Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Christmas in Old St John's

"Your folks still live
Down in the Battery?"
The question hung in the peppermint knob air

"Nah, they sold it
To some yuppie couple who fixed it up
Whole place is maggoty with them"

We talked like this in the wine bar
(Wine bar in St John's? Go on wit ya)
I had got in from Japan a week ago
He in from Montreal yesterday

We sat
Young men
Wrapped in the flesh of older men
Steel wool beards
Replacing the Jesus locks of youth

Escaped from our parents' homes
40 year old men sleeping on foldout cots
Next to our wives
No children either of us

Christmas lights in the window
Lit us
Silhouettes of young smokers talked outside
In a language we no longer understood

With gold cards and fat wallets
We bought and drank whatever we fancied
No longer contenting ourselves on Blue Star of mainland specials

"You ever think of moving back?"
He looked at the crowds, not me, as he spoke
"I did my time during grad school here. No work for me here"

The town was booming
I had once thought to buy one of the cheap houses
That exist now in memories and photographs

The town was booming
For people not like us
Overeducated and understimulated
Working mainland jobs in more than 10 block downtowns

"Nice to be back, though. I saw a ton of people on the plane in"
"Merry Christmas man. Sorry, no present"

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