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Stories That Live in Bones

  • Release date: 2013-10-01
  1. 1

    Blue Gold



    HER RAIN-Her gift from the sky
    They want to legalize the right to privatize so they can capitalize
    On their claim to drain the collective commons of you
    They want to cloud seed and bleed what we all need for their greed
    They want to own you- demand repayment on a loan for you- combat zone you
    if they could they’d patent, copy write and clone you- these water hunters

    HER RIVERS-Her circulation system & bloodstream
    They want to dam you-cram you-divert you- convert you- insert you
    into their turbines and penstocks-
    they want to possess you, digest you & cardiac arrest you
    thinking they can lock you, block you, treasury stock you
    own you, hone you, meld you, mold you
    Sylvester Stalone you and your power-These water hunters

    HER OCEANS-genesis, her salt water balance, her breath with the moon
    They want to prod you and drill you
    Salmon pen and oil spill you
    Evaporate and force you through a filter
    Desalinate & throw you out of kilter
    Poison you, oil well you contaminate and cartel you
    Change your composition on a search and destroy mission- these water hunters

    HER ANCIENT AQUIFERS-Her recycling and cleansing system, generous gifts from her past
    They want to drill you- unfill you- collect you and spill you
    into places you weren’t meant to be
    they want to pipe you and swipe you
    tube well- bottle and sell you
    Bechtel you
    turn deserts into golf courses for a fee

    These Miners for Blue Gold-wanting you to be bought and sold,
    have they forgotten? or are they so bold
    as to want to profit from now and into infinity
    cause they know only 3% of the world’s water is absent of salinity
    we are 97 % made of your divinity
    your rain, rivers and oceans a holy trinity
    They’ve forgotten, if they ever knew- these business plotters they’ve forgotten you’re sublime
    that you belong to the global commons-that’s the bottom line
    they’ve forgotten on you we rely that here the rules of the market do not apply
    And they will be reminded that your gifts of water are for all of existence
    And we all will remember- any act for her is an act of divine resistance

    Blue Gold
  2. 2

    Shock and Awe


    Shock and Awe
    Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls- children of ALL ages
    Step right up to the greatest show on earth
    Watch as vulture capitalism performs surgery w/o anesthetic
    Witness the state taking its gloves off
    to hemorrhage resources out of an area and wipe the slate clean
    Yes, it’s the fantasy of the rapture
    You’ll be dazzled at casino capitalism’s capacity
    to merge security and shopping malls
    It’s the doctrine of shock and awe
    It’s frontier capitalism coming to a theatre near you!
    New Orleans, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and the latest hit Haiti
    Hurry, Hurry, Hurry! Come one come all
    Under the big top on a new hi def 3-d screen
    Yes, 4 billion hours of surveillance footage a year is captured
    Indeed, the system is drunk on data- but no matter
    The high priests of globalization are scanning the horizon for the next disaster
    Or the next circus spectacular! Behold the best brand money can buy
    Brought to you by the IOC this 5-ring circus is coming to town
    You’ll be amazed at the power of this remarkable little number
    Why the mere mention of this fantastic 14-day festival and
    Ordinary people just lose their minds in a patriotic fervour
    These hypnotized hordes won’t bother you with candid critique
    Perhaps this palpitating pageant of perfected pantomime partnered with
    The dangerous displays of unrivaled aerial attraction
    Are enough to distract from the fact that unparalleled
    Numbers of homeless are being displaced
    And yes it’s true the environment has been ravaged
    And unceeded indigenous land stolen
    Women and children are at much higher risk of global trafficking and sexual assault Communities have been impacted by gentrification
    The city will pay for decades Historically the whole show is steeped in fascism but let’s not be morbid!
    We have a perfectly privatized war built to have no end & we need to play
    Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages
    Step right up front row seats now available and going fast
    To an oft repeated yet always exciting
    Crumbling of an empire Come one come all As there is no where else to go

    Shock and Awe
  3. 3

    Ballad of Bitumen


    I heard a story of a land of rare and precious beauty
    Its boreal forests and rivers so mighty

