Saturday, June 26, 2010


all images by Lori D Graham "Photographic Evidence"

On Thursday Night I went to the Poet’s G20, an instalment of LiveWords (the monthly reading series organized by Edward Nixon) at the Black Swan on the Danforth. The occasion was the launch of the “Cultural Mischief” edition of Rampike Magazine. Pick one up, it’s worth it. Pages filled with multigenerational innovative poets from Frank Davie to Jenny Sampirisi. It was a wonderful event. The room was packed and sticky. People were jovially enraged by the local political situation. The art was diverse, from a surrealist long poem, to plunderverse, to post-card art and on… Gregory Betts read one of his 3 word poems based on some words from his G20 story from the last post (see below for what he’s been up to with that).

Then, last night, a friend and I made our way downtown, as is our right as citizens of this city (and heck, even if we were tourists… … hmm, where did all the tourists go?…), and found ourselves walking down a street near the AGO that was obviously meant as a staging area for cops. They filled the street like groups waiting to march in the Pride Parade except these were no revellers, they were in full riot gear and stuffed into minivans like a circus clown sketch gone lethal.

It’s 1pm Saturday June 26, 2010. I’m sitting in an internet cafĂ© in the Annex. Not far from me, starting at Queen’s park there are protests and marches. Many of my friends are there. Their bodies, demonized by the current government. Under attack by the throngs of cops that have come, not to keep the peace, but to treat Citizens as Terrorists. Why aren’t I there? I believe that the fight for social justice and the process of peace truly is a 365 day per year endeavour. I believe in the power of the liquid lines of poetry, music, sculpture, painting, photography… I believe that a “diversity of tactics” includes artistic ones and so, I AM here!! And so are you, my affinity group!


Toronto, First Day of Summer, 2010

Finally the cops can be both tourists
and enforcers. Gawk and walk, one-ups,
memories of shots from Resident Evil and A History of Violence,

Killshot, Saw’s impersonations of justice twisted, sure,
but righteousness can’t help its brutality. The big, round one
keeps talking about Owning Mahowny and what the guy did wrong.

This city, its country, its dissented voices, its discipline of the bodies
attached. Go here. Keep quiet. My brother a tourist, legal, curious.
We leave the red cap at Union Station blinking. The cops lean. Steel themselves

in the heat. What’s not to love about jersey wall and a length of chainlink
stretched across what would be the horizon if we were on the outskirts
of Orangeville, maybe, or Edmonton. But this chainlink’s tighter than chainlink,

it’s new and jagged, and the big, round cop, still mumbling about card-counting,
lifts a weak lens to the fence, twenty feet out.
He swoops it down and over, at me, my brother. And shoots.

- Laurie D Graham


medieval adherents still photography
in nature products evident in the maps

mixed names demonstrate uniform
choices are population discounts

fir trees measure dock chairs
twenty please look in on how eden

mapped pasts we need in three time
not blind beyond chef pickerel sauce

muskoka is excellent if off disappears
is hearth fierce shaman love

from above and below nickel belting
ribbed canoes glide in with no ego


med adh sti pho
inn pro evi int map

mix nam dem uni
cho are pop dis

fir tre mea doc cha
twe ple loo ino how ede

map pas wen int tim
not bli bey che pic sau

mus ise xce ifo dis
ish ear fie sha lov

fro abo and bel nic bel
rib can gli inw noe

(old northern translation)

lynn mcclory
june 25, 2010


I've started taking that story (from the last post), breaking it apart, and reposting it on
facebook three words at a time -- inviting people to take the story in their
own directions. You can see the results so far here:

Feel free to contribute too.

