Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Justaposition of day to day living

In conversation with an American tourist and his wife travelling around Cape Spear, the most easterly point of North America.....He voted for Bush twice, but is beginning to have a wee bit of a doubt. Condemns Cindy Sheehan for "betraying" her son. He was a military man himself. Somehow I don't think this is the average American. I met a few at the beginning of July who travel through the USA all the time and everybody they talked to in casual conversation, and there were thousands, did not vote for the moron. They honestly felt the 2004 election was rigged from the get-go. No audit trail. And what is this Electoral College business anyway? Why don't they shift to the parliamentary system and put a ceiling on the amount you can spend in campaigning? Why isn't there a Question Period? No system is perfect. But some are more perfect than others and work for the people and not the corporations.

My back door is being replaced here and I look at the framework of the house, the very bones of it, so to speak, and am amazed at the simple way it was constructed. Built to last. The diagonal boards fitted tightly so nothing would warp or shift. The house stays perfectly straight and has for a very long time. I cannot imagine in a million years this safe dwelling being bombed beyond recognition and yet this is what is happening in Iraq on a daily basis. I contrast my life here with a report out of Baghdad, there were 1100 bodies admitted to the morgue yesterday, some destroyed beyond recognition. They were built to last too. And now they are piled one on top the other, over a hundred of them women, nearly all of them innocent bystanders. Bringing freedom to Iraq. Destruction and grief. I mentally put myself in their shoes, living in fear all the time, looking suspiciously at every one....imagining a bomb coming out of nowhere and taking my world away. It is unconscionable that we are visiting this horror on another country we have no business being in while sitting in comfort and security thousands of miles away.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

You go Cindy....

And go.....BUT.... Soemthing puzzles me. You are an extremely bright and articulate woman. If you do get a response from the petulant little cretin who is running your country what do you expect it to be? He has proven over and over that he cannot speak without coaching and hidden prompters in his underwear, he is incapable of compassion or even downright decency - calling you "mother" when he is older than you by a decade? Not even knowing your son's name when you met him? You expect reasons from this moron? All the reasons he ever needs are given by the corporations who are feeding off the dead bodies in Iraq, both the Americans, including your son, and the Iraqi mothers and children and other bystanding innocents. These people in your "elected" government are without conscience, Cindy, you will never pry the truth from their lips, they don't even know what the truth is. All they care about is the almighty dollar. Why is there not an impeachment? Why have all the media outlets been bought by the large corporations? News of you is not getting into the mainstream press. There are so few honest journalists, they all have their agendas now - whores of the interests of the few.
The world slides irretrievably into its morass of sludge, all of it toxic. Did you catch the news about Lake Ontario today? Our water will be undrinkable. Hong Kong is pulling all its money out of US and throwing it into Canada - the next oil reserve?
Is the world worth saving Cindy? This hopeless little place with so many starving and others, like your son, dying for greed.
I weep for all the US soldiers, I weep for the countless Iraqis who have died and the ones who suffer under the iron fist of the White House Cretin and his minions or should it be the other way round.
But my heart is with you, I applaud you, I praise your name.
You go Cindy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Crystallizing the ephemeral

I thought long and hard about the above title. A sentence that gathers up twenty or thirty randomly flying words and condenses them. Poetry does that too. Sometimes a short story.
The price of gas is now through the roof and going ever higher. Much depends on gas. Our energy, our way of life. The ephemeral for me has been just that, what are we all selling anyway? I sell accounting, income tax returns for people and corporations from the small to the middle class, a few upper income earners. That business will all collapse, along with the economy. People will say f*** income tax and if they owe will want to keep it, stockpile it. All I could think of today was selling that heap of metal that sits on my tarmac in Toronto, I had thought it a good idea to bring it to Newfounland last year, to assist in moving stuff around. Not a good idea, the thing gobbled up gas at an incredible rate and every trip had to be thought through as it cost so much. So I drove it back last May to sell and acquired a little Echo hatchback, another fine Toyota product which does everything and more. I have put long tables in there, beach umbrellas, one month of laundry, chairs. It doesn't even whimper and begs for more. 700 klicks and up for 40 litres of gas. I am not wallet-feeling the doubling of gas prices yet. But any soul who buys my van will. If I can sell it. If there is any one person out there who thinks oil prices will go down.
So what can I turn my hand to in these strange times. I live for the summer in a village that catches, processes and freights fish. Fish prices are going to sky rocket, the freight charges alone will take care of that. Why are not any of our better-thans in government not advocating the return of rail? The re-laying of track will provide jobs for one and huge environmental relief. These ever widening, and continuing creation, of new highways must stop. Can we not wake up? Is everyone as tired as I am? Where are the young voices, are they silenced? Is the drone in the White House even aware of what is happening to the American economy? Does he know about China, the new super power? Why aren't real people in power? We place the uber wealthy (our own Paul Martin, Tony Blair, Bertie Aherne, Danny Williams, all the Bushlets)in power and expect them to understand us poor joes, the working stiffs, the tiny-pensioned ones and our hard scrabble lives. How can they? Gas prices never worry them. The Smart car dealership was run out of Ireland, it was a big joke for the Celtic Tigerettes, they believe in their rights to their SUVs, Hummers and pool-length Jaguars now.
We are all asleep, right? This is just a bad dream. This is our way of life and nothing can touch it, right?
I'm looking at getting off the grid and knitting some blankets and cutting some wood for the winter.
It's crystal clear to me. Please wake up everyone!!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A quieter day

Days without sun are "quiet" to me. The warmth of the sun is "noisy." People hit beaches, voices rise, colours more vivid. My favourite time out here is at sunset. I am uploading a picture to show one facet of our magnificent sunsets. I can't seem to stop taking pictures of our sunsets, they are different and the same.
I finally sorta finished the poem about my voice. I am still not happy with all of it, but very pleased with parts of it.
I have this fabulous deck being built by this incredible man. The deck, known as a "gallery" in Newfie lingo is six feet wide and thirty six feet long. It is not quite finished yet, but getting there within a few hours, I would say, just the curlicues being added, tops of posts. It is a simple deck, straight lines in keeping with the solid lines of the house. Even in its unfinished stages I could hardly keep myself off it. The water is more accessible, the trees more protective, the dog knows her spot already and can move a snout to between the rails to maintain a better bead on the road. The man who is building it is formed like the men my father knew. Men who instinctively know how to build a boat or tell you why your house is always damp or your car is spitting oil, the names of all your trees, the type of birds that fly in them and on and on. There aren't so many of them around now, they are dying off. We are all specialists, and I have an idea for another article, don't I. A world of specialists. We only know about our chosen fields. And more's the pity.
And here's the sorta finished version of the poem:
My Voice

Smothered in sounds of brothers and father,
Squeaking then squashed, lilting then lost
In a sudden shimmer of stage-light.
Rescued by a rugby-playing toy soldier.

Borne like a trophy to a distant land.
Emerging in a few scattered splutters,
Drowned by unshed tears and
The silken, soothing sibilance of whiskey.

Now buried deeper and deeper,
In the squalls of babies, the howls of adolescence.
Lost in the carping criticism
They became. Redeemed yet again

Flickering bravely in the love-light
Flaming stronger and stronger in a grandchild’s eyes.
My long-stilled voice,
Clearing its own throat.

Testing and teasing, not caring what’s pleasing,
Rising and falling, chanting and calling,
In still morning air and star struck nights
As it screams the truth in exultation. MM August 3rd, 2005

I didn't succeed in uploading, I will have to try again.

But is it poetry?

Well, I know it is "free verse". I got to thinking of my mother yesterday. I think of her most days, she has been dead since April 16th, 1971. A long time. She was fifty seven, had been ill with the effects of a malignant melanoma for six years. Having talked to other motherless wains, I don't think we ever get over a mother's death. I write some free verse now and again, but my writing basically is articles for a magazine every couple of weeks or so and the three novels I have written. Well, one completed, on 2/3 of the way there and one about 1/3.
So my poem about my mother is meant to be read aloud, in my voice. It sounds better than it reads, like most songs.

A Bit of Mutton

My mother told me many things,
When breathing deeply of the morning air
As we walked together to First Friday Mass
So our souls would be saved at the last minute.
No matter what we did in between.

Our Lord had promised this, you see.
If we made nine of these First Fridays in a row.
And we did. I don’t remember the masses
I remember our walking and talking
And how we would breathe together.

She would swing her arms and look to the still
Early sky. Breathe, she said, breathe.
It’s good to get the early oxygen into the blood
And leave all the men in the house behind us.
It’s a change for us women to be alone together.

She believed and carried me on the wings
Of her belief in Our Lady first and Our Lord second.
Until the great man behind the red curtain
Told her it was a sin to eat meat on Friday
Even though she was expecting her last.

She was forty-three then, saying she was thirty-nine
And had an irresistible craving for the meat.
She was outraged she told me, that this
Young pup of a priest could tell an aging
Expecting woman her soul was damned.

Forever, she said to me, in spite of the
Nine First Fridays, for eating a piece of meat.
She would burn in hell for all eternity.
How could he know, this young pup,
Of varicose veins and a tired swollen body?

Life is a terrible mystery, girleen,
I don’t know what to make of it at all
I just can’t make sense of him telling me that,
Me old enough to be his mother, that I was
Now damned and going to hell for a bit of mutton?

I got up and walked out of that box so I did.
I did not want the penance or the forgiveness
For this great sin. I walked all the way out the door
And came straight home this past Saturday
And I don’t know why I’m telling you all this.

MM - August 1st, 2005

For me, the poem captures the idiocy of the Catholic Church in Ireland at the time, the precious moments spent between the mother and daughter but most of all the spirit of my mother, dimly realizing something is drastically wrong here and entrusting this knowledge to her fourteen year old daughter. This could not have been shared with a man.

I am struggling with a poem about hearing one's own voice for the first time, shedding the voices of parents and children, siblings and lovers, partners and friends. It is coming together, I continue to work on it.

I have a fear of poetry, mine I mean, as so many people write really bad poetry and insist on giving it to one, not for a critique per se but applause. And the poetry is usually dreadful. And you don't know what to say to them. So I hesitate to offer it, but maybe on a blog someone willl see it and be honest with me.So over and out from The Rock, where each star hovers overhead in its own starlight and that airplane crash in Toronto seems far away, but miraculous nevertheless.