Posted in Passages

Do I Know You?

We arrived as the 1960’s became the 70’s
It was so different – the nation’s largest city
another country after our provincial hometown
where everybody knew our father’s sisters
and our mother’s brothers
who and when.
My parents brave and nervous,
bold breaking away
but timid
of busy roads
unknown directions
and urban motives.
Just out of single figures
two schoolgirls offer chocolate at the bus stop
my mother says I was wise, it probably contained drugs.
Parental caution is infectious I feel like an alien.

High school and university
adolescence and early young adult hood,
parties and concerts and some drug dabbling
I know the roads and shortcuts, the places to go
speak the patois
inhabit the same urban superiority
look at the rest of the country as does London or New York.

28 years away
my sister seriously ill, I returned for five weeks
the traffic is insane
the roads all appear shifted
people are busy and impatient
I feel unbelonging … alien.



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.