I am aborting my attempt at literary non-fiction. It is a worthy, high art, but, oh so boring! Whether I’d be good at it is one thing…but you really can’t excel and enjoy what you don’t do well at, or have interest in. While my writing style was more positive with the stilted, literary style—and a few of you seemed to like that—it wasn’t “me”. It was the “real me” attempting to be what I perceived to be a “better me”, but I simply had no affinity or passion for it. So, without further ado, here I am, the “real me”.
Most tourists in these urban parts don’t see angry Canadians. We’re generally affable and pleasant, even if you scratch the surface deep.
However, don’t get a Canadian angry.
We don’t get angry. We get even. Yeah yeah. You can talk all you like about our sweet, maple syrupopsicles and nice, bedecked Mounties on well-groomed horses. But we know what mettle of which we’re made.
It’s the kind of mettle that got us through Holland and France during WWII. And while our southern cousins like to talk tough, we simply are–even though they might likely use a bigger, faster M-whatever to bolster their bluster.
Most of us aren’t confrontational nor do we subscribe to the notion that we will only be as nice as we need to be. We are nice. We look for ways to help the underdog, fight for universal rights to be free from abuse in any form. We give you the benefit of the doubt, until you prove otherwise–then we don’t give a hoot if you’re yelling that the wolves are coming after you–that’s the way the Universe gives payback. We also do not pay our kindnesses to meddlesome, selfish neighbours, or neighbours who may have dishonest motives; and, if we did, they’d better get ready to shit their pants–sometimes even literally.
Even the police are nice here, for the most part. A knock on your door means they want to make sure everyone is safe. They have an often thankless and demoralizing job as they encounter quiet, inner resistance, and some residual apprehension, to their goodwill. We’re not afraid of what the police will do. We’re afraid of what the next door neighbours will think. But aside from the occasional, bellicose call-handler at the non-emergency police line, where you’re supposed to get “help”, our force is among the finest and most progressive in the land. I say this with pride and with first-hand knowledge.
Oh yeah, right, back to the topic. Don’t get us angry, eh? Figuratively speaking, and not at all literally, Canadians have a long fuse but a big bomb. I’ve been using a lot of euphemisms. We do wait, and have a long memory. And we’re not gullible. You may think you’ve cornered us, but we always find a way out. Short of tasering us to death, you won’t win. Even then, you won’t. Why not? Because for every one Canadian who is unjustly treated, there will be ten to a hundred or more who will rise up to champion that person’s rights and lifeblood. You won’t win. Some even have stood barehanded in the way of a sudden cougar attack to protect a stranger or a child, to the death.
You won’t win.
So really, you’re not very smart to make Canadians angry. If we don’t express it right away, we’ll wait. And wait. And….well, then you’ll see. No, I don’t think you’ll want to see. Good luck.
The glib teacher when addressing a convocation of high school graduates, would say, “The sky’s the limit!” This is rhetorical, yes. But, very airy-fairy. The truth is that while we still have so many decades of work ahead of us, the field of possibilities is larger, but not limitless. Despite our best and varied talents and gifts, we really, when we’re finished with school, have a narrow and limited high straw-like conduit through which to channel our talents and energies. The extremely capable ones can may have a pipeline. But a bounded channel going straight up with all of our specialized training, is the only way up. That is the only piece of sky we see. And even then, our age, our physical and mental limitations, give us a cut-off point. By the time we’re 48, we decline to a less active self. We don’t have the same emotional energy, nor the same amount of certain hormones, nor the same ease and grace of body, that we had at 18. The skies grow narrower. Anyone telling you otherwise is giving you false hope.
Listen, the story of Tower of Babel is the perfect illustration. Men, all of them who were powerful in deed, word and spirit enough to build this tower that was to reach to the heavens, were confused by certain spirits that gave them a bitter taste of displacement in the human family. But that tower, is ironic. It was also a cylindrical object whose builders boasted they could reach the heavens with. The sky’s the limit…sound familiar? The God of the universe, or gods as there was the Trinity in One, said, “If Man can do this, he can do anything. Let us go down and confuse their tongues so that they scatter abroad and abandon,” (my paraphrase). Since then, there have been collective efforts to build things, such as space stations, the Hubble Telescope and its successor(s), particle transporters, etc. But humanity still wars and quibbles. Why? Because despite our technological knowledge, we are narrow-minded. We still stigmatize, racialize, shun our elders, ignore our children, abuse our pets, victimize the homeless and disabled: our attitudes have not changed. The sky isn’t our limit; but, the earth is. We can send all the fucking robots to fucking Mars as we fucking want to. Just watch. Within 50 years we will have had discovered little that will help us as we have had in the last 50 years. Even if we should determine that Mars had lifeforms, it will change little of our dealings with other humans. In fact, the new elite will be more unforgiving of the new have-not’s. Human nature never changes.
So the sky’s really the limit. As soon as we colonize Mars, we’ll bring the same shitty baggage we lugged around while on earth. Another planet of ecosystems to destroy, yay! Congrats, boys, you really outdid yourself this time.
I had all the time in the world
But didn’t want it.
Time is not all that
It’s added up to be.
By the age of seven,
I faced suicide.
At twelve, I realized I could never
Be a good mother,
So Time grabbed me by the womb
And stood still.
At twenty, I fell in love.
For the first time,
Time didn’t matter.
At twenty-one, my lover
Left me to chase his old flame,
Once too spiritual for him,
But, you see, I had brought him
Into the fold,
So, now, he thought he had a better chance.
Time turned black and white, green, and red.
Ten years of waiting and being taunted.
Psychotic church leaders
Who meted out their dole of destruction.
Time was a cheat.
