Friday, October 30, 2015

Steve Luxton: Night of the Quebec Referendum, 1995


There’s a riot scene at the Jean Talon Macdonald’s.
With most customers at home glued to vote returns,
The idle burger-gals yadder,
Rhapsodize about downtown dress and shoe shops,
Argue over who in Hollywood’s “hot”,
As, converged there on the off-night,
Their boyfriends whoop and cavort.

The only old guy here is me
Straining to hear the results on the ceiling corner TV.
Junior gangstas obstruct curious citizenry.
Too bad.

After one more dancer rocks my booth,
I give up repeatedly pointing at the screen,
Cup my ears,
When, nearby, a young waitress pulls
A lad onto her lap.

Waving a big french fry at his mouth,
She croons whether his
Other “momma” is as sweet.

“Let go!” he replies, grabbing it
And shoving it down her considerable cleavage.

–The Young, at fry-heat....
In such conditions, trying to follow Politics
Is the art of the impossible.

The TV suddenly goes blank,
The restaurant lights flicker.
Closing Time.
The young revelers begin leaving.
“Damn it!” I shout. “Who won?”
What?!” A sparkly-nailed girl says
Near the exit.
“The referendum! Who won?”

“Who cares!” she shrugs with a
D’you-live-in-a-museum? look.
Steps out just as
High over Montreal’s north-end,
A single bottle-rocket rises
Trailing forking, gilt glitters.
–A victory sign! But whose?

Lithely sidling past me, her lothario shouts–
“Hey, girl! Looks like
A party’s goin’ on!
You coming?”
Then like a virtuoso he
Break-dances out.

Born in Coventry, England, Steve Luxton has published five collections of poetry, most recently In the Vision of Birds: New and Selected Poems. His work has appeared widely in literary journals such as Canadian Forum, Canadian Literature, Fiddlehead, Sidestreet, and Jacket (Australia), and in Next Teller: A Book of Canadian Storytelling. The former co-owner and editor of DC books, he was one of the original editors of Matrix magazine and The Moosehead Review, and one of the founders of the now defunct Montreal Storytellers, an oral storytelling group which performed in both Canada and the U.S. Before retiring and moving to the Eastern Townships of Quebec, he taught English Literature at John Abbott College and Creative Writing at Concordia University. Luxton is presently working on a collection of poems with a political dimension.

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