parkdale-4

i think we were all a bit tired last night.

we did exercises on character, switching gears from place, and i found it challenging for this reason:

“I think it’s easier for me to write about place than character in this neighbourhood because the hood is a character, and so full of real ones, that it’s hard to imagine one in.

Perhaps I should personify the tamarind balls that I forgot are for sale in that OG general store.”

and, so.

perhaps i was just too full of baked onion rings.

we’ll try again next week.

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parkdale love letters-week three

for the first time last week, i left the workshop with a piece that needed work and re/work. i knew from the free write that it would be the night that i pay tribute to dov, and i had just come from jim wong-chu’s memorial the night before, so i was feeling a bit bittersweet and tender. but that’s the thing about writing-it’s always got me through.

i lit some incense for these friends and mentors yesterday, imperfect as they were, and went out into my community to celebrate strong women and also to cry in the ceremonial space that was walking with our sisters-it’s kind of hard to fully celebrate when the misogyny and art that comes from healing is so real. the top part of a moccasin is called a vamp (i learned this), and a gymnasium full of decorated yet not sewn into a full shoe (to represent the unfinished lives of the missing and murdered indigenous women) was so power-full and so shame-full (hey, canada). i crumbled at the first baby one, and cried angry tears at the ones that had dates-1971 stands out-some people have been waiting for justice for their loved ones for 8 years before i was born, and many more have been waiting so much longer. one set were covered in garbage bags and stated “we are precious. we are not your disposable garbage”. the beadwork, the needlework, the mourning, and the artistry that came out of the creativity necessary for survival was flooring and another reminder of the inequality between women and men, because even when we are navigating the most violent of circumstances, we are the ones shouldering the responsibility of educating and coping, all while our bodies are the battleground.

and they call us crazy.

well.

there were a lot of feels that came out of life last week, so here’s to starting this one with some process:

i chose two pictures tonight
because of their warmth
no one was in the frames
but lights were the sign of life

i took a picture of you once
at the Cadillac Lounge
whisky was in the frame
but no physical copy exists
you’re as tangible as you ever were

drawn to your smoky drawl
country in the city
art on your arms and music in your heart
i suppose i chose warmth thrice

i once saw you cry because
your wall was covered
immediately after you painted it
and i am still moved
when i hear that old soul singer
you introduced me to
now especially

frozen water
still water
live

reflecting the light
evidence that we were here
but also that we’re not

you went back to the ocean
home forever
except the part of your essence
that remains in Parkdale

i hold space.

dear parkdale…

i am so excited that i signed up for the writing workshop at my library that started last wednesday.

i am always up for quick, prompt-based writing with strangers, and i learned some new (to me) rules about haiku. i only knew 5-7-5, i didn’t know that they cannot be a simile or metaphor, and that they must involve nature. huh.

here are the somes that i wrote about the neighbourhood:

my sketchy solace
colour me falling in love
cold sanctuary

teeny bachelor
with high ceilings was perfect
no things after fleas

autumn leaves fall in
perfect light in the front room
worshipping sunday

quick circle of life
senior cat slayed baby mouse
and then her mother

and some non-sestina/sestinas:

seeking sanctuary in the city,
all i found was fleas
ignored red flags and sketchy landlords
cautious of falling again
missing the solace for the trees
that first year, my gratitude
was as frozen as the olive oil, -25degrees

there’s room for everyone
as far as our minds can reach
the streetcar arrives
and people cram into the first two feet
different languages, different destinations, different hygiene
but everyone gets to where they’re going, even the fleas.

i did throw the whole thing by contributing “fleas” as my word to the soup, but people really ran with it. shoutout to lindsay and the love lettering project, this was a lot of fun-see you next week!

streetknit-august 2017

me: “that’s magic”
T: “it’s not magic, it’s textiles”
me: “textiles are magic”
T: “textiles are science

and she blew my whole head up with that.

i love streetknit because the women don’t coddle anyone, though they totally coddle me. they ooh and ah over my not-quite-right projects (a square hat and a hat with an accidental ridge) but always make sure that i’m challenging myself to improve-“can you cast on yet?” “oh, another scarf?”

i love that it’s a space where skill-sharing and bragging meet-“you made those in a month?” “i made these in a week“, and a place where another virgo will still refuse to crochet me a bathing suit, even though it’s my birthday coming up and they’re taking more of my cervix.

it was particularly poppin’ last tuesday, very well attended by people of all ages, and i started another hat on the round. i missed a couple regulars, but made some new friends. there was a lady who was taking attendance. i’m so glad for this group and that i found it so early into my tenure in toronto.

