Jordan says that if you are incapable of cruelty, then you are at the mercy of those who are…

For reasons that are unclear to me now, I remember a time when I couldn’t even comprehend hurting someone physically; however, I was very young.

I was 15 the first time I recognized that people were genuinely intimidated by me. It happened in the middle of a Donnybrook at a country dance. I was terrified and yelled some gutteral scream while ripping off my jacket while bracing for a fight: and everyone stopped mid-conflict and were staring at me; dozens of frightened eyes.

At that moment, I guess I became capable of cruelty. I remember their faces and my delight.

Dennis Mantin


I’ve been looking at the world we have.

And I’ve got this peace of mind.

Except when I am seeing you.

There’s no peace for me to find.

It’s all the drama and confusion.

I think it’s best that I’m alone.

If all consciousness is illusion.

I’ll stick to writing on my phone.

There’s no need for conversation.

I’ll just smile, sometimes wave.

All the memories are salvation.

They’ll be some I’ll even save.

Dennis Mantin

What Mother Said…

My mother told me repeatedly that if I didn’t have anything good to say about someone, then it’s best to say nothing.

This is also the same person who said about a couple that she didn’t particularly like: “It’s a good thing they married each other… because it would be a shame to ruin 2 homes with them!”

Dennis Mantin


It’s quiet here in the mornings…

Stillness and peace they don’t last long.

There’s a bird song heard by my cat Ned.

And I think Ned thinks that’s all wrong.

The heat arrives in darkness…

June breaks up the winter freeze.

And all those distant memories.

That brought us to our knees.

There are no predictions for the future.

On this mornings rise.

But Ned could be the winner here.

See hope in that cat’s eyes.

Dennis Mantin


She is closer to 12 than 11. I tell her she is loved, and I am proud of her and happy that she is in my life…

She tells me that this is a confusing time for kids her age with all the gender fluidity and the cliques. We both agree that children opting for surgery is not a good idea…

I tell her the cliques are nothing new and didn’t feel I fit in anywhere. She listens and nods. I tell her just to be herself. She seems confident and pleased.

Lily texts me and says that she is happy to have me as a friend.

The sun is shining, and the morning commuters seem pleasant and bathed. It looks like it could be a good one…

Dennis Mantin


I hear him before I see who it is…

Unconsciously, I know who it is.

He arrived in the neighborhood a few months back. He’s young, maybe 20, and angry.

I try to get close enough to hear the details of his rage but not too close. I lose this battle to more street noise. His arms are waving, and he is yelling his thoughts… then he goes quiet and continues pacing Queen Street.

I want to know his past without being part of his future.

“Impossible” I tell myself and move on.

Dennis Mantin


The heat brings them out from the warmth of their winter cocoons.

Striking out against the masses with their tired old complaints…

Blaming, pointing, staring rage, and discontent.

Poverty and addiction are at the root cause. However, neither appears to be what they are.

I remember the mindset. You don’t know you’re in it when it’s all you know. Like the joke about being stupid or dead. Everyone knows what you are except you.

Suffering is addicting too.

Dennis Mantin

The Abyss

They said if I stared long enough into that haunting dark abyss.

That I could break the darkness and see light, I couldn’t miss.

You see, I have this peace of mind, and when I close my eyes.

I’ve made friends with the darkness; to my horror and surprise!

Dennis Mantin

Alone On The Bus

Cutting through the darkness of King Street West in the 3a.m. alone with no other passengers, on my way to work is peaceful.

It’s Monday, and a quartet of workers just arrived at Bathurst. They seem melancholy.

A young man reeking of pot just got on in the entertainment district…

And the day begins for some and ends for others.

Dennis Mantin

The Measure

She said she took the measure. But it came a little short.

It sounded much like confidence. Without the backing or support.

You know I had the warning. It was right there on my tongue.

But she wasn’t much on listening. So, no words were spoke or sung.

I was in the mood for silence . You could say all words were moot.

And she had that look in her eyes. If she had a gun, she’d shoot.

Sometimes, it’s just easier to turn and walk away.

To be the bigger person and get to live another day.

Dennis Mantin