Bushman’s Hallelujah

Bushman’s Hallelujah

The percussive beat

rolls on,

non stop in the night,

a quick pitter patting

of an excited heart,

a bushman’s hallelujah

The percussive beat

rolls on,

non stop in the night,

a quick pitter patting

of an excited heart,

a bushman’s hallelujah .

The beat slowed down

like water drops

running out

that dropped

progressively slower

to faint

and quiet beats,

that fade.

Dead silence

In the night

replaced them.

Planes landed .

Lights in windows

turned on ,

and silently

life continued

in them .

From “Ruminations Of The Dead” by PWChaltas

On Queen Street West

On Queen Street West

The sirens of the city

are traveling along

the fabric bazaars

and appliance stores

of Queen Street West.

The wood tin spire

of St Marks

lurches into the air

at an angle


The daylight heat

is blazing.

So is the fire.

The fire trucks

are bullets.

They careen

breakneck down

the street.


red and yellow cabs

follow right

behind them.

Do they care

about the fire?

The fire is burning

somewhere along

Queen Street


black smoke is rising

up into the air.

From “The Black and Other Base Elements “by PWChaltas

Dinner Conversation With Self

Dinner Conversation  With Self

Sat down at my table
for a dinner for one .
Salmon on salad
water with lemon
done quickly
to catch an evening  flick.
Soon an elderly lady
with a white chin beard
and a head of grey hair
sat at a  table beside me .
Rotund body wrapped in red ,
complete with her imaginary friend ,
she never stopped talking
the whole time she was there .
“Charles proposed this
and mother she just disagreed ‘”
she said
and on she went all through her meal
of burger and frites ,
with a wavering thumb .
She only spoke  briefly
and ever so curtly
with the waitress ,
but in her head
the conversation
fluidly continued .
I thought to myself :
What’s less uncomfortable ?
This lady who leaves
nothing unsaid ,
or a diner next to me
eating  in deafening silence .
I’ll pick this lady I confided
secretly to myself,
and under my breath .
After finishing I waited
awhile  to make her feel
welcome and more at ease
then got up smiling  to leave .
There was a disappointment
marked on her face .
She was losing a
dining companion ,
but she never stopped talking
regardless .

Outside in a lobby cafe
I noticed another
elderly lady
was sleeping on
folded newspaper pillow,
her head flat on the table .
She was thin  pale, frail
but well dressed .
She was dreaming or dead .
A young coupled checked
to make sure
that she wasn’t ill or dead,
before I could get there .
Old age really sucks
I thought to myself
but being there alone
Is  without question
much  worse.




Surrounded by concrete,
and a crescent moon,
the obsolescence
of hearts confounds.
The milquetoast of regret
and shattered glass
cuts a tear
of cerium oxide rust
in the soul.
It’s imperfect with
the screech of feather
cutting air,
as crackpots entertain
trained monkeys
on bandwidths,
while we engage
in the urbane .

From “Persephone’s Call” by PWChaltas



My wife and I just returned tonight from a late dinner with friends at La Societe, a French Restaurant on Bloor Street  in the heart of downtown Toronto . It’s a wonderful replica of an old world Parisian bistro that makes you feel like you’re in downtown Paris  ( the 8th or the 6th or the 1st ) rather than in Toronto . It was for us a quick fix and escape from the banal . The concept and experience of downtown, the buildings, the lights, the experience of being around a crowd for an urban social adventure in itself is an escape . Downtown, no matter which city you may live in or around, is that destination that is easily and quickly accessible, where you can experience a difference in the texture of life. Here the mundane, melancholy, or stressful seem to dissolve temporarily . The experience itself lingers even after you leave the city core .

After an engaging dinner with our friends, on the way back home in the car I started, and my wife soon chimed in, as we took turns singing ” Downtown.”  “Downtown” is a  song made popular by Petula Clarke in the 60’s. An addictive tune , its’ words carry a seductive message . I have a vivid memory of the first time that I heard that song . I was about 3 or 4 years old. While playing with the radio one afternoon, I stumbled on to the song, promptly stopped fiddling, and listened. That song captured a child’s attention and imagination. It  rooted itself in my psyche. Only recently have I realized that song was the reason as a teenager that I started taking long walks downtown after my father suddenly passed away one night in February of 1974. The habit continued right into my 30’s . Now I walk along the shores of the Lake Ontario, around trees, rocks, birds, and water. Back then those walks were around city lights, busy streets, and crowds. It was my escape, and the beginning of my habit of long walks that lead to the word and to poetry. it’s strange how a  random childhood experience of listening to music can shape features of an adult life. Words that are put to music are important. The music can be  powerful, seductive, or sublime, but the words and the way they are perceived can shape the future in many ways for the very young or the suitably impressionable. Below is a great original  video that I found and would like to share, of the music that influenced one child into adulthood. it’s my hope that you are always aware of the words that are put to music, that you listen to and think about what they are trying to say or evoke, about how they may influence you now or later. I hope the music and the words you experience are sublime , beautiful, relevant or at the very least entertaining. May the word and music enhance your experience of life and of the human condition as they have mine.
P.s. I only recently found out that Petula Clarke was a great influence on Serge Gainsbourg, and that he admired her, as many still do. Here is her video: