It doesn’t get better than this. I do not possess enough eloquence to lend anything substantial to this protest. I am so proud of these workers. There is no more I can say than Good On You. Don’t stop.
It doesn’t get better than this. I do not possess enough eloquence to lend anything substantial to this protest. I am so proud of these workers. There is no more I can say than Good On You. Don’t stop.
My Nation’s Capital:
My life as a citizen was in the capital of the country. It is a place of indecision, of covenants and trades. It is a place of giving up what you are for where you need to be. The only industry is the government and those who do business with it. It is a place of giving up, a crash site rather than a launch pad. There is heritage, but it can be described as one giant suburb without a centre. It lacks the mass of a nucleus and is forever perfect, but lacking something essential.
For me it is the place of my little brother’s breakdown and subsequent redemption. It is the place of facemasks and small breaths. It is a place of secrets and ignored deceit. It is a place where no-one notices you and everyone notices, fascinated by elements of themselves. It is a place of conceit and self-importance. I was the only mermaid alive in that city and even the people who probed me so thoroughly with cocks and tongues never noticed the dorsal fins and thrashing tail.
I had relinquished my citizenship early. I felt steeped in entropic pain. Pointlessness and easy fear. I had avoided fishermen’s nets ever since I started drinking tea from small bags of trapped herbs. I wasn’t going to end up like them, and sometimes it came too close for demure refusal. There were too many. It was too much. A populace city with expectations and certain needs all of their own. There were plenty of men and there was family too. I always wondered why they were asking about men, humans. Wasn’t it obvious? I am certainly a remarkable creature, but let’s be logical. I lay eggs and there are few men who will tolerate a better half without a bottom half. It wasn’t meant to be. My species is such that wants joy and clear comfort. A round hook in the cheek and a long white dress would scratch and dry me out like late night pizza anchovies.
I had been a fish out of water since shortly after I squiggled out of the rip they made in my mother. She never quite knew what to do with me, and the other was overwhelmed. Happy, but unsure and ultimately focused on more immediate, personal problems. The next was the blonde one, and then they sewed up that dimension for good. Like all merpeople, we emerged ready and needed little training for the salmon run ahead. I envied his breath and wondered how he got people in this self-centred, fascinated city to pay attention to him so effortlessly. I too seemed to have a spotlight on me, but I was jealous of it and would never go gracefully into the shadows.
There were tunnels at that time. Mind tunnels I suppose your kind would call them. I found myself in familiar places, staring forward, not moving, not really thinking, on automatic. Someone shouts at me or shakes me or touches my shoulder and gently asks if I’m alright. Mostly I say I don’t know. There are times when faced with a decision I can’t cope with, there are tears and condescending smiles. There are humiliating doctors appointments. Nothing seems to be wrong. I can’t breathe, but I’ve never been able to do that really. Gills will probably come with womanhood. Like all other mermaids, there is a school rather than family, and no real need for intimacy. Warmth is dangerous in freshwater with leeches everywhere, but one single mermaid can turn a pond into a turkish bath when angered.
Where were the others? I know I know them, but I can’t remember where they are supposed to be. I’m not the only urban mermaid, but where are my memories? And who are the others anyway? How was it such a secret? Well, you’re talking to the girl who couldn’t do trigonometry to save the life of a loved one, but who could see the angles and depth of a desk and was thusly able to masturbate in the middle of class almost every day that year since the teacher stood higher than we sat. It was odd to me though, that more curious, though narrowminded peers never saw my fins.
It amazed me everytime I drove that I had something to push the pedals with. Seatbelts were always a problem for me, as was most confinement. I wobbled most when I came home drunk thinking, ‘this is how it must be to walk on a tail’
I was escaping since it began. First Jill, her cramped bowl of poison that I nearly killed her to get out of. Then I needed to get out of my ugly snowpants. Then the house, too often shouts and accusations. Many times confusing and mostly in her grip. Visitors while we were downstairs. Cars I didn’t want to get into and places I didn’t want to visit. I wanted to save him, but he was so far beyond even wanting help, it was a ditch behind a reef to even see him. Between the two of them, we drew a map of the city on the backs of our suitcases. My buspass never showed dorsal fins or gills and unsteadiness standing on a city bus is to be expected. I got away from both of them. Her first into his lobster trap. She cried and I was free of her whims and covenants. It was the best feeling. The most freedom from I had had in my life. It never occurred to me to look for freedom to.
There were always those who needed my insides and couldn’t find my configuration. Some were fascinating, but mostly it was loose curiosity. How do you fuck a mermaid anyway? Is there anything you need to push out of the way? Do you buy them a drink beforehand? I personally appreciate it, but it’s mostly just for show. And good luck guessing what an urban mermaid will want in her glass.
