Becoming Canadian…

…on April 29th, 2011 was:

•An emotional burst that made me revisit fulfilled and unfulfilled dreams.

•A recollection of my naivety and insanity that I was carrying on November 15th, 2005 when I landed in Toronto, without having any clue what I was doing. This doesn’t mean that I know what I’m doing now. The purpose of one’s life is not in the program that lays ahead but in the path left behind and the consistency that that path gives to one’s future.

•Shedding a tear or two then denying myself the luxury of exuberant joy. Not that the Romanian group was not the noisiest in the ceremony room.

•The reaffirmation that I am inasmuch Canadian as I am Romanian, that the pride comes with balance. Some of my friends think I am some sort of an outcast because I left the motherland. No, I did not leave the motherland, I left a geographical space that carried incompatible dreams with my future. I did not deny the place left behind just because I moved to another one, I simply do not accept the incompatibility.

•Introspection about what is the “Romanianhood”. What makes me attached to this cultural/ethnical designation? Language, yes. Some attachment to history, yes. Is it the learned past what defines one’s attachment to a culture? Have I become Canadian just because I learned about this country, its past, its dreams? To know is to be.

•Benchmark. List of accomplishments in my head. The job, the house, the bank account. Possessions. I looked around me at the other 28 ethnicities who were taking the oath with me and my mother. Are they richer now? Are they happier because of these new possessions?

•Sense of urgency. The need to prove Canada that it continues to deserve me. That I still need to prove more. That complacency is the last thing that I should adopt.

•Humbleness. Why me and why not the thousands who wait for this chance?

•Pride and fleeting vanity. Am I better that the thousands who wait for this chance?

•Relief and milestone. The big formal checkmark of the last 6 years.

I loudly repeated the oath in French and English.
I exchanged a few words with the judge in French. His name is Normand. He is of Métis background.
I sang the anthem in the Judge’s choir, in the middle, next to the Judge, loudly, although I was not sure of all the lyrics.

I listened to documentary called “Taking the oath” played on CBC Radio One yesterday. It said that most immigrant women prefer to stay at home. They do not involve in their community, in the public life. That they feel homesickness. That there are not enough programs for immigrants. That jobs are harder to find the more qualified you are. That the “Canadian experience” haunts like a beast. That the immigrant has to reinvent himself. That for some, in their hearts it takes 10 years to truly feel Canadian.

I say that as an immigrant you have no excuses not: to learn English, to try to learn French too (or viceversa), to use the free access (come on people!) public library (enormously rich in resources), to socialize, to meet and greet people, to take genuine interests in others, to fight for a job, to communicate, to share knowledge and be always open and willing to learn assiduously and continuously. Complacency is not an excuse. Laziness is not an excuse. Weakness is not an excuse.

Canada has not disappointed me for one simple reason. I did not expect anything of my new country. I expected a lot of myself. I still do. Disappointments rise from a context when one’s expectations are not realistically aligned with the environment.

I am a happy and content Romanian-Canadian. Awakened to a new sense of maturity and sensibility I am grateful for the journey I have lived, I am grateful for the journey to come.

Stay tuned!

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10 Love poems

Poem 1

Let us talk, let us speak words
long, translucent words
like chisels that break apart
the cold river from the hot delta
day from night
stone from stone.

***

Poem 2

Take me happiness upwards
and crush my temple against the stars
till my neverending world
will turn into a pillar or something
much taller
much sooner.

***

Poem 3

The hunter looked at the goddess and patched her wing with honey and a golden kiss. Then they flew together over the abyss that had the shape of two hands clenched amiss into a prayer. Later, around sunset, after dinner, the hunter revealed his sword and the goddess revealed her soul.

***

Poem 4

When you arrived you added yourself to myself
like an empire to an empire,
when maps grow and borders glow.

But when you left
I remained bereft of the continent of you
and now I can see
the core of the planet
through the grounds where you stood.

***

Poem 5

Let’s fly on a kite
big enough to hold both of us,
strong enough to hold all our dreams,
light enough so we can take shelter under it
when it rains.

***

Poem 6

The pearl on the crown of the earl
shines when flashes discharge
blinds the audience
goes unnoticed
too much light on short notice
the optical nerve cannot cope
so we have to use our imagination
to feel the pearl and ignore the earl
to appreciate the essence
when we know it’s there
but we cannot taste it
fragrance that comes from nowhere
yet is all around us.

***

Poem 7

The word was advanced to the rank of general
it feels good about itself
generally
so it orders the other words to follow
the flock of unhuntable fowls
under the sunset
by the lake.

***

Poem 8

…and I extend my arms
far as your arrow can reach
and I bring it back
put it in the bow
I tell you that we must undo it
into the tree that it was carved out from.

***

Poem 9

The day has risen from the crib
its muteness deafens the ears of the ribs
spread out like fingers
when you hold someone’s hand
because it’s full of tears
because it’s full of fears.
And the day walks away from the crib
asks for a glass of milk
smiles and blinks
then cries a few tears of ink.

