c. 2007 Siren tree drawing
“the sun set without you”
The sun set without you
Faster than my hand could scribe
Mauve grey silver blue
A bold and brassy sky
So many words to shape the fading glare
That would have been
A perfect scene
If only you were there
it would have made a perfect scene
from our play
from some story or play
a fading glare, the end of day.
some scene from a story or play
to tell you all it’d been
A sky stripped bleak and windy bare
to tell you how it was for me
to give it to you
you laugh and say it’s only light
pigment and waves of things unseen
with feeble words of how it
would have been
if you were
each jewel of light and fragrant smell
to tell you how it was for me
the light and air and smells
that alone I wishd
alone and wishing you were there
to see each word for you
It’s light only light you say
I drop my pen and look again
watching with you
Saturday night, Architecture in Helsinki. I inhaled some stickum and sped along queen to ease the ride. Saw an oldtimer with his ear pressed to a pocket radio, reedy electronic music, concentration on his face. At Universtity I hit a red. A black jeaned long haired, rocker wailing on an electric guitar, an infinite solo. A perfect ambush. A red cheeked boy, lanky and pale stands against the cast iron fence. He’s wearing high gloss PVC pants t hat aren’t quite tight enough. A leather collar, his dad’s old hunting jacket. He looks ready for choir, keeps casting his eyes down, checking the time on his cell phone.
I find T at the horseshoe, B arrives and then later the band, the band that reminds me of what it means to say something, to have something to say, or at least a desire to say it. A subtle difference. The effective art being the latter, something that is trying to say something but the artist isn’t quite sure what it is. A work in progress. Truly interactive as if that’s the audience’s role, put the pieces together. After a soulless opening act, everyone talking surprised there is someone actually on the stage. A in H hit the stage and grabbed hold of us and never let go. Reminding me once and always that it’s authority that we gravitate towards. Made me think of East Germany, various theories on the rise of Nazism. That confidence that not all is lost, there is some value some truth in this gathering, this collective hypnotism, mesmerism. It occurs to me that like the willing disbelief, so to the desire to lose oneself in the spectacle. To be told what to do.
Later I talk to them about a gay golden girls tv show. A retirement home in the future. I don’t mention the still brewing idea of rocket launchers, right wing governments and fighting back but, and the reason I’m putting this down.. While I was watching the opening moments of the band, their call to attention as it were, a flood of truths came rushing into my head. The idea of simple honest truth, these flooding thoughtst that I can’t catch now. But the trigger was a simplicity of meaning that when we hear it, see it it makes sense but to describe it, quantify sends it packing. What occurred to me was something film like, but real, fresh and simple. Suddenly aware of the process of writing being the opposite of that. I remember talking to T about the tenderness of the band, our need, love for poetry. And that poems, songs, lyrics are like fragrances, intimate moments that prose can’t really capture. The ineffable. But how does that lead back to the next script??
In the bar with H, C and J. And I’m oscilatting cuz I’m drunk, stoned whatever. We barely make it out of the apartment where I was trying to be in the moment, trying not to think of how amazing a tv show of H would be. But my mind was wondering, worrying, analyzing looking at things. These are not positive things they are something like, this is such a boring waste of time. I loop into a feeling sorry for the fact that the steps by the washroom aren’t marble. Luckily I bring myself to my senses, actually saying out loud. A guy comes onto me and I’m interested for about ten minutes and then I’ve moved on. But all the time I’m thinking of a show with H ast the main character. But I’m also having an existential meltdown in terms of what it is that we’re doing, the innocence of life can’t be sustained. That’s why the bouncer let us in. We’ve paid our dues. There should be more existential drug talk and rants in 4WAY. Yes we’re all aware of the fact that everything is a construct (matrix) but where do we go from there? These are the important questions, how do we have personal identity when we’re in a common arena of visual language? Maybe that’s the weird quality that is too political. That feeling on the dance floor, a family, latin style. Blue eyed members welcome. I felt old, creaky, a leader. R wants to go, I leave him waiting, he comes back very annoyed. I’m not a gentleman. H, aesthetician, sage, party boy, cock expert, he can read men from their cocks, pot afficinado, treats the skin and alcohol questionarre like a confessional. But he has access to the latin community.
I’m standing there looking at all the beautiful people getting high and dancing, having fun. In a shit hole bar, being in the moment. All the conversations about what? It’s this pervading sense of understanding everything or at least what you think of everyone. Have a photo show called, photographs that I took while I was high to remind myself of what the truth is. Wow mindfuck. This is the kind of rant we should be including. If everything is knowable then it’s just a matter of time.
When J plays with Soya my eyes fill with tears, inexplicably… It feels weird, parental, seeing your pet interact with another.
