Saturday, September 30, 2006

Why so empty?

We’ve all had days like this. The frozen days when you look ahead and see a myriad things that need to be done. You can’t bring yourself to do any of them. The coffee is empty, you can’t muster the will to make more. You should be doing things, being productive, arranging items. We would love on these days to meet our friends later and tell them what we did, how we achieved what there is to be achieved. What did you accomplish today? I was going to write something about Peter MacKay, but I have to tell you, after Belinda, I can’t bring myself to be interested in his personal life. Fuck it. He’s going to make a royal ass of himself and our country as the Minister of Foreign Relations, so he may as well stot around with the poster child for Bush’s occupation of the Fertile Cresent.

I was going to mention the plan to remove America from the middle east by George McGovern and William R. Polk in this month’s Harpers, but they did their own justice in writing it and don’t need my notes and kudos. I could bring up Patricia Beer, a poet I’ve never heard of that came to me while poking around a used bookstore after the tatoo convention on my birthday last week.

There is no finishing because there is no getting started. The whole range of my rage will fizzle and become a dour frustration and back to the office on Monday. There still isn’t anyone screaming about the softwouldn’t, there’s still no coverage of Darfur on the news. My digital recorder still isn’t working, and I don’t know how to install the ethernet driver onto my new computer.

The big question remains Why Bother? from that comes, How to start? And once learned, What is it that should be begun? Why are these times so empty? I remember passionate rage and indignation. I remember ruining events I disagree with. I remember conviction. There doesn’t seem to be anything now but vague irritation. I’ve lately become more of a “fuck it” than my former, “hey, FUCK YOU!”. Was sweet JP this apathetic? Is that how he came up with Existentialism? He probably didn’t have a large green iguana to distract him.

I think this might just be it. This tiny sad, mediocre life could well be as good as it gets. This could be the most I can ever do.

Clawing out of the drowning rage, kicking off the iron anchor of sadness and shame can take wild amounts of energy. There are days of surplus when other items gain my attention and become targets for the surplus. But no righteous indignation today. I’m not even going to make my bed.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Happy New Year

Well kids, it didn’t happen this year, so I can only wonder what January will bring. The weekend of my birthday was Yom Kippur. There was a shooting last week, a bullshit sell-out lumber deal and an uncomfortable conversation at work. I didn’t get to put up what I wanted to, a birthday wish list was one thing, with a request for you Photoshop techies out there to put Anne Coulter in a burkha and send it my way. That I think was item number two, but sadly none of it happened. This year has been about reclaiming ground, set completely in a beachhead, about recovery. There has been nothing I can claim achievement for except making it to this point which I still feel is a cop-out way of identifying landmarks on your lifeline. I survived a lot. Tony didn’t, and I would do anything to be able to see him again, to put my arms around him and remind him that survival is small and will feel small despite a tremendous effort.

I must ask forgiveness of pretty much anyone who has been around me this year. I am irritable, bitchy, aggressive, listless and uninterested. I don’t have so little of what I used to be and the anger that that has been lost at least for now gives me desperation to punish any and all around me. I cannot even properly make lists at the moment, what should I apologize for? Do I have a birthday wish list? What are the reasons for this strange man to love me? Where are the people I used to be? What are the clinical reasons for the shooter to have walked into Dawson College? Who are these windy men who talked of courtesy the day my pylons blew away?

These myriad questions and more are the only amalgamation I have been capable of lately, the only list I can compile is one of questions I can never answer and must leave behind. Wine is poured and music playing. The final query, Why bother? must come last as it is the only thing left that can fuel answers to the others. These lists are all I can come up with for a year ended, my new year’s celebration, A.D. 28 in this the year of healing. I will be me again, so next year expect something amazingly clever in September’s beginning. Just not now.

What truly can be done?

What can we do but embrace each other and move on? What else is there but to press our foreheads to the ground and rub cement with our palms.

And from this will come a time and certainly a full election on mandatory minimums, gun control and anti-social behaviour. How then to measure a response? What good can come of the inevitable argument ahead and how is such a measure possible? Is there nomeclature for survival? That bizarre alchemy that fuels rage with guilt and leaves no room for grief and exhaustion? How to quantify a reaction and subsequent lifestyle? What is ahead for us now? Is there an intelligent discussion to be had on the actions of this madman?

