Archive for the ‘people’ Category

little colourful plastic windmill attached to mirror of firetruck, also 2 yellow balloons and 1 green balloon

Dancing in the streets.  Pride 2022.

Toronto Pride Parade 2022, start of route, man in long pink gloves posing with woman in hat with flowers on it

people sitting on scaffolding over sidewalk by construction site to watch pride parade, two have rainbow flags

person in costume at pride parade, hair wig made of ribbons, big puffy skirt, ribbons in curls as collar

group cheering and blowing whistles, arms up, getting ready for pride parade, TD canada trust group in green t shirts with rainbows on them

stuffed tiger with rainbow garland around it, on front of a motorcycle

group dancing, choreography, with pink puffs in each hand, practising before the pride parade

group dancing, choreography, with pink puffs in each hand, practising before the pride parade

young girl helping to hold white banner, marching with pride, other hands holding the banner too, toronto pride parade 2022

face painted person, with sparkles on face too, holding a sign with all the colours of the LGBQT flag, with words be proud, born this way

man in grey hair, silver crown, bending over to talk closely to woman in hat covered with multi coloured flowers, start of pride parade

rainbow striped ankle socks, and running shoes with red, yellow, and blue on them, standing on a sidewalk box to get a better look at passing pride parade

young woman tying orange balloons to a pride parade float, NDP float, she's wearing orange too

marilyn munro air kissing, under rainbow umbrella, white dress and gloves and sparkly silver purse

kids playing in bubbles while a man in a yellow t shirt walks past, on a street,

it gets better canada on purple t shirts, holding hands, people, pride parade

placard at pride parade that says protect bipoc queer kids

great dane dog with a group getting ready to walk in pride parade

large letters S and I made of balloons in a pride parade, held by a man in yellow with white hat

3 teenage girls plus another woman standing on side of street watching pride parade, temporary tattoos on their legs,

three young people holding a rainbow type flag over their heads as they watch pride parade

two men in pink at pride parade

two wagons full of trojan condom packages

two people at pride parade, one in rainbow striped shirt and the other in rainbow netting outfit with stickers over nipples, thong underwear under neath

member of skule university of toronto engineering school in pride parade

people with signs at pride parade, pflag group, totally rad mum and dad, labels are for canned soup, love is love

women cheering and taking photos while watching pride parade

some members of triggerfish in their speedo suits, dancing with red fans

plastic fuzzy garlands on front of a fire truck

man with rainbow bandana around head, and scarf on back as well as many bracelets, holding small Canadian flag, dances in the street for pride parade

crowds on scaffolding, many levels up, at Yonge and Bloor

policeman and crowd at pride, lots of bubbles in the air

a boy holding a Canadian rainbow flag, small girl beside him with sunglasses lowered

woman in magenta glasses and cowboy hat laughing with woman with rainbow bandana over her head

getting ready for pride parade, man with gold collar and not much else, woman in red sari, tattoos, drinking from bottle

people up on scaffolding to get above street level to watch pride parade

woman watching pride parade is holding a small dog with a rainbow bandana around its neck

back view of two people hugging, one in a plaid shirt and the other in a rainbow t shirt

Toronto Pride Parade, person with tattoo on upper arm holding an orange sign that says we love trans youth. Tattoo says In a dream you saw a way to survive and you were full of joy

little plastic windmills in different colours with little pride flags as decorations on a float in pride parade

Photos from Dyke March 2022

And we’re back! After missing two years because of Covid, Pride is back in Toronto.

dyke march banner at the beginning of a parade, purple and orange stripes, carried by 5 women, on Yonge Street

Hot! ( 30+ C and sunny) but it didn’t seem to slow anyone down!

two women on motorcycle waving to crowd

dyke march in toronto, woman in tight blue suit and on roller skates, another with orange hair walking a dog, another on roller skates stopping to pat dog

motorcycle rider dressed in black with helmet, with woman on back in thong and see through stockings, posing on back of motorcycle

two kids in bike helmets that say love is love watching dyke march

dyke march, two women holding protest signs, one says abort the supreme court and the other says protect reproductive rights

women holding banner for ontario coalition for abortion clinics, pro choice, dyke march 2022

giant coat hanger being carried in front of banner for ontario coalition for abortion clinics, dyke march

