90% of Africa’s Elephants have been killed in the past 74 years…..

Worrisome figures in this infographic by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and iWorry. 90% of Africa’s elephants have been killed in the past 74 years and the number of orphans they rescue keeps going up. Please SHARE this to raise awareness, and foster an orphaned elephant on the DSWT’s website at: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/asp/fostering.asp10557233_809200849111791_1691838966648479910_n

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Poem of the Week: Anyways Suzanne Clearly (for David) via Alison McGhee

Anyone born anywhere near
my home town says it this way,
with an s on the end:
“The lake is cold but I swim in it anyways,”
“Kielbasa gives me heartburn but I eat it anyways,”
“(She/he) treats me bad, but I love (her/him) anyways.”
Even after we have left that place
and long settled elsewhere, this
is how we say it, plural.
I never once, not once, thought twice about it
until my husband, a man from far away,
leaned toward me, one day during our courtship,
his grey-green eyes, which always sparkle,
doubly sparkling over our candle-lit meal.
“Anyway,” he said. And when he saw
that I didn’t understand, he repeated the word:
“Anyway. Way, not ways.”
Corner of napkin to corner of lip, he waited.
I kept him waiting. I knew he was right,
but I kept him waiting anyways,
in league, still, with me and mine:
Slovaks homesick for the Old Country their whole lives
who dug gardens anyways,
and deep, hard-water wells.
I looked into his eyes, their smoky constellations,
and then I told him. It is anyways, plural,
because the word must be large enough
to hold all of our reasons. Anyways is our way
of saying there is more than one reason,
and there is that which is beyond reason,
that which cannot be said.
A man dies and his widow keeps his shirts.
They are big but she wears them anyways.
The shoemaker loses his life savings in the Great Depression
but gets out of bed, every day, anyways.
We are shy, my people, not given to storytelling.
We end our stories too soon, trailing off “Anyways….”
The carpenter sighs, “I didn’t need that finger anyways.”
The beauty school student sighs, “It’ll grow back anyways.”
Our faith is weak, but we go to church anyways.
The priest at St. Cyril’s says God loves us. We hear what isn’t said.
This is what he must know about me, this man, my love.
My people live in the third rainiest city in the country,
but we pack our picnic baskets as the sky darkens.
We fall in love knowing it may not last, but we fall.
This is how we know home:
someone who will look into our eyes
and say what could ruin everything, but say it,

Thank you to Alison McGhee for curating these beautiful poems.
For more information on Suzanne Cleary, please click here: http://www.suzanneclearypoet.com/

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Vancouver Poster: Global March for Elephants and Rhinos

Hello Vancouver Marchers! Let’s spread the word far and wide about the upcoming Global March for Elephants and Rhinos in Vancouver! Below are PDF’s of  a poster and postcards that you can use to email friends, family, vets, local pet stores, SPCA’s , humane societies, schools, MLA’s, MP’s etc…to get the word out. You can also print the pdf’s and post them at cafe’s, libraries, vet offices etc… They should be printed on 11 x 17 paper.

There are also postcard size files available as well. These can be printed double-sided on 8.5 x 11 paper and cut into postcard sizes – easy to carry with you and hand  out.

There are 117 marches to date in cities all over the world. Find one near you and add your voice to help elephants and rhinos at this critical time.




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Poem of the Week: Needle and Thread By Dorianne Laux

It was the sixties, and embroidery was back in,
and if you had jeans torn at the knee, an old
denim jacket, a plain white shirt or a cloth
handbag, I might ask you what you liked
then spend hours alone in my room
with your favorite colors, woven threads
luxurious as a young girl’s hair, practicing
the chain stitch, cross stitch, running stitch,
satin stitch across your ripped skirt until
flowers and suns unfurled, a blustery field
of violet iris, a blind yellow meadow or a deep ravine
that scrolled down your back or pants seam,
red ferns blushing your blouse above
a clavicle, daisy chains circling your cuffs.
I’d return your garment on a day you had almost
forgotten about it, baggy T-shirt, ragged shorts,
laid across my arms so the crewel work
shimmered, patchwork of hearts, patina
of wings, like the riven marble draped
beneath Christ’s Pieta, folds catching the light,
offering it up as a sacrifice, asking nothing in return,
though you bowed your head over it and touched it
with your whorled fingertips, the veined leaf
or cresting wave, frothed, feathered, spiders’ webs
and fleur-de-lis, peace signs and scepters and stars,
then looked up into my face like an alien being, you
who I hardly knew.

A big thank you to Alison McGhee for curating these beautiful poems!
​For more information on Dorianne Laux, please click here: http://doriannelaux.com/​

My blog: alisonmcghee.com/blog

My Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Alison-McGhee/119862491361265?ref=ts

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Minutiae #10 A Brother and Sister Go Bike Riding

I feel  as time goes on memory distills the details out and what is left are the pivotal moments, the things that stay deep in your heart, the memories that play like a small homemade movie in your mind. My brother and I and the rest of our sisters and brothers were thrown together and apart at different times during our early turbulent years. Our father was a high rolling crook with abundant charm and a strong mercurial streak. The rest of us, his family, his wife and children, tumbled in his slipstream, navigating our way over steep falls and crevices sometimes making mad leaps of faith into the unknown.

My brother and I had spent some time apart. He was left to live in Spain by himself at 14 and I was in Mississauga with my mother. The rest of my brothers and sisters were older and had scattered around the world.  My brother returned from Spain a different boy then I had known and when we came together as a family again in my mother’s small apartment we were almost strangers.

