a cork board


Woodworking
AMpWed, 17 May 2017 10:33:24 +000033Wednesday 1, 2010, 10:33 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

I’ve been working on woodworking as a craft that I would like to do as a means of work for a few years now. I took it up as a hobby, to be able to make things around the house. There’s a feeling that never goes away when you use a piece of furniture that you made with your own hands. I found that I had a natural passion for it, and I wasn’t that bad either. The most important thing is that I have always been willing to learn.

I can remember buying a desk in a box with my family when I was 13. I remember unboxing all of the pieces and pulling out the instructions. I’m sure my brother can attest to the fact that I loved doing it. I loved getting the pieces together and building something. My father used to have a book shelf that he built himself, the thing was massive and had many levels. I remember the pride in his voice and I would find myself looking at it sometimes, admiring the work and the process.

I have a number of various pieces of furniture around the house that I’ve built and many more that are going to be completed soon. I’ve taken my perfectionism and applied to this/these process/es. I’ve learned a lot over the years and have lots more to learn. But one thing I know for certain is that what I’ve built will last. I recently had a friend with twin girls ask me about building twin dressers for the girls. I took pause and questioned if I was able to, if it was outside of my scope. It was the biggest project I’d ever thought about undertaking and I was letting my insecurities tell me I couldn’t do it. But I’m very happy to say that I got them built from a pile of lumber, sanded, stained and they are in use right now. I’ll be posting pictures of them on my other blog (onpaperdesign.wordpress.com) soon.

The main reason I’m posting this update is because I want to show everyone what I can do and to say….if you want some custom wooden furniture made, then please, contact me. If it’s outside of my scope, I will tell you that. If not, I will put my care and attention and sweat into making a finished product you can be proud to show to your friends and family. A piece of furniture that can take the bumps and bruises of life and be passed on years down the line. I come from a place where I believe in having furniture that will last, that can be passed on and last for a long time. We purchased a dresser from a certain Swedish furniture store, we went with their “higher-end” line. Five years later and the drawers won’t close and it’s rendered nearly useless. That shouldn’t happen. I do everything I can when building my dressers, and any other furniture, to ensure it won’t.

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a bird struggling to fly
AMpThu, 10 Nov 2016 00:51:49 +000051Thursday 1, 2010, 12:51 am
Filed under: poems, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I was driving into work one morning in May of 2010 (I can’t remember exactly). I was on the highway, sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic as it rained mightily. I was by myself in the car. I was stopped on a bridge crossing over the Credit River in Mississauga, ON. The winds were kicking strong gusts. I saw a bird, to my right, trying to fly over the bridge. It was flying low, probably less than 10ft above the vehicles, and it was having an incredibly hard time. For every bit of progress made, it was pushed back even farther. But it kept pushing. It kept pushing. Until it finally made it across. That bird and its struggle stayed with me. I got to work and immediately wrote this. I can always relate to this.

————————————-

a bird struggling to fly

 

a bird struggling to fly

he knows how to

but he forgets sometimes

 

his wings flap. they push

they pull with intention

 

but all for naught

the wind is too strong today

blowing away from his destination

 

his neck bows and protrudes

gyrating like a sound wave

forcing his body into

an awkward vertical angle

 

his webbed feet

are like two stop signs

spread open and flat

against the wind

 

his body is

wrapped in desperation

his wings never fully

spread outward today

 

his neck is on a chopping block

as the wind and the rain

act as an invisible force

holding him back

 

a bird struggling to fly

that is me up there

I know how to

but I forget sometimes

 

and I stop myself

time and time again

putting my neck on the line

spreading my arms thin

panting for air

 

but for me there is no wind

there is neither rain

only my own devices

 

my stop sign hands

my awkward posturing

 

and I flap and I flap

and I push and I push

myself down myself down

but I will fly I will fly

 

one of these days

when I unlearn

how to hurt myself

 

that’s why when I see

a bird struggling to fly

across six lanes

of rush hour traffic

 

I see myself

crossing my own path

…yet again



Writing Prompt
AMpFri, 05 Aug 2016 11:52:10 +000052Friday 1, 2010, 11:52 am
Filed under: poems, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

My friend Cathy Charlie Petch will post writing prompts to keep the creative juices flowing. I occasionally participate. I should more often, and I’m working on writing more.

Yesterday she posted a Puscifer song that I could not resist. Here is the song and my unedited work inspired from it.

I hold something in my hand.

