The Whistling Man

Nobody knows what I did
just five minutes ago and now
I walk down the street
and nobody knows

ahead of me a well-dressed couple walk
he, talking too much, she
aloof and disinterested
I know how that ends

a homeless man sleeps in the doorway of a derelict building
I wonder if the homeless dream
maybe he is not asleep at all

cars pass by driving to and driving from
a policeman stops me
“Sir, you have some blood on your shirt…”
I reassure him, “a nosebleed, I am fine”
he smiles, I smile
and on and on I walk

I am invincible, almost invisible, just this morning I
was God, and, still I feel that fury move
up and move down me

while I wait for the elderly lady to give me my change
a cat snakes around and through my legs
“he likes you”
“he has very poor taste!”
she laughs, I laugh, we laugh
she has no idea

I keep walking, I do not think I will ever get tired
it is as if I am breathing in raw ozone
I think I can smell the electricity coming from within me
I hear someone whistling and it takes me a moment to realise
that it is me, and people smile

they are not afraid, not of the whistling man
they do not know
nobody knows
like Jesus, and Lucifer, I walk among them
nobody knows what I have done and
bluebirds turn and fly into the sun

Black and White

I wonder if some babies are easier to give away
my mother let me go, her only son
to be replaced, one year later
with a daughter, the first of three

my father built a wall of distance between us
escaping, finally, to Canada
I remained his only child

cities flowered and wilted
men laughed in smoky evenings and talked of politics
women pressed melons with their thumbs to test for ripeness
and suddenly
I was 42 years-old and sometimes, feeling it

I learned of his death, my father
found, eventually, alone
his days of playing tennis, heady sing-song nights
giving away sons, over

life leaned toward me then
his brother, he who held me in his hand once
when I was new, came to see me
bringing my father with him in monochrome
in two dimensions
a life in faded photographs

my father, a baby too once, before he was a boy
standing, in strange formality, at the beach
water behind him that had seen it all before

I watched him stretch to a height I never reached
tall and lean, eager to test himself against it all
I saw age find and change him and wondered if he railed against it
I saw him grow older than myself and saw serious, stoic eyes look at me
look right at me and though I tried to reach inside those photographs
there was nothing of him left

then, a small box was placed in my hand and I was told
that I should have it
as it was all that he had left of me, an engagement ring
meant for my mother
it occurred to me that I was touching something that once, his hands had touched
across oceans and time and life and death, this was the closest we could ever be
I opened the small box and was shocked by the vibrant yellow gold and thrumming diamond
I was sure that it would have been black and white


I walk along tree edged streets
swaying from each bough
a suicided dream
window light, without welcome
seeps into the night air

I walk away from the silence of my room
away from muddy
bloody memories
from cloudy, swirling thoughts
I walk

the rhythm of footsteps
coldly evocative
I miss it, horrifyingly
I miss
the belonging

here, I am aimless
there…my aim…
I push my fists deep into my pockets
though the blood
has long been washed away

thoughts pass me through
steam trains heavy with
greys and
blues and

at school, in French class I
was too embarrassed to elocute correctly
mimicking the flat, toneless drone of my classmates
was easier
was safer