When flight is impossible

Flight is impossible, love, so fight it must be; every night I wrestle with the angel of god and my hips, struck, ache. When I wake my hands are curled into fists; it grows ever harder to unclench them. And who remembers to breathe anymore? The tight band that constricts our chests feels like a heart attack. I am exhausted but I find it hard to sleep deeply. When I finally drift off there are always strange dreams: in them, the bodies pile up. Continue reading When flight is impossible

Night falls hard

I, like so many, dread this wave of death hurtling towards us; every time I hear the news out of the US my chest and throat constrict, as if I can’t breathe. No wonder the night falls so hard. We draw the curtains and listen to the wind but we can’t shut it out. There is no moon.

Strange, how every utterance, no matter how factual, becomes a metaphor. Continue reading Night falls hard

On feelings of profound loss

I often feel these days as if I am losing my mind. It has something to do with the gravity of the news. And a sense of physical exhaustion so profound that one afternoon, while out for a walk, I stop, curl into a ball in a warm spot on a neighbour’s porch and sleep in the sun for half an hour. Continue reading On feelings of profound loss

plants inside

Not sailing to Byzantium: on poetry in a time of crisis

No one sleeps the night through anymore. The wings of endings beat near our faces, drop bones into our dreams….But let us understand that we too will die, each of us; and that in our time of living it matters to reach out and to speak up against the increasing number of state gestures that threaten to become excessive force, surveillance and foreclosures of civil liberties. It matters to ask questions, and to try to conduct serious civil debate about the best routes to sound judgment and care. It matters to take time to listen to what the non-human parts of the planet are saying, as dolphins roll through Venice, and the air clears over Delhi and other industrial centres. It matters to reimagine our entitlements and travel plans, our airplanes and global expansions. What does a sustainable economy look like? Whom should it serve? What would it take to build it, and to engage both human and non-human actors? Why shouldn’t artists and poets study such things? Continue reading Not sailing to Byzantium: on poetry in a time of crisis

A valediction forbidding mourning (a more or less true history of the present)

Over the course of the last week everything has changed radically. In the northern hemisphere winter has officially become spring. We’ve shifted from an eerie quiet, as if collectively in Canada we were kneeling, our ears pressed to the tracks of time listening for the train of the future to come barrelling upon us, to something still more unearthly. Early closures, slow stunned walks in the sun and recommendations about how we ought to behave have become, over the course of several days, a state of emergency and civilian lockdown. Continue reading A valediction forbidding mourning (a more or less true history of the present)