a cork board

Clique-Clique Poetry
PMpTue, 23 Nov 2010 13:47:19 -040047Tuesday 1, 2010, 1:47 pm
Filed under: the ether, the mirror

I hate cliques. I always have and I’m pretty sure I always will. I have never fit into any clique. And right about now, at this point in my life,  I’m pretty damn sure cliques can kiss the darkest part of my ass.

In middle school I was not a cool kid; not a metal-head, not a nerd, not an athlete, not quite an outcast…but I teetered right in between a lot of them. When I watched Napoleon Dynamite and saw him hitting the tetherball by himself I couldn’t help but think of me. I was good at tetherball, but kids never wanted to play with me. So I would often end up hitting the good ole’ ball on a rope by my damn-self. I moved to Margate, Florida and skimmed the edges of social hierarchies. Then my dad home-schooled me, so high school was not even an option. But even in college and in my small circle of friends, I never belonged to a clique.

When I came to Canada, I started doing spoken word…and voila! I entered a clique. Though it didn’t’ feel like one; it felt like a group of people who were passionate about poetry that just so happened to share it together. But when I started to look closer, I noticed things. I noticed that certain poets hang out with certain poets and newcomers are intimidated by all the commorodery  taking place. Then you have your different scenes, different reading series and different styles altogether. There’s “urban” spoken word, page poetry, “hipster” slams, underground slams, “we do our own thing” events and people who do it just to do it. You can do well at one event, but terrible with the same work and same performance at another. Poetry Slam/Spoken Word has always had this invisible “likeability” factor that comes into play. People don’t always listen to the words, they want to know they can believe you, so they spend their time inspecting your “street cred.” Anyway, I’m completely deviating from my topic here. So…like I was saying,

I hate cliques. I love poetry. But I’ve found cliques in poetry…and I hate it. The cliques have been further exacerbated by certain problems in our community (see “Let Your Words Live Through You”). My own experience may have also been compounded by the fact that I have a tendency to be socially awkward. I often do not know what to say when I meet new people (poets especially) and usually end up not speaking much or avoiding conversation altogether. Yes, I am still a wall-rider. This can be (and I think often is) confused as me being “stush” or stuck-up. But I am not, I just don’t know what to say, because I’ve never been very social. And when I was in cliques, I hated it. I hated ostracizing people. I hated feeling elite. I just don’t like it.

So I don’t even know what I was driving at with this post. I just know it bugs me. Maybe it’s my own insecurities. and Facebook can ruin relationships (no matter how platonic). Because when I reach out to someone (via commenting) along with 8 other people, and that person acknowledges 8 of the responses (mine not included), I’m left wondering what the fuck happened. So I just step back and watch it happen. All I can do is be true to myself. If that truth irks certain people, then I guess that is that. There is a comfort and happiness that is immeasurable that I get from staying at home and hugging my wife and son. So I have chosen now to not try and elbow my way into cliques. My art speaks for itself so all I can ask is that my words and presence might touch someone and I might live forever in their hearts and minds. But making someone feel ostracized in an atmosphere that is supposed to harbor acceptance, is not something I want to be a part of.


When I Met Her
AMpMon, 22 Nov 2010 11:44:55 -040044Monday 1, 2010, 11:44 am
Filed under: poems, the ether, the mirror, Uncategorized
When I Met Her
I met her while I was chasing my dreams
she was a statue of fortitude and strength
when the wind whipped and rain hurled
I saw her as the green patina colored woman
standing on Ellis Island epitomizing liberty
over the years I’ve seen her grow
into something to be admired
she said to me “I can’t wait ‘til you arrive”
and it meant the world to me
I kept building and building
I made her into a fortress
after some time the distance grew shorter
we became closer as friends
and I was able to see the cracks
in the foundations of her pavement
I was able to see the salt-stained
streaks of tears tattooed across her cheeks
I bore witness to the sadness
that balanced out the stoicism
that balanced out the fervor
I met her while I was chasing my dreams
she was an unspoken shadow
draped in veils of mystery
she spoke in 2 minute stanzas
tales of love woven in secrecy
I do not covet what I do not understand
so I gazed from corners
and took in her web-work of words
after some time we became close
a friendship bloomed much like
a season of summer in its timing
we only spoke in stanzas and dreams
and it was only after time
that I began to see that sadness
hung from the sunshine in her eyes
it was only later that I noticed
the violins playing behind her silhouette
but it was too late by then
she is far gone and I am enveloped
in things that make me smile
the damage has been done and
there is paint thinner on these walls
you can tell me otherwise,
but I can smell it
I met her while I was chasing my dreams
she was sitting on the sidewalk looking up
vodka pouring out of her red eyes
I saw her like a crow in flight
dark beauty spread across the sky
with sunlight blasting through her wings
her eloquence was indestructible
when she spoke she evoked trees
spilling leaves of loneliness
and love through her fingertips
she burned bright as a beacon
for everything that was misunderstood
I told her I wanted to get to know
the person behind the effigy
and she told me about her father
she whispered about her mother
and cross-hatch sketched her childhood
as she did this, the image in my mind
of a phoenix blazing atop the sun
simmered to a portrait of a woman
vulnerable and brave and whimsical
her footloose frame on life
was a landscape of admiration for me
and now it is sheer captivity
she has so many faces
I have met her so many times
I see her when I chase my dreams
chiseled statuettes of women
standing as tall as their words
as mysterious as their metaphors
I painted them into murals beyond human
and shadowed expectations
that could never be attained
sometimes she falls to earth
as a fallen leaf would
gentle, easy and with a whisper of strength
other times, she falls as a meteor
tearing the earth from beneath my feet
and I am left wondering why
I ever cast them into the stars to begin with
maybe it’s because I met her
while I was chasing my dreams
riding shooting stars and comets
dreams are worlds made of everything
the imagination can behold
and reality sets in when I awake
to emaciated frames of grandeur
and she holds me in contempt
for holding her so high
off the ground
as if she a


when victims become oppressors
PMpFri, 19 Nov 2010 17:53:15 -040053Friday 1, 2010, 5:53 pm
Filed under: the ether, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

