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 & Princes’ Gate
probably Summerside Gardens
while steadily blowing his nose
like a whale surfacing, spouting
picturesque views laced with eruptions of mucus.

Now, there’s—
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. 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 now 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.