Posted by: Dan | November 16, 2017

A Poem for my Roommate on the Occasion of my Return

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Hold me, embrace me, kiss me, I missed you, I love you, with you there’s no place else I’d rather be. Your heart is a glacier and mine is the root of the mountain.  Flow. Over me, around me, cover me, fill the valleys with ice and the cracking sound of thunder.  Bury the peaks, grind down the boulders, turn rocks into sand.  Breathe, advance, retreat, flow.

I drank your waters and they washed away my bridges, turned my coast into a wasteland, devastated my devastation, made my world anew.

There is a line that I can draw from the small of your back to the arch of your shoulder.  There is a line where our fingers connect.  There is the cracking sound of thunder and all these lines become tangled, like stone with ice, like water with life.  There is the cleft of your smile at the corner of your lips.  Flow.

Love flows like a flood and fills like an ocean and we, in our small boat, have barely left port.  Let’s sail, let’s sail, let’s sail away, to the islands beyond the horizon, to the caves in the depths where the sun goes to sleep, and to places where little birds have not learned to be afraid.  The future is not landlocked; the future is an open sea.

They lied when they told us we are worthless.  They lied when they told us the world is ugly.  They lied when they told us we deserve this.  They lied when they told us the walls they built around us are the boundaries of the world.  They lied but the truth, like Grímsvötn, erupted deep beneath the Vatnajökull, and washed them away.  And love is the boat and love is the ocean and, still, we’ve barely left port.

Hold me, embrace me, kiss me, I missed you, I love you, with you there’s no place else I’d rather be. Your heart is a glacier and mine is the root of the mountain.  Flow. Over me, around me, cover me, fill the valleys with ice and the cracking sound of thunder.  Bury the peaks, grind down the boulders, turn rocks into sand.  Breathe, advance, retreat, flow.

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Posted by: Dan | November 3, 2017

October Reviews

Discussed in this post: 9 Books (Militant Anti-Fascism; Against the Fascist Creep; Antifa; World Without Mind; A Place in the Country; Troubling Love; Four Quartets; Celan; and Heine); 5 Movies (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; Evolution; The Transfiguration; Boys in the Trees; and Super Dark Times); 5 Documentaries (Tomorrow We Disappear; The Red Pill; Raising Bertie; Icarus; and The Punk Syndrome).

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Posted by: Dan | October 14, 2017

In The World I Want To Live In

In the world I want to live in
People are only touched
—–How they want to be touched
———-When they want to be touched
—————By the people they want to touch them
And if there’s any confusion about this
—–People communicate openly
———-Without shame or pretentiousness
—————(As if everyone is supposed to have this all figured out
—————As if there’s something wrong with you if you don’t)
———-“I would like you to hold me.”
—————“How do you like to be held?”
——————–“Like this.”

In the world I want to live in
We each give according to our ability
—–And Receive according to our need
———-Because fairness is not taking what you can get
—————Or hoarding what you got
And if there’s any confusion about this
—–I’ll leave it to you to explain the logic of neoliberalism
———-To Indigenous children covered in sores
—————(Because the water on the reserve is contaminated
—————Because the boil water advisory is still in effect)
———-“I would like to be healthy.”
—————“How would you like to be healthy?”
——————–“Like this.”

In the world I want to live in
Black Lives Matter
—–Gay is Good
———-Decolonization precedes reconciliation
—————And there is nothing about us without us
And if there’s any confusion about this
—–I would like us to consider
———-That these are only the most basic requirements of Love
—————(Overriding the Rule of Law
—————Overriding the Rule of Money)
———-“I would like to be valued, acknowledged and honoured.”
—————“How would you like to be valued, acknowledged and honoured?”
——————–“Like this.”

In the world I want to live in
People are kind to each other
—–And it’s okay to cry
———-As we share our deepest longings
—————And find ways to realize them together
And if there’s any confusion about this
——Our singers will sing songs
———-And our painters will paint pictures
—————(And we will remember that the world was not always this way
—————And we will remember that the world need not stay this way)
———-“This does not look like the world I want to live in.”
—————“What does the world you want to live in look like?”
——————–“Like this.”

Posted by: Dan | October 12, 2017

A Poem on the Occasion of my Second Leave from Work

Across the world it is the same.  When those with money arrive, those without cannot remain.
From the Beyoglu District in Instanbul
To the Kathputli Colony in Delhi
To the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver
To the small piece of land I visit every day
—–Just north of the railroad tracks
—–Beside an empty parking lot
—–With a few picnic tables and parking spaces
—–With free
———-Showers
———-Coffee
———-Computers
———-Wifi
———-Laundry services
———-Toiletries and clothing
———-Chairs for sitting or sleeping
———-Tables for visiting or playing cards with friends
———-TV for watching and
———-Radio for listening
—–With love and affection
—–Safety
—–And someone to welcome you and rejoice that you are present.
Across the world it is the same.  When those with money arrive, those without cannot remain.
Homo Sacer
—–The Sacred One
Homo Sacer
—–The Accursed One
Homo Sacer
—–The Left-For-Dead
Homo Sacer
—–The Human Detritus
———-Of Civilization
———-Of Colonization
———-Of Neoliberalism
———-Of Revitalization Without Displacement
—————(also known as Gentrifuckation)
Homo Sacer
—–Drug Addict
—–Criminal
—–Chronically Homeless
—–Community Health Concern
—–Mentally Ill
—–Dual Diagnosis
—–Complex Trauma
Beloved
Alas
I know the path but my feet cannot walk to you today, my feet cannot walk with you today, my hands cannot greet your hands today – cracked and dirty and beautiful hands, old and young and impeccable hands – my eyes cannot look on you with love today.  Nor can I receive your love today.
Alas
We are overrun
—–By Apathy
—–By shifting Funding Priorities
—–By Developers
—–By Greed
—–By Incident Reports
—–By Law and by
—–Death
Alas
And the words tattooed on my collar
—–καί πάλίν άναστήσομεν
Call to me like a voice rising from the grave
Wither, Thou, Spirit of Life?
My loved ones are ever only crucified.
—–“I love you,” I whisper
———-And burn.

