Liar, Liar

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“Families First.” What a crock. Christy Clark will say anything to get re-elected. That is for certain, as is the case with most politicians, but Clark takes dishonesty and hypocrisy to new levels. The Liberals-such a misnomer-are very good at coming up with snazzy sound bites though. As the parent of a child on the spectrum I know that autism funding is a huge political football. The same with MSP fees, which have doubled, which no other province pays. BC Liberals effectively do nothing as people struggle with constantly rising costs of living including food, hydro, daycare and housing. Clark is very helpful to her wealthy donors by providing tax breaks while our wages remain low and jobs part-time. Anything below $15. an hour is a poverty level wage, especially in Vancouver. I will vote this spring but as usual there is not much choice. I doubt the NDP have the ability to oust her and the Liberals. We will be stuck with more lies and subterfuge.

 

Please Vote

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This bears repeating…Christy Clark is a liar!

“Families First.” What a crock. Christy Clark will say anything to get re-elected. That is for certain, as is the case with most politicians, but Clark takes dishonesty and hypocrisy to new levels. The Liberals-such a misnomer-are very good at coming up with snazzy sound bites though. As the parent of a child on the spectrum I know that autism funding is a huge political football. The same with MSP fees, which have doubled, which no other province pays. BC Liberals effectively do nothing as people struggle with constantly rising costs of living including food, hydro, daycare and housing. Clark is very helpful to her wealthy donors by providing tax breaks while our wages remain low and jobs part-time. Anything below $15. an hour is a poverty level wage, especially in Vancouver. I will vote this spring but as usual there is not much choice. I doubt the NDP have the ability to oust her and the Liberals. We will be stuck with more lies and subterfuge.

In Between Porcelain Thrones

SinsIlloVictor

There is no money in poetry. There is no poetry in money either but that provides little solace when it’s time to pay the rent.

Seven toilet day! Six too many. Perhaps seven. First cleaning job/condo had four, two on the second floor, then one on each of the other floors. Is this really necessary I’m thinking as I scrub away? Second condo had three, one on each floor. The worst thing about bathrooms is their size. Or lack of space, crammed with fixtures the way they are.

I’m trying to find a way to get through this work, a way not to feel miserable because I have to work. Pay the bills. Survive. Listening to music-when I can-helps a bit. Mostly I daydream. Plot, scheme. Feel like Cinderella. Feel trapped. I’m glad that I’m able to earn a living, be my own boss-blah, blah, blah-grateful that these beat up old hands, body still function but I am seriously weary of it all and really hoping that a well-earned vacation will provide some perspective, help me to feel better, even rejuvenated. Dare I hope?

Interesting how many times my fortunes have turned. Along with the men in my life? Screw Prince Charming. I was happiest living alone, working at the LA Weekly. Unfortunately that didn’t last. Fortunately I can adapt. I was also happy living with a partner as part of a family. I love child rearing, being a mother. It’s just time to return to myself. Be the artist I fought so hard to become. I have been called pretentious but my art is the most important thing in the world, after my son. One of my most talented friends refuses to write unless he’s being paid. Oh it would be lovely to be a professional again but I have to write regardless of circumstances. It’s in me to do. Who I am. So, I write in between jobs. Toilets. Sadly, along with more than a few former journalists.

C’est la vie though the Catholic in me suspects I’m being punished for my sins. The illustration above is by dear friend Victor Bonderoff, for a poem I wrote long ago called Where Sins are More Sinful. My mother used to hide her beer from her brothers in the toilet tank. What is this affinity with the porcelain throne? In any case, I miss collaborating too.  Mark Neys AKA Swoon Bildos of Belgium adapted it to video and Roderick Shoolbraid composed the music.

 

WHERE SINS ARE MORE SINFUL

A river flows down to the Atlantic-

the Matapédia-

Irish and cathedral

on one side,

Québécois and cathedral

on the other.

They all know sin.

 

Jeanette walked to the pier

every day to buy a lobster,

hid the quarts of beer

from brothers Ed and Reggie

in the toilet tank.

Hung a rosary there,

to atone for the bastard

she nourished

with lobster and beer.

 

Tiny filligree iron cross

laced with lines of rust.