It drifts. It disassembles. Falls apart.

Turns to dust before my eyes.

 

I hold onto things too tightly.

Grip them to the chest.

Though I know better,

I hold on tight.

 

The way children hold onto stuffed animals.

The way they squeeze the necks of pets.

Out of pure adoration and love.

Without realizing they are choking the life

out of the very thing they love.

 I’ve never out grown this in a way.

Grip tightly, slip through your fingers.

 

Leave me something beautiful in your wake.

Leave me a memory to behold.

To cherish and fathom.

 

I hold the breath of the universe in my lungs.

It is both invigorating and suffocating.

On the inside and outside.

 

I believe that there is more to life

than punching clocks and watching shows.

More meaning than watching

moving pictures on a screen.

More than books even.

 

Ingesting other people’s art and imagination

is a beautiful experience.

But what of the light

Reflecting in fractals through the atmosphere?

What of the oxygen entering our lungs.

The trees dancing in the sky.

The way our pores raise

when something grazes against

the deepest corners of our spirit.

The way our skin tightens

when we feel something

that cannot be quantified

by numbers or words or paper.

 

The impossible task of

capturing human experience.

As artists, we try to capture the impossible.

I keep a journal of these experiences

logged in my chest.

I close my eyes sometimes

and try to relive them.

 

The touch of her lips

on the side of my neck.

The first time my son wrapped

his tiny fingers around my index finger.

When my daughter stared

into my eyes for the first time.

The moment when you embrace

a loved one after a prolonged absence.

 

The way nature speaks to the soul.

I try to put words to the impossible.

To hold onto these fleeting moments.

So I press my fingertips

into the palms of my hands

in the hope that it will stay.

 

But it slips. It fades.

What remains is an imprint inside of me.

Never lost, always present.

Altered and existing in a different light.

The way it was always intended.



What Poetry Means To Me
PMpSat, 23 Jul 2016 12:26:41 +000026Saturday 1, 2010, 12:26 pm
Filed under: the ether, the mirror, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

YogiWSMenu

A few years ago I was doing some solo grocery shopping at Fresh Co. I was in a hurry, in the zone wearing track pants and trying to grab some orange juice get home quickly. A lady walking with her daughter saw me and slowed down. She paused, half-tilted her head and grinned. She said “you’re a poet right?” I hadn’t performed in a couple of years and had all-but-forgotten about that part of my life. I said “yes, yes I am.” She said she saw me feature at Guelph Poetry Slam in November of the previous year (that was even almost 2yrs removed from performing) and loved my work. She said she bought both of my books and keeps them in her car. It left me feeling perplexed and very good. Wow, my words touched someone.

Last week I was at Starbucks ordering the closest I can get to fancy there, a Grande Americano. The cashier asked my name “Yogi, Y-O-G-I”. She paused, looked up and said “do you do spoken word?” I said “I used to.” Turns out, she used to manage a bar/restaurant where I used to perform at a lot in 2012. She knew my work pretty well. She asked me why I’d stopped. Truth be told, I put it down to focus on being a present father with my little ones. She paused again, “you were good, I remember. You should do it again.” I showed her my journal in hand and said I was working on it. It left me feeling confused. I actually said I used to. WTF? When did that happen?

Something happened in the years I stopped performing. I went through a few years of writer’s block. But I’ve gotten past that. In the last year I’ve been writing a lot, lot more. I’m not finishing anything, but I’m writing nonetheless. Good ideas, good wordplay. I’m getting back in the groove. I was in a really good place in 2012 when I stopped. I felt more comfortable on stage than I ever had before. I was churning out more new, quality poems. My stage voice had found legs to stands on and wings to fly with. But I wanted to be present and accounted for during bath time, story time, good night kisses and late night snuggles. I wanted to be there for it all and I didn’t wanna miss a thing. Spoken word/Poetry slam have been around for a while, it’ll be fine without me. It’ll welcome me back when I’m ready too.

What happened in the meantime was cynicism. It was skepticism. I began to wonder if words can ever really have an impact. Why bother? What legacy do these poems and performances really have? What are we really leaving behind? I still sit and wonder about it. You stand up for 3 minutes and 10 seconds, speak your truth and bare your soul and make some noise for a round of applause, some pats on the back, some much-needed personal release and that’s about it. It began to feel like it was just spinning wheels, like an exercise for the ego. Are we really awakening minds, or are we just another passing phase? Does what you say stick with someone when they wake up in the morning? I’ve been questioning the purpose and reason behind this spoken word thing for a while now and it began to make me jaded.

