Friday, March 14, 2008

Another Rant by J-Ray

Rant/Poem #1

I'm holding a small amount of rest ransom
The state will have to pay 99 million dollars for it's release
And I know that they won't pay me
But that's okay
'Cuz rest has no quarters in my quest
My campaign
My rebellion
My revolt
Civil Disobedience
Protest, Protest March
Salt MarchGandhiGreatSoulProphet

Slow down.

Let me tell you about my ambition.

You know how I mentioned Gandhi before?
One of his more famous quotes was
"Be the change you wish to see in the world."
The bible tells us to live by holy virtues of peace and love
And Jesus told us the important virtue
"Love your neighbour as yourself."
Your parents have told you,
Your teachers have teachers have taught you,
And the world has asked us to be good and respectful and responsible

So many things are there for men and women to live by
To name but a few.
And we're supposed to try and live by these, right?
That's what the world has been telling us for all our lives
I think.

Let's all think
For a second.

I see a video game on a shelf
Featuring a soldier and a gun
And this supposed to promote peace

I hear someone exchanging a snide comment to a friend
Behind someone else's back
Maybe mine
And this is supposed to foster trust

I feel the excitement when someone tells me they'll be there for me
And then later give me some lame excuse that they forgot or were doing something else.
And I thought we valued responsibility and loyalty.

I see boys and girls toy with a weaker student
Bombarding them with sarcastic remarks and disgusted expressions
And I see no honour, courage, dignity or kindness.

The I hear it as I walk by
The manipulation
The petty high school politics
And I do nothing.
I can feel my own lack of compassion
Lack of empathy.

Our friends can be made up of people who hardly even know us
And turn their backs on us without a moment's notice

And love is like a curse word
Only squeaked out when we see a cute stuffed animal or a small child

This is the problem.

No actually, this is part of the problem

You want to know what the second part of the problem is?
My throwing a little rock in your pond might cuase a few ripples
But eventually the black glass calms again
And goes back to the same old,
"Oh hum, let's just exist through our lives and not care about anything except what applies to us."

The water doesn't move
I could throw a boulder in
And the resulting gwoosh
Would send a few drops onto the shore
Dry land


But the only thing that's going to get that swamp to drain is either massive human caused drainage
Or the oil sands in Fort McMurray

And we can't do a lot about that one.

So break out the plumbing gear folks
Because though the world we live in is actually pretty good
It could be a whole lot better

Tommy Douglas said,
"Fear not my friends. 'Tis not too late to change the world."
So don't lose hope.
One small voice can teach the world a song.

Do it for that kid who sits by themselves at lunch
Do it for that homeless guy rolling joints down on Yates and Government
Do it for that friend of yours who is going through a tough time right now
Do it for that teacher that nobody likes
Do it for that person who betrayed you
Do is for that incorrigible gossip who degrades society when it isn't looking

Or at the very least, do it for me.
Here's another quote by a Pope from the Renaissance:
"I have loved justice and hated inequity, and so I am condemned to misery."
Don't let me be like him.

Bring back the fad of virtuousness.
P's and Q's-ness
Thank you vey muchness
Have a nice dayness
And sorry, excuse me-ness

Do it for me.
Do it for them.

Or be like Nike
And just do it.

Or better yet,

Do it for you.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Free Verse by J-Ray

by Jordan Ray

Do you ever find it funny?

Funny that this school system
While trying to prepare us for the real world
Sometimes just seems to protec us from it instead?
I mean, when prohibit some things in schools
We don’t really become prepared for what’s really out there
So kids go to find it somewhere else

I find it funny that 1000 years ago
Kids were considered adults from the time they could bear a sword or children,
Depending on gender
Nowadays we have to spend about a quarter of our total life span
In institutions
Not allowing for the fact of course
If you end up going insane later in life
And have to spend the rest of your days in one of those lovely jackets with belts in the back

I find it funny that we have a course called Planning 10
That makes students think about what they are going to do when they graduate
Instead of letting them go out and live it
Hasn’t it ever struck you that the best parts of school are when you do something new
Or different
Like going on a field trip somewhere
Or learning about something whilst not behind a desk?
Ask kids in our band program about what their favorite part of the course is
And I’ll bet you that the majority will say the trips

How old was Alexander the Great when he got command of an army?
He was still a teenager
Winston Churchill did poorly in school
And yet went on to become one of the most celebrated leaders in history
Einstein failed math in school
And yet is considered to be one of the most brilliant men that ever lived
I’m not suggesting that everyone is like these great leaders
Only that people cannot all be expected to grow up at the same time
And trying to standardize the way that students mature was a poorly thought out idea

Because everyone is different
And as a country that was founded on the idea of preserving and celebrating the things that make us unique
We shame ourselves by promoting the idea of conformation
By promoting protectionism of our children beyond a certain point
I mean, take France
They have no minimum drinking age
And I’ll bet you that incidents involving alcohol are the same or lower than ours in Canada
Because the worst thing that you can do to child to protect them from it is to say that they can’t have it
Like that box of cookies or that shiny toy
With their curiosity ignited, they will not stop until they’ve got it
So you want to get rid of the rebels?
Take away the things that make them rebellious

