‘It’s a Pity Trees in This City have Roots…’

This is a short-
a very short
story that keeps happening
on the (still) lush
of the City of Parks

repeating itself / a compulsive .gif / damaging / the canopy-green screen of my city

Indeed it was beautiful
and blue
when the first
development proposal
was presented
for review

7 minutes
On this site, 25 of 26 trees will get killed
(Climate change impacts lives)
Thank you for your comments, madam.
11 minutes
76 of 76 trees of which 59 are alder…
(Canopy and related ecosystems)
Thank you for your comments, madam.
13 minutes
33 of 33 trees, every single one…
(GMO trees- no shade, no hold- will take their place)
Thank you for your comments, madam.
15 minutes
34 of 34 trees, 23 are Douglas Fir…
Actually, 67 trees. A clarification.
(a tree for a tree)
Thank you very much, sir.’
20 minutes
Save-shrubs-from-another-land-development proposal.
(a tree for every tree)
Thank you for your comments, madam.
22 minutes
21 of 39 trees are going to get killed
(a tree for every profit-damned earth-loving brown-ass tree)
Thank you for your comments, madam.

All in favour? ALL
– all in favor
Against? NONE
– none against
Carried! ALL
– all carried

222 trees killed / in less than 30 minutes / during a meeting / that happens every other week.

It’s a pity
trees in this city
have roots.
They could run for their lives
with legs
and boots.

A poem by Fauzia Rafique

This poem takes from, and rearranges, the text of an opinion piece written by Columnist Tom Zytaruk for the July 9, 2019 edition of Surrey Now-Leader. (tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com)

The poem also repeats lines from ‘Good News…’

Photo from Surrey Nature Centre.

‘Good news…’ by Fauzia Rafique

i moved
to a place with a thick
patch of lush green trees
a block or so from me
fenced in exploration
was trespassing but
it was there on my way
home a privilege
to walk by hear the birds
chirp play fly
some squirrels rats
signs of hedgehogs
all kinds of people offencing
the fence
a lovely spring and
then the summer arrived
flowering bushes and blackberries
sprawled out of the fence
burying it in a cover
of color and nutrition
one morning
my neighborhood sounded
too busy for itself
heavy equipment moved in
and in the next four days
the trees were cut thrashed
raised to the ground, except for a couple
fronting the kgb, a decorative
marketing ploy, selling
the illusion of home
138 brand new
3-4 bedroom
1500-1750 sqft

Poisoned rats began to come
and die in my yard.
Birds went silent for a day
or two witnessing the deaths
we did not see.

Someone grieves, leaving signs
saying ‘i grieve’ at the scenes
of the crime. My friend, david dalley,
i grieve with you
and i demand from the city
and its developers (as they
make their money)
a tree
for a tree

a tree
for every tree

a tree
for every profit-damned earth-loving brown-ass tree

Plant it in
that neighborhood
as you make
your money.
A Tree For A Tree!

This poem is part of a larger work (in progress). First presented at the Literary Cabaret of ‘Sound Thinking Symposium 2015: Voicing the City In/verse‘, Surrey, Nov 28-29.

‘Lose Some Sleep’ by Fauzia Rafique


Losing sleep over my
black silk niqab, harper

try to lose it over
missing murdered red
brown women
of this fast-fracking
land, harper

Losing sleep over my
black silk niqab, harper

Lose it over
homeless jobless
multicoloured people
of your C51-aspiring
brand, harper

Losing sleep over my
black silk niqab, harper

Lose it over
spilled oil minimum wage
toil poisoned soil
of your tarsands-producing
wasteland, harper

By morning
perhaps we’ll see the
bright BARE face
of a composite order for a
national inquiry just economy
sustainable development
itself on the
parliament hill
in your soft pink
hand, harper.
A not-for-profit
stand, harper.

On the National Day of Action Against Bill C-51, 14 March 2015

Art work: From a painting by Rubya Mehdi


‘Strategy’ by Fauzia Rafique

dig a tunnel
in the stoned
hardened earth
of my mind, a safe
little passage
for the sight
to travel, a road
without a tree
a storm a guy
in a tie, the thoughts
to traverse without
fear, the vision
to not foresee

‘The Song of Belonging’ by Fauzia Rafique

Lush valleys of Hena
to the prisons of the Keep
i call for you
Call- call for you

We are one!

Eyes alight
illuminate the Doorstep
i wait for you
Wait- wait for you

We are one!

I’m the vibration
you feel in the stagnant soil
i root for you
Root- root for you

We are one!

A chant from Fauzia’s unpublished novel ‘Triple’.

‘Left-leaning’ by Fauzia Rafique


We, the Left-leaning


keep leaning to

the left, collecting

middle class high-end salaries

brand new car, another home

sweet home

that flat-screen tv–

Till the Rightists explode

another bomb killing

another two dozen

non-Rightist non-Leftist

low-class people–

In a flurry

of activism

we wail, cry, a sense of


is expressly expressed

in favor of homeless


victims of religious

terrorist attack–

A sermon or two

on the nature

of capitalism, extremism

fundamental Islamism, talebanism–

While jumping to hail

the stooges propped by

the Almighty You-Knighted

States of America–

A moment before

bouncing back

to collect

our middle class high-end

salaries, to stay ahead

of the stead. We,

the Left-leaning


keep leaning to

the left