I Was In Love With A Girl on the Metro.

There are moments, in the midst of our individual scurryings, when someone pulls us from our inward selves, out and up and back to reality, reminding us that there is more going on than what is happening in the small bubble of our own lives.  Tonight, I was rapidly approaching the apex of a bout of extreme existential loneliness.  I was sure I wouldn’t make it home, sure I was going to lay down on the sidewalk and give up. And then, I got on the metro and sat across from a girl.  I didn’t know this girl, but we sat across from each other, mirror images. Heads held up by our hands, sad eyes looking into sad eyes.  Then we both smiled.  She got off at the next stop and the moment ended but it remained imprinted on my mind.  That few seconds of solidarity with a stranger allowed me to breathe and to make it home in one piece.  Sure I’m still going to listen to Elliott Smith and mope but it seems way less tragic now.  So thanks metro girl, you made me feel less alone in the universe.

 

“What Would I Say”

So the newest fad in procrastination aids is a super ridiculous yet fun website, what-would-i-say.com.  Basically, you log in via facebook and it generates a line of text based on words that you have written at some point on your timeline. So after playing with that for HOURS yesterday, I decided to string together some of them to make an entire poem. I think the results are interesting, a bit silly, a bit strange, and certainly surreal. So, voila, here is my poem, creatively titled: What Would I Say.

I was a time-traveling cyborg.

Ya, I came home to

his blasé attitude towards silent seas.

…part man, part comment.

I was rescued by a whole lot more.

 

I keep thinking of us,

of those who will breed, crowd, encroach,

sing hymns, build bombing airplanes;

make speeches, unveil statues,

issue bonds, parade; Convert again.

 

I’m just a nice ring,

A side note.

Lay down in a party dress?

I would like that. I am a little piggy,

for the word is flesh.

Amare et sapere vix deo conceditur.

 

In Which I Write Silly Poetry

Very silly poetry. It is self-indulgent and ridiculous but I’m feeling petulant so I’m gonna share it and spread my bad poetry to the world. Poetic disease! I imagine there are some who will think these words are about them. Think what you will. (Also, formatting on wordpress sucks monkey balls)

My Favourite Days

My favourite days are grey with a chance of rain.

My body feels less prickled then: untorn by the fingers of irritation.

It is ok to stay in bed now, in a nest of twisted sheets and paper:

Pencils with teeth worried ends;

Books with creased covers and folded pages;

(Somewhere there is a cat that comes and goes).

From here I will write you a poem.

And I will leave love out of it.

 

I smile when I think of you:

Maybe not a smile, maybe more of a wince.

A twitch of muscle,

A slight curvature of the lips.

Around you, I choose my words carefully,

Checking them for bruises and flaws.

Around you, I keep my hands to myself

A task for they are wild creatures always wanting.

 

(To quote clichés,

I do not know what to make of you.

You have colonized me, an unknown and all-consuming presence.

My cells are forming battlefronts and my heart is in revolution.)

 

My favourite days are constructs of weather and wishful thinking

Of paper dreams and ephemeral lovers.

It is always here that I grow tired

Of my skin, of my expressions, of the landscape of my bed

A desert littered with the detritus of trying to:

Find meaning in words, in strings of sentences, in pencil markings in margins,

To write you a poem.

And leave love out of it.

In Which I Am Thankful

So, my last post went to some pretty dark places. On this day of giving thanks I thought I’d make up for it by talking about happy things. Like the amazing Thanksgiving brunch that my roommate David and I hosted today. Right now, I’m laying in bed on the verge of a pumpkin pancake/mimosa/bourbon mango coma so this is going to be a very short post. What I really want to say is that, this afternoon, as I was downing champagne and orange juice and shoving food in my face, I looked around and realized that there was not a single person in that room that I wouldn’t fight an alligator for. I honestly know the most amazing people and have the finest group of friends a girl could hope for. Despite my propensity to spiral into the black hole of emotional hell, I know that I can count on my friends so make me laugh or give me hugs or just let me know that they’re there for me. And that’s definitely something to be thankful for.

Other things I am thankful for:

-My awesome family

-Cats

-Socks without holes in them.

thanksgiving

Notes from the Black Hole.

Last night I had a dream that everyone I knew was a simulacrum.  I knew that their insides were nothing but sentient liquid but I had to pretend not to be scared.  I escaped on a train to the country where I floated in a river, surrounded by ravenous crocodiles.  I made my limbs go heavy so I could sink to the bottom because I knew if I pretended to be a stone the crocodiles would ignore me. I sank and sank and sank until I surfaced in consciousness.

I awoke to the greyness of my room, the light never changes in here. I almost wished I were still a stone, sinking in that river.  There are heaps of laundry on my floor, my bed is a nest of books I barely have the energy to skim, papers of haphazard notes, and kleenex boxes, but I just want to stay here, cocooned from the world.

Depression.  It leaves you at once empty and too full of emotions. For weeks I’ve been standing at the edge of a precipice, knowing if I take one step in the wrong direction I will tumble off, into a darkness so thick it fills your nose and lungs until you cannot breathe.  And I’m scared. I’m really scared.  I’ve battled depression for as long as I can remember and every time I find myself in this space, I wonder if I will ever find my way out. There is a chasm that opens in my chest, a black hole that slowly pulls me in, turning my spirit into dust.