    I heard wolves, lynx and caribou they all call it home
    The lakes and the wetlands are where they all roam

    Yes gather ‘round all ye listeners to this tale of plundered land
    I speak of Alberta’s Athabaska tar sands

    Now this oil sands stampede- this last act of the carbon race
    Has left a moonscape of sludge and tailings ponds actually seen from space

    Bitumen is the gold that these hunters all seek
    ‘Cause we are reaching oil’s summit its mountain top peak

    Now Bitumen is heavy like molasses like tar
    And without extensive refinement it can’t run a car

    Canada once supplied the world with millions of beaver skins
    And today we are piping unrefined Bitumen

    So there’s oily footprints committing these climate crimes
    They only value dollars, nickels, pennies and dimes

    So, who might these doers of ghastly deeds be?
    Well, it’s Suncor, Syncrude, Royal Bank, Exon-Mobile and BP

    These lords of Mordor rule over this troubled land
    They can’t see the beauty for the tar in the sand

    Now, the Mikisen Cree and the folks at fork McKay
    The Athabsacan Chipewyan this is what they all cry

    There’s something in the water, in the air and in the land
    ‘Cause we’re burying young children again and again

    I know despair lurks around every corner
    And its cousin apathy whispers, “hey, why bother?”

    Yet I know the earth is alive she’s awakening- her bones shifting as we speak
    So, I remember my connection to her when I seem to small, too weak

    I can feel there’s a change in direction- a movement on the ground
    While her body is rising so are voices all around

    And they say to change everything start anywhere- in anyway you can
    And by this lets stop the madness that is the Athabasca tar sands

    Ballad of Bitumen
  4. 4

    Women's Work


    1971 A Stats Canada report estimates that household work represents 41% of Canada’s GDP

    1978 Stats Canada publishes The Value of Unpaid Work and many editions follow

    In the 1994 edition the value of household work is estimated at between 210-318 billion $s

    1988 Marilyn Waring writes an influential book entitled If Women Counted.

    In it, she makes the compelling argument that mainstream economics does not account for

    women’s work or for the value of nature.

    1995 The UN Human Development Report announces women’s unpaid and undervalued work

    is worth 11 trillion dollars worldwide

    1996 The first Canadian census to collect data on unpaid work

    Summer 2010 Stephen Harper cuts the mandatory long form census. Question 33- the long

    fought for question about unpaid work, is removed

    Women perform 2/3 of the 25 billion hours of unpaid work Canadians perform every year.

    The invisible hand of the market must be a woman’s

    I don’t ever remember my grandmother, my mother’s mother, at rest- much less still. Even as

    she lay dying of cancer she was sewing us all pajamas I picture her in constant motion but in

    this invisible kind of a way-ya know? ‘Cause there were no news stories or award ceremonies,

    no public acknowledgements or probably not even many thank you’s

    As she was: peeling, kneading, planting, seeding, digging, carrying, sewing, feeding,

    pickling, knitting, washing, cleaning, canning, serving and shuffling

    my arthritic, grandfather with ankles the size of thighs back and forth

    From his chair to the table

    From his chair to the toilet

    From his chair to his bed

    She cared for her own mother at home till she died- wetting her lips, changing the sheets,

    turning her, turning her

    Part of a community of Scotch descendants - Knox Presbyterians women who cared for each

    other in times of death and birth

    Carrying baked goods over to the house of a bereaved family- or preparing a meal for her own

    5 children and for the mother of a newborn

    The invisible hand of the market must be a woman’s

    No wonder my mother could not wait to get out of the house…. or the small southern Ontario

    farm town she was born in. She wanted to be seen-

    I loved watching her face light us as she would show my sisters and I the newspaper clippings

    - reviews of her theatre performances

    How stifling the isolation of our suburban home… alone with two children at age 24 and

    her live-in father-in-law who would complain about the lack of home baked goods and the

    dinners- out of the 1950’s convenience can

    This was the era- don’t forget, of Father Knows Best and the Donna Reed Show…women told

    they should be satisfied and fulfilled getting their laundry really white

    Aggressive propaganda pushing women back into the kitchen after ‘our boys’ returned

    jobless from war. “Get back to tending the family Rosie”

    When I see her in my mind’s eye, sitting…smoking on the couch, I love to believe she lived a

    life rich in imagination- maybe as she say she was really on the Champs Elysees engaging

    in intellectual conversations with fascinating artists or maybe she saw herself on a stage

    somewhere far, far away….

