I TURN ONLY TO SEE THEM VANISHING
AT THE DAMP EDGE OF THE ROAD
My first real job circa 1979 Probation+Parole Regent Park
21 yrs. old Befriended Premier Of Ontario’s daughter Nancy
Said she’d never met a Jew before me I thought this novel My
father was incensed: What kind of racist bullshit is this?
Nancy on her 1st visit to a Jew’s home regaled me with stories
of: sailing regattas her boyfriend Potter +his buds hanging at the
Granite Club where Jews were banned I wasn’t invited to the
wedding she’d called a merger Yet I still thought Nancy swell
+pretended not to focus on her moustache
Our boss Mary Gunn a 70 something Scottish matron commented
frequently on my suntanned legs ( I belonged to a golf+tennis club
for Jews) My father intuitively with a growl: She’s a lesbian Aprill!
When Mary asked me to take her to Eaton’s for bras +slid her hand
along said suntanned leg I marvelled at my father’s facility for laying bare
one’s secret proclivities
He would have made a most excellent spy +infact through tips from
turncoat brother/weasels found me at 14 in an opium den Bestfriend
Joni’s father a one handed butcher in constant phantom pain fell victim
to the poppy She quit school in grade 10 +married the trumpet player from
Lighthouse My father banned her from our house While older brother said
she stank but followed her movements closely
The only other woman in the house was my gorgeous mother who at 93 continues
to wax enigmatic: There is nothing like the excitement of dating mobsters! My father
had married a moll +hid her away in a dull suburban backwater It did not matter
Her best friend: a Chanel wearing tangerine Cutless driving race track lady She
had a gravely laugh +lit her cigarette like a trucker I tell you those 2 dames
they walked on water
I am growing old.
A bird cries in bare elder trees.
Whatever it was I lost, whatever I wept for
It is here.
(James Wright Pulitzer Prize 1972)