foxtongue: (bright spring)
Victoria Victoria Victoria

Promotional headshots for my mother, electronic multimedia artist Victoria Gibson, for the Guelph Nuit Blanche 2011!

My mother brought me a small, wooden jewelry box yesterday. It's a beautiful thing, laquered marquetry and celadon tinted birdseye maple, as finely crafted as an expensive guitar. Inside is a music box mechanism, one of those spring-wound revolving cylinders, that plays Impossible, a song hauntingly familiar yet difficult to place, (always the mark of a classic). I adore it. I am a sucker for music box mechanisms. I used to regularly carry them, the manual kind that you place on a surface and wind by hand to control the rotation of the barrel, hey jude, canon in d, as time goes by, until the constant wear against the other things in my pockets would break the metal keys off the comb. I love how clever they are, how much clockwork goes into them, how very simple yet complex they can be, how much strange and wonderful history they contain, the first mechanical music, the basis of the first programming, the melodic birth of the computer. Now there is a small graveyard of them in my room, each one flawed in some essential way, each one with a snapped off spot in the melody, a haunting gap where a remembered note should play, as perfect as a zen garden.

Really she came over for a photoshoot, the box was a bonus, something she bought me years ago, but lost in her house until recently. Rather than cash, she's paying me in Burning Man gear, a good sleeping bag, two 5L water jugs, and a big, hefty cooler, which is completely fantastic. Also, due to a mix-up last year, Lung has a spare tent I can use, and Tony's offering to split a bunch of our left over supplies from last year. Crowd-sourcing for the win! Now I need a ride, a place to camp, a bedroll, and to figure out a week's worth of food, sugary electrolytes, and wet wipes, all on a budget of close to zero. Andrew's bet twenty bucks I can pull it off. Screw being reasonable, I'm not going to let him down.
foxtongue: (Default)
Without going into detail: the family's missing thirteen year old has been retrieved from sex slavery and sent to live far, far away.


Jul. 8th, 2011 03:05 pm
foxtongue: (Default)

A promotional headshot for my mother, Vicki.
foxtongue: (Default)
Talked to the Irish Embassy today. They're going to send me the appropriate affidavit tomorrow. Once that's filled out and the paper records have arrived from the Holmes clan, I can apply. The only drawback is that the current application process time is six months. This wouldn't cause concern except that it seems I also have to send them my passport as part of the Foreign Births Registration package, which would trap me in the country.

On the other hand, it turns out moving to Montreal could be significantly less risky than previously thought, as apparently there's a provincially subsidized language program which might pay me a small stipend to learn french, easing the transition as well as teaching me a useful new skill. Also, more locally, I may have hit upon some small crowd-sourced education funding, as long as the classes are super cheap, (in the couple of hundred dollar range), and apparently the unemployment office will now pay to upgrade my First Aid certification.
foxtongue: (beseech)
Outside of my citizenship pursuit, this week has been extraordinarily bad for news. Other family is wounded, with one, very young member missing, a girl of thirteen. She has been taken, yet gone voluntarily, and it is destroying us. The authorities tell us there is no hope.
foxtongue: (Default)
I bought my father a death certificate search yesterday. It cost twenty-seven dollars. (This is not the strangest thing I've ever done, but I believe it to be the most unsettling credit card purchase I've ever made, and that's saying something, as I just sent someone a pewter-cast bat skull tie-pin as a birthday present.) Basically this means I have hired the Department of Vital Statistics to search through the death records of the city of my choice, in the three year period of my choice, to try and find out if my father has died. Course, a few hours after I did that, some very delicate social grape-vine contacts informed me that he's still alive. So, okay, wasted money, but at least it rescued me from my position of doubt and perplexity - the uncomfortable dilemma: what outcome I was hoping for?

Fun fact: Anyone may order and receive a death certificate for someone who died in British Columbia. Release of death certificates is not limited to immediate family.

Back east, my amazing uncle Francis unearthed all of my ancestral paperwork, like my grandfather's birth certificate, his marriage license to my grandmother, (which, amusingly, lists her birthplace as only "Russia" and her occupation as "spinster"), and my father's birth certificate, and e-mailed them to me as high quality scans. They are beautiful artifacts, history manifest. Now, according to the immigration requirements, it's a matter of either signing an affidavit that states my father is too dangerous to contact or having a family member far, far away request a copy of his current identification. Either way, it's very likely that this will wrap up much sooner than expected.

