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Diary of an Itinerant Writer
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
rideau street

rideau street


the world in four blocks

sussex to king edward

leaders and embassies

whores and the homeless

its only four blocks

walked in ten minutes

the only four blocks you need to see


the sidewalks are filled

people rushing for busses

arms filled with bags from the bay

cell phone to their ear

cursing the slow moving


teenagers huddle in the cold

waiting for a fix

the boys acting tough

do rags hung low over their eyes

ball caps askew

bantam roosters staking out territory


dealers whisper code words

you looking

neither side of the street is safe from them

scavengers feeding on misery

their gauntlet to run


the fur coats hurry past

the urine soaked walls

pretending the drunks don’t exist

eyes fixed resolutely on sanctuary

the mall or the bay

while the drunks pretend indifference

to the meagre collection of coins

in their stained and chewed tim horton cups


the panhandlers sit across from the scotia bank

accost you as you leave the atm

but atm’s don’t give change

and neither do you

so you mumble a sorry


the bars in the market

beckons those with coin

where you can sip your single malt

and safely study

the kids who ran away

the streets safer

than a string of foster homes

they’re huddled in doorways

out of the rain

with safety in numbers

that’s where they’ll sleep tonight


rideau street is home to natives

and inuit

by noon they’re too drunk to walk

or buy booze

so if you have no change

you can go to the beer store for them


i know many of them

they call me brother

not many whites take time to care

just another drunk indian

who can’t handle booze


you can’t avoid rideau street

it has bus stops and banks

fancy stores and pawn shops

its where you go for alcohol or weed

street drugs if you wish

a hooker if you're so inclined


dealers police these blocks

particularly one block

the cops are there too

playing their power games

until a dealer goes down

or a hooker gets busted

there’s always others to replace them though


walk toward king edward

with the constant smell of urine and weed

panning drunks and crack addicts

the rest of society rushing past

pursuing their dreams of materialism

its only four blocks


then you emerge

the gauntlet run for one more day


© Michael MacKinnon, 01/12/2007

Posted by irishcrows at 1:46 PM EDT

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