But then the universe had me cross paths with someone like I did that day at Starbucks or Fresh Co. Someone reminds me, hey your work really inspired me. I occasionally bump into a person who heard me speak my truth 4-6 years ago, and I’m still with them. My words uplifted them then and stayed with them. So I start to think that maybe there is some resonance. Maybe there is some staying power. Maybe there is something more to it than ego and glory and punchlines. Performing/Sharing poetry isn’t about immediate change. It’s about planting seeds. It’s about creating a spark. We may never see the tree take root or see the inferno blaze across the horizon, but it’s there. It’s a lot like karma, it takes time but it happens without fail.

IMG_0515

Poetry, for me, has always been very personal. I never excelled at tackling “issue poetry” unless I was able to relate myself into it. Standing on that stage, just you and the microphone. Just your voice and the audience. Just your gut and their ear drums. There’s something magical about that. The butterflies. The feeling that you’re going to fall…but then you take flight. I’ve gone to a couple of poetry slams in the last couple of months on account of my wife encouraging me. She gives me gentle little pushes into it and I’m taking her queue little by little. I don’t want to make a team and compete on a national stage, but I want my voice out there again. Because I finally realized, after all this time, that I have something to say…and it’s worth hearing.

 

 



Begin (A Poem)
AMpThu, 02 Jun 2016 11:52:27 +000052Thursday 1, 2010, 11:52 am
Filed under: poems, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

Begin

 

Smile

Arise with the sun

Or just before

5am upliftment

Darkness settled in sky

Potential resting on branches

Coasting through the air

Pulsing through arteries

 

Twist the spine

Roll the hips

Turn face over

Across the pillow

Atop the sheets

Visit resplendence resting

 

Peacefully tranquil

Quietly dreaming

Eyelids twitching in rapid movement

Neck gently pulsing

Awake next to unparalleled beauty

 

I admire her

Basking in the dim of dawn

Pale light cascading

From cheek to lip

From eyelid to jawline

Breath giving life

She is a sight to behold

 

I am blessed

To share these moments

Before the day

Before the busy

 

She awakes

With a gentle smile

Cheeks swell

Eyelids creek open

Greeting as if it was me

Holding her presence

In her dream state

As if I was always there

 

A simple good morning

A simple I love you

And we kiss

The birds stop singing

The sun comes up

There is purity in the air

 

Palms resting upon faces

Breaths in synchronicity

The day is ready to begin

I am uplifted by her presence

She is arisen by mine

 

We give life

We live love

We are thankful

For another day

Bathed in blessings

 

Birds sing their songs again

The sheets release me

Sleep welcomes her again

The day begins

…again.

 

 

 

 

 



Playing By The Rules
PMpTue, 29 Mar 2016 14:49:59 +000049Tuesday 1, 2010, 2:49 pm
Filed under: the ether, the mirror, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

There comes a time in your life when you get overlooked for someone else. It could be a promotion, an award or a simple pat on the back. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s recognition of some kind. It shouldn’t matter…but it does. We crave recognition. It validates our existence, it lets us know that we’re doing the right thing. I say we shouldn’t care, because it’s a lot like giving a pet a treat to reinforce good behavior (i.e. here’s a biscuit for your good behavior, now do it again!). I say we shouldn’t care because it doesn’t matter one tiny bit they way our actions are perceived by others. Only the results matter. But human nature is such a thing that we constantly seek validation from the rest of the world.

When it happens to me, I get infuriated. I get angry at the people who overlooked me AND the people who I was overlooked for. I’ve always operated on the belief that good, hard work yields good, honest results. Plain and simple. You work hard and plug away day in and day out and one day, if you’re lucky, then the boss-lady may call your number and give you a cookie for your efforts. But in the relentless culture of the office, playing the game is more important than hard work can ever be. What is the game you ask? The game is about appearances. It’s about facades and thinly-veiled agendas. It’s about social manipulation, being self-serving at every opportunity and looking out for number 1. And I’m not willing to play the game. I’ve never been cut from that cloth to be dishonest and manipulate things for my own benefit.

The more I sit here and ruminate onbring overlooked yet again, the more I fester with anger and bitterness. The more I begin to think about the old sayings of, no pain no gain or with no risk there’s no reward. I’m realizing that I’m sitting here comfortably in a job that doesn’t fulfill me, plugging away day in and day out expecting to get rewarded when I’m not playing by the rules of the game. I don’t like over-laughing to fit in. I don’t like being social when I don’t feel like it. I don’t like soliciting compliments. I don’t like complimenting the boss on her hair, shoes, jacket if I don’t feel like it. I’ve operated under the false pretenes that work and production alone represents youir place within an organization. But it doesn’t, and I can’t fault the system for that. I’ve chosen to be part of this system. This system requires a real “go-getter” attitude, a “team player” and someone overflowing with confidence, swagger and pizazz. It’s listed plain as day on the job requirements. Neither of those things are overly me.

Instead of being grumpy and unsatisfied I need to realize that I cannot change the game, I don’t want to change the game. I cannot change the rules. And I will definitely never win unless I’m willing to play by the rules. Well, bah-humbug, I ain’t playing by a damn thing. I need to actually put myself out there and stop running from my potential. I need to stop procrastinating and do more. I’m sick of feeling like I’m being overlooked because the person doing the overlooking is me. I’m the one who chooses to stay within the confines of this mindset. I’m the one who refuses to simply open the gate and enter a world with a different set of rules. Often times we get so caught up in what’s in front of us without ever realizing that we have the ability and power to simply walk away, turn around and just say fuck you and move on with our lives onto something better. I’m sick of it. So I’m trying to view this dogged day to day a bit differently. As a means to an end, because the moment I start to believe that it’s something more or that I can be something more within the confines of these rules, then my goose is cooked. Upward and onward folks. New rules, new game….slowly but surely.



Till the Morning (A Short Story)
AMpThu, 17 Mar 2016 11:38:41 +000038Thursday 1, 2010, 11:38 am
Filed under: the ether, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

A couple of years ago I submitted a shorty story to the CBC short story contest. It came from a fragment of free-writing I’d written about 5yrs earlier that I’d always wanted to build on. I tried to give the fragment legs and meat and bone. I tried to bring it to life and give it breath. So I paid the fee, submitted my work and held my breath for a few months. Obviously I didn’t win, didn’t come in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th. Failure can make you question things. So I re-read the whole thing again and again and again. My conclusion? That it was total shit. Who was I to think my amateur writing and poor structure could compete with the others? So I buried it. Never shared, never read again….until today. I just randomly decided to share this story that I deemed absolute garbage and unworthy of public eyes. I decided to share it because I put so much into it and believed in it so much at one point. It was originally a lot longer but I edited it down by over 500 words to meet the word count requirement. I was going to post the unedited version, but I just realized how incomplete it actually is, so I’m posting the edited version that I submitted. Feedback is welcome. If anyone is interested I can post the unedited version too. I want to be a better story teller. I want to get better at writing prose. Here goes….

———————————————————

Until The Morning

The morning came quickly; he was still throwing javelins at the fall of night. The sheets were cold at his back as the sun crept into a hungry sky. The birds were not singing and the sky was wrapped in a soft hue of blue. It was early, the world was still asleep. Knowing what would greet him, he didn’t want to turn to the pillow next to him. He knew she would fade before morning as if the previous night was but a dream. It played out like his favorite movie; he knew the ending all too well, but still kept pressing play.

She smiled with a falsehood he had known since grade-school. He was always a nervous wreck around women. When he first tried to speak to her, his tongue would swell and nothing came out. She was his world and loved being put on a pedestal, so she asked him out one day. It was the most glorious moment in his life. To him, love was about surrendering and he wanted her to feel loved unconditionally, so he gave up everything. But she saw it as a weakness and ended up feelng sorry for him.

When her palm touched his skin he could feel her withdraw. The space between them in intimate moments somehow managed to become immense, but he saw something he swore was real, and he wanted more than anything to believe in it. That’s what kept him coming back, if only to believe in something. What he saw was fragments of her youth, the innocence of her adolescence; he fell in love with a memory. One that felt like it was a lifetime ago, one he longed for her to remember. And that made her feel like she could somehow be redeemed.

He turned to the next pillow, folding his body from one shoulder to the next, finding what he knew he would, an impression of her face; the foundation, the eye shadow, the lip gloss and some wisps of hair. Her scent lived in his sheets and smelled like home. It wasn’t perfume, just her. He would inhale her before opening his eyes in the morning with the hope that his eyelids parting would reveal her presence as he felt it. But she always left before sunrise. She waited until he was dreaming about her spinning pirouettes atop glaciers and falling in love with him; then she would be gone, not willing to face the morning where there is no face to put on.

