Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

Moving to Arizona

Posted: July 9, 2010 in Poetry, Rant
Tags: , ,

CONTEXT: May, 2010

Sometimes I just get mad about stuff and want to write about it. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

This one worked out.

The state of Arizona is bringing in a new law that instructs police to request ID from anyone who they have ‘reason to suspect’ is not in the U.S. legally.

Look at all the problems with that. First off, normally you are not required to carry ID if you are not operating a motor vehicle. Now you will have to carry ID if there is any chance that the police might ask for it. So who will have to carry ID? Brown people, of course.

Take context out for a moment… now picture this on the streets of Ottawa or Toronto instead. A police officer comes up to someone and says, “Show me your ID, please.” That person says, “Why?” Well, first off, the officer no longer has to GIVE a reason why, other than saying “to make sure you are here legally.” That gives them carte blanche to do WHATEVER THEY WANT.

Now, look again. You just gave those police the right to ‘detain and question’ based on skin colour or accent. Really? Is this okay with anyone?

Well, not with Obama. You see, immigration is under federal jurisdiction. This Arizona law isn’t LEGAL ANYWAY!


    Moving to Arizona

I’m moving to Arizona!
I’m leaving all my worldly
Goods behind
And jumping aboard a Greyline
And when the border guard
Asks me the purpose of my visit
In the land of Diamondbacks
And cacti.
I’m sure he won’t bat an eye
Because I look like a
Trust-worthy soul, and I have
All the proper ID
But when I get there I will make
A bonfire
And toss in my passport,
Driver’s licence, health card
And anything else that shows
My country of birth.
I’ll emerge from the bonfire
Reborn and renewed
Like a Phoenix in Phoenix
Settling into my new role
As Illegal Immigrant.
Then I will sit back and wait
For someone sporting a badge
To ask to see my papers.

You see Arizona has a new law
Coming to be
That instructs police officers
To request ID
From anyone who they might suspect
Of being there illegally.
So, when will they question me?
Won’t it be obvious that
My northern glow that has
Developed after generations of
Scrounging for Vitamin D
Is not at home in the desert sun?

But no, I expect that the eye of
The law will not stray to me.
‘Suspicion’ will only be roused
By skin that is brown
And accents that indicate
That “Y’all aren’t from around
Here” even though ‘Hispanics
And Latinos’ make up 29%
Of the state’s citizens.
Those police won’t be questioning me.
I’ll be home free
And if you are legal
Why would you care about
Showing ID?
They just need to ensure
No disreputable sorts are
Checking in for a ‘better life’
Like clean water
Access to food and Obama’s
New health care
And if the price of that
Is a police state, isn’t that
A price we are willing to pay?

Put aside the moral righteousness
Of restricting access across
An imaginary line
That is only meaningful
In relation to the rules created
To protect it.
Instead look at investing the powers
With the right
To detain and question
Based on the colour of
Your skin.
I’ll be standing on a corner
In Winslow, Arizona
With a red maple leaf
Tattooed on my forehead,
Garnering no attention from
The thin blue line
That separates the citizenry,
Not the legal from the illegal,
But the white from the brown
With legal status being an
Because not carrying papers
Is a crime, just like in those
Cold War movies on the wrong
Side of Checkpoint Charlie.

But pity the police.
They have been handed a law
That can only be enforced
By being acting racist,
So let’s make this easier on
Them, with a NEW law
That is in keeping with their
Immigration Enforcement
From now on, anyone who is not
American-born, or whose parents or
Grandparents were not American-
Born (or at least hailing from a
Country whose people look like the
Official image of what it is to be
Must affix a badge on their
Chest, not in the shape of a star
But in the shape of a Phoenix
Sun, to ensure only the right
People are incriminated.

But you don’t need to worry about me.
I will be fine.
Because first they came for the Latinos
But I was not Latino,
So I said nothing.


Next is a poem inspired by a kid in a high school I visited in Markham.

Poetry vs Reality

Posted: June 28, 2010 in Off-topic, Rant

I would like to share a line from a recent poem of mine called Moving to Arizona.

