TRYST          …            …            …         Cont’d.



I had successfully completed the weeks of training and, along with the others, was assigned a position at a train yard outside the city proper. All of us were assigned yards and stations to patrol on a rotating shift basis. Not a favourite routine, and definitely an unpopular one, as each week our shift rotated eight-hours: 7am – 3pm; 3pm – 11pm; 11pm – 7am. The one forced my resignation was the 11pm – 7am shift. I had difficulty staying awake in spite of the split-shift on the gate and the shed/yard, patrolling included. 


The gate-shift was lively with trucks coming and going; and, the shed/yard shift with its patrolling became a strain which I didn’t manage well. I would nod off mid-routine after my 3:30am meal. My work ethic, and personal moral compass, left me feeling I was derelict in my duties. I endured, but time came when a strike by workers was set and we were informed of 12hr-shifts. This did not sit well with me, and not comprehending the whole process, worst of all keeping my thoughts and observations to myself by not consulting with anyone about goings on, I took the only recourse in my limited understanding.


I was a CN Police Officer with possibilities of a career ahead, but personal history unknowingly hamstrung my comprehension of this. Having input, no parental or profession, disclosing this occupation’s import made for my faulty choice. This and many other intended opportunities went unnoticed due to lack of knowledge by all concerned, including well intentioned mother and step-father, as well as by the social circumstances/conditions of the era. I chose to depart the job believing I could not manage it because of the twelve-hour shifts, facing strike-workers and that I had not been performing my duties optimally.


I saw this as a ‘getting my feet wet’ opportunity in another police force setting. I now know I my internal dialogues without consultations with others had carried benefits of new insights. Things I was not privy to being a newcomer in more ways than one, also being young. Fortunately, Life behaves kindly towards me since my actions were sincere biased by my comprehensions, limited though they were. True, there were intrinsic losses, but by and large everything balanced out and I landed on my feet during those years.


There were another occupations awaiting me. Not in the enforcement realm, a bit more menial since my information base was limited. To his credit, my step-father was vigilant in steering me into other domains, albeit other spheres to discovery inabilities of which neither he nor my mother were aware. They might have been, but were uncertain of how to broach the subject to me given how we got to where we were. Be that as it may, I learned we all behave according to our conditionings whether in good or ill processes.    





2a. Getting Oriented c. 64




Upon emigrating to Canada I noticed weapon-carrying was the practice, so I decided to forego being a police officer. As I went through Time, I found more than enough experiences where I interacted with them purely by happenstance. In this happenstance I accounted my ‘getting lost’ and being asked why I was ‘running away from home’; almost and inadvertently led into being a ‘confidential informant; getting an impromptu, post-graduate ‘sex-education’ session upon my eighteenth birthday; and, a Hollywood exemplar of a, ‘In the Heat of the Night’ southern cop. Yet, as my age increased, so was there a growth in possibilities for serious consequences by overzealous, discordant and disrespectful officers.


I was able to circumnavigate the social, civil-rights waters with little interaction with law enforcement. It was my mother’s zealous actions, out of necessity, that saw me in-school or doing-any-job to earn supplemental income to support the weight she carried by raising two-children on her nurse’s salary. It was her way to insulate me from biased social information. I was only privy to the fact that ‘work’ was available and I was obliged to attend to any ‘n all opportunities. There were many, and with both our inputs Life was a pleasant blur.


One effort put forward was attending to the recommendation supported by my step-father, an Englishman who opened doors otherwise, and unknown, closed to me during those years. Knowing where to go is just as important as what to go for, being well recommended. It appears this was one of many suggestions he had presented, but I was ill-equipped to seeing them all the way through. Recollection has revealed being without exemplars in having a male-figure, role-model, in my growing years I was badly dysfunctional and without the essential psychological vocabulary. 


This particular job opportunity brought me into room of males. After a time in the room I noticed I was the odd man out. Colouring (smiling to myself) anomaly became noticeable. We were a casual bunch, with lots to talk about while eating together in the mess, and learning about the .303 rifle and .38 handgun. I was also out here by asking a question, which became an issue. Succeeding in training and joined the rank in file, outfitted with uniforms, handgun included. How do I wear the firearm? Feeling awkward, lopsided, I wanted to balance the weight by carrying the gun in the holster and the bullets in the pouch, each being on either side of my body?


In no uncertain terms, I was told this was not allowed because I may be called upon to shoot/terminate any livestock damaged by misadventure with a train. I was now a CN Police Officer, an occupation I didn’t know existed until then, and set to earn a decent wage over the long haul. Of course, I was unprepared, under-informed and immature by Life’s Circumstances. Ignorance prevailed and I quit before realizing this was an opportunity, and it’s import was not duly understood. I could’ve had a career in keeping with my patriarchal grandfather’s. … 





2a. Getting Oriented c. 64



How do you describe, ‘depression’, without resorting to colloquial-speak spawned of journals and media expositions? Have you ever woken up feeling wrapped in a state of suppressed-anxiety, bordering on panic, and feeling Life is circling an unknown drain that empties into an abyss from which reprieve is not expected nor relief believed forthcoming?


