Snowy February Day 2020

Between snow falls February 26, 2020 – mostly along Strathmore Blvd., except for the lion which was on Sammon Ave. – in Toronto

cedars dusted with snow

lion in winter

toothless

tree dusted with snow

or is this a mantle of snow

holly berries

holly berries

rosy with cold cheeks

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Frosty Invaders

I love these old school blow mold Christmas decorations. 

broom wielding Frosty

broom wielding Frosty that’s had it’s eyes done

candy cane wielding Frosty

shovel wielding Frosty in the rose hips

broom wielding Frostys in a tree

broom wielding Frosty aglow

broom wielding Frosty in the candy cane orchard

broom wielding Frosty

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Creche Landing

the cat and the cradle

waiting for the inner glow

Santa snow globe swallows the reason for the season?

I bought this at Honest Ed’s decades ago & it is one of my favorite ornaments

season stained

stained for life

amazing crèche built into an old TV chassis – asking price $1200.00

close-up of the blessed event

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Blowing Up Christmas

I love a big candy cane

Front porch Santa (not as popular as backdoor Santa)

Only two reindeer 😦

Frosty with out his candy cane seems lost

that’s a big Santa

on his way from whom?

not strangers to candy cane lane

what’s the score

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Mitten

Mitten

do you remember the day 

we jumped from second-story windows

into heavy piles of snow 

banks barely dented by our bodies

you, the favorite cousin

you didn’t want to jump

I teased you

‘Kitten Kitten I got your mitten’

you jumped just to shut me up

 

it was a week of so much snow

that  streets were so covered

cars were white humps

schools were happily closed

 

on the old toboggan

we pulled pushed slid soared

flew down hill to the pond

the danger of suddenly cracked ice

Meg was downed there last year

you said it was haunted

we crept quickly past it

I said I could hear Meg calling

‘Kitten Kitten I got your mitten’

you pushed me back toward her

 

the snow was softer there

we sank deep into 

heavy thick white foam

it rushed up our legs

held us pulled us trapped us

we bobbed like a pair of

dog heads on springs 

in the back window of a car

 

you had to pee

I helped you pull down 

your ice encrusted zipper

and saw your little red cock

the stream of yellow 

dazzle dizzy 

as it hit the snow

‘Be careful’ I yelled as I pulled away

‘Your turn’ you dared me

‘Or do you need a mitten to keep it warm’

 

so I did it too

the cold rush 

around the moist warmth

that my pants had held

I made crosses 

out of your yellow splotches

neither of us had enough to

write a name a note a memento

we stood a moment there

our dinks dangled in the cold

looking at them and then each other

smiling wide and wondering

 

it began to snow again

So much of this happened to me – I do remember winters in Cape Breton where I jumped out of a second-story window – actual it was more like a dangled out then spurred away with my feet to land on my back – inot the snow. The windows in our house weren’t large enough to really jump out of head-first.

At least once a winter Toronto gets enough snow to turn cars into snow humps but never has gotten to the point where one is walking shown the sidewalk between mounds of now so high to can’t see over them. That would never happen as snow removal favours cars & sidewalks would be made impassable. Toronto’s war isn’t on cars but on pedestrians. But I digress.

I did have a toboggan that flew down hill, there was a pond where some little girl had fallen through the ice & drowned but it wasn’t that close to where we lived. I did get stuck walking through a snow bank. I did piss in the snow more than once rather than wet my snowsuit.

The piece is one of several in which I allow early age same-sex attraction happen with innocence. I’ve read enough hetero poetry about this sort experience – most of the queer stuff involves trauma not innocence. Before I knew what it was I need feel a real curiosity about boys at an early age – I did a bit of peeking but that was all. When I found a name for it replaced innocence with shame. I love the last line ‘it began to snow again.’

Also, I hate to break it to you, but there was no cousin. Our family had no relatives in Cape Breton.