Dykes on Bikes, bicycle riders

person blowing bubbles, dyke march

bike rider blowing kisses to the crowd

dyke march, people with trans flag walking beside someone in an inflatable unicorn costume

dyke march 2022 people marching, one in a green hat, one with rainbow sleeves

placard that says dyke lives matter

people holding protest signs in dyke march, keep lesbians safe from fascists

womens health float in dyke march with women dancing beside the car

women dancing and marching in dyke march

dyke march, people carrying placards re reproductive rights, dear scotus I just met you this is crazy a clump of cells is not a baby, also a pink sign that says abort the forced birth

two women in matching red pants and rainbow striped tops dancing in parade, and laughing with other people

woman with gray and lavender hair in dyke march

woman wearing mask and blowing bubbles in dyke march

woman carrying flag in dyke march

a group of women standing on sidewalk watching parade

people watching dyke march on yonge street

three women in orange vests walking parade route with crowds on the sidewalk

“To know a forest you start with the roots”

“Seeing Evergreen” is an exhibit presented by Jamii   Twelve older residents of the area were paired with local youth to share their stories.  The results of these conversations, along with portraits of the participants, are on display in David Crombie Park on The Esplanade.

small yellow concrete arch leading to a circular garden in a park, with posters as part of an art exhibit

below: All the posters have a large portrait on one side

in David Crombie Park, 3 large posters each with one large portrait, on the right is a woman holding up a pink T- shirt

below: On the other side is a small picture as well as the words written. Posters with portraits and stories of four – Victoria, Naomi, Stella, and Carol-Anne

four large poster boards on display in a park with a red brick apartment building behind

below: Nancy and Chet, their pictures and stories.

portraits and stories of nancy and chet, each on their own poster board on display outside in a park

below: Posters with the Toronto skyline behind.

3 large posters with text and a small portrait in David Crombie Park with the Toronto skyline behind

The spring pillow fight at Nathan Phillips returned this year.  It was a smaller turnout than in pre-covid times but there was still lots of energy and enthusiasm!  Family fun too – all ages welcomed and included.

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows, man with yellow over his head like a banana

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows, two boys, with father laughing in the background

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows, girl wearing Andersen Maple Leafs jersey on adult shoulders waving pillow

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows, young girl smiling

girl on shoulders of another person, laughing, man with long hair in the foreground

pillow fight

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, young girl in yellow top and pink shoes is laughing, she is holding a pillow

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, young man in leather covid mask, another an shielding his eyes

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows, man in a bathrobe and beret, fighting with a pillow with Montreal Canadiens pillow case

young women watching a pillow fight at Nathan Phillips square

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows, woman with long red hair laughing as her picture is being taken

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows, man with his toque over his eyes

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows, man with his toque over his eyes, a man with orange pillow case making faces at another person taking his picture

pillow fight

people taking pictures at the pillow fight

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows, young man in pink hoodie

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows, boy in green jacket and black covid mask

three older women having their picture taken together at Nathan Phillips Square

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows, red headed kid

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, outdoors, fighting with pillows


below: After the fighting, a pillow toss to celebrate.

people participating in pillow at nathan phillips square, group toss of pillows in the air at the end of the fight

Yonge and Dundas and thereabouts

below: Part of a large relief sculpture on the wall of the northwest entrance to Dundas subway station of life sized figures on their way –  Terra cotta artwork by William McElcheran from 2015.

part of relief sculpture at Dundas subway station, a man holds on to his hat as he hurries along

below: Ryerson Image Centre,

photographs of famous Canadians on the outer wall of Ryerson Image Center, with woman sitting on the concrete surrounding the reflecting pool by the entrance to R I C

