Hometown Pt.4

Pt.4….West Lake Retirement

It was my weekly visit to the small retirement home on West Lake.
Forgotten people that had lived and worked in the general area.
More often than not
you had to wear a surgical mask
you had to be prepared that someone you visited last week would
not be here this week.
My grandfather could easily be that person.

‘Car still running well?’
First question every time.

‘How’s your grandmother?’
Second question every time.

He knew I had the car
but had forgotten that my grandmother
his wife
was long gone…. perhaps a memory
too hard to hold onto.

I needed these visits.
My grandfather grounded me.
A previous generation within another generation
battling the same fight that each of us face…

The battle of existence with meaning.

‘Don’t be so melodramatic boy!
Just get out there and get moving.’

How?

‘With the Caddy of course!
You got the schoolin’ now go drive around and
drop off resumes!’

Easier said than done

‘Bah! You stay in the boat and paddle the waters
someone will notice…. you step back on land
and time just passes you by!’

*

I slammed the heavy door on the caddy
sitting behind the large wheel.
This car could battle through any kind of weather
and with my grandfather’s help
so
could I.


Hometown Pt.3

Pt.3…Prince Edward County

I
love driving through ANY part of
Prince Edward County.

It’s not just the wineries.
When I was kid coming over
they weren’t here yet.

It’s not just the Sandbanks.
I loved bombing over with
friends during college
but more often than not at that age
you could find me more north in the Land O’ Lakes region.

It was the change in the air itself.
a lighter feeling
and a drop in weather pressure which
always cleaned out the sinuses.

PEC County was an island unto itself.

You could drive in an eastern direction and follow
the water towards Kingston.
You would eventually meet up with the ferry
now
made famous by a Gord Downie song
and take a free 15 min ride across
before continuing on along the water system
and eventually find yourself travelling
the St. Lawrence system.

I love to drive.

PEC Island intrigued me because it was a
tourist location.
Visitors saw what they wanted in the Summer.
They enjoyed the Fall weather

But

What about Winter survival?
What about Spring Cleaning preparing
for another onslaught of travellers?

It was the down time that impressed me.
Surviving the winter weather along the
same waters while
trying to keep basements dry during
April showers.

Hell

just trying to make a regular income
by doing a regular drive to places of employment not
found on this island refuge.

It helped me in appreciating my own drive
taking my time without a care in the world
knowing in a few hours I would be gone-
transported to a whole other section within this
area of Ontario.


Hometown Pt.2

Pt.2….The Bridge

My caddy turned right onto Dundas
and the water ran along my left.
I put the downtown behind me
and the memory of Reddick’s Bakery back in the vault.

Sailboats lined the shore
the bridge was pulling herself up
facing the sunshine and blue sky.
20 more minutes and I would be in the County.

I was feeling nostalgic today

The drive I was hoping
was going to help clear my head.

I’ve been trying to find myself
trying to find my place in the world
and I had nothing but time to think

‘how do you find yourself in this area?’
But
negative thoughts don’t help.

I turned left and the bridge began
to nose the front of the caddy.
A gas-guzzling gift given to me from
my grandfather.
I’m a 20 something man
driving a long yellow canary
rather than something modern.

My thoughts rose with the bridge
and over to the County.

It was now Spring moving into Summer
but passing over the bridge always brought back memories of
Hockey.

I loved winter in Belleville as a high-school’r
and I loved it as a Loyalist College kid.
Skating on the Bay
looking up at the brown brick radio station
and OHL players of the era
coming down to skate and join in
a scrimmage…

I hit the arc of the bridge
and the sun sparkled.

Trenton was just down water to the right
and Kingston was just up the
waters to the left.
But
I was heading straight – south.

South through Puslinch
South past Roblin Lake
South beyond Picton.

I was heading towards West Lake Retirement
I was going to visit my grandfather.


Hometown Pt.1

…Local Radio Appreciation

I was coming down Front Street
heading towards the water
passing buildings on either side
when it hit me

Buildings.

Not stores anymore
Not busy sidewalks or
Independent businesses.

And I felt a longing for stores
such as Greenley’s book store
or Geens pharmacy.

My car was moving forward.
An old Cadillac sucking gas
floating along – a boat on springs.

I had the local radio going this early morning.
Mitchell waking me since my childhood with
Tim breaking news at 9 am before
Brooker talked on Open Line tradition since Milt Johnson.

I thought about conversations while driving
people comparing downtown to
a war zone
and I thought

No

It’s not war-torn.
Historic Britain could tell you
stories about war-torn buildings
telling you about the days of the Blitz.

No
this was different.

This was unfortunate neglect and opportunities lost.
I remembered the Bohemian Penguin
a place where I met a girl.
We put quarters in the gaps between the brick
within the old bar
promising each other we would always have
25 cents hidden to call one another.

I think of those same gaps in the brick now….

So
What was happening?

If I listened to the Open line show
the general public had their own ideas of
who to point the finger towards
but general public usually only has general knowledge.

The caddy proceeded through
passing between the empty buildings –
lost independent stores and empty sidewalks….

I drove along thinking of time.
Sat at the stop lights and closed my eyes for a moment.
This is a beautiful town no matter her troubles.
It just needed the return to heritage pride
and a bakery open once more wafting over crowded sidewalks……


She’s All Pulp

She’s ALL pulp
by which i mean
gorgeous and
ballsy

a beautiful fighter
defiant

battling from the corner

tired
upset
worried

but

a face that will make you say
‘o wow’

she’s a woman

boxing gloves
and ALL…


One Night at the Art Gallery

it was around the kitchen table – standing at podium – story
rambling without the passing of a good bottle of red
no ‘dress rehearsal’ or choreographed montage

just stand and say what pops in your head
then worry days after
was the wagon wheel fully constructed?

it was a room filled with Juno stars
pictures – date stamping fame
as King street started to slow
while
the Sheraton threw on her night lights

the mind to self conscious saying -‘keep rambling’
retell old stories change just enough to reframe the ‘point’
the number 2 pencil scratching inside – scribbling new ideas

instinct
speaking up before the time clock saying – ‘move on to the
next part of dialogue’

endless dialogue
travelogue…..hoping to give without saying – ‘epilogue’

filed for later under – ‘Kitchen By The Sea’

for 2015 tax purposes….

 

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Once the storytelling is finished

i carved you from granite – including your sadness
the look of Marilyn before she was Monroe –
stolen beauty on uninvented glossy pages

but your permission i have

and the hair emerging from this stone bed shares the same beauty
as your rib cage under chisels’ finishing touch

permit me to love you
to grow a city around you as your body is displayed
the round wheel tablet – your throne

while you turn
the days will be numbered
you will be lifted and moved to the art gallery on King street

my Queen finding purchase at the top of the gallery
a granite biosphere under lights
while a crowd gathers on the bottom floors

while individuals wonder about their tickets
curious if their ‘pass’ grants them visitation to you


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