The Phoenix Seeks

One was too saintly, the other mystifyingly, overly wanton
but, the muse that had once stood in front of him,
caused him the great distress of having to choose between them.
He couldn’t have loathed her more for that.
She was the appointed trajectory change, The Annointed,
ready to absorb all pain,
swallowing every shot of poison he threw on her.
His game changer.
She’d fulfilled her divine role, took it all, and then she cried & cursed, screamed & writhed until her strength of purpose coiled it all up and she hurled it to the Universe;
trusting its claim to render the collection into harmless stardust.
And then she burned him….
She left him
She left…
The deepest of profane-worthy infractions: the disease of desertion, the unholy crime of abandonment. That’s why he set his world on fire…
She left.
Him.
If he’d really wanted the Saint, he’d have got ordained and lived on his knees. He’d have played at prayerful loving until he could run for privacy to vomit out the inevitable gut-full of banal-blended depression.
If he’d really wanted Devil Baby, he’d have dug into the part of rogue with a heart of gold for much longer than 190 days of tortuous – love to love & hate you, Baby.
He hungers for the one who wasn’t a saint, but had an army of them for back-up…. that one just near enough to demons to be inspired without getting sucked into their seediness.
He’d forgot the bargain to hold muses indefinitely; ignored it entirely.
Unsuitable for the narrative of his design, and yet…
He poured gasoline all over his world to regain that searing desire and relief that only she’d ever drawn from him.
He imagined himself a Phoenix, but he’ll never leave the flames. He will never know the cooling of the ashes as they heal and repair. He will never rise anew.
He burns… forever,
but not nearly so much as for
more of her.

RL

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/saintly/

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Posted in Life, Poetry, Prose, Uncategorized, Writing Challenges | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Clean Houses & Terror

Last week I had the honour (& brief stomach churning fear) of hosting IndigenousXca on Twitter. As the forum notes: it’s a rotating Twitter account presented by a different Indigenous Host each week. Their hosts have included actors, activists, authors, academics, politicians, teachers, doctors, students, and one Pipisiw – me.

This forum was started in Australia in 2012 and in Canada in 2014 as a platform for Indigenous people to share their knowledge, opinions and experiences with a wide audience which is now a following of several thousand.

As I was getting my feet wet with a few opening tweets, one of the administrators posted a point about clean houses. What about ‘em?  Well, let me share my tweets on how a clean house affected my family. No hyperbole, no “other mitigating circumstances”. …

I saw @apihtawikosisan (Chelsea Vowel) post about fears for Indigenous people around a clean house. What that means, as she pointed out, is a clean enough house. As in clean enough to not have your kids taken away. Her post tightened my belly…

It took me back to those moments when I was a child & the air all around us got thick & tightened, while my mother would fly around the house with sweat falling off her face from a mix of the physical labour of madly cleaning & terror.

Even as little kids, my sisters & I would instinctively jump to help because we knew this kind of cleaning meant a social worker was coming. We didn’t even know what the consequences of not having “a clean house” really meant, but we knew what it felt like. Breathing was hard.

The government had a power over my mother that terrified her, until it broke her & then we learned “or else” meant we were going to be taken away.

My mother had already lived enough in terror, my father was a broken man & he alone put her through enough by then. She got away from him and what she needed was help – not constant judgement, especially for pittances that kept her on another tight leash.

I remember she was often told she was not to drink. She was not to have any contact with my dad, no men at all, they said, & she needed to keep a clean house. Or else.

Today, I wonder what might have been had any of us been offered a place for our fears then. If my mom had been offered support for coping and maybe even a pat on the back for having got her 6 babies away from an abusive situation by herself.

Maybe supportive, restorative measures weren’t well understood back then, but they are now. All this money poured into employment for provinces in the guise of social work. All the training for foster parents and adoption processes…

All the money given to municipalities in support of those foster parents & restoring municipalities, like the re-opening of schools in New Brunswick because the loads of Indigenous foster kids revived their town to that degree.

copy missing family

Why isn’t this money used for family restorative healing in our communities instead? I feel I answered my own question with my question, because Canada uses the Indigenous not only for land & resources, but constant make-work industries that still terrify mothers (& fathers) to this day.

