Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Reading at a bookfair in Halifax

I'm in Halifax, reading from The Big Why for only
the second time. The first effort was at the Red Barn
near Lake Simcoe, the oldest barn in Ontario -- so
old it is made of aluminum.
I walk down to the harbour, the tall ships are in.
There is something mournful when city planners get
their hands on harbourfronts. They turn them into
fairgrounds, which all look bad in the noonday sun.
The rose bushes still have bunches of pungent petals
(in Toronto theyve all gone to rosehips). Graffiti:
Shut up and work
Shut up and buy
Shut up and die
That cheers me up. Something lonely creeps into my
bones. Perhaps this is common when youre alone in
a hotel, eating alone in restaurants, watching Friday
Night Fights on the cable channel in your hotel room.
I do love the number of clean mirrors a hotel room
has. The size of them.
I decide to get a haircut. I remember my mother, who
once told me I look gormless when my hair is long.
You dont need to be told that too many times.
But the two barbershops I pass have closed down.
There are gates across the windows, theyve been
shut down for some time.
A woman at the desk tells me of two places, in
a mall across the road. Were you planning on getting
your hair cut today?
Or tomorrow.
You better do it today, she says. Everything shuts
down tomorrow.
Nova Scotia is the only province left to ban
Sunday shopping.
So I walk into the mall. Of course, it's bustling.
I walk up to a lottery-information booth. A woman
is busy at a pile of scratch-n-win tickets. I ask
the clerk where I can get my hair cut.
There are two places, she says. And points in
their two directions.
Which one is better, I say.
Oh I couldnt tell you.
I ask the woman scratching the tickets.
Oh theyre all the same, arent they.
Across the way, in the food court, a gay man
in a sleeveless white shirt points in one
direction and I can read his mouth: The Golden
Clipper.
But the Golden Clipper is all booked, deep into
next week.
So I'm left with the place no one in their
right mind gets their hair cut.
I'll take him, a woman says. Her hair is
streaked with peroxide. I immediately like
her. She's a talker. She talks all the way
through fifteen dollars of haircutting.
We end by agreeing that writing poems is
much the same as cutting hair. I've made
her promise she'll keep a journal. She is
going to keep a running commentary on the
ocean.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

I came across this blog as I was searching for your e-mail address (unsuccessfully). But then I realise this is a very fresh posting, so probably (and hopefully) my message will get to you somehow.

Remember me? I am Dina -- an acquaintance from the period you travelled to Bulgaria and Turkey (I still have a picture of you somewhere with my friends in Sofia and my dog, I think). It is a pity we have not been in touch for all these years, as I now live in England (in Leicester, about an hour drive from Luton).

Anyhow, I am visiting St. John's these days (for a first time since 1991) and am staying at the house of my friend Vessela's in St. Phillips. Any chance of seeing you in these parts? I hear from people that you are here sometimes but most time somewhere else. Would be great to hear from you. The phone here is 895-7000.

If you are not coming round to NF, please drop me a line when you gave the time. I am still in England but am soon to move to Scotland (University of St. Andrews) where I will be Professor in Film studies and starting my own department. My e-mail is di1@st-andrews.ac.uk

Hope to hear from you. Dina

10:36 AM  
Blogger Mitch said...

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8:41 PM  

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