I wandered the mall

without parental guidance

to get something festive for my mother

she liked anything we ever gave her

things that remained in their gift boxes

tucked in a safe place for a special day

I was tempted to take one of those old gifts

rewrap it to see if she would remember it

I was too young understand treasured memories


did she need atomizers bath oils perfume

I touched sweaters blouses earrings

clerks would glance at me glance away

I was stumped

I knew all about my mother

she liked to drink tea smoke watch TV

make clothes for my sisters

that was an idea  – bags of yarn

no that would turn into gifts for my sisters not her

she rarely wore the jewellery she had

would read reread the same mystery books

maybe something for the kitchen

something to remind her of her childhood

I wanted one thing that would be hers

she didn’t need another tea mug tea pot

more imported teas

to store behind the one she really likes


I floated from one store the next

noticed some woman tagging along

not looking at me when I look at her

as I head for the exit she stops me

you find what your looking for?

I shake my head no

I’m not so sure about that – come with me

kids think you can get away with anything

we go to the security office

empty your pockets


she searches my coat pats the lining

tells me what’ll happen for shop lifting

go to jail – parents will be ashamed 

we kids are all the same

look so innocent and can’t be trusted

she finds my wallet my money

my dad’s list of  things for my mother

looks like I was wrong honey

she pats my shoulder

now you run along home


I went outside

mom’s little boy no more

how did I wrap that


the knot of memory

Wrap is a sweet memory poem with some real memories and events mixed together. The shopping for Christmas gifts was always challenge for my Mother. One year I had found a great collection of teas – a dozen little sample boxes of tea in bags from around the world that I did find a few year later never opened.

In fact when she passed away my sister discovered gift boxed handkerchiefs, gloves that we’d given her in past years still in those boxes. The perfume started to vary over the years once we progressed Evening in Paris (http://wp.me/p1RtxU-VE). But there were bath salts and such she had never opened, stashed in a closet.

grnal02 childhood roots

I don’t think my Dad ever gave me a list though, I was clever enough to find interesting enough things. She liked mystery novels which were easy enough to find but I realize now she preferred cozies as opposed to police procedurals. Music was fun to find for her as well.

Wandering department stores was something I did from time to time at different ages & stages on the east coast and more than once was followed – once I about 12 was stopped too but only talked to briefly at the door as my panic was so clear the floorwalker knew I had merely looked.

1964 Xmas_01 a real christmas pic from 1964 – what my mother got

The other time I was in later teen’s and knew I was being tailed, as it were, and so faked lifting something and when they checked me out in a little private office and found nothing in my backpack they let me go after a stern warning about consequences.

My loss of innocence was quite different than the one here – it came when I realized I was queer and had no way of wrapping that as a gift so kept it on a shelf in my own little safe place and didn’t share it with family until I had moved to Toronto. But that’s another story.


January 3 – attending – HOT DAMN! It’s a Queer Slam featuring Johnny Trinh

Hot Damn


January 18 – hosting – Out of the Fire – a fundraiser for Kyle Andrews






Christmas constrictor

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr



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