I hadn’t thought about these particular experiences for years and my visceral reaction to reading Chelsea’s words was very unexpected. What’s still infuriating is that these Indigenous truths are still happening to many families even as I type these words. The stories are noted on Twitter, social media and news media daily.

Yes, it’s all real, and most Canadians remain blissfully unaware of such threats. They can’t even begin to fathom that the dishes sitting in their sink and the dirt on their floor could be enough cause to lose their babies, and in some cases, for good.

The effects of life under constant judgement and threat has numerous consequences; the falls into addictions, the escalating abuses in homes, the needs for mental healthcare and on and on and on.

A messy house still terrifies my 75 yr. old aunt. She became OCD about it to this day. My 75 yr. old mom has learned to relax about it – a little, finally.  Me?  Years of counseling to work out those terrors and I’m now a certified horrible housekeeper… and I don’t give a damn. Of course, my child is now 16; we are reasonably safe.

RL

Posted in First Nations, History, Indigenous, Indigenous Peoples, Life, Native Americans, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Minute Misery; Haiku

Forlorn longing sighs
Spring’s promises to Summer
Pivot toward dark

Weak, last ditch appeals to Sun
Spring promised; prolong our youth

RL

Haiku/Tanka

Inspiration & Photo credit: Autumn Alps by Le Drake Noir

 

Posted in Coping, Haiku, Micro Poetry, micropoetry, photo, Photos, Poetry, three line poetry | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Deep Thoughts; Worldly Vulnerability

To my friend,

Yes, I know so far 2017 or maybe more like the last decade, has been like a 24 hour rock polisher churning non-stop while stapled to your right temple. Amirite? As if the regular tests of our heart, soul and mettle weren’t already a deep enough line in the sand. Now there’s this load of heavy, huge, ponderous issues topping up our cortisol cups.  Every day blasts us with another dose of how insane our ‘new societal norm’s are becoming, because… Well, mostly because we’re all letting them, but mostly because for now, we don’t know how not to… They expose our vulnerabilities – which of course, drags our discomforts harder over the burning concerns.

panic gif

There is a shake-up going on and we can see it’s world-wide and despite all this unease, I can’t help feeling that underneath it all there is a cleansing abounding. A good one. A shift for the majority, where we see once again, that we’re being moved to something deeper and more meaningful at another level specific to each of us. That there’s more to our purpose than surviving, and even as we know that, perhaps especially more beyond even ‘prospering’.

panic 2

It feels like an intelligent energy that’s being heard and felt by greater numbers that compels us closer to the realization that all is truly connected. We get all caught up in our individual mindsets, but neither are they all that individual in the end. Not in any way we look at it. Whatever we pour forth from our minds is going to affect the person next to us and beyond….old news. But now, new times, renewed remembrances. The time is now to activate what we already know.

panic 3

The other day I woke from a dream where I heard, “Every call for water will eventually get heard”. Seriously, I don’t know what that means, but I felt within it optimism. I think it suggests it’s OK to grasp onto whatever centres us best while we weather the new climatic revolutions and evolutions, whatever they will be. But, act too. Wherever and whenever you are in the presence of that opportunity that shows up. Grab it, if needed learn the ins and outs of it later. It’s in front of you for a reason.

Steady as she goes, my friend(s) and I expect you to prop me up when I slip in the wavery too. Please. In the meantime…

Walmart need anything

RL

 

 

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Orange Shirt Day, A Call to Honour Truth


“I want to get rid of the Indian problem. I do not think as a matter of fact, that the country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand alone… Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department, that is the whole object of this Bill”.
-Duncan Campbell Scott, Deputy Superintendent of the Department of Indian Affairs, Canada

That statement meets the criteria for committing genocide.  Creating Indian Residential Schools was one step in that overall effort begun with the Indian Act of 1876. The Indian Act is still in force today.

Canada is in the early stages of learning about its dark history, including Residential Schools, often noted as  ‘Canada’s 100+ year old dirty secret’. One of the efforts to reveal and heal from horrific secrets is the newly annual Orange Shirt Day.

Orange Shirt Day, held on September 30, is an Every Child Matters awareness campaign created in respect of and to honor all children taken from Indigenous families and forced to attend Residential Schools in Canada and the U.S. between 1879 and 1996. The children suffered the terror of being taken from their families without any understanding of what was happening, to enduring devastating abuses and death.