Many a day I rise from my sleeping place to perform required bodily functions, then to quickly and quietly return to same place of sleeping, no one the wiser or aware if I hadn’t. Of course, there are medications of varying blends to assist in managing each day’s processes, many choices of lesser evils offering temporary relief effects given the qualities and quantities of desired consumption.


Thankfully, there are those rare days when the mobile chimed offering an inviting distraction to refuel my diminished soul, instead of the usual illusive deceptions that continually challenges dwindling intrinsic resources; phew! 


Still, reprieves are temporal from which I awoke daily. 


But, should the formats of contributions be adequate/appropriate to my needs sensibilities and sensitivities, I feel obliged to continue in the postponement into that inevitable passage.


How natural and long-lasting are your selections providing uplifting resolutions in postponing that inevitable journey? 





BEING   NEIGHBOURLY                …            b.



Exiting the elevator, more of my thoughts turned to comparative exemplars of unneighbourly behaviours I experience this past year. Prior to this year were many examples of kindnesses, but not many this past year. I recall when paying for groceries I was distracted by an automated prompter, only to leave my wallet atop a machine and not being accorded a reminder by those in line or staff there. Somehow, all were preoccupied and I was forced to replace documents including recently withdrawn cash.


Months later, while in the Research Library, a young fellow passed ‘bye’ my table on his way to friends around a corner. As he passed, $15 fell from his pocket, one bill at a time with no one seeing. I got up from my seat, picking them up, followed to see him greeting his peers. They looked up at me in wonderment, to which I remarked, “Do you want these? I can keep ‘em, if you’re wealthy enough to allow cash to fall from your pocket?” He was alarmed. He thanked me for returning his cash, and they all laughed as I turned around returning to my desk.


A week later, walking west along King approaching Simcoe, a woman dropped $10 bill while fielding her cellphone in conversation. I remarked at the bill’s fall and a couple behind her retrieved it and handed it to her. She thanked them and went on her way. 


A few days, I found myself repeating the same scenario I did previously at the grocery store. This time I placed a promotional text atop the machine noting to myself to place it in the bag along with my purchases. To my dismay, I found I left it atop the machine again having been distracted by a nearby customer requiring attention form a sales attendant. Without someone to watch your back, all sorts of losses will occur as tensions mount these days. 


Even then there’s little assurance of one’s safety. 


While returning from a volunteer group meeting I passed two-street residents exchanging updates, possibly gossip, concerning a mutual associate. Between them I overheard the words stating, “He had shot up, overdosed and died.” To this the other remarked, “He died?” The other confirmed repeating, “Yea, turned blue ’n died right there.” I continued on recalling one of the items covered in the meeting touched on the topic of ‘safe-injection sites’ which, it appears, not all will make use. Here was another statistic to be added to the list of human lives lost.


Where are we on being our ‘brothers’ keeper? Upon overhearing this update, all I could do is write about it. How are your goings on? 





1. Spiral Out 03.1.13:18

BEING   NEIGHBOURLY                  … a.



What is it that makes a good neighbour? Each nationality, I contend, has a format in thinking that is culturally biased. Strong when in adulthood, from youthful indoctrination but questionable and fluid as one ages out of this mortal coil. 


I witness examples of this as I passage through Time, while inhabiting this time-space continuum. I have seen give and take of varying degrees occurring, cultural values dependent. Yet, of cursory modalities biased in individual preferences. The increase in neighbourly expressions may be need based, biased by reciprocity in many cases.


A neighbour of an Asian culture disclosed his outlook on his belief of his passing out of this Life. We have been neighbours nearing 20yrs, and we exchanged many greetings biased on the weather, a customary human exchange in our society. I noticed a distinct change in his demeanour from not having seen him for a time. I often wondered on seeing him as he emerged after a lengthy absence, but kept my peace as he appeared restrained and I wished not to intrude on his demeanour.


This day I hazard a touch-gesture with a few words, while awaiting the elevator. This was all it took. Out poured his sensibilities on ‘accepting the Death that took his wife earlier, and he was not in fear of It. In fact, he was waiting for it biding his time self-medicating with alcohol, which afforded the loss of his driving license.’ His spirit appeared lifted, while those in earshot displayed discomfort and impatience during the lift’s rise to their floors.


He exited exclaiming his joy of what’s to come, and I bid him farewell as the door closed and awaited the arrival of my floor to disembark.     …   …   …





47c. The piece External view




It is my belief, during much consideration after decades of admonitions and the nagging of well-meaning others, I awoke to the comprehension that I was under/unprepared for the Fatherhood phase of existence in Life. Most are unaware of the subtle, subliminal learnings taken for granted, believed as matter of facts. 


I can attest that, in all its mannerisms, Fatherhood is not meant for everyone, much less many. This statement does not include those who consciously choose not with to have offsprings. I speak of those who have no clue as to the nuances that can be seen and/or recognized with the support of a loving partner. 


