My trip down south to perform at the Vancouver Youth Poetry slam, Tongues of Fire at the Solstice cafe in Victoria and then at the Mashed Poetics event in Vancouver was super charged and so profoundly positive I felt the great weight of winter lift and a clarity come to me that I have not felt in a long while.
There is a lot happening in the world right now. It seems many people are angry and frustrated and just as many are confused. Though it appears that, perhaps, the great anxiety of the 90’s has also lifted somewhat, and so here we are awake and standing fairly raw and partially barren due to the anger that seems to be growing in the world. We are also powerful in this if we tune in.
I have been working hard, very hard, to stay focused and positive and imagine myself a future that looks and acts and smells like the most creative, positive glimmering gift I can possibly think of. On tour, I asked my audiences what they would do in the coming months to make themselves the hands and minds of the agents of positive transformation in these our delicious end times. I ask them, so i can find the confidence in myself to lead… even just lead my own life with grace and positivity. A good friend did say that if I was one of the last people that it would likely be me to build a new religion. And, well… I agree. It would be profoundly positive and probably look a lot like montessori… where people are granted the respect and honour they deserve to study and learn whatever it is that they love and/or are interested in as equal to anyone else’s love, interest and talent (unless that would be money… because money just won’t exist where I am going… it’ll all be hard skill trade). It will be this way because my religion will always state that energy is not created or destroyed, and therefore we are a sum of everything recycled back through everything… living or not… As for rituals, well… storytelling would be at the heart of everything, because it very well may be…I’m still working out the kinks, Including a name… ideas?
On that note, my new friend Bruce, a conductor on the Northern Via train line implored me to write a poem for his train riding friends on my way home from tour. When I finished the long poem I said “here Bruce, this is why Via won’t let me join their on-board entertainment program.” He said he thought the poem would just make people think and asked “what’s wrong with people thinking?” Good question Bruce, ask your boss (and Stephen Harper, just because)!!! The train is ridden by many many Europeans in the summer… lo and behold, wouldn’t they love to know that some Canadians maybe agree with their current sentiments re:tar sands, environmental policy etc..
Anyway, according to friends traveling to Prince Rupert to march against Enbridge last weekend, Bruce has left my poem up on the train, and I am thankful. Here it is for all of you:
I have had four hours to write a poem.
I spent two restringing an un-tunable guitar
only to break a string in process
welcome to life
I tell my young friend Hunter
this is how it goes sometimes
it’s not about the strings
it’s about trying.
keep tossing coins
keep asking questions
that one day
you will likely catch one
of the answers
that’s life too.
Constant motion has always been
comfortable space for me
than sitting still
the ability to walk away from boring conversations
the privacy among strangers
ever, never possible
in small town life.
Constant motion with a window seat is even better.
Hoof tracks and marmot tracks and birds nests and changing cloud patterns
and burned northern mills and broken northern shacks
and woodsmoke and lots of places that people call
the middle of nowhere
and all the waiting and creeks, and rivers, and mountains, and lakes
creating even MORE possibilities for
and if there is anything we need in Canada right now
it is MORE nature poetry.
When I have children,
I will teach them to ride the train in the winter and ask questions.
lots of questions.
do deer fall through the ice on frozen lakes?
if so, how many?
if not, why not?
when their new young eyes witness
all our once brilliant plans for nature
clear-cuts and mining operations gone under
and some of our other great defunct resource extraction opportunities
(because they will only exist in China by then… if we continue on the track we’re on, and we might; and I continue on the timeline track I am on to have children, it’ll be that long).
I will teach them to ask
how we know when the ice is stable enough for fishing?
when do we know the ice is cracking? are we already falling in by that point?
when, is it, will it be
by then, will anyone know the answers?
dead moose on tracks
safe humans on trains
and sleeping in shoes
staring out the window at the freeze thaw, freeze thaw
in constant motion
at uncontrolled crossings
waiting for the bitumen to pass
all the questions we were never taught to ask.