And if there is will we have it? There will be blame, and swift change. Will an obsession ensue about “safety” and the difference between feeling safe and being safe?

Will the students and teachers gain extensions to end their terms? Will the family of the gunman be held hostage? Is someone somewhere worried about next years tuition fees?

How many questions can I tabulate without the answer to the immediate why? How can such a thing happen and what will we do when we wake tomorrow and wonder how many more days there are.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Is this the magnet?

Another notch in the post at the crossroads. Again the anniversary of my coming passes like leaves through a narrow alley. These are days of beginnings, of frustrations. Of failed attempts and machinations breaking down. It is a time to enjoy the smaller things as those mediocre disappointments multiply in these autumn weeks. Small beacons of joy remind us to look for microscopic, not planetary peace. Now is the moment for unfair comparisons, how am I not her? Where is my alliance? How are my convictions so fragile? This is familiar ground. I know the road paved with pebble sized successes. This is the bend where only survival is the titan act, that one thing that anyone can say they have done. There are other times of flying when we can compare notes and ask each other how high. This is a moment measured in inches above the waters’ edge, and how often your chin bobs down in the riptide.

The road signs are tiny patches of crabgrass in otherwise green weeds. Barely noticeable, they seem to snicker as you pass them wondering where the next meal may be and who will offer safety overnight. There are always patches where an arrow may have fallen. There are small gardens between pieces of bread; there are tickets and scarves on loan from friendly closets. These are the tiniest of kindnesses that must be recorded somewhere, in even smaller crossroads along neural pathways, chemical light reminders. If we don’t know how to mark these passages, or have lost our cartography, there is simply nowhere to begin. These things fuck up sometimes and finding the end is a lot of string tied together wrapped around itself. Ever looked for the end of packing tape and you tried and tried and tried and finally you got scissors or a knife and made another and pulled it off and it’s only about 4 inches because that’s where the end was? Once upon an ending I found a piece of panic stuck uncomfortably in the toe of my shoe. It pushed against the top of my foot and my focus on it slipped my ankle around the pavement of the underwater sidewalk. I got deeper and lower and still my ankle turned around each milestone until finally my head was under and I couldn’t see the rest of the way. There was a small rest stop in a bed of reeds, so I paused to take my shoes off and wiggle my toes again. The shop was tacky and sold sweet confessions. I got a hot chocolate and four minutes alone with a listener and then moved on my way. I’ll get there someday, but perhaps not from this trail…

I’m close to one third as old as I will be. There is no significance to this number. There is no social importance placed on it, there is no personal meaning. These ones are the worst ones as they are always the least expected upset. These are not achievement days or times of great works. But I can burn my lips with scotch from a raised antique glass as the sun sets on what was a rainy afternoon: I survived.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sawdust to Sawdust

Clumsy Slumber

So again here we find ourselves on the short end of the splinter. The great juggernaut has lumbered across our nation with a small nod to the now only technical certainty that we are sovereign over ourselves. We have a catchier name than Honduras, but that’s really about it. I abdicate guys. The Northwest Passage? Take it. It’s fuck yours. If I could wrap it in a bow, or present some kind of plaque, I would. You want to melt some glaciers for bottled water and fountains in Las Vegas? Done. Get on up there with an ice-pick, and we’ll herd the seals away for free.

I’ve had a problem with Harper since the inception of the fictitious party he began and a problem with the public ever since they decided to pretend to agree with him for a while just to punish the Liberals who haven’t been able to summon leadership or skills at all since Pierre. I voted for the Bloc because Gilles has always seemed to me to be a shit disturber and he fucking went along with this nonsense! I’ve fucking had it with these people.

Harper just gave not America, not our neighbors, not our mutual industry, not ourselves, but the Bush-run Republican Party 500 million dollars in a spectacular mid-term fixup. I can’t even imagine what they’ll need in November 2008. Not only did he concede our position on softwood lumber that was sanctioned by international law at a time in which the United States doesn’t seem to be able to afford to argue any longer, he put it in an escrow fund that the White House can access directly. Curious George can now be seen in adult versions of peek-a-boo on the lush, green Hustler banana-xxx-plantation media spectacular. I can only pray he wears more than a loincloth.

We have a long history of screwing ourselves in the ear when it comes to international relations. We have a habit of moving over and graciously turning the other cheek while next door the screaming and late-night toga parties get louder and louder. We are seen in some circles as the voice of reason, as those who set examples, and make our own mistakes. We refused to send anyone to Vietnam, and when Nixon blew his wad on the creepiest, shadiest theft he could manage, we calmly let the dust settle and started up deals with the next guy.

