It was in the memory of this author's late wife that ultimately sent me to Cairo for my second visit to conduct a full-scale research project with the refugee communities I had worked with two years earlier. I have met the author on numerous occasions, including at his private home for gatherings that would seem to emulate a scene from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel if not for the prototypical ambiance that persists in Calgary in general.
I found many fantastic references and insights from reading this book deliberately. My immediate attention focused on the author's confession that he in fact is guilty of perpetuating old-paradigm thinking, where " we will perish as fools" in the recurrent words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he had never once refused to pay taxes to both the American and Canadian governments during the brutal war with Iraq (including the preliminary imposition of sanctions, which is an act of war).
His repetitious voice on the ills of militancy and nationalistic ideology resembles that of an elderly person telling you the facts of life with a dry voice and welcoming candour, with its occasional seeds of perennial wisdom planted in your mind as interpretive potentiality. It is of this class of intellectual where with the know-how and the social compunction to organize people, there is proof enough for change, however the sphere of influence is mastered only where the personality of the actor's face is shown.
With this, you have a new initiative to relegate the institutionalization of principles which somehow call to, once again, the era of F. Scott Fitzgerald, where with Herman Hesse and Theosophical Societies a global call to justice and reconciliation sounds from the bastion of its very corrupted centre. Still, I am optimistic of the efforts of the Calgary Centre for Global Community, as the book exhibits time and again, that optimism is the only way through, and cynicism is the bane of a young society propagating aging youth in this overly materialistic cascade of obscurity; the Western city.
In my mind, it becomes too easy to focus on global entelechy when embedded in social contexts founded on colonial principles, and it becomes too easy to focus on local action when fully empowered as a normalized identity in a welcoming society. That being said, this is not a critique of the book, only my personal reflection on themes which I find are also my life struggle as a member of the community.
_________“Where’s the washroom?” I turn my head wolfishly. “Is the door locked?” I break into a cold sweat. It’s early, before opening. I empty two crates of ripe oranges on a display. My head spins with discomfort, beginning my first day at work. “Where’s the washroom?” I’m dizzy, fatigued with lack of sleep. My uniform itches. The ammonium floor is rushing into my head. Crooked tags identify the price of two different kinds of orange. I’ve mixed them all up. They look fresh, enticing, I run to the locked washroom door. The echoing emptiness is cruelly fascinating. Oranges, ripen everywhere, with priceless disillusioning. I wallow sheepish, to forever line the halls with my uncooked thoughts.
________written in the rocky glove of unsettled wild creative youth,
those two pair,
growing in unseeded soil
as a weed tossed into the vibrant dark matter of infinite bliss
by the great American eagle
flowing into the future of Vietnamese bathroom floors
swept of children and memory
...the knot stifles truth and freedom in a frantic pause to strengthen terror's wave
crashing in the lonesome authority with tasteless glamour
reflected off the stretched mirrors of the disadvantaged, ugly, poor,
and our fate, unified into first expression,
to cast away all memory
and become plainly seen in the absolute center,
mind's eye of the Pacific, drenched in wandering,
an unworldly guise,
blended into worthless machine-eaten jungles
fried in the oil of littered rubbish
alongside a fixed marriage highway
to an undreamed following,
a place deeper than hell,
frozen in the backdrop imagining
where the burned order breeds asinine judgment
flowering into bitter hate for the lost
who stare remembering at the speechless knot,
held in minds full with blame and newly felt sorrow
for ancestors mourning what's to become of their kin
tied in fate with breathless teachings
- excerpts from "Listen to Your Self"