Poet Commentaries

Snowed In

In Ontario the minimum wage will be hiked.  It is exactly what we need but it is not that simple.  “Metro”, a grocery chain in the province, has said it will invest heavily in automation to combat the costs this law will impose on it.

I think the mentality of this response is exactly why I wrote the poem below.  “Metro” has simply said what all the large food chains and businesses in general are thinking and none of them get the ridiculousness of it.  There is a temptation to rant, to organize a boycott and make it my life’s work to react to this shallowness but I will not.

Why will I not rant?  It is because it is not just Metro’s fault and to rant at you and I over the part we play is painful.  It somehow lies after all in all of us to make our communities better and we all know it.  We have become too rushed and we strive too hard for things like simplicity and convenience. (ha ha..strive hard for simple) It is a cop out to blame just Metro.

For instance because of how I view personal responsibility, to belong in my town among people I love, I avoid and boycott self checkouts everywhere. People need a job.  I skip the instant teller and rarely buy on line. Gas is not paid for at the pumps.  Local businesses are supported.  What I realize with each and every effort is that the way back to community is not easy.

There are tomatoes and vegetables in my garden.  We have checked off self sufficiency by canning our own jams and pickles.  With each check mark I make on the side of my personal brag list I place two on the side of Metro, two more beside the farmer and one beside the take out Pizza Parlour.  Others in fact have far more gold stars beside their names than I do.

I can read and fold a map and still enjoy the perspective it gives over GPS.  I know that moss grows on the North side of trees.  I know how to tie knots in hiking boots and shun Velcro and slip ons. There are in fact  many old school tricks I know to travel life.  The neatest trick is to recognize how much I don’t know and how much you and you teach me; how many more check marks and gold stars lie outside of myself.

There is a sense that I should blush at missing something as mundane as being asked for directions.  It used to happen four or five times a day you know. Meeting and helping a stranger has a joy to it that is tough to quantify; unlike how easy it is to quantify automatic checkouts with good old fashioned accounting.

I think my goals in life can be quite clearly stated.  One:  Learn to record and live in joys before they disappear and are googilized. Two: Learn to better get across the error in this worlds accounting system.

I define the joys by those check marks I talk about.  They are the only thing that can help you soundly account for the importance of society in your life and the joy you get from it.  If you read my post on road rage these check marks about others are evident there too.  It is called empathy I think.  It is called being content and seeing what you have that is good.

People Power and Road Rage

As to the poem?  Yes life can be pretty scary.  Choosing a path has always been difficult.  What is worse?  Living in a time when there were no maps or living in a time when there are too many? Personally, when I use Google Maps I do not use highways and never take the shortest route.  Stupid I know.  (that is a metaphor for religion and politics and a good lead in to my poem)


Snowed In

corporate entity
how cold things are
that cannot die

My great grandpa
bent the first blade
between us, the town
and each new neighbour.
He traded wit and spit.

That path wore so wide;
now even Nettles give up
pushing against the six feet
of asphalt and grit
that wear on my soles.

I go uphill and downwind
to an old neighbour
and a one-time friend
to talk of dammed rivers
and contaminated runoff

A brief wave at my kids
gleaning from his dump site
his waste slithering
under fence and over dale
to my back yard.

He draws for me a cup
of crisp cold shoulder
and USDA approved
copywritten placebos
for all that ails me

He tells of the wonders
of Xeriscaping
and the profits in
his patented rapeseed
and how I lost my way.

He leans on my fence
spitting his rale
his words like his crops
seek their sanctuary
on my side of the fence.

“thieves and sluggards all,
unthankful beggars at the bowl.
Capitulate; lousy ingrates
or on your needs
you’ll certainly fall.”

On my way to home
I pondered a way out;
I toiled in weeding
all those isms and ists
life needs vaccinated against.

I may have to drink again
water drawn from the old well
with grandpa’s old tin cup.
or from my cistern
filled with latter rains.

I may have to wait out snows,
powerless and cold.
vanely pumping this poem
from a dry unprimed well
in an ink black cellar.

I may have to quench kins thirst
with drops from melted snow
and feed them morsels
from the eyes cut
from my seed potatoes

I may have to cuddle with them
under Grandma’s afghan
made from the wool
taken from sheep’s eyes;
it dyed red with us.

But on that path I chose
to let cancer run its course,
to forego the treatment
of patented pain killers
and radiating lies


so hospice able
life is rich
in whispered last breaths

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