( Editor’s Note: Below is an example created at the Rampike Launch on Thursday night, the formatting is mine so check it out on the actual site, or steal these lines and take them out into the street!):

Friday, June 25, 2010
#95 – Faceless But Booked

Faceless but bookedon the site, in the mudword after word after word after wordall transparent charlatanssteams, thirstyFaceless but bookedfences invade my dreamsthe Western Marcheswe only have one scriptwhat do I do with that meatball?make it detoxdetox vegsmorgulon, smorgulax
Faceless but booked off the plane from TulitaI land, I almost faintthe people (400 people, no restaurants)the rushI am curedof my fear of marigolds
I ClaudiusI borrow your bike(don’t trust Greg Betts)I borrow your beer and friendscoffee pottable toptelephoneFaceless but effacingthe matriarchical peacewe’ve called the doctorthe crown, the architect’s erectionAllan Briesmaster, Claudio Gaubio, Michael Christopher Holmes, Aaron Tucker, Jenny Sampirisi, rob mclennan, Frank Davey, Gary Barwin, Lindsay Tipping, Jim Johnstone, Babar Khan, others.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


--Nancy Jo Cullen (some cool graffiti)
--Kathleen Reichelt (4 fragments)

--Kathleen Reichelt

--Kathleen Reichelt

--Kathleen Reichelt


Leaving the People’s Summit Launch on Friday June 18, 2010, with a sense of hope and possibility that I haven’t felt at activisty gatherings in a long while, I was met by a swarm of blue-clad cops (around a dozen or a dozen-and-a-half) on bikes, their insinuating thighs pumping rhythmically up Yonge St. toward the light at college. I had to pause for a moment and remind myself (with the Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival around the corner) that no, in fact I wasn’t in the middle of a visualization exercise to help prepare me to act in a Russian Absurdist play about authorities barging into the homes of artists (Elizabeth Bam by Daniil Kharms—we did that in the 2003 instalment of the Fringe), that indeed I was out walking on the street in my cushy North American city. Of course, with my government having ostensibly spent 66 times what the South African government has spent daily on the security of the World Cup, a touch of spectacle is hardly surprising. Guns flexing, ripping sapling trees that find themselves unhappily within the “red zone” (aka Harbourfront) lest conchies with superhuman powers rip them from the earth with their bare hands and use them as weapons against the 11000 or so paramilitary and other types of officers (there were only 6 000 in Vancouver for the Olympics) with their newly acquired paraphernalia that have converged on the city— Hog Town indeed!— the worst of the “parade” is yet to come.

Let me turn for a moment to discuss what went on inside Carlu hall at College Park on Friday in the hopes of inspiring yet more poetry and art as a way of producing a counter-serum, or multiple lines of flight from these mammoth footfalls that are leaving footprints oozing blood and tar everywhere. The event was called “Stories and Solutions from North and South” and was co-organized by The People’s Summit (a collaboration of many organizations and communities) and Oxfam Canada, with help from The Council of Canadians and The Canadian Labour Congress. It had an impressive line up of speakers: Mary Walsh (Actress and Comedian), Maude Barlow (National Chairperson, Council of Canadians), Lorena Aguilar (Global Gender Advisor, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Costa Rica), Victor Baez (General Secretary, Trade Union Confederation of The Americas, Brazil), Dorothy Ngoma (Founding member of W8 and Executive Director of National Organization of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi), Robert Lovelace (Adjunct Professor at Queen’s University in the Department of Global Development Studies), Ambet Yuson (Secretary General, Building and Woodworkers International, Philippines), Jessica Yee (Executive Director, Native Youth Sexual Health Network) and performances by Sarah Marlow and Eternia. The evening was hosted by Annahid Dashtgard.
The highlights for me were (in order of appearance):

1)Maud Barlow’s discussion of the G77 and the Universal Declaration of The Rights of Mother Earth
2) Robert Lovelace’s perspective on the role of direct action and peace as a process. In his talk he stressed that “peace is a process and not an outcome. It’s a process of relationships…of family. As soon as we see peace as an end or a goal, we are lost.” He went on to say that “We all have a right to an indigenous relationship with the land we live in and with this comes an indigenous responsibly to care for the land.” He went on to speak of decolonization and stressed that “sustainability is recognizing the realities of a place. Direct action is often the signature of a movement…This responsibility has to be taken to [one’s] whole life, all 365 days a year…In whatever you do, direct your actions towards the future.”
3)Lorena Aguilar’s passionate and reasoned plea to have gender equality and perspectives taken into consideration at all levels of planning from the local to the international. She gave a very moving speech about the realities of lack of education and resources among women especially in the Global South, saying that although women produce %80 of food harvested worldwide and have a major role in reforestation, yet women are four times more likely then men to die in major natural disasters, not because of an inherent weakness, but because of a lack of proper education, information and recourses. Her challenge to the room was “learn a name of a woman from the Global South, put her name in your pocket, walk with her needs in mind whenever you go out this week”.

