Category Archives: current

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.

Tim Out

Apparently the morning after the election, Tim was saying on the radio that his party lost because of the “fentanyl overdose crisis,” which I haven’t heard. i mean the radio interview. then following opinion(s) were among the post-election explainers the day after.

he’s sitting on the steps.

new council: different people, different arrangement, new dynamics, and everyone is a BLONDE WHITE LADY. so look, Tim, just please stop explaining things, yeah? let these immortal words be your last public comment, echoing through the ages pic.twitter.com/m1XHTwjrYB

— Karen Ward (@kwardvancouver) October 24, 2018

so, is 10 years 10 years? is that long? in terms of years?

that was july 26 2017.

oh that was when he was coming back from the Sochii olympics and i was demanding that he resign for floating the idea of the forced military removal of drug users from the streets of vancouver, and Jeremy got him at the airport and that was the lead story. august is slow, ok!

the question in the original article was “what will happen with vision?” is impossible to answer, and also who cares what this guy says?

aaaaaand a little later. of course i made a choice to, you know, temporarily modulate my anger, because of the humans – so really if you have sudden issues with me waiting, because your political goals are more important that all those units of housing – it’s probably best we don’t discuss.

COPE, with harm reduction

two days out, final reviews of parties on overdose-related and other drug policy issues. didn’t want to have to do this. I haven’t heard or read anything to indicate a serious understanding of this issue from COPE: The Coalition of Progressive Electors. Others have asked for thoughts, reached out, asked questions, developed solid ideas. this platform has less than what the city is doing now. in Factual Reality. it’s less than what Gregor has done. that is a fact. it’s clear they have no idea what has been done, and what is being done now.

i have tried to convey these concerns privately. but critique, disagreement, whatever, is always taken as an *attack*. I worked with Jean for years, and Wendy Pedersen same. this document tells me that you have not taken any time to understand this issue seriously. you don’t know the facts. your statistics are incorrect. and they aren’t “just numbers.” there is zero meaningful engagement with the complexity of this massacre.

because-too-many

their platform is heavy on traditional COPE specials like “stuff that is already happening” and “stuff that the city doesn’t have the authority to do” and empty symbolism

the fact that you clearly haven’t read a word I’ve written or paid any attention to anything i’ve done for the last 16 months or whatever stings a bit. but the fact that you present this naive, ideologically-driven (yeah, science, fact, evidence, and experience are much better) retrograde policy to the public, and our city, our neighbours (the ones who aren’t dead) (yet) does not trouble me. it angers me.

I have waited as long as possible. but I won’t sit here and let this go silently (because “the cause”). there’s nothing left or progressive about this. more people will die. I don’t give a shit what you think your ideology says about that.

sure it hurts. but if Jean Swanson & others are elected saturday, others will be hurt more.