This time we’re in it. We’ve fucked internally with the political process of another country. I’m not na├»ve enough to think we haven’t done it in the past, but this is public, and this is stupid. We as a nation can claim a certain intelligence or better put, we have been able until recently to claim a certain intelligence. We’ve not only ruined the economic value and indeed the bargaining position of an entire industry, we have taken the funds in question and donated it to a private cause, by-passing the international laws and customs, the internal laws and customs of both our countries and the goodwill of citizens the continent over. And for what? So that Stevie and George can play together that much longer in rooms full of our toys and games. This is a victory for no-one. The House up here and the House down there will observe this nonsensical exchange and deem the deal illegal and insulting. The oil executives who sit quietly back wondering how long it will be before they need to annexe us too will get only encouragement here to by-pass the lawmakers and meet directly with landowners and Klein’s crew.

The deal is done. The cheque is written, and the screaming has not yet begun. The pigs again are lumbering towards the trough, their giant trotters crushing the capital and scraping out great gouges in the Ottawa valley. I can only hope that I am safe here, in the other place in Canada, where they fear the language barrier, and observe the jellied pigs-head feasts brought yearly into the streets where we slickly swallow. I hope they get lost on the way when the road signs change to French and steering over our potholes becomes a slaloming je-ne-sais-quois. I hope that they observe for only a short time and decide we have nothing they want. They are not welcome here, and until a way is found to block or renege on this deal, my border is closed to the bacon backs.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labour Day

The slowest day of the year where the least is accomplished must always be labour day. I don’t know why, but it does make sense to me somehow. Things feel ended at this time. As though I have done as much as I can and now, fuck it. Why bother anymore. The pieces seem to fall into place and of course it being fall, there is a sense of beginning. There is a natural systolic twist that closes rather than opens and a crispness begins to drive us towards different achievements than the earlier seasons. I don’t know what that means for me and my shiny tangerine, but one thing is certain: I can’t keep doing this. I need something more.

The last time this happened I was recalling one of the better class asthma attacks I’ve had and a late night emergency room drama. The year before I actually was thrashing on the floor trying to breathe and so did not get to my more litterary observations until I got home and read over my notes from the hospital bed. These are days of nihilism, of wanting to do more and seeing others doing exactly that. These times are maladroit and I cannot help but hope I will soon again be in my element of blowing leaves and confidence. Who is this girl going in circles not knowing? She cannot be the person that I was. Where are my likely followers? Where are those who love me naturally from moment one? I left many as motherhood, even symbolic, does not suit me. And this leads to equal terms; indifference. This year if I’m not getting calls for help, I’m not getting calls. So I waved goodbye to one and only realized the other in the uncomfortable silence afterwards.

At work, I’ve done all that I can do. In leaving the drowning man at the bar despite his cries of “wait, I’ll be better…”, in pulling daddy’s sleeve to point at our nasty cousin, in all of this I have done all that I can do. It is in the hands of Simon to decide to get better and stop drinking. It is in the hands of Israel’s light to evict this poisoned man, it is in the hands of fate to point him in my direction and already I fear it may be too late. I move forward only in myself: I have not yet done all I can to heal and rise and grieve. This is the slowest motion, molasses and heavy jeans. I wrote once about a glutinous, sucking feeling that came when I tried to fix it the first time. It’s not quite the same today, but I’m still wearing iron shoes. Who is this exhausted girl who turns around and can’t decide? Where have I gone? And how is it already two years later where now I am the oldest in the room and the least complete? Who is this walking tornado losing elements, loving everything so much it gets sucked up and destroyed? Where did this whirlwind comefrom? For surely this unpredictable spinning column of violent air cannot be the person I was and am and are today.

Labour Day. I could say something about rebuilding. About being better and focusing and healing from this. I could discuss the searing opening, the vital and necessary act of rebirthing myself after being thrown down into this primordial mass grave. I just don’t feel it. I could discuss the union of myself and my memories and who I need to be and how in a collective these people deserve a voice but are they fighting themselves in my head or just my higher functions? All I know for sure is that this, the day that we lay down our hammers and clap each other on the shoulder is the day where the least is accomplished or reviewed. I am sitting this morning drinking coffee wondering who I am. And tomorrow I’ll go into work pretending and motioning sans-sure.