new goal: crochet myself my own dang bathing suit
first steps: learn to crochet

“new ideas need old buildings”-tile at dufferin station

i’ve already been reprimanded this week for spoiling the nba playoffs, so let me not do this to a woman’s show.

but belladonna the blest or dm st. bernard‘s sound of the beast is everything, and then eleven more everythings. do yourself a favour and go see it. please. if one of the city’s finest (the finest imo) poets can roll through (and i think he even bought a ticket because he’s not a personal friend of the inspiration’s), you can too.

ok-psa over, do what you want.

i’ve been feeling the feels since i was in montreal for a week and a half, doing everything and nothing, and with the birth of babies all around and work never ending (and still not beginning), i know it’s not an accident that i ended up in the same room as these two that i run into so randomly it’s become specific. the fact that there was a stage and words and so many ideas layered and folded into ideas that if a mille-feuille crepe cake could be a thing that could be witnessed and absorbed and spoken and felt, this would be that thing.

i’m largely not a fan of the tiles at dufferin station, especially of the two that are close together near the main entrance, one reading “blah blah blah new immigrants” and the other “occasion to turn around”, like wtf?! but i never noticed this one before, or perhaps due to its proximity to the aforementioned as well as the “lemonade living” (and i paraphrase all these tiles, except for the one that i board the train at every day on my way to work which reads “something happens here”, because, well, who has time to footnote tiles, or remember them properly and such?) i’m too busy getting to the punchline of 3/5s when it’s so meta and brilliant, when accountability happens and its calling for is further justified when the perpetrator responds by throwing her kids under the bus. when a discussion about whose lives matter is brought about without the use of those slogans so familiar that have lost their lustre, but is named nonetheless, and stories are woven so beautifully that you forget for a moment that they’re tragic but flower petals are still gentle, whether or not they’re unbreakable, and you decide, we decide-but things are complicated, and we do what we can….

(i’m writing a new piece called “poets talk in circles”….but then again, that’s been the ongoing story of life itself)

place is a thing. theatre passe-muraille is a place. it’s been one of the most reliable places that i have crossed paths with dmsb over the years, and toronto is a place-also one of the most reliable locales. it’s an old building that’s housed almost 50 seasons of new ideas, and even though it’s been fixed, i still just can’t push that door…and i’m glad that i didn’t stay away when the latest ad joined-even when she was the first person to fire me from a job at a little theatre that we both worked at in mtl-what are the chances, right?

but there are no accidents, and (the) space (between our ears) is the real place.

we gotta work on that time-bending piece, but then again-we’ve been working on that project our whole lives.

this is why i scheduled a volunteer shift on my first day back to work after a long vacation of doing everything and nothing, horny as hell but great-full for the life choices i’ve made not to have kids and a dog (though i really, really love dogs and kids). it’s nice to be able to walk in and out of that for a week, because if it was real life, i woulda had to work all day and then go home to single-mother kids and a dog.

this is why.

i live for this and i am ever great-full to this woman for reminding me to do it by doing it.

shoutout to maddie bautista-we may have only met tonight (in this life) but it’s far from over.

get out-dir. jordan peele

“i didn’t want to say it, but i told you so.”

i can’t lie. when i went to check the game 3 score before leaving the house, i thought the internet was broken. first of all-how do you even score 41 in a quarter, let alone outscore your opponent (my team) 41-17? i’ve been riding with these guys for a minute, so i know we have to be extreme and extra and extremely extra, but bruv.

i was wondering if, in addition to playing the barney theme song, jason kidd was out there stirring tea (and spilling sodas-why was derozan slipping so much?!). shit, i can’t even merge the honey in my chaga without looking both ways.

i took a wrong turn this morning, into outrement, and it felt a bit like the opening scene, though i am thank-full that i was out in plain daylight, and at night, i have a rottweiler.

officially the highest grossing original screenplay, everyone’s got something to say about this movie, and people will continue to have things to say. hopefully, that will precipitate an actual conversation one day, and not just all this idle chatter.

it’s revolutionary just by being an american film about race that is set in the present, and not as another self-congratulatory “look how far we’ve come” pat on the back excuse to show black bodies brutalized in hd as a period piece. because it was made by a black director, and that director is jordan peele, it is a more nuanced look at racism than we’ve ever seen.