There is a photography exhibit outside the Ryerson Image Centre showcasing three winners of the New Generation Photography Award, Chris Donovan, Dustin Bron, and Curtiss Randolph.

below: ‘Boy in the Window’ by Chris Donovan

a black and white photo by Chris Donovan with reflections of a boy in a window and street scene below, on display outside Ryerson Image Centre

below: A second, “Objects in Mirror” also by Chris Donovan

black and white photo of cars, Chris Donovan, on exhibit

below: ‘AC 2019’ by Dustin Brons

below: ‘Horizon 2017’ by Curtiss Randolph.  First in a short series involving a staged drama at this intersection.

a coloured photo of a corner of an intersection with a gas station on it, Horizons, houses, apartment building in background

below: The statue of Egerton Ryerson is gone.  There is graffiti on the walls where the statue once stood.

place where statue of Egerton Ryerson once stood, a single tree, graffiti on the walls of the building

below: On the Bond Street side of the Ryerson building is another photography exhibit.  This is Maximum Exposure 26, an annual exhibit of pictures by Ryerson’s School of Image Arts students.   There are 28 very diverse photos included here.

large collage pf photos on wall of Ryerson Image Centre, Maximum Exposure 26, work of graduating students

below: Food Pantry.  Take what you need; Donate what you can.

Free food pantry, shelves with glass covered doors for food to exchange, it is almost empty

below: In the alley behind the Lutheran church and Ryerson.

alley behind Ryerson Image Centre with large murals of green bike and blue bike, also with a person asleep in the alley by the church

below: Peace, hearts and respect written on the green bike.

below: The old white building on the northeast corner of Victoria and Dundas is still there and the mural by Emily May Rose with its cute raccoons survives.  If only the real raccoons were as lovable!

below: Looking east on Dundas.  There is talk of renaming Dundas Street.

below: Yonge Dundas Square is now filled with hearts.  There are pink heart shaped seats to sit on and pink hearts on the ground too.  Each heart on the pavement has something about Toronto to love – street art,  endless streets to explore, the Jays, great architecture, always changing, and more.

a man stands beside his Christian religious display at Yonge Dundas square while he talks to two men about Jesus

below: Keep looking up!

Yonge Street, looking up at banners on metal poles, tops of some highrise buildings,
below: Another part of a large relief sculpture on the wall of Dundas subway station

 

in Kensington

sign on sidewalk made with pink fabric covered with yellow and white flowers, a big white circle in the middle with hi written in large yellow letters

Some places never change, at least not in the big ways. Although little things pop up only to be replaced by other tidbits, Kensington still looks like it has for a while now. I can’t say forever! Because nothing lasts forever.
In fact, there is a small photo exhibit on hoardings in the neighbourhood that features old pictures and there are definitely similarities to be found!

hoardings with an exhibit of old black and white photos of kensington

below: On the left, from 1940 a photo of a shop at Denison and Dundas West from the Jewish Archives.

two old black and white photos of the kensington neighbourhood, vintage

below: This is an enlargement of the the black and white photo on the right from the picture above. It is the Augusta Fruit Market and it was taken in 1961 by Vincenzo Pietropaolo

black and white photo from 1961 of Augusta Fruit market

below: Sixty years later the same building sits on the same corner only now it’s the Oxford Fruit Market. It even has the same green roofline and what looks to be the same hydro pole!

the Oxford Fruit Market, painted blue, on the corner of Augusta

below: An iconic Kensington sight gets a new paint job.

woman wearing an orange turban-like hat is painting a car in many bright colours, the car is full of plants growing inside it

below: Fix your hearts or die.

graffiti sign on a pole, covering an add for 35 mm cameras for sale, words that say fix your hearts or die

below: A mural on the side wall of Perolas, by Jeannie Priscila aka Dajenesis

two people walking past a mural of a South American woman on Perolas Supermarket exterior  wall

below: Hands outstretched to passers-by

a woman in a coral coloured dress walks past a mural of an old woman with her hands outstretched, asking for something, a red and white shawl over her head

below: Hate has no home here, plus something that started with “Behind stained steamy glass, we’ll (and then your imagination can take over!)

