Fair Trade Latte


For the summer I’m going back to the series of pieces mythologizing my growing up in Cape Breton. Check the Village Stories page http://wp.me/P1RtxU-1fT for links previous pieces in this series posted in July/August 2014, July/August 2015

Fair Trade Latte

life in our village wasn’t

one of need and want

our family was never one of wealth

we managed with moose in season

and fish while the stocks were flush

we traded the bones for cash

and my sisters earned a tidy sum

between their jobs at the fission plant

and shifts at the strip bars

I was never really hungry

or went without shoes

as some of the families did

it was sad to see them in the cathedral

in their dirty sock-less feet

looking longingly at those of us with shoe laces


when I finally left the village

to start my life here in the big city

to afford to go into a coffee shop

and have a fresh latte

felt like a sinful debauchery

guilt hounded the small pleasures

I was now able to experience as mere facts of life

a washer with spin drier

no need to whack my clothes on stones

no need to smear moose blood

in my hair to attract good fortune

lots of men who like to be undressed

I sent newspapers home

till I was told to stop

because it was unsettling to them

that such a decadent life was possible


not that I could blame them

I was often fearful and anxious

that this good fortune

would be snatched away from me

at any moment

that my supervisor would find fault

would seize my documents

and have me transported back to my village

many in the big city lived

in this paradox of enjoying

the luxury of fresh bread

while fearing they would be punished

for indulging in such things

I could see it in their eyes

when we dared let our eyes meet

here in this sprawling metropolis

there is no safe place to look

that doesn’t invite some interaction

in my village there was silence

there were places to rest one’s eyes

that weren’t selling or demanding allegiance


so please don’t look at me

don’t hold my gaze

let me enjoy my latte in peace

31blue01This is the last of this year’s batch of Village Stories. Never fear there are more for next summer but they may wander some from the main thrust of mythology. Latte is another meditation of what has been won & what has been lost. That anachronistic balance of trading bones and the fission plant delights me. I also find that image of longing for shoe laces to be very sweet, silly, sad and satisfying.31blue02When  first moved to Toronto I was excited by the new cultural possibilities around me. But I move there before there was even a Second Cup, not even a Tim Horton’s, Starbucks was unheard of. I can’t remember my first latte, though I did indulge in cappuccinos but lattes didn’t hit the scene for years. 31blue03I did learn how to use laundromats & to engage in the flow of queer life around me. I did feel a bit of a fraud as well but not in the Kafka sense my hero expresses – documents would never be seized. The ‘luxury’ I experienced then was one of sexual opportunity ‘fresh bread’ – in reality bread that wasn’t available to me on the east coast at all.31blue04This is how mythologizing works in the series – the latte is new sexual opportunity – one that then was fraught with shame in the eyes of others. It seemed there was no way to become sexually active without judgments from out side – that gaze of disgust. My hero also ruminates on how the amount of sell in the city he has moved to. There is no place to be that is free of commercial logos, Tim’s cups discarded on the hiking trail. Advertising was/is everywhere. So much to buy & no time or place to enjoy without being sold to buy more.soon02

cover170x170-1on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Deliciously iTunes

October  6 – Thursday Toronto, 8 pm, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St.



November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo



December – Thursday Dec 1st – Toronto, 8 pm, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St.divine



Early 2017:

my first local feature in over a year: location date TBA

it came in

April season 3 FINALS – Friday April 15th Buddies in Bad Times – early show – 7pm startgames


June 2-4: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 –



check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5KD1eDccdjdTdQ28kZRNg


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblrrenpot03


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.