(I have to admit a discomfort when asked to “speak for” or “represent” someone…but then politicians do it all the time, and so I’ve been mulling over how I can bring the voices and concerns of women whose lives may never cross my own but who I must consider, not “speak for”, not “represent” but build a relationship with somehow that overcomes the disastrous and inequitable one that we seem to be having right now … here I think of Judith Butler’s concept of precariousness and wonder if this can help… I also recognize that there are many women here in Canada who I can develop perhaps an in-person relationship with, one born of listening and unlearning…and collaborating with artistically!!)

4) Dorothy Ngoma’s powerful plea for the women of Malawi and her involvement in the impressive W8 project She made it clear that 16 women die every day in her country of pregnancy related problems (that’s 350, 000 per year) the majority of which are treatable/preventable. She made it clear that it is a lack of resources coupled with rich countries policies on things such as contraception, abortion and other types of family planning. Noting that in a population where many families live on less than a dollar a day, to refuse funding based on family planning is inhumane and results in the reality that %40 of the above mentioned deaths are caused by botched illicit abortions, asking: “Do these women not have a right to chose how many children they have?” She stresses public heath initiatives, universal health care and especially education for girls.

Still think feminism is an issue of the past??????

5)Jessica Yee’s impassioned and eloquent discussion of the future of activism and how it’s tied to class, race and gender through sexuality. In case anybody in the room was starting to feel smug about Canada’s position in things (I don’t think many in the room actually were, I for one agree with Yee’s sentiment: “I’m ashamed of Canada”), the 24 year-old power house and member of the Wolf clan who was a child when the “Oka Crisis” (aka the invasion of Kahnawake by the Canadian Forces and the SQ), pointed out that: Ontario doesn’t support sex education; that Aboriginal women in this province and country don’t have proper access to reproduction health, abortion, and harm reduction; that the suicide rate of young Aboriginal women in Canada is 8 times the national average; and that colonialism is still a major factor in day to day lives particularly on reserves but everywhere. Her message was that in order to move forward as social justice seekers we must all begin by questioning our own selves first, that any action that could truly advance the process of peace and decolonization will have to come from the heart and be a way of life. She also said that this kind of work will need resources outside of the non-profit industrial complex and that developing such an economy should be a major undertaking of artists and activists.

I have to admit that I left feeling a great sense of hope and humility… I’m only beginning to apply many of my ruminations of the past few days in an artistic way. Fortunately, many of you are way ahead of me so here is a collection of the collaborative artistic acts of resistance and creation that you have sent me. Thanks to everyone and Keep ‘em coming!


3. Downtown, New York, 1947.

The city encloses us and them. Company
may be mute or demanding.
The animals aren't often taken in,
see through us Rilke said. Sometimes we aren't either.

Expect clean streets. Expect trim ironic youth.
Expect the domesticated dissent of urban stars.
Expect feral affection. Expect sitting on the curbside
fearing, wanting, waiting for terrible beauty to take me in

--Ralph Kolewe


I'm looking for a third way through this fence. I hold up wire like lines by waiting here, in the shadow of the violence of post-industrial transnationalism protected by police. They eye me, do not protect but limit me by reading me. I go forward unto the gate. They read me, make me mean what they want until I am. That's the one I don't like.

The other is a press pass: it's true that I work for this monster machine. I interviewed Harper about his fucking million dollar fake-lake. I sell stories, politics get edited, ads get sold, stories get printed, papers get delivered, people buy computers, companies edit content, content shapes
governments. In that line, I become them. For the more I get read, the more my voice is shaped fit to print.

