Jane Jacobs Variety

Fall, 2022 / No. 50
Ian Phillips

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. 

Things change.

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.