Category Archives: crysis

historically trained

i’ve been thinking about the ways we take care of our past. and the ways we don’t. and how it gets written over and over.  and sometimes people are more concerned with taking care of the past than they are about casually discarding human lives in the present day.

as you may know, i have historical training.

so while trying to avoid some task, i came across a lost folder – an archive. the fact that this document exists is a testament to qualities not conventional among public officials –to understand that our lives are an ongoing argument to mean in the world, which as i understand it, is to become what we are seeking, rather than demand it of others, and refuse to situate ourselves as endlessly lacking, rejecting the power we inherently have. or, in Tracey’s words, “don’t ask if you’d never give.” i’ve tried to follow through with a bit of the stuff she was working on. and in doing so have learned a lot about government. much of which, as any reasonable person, i didn’t want to know. but holy shit people, am i glad i did.

and if it’s not clear, i do consider the obscenely exploitative and stipended poverty-dependent local activist culture among the primary causes of her death. exploitation and enforcement is a good deal at 10$/hr in this housing market when people are this poor. i’ve done as much as i can at this time to point out these contradictions and hypocrises, and seriously people, this is your fight.

we talked a lot about what the downtown eastside means, and all that had to be figured out. she loved it and she was rooted here but was of more than this place, through relations and connections and networks locally unperceived.

i am not sure if this was posted publicly when i was at vandu, or by the city at the time. it would take me 4-8 hours to prove, one way or the other conclusively, and nobody is paying me right now to do that or even anything i am actually good at or might possibly even enjoy.

on the editorial history i am a little unclear. in any case, this is the city’s proclamation of Tracey Morrison Day, July 21, 2017.

PROC - Tracey Morrison Day - July 21 2017-1 - Edited

for this and much else, thanks Andrea

when his friend c.s. lewis died, tolkien was shaken. he wrote that he was  “like an old tree that is losing all its leaves one by one: this feels like an axe-blow near the roots.” and he was over 60 then — he was an orphan at twelve, he was in the mud of the “great war” and on his return all his close friends were dead — and as his authentic self, a tree, experiences lewis’ thoroughly natural death as a near-sunderinng from the earth itself 

i first read that last winter.  it stops my heart, and i don’t have a sense of rootedness. or a family. i said in 2014 that the neighbourhood was the closest thing i know to what people meant by “home.” that tentative sense has been gone for about 15 months. it seems to me that most people in the DTES who have been affected by (ie. seen up close) the realities of the “overdose crisis” in this place, have been changed profoundly. to claim otherwise is to embrace denial and a perverse stoicism. or people keep themselves busy – anything as long as there’s never a moment to think – or get really involved with researching the derangement of their senses, or become so involved they can believe themselves indispensible to the situation, invincible, and later indifferent, while the bodies pile up.

i reject that completely. the DTES was predisposed to react in these ways. in fact we were all already traumatized and damaged before this all happened.

i need a bit of time to think. so i’ll take this.

i presume she’d laugh at some of the absurd situations i have found myself in; others she’d enjoy for rather different reasons. but there was an election, the meter has clicked over, i did what i could. wondering what she’d make of all this.

Some people, even elders say, this is sick land, meaning it’s bad land, right. And well, it could be, but you know, how sick could it be when this is where I found compassion, friendship, family, love, hope, faith in people – this is where I found it.

i remember this conversation, her speaking with an elder. we continued walking down the street to deal with some messed up shit that was happening. we talked about that conversation later, though. “maybe its too sick right now,” she said then, and added quietly, “we have to heal ourselves first.”

there’s clearly no interest among the surviving powers in the neighbourhood to do anything different, acknowledge some collective wrong, and rethink the way all our interactions are about power. and i don’t share Tracey’s faith, especially faith in people, not after all this. so i’m not not interested in continuing in this manner, in maintaining these ways of living, or working , or being, in this place.