It’s not that I felt that we didn’t love each other. As kids you don’t think in terms of love. Life is more immediate than that. You think in terms of ‘what is he doing in my room?’ which I was now forced to share. You think in terms of ‘why has he turned my girl room into a Frank Zappa love den. You think about his smelly feet. You think about how he snores and how it makes you want to strangle him. I’m sure his thoughts were same same but different.

We rarely did anything together.Together was sharing the room and living life as a small broken family with my mother and my brother fighting . So I’m not sure how it happened that we went bicycling that day.  It was summer and somehow we decided we would go bicycling. And when I think back on it now it seemed like such an ordinary kid thing to do. Go biking. But for us that wasn’t normal.

But somehow we went. And it was sunny and we had some destination in mind, we were going somewhere for a reason I can no longer remember. And I remember feeling carefree and the worries of my young life fell away as we biked and biked down Lakeshore Road, over Port Credit River, down Stavebank Road under the shade of the beautiful summer trees. I remember feeling the sun on my arms and face, long before there were stern warnings of sun exposure.

I remember the smell of the fragrant summer air and I am sure in that moment neither of us had a care in the world. We just biked and biked with me chasing behind him over the roads, past houses and trees. And I remember biking up a road, now long paved, that was unfinished and I struggled up the hill with my bike. I remember feeling my tires spinning without moving and I could see my brother pull ahead of me as he made his way effortlessly up the hill. And before I knew it I had fallen on the gravel road. And I had the reaction that I still have to this day when I fall or hurt myself.

I started to cry as I looked at my bloodied knee. And I was upset because the moment was broken. And I worried my brother would leave me on the road. And I sat on the road and cried while summer carried on around me. And suddenly my brother was by my side asking me if I was okay. Are you okay? Are you okay? Yeah, I’m okay. And he helped me up. And we carried on to wherever it was we were going that day. And I still have that scar on my knee. And whenever I see that scar I remember that summer day and my brother and the feeling that whatever we had both been through we were going to be okay. And I’ll never forget it ever.

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Time to Say Goodbye to the Elephant

This is not easy viewing. But I would challenge anyone to watch it and NOT do anything about it at all.  Even sharing information with one other person, signing a petition or joining in one of the 105 Global March For Elephants and Rhinos  that are taking place around the world. Please don’t stand by and do nothing.

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Poem of the Week: When the Burning Begins – Partricia Smith for her father Otis Douglas Smith

The recipe for hot water cornbread is simple:
Cornmeal, hot water. Mix till sluggish,
then dollop in a sizzling skillet.
When you smell the burning begin, flip it.
When you smell the burning begin again,
dump it onto a plate. You’ve got to wait
for the burning and get it just right.

Before the bread cools down,
smear it with sweet salted butter
and smash it with your fingers,
crumple it up in a bowl
of collard greens or buttermilk,
forget that I’m telling you it’s the first thing
I ever cooked, that my daddy was laughing
and breathing and no bullet in his head
when he taught me.

Mix it till it looks like quicksand, he’d say.
Till it moves like a slow song sounds.

We’d sit there in the kitchen, licking our fingers
and laughing at my mother,
who was probably scrubbing something with bleach,
or watching Bonanza,
or thinking how stupid it was to be burning
that nasty old bread in that cast iron skillet.
When I told her that I’d made my first-ever pan
of hot water cornbread, and that my daddy
had branded it glorious, she sniffed and kept
mopping the floor over and over in the same place.

So here’s how you do it:

You take out a bowl, like the one
we had with blue flowers and only one crack,
you put the cornmeal in it.
Then you turn on the hot water and you let it run
while you tell the story about the boy
who kissed your cheek after school
or about how you really want to be a reporter
instead of a teacher or nurse like Mama said,
and the water keeps running while Daddy says

You will be a wonderful writer
and you will be famous someday and when
you get famous, if I wrote you a letter and
sent you some money; would you write about me?

and he is laughing and breathing and no bullet
in his head. So you let the water run into this mix
till it moves like mud moves at the bottom of a river,
which is another thing Daddy said, and even though
I’d never even seen a river,
I knew exactly what he meant.
Then you turn the fire way up under the skillet,
and you pour in this mix
that moves like mud moves at the bottom of a river,
like quicksand, like slow song sounds.

That stuff pops something awful when it first hits
that blazing skillet, and sometimes Daddy and I
would dance to those angry pop sounds,
he’d let me rest my feet on top of his
while we waltzed around the kitchen
and my mother huffed and puffed
on the other side of the door. When you are famous,
Daddy asks me, will you write about dancing
in the kitchen with your father?
I say everything I write will be about you,
then you will be famous too. And we dip and swirl
and spin, but then he stops.
And sniffs the air.

The thing you have to remember
about hot water cornbread
is to wait for the burning
so you know when to flip it, and then again
so you know when it’s crusty and done.
Then eat it the way we did,
with our fingers,
our feet still tingling from dancing.
But remember that sometimes the burning
takes such a long time,
and in that time,

poems are born.


For more information on Patricia Smith, please click here: http://www.wordwoman.ws/

A big thank you to Alison McGhee for finding and posting these beautiful treasures.

My blog: alisonmcghee.com/blog

My Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Alison-McGhee/119862491361265?ref=ts

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