signs on a wood utility pole in front of a painting on a brick wall of a cup of coffee.  A poster with words Hate has no home here.  An ad for a store that is partially obscured by the pole, and a fake street sign that starts with Behind Stained steamy glass, we'll... and the rest is blocked by many stickers

below: free Toronto Caribbean newspapers

below: Ricas Tortas, Elotes y Esquites are fading away

below: Eyes eyes and more by Jeremy

below: Walking past temptation – churros, empanadas, slushies and Birra Catrina

a couple carry their shopping in bags as they walk on sidewalk, walking past

below: Pour me into frequency – in triplicate

3 large graffiti posters in an alley, covering other street art, each with an anatomically correct heart in different colours (red, green and blue), and the words pour me into frequency

below: This little sock monkey not only shows his rainbow colours but also shows his support for the COVID-19 vaccine!

a sock monkey sits in a store window, wearing a rainbow flag scarf and a sticker that says I got my covid-19 vaccine

below: Uber5000 – yellow birdies in a helicopter on top and dogs playing cards on the bottom. Perhaps that yellow birdie on the ladder is dropping in on the card game?

below: A view down the alley towards more murals – a very big multicoloured chicken beside a face

below: A Rowell Soller close up

Close up of a face, eyes closed, mural by Rodwell Soller

below: A brighter than blood red beak looks rather creepy on this enormous chicken by Phillip Saunders

mural of a chicken's head and beak

below: Walking past one of the many patios now open in Kensington

A man with long hair and wearing a cowboy hat walks past a patio in Kensington

below: Carlos House of Spice

Carlos House of Spice in Kensington, with an alley beside it, murals on the walls in the alley, incense for sale in front,

3 pedestrians walking on a sidewalk, walking past a man struggling with a large package on his bike

below: Saved by the youth Can you imagine it? Beside Snacks Mexican style where Aguas Frescas (Jamaica, watermelon and mango) are $5. Also on the menu, Pina Coladas, as well as Elote, and Esquites (corn dishes I think)

black letters spray painted on white tile wall, says saved by youth can you imagine it?  wall is beside a window of a coffee shop with words and numbers listing the prices of drinks, aguas frescas

below: a silver poser bunny

silver poser bunny on pink background

a large flag draped around a white picket fence, flag is yellow with a big happy face on it

below: Dundas West near Augusta

stores and signs on Dundas West near Augusta.  Chao Chow Association of Ontario, Swiftronics, Royal Denture, and others, some people walking on the sidewalk too

below: Walking to Noras for a shawarma or a kabob?

below: Hoardings on Dundas West surrounding Alexandria Park redevelopment.

a woman on a bicycle rides past hoardings around Alexandria Park redevelopment, with a mural on it by Javid Jah and Danile Deluxe

below: A large mural that was a collaboration between Phillip Saunders and Luvs

large mural of a mans face in Kensington

below: Graffiti slaps, stickers, and paste-ups – Feelings Boi, Urban Ninja Squadron, TRP 613,

below: T-bonez in black and white

sticker of t bonez urban ninja squadron in black and white

below: A shiny red skateboarder zooms past a snake with its tongue stuck out

graffiti slap of a bright shiny red skateboarder on the move

below: stickers on boxes

below: Stickers on poles

graffiti stickers on poles in Kensington

below: A wise owl with curly hair and glasses plays the accordion

below: You are not your mistakes plus a summer time poem

on brown paper, a message that says You are not your mistakes, beside a red Tridel sign.  on the latter, someone has written a poem in sharpie

The words are very small on the red sign; this is what they say.

