PAD 2019 – Day 17

A short one today because I’m busy, and also disheartened about the results of the election in my province. Want to stay optimistic about the future, both the social and environmental aspects of it, but some days that’s hard.

The NaPoWriMo prompt asked for a poem that presents a scene from an unusual point of view, like a rainstorm from a raindrop’s viewpoint. My take didn’t have that potential for beauty, but it was fun to write in the midst of my political wound-licking.

 

Comment From The Platform

 

I’ve propped you up for months

in rhetorical fashion,

and you stood on me last night

to declare your plans and passion.

Please don’t blame me,

when your lies are exposed

and the support goes a’crashin.

 

PAD 2019 – Day 15

My province goes to the polls tomorrow. There seems to be so much riding on this election, and though it was a short campaign, I am sick of it. The anticipation. The punditry. Want the results so the band-aid comes off, and I can deal with whatever sore remains. All of this on my mind today as I read the Poetic Asides call to write a “prediction” poem.

 

I Predict A Riot*

 

One day until the election.

I’ve stopped reading poll results,

stopped making mental counts of

the election signs in my neighbourhood.

Stopped listening to reporters, pundits, soothsayers.

Who was it that said that the wisest among us

are usually silent?

 

I put on music instead. Brit rock.

Not London Calling, but somewhere familiar.

Somewhere where they understand the frustration

of the common masses, tired of what really trickles down.

But this song is so bouncy,

makes me want to shake it, not revolt.

On a day like today — cool, grey,

trees still stark and stiff from winter,

I could use a dance infusion.

Want to be moved to move

and not strain my thoughts

about why people believe what they do.

Why money is more valuable than care.

Why I still tell my kids to behave, be responsible

when what the world needs now

is lassies and lads getting lairy, sweet lairy.

 

* with thanks to Kaiser Chiefs for the title and the inspiration

 

Why I March

womens-rights

In the last few months, I’ve started but never finished several posts and poems that try to somehow capture what’s going on in my head and heart since the American election. I think these false starts were probably just because I felt, and continued to feel, so overwhelmed with emotion and berated with information and misinformation. Some days I think “I will not read, listen to or watch anything political” and hope that will bring me peace of mind. But it doesn’t.  So then I try to engage fully, read widely, discuss with anyone willing, rant and rage , and hope that will bring some relief.  But it doesn’t.

This morning I read an extraordinary essay by Rebecca Solnit.  If I could write even a tenth as good as Solnit, or if I had her insight as an actual American, I think this is what I would want to say. I shared the article with my Dad, and other family members and friends, because as intelligent and empathetic as the people in my circle are, I sometimes get the sense that they don’t understand why I’m taking the election results, and all the insanity that’s followed, so personally. Honestly, I don’t exactly know either, but I do know I cried several times the day after the election and a few times since, simply because it was the only emotional reaction that seemed to fit the combination of anger, and disappointment I felt inside. And I’m not normally a “crier”.  But then again, nothing about the world feels quite normal.

After watching the Trump press conference yesterday, I was an angry, aghast mess. My Dad got an earful on the phone just for simply calling to say hi. I told him I planned to go to the Women’s Solidarity March in my city, and planned to bring my daughters. When he asked “why?” I went off a little. Not at him personally, for I know my wonderful father is no misogynist, and was more just asking about the logistics of taking kids and myself out to a politically charged place in the winter cold. But the question “why?”, combined with the reading of this article, did spark some need to express, or at least try to express, why the anger, the sadness, and the resistance matter.

I am going to that march on January 21 because these issues certainly don’t stop at the American-Canadian border. Because there is a new wave of misogyny surging in my province. Because I have daughters, and hoped (still do hope) that the cards will be a little less stacked against them as they grow up. Because it’s 2017. Because as angry and ranty as I’ve been about all of this since well before Trump was “elected”, my overwhelming feeling is still sadness. Because I have always been an optimist at heart, and I have to do something to restore the belief in my heart that the world is good.

I know my personal world is good. I know I am surrounded by beautiful, smart, loving people. The very fact that I feel safe enough to express these thoughts speaks volumes about how good my personal world is. And sure, if we choose to view the world through the lens of how women and minorities are treated in other countries, or how women and minorities were treated in the past, then we might be left with this feeling of “I really shouldn’t complain.” But to see privilege as a reason not to speak out, rather than the very reason you should speak out, is wrong. And to think that ground once gained cannot be ripped out from under you is foolish. And because wanting  the world to be fair and safe for everyone — not because of who or what they are or aren’t, or what they do or don’t believe, but because they are people — is something worth fighting (and marching) for.