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Sparks Street Pedestrian Mall
09/12/2019 07:13 p.m.

Sparks Street Pedestrian Mall

With the city of Ottawa expanding in all directions, sadly, conveniently located neighbourhood strip-malls and shopping centres with ample parking, rang the death knell for Sparks Street.

It was a great idea for its time. I remember my first visit in 1967, complete with wax museum.

The mall remains a popular place for downtown workers at lunch, but once everyone goes home for the day, except for special events like Rib Fest, you could fire a cannon down the middle and not hit anyone.

 photo Sparks Street Mall 1970s.jpg

Photo: A jam-packed Sparks Street during lunch hour in what would have been sometime in the 1970s. Taken for a study by the NCC (National Capital Commission).

Author’s Note: Based on a Facebook posting at Lost Ottawa.

© 2019

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Outside Influences - Rational Youth - In Your Eyes
08/15/2019 04:10 a.m.

In Your Eyes

Saw a million years into the past and to the future
The beginning and the middle and the end
Saw the rise and fall of every fool who came before me
Saw them lying on the ground around your feet

Got an instinct that tells me when I’m warm
Like a weather vane before a coming storm
But when you looked at me I suddenly realized
I felt the fire and I saw a universe in your eyes

I saw a universe in your eyes

Looked into the ocean looked into the sky
Saw your face in every wave and every cloud
Saw the desert dunes burning red on the horizon
I could see you there in every grain of sand

Got a weakness for things that I don’t need
And the danger signs I don’t pay any heed
But when you looked at me I suddenly realized
I felt the power and I saw a universe in your eyes

I saw a universe in your eyes

You may come have from Heaven
You might have come from Hell
But somewhere in-between
You must have learned your lessons well
Cause no matter how I try
I can’t stop thinking about you

Got an instinct that tells me when I’m warm
Like a weather vane before a coming storm
But when you looked at me I suddenly realized
I felt the fire and I saw a universe in your eyes
I saw a universe in your eyes
I saw a universe in your eyes…

© 1983 Rational Youth

One of my many favorite songs from the early to mid 1980s, by Rational Youth, a Canadian New wave Synth-pop band, out of Montreal. What I like about this particular song’s lyrics is that it is essentially a love/dedication poem, without being syrupy, full of confidence and a sense of destiny, that I’m sure every man and woman can relate to in their own way.

While researching the song, I was unable to find the lyrics anywhere on the Net, and so had to type them out while listening to three different versions on Youtube. In Your Eyes first appears on the album, Rational Youth (1983), followed by a 12” extended version. The third version (video below) appears on the 1985 album, Heredity. Another thing I like about the song is that in listening to the various versions, discovered that there have been subtle changes of verses between the 1983 and 1985 versions. The last main verse beginning with: You may have come from Heaven, appears and has replaced the verse starting with: Looked into the ocean looked into the sky. What I’ve done here is taken a little artistic licence, and merged the two main versions to display the full beauty of the lyrics.

In Your Eyes was written by Tracy Howe, with assistance from then band members, Bill Vorn and Kevin Komoda. Rational Youth will soon (August 30, 2019) be releasing an updated version of their first album, Cold War Night Life.

Above presentation © August 2019 Chris Sorrenti (Ottawa, Canada)
With appreciation and thanks to Rational Youth for the inspiration

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Outside Influences - Dawn Davidson - The Cat Man of South Keys
05/01/2019 12:23 p.m.

The Cat Man of South Keys

what's this hanging from his morning star
could it be,
the cat man of south keys,
shaking up the day...
gettin ready to make his hay;

lying with his children
the wild creatures in his soul,
paws and pillows, playing in the billows
of the shadows of his soul

rocking his hair babies in his daddy
centred on the moon
he's lovin them like he should

he sees the magic in their form,
their cute and tender
graces from this he fashions love, ,
that feeds them for their beauty...
the place that they adore

doing the watusi,
...in the evening's dawn
ya man, bringin' in the rock and roll jim jam
flowin from his soul...the cat man of south keys....
he got the feline crawl

he is their mountain, their chair inside a bear
they wait at night, to hear,
his door open to their world,
for them, to come and howl,
he lets them, feel their growl
with the cat man of south keys....
it ain't about control

do you know him , or do you not,
ya can hear him in his summers moods,
with his kitties and his
hats, they are sitting in the sun
living for the bliss,
of knowing that this is it
the cat man of south keys,
and his bodhisattva’s
children of the sun

as he strums his guitar,
oh ya, he can play it ,
play it hard....to cat kids,
the cats that live
with the cat man of south keys

listening to his motor...
his hum is like a purr
and the pearls with his wisdom
is loving beings with fur

they crawl like babies on him,
wrap their paws around his neck,
he grabs them like a sky would,
and holds them to his breast...
it's what they love the best

and they lie between his hands
their paws they know his touch
they love his quiet nature,
they hear themselves at rest

life could not be better
for the cat man of south keys,
when he's crewin with his friends

oh ya, the cat man of south keys,
he got man, the cat caress,
the love within his seasons,
are sitting on the fence
and when they cry for lovin
dat, what he does the best

the cat man of south keys,
meet him if you can,
you will find him dining,
with his hairy friends

and why not, the cat man of south keys,
he treatin' them like sons

mirrors in your countries,
don't discount the facts,
that the cat man of south keys,
is always playing parts...

