un/natural cycling

i just tried to lie down because it was four-thirty-something and i have been crying for hours, and it turns out that there is a top limit of clips that i can watch of lebron becoming the GOAT (again).

what season is this? spring? summer? are the birds confused or ecstatic? what is the reason that they are yelling at the top of their lungs at this time? are they organizing? are they catching up? do they know that we don’t have that much time left? are they really free, or are they just in the sky? i mean, they’re definitely not in the sky right now, they are all in these trees, loud as fuck.

have you ever noticed that when you cry lying down, your tears pool in your ears? since equilibrium happens in there, is it actually possible to drown yourself in sorrow?

either way, i’m up and trying this again because i am not tired, even though i am exhausted. or maybe i am not exhausted, even though i am tired. i’ve never been sure where one stops and the other begins.

i put the itunes on shuffle and three songs in, have just been reminded that i haven’t removed kanye from my ipod yet. we haven’t had the chance to debate whether or not we are removing kanye from our ipods yet. because it’s “lost in the world”, i’m not skipping the track. nope-because it’s “lost in the world”, i’m skipping it. hold on.

(“consideration”-rihanna feat. sza)

when i first met you as a fresh-faced music enthusiast, your locks were swinging proudly as you bragged that you became a woman at a lauryn hill concert. i have always wished that was my story.

(“speechless”-beyonce)

i had to tell my single dad that i got my period when i was eleven and he gave me the free samples that came in the mail, immediately called my uncle, and gave me five dollars to ask my sixth grade teacher to buy me “what the girls were using these days”. he did the best he thought he could.

(“needed me”-rihanna)

it’s been twenty years since miseducation and it’s hard to get excited for a reunion when you no longer recognize anyone. i’m there in a heartbeat if there’s even a little chance of original arrangements, so eager that i’m satisfied with the four bars of ex-factor that skratch bastid played on saturday, and i like “nice for what” as much as anyone, but that song is not meant to be a jock jam.

(“kick your game”-TLC)

i heard the hurt in your voice when you rejected the comfort that people offered you at the funeral when they told you that it was their time. “no. it. wasn’t.” i’ve never said that about anyone from that point on.

(“caint use my phone”-badu)

yesterday, my sistar said that about you, and i said, “well….”

she knows the tattoo artist that was supposed to do your chest piece. of course she does, our communities are strong, connected, beauty-full and resistant as fuck.

i heard the news from your ex, who had heard from your other ex-the one that i had a crush on first, for the record, and i introduced you to. nobody ever remembers that part, but i’m not really mad about it, and now is not the time to be petty.

(“what they do”-the roots)

or maybe neither of you took me seriously because you’d seen me cry over that professor, though you never questioned me when i professed my love for him, or his for me-ok, maybe one of you did. you just laughed when i compared him to that big, drooling cat that came with your sublet in mile end, the one we wrote your dissertation in, the one you introduced me to sweet tea in, the one we lay around montrealing and discussing so much music in. i don’t think we ever talked about how he went on to offer a whole course in kanye when it was i who loved him, i never got to tell you that i felt a way about that.

(“skit #4”-kanye west i have to leave it because it’s the “there’s an imposter among us” skit)

i was on the subway when i got the text, on a slow crawl from warden to kennedy.

(“gold digger”-kanye and jamie foxx-fuck fuck fuckity fuck. skipping.)

(“the old prince still lives at home”-shad)

aside: for someone who came from the midwestern united states, born almost in the ’90s, i was very impressed with your knowledge and gusto for canadian hip hop so this is actually getting kind of eerie.

basically, i had too much time to imagine every possible scenario-in this present climate in your country, in your body, it could’ve been any number of things.

(“blood on the leaves”-kanye west fuckity fuck fuck i cannot skip this one.)

but the truth was absolutely not anywhere in the realm of any possibility that i could have imagined. and that’s how you always were-out of this world. honestly, homie, where did you come from? how were you so full of joy, life, experience, curiosity, wisdom, wonder, and how did you have a renewable source for so much more?

even when you were low, and i know you were. you always lived in such an exemplary way. and so you the ending matches the middle that we didn’t know was the middle. your social media accounts are already fading, but i have your letters and know your hand. i love your pictures and that you printed and mailed them to me. i just looked up at your holiday card now and my eyes are misty again.

