relationships don’t end just because you walk away

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rejoice! rejoice! the park has re-opened. minus the picnic tables. minus the hedges. minus the benches without metal bars. minus the grass, as sad as the grass was. but oh! rejoice! now we have artists for the summer doing “community enhancing” projects for the “users” of the park, now we have theater, music, square dancing. oh boy! what fun. what a GREAT park. oh… and don’t forget all the super media attention spouting the wonders of the “new,” “improved” park. take this headline : “aboriginal food and coffee are reshaping one of montreal’s roughest parks.” yup. nothing more aboriginal than a hotdog in a scone…with a coffee.

so, with the park being oh so “user” friendly, why am i seeing some of the former park regulars not at the new improved park, but hanging along the walkway leading to metro lionel-groulx? is there a new kind of surveillance of the park? i no longer see cops driving their vehicles into the park, honking their horns. i no longer see cops rushing out of the metro their batons in hand looking for a suspect. i no longer see cops stepping out of their cars and putting on their black latex gloves before grabbing a paper bag and pouring the contents over the ground. this is something different, less visible, but seemingly more effective at pushing certain people out.

but… as this testimonial (from the same news source as the aboriginal hotdogs) proves from a former “user” of the park, some people found a kind of “haven” in the old version of the park :

“From 1990 to 1993, I was a street kid. And this park was kind of was a hub for us and we mixed in with the Native community at that time. They used to call it ‘Drunk Park’ or ‘Pigeon Park.’ It was mostly Native and Inuit and a few street kids like myself kind of mixed in.  It was dirty, it was scary, it was hard to walk through. We were getting drunk, getting stoned in the park, but it was also still kind of a haven for us.”

it is true… some people have nowhere to go. and this park was “kind of a haven” for people with nowhere to go. sure the park needed some care and attention, but here we go again, clearing out another place, making it available for “everyone”…everyone except the people who literally have no other place.

its complicated. complicated because dominant values of what is good and what is right, what is tolerable and what is not, are generally enforced through acts of violence. and ownership of territory is a violent act. but so too there is a violence enacted upon people when we strive to “do good for.” the imposition of values of what constitutes a good and proper life only serves to steal from that person their only true freedom. no-one can live another’s life. period.

the last time.

i hear her moans. i want to believe, though i know it is not true, i hear nothing. an image flashes in my mind’s eye – in my mind’s eye i see myself approaching the concrete parking lot, i look down to see the mangled body of a woman. she is beaten, bloodied, raped. she lies inert on the ground. in reality i do not approach the parking lot, i continue to walk, pretending to trust in my lie. i reason, i rationalize, i give myself the excuses, i am alone, i have no phone, what can i do? i look for someone, someone with a phone, i will take them with me to the edge of the parking lot. we will look down together. but the street is deserted. i am afraid. again i hear her moan. i look, i try to locate the sound from somewhere else other than the concrete parking lot. i see his back. a man half-hidden by the bushes where the concrete meets the grass. black hair, green shirt, he is kneeling. i understand the woman is underneath him, they are “making love.” i reassure myself. i walk away.

this was the last time. there will be no future return. not under the conditions i constructed for myself. i understood. i was lying. fooling myself into believing i was “somewhere” when i was not. it is true a body has to take up a place. but this place is no longer mine, i had vacated it a year ago, dreaming of the return, and when the return came, i was not the same i. there is no point in placing yourself where you are not. i can vouch from experience. this strategy does not bring joy, beauty, or consolation. you will be useless to yourself, to the place. you will walk by. you will be the coward.

spilling out, or spilling in. boundaries aren’t defined by where grass meets pavement. bodies move. and so, yes, paths cross outside of locations with assigned names. and sound. sound travels.

samedi 3 août 2013

walked to the end of the block, stopped, thought about what i was doing, turned around and walked back. no park today, no park tomorrow. habits die hard.

vendredi 26 juillet 2013
max : 25°
min : 16°
nuageux
24 heure p.03 – messe en mémoire des victimes samedi

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walked to, but did not enter. this is how things end. one day at a time.

mardi 23 juillet 2013
max : 27°
min : 16°
nuageux
24 heure p.01 – discuter avant de dire “oui”

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avoidance of certain people found in specific places – strategies of survival.

lundi 22 juillet 2013
max : 26°
min : 18°
ensoleillé
24 heure p.23 – où vous voyez-vous dans cinq ans?

2013juillet2272

sunglasses, baseball cap, jeans, shirt, socks, shoes, and a coat. er, did i mention with the humidex its 43°?

vendredi 19 juillet 2013
max : 32°
min : 22°
ciel variable
journal métro montréal p.04 – les infestations de punaises de lit en croissance au pays

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