I need to find another way into this beast that won't destroy, I mean de-story, the democratic narrative. It must be open and unfettered, a thousand voices rising against order. We sing together, we write songs, we must write a song that crippling all order, stumbling into openness off the page, uncovers something irrevocable - something outside order. I believe in the possibility of a third way. So I protest. I write witty slogans on signs, hurl hockey pucks, and smash windows. And I re-tear gas police on the front lines, in the headlines. I make a romantic scenario of this tragic battle. I know there is no escape. Two lines enter, one line dissolves in
the face of the army. We tried to pull down the fence that protects. We pulled it down and made straight for tyrants - ending up here, locked in cells with all the faceless but booked. In my clothes lingers tear gas, but in truth, since the G8, the smoke goes.

--Gregory Betts



5 am and I'm awake
in my bunkered down Toronto-as-police-state
helicopter circles in time with the city machine
I'm asleep and into another dream
on my bicycle I see
the remaking of a film on st francis
in colour the saints wander the desert
pulling up roots for water
feet trapped in plastic
I am up
again with the alarm
Kafka was saying its time to wake up


my hair grows longer
tangles in the summer garden
when I kneel down to pick the sage
overhead the helicopter circles
resembles a dragonfly
that lands on the boat in the lake
only this one never lands
only circles
circles the movement
the flying machine imitates
those on the ground
the makers of circles we are
I look down and see the tiny ant has
found something bigger than itself to carry
the prize to bring back to the tribe
I look out I look in and there I see
I'll be in Kensington on Sunday
with the rest of the hippies
--Kathleen Reichelt

octopus eyes sits in dark booth
shut-in behind furry screens
(the midwife’s fingers exceed this surround)
his gaze watery as the earth
someone has drilled into his slat optic nerve

the edifice a magazine with sequined corridors
harvest of golf carts and strollers
clocks thrust empty samples of occasion
of perfume, amniotic ointment
powder October’s macular fuse


ah! here comes the foul sun
flees and prospectors
to interrupt our
that gush with night’s fitness
--Shannon Maguire
we took some poetry out to the streets, with stickies. I hope people are intrigued with the random lines from the poems that spoke to me the most fiercely.
Thank you to all those whose creativity is so abundant. I like the connections you are making between the major events taking place now!



Speaking of Sustainable local actions:
This Ain't The Rosedale Library (one of my very favourite bookstores) could really use OUR support. Charlie and Jessie Huisken, independant booksellers and promoters of writers, artists and musicians of all kinds are in danger of losing their business. Known for thier generosity, exellent curatorial skills and event planning, it would be a shame to lose this cultural outlet. Please see here for furthur details about how to help and join the facebook group!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
6:30pm - 8:00pm
anywhere that touches the Gulf Stream
Every Tuesday at 6:30pm we will be going to water connected via stream to the poisoned waters of the Gulf. We will stand in mourning for anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours, wearing veils and holding black prayer flags, for the countless lives -- fish, animal and human -- that have been destroyed by bp's act of environmental genocide. This is a public expression


livewords June: Rampike Magazine “Cultural Mischief” Launch Party

Thursday, June 24, 2010
7:30pm - 10:30pm
Black Swan
154 Danforth Avenue
Toronto, ON
View Map
Join us as we celebrate the launch of the“Cultural Mischief” issue of Rampike Magazine, with Gary Barwin Greg Betts Clara Blackwood Margaret ChristakosFrank DaveyAdam Dickinson John Donlan Claudio GaudioKarl JirgensJim Johnstone Babar Khanrob mclennanDesi di NardoEdward Nixon Concetta Principe Jenny Sampirisi,Lara SolnickiLindsay TippingMyna Wallin+Richard UnderhillYES THAT IS MORE:A short musical set starting at 10:30 pm featuring: Richard Underhill(Shuffle-Demon founder) & members of the “Free Spirit” ensemble with:Richard Underhill – SaxophoneAlex Goodman – GuitarWes Neal – Bass your friends to this friendly



Come to 253469 this Saturday between 8 and 11PM to see new performance and video work by Canadian and International artists participating in "Movement comma movement; collective dream 26", an imaginative, collective, conceptual, abstract and immediate response to whats happening and what moves us.

