Friday, 4 August 2017

TEMPLE



i'm not afraid of your suffering
i'm not afraid of your joy
i'm not afraid of your hunger 
your desire










i'm not afraid of your rage
i'm not afraid of your love
i'm not afraid of your lies 
or your truth

i see you
i feel you
i need you

i love you












 T E M P L E

tragic trajectory
tempestuous



It's a message to you alien creatures:
translated into English - my language

It's what you see, entering our atmosphere
A blue ball with brown blotches and bolts of lightning
You could probably land on the blue or the brown - preferably
but stay away from the dark parts that light up
because they are dangerous

Our sun is a star yes - a man

Our moon is just a rock - a woman
They sustain and heal us, so that we may live
In our shelters - homes or houses
and give birth to smaller humans
who carry on after we die or
cease to exist

Our children

Light skin and dark skin

continually presents problems here
Ok we don't always get along 

We fight a lot









We humans are really not so bad
Under-developed but basically good natured - really
We have our moments when we love others
Then we have others when we fear
 
 Especially you - an intrusion

We pray to Gods - different ones depending 
on what part of this world we live in

Religion serves and protects us
Even though many of us aren't religious

It's something we've designed/made up 
to appease the fear and suffering
ongoing and unrelenting
That strips us of our humility - our ability
to empathize with others

Despite our worship









Most will fear you - mostly because you're different
Because you pose a very real threat to our survival
Even though I know - you come in peace, and


That you care about all living things too



 

Monday, 8 May 2017

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN



Marketing manipulates.  


I am grappling with the concept of political ideology in a broken world, and in what separates liberal left wing and conservative right wing thinking.  At 10pm on October 31st, 1966, she left him.  After dark with a truck pulling up - some furniture and us in tow while he’s at his new job as a radio dispatcher starting his night shift at Overland Express in Woodstock Ontario.  After years of broken promises, she had had enough - sick and tired of his lies and his absence and most importantly, his impotence.  Hardly around and when he was, he was mean most of the time, and it was common with many married men there who thought they deserved more.





 



I am fascinated by all this, especially now in May 2017, 105 days after Donald Trump has been elected President stateside and am truly baffled at our caustic counter-productive bi-polarity.  That said, I am extremely curious about why he has appealed to so many people’s fundamental values - framed in a turbulent tradition, despite appearances in an obvious capsizing of moral judgement, enabled in reaction and empty of response.  I am in awe of the human tragedy, in it’s absence of reasoning - stubborn and stupid, defaulting to numbness - like a saucy scrap on Jerry Springer followed by a punch in the face while everyone in the audience screams and cheers while she placidly watches her television - sipping wine and giggling.  It's on the news.  The differentiation between church and state is now dissolving after his newest EO/Executive Order and the dismantling of regulated systems (designed to protect us from greed and destruction) proliferate.  The gloves have come off and we are officially at war with ourselves and what’s worse, is that the manipulation is metastasizing, even in Canada. 

All this takes me back to a time when nothing mattered; a time when politics was just a thin particle board sign on a spring fed manicured front lawn every few years. Ah small town Ontario in the 60’s; tulips and daffodils.  Our local candidates always had that predictable family man smiling face and a kind pose for the camera that said ‘trust me’, only back then, if their face was on a voting sign in Woodstock Ontario, they probably were trustworthy. 


Now entering my twilight years - fast-forward, in what feels like a relatively fulfilling life, I am left to ponder;  reflecting on how I came to be and what it all means.





 

 

My parents weren’t overly political, although I later discovered that Dad was very much an alt-right foot soldier (as were most of his so-called friends).  Mom wasn’t interested in politics and had no position in it.  Like most of her girl-friends (wives and Moms), it just wasn’t something that women thought about back then, because well - they weren’t supposed to.  Growing up in Oxford County felt more like growing up in an incubator more than an open patch of land in southwestern Ontario.  Everyone knew each other.  I would sometimes accompany Mom to our weekly grocery shop at the local Dominion and remember her always stopping to talk to another woman … “hi Pat! - oh hi Mary - how are you?”  Here we go.  "How's Don and the kids?  Ah ya know".  I’m always bored listening to them smile and laugh insincerely, almost like what they are saying and thinking are very different.  Innocent and frightened.

