The Good Old Days

For the summer I’m going back to the series of pieces mythologizing growing up in Cape Breton. Check the Village Stories page here for previous pieces in this series posted.

The Good Old Days

when I was a boy things were different

we’ve come a long way from those days

when there wasn’t anything to do

till the sun had come up

as there was no light allowed at night

stumbling in the dark

from one strip joint to the other

to listen to dancers in the dark

fleshly moist parts

pressed against your shoulder

the only part of the body

they were allowed contact with in the dark

now that we have light at night

it’s like going to the dentist

antiseptic and numbing

ah yes we all remember

those days when the only music

came from the slap of thighs

when the village women did the wash

as they whacked the dirt out of clothes


we didn’t have the worries we do today

then we worried about

how many smelt or moose

would the men catch

would there be enough

so that even a lad of ten

would have a fiver

to take to unlit strip bars

so the men could afford a soothing drink

to make up for the time it took

to wash the blood out of their hair

while the village women

whacked their clothes on moist rocks

to get the stain of smelt or the stink of moose

out of those rubbed-soft loose-fitting pants

that held the private parts

of the men they loved

those were the days when people loved


we had such pie in those days

small pans

so carefully tended in wood stoves

wood that we children had to find

we had to scour empty condo complexes

break off chair legs or hat racks

so we could be a part of things

so we could prove

we were good for more

than homework and giggling

because we loved to giggle

especially at the women

who spent so much time getting ready

for their shifts at the unlit strip bars

putting on sparkling fish scales

that no one would ever see

and the men hot and hollowed

would stagger home to fall asleep

on piles of wet laundry

licking their lips

waiting for the sun to rise


those were the days

when things were different

unlike now

when different

is just another brand name


circles on a faux rectangle

Looking back at these pieces, some I don’t remember at all, or if I do, I have no idea when in the series they were written. Over the years & I have selected some for readings, changed the order of them for flow, put some aside for future editing (which I never did get around to until now, I guess.)


you talking to me

This could have been one of the first or one of the last, as it sets out many of the elements that reappear in the mythos as I was creating it. Or rather as it was creating itself around me. There may yet be a piece that explains the sacred nature of the strip clubs – the sense of belief one had to have to sit in the dark & trust that the undressing was happening. If I haven’t found that one by the end of the series (there’s enough for summer 16) I’ll have some more to add.


baby’s in the bathwater

Its clearly a play on the good old days when things were so much better but it becomes obvious that things weren’t so much better: wood fires, washing clothes by beating them on rocks. But through the series there’s a sense that things haven’t really progressed – they have a ‘fission’ plant yet still no lights at night; they listen to the radio by lamp light or in the dark – it’s almost as if light at night is a sacrilege. Anachronism is delightful to play with in this setting.


September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo


( I’ve registered already 🙂 )

October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Inner Child Sacrifice


November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo


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