(“southside”-common and kanye ok, so you trying to have this discussion, huh?)

the thing is, i didn’t realize that i put up so many of your pictures. i was also on my way to resume the library tour with the book you gifted me with as my guidebook when i learned. i was wearing my sue bird jersey. i was reading the first chuck palahniuk book i had read in years. everything was you and pndubs.

i was numb for 48, but this morning on the train uptown, the tears came forth. of course. you always supported metrotextual, you always saw me and my little acts of processing. remember that time my letter got lost because it went to jamaica jamaica and not jamaica plain, boston? and when you wrote back with a giant box filled with all of my favourite snacks from trader joe’s? there was no return address but i knew immediately that it was you. how the fuck did you remember my favourite snacks from trader joe’s? we never went to no trader joe’s.

(“compton”-kendrick feat. dre)

do you remember our babies that last year we were both in montreal? how you couldn’t just let keyanna cry so you ran to pick her up thirteen seconds after she started? i had her under less than ideal circumstances, and you helped me keep her safe. the twins are ten now, and look so much like their parents, i got a picture last year and meant to send it to you, did i send it to you? i never saw a picture of your new twins, but we did talk about all of the twins that seemed to find us.

(“everything i am”-kanye-sigh, i give up)

2016. it had been a minute. washrooms were a hot topic at that time. you were so relieved to be away from it while you were here. i picked you up and we ate so many seafoods with our hands, and you were there when i kicked my newly finished verse to my favourite poet. you floored me by remembering how i prefer to go through revolving doors-everyone in the same door, bobbing like muppets. i cannot remember a single revolving door in montrill so i don’t know how you even knew that, let alone how you remembered it 9 years later….

(“fireworks”-drake feat. alicia keys)

we went to the conference finals that year. you were here for game 7 vs. indiana, when i cried because we made it out of the first round for the first time since forever. you were still here when kyle hit that halfcourt shot to tie the game and i almost puked in hurricane’s, where they’d already switched some of the screens to the jays’ game because toronto sports fans are like that- hashtag,trust issues.

(“hola’ hovito”-jay-z)

you were there when i went “home” to vancouver before i moved here, back when i was still grasping at that idea of “closure”, when i cut off all my hair and was performing a lot. i was processing and you were in love, travelling to the yukon and shit because, that’s what you did, naturally.

(“the healer”-badu)

i didn’t know that i walked fast until you told me when i last saw you. i don’t think i ever noticed that before. did i walk slower in montreal? probably. i don’t recall you having a problem keeping up.

well, you’re ahead of me now, dear friend. i feel that in a lot of ways, you always have been. lightyears ahead, flying past on your bike. i hope the wind on your face brought you freedom and peace.

i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you.

thank you for loving me and making sure that i felt it.

(“desperado”-rihanna)

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annex writes-too

and so, we were down to two on wednesday, but it was lovely to talk, continue getting to know each other, be served tea and a “yuppy snack”, as well as be sent home with lunch for the next day along with plenty of accomplishment and inspiration.

here were the poems that we made, first the collaborative word faux sestinas:

toothless smiles
holding tight
a reign of nurturing
the dependence gradient
proceed with tenderness
in this bookend of care

gradients of burden
technicolour cares
shades of reign
grasping at shadows
toothless yet full
tenderness for miles

and the haikus:

going round and round
circular motion always
one day we will stop

if a woman lives
without making another
does anyone know?

dogs come home with fleas
kids with lice and chicken pox
i don’t live with bugs

we all get older
though we don’t always get smart
men get passes though

volume and volume
tomes and issues and chapters
same book or a/new?

we were speaking on themes, perhaps that’s evident?

if you’re reading this we meet next on valentine’s day. it would be lovely to see you again, parkdale writers.

storied truths

here are the stories that i heard from podcasts that keep swirling around my mind:

from death, sex and money: in one of the student loan episodes, a woman talks about how she had to default in her loans and her dad eventually committed suicide because he couldn’t handle her debt. now, as horrible as that is, i couldn’t help but wonder what their relationship was like, and maybe daddy was just looking for a way out, or he was super passive-aggressive and finally taught her a money lesson that she would never forget.

from love + radio: i was touched by how disgusting and petty people are-from the guy who clipped his toenails into his roommates’ food because they asked him not to eat it, or the girl who discovered masturbating with her dad’s electric toothbrush-“…and because he knew what a vagina smelled and tasted like….he finally discovered why the battery was always out”.

eeeeeewwwww.

from open run: because the playoffs were so boring, jesse and stefan took to talking about what they’re watching on netflix and other news stories. i can’t get over the dood that sued his date for $17.31 (plus pizza) because she was texting during guardians of the galaxy 2, breaking the rules of the theatre, and, also civil society. but really, his fragile male ego was bruised because she left him stranded at the theatre because he told her to text outside.

