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BY Joel

11/01 Direct Link
Sometimes when I look at my slim, pale body in the mirror, then look up to examine my angular Eastern European facial features, I wonder if, in some other dimension, I am the national figure skating champion of the Ukraine.

My outfits would be unrivaled. They would be white and form-fitting, crisp like my icy canvas, but the orange and red and black strips of hand-embroidered bursts on my cuffs and collar and down each side of my long legs would set me ablaze...

In this dimension, I'm Canadian and nearly bereft of heritage. I can't even skate.
11/02 Direct Link
Today I can't think of anything to write so I'll have to rely on memory to get me through this entry. To type the same word 100 times is doing my creative self a disservice. There is always some past moment I can relive and share with others.

What would happen if we all gave away our secrets and knowledge freely? Would we find peace in being so emptied? Would others profit from knowing our experiences?

*****

I am 16, seducing older men in Internet chat rooms. Meet me and relieve my loneliness, I say.

They do, but only deepen it.
11/03 Direct Link
don't look at me like that i didn't know what i was doing i came out of the closet too young and they have this silly saying in our dimension that you don't just come out of it you explode out of it and there i was grade nine wearing nail polish and form-fitting turtlenecks to school because everyone knew anyway and i was tired of the abuse so i created this diva this beautiful diva and she was untouchable but somewhere she lost control of her body and her feelings and there she was with her racy emoticons...
11/04 Direct Link
I could blame the men but they were damaged goods, had it much worse than my generation did.

I could blame my mom for not finding me more to do but she was busy with her second divorce.

I could blame my absent father for not nurturing more testosterone into me.

I could blame the other homos at school for staying silent.

I could blame Cher, Christina, and Madonna for being that fabulous.

I could blame technology.

I could blame Christianity, or my ignorance of Christianity.

I could blame myself.

But no.

No blame.

Tant pis.

C'est tout.
11/05 Direct Link
Appropriate(d) or not, this here's a pow wow. Here we are in the Qu'Appelle Valley. It's summer again.

Sister is in her jingle dress, which she made herself out of thousands of little metal j's. She dances to the drumming beautifully, never getting too worked up about it, never losing her own focus.

jingle, jingle
jaybird, juniper
justice, jingle,
jingle, jailbait...

There's two or three doing the Men's Extra Fancy, but something's off. They seem to always be one step behind this sweet beating.

They have too close an eye on the next dancers who are gathering their hoops.
11/06 Direct Link
but can you blame them
she cackles
tossing her gray braid
in that age-old way


and he looks handsome
in white warrior regalia
bands of bursts
the length of him
an orange bead
that should be red


beast freshly slain
and honoured
they are off
before the pounding


pumpumpumpumpump...


and hoop hoop
she is butterfly
and he is eagle
shapeshifting
any shape
you can imagine


spinning, twisting
two spirits
faster, faster
pain flying
from the centrifuge
kickin' up dust
in the wh'chcallit


spinning, dissolving
into the eternal
time immemorial


chief lungfull
calls 'em back


a single hoop
thrown high
11/07 Direct Link
Poetry and Story Reading
@ The Bistro
Monday Nights 7-9pm Starting Nov. 7
All ages welcome
Come and share

This new thing has snuck up on me and I'm the facilitator. I've been so preoccupied that I've had no time to prepare. I'll just have to wing it, I guess.

I can't wait to see who shows up, to listen to what others have inherited and celebrated.

I feel so humbled and blessed. I thank you for helping me to carry this burden.

There is more to the story so if you're reading please don't let it hurt. Breathe.