Snow Global Warming

My final scheduled show and feature of the year brought me back to Hot-Sauced words at The Black Swan. It’s been over a year since I’ve gotten out to Hot-Sauced. I find taking in one show every ten days enough – two in less than that and the second one usually palls for me. A change from when I jumped into the spoken scene a decade ago when I did my first open stage at the Renaissance Cafe (RIP). I was getting to five or six shows a month. Now two a month is more than enough.

festive balls

The Swan had undergone renovations – gone are the stinking carpets, slick and stained with a history spilled beer, stubbed out cigarettes and other slimy substances. Comfy barrel chairs around tables change the aura considerably. Plus a new sound system. sweet.

The Anti-Christmas Pageant had a full house, raised over $300 for food drive – if only audiences were that generous for starving poets :-). It was good to reconnect with writers I haven’t seen for some time too. Not that I’m Mr Social mind you. One asked what I was working on then proceeded to tell me what he was working on before I could finish my answer.

more festive balls

The show structure was a stripped-down version of the usual H-S – some open stagers, two short features, a set by Kirsten Sandwich, break, then the other two features & a final Sandwich set.

By short features I mean maybe six minutes each. We all managed to be seasonal but not festive. Sue Reynolds, first featurette, did a couple of sweet cover poems and one original. Loved ‘the black dog of sleeplessness gnawing the rind of daybreak.’ She was followed by Kate Marshall Flaherty – her pieces were aromatic (garlic, cheese, wine), about the kindness of strangers, birth in ‘sweet hay and warm cow smells.’ Her final piece called for audience participation as we made chilly wind sounds as he performed a fun piece about Cold Air.

festive red balls

Sandwich’s first set opened with an obscure Latin carol that gave me chills – love those harmonies. This was their serious piece. They did a carol as written by Leonard Cohen ‘Santa smells of whisky and despair.’ They showed how the lyrics to Gilligan’s Island could be sung to nearly any carol followed by the reverse – how those carol lyrics could be sung to the melody of Gilligan’s Island.

After the break I started the final set. Shopping Trippy still works it’s linguistic magic. Snow Global Warming has just the right touch of queer raunch – I skipped my slutty Santa piece & closed with my Grinch List. I skipped my real raunch to allow Cathy Petch the opportunity to shine in that department -which she did in her set that followed mine, ‘finger banged next to the snapple machine.’ Her ‘Don’t They Know’ re/de construction is getting tighter: ‘Who doesn’t want what North America has?’ – but I think she’s holding back a little 🙂 The smugness behind those lyrics calls for more.

By this point in the night it was 10:15. Reluctantly I shrugged into my layers and left as Sandwich was starting their final set. I like to be home and to bed by 11. Gone are the days of disco dancing till 1:30 a.m. and taking the night bus home. And to all a good night.

 

samples

Snow Global Warming

his eyes were the color of sky

a sky on the verge of snow

snow that is eagerly awaited

so that we have a white christmas

not a lot of snow mind you

a dusting of it

enough to turn the world

into a Christmas card of trees and houses

houses with warm lights in windows

fireplace blazing

as snow falls   tossed in a snow globe

us naked in front of that fireplace

a blizzard of affection blankets us together

under thick waves of heat

hearth logs crackling

and our stockings well hung

a vision of sugar plums

between his legs

the wind howling around the house

we tumble around each other

toasted   tossed in a snow globe

of swiftly changing lusts emotions

spinning transient melting

breathless and mumbling

naughty nice naughty nice

mostly unwrapped and crumpled

eager for another shake of the snow globe

golden balls

Damned #NaNoWriMo-gram

Keeping on top of my Nano project has called for sacrifice but one of things I wasn’t willing to cut was The Beautiful and The Damned on Thursday night.

