Tag Archives: Vancouver real estate

Waiting for Slim/ Melania’s Cheekbones

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Waiting for Slim

Sunday afternoon in late June
I’m sitting outside The Post-Coital Beetle
watching the traffic on Broadway,
at the next table, four bearded guys
wearing flat caps and plaid shirts,
looking like the bastard sons of Mumford,
are downing pints of over-hopped pale ale.
At the traffic lights, an eighteen year old Asian kid
checks his hair in the rear view mirror
while his Lamborghini growls
like a panther on a leash.
And who is this slouching along Broadway
his bald head shining in the sun?
No, it is not an image out of Spiritus Mundi,
it’s not one of the boys of summer,
it’s Slim,
a man with all the charm of a pit bull with distemper;
his remaining hair is scrunched into an angry man-bun
he’s carrying a magazine
which he slams down on the table in front of me
“Look at this bullshit!” he whines.

Later, as the sun goes down over Point Grey
and automatic timers turn lights
on in empty Styrofoam mansions,
we settle in to a plate of nachos
and one pitcher follows another
until we find ourselves face to face
trading lines like Lennon and McCartney (well, not quite)
and driven by our shared admiration
of Melania Trump’s granite cheekbones
we compose this maudlin cri de couer

his megalomania
don’t let it stain ya
don’t let it restrain ya
don’t let it contain ya
and if he should fail ya
remember this:
you know the size
of his hands
and his……..

(the last line is drowned out
by the roar of a feral Ferrari
tearing down Broadway).

there is no stopping us…

Ivanka (a slimverse)

no offence
but your dad’s
a wanka.

there was more, but I can’t remember…..

All Bubbles Burst ( 4 haiku)

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All Bubbles Burst

white Lexus on lease
new suit, shoes, two day stubble
bubble? what bubble?

cherry blossoms bloom
well-dressed ladies from Beijing
pose with hand on hip.

cherry blossoms bloom
the air is sticky with greed
houses, for sale, sold.

cherry blossoms bloom
the wrecking ball’s lazy swing
petals, debris, spring.


These haiku appeared at the height of the recent real estate boom in Vancouver; a boom that was driven by speculation, primarily by foreign buyers. Real estate became a commodity. Houses that had been around since the 1920’s were demolished and replaced by larger houses, some with an architectural style that had no context in the Pacific North West (white tiled French Colonial). Around where I live there was constant disruption: dump trucks, concrete trucks, agents knocking on my door, white Lexus’ (Lexi ?) driving up and down in front of the house every weekend, neighbours cashing in and leaving. Then like all bubbles, it burst or to be more exact, floated off to Toronto.

I have updated  the post for in



Cherry Blossoms Bloom (3 haiku)

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Cherry Blossoms Bloom


cherry blossoms bloom

well-dressed ladies from Beijing

pose with hand on hip


cherry blossoms bloom

the air is sticky with greed

houses, for sale, sold.


cherry blossoms bloom

the wrecking ball’s lazy swing

petals, debris, spring.

These 3 poems appeared separately in Spring of last year, I thought they worth assembling together. They are probably the only poems ever written about cherry blossoms and the Vancouver Real Estate Market.

Flip, Flip and Fly – the Crazy world of Vancouver Real estate

The great Paul Simon once said “I’ve got some real estate here in my bag”. Yep, I had to go that far back to find a real estate reference in a poem or song. I’ll get back to poetry and real estate later in this post but in the meantime check out this excellent piece of investigative journalism which appeared in last Saturday’s Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/investigations/the-real-estate-technique-fuelling-vancouvers-housing-market/article28634868/.

It paints a depressing picture of opportunism and greed, it reminded me in a lot of ways of the movie “The Big Short”. In particular, this quote from one realtor, a Mr. Wang:

“I have multiple properties and an annual income 10 times higher than the average Canadian. I am making more money than multiple doctors” .

To quote “The Big Short”: “he’s not confessing, he’s bragging”.

I live in the area at the epicentre of the bidding wars described in the article and every weekend I see real estate agents in white BMW SUV’s cruising up and down the road with prospective clients. As a result, a siege mentality has developed among people like me who want to stay in the neighbourhood and have no intention of selling (my next door neighbour has put a sign on her door saying “I am not selling my house”). There is also a lot of anger (justified or not) in the community at the destruction of perfectly good houses, some of which have been around since the 1920’s, and their replacement with larger, lot filling “monster houses” which are then rented or left to stand empty waiting for the price to rise.

So I thought, is there a poem in all of this? I looked at parody – “I’ve got some real estate flyers here in my bag”, “pave paradise, put up a monster house”- but I couldn’t get beyond one or two lines. Then I looked at the pile of flyers from real estate agents that drop through by letter box on a daily basis and I thought “found poetry”! Maybe I could string the names of all the real estate agents together and form a poem. I immediately hit a problem. Way back in time, I read an interview with Eric Burdon of the Animals about a song called “Gonna send you back to Walker”. It was the B-side of “House of the Rising Sun” and was originally called, I believe, “Gonna send you back to Georgia”, but Eric thought it would be amusing to substitute an English place name. In the interview, he explained that it was difficult to write rock or R&B songs using English place names because most of the names were just not musical. I can see his point, “Sweet Home Derbyshire”, “Derbyshire on my Mind” wouldn’t work – those parsimonious slender vowels “e” and “i” compressing the middle of the word into that unmusical ”ysh”. “Alabama” on the other hand, now that’s a big loud word – all those “a’s” and that big “bam” in the middle.

Well, looking at my list of real estate agents, about half of the names were Anglo Saxon or Scottish and what can be done with “MacDonald”? He had a farm, end of story, or maybe he sold the farm, either way I was going nowhere. The names of the Chinese real estate agents offered more possibilities – one syllable, a lot ending in the same two consonants “ng”, easier to rhyme. There were two “Zhangs” on the list, so I thought – “more Zhang for your buck”- but that raised the spectre of racism that has been hanging over the whole issue like a giant red herring (mix that metaphor!). So it was all getting a bit fraught and mean-spirited and perhaps most of these real estate agents were just decent people following the first rule of capitalism – make hay while the sun shines.

So, no poem,

but maybe down the road

when the wrecking ball hits the house next door,

or the house across the back lane,

or the house across the road

and another load of old timber, gyproc and memories

is scooped into a giant tote

and trucked off to the land fill

maybe then there will be a poem

and a sad poem it will be.