Derek Oss, Je me souviens

[Summer 1991]

by Derek Oss

I told him that after
thirty years
I still didn’t feel Canadian.
“I know,” he replied,
“I was born here
and still I don’t feel that
Canada is my country.”
I remember the fifty-one
million aboriginal people
who were killed
for our sins.
I remember Oka
last summer.

I asked him what it felt like encountering power.
“Power,” he replied, “is the opium of the ruling classes.”
I remember how we served our masters in the Bush War.

“History,” he told me, “is what you carry with you into the present.”
I remember our oppression. We made about one billion dollars selling napalm, boots,
green berets, Seagram’s alcohol during the Vietnam War.

“Didn’t you and Trudeau both lose your fathers when you were young?”
“Trudeau was a rich kid. He always had his father’s money,”
he said with sadness, anger, regret and loneliness. I remember my lost father.
I will stop making money and go ask the gods in the ground for forgiveness.

“What about the
corporate, high-tech
vampires that trade
freely with us?”
“In the land of the dark,”
he replied, the chariot
of the sun is carried
by the grateful dead.”
I remember him as
a warm, funny man
who smoked
a vision that killed him.