I am Canadian

I am Canadian!
Politeness draped like doilies
Always fresh always
Dripping with I’m sorrys
Smile spread like butter
On an apologetic face.
Thank you notes tucked
In duotangs.
An ice skater giggles
“I am Canadian”

Completely unaware
Of the third world First Nation
Native… Canadians?
But they’re gone, right?
Somewhere in the prairies
They sip tea in the tee-pee and
Make snow angels, eh?

I am Canadian
I smile while I drink the taxi driver’s
He cries alone in his car
Accent mocked
Skin colour… other.

Canada smells like weed
And syrup
Fresh air and white conviction that
We are superior.
The Irish were oppressed too ya-know
We’re past all that now, aren’t we?

And don’t you dare say we’re American
Those people have real issues
“I didn’t know any black people until high school”
He shrugs
“Don’t all black parents hit their kids?”
Ching-Chong a white
Child’s game at recess.

But the Catholic church is
Hosting all these
Needy newcomers
So pat yourself on the back;
Slurp your wine and
Chew your Jesus because

That is the true north strong and free!
“The Chinese are taking over UofT”
The taxi driver hangs up his phone call
To his Mom

I am Canadian…
The words slink out.



Artwork by Ted Harrison “Whales of Monterrey”


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