- It is with a heavy heart
- Lamentation for the Downtown Eastside
- Bud Osborn – A Lifetime
- “Express Your Voice” HISTORY OF FOOT BINDING
- Tiny Feet
- Hello My Name Is God
- PEOPLE BECOMING MACHINES
- Wall of Sea Spray
- Tips for Tuesday
- From the Library
- The Komagata Maru Incident
- So Sometime Back There in England
- the general surgeon
- Your Diet Can Change The World
- poets since the machine
- to the value of our friendship
It is with a heavy heart that I write about the death of Bud Osborn. He was a true hero to a community we know as the Downtown Eastside, but far beyond that, he inspired and gave hope to our city, and many people across the country.
I knew Bud for many years and he was a dear, close friend. When times were dark and people felt hopeless; he gave us hope. When people felt they had no voice, his poetry raised many voices and gave people courage. When people yearned for belonging and community, he led by example and united people in a common cause for human dignity and respect.
Bud was such a key part in the struggle for the rights of drug users and the need for INSITE. I have no doubt, that none of the incredible changes we have seen, would have taken place had Bud not lead the way forward.
I saw the times he was exhausted, overwhelmed, and deeply concerned about lackof action by governments - but he never wavered and he never rested. How many times did he speak to us at rallies, gatherings, and events - often with a specially composed poem - so that WE could gain understanding and strength to speak out and act together.
I remember the times that people would fall silent as they listened intently to each and every word he spoke as like a prayer -and it was as though he spoke to each of us personally and deeply. Such is the impact this man had.
He influenced and persuaded, in the most honourable way, elected representatives, academics, bureaucrats, journalists, and business people to stop the madness of the so-called "war on drugs". He spoke the truth - always - and without equivocation.
Most of all though, his greatest impact was his life's work for and with those without voice. He led by example and showed people that they could speak out, be heard and change the course of history. To the many who were marginalized, criminalized and hopeless - he changed their lives with friendship, compassion and love.
Bud's extraordinary work in founding groups like VANDU, is significant and lasting.
I saw Bud only a few days before he died as he prepared to leave the hospital. It amazed me that his great sense of humour was always present - even in difficult times. He was laughing softly about his experience in the hospital. We all thought he was heading home to get better. But this was not to be.
As we grieve it is Bud's words that give us comfort:
"When eagles circle oppenheimer park
we see them
feel hope soar in our hearts
the eagles are symbols
for the courage in our spirits
for the fierce and piercing vision
for justice in our souls"
Libby Davies [MP - Vancouver East)]
[This is from Signs of the Times, poetry by Bud Osborn
and prints by Richard Tetrault. (2005; Anvil Press)]
Lamentation for the Downtown Eastside
she who was a child
beloved of life
has now become a slave
who screams at night
she raves during the day
and among all her men
there is none to comfort her
all her friends have betrayed her
they have become like enemies
and after this affliction
and harsh servitude in the Downtown Eastside
she is going into exile
she is being driven out
and will find no resting place
all those who greedily pursue her
have overtaken her
in the midst of her suffering
and no one comes to celebrate life with her
all her streets are cruel
her representatives fight among themselves
her advocates grieve
and she is in bitter anguish
her real enemies have become her masters
her real enemies are taking it easy
her children have been stolen from her
her beauty has been corrupted
her dreams of life are like eagles
that find no nests
in weariness they have flown away
but in these days of her affliction and drunkenness
she remembers the hours of joy and moments of peace
that were hers in the past
before she and her people
fell into enemy hands
and there was no one to help her
her enemies now look at her
and laugh at her destruction
she herself commits crimes
she herself makes choices that bring death
instead of more life
but she has been brutalized
she has been stripped naked
and thrown into the streets
where she is mocked and dishonoured
as one diseased and unwanted
she herself groans
and turns her face from the mirror
she did not take this day seriously enough
her destruction is astounding
her destruction is an abomination
and there is no one to comfort her
“look at me! see my face!” she pleads for help
but the enemy has triumphed
the enemy is laying hands
on her heart and her soul and her flesh
she sees predators of all kinds
enter her streets
all her people groan
as they search for bread
they barter their lives for what they need
to relieve their suffering
to keep themselves alive
she says “look at me and please consider me
for I am despised and forsaken and abandoned”
she who was a child
beloved of life
has now become a prostitute for her enemies
and she says
“am I nothing to you, you who pass by?