    Because my mother didn’t teach me how to sew or bake. She passed along no housekeeping

    tips on how to get stains out of carpets- I can’t make gravy, piecrust, or Yorkshire pudding (all

    of which she actually does very well) I don’t know how to crochet or knit or iron

    No, my mother did not pass along all of these things that she did in fact learn from her mother

    Instead….she taught me…

    that going to school and learning is important- as I heard her fight with my father for her

    return to school and would observed her taking out 50 library books a week

    that having a flair for the dramatic can help tell a story and that reading a bedtime story

    dramatically is an important skill to cultivate for the listener

    that laughing at yourself with humility is a lovely quality

    that getting up with your child at 3:00 am to sing You Are My Sunshine is what you do when

    their earache will not let them sleep

    that laughing out loud with abandon is our right as women and

    that taking up space is a good and necessary thing

    that female friendship will save your life

    So although I do not remember ever hearing my mother tell me anything about feminism….

    she showed me feminism in her daily resistance to what was expected and demanded of

    her…in her daily seemingly small rebellions…in what she would not do…

    In refusing to become and model for me June Cleaver….

    And you never got news stories or award ceremonies, no public acknowledgements

    and I have never thanked you for that mom

    Women perform 2/3 of the 25 billion hours of unpaid work Canadians

    The invisible hand of the market

    perform every year

    And notice I am not even talking about the other invisible work…you know what I mean- the

    emotional work…the ‘being there’ work…. the listening…the watching…the attunement…. the

    attending to needs before there even is a need…

    Can you imagine if a method was found for counting that?

    Women's Work
  5. 5

    Blow the Moon Out (Only This Moment)


    I have only this moment with her
    This three year-old with the watchful eyes
    As I sing a lullabye- to soothe, to steady, to soften
    The look of indescribable confusion on her face
    I don’t believe she has had a lullabye sung to her before
    I have only this moment with her so
    I sing to this three year-old as I rub her perfect, tiny feet
    To settle, to smooth, to shift
    Her bewilderment and fear
    I rub her perfect, tiny feet as
    I have only this moment with her and the pressure must be just so
    I work the middle- at the arch- feel her energy shift
    The meat of her foot gets my thumbs- I sing as I work
    Her look of confusion melting to curiosity
    I move to her toes, I say, “This is your brain. Your very smart brain”
    She giggles
    My nails gently tapping the tips
    Now placing both my hands on either side of her ankle- I rock her foot- loosening, releasing, relaxing, unwinding the flight, fight, freeze responses trapped within
    I saw daddy push mommy- her look is arresting
    I nod, “How did that feel?” “Scary “
    I nod and repeat, “Scary.” “You and your mommy are safe here”, I say but the emptiness of the sentence rings in the space between us. It is not enough.
    The voice my head screams,
    Promise her – Nothing like that will ever happen to you again!
    Promise her- I will meet you here everyday and sing to you and rub your feet!
    Promise her –I will keep you safe!
    But I don’t
    Our agency is being chocked with fiscal restraint
    I don’t know how we will attend to the need
    The outreach van broke down last week- they say it will be 4 grand to fix
    It is a monstrous figure for our budget
    But- Come on!
    How much did Bev Ota spend on a glass of O.J. & a limo ride to that 5 star hotel?
    I could ride this wave of anger and despair- I know this ride
    But I don’t
    I bring her face slowly back to the center of my gaze- adjusting my lens
    to focus on her
    re-inhabit the moment
    These are your lungs, I say, as I knead the balls of her feet
    Lets take a deep breath and fill our bellies
    She is so serious. She makes her eyes big and sucks in air
    I have only this moment with her