Fun Fact: According to my father's birth certificate, my grandfather was an embalmer.
foxtongue: (have to be kidding)
More bad news has come in. If anyone local to Vancouver has any contact numbers for support groups or counseling for families who have lost members to the Downtown Eastside sex & drug trade, it would be appreciated. Information or resource centers available to parents of underage delinquents would also be relevant. Thanks.
foxtongue: (beseech)
I've begun pursuing a potentially dangerous course of action, something I've been putting off as long as I possibly could:

I've started the steps required to get my Irish citizenship.

My father's father was born in Cashel. Because of this, according to Irish Naturalization and Immigration Services, I'm eligible for Citizenship Through Descent. Naturally, you might be curious as to why this is a risky proposition, and why I haven't followed through with it before, especially as I've such a bee in my bonnet about getting the heck out of Canada. Well, here's the caveat: even though my family in Winnipeg already has copies of all the tricky, hard-to-find, turn-of-last-century, grandfather-related paperwork, the application also requires documents that relate to my unstable, schizophrenic, murderous father. Very particular documents, the sort that require permission to access, like his full civil birth certificate and copies of his current identity documents.

When I had set up to move to London a few years ago, my plan was to apply for all the paperwork from the safety of another continent, where there would be no possible way he would go so far as to show up at my door with a gun or a sharpened crowbar. My work visa would cover my UK residency until my citizenship was finalized, freeing me to finally wander the EU as I saw fit, but when that move didn't happen, stupidly superseded by the failed Heart of the World project, my citizenship application plans were put on the back burner, only to be considered as an utterly last resort.

Given that my 29th birthday has just come and gone, it seems to be well past time I dust those plans off again. Which raises some interesting questions, like "would contacting my father to get permission, as hazardous and a bad idea as that is, break the terms of the restraining order I have against him?" or "because I have a restraining order, and he has a proven history of extreme violence, is it possible that the government would let me circumvent him entirely?". I really have no idea, nor do I know who to contact to get those answers.

In the meantime, while I call endless office drones, attempting to find out what I need to know, (and to discover who, honestly, I should be calling), the family clan in Winnipeg are my angels, sifting through old boxes, looking for the relevant paperwork to scan and e-mail to me, so I don't have to apply directly to Ireland in the middle of a postal strike.
foxtongue: (Default)
Listening to the sproglet

Happy belated birthday to Illyana Lev Astrid Ainsley! Born Saturday May 21st, her fabulous mum Rebecca went on to defend her thesis and win an MFA only two weeks later.
foxtongue: (have to be kidding)
Dear Universe,

      Seriously? Seriously? How did that even happen? 

      I give up. You suck.


foxtongue: (Default)
Rebecca nadia duncan
This past weekend was exhausting, the sort that feels alright to leave behind. Saturday was eaten up by David's sister's wedding, a strange affair out in Abbotsford at a family restaurant, small, informal, slightly terrifying, and Sunday was taken up with Slutwalk, a thousand person protest march against victim shaming that Katie N. helped put together. Oddly, out of the two, even though Slutwalk was four hours of being on my feet, running around and taking pictures, surviving the little wedding took more out of me. Something to do with social shock, maybe, or walmart-culture inspired depression. Either way, it's not something I would be willing to do again.

There was also a long, miserable walk home from Broadway on Sunday, broken and alone. It ended with John catching me in my room crying, so he went out and brought back two delicious cupcakes from the new place up the street, presenting them to me in a small paper box, "Here's some men-are-scum cupcakes." I sniffled and laughed, and said, "Men aren't scum." He replied, "Yes they are sweetie. Trust me, I am one. Eat your cupcake. It'll help make everything better." And he was right. It did.

(He also, tongue firmly planted in cheek, brought me a voodou doll when he arrived from New Orleans to "help" with my heartbreak. It's a grassy thing dressed in pink, with a burned plastic doll face and a magic lima bean tied to its waist with some leather. Creepy looking, yes, but with the effect somewhat ruined by the mass produced tag around its neck: FOR ATTRACTION.)

