NIAGARA FALLS TO TORONTO
Look, we were running late
because we lingered too long at the Falls.
Traffic backed up for 40 miles outside of Toronto
Road work and rush hour
We had a reading at This Ain’t Rosedale Library,
guests of Charlie Huisken,
with poet friends, Jim Christy and Robert Priest
who we met in Victoria last year
at the Pacific Festival of Books,
After hours of sniffing tailpipes
we found Spadina Ave but couldn’t find the Super 8
The little Super 8 sign was tucked
inside a mall and lost in so many neon signs in Chinatown
Then we couldn’t find the garage
So we drove around the block
to the back of the mall hoping to find the garage
There it was. But the electronic garage door was locked
and there was no call button to get someone to open it
When a car came out of the garage
we shot through the open door but the roof rack
full of books was too high and couldn’t make clearance
so we had to back out of the garage,
empty the roof rack, take the roof rack off the roof
and put it in the back of the van
and wait for the garage door to open again.
It was one of these 5 story underground garages
with weird cobwebs of black asbestos type insulation
on the walls and ceiling
We entered the garage and followed a sign with an arrow:
“Super 8 Motel/P3”
We followed the arrows down and down and down
through the circles of a spidery apocalyptic hell
Down and Down
We found a parking space
We were going to be late for the reading
So we grabbed essentials from the van
And took the glass elevator up
You could see the insides of the mall closed for the night
Everyone was gone or dead
Empty offices where nothing was ever accomplished
Hit with the plague or some other disease, skeletons of cubicles
We walked out into a hallway but no sign of a lobby.
David, Terri and I pushed on down the silent hallway
We finally found the lobby
Three stories above the main street.
I had no idea where I was or how this all worked.
What floor were we really on?
Where is the earth?
We checked in
There was a separate elevator from the lobby to the room to the street
This was not the same elevator that went to P3
We took the lobby elevator up to our room on the 85th floor
Which was weird because there were only 5 floors in the building.
There was the ground floor which was street level.
The Lobby which was on the second floor
And then 84th floor
The elevator won’t take you anywhere
unless you swipe it with your plastic magnetized room key.
Before we ever got to the 85th floor we rode up and down
in the elevator wondering why we couldn’t get to our room
Eventually we figured it out
Swipe, swipe, swipe (it should have worked the first time but
I had the card in backward and upside down)
We got David set up in his room with wireless
Then we ran down the hall to our room and put away our bags.
But Terri had to go back down to the van in the P3 level
to get her poems for the reading
She said she would meet us in the lobby
Which I thought was on the street level but it wasn’t, it was on the 3rd floor
If you take the street entrance elevator
I washed my face and got David, got in the elevator, swiped the card,
We landed in the lobby
Terri wasn’t there so we went down the elevator
and waited on the street in case I misunderstood her
but she wasn’t there and it was cold so we got back in the elevator
and went back up to the lobby and sat down and waited.
Sometimes it is best to sit in one place and let the other person find you
Terri took a while to find us in the lobby
She got lost on level P3 or something like that.
She had to take the elevator from the 85 floor to the lobby
and then go through the lobby to the back of the building
and take the garage elevator back down
through skeletons and cubicles, abandoned offices and mall
to the cancerous and furry P3
to get her poems out of the van
This took a while
We all got in the elevator, swiped the room key card,
ended up on the street amidst crazy blinking neon signs in Chinese
We found a taxi that took us around in circles because
every street was one way going the wrong way.
The taxi finally dropped us on a corner
a half block from the book store going the other way.
We trudged down the street to This Ain’t Rosedale Library
where we were greeted by Charlie Huisken
Introductions were made and then we headed across the street for a bite to eat.
Jim Christy and Virginia joined us, Michael Boughn, Victor Coleman,
Robert Priest and his wife and it was great to seem them all …
I love Toronto.
After a beautiful reading we took lots of pictures of each other
Then walked down to Spadina Ave and had a grand banquet of Chinese food.
David had clay pot chicken, Terri had egg drop soup and shrimp fried rice
and some sake. I had cod in black bean sauce
I want to go back to Toronto soon.