Qin 

Was bloody, half the empire would fall
but battle only lays them for a time
they cut and burned the books to quell the live
Rites of Zhou replaced with rule of law

and rule of land and tombs that fit for kings
an infantry to make it great again,
chains of serfs and bastards moved as one
bound the little states that wrapped Beijing.

Two thousand years, about a million men,
a life for every foot of wall when done.
What is blocked and what is kept within?

Caged white roosters, mortar made from bone
like the scales of a sleeping dragon
and as visible, too, from the moon.


So, I just handed my poetry manuscript to a potential publisher. Whenever I do that, something strange happens. I re-read the manuscript and edits that I never saw before come to the fore. It's remarkable. So here is the latest. A freshly revised sonnet.



Rust 
Thorax of tractor, trailer aground.
Letting the metal go.

The gathering is shrinking. Soon
we forget to ask.

Old men idle over tinto and war.
A dyke gives way nail by nail.

It doesn’t stop here, ever.
Through bulging sewers

and guttered debris,
the music snuck back,

slipped on a hot little dress.
What part of love is patience?

A blown-out, boarded-up
city stuffs its windows with toys.

The derelict car lot
polka-dotted.

Abandon as litter
or landscape?

Insides out
mustering red.



Published Halifax Poetry Series, Frog Hollow Press and FreeFall Magazine
2016

Power and Love 
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

Martin Luther King Jr. wrote that the year I was born in "Where do we go from here: Chaos or Community?" Timely given all that is happening right now.

I'm speaking in LA at a social entrepreneurship workshop (Starting Bloc) about how I use these ideas practically in my work, especially in network building. How we balance saying what needs to be said with widening the tent.Tricky beautiful stuff. How being a mutt or at the edges has always felt a bit lonely but I've come to realize is a unique and helpful vantage point. Well placed to help build the bridges.

Community Land Trusts 
“I think private ownership of the land is a really bizarre concept. It makes no sense. It makes no
more sense than private ownership of water.”
Mary Houghton, Co-Director

The Burlington Community Land Trust has a radical vision: to secure housing as a basic right, not as a commodity to be bought and sold. The Trust enables low-income families to buy homes on land it owns, controls and keeps perpetually affordable. Founded over 20 years ago, the Trust uses the following approaches:

• Pursue a Practical Approach: Low-income people receive subsidies from the Trust to
buy their homes. The Trust also buys the land on which the home sits, and leases it to the
homebuyers. When the homeowners sell, they receive 25% of the increased equity. The
Trust gets 75% and uses this to keep the housing permanently affordable.

• Build a Grassroots Base: The Trust cultivates a membership of 2,400 people. The
organization holds neighborhood meetings before
taking on a new project in a community.

• Institutionalize Democratic Leadership: All members have voting rights. The
community-based board makes all substantive program decisions.

• Balance Opposing Opinions: The organization maintains a diverse mix of grassroots
and conservative interests on its board as well as among its membership and supporters.
The Trust encourages debate. According to one member, disagreement actually serves as
a bond: “We have to get it right.”

This is just one model but it is a bit of the poster child for CLTs. The CLT model has had a lot of success in the US and is gaining some small experience in Canada in both urban (for housing) and rural (for farming and housing). There are hundreds of models that include rental ownership, CLTs that own neighbourhood construction companies, community workshops and capacity building, community gardens. In rural areas, I've seen permaculture and cross-generational farming mentoring. Great example of solidarity economics. There are alternatives.

100,000 Poets for Change 
Proud to be part of this chorus of voices speaking out on the American election. Click on the link below to read the poems.
  |  related link

Next