The Daily Blend

Writing to make connections

Revised edition of “First Chapbook – Proof” now available

street scene with large tree and bright sun for a revised edition

ethereal Elgin for a revised edition

Why a revised edition?

Each of us moves in our our own way and in our own direction through this life due to personal experience and current situation. This can create confusion and conflict when people we’re close to move differently from the way we do.

When I first wrote the poem You Think You Know Me I followed my muse through a specific door, in a specific way, on a specific vector. Some months ago I realized that the door had been swinging in the wrong direction when I went through it so I’ve made a new poem by turning around and going through the door the other way. This new poem is a replacement for the old and reflects a clearer and deeper understanding of myself and of the world around me. My sincere apologies to those of you who may have been dismayed or offended by my first attempt to translate that particular musing onto paper.

For your enjoyment, here is the new poem and a revised edition of my First Chapbook – Proof with the new poem in place of the old.

You Think You Know Her

You think you know her,
angry young man
who shifts his weight
leans just a bit,
and bumps her shoulder
to knock her off balance
in passing
on a suburban city sidewalk.
(just some old white hetero bitch)

what you don’t know is
when the girl from the only Jehovah’s Witness family
in her neighbourhood stood alone
every day in the school yard,
she was the one who went over and made friends

what you don’t know is
a closeted queer guy was her best friend,
and in high school they were seen as a couple
so she never, not once, got asked on a date
‘cause she was not gonna be the one to out him to anyone

what you don’t know is
of all the variety of guys who were her friends
and who she dated over the years,
an immigrant from a different culture and language
was her first love and her first lover

what you don’t know is
when same-sex “couples” prom tickets
were debated and voted down by the student council
she was the one who called out her friends
and walked out of the meeting

what you don’t know is
when the first black department manager
was hired to help run her family business
working with him on the leadership team
came as naturally to her as breathing

Your anger may be righteous, young man,
but what you don’t know is
if you open your fist, she will shake your hand.

Val des Monts March 2017

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Book review: Deep Diversity: Overcoming Us vs. Them

Deep Diversity: Overcoming Us vs. ThemDeep Diversity: Overcoming Us vs. Them by Shakil Choudhury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs to read this book. Assuming everyone wants to live a life full of rewarding and healthy relationships with everyone they meet.  The author makes a convincing case for changing ourselves to spark systemic change. He shows how searching our own attitudes and assumptions helps us see systemic biases. Biases that disadvantage ourselves and others. He provides specific exercises and action each of us can take to do two things. He believes we can overcome our innate negative bias. He believes we can teach ourselves to welcome the differences in others. The differences that enrich us and our communities.

One of the most striking points Choudhury makes is the following:

” In the Deep Diversity framework, personal power and the potential for change it represents can serve as a catalyst for system-wide change. There is always a dialogue, a creative tension, between recognizing the influence of institutions on the individual and of the individual on the system. The trick is holding this tension and not getting caught in the either/or polarity. This is the balance point, both emotionally and intellectually.”

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Second Chapbook – Songs of Privilege

Wooden railings with black metal balusters capped with snow.

Angles 2015, Janet Fraser

 

Here’s a new collection of poems in a Second Chapbook – Songs of Privilege. There are a few less obvious pieces in this one.

Challenge Piece

I wrote On the Beauty of Men as a challenge piece after a dinner with three gentlemen friends. During the meal we had a discussion about beauty. One of my friends said that women are more beautiful than men. My point of view was, understandably I think, opposed to this point. A little while later I wrote this piece in honour of my life-companion’s 50th birthday.

Sound Poem

Road Trip DNA is a sound poem (so try reading it out loud) in which I tried to imitate (very roughly)  the form of DNA by using 3-letter words only. Hope you’ll find it amusing.

Searched Language OR down the rabbit hole

programmed molecular dancing is my first piece in this form. I developed it in November of 2015 using a web search tool. I used a selected seed term and a cyclical search pattern to yield increasing numbers of terms until I’d had enough.
Roughly:
First cycle – one term yields one term
Second cycle – one term yields two terms
Third cycle – two terms each yield multiple terms
Fourth and subsequent cycles – N terms each yield multiple terms
Note that each cycle may yield more than the specified number of terms; however, this method may increase the process inputs exponentially.

Song Lyric

As anyone who knows me well will tell you, I remember song lyrics. So writing No Picnic using the form of the song Teddy Bears’ Picnic (melody Op103 by John Walter Bratton, lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy) was a natural for me. As I wrote I imagined my musical friends playing and singing it in a minor key.

Fair Warning

While politically incorrect to some people, I identify as a native Canadian. I was born in Canada, that makes me a native person. I respect my First Nations cousins and use that term to honour them rather than the more general “native Canadian”.  A Native of Immigrant Ancestry Speaks was inspired by the play Huff by Cliff Cardinal. During the performance, in which there is a suicide/attempted suicide, I had the almost uncontrollable urge to breach the fourth wall and intervene in the on-stage action. This post stands as fair warning that if I were to see the play again I would select my seat with the intention of doing so.

I hope you will find some enjoyment, amusement and food for thought in this Second Chapbook – Songs of Privilege.

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