Today I'm processing pictures, doing laundry, and last minute packing for my trip to NY, making certain I have cords for things, trying to remember if I packed any stockings, triple checking that I've put aside pants that fit me, shirts for every weather, vitamins, hairpins, toothpaste, moonlight, music, the moose hat, and things with feathers on them. Really I've been more or less ready for a couple of days, I could have left yesterday, the only thing left is to find a missing bird skull earring, but there's something comforting about being extra sure.
foxtongue: (femme)
...But That Was [Yesterday]

Song on repeat, fingers frigid from typing, everything around me perfectly still. We're talking about dying, about family in the hospital, about relationships that never were, chances that perished almost as quickly as they had become. I think about fire, about how much tragedy stains my heart, how much sorrow clogs my breath. The boyfriend who committed suicide, the woman who was almost my mother, dragged to death, pregnant, under a truck. Family wrapped in white sheets, counting minutes. A different parent, one of many, confused, waiting to die. There was a phone-call. Later, at some unknown time, there will be another, and perhaps the person on the line and I will cry together.

I’m helplessly needless and needless to say I owe you.
Helplessly needless and needless to say I owe you.

Outside is cold, the rain has half frozen, but I expect colder still. Clothed in frost, in the shirt of someone I used to love, winter is crawling through the windows, offering loneliness in place of flowers, memories of years when I still had a future. They play out like beads on a string of days, tallied in small bursts, bright but too long ago. How is it that days are so long, while years are so short? Fractions of lifetime stretched out over bone. Cells replicating. I used to believe that one day would be easier. Soon I will be too old for it. I will be done, the last page written. The book closed. Somewhere out there, past the glass, there is snow.

Well I’d wait ten thousand picks for just one more chance, just one more chance to see your face again.

The people around me do not know how to cure this sorrow. Tender, they insist on holding me or pet my hair, as if rocking silently is enough. Shivering, I require more, to engage, to pull my intelligence out from my pain. Perspective as everything. (Not everything broken can be repaired.) On the east coast is a grandfather, lungs filling with fluid, and a boy near the phone. We write back and forth, filling the void with comforting words, distractions, poetry, and rough jokes. We write back and forth and I do not know if I am helping. I do not know if I am like my friends, heartfelt yet inadequate, offering solace that would comfort me, but not them.

Well I’d pull, teeter away, at the earth with my teeth, the earth with my teeth to touch your face alive.

The piano kicks in, quiet, insistent, with a sound like birds. I am collapsing, fracturing, splintering, shivering into pieces. If someone were to touch me, I would explode, shrapnel embedded in every wall, with a sound like a wounded animal, terrified and very, very young.

You lie helplessly still as your face falls apart.
You lie helplessly still as your face falls apart.

My stress betrays me. Inside of my belly, chemicals misfire, hormones fail. I do not release an egg. "Progesterone secretion is prolonged because estrogen levels are low". My womb is lost, continues singing for fertility, even with the map misplaced. The walls thicken, then slough. Bleeding seven days, eight, now thirty. A flood. I grow pale. The red spills like an endless creek, enough to fill a pail. I am a tributary, coloured scarlet. Chunks of flesh escape me as big as the palm of my hand. My breath vanishes, the world glitters, and suddenly exhaustion, fatigue. It is too much effort to ask my heart to beat. I cannot move. My body is a heavy as lead, my veins filled with gold.

With wax and wires and hair from the back of your head.
With wax and wires and hair from the back of your head.

With my blood, so sleep. I am awake in the dark, endlessly so. My breath solidifies, but my dreams do not. Instead I write, I reply, my back-log of messages attacked, finally, until dawn, the sun a smudge of gray the same tenor as a cough. To a former lover, lost for too long, I write, "Your silver hair makes me think of feathers, of flight, and the purity of light seen through the fractures of a crystal. Perhaps you are, in fact, slowly turning into a dove, one the colour of lightning, a tongue like glass and a brain ripe with electricity." Our love was a wonderful thing, poetry balanced on edge, the quirky, deprived, and mad meeting together as one. Maybe somewhere is a world where it worked out.

Well, I can make your face brand new.
Well, I can make your face brand new.

We stay up late, my current love and I, an ordinary history of affection warped by misunderstandings, his lack of experience, the way he abandoned us the first time we fought. Where do we go from here? Defining what is wrong is only a first step, almost a year late, too late, almost a year since it all began. My eyes are glued shut with salt, hot and sad. His arm bleeds where it scraped against the side of the bed. My role has been counselor, not partner. Tearing words from his tongue has been almost impossible, the squeezing of blood from a stone. Together we have been teaching him responsibility, and though he is quick, he resists.

La da la da la da da da da da da da da da da

Dawn painting the top of the mountains, the world's orbit sliding day into place. The urge to shift from bed, to draw on the window, withers against the memory of warmth, of shifting discussions, the lace of conversation drifting over my eyes like something imagined from a far away land.

