13 – mother’s song: self defense instructor

first you try to run away—then you try to talk—then, if you are attacked, move like this, roll aside from their motion and thrust like this, push them into the power of their blow and run away—if they follow and catch you, then continue to defend yourself and run away again—do everything you can to just get away—if they continue to attack and you must defend yourself then you must choose which level of force you are capable of, and whether you are prepared to live with the consequences—to defend yourself against greater power you must have a weapon—if your life is threatened it is your right to defend yourself—if you must defend yourself then use your weapon to kill—a hurt enemy will only try to hurt you again—if you have to put them down, put them down for good—you have a right to defend yourself—you cannot be convicted if you were defending yourself—do not commit an act of aggression—remember to talk first before you defend yourself—remember to defend yourself with all possible force—defined as what is necessary to remove the threat—remember to assess the situation first, then act resolutely—try to talk first

14 – chorus: city of crazy people

First, there was Alex
who had long scraggly grey beard
loaded, liberally encrusted with snot
which was readily added to, without
warning both nostrils blasting, full
tilt, the look in his eyes
the definition of insouciance.
Alex would sell postcards
thrust out by grey knit gloved finger, grabs
of scenes of the Island ferries and Princes’ Gate
possibly Summerside Gardens,
while steadily blowing his nose
like a whale surfacing, spouting
picturesque views laced with eruptions of mucus.

Now, there’s Santahohoho.com—
he’s written it across his 6-pack belly
with felt pen and is under a restraining order
not to go near the CITY TV building and its irresistible live cameras.
He does 2,500 pushups a day.
He corners a young woman at a bus stop,
has her feel his biceps, she’s smiling, doing it to be polite,
leave me alone is what the smile is saying.
Sanatahohoho.com asks for some money
deranged escaped Chippendale dancer
pants, red suspenders, red shoes, no shirt,
Christmas elf hat fire engine red.

Hands down favourite—the Swedish Social Democrat:
a statuesque woman wearing a Wagnerian Valkyrie wig
including Brunnhilde braid buns like Princess Leia/ Rapunzel/ Lady Godiva.
She would stand, majestic, on the River Street bridge, over the Don Valley Parkway
in a blue satin evening gown and a golden blue sash that read
“Swedish Social Democrat”—you had no idea whether she was ranting or
asking for money or being filmed—’cause you were racing beneath her in a car
going somewhere and this blue Swedish phantasm saluted you
like a perfect dictator, queen of england, pope-ess of socialism,
her citizen’s pulpit a bridge that stood astride the world.

And there’s Clark—he’s out in the west end
running for Mayor—you can tell ’cause he paints in whitewash
or charcoal, or chalk, big lettered signs at prominent intersections which read
“Clark for Mayor”—when you see him he wears colorful rags and sings and
dances, rattles a tin can at pedestrians who manage to walk by his
gyrations, pleading, biblical curses, beguilings, flummoxes,
testimonies, apostasies and apostolizations—the endless tirade lost
upon us—we who live in the city of madman, saints, fools, sinners,
and those who sell postcards while blowing their nose.