    Blow the Moon Out (Only This Moment)
  6. 6

    Ravens Don't Dig That Deep


    Ravens Don’t Dig That Deep
    You may have heard tell there’s something brewing
    Folks getting’ organized a battle is stewing
    People standing up for their desires
    Gonna set the Salish Coast on fire

    Cause Compliance Coal Corp wants to dig a mine
    They say it will be really, really good, yes really, really fine
    They want to ship coal to Asia from Port Alberni
    Trucking it across the island then across the sea

    We don’t want your coal mine
    Say ‘no’ to raven Coal Mine

    Imagine opening a coalmine in this day and age
    I know its unbelievable I know it sounds strange
    They say energy is needed for the market supply
    Then they’ll use it to make plastic stuff for us to buy

    So we mustn’t believe their whitewashed slogans
    We know clean coal is an oxymoron
    They’ll be heavy metal leakage and coal dust too
    To save Fanny Bay Oysters here’s what we must do. Say!

    Yes, the phrase Raven Project sounds really lovely
    No hint of ruined watersheds or salmon tributaries
    Compliance promises jobs and a strong economy
    But what is that worth without clean land, air and sea

    Cause we know coal is so passé
    We don’t want anymore of that carbon decay
    The planet is screaming for change all around
    Sustainable energy is where we are bound

    Island folks are slow to start but once they get going
    They’ll move mountains our numbers growing
    It doesn’t matter what the assessment will report
    We will see them on the blockade we will see them in court

    Cause this government is big on its energy plan
    Grabbing coal, oil and gas just as fast as they can
    No, we don’t need beg, plead or implore
    Cause they’ll be made to listen once we’re Idle No More
    CHORUS (X2)

    Ravens Don't Dig That Deep
  7. 7

    Menopausal Pussy



    It’s said that aging is the pits and that youth is where its at
    Well I beg to differ with public opinion you ain’t met my cat

    As she’s gotten older she’s gotten wiser that really is a fact
    She’s dropped pretense, is more assertive her own feline to be exact

    She’s my menopausal pussy and she never lets me down
    She speaks her mind and then some you’ll know if she wants you around

    Now I won’t deny the charm that kittens do possess
    They’re small and cute smooth and soft and oh so firm of flesh

    But me I’ll take a full grown feline over any of that kitten stuff
    I like my cats to be their own person I’m talkin’ substance not fluff

    I mean my menopausal pussy She’ll tell you where it’s at
    My menopausal pussy she’s no kitten No! She’s a full-grown cat

    Some say she’s rather dry but that’s not exactly true
    It’s just that she won’t lie-you’ll know how she feels about you
    Some will say she’s kinda cranky and hard to get along
    Me I just say she’s deeply in touch yes her fire’s burnin’ strong

    That’s my menopausal pussy she’s got class and she’s got style
    My menopausal pussy Oh! She can go the extra mile

    When she was younger often foolish she’d play with almost anything
    The Tom next door, Dick down the road and Mary who liked to sing
    But now she is more selective got no time for just anyone
    She likes her long luxurious pets she’ll let you know if she’s having fun

    She’s a menopausal pussy and she’s a force in this town
    You should respect the menopausal pussies ‘cause if not [Full Stop]
    They don’t want you around

    Menopausal Pussy
  8. 8

    Which Side Are You On?


    Politicians’ work for corporate men

    This has always been true

    But now they seem to hide it less

    They’re a cocky brazen few

    They’re pushing Embridge pipeline

    And Kinder Morgan too

    There is no saviour coming to help

    It’s up to me and you


    Which side are you on now? Which side are you on?

    Which side are you on boys? Which side are you on?

    Bill C-38 and 45 were passed almost in secrecy

    There was no voice, no vote, no poll this is not democracy

    Come on all you people

    lets lift our heads out of the sand

    We need to Occupy our fate

    Which way will you stand?


