Someplace on Sussex
(in Memory of Pierre Elliot Trudeau)
by Gord Sellar
was where he lived, I guess I was supposed to know
where, but I could never remember the number, you see.
I’m also dreadfully bad with birthdays. But I
remember a screen, it seemed wide at the time,
across the red shag of the carpet, and thereupon
this alien face looking out at me, demanding something.
Great man? Powerful statesman? Fascist monster?
I was too young to say. But I know one thing: his speeches
always seemed to be timed to pre-empt the Disney show.
In retrospect, I appreciate the interruption of American TV –
on Canadian business, after all – but back then it enraged
me to no end. Why not instead interrupt The Beachcombers?
So that my sisters and I, with all the impotent rage
of a long-wronged proletariat, fervently scowled,
and our hidden transcript bubbled out into the open:
an epithet. That was our eventual action of protest:
We called him Mister Bignose Crow-face Bottle-head Man.
If you look closely, you’ll see it makes sense, I swear.
It was just that, well, he was everywhere extremely pointy,
and somewhat red. With strange hair. A sort of
Kandinsky-ish clown; some kind of angular bozo.
I mistakenly imagined him on out on dates in Quebec,
with my homelier aunts, treading on their feet while they danced;
the desperate apologies, the revulsion. How far off I was.
I suppose I should show respect, now that he’s dead:
Can something good be said of Mister Crowface Bottle-head?
A brain in the crow is worth two of a Bush. Better a clown than a fool.
— 30 Sept. 2000
February 8, 2012