Grandchild

I feel so old
my skin hangs on dried bones,
the blush
on my younger face
I remember like a poem
And I have survived
and found a peace that I call home
though sometimes now, it feels like a prison.

I saw the moon in the sky this morning.
and it changed the tide.
like you it seemed to appear without warning
and like you, it changed my mind.
because Love is a catalist
not a cure.
It comes unexpectantly.
It makes us dare
the whirlwind.

So for you
I crack open and release
my fluttering heart
and
toss it in the sea,
and play in the breaking waves of your laughter,
and rest in eddies
of your sleeping breath.

Belated

On Sunday my daughter came over with her two wee ones and we ordered Swiss Chalet. It was my choice, not cheap but consistent, and kind of a Mother’s Day tradition. The driver came, I said, “hold on I have a tip for you.” He thanked me andWilf and Carla painting (640x437) told me, “happy mother’s day”, I said, “and to all the mother’s in your life!” and he said:

“MOTHER IS GOD!”

I did not argue.

 

Aberration, a poem

Winter, the air was as dry as unbuttered toast.
Ice formed from any moisture and hung onto any thread.
Children were bundled so if they fell
it would be face up
so they wouldn’t suffocate,
their identities unknowable behind scarves and hats pulled low.
Until a Chinook
when they threw off their stiff winter clothes
and ran in their socks and shirt sleeves
in yards of mud,
no, not ran, but hopped
like new little toads with tails abandoned,
this way and that,
with the randomness of joy.
And when it was over
they came home dressed in other children’s clothes.

I joined the Rusty Cast-Iron April Poetry Club, a closed club on Facebook for the month of April. I tried to write a poem every day. Some days I pulled old poems out of the moth balls and re-worked them. Honestly, it was really hard and time consuming. Whole mornings were taken up with my punching and kneading the raw dough! But it was an honest effort. I am going to post some of the ones I am happy with. NOT ONE A DAY, but maybe one once in a while. Thank you dear reader for you indulgence.

This was Day Five, I think the prompt was to write about a micro climate, which this is not, but it is about a climate aberration… We did experience something like this the first winter in Ottawa.

 

Mother’s Day

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
of justice.”

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests of
peace.

Julia Ward Howe
Boston
1870

Something Serious

I woke up this morning thinking about people who hate.

I know the popular rhetoric is to call all violent acts “terrorism” and then look for ways to identify an individual with a group; hell, the sad and crazy bastards greatest hope is that you will do this rather than look at how sad and crazy they are.

I know it is not a popular idea to examine the machinery of hatred as mental illness. (I don’t believe in letting anyone off the hook, I just think there has to be a response to hatred that has the greatest success in disarming the hater).

People Who Just Hate: PWJH

This group is easy to identify. They justify things by blaming others. They think if they get away with something it is divine providence, and when the shit hits the fan they imagine they are martyrs for some greater cause, regardless of how nuts it might be, or that they are victims themselves. They have no perspective, no empathy and are either isolated or only associating with others who are equally unhappy and insane.

Some of them have children. All of them were children once.

Everything that causes suffering starts with what we show and teach children. If we don’t have a society that puts the care and education of its children first, this includes helping parents, fathers, mothers, single mothers also, in getting the emotional, nutritional and housing support they need; addressing child abuse; addressing domestic abuse; we will end up with fractures in the society that will frequently lead to violence.

 

Continue reading

MY PUBLIC APOLOGY TO PENNY CAT

She was just sitting there, thinking. We had a disagreement. Rather, she felt she needed to correct me which involved claws and a very tiny bit of blood. I was standing at my computer while she was on my bed which is actually very high up, shoulder-height, so she was at my shoulder. She kept tapping me and I was ignoring her.

I WAS IGNORING HER.

Anyway, I screamed and waved a piece of paper at her and she took off and has spent the last day refusing to eat (in front of me when I put it down for her) and leaving the room when I enter it. I don’t have a lot of people I interact with on a daily basis. I would like to patch things up with her but I don’t want to let her walk all over me.

