POEM: “Because Montreal and the Irish Pub.” — ‘You need to get out more I think.’

Montreal Irish Pub

Pint at the pub

Because Montreal and the Irish Pub.

Because I was already beaming full I was
Just a trip to the Jean Talon
And the Jean-Coutu
Can set my heart aflame in warmth
Because I am in Montreal was what it was.
Because I saw a Guinness board
On St Laurent and the wood of the Irish Pub
And I was wearing my Guinness sweatshirt
With high-waist pants like a gal pal from Toulouse
Because I felt fresh in my hair cut
Because I felt healthy on a Sunday stroll
Because I remembered all the days and nights
At the Mayflower Pub in Ottawa…
But not that that’s where I met lovers
Because I was not feeling lonely in my alone
Because I’m in Montreal and on my way home.
Because I walked through the door
And smelled the sweet smell of – wood.
Not Royal Oak pubs like in Ottawa out of a box
Like the sweet wood of the tavern in Bloomsbury.
A sign that pointed to Cork – some miles, of course.
Because a band was playing some Irish jigs
Because I would have myself a Guinness, for sure.
Because I’m not sure how it will go down
If I’ll be hazy Miss Dizzy and full of wobbly anxiety
Because the Guinness went down so well it does
Because of my book, and the Oh! What’s that?!
Because there’s a man in dreadlocks that I love
Because I care more for the James Joyce I just spotted on the wall.
Because I’m with a pint, and the smell of wood
And James Joyce in the Irish Pub in Montreal
Because I’m thinking of the Galway Pub he took me to
And the winding roads he drove from the South to North.
Because the feeling of being quaint in Galway with a pint
Because the feeling of cozying into the familiar Mayflower stout
Because all that desperation is behind me now
Because I bought plants in a box
That I wore on my head in the metro grabbing smiles
Because we needed green around here
Even if it’s in the box on my head now
Because I had brunch with a friend and spoke of work
Because I live just down the street from brunch
Because of all this I enjoyed the pint at the pub
And leaned against the wall up close
Because the band was good and a man said sit down
Because the conversation was calm and interesting – this is Montreal!
Because the man knew the chap in the band
And the band knew him with whom I had the Galway room
Because of the Irish accent
Because of the memory of the Irish accent
Because of the smell and scenes of the rural Ireland
And the simplest of scenes like Kitty Mac’s on the Atlantic
Because I had so much fun drinking one pint
And conversation
Because the girl in the band knew the person who painted Leonard Cohen
Because we’re all connected to something here grand.
And because when I left I said to two people entering:
“C’est bon ‘en dans! It’s great music,”
And the guy said ‘then why don’t you join us!”
Because I was invited but didn’t indulge
Because I have Jean-Talon Market fish to cook at home
Because earlier I took a Portuguese tart
And sprinkled cinnamon just like the man before.
Because I am no more desperate to consume
I kept on
And kept walking home on Sherbrooke.
And I thought of you
Because I often do and the new man mentioned New Zealand.
How he knew a man who visited once
Sat on a mountain and said he could stay there forever.
Because I realize it was never ‘in love’
Because I know now I just wanted to heal you
Soften rib cartilage that you kept private
That punctured your lungs – imagine you with the wind knocked outta ya!
Because you said she could ask you to marry her
Because what, you were too afraid to?
Because for all the insecurity I demonstrated and subservience,
When it lifts away the M.O. is the same for us:
I just wanted to give you love and rescue you from your shaming.
Because I’m not a saviour
Because I like to save
Because I wish to throw my arms around those men
And love them with pleasure and mouth and intellect
Because I wanted to give you tenderness
Because I care not a toss for response
Because I have come finally to the land of immigrants
Because when I step out –
There is always magic and it’s simple:
It’s just humans.
Because there are people who will invite me in
And talk with me about whatever things.
Because I am in contact with sweet wood
And found some James Joyce on the wall
Because I joined the Moroccan
And met his band man who knew him.
Because I have displaced from isolation
In Ottawa from couch and boring streets
Reckon it’s because I took a chance
And Chance is rewarding me now.
Because I am no longer desperate
Because there is always something next
Because I believe in beauty in a moment
Because I have clung to moments slipping from my hands
As they were in my naked lap in London, England
Because if I had put more time between then
And now I would have definitely forgotten
Because I have the chance now to heal
From a mother who cared not much for bonding
And for men moody bastards like my father
Away from a bullying disrespectful sister
Away from all family in Ottawa!
Into the streets of Montreal
On my own not the town of my mom’s choosing at the divorcing
Because I am healthy
Because some care about me
Because he brings me sushi in a nice bag to eat before shopping.
Because seeds on my baguette is enough to please me
Because when the trees grow green
I’ll be weeping
Because I will breathe in activity
And because hope will return to me
Because I yearn deep for intimacy
Because I am not desperate for convenience.
Because I can appreciate the scenery
Without become the scene.
Because if you read this,
You’d say,
“You need to get out more
I think.”

Sylvie Hill, Montreal, April 2019

Joyce at Montreal pub