Artists include:
Istvan Kantor
Ulysses Castellanos
Nicole Torok
Angela Eileen De Crescenzo
Christina Kozak
Daeve Fellows
Karol Orzechowski
Robert Morpheal
Lucy McKenna
Kathleen Reichelt
Wesley Rickert

Free admission and everyone is welcome! There will also be free stuff available to take home.
253469 is an interdisciplinary art space that is not ruled by commerce, academia, politics or common sense.
253469 is currently located at 1267 Bloor Street West (just east of Lansdowne) and is generally mismanaged by 253 & 469.

Friday, June 18, 2010

FIELD OF WEEDS: Acts of Art (Black Hole, White Wall)

How can the assemblage be refused the name it deserves, ‘desire’?
-Gilles Deleuze & Claire Parnet

With a weave of events working through the week: the unfoldings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its Winnipeg activities folded into the ongoing hardships and discrimination faced by Canada’s Aboriginal population, this thread taken up by The Memorial To Wilfred Laurier held a week ago by the leadership of the Secwepemc, Okanagan and Nlaka'pamux Nations at Spences Bridge; the ongoing gusher in the Gulf of Mexico receiving the attention that 50 years of devastation in the Niger Delta has never known (not that awareness and response is a zero-sum game, far from it!); and the launch of the People’s Summit in Toronto next to Oxfam’s Gender Justice Summit ; I have been wondering how public art can work as a counterpoint to the enclosures and divisions and that abound. As well, I’ve been considering how my own art practice, heterogonous and sometimes collaborative, might link up in a larger way with other people’s practices and public space. What antidote is an assemblage of desire?

On Tuesday, I put the call out for art works (broken lines, experiments in space) and today I am excited to post the first responses. As you’ll see the strict 8/20 rule was broken by Ward McBurney’s Sestina (a form that calls for 39 lines) and the bp/BP duet (tho perhaps 2 voices get 40 lines??). Thanks to everyone involved so far! Keep the work coming. This is an ongoing and open invitation to send work and then to take it back out into the world. I look forward to many more voices!

SEAQUENCE &The Macando Blowout or bp/BP Duet

the sea
finds its way thru
into wells the farmer digs

BP: No comment.

bp: where
the walls
their movements
in doors

BP: No comment.

bp: in the middle
of wreckage

stripped it bare

BP: relatively tiny major spill in comparison with the size of the ocean

bp: empire
is where the umpire
assumes he’s more important than
the players

BP: very, very modest. We are taking full responsibility for the spill and…where people can present legitimate claims for damages we… are going to be very very aggressive in all of that

bp: i have said everything i can say having started out so sure i know there are times when words make sense times when all this talking seems necessary it doesnt now

--bpNichol & Wickipedia


ongoing. r gest of_ shore.
lick fluctua covers a surface.
small children sWish in the lackened estuary.
immense underwater plumes.
of bird species leak barricades.
oil-black nets, fish ended.
mangroves’ bon[N]y light.
miles of crude pipes’spiel.

--Shannon Maguire


1. Barrio Chino, Barcelona, Spain, 1933.

There is the picture of despair.
Despair itself, I think.
A basket of fruit, is that it? 8 or 20.
In the marketplace. Chalk on the wall.

There is no simple
this side of the security barrier.
Plan a few minutes more they say
to reach the opera. Onegin. Take public transit.

2. Liverpool, England, 1962.

Children and what remain brick walls.
The one War never mind the numbers.
The portions of the city that survived
could not withstand the economy of.

Now 60000 barrels per day and it's going to
Parasitoids, and extremely diverse in
The air is thick with unsolved city.
Helicopters as secure as last year's wasps.