More than once I have been in this mental position. How did I get here? You get asked sometimes what choices you made that got you into the place or position you are currently in. It never felt like a choice to me. It was small trapped corners the whole way to this dead end. I look back and I can see the forks and branches now, but ahead of me was always a straight line into a 90 degree game over.
He had left and plucked my scales like petals to count out a juvenile question. We had been in a bar and I had tried to keep my cool. It was an interview to keep me. I couldn’t help but ask stupid questions, poorly worded as well. “Did you consider me for that choice?”. I couldn’t help but point out obvious and stupid realities. “We’ve been together for six months, and it’s been pretty good.” He reassured me that I was her type and I would receive a phone call if they ever decided on a threesome. How insulting, and how brimmed I was with self-loathing to still want him after he wiped my chest with a red stain and washed his hands of me.
There were questions then. What do I do? Who do I do it with? Does this girl really deserve to live? Do I have the energy to ruin her? This was the roadsign as I passed him, so impervious to my pain. No Way Out.
There was no reason to have had hope at that time. I saw only dead ends of each stubby, similar road. I was trapped at a crossroad, again with those fuckers. The corner of Laurier and It All Ends Here. My nation’s capital had exhausted my patience and I wanted nothing more than to curl my tail around the edge of a serrated knife and be done with it. I should have seen him coming at that time. There was no better place for him to lay the groundwork of his swamp in my memory. I never saw it for what it was. I was blind, arrogant, compulsive, narrow-minded and that most suicidal of all traits in a mermaid, shallow. It was the worst, most immediate choice I ever saw. My future lay ahead like perfect diamond cut clockwork in a reasonable home with a reasonable man. A reasonable job while I’m young and then as if by consensus of peers and particulars, a child. I knew that was death by asphyxiation, and no good ever comes of being what’s settled at the bottom of the pond. I sat right there on the warm cement, stretched my teeth, grabbed one fin in each hand and ripped as hard as I could. Screaming I tore at the fatty, dense flesh and used the muscles in it to pull the two halves apart harder. I heard the wet entropic sound of meat on the pavement. My bottom half was shaking uncontrollably as I tried to flex what was a tail into heels and thighs. I had no idea what a knee was supposed to do, and it gave me vertigo to turn on my flippers, push myself up and stand. My head was spinning, my sinuses were dry and bleeding from the unfamiliar air. I gripped the street post with shaking, sweaty hands and inched up. I fell against it several times as my thin fins slipped on the bloody ground. I slapped the bottoms of each half on the sidewalk and wobbled. I vaguely wondered how much more I would bleed. Forcing scales suddenly too dry and thin cartilege to hold me upright, I saw it all coming. One step and tears and pain. A second. Small mewling sounds I could hear out loud. My jaws met and I stepped again and again. Loping and swaying as exposed skeletal cartilage dried and began to harden. Momentum. Escape. Another slapping sound. More tears, more steps. Faster. Slap, stamp, stumble, slapping swaying, further and more. From that road sign saying No Way Out, I ran.
That’s what I’m talking about. This is the reason I decided to vote for Duceppe in the first place. He is in his element, proclaiming sovereignty not only for the province, but also from the current leadership in the House of Commons. He has successfully gone on the offensive against the Merry Harpers and at once he has divided the Liberal party on a contentious issue at a time in which they don’t even have a party leader. I was looking forward to this kind of grandstanding from my favourite troublemaker, but I wonder if one piece of the pie is missing, or currently part of a top-secret strategy that will only become apparent in coming months.
The Harper Conservatives are now and have always attempted to win over not only the voting perspective, but the hearts and minds of their constituents as well. This hasn’t worked well for them until now, and now was the perfect time. The Liberals were on the saddest chicken run I have ever seen in my lifetime and Harper knew that the only way to get that many people to even consider the conservative platform was to hammer away at the Liberals publicly over and over and over. Privately, something very different happened. In the small congregations and religious gatherings across Canada, the conservatives went on a door knocking, direct-mailing frenzy and goddamit they gathered the people. For anyone, myself included, watching media coverage of the election, it didn’t seem even remotely possible that Harper could gain control of the country. The only hint I got was from the bizarre and often contradictory polling that showed him pulling ahead regularly. The problem with that, at least from my standpoint, was that the people doing the polling were asking questions comparing Harper to Martin rather than asking about Harper’s leadership per se. Remember kids: he’s led nothing! He won nothing before this election and my firm belief at the time was that they would make a good run for it, show the Liberals (who I had pegged to win with a minority) they needed to shape up and Harper himself would be re-schooled in the first lesson of electoral politics: you need to win to play. Sadly this did not come to pass. The Conservatives won in a ridiculous guard change that left me baffled and more uneasy than I have been in many years. The thing that didn’t sit well with me was the amount of seats won in Quebec. This made no sense to me given the Quebec voters history of going with either the person from Quebec or the person from the Party of Quebec. The Bloc has always been wildly powerful here and it truly made me wonder where the conservative vote came from out here. They won seats that the Bloc had been counting on. They are fixtures here and it left my head spinning. Not only could I not see the Quebec voters turning against the Bloc to such a degree, but Harper? No-one please try to tell me he’s “reaching out to Quebecers”, so why would so many of its constituents turn Harpward?
