UPwithART 2.0 - 24-30 May 2020

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Unity Jeopardy

Each year, Unity Project’s UPwithART produces something new, something original… something wow! This year, Tanis MacDonald, one of Canada’s leading poets, built a poem with words donated by Unity Project residents to question the answer “what is Unity”. The performance was at once tragic, cute, sublime – everything that a day in the life at Unity Project is. Blended with young Nico Hoekstra’s cello music and Jeremy Jeresky and Donnie Claudino’s Jeopardy game-show style Word-Wall, it made for a profoundly stirring performance. Please accept this gift as a token of our thanks for your remarkable support in the relief of homelessness in London – a word panel from the word wall and this publication of Tanis’ poem.


Unity Jeopardy

By: Tanis MacDonald


You   you

You wha      you whaaaaa –aaa—aaa

You want    youwantyouwant you want some

You want somesomesome you want something better something brighter you wantwantwant you want what you want what is helpful you want wait want what? You want peace in your head, in your gut, in your heart, you want peace with everything, with your morning cup of coffee

Never underestimate the power of a morning cup of coffee and a second chance, a chance in a chant, in a rant, in a cart, in a heart, chancing it, dancing it, chance the morning coffee. What is chance?

What is change? Bits of silver or a flash of light, or morning coffee and peace and what is what is, what is the change, what is what, you want direction that is more than a map saying here or there

more than a direction west or east, more than do this, do that, more than touch your toes three times a day, more than that, but sometimes direction is a map to a small piece of peace, a direction to belonging to something real as real as the sidewalk and the sky as real as

Youwant youwant youwant what is, what is, what is real? What is stability? What is ability? If I’m stable, am I able?

When I need it what is real and how I need it what is real compassion with change and a chance and belonging and

We all live in a Yellow Submarine with rooms for all and all for rooms and the deep echo of undersea travel all night saying all is well all are welcome all all all we want in a yellow submarine when I need it the yellow submarine where smiles come before files and shelter trumps style

And still we ask what is, what is, what is, because taking care of each other is Unity, because what is, what is, what is a bigger family; because some days some days some days we drink safetyness with the morning coffee at Unity, its taste of a new beginning in the grounds at Unity, and we stir in sugar and milk and sanctuary at Unity, you stir in solace and water at Unity, you make a stir at Unity, you stir yourself and respect every one else’s right to take their coffee any way they want at Unity

want what want what what I am when I get back on my feet want Unity want solace want a new beginning in the mishpocha, the mix and stir of each person, each life, each safe in the submarine

Asleep and dreaming of a thousand homes, a thousand chances, a thousand changes, a million mornings in welcomeness, mishpocha

You want to know what’s UP, what’s UP in the air, what’s UP my sleeve, what’s UP for tonight, what’s UP, doc? You know the chance the change the caffeine the charisma the coffee the chemistry. You, you, you

Unity. What is.