Unless you are dead

Unless you are dead
Then you’re very much alive
“Ain’t no use whining,”
Said a friend who’s dead to me,
“Let’s live or get in the ground.”

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Seven sparrows on

Seven sparrows on
A cedar’s sunny side–warm
Welcome New Year’s Day

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Three Loves Stories for Loveless Times

Over the past couple of weeks, I have seen three love stories, two much-hyped and one sliding just below the radar; one deserves its praise, one does not, and one should be receiving much more attention. Let’s get the bad news over with first.

The Shape of Water is Guillermo del Torro’s cross between Splash and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. The film looks and sounds incredible, with a heavy debt owed to the films of Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen and Amelie). Its heart is firmly in the right place with its salute to all outsiders who look for love and truth in a hostile, straight-male dominated world, and yet it is a fairytale that misses its magical mark because, despite everything, it fails to surprise and its delights are well worn.

A fairytale of a different kind, Call Me by Your Name, seduces us into a world of impossibly beautiful people, set in an impossibly gorgeous setting, and living impossibly cultured lives. It is such a rarefied place that when unlikely love appears in the form of a summer romance between a teenage boy and a visiting graduate student, everyone gracefully acknowledges and deeply respects that love for the gift it is.  Luca Guadagnino serves up a sumptuous feast of light and landscape, food and half-naked bodies, music and language. Timothée Chalamet delivers the performance of the year, conveying the overwhelming intensity, and life-changing force, of young, first love.  I will be watching this film repeatedly over the years.

A counterpoint to Call Me by Your Name is Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country, no sunny northern Italian landscape here, but rather a sheep farm in the north of England; no medieval fairytales translated from the German by a beautiful mother for a polyglot family, but rather hard-drinking and swearing at the pub and stillborn livestock; no sensitive and articulate father to console his son, but rather a tough man struck down by a life of hard work and a series of strokes. And yet, here too an intense, physical and—unlike that in Call Me by Your Name—lasting love is born between the young farmer and a Romanian migrant worker. Its arrival saves and the young men and reignites hope for the future of the previously doomed farm.  It is that rare beast, a gay film with a happy ending. It and the performances by the two leads, Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu, deserve much more attention than they are getting.

Apart from all being love stories, and despite their differences, all three movies are also cautionary tales for Trump’s America and Brexit Britain, warnings that only the mixing of disparate elements can bring about the alchemy of love, and only love can save us.

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To see all the posts on this blog with explicit and implicit gay content, click here.

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He may do the best

He may do the best
He can with what he’s got—but
He ain’t got a lot

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Depth Charge: Haiku written after a recent sexual encounter.

To see all the posts on this blog with explicit and implicit gay content, click here.

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The Flowers Fatal

The flowers fatal
In their blooming transient
Spare time for the breeze
Make room for the honey bees
Show indifference to me

Best the stars remain
Safe in deceptive distance
If shining lures us
Into their silver river
First we’d freeze—only to burn

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Depth Charge: I was invited by Joseph Moutran to the technical rehearsal for his Schubert recital, as I will be unable to attend the concert. Listening to him, this is what occurred. Thanks, Joseph.

Die schöne Müllerin / La belle meunière/The Beautiful Miller’s Daughter
The entire song cycle by Franz Schubert, with poetry by Wilhelm Müller, presented with French and English subtitles.
Performed by Joseph Moutran – Baryton, François Zeitouni, piano.
Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Chapelle St-Louis, 4230 Rue Drolet, Montréal, QC H2W 2L4
Tickets at the door.

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The Ephemeral Blues for Reuel Dechene

Have fun while ya can
Fate’s an awful thing
You can’t tell what might happen
That’s why I love to sing
– T-Bone Shuffle by T-Bone Walker

Singing all the songs
This wide world could not fill in
Our silent spaces
Grieving you we discover
How profound this emptiness

We hear your laugh echoing
Across the millennium
Feel ghostly traces
Measured in milliseconds
Somewhere in our minds

Ephemeral noise
Of fragile grace amazing
In its resistance
To time’s persistent 12-bar
4/4 stroll into the void

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for Reuel Dechene 1965-2017

Celebration of Reuel’s Life
Saturday, November 4, 2-5
Blythe Bernier Funeral Home
940 Avenue Ogilvy, Montréal, QC H3N 1P4
Everyone welcome.

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Two Squid and Six Whales

Though the island’s small 
Room enough for a whale’s grave 
One of six Right Whales 
Deaths big enough to warrant 
News coverage and necropsies 
 
Almost escaping notice 
Two squid long lean tentacled 
Lying obscenely 
Motionless in the white sand 
Of no importance 

This seems too public an end 
For such a private creature 
Cellphone cameras 
Killing curiosity 
With unsparing light
 
The death of a squid 
Cannot be known–let alone 
Its under wave ways 
Its liquid life lived in dark 
Waters sparkling in the sun

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Depth Charge: This poem echoes one of my earliest poems. A Sunday Drive to the Sea

Charlottetown Harbour 4 AM

How quick the clouds are
To cover the full Moon’s light
In its final hour
Dark woods full of sleeping crows
Dark waters full of unknown

All week long people
Made strangers by passing time
Have been surfacing
Thrown up by the tides of chance
In memory’s tattered nets

Scraps of history
Causal conversation
Luminescent facts
Bright irresistible lures
Dangled before razor teeth

A strip of street lights
And a well-worn wooden path
Suffice for purpose
Desire grows with the unseen
Pluto shadowing the Moon

While Venus rising
Promises summer pleasures
Wild rose fresh bay leaf
Sun and wind on exposed skin
And salt drying on the lips

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Last Day of Lobster Season

On the horizon 
Last day of lobster season 
Having pulled its traps 
A white boat returns to port 
Trailing ravenous white kites 
 
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All the Forgotten Gods

I would think of all the forgotten gods
But how to conjure from oblivion
The most powerful of them all—Absence?
How to recall what we don’t know is gone

Come a day the way I sense your presence
The smell of the small of your neck the feel
Of your skin the smile of your face tensing
You enter me to reveal the unreal

Strange this light we share in our mirrored eyes
Must be ever receding memory
An echo no power known can preserve
These words this language our love all will be

Forgotten and moreover forgotten
A spiral into the unremembered

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(for Cutty)

Depth Charge: Yes, I have been watching  and reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

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