“Sunday November 13, 2005 3am”
Sunday November 13, 2005 3am
Riding my bike through the leaves, it’s still warm and everyone is out walking around, enjoying the night. Looking up the leaves are every colour, coming into the park I look up at black and rust tinged chestnut tree leaves, backlit by a streetlight. All the colours are there people we just don’t see them most of the time. Paintings make sense because that’s the way we see the world, fractured, drunk stoned. A strobe light goes off and you shift your gaze. I stare out into the bright white lights in the centre of El convento Rico, Rico’s convent? I can’t see the drag queen performing. The stage is the centre of the dancefloor. I watch a baseball sized white light flash into the back of a guys black hair. It looks dazzling, fun, weird. It gets us all going, these lights. I’m feeling edgy, not quite the weed, not happy, N and T are nervous, we’re jostled continuously, later I see a guy talking into a cell phone, his voice gravely, then discovering he’s handsome my head turns, he looks back at me, a look that says fuck off? Or? Just curious. something that I know and don’t know, separation of myself, a transition into adult? I feel my hip aching, I am mortal. What happens to us as we let our minds out of control? We worry about who we are, what are place is we doing the right thing? A talks of his rorshach test, he tells me he’s involved in a sex scandal lawsuit at UCC. We talk about R, how it would be a good movie and A gets into it. A gay love story. That we don’t reveal until the end. Told from A’s point of view. The TV the odd details. Need to talk to a lawyer about rights etc.
What is this mood? What is the colour of it?
Reading Flaubert, now later, makes me feel humbled, writing about the same inconsequential happenings of day to day life, cafes, dinners, the revolution brewing in the background. Everyone scrambling to make some money, buy all the things that are meant to make them happy. Or in the case of artists’ the art that does make them happy, the drug, the loss of self in a painting a movie, a book, poem. Whatever.
“Night Out Friday October 21st”
Riding to velvet. Victory march.
It’s a full moon riding to Velvet on my bike. The moon is out, it’s a beautiful clear and cool evening. I call myself on my cell. Leave a message, not to forget the space and time, the full moon. They are timeless and all my worries about being out of touch old or anything it’s about being in touch with the world. The beauty of the things around us.
I get an idea for a video called VICTORY. Video tape the soldier like objects along the curb, heroic little sentinels. The x-walk sign, the bike posts, every little parking thing, signs that do this and that, the unspoken sentinels, that should be recognized. This is progress, this is the future.
Find a famous military march, cross fading into close-ups of fire hydrants, drive by of an unseen procession. Ancient human march, victory, that’s the future. A town with asphalt and these shitty little objects lining the processional route.We are the victors driving by as everything watches over us. We can imagine ourselves saluting these small silent objects, our history that is what will be left over afterwards.
Story idea, a little café in the shadow of a new development. Ie the sears lofts, realizes that he’s sitting on a gold mine, scrambles, realizes he needs help, contacts his nephew who is gay, there’s an acrimonious relationship. They come together to make a bar happen. A timely piece about the city.
Coming out of buddies and bad times, golden glow of the street lights. Street kids are huddled across the garden, against the wall. Wayward youth, me standing at the railing, all privelaged and enjoying the feeling of the night air.
Sitting downstairs in J’s office we smoke a joint. B and J start telling stories about the oldest person they ever had sex with. J launches into a story about being raped by the side of the river by an older man who bought him all these clothes, dressed him in a certain way and then had his way with him. I’m trying to negotiate the reality and the visual I’m getting in my minds eye. J won’t let me interrupt. How did he meet this dude, B is next. He tells me about some sexual interaction in a stairwell. I have a campy film image in my head. The idea is to do a film or short about the difference between the reality and the imagined, re-enactment. Have a series of interviews with men describing their intimate sexual encounters and then re enacting them.
In the latin bar Georges play. A hidous looking drag queen vamps it up on the riser. She sashays along to the music and behind her dazzling curls, are large cut out silver letters that read PLAY, a command. Finally I get it, sort of like a sesame street, ad campaign. It’s clear what the concept of the bar is.
“On Monday After Pride”
On Monday after Pride, B and I hit the beach too early. It’s close to 2, the edge of the danger. We find a spot, and lie shelterless, sweltering, beneath an unrelenting sun. We are an unlikely pair for sun tanning. He’s got strawberry blond hair, fair skin, my freckled body blue eyes eager to catch some rays, relax. It’s not the sun, so much as the vibe. The beach is clothing optional, B remains clothed. I cling to my underwear because, because, well I guess it looks sexier?
I was told to never go in the sun. A Persian woman, a dermatologist said it. She stood in front of my naked body, unsmiling head shaking. “Have you always had those moles all over your body!?” What? I wanted to say. I’ve always been a little self conscious of all the spots though some have admired them. It’s not my fault. Her language was sharp doglike, aggressive, far away from the bedside manner one expects in medical situations. I stammer a response, nod, try to laugh it off. She’s not amused. “You,” she shrieks, “ You should never go in the sun.” I smile, assume she’s joking. I’m wrong. “Get dressed now”, she turns away in what I can only interpret as disgust.