 

Something to look forward to

HH&Cathy2

Swamped! I’ve been expanding my business and with spring finally here, find myself overwhelmed, but too much work is better than not enough, right? I like being my own boss but I’m seriously burning out. Fortunately my best friend Cathy is kindly taking me to London and Barcelona with her to celebrate her birthday in early May. We’ve been close since meeting as teenagers, she is my son’s godmother and very good to both of us. I knew from the moment Cathy walked into my life that she was an exceptional human being and I’m lucky to know her. In any case, I’m scrambling to prepare to leave town. Thankfully, my inner optimist has kept my passport current.

Also, today is your last chance to win a copy of my novel, The Town Slut’s Daughter at Goodreads. “Haley has the gift of writing to suit her subject in all its raddled variety, from wired and jarring to lyrical and tragic.”-Vancouver Sun

 

“Bushwhack” @ Versogramas

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I received an email from Spanish poet, producer Celia Parra inviting me to participate in Versogramas, a “a transmedia project about the international videopoetry scene. It will include a documentary, a book, DVD, exhibition and webdoc.” They would like to feature Bushwhack, a videopoem I made a few years back with Tina Schliessler and Chris Coon, an official selection at various festivals including the Haida Gwaii Film Festival and the Vancouver Women in Film Festival. “Adapted from the provocative book and unique collaboration by visual artist Tina Schliessler and poet Heather Susan Haley, Bushwhack compels the viewer to see—and hear—the forest in an entirely new way.”

Nice to have one’s work recognized. Some days I forget that I’m an artist.

 

“May you live in interesting times.”

HH80sBday

But, this is getting ridiculous! Well, it is a curse. And the shit has hit the fan. My mind is having difficulty assimilating recent events. It’s Canada First in my book but a Trump presidency is impossible to ignore. People are just getting over the shock of his victory and still arguing about how it happened. I keep thinking, the emperor has no clothes! Surely it’s obvious yet he gets away with corruption, despicable acts and unfathomable hubris, though I suppose we should be used to it by now. I realize I am not alone. Many people are having a difficult time, personal or political or both.

Perhaps 08 was the year all this crap started. My family lost our home and most of our savings. We’ve been forced to downsize three times since and are preparing to move yet again in an attempt to further cut living expenses. But, we persist. Somehow. Despite feeling discouraged or demoralized. Sometimes I think we all deserve a medal, for remaining civil, for refraining from conflict, for getting out of bed in the morning.

So, I think I will host an 80s themed party for my upcoming birthday March 8. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the 80s were some of the happiest years of my life. I wrote verse and songs while fronting my band, articles and reviews for the LA Weekly while surrounded by the most loving, supportive, kooky and brilliant friends. Fortunately that hasn’t changed. (That’s me in the photo above with Suzy Gardner of L7 in her Silverlake bungalow, straight out of Day of the Locust.) I will take Polaroids with my beat up Sun 600 camera and remaining film while blasting 80s Underground on Soma FM in a valiant attempt to escape the present. Reality. Don’t the 80s seem innocent by contrast?

Rock on my pretties! Really, what choice is there?

 

Why Can’t Things Be Better?

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I’m not leaving. I hope! Holding on, hanging in, so far. Esteemed filmmaker friends Charles Wilkinson and Tina Schliessler are currently working on No Fixed Address, a documentary about Vancouver’s housing crisis, though they refer to it as a “housing situation.” Call it what you will, I’m determined to remain in my beloved Vancouver, though I’m not sure how. My son and I are paying $1250. a month for a one-bedroom apartment in East Vancouver, just off Commercial Drive, reasonable apparently, though I wish I could reduce our living expenses. Even with some help and while working my ass off, we are barely scraping by. Because the cost of living is high too. If only we could quit eating.  Sharing such a small space is getting old as well but at least Junior has an exit plan. I don’t.

I love this neighbourhood. It’s where I launched as an artist, sharing a funky, rambling house with band mate and Zellots drummer Conny Nowe near 34th and Victoria.  $400. a month bought us a yard, driveway, fireplace, kitchen, dining room, pantry and four bedrooms. The scene of many festivities, we converted the basement into a rehearsal space. My boy was born in another funky East Van pad near 1st and Victoria 22 years ago. I’ve lived in this city most of my adult life, resent the fact that I might be forced out. The property management company that runs my building insists that tenants sign a new lease each year wherein they raise the rent to whatever  amount they like. At the rate of $50. per lease renewal I won’t be able to afford to stay. I’d like to settle, focus on work and writing but will need to move again in the not-too-distant future.