Introduced to life’s ongoing hypocrisy early on.  Always hidden behind a curtain of courtesy and good manners but fundamentally well intended.  When Mom quietly left Dad in 1966, I was 10 and it was a shock but I adapted out of necessity.  Having a younger brother made it all tolerable; David was my lifeline and my connection to reality for years.  Without him I would have drifted into oblivion in my teens.  I knew for some time that Mom and Dad were unhappy and later figured out that they both had been unfaithful.  Mom was a mess but at least she expressed it.  Dad was a train wreck emotionally but concealed it; having been introduced to life in 1925 in Woodstock too, only growing up repressed during the great depression in the early ’30’s - second oldest in a large family; talking about it years later, after his 7th beer in Stoney Point where we lived with Agnes (her 8th); one of Dad’s early acquisitions.  Apparently she was a fling he had early in his marriage to Mom.  Ag was married too, having left her husband Earl and their kids, to be with Dad because well, marriage (and parenting) wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and this felt like a fresh new start … right?  Wrong.  

Ag moving to that small lakeside village apartment with us and Dad on the southern shore of Lake St Clair in 1967 was a shit-show from day 1 and just got worse as time unfolded.


 






I myself, didn’t think about political correction until I got into my late 30’s, having moved to Toronto and started a family.  I kind of knew I was a Liberal thinker (compared to others), but it just wasn’t important to me.  I had become immersed in my passion and my ongoing muse - music, and well … Canada was doing just fine anyway and me voting one way or the other was almost irrelevant.  I mean how many right wing artists do you know out there?  Canadians were basically on the same page and there really was no right or left (like there is now).  Leaning left was in my DNA and I think that it may have been originally realized in a previous life because all the signals were without any grounding in my immediate history here and now.  


Politics wasn’t something that very many people north of the 49th thought about very much (at least in my circle) and that was just fine with me because I had more important things to think about.  I remember driving the 3 hours south; visiting my Dad over the coming years.  He had become a hermit (Ag long gone), living in a tiny apartment in Woodslee Ontario (near Windsor), drank excessively, wallowed in his own self-pity and played the victim card to the letter.  It was torture for me seeing him like that.  His anger (rage) was nuclear and he kept it all contained in his liquid lunch.  In short; everything that was wrong in his world was always someone else’s fault, and there was no reasoning with him ... sound familiar?  Little did I know then, that this was thematic and that it would come back again and again in any number of ways, shapes and forms. Mom got sick and Dad snagged us and moved us south in late '67.










It was later (summer ’96), when I first consciously realized how different I was from him.  Having previously lived with him against my will for 6 years in isolation 25 years earlier, I remember asking Dad back then at 15 what was going to happen to me/us (my brother and I), living in Stoney Point because I could see no future there and high-school was finishing soon.   His answer was something like … “You could get a job picking tomatoes; good money in that.  Find a good woman and settle down here - your own house - kids”.  Right.  Dad had zero interest in sending us to college (let alone university), because of the expense of it so this is what’s on the menu.  Lots of ripe red.  The Heinz plant was in Leamington and thousands of locals had become pickers or processors and lived comfortably on their hourly in some shack in rural Essex County - collecting an unemployment check or welfare during the off months.

Men came home late, drunk while their wives chain-smoked cigarettes and watched a fuzzy TV; their kids out vandalizing mailboxes.  One of Dad’s big regrets was that he wasn’t able to get into a good union and wanted that for me, quietly confessing. In March 1973, I realized that getting out of Stoney Point was essential to my sanity and being 16 allowed me to move back to Woodstock with Mom and my step-father without my brother who I left behind alone.  Dad always resented me for doing that - away again.  Slipping out when he was at his new job, sitting on a bar stool at the Cooper Court Hotel in Belle River at 2pm, abandoned YET again.  That resentment continued until he died in September 2002.  I found out in 2005.

I think back to our yearly visits a lot.  I’m still learning from my Dad.  I’m sure he had no idea how important he was to me and I miss him.   I’m thinking that the lessons he meant to leave with me are much different than he intended and I still feel his pain.







 


It really hit me how different our political views were - our outlook on life - perspectives, visiting him in 1996 especially.  After a one sided discussion on racism south of the border and in his incremental inebriation, he sarcastically laughed out loud.  "You're a bleeding heart liberal”, he said scathingly and that flattened me thinking, what the hell is that?  It was then that I realized that there was 2 opposite sides of the nickel (heads and tails) and was then formally introduced to the idea of conflicting ideologies.  It was also when I realized that Dad was essentially a hard right thinker and I now know that if he were still alive, that he would be an ardent and loyal Trump supporter for all the obvious reasons.  I also now understand that quietly leaving him that windy early summer afternoon in ’73 was because our beliefs were diametrically opposed only I was still unaware of that then in Stoney Point. 





M A K E  A M E R I C A  G R E AA G A I N




What’s most fascinating to me now (looking back), is that I could have easily subscribed to Dad’s vernacular viewpoint, like the few friends I had there did - staying behind and carrying out the tradition that their fathers were proud of.  I could still be there, perhaps having worked myself up to foreman at the plant ... that union job that he always wanted for me.  

Carrying his legacy forward to the next generation.  