“that’s just how it is down here,” i hear all the time. “that’s how people are,” i heard often (when i talked to people more). such beliefs condemn even the possibility of positive change as naive – this reflex condemnation is another reason why we are in this mess. so, much thanks, therefore, for showing me (or reminding me?) that these beliefs are both bullshit and chickenshit at the same time. and that there are others. and nothing needs to be this way, down here or anywhere else. there’s nothing natural or acceptable about this disaster. 

on Hastings, it’s just more rain

to quote gord downie, i had a job before this. like – everyone – some of my interests and skills are not about despair. but even i find myself difficult to be around, and i’m concerned that i’m going to start hating the neighbourhood (as so many of its self-appointed ‘leaders’ do, which explains a lot). so if i’m ever going to be any help to anyone around here, i need a few steps back from this. and it’s a little silly to be this frustrated both that i can’t do exactly what i want and that i quit too many jobs.

i need to get back to my other work, and see if i can find it. and i need a break. seriously, at least 6 or 8 months. away from vancouver entirely. i have some writing to do. i haven’t been out of town for years. i have zero 100% reliable income other than disability, no resources, nowhere to be. things to do; i’m restless.

fortress, elegy


Fortress of Solitude (2017)

This Crysis Has Taken –   
Aug 2 2017

[…] That is the first thing was all have to try to figure out if we can go on, in a good way, and make it in any way possible to deal with this fucking world, as it is now, this dim, broken shell when everything and everyone we love is dead and all of us are dying. The arrogant asshole sun still bothers to rise, as if there was still a world. My pipe explodes in my hand. I can’t speak.

We have to do all of this, and do it in a good way. All of it is about healing, about justice, about fighting to build a world where we can all be together, in a good way. And be alive. I am angry. [….]

Residents Demand Immediate Construction of Huge Towers When Unobstructed View Reveals Mountains To Be Gigantic Heap of Drug-User Corpses

“If there isn’t at least the beginnings of two or three dozen 60-storey mixed-income towers all over the place by the end of this month, I’m leaving town and won’t write a heartfelt think-piece about it,” said a guy with a job and home and a stupid hat .

Tourism Vancouver has indicated that many cruise ship passengers, unsure now of what to do and shocked at the un-postcardlike spectacle, can be spotted downtown, spinning in place.

Local attractions have also taken a sudden economic hit. Northbound travel on bridges has virtually ceased.

“Quick,” reads one hastily scrawl letter to council. “How about Temporary Modular Sixty-storey Towers? INCREASE MY PROPERTY TAXES. Whatever you need.”

The sudden awareness of the mountains of drug user corpses looming over the city has resulted, of course, in resentful bitterness among those vying for the title of first-world problem warrior (vancouver 2018).

“I want to look soulfully at mountains when things are tough and I need to put things in perspective,” said a software engineer whose life is totally tough. “I don’t want to be reminded of the epidemic in our midst that illustrates so precisely the scale of the tragic moral and cultural failures of our society.”

“Obviously I never want that.”



When they called in the morning and I realized it was precisely because I am unaffiliated, and am doing gig work while I try to sort things out, and pursue my assorted interests, and tie up a few loose ends. I could give an unvarnished opinion on the Treatment Strategies report, and nobody (else) would be punished, no organization would lose funding or a research contract. #HarmReduction is widely applicable.

And a lot of the report was encouraging. Then words started to jump out at me. The tone  became ominous. Then–


So, I am against every drug user in my neighbourhood, including myself, being forcibly removed from society and sent to behaviour-modification camps. What if the camps were peer-run? Still against mandatory relocation to lord of the flies-land, even if there is free dope, yes.

CBC was doing ‘journalism’ by asking me to be on the program, since they were aware of what I outlined in my previous post. The people who were on the inside of this process were (with reason) unable to speak out, or were in favour of this, or were discouraged from reading it, or were manipulated into dependence, or think that by some magic, this won’t include them.

And I won’t discuss how “research suggests” that this might be a good idea, except to note how weak-ass that is, and how non-science is the ‘science’ presented.

And there’s a drift, as you read the report closely. At the outset, “recovery” is a process. By page 20, abstinence means success.

I was hesitant at first to do the afternoon show – I wasn’t going to get into a performative debate about ‘personal experiences’ and I don’t do the “traumatized addict” routine. I talked to the show’s production assisting-journalist for ten minutes or so, and an hour later was heading to the studio. I reflected, inevitably, on how strange and fuckedup and amazing this last year has been, and how concerned and anxious I am about my own future.

Link to the BCCSU’s media release

Link to the report. It’s a PDF.