But the worst is the lie from someone
Whom you love
Who once was supposed to have
Loved you back,
Replying when asked,
©2016-2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved
It used to be easier writing poetry in the past than now. The so-called muse would strike often, perhaps. Or it might have been the pre-Internet mindset, which demands a protocol of thinking so like a mathematician that the magic of life had been sucked out of the brain after two weeks of being online. Yet, one doesn’t miss a day of using the Internet; there is no prohibition, nor are there inhibitions, to do so. So, we sit during lunch hours, catching up with Facebook friends, or quirky but ephemeral Instagram posts. And more. We are addicts.
There’s nothing new in being an addict. The rituals are all the same whether you are grinding coffee beans or preparing the popcorn before turning on the television. (Yes, I enjoy that antiquated piece of technology.) The rewards usually are instant, and then diminish with use. The worst thing is that in almost all cases of addiction, it’s often wasted time and energy.
Can we stop the behemoth? That is, can we save this Maiden Poetry from being blackened into oblivion? We can only try. Sadly, poetry seems to be the first to be sacrificed when a society is in survival mode. But we are not in that material desperation. We are rich. We are well-fed, a bit arrogant, and definitely unconcerned. We are killing the highest art form besides opera and and painting. People of the new millennium just haven’t the patience nor have they developed the neurological pathways to enjoy sublimity unless it comes in the form of a dried-out bud.
Happily, many of us old-timers still remember. The sublime. The ephemeral. The otherness. The thrill of having reached that new level of consciousness. It was life for us, the fountain of learning. Let’s try to bring it back from it’s unnatural exile.
I am panting; I’ve run a mile and I am exhausted. The road is gravel and tar. It’s almost off-road running only it was in the middle of a construction zone while the city takes its lunch break. My heartbreak is still there despite it all.
My calligrapher aunt used to tell me to run whenever I had a problem. I was young and stubborn then, but I eventually took her advice–after 25 years. She’s aged a quarter of a century. And yet she still doesn’t know how little running a mile has on problems. It only punishes the body and clears the mind–both good for the soul–but my empty gut tells me to keep running because I’ll never get there. Get where? To that part of me that contains happiness. Why not? Because it’s the lifetime of memories stored in my heart that drags me down.
I cool off by walking through English Bay. I see a dog. The dog has a red collar. The owner is holding onto it for dear life because it wants to sniff everything and everyone, and with everyone being so friendly to it, naturally, and so the black lab pup stops every two feet to greet the next bench of sun-worshipping West-Enders. What dog wouldn’t? I start to walk quickly, anxious not to get involved or pretend that I care. Most of the people here are anti-Hong Kong Chinese. A friendly lab could mean my demise into mockery. I steel myself for the passing by.
I am starting to spin. My legs turn to jelly. My left eye shuts and I cannot feel my entire left half of my body. Look! Ecce! Is that my heart melting? The black lab, probably only 6 months, is all over me, sniffing and frenetically climbing. I realize I’m on the ground now. And now, as things grow dim, I feel and smell the dog as it sniffs, whines, and licks me…and I am happy.
©️2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved
But it is not enough. Pursuing Beauty was meant as a stand-in for the absence of Love, that fickle-faced creature. It was because Love was not there when I was six that I wanted to be a genius, even though I knew I was not, because it had the shine of love. It was because Love was not there that the day before a new school year was to start, when I felt disheartened enough arguing with Dad, that I wanted to kill myself—for the first time, at the age of seven. It was because Love is not here that I feel nothing for other people at the age of forty-seven. It is because I am not listening to Love when it is there that I no longer care about myself or others or God. It is because Love does not exist in my heart that I don’t care about a damn thing.
I am acquainted with Bitterness though. I no longer care to kill myself. I no longer want to care to do anything but to aggrandize myself. I do this through narcissism and achievements. All I’ve ever known that mattered to me were achievements. I envy those who can circle their goals and swoop in for the kill once they’ve hunted and powered up. Well maybe not. We’re told that goals are a mountain we climb. Goals to me are not so cliché. We do all sorts of things to achieve our goals. Sometimes it takes procrastination. It takes dreaming. It then takes trudging and sometimes opening a vein. Whatever. Who cares. It’s just another dribbling writer telling you what you don’t care to know. The point is, I seek to be a great somebody because I can’t stand people. They tire of me too easily. I don’t trust people who claim to love me. I don’t trust people who are close to me. I don’t trust my extended family to have any interest in my personal benefit. I simply don’t trust.
God? I do want more than anything to go to Heaven, honestly. Only, God forbid that there should be people up there. Give me lions, tigers and bears. I don’t wish to infect others with my brand of loneliness. The bitter root spreads all too readily. I don’t know why I am heartbroken. I don’t know why I am bitter. I don’t know why I choose sadness over healing. It’s a Scorpio perversion, the darkness of its nature that makes it sting itself to death when surrounded by a ring of fire. It’s like it doesn’t seem to know that if it rushes forward over that fire, it only gets singed but slightly, that it has a tough exoskeleton to protect it. But it only sees an insurmountable threat. It sees suicidal danger. It sees no way out. And if anyone dares pluck the hypervigilant Scorpion out of the ring of fire, he himself gets stung. So, I have little use for relationships, because they won’t last past their salvation before the next threat comes.
Suddenly, I grow old. When men grow old, they date younger women to feel young again. They just catapult reality a block away and confront it again when it roadblocks them. When women grow old, they get bitter and isolate. They get cats. There is really no point in trying in anything because we all die. But if we don’t try, we don’t experience the thrill of being alive. I think the key to keeping that youthfulness is in trying. Trying new things, be they silly or mystical, are needed to survive until we die.
©️2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved