Sunflower Skins

July 12, 2010

Experiment 11: My Dear, Deaf Country: Wake the Fuck Up

Filed under: experiments, prose — Tags: , , — Sunflower Skins @ 1:20 am

I don’t understand why people use dubious disclaimers. When I say something mean it’s because it is mean and I am a cunt—or maybe I’m just being honest: I want a fucking revolution and it’s going to start regardless of your ignorance; I’m not going to sugar-coat it for anyone, especially you. Just because you’re blood doesn’t mean I have to like you; just because you’re police chief doesn’t mean I have to agree with you; just because I’m an English major doesn’t mean I have to be a teacher—or a giver—or am somehow more capable of explaining our circumstances to you. I tried for a philosophy minor. It didn’t work.

Because I am a writer, I make my life from what I say to you, but I cannot do it in the way you may like (read: understand). Sometimes we have to make our voices heard through t-shirts and signs, buttons, posters, and handbills—sometimes we use loud-speakers or megaphones—or I might write my own protest, my own way, even if I know that you usually can’t read my fragmented, pornographic texts. You don’t know how to read them—I cannot speak your language: your self-righteous, ass-kissing, finger-pointing dialogue.

Sometimes people protest. Sometimes people protest when I say, “I think there should be more funding for the Arts rather than for the construction of another Ivey building.” Sometimes people protest when over 1,000 arrests were made, many of which were unnecessary and unexplained, violent and violating—when age and race and gender were exploited for the amusement of some power-tripping pigs—when a group of journalists and protestors and bystanders were walled in by grim police officers and made to stand in the pouring rain for several hours—simply because they didn’t believe that one billion dollars was necessary for a world-summit that should not even have occurred in downtown Toronto—because they were asking questions about their country, talking about civil liberties and exercising their right to free speech when officers disregarded them—because they were singing songs and anthems, doing cartwheels and taking photographs.

You have not sugar-coated it for me: I hear exactly what you are saying: You don’t live in a democracy anymore. Go back to sleep. You have masked your words for others; submissive, lazy people, ready to accept whatever excuse offered, so prepared to believe in a government which has manipulated its conservative agenda so much that its own ignorance truly is bliss. You believe yourself when you say that your police did an excellent job—even the ones who kicked senior citizens and punched unarmed, unthreatening civilians—even the ones weren’t wearing visible identification. You believe yourself.

But I don’t. And I know there are others. We share a common lack of faith in the current political system’s security of peace, management of money, chain of authority, and preservation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I am a writer, just as Strayer and Trudeau, just as those who drafted our rights—not privileges. People may read the same words, but if you’re actually aware of your place in this country—actually aware—then you may read something different.

And it isn’t sweet. It’s just how we feel.

July 7, 2010

Experiment 7: Metamorphosis

Filed under: experiments, prose — Tags: , , , , — Sunflower Skins @ 8:20 pm

Outside: stars blinked through shifting pockets of clear sky, clouds pushed around by early autumn winds. At times the moon interrupted the swirling darkness below—the serene, celestial divided by the horizon from the embittered, landed. And that space between our world and the infinite unknown, from my words to your ear.

Little changes take place every day. You either realize and acknowledge them or you don’t, but life continues more or less the same as before: the same as yesterday—or two hours ago—or the last moment that passed. Moment to moment. Larger changes, the less frequent occurrences: they are also either acknowledged or not—but far more intensely, either extremely embraced and personally treasured or equally denied, rejected, and distinctly ignored.

You step around a flaw in the system—in the marriage—but that one change was going to happen one way or another, whichever way you pushed the energy—whichever way you shouted, “Move.” The sky seethes with an eternity of choices, but you must choose and be bound by one only. You step around the manner and refuse to acknowledge its relevance, or you accept it and step forward.

No time to think of consequences.

Inside there is turmoil brewing, twisting your heart & your gut into true recognition of your place in this world. Because we only live in this world. We only have this chance. The transfiguration won’t be gradual this time—it will shake your entire life and perhaps those of a few others—but it will not affect the outside.

This system was built for metamorphosis. Your desperate decision, or your petty obliviousness, comes down to the physics of space—space and spots of light—the inner spark between us—the humanity either blazing or extinguished in your eyes.

July 4, 2010

Sketches, Experiment 11: Picking Off Thugs

Filed under: experiments, prose — Tags: , , — Sunflower Skins @ 2:18 am


This isn’t what they look like anymore.

They wear black and have shields and nightsticks. They come at you like a wall. They aren’t protecting you; you are the enemy.

Gauge my distance. He is in the open street—the old wooden tabletop—and has his back to the prisoner. The protestor. She is far away, hazy. We’ll get to her in a few minutes. Systematic terror first. I could take him down in a single shot, rubber bullets flying. He looks armed, but he isn’t. Even though he stands there, green and innocent—chanting, singing, smiling at pedestrians—I could take away every right he has. Within reason, of course. But this is without reason at all.

A senseless act repeated over and over throughout the days, a continual stamping of the foot, insisting, “There is no problem here. There is no reason for an inquiry.”

But I’ve got you in the eye of my lens, I’ve got you pinned. You have nowhere to go but where I tell you, and I’m not going to tell you anything. Just move. Stumble back across the tarmac, keep your gun or your camera or your cell phone steady, disbelieving the scene you are seeing. The place is the intersection—the park—the table. The space is closing in. Cries go unanswered, seemingly unheard as stone faces march forward. Their adrenaline is too high. They must love this. They won’t hear you.

If people are asking for an inquiry, that itself is a query and should remind you of the service you swore to uphold. There is something seriously wrong with picking off civilians as thugs. If you accept this, get out of our office.

July 3, 2010

Experiment 3: The Temporal City and the Timeless Idea

Filed under: experiments, prose — Tags: , , — Sunflower Skins @ 2:19 am

It began. And people came to the imagined city, the one created by so many. It was a great dream of collective minds, all frustrated by the country’s current social and economic state, desirous of change for themselves, for the world. But these people arrived in a city they didn’t know was in disguise. Even in the safest places, there was now danger; by the end of the weekend, the imagined city had been beaten and arrested and intimidated, truth only revealed later through emerging digital documents.

The They had deemed the city temporal and therefore subject to numerous infractions: hours didn’t matter to strip-searched, dehydrated kids in detention centres;  hours spent in confusion and fear, antagonized by a black bloc, were worth nothing; hours were lost to sitting in the rain, surrounded by an army of police. The timeframe has been dissected. We are learning what happened in the days governed by non-existent law. Floating on its own in space, that city was two: the one imagined by the people and the one created by The They. And the latter stomped its heavy, ugly foot on the former, allowing chaos to take place while money and force was used in unreasonable, unnecessary places.

The singing and v-signs continued long into the nights, echoing long after hundreds of arrests had been made.

Now that it’s over, the city we imagined still remains: one free of vandalism and unjust search and seizure, one without a dark and destructive underground or a violent and threatening security enforcement. Cut art’s funding and then detain the thug who protests it? Fix the economy by targeting minorities and arresting the peaceful? No way! The imagined city is not like that. The one we imagined we’d have, the one we believed possible last week is still achievable. I think I can see it if I close my eyes.

Basic human rights is not a new idea. Freedom is the oldest word, but only after repression. Keep talking about what happened at the Toronto G20, free speech and civil liberties from the cage.

And know your rights. The imagined city will uphold them.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: