• Opinion,  Poetry

    Why Does the Gun Come First?

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    Why does the gun

    Come first for some?

    I see a Taser and baton

    And Pepper spray – where have they gone?

    And does no one teach

    unarmed techniques?

    Are the lines so blurred?

    Where are the words?

    No thought for de-escalation

    Shouldn’t that be the foundation

    To show you care

    That you’re aware

    Of more than just the power in your hand?

    That you understand

    There are better ways to make your mark

    Than to crush the life from glowing sparks

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  • Poetry

    My Country

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    Is my country in the clear?
    Do we speak against the fear?
    Are we better than the rest?
    Our vision truly best?

    Or is our history
    A darker mystery
    Filled with not-so-secret shames
    So many forgotten names
    And things we’ve no wish to see?

    Is it better to pretend
    There’s no need to extend
    Our thoughts and hearts and minds
    Knowing that we’d find?
    We aren’t nearly as kind
    As we want to believe
    And so we don’t conceive
    That we can still improve
    Because there are mountains yet to move

    And more than mountains. I wrote that at almost the same time as “America Is Burning” but kept it a separate piece because it’s a separate, if related, thing.

    I wrote it knowing about Regis Korchinski-Paquet and Chantal Moore and Chief Allan Adam and the Inuk man deliberately knocked down with an open truck door as the RCMP came to a stop. The last two people in that last survived their encounters. The first two did not. Chantal Moore’s death was fresh that day.

    Since writing the poem above, I’ve seen the footage of Chief Adam’s arrest, and learned more about the other incidents. I’ve also learned about Rodney Levi and Lloys Chatel-Elie. Mr. Levi died Friday night in New Brunswick. Mr. Chatel-Elie was assaulted in his own home by Montreal police.

    Canada is not innocent. We have the same problems as the US when it comes to systemic racism and over-policing of minority communities. It’s not as out of hand here as it is there, not yet. Maybe. But we’re following the same path.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

    And stay angry. Then find ways to channel that anger so the people in power have to hear it. It’s the only way things will change.

    Update on 18 Jun 2020 to add the Youtube video of me reading the poem.

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  • Opinion,  Poetry,  Uncategorized

    America Is Burning

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    I’m not seeing it as much on Mainstream Media as I was a week ago, but it’s still all over my social media and independent services. Protests, anger, people whose eyes are finally open to the racism all around us. Spread across the world.

    Eight minutes and 46 seconds.

    I live in Canada and we often pride ourselves on how much better we are than the States when it comes to pretty much every social issue you want to name. Better isn’t the same as good, though, and you can find plenty of news stories just in the past week to show that we have a lot of the same issues and the same problems and the same blindnesses as our neighbour to the south. We don’t talk about them as much because we don’t really want to see them, but they’re there.

    And we’re not on fire at the moment. At least, not yet.

    I’m writing all the time and poetry has always been a piece of things for me. The poem that follows is a small chunk of my emotional reaction to what’s going on in the US, but I’m worried about Canada, too. The poem is a week old now, and could have been written a week or more before that if I could have put the words together.

    A couple of days ago, I managed to find the verbal expression to record myself reading it, and posted it on my under-used Youtube channel. If you’re interested, I’ve embedded the video below the poem.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

    And stay angry. Channeling that is the only way things will change.

    America is burning
    And so many wonder why
    America is burning
    Its promises lost in lies
    Of a nation built on ashes
    Soaked in blood, and scarred by lashes
    Its leader, whose constant tweeting
    Serves the beating
    Of his chest, his old and pasty minions
    Offer the same stretched-thin opinions
    Of entitlement and division
    Bring a new collision
    Every moment, sowing hate and fear
    Grinding down any who should appear
    To disagree
    With the myth that they are free
    Because, obviously,
    America is burning.
    And it’s difficult for me
    To find a way to see
    Why it isn’t just and right
    For the fires to roar through day and night
    The silenced voices to be heard
    The nation’s vision a bit less blurred
    Except by tears
    For lives lost over years
    Awaiting more than heart-felt words
    To soothe despair still churning
    Underneath the golden sheen
    Of an ever-tarnished, dying dream
    America is burning

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  • Poetry,  Writing

    One Saturday Afternoon As I Was Kidnapped by Aliens

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    I go through major phases where I flirt with poetry. In the last few years, that’s mostly been expressed as haiku, a form I appear to be having a serious love affair with, but I’ve worked with all kinds of different forms and lengths.

    A few years ago, I set out to compose an epic poem using the title of this post. It was going to be grand, sweeping, heroic, and tell a tale in iambic tetrameter. It began like so:

    In late July, the summer breeze

    Stirring gently through the trees,

    Brings the scent of last bloomed rose

    And grass crushed ‘tween unclad toes.

    High above, in sky so blue,

    Flash lights of some unearthly hue.

    A silver disk, artist drawn,

    Sets down softly on my lawn.

    A greenish beam lights up my chair

    Floats me gently through the air.

    A window opens as a gate.

    A voice requests I sit and wait.

    Down below, a rumbled flush,

    My insides feel they’ve turned to mush.

    My lungs let loose a strangled cry,

    Outside I see the moon pass by

    Heart beats harder, breath unsteady,

    Whatever comes, I am not ready.