You are warm, you are warm

There are only four ways for a relationship to end; stuck together or split apart, drowned with misery or flavoured with subtle joy. Duality doubled, basics, building blocks, the future laid out as cabled strings that tie lives together. Abandonment, paperwork, making tomorrow always better than today. I fought for us until he apologized, truth the most harrowing weapon of all, and then my heart burst, as if there was nothing left inside the pain but exhaustion, terrible, cruel, but free. Even so, we are lucky. Now, no matter how it turns out, as a couple or merely friends, we will find peace. We'll love each other until death do us part.

Come take my hand and I’ll take your hand
And I will bring you out
Come take the line and I’ll take the line
And I will pull you out
In the sun
foxtongue: (moi?)
the first menorah candle of 2010
the first menorah candle of 2010

Chanukkah lights are not for the "lighting of the house within", but rather for the "illumination of the house without", so it's traditional to put them in a window where they can be easily seen. This one is in my bedroom window, in a silver candlestick Silva gave me for my twenty-first birthday.
foxtongue: (moi?)

My photos of Kyle & Lisa's wedding are up.

Please tag profusely. There's no way I'll ever remember everyone's names. Thanks!
foxtongue: (Default)
This just in from my mother, Vicki:

Hi All,

I am sending out this e-mail to invite you to the Western Front next Monday evening on Dec 7th at 8:00pm.

The event is the culmination of this year's improvisation workshop series at The Western Front, 303 East 8th Avenue.

Every Monday, since October, an ad hoc group from 12-20 players has assembled together to make music and next Monday you are invited to join us. There is no admission charge.

For more information check out:

I will only be singing as I have parked my motorcycle for the year and I have not been bringing my guitar or computer rig on public transit. There are enough guitarists already and I am sure you will find the show interesting and musical.

Please e-mail me for more information or check my website later this week for rehearsal soundclips.
foxtongue: (wires)
Hey everyone, Ink Tea's in trouble!

Friend-family Cole, who I love very much, has been having a damned hard time surfing the warm industry this year. In spite of desperately trying to find income, job hunting like mad, and generally being as responsible as a human can, she's reached the point where she has no more unemployment benefits, no job, and very little in the kitchen, an untenable situation, one she's helped me rise from in the past.

I am an Arts Administrator, photographer, and writer, based in Minneapolis, (or, alternatively, in Starving Artist land), trying very hard to get work. I have been unemployed for over a year now, in spite of lots of office skills, lots of experience, and lots of mailed resumes. I was one of the two Best New Spoken Word Artists of 2009 in Minnesota's Urban Griots Spoken Word Awards and represented Minneapolis at the 2009 Women of the World poetry slam in Detroit. I also teach poetry to immigrant children.

I will print photos from my flickr account at your discretion, do headshots and portraits, write poems for you, make mixed tapes for you, scrub your kitchen floor, or make you a delicious vegan dinner, if you can help me pay my rent and student loans off.

Here is her Etsy, where my favourite is her Sponsor a Roll of Film program. If you're feeling more direct, her Paypal address is inktea at Please help if you can!
foxtongue: (Default)
Bethalynne, lucky partner to my clever internet cousin Myke, has updated her website, "All freshened up pretty for Halloween" with a new collection of artwork. Go check it out! Not only is she brave and beautiful, she's wicked talented too:

Bonus! Her chock-a-block full of wonder Etsy shop where you can admire her art then take it home. Unbelievable, right? Right. Go get some here: Etta Diem
foxtongue: (moi?)
Trimpin : What an odd, lovely minded, delightful man. What odd, lovely minded, delightful art! I spoke with him after the film, and I'm going to see what I can do about making him an on-line calendar, so people will know where and when to find his installations and shows.


People tend to synchronize blinking when watching film, at moments calculated to give the least information loss.


We wandered in and out of our weekend, sidling up to previously made plans and usually walking away again, tied only to our smiles, our warm hands bound together better than our hours. Saturday was a day of birthdays, getting up slowly, swimming from bed as if from water, heavy limbed and discarding the charted day we'd made, instead filling it with a late breakfast at Havana's and a wander down the Drive, searching out the perfect present for my found brother Michael. Indonesia, Bali, black wood and red glass, three hollow faces in a candle-light row, placid, eyes sweetly closed, a puddle of calm light for a time lately troubled. Downtown, then, our treasure tucked in a bag, downtown to Davie and Denman, the purpose seawall and ice-cream, something like a date, something like something we should have done years ago, arm in arm, sharing sugar on a park bench as the sun set into the ocean, orange and sparkle and gold.

