Monday, October 04, 2004

The Ironed Man

Lower Town, Ottawa. If you look west down Guiges, you see the greenhouse roof of the National Gallery, to the left the twin spires of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. It's the first of October and the sky is as bright as tinfoil. The parking meters shrouded in maroon funeral bags. Norman Levine's childhood home has been sandblasted, new windows and doors. There's a blooming bird of paradise, four feet high. Red. You have to pay now to go into the National Gallery.
When did this happen.
As you round the Curatorial Building of the Museum of Civilization, you hear the rumble of bees, the rubber tires on Pont Alexandra.
We have done our readings now and are sitting in Room 1511 of Les Suites hotel. It's been a hard night of opening beers with the heel of a borrowed butane lighter, in the hospitality suite. Two women on the couch are saying, loudly, We only want to sleep with you. They say it to every passing person. So we're home now, and safe. Drinking Bushmills with ice. A man says, Have you ever filled your iron with whiskey, and steamed your clothes? Earlier, children were playing ball hockey in the hallway to the elevator. When they saw me they said, Nice pants. When I walk to the readings at the National Library I pass a young woman sitting at the bus stop. She stares at me and says, Dork. This hurts me. It hurts the frame of confidence I was building, like pearl. I'm shattered at her hardness.
I read at the Manx pub. I drink six pints and eat a juicy hamburger with grilled pineapple. It's all on the house. My god if you are spending a night alone in Ottawa head to the Manx pub on Elgin. They will take care of you. There's a cheque as well. This is all right, I can get used to this. There's even a driver to take me to the train station. Too bad I smell of whiskey. Yes, I filled the iron with the dregs of Bushmills. I pressed the steam button and puffs of aerated alcohol impregnated my suit. My scent is so exotic they direct me to first class. It can be the only explanation.


Blogger Ben said...

Hello Michael -

"Dork." ... yaa ... folk can be hard. I've been a busker since '78. (Well, I /was/ ... 2 broken feet kind of but a stop to that.) One fellow leaned into my face, quite suddenly, and screamed "YOU SUCK!!!" ... it shook me for days.

But this, actually, to re-assure you (if you really need it) that you're blogging just fine ... I'm sure you've found some fine blogs out there ...

The least formal are those of the "journal" style, such as those on (a very fine site). Those tend to be much more like diaries. Mine is at

I enjoyed the interview on CBC ("Between the Covers")... such a fine tradition, that show, and the rest.

ben aka hfx_ben aka WillowBear

1:44 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What he said, unless of course you are a dork and then you have to admire her astute observation.

4:51 p.m.  

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