    I sit and wait, my mind ablaze

    With thoughts I’ve reached the end of days.

    When suddenly a door appears

    So quick it costs my life ten years.

    Into the room stepped three small guys

    With bulbous heads and bulging eyes,

    Holes for ears, pinpricks at best,

    Heads no higher than my chest

    Pale white skin, no scrap of hair

    Long flowing robes with arms laid bare…

    And there, for some reason, it left off. I set it down to do something – I don’t actually remember the specific day I started writing this, only that it was a day off – and when I came back to it, the inspiration was gone. All I remember for certain is that the objective was to eventually use the quatrain:

    Damn you, you interstellar toad!

    I will resist your anal probe!”

    “Now cut that out, you are quite silly.

    The worst you’ll get? A quick Wet Willy.”

    But I never got there and I’ll probably never get it back.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Poetry

    Haiku on Friday

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherSo there are times when I’m a haiku addict, and while I mean more writing than reading, there are several books in the house and I have a twitter stream saved that I can skim whenever I feel the need. That stream gives me a cross section from incredible to cringe, but it’s always worth the read. Often, it gives me haiku in different languages; while I can usually work out the French ones, everything else needs a little Google Translate assist when I’m in the mood.

    All that said, I write a lot of haiku. It’s certainly the lion’s share of my poetry in recent years. Right now, it’s probably two or three per week, but I go through periods where I’m penning, typing, or dictating five per day, sometimes more. Probably, there have been something over a thousand in the past two years.

    I’m not entirely a traditionalist. While I like the 5-7-5 format, I’ll play around with shorter versions of the same basic structure, accounting for the difference in information density of English instead of Japanese. Not all of my haiku are based on a natural image, which I suppose makes the ones that aren’t technically senryu, and a few even fit into the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres.

    I haven’t shared very much lately, but I used to release some into the ether regularly. Thinking it’s time I start that again, so here are a few, written sometime in the last year.

     

    Drifting on cool wind

    Trails of smoke above the grass

    Swallowed by darkness

     

    A patient old crow–

    Air shimmers above the road

    That will provide food

     

    Holding sanchin

    Ancient flutes imagined

    On a thick breeze

     

    Behind a closed door

    Small balls of fur lie waiting

    Practice combat skills

     

    Leopard in a box

    Curled up, seams not quite bursting

    The catness shines through

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  • Life,  Poetry

    Friday Poetry for 15 December 2017

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherAnother from the deep vault, the date on this silly piece, according to the original file, is 02 November 1999, and it concerns possibly the greatest food ever created, pizza. Once, years before this poem, while a university student, I ate pizza for twenty-three (that’s 23) consecutive meals. Oh, not all from the same pizzeria, and not all with the same toppings, and not all at the same temperature. It is, it is, a glorious thing to be the pizza king.

     

    Ah, pizza

    Food of the gods

    But no other food

    Puts more people at odds

    Anchovies, sausages

    Mushrooms and cheese

    Onions, green peppers

    Pineapple, chick peas

    Toppings galore

    A list without end

    How to decide

    Between you and a friend

    Tomatoes and ham

    Ground beef, pepperoni

    Baked in an oven

    On a platter that’s stony

    Or perhaps in a pan

    Or a hot barbecue

    One thing about pizza

    There’s no limit for you

    To cook or to slice

    In sauce or in spice

    The food of the gods

    Is never the same twice

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  • Poetry

    Friday Poetry for 08 December 2017

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherFrom the vault. The note in the original file is that it’s on the occasion of my almost ten-month-old son’s third cold. He’ll be turning 19 shortly.

     

    Few things shake your soul

    Like a baby with a cold

    Pick me up, put me down

    Turn me over, turn me around

    Go away, come here, go away

    No, wait, I want you to stay

    I’m tired, can’t sleep

    I’m hungry, won’t eat

    I’m thirsty, won’t drink

    Just pour the milk down the sink

    Short naps in the bed

    Rub my tummy, rub my head

    Daddy’s tired, needs a rest

    Mama-mama (likes her best)

    Cry and scream, scream and cry

    Daddy needs a quiet place to lie

    Mommy’s home, at last, at last

    Pass the baby, quickly, fast

    Daddy sits and sighs, he’s rather glad

    Then comes the scream, I want my dad!Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • Poetry

    Friday Poetry

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherWords strewn across a page

    Can capture any age

    Express random thoughts

    Show battles won or fought

    A moment set in time

    An image held in mind

    Encourage ideas

    Share hopes and dreams and fears

    Persuade or strike a blow

    Or merely say hello

    Any voice can be heard

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  • Poetry

    Friday Poetry – A Blank Verse Sonnet

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherTell me again how there’s no global warming.

    Oh right, we’re supposed to say climate change.

    I see, it was cold where you are today,

    And god is taking care of everything.

    Sorry? It’s warm and it’s supposed to be?

    Well, of course, you must still be correct then.

    What difference a few billion humans,

    A few thousand years of shaping the world?

    Isn’t it nice to live consequence-free

    And know nothing you do really matters?

    Your kids will inherit the same old world,

    Still turning the same as it always has.

    But if you’re wrong, maybe clean up a bit?

    Or at least try not to shit where we eat?Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather