a cork board


Before I Was Born

I have been quietly working on the biggest art project my little hand has ever attempted. I’ve been pulling late-night shifts hunched over my desk, with pencil, eraser and pen in hand trying to create a face on paper that would somehow manage to come to life. I am very happy to say I feel like I accomplished bringing that girl to life. Her name is Eden, she was created by Dwayne Morgan of Up From The Roots. Our project is a book that celebrates the love a father has for his daughter.

beforeFRONTcover

Dwayne approached me about working on this book in the Fall of last year. My initial reaction?…jump at the opportunity! My secondary reaction?…doubt, fear and worry that I wasn’t capable of pulling it off. I drew a comic character named Shi when I was 14yo, I colored the entire thing in colored pencils and submitted it to Wizard Comic Book Price Guide magazine. But they didn’t publish my artwork. I felt like I failed and convinced myself that working with color was not my forté. As a result, I have predominantly stuck to black and white as an artist. I found my style in doing this, but in the back of my mind I was never content with limiting myself the way I was. So this was a chance I couldn’t pass up. It felt like a door to the world of working artists that I’ve always dreamed of. So I invested in believing in myself. I told myself that I knew I could pull it off. Even as the project pressed on through drafts, character design and finalizing an overall style, Dwayne kept saying to me “I would love to see this in color.”

EdenEvolution

The evolution of Eden`s design.

I worked harder on these 15 drawings than anything I’ve ever done. I am very proud of my work here and sincerely hope that when you look at Eden and her Papa that you can see and feel 2 characters that are real. My constant motivator was my 2yo daughter and 5yo son. I read him the story, showed him all of the sketches every step of the way! I found ways to inject her smile into the artwork. There are little references to our life that they have immediately recognized. It was truly a labor of love for both Dwayne and myself. That love was always a reflection of the love we have for our little girls. We wanted to share that love with everyone.

BIWBPageDraft1 Princess Eden

Some early color drafts

You can pre-order a copy of the book signed by both of us or simply support the project by visiting our Indiegogo at: http://igg.me/at/beforeiwasborn/x/9696057 You can order packages that include tickets to some of Dwayne Morgan’s marquee poetry events taking place this year as well. Please take the time to visit our page and have a look at the project. If you feel inclined to support, donate or pre-order then that is greatly appreciated (more than you know). If not, then I still thank you for taking the time to invest your thoughts and feelings into something that involved so much of our hearts.

We are planning a launch event in Toronto on the weekend of Family Day. I’ll be posting details to that event shortly. Thank you for reading, for your interest and for being awesome. Your support remains humbling.



How I Was Feeling Around The Time I Took a Break From Performing
PMpFri, 09 Jan 2015 16:27:13 +000027Friday 1, 2010, 4:27 pm
Filed under: poems, the ether, the mirror | Tags: , , , , , ,

I was combing through some of my poems that I’d written and hardly ever or never shared recently and I came across this. I read this and remember so many things. The way I was feeling then was just that I didn’t belong. I felt torn. I wanted to be home. I felt like everyone was fake, like I was constantly being judged, like people had these expectations of me that I felt I could never live up to. I wanted to retreat into corners like I used to. To be invisible. That’s convenient. In a few ways I’ve done that. I haven’t completely because I haven’t been living some shadow-filled, dark, angry life of a loner. I’ve been being a father, husband and working on being a good human being. I’ve been re-calibrating my sense of purpose and re-tuning my creative muscle. Anyway (I digress), I’m in a much calmer place now and to re-read this brings back a lot of memories. It was also a time when I started reaching into the farthest of places for metaphors and those places ended up being a little dark and surreal……

The Company of Eagles & Wolves

I’ve never been part of a crowd.

I never fit into any one place.

I bleed blue blood in blistered corners

of houses dispersed with red-blooded hounds

and cold-blooded hearts.

I could never be part of the crowd.

Moments where I felt like I was 

An eagle would come flying into the room

To pick his bones apart

So he could martyr himself in an effort

to remind me that I did not belong.

And I was bleeding myself dry.

Even here, on this stage, behind this mic,

I look some of you in the eye 

I know you don’t understand me.

Or even worse, you misunderstand me.

You think you have me figured out

and you never took me our for coffee.

You never asked me why the sky was red

or why I have these horseshoes

hanging out of my pockets.

I get trapped in the entangled

expectations you have of me,

of what you expect me to be.

And I’m left running in my head.

Screaming at the top of my lungs

while ripping the smirks off of

your disenfranchised faces.

Fuck you. For ever standing

on a mountain while I cast myself

into long, winding trails where

only I know the way out.

For thinking you have me all figured out.

For seeing the disillusionment

in the back of my eyes and

recoiling into frozen stances where

I’m made to think that I’m the problem.

I wish I could know the way the gears

turned in that pretty, little head of yours.

You can see me trying to read you,

and it scares you. I can see it

in the way you stare back

slack-jawed with captured eyes.

You tell me to be myself.

But that is something

I wrestled with for 30+ years.

To the point where my fingers are swollen

and my conviction feels discarded

like chicken bones picked clean

by the mouths of the starving.

I could pluck my ribs out one by one

in an effort to be a beautiful display of decay.

So that when you look at me

you will see what I’m made of.

So maybe I can fit into the

crowd of corpses of collapsed creedens

who once breathed the same oxygen

that betrays my every breath.

Go ahead and set the wolves loose on me.

Cut the ropes and send their ravenous mouths,

open and hungry, at my flesh.

I will hold these beasts with my bare hands

and tame them with affection and understanding.

After all of the isolation and

persistent pauses that

plagued our every interaction,

I finally see that I was never meant

to be part of any crowd.

All of the eagles with martyrdom complexes

could fly into the crowded rooms

from the windows of my face,

it’s okay, I’ll befriend them.

I will set those magnificent creatures free

and they will come back to me.

After I snap my ribs back into place

my heart will be intact and

every place I was ever meant to be

will be inside of me.

Because everything I’ve ever needed

is here.

An endless ocean

that crescendos with every inhale.

Scattered with your bones,

my blue blood and our indifference.

Where I keep a pack of wolves

and a flock of invisible eagles as pets.

Where the hearts that understand me

will always be.

Where every ounce of conviction

that I possess will hold me

high enough to kiss the sun.

Where the only place I need to fit

is within myself.