God gave us phalanges…so we point fingers. As humans we always find ways to feel like we are better than people, or a single person for that matter. Social hierarchies have always existed; you’ve got machismos, gangsters, jocks, nerds, gamers, loners, rockers, musicians, etc. Whatever there is, there is a feeling of superiority. It’s human nature to want to feel special and/or powerful. We wanna feel like we have influence. I mean, there are a few of us who just kinda sit back and watch. I’m not gonna lie, I have my moments where I find myself talking shit about someone or their lifestyle and it’s completely unprovoked. I don’t mean it in a harmful way, but it just comes out. And I may not necessarily want it to; sometimes I cringe at the sound of it coming out of my mouth. Although I don’t mean to do harm, I know if my words were heard, they would hurt.

And this whole idea ties into the martyrdom complex, please allow me to try to illustrate the path here. For simple analogies, let’s start with jocks & juiceheads. They prey on the little people. The tepid ladies & gentlemen who hunch their shoulders and drape their heads when they walk; The ones who don’t start hollering for people they know when they walk into a room full of people, because they don’t feel comfortable in their own skin and would rather blend in than stand out. The jocks push these tepid ladies & gentlemen into corners and it pisses them off, quietly. And they can’t fire back. So they harbor resentment towards their oppressors. After a while they become these extremely angry, tepid not-so-gentle-men & women. And as the juiceheads continue to push them into the corners to make themselves feel better, the tepid ones suddenly amass into a mob of lonely misfits. Lonely misfits who have harbored enough resentment to make a marina and house jet-skis. Then, slowly, they become the very things they despise.


They start to look at anyone they see as being happy as a threat, as the problem with the world. And that unsuspecting, happy, smiling face (who is simply enjoying their life) becomes a target of scrutiny. People who are just trying to live their lives and find happiness and maybe create some inspiration for a greater good, become bad people in their eyes. Because to the once tepid ladies & gentlemen, anyone who possesses the happiness they cannot attain, becomes what’s wrong with the world. They become the reason they are the way they are (the angry, tepid ones). So they martyr themselves. They become these royal victims who have committed some kind of non-existent jihad, laying themselves at the mercy of the gavel & pendulum in the name of being “true” and “real” and not selling out. They become walking zombies condemning people who are just trying to live their lives.

We gotta be careful people. We gotta try and learn from our bullshit. Before you know it, you snap your fingers, and the victims become the oppressors. Then they create more victims, and every time the cycle re-starts it becomes more volatile. This happens on much bigger scales and with much, much bigger issues. Oppressors do not see the error of their ways, and their victims only see errors that are not their own…they only feel the unjust pain. And in-turn want to inflict the same pain on another to right the universal wrong. Nobody takes time to explore the truth with why these things exist, so the major majority of people buy into the bullshit. And the victims turn around and make strangers their victims, and the “lesser” becomes the oppressor. Why? Because they wanna know what it feels like to stand over someone.

That’s why you have social outcasts call people who group together (who aren’t too socially successful themselves) hipsters. We should be able to praise people who create their own scene, instead of turning the screwdriver one more time and creating another fairy-tale of social pariahs. As a people, we will only move forward when we stop wanting to get even. Last week I was driving and I cut off a taxi real bad (on purpose). When my wife asked me why I did that, I explained to her that taxi-drivers deserve it because of how they drive. She looked at me and told me I was really not helping the situation, that I was actually making it worse by wanting to get even. All I could do was look at her…and tell her she was right. I had become the opressor.

PMpWed, 17 Nov 2010 16:23:49 -040023Wednesday 1, 2010, 4:23 pm
Filed under: poems, the ether, the mirror, Uncategorized
I will put my index knuckle to my
brow and I will salute you.
oh ignorant face of tolerance.
you cannot lie to me anymore.
I have allowed you to pull the
wool over my eyes in the name
of temporary gratification for decades.
you breath in elapsing hours and weeks
and I am left breathless when the hours
elapse into weeks wanting more like
a sandbag resting on my solar-plexis.
do me a favor and grant me serenity.
grant me eloquence and release from ignorance.
sometimes I open my mouth and I
do not know what comes out.
sometimes I lie to myself in reassurance.
because if you say something enough
times, it becomes truth. if you say something
enough times it becomes truth. if you say
something enough times it becomes truth.
if you tell a lie after a lie,
you are creating a new truth.
what is true is eternal and has
always been. that never changes.
so do me a favor and count my blessings.
mark truth on the inside of my flesh
the way a prisoner marks his days in captivity.
marks one to four and hatches a line
through them all. flip my eye lids
inside out to see if my dreams
have made it into my capillaries
so they can be in my blood.
drown me in the debt of my own
selfish desires. because too much
is never enough until it starts eating
at your bones and you stand a
shivering statue waiting for forgiveness.
pour me into grass so that I may
grow into a tree and tower over
anything I ever said to myself enough times
for it to become truth.
so I can bask them in a shadow
and cast them into pools that are shallow.
do me a favor and tear me apart.
I have never been in pieces
except for when it’s self-inflicted and
I can never put myself back together
without leaving weather scars.
peel me into something resembling
unabashed selflessness and confidence.
stack me into the sky so I just
might believe that I can make it
without doubting myself.
so I won’t stab my abdomen
every time I’m approaching
the finish line.
take me out of the rain.
or at the very least
let me know
I don’t have to stand in it.
I’m tired of being drenched.