In my family, we had five children enter a Residential School in Northern Alberta, Grouard. Three of them never came home. I don’t know what my great-grandmother was ever told of the details of their deaths, it was never anything ever talked about; standard behavior for nearly all these families. Very little to nothing around those schools was ever discussed.

What I do know is, the consequences of the trauma of that pain, along with the ensuing efforts to move my family into locations more convenient for government plans, took its toll on my family. They call it ‘inter-generational trauma’ now. All the brokenness that came out of those years and all the efforts to recover from them included too many years of addiction issues, homelessness, and the continuing loss of children to the foster care system. My family was included in that too.

As one of those many, I’d like others to know there are places for help now. Places that understand us and speak our languages – maybe not our nation’s language, but how we see things. I found mine with the Indian Residential Survivor’s Society (http://irsss.ca/). Contact them, if you need help or you want to help someone. They know the wounds to our hearts and they understand.

For everyone else, I’d ask, please be willing to listen… take the time to ‘hear’. The history of those schools and the consequences, was fully examined by the 2015 Truth & Reconciliation Commission. It provided 94 calls to action to enact true restorative healing for our families and yours.

It would move Canada along in a far more productive and genuine way if we all took up those calls to action together. Not all can be performed by an individual, but many can. After that, collectively, we can demand the full implementation in all the required areas.

I hope you’ll join us in adding truth to Canada’s world reputation and in creating a reality based in genuine honour for all our children and their future. Every one of them matter, every single one.

RL

My son scoping out the tremendous support in his school, 9/29/2017

 

Posted in Education, First Nations, Indigenous, Indigenous Peoples, Life, Life & Death, Native Americans, Native History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Another One Bites The Dust

Mad Hatter

Poor girl didn’t heed
Cries of the already drowned
Smothered; false kisses

Warnings lost in hard pursuits
T’was never hard to know you

………………………………

Mad-hatters shape shift
He becomes every dream
Magical threading

Weaving so under your skin
Never releasing his prey

………………………………

Permanently etched
Tied more closely than chained links
Oh, the tricks, those ploys

The spell forever changing
The whirls of madness now reign

RL

Haiku / Tanka
Street Art by @shalakattack
Photo provided by createdbyrcw.com

The Queen of Hearts said to the wee thing:

“How hard it can be for lost hearts to get it. The moment is passed and yet, some refuse to buzz-off even after their true colors have been brought to light and rejected. Such strange senses of ownership, but then new/old conquests refuse to believe hypnotic methods could fool them, no matter how much is offered in foresight. The trance in full effect – ‘he knows me like no other’…. They all do, dear. That’s their job. They stare and stare and stare at you until you give it all”.

“I wonder if we’re so different after all…perhaps that’s why they simply cannot say goodbye after, like a varicella-zoster, content to hide in the shadows forevermore”…

Posted in Haiku, Life, love, micropoetry, Pain, Poetry, Tanka, three line poetry | Tagged , | 4 Comments

WANING TREASURES: Colour

The diminishing days of summer begin to tug at my only-just-now-relaxing heartstrings. I’m not ready to give up the heat, the light, the energy of the extra sunlight; not where we live anyway.

We live in a rain-forest and not the kind that, in winter, envelopes the area in near bathwater-warm mists.  Oh no, ours is that infamous, sopping, bitterly chill ya to cellular level till you cry kind of dampness. That cheery fun matched only by the varying depths of blanketing grey masses that blot out said light of grace.

So, is it any wonder I choose to claw back the impending doom and seek out the remnants of brilliance and shine? To hang onto the trailing sweet scents of fresh leaves and grasses and florals? To seek even more comfort in the flowing lightness of shimmery breezes (and really cute apparel)?

All of which serves to ease even the biggest workload into a sense of partial vacation. Maybe it’s closer to the idea of just vacant, but still… if it works for escapism purposes…

Soon enough, the world’s turn will darken patio libations and I will have no choice but to submit to the inevitable. Grey. Slate, Dove, Ash, Charcoal. Grey. Well, at least that is, until we get to the mixed and even, garish jewel tones of Christmas. Oh my… Can’t wait!