Is my suffering any less deserving of relief
this suffering that a cold inhuman system
has inflicted upon me
allows epidemics of death
in my blood
it has made me think of suicide
day and night
it has kept hope far from me
and this is why I act desperately
this is why my eyes burn with fear
and my eyes are dark and disturbing
and my eyes are crushed
and my eyes pour down painful tears
for there is no one near to comfort me
no one is here to restore my life
and my children are becoming destitute with me
because the enemy has prevailed
and the Downtown Eastside stretches out her hands
but there is no one to comfort her
the Downtown Eastside has become
an object of loathing and derision
to her neighbours
and to those who would rescue her
and what is worse
the visions of politicians
are self-seeking and destructive
their words are worthless
their meetings are humiliating
the advice they give
and the questions they ask
their seeming concern
are deceitful and hypocritical
and they laugh at us
they pass through the Downtown Eastside
and shake their heads
were we not once children
born beloved of life
and now become no better than
objects to be kicked and manipulated?
social failures to be whipped by this cruel system?
And our good friends
they say 'we are swallowing up the Downtown Eastside
we will drive the low-life out
this is the day we wait for
to make our city a city for tourists and corporations
this is the day we work for
when we drive out the bad poor
and drive out their agencies
except for the good poor
who will live quietly and intimidated
in enclaves of social housing'
and our enemies gloat over how easy it is
to destroy our comm\unity
how easy it is
to divide our community
how easy it is
the hearts of the people of the Downtown Eastside
oh hard-pressed homes of the
economically poor and politically powerless
let your tears fall like November rains
day and night
give yourself no distraction or sedation
give your eyes no rest
arise! come alive! resist!
Cry out in the night
as the pressure on our lives increases
pour out your heart like hail
so that all will hear and feel and see
let us life up our lives
for the lives of all of us
who walk hungry and oppressed
at every street corner
look oh city of Vancouver
look oh politicians and planners and bankers
whom have you ever treated like this?
would you tear your children away
from their mothers' breasts
would you deny life to them
as you do to the Downtown Eastside?
people all over have heard my suffering cries
but there is no one to comfort me
no one to comfort the community of the poor
in the Downtown Eastside
all my enemies have heard my pleas and anguish
but they are satisfied
at what they are bringing about
so may they experience
what is happening to me
may their lies and greed and politics and manipulations
and their hardness of heart
and their abandonment of the Downtown Eastside
come back to haunt them
come back to tear their 'communities' apart
come back to drive them to acts of desperation
come back to make them objects of scorn
come back upon them to destroy their lives
with no one to comfort them
no one to help them
for my pain is immense
and my heart is racing
and my heart is weary
This poem was written in 1997 when the situation in the Downtown Eastside was literally as horrific as described. As a director on the Vancouver/Richmond Health Board, I was able, in 1997, against bureaucratic opposition, to have a motion passed declaring Vancouver's first-ever public health emergency, because of the pandemics and over-dose deaths besieging the Downtown Eastside. Since then, residents of the Downtown Eastside and people in Vancou-ver and elsewhere have indeed responded to inhuman suf-fering with concrete initiatives intended to relieve it. Though many battles are yet to be fought, the preservation and strengthening of an immensely important community of ec-onomically impoverished, brutally afflicted and extraordi-narily creative and committed human beings, is much closer to enduring than it appeared 9 years ago.[in 2005].
While the poem specifically names the Downtown Eastside, the circumstances expressed prevail throughout the world, and will intensify unless neo-liberal socio-economic ideology and its institutions, so ruinous of all that is human and natural, is turned upside-down to fully respond to the needless suffering and destruction of authentic community this system produces. -Bud
On the corner of Main & Hastings
as you walk by each day
they call out his name …forever
the windmills don’t stand a chance
There won’t be more like him
not here, not for a very long time
celebrate the fact he gave poet
a new job definition, actual fact in being
he was and is and will always be
the Downtown Eastside Poet Laureate
drop yer hat in prayer
and then RAISE SHIT
for Bud Osborn
Bud Osborn – A Lifetime
Tenacious, fantastic crusading warrior for the poor, the destitute, the downtrodden, the put-upon, the homeless, the hungry.. the list of people’s unjust situations was endless. Bud was go-getting, never quitting, never ever giving up. His numerous campaigns, his explosive poetic readings of prose, writings and oratory.. He knew deep inside of himself our pains our sufferings. He understood our trials & tribulations, predicaments & persistent problems better than anybody else. He’d lived through or with most of them. Not just for friends and neighbours were his concerns – they were in fact world-wide, universal. He was a wordsmith who performed before microphones on stage, with the kinetic electricity of a charismatic, all-encompassing rockstar! Nobody but nobody had the delivery of Bud speaking his truths, deep feelings & convictions, connecting within earshot to friends and foes alike, hitting nerves of everyone in his sightline
…and that is exactly why he was bestowed the high of poet laureate of the Downtown Eastside. His work will never be surpassed ‘cause he never competed. Bud was too humble to acknowledge the many honours bestowed on him, each hard-earned on the frontlines, in protests ‘n blockades ‘n boycotts.. Whatever his causes., he often simply preferred to blend in with all the rest of like mind – brothers- & sisters-in-arms. He’d always politely oblige calls for him to read from his many books and writings such as Raise Shit, Hundred Block Rock and Keys to Kingdoms. Bud seemed tireless, giving & sharing with anyone in dire need or otherwise who asked or begged for his time, small change, a cigarette or a hand up. He was known for just sitting with someone and lending an ear, carefully listening, giving what he could. Just as often the one or more being heard would feel much, much better.. strengthened & inspired by his always encouraging words.
With his untimely loss at the age of 66, I felt that he was older and wiser than most would be after two lifetimes. I also feel that his heart & spirit will extend from ancient to future ages, standing the test of time.
In closing, thanks for everything, Bud. May you rest in peace, you who are our friend, our neighbour and our brother.
ROBYN LIVINGSTONE.“Express Your Voice” HISTORY OF FOOT BINDING
“Express Your Voice” at the Roundhouse
Community Arts & Recreation Centre
When I was a child, I wanted to join a choir. In the 1960’s, in school in Hong Kong, we had to audition. I was not chosen.
To fulfil my dream, I signed up for “Express Your Voice” at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre in January 2014. I have been impressed by the program would like to share with you what did.
At the beginning, we spent time lying on a mat to practise our breathing. With emphasis on the vowels, we practised singing in a group as well as individually. For some sessions, the singing class turned into a writing class. We were put in a meditative state, and were asked to write on the topic of “sexuality”.
We worked together to transform each story into a poem. The titles of the poems were: All in My Now, Margaret’s Kitchen, Tiny Feet, Inside the Jade Palace The Medicine Shop, No Shame, just openness, and Oh! How the World Comes Back into Itself. The teacher composed music for All in My Now and Margaret’s Kitchen. We sang in Mandarin at the Sound of Dragon Music Festival on May 10 2014. We also will perform on June 7 Senior’s week at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre.
Tiny Feet is my writing. Below is my poem as well as a brief history on foot binding. From the writing in the group, I have learned the meaning of the word “sexuality”. To me, sexuality includes acceptance, patience, and love.
“Express Your Voice” at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre is free. If you have a chance to join, I hope you’ll enjoy the class as much as I did.
[There is now a choir at Carnegie - see adv! Ed.]
HISTORY OF FOOT BINDING There are several legends on the origin of foot binding in China. One of the legends says that, in the 7th century, an emperor adored the tiny feet of a dancer. To him, her tiny feet were erotic. Thereafter, the love for foot binding grew in the palace and gradually spread to the cities and villages.
Foot binding was mostly a practice of the middle and upper classes. Children of these traditional Chinese families were not encouraged to do chores. This was because parents had servants, and they wanted the hands of their daughters to remain smooth and beautiful like the skin of a young child. Mothers of the lower classes would only bind the feet of their oldest daughters in the hope that they would be able to marry up. Most likely, the younger siblings in the lower class families had to do the chores.
Foot binding was a long and painful procedure. Mothers wrapped the feet of their daughters as young as four. Four toes were folded to suspend growth, resulting in a triangular shape three inches wide and seven inches long. Unable to walk fast, foot-bound women stayed at home more and depended on men.
Because of influence from the west, foot binding was
eventually banned in the early 20th century.
Royal emperor on his throne
smoothes his beard
tiny feet, tiny feet.
swings her body
teases her skirt.
drools in his cups
sees her underwear, little feet
I can see myself
embarrassed by my feet
How I wish for tiny feet
wrapped in lotus leaves
Too old to bind my feet
too young to love.
How I wish for tiny feet
like those of little girls.
Debbie Woon Lee
How does one tell
To feel, care or share
Open your heart
Laughter is the best medicine
Crying or yelling by the water
It cleanses your body & soul
Share your emotions with someone
It hurts to bottle them up
It will make you miserable
& you will hate
Go on your healing journey
With the help of our Creator
All my relations
Bonnie E Stevens
Hello My Name Is God
God is a child
who believes what is told
We are the temptation
More mirrors welcomed.
Stephen BelkinPEOPLE BECOMING MACHINES
PEOPLE BECOMING MACHINES
headphones chain so many people
as they stride by barely seeing the
Sun Moon Cloud Art-gallery in Sky
they hear no wind, no birdsong at all
So to say "hello" or "good morning"
Or "good day" is now obsolete
a heinous "wrong"; we are thus a
FatFoodFastFood race be becoming
Machines cold dead machines; lap
laptops, tv's, cellPhones, i-plods,
(Bradbury, Asimov saw it all coming)
ears once wed to real life
to Nature's healthy daily strife
be now imprisoned by cell-
phone chatter - 'facebook' trivia
Metallically obscene, thus friends,
We are becoming a ratRace
John Alan DouglasWall of Sea Spray
Wall of Sea Spray
Winds whip up wall of spray
from energetic, energized
polluted waters off Stanley Park
this healthy liquid slap in face
rejoins me with the human race
Other vivid animal species grand
and the loving of this land
John Alan DouglasPRAYERS
MY OLD MAN FRIEND FROM BROOKS
TAUGHT ME HOW TO PRAY
EAT DIRT TAKE THE EARTH
SWALLOW THAT OF WHICH YOU ARE
REMEMBER YOUR HEART
BEATS OUT THE SAME ENERGY
AS OUR HOME THIS PLANET
WE ALL VIBRATE THE SAME IN DREAMS
Thankful for my own resurrection
can’t say I know
who to thank or blame
(send a card to, email, eh?)
each day I wake up
now I know exactly
what it’s like to be glad I'm alive
Tips for Tuesday
Reciprocate – give back to those who give
be grateful – always give’m more’n
Try to understand..you know… think
walk a few blocks in my moccs
show you shit you never wanted to know
even so, be brave; don’t be afraid
I tell ya dotta fore’n I go
be tough but tender
be brave so you always know
Life is good
love’s what brought you here
love’ll show you the door
say you tried harder
you try some more
see I figure
life on earth is a blessing
for men & monkeys
Learn your lessons
Samsa TurtleFrom the Library
From the Library
The results are in! Voters at the Carnegie Library declared the Black-capped Chickadee as the clear winner. Thanks to all of you who came into the library to vote for your favourite Vancouver City Bird, and to admire the Bird Week poster.
No book reviews this week – instead, I’d like to take this opportunity to say Goodbye to all the staff, volunteers and patrons of the Carnegie Centre. I’ll soon be moving to a new position as Coordinator of Outreach Services for the library system, and I’ll no longer be based at Carnegie. I have learned and benefitted so much from working in this incredibly supportive environment, filled with creative and thoughtful people. Thank you all for helping make it an awesome experience. I will carry it with me in both work and life.
And now, WELCOME to Erin Rickbeil who will be acting branch head of the Carnegie library until the position is permanently filled. Erin begins May 20.
Stephanie (Carnegie Librarian)Jaywalking
One night years ago I was having a party at my place, then at 25th & Fraser. I had wine but no cigarettes. I always used to jaywalk, outrunning those cars. I saw the stop signal and then ran, making it across the street to the store. I bought a carton and went back outside; now to get home…
I ran fast but the car was faster. I got hit! I flew up in the air and landed on my face, still holding my cigs. Another car almost hit me too but stopped.
I picked myself up and walked home. I was very lucky and learnt a lesson in life: Never JAYWALK! You might not be so lucky. A while ago my friend Roberta Jaywalked and got hit by a car. She died.
The Komagata Maru Incident
Yet another brilliant, fun-filled evening with the eclectic Carnegie Theatre players. The troope, with only one run-through of the play, gamely delivered a riveting performance. It was an almost 2-hour production of this tragic event in a play by Sharon Pollack.
It has a terrific message and moral of a dark period of Canadian history that shall, hopefully, never be repeated. The incident occurred in the summer of 1914, just before the outbreak of World War I. One century ago the Japanese ship Komagata Maru, carrying mostly Punjabi & Sikh would-be-immigrants, was heartlessly and sometimes violently turned away from landing in Vancouver. The air was hanging with rage and hatred. The ship was anchored in Burrard Inlet for three tense months, while embroiled in a bureaucratic red tape legalised mess, finally culminating in a rigged (foregone –conclusioned) court case.
The Punjabi & Sikh people throughout the world did not give up on this country and have migrated to Canada in the millions. They have added mightily & contributed wonderfully to this big land, to become part of the multicultural fabric.
The cast of this play, led by the incomparable, patient knowledgeable director &acting instructor Teresa Vandertuin, have considerably added to the legend with this brilliant piece of work.
Cheers everyone! Extremely well done!!
By ROBYN LIVINGSTONE
Again & again, we lose our special people
Thoughts of never seeing them, again or in time
It is not so
We are going to find them at pearly gates
where the waters flow and grass grows
We will cross that beautiful river
We will be together again
So, my friends: believe
All my relations,
So Sometime Back There in England
We separated the Church and the State
It being necessary - so they say
So much power all in one bedroom
Runnymede may have achieved its purpose
However hard it was to pry the two apart
Now they have crept back – opposites attracting
Elementary my dear, the positive & the negative
Are attracted –
That young naïve teen looks for a cowboy just like her Daddy used to be,
Sparks fly, butter melts, insanity rules
Lilacs, Irises, Forget-me nots
So mu8ch beauty, too much cruelty
Diamonds on her naked flesh
Strawberries in the wine –blood on her lips
Poetry book by the bed, balaclava on the pillow
Power and Will –back together for a time.
Wilhelmina Milesthe general surgeon
the general surgeon
The better half of a bitter life leaves memories best served down the drain as the national anthem of a country once loved plays again and again where is PierreEliotTrudeau when you need him? His consi-stency for confrontation was part of his precarious charm how can so many be right when so many were proved wrong allegations of soul butchery became our decline yet not a sin, unbeknownst to this world of ours we had outgrown last-minute executions were only the beginning if only any one of us would and should have known instead of opening the floodgates opening season on “the cursed” could have been prevented, like throwing the world against the wall & those with strings attached would stick the rest would fall (oh how we fell) yet we did create a new Fabreeze smell and there is a Ben&Jerry icecream flavor DTES –scented and almost a Starbuck brand (how American of you) but that thankfully was never invented, like a 2000-year scholar who knows he thinks at all every question answered gives birth to more questions like if there is some guy named God and Jesus that exist do our problems give him indigestion or maybe a slurred eyeview, not what is so wrong with me and you let us not forget the general surgeon who in forty years will be warning the populist that brain tumour (cellular) phones are very bad for you, well I will always remember when cigarettes were good for you, like mood rings the colour of my near-death skin on the promising scale rating a swell or bringin’ marshmallows to the latest holocaust I truly wonder if you will notice any difference when you enter hell
We are there and it is here you’ve been soaking in it and you never even knew, like importing landlords or your very own slave this is the land of misopportunity guzzle your booze learn to say “don’t speak English” and be like being voted best-less-dressed survivor by the natives on Cannibal Island where your ship got wrecked or watching the future leaders of a severely screwed up world who have already lost most of their minds, future assassinations could become an hourly occurance 12 pints of blood per human enough to dampen every single inch of ground say hello to the past, present & future of all Earth’s land,
I needn’t have to remind you the general’s time and our own are not on our side yet the general tells you to discard your trans-joke transfer cuz he will give you a ride like picking up a stranger near a prison or mental institution that good deed for the day could be your last, now if you could know the last morning you’d ever wake up ‘n shower, shave & have a smoke the routine that shall end and so so much more – one day that won’t be fiction now this is no bloody joke if a small collective can make a much louder noise raise that voice before the last waking up comes to pass, no endings good or bad in sight as another day at the abandoned refrigerator playground Control says everything is alright like a silent partner returning to the scene of a mime this is not even our fucking land, in this corruption of constructive cataclysms time sinks its fangs into every pore of your skin by adding toxic coats of paint with pierced nipples and breasts that can do more than our soon-to-be-dead Black Sea such a waste the present is destroying the future then again it’s also the other way around we have built a house made of fire do not worry I’m sure there will be plenty of fans
By ROBERT McGILLIVRAY
Q: “Stability bears an awkward presence encompassing all ‘til every word is nonsense.”-Saint Minus
PS: A real cool guy I played gigs with and worked with has passed away. David Gregg I shall remember whether it be supporting D.O.A.. the band he was in, and talking music talk at Canasco (Canadian Fishing Company). Don’t wreck every party: Rock On!!!
Robert (CHUNK from NO EXIT) McGillivray
Your Diet Can Change The World
Suppose you're the very conservative Conrad Black, multi-millionaire, former newspaper publisher, former convict, and now a t.v. star on the show 'Zoomer'. Well you don't believe in climate change.
Climate change, Black said recently "is a faddish, cultural Ponzi scheme". Here, Black, who writes a weekly column for the very conservative 'National Post' paper is wrong. Climate change is happening and it threatens many people around the world.
So what can we do about climate change? One way is to become a vegetarian, or even a vegan as it's called. If you give up eating meat, chicken, eggs, and cheese, and stop drinking milk, you'll help yourself. But you'll also help the planet, and make a very small dent in the climate change threat.
Climate change, so the scientists tell us, is produced by three gases, namely carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and methane. One fifth of all these gases floating around in the air from our emissions, come from producing eggs, meat, chicken, cheese and milk. So when you personally stop asking for these foods, you're helping the planet.
"I don't eat cat food," one man told me when he found out I was a vegan. "I eat real meat."
"Cats have nine lives," I replied.
Veganism has other pluses. If you become a vegan you're helping the poor of this planet. Millions of kilograms of soy beans and other valuable food are fed to cattle every year. All of this food could feed 8.5 billion people. There are 7 billion people on earth right now and at least 700 million of them go to bed hungry every night.
If all the people in the rich part of the globe became vegans, hunger would vanish. Again that would be marvellous. Also killing animals is wrong and if people become vegans a lot of cruelty to animals would end. After all, what's more cruel than killing animals for food?
Then, too, massive amounts of land is now used to breed cattle. This land if freed from this task, could be used for better purposes, such as recreation and growing healthy foods.
Then there's cancer. Skyrocketing rates of colon, breast and prostate cancer, have slowed down in recent years. Still, nearly all these cancers occur in rich western countries. What do all these countries have in common? Their citizens eat meat nearly every day.
If all people in these countries became vegans, I'd bet cancer rates would plummet. "Correlation isn't causation," one scientist warned me when I told him my theory on meat eating. In other words, just because most people in the rich world eat meat, where cancer rates are higher than in poor places, doesn't prove that eating meat or chicken, and drinking milk causes cancer.
Okay I may be wrong on this issue. Yet finally if you give up eating food that comes from animals, your body will shrink and your weight will fall. The best diet is a meat-free one.
In any case, unlike Conrad Black, I believe that climate change is happening. I want to slow it down and one of the ways to do this is to become a vegan. As they used to say way back in the 1960's, "change yourself and change the world." That's one reason I became a vegan. I hope others will too.
By Dave Jaffe
are always with me
My greatest joy is knowing
ancestors are looking over my shoulder
I feel the warmth of the sun
I see the light in the dark
My sweet Mr Moon
I believe we were put on this earth
To appreciate every living animal & human
So I hope we all come together
In peace, harmony & love.
All my relations,
Bonnie E Stevens
poets since the machine
christopher smart praying on his knees against it with ecstatic poems in the
streets of london dying confined in a madhouse
& james clarence mangan’s life of poems starving to death in dublin his soul
lost in Siberia
& thomas beddoes’loving phantoms of natural reality dancing with death
poisoning himself with curare
& thomas chatteron’s transmigration into a medieval poet against the industrial
revolution poisoning himself in a London slum at 18
& william cowper's spirit split off from wildlife & thrcatened with work gone
crazy and self-mutilated
& john clare's ancient communal fields enclosed by greed spending his time
wandering & remembering in poems each disappeared leaf & bird
nfit for the agricultural revolution a locked-up mental case for 40 years
& william blake impoverished & arrested for prophetic treason writing poems of
life's holiness dictated by his dead brother
& gerard de nerval's apocalyptic eccentricities & life of charity in a political
prison & hanged himself in a skid row alley
& frederich holderin's warnings against the horrors of hubris & self-centeredness
wandering in rags a visionary like john on patmos losing his own identity
completely when jailed for protesting assaults on the spirit
& edgar allan poe's prayers to the "heart divine" against "the demon of the engine"
using the soul's stark terror & hoaxing the public to jolt them awake poe
dying penniless in a gutter-delirium
& vachel lindsay's thousands of vagabond miles proclaiming with poems the gospel
of beauty his hopes smashed & driven mad he drank lysol
& emile nelligan's musical visions of sacred communities free of material sorcery
demolished in the streets of business & silenced for 4 decades in an asylum in quebec
& dino campana the italian tramp who pilgrimages to the old monastery of st. francis
writing orphic songs with no way to live them locked up in a nuthouse forever
& hart crane's call against monstrous science his poems a spiritual-primitive-bridge
pronounced a failure who jumped ship disappearing into the blue depths of the gulf of mexico
& georg trakl a medic in the first world war overwhelmed by evil metals & mass murder hiding himself in the woods and overdosing on morphine
& ivar gurney who fought in the trenches attacked by diabolical electrical rays begging the police for a gun to shoot himself locked-up for crazy for years
& vladimir mayakovski's communist-futurist-alienated spirit crushed by contradictions of poetry becoming propaganda killed himself playing russian roulette
& antonin artaud's hiroshima prophecies & plague predictions & poetic revelations
of a theatre of blood electro-shocked & locked-up in france
& lorca the spanish folk poet was shot by spanish fascists
& roque dalton the salvadorean rebel poet was shot by jealous salvadorean leftists
& james agee like isaiah in alabama revering the living of white slaves trashed
by the machine his epic poem ignored exploding his own heart in the backseat of a taxicab
in new york
& weldon kees' autotramping jazz poet reviling the new abstracted reality vanished off the golden gate bridge
& cesar vallejo a hungry indian dying in the rain in paris locked-up in a peruvian jail on suspicion of arson
with his poems of "armed suffering" & daily bread
& cesar pavese's poems of a spiritual meaning in the earth & in outcast people was jailed & exiled for
anti-fascist activities killing himself in a roominghouse in 1950
& jean-joseph rabearivelo a black madagascar dream poet colonized & swallowing cyanide
& santoka a sake zen beggar with a suicide family walking to all the shrines of compassion in japan in & out of drunken jails
& nervous breakdowns with his poems of love for each wild-growing weed
& joe hill a wobbly joan of arc singing revolutionary poems killed by a firing squad in utah
& louis riel a mystical metis poet leading an armed revolution on horseback in north america - hanged
& the crazy-dogs-wishing-to-die crow indians of montana preferring to live with ancestral spirits than in a
desacralized world sang poemsongs & died attacking their enemies
wild attempts to escape
to break free
to make a difference
wandering to the ends of an earth ended by the machine
living on nothing
trapped in a horror show leading to
today’s molecular psychology’s mathematical elimination of feeling
behaviour’s already modified to keep up morale & prevent feeling as deeply an these poets
who recognized evil & opposed it
