war memorial.

clockas much as i try not to react to things like this, personally, especially in writing, i have to say that it isn’t easy for me, personally, (i mean very personally & little else right now) to see the war memorial blocked off with caution/crime scene tape.

i had places in hamilton, before i left, unique & special places that even after they stopped being unique and special i would still return to when i wanted to write, or be alone. city hall, the rooftop of jackson square, gore park, TH&B, victoria park, and beneath the bridges of the QEW. and i had them in dundas too: the carnegie gallery rooftop, of course, the driving park, grove cemetery, the rope swing (sounds so adorable now, and small-townish), the creek.

i feel this connection right now to hamilton that i don’t want to feel but it’s glaringly there: the wreaths & flowers piling at the armoury on james street, the tributes from friends who knew him personally, the hamilton websites & news i follow now talking about my city, my war memorial, my streets. i love feeling connected to my hometown for its places and its people, but i don’t right now.

in ottawa i’ve been lucky enough to pick new places just for myself, that are unique & special, where i can write or be alone. the canal, obviously, the bank street bridge, the underpass, confederation park, never parliament (boring!), the war memorial. these places are more than just places to be alone to think or write: they’re mixed up for me in my memories, the days, nights, walks, conversations, coffees, kisses, confessions, lies, truths, friendships, drunken stumbles home that make up my actually personal life.

also, and this is even more personal, but my birthday being on remembrance day has allowed me (since being in ottawa) to take the day off & visit the war museum, the memorial, and spend some time, reflect on it personally, reflect on it not-personally. so seeing it blocked off is strange. i wish this didn’t sound so selfish, it’s just hard for me to not connect personally to things; it doesn’t mean i’m ignoring the rest of it.

“the nice thing about the war
memorial is that
there are no voices, you
can’t hear a word”

(august 2011)

memorial

details-not-feelings word cloud

i made a little word cloud the day after the tour ended, the thursday, after waking up late and so slowly making my way through a few cups of coffee. last night i transferred it to cardstock & added some colour. there are things i forgot to include, and things i didn’t include because they were maybe just a little too personal, but overall i feel like it’s a pretty decent summary of those five days in the accord.

five-collage-jesslyn-delia

Jeff Blackman has been maintaining the tour website since day one, and he continues to add to it although the tour itself is technically over. it’s still strange to think, we did it.

i’ve already written about the tour (more than once), i know, but it’s going to keep happening. if i’m boring you to death with it then please, before you’re completely sick of it, visit Justin Million’s & Cameron Anstee’s websites to read what they had to say after #ithappened.

the more i think about it the better i think of it, the fonder i look back on it, and i wonder how much stronger (or not) those feelings will get. reading & being published in Five alongside these people is enormous for me. i can’t stop re-reading their work, going over their words and remembering their voices. i never expected, before this tour, to have such a powerful shared experience with other readers. you read with other readers, and you read with your friends, and it’s a good time, it’s fun and exciting, maybe you’re nervous, or they are, maybe not, maybe it means something or maybe it doesn’t.

now it’s something else. it’s like i could read anywhere at any time and still have these feelings (/people) with me, the things we had each night before the readings started, sitting at tables drinking beers together, sorting it all out.

as Cameron so eloquently put it, “the best part of it all was getting to listen to you night after night.” damn you, Cameron, putting thoughts into words.

it happened.

Photo 2014-10-16, 12 29 14 PM

i’m at a complete loss for words. i know that sounds ridiculous on a writing blog, but i’m okay with it. “okay with it” doesn’t even begin to sum up what i’m going through right now. i’m drained, inspired, exhausted, overwhelmed with thoughts, and feeeelings, and i need, need, need to write. i’m going to try to force my loss of words into actual words, which means that i don’t really know how much sense this will make. the last thing i want is to get all gushy here, but just so you’re warned: i’m gonna get a bit gushy.

we wrapped up the An Accord of Poets tour on wednesday night in peterborough. it was the best imaginable ending to the four days leading up to it, the year+ of planning behind it, and all the words that were written and said in advance of it. i’ve been asked for my #1 favourite moment from the tour, and really all i can say is that day/night. we went for dinner before the reading and it just felt so final, but still so exciting; it felt that there was so much left even though it was mostly over. we talked about some of the things we’d experienced during our time on the road, our readings, our nights out, our moments at the al purdy A frame & grave site. just being there, toasting to our tour, sharing a last meal, and then taking the evening to go over our words, sign books for one another, drink together, and prepare for the drive home, was enough to sum it up for me (sadly rachael was not there for this portion of the tour, but she was of course there in spirit).

i went into this tour knowing that i would come away from it closer somehow to these people. for me that’s a really big deal, & a lot of people might not get that but i know that they get that. of course we’ve been friends for years, and we still are, but it really is sort of breakfast club. or i feel like it’s sort of breakfast club. but BETTER, because poetry.

ottawa was overwhelming. it was particularly meaningful for me that our home base friends were in the room, some family, and most importantly our partners. they have been impressively patient & supportive, and it was truly something special to have them there before & during our opening night. montreal gave me a few moments i don’t yet know how to begin processing. the reading was a good one, but it was also lovely to meet new people, wander the streets for booze, stand smoking in another city, come & go from the hotel, and just simply be with these people.

i can’t talk about the A frame in this blog post.

toronto was a night of change for me. the room was packed, and filled with some of the best people i’ve ever known. seeing some my oldest friends in the world did a lot for me, and i appreciate it. the readings that night were incredible. these people inspire me consistently. and just the four of us going back to the house at the end of the night was one of the highlights of the whole tour for me, although i wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly why.

peterborough itself, the reading i mean, was a wonderful way to end the tour. having justin as our host, welcoming dave emery to read with us, jeff entertaining the hell out of the room, and cameron taking on the task of briefly summing up the tour before he read. and my voice shaking at the end, only because it needed to, not because of nerves (imagine nerves on the last night), but because of what was happening, and because it was ending, and because i had to pee, and because i’m not allowed to cry during my readings (perhaps the strictest tour rule), so i had to settle for letting my voice shake. & none of this even begins to touch on the full day: book browsing, zoo browsing, forced photos, highway driving, jeff, cameron, justin, patio drinking.

this doesn’t seem like enough, and it seems like too much, but whatever. i will be dealing with post-tour thoughts for a long, long time.

i’ve already said it, but thank you again to my tourmates Cameron, Rachael, Jeff, and Justin. i love you all. (i told you it would get gushy.)

walking.

i went somewhere important tonight
because it’s august

IMG_8261-0.JPG

& it was the right place to be.

walked the rideau river in the dark, swing sets off rideau river road, sunnyside to echo, the long way through the side streets, east side of the canal, bay windows & balconies, no exit signs, main street, pretoria bridge and the canal back to home, fifth avenue.

smaller.

if there were a choice i’d be scarred
and unpretty, you could
not hold it against me that i
wear mascara

we broke it off on the porch in
mid-august, over raccoon eyes, my
pigtails, that i’d been drinking beer
with my friends,
my oversized sweatshirt,
my lack of a bra

you smudge eyeliner off with the
back of your hand, play
finders keepers with
me even
now

i guess i am smaller than
you are in more ways than one