Parting Shot

Toronto Travel Blog

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Queen club by day, Toronto



I hafta convince my mother this just isn't the time to lock me up. With a half-hearted scowl, I pull the telephone receiver from my ear, glance at the ceiling, half listening to the shrill echo of her words. & I rub my jaw. [my mother's voice has a way of entering thru the ringing in your teeth]


"How can you leave?  What about your school?  Where are you going to put all your books?  Where are you going to go?" (silence) "Is it because of that man Johnny?" 


In fact this is just vaudeville between us now, my mother having weathered too many of my storms to abandon ship for real.


"Well--" she sighs, "I should have expected it. I always said you were a little nuts."


When I was twelve my mother began to think seriously about me in conjunction with psych wards.

Queen Street foot traffic, Toronto
  A juncture, that year, fork in the road


   this is not the time to lock me up...


"...Seriously mom,"   I whisper, hanging up the phone, "I'm finally breaking free."



I am my mother's daughter, however, & I am not immune to her unease even if I usually hold it, like the telephone receiver, at a healthy arm's length during times of controversy. So, after shutting down my Toronto apartment and selling off the large part of my belongings, I wing it "home" as appeasement. Saskatoon.  First stop before heading off to explore the planet.  There isn't much great-beyond now-a-days, but I figure it's all a matter of perspective, & besides, there's bound to be something in places like Central and South America to shatter the illusions of my Canadian complacency.  I heard there is a bumper sticker in Hamilton that reads: "A bad day in Canada is better than a good day in any other country on the globe.

Cuban photographer in Havana
" Not really interested in safe anymore.  Probably fooling myself with the Michael thing, too.  There were safer prospects....


"It's like, there's so much rose in these glasses I can't see the gold of the wheat fields anymore," I'm telling my little brother Doug while we're walking the Saskatoon city limits with his handful of a samoyed puppy


            blank look


Prairie people don't speak cute riddles, even if the metaphor is an old cliche.





Don't know when I started courting danger, exactly. Didn't like the way my life was reading & that probably had a lot to do with it.

Train ride to Mombassa


            female. turning thirty.

             failed marriage. fading. faulty.

            renter,  reader.  latent liberal.

             student, tenant.  daughter, sister.  no one.


No.  "On the Road"  sounded better.


            on the road


A woman making her way alone.

A typical street scene in Udaipur
Off the beaten path.  A budget traveler. Less-than-the-comforts-of-home.  You can take this as a freeze dried by-line I guess.


Like cup-a-soup: me, I'm adding water. Instant identity shift.  The 21st century quest metaphor. [not exactly Walt Whitman. Then again, it’s not Jack Kerouac, either.] 


Looking back--muddling thru my muddling thru--I think those Western filters were not rose-coloured glasses, at all. In the cynicism of my youth, they were techno shades: ominous as pre-programmed billboards, pretending to colour the world with new promises when really they're set on selling the same shitty stuff. 


            just add water.  a traveler's convenience


so: “on the road”


just me and my circumfusing pop-culture expectations of love-story.

inevitable breakdowns... I think this one was one the way to the Serengeti, but it might have been in Madagascar (I should have labeled all my photos, but there were literally thousands by the time I got around to developing them :-))
  Full of letters of longing.  & the expected betrayals. Me and my Canadian complacency. On the Road.



            if anyone asks, tell them i'm searching for crisis


a parting shot



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Havana Street scene

September 1992


"What? NOW? I mean so what happens the next time we see each other?" 

His long hair & slim form: a silhouette, framed by the orange of the hall light and the cold arch of my living room entrance.


            “so soon the distance magnifies?” 

                       i think

            "your bare skin is fibre-optically colour-coded in shades

            of  "that-was-a-moment-ago"


"Probably I'll say 'hello,' Michael."


            your lips are made of powder forgetting, i know.

            their touch soft as snow. fleeting as cocaine


"And then?"


"I'll smile and ask you how you are. 

--Okay, I know what you mean. The 'after-that' would depend on how you look at me, I guess... Go.  I prefer not to do goodbyes."


            it's there tho :

            in the way i can't quite focus.

            not on your hand, nervous, pulling at that cigarette

            as if it were a microphone able to amplify the unspoken of a drawn breath;

            nor on your forget-full lips. inhaling a last smoky mention...


            Just before you slowly shut the door.





All leavings lug "a moment ago" around.  Like so much excess baggage.

Queen club by day, Toronto
Queen club by day, Toronto
Queen Street foot traffic, Toronto
Queen Street foot traffic, Toronto
Cuban photographer in Havana
Cuban photographer in Havana
Train ride to Mombassa
Train ride to Mombassa
A typical street scene in Udaipur
A typical street scene in Udaipur
inevitable breakdowns... I think t…
inevitable breakdowns... I think …
Havana Street scene
Havana Street scene
photo by: yasuyo