Many friends have already left, for the suburbs or even the prairies, especially if they want to own a home. I could go back to the suburbs-grew up in Cloverdale-but I’d be going back. I need to be near the ocean, the wild and fantastic ocean. Perhaps I could move to Horseshoe Bay, or Lions Bay, clean houses in West Van and North Van. But, of course, finding anything cheaper will be a major challenge, perhaps impossible.

We shall see. There’s always a trade-off. Can’t have it all, etc. “Things could be worse.” Sure I’ve endured tough times, times when I had no place to live or enough food to eat but I’ve always responded with, “Why can’t things be better?”

I am trapped but cannot stay. Can I? It’s a huge dilemma. I know I’m not alone and Vancouver is just the latest city to be affected. The problem is global in scale. No solace in that, nor solution. Which obviously, is what I need. Gawd help us all. Maybe none of it matters. These are the end times, I am told, and if so constitute a whole other can o’ worms/blog entry.

 

Girls with Guitars…

…the emphasis on “girls.”

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Working on the Zellots record with Jason Flower of Supreme Echo I’ve had to consider time’s inexorable march, how it treads upon our minds and bodies until nothing of us remains. Also, the folly of youth, the hubris of youth. We were so cavalier about the demo tape we were making, about the band we’d created and the songs we’d composed, cavalier to the point of losing the master and most cassette copies. Oh, and breaking up. We didn’t-perhaps couldn’t-appreciate what we had. The late Peter Draper did a stellar job, recording we fools in the basement of our house/rehearsal space near the corner of 34th and Victoria. I can’t recall where or how he mixed it but lucky for us Peter was a very talented guy. Also fortunately, Jason Flower is a hardcore music nerd, driven in fact to seeking us out and resurrecting our group despite scant traces of its existence. I get the impression it’s like a treasure hunt for Jason. In that spirit and though likely a long shot, we’re going to try to track down a copy of the Lenore Herb video for the launch party. No date yet but the new master is currently in the Czech Republic being pressed. I’m as excited as a teenager about to play her first gig!

 

Out of Cloverdale

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Ah, nostalgia, a distraction and nearly impossible to avoid as one gets older. I posted this photo yesterday and my friend Tracy said I looked defiant, an interesting take. I thought I looked pensive but indeed I was defiant, had to be. I don’t idealize my childhood. It was rough, but, it was childhood. According to George Eliot, “We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it.” The kingdom of childhood and as dominated as I was by parents, peers and school, I was its ruler. I ran wild in the woods every spare moment, neighbourhood kids foolishly following me up trees, onto rafts, into tunnels and whatever sort of mischief we could dig up. As a teenager I rebelled. Or, fought back. Mom and Dad began drinking in earnest and an already harrowing home life became necessary to dodge. I cared about nothing but my friends and getting high, though loved to argue, vehemently, in bars and kitchens, railing against sexism and injustice. Somehow I managed to complete high school and several years of post-secondary education before running off to join the punk rock circus. I don’t dwell on regrets and I’m not certain my defiance has delivered me, but it got me out of Cloverdale.

 

Old Man Winter refuses to leave! Plus, a little good news.

Image: News 1130
Image: News 1130

Vancouverites, including me, are freaking out. Seriously, many sidewalks and streets are frozen over, wreaking injuries and havoc. My livelihood is impacted, especially on snow days when the city goes into virtual lock down. It’s snowing right now. No end in sight. I wish it would remain on the mountains, where it belongs. I keep thinking how this is exactly the weather we needed for the Olympics in 2010, when it rained instead and they were forced to manufacture the white stuff.

I suppose global warming could be causing Vancouver to freeze. Oh well, we must be intrepid. And brave, carry on as best we can, do the things we think we cannot do. I’m trying hard to take life day by day and not freak out. More challenges and upheaval. C’est la vie. Happy New Year!

Some good news; the Zellots record release on Supreme Echo appears imminent; in the spring perhaps. I hope! Thanks to  supreme human being and music freak Jason Flower.