What I Learned Growing Up in Parkdale

For Sheena.

Summer, 2001 / No. 5

Cars never stop for pedestrians

Kids buy cigarettes in ones, it’s cheaper

Lake Ontario was once clean enough to swim in

Cadillacs invariably carry pimps

You can’t find parking on Sundays

Never trust others

Pick your nose when a pusher approaches

If you steal, you’ll get beat to a pulp

The cops only make you bleed worse

Guardian Angels are worse than cops

Hookers earn a decent living

The pimp always gets tired

Old women live alone

Boys trick you into giving them blow jobs

Residents’ associations only hassle single women

The guy who owns the grocery store kicks his workers

My babysitter turns tricks

After dark, every car carries one man

Hide-and-seek is a dangerous game

People can survive anything

Emily Pohl-Weary lives in Dovercourt Village. She will publish her latest teen novel, Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl, in 2013. She facilitates the Toronto Street Writers, a free writing group geared toward marginalized youth, and is the executive director of the Academy of the Impossible, a storefront learning centre. Her book about her grandmother, Better To Have Loved: The Life of Judith Merril (Between the Lines, 2002), won the 2003 Hugo Award for non-fiction. She is the author of the poetry collection Iron-on Constellations (Tightrope, 2005), the novel A Girl Like Sugar (McGilligan, 2004). Last updated summer, 2013.