LitFest 2017

I will be presenting at LitFest again this year (also, eeeeeeep)!

More details to come later, if I feel confident in what I’m presenting on.

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Painsomnia – July 6 2017

The shadows play games without me
Their bodies dancing
Twisting
Fingers reaching
Gliding
Over the window and onto the wall
Mischievous fun being had
In all the cracks and
Corners
The clouds part
Inverted curtains
Glowing
The shadows become bigger
But also wane in
Opacity
The fun and merriment
Receding
Moonlight changing the entertainment
From distraction and levity
To ennui and
Gloom

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Painsomnia – June 29th 2017

there is no calm in and out
in and out
in and out
the sound of breathing as you sleep
half of the bed is cold
but there is an imprint
evidence that you belong
your place is with me
but not on this night
instead of your arms around me
keeping me comforted
keeping me warm
keeping me calm
you are asleep elsewhere
close but inherently too far
wrapping myself up in blankets
does not have the same effect
it is not the predilection
i’m looking for
tonight i must manage this emptiness
counting the hours as they pass
slowly
too slowly
far too slowly
impatient as i wait
wanting the warmth of the sun
and the prescribed path
that equals a day
until the birth of night
and reunion

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Anxiety

I want you to hold me
Tighter
Closer
Anything to slow my heart inside my chest
Tighter
Closer
Anything to stop the earth from spinning
Tighter
Closer
Anything to relieve the tingling in my fingers
Tighter
Closer
Anything to keep away the terror at the periphery
Tighter
Closer
Anything to make this stop
Tighter
Closer
Anything to bring me back
Tighter
Closer
Back to consciousness
Tighter
Closer
Back to reality
Closer
Back to life
Closer
Back to living
Close
Back to calm
Close
Back to me

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Seven Letters to the Sons of Privilege[1]

To The Men:

The Master’s tools won’t

Dismantle the Master’s house[2]

Just like a dick will not

Take down the patriarchy

You could be white, white-passing, or racialized.

Enactors of sexual violence

Supposed decolonizers

Really complicit oppressors

Do you see us?

The brigade of jilted exes

The battalion of jezebel friends

Women,

Actually.

Label us how you want

To feel better about your choices

Does it make you hard

When you

Manipulate

Dominate

Intimidate

Isolate

Humiliate

Demonstrate your superiority over us

Academic posturing

On the domestic front

Who’s got the bigger cock?

The biggest prick

Your hypocritical scholarship

Soon to be exposed

Can you still get it up?

Or is it too hard

You can’t pull out now

We see your true selves

Cowards

Going all the way

To get yourself off

To put women down

You came

To academia

To fuck

The system

All you do is perpetuate the kyriarchy

Of masculinity

Through your every word and action.

Not anymore.

It turns me on

To throw you out

In the open.

I cum to destroy.

Love, F-U-C-K-Y-O-U.

[1] Used as a term here, the phrasing of Sons of Privilege comes from the song “Sons of Privilege” by Alexisonfire. (Hastings, J., Steele, C., Macneil, W., Green, D., & Pettit, G. (2009). Sons of Privilege. [Recorded by Alexisonfire]. On Old Crows/Young Cardinals [CD]. Vancouver, BC: Dine Alone Records).

[2] Taken from Lorde, A. (1984). The Master’s tools will never dismantle the Master’s house. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (pp. 110-114). Berkeley, CA: Crossing Press.

Hint: Read the poem as it exists, and then re-read it following the indents.

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Duncan Campbell Scott

Written for and performed at Conversation@Noon: After the TRC as part of Lit Fest, October 14th 2016.

Duncan Campbell Scott
Confederation Poet
Believed this land was terra nullius
Empty land
Uninhabited
Uncivilized

Duncan Campbell Scott, who exclaimed in “Fragment of an Ode to Canada,”
“And Thou, O Power, that ’stablishest the Nation,
Give wisdom in the midst of our elation;
Who are so free that we forget we are—
That freedom brings the deepest obligation:
Grant us this presage for a guiding star,
To lead the van of Peace, not with a craven spirit,
But with the consciousness that we inherit
What built the Empire out of blood and fire,
And can smite, too, in passion and with ire.”

Duncan Campbell Scott
Who conveniently forgot
About the Royal Proclamation
Issued by King George III
On the 7th of October
1763:
“We do further strictly enjoin and require all Persons whatever who have either wilfully or inadvertently seated themselves upon any Lands…which, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, are still reserved to the said Indians as aforesaid, forthwith to remove themselves from such Settlements.”
This document
The Indian Magna Carta
Proves that the Crown
Did not recognize these lands as terra nullius
Duncan Campbell Scott
Civil servant
Personal friend of Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald
The Founding father of Canada
Biological racist and
Signed executioner of Louis Riel

Duncan Campbell Scott, who wrote in “The Half-Breed Girl,”
“She is free of the trap and the paddle,
The portage and the trail,
But something behind her savage life
Shines like a fragile veil.”

