Soul In Plain Clothes

Embrace the walls

Over these roofs a muezzin could embrace the flames of sunset
in the radiant city so many democratic ears could vibrate with the sounds of diversity

the bells of the mass could orchestrate the flight of the seagulls
and too many could praise the urban legend of the global village
where neighbourhoods assemble to sing paeans to coexistence and tolerance

here they are: the ecstatic assembly of the endorsers
and the insatiable scavengers of ethnic food

the repetition of the whipping of the crucified man
the remake of the wreath of the conqueror
will make the neighbors feel at home

the walls set the time of nostalgia and displacement
the gates open to the mysticism of the old country
all these rivers of belief collect in a calm sea of righteousness
their streams itemized in hymns to government policies
boxed and packaged in a sea shell
that whispers the same word: pride pride pride

there’s a juice in the flowers that only children
can drink
we are banned from bringing it to our lips
this is not what you would call prayer
this is not what you would call a miracle
and this is not because of original sin

champions of freedom and those who know the rationale
behind everything

advocates of multicultural transubstantiation
embrace the walls!

Can you hear a voice that lures us slowly to neutrality
and tolerance?
It’s a refrain that reels off many warnings
and resembles the Pied Piper whose sounds
push us like mice into the invisible Lake Ontario
and we drown dragged down by concrete neologisms
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Our city of backyards
of sanctuary of solitudes and familistic dreams
is plastered over with banners and posters of coexistence
gnawed by the rodents of tradition

souls hidden in basements
skyscraping souls in forgotten barrios

tenants are injected by city officials
steroids of rhetoric to fight
linguistic weaknesses and isolation illnesses

we are unfinished humans
in an unfinished city
where the wind blows the unleashed message
of opportunity and pride
pride in growing here
pride in loving this land
and despite the opposition of a municipal council
all this pride should be incinerated
for the most exhilarating emission
for the ultimate mass event
that will overcome the drums of Caribana
the shouts of Pride day
the laments of the procession
the assemblies of tribes
where the folkloristic gathering
mercilessly shows all our inabilities to pray alone

mother Toronto
embracing latitudes and parallels
and feeding us with limits and regulations
I strip you of your praised pride
I kill your ambassador
you are just a wide naked body
of blind residential serenity
and your crown of gold and diamond
is just a wall of condos
studded with plexiglass and concrete

it’s your culture that spells
listen
it’s your memory that moors
listen to the sea shell

if we all return to our
point of departure
this city would cry from Bay Street
to 905

embrace the walls!
these breasts of brick, concrete and metal
need your tears
embrace the walls!

what is civic aesthetic without vanity?
this proselytism of an urban gospel
of a global falling in love
with the city
is just coy voyeurism
at the orgies of high bohemians
could you fall in love with the veins of the metropolis
scarred by motors?
with the mute alleys of suburbs inhabited by
sleeping machines?

build a tower in Scarborough
erect a museum
put fashion in your window
confine the mayor over there
3 months a year
in distant Scarborough
and three months a year at Jane and Finch

mother Toronto it is time to evict art
time for the artists to expel paradigms
time for the artists to abandon museums
and galleries
if this is the place
we are the place
where we can bury
the metaphors under the snow
the snow of the Greater Tundra Area

embrace the walls
embrace the humility of the one who carries no history
the unknown citizen
doesn’t need a monument
it is the artist that needs relocation

only the poet will not reuse reduce recycle
his words
only the poet will incinerate his soul
and poetry will finally reach the sky
embrace the walls!

(to Pier Giorgio)

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