Not carrying your papers
Will be a crime
Just like in those Cold War movies
On the wrong side of Checkpoint Charlie

Now let me share with you a link.

Apparently my criticism of (racist) laws in Arizona was ignoring the (oppressive) laws right here in Canada.

There is my tenuous poetry connection to make this blog entry on topic.

I would like to congratulate the Black Block for working for the establishment so completely that nobody will now even question the FACT that the police are now physically assaulting peaceful protesters and other innocent people who just happen to be in the area.

In fact, the controlled levels of violence and vandalism to kick this off are SO convenient to the cause of those who would stamp out legitimate complaints that it makes me wonder about the existence of Agent Provocateurs, which I had previously dismissed. The video going around of the obvious undercover cops doesn’t help their cause, either.

I was in an on-line discussion recently with someone who said that ‘if you aren’t willing to face the consequnces of your actions, you shouldn’t protest’.

I would argue that if the consequences of protesting are not what a rational person would consider a justifiable response, then we should all protest.

We like to think that we are somehow ‘better’ in Canada than in some other places. The police in Toronto are proving that we are wrong. They are arresting people for SITTING, simply because the police decided that they should ‘clear the area’.

I am not anti-police. I believe they serve a crucially important role in our society. That role does not give them the right to disrupt, disperse or ASSAULT peaceful protesters.

I am ashamed of my country today.

The “N” Word

Posted: February 12, 2010 in Rant
Tags: ,

This will be first for this blog… a post that doesn’t involve putting up the next in the chronological exploration of my poetry. Halifax will have to wait (probably until Monday).

First I will tell you why I am at home today and then I will tell you why I felt compelled to write anyway.

Yesterday at work I leaned up against one of the desks in my cubicle (something I have done dozens of times), and in a flash the whole thing came out of the wall and crashed to the ground, taking all of my stuff with it (and landing on top of my computer, doing some cosmetic damage). I fell backwards and hit my neck and shoulders against the over-hanging cabinet.

It was nearly quitting time when that happened so we cleaned up and I left work, heading over to the Cajun Attic for the Bill Brown 1-2-3 Slam.

By the end of the night I was really sore. Ruthanne says the back of my neck looks swollen. So I took the day off and may go visit the doctor if it doesn’t feel any better soon.


Now, the point of my post…

See the title? I mean the word you think I mean.

Last night at the Slam, someone dropped the N-bomb on stage.

A white dude.

This is the first time I have heard someone in Ottawa (well, a white someone in Ottawa) do that on stage. Previously, I was present when a Victoria poet did it on a stage in Halifax and ignited a firestorm.

What I saw last night was worse.

What’s the difference? The one in Halifax was done out of ignorance. Small i ignorance. Look, I was born and raised in Victoria and you couldn’t get a more whitebread town. I think there are more black people on my poetry team, The Recipe, than there were in my graduating class in high school. A graduating class of 500.

So when that poet did a poem about the racism of his youth and dropped certain words, in his own shame, he didn’t realize the impact it would have on his Halifax audience? No.

Does that excuse it? No.

What I heard last night was something completely different. This poet dropped the word, KNOWING it would offend and anger people.

His lines went:

“N**** wut?
Oh, does that offend you?”

I would like to answer his question.

Yes… yes it does.

I would also like to extend a message from one pasty-looking white dude to another, and pardon my caps…


Was that clear enough?

I was disappointed with the judges, to be honest. Only one judge took him task for saying it, while the others gave him the sorts of scores he would have gotten if he hadn’t said what he did.

I wanted to see a ZERO thrown up, honestly.

After the show somebody told me something that bothered me even more. I was told that he HAS done that poem at Capital Slam. Obviously when he did that, I didn’t hear when he said THE word (I’m a busy guy at these shows), but that means there was no uproar from him saying it.

That disappoints me. I thought our Merc crowd would explode on him for saying it.

Last night Ruthanne told me she was reading a thread about John Mayer dropping the bomb in an interview with Playboy. In the thread somebody said “it depends on the context”. Somebody else said “there is no acceptable context”, and that is where I am on this.

Let me reiterate from up-post, WHITE DUDES DON’T GET TO DROP THE N-BOMB! EVER!!