Night of Poetry

Last night My wife and I attended the Edmonton Street News’, “Night of Poetry, Dance and Magic”. It was hosted by Linda Dumont, editor of ESN.

For the uninitiated, Edmonton Street News is a small paper that features stories of people who have, or do, live on the street. It is also something of a resource for people, listing all helping agencies in our city. Occasionally it also contains some savvy political commentary. But the practical aspect of the paper is that it’s a resource for “street people”. They make a small investment for a certain number of papers and then sell them on street corners for twice the amount or whatever they can get. It’s honest work, turning panhandlers into street vendors.

As for the evening, well, the magician didn’t show and one of the solo dancers skipped out, but other than that it was splendid. Of course poetry “from the street” was the principle attraction of the evening. There were several sponsoring agencies, each had picked a winning poem in a certain catagory. I presented on behalf of Hope Mission. Out of seven wonderful poems I had to choose from, I picked the following as the winner. The poet is John Butler.

Looking For a Pair of Boots

I am on 96th street again
Down on my luck
Facing life on the skid
There are places to get a bowl of soup
Maybe a ham sandwich
Or an old pair of boots
Scuffed up but with a couple of months left in them
A cup of coffee would be good.

There are so many tall buildings
When you’re down on the skid
They cast their shadows so cold and long as I call for the sun
I’m not saying I don’t see the light
I saw it on a child’s face
As she dished out my soup
I know the light filters through
But at times the buildings are so tall and I am so small

On the skid everyone is your best friend and your worst enemy
I heard talk of work today
I always keep my ear close to the ground on these days
There is a church that might be giving out boots today
Think I’ll make my way down to church road.

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