charmie deller

“you can’t stop what’s meant to be”

one of my editors once told me that hip hop writers are too insular. that was almost a decade ago, and as much as the music and the avenues have changed, i may be closer to accepting this as truth now.

i suppose there will always be a level of missed opportunity due to a lack of listening, and tonight was no exception. i mean-i only came in for the tail end of the panel, but i don’t believe anyone made a tie to the artists that would come directly afterwards, and it was an oversight not to point out the fact that charmie is and has been on her hustle game for real. i mean, there’s no better example of someone who is true to her (he)art and puts in the hours.

it was actually quite shame-full that one of the panelists, who was admonishing people for not listening to what he had to say, not only didn’t seem to know her name or her story to introduce her, but was also then talking loudly by the stage during her set. but i’ve been biased against such “expert” for a minute, biased in a way that i think he’s wack as shit. but people seem to want to pay him, so hey-get that money.

but let’s go back to making your own lane-i’ve been seeing babygirl on different stages over the past few years, but mostly-i see her (and her drummer), on the street. no matter the weather, i see her out there-by the eaton centre, at the acc, singing her songs and shining her light. i’m floored by the actual time that she must spend singing on the street, because i don’t even go out that much, and i still manage to catch her often enough to notice.

i heard when she won the lula showcase last year, from a producer who was so amped by seeing her that he was moved to work with an artist again for the first time in a long time, so in a way, it was full circle to see her on the stage there tonight. it was also clear that all of her busking time has seasoned her for a more intimate, no-frills arena, because her most power-full moments were when she stepped away from the mic, moved closer to the crowd, sang a cappella and played her guitar.

hey-i did see bettye lavette sing without a mic at metropolis at 70+ years old, so-anything is possible.

in contrast with the headliner, who had a sick band and all the trappings of a “professional musician”, all i saw was the future for charmie, because her songwriting has only gotten better and better, her work ethic remains on point, and her spirit is undeniable.

“we support ourselves when we support each other”

thank you for acknowledging my one clap, and i see you, star.

keep singing the truth.

“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.

revisionist history

so yesterday i decided to binge-listen revisionist history. luckily, there are only ten episodes and the duration of each episode is around thirty minutes. (the last time i binge-listened to a podcast was when i was unemployed when i first moved to toronto, and i was a bit squirrely after about 95 hours of radiolab-straight).

the first point to hit me was in the discussion of orthodox generosity, in which gladwell defines generosity as “the ability to be open”, which is not one that i can locate now, nor have ever heard before. i suppose it is the other side of giving, which is traditionally how i have understood generosity-with time, knowledge, love, support and money. i suppose doing all those things because you are open to change in people, circumstances, and the world, or the simple acceptance of the fact that you can be open to the possibility that peoples’ circumstances are not like your own and that’s ok is the other side. being open to receive the change that you are helping to affect?

the other point that i thought a lot about was how folks let one in the door and that becomes the allowance to shut the door firmly on the rest because they’ve done their duty, they’re patting themselves on the back for being progressive. it was almost with an assured tone that he closed that episode-“it makes me think of hillary clinton, and how she won’t have it easy.”

(yes, i listened to them backwards).

the discussion of how white people felt freer to be more racist and horrible to black people than ever because they’d done their (lifetime) civic duty and voted for barack obama, and that makes sense that the rise of institutionalized racism (and its public evidence/backlash) would happen during his tenure, and it also gives some context to “some of my best friends are…” justifications.

that discussion of countries who were one and done with female leaders was very, very fascinating, and just goes to show how much traction we can get out of the black men vs. all women argument, but in the end, we’re all just figureheads in the face of a broken system of patriarchal institutions. remember, canada-ours was appointed, not elected and not for a full term. btw-elizabeth may-as long as you’re riding that tricycle, i am voting for you and your party.

i posted a picture of someone’s sign at the march that read “so i’ll see all you nice white ladies at the next #BLM march, right?” and a white woman (who had the means and opportunity to go to washington) commented that she didn’t see much “divisiveness” there, which i perceive as a pushback because it was a callout for white women to do their due diligence when it’s not “their” march, so i responded about keeping that spirit in mind when homecourt advantage shifts, and we’ll see.

now, i’m not co-signing with this tactic, but i’m not not:

maybe if you hear it from “one of your own”, it will resonate more.

my final curiosity from the wonder-full series is if the theory works in reverse. now that trump has been elected, will white people feel more empathy than they ever have? will they give money to strangers and shit, start standing alongside women and minorities in their workplaces, on the bus, at the bank, on the road, in the pool, in higher education, at the laundromat-even when nobody’s watching to give them an award?

we will see indeed.