Wait! She’s on the bed pretending to nap! Perhaps a public apology is what she was waiting for. Okay!

PENNY CAT, I AM SORRY I OVERREACTED TO YOUR APPROPRIATE CORRECTION OF MY BEHAVIOUR. PLEASE ACCEPT MY APOLOGY.pennytoy

Can Poverty be Re-branded?

“Sometimes when it feels like things are falling apart it’s just things falling into place”.

This inspirational saying brought to mind the Monty Python skit of “Catch that prize!” where if a contestant could catch, say a refrigerator, dropped from a fourth story window he could keep it. It is annoying how many pithy sayings there are for things falling apart.

I went to a lecture titled, “Is poverty a disease? Could treating poverty work like medicine?” Dr. Gary Bloch, a nice young  doctor who works out of a hospital in T.O. in an area with a lot of homeless people using the ER. *

I am biased, three times around the big C has introduced me to lots of doctors, I have found many doctors, young white males in particular but not exclusively, to possess large egos if not pugnacious attitudes of entitlement. I have read a bit about what internships are like, so I add exhaustion as an excuse for some of them, and then there are the ones who really want to do good… and this guy is one of them. But he is still coming from a culture (medical professionals) that looks at everyone as a set of symptoms.  It is also a culture that is very difficult to enter because of the costs of medical school. Why money should be allowed to be a deciding factor in who might want to be, or might be able to be, a doctor is another question. Most doctors tell me that I can discuss only two things per visit. However, if one of them is about O.H.I.P. the clock seems to fly out the window. Sorry I am griping. 😛

At the very end of the lecture I got to say my two cents worth. My heart was pounding so hard once I decided to try to speak that I might have not heard all of his lecture.  I brought up the Harris government, 25 years ago in Ontario targeting single mothers, reducing their family benefits by 1/3 OVER NIGHT and then standing back to watch the fallout. All the tax payers who could accept the cost of constant road repairs before they accepted the cost of social repairs? Well, if driving over the bodies of welfare mom’s had caused a bumpy ride to work they still might have supported this bludeoning of Family Benefits. I’m not sure but the effects were not as immediate as a bitter cold winter on ashphalt so they weren’t too bothersome. But a large number of women and children fell through the cracks. “Falling through the cracks” meant they went missing in the minds and hearts of the society that they belonged to. And many ended up in peril.

Harris’ cuts weren’t even cost effective, they shifted the expenses to totally ineffective services and removed large numbers from the data for political purposes only.  Add mismanagement of support payments, often those coming after a forced combative situation, a stipulation of receiving benefits was legal action against the absent partner, and voila, many families found themselves unable to pay rent. Their next step was into homelessness. There were piles of cheques for support that were months late and yet they sat unprocessed. Miscommunication, hostility and ineptitude turned up the heat on fathers who were labeled and threatened for being “dead-beat dads” which did not help moms and kids either. Many of my peers who didn’t have any other support network to help them were lost as the stress of jumping through hoops and sorting through requirements turned them back either to abusive situations or bad choices or emotional collapse and mental breakdown. The resulting years have led to the cost to taxpayers in law enforcement, incarceration, emergency services and health costs all skyrocketing and all caused by the repercussions of what were applauded as reforms twenty-five years ago.

I ended my diatribe with “Poverty is not a disease, it is a crime.” and I got applause.  (That was a bit frightening actually).

However quietly, fearfully we do it, we need to speak up about the things that maintain poverty so we can talk about the things that can alleviate it. Poverty is a crime being committed against the most vulnerable, and it is global. It is endorsed by the most wealthy and most priviledged. Poverty makes possible all sorts of abuses of human rights and so often leads to violence and even war. But I worry about calling it a disease. People living with poverty are already in isolation.

*I wrote this draft perhaps five years ago never publishing it.  If you go to the link for Dr. Gary Bloch you will see he is doing many positive and constructive things and lecturing other doctors. Maybe he is changing the culture from within? As I said, he is one of the good ones.