USA and Canada

Articles, poems and other items about Canada and the United States of America.

One And All

All Lives Matter

When my team lost to a goal in the last five minutes of the match from a free kick that should never have been given and got relegated and my face went down with them, you didn't tell me that all football clubs matter.

Bearing Down

George Floyd memorial

The white
power cap
on the top
of the head
of the cop
with his knee
on the neck
of the man
on the floor
by the pass-
enger door

Who said please
I can't breathe
and who called
for his mum
stopped responding
went numb
but still
bore the knee
and the weight
and the hate
of the cop
who still
wouldn't stop

Da Capa al Coda

Riots in Minneapolis following police murder of George Floyd

They held a peaceful protest
People didn't notice
Nothing changed

Then they rioted and burned
The world watched and learned,
views exchanged

The respectable people said
Their cause is just,
but why must they riot?

Why don't they hold
a peaceful protest?

Stonewall Was a Riot

It wasn't the Stonewall focus group
or the Stonewall business case
It wasn't the Stonewall let's-present-
our-most-acceptable-face

Long years of asking nicely had not
got us anywhere
Our rulers did not hear us when
we whispered: it's not fair

So when re-writers try to say
we won by being quiet
Remind them of our history -
that Stonewall was a riot

On Shitholes

A place becomes a shithole
when someone digs a hole and shits in it
Someone like you, Donald Trump,
and all the rulers and raiders
and tin-pot dictators
the speculators and devastators
the extractors and the malefactors

Off Your Knees

Keep politics out of sport
Black lives may matter
but all that matters here
is the score

Keep politics out of football
because standing up for the national anthem 
is not political
but kneeling for it is

Keep politics off the pitch
Offence and defence 
are matters for the field of play
not for the field of struggle

The Price of Progress: Capitalism and Cancer

After my breast cancer surgery, the factors which indicate whether I would benefit from chemotherapy were inconclusive. There was one further test available. The Oncotype DX test examines the activity of 21 genes in the tumour tissue of patients with early-stage oestrogen-receptor-positive (ER+) invasive breast cancer and calculates whether chemo will be effective or not.

My score was low (14/100), and so, like many others since this test was developed a few years ago, I do not have to go through the puking, hair-losing agonies of fighting cancer by throwing poisons at it. So far, so good.

So, what’s the catch? My tumour had to be sent to the USA to be tested. This took a few weeks, which delayed the start of my radiotherapy, reducing its effectiveness of in preventing the cancer returning. Radiotherapy is supposed to start within six weeks of surgery; mine started twelve weeks after. Only time will reveal the impact of this delay – but it could mean that my cancer comes back when it would not have done so otherwise.

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