SEE ALL TAGS & MOODS
I was a kid other kids’
parents gossiped about.
They told their children
what I was: too negative.
I get it. Fair to fear
contagion of bad attitudes,
You used to be so
and now you’re all
like, you’ve transformed
I don’t know how to describe
you don’t like canasta anymore
you text IN ALL CAPS
Boyakka! Boyakka! Boyakka!
Shots rang out on my street today
Three Black yoots lay dead
shot inna dem head
it is friday. we have come
to the paying of the bills.
all week you have stood in my dreams
like a ghost, asking for more time
but today is payday, payday old man;
my mother’s hand opens in her early grave
What struck me first was the sheer numbers, queers everywhere.
Battalions of sailors and infantry, proud in their uniforms.
Eventually, I made uneasy peace with this equal right.
on the day the chief of kâ-awâsis announces they have confirmed 751
bodies in unmarked graves outside the residential “school” in their
community, i google things like:
when will the sun run out of fuel?
White people tell you to apologize for yourself
through gestures, through small talk, through the ways in
which they ask, “Where are you from?” and
then again, unresolved: “No, I mean...Where are you
let the colonial borders be seen for the pretensions that they are
i hereby honour what the flow of water teaches us
the beauty of enough, the path of peace to be savoured
From an original rock painting in Topock, Arizona, now digitized on a
Before this city, the Creator pressed his staff
into the earth, and the earth opened—
The little girl is innocent
they’ve put henna on her hands
they’ve plaited her hair beautifully
they’ve put kohl round her eyes
they’ve dyed her eyebrows
when I try to talk to my mom about what it was like
to grow up surrounded by yt people in the prairies
in the 80s though it seemed like the 50s
she tells me in a so-there tone
i thought it was ok - i could understand the reasons
they said there might be young children or a nervous man seeing
this small piece of flesh that they weren’t quite expecting
When I was five I was put on a bus
and sent to Catholic school
not unlike my mother who was five
when she was put on a train
and sent to residential school,
both feeling that gut feeling
Do you remember, Nancy,
when we sat in the Creole restaurant
and glanced up at the television to see students running
with their hands in the air and photographs
of two young men?
we learned to stand on one leg
clasping bundles of hope between our teeth
not because we wanted
to resemble flocks of black flamingos
One thousand eight hundred seconds.
Protest is not supposed to be comfortable.
had a dozen foster parents
tell me to run from my mother’s truth
the track marks up her arm,
When I think of Trayvon Martin, I think of Emmett Till,
when I think of Emmett Till, I think of young, black men in the South,
then I think of young, white men in the South.
It was in a boardroom
that I witnessed the latest killing
A room filled with knowledgeable
trying to understand
what we offer
The night America took off her mask
we slept together poorly. I'd woken up early
that Tuesday, dragged myself to a gymnasium
in Jersey City to cast my vote into the void.
The bodies are on the beach
And the bodies keep breaking
And the fight is over
But the bodies aren't dead
And the mayor keeps saying I will bring back the bodies
When Daniel Harris stepped out of his car
the policeman was waiting. Gun raised.
I use the past tense though this is irrelevant
in Daniel's language, which is sign.
Out of their torments men carved a flower
which they perched on the high plateaus of their faces
hunger makes a canopy for them
an image dissolves in their last tear
A black and white picture
The sun is shining through a window behind you
Your hair black short Your small brown hands folded neatly on a tiny wooden desk
I come from the land of
Where You From?
My people dispossessed of their stories
and who have died again and again
in a minstrelsy of afterlives, wakes,
the dead who walk, waiting and
i ask mama
about residential school
she says no
i ask her again
the third time
i stop listen
to her silence
ask about her diabetes
this is the transsensorium
there are indo-robo-women fighting cowboys on the frontier
& winning finally
the premodern is a foundation for the postmodern
wintermute, tessier-ashpool, armitage
We are losing the intensive care unit waiting room war
We were doing so well
So well we got sleepy
So sleepy the institution returned
the law mandates that a hate crime only be classified as such if there
is ample evidence to show that one’s actions were motivated by
prejudice toward an individual’s nationality, ethnicity, sexuality,
If I am judged
If I am punished
If I am dismissed
If I am misunderstood
If I am celebrated
If I am envied
If I am competed with
If I am slandered against
If I am seen
i twist and gasp
open and close my mouth
searching for air
whenever a sturgeon is caught in the rainy river
the feel of strange hands touching my body
take the moon
nd take a star
when you don’t
know who you are
paint the picture in your hand
nd roll on home
take my fear
nd take the hunger
take my body
(for the Chinese maroons, British Columbia, 1999–2001)
if you arrive in the belly of a rusting imagination, there are grounds to
outlaw you. but Canada is a remix B-side chorus in the globalization
There’s a joke that ends with — huh?
It’s the bomb saying here is your father.
Now here is your father inside
your lungs. Look how lighter
the earth is — afterward.
This is our welfare half
a duplex with mint green
siding shrugged between
Who is this black coat and tie?
Christian severity etched in the lines
he draws from his mouth. Clearly a noble man
who believes in work and mission. See
how he rises from the red velvet chair,
It is never easy
Walking with an invisible border
Separating my left and right foot
1. 18 and Life
her friend takes her to
If this brain’s over-tempered
consider that the fire was want
and the hammers were fists.
i am writing to tell you
that yes, indeed,
we have noticed
We have each tried to read to him, with no success, except for James,
who read him all of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Travels with a Donkey in the
60s pulled us from starvation into government jobs
antiquated Indians in Saskatchewan danced for rain
Manitoba Indian doings were hidden for a jealous
the re-invention of oneself
through the tongues of whispering mountains
the re-arrangement of the universe
For Hetti Corea, 8 years old
‘The Sinhalese are beyond a doubt one of the least musical
In my body flows the blood of Gallic
Bastille stormers and the soft, gentle
ways of Salish/Cree womanhood.
Sent to the ice after white coats,
rough outfit slung on coiled rope belts,
they stooped to the slaughter: gaffed pups,
I am told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall
after an Indian woman puts her shoulder to the Grand Coulee Dam
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
His Grace! impossible! what dead!
Of old age too, and in his bed!
And could that mighty warrior fall?