In the meantime, some of my micro-tributes to summer colour:

DAISY CLAIMS
Daisies

Momma’s favourites
White blooms speaking innocence
Thus mine are yellow 😄

Haiku
BC coast, July 2017

 

HIDDEN TREASURES

Secrets of the heart
A mere two souls know my fave
Primary option

Haiku
Photo, Peggys Cove, NS

 

JAUNE SEDUCTIONS

Sunny, bright, happy
Deep, warm, inviting caress
Golden embraces

A bed of warm intellect
The real couleur de l’amour

Haiku / Tanka
Photo, Northwest Cove, NS

RL

Posted in Haiku, Life, Lighter Side, micropoetry, Photos, Poetry, Tanka, three line poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Street Art Takes Pain

I came across a pretty great poetic thought on Twitter, and be damned if I could find it again to properly quote and credit it, but it said something along the line of, “poetry is where the pain goes”.  I’d wager there’s a pretty big crowd of us that wade in that poetic pool.

I’m not saying I had a painful week, but once again inspiration hit while I was perusing a friend’s street art photos.  Some old heart matters reared up, and I couldn’t resist the pull of the bard. So a short ode to a long week. Wishing all a really fabulous final August weekend.

WITH BAITED BREATH

Help, help she called out
Alas, only silence heard
No hook on the line

Haiku
Street Art photo provided by @createdbyw

 

DOG COLLARS

When the deeds been done
The new victim acquiesced
Signed on for the ride

Oh, the glee, oh if only
Oh, to be flies on the wall

Haiku / Tanka
Street Art photo provided by @createdbyw

 

HARE OF THE DOG

Oh, soul Girl, step slow
Do beware red hearts, Alice
Their souls are so black

Tread most carefully, angel
Every promise, a trick

Haiku / Tanka
Street Art Photo: Unknown, Porto, Portugal

RL

Posted in Haiku, Life, Lighter Side, micropoetry, Photos, Poetry, Tanka, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Canada, Reparations Don’t End at Apologies – Just Ask Germany

Revised August 30, 2017

Canadians must work to heal a major historical point of contention for Canada and the Indigenous, and that point does not focus on “apologies and acknowledgements of territories.”

Canada’s government already knows what needs to be done. It has received why and how details for decades, most recently from the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP), the 2011 Canadian Auditor General’s Report, the 2015 Truth & Reconciliation Report (TRC), and perhaps most unexpectedly, from Germany.

Canada’s apologies—for forcing Indigenous children to attend Residential schools, only one step of genocidal policies in the Indian Act; for sexual & physical abuses and death; for medical and nutritional experimentation; for starvation and medical sterilizations; for the missing and murdered; and other horrors —have become almost glib.

They’re cheap makeup to cover the scars of racist policies past and the continuing eruptions today. They’re feel-good measures that gloss over the lack of amendments leading to genuine restorative healing. In some cases, official apologies have been done literally to death.

“These things take time,” we’re told; an egregious, time-wasting cop-out. The amount of money and assistance announced to the country as given to the reserves is often exaggerated greatly.  Indigenous kids continue to die by Canadian policy.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on earnest promises to the Indigenous that included ratification of the United Nation’s policy rights for Indigenous peoples. Not only has he not lived up to that pledge, but he is actually suing to retain the ability to discriminate against Indigenous children, even as they die from lack of resources afforded to all Canadian children. For Canadians, these rights are called services, but for the Indigenous, they’re regularly viewed and stated as “handouts”.

Why this belief is so widely held and accepted as truth is not because Canada ‘provides the Indigenous handouts whenever possible’ – aka charity. That view is the original 1876 talking point of the Canadian government and its partner-in-crime, the media. Despite well-known travesties, the pair have left out other important historical nuggets such as the laws that made it illegal for the Indigenous to operate any kind of business; laws that were in place for well over a century.

Too few know the real Canadian foundation. So, the focus has to turn Canadians back to acknowledging their history and their much defined hand in creating the situation that has lasted for 150 years and counting.

Cda Nazi Flag

Colonialism is based in racism. Supremacy is its heart. Symbolic irony – the Swastika symbol was used by the ancient Native Americans of the Mississippian culture. Indigenous genocide, millions on their homeland. Who remembers?

It’s commonly said the German genocide of Europe’s Jewish population must be “never forgotten.” And yet, Canadians will routinely tell the Indigenous to “stop living in the past.”