Duncan Campbell Scott
Who furthered the strategy of Sir JAM
The one designed to assimilate the ones
That were not like us
Where the Indians were a problem
Where the Metis were a problem
The strategy that made Riel an animal: “He shall die though every dog in Quebec [will] bark in his favour.”
This discourse
The Indian Problem
A thorn in the government’s side
In need of a final solution

Duncan Campbell Scott
Treaty Commissioner
Negotiator of Treaty Number 9
Paved the way for (re)settlement and “development”
Mislead First Nations leaders
Trick or treaty

Duncan Campbell Scott, who thought in “Indian Place-Names,”
“The race has waned and left but tales of ghosts,
That hover in the world like fading smoke
About the lodges: gone are the dusky folk
That once were cunning with the thong and snare
And mighty with the paddle and the bow”

Duncan Campbell Scott
Who fittingly overlooked
How the Crown managed and marketed
Indian Lands
As decreed, for one,
In the Indian Act of 1876:
“All Indian lands, being reserves or portions of reserves surrendered or to be surrendered by the Crown…shall be managed, leased and sold as the Governor in Council may direct”
This forced relocation to reserves
Negatively impacted spiritual practices
And kinship relations
In favour of Euro-Canadian settlement

Duncan Campbell Scott
Deputy superintendent of the Department of Indian Affairs
Government bureaucrat
Proponent of the ‘white way’
Biological racist
Assimilationist

Duncan Campbell Scott, who declared in “Onondaga Madonna,”
“She stands full-throated and with careless pose,
This woman of a weird and waning race,
The tragic savage lurking in her face,
Where all her pagan passion burns and glows;
Her blood is mingled with her ancient foes,
And thrills with war and wildness in her veins.”

Duncan Campbell Scott
Who like other men of his era
Thought women were property
Of their Husbands
But for Indian women
It was legislated in 1880:
“Any Indian woman marrying any other than an Indian or non-treaty Indian shall cease to be an Indian in any respect.”
This (en)forced status
Prohibited the sexual autonomy and choice
Of Indigenous women
In favour of the needs of white men.

Duncan Campbell Scott,
Responsible for overseeing the Indian residential system
Made residential schools mandatory
Children stolen from their parents
Children who endured abuse
Children who never came home

Duncan Campbell Scott, who said,
“I want to get rid of the Indian problem. I do not think as a matter of fact, that the country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand alone… Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department.”

Duncan Campbell Scott
Who increased the number of children
Attending residential schools
Knowing the fatality rate of 25-50%
As reported by Dr. Peter Bryce
Writes beautifully of death:
“And now I leave the dead with you, O night;
You wear the semblance of their fathomless state,
For you we long when the day’s fire is great,
And when stern life is cruellest in his might,
Of death we dream.”
This bereavement was not for
The 150,000 children taken
The 6,000 or more who died
The parents who never knew what happened
Or for the ones lucky to survive.

Duncan Campbell Scott
Arbiter of cisheteropatriarchal fuckery
Whose words painted Indigeneity
As savage
As a dying race
As objects for men to consume
As a problem to be solved

Duncan Campbell Scott
Remembered in literary circles
For his love of nation and prose
Sleeps peacefully at Beechwood
Under an inferno of saffron and scarlet leaves
Licking at their forked branches
Soon they will fall back to earth
An acrid blanket on his grave.

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Settle(r) Down

Originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Glass Buffalo.

Playing pretendian
Sage
Sweetgrass
Trying to smudge the whiteness out
(lᴉʌǝp ǝʇᴉɥʍ ǝɥʇ ǝʇɐuᴉɯᴉlǝ)

My great grandmother was a Cherokee princess
You say to authenticate your practices
That must give you the honour
Of wearing that costume headdress
At music festivals
Bought for $59.99 at halloweencostumes.com
Made with real chicken feathers
In neon purple, blue, and pink
Yeah super tradish

For not-so-special days
It’s a beads stitched
Onto a pleather headband
Made in China
That keeps your braids in place

To show your dedication to your genealogy
There’s a dream catcher inked on to your forearm
I don’t know how it will work
Through layers of skin and bone

But what do I know?
You’re the expert here
Not me

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Todays Feels (A Poem)

Written and posted on Instagram February 27th 2015

Ugh cishet white boys
Ugh cishet boys
Ugh cis boys
Ugh boys
Ugh.

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Why

I am in grad school.
I am working on my PhD.
It is much, MUCH more difficult and taxing than I thought it would be, even though I knew it was going to be HARD.

After a long time away I have decided to ‘formally’ get back into writing poetry. I don’t think I’m all that good at it (though I’m certainly better than when I first started doing so as a child), but I have been given some praise over the last year or so. As a result, I will be sharing what I’ve written since I started my PhD, and post something ‘new’ every once and awhile.

Poetry = procrastination.

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