• 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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