30/30

during one of my recent home inventories, i came across the following list of my 30 goals/promises for my 30th year of life. that was the year that i moved to toronto, and seven years later, let’s check it out:

1) NO LONG DISTANCE anything
2) at least 30 performances
3) 30 poems
4) all work writing related
5) learn to drive
6) only nice sleepwear
7) be in contact with (six strong women “mother” figures) on a regular basis
8) don’t gossip or complain
9) deal with student loan
10) pay at least $100 on debt/month
11) cook 75% of my meals
12) make a weekly reading day (at a different library)
13) keep my DREAM FUND
14) look into US visas
15) have a poetry anthology/tour
16) meditate twice daily
17) skip rope/skate/play squash
20) donate $30/month to organizations
21) learn how to use my computer more efficiently
22) dedicate and mail “30 things I love about you” every day of my year
24) learn haka
25) see raptors play
26) live on my own by 31
27) write the freakin’ smut (starting with Bust’s one-handed read)
28) animal crackers-perspective pieces
29) confessions of a hair bitch
30) hip hop sex column

observations:

-i missed entire numbers-18, 19, and 23 are completely not there so this is really 27 goals for 30, and that’s interesting (and i’m sure non-coincidental)
-the ones that are done/integrated into my life are: 9, 10, 11, 13, 14 (both in the sense that i did that and i’m done with that), 22 (even though i limited that to just 30 people overall), 25, 26 and 30 (and that’s 9 so once again…no coincidence there)
-the ones that i’ve moved on from: 29, 28 (i’m not really even sure what this means anymore), 6, 4, and 7-all of those women, i think, are exactly like my mother and thus are hard to keep relationships with

and so that leaves the rest, which i’m in some degree of intention with-either i’m doing it, but not regularly, i’ve started some kind of related project but i haven’t followed through, or i’ve momentarily forgotten that i want to do it (maybe not in the exact way).

here’s to reminders, especially since the beginning of the new year is just around the corner, and a new organizer is nigh.

since we’re here, here is this year’s dream list:

-make a workout calendar a la danette’s flossing one
-figure out a savings plan
-go to pacific mall
– read through holds lists and home books
– finish/start interviews
– contact every woman in the anthology
– cunty carols mixtape
– smut
– get fitted for sunglasses
– buy no more pens! or journals!
– apply for al purdy retreat or banff 2017
– plan mexico trip
– play the piano (hart house, carlton cinema, oakwood library, parkdale library, daniel’s spectrum)
– maybe switch out all jeans for yoga jeans
– high waisted underwear
– tap dancing/ASL

i don’t know why tap dancing and ASL is the same thought, because it would be very hard to do at the same time, but this shows that there is something behind writing things down and mind controlling ourselves….and it’s just reminders to intentions that we’ve already had.

“that mean i forgot better shit than you ever thought of” (forever ever)

i can’t find an uncensored version of the song, so i post no video here, but the sentiment is the same.

diamonds are forever.
xo.

dear mr. you-mary louise parker

“Letting someone you don’t really like surprise you is evolved, and that would have been impossible if you didn’t have the humility I wasn’t giving you credit for.” (36, Dear Movement Teacher)

“Remind her that she is beautiful in every new language you can invent. Careful with metaphor, as by then her mother’s over use of it may have exhausted her and made her immune to poetry.
Remind her about poetry.” (202, Dear Future Man Who Loves My Daughter)

i have already seen change in the life of my daughters. i see them with fathers who are present in their lives, committed to their moms, and encourage them to be all the beauty-full and talented folks that they are and will stay being.

this is no small thing, but i want more (of course).

i want a world for my daughters where talking about your period is normalized, and we can have an honest discussion about the reality of what working in a place with many women at different points of their cycle (monthly and in life) does without risking giving menfolk another thing to run away with and misunderstand.

i want a world where we can talk about hemorrhoids, moon moods, and just wanting to hide in your house and play candy crush all day and eat chocolate.

imagine when we can all be educated about fibroids or endometriosis, miscarriages and abortions, rape and shame, and the shitty way that young women are shamed into believing they are to blame for potentially having cervical cancer-via the horrible exam that gets them there.

let’s be real-the patriarchy will not be dismantled, but our sisterhood is strengthened exponentially because we are the adaptable humans. the matriarchy is real, if we want it. and now we have allies that are on the other side, straddling the in-between space.

i am also listening to jon stewart on 2 dope queens, and it’s a pretty fitting pairing with this sentiment.

(more) family trouble-edited joy castro

“At the end of the day I tell myself that I learned from my brother and my father, both lovers of music: that rest is the name for a particularly useful form of silence that comes between notes. Without the rest, music becomes an exercise in endurance. Without the music, there will be no rest.” (156, pre-ibid)

“I wanted my story to be one worth saving.” (150, Things We Don’t Talk About, Aaron Raz Link)

this was the quote in the collection that made me rethink this whole blog and how i’ve been cataloguing other people’s words for the past few years now. it made me want to tip the ratios and balances.

it’s how we go along until we go a different way.

my dear friend nadia said once that there’s only so long that we can watch other people do badly what we do well before we have to step up to the plate.

but how long can we witness other people doing what we do well before we’re inspired to do the same?

well, that shit could be our whole lives.

i know that in my personal case-i’ve never rushed a book or a poem or a performance because i have seen so many shitty poems and performances (the book is king, and there are so many great ones out there) that i try not to subject others to any of that mess.

i want to be a teacher in a few years when i’ve lived some more life and have something to teach. that being said, i teach every day and i don’t need a dais to do it because i never stop learning.

my apartment is a mess and i’m kind of proud that i’m writing my way out of procrastination, or perhaps power because i know that very quickly, i could transform it-i’m just wielding this “power” not to. just because.

but these are the little ways that we are shifting the focus in our own stories at every moment to create meaning or understand our narratives and get closer to the person we are at all times.

but especially when no one is paying any attention.