Sunday, May 11, 2014

Three unrelated pieces of writing I found while cleaning up my bookmarks folder

These are on display at Argyle Fine Art but I wish they were on display in my home.

Someday, sometime, you will be sitting somewhere.
A berm overlooking a pond in Vermont.
The lip of the Grand Canyon at sunset.
A seat on the subway.

And something bad will have happened:
You will have lost someone you loved,
or failed at something at which you badly wanted to succeed.

And sitting there, you will fall into the centre of yourself.
You will look for some core to sustain you.

And if you have been perfect all your life and have managed to meet the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are that there will be a black hole where that core ought to be.

I don't want anyone I know to take that terrible chance.
And the only way to avoid it is to listen to that small voice inside you that tells you to make mischief, to have fun, to be contrarian, to go another way.

George Eliot wrote 'It is never too late to be what you might have been'.

It is never too early, either.

- Anna Quindlen from Being Perfect, which is not a poem, but this is the way it was spaced on the now defunct Tumblr that I first read it. Now, I every time I read it, which is frequently, I read it like this.


***

White supremacy has taught him that all people of color are threats irrespective of their behavior.
Capitalism has taught him that, at all costs, his property can and must be protected.
Patriarchy has taught him that his masculinity has to be proved by the willingness to conquer fear through aggression; that it would be unmanly to ask questions before taking action.

Mass media then brings us the news of this in a newspeak manner that sounds almost jocular and celebratory, as though no tragedy has happened, as though the sacrifice of a young life was necessary to uphold property values and white patriarchal honor. Viewers are encouraged to feel sympathy for the white male home owner who made a mistake. The fact that this mistake led to the violent death of an innocent young man does not register; the narrative is worded in a manner that encourages viewers to identify with the one who made the mistake by doing what we are led to feel we might all do to “protect our property at all costs from any sense of perceived threat.” This is what the worship of death looks like.

-bell hooks from All About Love: New Visions, but this was circulated again after Trayvon Martin was shot

***

Spring comes into Quebec from the west. It is the warm Japan Current that brings the change of season to the east coast of Canada, and then the west wind picks it up. It comes across the prairies in the breath of the chinook, waking up the grain and caves of bears. It flows over Ontario like a dream of legislation, and it sneaks into Quebec, into our villages, between our birch trees.

In Montreal the caf├ęs, like a bed of tulip bulbs, sprout from their cellars in a display of awnings and chairs. In Montreal spring is like an autopsy. Everyone wants to see the inside of the frozen mammoth.

Girls rip off their sleeves and the flesh is sweet and white, like wood under green bark. From the streets a sexual manifesto rises like an inflating tire, 'The winter has not killed us again!'

-Leonard Cohen from Beautiful Losers, which just seems so appropriate

1 comment:

chelsea said...

All inspiring. I especially like that first one.