    The planet’s heating up right now

    Though some may claim it a lie

    The evidence is all around

    only the insane can deny

    Some even want to own the water

    Their thirst for it is fierce

    They’ll write new laws to make it theirs

    If we don’t get there first


    Now, one more thing before this tune can come to its rightly end

    A connection that must be made- one to which I must attend

    Both women and the planet have been violated for too long

    We need our brothers to stand with us to speak up loud & strong

    Which Side Are You On?
  9. 9

    Stories That Live in Bones


    This is a poem about stories and lies. Whose stories are told, remembered, believed?
    This is a poem about stories. Powerful stories. Stories that shift the ground-
    Change the sky. Our stories- stories that live in collective memory- reside in bones

    This is a poem about lies. Lies masquerading as stories, insidious lies- that push under the skin- like a rash, sit there itching at you, demanding attention

    Persistent lies that lodge subcutaneous- become DNA
    We all forget that this lie was a ‘once upon a time’ story we heard
    Now morphed from myth to fact

    Lies that get told to us sold to us unfold to us then seem old to us
    Like the common cold to us
    They get printed, broadcast and replayed at twice the volume back at us

    Lies that hiss….
    “She shouldn’t have dressed like that…invited him home…must have been asking for it”
    LIES that trick
    “Why do we talk about violence against women? Women can be violent too?”
    The exception in our minds drowning out the rule
    LIES that twist
    “Violence against women is a women’s issue”
    Flipping a switch in the male brain that shouts, “Not my problem! That’s not about me!”

    There are epic lies
    “You are insignificant. It does not matter what you think. What you say or how you feel. No one will believe you”
    Enduring, insistent, persistent lies that shrink will that dissolve matter into dust
    Becoming tattooed on our consciousness- we stop listening to our bones
    There are colonial lies
    The missionaries civilized savage Indians
    Printed in textbooks and disseminated in schools like small pox blankets to children before cerebral cortex knows the meaning of critical thought
    And grammatical lies
    “Resource extraction”
    As if air, soil, water, metal are nothing more than a rotting tooth
    In need of a torture technique to get to the truth
    Business lies
    ‘Resource development’
    As if the earth is inert matter just waiting for a master craftsman to have at ‘er
    Military lies‘
    “Collateral Damage’
    As if the death of children-an item in a budget line
    Lies retold again and again. Lies difficult to erase once implanted
    Lies posing as stories Enduring Insistent Persistent

    And yet
    Echoes that reside at the edge of the shadow world
    A body memory more than a once upon a time
    Stories that ring in our cells and reside in bones
    “Yes…Ah! I know that…. I’ve felt that before….”
    Stories that start as a whisper
    “You are powerful beyond measure”
    “Its not your fault”
    “I believe you”
    Stories that breath life into dust

    Stories that start as a whisper
    Maybe a single digital whisper- maybe a tweet
    And like that telephone game we played as children
    It is passed, re-tweeted; spread like a zygote in mitosis a cell splitting
    Reproducing daughters
    At the rate of new life

    4 women one tweet
    Nov 10th, 2012, Saskatoon
    Indigenous and Non Indigenous
    Women who translated a lie into the truth and sent out a warning
    Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam Jessica Gordon and Sheelah McLean
    I’ll say these four names once again
    Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam Jessica Gordon and Sheelah McLean
    Invited a nation to wake up
    Injected truth into muscles, bones, flesh and veins
    A truth that must be repeated again and again

    As it vies for the airwaves with an apartheid lie
    “Idle No More- that’s just an Indian thing”
    Flipping a switch in the settler’s brain- that shouts, “Not my problem. That’s not about me”
    We can name it, claim it, shame it- LIE!
    4 women, one tweet, and a truth was whispered
    A truth that could actually save us all- if we rise

    United to tell our stories
    One Billion Rising on this day
    To speak truth to power- to dance…to say
    “In numbers we will drown out the lies
    We will listen to our bones. We will rise”

    Stories That Live in Bones