Let us face the world on our own
And I think that you’ll find we do pretty well
Have faith in us
And we won’t disappoint you
If we need a lifeline, we’ll let you know
And some of us will screw up
Probably all of us, actually
So you’ll see us again
But if you don’t let us screw up
We’ll never learn how to do it right

So give us wings
And let us show you how to soar
Don’t keep us clipped and pampered inside of some gilded cage
As much as you love us and want to protect us
The biggest thing that we want is to show you
That we can fly too

We want you to be proud of us
And it’s not enough to just bring back an A+ or two on our report cards
Because not even everyone can do that
Or holds value in those ink symbols on paper
We want to free fall
Hurtle towards the earth
Pull the cord and land on our feet

And when tell you that we did it
We want you to beam with pride
Tell us how proud you are of us
While we beam with pride too

Let us scale every mountain
Swim every channel
Run every marathon
Fight every battle
And face every challenge by staring it down without fear
Let us show the world what we’re made of
And emerge with victory.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Duck Speaks - A Poem

Jordan Ray

You know that there’s a problem in high schools
I’m sure you’ve heard it before
I don’t even know what it’s supposed to be called
Social Structures
Social Codes
The collective consciousness of the North American Teenager
The unwritten rules that everyone is supposed to know

The things that can create problems when people from different worlds collide
Fraternize with others that they don’t normally

The things that makes us stick to our own kind
The thing that says that you can come to the party
But you wouldn’t be welcome at all

You’re not cool enough
You don’t have enough class
Social Standing


And some people don’t think that it exists in this school but it does
Maybe not so bad as other places
With their set-up tables for the Art Geeks and Cool Asians
But bad enough that it makes kids do weird things

Like maybe try something out that they might not normally try out
Something that they think will raise their social status
Let them be accepted into that select herd that is the school’s elite

Or even just something that makes them want to change
So they can be like the guy with the perfect teeth, washboard abs and charm to spare
Or makes that girl want to be like the chick with the amazing legs and California tan

Do you know what it’s called?
This thing that makes people act unlike themselves
Makes them whisper behind each others backs
Cast glances up and down someone as they walk by in the hall
Scrutinizing them like a cute sweater in a store
Sizing them up like a piece of butcher’s workmanship
Sizing them down like a colony of black insects that go un noticed
But number in the millions

Tells them to just take a sip
Even though it’s against their better judgement
Or takes away their judgement entirely
Eating away at their individuality
Plucking away uniqueness like curly tufts from a black ram
Until he’s void of any creativity
Any soul

Screams at them to not say a word to anyone
Putting up a fun house of mirrors and illusions
Weaving deception like fine gossamer threads
Substituting fear for glue and lies for newspaper
As paper mache themselves into a sculpture
Just like number one’s
Or just like number two’s
Or number thirty nine’s
Number three thousand seven hundred and eighty two’s
Just another sheep in the herd

I find it funny that in a culture that appears fabricated on
Revealing the inner you
Letting yourself go
and glorifying yourself as an individual
That instead of doing this we all want to be just like everyone else
We want to be comfortable
To stay in our cozy little nests
All packed up with boxes of shampoo-in blond highlights and Jenny Craig supplements
And look around at the world and say
I wish that my bundle of twigs was a couple branches higher

If being yourself is for the birds, why don’t we spread our wings and fly?
Are we scared of how crowded the skies would get if everyone took off at once?
Is the guy who’s selling us our blonde highlight number 3B scared that he’ll lose business?
Are the trees scared that if we all leave our nests that they’ll be able to stand up a little straighter?

Are we scared of what some of the other birds might do if allowed to fly with the rest?

Who knows?
Maybe they’re really nice people who are just looking for some love.
Perhaps they’ve got some really horrible problems that they’ve got to solve with someone.
What if they’ve got a dream that could change the world?
There are hundreds of other feathered kinds of fowl
That you could meet
If we could all fly

But this fear, this mentality, this social weakness
Keeps our wings clipped
We just hop around in our nest
Along the nearest branch to visit our neighbors
Preferring not to think about anything beyond the boundaries of our tree
This oil sticks to our souls
Fouling us when all we have to do is pick up the bar of dove and scrub

And toss that pearly white cleanly godliness to our neighbors
So they can scrub too
And pay forward the aroma of freedom to the whole forest
Until entire flocks of birds soar through the air
Like synchronized skaters on a pond of peacock blue
Creating beauty
Or a smile

This metaphor has gone on long enough
But just before I stop I’d like to end with what really confuses me
Confuddles me
Confounds me
Perplexes bewilders and puzzles me to no end

We know the problem
We know the solution
It’s sitting right there
Like a steaming apple pie aroming scent towards your sniffer
But even though I and others like me
Keeping hitting the nail on the head
Hardly anyone else who hears us
Sees us
Or even some how senses us banging on that construction project that is building a better world
You don’t pick up your hammer
And pound.