I’m walking under the trees which grow tall and wide on either side of the street overlapping up top forming a green/orange canopy giving me that eternal shade interrupted solely by the sun coming through in thick beams of dim yellow nowhere – this is the urban forest I say, this is my afternoon in the forlorn happiness, this is my clumsy ode to day-tripping, my Lucy in the Sky with Hemorrhoid Fever, my Tarantella sex trade and middle class infidelity, in my bag is a bottle of water, two joints of grade A grass, a Mortadella and Provolone sandwich and a book by Henry Miller, “Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch”…leisurely stoned I make my way down the residential streets smell of freshly cut grass and cooked meat all around music coming from backyards sounds of laughter and arguments and stale ideas mixed with an easy groove of sunshine morbidity, cars drift by lazily and not often and the busy sounds of main streets somewhere in the distance are always present, but in the forefront is the ever-present singing of birds and small things running and crawling and in those moments when there are no cars or people anywhere you would swear you are in the countryside, thick green all around of bush and trees and big houses with stone terraces and young housewives drinking gin and tonics on the front porch and me thinking about this and that and nothing and everything and Jughead and Archie Bunker and Shubert and Mozart and Charlie Parker and Billie Holliday and my old Kiss records freewheeling up and down the rock and roll hangover morning-beauty all this so calm open-friendly in feeling and movement…when I reach the end of a street and cross over the full force of the sun hits me unimpeded by the elm-tree-shadows and cars race by too often and I move quickly to reach the other side and the shelter of the green, aaaaaaaaaahhh, that happy shade like a blanket of cool easy running and I don’t like the country for long periods cuz it’s just too damn far away man, but in Winnipeg you live under a canopy of trees in an urban forest of shadow and neon sing-song baby and you can move from the calm easiness of freshly cut lawns and thick green to the bar and café-lined strips of little Italy or the downtown drunk-fest in a matter of 15 or 20 minutes, from wherever you are, from any part of the city, and for a man who doesn’t drive and despises cars like myself, it’s alright man…

Down a side street and across a busy intersection, then back in the shadows and the houses begin to get larger and I can hear a band jamming from a garage down the street, loud and sloppy and I dig it, they’re playing an old April Wine song, “OOWATANITE”, sounding almost as perfectly and beautifully lousy as the original, man oh man…that song came out in the 70’s decade I grew up in neighborhood not that far from here similar surroundings similar feeling, so I go back, back, all the way to 1973, my best friend Barney and me running the streets of Fort Rouge (little Italy) under the shade of the elm trees driving the corner-store owner crazy (name of Big Pete) crashing in and out of his place continually yapping screaming laughing stealing Aero Bars and Dubble Bubble gum, huge dog in back yard chained up to the fence and man did Big Pete threaten us with that wild animal, I swear if he could have done it without consequence he would have sicked that big black bastard on our skinny asses, but we were children deep heavy-deep in the throes of living large and happy, we were swinging in that love affair with life man, we were incompetent little fringe kids coming from poor working class families and our fathers screamed and cursed, our mothers loved and coddled, our friends threw rocks at windows, our neighbors fucked their spouses at night (only at night) and sometimes even fucked their neighbor’s spouses and grinned and watered their lawns and kept the secret, we were bastards of the young man, full of soul and daring and mischievous unending energy…back to Barney, tall lanky Native kid got me into drawing and comic books and movies from there I started reading novels and listening to music and playing guitar and my group of friends expanded as all races were represented in that neighborhood, my buddy Abraham was Trinidadian, Mervin was German, Chris was Black, Tom was Chinese, and Gordon was simply insane, Indians walked down the sidewalks in their turbans talking calmly with beautiful voices and smiles, Filipinos sat on their front porches smoking cigarettes and laughing, the Whites barbecued and drank beer in tiny backyards, everywhere you looked there was cursing and cussing and loving and hating and though perfect harmony eluded us as it always will, it wasn’t deadly disharmony either and the Italians roamed the neighborhood like old Mafia characters or hung out in front of Bar Italia Café as their sons burned rubber up and down the narrow streets in their Camaros and Firebirds us younger kids shouting, WOW, YEAH, COOL!!!…

Back to now, the 2000’s, the 21st century man, I’m 40 years old walking the streets still feeling the past all around and that invulnerability I felt as a child, hell things haven’t changed that much (at a glance) there’s even a fellow walking towards me with long hair and sideburns and bell bottoms, we pass each other, he smiles and says “hello”, I smile back, two cats from the 70’s walking and wandering and wondering feeling the lovely sadness, been told many times I look like I was transported straight from the 70’s into the here and now, black boots, long hair (thinning up top), 7-day beard, jeans, un-tucked shirt, well well, the world has dimmed and gotten just that much more frightening and art has all but disappeared, but I remain who I was, a bit more beaten and fucked-up, dustier and slower, but hell baby, I’m still here feeling sad and groovy and lovely and wild!