Megwich.
11/08 Direct Link
So tired and grouchy. I take back what I wrote.
So tired and grouchy. I take back what I wrote.
So tired and grouchy. I take back what I wrote.
So tired and grouchy. I take back what I wrote.
So tired and grouchy. I take back what I wrote.
So tired and grouchy. I take back what I wrote.
So tired and grouchy. I take back what I wrote.
So tired and grouchy. I take back what I wrote.
So tired and grouchy. I take back what I wrote.
So tired and grouchy. I take back what I wrote.
11/09 Direct Link
alright i admit it
issues with men
tend not to trust 'em
to ballbust 'em
as is custom
for boys who are buxom

one bold move
and it's whyioughta
make three accounts
so i can mount her
discount her

but please
the kids are a wake

but but
she did that pretty thing
with her hair
don't care
your game is to scare

so excuse me, mister
you know nothin'
'bout my beau, my BA,
my baba, the bistro

don't give me fangs
and roll me in the ditch
i'll just fly us to the moon
'cause earthmothafucka i'm a
11/10 Direct Link
I'm in the tub, reading a haiku anthology. Tonight it's cedarwood. Heaven.

I pause to recall what Kay said over the phone.

The men gather in sweatlodges and pray to Grandmother Moon, when she's full, to imbue in them a feminine, nurturing spirit. Such a ceremony will allow these hunters to better care for their children and to maintain the balance of the land.

Much better than enslaving women for milennia because Eve was hungry for an apple, no?

I look at my perfect body stretched out before me in the warm water. And I feel something inside my belly.
11/11 Direct Link
Toot toot, the butt burp bubbles up, tickling my testes. And aww, man! Eureka. Red delicous was never so vicious. Enough to make my eyes water.

Hehehe. Laughter is great medicine.

Not for a cold, though. At first signs take three drops oil of oregano three times a day. Chicken soup.

Upset stomach? Mint tea. Puking.

Sinus infection? Elderberry tea. Garlic. Honey, lemon, ginger.

Sore back? Consult DTB.

Incest? Empathy. *Hugs*

Got crabs? Use your hands.

I have not abused the sacred herb for a week. My sugars are down. I thank you, friends.

Poetry is magic.

Happy Remembrance Day.
11/12 Direct Link
I wasn't always so conscious of health. In fact, I ate a lot of plastic growing up. I'd come home to an empty house at lunch and fill up on Pizza Pops, Michelina's, and Boyardees pudding cups yummy! Anything my Krafty little hands could pull out of the pantry, whatever happened to be on sale at Wal-Mart that week.

At the end of the day I would come home and eat a cylinder of Pringles in one sitting or a whole bag of Crispers. They called me El Dorito.

I had no concept of nutrition, no idea of moderation.
11/13 Direct Link
fresh from the bathtub
she shares her grapefruit segments
old tom licks her hair

she returns from work
hugs him in her guard jacket
spearmint gum and smoke

she returns from work
with a gift from an inmate
a small dreamcatcher

serving the salad
soil under her fingernails
fresh garden lettuce

he sits on the bench
with mr. antolini
and sees the gold ring

he sits on the bench
the lake water shimmering
dreaming the ocean

jessica, sister
sobs as they depart westward
thought she hated him

she escorts her son
dreamcatcher on the rearview
so he may know love
11/14 Direct Link
The drive from Regina to Vancouver is wonderful.

It starts out all flat flax, plains and grains, the golden wheat and bright yellow canola fields waving as you roll on by to and through the rolling hills of Alberta, the beef not yet butchered, the horses and half-hidden houses hailing as you head toward the timeless rising Rockies of BC, the road wrapping and writhing ribbon-like on mountainsides, and careening around each cliff corner inspires awe, reveals yet another evergreen-encircled, turquoise freshwater lake...

And what a bonus! There's a Tim Hortons in every town along the way!
11/15 Direct Link
As we highwayed through the suburbs, as I nearly peed my pants with excitement watching those emblematic glass towers loom larger and larger, my mom made a point of turning onto East Hastings street.

That was my first ground level view of Downtown Vancouver - hundreds of unhoused, unfed, unwashed human beings. Some pushed borrowed grocery carts full of who knows what, some slept in covered doorways, some were arguing, some jittery, swinging their heads and limbs uncontrollably, perhaps on their way to the needle exchange. A community of sorts.