the cats they see his motives,
the ones that daddy knows
and stick their little paws,
gently on his nose..

staying in his castle
the one he made for them...
with the cat man of south keys...
purring is the entry....
and they know his language well

the cat man of south keys...
he got a way of movin'
that cats and trees, enjoy...
cause in the nature of his spirit,
he knows he's just like them

 photo Grey Boy RED5070 b CROP.jpg

© 2010 Dawn Davidson (Ottawa, Canada)
Photo of Grady © April 2019 Jason Sorrenti (Ottawa, Canada)
Grady, an abandoned neighbourhood Tabby, my son and I have been caring for and feeding of late, initially attracted to us via our Calico, Eartha

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Poetry Update – Photobucket and Teeth From The Tiger
10/18/2018 12:46 a.m.

Poetry Update – Photobucket and Teeth From The Tiger

I’ve given myself an early birthday present, and decided to bite the bullet as per Photobucket for their photo hosting services. They finally made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, and so I’ve signed on for a year’s subscription at just under Cdn$100/annually. Without getting too technical and long winded, this will enable me to once again marry photos and graphics to my poems at Pathetic.org. The service was originally offered for free, then without warning, Photobucket started charging a ridiculous amount of money, affordable mainly to companies that could easily write it off as a business expense, but left individual artists like myself in the lurch. I complained bitterly, as I’m sure others did too, and it wasn’t long before Photobucket came around and righted the wrong, so to speak. The exercise was actually good, as it showed me that my work could stand alone without being supported by visuals. None the less, some poems just look so much better when paired with photos…especially my own.

Meanwhile, work continues at a snail’s pace on my first ‘selected poems’ book, Teeth From The Tiger. Kind of a greatest hits of some of my best work, based on experience and the feedback of others. The poems (between 30-35) have been selected, and now the next step is to choose fonts and any accompanying graphics. Cousin/Photographer, Michael Cummings, has been kind enough to provide a great Tiger photo for the cover. The reason progress has been slow is that I still have a wealth of older material that has to be inputted and brought up to scratch. I now consider these to be good first drafts. The majority need work, some more than others. Couple this with my photo projects, I have to be careful dividing my time and energy, pacing myself without losing the passion for either or both. Apart from social media and a few friendships in the real world, the poetry and photography are what keep me sane in what seems an ever-crazier world.

 photo Tiger by Michael Cummings.jpg

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ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) Poem
09/21/2018 02:32 p.m.

Although I have never been officially diagnosed, since early childhood I have displayed and suffered from all the symptoms. It was only with the miracle of the Internet, that I was able to research and confirm my suspicions. 60 Minutes recently did a segment on ADHD, which doubly confirmed my situation.

Below is a poem I recently came across on Facebook, and was blown away at how well it described me. Although I’ve written my own ADHD piece (in Connecting The Dots), I really like how Take my hand takes a completely different route in describing the disorder.

Take my hand

Take my hand and come with me,
I want to teach you about ADHD.
I need you to know, I want to explain,
I have a very different brain.
Sights, sounds, and thoughts collide.
What to do first? I can't decide.
Please understand I'm not to blame,
I just can't process things the same.
Take my hand and walk with me,
Let me show you about ADHD.

I try to behave, I want to be good,
But I sometimes forget to do as I should.
Walk with me and wear my shoes,
You'll see its not the way I'd choose.
I do know what I'm supposed to do,
But my brain is slow getting the message through.
Take my hand and talk with me,
I want to tell you about ADHD.

I rarely think before I talk,
I often run when I should walk.
It's hard to get my school work done,
My thoughts are outside having fun.
I never know just where to start,
I think with my feelings and see with my heart.
Take my hand and stand by me,
I need you to know about ADHD.

It's hard to explain but I want you to know,
I can't help letting my feelings show.
Sometimes I'm angry, jealous, or sad.
I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and mad.
I can't concentrate and I lose all my stuff.
I try really hard but it's never enough.
Take my hand and learn with me,
We need to know more about ADHD.

I worry a lot about getting things wrong,
Everything I do takes twice as long.
Everyday is exhausting for me...
Looking through the fog of ADHD.

I'm often so misunderstood,
I would change in a heartbeat if I could.
Take my hand and listen to me,
I want to share a secret about ADHD.

I want you to know there is more to me.
I'm not defined by it, you see.
I'm sensitive, kind and lots of fun.
I'm blamed for things I haven't done.
I'm the loyalist friend you'll ever know,
I just need a chance to let it show.
Take my hand and look at me,
Just forget about the ADHD.

I have real feelings just like you.
The love in my heart is just as true.
I may have a brain that can never rest,
But please understand I'm trying my best.
I want you to know, I need you to see,
I'm more than the label, I am still me!!!!

Author Unknown

Copy and paste this as your status if you know someone with A.D.H.D. or know the struggle yourself. When people tell you it's an excuse just read them this!

