I have put out a call for writing or artwork that resonates with the themes discussed on this blog. I am indebted to Darrel Lawlor for providing my first guest contribution from his online poetry space. Darrel—who works at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan—describes himself as "a poet without rhyme, allusions or illusions ... I write but I'm not a writer. I am quotidian man, common as dirt." Well, my reader can judge for themself whether or not Darrel is a writer, but these are fine credentials for inclusion on a site concerned with excavating the margins and the outcasts of civilisation.
by Darrel Lawlor
I see myself, obscure, unknown, unpublished,
unacknowledged, as poet, going around town observing,
putting it all down, in notepads.
I see people lost in their heads, doing their drug of choice,
behind closed-doors, escaping the inner-vacuum that sucks
the days of their lives into dust-bag brains.
I see people imbibing in artificial fun, hoping beyond hope to
replicate the pseudo-fun As Seen On TV where advertisements
are as fantastic as ideas of heaven.
I see people seeking escape in mental intoxication.
Working and working, not as persons, but as things, people as
consumer numbers buying and buying more garbage
to live the dream! Yellow-brick dreams that end in landfills.
Their lives in pictures fading, fading.
I see people listening to politicians who have their own dreams
of mink-lined toilet seats. The holy Mass of people Listening to
politicians who walk on so many peoples' heads, rising to the top
before being skimmed off, with a good pension and golf on Sundays.
I see myself, as poet, stepping to the side, in stillness
and quiet, stepping out of the film of life's movie that's been
sped up to a hundred frames a second, speeding blurred people,
bouncing and careening, moving and doing and set to a Glass
soundtrack looping as I watch, from outside, with a lump in
my throat the size of a jaw-breaker.
I see myself stepping off the treadmill, staring wide-eyed at
the miracle of life so casually squandered by so many plastic
people decapitated, disembodied, wireless computer-heads
so detached from nature as to think mobile phones grow on trees,
people fueled by insatiable desire where enough is never enough.
I see people so detached as to think that there's nothing wrong
in taking what you want without caring for trees or bees, flowers and foxes.
I see Mr. Foxes fighting to survive on the mean streets of the city
where there's no room for foxes anymore.
I see people oblivious and indifferent to what is, and has been, done,
for the Almighty One, the God Dollar, worshiped and adored.
I see people feeling themselves part of a giant machine that can't be stopped,
feeling obscene, infinitesimal and ineffectual in the grand global scheme of things.
But that's just it! It isn't as complicated as the experts put it. The
goldfish people gaping with mouths opening and closing, signifying nothing,
need to pause and consider.
The goldfish people on this goldfish bowl planet where they swim in excrement
need to shake their collective heads and stop. Just stop. Be still.
Goldfish people need to stop doing what they're doing to their goldfish bed,
they need to stop mental meandering in electronic dream worlds and get out of their cars
and walk on goldfish legs.
Say hello to my little friends, dear neighbour, they're called feet and they can walk, and those,
those are eyes that are capable of looking at skies. Stop buying for a minute and put down
that electronic cyborg device and smell the breeze. Question it all, the whole interrelated
mess and consider the good that might be done by not doing a thing.