"you can control your children
through threats and punishments
and they will learn to fear

or you can love and guide
without controlling or interfering
and they will learn to trust themselves"


William Martin - The Parent's Tao Te Ching


 

Friday, 17 February 2017

borderlines


you stand there staring ... into light
anticipation waiting, to ignite




b o r d e r l i n e s










there are the prisons we choose to live inside
and then there the prisons that choose us

we grow up in both, so we now know
what separates one, from the other

or do we?

either way
it's a lonely place
with not many people - well real people
a cold place - the food is bad

not a lot of love

I survived because
in the end

life wins
a new plan
presents itself

every time 











realigning our reason
calibrating our curricula
building new bridges
tearing down
old ones

been here - done this

trying to remember what it was like 
staying true to form - action affirmation - shaking
in this moment of 
awakening

one metal gate closes behind 
and a second opens
in front

stepping through it
 free again


barbed wire and electric fencing
it's part of my past




   




letting the sun in 
just for a minute, then two - then ten
appraising the potential

where do we go, from here? right
look up

squinting and feeling the warmth on my face
for the first time in months
thankful for this
walking

no one waiting - never is

this world keeps spinning us around
and I may never touch

the ground 











 it's what I remember about you
always afraid to look back

now I understand why



b o r d e r l i n e s





as we look out into what's old
another mystery untold

another newborn star 
will shine









,

Saturday, 21 January 2017

wondering of you




entitlement

 the assumption that one has a right to something
 that others don't ... hint, whispering

(It's why we kill each other)





w o n d e r i n g   o f   y o u





  

There's a family in Kolkata India
and they travel 12 miles every day 
to get 2 buckets of water
They take turns 
carrying them
because it 
hurts

Meanwhile it's Christmas in America
and Donny is throwing a temper tantrum
because he didn't get a Kylo Ren light saber
knowing his friend Jason got one
"THIS is bullshit"!


"Calm down Donny!  Jesus!!
We can get you one tomorrow"
on Boxing day
    








"but there's NONE LEFT!  Idiot"

She's wondering if he knows yet
that none of this is real

Just a dream 

Fixing his favourite breakfast
chocolate chip pancakes and bacon
with real maple syrup
Donny's fave

"Santa probably just forgot that one"
she quips, smiling as she flips a bitch
"strawberry jam or grape jelly?"

Grape jelly - daa 
"Don't you know anything"? 

Finding out the following year
that Santa's not real
and that's that

Ok, I already knew but played along
milking it for all I could

More kewl shit

20 years and 80lbs later
Behind closed doors 
 






 




Nothing makes sense
when everyone lies all the time
It's like you have to lie too
just to fit in

Something is supposed to happen here, something real
I can feel it - something BIG - NO
(or in whatever language
you understand)

You don't belong here
I didn't invite you
over for supper

Because I gotta work for a living
Up at 5am again and you coming here
and taking what doesn't belong to you

just pisses me off






 




Years pass

I get time and a half when I work weekends
that's $42/hr and I'm doing ok - come home 
beers, news on TV - same horseshit

Ok, why IS it
that we always have to keep
looking over our shoulder
all the time?

ya - billyBONG me Bobby
These people don't deserve to live
I need to check out for a few hours
Gotta eat first 
 
Deciding if I'll have chicken or beef tonight
Maybe I'll just order a pizza and pull my pud to porn
Choke the chicken and beat my beef - jack my johnson

but wait!  Maybe hope arrives YES!





w o n d e r i n g   o f   y o u









Our guy is IN dude!
Stick that in yer pipe and smoke it
You shit-show snowflakes - sorry ass sympathizers!
(Donny is screaming at his 60' LCD)  
"He's going to fix this shit yo
because it's fucked up"
 

"Oh and my cut?  Needs to be renegotiated ASAP
Do it.  Just SAY IT" !


 "You're FIRED"!  Nice ...
Just what I need!  You sir, are just the right man
for the job.  You sir ...

are a testament to my conviction and commitment 
to your kick ass ideology; I'll defend at all costs 
till the end regardless of what needs to be sacrificed
because you sir?  know how to rock!

Laying down my life for the greater 'good'
 a higher purpose.  Devoted - and ya

We deserve BETTER!
Deserve MORE






 




So fuck you motherfucker
We're going to drain the swamp - (whatever that means)
Images of black snakes and slippery sly-suckers surfacing
in brown mud 

Simple; it means we're going to clean out all the vermin vomit
that stinks up our glorious God fearing country and



We are gonna
make America GREAT again!
 













It doesn't matter
or does it?

Some of these pictures
are timeless
 


"you can control your children 
through threats and punishments 
and they will learn to fear

or you can love and guide 
without controlling or interfering 
and they will learn to trust themselves"


William Martin - The Parent's Tao Te Ching



.