Summer Time
Sundress
I feel India in my bones
I can smell sunlight
I can feel the high time
bless me
God bless me, goddess of forbidden love
I am she
I ___ one white candle
Maintain purity

We’re getting outside to enjoy the summer while still maintaining some distance as the COVID numbers drop…  a few of the restrictions have been lifted and life is little less constrained. Patios are filling up again and a larger selection of stores are open. The following photos were taken downtown on a sunny day a week or so ago…. as I re-learn how to take candid shots of people!

man lies on the grass, reading, his red bike leans against a tree beside him, activity on Queen Street in the background

a mother and daughter, both with long black hair, sit in front of the toronto 3 d sign, leaning in together, smiling, a pigeon stands by their feet

a young boy teases his sister as she is lying in the center of the O of the Toronto 3 d sign, mother is taking a picture of daughter.  mother's back is to the camera

a young poses for a photo at Nathan Philips Square, people around the Toronto 3 d sign in the background

a black man in black baseball cap and T shirt and bright yellow shorts is taking photos with his camera. in background is a wedding shoot of Chinese bride in a long red dress

a man is drawing while sitting on the sidewalk, he has paintings and other artwork for sale,  his reflection is in the window behind him.  another man stops at the intersection to tie his shoe laces while waiting for the red light to turn green.  Dundas Street

an older man in blue shorts and balding hair sits on a walker with a yellow grocery plastic bag on each handle.  out of focus close up of man in red top in the immediate foreground

three people at Yonge and Dundas.  One is a woman standing with her bike waiting for the red light, second is a woman in cropped white tank top taking a selfie, and third an older man with white hair, white beard and white mustache.

a black woman being video'd, a woman in a wheelchair with a sign leaning against her knees that says Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven John 14: 6  Sign at the back says Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it from eternal destruction.

traffic, cyclists, construction cones, patio, on Dundas looking towards Bay street

a couple, from the back, waiting to cross University ave., with a group of people waiting on the other side as well

a young man with a mask and a Nordstroms shopping bag stands in front of the H B C windows with 5 mannequins modelling clothing

4 people in line to get into store at Yonge and Dundas, all keeping the 6 fet or 2 metres apart for covid restrictions.  woman in red tank top is pushing a baby stroller, a couple stands together, woman in blue dress and black mask and a man in black, with advertisement behind him showing image of a woman in a white dress

people waiting in line.  first woman has mask, glasses and a red head scarf. she's with a man carrying a yellow plastic grocery bag, other women in the line behind them, at Yonge and Dundas

an older man in a brown shirt crosses Yonge street traffic while pulling a green basket on a dolly.  people in masks walking on the sidewalk, a Beck taxi parked on Yonge, a bare chested man by the bus stop, other people

a man waits for his order from a food truck Steve's catering with images of cartoon fries and hamburger on the side of the truck, S. Kazanis truck, menu also on side of truck, today's special hot dog three dollars and sausage four dollars

two people passing each other on a sidewalk, a man in red raptors shorts on a scooter and a woman with a long yellow top pulling a shopping buggy

a mother in black and a daughter in an orange dress sit by the large red planters in Yonge Dundas square with a lot of pigeons on the ground in front of them

an Asian couple at the ice cream truck, men walking on the sidewalk, Yonge street at Dundas

a very shiny metallic green mercedes sports car with no front licence passes through an intersection as a couple walk past

a cooler evening on the waterfront

A couple sit with their backs to the camera on the edge of Lake Ontario while a male cyclist walks his bike past.  Two red Muskoka chairs in the picture as well as boats on the water

On Toronto waterfront, harbour, three people standing on the dock beside a sailboat, a man in yellow shorts and white hat, and two women.  A man is standing in the boat next to it.

below: Simcoe Wave Deck

people sitting and walking on the Simcoe Wave Deck, Toronto waterfront, with condos behind

kids playing on the Simcoe Wave Deck, a young girl is sliding down it

People by the side of Lake Ontario, two on bicycles, some sitting on the side of the walkway, a woman leaning against a post, and a man taking selfies.  There is also a seagull.   Port Lands is in the distance.

below: Joseph Landau, accordion player

A male accordion player, Joseph Landau, stands beside the waterfront.  Curly black hair.

an older man with a big fluffy grey beard sits on a bench with Tim Hortons cup beside him.  He's wearing orange shorts and a pink top.  Looking at his phone

A couple sits at a table on an upper level balcony patio, behind glass barrier.  With condo buildings behind

below: Queens Quay traffic – take care! Cyclists (and pedestrians) don’t always see or obey their traffic signals!