***

Poem 10

You are dreaming so beautifully
that I can take your dreams
and decorate my chest with them,
medals of joy and courage,
it’ll cover the spots
where spears pierced my body

I shall shield my knees with them
to cover wounds
from when I knelt on the cold stones
in the Westminster Abbey
in the corner of poets

I shall put them over my eyes
so raindrops could not replace tears

I look at your dreams
like pictures at the National Gallery
where everybody had to whisper
but we didn’t care
we made jokes about Van Gogh
and the ward
who fell asleep on his chair.

Your dreams were sitting next to me
I put my arm around their shoulder
they smiled and asked me
if there’s popcorn left in the bag,
There is, I said,
but you have to chew it in silence
Your dreams then said, Oh, please.

With ease we ran through the Trafalgar Square rain
and your dreams started dreaming,
I held their hands
and the hands of their hands.

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Crushing happiness

The happiness inside me
becomes stronger than myself
stronger than my bones
the bones you crush when
you hug me
always hurtfully
always wonderfully.

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Dream with a sitar at the end

We were at cabin in the mountains. (Who’s we?). I hear voices, We must go, we must go now. We got on a bus and rode for a long time. I knew it was a long time because I saw the sun moving fast in the sky. The bus rode on the abrupt slant of the mountain. There was a deep valley underneath. On the other side of the valley I saw another enormous mountain, taller than us. (Who’s us?). It was barren and bereft of vegetation. Maybe because of the altitude. The mountain was packed with geometric sculptures and houses carved into rock and big cone-shaped boulders posing as landmarks or defenders of some sort of hidden space. There were trails and stairs running in all directions and the mountain had no patch of natural shapes. It was all transformed. It was dark-grey.
The bus descended abruptly into a narrow canyon into a deadend. The deadend was a tall gate of iron. We went through the gate into a large space. It was a hall with a row of thick pillars running from the entrance to an infinite end. Between pillars there were other smaller rooms, lighted by an artificial source. There was no one around, just us. (Who’s us?!). The echo spoke of a time with loaded memories. Once, there were a lot of people coming here. The air was galled and unfrequented by motion, except for the specks of lint that lingered in the heat of light. We entered a room between two pillars. (We?!). The inside defined intuition and logic. It was much larger that one would think. It was packed with stacks of metal shelves high as the eyes can see, and there was no ceiling, except for an idea of a terminal point. On the shelves: objects in labelled boxes, by categories, by year, by fabric, by purpose. Endless stacks of boxes. Someone told me I can help myself with whatever I want. In a corner there was an upright container with walking canes. Stainless steel canes. I picked one. It was dented. I didn’t like the handle. I took another one. It felt good in my hands. The dents were not so bad. I thought I could still use it. I asked myself why I choose a dented stainless steel walking cane. I didn’t know. I decided to keep it. We walked through the shelves into the next room, then into the next. Just like in a museum. The last room was full of musical instruments in disarray. Thrown into a pile in a hurry. An Asian old man came to me with a sitar. He told me to try it. I never played a sitar before, I say. Play, he said. I started playing and I was very good at it. I didn’t know what I was doing. My fingers just pinched the cords fast and some surreal music filled the room. The music smelled of granite. It had no echo, it was local around me, the instrument and the Asian old man. He told me to sit down. Then I saw to my left my sister, as she was when she was young. To my right, somebody else, I don’t know who. I sat down. In the same moment my sister stood up wanting to grab a big mug with coffee. She knocked down the sitar. I thought whether I should be upset or not. I decided not to be upset. The Asian old man picked up the instrument and looked at the broken cords. They can be fixed, he said.
I woke up wanting to play music.

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John Hemingway on getting published

“Now, whether you as a free, beautiful and fun loving person actually get published is another question. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. Getting published is, as my grandfather once said, like taking your chances at the craps table. If that’s true, then …maybe what a budding author needs is a pair of loaded dice.” (John Hemingway)

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Fractured funny roses

Fractured roses, Adam’s apple of Moses, somebody save him, he’s chocking with manna, his mama shot him with an arrow in his Achilles’s heel, geez, that man’s anatomy is full of history, geez that man’s hysterectomy is full of misery, his tears full of spears, his laughter full of mornings-after, nitrogen and roses, ovaries and horses, till seas do us part, funny roses, melted hearts, bears on Moses, you and me, in our own little eternity.

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One year

Vortex of luminous daisies in circles with muscular fairies and 365 push-ups, we need to do this, we need to accomplish this, we look up to the beautiful and soothing Cross of Hope, we hold each other’s hands and step into a soft sphere for two, with one window towards the horizon, with one window inclined to say yes we can, smiles on our chests and tiny mirrors on our faces, we look into each other, deeper and arching over one year long of well tempered sentiment of love well kept inside a piano forte and laughter inside a guitar, Be my echo, I’ll be your valley, my river you are, carrying tears and ears, we reach out to each other and build a bridge of sense over a precipice of non-sense, one year of love, two wings and a dove.

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