Heretical Front Yards

Halloween decorations around my neighbourhood is east end Toronto – some just for fun, some serious statements.

Did someone order a tall one?
The possessed garden hose
some body you know?
gateway to Hell
Muffit frightener
that darn cat
another body
boo
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Halloween 2022

Halloween 2022

pull up a chair

Walking the side streets in east end Toronto I see that Halloween decor is getting as popular as Christmas decorating. Houses with strings or orange lights, some with illuminated spiders, ghosts or skulls , plus the growing variations of inflatables. Giant grinning cats with heads that rotate back-and-forth. Shelves of candy – now mostly little chocolate bars – at Shoppers, WalMart & supermarkets. 

As a youngster in Sydney, Cape Breton the only decoration one might see was carved pumpkins with candles inside. We used pillowcases to go door-to-door for trick-or-treating. The candy was usually those toffy/taffy kisses, apples or oranges, & if you were lucky small bags of chips. Sometimes a small bag of unshelled peanuts. Those little chocolate bars hadn’t been invented then lol. Now one has to provide bars that have no nuts! I guess soon we’ll have to find some sort of sugar-free chocolate bar too, or ones with no trans fats. Sorry, but I’ll leave the sorting of treats to parents.

Store bought costumes – cowboys, pirates etc. Or something homemade – old sheets reprised as ghosts, your Dad’s oversized sports coat sort of things. Rarely a superhero & nothing that lit up with led’s. Costumes to school if Halloween fell on a school night. It was an innocent time. At that age I had no awareness of the pagan roots of event. I later discovered it was one of the few ‘old religion’ holidays that the Church couldn’t erase turn into their own – they did try with All Saints Day but well, we don’t see illuminated Saints on peoples front lawns. A giant inflatable St. Teresa hovering in the air would be fun though.

In the past decade, here in Toronto, the decorating for the event has gotten bigger & more macabre – severed hands, feet, heads suspended from trees, skeletons hanging on front porches, zombi arms digging themselves out of the ground. Bats, spiders, plastic skeletons of dogs, owls, dinosaurs even spiders (which have no skeletons). It is easy to guess which house has children by the number of doll limbs dangling in the trees.

Halloween 2021:

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Just A Sip

Just A Sip

how kind

a cup of blood for me

fresh 

warm to the touch

I can’t thank you enough

has it been checked

I mean I don’t want to sound

ungrateful

but even the starving

have to show some caution

these days

<>

I once

broke out in hives

from contaminated blood

things like that happen

when you are starving

you lose all sense of caution

of self-preservation

in my younger days

I could smell the blood

& tell how pure it was

<>

now all it smells of is

drink me

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Remains

Remains

months later

the body hasn’t been found

snow 

flies 

dances around a backyard

ground frozen hard

shock dissipated somewhat

we know all the details

we’ve been allowed to know

how they met, why,

the history of both men

the deceased and the accused

made manifest

all that’s missing is the corpse

<>

bleached bare bones 

found years from now

when everything is forgotten

his name

the innocent till proven guilty

my name

I’m not naming names

don’t want anyone remembered

for how they died

his life is more than that

<>

his life has to be more

than a cold case years from now

more than a denial from the accused

more than just another queer

who go what he deserved

<>

years later

and the body hasn’t been found

the estate can’t be settled

some people still can’t sleep

don’t feel completion

whatever the fuck that is

I don’t want completion

revenge or justice

I want this 

to never have happened

<>

I want to forget

where the remains

can be found

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Sign of the Beast

Sign of the Beast

I wondered

is it a neon sign

something hand-painted

sprayed on a subway car

does it swing on a board 

over the door of a pub

or at a street corner

like a stop sign

<>

will I see it

at the bottom of a contract

does it come between

aries & scorpio

a wave of the hand

to say

here I am

I’ve saved a seat for you

is it an early warning for cancer 

<>

I don’t think I’ve seen it yet

they say you’ll know it

when you see it

there’ll be no question in your mind

you can’t ignore it

when you see it

it’s too late

to do anything about it

<>

no matter what you do

to avoid it

you will see it

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I Don’t Know Him

I Don’t Know Him

he was sure

we had met before

he knew my name

where I lived

what I had for breakfast

<>

I was sure he was mistaken

the name he called me

wasn’t mine

I never lived at that address

I skipped breakfast

<>

he was puzzled

he wants to know

why I pretend not to know him

he wants proof

of not being who

he is sure I am

<>

I walk away

I’m not showing some stranger

anything

that would identify me

he’s not getting a glimpse

of my credit cards

my health card

I’m not even going to tell him

where I live

where I’m going

<>

now he wants to know

what I’m hiding

what am I afraid of

he said I was never this paranoid

that I need help

people are gawking at us

<>

I control my anger

I don’t want his blood on my hands

but I want him

to shut the fuck up

to get out of my space

leave me alone

<>

I don’t know him

I don’t want to know him

I want to call the police

but what will I tell them

how long will I have to wait

<>

I stop answering his questions

I walk as fast as I can

dash across a street 

just as the lights change

he’s right behind me

<>

car wheels screech 

thud

thunk

I keep going

he’s not behind me

I won’t turn back

I don’t know him

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