with their blood & breath & poems & prayers & visions & songs & curses of love & hate
& now the machine's created the psychotic poets - the poets who change peoples' lives
the lone assassins & serial killers
who write poems of revenge
with anyone's blood
like carl panzram & son of sam & john hinkley junior
just to live another day
is to make with poisoned blood & breath a poem for life
in the birthplace of the machine england's prime minister
equates accumulating wealth with the principles of christianity
& in north america
a benign new-age nazi epidemic is out of control
never before have poets had to endure so much shame
so much misery & extermination
or been so ignored & mocked
Never before have poets had so much blood on their own hands
this piece of paper is laced with dyoxin & symbolizes deforestation
& a poetry reading is made possible
only because of techniquds of destruction
a building - the laws & bylaws & politicians & construction companies & kickbacks & pollutions & electricity & food businesses & refrigeration & coffee & styrofoam cups of chlorofluorocarbons killing the ozone & the tables & chairs & paint & microphones & recording equipment & transportation systems & the pamphlets & ink & posters & coffee creamers & white sugar conspiracies & advertising companies & all the money & banks to finance it all & the typewriters & word processors & carbon pencils & sweatshop clothing manufacturers & plumbing & welfare & news media & food banks & arts councils & publishing industries & housing & tobacco & andrew carnegie & the stolen lands & the police & the military & security keeping out disruptive people & the meetings & how much of all this is made in foreign countries by slaves & skilled workers & unions & non-unions & agencies of all kinds & the universities & educational systems & the creation of the city itself & the transnationals organizing all this production - the production of a poetry reading & the poets who have no answers & must face such personal hopelessness because no poet can live outside this system & no poet is not of the system & created by the system of all of the techniques of all of the people in the massive effort & obedience & conformity that goes into producing a poem on a printed page or a poet reading his poems aloud in a building in a city - the poets participating in a process that renders poetry meaningless entertainment or academic scared bullshit & the poets since the machine can only bear witness to the ever-increasing crimes that they have to answer for simply picking up a pen
the carnegie newsletter has helped save my life
I fled toronto for the downtown eastside
as though all the furies in my life were chasing me
and I began living here in 1986
not long after Paul Taylor published the first issue
and Paul was the first person I met
who not only encouraged my writing
but inspired and befriended me
and allowed me to work on the newsletter
and since I’d never known real community or home
the newsletter and all the knowledgeable writers
and contributors who entered the newsletter office
taught me about community
about our unique and amazing
shared history of resistance
our fierce committed activists
the brilliant satirical and imaginative artists
and the truth-talking words of our many poets
and it was through this incredible activity
I discovered and was welcomed into a precious community
and Paul Taylor, Sandy Cameron and others I met
possessed and exemplified the vital and wondrous
qualities of our community while the newsletter
has insured the communication of information
so important to us all for 25 years
an accomplishment of fortitude courage and
dedication I can scarcely imagine
Paul is and has been my friend in so many ways
ever since I first entered the carnegie centre
and I have been glad when Paul and Lisa
attended readings I’ve done and performances with bands
in public venues to speak of the newsletter as
the most important publication I know of
and Paul Taylor the most extraordinary editor
and fearless defender of our community with his writing
I was at my last gasp when I arrived here
and the newsletter introduced me
to a life & place & friends never previously conceived or
I could not be more grateful
to the value of our friendship
It looks to be self-serving to put 25 on the same page as words to say how Bud was a friend. Mental health is shaded with deep depression; not feeling anything is normal but unnatural. Many times it was true that we had 'conversations' but never longer than 1-2 minutes. When I learned Bud was dead this hit home Reflection gave light to the fact that all my conversations with most anyone have been under a minute, maybe two, rare to be three, for the last 40 years.
A testament to the value of our friendship -Bud never pressed for more from me, maybe savouring a bond that didn't necessitate ongoing verbiage. Go well.