feb-24-2018-snow-branch

that blue sky
against white, bare
branches of slumbering trees
uncommon silence, except
squeaking footfall, marking
those before, the air, unsullied
carrying no scent, fresh
as glints, twinkling crystals
blind me, memory’s avalanche
of youth’s vigor, at play
in blanched fields
benumbed joy, ice-bound there
in the murk of memory, comes
comes, comes, warmly
pause

Photo and Poem © 2018 by DC Lessoway

Screen Shot 2017-11-25 at 12.07.36 PM
Jody Quine from the Georgia Straight article (on-line)

Just found out my friend Jody Quine was featured in an article from the on-line version of Vancouver’s Georgia Straight (click here to see the article).

Two weeks ago Jody Quine and I got together to shot a video for her song “Go On” from her recent album “Stand Up”.   You can click here to see the video.  It was a labour of love.  Especially as I too suffer from depression and in working on this song, it really helped me though a bout of darkness I had been experiencing.  I am grateful to Jody for putting her trust in me to shoot the video for her.

 

 

Vancouver-2016-13

Imagine, a scorching, humid
summer on the coast:

red cedar, hemlock, maple
massive structures the
millennial witnesses
blotting out Sol’s warmth
fragrant, bountiful terrain
below on forest floor
home, life, lungs to earth, air, sea

steel concrete, money, glass
massive structures the
millennium witnesses
blotting out Sol’s warmth
noxious, bountiful landscape
below, plain, spoiled streets
home, life, end to earth, air sea

picture and poem (c) by DC Lessoway

my dear Canada, our home on native land
how true our hearts are to this beautiful north
we in the west, look to the east in worry
as we graded, stand, for what is gloriously free
a toe dipped in Cape Spear, or Tofino
from tundra’d glory of Cape Columbia
to southern bijou of Middle Island

then…

on my sleeve I bleed, my eyes weep
to hear fingers pointed, anger expressed
at each other, no matter recent
or forever denizen
or silly down-putting of those
successful in all points of the earth

prefer I do, the once peacekeeper’d stance
how it made me proud
of my country, my Canada

no matter, love you, I do

© 2013 by DC Lessoway

As a child I would set several boxes around me, put on some music, and with wooden spoons I’d beat the hell out of the boxes until drenched in sweat and the boxes shredded. Funny, I would later pick up a guitar and learn to play, never taking up the drums.

Something always drew me to the drums.

In 1998, when my back had gotten so bad that I was acutely painful to walk without major medication I sought pain alternatives as it could have been so easy to get addicted to the given narcotics. Tried everything from Chinese herbs, massage, acupuncture, chiropractor, etc. Then I found this CD of rhythm of the chakras by Glen Velez and listened (still have it in my iTunes library). Blown away! How each song was for a particular chakra from the root to the crown. Physically I could feel the drumming in each how each song hit a specific part of my body and how each one aligned with a chakra!

Anyway, I’d listen to this in its entirety and at the end I’d be thoroughly relaxed and the pain, while not eliminated, was tolerable. Two to three times a week, with exercise, and the pain level in my back diminished considerably.

Last January I started my current job for a First Nation that sparked me to get my Metis status. When listening to Nation members drum and learn songs, the drums woke something new, deep within me. Last week I attended two First Nation Idle No More rallies at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I’d never saw such ferocious passion and humanity in the men and women drumming and this ignited a fire in my heart!

A year ago I was not far above circumspection when it came to First Nation issues. Of course I’d known about their concerns since I was a child in northern Alberta. While I was on their side, I wouldn’t get out of my armchair of opinion. Well, for any cause actually.

Until I joined the First Nation.

For 20 years I worked in corporate office jobs that were so cold and uncaring for humanity. In dogged pursuit of the mighty buck. Then in joining the First Nation I went from working for money to working for a community! The view went from steel, concrete and congestion to one of grass fields, nature trails and birdsong. Love it! Only gratitude finds my heart and I have finally gotten out of my armchair and out to the streets where I will be idle no more!

 © 2012 by DC Lessoway

at Sol’s pleasure, a venture
through spent leaves fallen
pleasure in warmth
nurturing kindness

Quonsetshapes and shadows
natural, unnatural
in plain manifest
what secret in repose

 

Under Bridge 1structures robustly delicate
layered in emerald
steeled connection
transverse waters deep

 

 

Bridge Stairsup there, the top
crashing, hammering
of swift, rubberized hoofs
day and night and day

Poems and pictures © 2012 by DC Lessoway

The other day there was a meeting with my work’s lawyers to review various files. They were located in a building in North Vancouver overlooking the harbor. Before the meeting we meet in the building’s atrium to strategize. While I was sitting there it struck me that I’d been there before. And the feeling was less a note of remembrance than a slug to the face. Don’t know if my boss notice this reaction, but I had to turn away so to fight off the smarting jolt.

