I head out in steel-toed boots into the dark rains of January

to the slave labour pool.

I walk into the stale air of the office to put my mark on the


The place is as packed as a can of rotten sardines.

A old man sleeping in his workboots has pissed himself.

Moving seats, I watch the scrawny drug addicts get all the jobs.


I end up on a construction site making $8 an hour

working beside some kid half my age. Contempt in his eyes,

he tells me he’s making $22.50 an hour.

Society has tried to stop me from becoming a loser,

but my destiny hangs its heavy sign on me


as I march through rush hour heading to the DTES

to pick up a cheque for $52 minus the $12 government fee.


Copyright © 2017 by Henry Doyle

Published in Geist Magazine


Spring 2017


Broken Key

A miztake from Zkid-Row

That drinkz too much

Zmokez too much

and thinkz too much

A miztake that’z been “On the road” too long

fightz hiz demonz with a zmile on

and zpit in the eye of God

A miztake that knowz hiz way to Hell

and will never leave this dirty hotel room

A miztake that’z Lozt in hiz typewriter

Juzt a Miztake that can’t be earazed.


Copyright © 2011 by Henry Doyle

Published in V6A:  Writing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

edited by John Mikhail Asfour and Elee Kraljii Gardiner (Arsenal Pulp Press, Vancouver 2010).

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