The Pickup Skater

His passes—those on-ice / em dashes—as silky or fit-to-be-tied as jaunty cravats

Photo illustration of the poet Matt Robinson

Dapper as fuck, Dugger’s boy’s Thursday’s
rink-rattling dandy: skate-sharp, a sauced fashion
plate spun round & wound tight as that fancified cashmere,
as a cool qiviut or the la-ti-da’d knits that fashion
those haberdashed suits he sells fast & hard as short-side
fakes laughed past the gassed, sprawling d-men unspooled
at the hash & left in his wake. His passes—those on-ice
em dashes—as silky or fit-to-be-tied as jaunty cravats
that match the frou-frou’d neon galoshes the staid boys
in the room rib him hard about over beers. That’s not near all
of it, though: there’s the shot sneakily quick, deadly as jeers
from Fairview’s methadoned side streets after ticks on an evening’s
near capped-out clock’s face have finally gone tock. Fancy
man about town, our Ross’s known as much in the room
for the rarified shock of his cornered cologne’s waft each week,
save the odd trip gone, down south, for more work on the tan.
It’s the mouth of the man, the wry-smiled schlocky asides,
that other edge work, as much as deceptive skate’s strides, that
set him apart, leave him floating in & around this room
or that. We all tip a cap.

Matt Robinson
Matt Robinson's most recent poetry collection is Tangled & Cleft (Gaspereau 2021). He lives in Halifax with his family.

Enjoy What You’re Reading?

Fact-based journalism is our passion and your right.

We feature Canadian voices and expertise on stories that travel beyond our shores, and we firmly believe that this reporting can change the world around us. The Walrus covers it all with originality, depth, and thoughtfulness, bringing diverse perspectives to bear on essential conversations while setting the highest bar for fact-checking and rigour.

We’re asking readers like you to support The Walrus so we can continue to lead the Canadian conversation.
Every contribution makes a difference.
Please support The Walrus today. Thank you.
Donations of $20 or more will receive a charitable tax receipt.