What Is and what was
What once was lost is now found –
The air is still and the violence that once
filled this space is replaced instead with
the background fuzz of bumblebee buzz.
My mind is a hive now,
with the whirring and purring
of each dormant creature stirring.
The animal within, once an alien to me,
so easily set free once aimless complacency was
displaced by the drive to survive.
Now the bird’s melancholic melodies are elegies
To the world that was, love songs to no one.
And it is clear to all those who hear that each year
As the moss overtakes the hospitals and the cement
Cracks with the impact of one hundred tiny shoots rooting
Deeper into the streets, that what was can never be,
if only because symmetry was dishonest,
rules thrust upon us that said beauty is in the eye of
the beholder only if he has sold more –
Nature may be beneficial but the artificial is perfection,
our selections proved this.
And even the magpies tell lies to the crows, we know
the truth is rooted in the sand and is as susceptible
as any rumour to be consumed by the Unplanned,
just when we think we understand,
Life demands change.
Now I've worked the land with hands so calloused
from fighting that I'm more dirt than skin
and I'm beginning to resemble something
more akin to the monsters in horror stories
poured into the mind of the child who
once had the thought to step out of line.
My tongue runs words across teeth that took
toothpaste for granted -
these habits are hard to break,
It takes everything I've got not to stop at each
vacant crosswalk for fear I'd collide with drivers
in vehicles I feel could crush me in their rush to
their jobs logging hours at computer towers.
The madness was distracting, I’m left
practicing the threshold of resistance.
My existence measured in the distance it takes
to get subsistence consistently.
Now I'm just a slave to the leaves and to the waves
that crash and smash against every rock thrust in their way.
My arms are scarred from the water carving it's chosen
lines and eroding time until I too fade into the sea
The way you would fade into me –
Two silver-lined shadows of mercury,
replaced by empty space where you used to be.
Every trace of man erased -
placed deep under the soil to become
some other species’ oil.
And this is the justice I trust is appropriate.
I am Mother Nature's daughter, I fought hard
for the right to stay here without fear of her fury
burying me too.
And a wise woman once said:
“If you like it, put a ring on it”
Well, this tree has twenty
and that’s plenty enough to prove
it is the stuff worth loving.
And by the time it has thirty,
Every inch of my skin will be dirty
And stones will rip my fingertips,
my toes will have slipped over muddy shores,
my clothes torn.
But I want to be naked.
I don’t mean my body.
I don’t need my body.
My mind is lost in fields of poppies,
opiate bones and I am home.
This is where my spirit lies
not inside my head
but between my thighs.
My mind is haunted by ghost pines
and each time, as a child,
we climbed trees and skinned knees
for backyard battle scars.
In this, our city of bridges
and ridges of rocks and snow,
and oh no, no one would question
our greatest intentions -
Where each man was in the oilsands
and whose blood was on our hands
we didn't know and we didn't understand.
Every plan, from Japan's nuclear facilities
to pushing Canadian oil capabilities was
an exercise in telling lies or silencing the cries
of the outspoken until their souls were broken
or their words were choked on.
So we the people,
hands clasped together,
drowning in seas of feathers,
measured success in oil slick drips
reflecting the flickering lights
from our Northern Lights.
I remember too,
when grass unfurled
towards toes curled
over river's edge, with no hints
of the consuming dread that inevitably
crept in before those expecting it
had leaped in with their solutions to
pollution and institutional crises.
That time spent picking wildflowers
for hours was bliss -
the sunshine kissed earlobes golden...
I hold on to these thoughts
I forgot should be cherished.
Times before the world perished
into nothing but ashes and poison gases,
under flashes of fire.
Those they'd called liars shielded eyelids
but couldn't help but admire
spirals of smoke and each broken elm or oak.
No more stroking the egos of CEOs
whose debts and threats were not addressed
until their necks were on the line -
they said it's fine to mine
for coal we've stolen from the earth -
each power plant a hearth that warmed us all.
Still now, a persistent humming of oil drumming
in ghost towns where no sound was louder
than the silence of their fallen giants.
Not one of them imagined 'Energy Capital'
littered with shrapnel, as it is now, but if they had?
Would they still hesitate making energy solar
or turn blind eyes to each drowning polar bear,
resist the faults they knew were there?
What scare tactics could halt semantics
and force scientific theory into practice?
Because they can't say that they hadn't known,
they were shown the signs, and the lines they'd crossed
after tossing trash into oceans or passing motions to drill
and subsequently kill our world we heard was worth saving,
all in the pursuit of the oil they were craving.
Remaining calm as palm trees fell and wells ran dry under skies
of smog, the fog of war carried forward
toward the future we sure wanted.
How could they tell us that was better?
With Calgary wetter, Texans in sweaters.
Our absent ice a crisis we could deal with later,
our techno need greater than feeding growing
populations facing starvation in nations impatient
with waiting for us to get our act together.
With everything done I hold no anger,
these pangs in my heart have started to subside,
and while I may mourn those that have died,
I feel inside not unrest -
While I can not see the forest
for the trees have been cut down,
each ghost town or coast now is
host to the most opportunity
that they've ever seen.
When we kiss
I taste Chicago smog
from skyscraper cities.
And even with my toes
planted firmly in the prairie soil,
I feel my bones give way
to aluminium sheets
and glass ceilings
where the tomatoes
You dreamed of Sussex
but I can only see Boston now,
with owls and tanagers
flying through my thoughts,
and nothing but the waves
crashing against my feet.