Thursday, 2 January 2014

John Barlow: view from Toronto

view from toronto


We have about 36 time consuming fussy things to remember to get done by team's departure dates, most of them so mind numbing you have to go under regular conscious thought to focus on them, into a realm of rumbling rambling monoconscious doing each uninteresting part of it precisely naturally the mind flies like a bat out of hell every which way in its unused portions. I get it from the coalminers side of my dad's family, though the orphans on the patrilineal were child labourers in the mills and lucky to survive to adulthood: they were more stoic; the little coalminers of gramma scholes world were the passionate ones, like songbirds when seeing sunlight
...thats where i get my love of fleet women, gramma and her sisters
you'd truly think you were among birds.


What a year, 2013. friccin H. They make unemployment insurance unattainable, raise the beginning age for old age income support, we have the biggest idiot mayor of all time in our face all year, half the army's committed suicide, blow up the town of Lac Megantic, a bunch of haphazard fucks just making life worse and worse.
You should hear the ranting in the warehouse. The most basic kinds of near apolitical people are just disgusted and it seems a miracle if anything works at all.

senate oratory

Monday night way past my sleep time I was intently listening to the last hours of senate floor hearings
of that day. Immensely impressed and daunted. the conservative house leader was perfectly 15th century witch hunt seeking to terrorize opponents with their being next with what amounts to the new undefined rules of senate you can claim expenses, vet them, inquire, have them cleared, and maybe anyway months later have them retroactively declared invalid and be publically smeared and humiliated and punished
with a vaguely whipped vote in a vindictive scapegoating spirit. The second last opposing speaker was a woman with incredibly powerful resolve clearly putting self interest aside to come back with truths against the conservative's twisting knife, the last opposing speaker and closer of the day lengthily went on with horribly accurate quite accusative analysis and objection that had me gasping
unable to turn it off til complete, amazed
such stark words were being put to the government.

I'll be trying to look for it myself (googling hansard comes to mind)*
but do you or others here know a tidy means of accessing transcipts? I could go over the texts in question at quite some length of value. Just amazed by some of it.
One thing the recent motion to suspend Brazeau, Duffy and Wallin has done is made Canadians pay attention to that little regarded institution and I have suddenly seen oratory that I did not know was within those walls.

January 2013

 A lot of First Nations' Chiefs have sounded the serious note as this week's unfolded, while conservative  spøkespeop¬e and mavericks have been, not so much serious, as spoiling for a fight, and in most cases one based on ignorance and hostility, rather than anything relevant, useful or intelligent.

In the midst of my own tumultuously tiring workweek and such historic factors as the given day's weather, it's intriguing to foresee how all this could have real meaning, profound effect, is filtered through the economically structural lessenning of the value of life.

…The agreement is often 60-40 one of knowing the vote splitting on the part of those I agree with is explicitly what gets the Conservatives elected. And to a considerable extent the Conservatives, and right wing Liberals, are and have been the problem throughout "Canadian" history. Along with the corporations they serve.
This conservative government that our bullshit causes to be elected can't even begin to imagine relating as equals to the First Nations. They wouldn't have the slimmest idea what that would involve.


Had half hour conversation with a spirited campaigner for a world poverty organization, along a wall on spadina, very charmed, but I don't bank on the street. She had a device to phone my bank, set it up, and I'd be sponsoring a village for $9 a month direct deposit. Wildly charming though, she was doing a high stepping slow motion ridiculous dance as I was heading down that way - both bikes with flat tires and wheels and gears- one near unrepairable, the other maybe)

and then as I tilted my head curiously, focussing my eyes as it was quite dark, she lit up with smile and quick affirmational nod and asked to borrow my time. Activist people so often have this high level of theatricality.

She truly would not take no for an answer, and it was really fun having her tell all about all the world places, and try to make it so sound so easy to call the bank and become a monthly partner in the organization. I told her I don't have credit cards, don't trust my bank with anything complicated, don't really bank on the street,
and have at least 3 friends verging on homelessness and probably do as much to help them as I want to.
She poured it on and poured it on, until it was pretty much just a fun conversation. I bet what charm I may have is likely brought out by a circumstance where at every moment I'm trying to tug onward, do my errand, resume the longish feeling walk home, with no bicycle, after a daylong of such trudging.

Her determination to eliminate every element of my reasons for reluctance wasn't far from complete, except I hadn't necessarily said that I'd never bank with a newly met stranger on a dark street, in so many words.
Politeness had become quite high level friendly parryings on topics all of which were mutually agreed. A fun conversation. I gave her my recent photocopy books and she was amazed and overjoyed, best response in years to such a gift, "you made this!" and when quickly noted the key texts in it her delight further ran up. She seemed really delighted and finally with a wonderful smile said alright I could go now and seemed enthusiastic to start reading the books already specially the blue one, and that she could write to the email address
and continue trying to convince me to sign up for the program.
Really funny conversation sometimes and friendly.
I can't imagine her generation will grow up to tolerate the conservative's agenda, good only for skyscrapers,
with the populace paying for them, like the pharoahs. 

That agenda carrying on really will be a huge disaster for a lot of people. People always think the sufferings in Canada are less but there is the maximum of it in people out there. Being economically pushed off the cliff in cold rich canada can be as headlong as any other thing.

It's incredible people bank on little hand held devices.

Which brings us to the present.

~John Barlow

John's blogs 


Barlowhockey's Blog

John's poetry 

barn reading 2013

Ugly House Poets Reunion, Windsor Book Fest, 2008

Buffalo Wings 2006 - John Barlow 

(1 of 2) above

Buffalo Wings 2006 - John Barlow

 (2 of 2) follow link to view

readrobread Published on Jan 8, 2013  

 From a poetry reading in Buffalo, NY

 in Feb 2006 with Kemeny Babineau and Rob Read.

 Reading recorded by Nick Schwartzmyer. 

Sound editing and soundscape by Rob Read.

John's books

Three books from Exile Editions

Top image by John Barlow, ice storm 2013

"View from Toronto" comprises jb posts selected from various e-groups over the year, used with permiss

My thanks to jb for ensconcing me in his world of e-poetry, +
for friendship

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