Bad Apples, National Poetry Month reading at the HVGB Town Hall Pt. 2

My view today as I read my poetry at the town hall. I mostly scribble my thoughts on small pieces of paper and today I stood with a clipboard full and it felt like I was yelling at an invisible bully. My poem, Bad Apples, was about Goose Bay’s uneducated response to the federal governments desire to have 5 Wing as a processing site for Syrian refugees. A large portion of the town was very critical to the point of being racist, and my poem was a response to that.

M.

Bad Apples

it’s called poetry
you can say more than you can normally
cleverly disguised in witty banter.
don’t we all think the same thoughts?
his skin is not the same color as mine
but his heart circulates the same dark blend
at 80 beats per minute
the only difference is
with each breath he takes he’s wondering
who he’s offending
just by being
alive
—- are we?
where is he not sleeping tonight,
with his shoes still on
ready to run.
there is no directory for kindness
just the pit in your stomach
telling you, you should have done more
you should have said more
moved mountains through hell and high water
home is a universal truth, like actions speak louder than words but please
hear my words
show a little more kindness and understanding
bad apples are only made when you’re not paying attention.
please don’t sell me preferential kindness
please don’t tell me to catch my breath
to hold my tongue
to turn a deaf ear
not when children aren’t sleeping
not when bombs crack the foundations of everything that is good,
not when streets are a default grey and stained red
please don’t tell me to mind my business – it’s everybody’s business.
bad apples are only made when you’re not paying attention.

M.

Christmas River, National Poetry Month reading at the HVGB Town Hall

Today I spoke at the Happy Valley Goose Bay Town Hall for the proclamation of National Poetry Month. This is a new poem that I wrote for the occasion, straying outside of my comfort zone and being critical of where we, as a town, are heading because of the Muskrat Falls mega project. Poetry isn’t always pretty. I had a chance to say something, so I chose to say something meaningful.

M.

Christmas River

have you ever rested beneath a tree
looking up at the sky and its puzzle of branches
nature is beautiful
I find myself thinking, where are they?
I hope the spring run-off
takes all of your fears
and those unclaimed have found peace

this river runs green
but it also runs red
another challenging Christmas
for the river thief

I watch while the foreman wipes his nose
and clears his throat of complicated debris
we wait for the alarms

when Christmas came it was powder white
but all of the flakes were alike
she held her tongue and accepted the abuse

I cannot mistake what I’ve seen
tearing at the fabric of everything that makes us, us

what were you thinking when you crossed the line?

where will we be when Christmas is over?