Next act: a small convenience store
like Joy Cigar with a big pine magazine rack
and a few smart regulars to live it out with.
Maybe a single barber chair in a small back room
and an old Greek barber who keeps hours
Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturday mornings.
Or some young guy
with a neat-trimmed beard—I wouldn’t mind—
after all the old Greek barbers have retired.
I’ll keep up relations with my magazine connections—
Leanne, of course, at Disticor,
and Steve, from Metro News, with the wax-tipped moustache
and Yvonne, who might be retired
and long gone, of course.
We get older, sure, but people still need
Psychology Today, a pack of white Zig-Zags
and a Lucky 8 Ball scratchy, no?
We’d carry Vallum and Poetry,
ARC, CV2, and Poetry is Dead—
all the greatest journals.
And the local writers would come in to visit,
some blithely followed
by off-leash dogs needing baths.
Every February our bookkeeper would wonder
why we had such a good week
just after the P.L.R. cheques hit the street.
Our flash sign, designed by a local with an Etsy shop,
would dazzle and pop:
Jane Jacobs Variety
(maybe we lose the barber chair—
though probably Jane would have been fine
with the barber chair . . .)
Taddle Creek One Stop
And we could mock up a subway map
with the Taddle Creek One Stop marked slyly onto it
until some sticky T.T.C. official spots it, flashes badge
and makes us pull it down.
Owning the building would be real helpful,
but in the business plan
we only crowdfund the first five mil.
After this poem gets out
for a piece of this action
the V.C.s’ll be lining up with their chequebooks out front.