Poetry: Selections from David Boski

Invisible Gods

Am I destined to be a curmudgeonly old man?
My neighbours hear voices 
that lubricate their brains
and construct stories 
I can only dream of telling.
Society has forsaken them
to the halfway houses
littered between
the overpriced rental units
and seven-figure homes
found throughout Parkdale.
I see them talking to invisible gods
I have yet to come into contact with.
I wonder what they’re saying.

16 Temple Avenue

I lie in bed and listen to the rain outside
On a cold, blustery night in December. 
The sound it makes as it hits this old house
Built long before I took my first breath.
I think of all the people who have come through this house:
The owners, the tenants, the visitors, and even the pets.
I think of the threesome I had in this very room.
Of the women who have come and gone.
Of Melvin, sleeping here beside me.
So many memories, rooted in place.
A place now empty, save for us.
I think of my father.
Of how I showed him pictures of this apartment
While he was in the hospital after his second suicide attempt.
I think of his final act.
His last breath leaving his lungs just sixteen days after I moved in.
I think of my mother’s visits. 
Of how excited Melvin was to see her.
Of the treats she would bring him.
Of her last visit before she got too sick to ever visit again.
I think of the baby who was murdered here, on the second floor,
By her drug-addled parents in 1994.
Twenty-two years before I gave my first and last month’s rent deposit. 
I think of the condo that will eventually knock these walls down
And make all the memories in this house and on this street
Things of a distant past. 
And how those memories will all die with us.
And how those memories will all die.

Shoppers Drug Mart

I was sitting in my truck in front of 
Shoppers Drug Mart on Queen Street.
I had gone to pick up a prescription for two inhalers
but the pharmacist told me they didn’t receive
a fax from the walk-in clinic.
After waiting a while, I was resigned to the fact
that I’d have to come back later.
I was about to leave when a vagrant drunk,
with a large grey pit bull
appeared in front of the passenger side window,
miming for me to roll it down.
I shook my head no, and as I put the Chevy
into drive and eased off the brake
he started walking forward and gave me the finger.
I pulled up beside him,
let the window down and said, “What’s the problem?”
“I just wanted to fuckin’ talk to you,” he said indignantly.
“Nah, don’t talk to me. Fuck off,” I said.
As I drove away, he shouted at the top of his lungs:

Lost & Found

How many beautiful poems did we lose
when Forough Farrokhzad was thrown out
of her Jeep & her head met concrete?
How many remarkable stories did we lose
when Breece D’J Pancake took that
Savage over-under & blew his genius all over
the wall behind him?
& what did my city lose when Daniel Jones
swallowed those pills, put a plastic bag over his
head, handcuffed his wrists, & waited for death?
& what would be lost if I called it quits
& purchased a one-way ticket
to the unknown right now?
& what have I lost?
my mother, my father, the woman I love . . .
my mind . . . a long time ago
& if you do, please return it
it belonged to a nice young boy once
full of so much potential
They ripped my heart out on March 19th, 2020
I picked it up
took it & held it in the air
looked at it
irreparable damage had been done
but a few pieces were still salvageable
so I took them & put them back in my chest
The rest were stuffed inside a FreshCo grocery bag
with an empty bottle of Glenfiddich
& tossed into a blue bin
If you find those pieces
please don’t be alarmed
they belonged to a nice young boy once
full of so much potential
I apologize for the mess
but it’s okay, don’t worry, I’m still here
parts of me are still beating
albeit, ever so slightly
& that nice young boy
is still in there

Geese Along Lake Shore

What happened to my stoicism?
I didn’t cry at my father’s funeral.
My mother’s funeral was different.
Tears leaked like a broken spigot.
Maybe I’ve become too visceral.
I thought Melvin was gonna die 
A few months ago. 
My girlfriend saw me weep. 
He needed emergency surgery—he didn’t die.
But what happens when he does?
What then?
There isn’t a medication on 
God’s green earth that could fix these
Thoughts that preoccupy my brain.
And anyways, God’s been on the world’s longest
The voices in my head have become obstreperous.
As I perambulate by the lake it occurs to me
That the insolent geese along Lake Shore
Don’t give a fuck about our feelings.
Happiness is an old friend
I no longer recognize.

David Boski lives in the Parkdale neighborhood of Toronto. Many of his poems have appeared throughout the underground small press. 


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