It was her way of warning me about the real world.
11/16 Direct Link
A week later, after we had joyfully dipped our feet in the waters of English Bay together, after we'd hopped around Granville Island together, after she helped me find a room way down on West 57th (which was okay because she bought me a bus pass), we said our teary goodbyes and she made her way back to an empty nest.

Can you imagine how free I felt? Just shy of 18, alone in the big city.

That very night, the old lady gone, I bussed down to Davie Street and found my own community, joined the gay youth group.
11/17 Direct Link
I was eager and lucky to find work right away. I got a job as a bookseller at Chapters, Canada's version of Barnes & Noble.

I fell in love with all of my coworkers. Most of them were thoughtful, witty, well-read, twenty-something hipsters, students, writers, actors, musicians, and fashionistas. A handful were older, of modest means, with gruff exteriors but really had the sweetest, richest, most intelligent hearts and minds.

We were a family, and we rationalized devoting ourselves to our corporate jobs because we were selling books. Books! (More mass market crap than literature, but still...) Reading! Literacy!
11/18 Direct Link
But whoa could these book nerds drink! When I became of age (19 in BC), I went out with them a few times to watch them happily enjoy pitcher after pitcher of beer.

Being the son of a corrections officer/addictions counsellor, I couldn't guiltlessly keep up with them. And I had spent much of my youth in isolation so I didn't quite have the hang of being social.

And I didn't like how drinking made me have to go to the bathroom every ten minutes.

It would be another few years before I discovered it wasn't the booze.
11/19 Direct Link
My second year of university, October 2007, I was living on the fourth floor of Haida House on UBC Campus. (Naming the residences after different tribes made up for profiteering much of the borrowed Musqueam land into market housing, I guess.)

David was in Kyoto and would be for another nine months. Our relationship survived thanks to Skype sex and lots of smutty emails.

I'd be typing away in my little single bed monk dorm and I'd keep having to pee literally every five minutes, beverage or no beverage. I had unquenchable thirst.

Dr. Google told me I had diabetes.
11/20 Direct Link
Standing at the urinal in the floor's shared washroom, I peed a little on my pinky finger. Sweet like apple juice, just like the Internet predicted.

"Looks like life has dealt you a bad card," said the young endocrinologist.

"Your pancreas is pooped out," said the perky diabetes nurse. She kept saying my pancreas was "pooped out" and it made me cringe every time.

I kept waiting to be asked to fill out the research questionnaire in which I'd have to admit to two decades' worth of poor eating, but I waited in vain. Big pharma doesn't do preventative medicine.
11/21 Direct Link
They started me out on pills, then different pills, and now that ol' panky is beyond pooped out I'm on four injections/day.

I'm supposed to test my blood sugar three times per day, a standard recommendation for diabetics. Each test strip costs around a dollar.

1x3x365=1,095

There are around three million people with diabetes in Canada.

3,000,000x1,095=3,285,000,000

Just test strips and we're already in the billions! That doesn't include insulin, syringes, lancets...

Kraft's income last year was over four trillion USD.

I don't know much about economics, but, well, wow.
11/22 Direct Link
"Four trillion?" says David, incredulous, not taking his eyes off the screen. Skyrim - harrumph!

"Yeah, I think so. If I interpreted the data correctly."

"Wow," he says, simultaneously slaying three giant digiphantasmal arachnids.

Oh, David. Why can't he be more like me? The other day we had to eat separately because I had yoga so he borrowed his dad's truck and he and Rudy went to McDonald's. Drive-thru.

I suppose we balance each other out, in a way. Where would I be without his love? Where would he be without mine? I can't even imagine. I don't want to.
11/23 Direct Link
We've been together for just over five years now, and I figure it'll take another five for me to break him down completely.

For the past month or so he's been looking for a used vehicle - just so we can drive to Sunday dinners out at his parents' place, so we can get groceries, and so he can get to and from work.

"To and from work? Why, when there's a bus? Take the friggin' bus, man. Allow yourself that extra hour to relax, to read, to observe, to connect..."

