Scarborough Dreaming.

I grew up in Scarborough where
the only place to find isolation and comfort
were cemeteries;

And dazzling lights in the night sky comes
from a club drenched in yellow smoke where
girls in sweatpants and tight tops danced while
advertising a room for 40 bucks a night —
the seediest club called, Rumours beside a flying car called Caddy’s.

Where we built fires in Bluffers Park,
while Miss Deti walked with her breasts bare,
where the icy slope that lead past the haunted Inn
gave way to the sandy beach where
an angry dog woke Mister Mulligan in the midst of sleep —
its barking sending us both in separate, terrified directions towards
Miss Gilmour, who once climbed out of a bathroom window
to escape the lunacy of her ex lover —
the story she told while she held my hand tight as she wrote
on a used napkin with red lipstick
–“I promise”

Once Miss Peel walked the whole way home from Scarborough Town Centre
one immensely, drunken night,
the same mall where three girls once sat calmly before going to a movie
before a disembodied voice from a megaphone:
–“I know what you’re smoking, girls”
That led to the scattering of blonde and black
except for Miss Peel—
–who did not move, but bravely stayed.

If you head north on Brimley Road toward Dorcot,
you’ll hit Thomson Park,
the most popular bar for the underage,
the only place where you can drink
and feed goats in July.
This is where Mister Baird stayed outside, standing guard
and at first sight, did not hesitate—
–instead, he peeked his head inside the handicapped washroom
to voice out a warning: “COPS”.

Now head south on Brimley Road,
and turn right into Lawrence Avenue East–
and enter David and Mary Thomson,
where Miss O’neill scribbled notes
while sitting in a class that tried
to address all of the world’s desperate issues
in under fifty minutes.

Where Miss Heravi grieved with two rabbits and Caesar
and named a wild goose lost in a parking lot
despite her broken heart–
where Mister Tingling was crowned God of Counter-strike
and then used these skills to build his own, personal Nirvana
and where Mister Ip seriously contemplated about
vomiting in an empty pitcher
one night at Boston Pizza.

I grew up in Scarborough where
Miss Wu held her first lover’s hand,
as she sat on a log, under the stars
while the fire kept us warm–

where I learned self-confidence
through colouring my nails,

Generosity through
the husband and wife who
gave us free subway sandwiches
every Friday—

Kindness through
the man waiting in his yard
with two pears
on our last day of school,
smiling as he offered it to us,
and watching patiently as we
guiltily climbed down his fence—
As he said, “you don’t have to steal them this time,
I give them to you.”

And self-awareness through
recognizing the laughter in her eyes when
she tried to hold on to me as I slid
across the icy field in running shoes
while the wind blew my hair–
contrasted against the polite smile she gave,
swinging in an abandoned playground,
when I asked if
things were going to stay the same.


Walk, Walk, Walk

“Man of Horror” by Ryan Bater

Hungry eyes.
They gather around like wolves after prey,
hunched backs, curled fingers,
eternal snarls, starved growls.

Slowly they circle,
foaming at the mouth,
eyes darting, irises focusing
on boiling liquids
surrounded by
flickering, blue flames.

Inside walls that stick to your skin,
they whisper dryly and look away
as God is passed down in arms
suffused with
droplets of blood.

Hazy days, sleepless nights
heads turned towards unexpected sunlight–
“What’s this?” he asks, dry lips parting,
a croak, half silence, half repetition–
“What’s this?” she asks, purple finger trembling,
pointing to what used to be
stories and poetry filled with
thought and meaning.