IN MEMORY OF JON PENNER
Strange death even the half-tamed winds
off Lake Ontario moan through Toronto ...
Leaves in High Park are telling stories
how trapped hours in your rusting car
the police took you to jail
instead of hospital.
They say you hanged yourself in the night!
You who were a semi-pro fighter
not fighting for glory
but for the peace of a needle in your arm.
This fighter hanged himself?
Cat burglar who clung to life on frozen sills!
You defeated the needle
and forsook the city's catspaw money
to live miles down a deserted road -
alone - in a house so haunted the moon
glowed through cracks at midday.
Strange they feared your politics
of democracy while you lived alone
writing novels and making magic
with your silver chloride half-tones.
The wind you now haunt
tells strong tales ...
the leaves are redder this fall.
Your murderers twist and turn
and don't know why
the full moon on the Ottawa Valley
glows brighter than the sun.
- Chris Faiers (April 2006)