Why drive unnecessarily? To make oneself lonely, guilty, fat, senseless?
11/24 Direct Link
The curtain reveals three beehived, curvaceous silhouettes.

The music starts and the sultry shadows start snapping, and soon the one in the middle (me!) finds the spotlight and sighs into the microphone:

"Put down those turkey legs, girls, and listen here for a minute."

The lights come up! The tempo triples! My back up girls swirl around in their stunning sequins and whoa it's Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson (both also me!)!

By the end of the number I'm crying on the floor, shuddering, so ashamed.

"Finished?" is all David says.

Anyone who puts up with my bullshit is a saint.
11/25 Direct Link
I paint such a distorted picture of David. He really is the best thing to ever come into my life.

He likes to cook, to dance, to drink socially, he makes me laugh, he's smart, he's sexy, he took me to Paris as a graduation gift...

Because of him we have a precious Boston Terrier son, a beautiful home with a big yard...

Last Fall we put in a lasagna garden together. Together this year we grew more vegetables than we could eat. (What can grow when the lawn is gone?)

I wish this peace for every homo, for everyone.
11/26 Direct Link
"Everything in moderation, everything within balance," mouthed the old storyteller animatedly into the mirror, practicing for her next performance.

She was confident that this mirror gazing was neither narcissism nor neuroses, that it was rather a survival skill, a way of cultivating love for things beyond herself.

She loved the idea of upholding oral tradition but she also saw value in ultimately writing her stories down. Every belief system always has elements that need to be retired, after all.

She was tired and confused. She went to bed early, hoping that some Great Spirit might send her the answer overnight.
11/27 Direct Link
And in the half-lucid dream answer he is at work, in the kitchen, orchestrating the symphony that is the Sunday post-church breakfast rush. His diabetic bladder tells him that he has to pee but he must make enough bacon, must fruitily garnish these plates... And shit, shit, shit, the homefries are burning and he really has to pee, and he's broken a few yolks but it's not the end of the world, and back... teeth... floating... And thank God Olivia comes to help and could you please take this out to table 9, Liv, I really gotta go...
11/28 Direct Link
...And water flows down the Sirscratchyerbum, er, Saskatchewan River. Now it trickles.

"Rainbow!" someone shouts. "Rainbow Greenstripe! Get your ass over here!"

"Just a moment!" is her reply, and he shakes, tucks her schlong back inside his fly.

And then she rejoins the special secret Advent group in time for the round dance. What a beautiful Imperfect Circle he sees!

There's Yellow, Fyre, Ephemera and Exit, Dana, and Lin, Tin, LizzE, Judi and Jujy, Nieve and the New Girl and Nartjie,, Rose, Marie, TBecky and Berkey, Threebee and Afro Zen, Beatnik and Pacific, DTBx2, Miffy, Michael, Mikey, M., and HamTam...
11/29 Direct Link
All these unique two-spirit beauties held hands and danced around and around. Not some frenzied dance for riches and fame, but a slow, pure, peaceful, rhythmic knee bending shuffle to the hearty drumbeat.

Summer had been unusually dry so each prayed for rain to their own conceptions of God.

Then the surrounding hills of the valley turned misty blue, and that single hoop thrown high turned into a stunning pysanka.

The egg shattered, revealing David, Panter and a piano. And (s)he played and s(he) sang lacrimatory lovesongs and the notes fell like raindrops, like ink.

La fin.
11/30 Direct Link
I woke up this morning and found myself laying in sheets of cold wetness - it had snowed overnight! Really heavy, sloppy stuff, but still strong enough to hold itself together and cover all the autumnal decay, like liquid paper glazing over so many unsightly mistakes.

If this cold weather keeps up, David and I are gonna build an ice rink in the back yard. Skating will give us something to do while we wait for the lynch mobs. I'm not afraid. As Aneeta would say, fear and danger are entirely different things.

***CABRABRADABRA! TRIPLE AXLE DAZZLE, LYNCHJERKS!***

Mom, call me.