The Front Door

January 22, 2008

My front door has a window. Several times a day I shuffle over and take a gander at the outside world. Temp’s always in the negative these days; the white snow unshakable. I know the houses across the street. At least, those within my field of view which presently encompasses five dwellings. War-era bungalows all, they’re reflections of my own place but with better roofs and cleaner siding. The one guy keeps his walks clean and swept right to the concrete. The gray place with the dark door, they have a big mutt with a strong voice. I hear him in the evening when the ice is quiet.

I don’t see the old man and his bulldog any more. The dog snapped at me one day, and the man once threatened to hit my stepdaughter with his walking stick if she tried to pet his crabby little dog. They walked past the window every day for years. They both had a laboured hobble. They seemed perfect for each other. For a while there the old man walked alone. I wondered what happened to his companion. He doesn’t walk any more. I miss his trudge down the block.

I watch for the mailman. He’s a quick bugger but sometimes I catch him through the window and throw him a nod. I don’t get much mail these days. Everything’s addressed to my wife. I like collecting the mail. I like seeing her name in print. Once in a while, I poke my head out the open door and take some nice lung-filling breaths. Cold. Clean. Breathing is pretty wonderful in a whitened scene such as the one I currently inhabit.

At night I take tea and gaze out at the porchlights and the window glows. I see figures moving about behind shades, living. All those lives out there. All that activity gone unnoticed. Lots of footprints in the snow. My paw wrapped around my favorite mug. Breath steams the skinny windows. February’s in the mail.

Vignette #246

2 reader comments (closed)


Daniel N. Poitras

This is Off-topic and overy offensive comments.


They’ve taken Dylan, Bukowski, Purdy, Ginsberg, even Wally – and they keep coming back and they keep on collecting. Sneaking up behind us when we’re without our boys and snatching them up like thieves.

They tried to take Mike – nearly out on a table, under the lights, ripped open trying to grab his light – but Mike’s a tough guy, drunk on whiskey and aspirin – he got back up, sewed himself up and kept right on writing, fighting, reciting, being rowdy rowdy.

And what if they managed to steal him away from us – like all the others. If poetry doesn’t make us bullet proof, immortal, if we can’t just shake off pain and never grow weary and never grow tired or old – then why are we still doing it?

And if they take anymore of these sonsofbitches, like Andy, like Pat, Tommy, Jannie, Jared, or Mary or Buchanan then bring out the coffin, let the mourners comes.

The stars are not wanted, put out everyone – pack up the moon and dismantle the Sun, pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods, for nothing can ever come to any good.

‘Cuz I don’t want to walk these streets without these buggers. I couldn’t be there for Hank or Al and Gravel hasn’t ever shared a shot with me and he’s never rattled around my home – but his words inspired me and I have to respect’m – ‘cuz he’s courageous and fearless and a world without these fierce fuckers – just won’t do.

Jan 27, 2008 • 15:38



Cool, Daniel! Wow! Thanks for that! Not off topic or offensive. Damn, man…I don’t know what to say…

Thanks for your words. I’ll see you soon.

Jan 27, 2008 • 20:07

Front door of Mike and Kerry's place, January 2008

Front door of Mike and Kerry's place, January 2008



StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.

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