August ’83

Coming of age in a foreign land

No history precedes you

No reputation to uphold

The test of how high to fly

or how far to fall

A meat puppet on display

Your curious new plaything

Passed around your circle

for the amusement of all

The shame dies with the shadows

that disappear in December rains


Dundas East, New Years Day 83

Cold, bitter, arctic mass

A low winter sun blazed brilliant

Searing hole of fire

in broad azure tapestry

All sounds traveled sharp

amid the steam of our breath

from the icy walk beneath your boots

I wondered did you hear it

through those purple ear muffs

I was afraid to ask you

I didn’t think you’d come

Je regrette, Mademoiselle Cameron

Once we’d arrived I didn’t know

Why you’d want to be with me

for I was no one

I had nothing

and you didn’t even know my name


Parliament Hotel, December ’82

Sherbourne Street beneath streetlights

Upward gaze through snowy veil

as Christmas eve fell white

Wonder for a day, then rain

and the grey beneath washed clean

A foreign body amid faces unknown

Present yet unaccounted

Dispossessed and liberated

Arrived with other vagabonds

and continental rejects expelled

Reflux of a cold war, forgotten like me

Shabby hallways, dimly lit

where hardwood floors groan under burden

of near a century’s bootprints

My own strange soil deposited

left in cracks that go unseen

We shared roll your own Drum in silence

two liters of vodka for a Christmas feast

Discovering our common ground

Western man’s universal disdain

Toronto 83

Wind swept blue waters

A March wind, biting wet

CN Tower distant

and a lakeshore always in reach

Take the Queen St. trolley to western edges

where Etobicoke youth waver

escaping their suburban cocoon

Don Mills freaks and Yonge St. denizens

all these pilgrims shelter at 999

Summer, short and glorious

Her Autumn streets adorned

and Winters white and cold