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An Unfortunate Dance (Through Toronto).j

An Unfortunate Dance (Through Toronto)

by Brandon McCarthy

Begin the beguine

discompose the gams

set free the hogs

of war for a temporary spat

before they’re slaughtered

and placed inside a $12.00 (Plus tax & tip)

Sepulchre of Eggs Benedict

at a roadside diner in Etobicoke.


Begin the beguine

and watch where your feet

fall. Sometimes John and Jane

of the Doe clan don’t walk so fast

and brazenly stand too close to the tracks

goading the Red Rocket. Stand back and tap-dance

don’t help them coax it.

The Red Rocket is unpredictable.


Shimmy through the tunnel at Ossington

and find an empty seat before the cockamamie

tenors, baritones, and sopranos hop on

the transfer at St. George and Spadina

spilling into the sardine can

(which has been overfilled and

under-flavoured since 1970)

ready to sing through bleached teeth

their Swan Song for passersby

on Bay and Front.


Begin the beguine

and shake your way through Yonge and Dundas Square

and through High Park and through Parkdale.

Swing with the Yuppies and Hipsters on Queen West

and jive with the poor souls scattered outside

St. Francis’ Table waiting for the $1.00 Lunch

or Dinner on any given day of the week.


Bop your way through Rosedale and

Summerhill and tip your hat to the ladies

wearing their haute fur coats

and to the gentlemen walking their French-poodles

through Scrivener Square to the

locomotive LCBO for a sixer of cheap beer.

They probably won’t notice you

but in life like dance

it’s the gesture that counts.


Begin the beguine and

dance like nobody’s watching

cause nobody is watching

they’re all too busy for dancing it seems

and if they are watching you

don’t be afraid to show them the routine

and invite them to dance too.


It’s the only way to survive

these days.

Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy is a Newfoundland-born, Toronto-based poet and fiction writer who currently attends Sheridan College's Hazel McCallion Campus where he is completing his Honours degree in Creative Writing & Publishing. 

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