Posted by: Dan | October 2, 2017

September Reviews

Discussed in some manner in this post: 8 Books (White RageThe Will To Power; Campo Santos; Bluets; The Red Parts; Selected Poems; Men in the Off Hours; The Man Without Qualities [Vol. 2]); 3 Movies (I Am Michael; Window Horses; It Comes At Night); 6 Documentaries (Oklahoma City; Bobby Sands; Mommy Dead and Dearest; Fire At Sea; Nostalgia for the Light; Rocco).

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Posted by: Dan | August 31, 2017

Regarding the Nashville Statement

abominable snowmen

Abominable Snowmen

[Recently, a who’s who of wealthy Evangelical assholes decided to publish a statement reaffirming Christian patriarchal, heteronormativity and it has been making some rounds online.  Not surprisingly, it has provoked a renewed intensity within the back-and-forth war of words and exegesis that goes on endlessly between Liberal and Conservative Christians.  I am not a Christian but I once was and since a number of my friends and people whom I try to serve at my work are queer (or Christian or both) I thought I would offer the following theses.]

In Deut 5, the Bible stipulates that if two brothers reside together (this could mean the same region rather than the same home) and one of them dies with no son, the living brother is to marry the dead brother’s wife, so that he can have sex with her in hopes of producing a son who will bear the name of his brother.  If the living brother refuses to do this, the local elders are to try to convince him to do it and, if he still refuses, the dead brother’s wife has full permission to remove his sandal (denoting possibly her liberation from him or his shame or both or neither?), spit in his face, and then diss his whole household.  Granted, this applies specifically to the Levites but since Protestants believe in the priesthood of all believers, well, it seems it should apply to them in the new covenant.

Or, you know, we might want to conclude that, hmmmm, we’re not really comfortable boning down with our brother- or sister-in-laws after the death of a sibling or spouse and decide, yeah, let’s give this law a pass even though it is nowhere refuted in the New Testament.  Furthermore, the passage immediately after this one is about the punishment for a woman who saves her man from a fight by grabbing his opponent by the balls (“you shall cut off her hand; show her no pity”), so it’s probably a safe bet to say, yeah, those were different times.  Really different times.  I’m cool with not doing that now even if the good ol’ Word of God doesn’t tell me I have permission to not do that anymore.

Thesis One: There’s some really weird shit in the Bible and it’s okay to just ignore it and not take it seriously as a guide for contemporary sexual ethics.

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Posted by: Dan | August 30, 2017

August Reviews

Discussed in this post: 4 Books (Caliban and the Witch; Exile and the Kingdom; Roughneck; and Alone); 3 Movies (The Lure; Innocence; and A Cure For Wellness); and 4 Documentaries (Kids for Cash; Kedi; All These Sleepless Nights; and The Memory of Justice).

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Posted by: Dan | August 5, 2017

July Reviews

Discussed in this post: 6 Books (The Drowned and the Saved; After Nature; The Great Leveler; Salvation by Allegiance AloneThe Remains of the Day; The Last Western); 4 Movies (Boy; Raw; Nostalghia; It’s Only The End of The World); 2 Documentaries (Nobody Speak; The Stairs).

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He listens more than he speaks and hears more than you say.

He knows that strength has limits and that the pain of the world is infinite and so, although he carries more than most, he does not carry more than he can bear. The ones he carries he carries well.

He knows that beauty, kindness, and love are infinite, too. And that a beer at the end of the day can help us remember this.

His eyes do a lot of his talking – “You’re safe here” and “I honour your presence with me” and “I’m not going to touch your body with my hands or with my gaze” (a rare statement to find in the eyes of a man) – things that don’t so much add to a conversation as make it possible in the first place. He makes it easy to speak in a way that feels honest.

He is gentle like a grizzly nursing her cubs. I’m pretty sure he is our mom’s favourite (and, when I was younger, I had to get used to the fact that whenever I introduced him to my friends, they were going to like him more than they liked me).

He is my brother and my friend and I love him devotedly, ferociously, playfully, stupidly. He was always cooler than I, but never stopped finding ways to invite me to share life together with him. Shortly after my parents kicked me out, he invited me down to Windsor to spend the weekend visiting with him and his friends. They were all in University and I was still in high school. This made me feel special at a time when I generally felt like a piece of shit. Later, when he invited me to work at the camp where he worked, I felt the same way. When my heart was a raging ocean, he helped me find safe passage through the storm.

And when his heart was a raging ocean he turned to the cliffs and carved himself a bay. His wife worked alongside of him and together they made a home for themselves. Their daughters are growing up beside those still waters. And although they are still young, their legs are taller than mountains and, one day, they will walk across the sea and storms that cause mighty ships to founder will only come up to their knees.

Posted by: Dan | July 11, 2017

Ruby Is Six Years Old Today

RubyAndDaddy

Last week, Ruby brought home a bottle full of worms she had collected in the playground. She talks to them and says that they can hear her, she says she understands them, too, because she can speak their language. I ask her what they say and I remember, when I was a very little boy, how the stray dogs came and lay down at my feet, and so when she tells me what they say, I believe her.

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