Paul Barclay


“The cops can beat a man to death”

The cops can beat a man to death
in plain view
and the Toronto Scum in it wisdom
tries not to look too closely
so the issue fades away.
The cops are some tough nuts
for a city paper to deal with.
But if a beggar knows someone with a car or has a TV
they put it on the front page
so the sidewalk citizens will chase her away.
That’s a problem the Toronto Scum
is big enough to deal with.
They’re tough enough
to scare a woman in her 60s
with vigilante justice.
They don’t even know where
she lives, or who she is, for Christ’s sake.
Give us fifty cents to pay
for our phony jobs, our cars, TVs, and families, they say.
We have on our front page
the photograph of someone you can hate.
She’s the reason you have to work so hard
and why you can’t swim in the lake.
Let’s say it’s an issue
of integrity, and public safety.
And, oh yeah, why is it
we don’t have enough cops
to keep the scum away?

I am an ex-pat Canadian living in Korea. Having studied literature at the University of Toronto and the University of Manitoba, I had a chapbook of poems published in Winnipeg in 1993 (Creole, Pachyderm Press) and at around the same time was involved in publishing zines of political poetry. Some recent work can be found online in ditch.

(author retains copyright)