I apologize for the bleakness of this post.  There is a large part of me that feels embarrassed and ashamed whenever I’m depressed.  I think that my friends will leave me because I am a downer, that whoever I’m dating at the the time, if anyone, will decide I’m crazy and toss me, I think that my mother will call me with the kind of worry in her voice that makes me so sorry that I cant be just a happy, normal daughter to her. I guess I just wanted to write this as a way to purge some of the darkness that is plaguing me because I have so much trouble just talking about how I feel.  So there it is. I’m scared, and I feel alone, and I don’t know how to deal with the world right now. I can’t eat right, I can’t sleep right, I can’t say the right words, and sometimes I wish I didn’t exist but I’m here, and I’m surviving, and I feel love so maybe I’ll win this battle . . .

In Which Feminist Street Art is Awesome.

A few weeks ago there was a street art festival that took place near my apartment called Mural Fest.  The festival showcased the talents of various street artists who designed and painted beautiful works of art on the side of many buildings along Saint Laurent boulevard.  Whilst there were many impressive murals to see, my eye was also drawn to some smaller works of street art just off Saint Laurent on my street, Marie Anne.  These smaller art pieces consisted of heads of little anime looking girls with quotes under them saying things like, “cats against cat calls” and, “I’d rather not.” Alongside these were black and white stencils of feminist and political icons such as Frieda Kahlo, Angela Davis, and Jane Addams.  Other things included knitted street art and several smaller stencils citing a website: offmurales.com.  Of course I was intrigued and took a gander across the internet to check out the website.  As I suspected, it was in response to Mural Fest asking the questions where are the woman street artists at Mural Fest? Where are the queer street artists at Mural Fest? Where are the street artists of colour at Mural Fest? They go on to discuss what street art means to them and to question some of the motivations behind Mural Fest:

Street art is a way to express oneself completely freely onto the public sphere. Street art cannot and should not be censored in any way. Street art is free of any capitalist structure of commercialization, and cannot be bought. Street art should never be used as an agent of gentrification by the Real estate. Street art is about art accessibility to local neighborhood residents, and community building. Street art is at the very opposite spectrum of the art market and museums.

Why then, can some artists be considered worth more than others? Why then, use street art as a mean to invite more customers to a commercial event? Why recreate systemic inequalities in a “public art” event when you could have taken the chance to build a safe and egalitarian festival that highlights a form of art that fights these inequalities? Where are the women, queer and trans folks, people of colour in MURAL Fest distribution? Where are spoken out loud the political issues that brought these artists to get up in the first place?” 

In the eyes of the artists at offmurales.com, Mural Fest is  “more about bringing tourists and customers to Montreal than displaying an utopic idea of Montreal Street art community.”

I thought these were all interesting and relative questions.  Not being familiar with the artists at Mural Fest I cannot say if queer and coloured artists were under-represented or not represented at all but it’s clear there was an obvious lack of female voice, that the festival was predominantly a heteronormative, masculine affair.  That is not to say that I don’t appreciate and respect the art that was done, but I do think Off Murales have made valid points that should go towards opening up debate and conversation around what Mural Fest is, whether inadvertently or not, saying to its public audience.  Given the fact that street art is by its very nature public art should they put forth an effort to include a more varied number of voices to the festival? Is the festival itself too corporate? Too geared towards tourists? Does this undervalue the spirit of street art? I think these are questions worth pondering.  In the meantime, here are some photos (and don’t forget to check out offmurales.com, it’s quite interesting!).

fuckmachismocatsagainstcatcallsidrathernot notsomuch femaleicons2femaleicons1

In Which I Visit the Land of Oil and Cowboys.

So this is a very belated post about my June trip to Calgary, the city where I came of age and where my family still resides. Be advised, I get a little sentimental towards the end! I spent a week there back in June and got on a plane literally hours before all hell broke loose. I thought I would begin by saying a few words on the devastating flooding that hit the city recently. Although my family is lucky to reside on higher ground, many of my friends and people I know have been displaced or left with damaged homes. Over the phone my mother stated emphatically that the city will never be the same again. Her words made me thin about Calgary in the context of my life story, especially given the fact that I have recently begun toying with the idea of moving back. Though I wasn’t born there (I was born with the thrum of the ocean fueling my heartbeat in beautiful Victoria, BC), it is the city where I came of age. The city has changed so much outside of the flooding since I last lived in it; it has grown bigger with sprawl and the places I used to frequent have long disappeared under an onslaught of over-priced condos. But there was a time when I knew the city, I played in its parks as a child, skulked through its streets as a teenager, and drank and argued politics in its more seedy bars as a college student. But I never felt as though Calgary was truly my city, I felt there was less room for “freaks” like me then there would be in other places. And so I moved to Victoria to finish my undergraduate studies eventually ended up here in Montreal – a whole different world. So why would I want to move back? I still feel like I operate on a different rhythm then Calgary does but, when I was visiting, I started to see all the reasons why it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to return. For one thing, no one can deny the beauty of the Rockies and living so close to them is a definite plus. There are opportunities for jobs that I just don’t have where I am now. I still have many friends there, including my best friend. And most importantly, and the main reason I am considering the move, is my family. My wonderful Mother, my talented and amazing younger brother, my hilarious and loving aunt and her husband, my fiesty grandmother, my lovely cousins. They are all there and sometimes I feel their distance like a hole in my heart. So even though the city has changed in more ways than one, maybe I can find a place in it for me.

Me and my family in the mountains just outside Calgary.

Me and my family in the mountains just outside Calgary.