But the past isn’t over. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) isn’t over. The Canadian Government’s effort to manage Indigenous lives, lands and take resources isn’t over. Your “past” continues to be Indigenous present.

“What’s the answer?” – is a huge yet simple question. Aside from the answers already provided by commissions, Germany—which took a page from Canada’s Indian Act to create its own terror camps— returned with a blueprint to decency that Canada should take to heart.

Canadians must listen to what the Indigenous have been saying for nearly two centuries, and stop believing another popular myth that the Indigenous don’t know what they want. While there may be myriad ideas, the fundamental demand has remained true: genuine equal standing in their homelands with equal access to all services, already paid for in perpetuity with their resources and land.

The “nice Canada” face the world sees is false. Although Canada is populated with many lovely people, most live in ignorance while continuing to benefit richly from the livelihoods taken from the Indigenous, who are left on their own to overcome the horrors they’ve suffered.

Canadians must clearly and fearlessly look at their history, and teach it, fully and honestly.

Germany didn’t create monuments to their monsters, but rather to the people who suffered under those monsters and those who stood to help the suffering. They teach their history unabashedly from kindergarten to university, and they make immigrants to their country learn those same lessons. Germany made financial reparations to its victims, and does not hide its shame.

In the process, they have grown a greater sense of understanding and humanity across their country and have flourished to become a respected, successful world leader today.

Canada cannot and will not move into a new future of genuine honour and peace until it has truly examined and amended its dark past. Just ask Germany.

RL

With great gratitude to Randall Willis, So What’s Your Story
Posted in Indigenous Peoples, Life, Opinion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Tales From The Heart: Dad

Nova Scotia, July 2017

Of great character
Lovely men earn the prizes
Strong and gentle wins

Cowards wilt in their presence
Fight or flight; laugh while they run

Haiku / Tanka

 

I’ve written a few times about the days of my childhood, when my mother was alone or alone within the presence of an abusive man who tormented her and her children. I’ve even written a bit about that broken man. Yet, I’ve never been able to really put down a word of meaning about the man who would ultimately become my beacon of manly decency, the barometer for all who’d follow and be measured against.

No matter how hard I tried to write a nod of love for Father’s Day or his birthday, whatever event, I would draw a blank or the words I put down felt far too much like a eulogy. Even when I wanted to relay one of his famous tales of hilarity, I’d cringe at how much it felt like I was standing at a funeral lectern; the same feelings washed over me as did when I delivered a eulogy for one of his grandchildren.

Then, this summer holiday, during our annual events of hugs and dinner talk, huge laughter, day trips, familial eye-rolling impatience, and intense political arguments that look like someone’s about to get offed, I entered epiphany territory. If I didn’t say these things now, for him, to him, ultimately my words really would simply become the very thing I feared.

So here it is, not a “Happy Something Day” anything. Just a summer hug to my dad, who as a step-father, stepped in it and all over it in his own inimitable way, to become the embodiment of what a man of decency and character should be. Whose heart was far bigger than he needed to shelter us. Whose protective and respectful love is genuine and unreserved.

He’s shown how it’s done after screw ups. Oh yes, he’s definitely a pro at screwing up, BUT he’s equally adept at employing his best to undo his infractions. His apologies are quick and he fills the holes of his failings with triple the ratio of acts of kindness. I’ve never met a man who wants to make up for his failings as badly as he. It’s one of his most admirable aspects which has repaid him with enormous, widespread respect.

Outside of that, he’s your basic straight shooter, what you see is what you get, and certainly honesty is a key attribute. Well, unless he’s got a story to tell. There’s no doubt he’s got a blarney bone floating in there, but that’s just one more lovable trait, right? I’ve not met anyone yet, who can tell a tale with his level of wit and witty circuitous routes. That’s bonus material right there.

Tin man 7.jpg

Oz never needed to give this Tin Man a heart

And so, if all this isn’t the embodiment of good character, what is? His shoes will always be a bit of a loose fit for someone to fill, but that ain’t no complaint by me. Damned certain neither of us will ever make apology for that. I hope when he sees this note, he’ll feel my respect too. Maybe he’ll even have seen something that surprises. Whatever his feelings, I do know I’ll get a hug not long after.

Thanks, Dad.

RL

Posted in Gratitude, Haiku, Heroes, Life, micropoetry, Poetry, Storytelling, Tanka, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 12 Comments