37 years old and sounds like an amaaaaazing date. i don’t know why no one has snapped him out yet.

which leads me to the podcast that’s been everything to me the last couple of days-the heart.

i know i’m late, but i can’t stop. it started with aliya‘s interview with caitlin on the imposter, and then i had to see for myself, not just the no series, but every other episode.

consent. confronting abusers. inheritance. losing yourself in a relationship. what’s love got to do with it?

everything, i tell you. every last thing.

“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.

birdie-tracey lindberg

“And when you are attractive and chasing in Vancouver, eventually you get caught yourself. She was caught by Stanley Manklow. A completely beautiful specimen of man. She hadn’t learned to read tarot cards or mean eyes yet.” (113-4)

“She had thought it was love and had given in to that part of herself that wanted to be hurt. And that piece of the hope of something bigger, something loving, turned into a kernel of something indescribably hard. She wonders now how desperate she must have ben to accept that ugly gift and return it. To have felt aroused at the near-beating. At that moment, she began to reject and loathe that thing in her that needed to be hit, hard. And she knew within that fury that she hated him, too. For introducing it so glibly. For making her a one-time offer.” (194-5)

this little beaut was part of canada reads, but i didn’t get to it then. i got to it because of the librarians (ola), but i love the double-charters. that reminds me, i kind of fell off this year, with my worst showing ever, at 30%, but i still have a couple of weeks (i’m probably not going to get to any more of them, and that might be ok this year). i am reading through my holds…and that will definitely be done this year.

i love that this book is about love(s), skin, and literal and figurative homes. all the good themes.

“As the blisters spread she feels, instead of alienated from her skin, more at home in it. Like it is starting to look like she feels inside of it.” (6)

as someone who has had many run-ins with eczema over the years, some of the times with it being completely out of control, this is a completely different way of approaching the situation. i mean-i am always great-full (when it’s gone) for it’s existence as a reminder that things have to change-NOW, but i don’t think i’ve ever embraced it as such.

“Then, she could not afford the luxury of disdain.” (69)

i often wish this for people at work-i mean, i don’t, but i do. i don’t wish hardship on anyone, but i do wish the experience that comes from hardship-namely the one that results in gratitude and personal responsibility and ownership of how we contribute to our own situations.

today-pastor walrus made me cry because he told me that my positive energy lights up the house and that i should keep it up because it makes people happy-leave it to pastor walrus to be the only one to tell me-rather than the pile of complaints that are usually thrown my way by people who can’t and don’t want to fix their faces.

then, maria bought me my lasagna and i was invited over for an impromptu carb fest, baby sangria, and a dance performance that got me home searching for glitter glue and garbage pail kids.

“He was only part Phil, because he was Metis. She wasn’t sure about that, though, because he pronounced it ‘Met-iss’.” (134)

“So Jesus did not weep and Jesus did not save.” (209)

i’m going to burn some more of my new gratitude mix incense and call it a night. goodnight.

cds donated: reflect-for those who wait, manu-voix de fait
cds kept: sekoya-dalawa, eternia-where i’m at (the setup), eternia-where i’ve been (the collection)

the first collection of criticism by a living female rock critic-jessica hopper

“He hasn’t betrayed his crowd the way Dylan did when he went electric-this is something very different. The kids filling the 1,500-capacity tent know their Jesus from their Judas. There was a time when Bazan’s fans believed he was speaking, or rather singing, the Word. Not so much anymore.” (115)

“It’s easy to speculate about  what Cobain and Nirvana would have become had he lived. The band’s next album could’ve been a Chinese Democracy-like fiasco, especially embarassing in light of Cobain’s original genius-flash. He could’ve gone Corgan and released music with steadily diminishing returns for a decade plus. He could’ve joined the Foo Fighters. He could’ve taken the Reznor path, ‘retiring’ after a steady, respectable career. (Who knew then that Eddie Vedder would turn out to be the real punk among Cobain’s grunge-era ‘peers’?) Revisiting Nevermind is like flexing a phantom limb made up of Nirvana records that never were. That’s all it means now, all that’s left-fantasy. The tomb is empty; let the dead buy the dead.” (145)

