two hockey players

Canadien and Maple Leaf

struggle arm in arm

 

cod and salmon runs

used to astound both coasts

now just a memory

 

 

Christine 'Chrissy' Archibald

1987-2017

 

you flew to London

to be arm in arm with love

did you even hear

 

 

Kristy Hodgson

1986 - 2017

 

killed while walking

the driver not even fined

they call this justice

 

 

the black moon swallows

the sun signalling

that the muse now rules

 

 

Saint Clair

 

The unusually

Long

Staircase and escalator

That you need to 

Get off the platform

Evoked the unusually

Long

Escalator needed to

Get off the platform

Of the Granville Street Skytrain station platform

In Vancouver

 

How appropriate that

The toney and tree lined streets of Forest Hill

Outside the station

Evoked the equally

Toney and tree lined streets of Vancouver

 

 

Toronto 'Island'

 

What a disappointment!

Cracked roads, beat up picnic tables, 

Overflowing garbage and recycling cans,

Strange people failing to be as weird as me

Sneeky skeeters

I just wanted to leap on

The first ferry off this dump

And get back to Toronto!

 

And then I reached

The far eastern side of

The sandbar

Walked along a fittingly sandy path

Through some trees

Whispering in the wind

And stepped out on to the soothing beach

And was awestruck by

The seemingly infinite

And mystic

Blue expanse

Of Lake Ontario

Before me

Reminding me why it was a Great Lake

That Toronto 'Island'

Had hidden

From the downtown core

 

And suddenly I understood

Why people ferry over to 

Toronto 'Island'

 

Point Roberts

 

there is no point to you

a Canadian tank

should have smashed through

your U.S. border post

and returned you to Canada

decades ago

 

 

a young woman

in ragged clothing

sat begging

unnoticed

in front of Union Station

on a beautiful summer's morn

throngs of people

of all ages, ethnicities, races, religions, sexes and sexual orientations

strode past her unconcernedly

as if she was already a clinging ghost

her head fell despondently

and she started to sob

tears rolling down

her white cheeks

 

never saw her again

 

 

Queen's Park

 

Another blah station

But how appropriate

That one of your exits

Leads to U of T

And its idealistic and

Crusading young students

On the left

And the provincial legislature

And its jaded and

Conservative old politicians

On the right

 

 

Seein' Tower

 

wherever you go

in Toronto you are

always creepily watching

 

 

Dundas

 

You lead to a 'square'

That is always crowded

But curiously empty

And devoid of imagination

And love - 

Very square, indeed

 

 

Saint Andrew

 

Your station is blah

But it leads to

Roy Thomson Hall,

The star filled walk 

Royal Alexandra theatre,

Princess of Wales theatre,

TIFF

 

Ironically proving that 

Outside the blah station, 

Allegorical art is indeed

 

King

 

 

Saint Patrick Station

 

There once was a station named Patrick

Whose patron saint banished all snakes priapic

But passengers left the station to view

AGO art that was often quite nude

Causing Patrick to have a fit positively tantric!

 

 

Museum

 

Your silent Egyptian, Mayan and Wuikinuxv

Sentinels

Forewarn of our own fleeting dynasties

Remind us that all we strive to do

Will also disappear

Like the departing train

 

 

Osgoode

 

How ironic that your dour name

Upholds the staid laws of the land

While you release

Confined passengers onto the 

The perennial carnival and colour of Queen

 

 

New Berczy

 

dogs urinate with

their mouths in rising levels

at a golden bone

 

 

Tet A Tete

 

How appropriate that

The Tet offensive

Surprised the U.S.

The year I was born

Given that the book and essays 

On this site

That erupted out of a

Fatal helicopter crash

On a simulated Vietnam War set

Have also taken the U.S. by surprise

 

Thus, when I meet that special lady

And we have that special son

His equally offensive name should be

Avro Ho Chi 'Avi' Wright

 

 

?Toronto streets are

always busy but always

getting nowhere?

 

 

LEONARD COHEN

 

you left like you lived

glaringly unobtrusive

casually momentous

devastatingly reassuring

mysteriously clear

spellbindingly liberating

 

 

REFRIED BEATS (?-2016)

 

the whole block was gone

erased

replaced by a gaping dirt hole

awaiting the insertion of

another glass and concrete

condophallimum tower

taking away packed bins

jammed with inspiring music

and truly moving pictures

taking away leopard skin arms

and a presumed love of classic coke

taking friendly warmth away

from a cold city

taking away

 

a part of us

 

 

BAY BLOOR BLUES

 

you lay on the corner of Bay and Bloor

raggedyman in a sleeping bag

left arm outstretched on the sidewalk

eyes closed

palm open

face an agonized mask

when the lonesome pain grows too great

you unleash a sudden sepulchral shout

of such despondent agony

that guilt stricken passersby

quickly open purses and pull out wallets

and carefully place money in your proferred palm

 

did you wind up on Bay and Bloor

distraught by the death of your wife and children in a car accident?

did hit the street after losing your job?

did you go mad?

or did you lay down on the sidewalk in your business suit one day when you were fed up with the rat race

and never get up?

 

 

ODE TO THE ALASKA TERRITORY

 

it is always odd to see you hanging there

all alone

at the top left hand corner

of maps of North America

 

For you were purchased by

the United States

from the Russian Empire

in September of 1867

some two months after

the creation of

the Dominion of Canada

implying that a Civil War weary U.S.

and President

wanted to stop

the westward expansion of Canada

in a continuation of war

by other financial and political means

buying the Alaska Territory from Russia, 

then the Northwest Territories

from the Hudson's Bay Company

and, finally, 

the colonies of 

British Columbia and Vancouver's Island

from the British Empire,

bottling up the young Dominion

in an easily managed and invaded

Eastern pocket,

a frantic American attempt

to encircle and halt

the Canadian dream

that failed abysmally

when Prime Minister John A. MacDonald, 

real life superhero, 

persuaded Donald Smith and the HBC

to sell the Northwest Territories

to Canada

in 1870

 

So why are you still pining there

all alone

in Uncle Sam's wistful rictus grip?

O Alaska Territory, 

why has Canada never forced Sam

to truly say, 'Uncle'!, 

and release that wistful grip 

by closing the borders with you?

After all, it would only take a month

of closed borders

and no trade

and no money 

for Uncle Sam to give up the wistful ghost

and the Alaska Territory

would rejoin the Canadian family

 

Why has Canada allowed the U.S.

to crucify you

on the bloody heights of Mt. McKinley

with no followers to lament your fate?

 

My God!  My God!  Why hast we forsaken thee?