Close Encounters of the Subway Kind

Lately I’ve been having these subway train encounters. Happening at a time when I’m really trying to be “single”. a couple of months ago a dude who was at York U when I was doing my teaching degree saw me on the train. Honestly I didn’t recognize him. He asked me if I use to do poetry down there. Then it clicked. He said he couldn’t forget a profile like mine “too regal”. I had two stops to go. Was heading to deliver a spoken word shop to high school students. He told me he was into business. I took his number. I could tell he was hoping my ride would have been longer. I didn’t actually mind the brief encounter. I’m trying to be “single”…in the singular sense of the word. Meaning I don’t even want to give off an impression that I will wanna link u in the near future. So then u gotta ask yourself why did u take the number then?? Just today dude on subway seat across from me kinda looking in my direction, I’m trying to ignore, but he’s cute and his face looks familiar. Our eyes lock. He waves and I do a nod. Then he’s like I saw you at the (location will remain undisclosed) on Saturday. Then it hit me. Yep we have seen each other before. I start shifting in my seat. He’s like u friends with (name of friend will remain anonymous). I confirm the friendship. He’s like I really enjoyed that poem u did. I thanked him. Then tried to find a distraction. Of course my iPhone. He was still looking in my direction. I could of kept a convo going easy. We had a mutual homie. But remember I am on da singular….a convo cud lead to ru on FB and then more openings to further link ups. To add injury to insult. We got off at the same subway stop. Damn. He slowed his pacing to match mine. What does singular atom girl do…haha…speed up of course. He probably thinks I’m stuck up. A great stuck up poetry chic. Awe snap.

Subway encounters….

Ur always on my mind
Thoughts racing all the time
Can’t find the reason or rhyme
Ur always on my mind
Ur always on my mind
Ur always on my mind

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Red Slam Collective @ Alignment

Red Slam is bringing sum heavy hitters to Haudenosaunee Territory John Waaseyahbin Hupfield aka 7th Son Anishinaabe from Wasauksing First Nations; MC Miles T Mohawk Six Nations; Mahlikah Aweri aka MC AngelHeart Mohawk (Kahnawá:ke) & Mi’kmaw (Bear River) First Nations; Beat Boxer Skratch Won Cree/Dene (Alberta); B-Boy Dizine Izm (Rawn Razer) Cree (Saskatchewan); William Charbonneau (Bass) and Fumu Jamez (Percussions).

2012 is becoming a monumental year for the little Collective that grew and grew up from humble beginnings at the NCCT youth program office to showcasing at the 2011 NXNE, Manifesto and the 2010 CFSW. This year started with performances in Vancouver, New Mexico and in June Red Slam will showcase at NXNE 2012 and Pride 2012. The Hip Hop Fusion Movement S.L.A.M. (Spoken Lyricism Arranges Meaning) is unstoppable with the anticipated release of their full length studio album on the horizon for 2013!!

Red Slam Collective

 

A multi-disciplinary event brought to you by Nationless Minds, Burlington Slam Project, and PENTA

On Saturday, May 12th, we converge on 2 floors of Hamilton’s beautiful Pearl Company to bring you Alignment. Hosted by the dynamic Greg “Ritallin” Frankson.

You won’t believe our stellar line-up of performers and artists… exploring where various artistic expressions intersect and align with spoken word.

Missing Lynx (Urban Legends 2011 team)
Red Slam Collective
Amanda Hiebert
Electric Jon
P.O.E.
Poetic Speed
Cathy Petch
the 2011 Burlington Slam Project team
Hyf & PrufRock
Kevin Sutton
Fire Flower Revue

and… as if that line-up isn’t more than enough to blow your minds… we also have one more dynamic duo… Brad Morden & Ian Keteku as Atomic Wednesday.

PLUS…
A Bboy-Bgirl showcase. Progressive Movement representing a downtown Hamilton youth centre known as ‘The New Globe’.
Live artists Komi Olafimihan & ZS Cheetham will be creating on the scene.
And a gallery including previous works by the above, plus photography & videography by Michelle Darby and Ruzanna Shortstuffyan.

$15
tickets will be available in advance at various spoken word events throughout April in southern Ontario, or
contact us at we.are.PENTA@gmail.com for online purchase.

Doors open and the magic starts happening promptly at 7pm and we party until late in to the night…

Red Slam Collective’s Mahlikah Awe:ri is a member of PENTA for more info about the artist collective check out the web site:

PENTA

 

Contemplation

On my way home after participating on a panel of community artists for Mayworks my train stopped. Lights went off and then emergency lights came up.

The Train vox said “we are currently experiencing a power outage both ways at Spadina Station. emergency crews are on there way. We apologize for the inconvenience. Standard procedure dictates that we will be at stand still for half an hour”.

“Half an Hour!!” everyone except me exclaims, outraged at the notion of being trapped in a train underground for a mere 30mins.

30mins….that’s shorter than child labour or a labour strike or laboring at work…lol.