“Thursday July 14″
Thursday July 14, 2005 weird shit.
Here we are. The power goes out. I’m fucking trying to figure out what to do without feeling guilty about it. Plan: bike downtown, pick up S’s slides, talk to T, a tattooed friend of D’s. I’m trying to stay cool except that M’s chrystal-meth head downstairs tenant. She laughs now but was cool enough to put a double lock on their adjoining hallway. Aside from that shit. I go slip by N’s place, show him the photos that I picked up on the way- I had a plan, calculating time spent away, from over ac’d apartment. But the deal really is, pick up photos from weekend that my transmission blew. Sorry no pictures. Only of the beautiful world beyond the parking lot. If someone else were there documenting the whole thing, sure. But, let’s face it, we’re not the blog generation. Pepsi vs Sunny Delight: you just don’t get it because you’re old. China! Yeah, but we’re what? More sensitive , shrewder shoppers? Know where to get the deals? What kind of wisdom can one pass on if there isn’t any sense of wisdom, only experience. Which keeps on shifting and moving faster than you can put a number to it.
I drop by N’s place. He rushes me out the door pulls me towards his mother’s for dinner. Hey, fuck, what can I say? I’m lazy, in student mode, free, cheap, parents, hey, and of course the I’m avoiding the prospect of going back to work.
When I pull D from the backyard, N’s battery is dead, it’s past D’s bed time, striding across the street he looks at me, panicked. Very Panicked On the street behind is a young woman who’s willing to give him a boost. She pulls the car around opens the hood-it’s all very much like two insects mating hoods up, small wires, the inner workings laid bare. Wish I had a camera. I arrive, N looks at me, D’s screeching some thing and he looks at me and says” I will not be humiliated any further.”I don’t want that shit laid on me, I’m not the goat! I shake my head, feeling as if he’s raising the stakes unrealistically high. Not, I’m annoyed, angry, “I will not be humiliated any further”, that you’ve been living under a volcanoe, and today, that sucker is going to make history. So in my full support mode I try to help batman, help him like Mcgyver, figure out the truth. What it is out here. What is humiliation? I find the key and instead of giving him the key. I somehow start the car and now I feel ashamed. It’s as if in my head I didn’t realize what that meant. Is it too idealistic? I should have palmed it and passed him the key to allay all panic and humiliation?
I’m on my way, thinking of a quiet night watching a dvd, N pulls me back, it’s sweltering there’s lots of beer in the fridge. He’ll be back down, after putting D to bed. I crumble. Hangout downstairs kill two or three beers while coming up with ideas on how to transform his pad into a cool uber chic pad. Later we smoke. Then S is at the door and I panic, caught up in some kind of human drama I’m not ready for. S notices, I have to explain, I’m not guilty. Finally pulling myself away. N recounting what I told him that S told me. A familiar problem lately, I’m guilty, I tell people’s secrets. Not trying to make the drama mine, but oddly I’m feeling centre stage and when I ride away, all is fair and of course I realize they just wanted me gone so they could fuck like maniacs.
I ride my bike through the park. Stop, transfixed by the decorative plantings in front of the war memorial burgundy and pale green oddly textured foliage. A car stopped at the light, teenagers singing along to the pounding beat. I tap my foot, aware of being watched. Thankful to have caught their eye. They sing louder, for me, I savour the attention, turn and smile the backseat passenger acknowledging the display. It spins off, my interest in the organic crosses fading, I lift my toe off the ground, pedal on.
Later I pass by church street. I’m too happily buzzed to go home. Need to move through crowds, look at things. I slip into woody’s it’s dead airconditioned air feels like a sarcophagus. I wander out, the drag show, unable to hold me. The diva asks a Latino man his age, she’s surprised when he says 42. I feel I should start screeching something about ageism. I imagine the spectacle I could make of myself. Would I be embraced, would it end in embarrassed silence or could I build a groundswell of support, take over. Do a show? I wander out, my imagination buzzingly numb. I climb up to the patio of the leather bar. Order a beer, gaze around at the men in clumps drinking beer, the classic poses. Tops bottoms, who cares. They can’t compete with the night sky, air conditioners and pipes scribbled across the roofs of distant buildings. Above and Across, on the lip of the patio wall there’s a tall apt building. A white flickering in one window. It’s the spinnig shadow from a ceiling fan. Diagonlally across the image is the wall of the patio. On that wall is a BW painting of dozesn of leather daddies, chaps, cowboys all amateurly painted. It occurs to me that it would make a fantastic ext establishing shot. Start in the patio of a leather bar, men in leather vests, sweating, drinking beer, tilt up to the window, and punch into our scene.