Like burning coals nine bullets glide…

by Steven McCabe

in this lossI do not love thee

The poem you see

is not the poem

I see,


a merchant

(of some privilege)

in Upper Canada.

new black whiteI do not love thee 4bb

His ruffled sleeves


with grease and


I do not love thee 2y9

Your poem

has been singed

by musket powder,

or perhaps

a mishandled lantern,

he mutters,

eating and drinking.

Pausing to smoke from a packed horn pipe.

that red nightlost boy

And more eating

and drinking and

striking the flint


this stainI do not love thee 3

 My poem,

on the other 


(jabbing with the fork)

 buckles and heaves,


beneath the fruits of commerce.

Utilitarian in its task.

How opposite to your


I do not love thee 11I do not love thee 2

Stanzas fallen,


on the floor of an electric carriage.

I do not love thee ww

A volley of

projectiles silencing

the pocket-knife

you gestured with.

A strange brew

of calamity

 brought upon


I do not love thee 2yyI do not love thee 4

My eyes are closed

upon your plight,

I do not love thee

or thy sacrifice.

black and white drama colourizedtwodno


One late summer night last July, 18 year old Sammy Yakim commandeered and emptied a streetcar in Toronto while waving around a small knife and holding his genitals. He was surrounded by a bevy of police officers and shot dead. One of the nine bullets might have missed. Then they tasered him.


I created a Sammy Yakim – Mayor Rob Ford (as merchant of Upper Canada) visual dialogue depicting ‘the chain of office’  as representative of corporate social values having little or no compassion.


Upper Canada (b.1791, the predecessor of modern Ontario) was considered by Reformers (see Upper Canada Rebellion) as a rigged game with ‘haves’ and ‘have nots.’  To contextualize this social dynamic: Sammy Yakim would not have been accorded the privilege afforded those with position or connections to the establishment of that time.


Could his life have been valued any less, anywhere, any time?


The idea for titling this post Like burning coals nine bullets glide came from poetic verse in  ‘The U.E.; A Tale of Upper Canada’ by William Kirby:

Like burning coals two rifle bullets glide!

Page 170



The Colton Map of Upper Canada (1855)