Parkdale in the winter

Along Queen street I sold my last pair of shoes; I gave up the shoe business and got ready for Tahiti, Miss Tahini and for trouble. I was on the bubble, loving mud, you could call it grovelling in a hovel and bothering nobody. Even today I can’t make me a saint, I still pine for a bucket of the drinking paint; I’m alcoholic with a brush, a bit of a lush, a sad victim of the tragic gush. Swat me with a firetruck, flash me a neon hockey puck, I’m tired, tattered and rather out of luck.

Deal the cards and loan me teeth from a shark; they don’t let the little kids out in the dark - there’s a race-riot in the park, ghosts and bones of the Cutty Sark. And everybody I know is drunk on fark. People at the peepholes, the papals using Paypal, and staples make things stay, pal, the brake men and broken man, token grin amid the groaning land.

You were sad, I was surly, you saw me underwater in the bucket of hog feed, waterlogged and rushing downstream; I was fire and ice, inside a moonbeam, but it was just a dream.

A telephone call sent me reeling, it busted my snout with copious bleeding, I was greedy and wanting; the bunting all along the parade, I tore it down, I wrote down three names, all angels, prayed for intercession; they called me at half past eleven. The angels swore at me and tied me up; I threatened death to them - you know, hit-and-run via pickup truck. I was swollen at the lip, a hairless pip in a greater morass of slime and guts, the mudhauling mucus van, I was from Hindustan and Pakistan; I was Proto-Indo-European Man.

I read the books they left for me, trinkets to distract, imaginary wanderings of ineffable guff, nothingness filtered for puff and fluff. I was in the Gulag of Garash, sifting through the trash, finding occasional Rembrandts I hauled out my ass; it was first-class suffering through cartoons baboons and succotash. It was the monster inside and I was chopping the mash, a dragon’s breath that charred my hash. Tigers three came from mountain-edge, fossilized creatures I found in dirt, evoking terror, images of the most extraordinary killers, mammals so overgrown, large, swift of foot and sharp of claw, and me - the humble trainer of the fuschia silk macaw. Then came the lengthy rhetorical pause.

I heard “Heaven is an orgy of slime, wiped clean by grace; we are already in heaven, just in the wrong state." And I added, so keen, "Yes yes - and heaven smells like gasoline, bubblegum and coconut cream…”

There is no one else I can count on: there's the broken face of a liar I used to be, there is the mocha man who laughs loyally with me, there are a half dozen sirens clinging on to me, there is the subtle crushing promise of destiny. Drain the barn and you are left with walls, call your enemies friends and get hypocrite applause; there's nothing I can give to the owner of this land, (he’s richer by far and established as a man). You can think about the things that twinkle in spite of the maggots eating flesh and light; the half-reasons that let you sleep at night, when waltzes are wasted on the overfed, the beds are teeming with newlyweds, threading lies, dreading addictions to a daily disguise. And the rest, as they say, is memory, poetry and calamity; there is rhetoric rhythm and the pulsating unconscious, a paradox, a pair of shoes, a pair of black men drizzling blues. I am jazz in black and white, lyrics colliding, an ocean of notions and a sea of stories, I am the high peninsula north-northwest of Tobermory. You're alone your whole life in a civilization left to librarians alphabetizing beauty and storming mundanity, but the soul still sees, sucks itself onto screen; you are mean to me, so much you mean to me, why don’t you scream 'please'? I can't contain the things in my brain, the mammoth man in the veins or the power of grace over stain. The lame will walk, stones will shout, the mountain looming becomes transparent and inside a valley is a slipstream curving at angles where water flows along the edge of the grass, ripples wetting toes and sails set serenely at sunset, half mast perfumed and safe.

A glow from the West as the sun glows plains and the gloom subsides and the devil goes down the drain. The moon is a brick of cheese that makes no sense, and the horse in the field gallops at 40 miles per hour, raising the delicious dust that smells like corn and the gritty gleam in your teeth is happiness porn.

What can be said, this, I can’t admit: I have gazed at a woman’s tits; I have the biggest lips to kiss, your hips are swift and soft, your inner knee itself is art, I would tie you to a table and hold you aloft. I make you an example, a sample treasure beyond mere pleasure, more dynamic and alive than the womb bursting forth. Something so alive at the moment of birth is more alive than anything else on earth.... How can you cut it out?

Hope is a keyboard. Hope is a harpsichord. Hope is a piano.

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