whatever shame I had left is now resting in a Coffee Time on Spadina.

the smell of cigarrettes was everywhere:
in the dirty brown-ringed cup bottoms, painted on the faces
of the grey-eyed and the rejects and the broken quick-fixed
sitting softly at this ungodly hour of the morning while the wet crept in
from outside

scrawled across their faces on top of the smoke
on top of the harsh light I read the word ALONE in faded wrinkled shadows
in grooves like rivers on their dying flesh and every day
they felt it dig deeper into their bodies with
the burrowing howling staleness between love and
that no one ever talks about
but everyone hears

trying not to listen to the whispers around the edges
the rising voices around the edges
in the waxy green of fake plants and pink chairs and dusty introverted corners we creep to
when no one is looking

but we are all looking

here in this bombshell stillness i have been reborn
into a sense of being
a sense of knowing where to turn when you can't find the light switch in a dark room
and the whispers start to get to you

now I see fire in everything
in everything
in the constant need to brush my teeth

on the ice fields of sleep last night
there was fire too I remember it burning through the fabric of
my dream taking over the day burning fields of ice dreams
coming back to give birth to the fabric of the day

in the screaming silence of my dream
the world broke when I touched it
the glass broke and the insides rushed into my hands
all over my hands
digging rivers into my dying flesh gushing horrible insides
from a tourist shop snow scene
the kind you shake and watch fall the kind you build up and break down
until it gives in to spring
until it crashes into jagged pieces of spring

I will show you fear in a handful of glass,
Mr. Eliot.

call me a Phoenix if you like allusions but I like to say that
in a Coffee Time on Spadina
I rose from the broken-glass ash holding on to
the memory of fire,
and someday
I will shake and fall again

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