--Ralph Kolewe


Where have all the trashcans gone?
Long time passing...
Where have all the trashcans gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the trashcans gone?
Garbage bin is not a bomb
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

(apologies to Pete Seeger)

--Alana Boltwood


Anything can happen at any time.
What does this mean? If you’re a police horse,
it means you get to stand there while bipeds –
who ought to know better, and do – make crime
sandwiches out of your neck and legs and arse;
it means going wherever it is you’re led

and taking it. They say you can lead
(you in this case means them) (time and time
again, I can’t decide which is worse:
our use of you, or abuse of you) a horse
to water, but you can’t make it rhyme
with everything that has been done or said

in the name of justice, or power. I read
the other day that you were said
to have charged some homeless people – crime
of the century – but when I read the fine
print, I noticed that it takes a horse
bundles of bounds to charge, and, worse,

they (the them, whoever they are) scarce
mentioned that they (I didn’t really read
this: it’s on film) threw fences at the horses
and cans full of bearings at their heads.
I wonder when some uber-god will fine
us with destruction for our crimes

against horses, against animals, against crime.
Until then, we will suffer worse and worse
things through others for the sake of fine
sentiment. I’ve lost my train of thought, and led
you to believe I think the heads
of state are smarter than a horse’s arse.

A politician, the Master said, is an arse
upon which everyone has sat, except a man.
Clear it up any? And in case you think my head
has been turned by pretty pictures, there are worse
things to lead your eye astray, like lead
bullets tracing out the sidelines

where horses ought to live. I think I’ll lead
my arse downtown next week and head
straight for the middle ground of crime.

--Ward McBurney

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


As the city in which I live is being rapidly transformed by the impending descent of reporters, security forces, leaders of the G8/G20 summit and their entourage; as I continue to hear my friends, fellow artists and activists, referred to in chilling terms, their bodies represented in the corporate media as dangerous, treacherous and therefore destroyable; as I simultaneously follow the ongoing damage of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (otherwise known as the Macando blowout!); as Toronto Pride moves further and further away from grassroots action and celebration, and begins to impose censorship on its participants; as I continue to see the erosion of civil rights occur around me, ‘justified’ if at all by the imminent proceedings and/or disaster; I find myself in desperate need of a collaborative project to make sense of and intervene in a most troubling set of social, political, economic and ecological circumstances.

To this end I am inviting you to participate in a series of embodied poetic acts between June 18 and July 5th. You might find yourself at a march in downtown Toronto, in a pub in London England watching the WC and glancing briefly at a newspaper account of the BP oil spill, marking an interminable stack of papers in NYC, you might even find yourself in South Africa or in Surrey BC. Wherever you are, take a few moments to register how any of these events is affecting you and use poetic means to transfigure your experience. Whatever poetic strategies you have at your disposal (or new ones you want to try!) apply them to the language at hand (your own or the words found in media reports).

How it words:

Send 8 to 20 lines of poetry, flash-fiction, or micro creative non-fiction to “shanmaguire” c/o gmail by 8:20pm daily (kidding, midnight, will be just fine!) and I will post each poetic response here to create a collective poem along with a brief introductory comment by early in the AM.

Then: each morning, pick your favourite line (or lines…recombination is encouraged!), print (it, them) on stickers, write ‘em up on blank price-tags (the kind with the handy little strings that you can tie to fences, barricades, the backs of bus-seats…) and take the language back out into the world. You may want to document this…and fire the data my way. You might include a note about what you chose, why and how you took the aesthetically processed language back out into the world. I will post these stories (again of 8-20 lines please!) along with photos etc as a 10 o’clock post. Invite your friends to take part in any or all steps! Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Have fun!

The goal is to create a massive feedback architecture that can take incoming information (from eye-witness accounts, to the language circulated in the media), and make sense of it artistically, then feed it back out into the world to attempt to see things afresh, notice major contradictions between expectations and what is actually present to the senses. Towards a future that is unpredictable, thus possible, hopeful!