the writer is always a fantasist

The writer is always a fantasist, because words are not the things they describe.

One can wander in the far lands of the extraction of etymology, but nothing gives the picture like the exploded view.

Therefore one must diagram, and in making a diagram, you fall in love with the diagram, you make excuses for the state of the diagram, you tell people that this diagram is the best, you have nightmares that this diagram is the worst, but nothing can prepare you for how little the diagram is like the processes and states of matter which exist in real time.

One makes maps.

This map tells me distances inside the ‘lower mainland’. This map helps me gauge how many kCal to pedal a bicycle up that hill. This map tells me what geology I will encounter when I dig. This map tells me about the snaking tubes of metal and concrete, plastic and glass, that run under the surface. This map tells me what mammals are common to this part of the world. This map tells me what the odds are that my home will experience earthquake damage. This map tells me about the airspace above my home. This map tells me what stars are above my dwelling place and how far they are from me. This map shows me where the highway traffic cams are. This map shows the arrangement of the planets and major bodies in the solar system. This map shows what languages were and are spoken on this land. This map shows a picture of every house on every street, but not the alleyways. This map shows every street including the alleyways. This map shows the tallest trees by species. This map shows the strangest architecture. This map shows the location of an abandoned cemetery. This map shows the heron rookeries. This map shows all the known external locations for the CW show Supernatural. This map shows buried treasure but the raccoons already dug it up and ate it so imagine the nine year old coming back and seeing a hole in the ground where the candy was. All of these maps beg you to imagine. And there are thousands of people for whom a map is an affront, for nothing in their brain works that way. None of these maps are connected except in my mind. They never will be connected. They will never be overlaid. They exist together, floating one on top of another, only in this poem; for a moment you too can hold them up there in your mind, having been given this sketch. Then the paragraph finishes and this time tomorrow you will not remember that it happened.

One writes because it’s in your head and has to come out. One writes because there is something breathing in your ear; there is no control, between the impetus and the page, merely a hint of directionality. One writes because the variation between the imagined and the real is a big play-space and most of it has not been explored yet. One writes because one wants to rid English of its colonialisms and make it the one true argot of freedom, breaking its chains, filling in its scandalously tiny trove of words for relations. One writes because how else is one to demonstrate how vastly different one is from everyone else; and simultaneously how dragged-through-drains dirty and boring and pedestrian one is, although if one is hosed down and buffed up and stood under a certain light one might pass muster at a public gathering. One writes because it’s always personal. One writes because it’s always political. One writes because there is a special someone waiting for your words, if your words survive. One writes because the past made you do it. One writes because the future is begging. One writes because no matter how grey and recondite the subject, the words are not the things, and even that most noble academic is a fantasist, though her choice of words is not lightly made, is not an accident.

Thank you Gaia for the inspiration

So before I turn you over to my latest creation, and the tune hasn’t stabilized so I likely won’t post it today and even more likely will never post it.

Spoken is italics, everything else is sung

what a spanner ( OMG
what a spanner Jesus threw
what a spanner – oh my God
what a spanner Jesus threw

well of course you can say
that science got there first
‘cause of course, you know science,
always making shit up, not wrong am I
the fact is that I know
for sure
religion came first

cause whenever I hear stories
of bears watching the sunset
and animals of different species helping each other
because it’s built-in
after that I think
‘you know, religion obviously jammed through that cognitive door first, yippee’
and where does that leave us

what a spanner ( OMG
what a spanner Jesus threw
what a spanner – oh my God
what a spanner Jesus threw

and of course I think some more
and if Jesus wasn’t born
there wouldn’t be a Bible
which its adherents raise
as proof of their devotion
consider the religion
from which the Bible sprang

Hey, they didn’t fucking proselytize
and that’s when my bell got rang

Across the earth Indigenous
had practices specific
to all the places that they cared for
in balance and pacific
but when the Bible said to go
and preach to all the nations
Jesus underwrote some wars
and war on all relations

Christians know
this mortal sin
However much
they hide it
We were crushed
in a conqueror’s fist
Til Gaia’s truth*
defied it

I’m leaving Islam out of this shitkicking because I wasn’t raised in a Muslim country. Even though I’m an atheist I’m ethnically Christian.

*That would be science, folks, in case my creaky metaphor didn’t make sense. The working together of science and Indigenous cultural and religious practices is one of the ongoing great stories of the 21st century.

the dance of the maggots

to be devoured in a place
where your mind has no purchase
inverse of a location

you find yourself here
anyway

the place goes away and the feeling
of it, a question mark in pyrotechnic smoke
most literal
continues

there is a trope in screen delivered content
a figurecomestoyouinadreamandtellsyou
content
(by which I mean
whatever the plot device is)
is a lie

the movement of maggots is not proof of life
unless you’re speaking of the maggots
and only a corrupt culture
will sell that viewpoint to you

the ground shakes with
their nagging vicious drumbeats
so it looks as if the maggots dance in time

a darkness

Darkness of self-satisfaction
Extends further than my small hand can grasp, or warm
I feel beyond the veil of my misunderstanding
Not one possibility but six hundred and more, dampened
and stifled
and scuffed but nowhere near dead

Like a cat with poor vision, twisting its head
Around and from side to side
I try to fix eyes stark as coloured glass
On the correct impressions

My spirits, various and needy
fly about with tarot faces
Or lie about, complaining of misogyny
There is no medicine in the argument

I’m tired of hearing about it he says
I’m tired of hearing about it he says

Did he hear it once
Hearing
was it all he did

I need to clean my ears
Close my mouth

Of the nations splintered when Columbus came
He says but they enslaved
An NDN voice’s response on social media
-Angry- Cite your sources, you stupid white man
&
Of the nations pummelled back from the coast
He says but what are they doing now
And I say language revitalization
And he says where is their standing army
Can’t have a nation without a standing army
And I’m literally reading the Icelandic sagas
And not only did the Icelanders have their own goddamned country
They did it without an executive branch AND no standing army
And produced the greatest literature of medieval Europe
So go fuck yourself on that point
&
Of the nations who never ceded land
He says how do they expect to take it back
And I think to myself
O love your tower of books is now a prison

Words boil up, the well-loved face goes hard

They, they, they, and not
we, we, we.

