This poem is meant to be read out loud, with friends, while in transit.
Persevere through construction, detours won’t trouble you
Let these stories mark our new KW.
A KW that connects us with bike lanes, with trains
Trains for the poor, the blue collar, the youth,
The students, the racialized, and techies too.
A KW that doesn’t gut our holy Route 7
Without offering a better and faster commute.
In this KW, your transfer prints in one second,
Small businesses by Charles terminal welcome
New public space our leaders deliver;
A much needed art centre, a beloved theatre.
In our new KW we travel beyond land acknowledgements
To education, reparations, to decolonization.
Promises arrive at consultation and action,
Relinquish power back to Indigenous nations.
Settlers respect the Two Row Wampum Treaty,
Land defenders are the Grand River Conservation Authority.
We trust they’ll conserve our glorious River
Not concede to Line 9, lobbyists, or developers.
In our new KW, we weave baskets of culture
Carry our loads, trade stories together.
Handles held firm, tied strong to foundations,
Stack rows of our memory, lineage, nations.
Pass knowledge like water streaming down braids
Break bread of survival, parents to babes
Share fruit of our wisdom, elders to youth
Tend roses of comfort, beauty, and truth.
In the New KW, we carve new language keys
Unlock voices once the fringe of our cities.
We learn and speak beyond the colonial tongue
Hear accents like melodies still to be sung.
Curve mouths around sounds unfamiliar before
Practiced names are heralded, throats are unsore.
Theydies and gentlethems, here there be NBs,
They is a person, singular, free.
Knock on the door, she, he, or they
Come outside as you openly, fully embrace.
Our language is changing and growing as we
Disarm canons of thought, prose, poetry,
Open new doors of fiction, enter new worlds
Once marginalized champions center, unfurl.
This is the KW where we will thrive.
The streets are vibrant, energized, alive.
No one gets pushed out of the downtown core
Rent is controlled so prices don’t soar.
We’ve dug it all up and laid new tracks down,
The time to be brave and seek justice is now.
We still make mistakes, but we’re not afraid
To trip up or miss buses along the way.
Another ride will arrive if you patiently wait,
Or get there yourself, don’t wait up on fate.