Greatest Canadian

Posted: December 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

So I recently decided I wouldn’t be going out for a team this year. The recent stressful situation regarding safe space violations within our scene along with a spurious lawsuit AND a bit of general disillusionment with a few things have made me decide to AT LEAST take a year off.

I am still National Slam Master, so I will certainly be AT CFSW. I will also keep performing and slamming… whenever I feel like it.

So, since I decided that, there have been two CapSlams and an Urban Legends that I was at. Guess how many times I slammed?

Yeah. Three.

Twice, I had no plans to slam. At the first CapSlam and at the UL there were short numbers so I stepped up to help out. So, of course, at the CapSlam, I won.

I had no plans to go up, but I had my books and was willing to read so I asked Jenica to pick any poem for me to perform. She said “the one where you are walking”.

The Stranger it was.

It went incredibly well. I ran over it, realized I still knew the non-team version and when I performed it… it was really moving. I got lots of compliments afterwards AND I got a big score.

So I went back to Jenica for round two and she offered up Angst as a suggestion. Not quite AS strong, but plenty good enough and I won.

Then I went to Urban Legends to see Andre Prefontaine perform and ended up volunteering to slam. I did Joe DiMaggio, which I had debuted as a sac at the CapSlam earlier, and Angst again. I didn’t win (I think Gavin Russell took it), but it was nice to no longer be able to say I had never slammed at Urban Legends.

This past weekend, I also wasn’t going to slam. But during the day on Saturday I got the idea for a fun little poem that played off Frosty the Snowman called Rusty the Slammer. It was now or wait a year, so I went up and did it. I also dropped a first time slammed poem called, Greatest Canadian, that I will post here.

I didn’t get anywhere near winning but it the Rusty the Slammer poem prompted a slammer/carol punfest for some on-site prizes and facebook wackiness.

Here is the poem…

CONTEXT: June, 2012

Do you remember the CBC poll to crown the greatest Canadian? Yeah, that happened. I was personally pushing for Norman Bethune, but I think Tommy Douglas, who eventually won, was a great choice. (The fact that Don Cherry made it right to the end was ridiculous.)

But it got me thinking about… you know what? Everything I was about to explain is spelled out very well IN the poem.

Greatest Canadian

There is always a pecking order,
Not for getting the best seeds
Or spreading the same
But ladder climbing isn’t
Restricted to oxygen-deprived
MBA drones with well-polished noses.
To everything there is a
Hall of Fame – even if only
Those shining lights
That tower above – almost
Always with a retroactive
Beside the point.
A few years back there
Was a nationwide poll to
Crown the Greatest Canadian.
It came down to
Tommy D of the NDP
Facing off against Goon Squad
Coach Supreme, Don Cherry.
Which either showed
This country’s sense of humour
Or its complete misunderstanding
Of priorities.
Either way, the right one won,
Which is to say the
Left one was left,
And public health coverage
Was shown as the
greatest legacy.
But it made me wonder
About greatness every day
And how high you can climb
When somebody else provides
The ladder.
What is more impressive –
A neuron-firing science genius
Riding high on scholarship
Breaking new ground –
Or a skid row addict
Sweating out day four
of the need for
The fire that comes via
Syringe and medical tubing?
What of a charismatic leader
Who uses those powers to
Move the country in a
Better direction
Or the person who
Wins the fight to put their
Feet on the floor each day –
Choosing between never
Giving up and never giving in.
But even if we accept the
Traditional version of success and
Acknowledge that Tommy Douglas
Has done more to mold our
Positive perception of Canadians
Than any ‘more successful’
Politactician or polimagician,
I still reserve the right to
Amendment as we name him
Tommy Douglas, Greatest Canadian,
Because I am not ready to
Pack it in and accept that
Everything great has already been
Done, said, or dreamed.
The greatest poet, ukelele player,
Mathematician or bio-geneticist
Might be reading this right now.
The Greatest Canadian may
Be in a kindergarten class in
Flin Flon with no idea that
She will one day show the world
That we CAN succeed working
Together instead of in a
Zero sum, capitalistic miasma
Of pushing and pulling.

I am asking a lot.
This is like offering an
Olympic level high jump
Chance to someone 4 foot 9
With one broken leg and
Pockets weighted down by
Every ‘no you can’t’,
And ‘know your place’
And wrapped in the
Chain links of implicit
Conservatism and
Fear of change.

But one thing I AM sure of
Is that things will NEVER
Get better if we don’t try.
So here is my pledge to you:
I will never be called
‘The Greatest Canadian’,
‘The Greatest Speaker’ or
‘The Greatest Poet’ but I
Can do my damnedest to be
‘The Greatest Rusty Priske’
There can possibly be-
And if we all did that,
Maybe it wouldn’t seem so
Far-fetched that this world
Could be better than what
We see.

  1. Tammy MacKenzie says:

    The Greatest Rusty Priske: another Great Canadian! 🙂

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