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Outside Influences – The Go-Go’s – Our Lips Are Sealed
09/04/2018 09:22 p.m.

Due to recent family problems, and contemplating how to respond to them, the below song soon came to mind. From the Go-Go’s album, Beauty and the Beat, released in 1981, it’s an excellent example of simple poetry put to music. I have the LP version, and every song on it is great IMHO.

Our Lips Are Sealed

Can you hear them?
They talk about us
Telling lies
Well, that's no surprise

Can you see them?
See right through them
They have no shield
No secrets to reveal

It doesn't matter what they say
In the jealous games people play
Our lips are sealed

There's a weapon
That we must use
In our defense
Silence reveals

When you look at them
Look right through them
That's when they'll disappear
That's when we'll be feared

It doesn't matter what they say
In the jealous games people play
Our lips are sealed

Pay no mind to what they say
It doesn't matter anyway
Our lips are sealed

Hush, my darling
Don't you cry
Quiet, angel
Forget their lies

Can you hear them?
They talk about us
Telling lies

© 1981 The Go-Go’s

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02/07/2018 05:45 p.m.


At age 4 success is not peeing in your pants
At age 12 success is having friends
At age 16 success is having a driver’s licence
At age 20 success is having sex
At age 35 success is having money
At age 50 success is having money
At age 60 success is having sex
At age 70 success is having a driver’s licence
At age 75 success is having friends
At age 80 success is not peeing in your pants

- Author Unknown

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Outside Influences - Irving Layton - The Cold Green Element
10/23/2017 02:15 a.m.

The Cold Green Element

At the end of the garden walk
the wind and its satellite wait for me;
their meaning I will not know
        until I go there,
but the black-hatted undertaker

who, passing, saw my heart beating in the grass,
is also going there. Hi, I tell him,
a great squall in the Pacific blew a dead poet
        out of the water,
who now hangs at the city gates.

Crowds depart daily to see it, and return
with grimaces and incomprehension;
if its limbs twitched in the air
        they would sit at its feet
peeling their oranges.

And turning over I embrace like a lover
the trunk of a tree, one of those
for whom the lightning was too much
        and grew a brilliant
hunchback with a crown of leaves.

The ailments escaped from the labels
of medicine bottles and all fled to the wind;
I've seen myself lately in the eyes
        of old women,
spent streams mourning my manhood,

in whose old pupils the sun became
a bloodsmear on broad catalpa leaves
and hanging from ancient twigs,
        my murdered selves
sparked the air like muted collisions

of fruit. A black dog howls down my blood,
a black dog with yellow eyes;
he too by someone's inadvertence
        saw the bloodsmear
on the broad catalpa leaves.

But the furies clear a path for me to the worm
who sang for an hour in the throat of a robin,
and misled by the cries of young boys
        I am again
a breathless swimmer in that cold green element.

© 1982 and 2007 Estate of Irving Layton (RIP 1912-2006)
One of the founding fathers of modern Canadian poetry

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Outside Influences - Scott Lawrence - Tickle
09/23/2017 07:37 p.m.


Tickle the toes of your lover
Tickle her under the covers
Tickle her neck and her spine
Tickle her time after time
Without a second for her to recover

Tickle from her lips
Right through to her hips
But beware of her feet
As she kicks up a beat
Which is set by your tickling tips

Tickle her while she wiggles
Listen to her girlish giggles
Tickling this way
Makes wonderful play
And you love the way that she wriggles

Tickle her till she turns blue
She'll shiver and shimmy beneath you
Tickle her fancy
Make her turn antsy
But watch out!—cause she tickles too!

© 1998 Scott Lawrence

I don’t recall exactly where or when, but I came across this poem on the Internet, years ago. As it ‘tickled my fancy,’ I quickly downloaded it, but without noting the source; a practice I’ve since corrected. I’ve researched Scott Lawrence a couple of times, but came up with nothing, so it could have just been a one-off composed by a ‘closet/kitchen table’ poet. There is a man named Lawrence Scott, a Trinidadian award winning novelist, short story writer…and poet, but no mention of the above piece anywhere.

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Outside Influences - Stan Rice - Tragic Rabbit
07/27/2017 02:25 p.m.


Tragic rabbit, a painting.
The caked ears green like rolled corn.
The black forehead pointing at the stars.
A painting on my wall, alone

as rabbits are
and aren’t. Fat red cheek,
all Art, trembling nose,
a habit hard to break as not.

You too can be a tragic rabbit; green and red
your back, blue your manly little chest.
But if you’re ever goaded into being one
beware the True Flesh, it

will knock you off your tragic horse
and break your tragic colors like a ghost
breaks marble; your wounds will heal
so quickly water

will be jealous.
Rabbits on white paper painted
outgrow all charms against their breeding wild;
and their rolled corn ears become horns.

So watch out if the tragic life feels fine –
caught in that rabbit trap
all colors look like sunlight’s swords,
and scissors like The Living Lord.

Stan Rice RIP 1942-2002
(husband of Anne Rice)

from: Some Lamb and Queen of the Damned

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