It’s Been One Month (And I Still Dream Of You)

Sometimes,
I look at the battle scars
that paint my body
and resemble the profile
of your chin
and I want to open them up,
pour yourself over me
and remember things
I know I shouldn’t.
Like the way you made her tea
on the stove we shared
with my goddamn kettle
or the way you kissed my forehead
and my lips
burned.
I want to open myself up
and recall how you shook my father’s hand
and it looked like you were promising him
you’d never break me.
I want to close my eyes
and have the blood of the memories of you
wash over me in tidal waves
of regret,
envy,
remorse,
loss.
I want to open the scar you left
on my heart,
the one shaped like
the look on your face when you whispered her name to me,
and I want to remember
how I cried over you –
how I still am crying over you –
and I want to convince myself
not to dream of your face
any longer.
I want to open these wounds up
to remember why I should forget,
but I know that in opening myself up
I won’t be able to heal myself
shut.

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Truth and Reconciliation

June 9 2015
By Anita Corsi and Tara Henley

BELLEVILLE – It is time for recognition and compensation for the Native Canadians who attended residential schools and their families, says Loyalist College Aboriginal Centre staff member.

Dustin Brant says he is still trying to wrap his head around the events that transpired last week between May 31 and June 3 with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Ottawa where witnesses met in parliament to recount their horrifying experiences with residential schools.

“Not many students attended the residential schools back then [in the Quinte area],” Brant says. “But [aboriginals in this area] still weren’t allowed to speak their language. They still weren’t allowed to practise cultural activities … But at least they were able to go home to their families each night.”

The purpose of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to establish respectful relations between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians and to bring awareness to the 150 years Canada participated in the residential-school system.

According to reports published by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, children between the ages of seven and 15 were forced away from their families and into facilities run by the Canadian government and church. The purpose of these schools was to assimilate native Canadians into European culture.

“Out of all the efforts to get rid of native culture and language, it’s still around. We’re still here. We’re still alive,” Brant says. “We made a positive out of something negative … and people have to know that. We’re a strong people and we’re not going to forget, because it’s going to make us stronger.”

Some reports estimate that up to half of the children who were forced into these schools died as a result of disease, malnutrition and abuse. Tuberculosis and similar diseases often went unnoticed and untreated, and the aboriginal children faced physical, mental and sexual abuse on a regular basis.

The last of the Canadian residential schools closed its doors in 1996.

Brant says he completely supports the efforts made for awareness of these issues by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and by Loyalist College itself.

“Some people choose not to believe it happened, or [they] say people just need to get over it because it happened a long time ago… It’s like me going up to a veteran and saying, ‘Just get over it,’” Brant says.

He encourages students to continue raising awareness and being as open-minded as possible when it comes to accepting and understanding other cultures.

“There’s a lot of different cultures that make up this wonderful country that we live in, and I think the biggest thing is respecting each other the way we deserve,” Brant says.

The commission deems the residential schools and the effects they had on native culture to be equivalent of “cultural genocide” in a summary report released Tuesday, June 2. The report makes a total of 94 recommendations, including a proposal to enforce teaching children in Canadian public schools aboriginal history and Canada’s involvement in the residential schools.

Twitter Assignment

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This is how I chose to use Twitter creatively in a journalistic sense: I asked my followers their opinions on a heated debate and I told them to retweet my tweet if didn’t agree and to favourite it if they did. I did this to gage the public’s reaction to this piece of news.

How to Disappear

An instruction manual on how to completely vanish from the face of the earth, and to in turn lose who you are as a person.

Step 1:
Find a boy who reminds you of springtime. Make sure his smile is brighter than the campfire you sat beside, holding his hand. He must have eyes that show you a timeline of being with him that stretches on forever, past infinity and into whatever lies beyond our galaxy. You must find this boy, and you must tell yourself repetitively not to love him.

Step 2:
Fall in love with him. Fall in love with the tilt of his head when you ask him a question and take him by surprise. Fall in love with the way he mumbles into your collarbone and the way he tells you there isn’t a single part of you that isn’t beautiful. Fall in love with his early morning laziness and the curve of his jawline and the way your body fits against his like you are both the missing puzzle pieces you never knew the other one needed.

Step 3:
Let him consume you. Think about him every second of the day. Think about the way he laughs like a seven year old opening his birthday gifts. Think about the way he tracks love on your skin with his lips as he spells your name over and over and over again on your arms. Learn to miss his absence more than you enjoy his presence. Breath in his cologne every time he kisses you and drink him in like the tea he makes for you when he knows you’re sad. Let your mind wander when you’re alone to all those times he said he would text you and wouldn’t, but go no further in this step.

Step 4:
Befriend that thing you had thought you had abandoned long ago: anxiety. Let it whisper in your ear and let it tickle your mind. Begin to have night terrors painted with his face thanks to your old friend. Begin to feel unsafe even when he’s beside you. Question whether or not he is worth it. Think about what you believe to be the inevitable: his abandonment.

Step 5:
On the day you find out about her, do not cry. You will want to, believe me. You will want to call her every name in the goddamn book, and you probably will, but do not cry. Do not think about his arms embracing her body. Do not think about the way he says her name softly, like a prayer. Do not imagine them making love on the pillow you kissed each night you lay in his room. Do not cry.

Step 6:
Forgive him. Forgive him because it’s all somehow your fault. You don’t know why he’s crying and promising he can change because you don’t want him to. Let him lay his head in your lap and tell him it’s all going to be okay. Love him even harder, because it’s the only thing you know how to do.

Step 7:
On the day he finally leaves you, cry. Think about everything you promised yourself you wouldn’t think about and let him walk away with the promise of being friends on his lips. You’re going to want to believe this boy, who once reminded you of springtime but now reminds you of winter, because he’s always broken those promises so beautifully before. But don’t believe him. He will not text. He will not call. He will not care.

Step 8:
Feel yourself start to vanish. It begins when you forget how to smile at strangers on the street. Then, you’ll forget to smile to your friends, who, after a while, can’t understand why you’re still heartbroken. Break your trust with everyone you know and forget about making plans or hanging out because you just fucking can’t. Feel your arms go. Then your legs. Then your mind. You will come to realize that your heart will not vanish with the rest of yourself; it left the moment he walked away from you.

Step 9:
You will kiss other boys and imagine they taste like him. You will visit old places you used to go with him. You will look up at the goddamn stars and spit in the grass at your feet and mutter bitterly that yes, it is nice being fucking stardust.

Step 10:
You already lost yourself, darling. You lost yourself in losing him.

Broken

The Egyptians have
over fifty words for “sand”,
and the Intuits
have over one-hundred
for “snow”.
I crave their complex elegance
and eloquence
for the words they are able to use
because I have just one
to describe how I feel right now
but it’s a word you’ve already stolen,
claimed your own:
broken.
And I’ve read
that broken pianos can still play beautiful songs
and lovely melodies,
that broken clocks
can still tick,
even if the time is incorrect.
But there is nothing
that can save me from this
brokenness;
it is the way my voice breaks
when I say your name,
it is the way my bones break
from carrying the weight of your hand on my shoulder,
it is the way my heart breaks
when you tell me
“I’ve made mistakes”
but mostly
it is the way you break
your promises,
and in turn
break
me.