She wanted her mornings for reflection. She wanted solitude, so she left every chance she got. When he called her, he didn’t let his pain show. He simply said, “I missed you this morning.” A long pause was interrupted only by the laboured inhale of her cigarette, and then more silence. He wet his lips before he spoke into the phone, “When will I see you again?” then, “are you there?”

It pulled her back into the moment long enough to mutter, “Yeah, sorry. Whenever.” She was always vague and noncommittal in her answers, keeping him at a safe distance while never completely pushing him away. But he wanted her to love him the way he loved her, so he stuck around. He was okay with waiting, no matter how long it took.

He spoke as if he wanted her to pull him back into the conversation “So…I’ll just call you later then?”

Her voice trailed off as if she were thinking of the future, “Yeah, that’s fine. You know where to find me.”

They exchanged goodbyes, the line clicked and he sat on the edge of his bed with the phone still loosely gripped between his fingers as his shoulders started to slump.

He remembered the first time he waited for his father to come home. Each hour that passed draped his shoulders further. It would be the first of many times his father let him down. He would always wait for his parents to rescue him, but they never did. So he put on a strong demeanor to face the world. He found solace in retreating to the recesses of his mind. He always longed to feel loved.

He looked down at the screen on his phone, her eyes looking back at him now. He thought of all the time he’d spent waiting, about how he wanted the space between them to disappear, how he longed take up residence in her heart. A resolve started swelling in his throat; it travelled down to his chest. It made him stand up. It made his ears ring loud with the sound of his beating heart. He was tired of waiting. He had to tell her everything and he had to do it now. He looked at her on the screen of his phone again; she was still there.

It felt like the phone rang for an eternity, “Hello?”

There was a sense of urgency in his voice, “What are you doing right now?”

Her lighter flicked three times, the embers crackled and she inhaled slowly “Nothing really, I’ve got a few days off.”

He wasted no time, “I need to see you, I’m on my way.”

Her head filled with questions, “um, okay…what’s the deal?” but it was too late. The line had clicked and he was already running down the stairs.

He gripped the steering wheel firm as he raced to her apartment, flying from one lane to the next. His heart was pounding in his chest; his mind was focused. When he got there, she stood blankly looking at him in the doorway. Her left hand was resting on the doorknob while her right hand hung loosely at her waist holding a cigarette with smoke cascading up her arm. He averted his gaze from hers and took a deep breath before looking up. He stepped forward with his right foot, then his left. He reached out his left hand and took hold of her right palm. She looked up at him, bewildered. He placed his right hand on the nape her neck and pressed his lips firmly against hers. He kissed her in a way that spoke the words he never could. The cigarette fell from her fingers and crashed on the floor while her right hand slid up his back. They kissed in the doorway until he pulled away, rested his forehead on her’s and looked intently into her eyes. The corners of her mouth pinched upwards into her cheeks as a smile exposed her teeth, “Okay” she said.

The night came quickly amidst a whirlwind of letting go. They raced into the setting sun as if they were meant to catch it. When the moon came, it basked them in resplendent light. The ground shook with their love-making like the earth under a herd of running buffalos. It was beautiful madness the way they wrapped themselves into one another. When all of the exuberance was over and all of their energy spent, they found themselves in his bed again; her shoulder blade cupped comfortably into his chest; his arm wrapped into her frame; her hair carelessly strewn across his pillow; the same way it had always been. He drifted into that dream again, the one where she was spinning like a ballerina atop a glacier; the one where she fell in love with him.

The sheets were cold at his back as dawn creaked into the horizon. He inhaled deeply; it smelled the same way it always did, like her. The birds were silent and the world was still asleep. The sound of his breath filled the room. He didn’t want to turn to the pillow again, he couldn’t fathom that this morning would start the same as the others. The sheets were still cold at his back, he opened his eyes slowly. She was there, looking back at him. The dawn looked magnificent upon her face. She wore a smile that spoke of repose. Her eyes were fixated on his as she gently placed the palm of her left hand onto his face. He chuckled in disbelief, “You’re still here.”

She kissed him softly, with her eyes closed. He could feel the warmth of sleep on her skin as her arm slid around his torso, her legs caressed his. She sank into his embrace. She looked to be at peace as she smiled again and released another breath. Her eyes met his as countless unspoken sentiments were exchanged.

She said “good morning” and a new day began.