“What’s being sold is an entree to punk, and most of the fans are too new to the music’s ideals to understand that they’re buying a version of fuck-all rebellion that’s been repackaged by businesspeople. Or maybe they do understand, and they come because they think it’s the only verson left. Warped is a mammoth shopping and marketing experience, a towering conglomerated product of the Clear Channel Age, and though the music is the initial draw, purchases are they way the kids express themselves to themselves, to the bands, and to each other.” (147)

“None of this, of course, was any less honest for being so obviously calculated-even when you’re a teenager faking it, approximating a borrowed notion of cool, you’re still bound to be more real, more transparent and more vulnerable than any adult.” (148)

“The look like scumbags who sleep in the desert.” (151, about the Mean Reds*)

i don’t know that hindsight is 20/20, but i do know that music is 395% nostalgia. i love learning things, and i especially love learning about music. i had a note to check out rollin hunt here, and though i didn’t find enough to be interested, i’m sure i made that note for a reason, and if it comes up again, i’ll have an automatic link to jessica hopper in my brain, and i’m not mad about that. i mean, at the very least, it’s another marker of chicago, and i’ll forever have “chance the rapper recorded his album at the library-i’m happy that i know exactly what room because i’ve seen it” in my brain because of the interview she did with him.

i love the inadvertent (or was it?!) retrospective on the industry and how it’s changed over the years. i went on a date with someone who met her current partner (yup, one of those) on myspace, thinking that she was going to have to extoll its virtues to me-but hey-myspace was amazing at the height of my music writing, it was a great way to connect directly to artists without having to go through handlers, and i’m happy to say that i’ve known, cherished, and was at least at one time held in high esteem by the winner of myspace-gabriel teodros. i don’t know what the current equivalent is-instagram? but i do know that something else will always be coming, and that the pendulum will always swing back. we just don’t have that many moves as humans. the good news about that is that we’re just as good as we always were, as well as being just as bad as we always were. giddy up.

the first collection of criticism by a living female rock critic-jessica hopper

“Us girls deserve more than just one song. We deserve more than one pledge of solidarity. We deserve better songs than any boy will ever write about us.” (20)

“Riot-grrrl wasn’t the end result, it was the catalyst. That’s what it was supposed to be, that’s what it was meant as-not a static thing. It didn’t have to stick around forever to count as successful-movements come in waves-it did its job perfectly. So much is different post-RG, so much permission and power and inspiration was funneled down steadily-whether it’s to the league of young girl shredders, or rock camps, or queer show collectives whose tether to RG was simply catching the tail end of Sleater-Kinney.

Feminism has to move on, salute new icons, be excited by the variety of archetypes of women in music that are self-directed, self-produced, not operating under the shadow of a Svengali band. To not appreciate the difference in agency, or appreciate the different struggles of women now, turns it to a game of radical one-upsmanship. Our battles are not to be hung on the necks of the new waves of girls like an albatross.” (89)

“I began to pine for the attention of punk boys, of which I knew three. One of which was Andrew and we could barely stand one another but were bonded by conversations about Sonic Youth.” (57)

“I want it. I need it. Because all these records, they give me a language to decipher just how fucked I am. Because there is a void in my guts which can only be filled by songs.” (13)

once again we’re dealing with the relationships of women writing about music-relationships with the music itself, relationships with the music makers and finding community (and love and validation) within a shared audience, relationships with other women in the context of music, and relationships with the writing about the music. i mean-the title of this book is a very deliberate statement, and though we have paper trails in different genres, i can relate to a lot of the same sentiments.

it’s no accident that this was a bust magazine pick/feature. it seems like the more we learn, the more we’re inundated by the same struggles. in all of our communities. aarrrgh. but the truth remains that packing an inheritance of struggles is not the way to go to validate what we’ve been through-celebrating that some ones don’t have to go through it in the same way is what we need to do, because trust that they have found and made their very own that don’t even register on our radar, so we need to celebrate that. we can always hold space for each other-always.

i realize that the one constant in my life (ok, two with the NBA) has been music. it’s been the one thing that i’ve been sure about, and it seems to be the hindrance-i may know too much-and thus i’m a bro, but at the end of the day-that’s cool, the music will be there for me-it’s a good thing i didn’t get hiphop_spinster actually tattooed on my body-but shit do i feel like cassandra picking that moniker. whomp whomp.