Appreciating poetry is often about patience: sitting with a poem, meditating on it, and re-reading it multiple times. With spoken word, we don’t always get a chance to do that. This series is about taking that chance, and diving a little deeper into some of the new poems going up on Button.
I need you to understand that this cacophony is the new language of my people.
I’m struck by this line near the end of the poem: “I don’t want you to apologize in English, or Canadian French; I want you to open your eyes.” As more and more events (including poetry slams and other spoken word events) adopt the practice of acknowledging the land and its original inhabitants, it feels like that line is an important addendum to that practice: it isn’t just about apologizing, or “acknowledging” colonialism and genocide; it’s about the more difficult work of taking a critical look at our everyday actions, our organizational practices, and beyond, to see how they either continue or interrupt that legacy.
The poem as a whole reflects this intentionality of thought, juxtaposing past and present, through the powerful image of the death of a color. What could be a challenging, abstract idea for a poem to build itself around is supported by wave after wave of concrete, narrative imagery– from the evocative use of the word “splatter,” to the family snapshots, to the video itself, which does interesting things with negative space and color.
Find more from Mitcholos here. Additionally, for people interested in the point about moving “beyond territorial acknowledgements,” here is some writing on that.