Fighting To Remain


I wrote a darkly funny poem called How To Remain for my last collection Three Blocks West of Wonderland that was largely about how to preserve one’s body and thus life but lately it applies to our fight to remain in the city we love-and love to hate at times-Vancouver.

And oh how I love waking to the irritating and now familiar sound of suitcase spinner wheels rattling down the sidewalk. Thanks Air BnB. I harbour ambivalent feelings about this pervasisve sharing economy. Several friends use Air BnB to help pay their rent, and with Vancouver’s astronomical cost of living, who can blame them? But, of course, that makes it difficult for people to find places to live, people like my son and I. We lucked into this tiny, cockroach infested 1 bdrm after nearly a year of looking and Junior’s been trying to find an apartment for the past eight months. Craigslist is a wasteland so thanks to word-of-mouth he is now waiting for a family friend to move out so he can move into her place. Anyone who has lucked into affordable rents can’t afford to move as one is unlikely to find a better deal, if any deal at all. I’m desperately trying to get into a co-op, can’t see how I’ll be able to remain here in the long term any other way.

I recently took in friends Charles Wilksinson and Tina Schliesser’s documentary No Fixed Address which handily documents the crisis and is beautifully shot, by the way. Several things I took away; British Columbia’s main industry, which at one time variously used to be lumber, mining or fishing, is now condos. The problem is global, and, I’m determined to stay and fight. Why should I-or anyone- be forced out of our beloved home? But like one of the film’s subjects I find myself contemplating a move to Mexico. Despite my skepticism I can’t help but hope this new government will actually do something about the problem, specifically the fixed term lease loophole, the type of lease we felt we had no choice but to sign. I was even spurred to action, wrote my MLA. I received an automated response of course, let’s see if I get a real message or any action.


4 thoughts on “Fighting To Remain

  1. Same problem in Victoria, B.C.: Condos being built left, right & centre and mostly not for the locals (most of whom can’t afford them). I am hanging on -just barely- to an apartment I do Love, but its tough as the rent goes up every year (just the legal amount, but: Ouch ! ). I often think about the possibly I will get priced out of my home as much of my money goes to rent. Too much ! 🙁 Anyway, enough said on that… the Global Economy affect sucks !

    On a different note: I bought, read & really enjoyed both your “Sideways” & “Three Blocks West of Wonderland” collections of poetry. Really excellent Writing ! 🙂 You are a powerful force with words.

    We live in a stupid economy. If professions were guaged to value then you would have money constantly thrown at you. Poets have to be brave and expose every part of themselves for display from the light & funny to the darkest impulse. Poets spin life into mythology. Our World needs Poets for so many reasons: the primary one possibly to keep our Cultural Psychic Life alive. Anyway, I’ll stop before I slip into the World of the inexpressable (another place Poets have to tread). Anyway, Heather: Loved those two volumes of poetry I read. Look forward to your next release…

    1. Thank you Nicholas, for your very kind and encouraging words. As I have said, there is no money in poetry and though neither is there poetry in money that is little consolation come rent day. Good luck to you and all the best!

  2. Thanks, Heather! I completely understand about rent day: good luck to us both. May we be limpets who cling on despite the Global Ocean…or something like that. May we get to stay living where we want to live. It’s not much to want in life really. -Cheers !

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