Sunday Poems III: On a Monday

On long weekends, Mondays become Sundays. Our understanding of the calendar briefly stops working. Many folks are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. For some this is a time of joy and of celebration, but we can’t forget that many folks feel frightened to spend time with their family and endure the usual sexist aunt, or the homophobic uncle, or perhaps the parent who seizes on an opportunity to loan some seeds of self-doubt to the young person who is already compulsively tending that garden within themselves. Some of us wonder about the meaning of the holiday, appreciating its role as a part of the history of colonialism in North America. Nonetheless, we stuff ourselves, and sleeping is either easier that night or more difficult, depending on who you are.

This afternoon I went to an advance polling station and voted. It was chaotic and lines were long. The older lady in front of us came in with her young aid, who was kicked out because she wasn’t there to vote. My roommate’s address wasn’t accurate on his ID and he thought the voter card would be enough of a proof of address, but it wasn’t. They tried to send him home to get something else. I suggested I could swear an oath confirming that I knew him and that he lived where he said he did. They seemed to have forgotten about that avenue. The person at the registration desk didn’t get us to sign it, so the people at the voting station told us it wasn’t valid. We fixed that. My roommate forgot to put his ballot in the box, and they had to call him back when he was halfway out of the auditorium. I made it to the polling booth without being given a ballot, and sheepishly wandered back to ask for one.

Once in the booth, I ticked a different circle than the one I had intended to when I walked in, but I think it was the right choice.

I skipped last week’s poem so this week I’m sharing two small poems to make up for it. My effort is to give you a little something to mull over while you’re drinking an evening beer (I recommend Dandy Brewing’s Oyster Stout, from Calgary), a cup of tea (a cup of genmaicha would be a good pick-me-up if you’re flagging right now), or perhaps a glass of tap water. I usually drink my tap water out of a large glass mineral water bottle, because I’m prone to knock over glasses, and my computer has never appreciated that sort of behaviour. Moreover, the cat hasn’t figured out how to get the lid off of a bottle yet, so I can safely leave it unattended without a few errant strands of cat fur appearing on the surface.


Roasting Coffee

it’s a commercial enterprise.

the election is over soon.

‘states are illegitimate,’
you breathe into my mouth;
maybe we’re not cut out
for this sort of thing.

i was late
for thanksgiving dinner
and all that was left was meat.

but a friend chopped up an avocado,
i asked for bread,
and together with wine in my stomach
that makes a good soup.

then
writing an e-mail
dreaming asleep:

a home of cocktails
and sandwiches
filled with leafy vegetables.

we sleep or are slept on.

we wrote poems
on our lunch break
and showed them to each other
after school.

i’ve got your number.

some bottles are more full than others.

some harvests bear more fruit.

some of us love differently.

some of us wake up in the morning.

with less body maybe

fewer sockets in our bodies.

feeling o.k.

thinking about falling asleep,
what are the central points
in the body’s architecture?

we are glued to our computers.

what sort of glue does that take?

i start in the morning
on the bus


Advance Poll

i don’t really talk
about politics much
anymore publicly,

because i think the work i do in art
is plenty political,
and i’m more articulate
in that sort of work besides.

and there are enough people
who look like me
saying the sorts of things
i have to say.

i want to listen
to you.

i just voted,
i got to put an x
on folded paper.

actually felt good
about where i put the x.

it is absurd moments
which make me happy.

the chaos of undertrained
advance poll election workers.

a line from a protest sign
which arundhati roy wrote about,
'democracy: more like demon crazy’
comes to mind
when i look at the news
or when i look out the window
or when i open my mouth.

i will keep trying
to do better.


This post was originally written on October 12, 2015 for Latitude 53, while I was their Writer in Residence.