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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 2 page 1

verse

Who are these people

by Joshua William James

who are these people of Toronto's stores and streets?
who are these people I meet?
mysterious mental patients demanding cash and storytelling of Chicago the windy city that blew you onto Queen Street West
storytelling of Nova Scotia, accounting heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, marijuana, and assorted hospital-supported inhospitable pills
I can't look into your eyes sometimes
they're clouded from medication
we laugh together
or you
beautiful, semi-shy, gentle
blue eyes
I see you at the vegan restaurant where I eat freely
with no thoughts of hidden egg, milk, dairy ingredients
you smile, I smile
why don't I just ask you out?
I don't know
or I do know and won't say
I meet misled men
with empty eyes and dead wives
asking me to read from your pamphlet like teachers used to ask me to read in boring english rooms of high school doom
I failed english eventually
I only really have my grade ten
this is victory
you high school, college, university grads
I watch you walk
and you stride with blind tunnel visions
we meet, bouncing insecurity between eyes
what do we expect from each other?
I expect love in the eyes of strangers
I look and I find it sometimes
I find warm souls
I find the toll that cold parenting holds
I see it in eyes and posture of the defeated
if only we could break down and cry together
in this dirty Toronto street
in this store
on this floor
I'd love to
whenever you're ready
let's cry together
there's much to remember
and lots to forget
life can be golden again
I watch you
release yourself
cry with me
you're already free