The Maps of Men

She fought slept under the white sheets
Parts of her flesh rebelling
Against the straight lines
Of their moonlit bed

He dreamt up a map
Of her unexplored territories
Knowing full well there wouldn’t be
Enough time to visit them all

“If only I had more time”
He though – and then he smiled
“She’d have more lands to explore,
She’s endless”

The sheets fluttered and levitated
A white arm appeared beneath them
Searching for him
So he went back in, to chart some more.

We map what we love,
our countries, our homes, our bodies
And we also map what we fear,
The infinite oceans of the earth and sky

That is why we map women
In our paintings, our poems, our songs
We map to find the way
From us to them, and back,
And back again.

Victor Alejandro Wainer,
Victoria, BC, 1st of January, 2024

You gotta come to Toledo

to gabi – always


You gotta come to Toledo,
the walls will hold you if I can’t.
Come and meet me in Toledo,
walk along to Sacramento
see the shutters wave at us,
their acknowledgement is life
– pieces we have left behind.
Climb the hill to Pozo Amargo,
cut across the Catedral,
let’s go to… but they’re not there
– we’ll visit them anyway.
You gotta come to Toledo,
burn old wood by old San Juan,
walk down to the Cava’s place,
see the Tajo running by
taking the foam and the past
all the way to Portugal.
You gotta come to Toledo,
walk through the Door of the Sun,
touch the white stone in the street
and feel the time flowing freely
there, in the palm of your hand.
You gotta come to Toledo,
sit and sip in Zocodover
waiting for the sundown red
by the red door of the plaza.
Come to Toledo my love,
rescue me – I never left...see the shutters wave at us


This was written on 2014, while I was working in Picton, Ontario, away from my wife, who is truly my home. I have since retouched it a bit, but I didn’t want to change too much, because I feel I should preserve its original energy.

Old Love

old love

Like broken homemade gifts,
meaningful once to us,
while we remembered why,
or the pretty pebbles
we gathered everywhere we went
to remind us of happy times,
shiny while wet from the ocean,
now dry and dull,
all jumbled in a pile, abandoned
with other mixed-up memories
in a long-forgotten drawer,
time took our love story
and crumbled it between its fingers.
It was no more the shiny toy, the pearl
that adorned our night and days
and made life worth the hassle.
It now is an atherosclerotic love
naked, loud, and impossible to ignore,
unavoidably alive and still,
a poor excuse for a dedicated life.
That we cling to it is human
– it is the raft, the ledge, the hand.
That we learn to love through it
is the proof of our commitment.
But at the end, when we are alone,
or better said: when we are aware
as never before of being alone,
is this badge of honor made of gold or paper?
Still, we get in bed together,
as every night, and as every night
my hands depart in search of you
– my hands that have learnt to touch you
with a discernment that only comes
from decades of practice and good will –
and when they find the holy heat
that marks the boundary
between you and the universe
I briefly understand
and I can briefly be
at peace with myself.


Swiflty Gabi

She moves swiftly between her true age and my dreams.
Wearing youth in her calves
and worry in her brow.
She is relentless as an ocean
and forgiving as a river’s bed
Tireless as the shadow of a cloud
running over the hills
Sleepy as the afternoon grass
under a tepid sun
She belongs to me, yet no part of her is mine
She gives herself completely,
but remains reticent to the end.
She loves me, and I love her
She is the earliest sunray in the morning
and the last light at the end of the day.

Side by side

I have false memories of furniture and places
Hopeful attempts at meaningful bookkeeping
I have real ones as well, less vivid and less dear
Faded spines of books shelved in a sunny room

I have anachronistic rooms and homeless dates
Square pegs happily settled in their round abodes
Vivid recollections of unborn events
Mismatched situations, casts, and timelines

Stories lived in dreams tug at my heart, nostalgic
Houses I built at night, entire cities, neighbourhoods
calling me from within the deepest folds of my memory,
next to my childhood home, or the old city were I first loved

Side by side, the real and the imagined live like equals,
But there are records, witnesses, photographs
Quarters for the true life to hide and resist
While the dreamed army will turn to ashes when I perish