TTC street car on Queens Quay, cyclists on the bike path, pedestrians trying to cross

Two men walk past another man dressed in blue who dances for tips.  He's standing still because no one has given him any money

people sitting on the end of a dock by Lake Ontario

hot dog and sausage street vendors at work

Young man in red shorts performing stunts on his skateboard

three men walk past boats docked at the waterfront, one is topless

A couple sit on the sand on waterfront, under yellow umbrella, a man walks past behind them, also two men sitting on the edge of the lake,.

People sitting and lying on benches on waterfront, in front of the tour boats Northern Spirit and Obsession.  One woman is doing yoga pose.

To mask or not to mask?  Masks have turned out to be a very useful tool in stopping the spread of the corona virus.  All you have to do is look at the stats in countries such as South Korea and Vietnam where mask wearing is the norm and compare those numbers to the stats in countries such as here in Canada where mask wearing took some time to catch on.  Only 38 people have died from COVID in Vietnam compared to almost 10,000 here in Canada.

In the early days of COVID (doesn’t it seem like a long time ago?) masks were controversial.  There were a lot of mixed messages from public health – remember when wearing a mask was going to increase your chances of getting sick because you can’t help but play with your mask and then touch your face?   Now, there are laws and rules that stipulate that you have to wear a mask indoors – in stores, in schools, on airplanes (who’s flying these days any way?), and in other public places.   The argument switched from ‘masks won’t keep you from catching the virus’ to ‘the masks prevent you from giving the virus to other people.’

a couple walking on Yonge Street, holding hands, waiting for a light to change, he's in a blue shirt and wearing a covid mask

“Virtue has a veil, vice a mask.” quote, French author Victor Hugo

 I was looking for help in writing about COVID-19 and people and masks and why we were slow to accept the practice.  I went looking through google for quotes and poems about masks because I wanted to explore the idea that in western culture wearing masks is just not done.  Masks are for thieves and others who are up to no good.  The bad guy always wears a mask when he wants to rob a bank.  Masks are for hiding your identity and fooling facial recognition software.

I have to add that the wearing of masks has become political although not to the extent that it has in the States where Trump has made the mask a symbol of weakness.   We have our anti-maskers and they are still protesting (there was one in downtown Toronto today but I missed it).   Apparently there were a couple of hundred people at Yonge Dundas square protesting lockdown measures in the name of Canadians’ constitutional rights and freedoms (CityTV link).

three people on bikes on Yonge street during streets open, the man in front is wearing an anonymous mask

The ‘Anonymous’ mask, or Guy Fawkes mask, was used in the 2005 movie “V for Vendetta” where Fawkes was presented as a champion for human rights, an anti-establishment figure.  It has become one of the most recognized symbols of protest around the world.

three people, two women and a man, waiting outside in a line up for a store, all three are wearing masks.

One of the poems that I found was “We Wear the Mask” written by Paul Laurence Dunbar in 1896.  It’s opening lines are:

“We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,–
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.”

So now we have another “use” of a mask.  The invisible mask that we wear to hide our true selves from other people.  This quote from Japanese author Haruki Murakami complements the idea: “It’s not the people who change, it’s the mask that falls off”.

The last poem I found was one where the American author Maya Angelou adapted Dunbar’s poem (above).  It’s long.  It has nothing to do with COVID and probably not much to do with Toronto either.  But in these unusual topsy turvy times, so what?  It’s not a happy poem.  But mix together COVID and its doleful fall-out, plus the protests surrounding Black Lives Matter and the simultaneous fight to increase recognition of Indigenous rights, stir it all together and presto, befuddled and disconsolate times.