David Bateman hosted the show. As always he brought humor, opinions and a wealth of information – this time about our dead celeb of the month Andy Warhol. Great trivia questions but sadly none of which were answered correctly by me shouting out JoeDallesandro for every one.

cold kitten one

First feature, Lara Bozabalian, is a writer I always enjoy immensely. Her set consisted of pieces from her up coming book Tourist. As the title implies we travelled from elephant riots in India to hunting wildlife in British Columbia, to Michigan teens to Beethoven out for a walk. Vivid nature imagery was balanced by strong emotional moments “a telephone wire of nervousness ran between us’ and sensuousness: “at the piano my shoulder learned by rote the smell of your skin.” Speaking of skin her first book of verse ‘The Cartographer’s Skin’ has now sold out two print runs.

cold kitten two

Second feature Cathy Petch, hot from her recent slam victories, gave us an energized set that went from vulgar raunch “like leather cocks in classic porn” to deeply personal reflections on Mike Tyson. Funny, touching and always compelling Cathy gives good poetry saw, “solid gold dancing all the while.” I love the shift of emotional tugs in her Tyson piece, we go from admiring his struggles with lisping, being manipulated by coaches and finally we are distanced by his violence towards those weaker than him.

cold kitten three

Unfortunately I had to scoot before hearing this month’s music feature – the damned NaNo had me on the run. I had a session with first year med students at Women’s College Friday morning which meant early rising to be there and no time for writing in the morning.

As much as I love being a part of making future doctors and getting paid for the opportunity I really wanted to be stacking up those words. Sure I could write in transit but it’s hard enough to read standing up on the TTC let along flip open a keyboard and type 🙂

I made up for lost time at the writing session at the Red Rocket Friday afternoon – piling up over 2200 words.

nasample

Even though the chill of spring was over Lillian shivered under the heavy woolen cover. It wasn’t even a blanket as far as she was concerned. It kept the heat in but she felt cold. The sheets between her and the wool wasn’t thick enough to keep the coarse fiber from chafing her feet.  The cover was like everything in her uncle’s house. Coarse. Homemade. She tried to picture the paritoner who had made this and brought it as gift to her uncle. It was meant to be a rug. Under it she tugged her mother’s shawl tighter around her shoulder. It smelled of comfort, of the life she had left behind to come here to this clumsy backwater coal mining town.

Lillian pushed the stiff cover off her and swung her feet to the floor. They recoiled from the cold. She should have left the rug where it was but pulling it over her in the night was the only way she could think of to keep warm. Her uncle had offered one of the quilts but she had refused. The tattered rag patterned comforters looked even more home made than the rug.

Lillian put on her slippers and wrapped her dressing gown around her. The dark blue silk was embroider with small pink flowers along the hem with larger ones on the pockets and lapels. It was one of the few things her uncle had let her keep when she arrived. He felt her Boston clothes were too good, too indulgent for someone living his house. He didn’t want anything to be a distraction for his parishioners.

“Such gaudy goods are a sign of a lack of faith. The Lord wants us plain when we stand before him not gussied up like a peacock.” He had said as he went through her trunk shoving all her pretty clothes into a burlap sack. “They’ll be in the attic till you are fit to leave us. Your father thinks he’s made a man of himself but he never knew the meaning of decorum.”

Her tears only made him impatient with her. Now here she was dressing in rough, colorless, shapeless pinafores, coarse linen shifts that gave her no shape. She wondered if he was more concerned with her being a temptation to him than a lure of satan to his parishioners.

Her room didn’t even have a mirror. She hadn’t seen her face clearly since she arrived three months ago. There were no mirrors in the priest’s house and certainly none in the small church.

She splashed cold water on her face. Her hands were red and chafed from the housework she was now responsible for. Learning here what her uncle said her father and mother had failed to teach her. How to be a woman who could serve others, not a wonton who only served her own pleasures.

She sat at her dressing table to brush her hair staring at the space on the wall where a mirror had once been. She knew that by the discolored, and water-mottled rose wallpaper around a clean rectangle of red roses.

redflowers