endless

in this endless space,
in this endless time,
in the face of the infinite
i am mathematically zero,
i do not exist;
this is not a value judgement,
merely fact.

i
am
not
here;

and yet,
as i drive,
i am bathed in gold
from our tiny sun;

and yet,
as i drive,
i ponder the odds
of being here
in this place
and am staggered
by the should nots.

if i vanish
to become less,
as though i never existed,
it will not matter
because i was.
i loved,
i felt pain,
i was joyous,
and
for a moment,
knew this place
in time and space.

this one absolute truth
remains embedded
in forever –

i am.

The Death of Nuance

It seems the idea of delicate, nuanced complexity is dead.

We are no longer watchmakers (we once were I think, from time to time and place to place), we are apprentice blacksmiths raising our inexperienced fists and wielding hammers that bash out cheap swords and shields as different sides arm for war.

Sides. There are sides now…extreme perspectives and dichotomies that crash into one-another like the endless interplay of angry waves upon a cliff face…and nothing changes. There are always sides but now the middle has been murdered due to their unwillingness to pledge allegiance. If you are not with us, you are against us.

Politics is more of a shell game than ever before as the usual suspects continue to spout the usual rhetoric and we swing between one of two or three choices so well defined that there is no room for an elected representative to voice an actual opinion or vote their conscience without repercussion from the party authority.

All the while we, the audience who are not really onlookers but willing participants urge the battle on from the sidelines and feed the fires with combustive commentary…we fall into entrenched positions that require us to hate every word from Party A and bless every other word from Party B thus showing we have lost our ability to think in favour of simple, reactive, pre-school tantrums in the realm of social media where every sarcastic, witless jibe that lands is responded to with a giggle of glee and a fool’s jig.

In such a state we are as easy to divide as a block of cheese. We are as easy to control as puppies being given their first food in the morning, drooling in thoughtless gratitude for all of the scraps that we are given.

Of course it is not all that bleak.

Each new generation has the option to rewrite things in their own image. All they have to realize is that they are not bound by the conventions and rules of the previous group. They can manifest change through the sheer force of their wills if necessary.

Here’s hoping.

words from obscurity

there are stars in the hidden distances
small, bright spinning beacons
that send blinking signs of themselves
away and away, rarely to be detected

it’s what they do
it’s what we do

spin until we might fly apart
send our words from obscurity
into the dark around us and out
evidence of white-hot purpose

it’s what we do
it’s what i do

aged

send your old men
into the midden heap
away from things of beauty
so their rheumy stares
do not infect,
so their dry hands
do not desiccate and destroy.

send your old women
to high-walled communes,
to loveless cat-filled castles
for they no longer yearn,
no dreams of flesh and kisses,
they are done with the earth
and the things in it.

send your aged away,
they sprang to life from the dust
a decrepit species unto themselves
and know not the rapture of youth;
loathe them and be thankful
you will be dew-kissed nubiles forever
far from the filth of the dying.


Wind-Up Doll

In honor of International Women’s Day 2021 I present to you a poem by Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad. The poem is from a book of her selected works called Sin (which I have). Farrokhzad, who died in 1967 at the age of 32, is so compelling it is hard to explain the power of her words – you have to read them.

Wind-Up Doll

Even more, oh yes,
one can remain silent even more.

Inside eternal hours
one can fix lifeless eyes
on the smoke of a cigarette,
on a cup’s form,
the carpet’s faded flowers,
or on imaginary writings on the wall.

With stiff claws one can whisk
the curtains aside, look outside.
It’s streaming rain.
A child with a balloon bouquet
cowers beneath a canopy. A rickety cart
flees the deserted square in haste.

One can remain fixed in one place, here
beside this curtain…but deaf, but blind.

With an alien voice, utterly false,
one can cry out: I love!
In the oppressive arms of a man
one can be a robust, beautiful female–
skin like leather tablecloth,
breasts large and hard.
One can stain the sinlessness of love
in the bed of a drunk, a madman, a tramp.

One can cunningly belittle
every perplexing puzzle.
Alone, occupy oneself with crosswords,
content with unimportant words,
yes, unimportant letters, no more than five or six.

One can spend a lifetime kneeling,
head bowed,
before the cold altar of the Imams,
find God inside an anonymous grave,
faith in a few paltry coins.
One can rot inside a mosque’s chamber,
an old woman, prayers dripping from lips.

Whatever the equation, one can always be a zero,
yielding nothing, whether added, subtracted, or multiplied.
One can think your eyes are buttons from an old ragged shoe
caught in a web of anger.
One can evaporate like water from one’s own gutter.

With shame one can hide a beautiful moment
like a dark, comic instant photo
rammed deep into a wooden chest.

Inside a day’s empty frame one can mount
the portrait of a condemned, a vanquished,
a crucified. Cover the gaps in the walls
with silly, meaningless drawings.

Like a wind-up doll one can look out
at the world through glass eyes,
spend years inside a felt box,
body stuffed with straw,
wrapped in layers of dainty lace.

With every salacious squeeze of one’s hand,
for no reason one can cry:
Ah, how blessed, how happy I am!

Now that I’m Employed…

After more than four months of job hunting I have been honored to be given the opportunity to become The Jubilee Fund‘s new executive director. It’s a fantastic organization with an amazing team and an unbeatable mission and vision.

How fortunate am I? Very.

To that end I want to post a link to a radio interview I did back in December with CBC about being unemployed during covid. Here it is:

A well-known Morden man describes the emotional and practical challenges of job hunting during a pandemic. | Information Radio – MB with Marcy Markusa | Live Radio | CBC Listen

memory

i remember when this photo was taken
a little me and a little she
sitting next to grandma on the couch
i might have been four
she would have been three
and the eye behind the lens
that was a mum at twenty-three

i know this memory is real
because i know what is on my head
just a blurry band in the picture
was a paper head dress of feathers
pushed out from a book with such things

i remember the old couch
and the texture of it on my fingers
and i remember my sister next to us
small and quiet and easy to annoy

this is a memory
taken by she
who is also now
a memory,
my memory
gone, except in me

My Top 10 Favorite Video Games

I have been playing games for more than 40 years now (if you count Pong). Nothing has been more captivating for me as a form of entertainment than video games. I have said before that, when perfectly executed, the video game can be elevated to art (even more than film) as it combines all forms – music, visual art, narrative, and thrusts you into the midst of it, making it all interactive.

Now most games do not aspire to this but it is a possibility.

I like most styles of game – driving/racing, shooters, RPG, MMORPG, horror, strategy etc. Specifically I favour big, immersive, open world RPGs. I also prefer the first person perspective. I am not as fond of strategy games.

To that end here is a hastily assembled, probably rough, list of my top 10 favorite video games. These are the games I would want to have on the proverbial desert island (that is equipped with power, shelter, food and a 65 inch flat screen tv).