You Can’t

You Can’t


you can have it

it isn’t mine to give

but you can have it

I don’t know who it belongs to

so take it


the land rights

aren’t really protected

well enough

to balance the profits you offer

what is good for the most

is more important

than what is sacred for a few

you can have it


there’s no need for consultation

what do they know

about business anyway

superstitious paganism

is always pointless

in the face of cultural expediency

they only want to preserve their comforts

by denying you yours

so take it


do what you have to get it

just because it is theirs

doesn’t mean anything

to anybody

expect the press 

the cellphone gawkers 

twitter won’t save anyone

you don’t have a reputation

worth protecting anyway

so take it


it’s not mine to give

but not theirs to keep either

yet they are keeping it 

no matter what the cost

to you


The law isn’t as permanent as expected. There is always a political party whose agenda is to undo laws of the past – the repeal of Prohibition is an example. There are rumblings about rolling back lgbtqia rights, dispensing with employment equality, with discrimination. Laws regarding women’s bodies decided by men. So it’s no wonder the history of land rights is rife with contradictions & continued colonist imperialism.

My family claimed the land you lived on for centuries because you had no deed, no proof of ownership, so now it’s ours. Or was until some sly stranger juggled mortgage papers to take it out from under our noses, too. How dare he defraud the people who defrauded you to get the land.

As I recall I wrote this partially in response to the inclusion of land acknowledgements in various settings – a Stratford productions, poetry readings. As if the acknowledgements could undo what had been done. I see churches with rock gardens filled with children’s shoes to memorialize the children who died in the Residential Schools but wonder if that is as effective as a #.

When the Spanish conquered the Inca’s they demolished the Inca temples & built Catholic cathedrals on the ruins to show that primitive society the beauty of civilization. Clearly they were unaware that there were complex cultures that preceded the Inca’s by nearly 10,000 years. Native Americans built cities laid out to reflect the movement of both the the sun, the moon & the stars, not where it was best to put a Starbucks.

Civilizations come & go, come & go. Because we can’t undo the past doesn’t mean we should forget it. History repeats itself, progress isn’t fair, the present is mine to live not to give. As the song says, in the end we’re all dust in the wind.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? 

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