I have responses, gleaned
From a longhouse and a glass pipe
Buried in the ground,
Right through the bones of dead Indians
How ‘nice’
Academics and dancers
They have told me what to say
But I said nothing.
I don’t want the fun of my visit to go away

There’s no such thing as race he says.

If you’re smart
You don’t say that when you’re white
And that pulls down more ire

I dreamed a grandmother, wizened
Wearing a blanket and street clothes
Came into the house
(Which the bank, independent of
the Musqueam and Sto:lo
said that I never owned)
And asked me
Am I not welcome here

Dreams are full of muffled silences

You can’t know how long they’ll last

And genocides, if no one calls them by name
Are best distributed; a little death here
A little dislocation there; days in the skookum house
And nights with fentanyl, hiding in the hit.

I am glad

 

I am glad that I am older
because when I was younger
I thought fireworks were friendly fun
But carrying a baby while John shot that roman candle at me *
made me think
maybe I’m wrong
It’s one idea, among them all
but if I have to call it right or good
this is not the one

*it was not deliberate and I had agency over my distance.

I am glad that I am older
thanks to some crucial luck
at birth ‘n every year come since
I lived long enough to come to understand that all this luck
is held up
by a thing
called white supremacy
and now I have to come up with some proof
that I give a fuck

I am glad that I am older
and my loved ones help pay for my time
to think about how to heal this hurt
I lived long enough to look at it as a lot of work
a lot of
fucking work
Like more than I could do in one small lifetime
but I know
what is owed
Don’t want to be a jerk

 

So I started writing this after eleven and it just banged the noon gong. There is a very powerful melody for this and apart from additional voices, one trombone and two french horns I can’t hear any orchestration and I’m basically okay with it being solo voice. I should record a scratch track. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS THING RIGHT NOW.

I will however continue to sing it through until the tune quits wriggling around quite so hard.

traces

Clouds have heft in this town, no-one thinks
they’re insubstantial, however they hover,
dance, slide by each other at different speeds
each one as heavy as an elephant

In the weeks of our cloudless summer
We gaze above our toothed horizons in puzzlement

The herds that graze the sky have all migrated.

Poem – the state of discourse

 

 

does it help that I called you on your birthday
yes
that is a ‘yes’
but below that tidal crest of astonishment

that it is only accidents which provide me with
my shine
not anything I do

and I let go of the designs of things
moving backward through understanding
into confusion again

I wanted to speak to you, and there, I have

but that’s not ornate enough
for my mood

I’m thinking of you
putting your game face on
to send me a chapbook

what is a book but a tree
given speech

what is a friend but my heart
given another home

a poem – The universe is a sieve

JUST IN CASE YOU’RE WONDERING, I didn’t know it was world poetry day before I wrote this today.

 

 

The universe
is a sieve
that passes through us

and laughs as it
rushes through.

Pew pew pew
say the particles;
we’re on our way
to connect your kidneys

to a star
an ecosystem
an ice volcano.

It’s one long string
connected
folded tight
blown up
and travelling light.

The universe is a sieve

she’s on that poetry thing again – The people they chose

the endearing fascist is everywhere

o,O

the words are a smear of nice, a pretend of nice, a klieg light of nice that burns everything
that’s good and makes it nice, nice, nice
everything orderly

this is a map and these are the lines
and inside these lines we are nice

and I with disrumption have come
have come, and ev-e-ry niceness is glum, was glum.
Tripulations and farkakte derivations of bad things
are apiece with nice,
bakelite
worked
into
one of van Meegeren’s canvases

hanging in a steady machine tic of nice
nice
nice

(THIS IS A CULTURAL TREASURE)

but if you test it, it is not

so apt is my example

Nice is a mill that grinds little Black girls into powder
or tries, and fails to succeed in a vale of Death
just so she doesn’t forget what she’s up against
Nice is the good white girl with almost perfect teeth
who has Done Something Nice
in a perfectly recursive way,
at this point it hardly matters what ; those
people on the receiving end of nice
normally do not get
an opinion

Nice is the nun
educating Cree boys

into a nicer understanding
of their true place in the real world

It’s not for me to say which way is nicer
I already know and you don’t much care, being at the end of the poem

but as for me and the tirelessly nice and
clueless gallery of my colonial foremothers
whom I am pressed to carry now that I have grandchildren
I will choose the lands, and the people they chose
and stay out of your very nice heaven

RIP recording artist Sophie

And they died
climbing up to see the moon
in Athens
and their life
was a goodies reel of cool
the patterns

they are not
for everyone to see
and our lives,
the red carpet,
will never see their light again
pop that bubble in the rain
and dance while you can
remember their joy
remember their name
:Sophie:

They made very entertaining bubble gum dance pop.