We are a province of Catholics and with the current trend of Conservatives to collaborate with religious groups is where we find the seed. To see where this has worked many times before, you have only to look south at the Roving-Bush-Cheyne. This strategy worked well over and over at a time in which the media coverage of various public speeches, events and party platforms seemed to show both candidates in a sheepish and non-sensical light. The difference though, is that at the grassroots, under the radar, churches and congregations everywhere were hearing the message directly. The internet as well was used to pass around dubious accusations via spam mail that would never be checked, simply passed on. They went further than we have to as our people are used to a different kind of election. There are still high profile new stories about how vicious the recent attack ads have become. We expect a certain level of leadership from all parties, and that includes being able to disagree professionally, without going down ugly roads. This time the ads were vicious, but while we were arguing about the low standards currently used by the major parties, they were in small churches and people’s living rooms. They went low for this deal, way under the mark, and the only way to get Quebec voters to turn conservative after so long was to get into the Catholic heart and mind and set the corkscrew in motion from there. They needed to know there was a candidate interested in Quebec affairs, and the only way to convince dyed-in-the-wool Quebecers that Harper was that candidate rather than Duceppe was to appeal to that sense of ineffable belief. Bring me to Ottawa, and I will lead you home. There hasn’t been an attack like this for decades, and that was the Catholic lobby themselves warning the country against Trudeau. There hasn’t been any need until recently for religion to enter into the political atmosphere. Until lately, our Liberals were atheistic-ineffectual whiners with sad, almost delusional commitment to such laughable issues as Sovereignty, Economic Growth, International Relations and Social Programs. The Conservatives were economic, we all agreed that Health Care and Education were things that need to be paid for and the disagreement tended to come from how to go about doing that. The Reform party and the Alliance were the fringe crazies with witless, though hilarious, posturing on the platform of “I hate you”. This is a new ball game up here. There is a genuine concern over those who are in power if they base decisions on their own religious beliefs. Galvanizing the base via religious gatherings is, I feel, a reasonable place to start. Those Christians for example, who believe in the End of Days and that the time is soon coming for it are less likely to give any credence to the need to curtail greenhouse gases and global warming. They are less likely to take a diplomatic and diffusatory position in the Middle East crisis, preferring to allow the space “to be prepared for the coming messiah”. There is a reasonable doubt in leadership of people who believe these things and more over, who believe that these credences should form public policy. Will Layton be able to stand up to that kind of irrational belief? Will he be able to convince the current company that he is a working-man’s working man? Of course not. Not if the Catholic churches remind everyone in their congregation Sunday after Sunday that there is merit to considering the life after rather than this one. Will Iggie sink to the same level and try to play the game of Rove? Of course he will. He can be almost the same leader as Harper with only slightly more charisma, and a party affiliation that at least has more fun on the weekends. If he wins the leadership, there won’t be a difference between the Liberal and Conservative Party and attempting to choose one or the other will result only in a dilemma equal to that of a poorly written sit-com.
Gilles, get your ass out there! Don’t leave us hanging with no-one to scream, no-one to set a hard line, no-one to remind us that we have to do something here on earth, in this life. You and I have not agreed on several tacs you have taken thus far, but I like what I hear today. You are one of the last few who can and will take a hard line, but you need to address your constituents. It is two years now since the election happened and don’t think there haven’t been events and gatherings since then. The next election could cost you even more unless you reach back inside and take back the base into the fold. I don’t agree with separation. I am a Nationalist who voted for you because I want Harper to have the hardest possible time doing anything in this country. I want every initiative he presents to be met with extreme suspicion, criticism and counter initiatives. I want someone to make appealing the idea of standing up in the House of Commons to him. I want him to dread the prospect of over-turning the gay marriage law, I want him shaking in his boots at the idea of involving ourselves any further in a nonsensical war in the middle east, I want him grappling with bladder control at the very thought of even the most minor adjustment to our Healthcare system. You are one of the few. No allies and a party dissimilar to any other in this country gives you the independence to make this thing work, but you have to get back your people, and give the conservatives not a hope of getting one more seat on the grounds that the next life will be better with them in charge of this one. I’m counting on you Gilles. Bloc them.
