & easily found the etude in a collection of his complete piano works, played by the composer himself. I also found the pop song by Jeanette that is featured in the film.

Mompou’s piano music is charming, playful, at times a little sentimental. Some reminds me of Gershwin’s etudes, a touch of Satie. There is, as one would expect, a distinct Spanish flavour to much of it with pieces that are variations on folksongs, dances, Chopin. I was happy to discover classical world music.

To this mp3 collection I added some work by Mexican modern composer Silvestre Revueltas – Music de Feria: a set of his string quartets & Troka: various orchestra compositions. I came across ‘Feria’ as 2nd hand cd at a store that was once around the corner from me on the Danforth. I enjoy string quartets & this intrigued me. Troka is a download when I wanted more of his work.

 

Both collections reflect rather than replicate his Mexican heritage. Energetic in some pieces, mellow in others. Clearly modern but not atonal. Rich harmonies, sweet melodies, & appealing. It is refreshing to find, in both cases, Latino composers who aren’t mariachi homages. There is an amazing range of excellent classical music outside of standard repertoire – these are two great composers to widen your horizons.

Plotless Outline

When I was turning twenty-three life was a lost treasure that I no map for, futility seemed a nice, kind way of looking at it – why bother – but I was driven at the same time to bother. A Doors song was my theme ‘music is your only friend’ and I believed that – I was a little town queer who felt isolated and threatened.

Lucky I wrote a lot – driven to expresses something. Though I never knew exactly what is was I wanted to say – I kept trying to say it. I had some booze buddies, musicians and poets. Smoked a few joints with them and hung out in my family’s basement. I had a room there decorated with Beatles posters, my paintings – art getting the inner out some how.

Drunken, near blackout fits of sex. Oops, what did we do last night, sort of stuff. Seeking and not connecting with anything other than the shame of being what I was with no one to share that with.

I became more eccentric as years went on but the patterns were really set then. The things that I held closest to me: music, books, paintings all around me. My writing and some friends who were more extensions of my fears & wants than companions.

Got a job at Famous Players thanks to the mother of my best friend Howard. Flo was box-office there & that was to be my position, it quickly became assistant manager & candy boy. Made lots of pop corn.

Gave me a steady income and some sense of being functional. Added at the same time to my sense of not fitting in. I think that was a big thing for me then, wanting to be like the others yet not wanting to be like the others. Wanting acceptance without wanting to conform to some pattern.

The year before I got the job hadn’t been that bad or good, aimless and pretending I was looking for some job to steady my Dad’s need to see me working and out of the house.

The folks were never that approving of my writing or painting – like many, they figured that stuff was only good if it made one lots and lots of money. Sex wasn’t discussed at all and I didn’t know how to go about telling them I was queer. It wasn’t till I was ready to leave the Cape many years later that I told them. Not that it was such a shock mind you.

Looking back I really didn’t know how to establish myself as a man, as an adult. Booze was one of those adult things but I felt I had to hide how much I drank & how often. Sad, but true. All those secret nooks and crannies.

Most of which had no real outlet then and there. Little was I to know what the journey of my future was to hold. But I survived wanting to wake up dead, wanting to end the confusion and pain and made it past 23 and even past 24 and finally here I am.

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


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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