Chasing the day with dinner, the present fit as right as expected, a train pour of alcohol down the table, familiar faces, names, periphery friends, lost family, personal history, remembering suddenly I had met Sara on the dance-floor we counted out New Year's Eve together the same night I saved a life, the first good holiday midnight I'd ever had, as if the memories were only visible under blacklight or her pretty eyes. When the crowd split off for sushi, we dawdled behind over dessert, then walked out on our own, peeling away the city into paths, transit, and routes.

Frank's place was crowded, the floor a plane of pillows, inflated mattresses and grinning people lit by the flourish and improbable end of Buckaroo Bonzai. (A great attack of hello from Sam, a surprised, pleased greeting from Daniel.) Shedding our clothes in the storage closet felt like shedding skin, as we borrowed pyjamas to snuggle the night, clothing I haven't worn since I was a child, and my body, strangely, just as small inside the loaned plaid flannel as it was wearing adult clothing then. Tony preferred the Strawberry Shortcake pants, he was welcome to them. In the velvety dim light of the party, he could have been handsome in almost anything. Finding a vacant beanbag, we settled in for Hooped, then Zombie Strippers, a movie that maybe should never have been made, except that parts of it were so much fun. After that we shifted to a mattress with Claire for Amazon Women On The Moon, then tried to sleep through most of Hell Comes To Frogtown, instead waking horribly to all the shooting and shouty bitz, which involved such complex philosophy as "why does that mutated(?) frog king have three snake penises, anyway?"

Shakes The Clown was next, which I wish I'd seen more of, then apparently Night Of The Creeps, which I completely missed, followed by Airplane!, which was kind enough to wake me for the lovely opening red zone white zone argument, but not keep me that way. Dawn arrived like a ghost, sliding between the cracks of the party, prying the new day out of the cracks of our long, cheerful night. I don't know when people left, but there were only a few of us by the time morning and breakfast arrived, a small heaven of perfect waffles, strawberries with maple syrup, and bacon.

That day, once we walked home, with matching clouds of impossible hair, we stayed in all day, in bed, until it was Monday.
foxtongue: (canadian)
Every time I listen to Let The Devil In, from the TV On The Radio album Return to Cookie Mountain, I'm inspired to track down a bunch of musicians, get them drunk, and have a giant sing-along house party. I blame Naysayer.

Also, does anyone have Talvin Singh's Heavy Rotation Radio Refixx remix of OK?

Tales of The Unexpected: a Roald Dahl inspired Tim Walker fashion editorial featuring, among others, Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter.

The weather today is a slow molasses jazz of rain and cold wind, but last night was gloriously different. The skies were profoundly open, a bit of silk fluttering dark black and blue pinned in place with a bright, round, almost full moon. My mother and I took a night ride on her motorcycle, enjoying the last drop out of her last day with insurance, out to the store, the long way around. Five layers of clothing against the cold, three jackets, stockings, tights, black leather gloves, my matching black helmet. I'm still not used to how small she is against me on the bike in the same way I'm not used to how big her newest bike is. There's nothing like realizing you've grown bigger than a parent to remind yourself of mortality.

Riding out into the night, we flew downtown, soared across the Burrard St Bridge, and out to UBC, to circle around and come back along Spanish Banks, the most splendid view to be found in Vancouver. The glut of ugly picket-fence condo development that's been climbing up the mountains is transformed into a skein of tangerine gemstone glitter at night, tiger striped black by the remaining runnels of nature that drip from the tops of the peaks all the way down to the ocean. Downtown becomes a dream of skyline, a precious, tiny thing floating on water, but like it's in the sky, held up by a willing suspension of disbelief. Everything that wasn't lit up didn't exist. I felt like we were something new, my mother and I, connected better than we have been, the city blocked out by the motorbike, separated from our weekends and bleak days. As if to prove my fresh perspective, or to reward the moment with permanent memory, I looked up over her head at just the right time to see an airplane perfectly silhouetted as it flew over the moon.
foxtongue: (geigerteller)
Vicki and I are leaving on her motorcycle for Seattle tomorrow afternoon. We'll be staying with Robin, Joseph wants to go dancing, Ivo put dibs on Saturday brunch, MJ's asked for Saturday afternoon/evening, and Kyle and Trillian have called Sunday afternoon/evening. After that, we're on the road back home. Pray, my people, it does not rain.


foxtongue: (Default)

April 2012

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