You may be one of the minority with whom this statement resonates. In my six-plus decades observing the process of parenting on many continents, in their sub-sets, I sincerely believe there is a door that is not open to some on the causal level of being. 


I commend those who have chosen to take up the mantle-of-parenting in all its splendour, glamorous and otherwise. I for one had no such conscious desire, not to mention unconscious inclinations for such in spite of biased observations by caring others. It is evident I was unaware of receiving neither exposure nor role-modelling regarding that aspect in Life service.


If you are able to contemplate and accept a-sexuality, while acknowledging the LGBTQ+ ways in being; then, you may be able to grasp to what I am referring. It, Fatherhood, is something that simply does not register, although I may have been able to cultivate it, with the support of a loving partner who functions in biased, subtle parenting exposures grown throughout her Life. 


My reality enabled otherwise.


HAPPY  FATHERS’  DAY, to the deserving dads who do more than contribute passion and semen, siring offsprings!







LAUGH     OUT     LOUD   


It was a late Summer’s night, I was returning home with two peers I considered friends. We were cajoling and remarking at cars going by, and giddiness ensued. One of the cars going by heard us laughing and took exception. The male driver got out and approached us, and chose to single me out. He proceeded to hit me three times, while I looked at him in amazement. The two fellows disappeared into the gathering crowd as two patrolmen approached.


A bit of context here. We three were immigrants, one Caribbean and two Eastern European Jews, out and about enjoying our time in a country we were to now call home. Continuing on …


The man ceased punching me and went over to commiserate with the two police officers. By-standers exclaimed, “The guy wasn’t doing anything but laughing!” To which one of the officers replied, “Keep your mouth shut, or you’ll be getting into trouble next!” Then and there, shock and awe stunning my carefree nature with which my mind grappled attempting to find logic in the scenario.


The man returned to his car and drove away, while the officers told me to go home and cause no more trouble. I had to bite my tongue, because that’s when my blood began to boil! Injustice for the sake of expediency to benefit whom? I turned, walked away without saying a word and, as if out of nowhere, my invisible compatriots reappeared. Discussion centred around their disappearance, which they said they could not allow themselves to participate. I was unable to relate to those words, similarly to what had just occurred!


I was still new to being a minority in this Commonwealth country being from a Commonwealth country where I had not learned the distinctions of majority and minority in this context, this country’s reality not being part of my consciousness. It was the Summer of 1969 and similar actualities of Life were on the horizon, out of sight. There were to be things I never learned in earlier years growing up, and was about to discover I presumed too much of human behaviour. 


There were so many things I skated bye, never aware of their existence and how they would affect me in later years…





Fifty Years Later



Ever found yourself giving in to a street-hustler/pan-handler/homeless-person, only to recall the many others you passed-bye, excusing yourself? But, for some odd reason a particular one struck a whimsical cord, and you parted with coins only to have him request more?


Again, you excuse yourself and walk on wondering how come this on? Maybe, you don’t, but I have, repeatedly.


I ask, “What just happened?”, was I simply worn down by repeated requests and visual display of want and need? Here comes another, and there remaining coins gone his way with an added plea for more, for food. But, when I offered to get him food came the reply, “No, I wanted more to purchase a transit ticket.” At which time a voice chastised him to move on, away from her territory. Evidently, I just joined the ranks of the easily fleeced.


I walk on, returning to my actuality from whence came my rationalizations for giving to those appearing needy.




52a. In the Way



Ever had a fright, walking home alone late at night, only to realize it was your own shadow at-play between overhead street lights you misinterpreted as being followed? 


Heaven forbid there was someone you passed or footsteps heard in the distance coming up from behind, and you’re tempted to look if you’d not heard the steps previously.


Well, I am a relatively large male-of-colour and I have been alarmed into giggling upon realizing this phenomenon, and subsequent ones while walking home late in the evening. Granted, it’s no laughing matter where others’ fear are at play with biases added.


We are to face the delights called ‘fear’, befriend them without being foolish and live healthily with one another. Get to know the shadows that are of our own making.




Shadow Lion 31.8.15




During one of my many deconstruction processes while awaiting sleep, I caught/recognized myself undermining my self, in the wee hours of 01:15hrs.


Persevering on further, 01:18hrs, I realized this as a regular self-analyzing/deconstruction of my life, ongoing throughout my lived years.


Going through this, 02:20hrs, I was surprised again to discover/catching my-self looking/peeking behind the facade of a self-confidence fabricated in deference to scripted projections responding to fertile minds from Hollywood’s unknown creators, not the ones readily accessed or researched by the public. It was then I accepted/acknowledged the possibilities of the limitations related to freedom of expression in the Grand Scheme of Things occurring.


Of this many prefer their blissful ignorance believing their knowledge base/bias as absolute. What’s it matter?




3e. Sleeping Quarters During Balcony Replacement

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