One day I will know. But today is Labour Day. 20 days before the anniversary of my birth. On this day more than any other, I am guaranteed to know the least and to question any surety I may have gathered this year. Turn over your baskets and drop the aprons to the floor. Dance if you want to but it’s cold and there’s no music. I won’t know until tomorrow where we are.

Eat Me

Where is the hunger?

I thought it was just me and we could talk when it was over; compare lab notes and decide. We wished each other luck and promised calls and kisses and laughing at these ridiculous times. We are separated, but for the moment, parallel. Then the vertigo and crackly long-distance suggested that while we’re in different provinces and on different paths, tonight at least we are in exactly the same place.

How are we forgettable? Who can size her up, take a chance, meet her and then walk away? And who can be so simply cavalier with me? Me! We both deserve a frantic, half-starved declaration, a clarion call, a statement. Where is the person who will not tolerate life without her?

Mine hopped on his black horse, flipped a lazy salute and rode east on another labour day a few years back. Hers went downward and inside and none of us are now the same. And there are more of course. But where are the ones who need us so much? And why don’t the ones we do encounter realize that we are necessary to sustain life? Where did he go? The one who would starve without me? Why did he leave? The one who sank below still crying out her name? Who are these strangers who want to get to know us and collect our names like scalps on a belt. Who are these strangers who want closeness just for a while?

We walk in tiny circles, half-dead but dreaming. With excruciating slowness the spiral mounts upwards, tiny step by tiny stumble. This is still healing. This is still rebuilding. This is still below in the dark place with no tools. This is still us making our own way out of the dirt and towards the rest of them. And where are they who are supposed to promise us that it will be alright? Where are those that know we will sustain ourselves and who can’t help but be around us as our paths converge? Where are the starving ones who can’t help but put their arms around us? Where are these people who know things will be sane again and who don’t mind repeating themselves if we need to hear it more than once?

How are we dismissed? How can he look at her and know her and turn his back? How can he look at me and thank me and go the other way? Who are these full stomachs who don’t need us? Who are these sated men in search of only mints and snickers? Where have our snapping jaws and trembling hands left us to be? Who are these people? And how are they content without us?

Friday, September 01, 2006


The little blond girl is looking at me...

There is a blond haired blue-eyed, wide eyed girl on this thing looking oh so very pleased about her decision to make her long distance call by using 00*-1-0075#1-046-11*…I don’t have enough breadcrumbs to get home. How is this reasonable? How is it that an upstart little prick company can offer simpler “easier” and certainly cheaper phone service over landlines and now the Fido network, but the STM, on whose pass they are advertising, can’t get me home when the bars close or air condition the cars?

I’m rolling over in my memory the three price hikes last year, the strike over use of pension funds and all manner of cost saving devices. I’m wondering also how the whole price structure works. Did they take the first offer and run with it? Did they charge per square inch? And what of this mysterious tax break on the monthly pass? No-one knows how it is going to be claimed, including the revenue branch of the government, nevertheless posters are everywhere! Buy the monthly pass and save save save! I wonder if an increase in sales directly increases ridership. I wonder also how much Fido got out of this deal and whether the 010227-*a-m-p-e-r-s-a-n-t company had to foot the bill for using the Fido name on the card. The company is struggling, so it’s a good bet they asked for a hefty down payment for the ultimately necessary advertisement.

And that’s my issue. The column posters were one thing. Huge, imposing, the headline news broadcast, the graphics now found on the floor, the turnstiles, the insides of cars, all of these are background. Elemental in the space of the underground. The walls of the stations and cars remain in the system but this little Trojan gets carried around by me and lives in my pocket and purse day in and day out all month. I don’t have a choice but to buy a pass in order to get around this city. I’m obviously going to spend 63$ instead of 84$ per month on the monthly pass instead of weeklys and thusly I have no choice but to interact with the long distance cheerleader every time I get my pass out to swipe it.

How dare this woman invade my world? How dare #*10-7-800-do-wah-diddy force her face into my pocket? And how dare the STM complain about money when this type of revenue is available? For gods sake, the newstands pay rent to the STM for a guarantee of traffic.

I don’t want this girl in my pocket. I don’t want to know that the STM is willing to sell that much of itself when passing itself off as a public service. And I don’t want another hike this year.