I used that 30 mins of quite to contemplate my current non-status First Nations…non marital status…non corporate status artist…lol. Naw I made that up…I actually thought about how messed it was the cell phones were non service providers underground what if were trapped indefinitely…and I need to contact the outside world…Naw I made that up too…actually I started reciting one of my 2011 pieces:

Sitting swaying to my own verbalations
Like a cryogenic stasis
I b frozen in my own medi-native meditations
In my last reincarnation
shit wuz hard
In this lifetime shit is harder
Once wuz a blip on ur radar
Now I b deep sea level sonar
Once wuz jus a face
Now I b a face wit a name
Yea I caught a little fame
Yea Red Slam is too blame

So I move to run
And u won’t let go
Won’t let go
Won’t let go
U hold me tight
Tell me to take it slo
Take it slo
Take it slo
U look into my eyes
Say Im an inspiration
Ur frequency rhythmic inhalation

And I’m making it I’m making it I’m making it

And I’m making it I’m making it I’m making it

Holding Haters close
But my crew even closer
Rizin higher like a star has been
Da ultimate roller coaster ride—
Do blk skins or red skins
Go to heaven when they die?
Bob said heaven is right here on earth
But it’s hot as hell and it’s only getting worse
Lately I been feelin’ da price of fame is a curse
After each show everytime we rehearse my love my hate for dis is only become definitively emersed

So I move to run
And u won’t let go
Won’t let go
Won’t let go
U hold me tight
Tell me to take it slo
Take it slo
Take it slo
U look into my eyes
Say Im an inspiration
Ur frequency rhythmic inhalation

And I’m making it I’m making it I’m making it

And I’m making it I’m making it I’m making it

This is bigger than me
This is bigger than us
Rise and Fall
Fall and Rise
Syncopating inter-tribal rhythms we must

2x

So I move to run
And u won’t let go
Won’t let go
Won’t let go
U hold me tight
Tell me to take it slo
Take it slo
Take it slo
U look into my eyes
Say Im an inspiration
Ur frequency rhythmic inhalation

And I’m making it I’m making it I’m making it
And I’m making it I’m making it I’m making it

Emergency Lights

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Mahlikah Contemplating

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Not to Be Forgotten

In 2010 I wrote Dodom. It was two years after Steven Harper’s “apology” on behalf of the Canadian Government, regarding the human rights violations experienced by First Nations, Metis and Inuit Children from the late 1800’s to 1996, in the residential school system. I wrote it to share a hidden truth within my great-grandmother’s life. I performed it live for the first time during the semi’s @ the Toronto Poetry Slam. I knew the judges would probably score low…but I the message meant more to me looking out into the darken room filled with more than 100 non-native audience members. It was so quiet during the piece…and I was shaking when I finished. At intermish…strangers embraced me crying…”colonial guilt”…maybe, but it all seemed to be very genuine.

Two years later students attending the Academic Upgrading Program in the Downtown East; which I am the Manager for are reading Fatty Legs. After reading the teachers request I present a one hour talk about Residential Schools in Canada. I start the presentation with Dodom and end with the lasting affects of this deliberate attempt to “Kill the Indian Inside” by the Church and it’s Government. We have the missing children who never came home….mass graves are being uncovered in Mohawk , Anishnawbe and Mi’kmaq Territories as we speak. The 60’s Scoop. And the current state of Aboriginal Health and Education and the continual increase in incarceration and suicide rates in our communities.

As a people we do not want to dwell in the past but our teachings tell us once you know you never forget.

Here is a project helping native and non-native communities remember

Project Heart

Dodom

My body is not a temple but a totem

Remember my Owena
when I say ur body is not a temple but a totem
ur Dodom each and everyday
Great gran lost her dodom;
so she lost her way
Was it the mush and maggots
that swelled her belly
or being forced
to watch her older cousin
have his head smashed against the front wooden pew
til it was nothing more than jelly?
Was it the nightly rape fest
while saying the rosary
while his cold pale holy flesh
b on top of she?
Was it his sour gin whispers in her ear
fornicating a demonic twisted lie
as his ungodly member violated her dodom insides?
Shhhh…Please don’t cry; please to the Sisters don’t tell.
Or u shall end up burning in the firey pits of hell.
She was already in hell and she was already burned;
the scalding showers that teased and taunted that a dirty indian can b cleansed
from red savage to snow white civility
She was already in hell and she was already burned; the siphilitus inferno from too many saints;
who were truly sinners
had begun to spread
She was already in hell and she was already burned;
like a brush fire too close
to a wooded glen
her language was ash;
her ties to her tradish cinder
Her memories of Haudenonsaunee
like her once thick braided hair becoming whispy…thinner.
When they chop down ur dodom
they cut u off at the knees
…it would be less tortorous if they
just left u to bleed…to death…
but what amusement would quick and easy hold
for those who seek perverse pleasures in others torment.
They would rather watch her slowly rot…whither, and die…
With all the strength/wisdom/and luv
of ur clan buried deep inside..
.suffocatig beneath the decay
…dodom dodom dodom fade away
Yes her body survived the residential school otrosities
and yes she passed before
the late apology
So young her dodom frayed and splintered
and so on each and every winter
the women tie a sweet grass braid on a single birch tree
so that her daughter’s daughter daughter
and me
will
Remember her Owena
when she did say
ur body is not a temple but a totem
ur Dodom each and everyday

Mahlikah 2010