i am not a fan of the horror genre, i’ve never really been interested, but i do appreciate the homages to the tropes paid here. but the fact that the true horror is just lurking beneath the surface (and in gated communities) is the scariest of all. in fact, i would argue that the scariest person in the film is the young white woman, and the horror isn’t that she’s not aware of racism, the horror is that she’s complicit while masquerading as an ally.

the humour in the film comes from the conspiracy theory that these white folks are snatching black bodies to use as “sex slaves”, but the horror is when we discredit the grain of truth that lies in every conspiracy theory, and when we laugh off that feeling that “something isn’t quite right here”. even when the cops are all coloured, they’re still police. the institution is bigger than the faces. and the black people that are a bit “off” because their bodies have been snatched (and scientifically manipulated) by white people, and they are the proof that something’s up. perhaps that’s the silver lining-you can never fully hide your dirt, your deception will catch up to you.

and so there is the fear of white inferiority and the problems that exist in resource distribution that allow the imbalance of science, medicine, and legal impunity to just
“go and get” the bodies with the traits that you need for immortality. the issues of appropriation-“we want your skills but we don’t want you” as well as banking on the fact that all lives don’t matter, since nobody’s going to ask about the black ones that have been missing.

the point of technology as a weapon is an interesting one, as the phone is what keeps saving chris, and it’s what they tried to disarm while he was in the house. the recordings of recent police brutality and protests is a beginning to turning the tables on apathy and blowing the gates off our communities.

the lure of the white woman, which is driven home when he’s looking through the box of photos (of the “deer” that rosie has helped to eradicate), is one that is also laughed off, but the sociopath is real. this bitch is pure evil, as she’s able to show a human side from the beginning, and go through the motions of feeling the outrage that the cop that pulled them over was racist, or running away from the racist white people party and being the comfort to draw chris into a false sense of security, to transitioning fully into a dirty dancing watching single froot loop eating cog in the family racism wheel. and presumably, she got (and enjoyed) all that black dick (and possibly pussy) along the way. this was the white woman that people feared that hillary clinton may have been, and she may still be, but what’s the point in getting lost in coulda beens, when the reality is a whole next level of sinister?

it would seem that the raptors are emerging from the sunken place, as i’m halfway through watching game 5 (thanks mikey, for the league pass), and that the youngsters are starting to lose their grip on the ball.

also-what a difference norm powell makes in the game. it’s not a coincidence that when he’s starting, we win, and when he doesn’t play (which, WHY THE FUCK IS HE NOT PLAYING?!) we lose. i was starting to feel waves of deja vu to the past two years before this season when i was begging for james johnson to be traded so i could see him play somewhere (and now look at him in miami), but coach seems to have come to his senses, at least for the time being.

your lineups are still on scrutiny, though, dwayne.

get your exercise in.

my next lover must read

books. regularly. independently and habitually. because they love reading. period.

not because of me. because you haven’t gotten around to it yet, but you’re tired of just sitting there like a dummy when you take the subway with me because i’m winning by reading.

not because you think you’ve reached your limit of reading-you’ve read books before, you even own books, have a shelf full of them! you’ve done it before, you know what it’s about. you read magazines, you’re good.

DEFINITELY NOT because you think you’re somehow qualified to write a book BUT YOU DON’T READ.

DEFINITELY NOT because you’ve designed course outlines and you’re good with the books you’ve chosen and there are no current books or any that have come out in the last 80 years that would also work in the syllabus and could possibly be more inspiring to your students because they speak more directly to their experience. you believe that they should meet you, you shant meet them. (this is what teachers who don’t read sound like)

you don’t have time to read.

but you have watched all the tv shows/movies/porn that has been produced in the past ten years

but you are fluent in emoji (though you can’t spell)

but you send 10,000 text messages a day (to me alone, who knows how many others to how many others?!) and they’re all full of emojis and misspelled words

my feelings on “common interests” with a romantic partner have shifted over the years. there was a time when i pondered whether or not interest/love/knowledge of hip hop was a must. lately, i’ve wondered whether or not interest/love/knowledge of basketball is a must.

i have come to the conclusion that neither of these things are a must, as i have homies and friends who can fulfill this for me. and when it comes to lovers, my conversation needs to be shifted to shared values.

because reading is about coping with life, making the most of it of what we’ve got, and learning to adapt.

because reading is about imagining your ways out and in.

because reading is about creativity because it is creativity-with every single page.

because reading is about being the solution instead of sustaining the problem.

because reading is agency, activism, escape and (the) rest.

because reading is education, freedom, choice, and listening.

and these are all my values, and because you can’t truly love me if you don’t love to read. books. regularly. independently and habitually. because you love reading. period.