Just a ten minute bus ride from here you’ve got that urban beat concrete neon litter soaked alleyways bums hanging out on every corner begging for drinks as their livers fling their last hurrah, brings me to thinking about my night shift job at local college, casual employment centre across the street every morning the lost and dizzy limping their way to that godforsaken necessary evil one after the other more bent and twisted and misshapen than the next, yet every time a quarter is placed into the newspaper box in front of the college, every time to the man, only ONE paper is pulled out, only ONE when they could easily have grabbed the whole bunch, THAT I say loudly and proudly is why there is still hope…still hope in the midnight garden of misery, in the artless 21st century drowning in intellectual bankruptcy, still hope as the butchers maim the children, as the “moralists” burn one more witch on one more cross, as I work yet another shitty job just to keep a roof over my hungover head, ah yes, hope hiding out in the shadows ready for its next curtain call and I take these morbid thoughts about my job firmly around the neck and throttle them with extreme prejudice, that’s it…

I approach a small park about the size of a football field called Peanut Park take in a breath scan the surroundings, young lady sun tanning over there, a muscle-bound fitness couple laying on a blanket looking at the sun, old man leans on cane and smiles, guy walking his dog sneezes and kicks his dog in the ass, huge mansions circle the park looking dark and gray, hmmmm, something not right about this, ain’t nothing right about that fitness couple that’s for sure, I hear a bird sing sing and follow my shoes in a straight line reach a busy intersection watch and hear all the cars racing by in such a goddamn hurry you’d think the world would crumble to its knees if they didn’t make their appointments, sprinting across the intersection I find myself in another park on the river this time sounds of traffic receded to a distant drone thick trees shadow the sun few scattered people hanging around, yes, this is it I believe, sit on park bench and light a joint puffing deep and slow sun beams coming from behind I feel it on my neck and back warmth crawling right through my body smoke surrounds my head then dissipates river swooshing in the back-sounds three young ladies all blonde young nubile with one baby carriage each laughing and singing and blowing bubbles an old man in a fedora and blue tie rides an electric tricycle motor humming I look up at the sky pitch-blue-perfect large elm trees framing it in their cast-out leaf covered branches, lovely, just lovely, I open my book, a light breeze caresses my face, for a brief instant the faint smell of gasoline fills the air, I hear the river moving with the wind, I begin to read…

The slow easy movement continues, I’m now right by the river up on a rise crouching between two trees enormous trunks reaching out from the ground leaning down into the muddy water, I’m eating my Mortadella sandwich and all is quiet…a boat comes up the river slowly woman in bikini on the bow 2 or 3 other people talking and laughing I catch the glint from beer bottles and the dim sound of a radio, tiny waves crash into the bank from the boat’s wake, I hear them softly lapping up the afternoon, river winds its way out of sight high-rises sprouting up at the bend as the urban encroaches itself on everything everywhere sun starting to go down here is where I light my second joint of the day, I feel it attack my throat dissolve into something smooth and dizzy, lightheaded I watch and feel a swell of easy long-lost smiles come over me, sounds of the city so dim and far away they can’t be real, I figure it’s around 8 PM and I sit and watch for another long moment listening to the water, the sun dips slightly, the wind catches my smile, everything goes purple and orange, I hear a child laughing, downtown the street gangs fuck each other for another lousy buck, and the mayor’s gone goddamn loony, and my wife will be getting home right about now, and tonight we’ll get drunk and listen to Jazz records, and we’ll write and sing and argue and put my lovely mother to sleep,

then bang-a-gong nice and tight


the laughter


from a distance…

Tony Nesca



Okay –

People have told me to do this for years, ad nauseam, as a matter of fact – now, for someone who is trying to become a full-time writer and leave that endless filthy string of one shit job after another behind, giving it away for free didn’t make sense, still doesn’t really, but “one thing leads to another” they say – ad nauseam – and here I am…


What you’re getting is a bi-weekly collection of stories, poems, articles and rants, some brand new and unpublished, some old and already published, all just a bit crazy, uncensored, vitriolic, curb-stomping, street-happy/sad free-flowing vibes described by many as “word music” –


So let’s go for a walk down Action Strasse in the dark, and watch the circus come alive –


Tony Nesca

September, 2015


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