Where do I start is for today a reasonable question. I got bogged down before I could fully address the soft-wouldn’t of several weeks ago that only our floppiest political party is bothering to mention. In coming days my open letter to my current MP, Gilles Duceppe. The scales tip once again and now I worry that too broad an anger may be unhealthy.
We begin with an immigration judge so hard up and desperate as to threaten the status of a South Korean woman if she did not have an affair with him. Her iron-stomached boyfriend videotaped an encounter she had with this man and sent it along to the Canadian Immigration Board. More to come, but for now he will hear no more pleas (for the time being) and his status is under review. Did anyone check that molestache he’s sporting? She should have caught on that this guy was out of line when she noticed the man in charge of whether or not she becomes a citizen has a Tom Seleck fetish. What else can be expected really? An immigration judge should not truly have any need to feel any purpose for what they do besides get what they can and then get the hell out. It means nothing to add to our great nation those who seek to live here for betterment or self-actualization. Who are we to fail to educate newcomers to
And for our own citizens? Those who already here and thriving, subject to our laws and umbrellad under our inalienable rights and freedoms? What do we make of another
Peter MacKay’s love life is again in the public eye for reasons passing all rational understanding. My only hope is that in light of Murphy’s Law, Condie will cross the floor of the U.N. in a spectacular political strike set at the yet-unannounced Prime Minister for
Funding is being cut immediately for any women’s activity not directly involved with cooking and sewing at the national level. Trudeau-Era funding enjoyed by advocacy groups that lobby for children, the status of women, Muslim women, les Femmes du Belle Province etc. must now fail entirely to lobby, activate or speak publicly. It is hard to abide by my doctor’s insistence that I not harm myself in light of such announcements.
A bloody woman begs on her knees, a tiny immigrant is coerced into her newfound home, this still better than what she has left; a lonely, frightened man in robes steals a freedom with no sense of his purpose, reason or accountability. The newest chief of staff to the minister for the environment could drown any of us in his homophobic, bilious ramblings. We near the end of year two and no Native has been lifted from crushing squalor to which they have been relegated for centuries. No meetings have been taken; no mention at all has been made. A man walks into a college and opens fire; he has no affiliations or particular hatreds. In response the main item on our list is conveniently the same issue that unified all four rich, white, male electoral candidates around one tiny campfire in the last election. Women nationwide are muzzled at the vicious butt of a well-greased dollar coin. These are merely symptoms. When we see uncaring leadership, direction without consequence, such violence becomes commonplace rather than the naked fringe.
This is a land without a leader but instead a secretive, compulsive, power-hungry mongrel with intentions more diabolical than his strategies. This is a country without a father. A person in charge to be sure, but who cares nothing for its principles, ideals or basic nature. A man with no respect for a character. He sees this place as simply the surface: a resource, a land. In cynical deference to an intolerant crowd of fanatical ideologues with no sense of urgency or long-term commitment, since their conviction in their own immunity to judgment allows them to wryly anticipate the destruction of all those around them who disagree, he steers us towards the Temple Mount and disavows our history, values and basic personality.
Though tempestuous, we are a soulful people. We tend to trumpet our distinctions from one-another, but there are fundamental principles on which we mostly agree. We seek at the moment a new source of power, a clean and safe energy that at last can fuel our growing economy without compromise to our home. I have now found the only solution available in these troubling times: harness the breathtaking torque available from the grave of Pierre Trudeau, all the Mackensies and Mackensie Kings, Diefenbaker (who though Conservative would never have willingly sold his party to the Zionists) Pearson et al. The sheer centrifugal force of these affronted giants spinning like turbines in their graves can safely fuel us into the coming election cycle with no side-effects but the release of our history into the atmosphere instead of greenhouse gases. And isn’t that in the end the goal? It seems so these days. There is a difference between dangling loose and dangling on the end of a long line and I can’t help but struggle against the jerking motion that has now become more spastic since the line has been cut. There is a place between my shoulder blades that aches for that connection point; let us only hope for my well-being that in 2008 it will grow back.
There are almost no maps or guides for the intrepid urban mermaid. How many have had to fend for themselves going between port cities and getting lost in aqueducts in ditches? I don't claim to have all the answers, but if my journey helps other stalwart explorers, so be it.