“We wear the mask that grins and lies.
It shades our cheeks and hides our eyes.
This debt we pay to human guile
With torn and bleeding hearts . . .
We smile and mouth the myriad subtleties.
Why should the world think otherwise
In counting all our tears and sighs.
Nay let them only see us while
We wear the mask.

We smile but oh my God
Our tears to thee from tortured souls arise
And we sing Oh Baby doll, now we sing . . .
The clay is vile beneath our feet
And long the mile
But let the world think otherwise.
We wear the mask.

When I think about myself
I almost laugh myself to death.
My life has been one great big joke!
A dance that’s walked a song that’s spoke.
I laugh so hard HA! HA! I almos’ choke
When I think about myself.

Seventy years in these folks’ world
The child I works for calls me girl

I say “HA! HA! HA! Yes ma’am!”
For workin’s sake
I’m too proud to bend and
Too poor to break
So . . . I laugh! Until my stomach ache
When I think about myself.
My folks can make me split my side
I laugh so hard, HA! HA! I nearly died
The tales they tell sound just like lying
They grow the fruit but eat the rind.
Hmm huh! I laugh uhuh huh huh . . .
Until I start to cry when I think about myself
And my folks and the children.

My fathers sit on benches,
Their flesh count every plank,
The slats leave dents of darkness
Deep in their withered flank.
And they gnarled like broken candles,
All waxed and burned profound.
They say, but sugar, it was our submission
that made your world go round.

There in those pleated faces
I see the auction block
The chains and slavery’s coffles
The whip and lash and stock.

My fathers speak in voices
That shred my fact and sound
They say, but sugar, it was our submission
that made your world go round.

They laugh to conceal their crying,
They shuffle through their dreams
They stepped ’n fetched a country
And wrote the blues in screams.
I understand their meaning,
It could an did derive
From living on the edge of death
They kept my race alive
By wearing the mask! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

 

Wear your mask!  The COVID one that is.

I have been looking for places to find autumn colours and one idea I had last week was to visit Pinehills cemetery in Scarborough.  I didn’t find many colourful leaves but I did find a few things.  The most noticeable was the mix of names on the stones – Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Greek, and more, all mixed in together.  In Toronto we often live side by side and it seems that we are also buried side by side –  as in the three people below: Baffa, Rajamohan, and Gutierrez.

monuments, tombstones at Pinehills cemetery with flower arrangements on top of them

below: Black stones with crosses on the top seem to be the prefered headstone for those in the Greek community who are buried here.  Sometimes the name is in English, and sometimes in Greek.

monuments, tombstones at Pinehills cemetery

monuments, tombstones at Pinehills cemetery
below: Cemeteries are fascinating in that they give us a glimpses into cultures and traditions.   The decorating of grave sites with flowers and figurines adds a bit of joy to an otherwise somber setting.  You know that these people are remembered and their lives celebrated.

monuments, tombstones at Pinehills cemetery

decorated monuments, tombstones at Pinehills cemetery

monuments, tombstones at Pinehills cemetery

below: A large shamrock.  Beneath it, a Miss Kitty doll in purple and a pair of boxing gloves with the Irish flag.   Doesn’t it make you wonder why?  Was Frank Murphy a boxer?  What will my descendants leave by my grave?

monuments, tombstones at Pinehills cemetery including one with a shamrock etched on the front

below: I assume that the red tape covers an inscription that is already on the headstone for the spouse of the departed?  Perhaps a name and birthdate?  Written vertically in Mandarin…. and I wish that I could read some of them.  Is there something written about the deceased? Is there an epitaph?  I’ll have to be content to look at the lotus flower, bamboo, and dragons that decorate the stones.

Chinese tombstones in Pinehills cemetery, in Manadarin, one red tape over part of one stone

below: As I was leaving, this coyote came sauntering across the grass.  It wasn’t the least bit afraid of me (in my car).

coyote lying in front of monuments, tombstones at Pinehills cemetery

light brown coyote