A year ago, jobless, my employment insurance had run out. I walked into the building to visit the Canada employment office and see if maybe it was a mistake, maybe I still had money coming to me.

I’ve stood in that line three times in my life. When I was eighteen, when I was laid off in 2003, then another layoff in November 2010. Each time how the place, sodden with a strange duality of despair and buoyancy. Mixed with a bit of BO and a sense of chagrin, or humility maybe; nonetheless not the kindest place to visit. Through I imagine I’m simply projecting my own feelings on the place.

There, a year ago, standing in line, a heaviness nagging my shoulders, I asked the questions. Alas, no more monies headed my way. Will not forget that moment as my heart sank and a wide, dank pit pulled we down. Accompanied by that familiar battering gloom that precedes what I’ve come to call my situational depression.

How was I to keep a room over my head and help put food on the table? Visions of my wife and I living in the car swamped me.

Whenever someone negativity comments on a homeless or unemployed person, you’ll not hear me agreeing with them. In that year of unemployment I must have had 100 interviews and sent out a thousand resumes. There were several close calls; and one in particular just before Christmas last year where I thought I had the job! But no. It was heartbreaking. That time between November and January was horrific!

But then, then, I happened upon this ad for an assistant to the Chief of a First Nation. Looking back I realized I hesitated in applying. I’d never worked for a first nation before, and, well, after all the interviewers and applications sent, my confidence was at a profound low. But I sent it off, interviewed and got the job!

Oh the relief! A return from the dead! And, in the time since, in the first position, and now as Lands and Resource Manager, how an unknown part of me has awoken! A fierce political animal has been sprung on the side of the aboriginal experience and I love it!

Back to that moment the other day.

Here a year later how sure and confident I feel in this job. Could not be more dissimilar than a year ago!

Story and picture © 2012 by DC Lessoway

Sitting on my couch by the window I look out over an intemperate afternoon in Vancouver.  Clearly one of those days you’d want to curl up with a mocha, a book or the security blanket of television.  I choose to power up my PVR to a favourite show: House Hunters International (HHI) on the HGTV.

 

HHI is, for me, an escape of an escape.  I mean not only the diversion of television, but also the wonderful flight to foreign lands, as expats of many countries forsake the safety of their homelands to live in an exotic local.  Whether that local is the uber-exotic Bora Bora or it’s polar opposite Poland.

 

Imagine: the company you work for want you to move to Marrakech in Morocco.  From a small town in the states too!  What a culture shock that would be!   What I really like is that yes, there are often people with piles of money to spend, searching for that 5,000 square foot mansion overlooking a marina of sailboats.  There are also those who have a more realistic budget looking for a small place in a time-share to spend their yearly two-week vacation.

 

But to my point of what depresses me about the show.  We were watching a show about wife, husband and their three kids moving from the afore-mentioned small town to Marrakech in Morocco.  Yes, there was a significant budget and could afford to live in the more fashionable districts of the old city.  They viewed three of the traditional Moroccan Riads that averaged in asking price of $600,000 euros.  Two were very updated and modern and the one was old, built in the 12th century and crumbling, but a remodeler’s dream.

 

Yet for in this episode they did something different.  They always have three choices for the buyer.  This time, they had four.  The fourth choice was to buy land outside the city and build a new riad.  In the end, this was their choice.  As always at the end of the show, they return a few months later, in this case 14 months later.  My eyes were as big as saucers to see a brand-new, five-room, four bath house in the riad style of a central (and huge) courtyard and multiple sitting rooms and pool!

 

What got me depressed was that they built this enchanting riad on a large plot of land, with an olive grove too!  For under $600,000!

 

Yeah, $600,000! We live in a one bedroom downtown apartment of 738 square feet and it is selling at $535,000!

 

I’ll preface the next notion with: I love Vancouver.  I feel it is one of, if not the most beautiful city in the world.  However, the above, singular fact about the cost of living and the cost of buying in Vancouver is really convincing me that when I am able to afford to buy in the Vancouver area, I won’t.  I know by then it will be time to retire to either a warmer climate or the parisian countryside.

 

Not to mention a particular show about a couple who bought a huge, two HOUSE property for under $400,000 euros… *sigh*

below my feet

questions stir

is someone laughing

at a jester’s tear

are there hearts, shattering

grieving a loss, change

is rage filling souls

with angered might

is the solitary, melancholy sort

scared to reach out, in the crowd

for some

does the routine

going-through-the-motions

drown their reality

so they miss out on love, life

often I wonder

does the city

care?

Photo and poem © 2011 by DC Lessoway